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Everything posted by motberg

  1. I am using 2 PC setup (Win10 AO to WinServer2019 GUI AO to some USB helper-stuff to DAC), but with JPlay (soon to change to HQPlayer 4). AO is a big improvement, even on the WIN10 control (i7) machine.. the ability to select the digital filter and sound signature settings are mandatory to me. If not for AO, I would use Euphony or Volumio, either of those beat any non-AO Windows for my preferences. Your configuration is much different due to the Rendu NAA, so I think you will need to try.. I suggest try WinServer2019 GUI with AO, make sure to play with the filter and signature settings to see if they have any effect. Hopefully someone with a similar endpoint can offer more concrete advice. I think Server eval version lasts 3 years... so... (I am pretty old... ya never know 😲)
  2. I guess you are thinking about the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital vs. the M500 which are both in the same price range, much less than 1000 USD. There is a long thread here, directly from users, for great info about the Pro-Ject. This may also be a good thread to see if MQA has sufficient value to you, as it severely limits your selection range. https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/34777-pro-ject-pre-box-s2-digital-mqa-hw-decoding-at-reasonable-cost/ The M500 I think is very new so not much news yet, but here is a review: https://soundnews.net/sources/dacs/smsl-m500-review-mqa-for-the-masses/ For a different type of sound (but no MQA) in the same price range you can check this: http://www.audio-gd.com/R2R/R2R11/R2R11EN.htm Some users over at HF have a thread If you are in the USA, I would certainly consider something from Schiit (again... no MQA) for example https://www.schiit.com/products/jotunheim I am not into headphones much, but it seems matching the cans to the DAC/pre is a very important consideration, so you need study system matching, as well as the type of overall tonality you prefer.
  3. I have been checking alternatives and, while researching the Gustard A20H (also AK4497 x 2) , ran across a user at ASR that tried a D70 and compared directly to the Gustard A20H, his comments regarding the D70 were "The lack of punch was obvious compared to the A20H.." So, as you mentioned, this AK chip is looking promising. I need figure out how to dump the D70 without the SO catching on.. good thing it is dual voltage, makes for a bigger market ...😀
  4. These are 2 excellent related documentaries: The Blues, 2003 series by Martin Scorsese. Jazz, 2001 miniseries by Ken Burns. Both are enlightening and memorable.
  5. Thanks for the gig info... the Jamie's brunch thing sounds perfect... I signed up for the newsletter and will keep checking the schedules. I am from the Allentown area... currently on the other side of the world... but get back often... Regarding the blues - I think exposure to this music's history should be considered for integration into USA high school curriculums.. so much has evolved from its origins and development - and this important part of our culture seems not sufficiently appreciated. Regarding the software study - wow - I think anyone considering these should check that list to save themselves some time.. for sure having a live music reference for comparison helps validate the impressions. Although it has been many years since I was standing aside a Leslie 5 nights a week, I still can use those memories' reference points along with the Fender Precisions, Strat's etc.... very valuable for stereo system analysis. My grandson got his first Fender for his 9th birthday a couple months ago - the granddaughter gets the electric piano for hers the end of this month 😉 I have found that Alexa is great for exposing kids to the joys of (our) music 😎 Hope to see you some Sunday soon!
  6. Thanks for the comments.. For balanced with i2s option, the GUSTARD A20H Dual AK4497 DAC/Pre would perhaps qualify as a value piece. Gustard appears to be building a good reputation in both the DAC and amp sectors. This has an analog class A balanced head/pre amp, so maybe consider the value at 450 for the DAC and 300 for the pre (but save some money and clutter in interconnects and extra power cord) https://shenzhenaudio.com/products/gustard-a20h-dual-ak4497-xmos-usb-pcm-dsd-dop-dac-decoder-and-class-a-full-balanced-amplifier I am waiting to see if any comprehensive, valid, comparative reviews for the new Schiit Bifrost 2 ($699, but includes obvious benefits for USA based customers). I have been following/buying DDC's for a few years and Schiit seem to have previously hit a home run with their Eitr USB/SPDIF convertor, so have built some street-cred in my view for upgrading their USB implementation. They are very confident in their new Unison USB™ card, but seem to have had a couple bumps in the model launch which have already been identified and corrected iiuc... I think USB source isolation has some value (think of all the ISO Regens and Intonas sold), so maybe there is reduced need for USB fixers with this card, again offering extra value. https://www.schiit.com/products/bifrost-1 A single ended option that has been pretty successful is the Audio-GD R2R 11 (2019 Version) Single Ended Discrete Ladder Headphone amp / DAC (DSD native / DXD / PCM) ... 350 USD. It has been out for a couple years now and has had a few revisions so the current version is fairly mature.... there is a HF thread with more info. http://www.audio-gd.com/R2R/R2R11/R2R11EN.htm Also SE, I have a Topping D50 DAC I was using for subs. I gave it a brief listen when I first got it and sounded surprisingly good, but for the power supply I was using a mains-regeneration fed LPS with LDOVR LT3045 5V regulator box and some decent Ghent cables.. I will try to put that back in the system and give a short report... Since I would think some here may have an extra decent 5V LPS lying around, this may be a particularly good bargain.. https://shenzhenaudio.com/products/topping-d50-hifi-audio-dac-es9038q2m-2-xmos-xu208-dsd512-usb-32bit-768khz-dsd512-decoder
  7. This card looks really cool... Have you tried or tested with the SE line outs? I did not see a voltage spec, so was wondering if the line-out quality is on-par with the headphone out (seems to be pretty focused on headphone users, or powered computer monitors). I was thinking a 1M run to a preamp (passive if possible but not necessary), then another 0.5 or 1M to the amp...
