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Everything posted by ray-dude

  1. If you check out Part 1 of my Extreme Review, I list several MA tracks as go to reference tracks. I highly recommend getting the MAonSA SACD sampler. The SACD layer has ~70 minutes of music in DSD64, and the Redbook layer has ~70 minutes of different tracks. It is basically 3 full albums of music from various recordings. When I first got it and listened through, I promptly ordered 10(?) albums from Todd, so beware! If you don't have a SACD player and get the SACD, drop a PM we'll take care of you.
  2. My experience is similar to Joe's (I purchase everything from Todd as soon as he posts it). Some of the music is challenging, but I've found that there is a common musical thread through his releases that I attribute to Todd himself. In a subtle way, he is a part of the creative team on each of his recordings. On the most challenging albums, I look for that thread, and it connects me back to a foundation to build on. Listening to Todd's recordings has been akin to master class...I've learned so much about so many different kinds of music!
  3. Fun project! I happily use a RaPi as a Roon end point for my patio speakers. This might be a fun retrofit project, esp. since the RaPi is now connected to a PoE capable EdgeRouter X SFP. Chris, hope you and yours are safe and in good spirits...
  4. I can't speak to the Phoenix, but as another wrinkle, Chord DACs require Vbus for the initial USB handshake, but after that it can be removed (a neat trick with the switch on the USPCB).
  5. ray-dude

    HQ Player

    @Miska I'm looking forward to trying sinc-L this weekend! Could you speak more to what you were trying to achieve with this filter vs sinc-S/sinc-M and filter performance? (appreciate the insights you shared on the sinc-S filter a couple weeks ago) Looking forward to hearing this one!
  6. 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
  7. ...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!
  8. +-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!!
  9. When it's all in house and you've had a chance to listen, please report back!
  10. 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...
  11. 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!
  12. 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!)
  13. 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
  14. 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...")
  15. Would love to host an audio night with the local audio crazies...please drop a note when the world is right side up again!
  16. 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!
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. I have Frank, but only with certain recordings. Binaural recordings in particular become completely holographic (my setup has point source single drivers as sources...this makes sense). Sound is evenly spread through a full half sphere, and I'm getting maybe 80-90% of the spatial resolution behind me as I am in front of me, and I hear the entire space the recording was made in. I am physically there in the recording space. This is only for certain recordings though, and how robust this sense of being in a hologram is is very indicative of whether things are getting better or worse (takes maybe 15 seconds of listening...the effect is very ephemeral for me) When it is dialed in, it is an experience that is something else (and as a live performance junkie, absolutely crack for my brain) As I say, it seems you're striving for the same summit, but from a different side of the mountain. Would love to hear what you're hearing and see if there is a 1+1=3 hidden in there somewhere
  21. Mainly ambiance (room, cathedral, club, etc.) although occasionally a church organ is behind the microphone. For artificial stuff (like having 2 people in front and 2 people behind the recording head), the effect is very very clear, but obviously not musical. For me, it is the ambiance and sense of being in the physical space of the performance that I really appreciate the most.
  22. With binaural recordings and 2 channel, I get the full 360 (above sides behind) experience in my system. I've found that depth (including behind the listener) is the most sensitive and fleeting attribute as I tweak my system, so it is something I key on when tweaking for transparency. When things are dialed in and with the right recording, spatial resolution and sound stage behind me is about 80-90% of what I get in front of me. I do have single driver high efficiency speakers (Voxativ 9.87's with 4D drivers) being driven directly from a Chord DAVE DAC, so I have the advantage of point source speakers and no amp/crossovers in the chain, so definitely an atypical setup! All that being said, I've been accumulating a lot of awesome multi-channel content, anticipating rebuilding my surround setup at some point (thank you for the inspiration @Kal Rubinson!)
  23. It was Roy @romaz that first inspired this, when he discovered the Omega Super Alnico Monitors driven directly from DAVE. Louis (Omega chief everything) is an incredible gem of a human being, and has a wonderful no questions asked try at home policy for his speakers. When I first heard the SAMs direct to Hugo2 then DAVE, it was a transformational moment for me. I consider it a third class of music listening: traditional 2 channel (amp, speakers, etc), headphones, and direct to single driver high efficiency speakers (esp. in near field...OMG!!!). If you have a DAC that is capable of driving 1-2W into a speaker like load (and the Chord Hugo2 and DAVE and TT2 most definitely are), do yourself a favor and give a listen to something like the SAMs in near field. The tonal challenges with single driver speakers aren't for everyone, but I found that within a couple days my brain completely adjusted to those, and all I was left with was this incredible holographic presentation that I had never heard before and that I didn't even think was possible with 2 channel. That was my first exposure to "Reality" when listening to 2 channel (hence the "Reality Quest") I ended up replacing basically everything in my audio system after that experience, with the Extreme being the final piece of the equation.
  24. Ha! FWIW, the 2020 Sablon USB cable cured me of USB cableitis within about 30 seconds. I have boxes full of shielding and solder and cables now, and I'm delighted not to be thinking about that stuff any more. Drop Mark a note. I'm sure he has some USB cables in circulation for test. If you get a hold of one, would love to hear what you hear vs your Lush^2's (and I loved my Lush^2's!)
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