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Decision... decision... from a new joiner...


Diablo
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Hi guys... been reading quite some posts here and geez you guys are genius... my first time joining this forum. I have always been a computer audiophile guy in that I mean I have been using my desktop PC for audio and movie playback using JRiver.

 

I am prioritizing audiophile over movie playback and intend to have the best of audio quality reproduction within my budget.

 

I am using Intel X79 based chipset housed in Silverstone CW-02, Chord C-USB output to BMC PureDAC (also as preamp), XLR balanced Chord Shawline to Krell KSA-100S, Ortofon Spk 200 cable to Sonus Faber Cremona M Auditor. Music server is a pair of WD My Book Live connected to D-Link wireless router DIR-828L.

 

The prob with me is, I haven't heard any Intona, Jcat Femto, USB Regen at all. Thus I am not able to make any decision whether the application of any of these devices will further colour the audio. My intent is to have the most neutral conduit as possible from these devices.

 

My apology of any of these topics have been discussed before. I use a 500w Kingwin ATX fanless PSU and I definitely dont hear any audible noise into the system. So in my situation, would you think I should get an Intona galvanic isolator OR should I get the Jcat Femto first? Which has the most impact?

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The question of the OR bothers me and it's not quite as clear cut as choosing one component over the other as far as noise reduction is involved.

 

Noise will come from the PC, no doubt about it. This noise is conducted voltages created by internal voltages in the PC coupling to shields and grounds and are *very* difficult to remove.

 

The choice is to isolate the conducted noise (= leakage currents) from the PC entering the DAC. The Jcat card creates a USB signal somewhat removed from the PC and is filtered of crud to a value for arguments sake of 2 out of 10.

The Intona will isolate conducted noise further, once again for argument sake 3 out of 10. That's a factor in very broad of 50% less conducted noise that was there originally.

 

The AC side can be improved by tossing out any 'line conditioner' and suppression type distribution outlets. Replace with a very low capacitance isolation transformer for everything audio and a plain simple distributor power strip. Add another factor of 2 out of 10 to block mains borne conducted noise from the house/apartment to the audio system.

 

We're already up to 7/10 (optimistically) for a reduction of leakage currents. This you *can* hear. A single component gets some way, but will not, ever, make that huge difference until other components assist. Each one has a special job to perform and needs help, if you like from other noise killers. Finding the path to reduce noise can be an adventure, however the goal of increase stage height and resolution, is a very nice reward. Clear up the noise and the music will look after itself. The OP has very good hardware, just needs to clean up the source and its transmission.

 

Buy a pre-amp. Really. White noise at 0db due to driver failure in the computer will make mince meat of tweeters.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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Hi one and a half, thanks for your response. Yeah looking into the current trend nowadays most ppl are skipping preamp step but perhaps they do help clean up noise futther. I think it's worth a try. I like the way you described from the perspective of someone experienced like you who have went thru it seen it all and provided some rough quantied percentage on the long noise elimination journey. It does seem like going thru this route is a one way journey of no going bck. Could have been cheaper to get something like a nice music streamer and bypasses all switching PSU from PC and mobo itself that generates noise. But then again... whats the fun in that...

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Hi one and a half, thanks for your response. Yeah looking into the current trend nowadays most ppl are skipping preamp step but perhaps they do help clean up noise futther. I think it's worth a try. I like the way you described from the perspective of someone experienced like you who have went thru it seen it all and provided some rough quantied percentage on the long noise elimination journey. It does seem like going thru this route is a one way journey of no going bck. Could have been cheaper to get something like a nice music streamer and bypasses all switching PSU from PC and mobo itself that generates noise. But then again... whats the fun in that...

 

Then the problem is of adapting your preferences with the all in one player. So far none of them match for me enough to buy one.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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  • 1 month later...

Hi One and a Half,

 

Following your advice I have been searching around for a suitable preamp to match my system. Maybe allow me to share with you what's been going on in the past one month:

 

I tried Krell KBL, don't like it, sounds bit course, unrefined, laggy, slow, clarity is acceptable, flat soundstaging, dull.... Sorry I can't accept this my BMC PureDAC as preamp sounds way much better than this.... So went back to local dealer and exchange for different preamp...

 

I then tried Krell KRC-HR, I was immediately amazed, superb clarity, that airy voices and very refined vocal, though the only unforgiving part is a flat soundstage, when I close my eyes, I see all musical instruments lying in one horizontal straight line, sometimes they get a bit confused when too many instruments are being played at one time (yes it's also contributed by my baby Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor too). Well to summarize, the vocal presentation is really good with this unit, but not quite a magic with other musical instruments... So.. again i went back to exchange for another unit...

 

The local dealer does not have any Krell KCT, so I went to audition that silver shiny two box Krell Evo 202 (power supply below and actual preamp on top, thus 2 box). Hooked it up in my system, I know this is a bit out of my budget but since KCT is not there, and I'm not using CAST I was thinking this won't do much better than KRC-HR.

 

Boy oh boy i was really wrong!!! The Evo 202 is ultra refined, sweet, musical, deep and wide soundstage, it's like all the good I squeeze out of KRC-HR is further emphasized, and non of the not so convincing flat soundstaging from KRC-HR !! 

 

Negotiated the price with the dealer as it was like somewhat double the price of KRC-HR in a used market today.

 

The additional XLR cable from my BMC PureDAC to my preamp is the used Madison Lab X3 Extreme 1 XLR interconnect, but I've done some other testing of a few XLR cables lying around, nothing can take away the performance and goodness of Evo 202 !!!

 

So, as my audio journey gets a bit confused along the way, the one big difference between a direct DAC to amp (and pls do bear in mind the BMC PureDAC has a very good digital voltage preamp volume control, and I believe this is not a victim of bit stripping unit), and the addition of Evo 202, is that I am able to hear a darker background, the sound just jumps out in a much better 3D imaging from deep at the back of speakers... your mileage may vary of course...

 

And yes, by having a preamp, I need to stress that the preamp needs to have certain quality to it, otherwise it defeats the additional unit with extra wiring and longer signal distortion etc. along the way (lesser is better concept).

 

Anyway, one and a half, sorry for the long post, but I thought I just wanted to share with you what I have witnessed in the past 30 days from your great piece of advice !!!

 

From one audiophile to another!

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