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JJinPDX

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  1. Bluesman, I'm not quite sure how to break up your response using this interface for specific replies (thank you, btw, for the time and effort you put into the response!), so I'll just cut and paste. Yes, I do know about price elasticity, etc. And I do realize that we are benefiting from wonderful technical developments, as well as price benefits. That really wasn't what I was addressing, but the point is well taken. Yes I have. Works okay, but the condo is basically a Faraday cage, so I've had to stand on my head to get the data from the office to the Sonos such that the buffer is full. Sometimes it's iffy. But that's another topic..... Exactly. The other is to get a Sonos Connect and use my system in conjunction with all the other Sonos speakers when we just want background music. Isolate my system when I want to zone out on Mahler. Ahh, the hobby kicks in! Yes, the Zuma is a C.A.P.S. build. I've seriously thought of moving it to my hangar and getting something like a NUC with Roon on it. What I want is something that, if the power goes down it boots up by itself and all is fine. No more logging in to Win10. It just works. Perhaps the microRendu or ultraRendu is the answer. All the other suggestions are great. I've tried several DACs, from Schitt, Ifi, D100 from McIntosh and others. The Bryston works fine and is rock solid. I use it to switch inputs rather than the MA6600. But the point you're making about very good DACs for less than a 10th of the price is well taken. It's amazing how good the new DACs are for the price point. I brought up my Sonos "issue" only to raise a point about SQ differences that I've noticed relative to price points. It is possible that today's electronics can easily compete with the standard AB amps out there that are far more expensive. And as someone else said, speakers are very important, and with many you don't need massive power to gain the dynamics that are possible. I do agree that there's a whole new audio world out there that matches traditional audiophile SQ at a fraction of the cost, and I applaud the progression. Thanks for everyone's input. Keep the music coming! John J
  2. Geoffrey, another local audiophile friend of mine who's system is worth north of six figures laments the fact that it's too complicated for his wife. If everything is working, then she can get to her music, but horrors if something were to have a hiccup. Pride of ownership and SQ are what's important to him, not really ease of use or slick UI. For this thread I hope that it's not just cost that is considered; it's also ease of use. I've been trying for several years now to figure out how to make mine idiot proof. Maybe I'm the idiot. John J
  3. Ednaz, I couldn't agree more. Many of my friends who could afford anything audiophile love their Sonos. I am interested in the Connect. I see that W4S has a Connect they modified. I'm going to check out what they've done. I'd like to be able to play all my hi-rez music and not have to dumb them down. John J
  4. Firedog, we are in a condo where there is absolutely no room that lends itself to a dedicated listening space, as there was in my former house. My system is below the TV and is used for TV sound in a room which is open to the kitchen, which is open to the dinning space, which is open to the piano/living room. Beautiful condo, but not great for a dedicated music room. This was my first struggle. I've even lost my listening chair to a couch, but that's okay. We have a Sonos of some type in every room except the kitchen. There are speakers in the master bedroom, master bath, guest bedroom/office, living room, TV room. As background music, I believe the Sonos is just fine. The UI is easy. The streaming selections are fine. Nothing wrong with it. I just think the SQ of my system is more to my taste. She actually prefers my system too. She just isn't the type of person to sit and listen, and thus the value, both of the music and the hobby is not there for her. As I suspect it isn't for many many others either. This is what is so appealing to many about Sonos, really. Plug it in. Download the app. Sign up for a streaming service. Done! Easy to use. Good enough. Music everywhere. And that's what I like about it. Let us get good music to more people for less money. That's why I like this thread. John J
