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Everything posted by gmgraves

  1. New Performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony From Reference Recordings By George Graves Everybody knows or knows of Beethoven’s last and arguably greatest symphony: The Symphony #9 in D minor, Opus 125. It’s stirring last movement, the “Ode to Joy” is probably one of the worlds best known melodies. Only the “dot-dot-dot-dah” from the opening of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is better known and that is a hold-over from WWII because it’s actually Morse code for the letter “V” for victory over the Nazis by the Allies (something I always found somewhat ironic given that Beethoven was
  2. No problem. I just wish I could use the coax or optical connection for I2S. It would allow me to eliminate an HDMI switch and connect the I2S through another interconnect. Oh,well, live and learn. Many thanks for your input.
  3. After your last post, I tried both optical and coax connections from the I2S “box“. I could get my Pontus to recognize neither one of them. It simply did not work. I’m beginning to wonder if there aren’t differences between these boxes bought through different vendors (???!!!).
  4. I wouldn’t think so. The only place the DSD signal exists out of any Blu-ray player that supports SACD is over HDMI. The DSD data does not, AFAIK, appear on the “digital out” of any player as it’s not allowed by the SACD protocol specification. The HDMI output of any player have the audio stripped from the HDMI connector and output as a I2S signal before the Pontus sees it as DSD.
  5. Good to know. I didn’t try it because from what I gathered from an Internet article I read, it wasn’t supposed to work. BTW, did you notice any difference between the performance of optical vs coax? This clears up a connection dilemma that I have now that I’ve employed the new Denafrips Hermes DTD box into the system (it wants HDMI too!). Thanks for the clarification and the correction. Much appreciated!
  6. It does . It outputs from I2S from SPDIF, both optical (Toslink) and coaxial, and it outputs also from HDMI and pure I2S over what seems to be a Molex-type I2S connector. Since my understanding is that the Denafrips Pontus only accepts I2S over HDMI, I am unable to test the efficacy of I2S over the SPDIF interconnects.
  7. As I wrote the above, it occurred to me that maybe, just because all of these I2S boxes LOOK the same, doesn’t necessarily mean that they ARE the same. Did I merely luck-out? Still, one should be able to find the proper pin-out by following the instructions provided by Denifrips in the You-tube video.
  8. The Chinese I2S box and the Pontus were on the same I2S interface, IE, the default interface, and no adjustment of the Pontus I2S connection should be necessary. As far as I can make out, the player used as the SACD transport has nothing to do with the I2S/Pontus interface. If your player isn’t working, I suggest you try another. I’ve yet to find blu-ray player which will support SACD that doesn’t work with this set-up.
  9. Sorry to hear that you feel that way, but I can’t please everybody and don’t even pretend to try. OTOH, I’m glad that I was instrumental in saving you from making a big mistake and buying into an expensive, horrible pair of headphones. Believe me, this side of a pair of Stax SR-009s your HE1000SEs are about as good as dynamic phones get. So, my advice would be to put your money in something else - maybe lots of new music!
