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John Darko and CD players

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I guess if you're a content creator (nothing wrong with that) and you need new "material", you need to keep reinventing the wheel. 

 

And maybe you get to play (or if you behave, keep for free) some pretty $$ gear ... like the >$5k Hegel Mohican CD player.

 

 

What reviewers need to do -- to keep some perspective -- is drag out (or beg, borrow or steal) now-vintage equipment and compare to the latest-n-greatest. 

 

I'm still using a heavily-modified Magnavox (Philips) CD-650, and it's the best Red Book playback I've heard. And, no: I have not heard every DAC/player/streamer out there ... far from it. But I've heard some good and $$ recent products -- enough to opine and pontificate ;)

 

I think Currawong has the right idea here in his video for the Marantz Project DAC (from 1998):

 

 

 

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Gear aside, Darko's production values are the real "high-fi". His vids are top-notch: editing, cinematography, etc.

And his Berlin pad is NIIIIIIIIIIIIICE. 

Hell, my comment about incorporating legacy or vintage gear may not fit with his elite aesthetic. 

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3 hours ago, analogue said:

Darko's...  elite aesthetic. 

 

I prescribe a course of abstinence and removal from environmental factors that allow him to thrive.   

 

Welcome to AS!

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22 hours ago, Summit said:

I’m more interested in the Jay's Audio CDT2-MkII CD transport.

 

https://darko.audio/2018/09/kih-61-lets-get-physical/

 

https://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/jaysaudio/1.html

 

 

Agree,

but listening comparisons to other cd transports are limited and youtube videos with it do not sound good.

Further looking at the HP it seems that Jays Audio increased the prices.

 

Matt

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1 hour ago, matthias said:

 

Agree,

but listening comparisons to other cd transports are limited and youtube videos with it do not sound good.

Further looking at the HP it seems that Jays Audio increased the prices.

 

Matt

 

Matt, you are of course correct that not many are reviewing pure CD transports anymore. Terry London has had most of the best CD transports and his impression is intriguing. A few others that own CEC, and the design of the CDT2 Mk2, have peeked my curiosity. I was not really looking for a CD transport and it got my attention then I read up on the Kinki studio integrated amp, which I bought. The CDT2 Mk2 is big and I don’t know there to put it if I ever get the real itch to buy one.

 

HomeTheaterReview.com colleague Terry London had this to say: "Right out of the crate not even broken in yet, it's outperforming my CEC double belt transport in the reference system. It retains all the liquidity and analog smoothness of the belt transport but offers more detail, tighter bass and a larger layered soundstage with more air between the players." To put his enthusiasm into context, Terry then listed prior transports he had experience with - "CEC TL-1x, Mark Levinson N°31.5, Ensemble Dirondo, MBL 1621, CEC TL3N. For my tastes, the CEC TL3N surprisingly outperformed the much more expensive MBL1621. The CEC TL3N is still a great transport but the Jay's Audio CDT2 Mk2 outperforms it across the board, is built to a higher standard and costs less... I also heard the latest generation PS Audio DS transport and prefer what the Jay's does in my system with my DAC. I use the term liquidity to mean a lack of grain or dryness without becoming euphonic at the expense of punch/macrodynamics or detail. For my tastes, the Jay's Audio transport offers more of this than the PS Audio at the straight Redbook sampling rate." And Mike Powell of Alvin Chee's US-based service centre had this to say: "I've never ever seen a product like this. Esoteric's are the closest thing." From someone tasked to support Alvin's product catalogue in the colonies on a contractual basis, that's high praise. And for mechanical devices like turntables and CD transports, top build quality isn't about vanity but longevity.

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1 hour ago, mrvco said:

He really needed to add a comparison of the Hegel transport + DAC to the Hegel transport feeding the Brooklyn DAC via coax.  $5,000 CD transport + DAC vs a $3,000 network transport + DAC doesn’t tell me much when attempting to make the case that one digital transport is superior to another digital transport.  I have to wonder how the $5,000 Hegel would compare to the $7,000 Manhattan streamer card + DAC combo... or even the Brooklyn paired with a quality LPS (still less than the $2k price delta).

 

Two more comments:

 

1) While Darko doesn't mention specific prices, it's truly the rare exception that $$$ doesn't beat $$ in audiophile world.  I do wish there was an acceptable way to review hifi gear without knowing or intuiting the price.

 

2) The PS Audio DS DAC / Memory Player comparison is valid, but IIRC the Memory Player isn't a traditional CD transport in that it copies the data from the disc, stores it it in memory and streams it (hence the name 👍).

 

And an aside, how does Darko end up with a $6k NIB PS Audio Memory Player (and DS DAC?) sitting in a closet untouched for two years?  Did he buy that and forget about it or does PS Audio ship reviewers gear on perpetual loan with no expectations of reviewing or returning it?

