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MikePM

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  1. Great article. My question is the overall merit of doing PoE. I can get a PoE switch that injects power into the system relatively cheaply, but does it also add noise generally or otherwise degrade other parts of the system. If its one device, maybe just adding power to the R Pi would be better?
  2. These may be way below your price point, but the ASR review of the new AK 4493 based Topping E30 for $129 was quite positive in the signal/noise tests, as well as the new SMSL Sanskirt 10th MKII also using the AK 4493 DAC chip (as long as you use the USB input). If you want to spend a little more, buy a linear 5v power supply for the unit and clean it up just a little more. My understanding is that the AKM chips convert DSD natively while the ESS chips effectively convert the signal to PCM. I have no DSD files, so it is not something I pay a lot of attention to and may be wrong. I am currently lusting after the Topping D90 using the latest and greatest AKM AK4499 chip., once the MQA version is out. (There have been some subjective youtube reviews of the D90 - very positive.) I have said this before, but I think the Chinese audio designers are starting to come into their own and building good products and topping and Soncoz are among them..
  3. Thanks for your reply. I keep coming back because you still do things like the reviews of the various remasters of classic CD's and occasionally describe how to set up software. As to reviews, I really appreciated the recent Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro DAC review since this is an example of a product that tested extremely well. I think with reviews we are saying the same thing. My point is that good and bad tests are evidence of how it might sound and it is important to consider that when doing the critical subjective listening. I also believe that tests should indeed cause you to be more critical if you have to overcome bad measurements. As an aside, I would note that while mediocre measuring equipment probably can sound good, truly bad tests are hard to dismiss. I don't understand your point about "subjective qualities may not translate to anyone but the writer." Isn't that the basic reason for the merits of some objective analysis? All subjective tests are the opinions of, we hope, trained listeners to help us buy equipment in an environment where listening opportunities are limited. My thought is lets take like measuring equipment and try to describe the subtle differences that can be heard, or not.
  4. Then why relegate the tech oriented crowd to a sub-category? They have an opinion that is often useful. As I noted above, I have been coming to this site less and less since it shifted focus to reviewing rather than helping work with and adjust computer software and hardware for audio use. There are lots of review sites, but unfortunately, few for computer audio. As to the general tenor of arguments, I find the tone here to be about equal to ASR, with a recent shift here towards ad hominem comments against anyone that suggests objective testing has merit. It is a hobby and good measurements should justify a listen, i.e., a subjective review. If it measures bad, however, I think some real explaining is in order. As a lawyer I would say that if it tests well, then the presumption is that it likely sounds good, but if it tests bad, the piece should be strictly scrutinized. To that end, how about doing subjective comparisons between gear that measures well, regardless of price, so we can ferret out just what those subtle differences are.
  5. "cesspool"? Apparently you don't read the same content I do. However, it is this kind of generalization that really makes it difficult to have a discussion. I recently built a hypex nc400 amp based on the measurements and reviews at ASR and love it. Paired with my Schiit Freya + it sounds much better that what I have owned before. I hesitated, however, to go with the hypex due to the harsh anti-class D subjective comments on this forum. Encouraged by the objective measurements, and actually listening to it, I am thrilled. From my subjective point of view, the hypex with the Freya in tube mode is the best I have heard--even if it is likely that tubes add some distortion. And it is fast, musical, has air and all of those things. p.s., But bad measurements probably do translate into bad sound.
  6. I will quietly put in my 2 cents. I have been a fan of Chris' site since I first learned of it. I eventually signed up in early 2013 but rarely commented since my computer skills are fairly limited as compared to most who posted at that time. CC and this site have drifted from its original mission and I think this move is an abandonment of the techies who started out with CC when he was evaluating computer hardware for audio use. Whether this was due to computers becoming a mature audio platform, or CC losing interest in tweeking computers, software, and networking gear, I can't say. However, shortly before the name change to Audiophile Style it was apparent that the subject matter had drifted from computer audio to Stereophile like reviews of digital gear that was too expensive for much of his techie audience. Similarly, discussion of software has mostly disappeared since the advent of ROON. Moving the "objectivists," which are probably many of the geeks that started with Computer Audiophile, to the corner completes the transformation. I have started coming to this site less and less since there are already dozens of websites that review high end gear. I remember the old saying by Upton Sinclair that "it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it." CC wants to review high end gear, objective testing be dammed, so he is kicking the tech guys to the side. I read ASR and find Amir's numbers to be very useful, as well as the fact that he tests gear by Chinese manufacturers, and I also read subjective reviews for gear in a price range I am willing to pay. My position on objective tests is simple, if it tests bad then it probably has a problem that is audible. If it tests well, then there are probably subtle differences that a subjective review is worth hearing about. And to this end, I would really like to see some comparisons of gear that tests well, even if the price varies substantially. Before anyone comments regarding China, many Chinese products use well designed chips without infringing any patents, and this is where you find many of the young engineers and audiophiles in this graying hobby.
