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The Computer Audiophile

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  1. Thanks
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to hopkins for a blog entry, ECDesigns PowerDAC-R preview   
    It’s been a long time coming…
     
    ECDesigns is a two-person operation run by brothers John and Gordon Brown; John handles circuit design and Gordon oversees the programming aspects. They are based near Eindhoven in the Netherlands, and products are sold directly through their website (www.ecdesigns.nl).
    John Brown introduced himself on DIYAudio in 2006 with these words: "I have spent my entire life designing, repairing and building electronic equipment – electronics is my passion..." He started soldering when he was 6, fixing his dad's radio. Does that make him the Mozart of digital audio? That remains to be seen.
     
    ECDesigns’ quest to improve digital audio has led over the years to many product incarnations.
     
    The first product of theirs that convinced me they were doing something different was a small USB disc player, the UPL: a battery-operated, low-noise micro-processor playing WAV files on a USB stick with a remote control and a single Toslink output. To be played, files had to be numbered 01-99 in folders numbered 01-99. What made it worth that hassle was the impressive sound quality, a result of the minimalistic design.
     
     

     
    After using the UPL I could not go back to other digital music players and have used it since as my main music source. I have often taken it along to audiophile gatherings here in Paris. While many were truly impressed by the UPL's sound quality, the inconvenience of using it meant that very few adopted it. The UPL was also a good benchmark against which other digital sources could be evaluated.
     
    ECDesigns’ DAC at the time – the MOS 16 – did not leave as lasting an impression as the UPL did, although it did perform quite well and was priced very reasonably.
     
    Fast-forward to 2020, with yet another new DAC – the DA96ETF, aka Fractal DAC.
     
     

     
     
    On this very forum, a happy few discussed it enthusiastically, offering comparisons with other – often more expensive – DACs.
     
    One technical aspect of the DAC that I found interesting (and relatively easy to understand) is key: ECDesigns implemented a mechanism to convert the I2S signal output by the Toslink “decoder” into a parallel signal using a very low bandwidth: 100kHz as opposed to several GHz.
     
    Why does that matter? Because lower bandwidth leaves less opportunity for interference to travel along the wiring and circuits.
     
    John Brown recently told me: "Designing DACs is similar to designing RF (Radio Frequency) circuits...". And that is as much as I need to know.
     
    Shortly after the release of the Fractal DAC, ECDesigns offered to retrofit this “bandwidth limiter” solution to some of the circuits in the UPL. The bandwidth limiter was not as sophisticated (and also less costly) as the one used in the DAC: it limited the bandwidth to 20 MHz from several GHz. ECDesigns sent me a second unit and I was able to compare both: sound quality had further improved, confirming the validity of their approach.  
     
    The combination of the revised UPL with the Fractal DAC offered a level of quality in digital playback beyond anything I had heard before.
     
     

     
    Could all this be further improved? Could the same audio quality be obtained from any source? John and Gordon Brown went back, once again, to the drawing board.
     
    Their newest product, the PowerDAC-R, builds and improves on these techniques while offering additional features.
     
    The PowerDAC-R
     

     
     
    The simple and slightly retro look of the PowerDAC-R appeals to me but may not please everyone. It is surprisingly small but heavy for its size, sitting firmly on its round base. The back of the unit has two RCA analog outputs, a Toslink digital input, and a USB-B plug for the power supply (5v) and firmware updates.
     
    ECDesigns sent me three additional accessories to evaluate the PowerDAC-R. These are sold separately:
     
    A self-powered USB to Toslink converter, of their own design An RCA to mini-jack adapter cable for connecting headphones to the PowerDAC-R A Remote Control for volume control and muting (volume can be controlled otherwise with the pushbuttons on top of the unit)  
     

     
     
    The unique internal design is what is worthy of our attention here.
     
    The PowerDAC has a single Toslink input (max 24/192kHz) like its predecessor but runs on an independent “master” clock.
     
     

     
    The method devised to “re-clock” the SPDIF data in the PowerDAC is proprietary:
     
    The incoming digital signal is buffered into a micro-controller’s random-access memory (RAM), sample rate is determined algorithmically, and parallel data is output based on timing provided by a single master clock (asynchronously).
     
    All data transfers occur at low bandwidth (200kHz). The critical I2S interfaces (high bandwidth, powerful RF noise source) have been completely removed.  
     
