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All day shoot out, listening test of various server configurations, all with hi-rez 24/96 files.


jhbpa

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Using the Grace 902 balanced as the processor, I performed listening tests as follows:

 

1. Itunes on MacBook Pro, 24/96 output via Toslink to Grace 902.

 

2. Media Monkey on Windows quadcore, output 24/96 via Lynx 22 AES to Grace 902.

 

3. Media Monkey on Windows quadcore, DAC done on Lynx 22, Lynx 22 balanced analog outputs to Grace 902 balanced inputs.

 

4. Wavelab 6.0 on Windows quadcore output 24/96 via Lynx 22 AES to Grace 902.

 

5. Wavelab 6.0 on Windows quadcore 24/96 DAC done on Lynx 22, Lynx 22 balanced analog outputs to Grace 902 balanced inputs

 

Grace 902 balanced to Dynaudio BM6 active monitors, original versions with dual Mosfet amps.

 

Also performed same same tests using Grace 902 as headphone amp with Sennheiser 650's

 

Cardas Neutral Reference balanced interconnects from Grace to Dynaudio's.

 

Cardas headphone cables.

 

All files were 24/96, as verifiable by Grace 902 display and Wavelab.

 

Three people participated with unanimous results.

 

4 and 5 were very close (matter of taste) and significantly more than subtly superior to all others.

 

2 and 3 were very close (matter of taste) and subtly superior to 1.

 

So what's curious is how much difference using Wavelab software for play back made??????

 

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I can't believe that the mini adaptor plus toslink doesn't affect the sound quality vs. the other solutions. Wonder what the results would have been if you went USB into the Grace?

Tom

 

Tidal Audio Agoria Loudspeakers; VAC Master preamp; Merrill Audio Christine preamp, Merrill Audio Jens & VAC Renaissance Phono Preamps;   Bricasti M28 & Merrill Audio Element 118 Monoblock Amplifiers; Sonore Signature RenduSE Optical network player; Bricasti M12 Source Controller/ DAC; Spiral Groove SG-2 TT with Centroid Arm & Transfiguration Proteus Diamond Cartridge; Ampex ATR-102 Reel-Reel with Merrill Audio Master tape head preamplifier; Ansuz signal and power cabling and power distribution; Symposium Isis racks 

INDUSTRY AFFILIATION: Dealer- XtremeFidelity.net (VAC,  Bricasti, Merrill Audio,  Sonore, Ansuz, Synergistic Research & others)

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Actually, the USB was inferior to the Toslink, but this is due to the fact that it is the weakest link on the Grace.

 

Additionally, the USB input on the Grace is limited to 16/44

 

I'd be curious if you all are aware if there any high quality Toslink cables with mini jack available. I could only find an inexpensive one from Newegg.com

 

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Van Den Hul makes a good one, so I've read. I haven't tried it personally. You can find it in here:

 

http://www.eugenehifi.com/VanDenHul/htm/van_den_Hul_Digital_and_AV_Cables.htm

 

Tom

 

Tidal Audio Agoria Loudspeakers; VAC Master preamp; Merrill Audio Christine preamp, Merrill Audio Jens & VAC Renaissance Phono Preamps;   Bricasti M28 & Merrill Audio Element 118 Monoblock Amplifiers; Sonore Signature RenduSE Optical network player; Bricasti M12 Source Controller/ DAC; Spiral Groove SG-2 TT with Centroid Arm & Transfiguration Proteus Diamond Cartridge; Ampex ATR-102 Reel-Reel with Merrill Audio Master tape head preamplifier; Ansuz signal and power cabling and power distribution; Symposium Isis racks 

INDUSTRY AFFILIATION: Dealer- XtremeFidelity.net (VAC,  Bricasti, Merrill Audio,  Sonore, Ansuz, Synergistic Research & others)

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"Actually, the USB was inferior to the Toslink, but this is due to the fact that it is the weakest link on the Grace.

 

Additionally, the USB input on the Grace is limited to 16/44"

 

This is not surprising. The use of the TI PCM270X has give USB audio a bad name. It's unfortunate, but this chip is really easy and cheap to design-in, so many manufacturers just put it in so they can have a checkmark next to "USB interface". It's just not appropriate for high-quality audio. It was designed for cheap portable players etc..

 

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

 

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Don't look further for reasons. Wavelab is known to produce the best sound.

Also, you didn't use it by accident I assume ? (since it's not even a player as such).

