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Using Transporter. Upgrade to Berkeley Alpha or Weiss Minerva?


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Hi

 

What might be my upgrade path from Transporter?

I am interested in DAC with greater than 120db dynamic range I have with Transporter, 192/24 input or higher, upgradability of hardware/software, great sound with CD source with upgradable and customizable filters

 

My budget is 5000$ US

 

Can I still use my Transporter as a source or it will become a bottleneck?

Which client/server software can I use? I would like to use web-based client to control playlist, etc. as I do today with my SqueezeServer

 

Michael

 

 

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I can listen to Minerva (and likely sooner to newly announced Weiss DAC that replaces it)

I cannot audition Berkeley Audio though.

 

I would like to split the discussion into two sub-threads:

 

1) CD source 44.1/16. I use custom upsampler based on SoX open-source with relaxed minimum-phase filter (similar to apodizing). The sound is pretty good, depending on source, though I sometimes miss the punch and edginess. Certain recording, yet sound very good (aka Stockfisch or other audiophile labels)

 

2) High-rez material: here Transporter shines. I tested PS Audio new PWD, and on high-rez music it definitely less precise and less focused than Transporter. I've seen also benchmarks and evaluation of Transporter by both absolute sound and stereophile and really thrilled by results. To make a point, Klimax DS, costing 20,000$ is worse - its power supply is noisy, and dynamic range is worse as well. Not to speak about Linn's software..

 

My audio system is based on Verity Audio Parsifal Ovation, Parasound A21 amplifier and Transporter. There is also power conditioner by Furman SPR-16Ei, and I use audiolab 8000AP analog by-pass as volume attenuator. Transporter's volume is fixed on 100%.

 

Weiss disadvantage for me is Firewire. I need network DAC. I do not want yet-another PC in my setup. I have HTPC, and it is only used for movies or live shows on blu-ray. Even though it is based on Antec Fusion case, it is still noisy.

 

On the other hand, Transporter is only 96/24. How much difference in sound is relatively to 192/24 or 176.4/24?

As the future might be there, I may need to replace Transporter also as a network transport at certain point..

 

For sure, there is nothing that replaces audition in my setup, yet, if anyone has experienced both Transporter and other DACs in 5000$ range in the same setup, I would like to hear..

 

Also, I still want the final solution to be based on some web platform. I open a browser, go to favorites, do some search, etc..

 

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There are not a lot of network players to choose from right now. I would avoid going: Transporter-SPDIF-another DAC, as this would negate the advantages of using a network player (SPDIF will always raise jitter issues).

I am surprised that you found the PS PWD to not better the sound of the Transporter on high res audio, what was the set up? Was the PWD playing via SPDIF input, or USB? The PWD will only reach its potential via I2S from the PerfectWave Transport, or via ethernet with the internal Bridge. I would suggest auditioning the PWD again when the bridge becomes available, be sure to run it in "native" mode via the bridge, and audition the different digital filters to find the best set up for the system and music.

By upsampling in the computer you are running the 44.1 files through at least two digital filters (one in the upsampler, and one in the DAC) possibly more, each digital filter will add artifacts to the sound: I have not heard your set up, but from a technical standpoint I would suggest that multiple passes (in addition to those used during recording) through digital filters would usually do more harm than good...

From your remarks, I cannot tell if you have actually listened to the Linn network players-I would not be so quick to dismiss them ( but try to listen to them in a non Linn system); some of the best digital playback I have ever heard was from the Linn Klimax DS-I would not dismiss any products based on measurements (except, perhaps, measurements that show gross levels of distortion/noise). And, I would not be concerned about S/N ratios of better than 120 dB; once one reaches a playback device capable of 120 dB, any further improvement will be buried beneath the noise floor of your system anyway.

Do you need 24/192? I do not know, it is questionable now how much music will become available at resolutions beyond 24/96, but because there is some, I know that I really want to have 24/192 capability...