  7. Great review. I use the node 2 with the SPDIF out to the DAC and find it easy to use and can access my NAS, Tidal and Deezer apps very easily. The one thing that was unclear in your review, especially to a non-roon user, was what exactly does roon add or what is the BlueOS missing compared to roon? Also, did you try the Alexa voice control integration? I find it a little finicky to use.
  8. I just read the review of the Topping D90 at Audio Science Review, and it measured better than all but one or two of the 200 some DACs that have been tested. The SMSL M500 using the XLR outputs also measures extremely well on the site. I agree partially with motberg above that it would be nice to have some subjective comments to confirm the measurements. However, while good measurements may not prove a DAC will sound great, I think a DAC that measures badly should be avoided. Since both the D90 and M500 measure well, it really puts the onus on the reviewer to confirm any deviation from a good sounding result since the DACs are reproducing the signal with a high degree of fidelity to the original input. I would be hard pressed to explain what is being heard if it does not sound good.
  9. A good place to start are the comparison charts for portable DAC/headphone amps at https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/master-index-of-measurement-comparison-charts.8246/ While you may not think objectively good measuring equipment necessarily sounds good, I would argue that badly measuring equipment probably does sound bad and should be avoided. If the signal to noise ratio is at a level that it can't even fully resolve CD quality audio, it is not a good option. The measurements at Audio Science Review (ASR) look at both the signal to noise resolution (SINAD) for the DAC and amp separately and it looks at the output measurements of the small amplifiers. Its a good place to start and is helpful to at least eliminate some of the choices.
  10. Not really splitting hairs. As I acknowledged, any "chip" is really a computer, but my comments were directed at the direction of this website which I think was for years the source of all things audio for the computer geek. It's not my site, but I don't think it is controversial that it really does not address the same topics it used to. If we will never see a new CAPS or description of the benefit of various NASs, so be it. Right now you have to delve deep into the forums to get much of a hardware discussion, or a description of the benefits of various operating system tweeks. I have generally concluded that if you get a sonic transporter I5 with a microrendu, you are close to maxing out the potential of server sound quality. But how about a discussion on say whether the newer I5's are capable of handling roon DSP, since they have the computing power of older I7s? Or how to modify linux on the base transporter or roon nuc to add an app to access Qobuz or Deezer. Or how to . . .
  11. Chris: I have been a reader (mostly passive) for years. Your website was always my goto when deciding how to set up a NAS, or network, upgrade my computer, or tweek my software. Unfortunately, the articles are now mostly just digital audio reviews that I can get from any of a number of websites. I know that any silicon is basically a computer, but in the sense of how Computer Audiophile was started and its early readership, I think it no longer addresses in any consistent way, the original focus on using a personal computer, and generally available hardware and software to access great sounding music. Is it you view that the PC is finished or simply at a deadend? I will admit that since you started mostly posting sporadic reviews of digital servers and dacs, and dropping discussion of basic computer equipment, I tune in, or log in, a lot less. Where is this site headed and should we just consider it "digital audiophile" with little or no emphasis on the computers, software, and accessories that originally made this place unique?
  12. I have been looking at amps as well, especially ones that handle 4 ohm loads. The ones I would suggest are the PS-Audio S300, or if you want to skip class D, the Audio by Van Alstine (AVA) Synergy 300 and 450. They also have their Ultravalve line if you are interested in tubes. Finally, I have heard nothing but praise for the Cambridge Audio 851W which has recently been featured as various online retailers at about the same price as the Stellar S300. I hear it runs a little warm, but has great sound and a lot of power. And of course there is always the Odyssey Stratos. To bad it is almost impossible to compare amps side by side anymore. Here is a list of power amps in the +/- $1500 range that will handle the Elacs. PS Audion Stellar S300 AVA Synergy 300 (450 for about $500 more) Cambridge Azur 851W Odyssey Stratos If you want an integrated you might look at the Rogue Audio Sphinx V2
  13. Really enjoyed the review, but I feel a little left out with your opening comment on the CA audience. "Given that this site has a large contingent of readers with very high end audio systems and discerning ears, this usually helps narrow the scope of items to address in the review. However, writing for the faithful readers only..." Reading the forums, it seems you have far more readers who are building CAPS servers, and waiting on reviews of the Aurelic Aires mini so they can touch that audiophile sound on their budget. The quote seems to imply that only owners of high cost equipment are your faithful readers. I am a regular and long time reader (although an irregular poster), and keep my gear on a tight budget. When I can, I build my gear and love the sonore's, ifi's, and schiits for the chance to have great sound for less than the cost of car. I would be really surprised if it was any where near the majority of the "faithful readers" who are rocking $10K plus amps, $5k dacs, etc. More Vidar level gear reviews please. Thanks for all the info that comes from your efforts.
  14. Any guess as to how well the i3-8100k will handle dsp with roon? They recommend an i7 for this, but some of the the newer i3's appear to be faster than old i7's. Its not clear what roon thinks is the minimum processor power needed.
  15. Glad to hear they are similarly stable. I'll try running the android version on my Galaxy S8 and also load it on the old iPhone5 and then decide which tablet to get. Some of the android tablets are relatively cheap.
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