  10. Having, in another life, worked for Omron, Fujitsu, Oki Semiconductor, and Otari, I have been to Japan and spent more time there than I care to recall, so I can definitely relate to your observations about Japanese mastering and production practices when it comes to music (in the ‘80’s, I bought scores of Japanese video laserdiscs. Always found them to be better than the domestically available versions). I have lots of both 20-bit and 24-bit JVC XRCD titles (many jazz titles from labels such as Riverside and other small jazz labels from the ‘50’s and ‘60’s as well as classics from the RCA and
  11. Amen to that, brother. I have always maintained that the care taken in production is, with all else being equal, more important than format; high-rez or not. Case in point: I have two copies of Prokofiev’s “Lt. Kiji Suite” with Fritz Reiner and the Chicago symphony, recorded in the mid-1950’s by RCA Victor. One is a Redbook “XRCD” from JVC, while the other is a BMG release of the same material on hybrid SACD (part of BMG’s “Living Stereo” SACD series that they released in the mid-2000s). The XRCD sounds so much better than either the Redbook layer or the SACD layer of the BMG release that it’
  12. Glad it worked for you. This setup seems pretty bullet-proof. I would like to try this with a lot of different Blu-ray/SACD players, but that’s fairly impractical. I tried it with three, two Sony’s; one that I had on-hand and a friend’s as well as my Oppo 205, and a buddy’s Oppo 105. Somewhat disturbingly, all the players sounded different streaming SACD to the Pontus through the I2S box, with the transport in the Oppo UDP-205 sounding far superior to the Oppo 105 or either of the two Sony units I tried. While all sounded better than the Oppo 205 operating in the stand-alone mode (playing SACD
  13. Those settings on the Oppo UDP- 205 are irrelevant at least as far as the Denefrips Pontus are concerned as the HDMI input port is I2S only. The default for the audio output settings on the Oppo is “Automatic”, so, when playing an SACD, the player selects the proper options for the Audio-Out only HDMI port (or at least that’s how it seems. I’m really no expert on the Oppo beyond what info is available in the unit’s manual). Some DACS might take the HDMI SACD output DIRECTLY. I know that the DACs in some A/V receivers will do this, but *I* know of no stand-alone DACs that do this (this doesn
  14. Guess I should have said that plastic was “generally” more fragile than metal. Certainly, the fact that the Stax SR-L300 phones are entirely made of plastic has not hampered my enjoyment of them one iota, and I suspect that the plastics chosen by Stax are of a type that will last if some modicum of care is used. Of course if you have male rug-rats about, all bets are off. Your average 2-4 year old boy could destroy these in a matter of seconds given access to them!😉
  15. I didn’t say that plastic was negative, but I did say that it is more fragile, mechanically, than is, say, aluminum or steel.
  16. Stax SRS-3100 Electrostatic Headphone System By George Graves Stax SRS-3100 Electrostatic Headphone System By George Graves Electrostatic headphones systems are generally very pricy. It’s just a fact of life. One can pay many thousands of dollars for just the 'phones alone, and whether one buys a budget pair, such as the excellent Stax SR-L300 (see my earlier review of February 21, 2020) which list for four-hundred and thirty US dollars or the flagship SR-009S which sell for a healthy $4500, it’s only half the system. One still has to posses a suitable amplifier/energizer for
  17. I made the battery supply. No regulators on my home-made supply. The car starting “brick” that I used in my review of the Qutest, of course, did use a regulator (as it was 12 volt). That’s why, later, I built a high current battery supply. And I compared them using the line outputs of the Hugo2. Hope that clears some things up.
  18. Good Question. Of course the USB “wall-wart” that comes with the Qutest is less than ideal. But I have a very large battery USB supply which is extremely quiet, and can source about 5 Amperes. Using that to power the Qutest improves it immensely. But it still doesn’t sound like the Hugo2, nor does it sound as good. Neither does my bench supply make it sound like, nor as good as the Hugo2. It just doesn’t, and I don’t know why.
  19. I have extensively compared (along with some of my audio buddies) the Pontus with not only the Hugo2 but with the Benchmark DAC3, and the latest Schiit Yggdrasil. Sound wise, the Denafrips Pontus trounces all of them soundly and embarrassingly! BTW, the Cutest is supposed to be exactly the same DAC section as in the Hugo2, and they should sound the same. They do not. Not even close! The Hugo2 sounds much better than the Cutest.
  20. We’ve discussed this. Yes, I compared the Oppo 105 and 205 against several cheap Sony Blu-ray players with SACD playback. The Sonys aren’tverygood.
  21. You just asked the $64,000 question! The answer is anything but simple. I have regular CDs that sound infinitely better than SACDs of the exact, same material, and I also have SACDs of older analog masters that make them sound like the best modern digital masters. It seems that how carefully a release is produced is just as important, or possibly even more important than the format. Same is true with LP vs CD! But, given the best source material, the Pontus makes the best SACDs show the original promise of the format, and show that CDs can sound much better than they rightly shou
  22. First of all, your player does not need to have a dedicated audio-only HDMI output connector to output DSD over HDMI but the Blu-ray player itself must support playback of SACD to either rip or play (through an outboard DAC) an SACD disc. My experience is that those “cheap” Sony Blu-ray/SACD players don’t make very good sounding rips (stands to reason, they don’t sound very good as transports to play SACDs through outboard DACs via I2S, so why would a rip from these players sound any better?).
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