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Blackmorec

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About Blackmorec

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  1. Blackmorec

    Relative importance of differences in stereo systems

    Thanks for the discussion but you know what? I don’t honestly care if my speakers are accurate or not. Since I don’t know what the original sounded like I don’t care if the facsimile is 100% accurate. I care that it sounds great, natural, musical, rhythmical and dynamic and blows me away with music. As long as they’re 100% involving and 100% convincing, it matters not a jot whether they’re accurate or not. Add the fact that I’m playing them in a fairly small, reflective, lossy but reverberantly well balanced room and the best I can hope for is a highly musical, natural and transparent rendition of the signal they’re fed, with no identifiable coloration. If every track I listen to has its own acoustic, tonal and dynamic character rather than something the speaker or room imposes on the music, I’m good. Its worth bearing in mind that what we’re listening to is a recording of the original event, if there even was an original event
  2. Blackmorec

    Relative importance of differences in stereo systems

    Because, generally speaking, what goes into my speakers is what comes out. The better the quality of the signal going in, the better the quality of the music coming out. If you’re listening to the sound of speakers, you’re probably also listening to the wrong speakers. But if any speaker is set up incorrectly relative to the room, that better get looked at before bothering with anything else. That’s true.
  3. Firstly a warning. Opening up electronic modules like the RE650 while plugged in to mains electricity can expose you to lethal currents. Do not open up the unit or perform any modification unless you are familiar with all safety precautions around mains electricity and properly qualified to do so. If you aren’t qualified, as I’m not, then go to some one who is, as i did.😊 Afraid I don’t have any pictures or description of how Sean attached the cable. Essentially I dropped off a unit with complete SMPS and mains plug pins removed and picked up a sealed unit with captive DC cable and 5V DC3 supply.
  4. Hey Bob, That’s a really nice piece of work. Very useful for early adopters. And knowing my own IT limits this work makes the technology available to a far wider audience. Its a great example of what collaboration can achieve, so ‘hats off’ to all the pioneers involved
  5. Blackmorec

    Delete button for new posts?

    Thanks!
  6. I tried wired ethernet, ethernet over mains, Netgear Orbi, a Google Home Wi-fi mesh and 2 range extenders, a Netgear then a TPLink. The problem is, I was trying to network 4 classifications of device.....a bunch of fixed in place network connected devices; several mobile comms devices that move around the house; a high workload fixed streaming devices like a TV with Netflix and a hi-fi system that needs plenty of uninteruppted speed and relative silence in terms of noise. Having tried everything listed above I found the best solution to be a very fast, relatively high powered 3 channel router, plus a number of extenders. That way I could put my static devices on a 2.4GHz band, which has good coverage and plenty of bandwidth, my mobile devices and hi-demand TV on a 5GHz band which has the speed and my hi-fi on its own dedicated 5GHz band. For the hi-fi I use a modified TPLInk RE650 that receives 5GHZ (2) and outputs along a short ethernet cable. It’s 2.4GHz band is switched off. You can use extenders on any of the bands and can use individual SSIDs on each extender to keep all your connections orderly. Works brilliantly for all the different devices and I seem to get no conflicts or interuptions other than in storms when the line gets flakey. One further tip. If you do this, come up with a really secure network password and use the same PW with 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,etc for each device and even for access to the online set-up. You soon remember the PW and its not hard to remember a few numbers. Makes a fairly complex set-up far easier to manage
  7. That’s not far off what I’m doing with an extender, the TPLink RE650. Can I get nice sound without a switch? Sure. But does a switch enhance SQ? Sure does. And does getting rid of all the router, switch and extender SMPSs bring anything? If you read my above post you know it’s does; big time.
  8. Blackmorec

    Delete button for new posts?

