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About ray-dude

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    Person To Blame

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  1. Maybe I'll get a nice Class D with switching supply and have that remind me what I don't pay attention to amps any more If I waver, I need you guys (as my sponsors) to call me out and help me hold the line... That being said, I would be delighted to foster any SETs that are looking for a home during these troubled times
  2. ...and this is EXACTLY why I'm in complete denial about the existence of SET monoblocks...something like this in the house would become a full time job (obsession?) Gorgeous work Nenon!
  3. +-15V, +5V. My Sean Jacobs supply is over-spec'ed to support up to 5A on each rail, which is way more than what the DAVE is consuming, but I never measured what it actually is consuming Love the giant horns!!
  4. When it's all in house and you've had a chance to listen, please report back!
  5. Yes, open the case, couple screws to remove the stock SMPS, connect the power connector to the DAVE PCB. Completely reversible, takes about 15 minutes because of all the screws. For a new DAVE, obviously has warranty implications and isn't endorsed by Chord, etc. I spent a bunch of time on BNC cables. I ended up with the following as my preferred: https://www.head-fi.org/showcase/audiowise-opto•dx-optical-isolation-bridge-for-dual-spdif.23757/reviews#review-22155 with Nick's WAVE cables as the top of class for traditional cables. It's been a while since I've been spending time in that world though...
  6. I hope you enjoy it, and please report back! I always found better transparency and detail through the RCA output of DAVE to speakers. I use the XLR outs to the powered Voxativ Pi bass units, so not an issue for me. Do note that depending on your speakers, you may be wishing for some pop or dynamics going straight from DAVE (I did with my Voxativs). I ended up getting a Sean Jacobs custom DC3 supply for my DAVE, and it resulted in a (mostly) no compromise experience for me. Reports from folks with his new DC4 supply is that it is even better still, although I am patiently waiting for my custom Paul Hynes SR7 build for the DAVE power supply upgrade. Net net, if you love the transparency of going to direct, there are ways to tune up the new paradigm. I have owned and adored the Chord mScaler products (Blu2 then Hugo mScaler). Hearing 1M tap upscaled music was a revelation, and a clear demarcation line in my audio journey (pre mScaler and post mScaler). I wrote a lot about that stuff over at Head-Fi. I recently made the switch to HQPlayer (Jussi added the sinc-M filter and later the 15th order noise shaper). These are approximating what I heard with mScaler, and getting better over time. Although I still give a nod to Chord's HW implementation, HQP is pretty good. For me, I occasionally "burn the ships" as they say, and commit to what I think will be the right long term path (in this case, software upsampling) even if it is a step backwards. That forces me to learn and optimize and figure out how to take advantage of the different approach. Moving from the Chord mScalers to HQP has certainly been a burn the ships moment for me (very difficult given how much I love the mScalers...still miss my Blu2!) but I've learned a heck of a lot, and there is a lot more to learn and leverage! For civilians, the Chord mScalers still have my highest recommendation. Incredible experience, esp. when you can hear it all going to headphones or direct to speakers!
  7. I have not heard the Ideon myself (I went from ISORegens to the tX-USBultra). Based on how the SOtM tX-USBultra SE with Paul Hynes SR4 actually was degrade SQ for me(!), I suspect the implementation of the USB PHY on the chipset is having an outsized impact vs reclocking, power, etc. That is part of what is appealing for me with the JCAT USB XE...same chipset, but with the bonus of better power, etc. Based on the specs and vintage, if I had to guess the Ideon is not using the ASMedia chipset, but as folks on the right side of the pond are fond of saying, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. As always, no substitute for a listening test! My solution to the USB length problem was the Monoprice USB slim. That may be an alternative to try to see what works best in your chain (and please report back...always keen to find a way to step up the USB ladder!)
