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SoundSparks

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  1. Dear experts: I have been following this fruitful discussion closely and found it very informative. My experience auditioning Lindemann musicbook:10 DSD in two quality setups (PASS Labs and Simaudio MOON power and pre) clearly demonstrates I was unable to distinguish reliably DAC direct vs. preamp mode. It “seems” I preferred DAC direct in PASS setup, and preamp mode with Simaudio MOON. I can offer no explanation here, unfortunately enough…
  2. Thank you very kindly, dear experts! Like many of us in this wonderful hobby, I am after the SOUND, recreating the life-like atmosphere of concert hall in my listening space... Would you, dear experts, consider MATRIX Audio X-SABRE PRO (MQA) DAC to represent a good choice (my budget is only up to about 2K): it is hard for me to "decipher" the manual to understand if the analogue output stage, digital volume control, PSU, and other elements employed are of acceptable quality... And another silly question: what separate pre-amplifier would be required in order to at least correspond to the specs of this DAC (SNR >-129dB 20Hz-20kHz A-Weighting and THD+N <0.00030% at 20Hz-20kHz A-Weighting)? Just found another possible contender: TOPPING D90 DAC. What do you think of this budget-friendly option, please? Alternatives? Please chime in!
  3. Dear experts: Many DACs have volume control function so they could serve as a DAC or as a DAC + Pre-amplifier. Could you please report on the differences in the sound of your systems in both cases? The latter configuration provides shorter signal path, but how does it effect the sound? What variables are in play here? I am planning my setup and would appreciate your expert advice very much indeed. Please chime in!
  4. Thank you, Ajax! Could you please give me your opinion on Mac mini / MacBook vs. Aries? I wonder which Mac you prefer...
  5. Thank you @BeerAndMusic! Yes, that's exactly it: Player - DAC = Transport ZENITH fits the bill perfectly. Thank you! The Qutest looks very interesting indeed, but why 1x stereo pair of RCA out only? No balanced out. This I cannot understand... And it is stated Optical input takes up to 192kHz/24bit: I used to believe it is limited to 96kHz... How is your hunt for the amp going? Would you consider vintage gear at all?
  6. Thank you very kindly! Any recommendations for the Network Music Transport, please? I wish I could afford the LUMIN U1... Wow! I am thoroughly surprised you did not mention Schiit's Yggdrasil DAC in your recommendations on the DACs below 3k... I must confess it was my first choice.... I guess I was wrong, and now need to look at Chord (up to 768kHz/32bit; DSD64 - DSD512) and Mytek (balanced out) DACs instead. Thank you, @BeerAndMusic!
  7. @BeerAndMusic, Since you are still on the market for an integrated amp, may I respectfully suggest you to consider Luxman Laboratory Reference Series integrated amplifiers? I believe the sound signature they have is quite similar to the McIntosh sound you prefer. Would the forum participants agree with such qualification? Have you had a chance to compare your NT503 network player and Cambridge Audio CXN: I am looking for a network player up to 1K mark and these two seems to come quite often? Or should I just stay with my headless Mac mini and call it a day... In case of the mini I will need an outboard DAC, obviously, and am wondering if there are DACs below 3K providing functionality and sound similar to McIntosh DA1 module ...
  8. What are the anticipated changes to the DA module, please? Timeline? Any info would be much appreciated, @BeerAndMusic! Are you happy with your interim solution, PM7005, please? How would you describe the SOUND? Please chime in!
  9. Thank you Chris! Do you remember, by any chance, how the sound changed after the PSU upgrade from internal to external, please? What external PSU did you go with, please?
  10. Thank you very kindly! This is a great news: saves me quite a bit! Unexpected, since Mini has its PSU inside the body, and MacBook is equipped with an external one... Could you please comment on the sound of Mini equipped with HDD vs. SSD? I wouldn't expect any differences since under Audirvana Plus all processing done before playback from RAM... Not sure if I got this right... All opinions are most welcome!
  11. RE: Mac Mini vs. MacBook for music server? Thank you @Dynobot: excellent resource! I was looking for some info on the above question in your Primer, and would very much like to hear your opinion, please. I've been getting into computer-based audio, and had been planning on picking up a Mac Mini for use as a music server (perhaps one of the headless models), and have it connected via USB to an external DAC (Gumby, probably) feeding a preamplifier. My question: Does a Mac Mini necessarily make more sense than a MacBook? Is there a real advantage to using a Mini, sonically or otherwise, over MacBook? Thanks for your help on this.
  12. What are the I2S DAC boards, similar to 502DAC for Raspberry Pi, available for ASUS Tinker Board, please? Any advantages over RPi + 502DAC? Please chime in!
  13. Any feedback on using Melco vs. Aurender? Can either one be connected directly to DAC via Ethernet?
  14. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year dear friends! Thank you very kindly @One and a half and @lmitche for your most appreciated help! It is a very, very impressive performance from Topaz: 140dB/65dB noise reduction! I wonder how would Balanced Power Supply from Goertz Audio compare... Please chime in!
  15. Thank you very kindly for the info @lmitche! Hopefully, 1000VA, the largest Balanced Power Supply offered, will provide adequate power for my gear... Could you please suggest me a suitable power strip from Tripp Lite? There are way too many choices and am not sure what product would be the best: Bench and Cabinet Power Strips, Hospital and Medical Power Strips, ...
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