 

Peter

 

Lush^3-e      Lush^2      Blaxius^2      Ethernet^2     HDMI^2     XLR^2

XXHighEnd (developer)

Phasure NOS1 24/768 Async USB DAC (manufacturer)

Phasure Mach III Audio PC with Linear PSU (manufacturer)

Orelino & Orelo MKII Speakers (designer/supplier)

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Peter:

 

My hard drive music experiment started five years ago when I wanted to catalog about 2,000 LPS at hi rez and I started then with an early version of Wavelab:

 

I have employed all of the following methods:

 

(All use Basis 2800 vacuum turntable, Graham 2.2 tone arm, Koetsu Urishi cartridge)

 

1. TT direct to Wavelab via Lynx soundcards, first One, then 2.2

2. TT to Ayre K1x with phono stage to Lynx

3. TT to Ayre PH3 phono stage to Lynx

4. TT to Ayre PH3 phono stage to Korg MR 1000, further processing done in Wavelab

5. TT to Ayre PH3 phono stage to BAT 52SE balanced in, balanced tape out to Korg MR 1000, further processing done in Wavelab

 

All of the above methods have produced superior fidelity to Red Book CD's and my CD players during this period have either been an Ayre D1xe or an Ayre C5xe.

 

Much to my surprise, I have concluded that # 5 produces to my ears the best of the bunch with # 4 being a close second. The Korg MR 1000 is one of the best values in audio, rivaling the Grace 902, especially if you are also a musician.

 

I have done extensive comparison between 24/96 and 24/192 and have used Wavelab to create 24/192 DVD-A

physical media which the Ayre C5xe will play. My conclusions are that 24/96 is the point of diminishing returns (with the exception of REALLY FINE pieces of vinyl) and that the files played back directly from the hard drive are superior to physical media played in the C5xe regardless or resolution.

 

My next quest is to find a playback program for the Mac that is as good as Wavelab or to find a Windows Notebook with a reliable digital out (USB is unacceptable for hi rez) or build a Quiet PC for a server. Any ideas????

 

I'm also wondering if anyone has tried the the DVico Tvix 6500A and knows whether or not its digital out will output a hi rez signal.

 

Great site, really enjoying it.

 

John

 

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Hi John - Thanks for the detailed post. It really helps put your comments and questions into perspective.

 

"My next quest is to find a playback program for the Mac that is as good as Wavelab or to find a Windows Notebook with a reliable digital out (USB is unacceptable for hi rez) or build a Quiet PC for a server. Any ideas????"

 

The perfect solution for you may be the new application from Sonic Studio called Amarra. http://www.computeraudiophile.com/sonic_studio_unveils_amarra

 

I'll have a pre-release version in here very soon. I listened to it at RMAF and loved it. Some people I respect very much have echoed my thoughts about Amarra as well.

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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Excellent cable (as are most cobra cables) substantial and flexible. Took some time to find as many suppliers don't carry it. had to persuade my supplier to look it up... costs about £40 in UK but sounds great. MBP to Cyrus X > Pre X.

 

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Here you go

 

I'm using the Mac OS X server described on the page.

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/audiophile_reference_music_servers_osx_windows

 

Then I configured the operating systems as described in this article

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/mac_pro_quad_boot_reference_music_server_xp_vista_osx_linux

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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I just read the thread he provided a post or two prior, installed MediaMonkey output plugin called waveOut (out_wave.dll).

 

It really works! Gets Media Monkey pretty close to Wavelab, close enough for my PC system and it's certainly a more convenient interface.

 

Great tip.

 

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jhbpa,

 

I'm being very very thick ... but is Wavelab geared towards any kind of usability ? Ie; can it manage libraries of music or is it really pro use only ?

 

Sorry - I know little about it ...

 

 

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Hmmmm ...

 

read this and though I'd try the Wavelab 5 demo.

 

Have to say, it's impressive. After only a few tracks I'm impressed.

 

Or maybe it's because I'm listening at midnight.

 

 

M.

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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On the surface, it doesn't appear to be designed as a media library manager in any way.

 

As stated previously, my original purpose with it was to catalog vinyl at 24/96 or 24/192.

 

In that regard, if you use the Montage tools, you can make your LP's accessible like CD's.

 

If you just want to rip CD's uncompressed, FLAC, or AIFF, it's a terrible tool for library management, but it sounds better than anything else I've tried for hi rez play back....until I got Chris tip for the wave out plugin for Media Monkey.

 

Install it simply by copying into the Media Monkey Plugins folder, then go to Tools/Options/Output Plugins and direct the output to your sound card and turn off the volume control enable button. My guess is this won't be very productive unless you are using a high end sound card such as a Lynx Studio product.

 

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I'm outputting to some ADM9.1s and it sounds good.

 

To be honest I'm very happy right now, but I no that outputting straight to my ADM9.1's from the cheap sound card in my PC can probably be bettered by using a decent card or external firewire DAC.

 

But my God it sounds great right now ... listening late makes a huge difference ...

 

 

HTPC: AMD Athlon 4850e, 4GB, Vista, BD/HD-DVD into -> ADM9.1

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Hey BEEMB - I often find listening late myself is very rewarding. Somehow I like it better when I know I should be sleeping :-)

 

On a more audiophile-esque note, I have heard people say our hearing gets better late at night. Something carried over from the caveman days, or maybe just a quieter atmosphere. Who knows :-)

 

Founder of Audiophile Style

UPDATED: My Audio Systems -> https://audiophile.style/system

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