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14 minutes ago, mrvco said:

And an aside, how does Darko end up with a $6k NIB PS Audio Memory Player (and DS DAC?) sitting in a closet untouched for two years?  Did he buy that and forget about it or does PS Audio ship reviewers gear on perpetual loan with no expectations of reviewing or returning it?

That is a very relevant question, and speaks to the "rules" a reviewer may (or not) apply to his craft.  For transparencies sake, I believe a reviewer should stick to a set of "rules", which are published for all to see, which allows readers to interpret whether or not they tend to feel the reviewer might be influenced by the manufacturer in question.

I have long thought that the best reviewer would be one who does not rely on advertising revenue from the source of the review components-for example: perhaps a reviewer could use more general ads to generate a revenue stream: perhaps testosterone supplements, or incontinence supplies...


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO (ESS 9038) or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Nordost Frey XLR & speaker, DIY AC cables-Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

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4 hours ago, Summit said:

 

Matt, you are of course correct that not many are reviewing pure CD transports anymore. Terry London has had most of the best CD transports and his impression is intriguing. A few others that own CEC, and the design of the CDT2 Mk2, have peeked my curiosity. I was not really looking for a CD transport and it got my attention then I read up on the Kinki studio integrated amp, which I bought. The CDT2 Mk2 is big and I don’t know there to put it if I ever get the real itch to buy one.

 

HomeTheaterReview.com colleague Terry London had this to say: "Right out of the crate not even broken in yet, it's outperforming my CEC double belt transport in the reference system. It retains all the liquidity and analog smoothness of the belt transport but offers more detail, tighter bass and a larger layered soundstage with more air between the players." To put his enthusiasm into context, Terry then listed prior transports he had experience with - "CEC TL-1x, Mark Levinson N°31.5, Ensemble Dirondo, MBL 1621, CEC TL3N. For my tastes, the CEC TL3N surprisingly outperformed the much more expensive MBL1621. The CEC TL3N is still a great transport but the Jay's Audio CDT2 Mk2 outperforms it across the board, is built to a higher standard and costs less... I also heard the latest generation PS Audio DS transport and prefer what the Jay's does in my system with my DAC. I use the term liquidity to mean a lack of grain or dryness without becoming euphonic at the expense of punch/macrodynamics or detail. For my tastes, the Jay's Audio transport offers more of this than the PS Audio at the straight Redbook sampling rate." And Mike Powell of Alvin Chee's US-based service centre had this to say: "I've never ever seen a product like this. Esoteric's are the closest thing." From someone tasked to support Alvin's product catalogue in the colonies on a contractual basis, that's high praise. And for mechanical devices like turntables and CD transports, top build quality isn't about vanity but longevity.

 

Yes, thanks,  

I read the complete Terry London thread on Audiogon and I think he, Darko and Ebaen are right: CD gives better performance for the price than computer playback.

I am intrigued as well and maybe I will buy one. I have some music on CD which I do not get from streaming services and I am not interested in ripping CDs.

 

Matt

 

 

 

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If you want high SQ and an "elite aesthetic" just buy an Accuphase CDP.  And there are lots of used ones available too.

 

And don't forget:  OCD is a virtue for surgeons, fighter pilots and high end engineering...


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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1 hour ago, matthias said:

I am intrigued as well and maybe I will buy one.

 

I did. No regrets. My Moon HD260 transport beats my Aries g1 easily (they use the same dac).

 

You will be surprised how much life there is in those old fashioned obsolete silver discs 😎

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1 hour ago, matthias said:

 

Yes, thanks,  

I read the complete Terry London thread on Audiogon and I think he, Darko and Ebaen are right: CD gives better performance for the price than computer playback.

I am intrigued as well and maybe I will buy one. I have some music on CD which I do not get from streaming services and I am not interested in ripping CDs.

 

Matt

 

 

 

I would suggest that if streaming services are ones reference for computer based playback is very possible that one is not getting the best sound quality possible for comparison.  There is quite a lot of evidence which suggests that locally stored files outperform streams from the Internet (I never stream, so have not tested myself).


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO (ESS 9038) or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Nordost Frey XLR & speaker, DIY AC cables-Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                                                                  SONORE computer audio

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1 minute ago, WAM said:

 

I did. No regrets. My Moon HD260 transport beats my Aries g1 easily (they use the same dac).

 

You will be surprised how much life there is in those old fashioned obsolete silver discs 😎

Something is wrong with your set top if that is your result.


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO (ESS 9038) or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Nordost Frey XLR & speaker, DIY AC cables-Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                                                                  SONORE computer audio

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1 minute ago, barrows said:

Something is wrong with your set top if that is your result.

 

You have to accept that others make experiences which are as valid as yours.

 

Matt

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You have to accept that layout can have effects on SQ at high quality levels.