    Is there a delete button I’m not finding when you want to delete a newly written post
  9. Appreciate that. Good questions. Firstly one of the main things I appreciate about the Zenith is its solid engineering and reliability. Its easy to use and uncomplicated to set up. Suits me perfectly, so no I haven’t tested their prototype software....probably won’t either. Regarding fuses I’m still getting my head around the price of something designed primarily to break. 😊 I try to imagine myself going back to the dealer and complaining ; “it blew the second time I switched it on”.
  10. Blackmorec

    The flaws of blind listening tests

    I think what you get are people with a good knowledge about measurements and measuring who often have strong opinions based on what they know. And you get people who do not have the skill/education in electronic test and measurement, but who may have strong opinions based on what they hear, which may by the way may be accurate, sensitive and quite well refined without suffering from expectational bias, like a skilled wine taster, who is not a chemist but can still correctly differentiate wines and their ‘attributes’ .
  11. Great segueway into something I’ve been wanting to post for a while. Network tuning. I got into streaming entirely from scratch, admittedly without a deep computing background but with 40 years in high technology and hi-fi selection and tuning. Initially I bought a single Naim Muso qb and used it to learn all about streaming and networking. I also spent hours on the internet with tutorials and webcasts learning as much as possible about setting up LANs and optimising wi-fi services. In addition I spent a lot of hours reading posts on CA, learning in the process who was worth reading and whose opinions I could trust (thanks guys!). This all lead to me buying a digitally orientated system which comprised speakers, amplifiers and DAC and an Innuos Zenith MkII SE. With 30 hours under its belt the system was already sounding magical, hitting standards I’d very rarely heard. My network at the time comprised a Virgin Superhub3 modem/router, 15m of CAT6 ethernet cable into the SE. Further reading led me to add an AQVoxSwitch SE with its little wall wart PSU which AQVox claims is unbeatable in this application plus an AQVox Edge Ethernet cable Performance was magical. I felt very lucky to have such a nice system. But being an audiophile I carried on reading and soon had a USB reclocking device plus PS ready to install. The unit had received universally good reviews on CA so I was looking forward to the cherry on top of the cake. Instead I got a few improvements but overall the magic was gone. 400 hours running in didn’t really see an improvement so I returned it to my dealer, who offered to send me a 2nd unit with different, simpler PS. I gratefully accepted but with very much the same result. As soon as the unit was installed, the magical flow and soundscape of the music was gone. I decided to test the unit vs. What I consider to be a SOTA USB cable, the Synergistic Reference Atmophere X Ref. The new cable won hands down, but I still had a few tests to perform. At one point I had the Synergistic Cable in line but left the USB reclocker’s power supply plugged in. Magic gone! Unplug the little wall wart, magic back. I have a dedicated mains supply with highly optimised cable and this was obviously transmitting something from the PS to the rest of my system. With that experience, I took a fresh look at the AQVox wall wart. My Zenith SE is powered by a Sean Jacobs designed 3 rail power supply, so I elected to try one of his DC2 power supplies on the AQVox. The initial improvement was akin to comparing a suit coming out of a suitcase with one fresh from the dry cleaners. The whole thing sounded cleaner, crisper, better defined, with more timbre, more focus, more ‘life’. The unit continued to run in a frankly took about 3 months to reach its best, which comprised all the above plus an even greater sense of naturalness, life, PR&T and of course listener involvement and enjoyment. I was so impressed I traded it in.......for a DC3 with Mundorf caps. This upgrade was certainly the equal of the wallwart to DC2 upgrade, altghough I would claim it was quite a bit more extensive. It simply made everything better....frequency extremes, blackness, contrasts, image size and focus, air, detail, listener involvement, rhythm and impetus etc. I was stunned by the effect an upgrade of a single power supply to a network switch could have. If you have an AQVox then be in NO doubt that its performance can be drastically improved by a superior PSU of the DC2, DC3 ilk. Of course this all got the audiophile brain working. If this improvement could bring so much, what about the rest of the network?. I set about trying a few alternatives to the 15m ethernet cable and found that a wi-fi connection using a TP Link RE650 extender brought a significant improvement in SQ, even when using the same 15m cable to attach it to the AQVox. Can’t explain why, I’m just reporting what I heard. Replacing that 15m cable with a Synergistic Research Atmosphere X Ref brought a further significant improvement. So now its Superhub over WiFi to RE650, SR ethernet to DC3 powered AQVox and AQVox Edge ethernet to the SE. Brilliant! Of course Audiophile brain doesn’t stop there. It added a TPLink Archer 5400 3 band router so that the hifi now has its own dedicated 5GHz band. Significant improvement! Put the router on a small Atacama stand; minor but clearly heard improvement. Put a decent Meicord Ethernet cable between Superhub Modem and TPLink Archer, significant improvement. Threw out the 2 wall warts powering the modem and router and replaced them with a dual rail DC3. Major improvement. Now the biggie. Removed the built-in SMPS from the RE650 Extender, made a custom vibration isolated wall mount, asked Sean Jacobs to wire a DC3 Mundorf directly to the RE650’s board and plugged the DC3 into my dedicated mains (the RE650 had been plugged into house mains). Put both DC3s on a dual level Atacama stand Holee smoke. The system is now utterly mesmerising...the room entirely disappears and the musical energy levels are breathtaking. For example, 128Kbps Internet radio (Swiss Radio Classics) is incredibly good to listen to, highly entertaining and instantly involving. In summary, each improvement in power supply, cabling, vibration isolation brought clear improvements that increased emotional response, listener engagement and the thrill of listening to music. Neglect your network and you can spend as much as you like on the rest of your system, you’ll never achieve optimum results. And the nice thing? It probably doesn’t cost more to optimise than a really good amplifier or server and it brings far greater rewards vs. a simple box upgrade.
  12. Blackmorec