 

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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"To make a point, Klimax DS, costing 20,000$ is worse - its power supply is noisy, and dynamic range is worse as well."

 

Really?

 

In any event, I totally agree that you really can't judge SQ purely by these sorts of measurements.

 

Mani.

 

Main: Okto dac8PRO -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Tune Audio Anima speakers + 2x Rotel RB-1590 stereo amps -> 4x subs
Office: MOTU UltraLite-mk5 -> 6x Neurochrome 286 mono amps -> Impulse H2 speakers
Vinyl: Thöress Phono Enhancer -> RME ADI-2 Pro

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With a budget of $5000 I think you need to look at more then just two Dac's. Of course my vote goes to Wavelength as a former Cosecant V3 owner and now Crimson owner.

 

See attached.

 

W10 NUC i7 (Gen 10) > Roon (Audiolense FIR) > Motu UltraLite mk5 > (4) Hypex NCore NC502MP > JBL M2 Master Reference +4 subs

 

Watch my Podcast https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXMw_bZWBMtRWNJQfTJ38kA/videos

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to the $4k ($2.8k for Weiss DAC2-same as Minerva, $1.2k for SSD-based Macbook) 24/192 firewire solution. While the MW TP was glorious in redbook and 24/96 it did not have the resolution and microdetail the new combo has (let alone ability to do up to 24/192). If you stay at 24/96 or below I'd recommend getting your TP modded by Modwright; otherwise try the Weiss and other 24/192-capable DACs. Either way I use my ipod Touch to control (via iPeng with SqueezeCenter, or now via Apple Remote with iTunes/Amarra or iTunes/PureVinyl....identical GUI to iPeng)

 

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I had PS Audio PWD for a whole week in my setup. It had definitely wider soundstage, and it was good with CD source, but ruined high-rez: it was much less precise. IMHO on transporter I heard things better shaped. PWD was connected via AES/EBU and S/PDIF to Transporter. I disabled of course my upconversion on the server, the feed was 44.1/16.

And I tried all filters, including NATIVE..which is not a filter, but actually a shortcut - it is doing MP for CD, and LP for high-rez.

 

PWD was good with CD, but not convincing for me.

 

Regarding 192/24 - I encountered few albums, mostly classical. Not a big deal, but if I upgrade the DAC, I assume I shall take this into account.

 

Let's assume I am going with Weiss (or other USB/Firewire) DAC.

What are my options of still using network transporter and SqueezeCenter?

If not SqueezeCenter, are there other web-based music servers?

And I really do not want another PC in my setup, I already have (big) one. I want an appliance so other members of my family can use.. But not these Qsonix or other $$$$.. I just have 5000$..

 

Difficult..

 

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The PWD was at a distinct disadvantage in your system as it was connected via SPDIF/AES. This DAC has an entirely different sound when the jitter introduced by SPDIF is eliminated (either by the I2S connection to its transport partner, the PerfectWave Transport, or by a network connection using the forthcoming internal Network Bridge). When the PWD does not need to use its ASRC to reduce jitter, and can be run "native" which bypasses the ASRC and sends the digital signal straight through to the DAC it sounds way better.

It sounds like you have access to a dealer for PS Audio, I would definately recommend another audition when the Network Bridge becomes available, then you will be able to experience what this DAC is truly capable of without the handicap of the high jitter SPDIF interface.

 

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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I understand that with bridge (theoretically, at least) it shall be better than via S/PDIF. Yet, bridge is not available yet, and neither PWT (the latter anyway raises the price to 7000$)

BTW, does not PWD have some sort of jitter-elimination buffer, re-clocking, etc.?

 

PWD is very good product. Very versatile. Anyone considering DAC in this price range shall definitely audition one.

For me, it just was too soft with high-rez. Matter of taste? I know how linn records sound, the sound is crisp, sharp and detailed (HDTracks/Chesky are way soft, btw, for me). I have really high-resolution speakers (Parsifal Ovation) that shine with this kind of records..