  8. That’s awesome! I’m glad you’re trying something new and it is working for you! Rob Watts has written extensively about his digital volume control approach. See as a starting point https://www.head-fi.org/threads/chord-electronics-dave.766517/page-143#post-12429044 basically absolutely no issue at low volumes because of the precision of the digital pipeline
  9. Thank you @skatbelt for the thoughtful note. I think you're lasering in on the "Sophie's Choice" with digital audio: isolation and quiet to not disturb the DAC, vs signal precision and speed to not disturb the DAC. With my dual i7 NUC setup, I was pushing as hard as I could for the former (with EtherREGEN and tX-USBultra SE, although I had not yet jumped into the reference clock world). My next step was to add a Mutec reference clock, then moving to a better power supply so I could jack the CPU clock higher (there was a very distinct point where higher clock led to worse sound, and the better the supply, the higher that clock rate was). That was part of what led me to explore the high powered server route. If you have a crazy enough power supply, can it keep the more powerful server under sufficient control to get all that benefit without introducing noise that pulls things down? That was the initial attraction for the Extreme, was the extreme lengths Emile had gone with the power supply, and to keep actual processing on the Xeons as low as possible. As a practical matter, I'm hearing an aspect of music reproduction with the Extreme that I have never heard before (this is my first experience with a high power server). That sense of speed and dynamics is off the chart. Even when I used Extreme as the Roon end point (and my NUC as the Roon server), I was giving a lot of that away. There is something new going on here I think, but the effort/cost/care that is required to get to it is way out there. The folks in the DIY server thread are doing very impressive work to edge in that direction. I would lean on their experience with other high power server options to hear what they are hearing (I would certainly hope and assume that one doesn't have to jump to the Extreme to be able to hear these sorts of benefits) All that being said, I don't think the road has run out on the dual server path either. I think there are two different roads up the same mountain, each with a long way still in front of them. I'll certainly be watching with interest as folks push both paths forward, and I'm looking forward to when things open up again so we can experience these things at shows and home listening sessions again (as the man once said "There's a new band in town but you can't get the sound from a story in a magazine...")
  10. Would love to host an audio night with the local audio crazies...please drop a note when the world is right side up again!
  11. BOOM! Class A SET tube amp on a IKEA butcher block from Sweden...THAT is the Minnesota audiophile standard we signed up for! (pass the lefse! I used to live in Minnesota, but back in San Diego now. Miss it, especially getting out on the lake Memorial Day weekend, but alas not getting back these days. Hope you and yours are safe and healthy and enjoying (finally) summer!
  12. I lived in Minnesota for more than a decade so I need to call this out. Any true Minnesotan is running Class A amps through the long winters (and their spouses and pets love them for it
  13. Thank you @Nenon! My journey has been down the road that folks like Roy, Larry, Rajiv, you, and MANY others have blazed. I hope this series serves as a snap shot in time of the state of the art that folks like you guys and Emile have been advancing. I absolutely agree that the Extreme is much more than the sum of its extraordinary parts. The more I dig in, the more I see examples of deep design thinking and elegance. The Extreme is a masterclass in digital server design, and truly is Emile's opus. As much as I love tinkering, except for inputs and outputs, I haven't had the nerve to dive into the myriad of settings and options that Emile has so meticulously tuned. As you say, remarkable how even the smallest changes are audible. At some point, I will get past my practiced denial of the existence of SET mono blocks (can you imagine someone like tube rolling?). I do know Sean and his work very well (I did not mention it in the review, but I have what I believe to be the second DC3 unit Sean made to power DAVEs). I'm holding off jumping into the DC4 pond, as I remain (ever) hopeful that Paul will eventually get to my 3x DR SR7 custom order. For any DAVE owners out there, the impact of a supply like the DC3 (and apparently even more so the DC4) on DAVE is even bigger than what I heard with mScaler. Alas, pandemic-induced pragmatics made it very difficult to cajole folks with things like JCAT cables and Femto/XE cards to come over for some fine wine and fine music. I'm very much looking forward to hearing how these piece of kit work with Extreme. For now, I'm delighted with the Sablon 2020 ethernet cables, and VERY bullish about the combination of ASM 3142 chipset + quality power (JCAT XE USB card) could bring to the party. I'm eyeing the spare +5V, +12V power connector in the Extreme, and eager to see what Emile may have cooking in the lab. Once he and the team are able to launch the Extreme Mini, the next phase of the Extreme Project is sure to be a lot of fun! Edit: given the surprising interest in the DAC direct to speakers model, here is my current "As Built", including the Sean Jacobs supply powering my DAVE (like a river, audio systems are forever changing
  14. The Chord DAVE has both RCA outputs and XLR outputs. Of the two the RCA outputs are a bit more transparent (couple fewer components in the path). I have RCA to female banana adapters, and connect those to normal speaker wire. If you just want to experiment, when I first started down this path I snagged some cheapo RCA to banana adapters on Amazon to try. Once I realized what I was hearing, I made the investment to be able to hear that with Furutech connectors and my preferred speaker cables. https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0176WENRA I should note that the DAVE (and other Chord DACs) have the amp section and digital to analog converter section combined (also used for direct headphone output). That makes it extremely stable and performant driving speaker-like loads. I have not tried this topology with other DACs that may be expecting a preamp-type load on the output.
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