    The best of both worlds? Perfect galvanic isolation from the source with an optical Toslink input and high-precision re-clocking? ECDesigns claims, as a result, that the DAC should provide high immunity to the quality of the source. This is a bold claim that has been made before.
     
    ECDesigns offered me a pre-production model to beta test. I was very eager to see for myself how this PowerDAC performed on that aspect alone and find out what differences, if any, remained between a computer source and my trusted UPL.
     
    But wait, there’s more.
     
    The PowerDAC includes a novel amplification system with 10 volume levels (+3db each). The PowerDAC-R generates the desired output voltage by the D/A converter itself without using any amplification, buffer or attenuator circuits.
     
    ECDesigns has published pictures and technical information about the PowerDAC-R on their website: https://www.ecdesigns.nl/en/blog/rd-powerdac
     
    Listening tests – source immunity
     
    To assess the source immunity of the PowerDAC-R, I compared several sources over a few days using both my speakers and headphones:
     
     
    Sources
    Details
    UPL96ETL
    Low-noise USB key player with WAV files. ElectroTos cable with standard spdif protocol (see here: https://www.ecdesigns.nl/en/blog/upl96etl)
    RaspberryPi
    Model 4B, running Squeezelite, powered by iFi Audio iPower 5V SMPS, network through ethernet port, USB out to ECDesigns’ USB-Toslink converter
    Intel NUC
    NUC5CPYH running Daphile, powered by its standard SMPS, Toslink out from its mini-jack port
    CD Player
    Arcam FJM DV27, Toslink output
     
    I was unable to hear any differences between these sources.
     
    So I had a friend over to carry out a “blind test”. I played a well-recorded track that he is very familiar with, using both the RaspberryPi and UPL in the following order: 1) UPL 2) RaspberryPi 3) RaspberryPi 4) UPL. He thought both were excellent and guessed: 1) RaspberryPi 2) UPL 3) UPL 4) RaspberryPi.
     
    I have since been exclusively using my Intel NUC connected to the PowerDAC-R using a 1.5m Toslink cable to play music in my living room. It sounds awesome! More about this later…
     
    I also tested the PowerDAC-R using a Farad 5-volt power supply and could find no difference in sound quality – this was not the case with the previous DA96ETF DAC. The PowerDAC requires only 200mA of power at 5v. The small linear power supply provided by ECDesigns has a “reservoir capacitance” of 18800uF. The low bandwidth data communication inside the DAC also contributes to power supply “immunity”.
     
    Listening tests – volume control
     
    Output volume can be adjusted using either the remote control or the pushbuttons on the top of the unit. There are 10 (3db) steps, providing a total range of 27db. This translates into a voltage range of 44mV to 1.4 V rms, with a constant output impedance of 31.25 Ohms.
     
    The volume control can be deactivated using a jumper on the back of the unit. This results in setting the volume to its highest level (9) and deactivates the pushbuttons and remote control.
     
    During my listening tests, the use of the volume control never seemed to deteriorate sound quality.
     
    To confirm these impressions, I performed a “Bolero Test” (see here: http://www.high-endaudio.com/RC-Linestages.html#BOLERO ). I used a well-recorded CD that was recorded at low volume. “For Duke” by Billy Berry and His Ellington All-Stars is a Direct to Disc recording of exceptional quality.
     

     
    My power amplifiers (ECDesigns’ own MBV mono blocks) have three gain settings. At their lowest gain setting and with maximum volume set on the PowerDAC-R (position 9), the volume coming through my speakers was at a comfortable level. I then compared the sound with the amplifiers set at maximum gain while adjusting the PowerDAC-R’s volume control to achieve a similar sound level. I did not compare the levels exactly with a decibel meter and did not feel the need for it, as it was obvious that there was no deterioration in quality even at much lower volumes. The music sounded detailed and distortion-free even at surprisingly low volume levels.
     
    Note: the PowerDAC-R provides sufficiently fine volume adjustments (3db steps), but over a fairly narrow range (27db). If the PowerDAC-R is used with amplifiers that are too powerful for your speakers, ECDesigns suggests using fixed shunt attenuators for volume range matching.
     
    Listening tests – headphone use
     
    I tested the PowerDAC-R using two headphones: Grado GH2 and Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro. I used the short RCA to mini-jack adapter that ECDesigns sent me to connect my headphones directly to the PowerDAC-R.
     
