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cables, sound quality and listening tests


keithhr1

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I spent 20 years investigating why speaker systems didn't approach the sound quality of, for example stax headphone directly from a digital source. The sound was amazingly detailed that could never be matched by a speaker system. The old rationale of room interaction etc was always brought up and of course no high end audio dealer will ever let you do this comparison in the showroom. In effect, the notes should all be the same duration in length, sonic signature should be identical etc. Every facet of the comparison should be almost exactly identical. Cut to the point, after all this time I have succeeded in designing a cable which I have patented and is being shown at ces this year in a coming out party so to speak> I am not at liberty to announce anything yet, i'm sure forum rules prohibit that.

But I can say this. I have a benchmark dac and I have all my cables sending the signal out from the rca outs on the dac to a B&K avr and through a dual mono passive volume control to a custom amp and then through speaker cables to a custom speaker system. The signal is sent though two components and two sets of cabling of my design, and what comes out of the speaker system is better than what comes out of the headphone jack of the benchmark dac. The headphones are Sennheiser HD650 headphones and the only difference or variable in the test is the wire that is used in the 11 foot run of wire in the from the dac to the headphones. The test can include simultaneous listening to the same portion of the same cut with instantaneous headphones on, then speaker system on. Everyone that has done this test agrees that the speaker system is faster and more detailed, spacious with each note sounding more precise.

At some point I will be able to identify this cable, as of now I am simply the manufacturer and not the distributor. The people distributing this cable have very high end equipment that starts from each source being wired internally with this wire though every component directly through the speakers to the drivers. So it is interconnect, speaker cable, and internal hook up wire, it's a dream come true for me.

Here is the quandry, I have new custom speakers with arrays of 4 bandor 50mm drivers per side with a bandor 150mm wooofer side mounted on the bottom .The top of the speaker is sealed without a crossover, box volume creates output frequencies. Bottom woofer has a single coil.

So what I am able to hear from the benchmark dac is amazing, better than anyone i'm convinced has ever heard. That is my opinion. But I want to try and upgrade my digital source, namely the dac, there must be something better and I'm not sure how to find it. The usual listening tests are all tainted to some degree because I have been able to prove that there is more distortion in the cables than anyone has previously thought possible. My listening tests have never been subjective but only recorded detail has ever been used as a viable test. Recorded detail doesn't lie, if there is more of it, I knew I was always on the right track. In the end, detail was everything , it was the layering of sound stage, pinpoint precise position of instruments, large spacing between instruments with blackness in between. The sound of musicians clothing moving as they played, the sound of each instrument decaying in the natural space around it. All of this with a a bencmark dac, a B&k avr to begin with, before that other equipment.

I believe that unbeknownst to every reviewer were colorations and distortions beyond their worst fears, making it impossible for them to accurately hear the components they were reviewing, and in the end all audiophiles made choices to color and filter the sound so their brains could tell them that what they were hearing was ok, but in the end each audiophile would have to go from component to component , each time their brain was telling them something was wrong, not knowing that it was always,for the most part the cable. I believe that the curse of the audiophile will be ending soon, i'm sure of it.

So, I'm asking how do I get a dac that is better than the benchmark, I've been considering all the favorites, in no particular order, From the dac out my cable is wired in the entire signal path , passive volume, cabling amp speaker cable, to the drivers.

Berkeley Alpha

Wavelength Crimson or cosecant

Ayre QB-9

Naim Dac

Weiss Dac2

Bryston Dac

Benchmark HDR

probably some that I've forgotten

This is the first time I've ever done this rant , or confessional, outburst, or whatever you want to call it, but for some reason it seemed like the right time, maybe because the product will actually be available to other people soon, and I won't have to say, Yea my wire is great but you can't have any. The wire does virtually nothing in the signal path as far as anyone can tell, through several components , as long as they aren't distorting the signal it arrives just as it left, it has the exact same affect on alternating current, digital signals, video signals, and analogue signals, kind of like a magic wire that acts like a magic filter controlling the nature of the sine wave, or so it seems to me.

If anyone has done some serious comparisons with the benchmark dac , I would like to hear about what you heard to help me decide what to buy to go with my new amp and speakers. The amp buy the way is an amp that originated with Michael Yee audio,known for his preamps but I find to be brilliant with his minimalist signal path approach. I have a class A solid state amp of his design. If there are mistakes in spelling or grammar please forgive, it's late I'm tired and I'm using the wrong glasses to type this.

 

 

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...touchpaper and then retire to a safe distance!

 

Go for something from the pro arena would be my advice, given what you are trying to achieve with your cable venture. The Metric Halo's seem to be flavour of the month ;)

 

Here's why. There are two areas, as I see it at the moment, where dacs can differentiate themselves - how they get the signal out of the computer and what they do at the output stage.

 

As far as the computer end is concerned some sort of asynchronous approach seems to be best at the moment and, judging by the incease in audible detail I am personally experiencing with the HiFace, this seems to be borne out by a lot of anecdotal support for such products. So aysnc usb or firewire. Equally, it has to be said, Chris is very much a fan of specialist digital throughput cards, such as the Lynx AES16, if you fancy a full-on server build.

 

At the output stage I believe that we are firmly in 'voicing' territory, as we are with a lot, if not all, high end kit. I would guess, and it's no more technical than that as I am not familiar with any of the well regarded pro audio kit, that those manufacturers least likely to be concerned with a 'house' sound would be those that are desigining and building kit for the pro audio world. I may be talking complete rubbish, but that is how I see the market at the moment.

 

Hopefully someone will come along and tell me how far off the mark I am! :)

 

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I agree with Bob.