  5. Okay, I've got to chime in. I don't normally post on this forum, but the topic is timely for my current angst. I love this hobby; I love music (mostly classical, jazz, some pop, some world, even some rock); I've soldered and built my own systems starting in high school, etc. I've carefully auditioned probably hundreds of combinations of gear; and I've finally settled on a NOS MA6600 integrated from McIntosh, Dynaudio Focus 140's, Bryston BDA-2 DAC, Zuma running Win10, clocking handled by a W4S Recovery, cables by known vendors (but always used), music ripped to FLAC or downloaded in a minimum of 24/96 and stored on a Synology NAS. So, you know, typical mid-fi and not bad, not totally over the top from a price perspective. However, I very much enjoy listening to Mahler on it when the mood happens, or some good jazz vocals. Or a violin concerto. Sweet. I also get a big kick out of when people come over for a party and sit in front of the system that more than one jaw has landed on the floor, mainly because most folks haven't heard audiophile quality playback. Lately though I have run into a problem, which I think is relevant to the current thread. I'm now living with the woman of my dreams who happens to love her Sonos. I have been trying very very hard to like the Sonos as well. Happy lady, happy guy. I've even purchased more Play 1's to place on the deck, etc. I've even voiced out loud that maybe I should sell my gear and buy another Play 5 for the main listening room, make a stereo pair and be done with it. (We have a Sonos Playbar + sub, 2 Play 1's, 2 Play 3's and a reconditioned Play 5, all in various rooms). So, last night I set up the two Play 3's in stereo mode and put on Mahler's 2nd. No comparison. My system easily won the "contest." So, I put the Play 5 into the fray, and even though it wasn't in stereo, it too could not handle the Mahler, although it didn't do badly with Mark Knopfler's Marbletown. But the violins and guitars even for that hurt my ears compared to my system. You could have the two Play 5's and the sub for, what, $1,700 retail? That would make a very decent system and it would be 40% less than my amp alone, let alone everything else. Heck, you could get a very good Sonos system using the Play 1's for $238 (reconditioned from Sonos) and the sub for $938, and that would be a good system for many people. One couple I know who could afford anything audiophile put in such a system and loves it. It doesn't sound at all bad, really. I've been trying to decide if should sell my system and go with the Sonos and just be happy. However, when auditioned side by side, it would be incredibly difficult for me to do so. A cello on my system sounds to me like a cello played in my living room. There's a sense of air around the instrument, and sense of vibrancy to the strings, a sense of depth to the notes, a stage presence that just isn't there with the Sonos. Am I trying to make my system better just because I've got dollars invested and years of mixing and matching? I don't think so. It's certainly a sound I love, and others might love the sound of Sonos, but I do think that there is a qualitative difference as you get into these more expensive brands and combinations. So, I'm not going to give up my system (I might have to buy a Sonos Connect so we can integrate mine into the whole house thing....). Having said all this, I do agree that you can get 90% of the way there spending 15% of the dollars. Equipment just keeps getting better and better, and what we need to push for is to get more and more folks involved in high quality music, both recorded and live! To me that's the goal, and I absolutely love this current thread, but I also love the hobby and the forever search for satisfying reproduction. Cost is critical, but sound is more so, in my opinion. John J
  6. Please forgive, perhaps I should send a side note so this does not get off topic, but I have a chance to buy a pair of the Dynaudio Confidence 20's for a not bad price. It's just that I've never heard them before. Can you elaborate just a bit more on what impressed you, then we can drop this side bar. Thanks! John J
  7. Well, nah, I don't like the change. I used to belong to a online stereo group that was all about high end, from stereos to watches to cars, on and on. I got quite sick of the whole "style" thing, even though there was great input on music and gear by a few core folks. From a biz perspective, yes, good to move off of what at first seems a narrow "geek" perspective, but I hope you and others here stay true to the essentials, namely pushing the envelop and helping everyone find enjoyable listening at all levels of income and taste. Having said that, I recognize that going from a blog to a full business is tough, and I applaud what is happening. All the best to everyone! JJinPDX
  8. Chris: I have opened a "store" and listed a product. Not sure I did it all correctly, but I'll have a go and see what happens. I'm not sure if I have "all access." I know I'm a contributor. John J
  9. Nice write-up, Chris. Denmark is my heritage and is on my list of travels this year, so was very interested in your mention of the country and people. I have a pair of their Focus 140’s and have had an incredibly hard time trying to upgrade them, they are such sweet, competent speakers. Again, nice job.
