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Next upgrade


musiciseverything
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Thanks to all of you who have posted great information and helped us novices! I am looking for the next upgrade for my system and would appreciate your opinions. This is my system: mac mini, common USB cable, PS Audio DLIII, Modwright pre-amp, Bel Canto amps, Von Schweikert VR-4JRs. I need to limit my expenditure to less than $1000. What would you do? re-clocker?, better USB cable?, optical out to the DAC?, change the DAC? Thanks for your ideas!

 

"Information is not knowledge,

Knowledge is not wisdom,

Wisdom is not truth,

Truth is not beauty,

Beauty is not love,

Love is not music and

Music is the best" -Frank Zappa

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Is your room treated? A little cash there can make a big difference.

What playback software do you use? If iTunes, consider changing to one of the free (Play) or other players... made a difference for me.

Supposedly the mod to the DLIII does wonders and comes in at under $1000. I don't think you'll find a significantly better dac for that price.

 

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Thanks Mr. C. I agree on all counts. I have treated the walls. The speaker positions are tweaked. I am using iTunes so I will investigate others. Will all my ripped music be accessible? I can't re-rip. I really like the DLIII and have considered the Cullen mods. The only consideration is that it doesn't accept 192 so in the future I would have to get a different DAC. I think that the future of DACs is changing very quickly and more asynchronous 192 DACS will be available and affordable. Would the optical out be better than the USB? Would a Wavelength Proton sound better than the DLIII? Thanks again and Any and all replies are appreciated.

 

"Information is not knowledge,

Knowledge is not wisdom,

Wisdom is not truth,

Truth is not beauty,

Beauty is not love,

Love is not music and

Music is the best" -Frank Zappa

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When, I had the DLIII and there wasn't a huge difference between the optical and usb input, but I did prefer the optical. I only had a $20 optical cable, so it's a cheap thing to investigate.

 

If you use Pure Vinyl or Amarra then you don't need to rip or change anything because they uses iTunes for file management.

 

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What do you use to control your system? If you don't already use one an itouch with apple remote might be a nice usability upgrade (or for even more luxury you could get the base model ipad as i'm sure apple will be updating their remote app for the ipad over the next few months). If you don't already, maybe look into amarra. I don't use it myself, but people seem to have good things to say.

 

On the hardware side, I have a few thoughts. Starting from the least expensive of the pack, the m2tech hiface seems to be getting a lot of press, would allow you to experiment with higher sampling rates and might be a good addition to the dlIII. Along the same lines, but a bit out of your stated price range (maybe worth saving for) would be the sonicweld diverter or the weiss int202 (both around $1300). These would also allow you to upgrade your system in pieces without replacing your dac and possibly give you more more freedom in dac choice down the line (something like the berkley which is lacking usb). Another thought which came to mind is waiting for the PS Audio lens, although I know they have a bunch of other projects in the queue so I'm actually not certain when or if they still plan on shipping it.

 

PS Audio Quintet > Powerbook (iphone with apple remote app) > HRT Streamer II > Kingrex Pre-amp > Kingrex QS-01 > Devore Fidelity Gibbon 7.1\'s

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Thanks for your thoughts. I have considered the M2tech in the thought that it would reduce jitter and pass hirez. cheap too. I am using an itouch for remote control and it is fantastic. I love being able to play music throughout the house and control from any room. How would amarra change the sound compared to itunes? The devices you mention look great and I need to do more research. Thanks again.

 

"Information is not knowledge,

Knowledge is not wisdom,

Wisdom is not truth,

Truth is not beauty,

Beauty is not love,

Love is not music and

Music is the best" -Frank Zappa

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You may already have this taken care of, but the most significant upgrade I've ever made to my system, more than an Alpha DAC, more than Pass XA.5 amps, more than power upgrades... was putting my speakers (Genesis 500) on StarSound Sistrum SP-101 Platform stands with Audio Points. I paid about $1000 for a used demo pair, and I was stunned by the improvement, not only with increased bass clarity and definition, but across the board. I don't think it's possible to hear any differences source upgrades make, especially digital, until you've got something like this in place, and perhaps some room treatments. In retrospect, it would be #1 on my list.

 

www.vincentborrelli.com[br]Mac/Lynx AES16e, NAS, Pure Music, BADA, Pass amps, Genesis speakers, StarSound Sistrums, Synergistic PCs & I/Cs.

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I couldn't agree more. It has taken several years to get the room right. The room is the most important factor in sound reproduction. The position of the speakers, including height, stability, toe-in and limiting reflections are vital. My Von Schweikert VR-4JRs sit on modified solid steel anchors with adjustable spikes to the concrete floor. The walls are treated with home made fabric panels. I have refined the position of the speakers and hope I never have to move them. Now that I have the imaging and sound depth dialed in I am beginning to play with sources. The mac mini is the latest edition and my wish is to surpass the playback possible with CDPs. I like the sound very much now and am exploring other ideas for fun. RTA-computer analysis of the room is another idea to further refine the soundstaging but I don't want to invest in that. Borrow it maybe!? Anyway, I appreciate the time and effort you have given to helping me discover new ways to listen to music. Right now I think I am going to spend money on new music to put on the mini and then try new electronics. Its impossible to have enough music! If I have to save up some money to get the right stuff then that's the way to go.

 

"Information is not knowledge,

Knowledge is not wisdom,

Wisdom is not truth,

Truth is not beauty,

Beauty is not love,

Love is not music and

Music is the best" -Frank Zappa

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Hi musiciseverything,

 

Thank you for your kind feedback.

 

In addition to the suggestions made in the article I linked to (and the vibration isolation article it links to) I would consider two aspects of the DAC: resampling and the interface format.

 

1. Avoid a DAC that has non-switchable, automatic resampling. In my experience, this tends to add a slight brightening and hardening (from the spurious harmonics most -but not all- sample rate conversion engenders) to the sound. While some take this as added "detail", it is not contained in the source material and so in my view, is simply distortion.

 

If you want high sampling rates, better to convert before the listening begins, using a good algorithm like that in iZotope's 64-bit SRC. You can change the sample rate without adding the brightening and hardening other algorithms (and just about all real-time SRC in my experience) add.

 

2. Your Mac has a FireWire port. I'd suggest experimenting with a good Firewire DAC (I'm partial to Metric Halo's ULN-2 and ULN-8 myself). While this would exceed the budget you mention, if it were me, I'd save the money and wait until I could get a better unit.

An audition will tell you if you agree or not.

 

The above are of course, just my own perspective.

As you know (or will soon find), if you ask three audio folks a question, you'll get at least four answers. ;-}

 

My best suggestion: listen for yourself, draw your own conclusions, have fun.

 

Best regards,

Barry

www.soundkeeperrecordings.com

www.barrydiamentaudio.com

 

 

 

 

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