 

I would add Prism Orpheus and Metric Halo ULN-8 to your list as great examples of pro audio gear that are sufficiently neutral for your purposes, plus the new Weiss DAC202.

 

FWIW, Benchmark is unusual in being a pro audio device that does have a 'house sound', as noted in Chris' review and elsewhere.

 

clay

 

 

 

 

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in 2008, John Atkinson compared it with the Bel Canto DAC3 and preferred the sound of the latter:

http://stereophile.com/digitalprocessors/108bench/

 

Since then the sound quality of the Bel Canto DAC3 has been improved considerably by changing to a virtual battery supply (VBS1) - see Kurtmelancon and my comments at:

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/Product-Year#comment-34354

 

So I suggest that you add this to your ever-growing list!

 

David

 

ALAC iTunes library on Synology DS412+ running MinimServer with Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 tablet running BubbleUPnP for control >

Hi-Fi 1: Airport Extreme bridge > Netgear switch > TP-Link optical isolation > dCS Network Bridge AND PS Audio PerfectWave Transport > PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge Mk.II > Primare A60 > Harbeth SHL5plus Anniversary Edition .

Hi-Fi 2: Sonore Rendu > Chord Hugo DAC/preamp > LFD integrated > Harbeth P3ESRs and > Sennheiser HD800

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The biggest problem I have is the reviewers have 99% chance (I think I am being generous)of using totally flawed cables which allows what they are hearing to be colored with distortions. I know that is a terribly egocentric thing to say, but I believe it with all my heart (mostly ears) I have been into many audio stores, not so much the last few years, because nothing came close to what I had at home. I know this is an unusual circumstance because usually people are on an even playing field when it comes to what they are capable of listening to. My problem is I am probably listening on a slightly higher plain than most. It is a really awkward position to be in, it's been a very lonely position, I've been isolated, alone in this endeavor besides a select few who have been with me on this journey; I've had a couple of people at the top of the audio cable food chain listen to my wire and they were actually stunned with quotes like , after listening for 10 seconds, stopping the disc and saying with bewilderment "what have you done here?" and in the second case listening to one tract on one cd saying in disbelief, "what kind of a deal are you looking for".

I Will never forget those two reactions as long as I live. They basically heard stuff they never heard or expected to hear, one trying to offer me a low ball buyout, another industry guy, who shall remain nameless flat out tried to steal what I had in the beginning because I forgot to take my non disclosure notice he had signed home with me, or my first patent attorney sending me a document in the middle of the night for me to sign, assigning him all rights to control my cable technology, indicating that his son would be by in thee morning to pick it up. Another big guy audio designer that I had an agreement of sorts to produce this cable together wouldn't let me out of my agreement as he went forth on his own trying to steal it.

It's kind of like the movie "THE TREASURE of THE SIERRA MADRES" and all the madness that surrounded the person who was supposed to have the gold.

It would be most helpful if someone from computer audiophile who has in his rack some of the equipment in question or has heard it with his reference discs that are personal benchmark for the best playback they have ever heard would volunteer to bring some of these discs to my house in Northern California, right next to San Francisco, Daly City to be exact. Some one that would be willing to offer some opinions on what they hear and have heard. I'd be willing to be the farm that the benchmark sound wouldn't sound the same as the benchmark sound they are familiar with. Nobody has commented yet on the speaker system better than headphones, which I'm surprised at, because nobody is ever willing to make that comparison in their store because they can't pull it off. I can because it provides instant credibility and validation.

Anyone from this forum reside in Northern california, or planning on a business trip here in the near future? Hearing is believing and I've also set the benchmark, no pun intended pretty high, but I can back it up because it actually only takes moments to hear what I have described, When all the stuff that is eliminated that is not in the recording, the listening takes on a whole new perspective, all the stuff that people thought was in the recording, extra mid range bloom and all the other trite cliches that reviewers use that simply don't work here.

So, I guess I'm throwing down the gauntlet, but in friendship, for some one to help guide me to the promised land, a dac better than what I currently have. Since I just received my new speaker system, the drivers alone cost over $1500, and my new totally modified and rewired Michael Yee Audio amp. He has been mostly designing and building house stuff for other people, but his designs are simple and pure and when implemented properly the results can be amazing. At this point I'm not gonna assume the amp is the week link. My system i probably faster than the best headphones with the tiny drivers that I'm using

You guys have no idea what it sounds and feels like to hear virtually nothing in the signal path of the source material, but I'm making an offer for someone to assist me that has heard some of the other stuff, or better yet owns something of the other stuff. If this sounds like a good idea, let me know and we can arrange to meet. This is also a good chance for one or more of you to be able to report back whether or not I'm speaking the truth or not.

Please, anyone out there want to make First Contact, just like in the movie???????????????

Keith

 

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I am really kind of surprised after my heartfelt confession of a secretive, just patented technology, 20 years in the works that is only now coming to fruition , and the possible ramifications for every audiophile using cable to hook up their components that nothing would be mentioned of this as well. I know audiophiles are prone to embellishing comments, I thought my explanation of a wire that does virtually nothing in the signal path and an open offer to have some people from this community to verify it as best they can, comparing really good headphones heads up to a speaker system. I would suspect that nobody here has ever heard a cable that they could say does nothing in the signal path and I don't personally know of anyone, every offering this type of direct a/b comparison because they can't pull it off. What I described was no joke and not one person commented on it. Maybe I have come to the wrong place to share what I know about audio playback. Nobody that has ever come over for a listen has ever been prepared for what they actually heard. When hearing something for the first time, many more questions are created than answers, initially at least. So much for my attempt to share what might be the future.

 

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