    The flaws of blind listening tests

    Manufacturers making all components is very common at the consumer level...Denon, Sony, Panasonic, Technics etc. But rarely the case at the specialist audiophile level....Magico, Rockport, YG Acoustics, Tannoy, Constellation, Boulder, BAT, Devialet, Innuos, Nordost, Synergistic Research, Shunyata, Entreq etc etc.
  13. Blackmorec

    The flaws of blind listening tests

    Well that’s a really interesting example that I disagree with about 95%, leaving a little room for a possible grain of truth😊 Firstly, most audiophiles wouldn’t be buying the cables in the first place without a thorough evaluation to ensure they’re a significant step in the right direction. Then, I’ve encountered many situations where adding an extremely well reviewed item simply hasn’t brought the hoped for results. This is often to do with the other components you’re ‘mixing’ it with. Example, I use a Finite Element Pagode Master Reference stand. It was designed by a university professor who presumably used university facilities to measure all resonances and design anti-resonance devices which are built into each shelf. Despite trying several expensive and well reviewed footers and platforms I have yet to find anything that performs better than the plain FEPR shelf. Many of the devices brought useful additions to the sound but all lost a degree of naturalness in the process. In all cases, my expectations were set by the glowing reviews but in all cases my ears told me that in my system those enhancements weren’t getting me closer to my goal of greater musical enjoyment. Personally I have one overriding goal...I get immense pleasure from listening to music.....anything that disturbs that pleasure is rejected whereas anything that enhanced that pleasure is added (I only listen to things I’m prepared to buy so nothing outside my budget). My ego has nothing to do with this. Satisfying and stimulating my musical pleasure centre is my only motivator. If there’s any emotion involved its what I’d call PPP......Post Purchase Paranoia.....usually triggered by an item going through burn-in.
  14. Blackmorec

    The flaws of blind listening tests

    Very poetic, however when you climb your mountain peak, what you see are the next peaks, higher and more magnificent than the one you’re standing on. When you achieve a system that ‘disappears’ leaving just a big, beautiful soundscape in space...no identifiable sources like speakers....when you’re there, you’ve achieved an important milestone, a system that can trick your hearing and brain into constructing a solid 3 dimensional sound stage. But that’s just a stage along the way. Get there and there are still many improvements that can be made. Greater naturalness, dynamics, speed, rhythmic drive, beauty, communication of the musical message, emotional responses, listener involvement to name just a few areas that can continue to be improved.
  15. Blackmorec

    The flaws of blind listening tests

    Expectation sure...expectation bias, not necessarily. One doesn’t automatically lead to the other. You can expect an outcome, perform a test and find your expectation isn’t fulfilled. Surely that happens often in hi-if. I’ve tried various footers under my amps but in each case preferred the amp sitting directly on the rack. If I hadn’t expected the footers to make an improvement I wouldn’t have tried them. They didn’t so I didn’t buy them, because my initial expectation was unfulfilled.
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