 

You have to accept that confirmation bias is very important.

 

The result you posted is surprising, so don't be surprised if people ask about the setup and testing regime.


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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46 minutes ago, matthias said:

 

You have to accept that others make experiences which are as valid as yours.

 

Matt

I certainly do, i did not question your experience.  Questioning your experience would be saying something like: 

"no, you did not hear that", or "no, you are wrong and must have something wrong with your hearing".  I made no such statement.  I suggested that something is likely wrong with your computer audio set up, which is not allowing it to reach its fullest performance potential.

Networked computer audio set ups are somewhat complex, and indeed there can be problems which need to be addressed to achieve the performance they are capable of.

 

As I mentioned previously here, given "perfect" implementation both a disc spinner and a computer based set up can achieve the best possible performance.  This opinion is based on both my experiences, and the technical realities and technical difficulties facing both methods of digital audio sources.


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO (ESS 9038) or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Nordost Frey XLR & speaker, DIY AC cables-Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                                                                  SONORE computer audio

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27 minutes ago, barrows said:

Something is wrong with your set top if that is your result.

 

Perhaps, would like to know what (cables and power supplies are the same quality). Nothing wrong with my "confirmation bias" though . No prejudices, just looking for good sound.

 

Do not get me wrong. I am not saying a streaming set up cannot sound fab. Now browsing my library (i.e. ripped discs, do not use the Tidals of this world) with Audirvana 3.5, it's very good (the chain: Back Noise, BOTW, MF dac, MF headphone amp/Feliks headphone amp, too many headphones...).

 

IMHO streaming is getting better and better (the last firmware on my Melco gave me a "wow"). The latest Audirvana software is also a step forward. 

 

I am not interested in " what medium is better". Vinyl, cd, streaming, just different ways to enjoy music. Do not make it a contest, each medium has it's pro's and con's, keep an open mind and enjoy the music. That what it's all about.

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4 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

If you want high SQ and an "elite aesthetic" just buy an Accuphase CDP.  And there are lots of used ones available too.

 

Did you arrive at this conclusion after your favourite extensive DBT and with which other makes / models? Oh, 'elite aesthetic' looks very subjective, coming from you, that's new, is there a turnaround? 


AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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About using a separate CD transport.... well, all else held equal, SPIDF is a pretty big sonic compromise. In DIY circles, the SPDIF interface is heavily criticized and rightly so. Even the major high-end print rags began to rally against it starting in the late 90s. 

Naim (and to an extend, Meridian and Krell), recognized SPDIF drawbacks, and offered superior all-in-one CD players. Naim, went a bit further by offering a separate pwr supply (box) upgrade. 

 

Most of the "mainstream" rags and blogs (like Darko, TAS, Stereophile, 6moons, etc), avoid yestergear because that's not where the $$ is. And then companies like Hegel sneak in the back door to capitalize on a new-again market. 

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10 hours ago, analogue said:

the major high-end print rags

 

I was going thru paper editions of mid-1990s Stereophile. The mag may have been in its Golden Years then. A few issues were 350-400 pages thick. Going thru a few of those issue (just before Michael Fremer came in), I saw literally no review or even a picture of a turntable!

A few ads from Audio Advisor or Acoustic Sound had some accessories and LPs -- that's it!!

 

But what led to that "disappearance act"? Was CD playback, then, that good? Was it that "trending" thang? Was it market forces? Etc. etc.

 

BTW, if you've got print editions of Stereophile's from the 90s, pull 'em out and have a look. It's akin to holding physical media (CD or LP) in that you have to touch/see/smell to appreciate the "gravity" of the issue ;) 

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On 4/13/2019 at 9:13 PM, matthias said:

 

Yes, thanks,  

I read the complete Terry London thread on Audiogon and I think he, Darko and Ebaen are right: CD gives better performance for the price than computer playback.

I am intrigued as well and maybe I will buy one. I have some music on CD which I do not get from streaming services and I am not interested in ripping CDs.

 

Matt

 

 

 

 

Jay's Audio DAC with selectable NOS or oversampling and HDMI i2s input looks neat and will probably mate well with Jay's Audio CDT2-MkII CD transport.

 

https://6moons.com/audioreview_articles/jaysaudio2/

https://www.jays-audio.com/product-page/jay-s-audio-signature-dac-2

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32 minutes ago, Summit said:

 

Jay's Audio DAC with selectable NOS or oversampling and HDMI i2s input looks neat and will probably mate well with Jay's Audio CDT2-MkII CD transport.

 

https://6moons.com/audioreview_articles/jaysaudio2/

https://www.jays-audio.com/product-page/jay-s-audio-signature-dac-2

 

Thanks, interesting comparison to Terminator.

 

At the moment I would like to try Jays Audio CDT2 with a Khadas Tone Board before spending more money on a DAC.

 

Matt

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