 

It is not that I not pleased with Transporter, in the contrary - I very like it. Still, lack of 192/24, poor sounding CD tracks, lack of support and continuability from Logitech (and my internal willingness to upgrade periodically :-) ).

Again, using SoX made me feel much more comfortable with music, but I do not think it will last for long, as again, for certain tracks, SoX is not doing any good. It is not SoX actually, this is the filter I am using..

 

I will listen to PWD + Bridge once it arrives and will compare it to Weiss DAC202.

What about software?

Is there any opensource that can control foobar over the web?

How can I manage my library over the web?

 

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The difference in sound works like this:

 

With the PWD fed by SPDIF, one can use the asynchronus sample rate converter to upsample the incoming data, this re-clocks (and resamples) the data, and in this process greatly reduces the jitter, then the data is sent to the DAC, and run through the digital filter there (and oversampled). To get low jitter data to the DAC chip, when running the PWD one must engage the upsampler-so you cannot run "native" mode without very high levels of jitter. The problem is, that asynchronus sample rate conversion introduces it's own sonic damage. So with SPDIF input, the PWD does not achieve the kind of performance it is truly capable of: you either have high jitter at the DAC chip (in "native" mode) or you have the damage done by the ASRC.

When the "Bridge" becomes available, there will be is minimal jitter at its (I2S) output, as clocking will be done by a fixed crystal oscillator with no PLLs, so there is no need to engage the ASRC for jitter reduction. Minimal jitter, and no resampling of the data, results in much better sound. The PWD was designed to offer the best possible sound when running from its I2S input, or from the network bridge. SPDIF/AES performance is still good, but will always be handicapped by higher jitter.

Make sure that you audition the different digital filters when you hear the PWD with the Bridge, do not rely on the "auto" setting, or what someone else tells you. The filter choices offer fine tuning of the sound, and different rates of high frequency roll-off and ringing, and need to be played with to get the full measure of this unit. Generally, you will probably not want to use the same settings for CD (44.1) and higher resolutions. Also be sure to audition the PWD in direct connection with a power amp if possible.

 

SO/ROON/HQPe: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModuleDeluxe-Signature Rendu optical--Bricasti M3 DAC--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E 112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY EventHorizon AC cables, Iconoclast XLR & speaker cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Spacetime system clarifiers.                                                       

                                                                                           SONORE computer audio

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Even on my modest system(Sony STR-DA5300ES receiver with Mirage Omnisats plus subwoofer), the Transporter connected to a Berkeley Alpha sounds exceptional. Wayne of Bolder Cable is offerring a mod for 500 USD for people looking to run the Transporter through an outboard DAC. Though I don't have first hand experience with Wayne at Bolder Cable, his reputation sounds quite positive. Here is a link to Bolder Cable on the Audiocircle forum:

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?board=11.0

 

Here are links to Wayne's Transporter mod:

http://www.boldercables.com/servlet/-strse-410/Transporter-Digital-Only-Mod/Detail

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=66440.0

 

Wayne's mod is entirely different from the highly regarded Modwright Transporter, which adds tubes and is designed to use the Transporter's own internal DAC. Though I have no direct experience with the Modwright Transporter, I have had a very favorable experience with Dan Wright's mod of the OPPO BDP-83SE blu ray player(yes, I had the '83 modded by OPPO to SE status and THEN modded by Dan).

- Esau

 

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I listened today to Weiss Minerva.

While it was not with my setup, there was my content and similar speakers (same vendor, although lower model)

 

Well, Weiss was more refined, more precise, I think I heard more details on high-resolution tracks.

 

Interesting, what contributes to this? Is it higher dynamic range? Better power supply?

 

Source was a laptop connected with firewire cable. Not very convenient to say the least. When laptop enters sleep state, firewire loses sync, and need to re-connect Weiss... No remote control (this was PC/Windows 7)..

Would be nice if SquezeServer could control Weiss..

 

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