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About PeterG

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  1. The biggest underlying problem with HD Tracks is not QA, though I don't doubt they have some problems. The most important is that format/resolution is far less important to the sound quality of the recording than several other factors--the recording process, mixing, and mastering, for example. Most glaring on even a casual listen is the amount of compression. Much better to have a great recording in 44/16 than an average one in hi rez. You can try this at home--buy a few different versions of one of your favorite albums and have at it.
  2. I love this--especially the points on feeling "lost" and then "uplifted" later. Equally fun are lyrics/music that do not tell you what the other is doing, but instead confuse--Springsteen's Born in the USA being the most famous/obvious. More recently, Dylan's "Murder Most Foul" has been criticized for lyrics delivered in sorrow rather than anger. But the overall effect is so extraordinarily sad that I was blue even the next day when I could not get it out of my head. So at least to this listener, it is perfect and profound. (Plus, who are we mere mortals to critique Dylan?)
  3. Your use of the phrase "absolute best" is what suggested monoblocks. I agree that cost is high for tubes and low for Class D, but you kind of get what you pay for.
  4. I do not understand your thinking, or maybe it's that your thinking does not lead to a solution for more than an incredibly small number of people. When you say "the best possible playback systems", I assume you mean that there are no tube amps that compete compete with a pair of $50-100K monoblocks. If that's what you mean, I will not dispute that, but I do not understand why it is relevant in anything more than the theoretical sense to all but those who are prepared to drop $200K or more on their systems. But if we drop a zero off the end to get to ~$10K in amps, probably close to the median value of amp budgets among AS readers, we are not discussing "the best possible solid state systems", we are only discussing (hopefully) excellent amps. In this range, it is easy for many to "improve a system" with tubes, even for those who have heard the best SS in that price ballpark.
  5. Thanks for the frank write up. I'm disappointed that NAD appears to have compromised on the sound. I'd call several of their sub $1,000 amps terrific audiophile gear for those on a budget. I started with a C326BEE that I still enjoy at our lake house--it sounds way better than the mass market offerings in that price range
  6. Terrific! Especially nice to see a system that meets the wife's approval ๐Ÿ˜Š
  7. WHOA!!! Raals landed today and I am blown away. As Chris has reported--the resolution, details, and realism are amazing. Micro details in voice, strings, percussion make it similar in effect to sitting next to a performer on stage. Prior to this, the best headphones I had heard were the Focal Utopias, which are excellent, but no match for the SR1a's. These are a completely different beast. I am not certain I will keep them, for reasons I'll describe below, but I am certain that no one should buy reference headphones without trying these first--they are absolutely amazing. A few specifics continuing where Chris and others have left off: Starting with the source so that you can calibrate my other thoughts--I'm using an MC275 VI. I cannot comment on bloom--the sound is simply magnificent, and with nothing to compare, I can detect no weaknesses. (And I mean no weaknesses--maybe its because Im bouncing up and down with excitement to My Old School as I type?) I am not running out of gas with the flaps relatively closed, but I do run out when I open them up. Alas, unlike other reports, the soundstage is in my head, not in front of me. Maybe because the flaps are too closed? The bass is also great--I'd say spot on, at least with the flaps where I have them. My guess is that reports of weak bass have come from those expecting solid back headphone bass, which is far less accurate, or the whole body feel of bass from speakers. The whole thing is just so damn intense. I disagree with the too bright characterization, though I might say they are too forward for a mellow listening experience. It's an adrenaline jolt like a great rock concert. Chris mentioned having to adjust volume on high dynamic range tracks--absolutely. This is thrilling moment to moment. But my ears hurt a bit, and I'm messing with the volume pretty much every song. Miles comes in for a solo, and BANG the trumpet's right in your ear. Ironic payback for years worshipping at the Dynamic Range Database website, haha My McIntosh C22 preamp feeds my subwoofer directly, so the sub needs to be unplugged to listen to the SR1a's through the MC275. I expect this would apply to any subwoofer fed by a preamp. Maybe a Jotunheim R will allow me to open the flaps to get the soundstage in front of me while maintaining the bass and not run out of gas? All in all, a thrilling listen--kind of like driving a Ferrari (or at least how I'd imagine driving a Ferrari would be). If I can get the soundstage in front of me and also get used to the dramatic changes in volume, I'll keep them. Of course, in the meantime they will have ruined me for any other headphones ๐Ÿ˜‰ Rock on!
  8. I love my Eames, and I'd say the Lobster looks like it's descendent. But many modern chairs are less comfortable than they are gorgeous. I recommend a long sit in either chair before you buy. Like speakers, chair comfort can be personal. (You will note that I am not dignifying the claim of better sound with a response ๐Ÿ˜‰)
  9. Any thoughts on the Jotunheim R vs a single Vidar? My SR1a's arrive on Thursday, and based this thread I'm expecting my MC275 to be (just a bit) lacking. My original thinking was that another $700 for a Vidar would be still in the same ballpark, but then I saw the Jotunheim R--specially made for the SR1a's--on the Schiit website. I don't really care about saving the box, only sound quality. Also, I am perplexed that the Jotunheim R specs do not include watts per channel. Which box has better guts? Thanks
  10. I do not know the amp, but most likely you will hear a dramatic improvement if you add an external DAC. I'd recommend one from Schiit https://www.schiit.com/ Even their $99 Modi is likely a step up, their midpriced DACs are probably night and day compared to the built in chips Good luck!
  11. Chris-- One more MC275 question: Do you know why you blew tube/fuse? Thanks P
  12. That's it--THIS PSYCHIC ABUSE MUST END!!! Pulled the trigger a few minutes ago. Though with only an MC275, I will have to settle for "magical" instead of "stunning", haha. I'll report back after some listening. For others on the fence or in search of a demo, there is a 14-day risk-free return policy. Thanks, Chris!
  13. We have similar taste/thinking--I also have B&W 805s, mine paired with a B&W DB3D subwoofer. I do not have to economize on space with the electronics, so I have a McIntosh C22/MC275 combo. I tried a McIntosh MEN220, which I believe is driven by Room Perfect (DSP software from Linn?). My bass was improved, but I sacrificed detail on the high end; so I did not purchase. My thinking at the time was that my room was not quite compromised enough for the MEN220 to be a net positive. I had much better luck with upgrading cables and adding a Nordost QKore and QBase grounding system. The power upgrades did what I had hoped the DSP would do-- improved lows, detail, and imaging, with no sacrifice I could discern--it was dramatic.
  14. Hi DT-- My experience with cables has matched GUTB's--some have had a significant improvement in sound quality, some have not--and I have spent several thousand dollars on them, despite agreeing with you that the margins are steep. But I disagree that I could have done better with room treatments. My system is in my (our) living room, in large part because I like sitting with my wife. But this introduces different definitions of the word budget. I have spent about $35K in total, out of a budget that I might call $100K if money became the constraint. But total dollars are not the constraint. My budget for speakers (per my wife) is stand mounts. My budget for room treatments is zero. On electronics though, I can get away with pretty much anything short of mono blocks--we're sort of on a don't ask-don't tell basis (haha). So when one has constraints other than cash, it is completely rational to spend an irrational amount of money on cables.
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