  8. Certainly 300+ hours playing time on the D70... D70 dynamics (to me) are similar to what you get when strapping a clean soft-knee compressor across the outputs... I forget the album title, but a couple days ago I tried the song "Themes" from Yes, starts with some synth stuff then an interesting (single notes) piano part.. the lack of dynamics was very very noticeable on the piano part... I am thinking maybe some of the new ES9038Pro implementations may be better in dynamics - I am a little gun-shy about trying another AK in this price range unless some good reviews which address dynamics (pretty important attribute for music imho...). The older dual 9028 versions may be a bargain also if well implemented. I been checking the past few days and agree maybe 700-850 USD FOB is a more realistic minimal target range for something with balanced output and without obvious concessions. For myself, I also value i2s input as i have couple good i2s DDC's..
  9. Thanks, I am using WIN2019 GUI evaluation and replacing the default shell with AS. The problem is that if I am traveling for a couple weeks with the computer shut down, then it seems the OS is losing its evaluation days countdown place and resets to zero.. this is an audio PC, without persistent internet connection. Upon boot, I will start with the AS and notice OS shutdown after a short while of playback. I need revert back to the default GUI shell to check, and there on the bottom right is the notice. So I want to check the countdown status every time upon boot without reverting back to default shell. Is PowerShell command "slmgr -dlv" the easiest and most accurate place to view the countdown status?
  10. I do not think this is true for the current administration.... the current trade battle focus is simply about putting the USA in the most preferential future trading position with China. Presently, I sense a great deal of respect generally between the two administrations and the affected parties within the supply chains (and I have a more advantageous view of this than most...) If they get a good deal, then freight/duty/paperwork will be reduced both ways...
  11. I do not follow this stuff but 11-11-2016 S&P=2164.45... right?
  12. In the Windows Server 2019 GUI lower right side occasionally displays a message that the license has expired. How can I see this same information when navigating from the Audiophile Shell ? Thanks !
  13. I have a D70, very very low background noise and nice tone-ality, but in my system presented little dynamics... using the USB input, elements like piano and snares seem anemic, not realistic at all. Vocals seem to be originating from vapor, not from a grounded body. This can be helped a little by using a Gustard U16 DDC via i2s, which also adds some overall weight... I tried some different preamps; Lightspeed SE passive, another SE passive, Balanced passive, SE active and Balanced active tube (also tried the D70 digital volume control).. Balanced active worked best, the XRL output seems better overall sound quality than the SE RCA output. Also seems best to use one output at a time as I noticed a little degradation on the XLR's when using the RCA's for subs. D70 has a pretty good remote, can switch through the filters (but the differences between the various filters presentation is somewhat limited), also can switch output modes which I think may be handy. The default filter #3 seems the most solid and balanced, but maybe a little compressed/grainy in the highs during peaks.. this gets a lot better with the U16 at i2s input (using a cheap M10 clock also on the U16). Filter #2 is a bit smoother than 3 and would be my preferred if I was using the native USB input. I am building a second system (actually an alternative source) and an audiophile friend suggested the AK4497 chip, the D70 seems to have pretty good specs and that low noise floor is a nice attribute. I will need to keep looking (I am looking for something rather dry and clean as an alternative to my other DAC which is 4xPCM1704UK per side with NOS processing.. ) but I guess for the money the D70 could fit into some systems in this budget range. One final thing I may try with the D70 is a balanced SS preamp, but I do not currently have one of those, that may bring a little extra life to percussion..