  10. My current setup uses a McIntosh MA6600 with a Bryston DAC. I had a D100, which a McIntosh devotee bought off me because I could not get past the edginess of its sound. However, in his system (MC501's with Aerial 8's), it sounds just right. Go figure. Anyway, I can very much imagine a combo of the D1100 with a MC452. That might do quite nicely, should you want to stay within brand. Chris, nice review! Played each track you played as I read through the article. Made it all the more informative. Looking forward to part 2! John
  11. For some reason mine has become unstable. I found a K.D. Lang/Tony Bennett album on Tidal that I wanted to hear through Roon. Queued it up. By midway through the 2nd track it just stopped. Then it loaded the 3rd track. Did the same thing. Never has happened before. JJ
  12. Yes, as soon as I wrote the first question about "need" I knew what was going to come from you or someone else. And what you wrote makes perfect sense to me, too. Clearly what we do "need" is continuing innovation, be that on the recording end or reproduction end and anywhere in-between. I agree. My question was more about what is it about MQA that beats what we now have. I know I'll have to listen to determine what that would be. However, like another poster pointed out, why go down a proprietary path when we have non-proprietary HD sources and reproductive capabilities. If the SQ isn't noticeably better, then why might I need this. There is a cost, whether it is built in to the actual dollars I spend, or the inconvenience of dealing with yet another format. A local audiophile and I go back and forth on what constitutes "better." We both like the McIntosh sound, but his gear is worth 4x mine. Does he get "better" sound? Or is it just different. He added a WireWorld USB cable the other day and liked the difference it made. It didn't bring the BSO into his listening room, but it did change the character of the sound just enough to make him glad he purchased the cable. I was fortunate once to have a world class cello player give a master class in my living room back when I was living in Lexington, MA. To hear him play in that room was a revelation. I have also had the rare privilege of hearing my son play his oboe in that same room and afterwards everyone sitting there sat in total silence taking in the last note as it tailed away. They sat for a very "long" time, totally moved by what that young man and that piece of wood was able to produce. I have never, ever been able to reproduce the music that I heard in those two instances through my system. Perhaps if I spent 4 times more money as my friend, I might get closer. My point, of course, is that given the amazing equipment we have, we can continue to strive to get to those magical live or studio performances we so ache to hear at a drop of a needle or the push of a button. So, yes, innovate! But if the MQA process does not get me closer than what is currently available, then again, what is the consumer need? I hope it isn't that they give me simply different. I hope they are able to make my little system come significantly closer to those moments of magic. This proprietary point bothers me, too, and the reason I asked the opportunity cost question. I think instead of worrying about it anymore today, I'm going to go buy some music. Maybe a little fraction of my dollars will reach the artist. JJ
  13. I've obviously have more reading to do (seems eternally to be the case), and I must admit I haven't read all the posts and articles on MQA, however, so I can avoid being a total idiot, and at the expense of having my head handed to me here, a question or three.... 1. We have amazing reproduction of music via HD formats, even good old Redbook. There's all sorts of ways currently to bring Beethoven's 9th into your home, most of which continue to astound me, even on my modest system. So, why do we (I) need MQA? What is the primary need? 2. Given some level of need, what is the opportunity cost? I mean, what do I give up if I go down this path? There has to be a cost. 3. Finally, how does MQA benefit the source of the music, the composer, the artist. There's nothing that says it has to, of course, but I'm trying my best to make sure the dollars go to the artisans. Hard to do since recorded music began all those years ago, but does this new pipeline make things even worse or better or same? I know; I know. Go read some more. BUT, if this new means of getting music doesn't provide the end user with a benefit, either in terms of price, simplicity, or approaching the ever unobtainable realism of having the BSO in my living room, then help me please understand if this isn't anything more than a flea flicker moment, to mix all metaphors. Please forgive in advance, and thanks. Sent from my iPad using Computer Audiophile
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