  14. I think this is great news so far.... If you do not mind, how much RAM are you using in the Euphony PC?
  15. I tried a 7 A brick with the HDPlex DC-ATX and could not boot a modest mb with 25w CPU with the HDD powered separately. A10A Teradak LPS booted this computer successfully. Just another data point in case someone encounters problems.
  16. I have tried most of the ambiophonics softwares, including the miniAmbio box (also have upgraded Carver C-16, and C-9's). I have not had great success with the software, I tried a full barrier for a reference and I think very tough to beat with software. I am now using partial barriers and a Black Ice - Foz SS-X, with carefully selected tube and just a touch of the dimension control active. This results in a similar (but not as complete) effect to the full barrier, with a little 12AU7 warmth thrown into the mix. I also have a clean path to the same amp with good passive preamp, silver litz, etc..... for most my music listening the Foz path is preferable, even if not as exactingly detailed. Probably if I could afford some nice floor-to-ceiling line-source electrostatics that would provide a nice big enveloping soundstage - I would not need the Foz.. but the grandkids, etc. take budget priority for now so it is nice to have such affordable stuff like the amibio softwares and Foz to add to my small-room music enjoyment.
  17. I have an older Teradak ATX, running for about 5 years with no problems, and also the HDplex 400W ATX for over a year - no problems. I doubt if I could tell them apart in my system for sound quality. The Teradak cables are too long for my current setup and seem much more difficult to replace/upgrade (they use a large multi-contact well-made coupler). The HDPlex cables seem more standard and Ghent already offers these - so I would buy the HDPlex on that characteristic alone.
  18. Hi Peter, Has any pattern emerged yet concerning the HDMI^2 cable length vs. performance (when used for i2s transfer) ? I have not consistently used anything longer than 0.5M between DDC and DAC. I once tried 1M (same model cable) for some testing, but seemed to lose some coherence. These setups were all with WireWorld quality cables. Being able to safely stretch to 1M may be worth the investment in my case.
  19. Is there any validity to the objective to not have any switching power supplies on the same mains circuit as the audio source components ( DAC, Preamp, DDC, etc..)?
  20. it could be some household electrical device switching causing the isolation feature to cut the connection to your dac... this happened in my system...
  21. My environment is surely worse than the oft mentioned NYC apt. I just try to do best practice with what is available... to better isolate the fridge, I ran a long power cord extension to another circuit. There are no SMPS in the audio room (the 2 PC's, cooling fans, Uptone LPS-1's etc. all have LPS sources...) For specific power related devices, I have found: Standard economy power filters/distributors I have tried (around the 200 USD level) designed for audio/video have basically no audible effect for upgrading the sound, but they may help in that when using them I have had no trouble with hum, buzzes, clicks, etc.. A 500W Chinese isolation transformer used to isolate a computer monitor in the stereo room did not seem to have effect. Unplugging the monitor seems to be beneficial (but I think would not pass blind testing with my ears). Yulong P18 Power Purifier Filters (I think discontinued) have a small but appreciated audible effect when used on digital source components and preamp;, slightly smoother presentation with more separation and quiet between sound elements. I currently use one of these for my power amp as the only device connected. Audio GD HE-350 220V regenerator has a very noticeable effect when used on DDC, DAC and preamp... some years ago I would only listen at night due to a perceived grainy music presentation during the day.. the HE-350 allows me to listen during the day, pretty much equalizing the day/night sound quality. Next step for me will be to try some similar 220V regenerator(s) for my PC's ATX (LPS) supplies.
  22. AO 3.0 update went smoothly on both machines - Audio PC Server 2019 GUI, Control PC Windows 10 Pro. Amazing the SQ clarity increase and additional blackness in the background (which I think is mostly attributable to the WIN 10 Pro machine which was formerly AO 2.2). I recommend anyone that does not want to install Server (although Server GUI is almost indistinguishable from 10 in my opinion) , and wants to get the most out of a Win 10 system should give AO a try. The installation is simple, and the adjustments and options allow the user to adjust the sound presentation to the system characteristics and user preferences. I have recently tested Euphony/Stylus on the same system - I much prefer the more substantial "presence" of optimized Windows with JPlay Femto. Now off to read the AO manual... Too bad I need go on an extended business trip tomorrow, I wish I had more time to review my favorites. Like someone mentioned above it is illuminating to be able to understand the lyrics, as well as the intricate interplay between the musicians and their instruments (as well as between each other), easily without conscious effort. Even when revisiting familiar pieces, one can only be astounded by the emotion possible to be conveyed by these artists' given gifts and resolute craftsmanship.
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