    The PowerDAC-R was able to drive both headphones effortlessly. The volume range provided sufficient gain to reach a high level. The sound was exceptionally clear, offering a window into the recordings.
     
    I also connected the PowerDAC-R (set at max. volume) to my Hagerman Audio Tuba headphone amplifier. The presentation was slightly more “relaxed” - this could be due to some treble roll-off on the Tuba amplifier.
     
    ECDesigns have since explained that differences in perceived sound quality between solid-state and tube amplifiers may be due to improved accuracy when driving speaker coils at “constant current” (tubes) rather than “constant voltage” (solid state). Interestingly, they are developing their own tube speaker amplifier to pair with the PowerDAC-R.
     
    Listening tests – comparison with the DA96ETF
     
    Using the UPL as a source, the PowerDAC-R outperforms the previous DA96ETF DAC. There are several reasons for this improved performance:
     
    The DA96ETF is dependent on the source’s quality (jitter level). While the UPL, in its latest incarnation, offers a low-jitter signal to the DAC, it is not perfect – no source is. The DA96ETF decodes the incoming Toslink signal using a standard chip (DIR9001) that outputs I2S – as a result, I2S spectrum cannot be prevented from spreading across the DAC circuit. The PowerDAC-R has a much lower output impedance (31 Ohm versus 370 Ohm), which improves drive capability. Some adjustments have been made to the PowerDAC’s “DAC” section, now combining Fractal logic with R2R for lower bits  
    Overall sound quality of the PowerDAC-R
     
    There is no need for me to wax eloquent here. Listening to the PowerDAC-R really makes me think that I am getting the most out of my digital files, whether they are older recordings or newer releases. No other DAC has given me this impression so unambiguously. Everything sounds “right” – from the tone of individual musicians I am most familiar with to the dynamics of a large ensemble. Moreover, I doubt such quality has ever been offered by a product that is so affordable, so easy to use, and complete in and of itself (no tweaking required).  
     
    I now feel I can “check off” the digital aspect of my sound system and focus on making further improvements to the analog side. 
  2. Thanks
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to hopkins for a blog entry, A custom music application   
    I am always curious to understand how people manage their music collection, and often surprised by the creativity deployed by some.
     
    Perhaps reading about what I have designed will be of interest to others, though it is build "from scratch" and hardly replicable "as is". I'll admit that I am quite proud of my work: the results meet my specific needs.
     
    I gave Roon a try for a couple years, then gave up, explaining why here (good background on why I embarked on this project): https://community.roonlabs.com/t/bye-roon-why-i-am-not-renewing-my-subscription/67012. Roon is a superb application, but I wanted something different.
     
    I have put a lot of effort into designing my "application". I taught myself programming just to do this, because there was nothing available out there that did exactly what I wanted to do. Sounds crazy ? It probably is. But read on...
     
    Data management
     
    I wanted to have a simple and efficient way to keep track of information on my albums - credits, recording dates, and comments. This does involve some work. I do not do it for all my albums, but it has become a "hobby", and a source of great satisfaction.
     
    I wish there were a way of sharing all this information with others: having others benefit from the time I spend entering information on my albums, and being able to "reuse" others' work, but a "collaborative" system simply does not exist today. Information is available, scattered around in varying formats. So I just went ahead and did my "thing", but I hope someday a better system will be available.
     
    When I listen to music, I like to know exactly who is playing on what track. When I read interesting comments (in liner notes, reviews, websites, books...), I like to save them as well. In this "digital age", you simply don't always have the information available on hand. Its like eating cereal without being able to read the back of box at the same time - or the box has become so small you can't read the fine print any longer !
     
    Inspired by the work done by Baoshan Sheng in his excellent application "Tonal" (https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/bits-and-bytes/introducing-tonal-a-minimalist-music-app-for-collectors-and-audiophiles-r705/), I decided to enter information for each album in a simple text format, not in tags. Tags simply do not offer the same flexibility, and updating them is very tedious.
     
    I designed a simple web page with an album grid of all my albums. The albums can be sorted by "date added", "date edited", "artist", "recording date". The search bar has an "auto-suggest" with artist names.
     

     
    When I click on an album, it opens up a new page to display and edit the album. Here is an example (pdf of my web page):
     
    Album Page Example 1
     
    And here is the corresponding descriptive file, which edited "online" in each album's web page. I use a "markdown" format to identify key information entered:
    - session "title"
    - recording date
    - credits
    - comments
     
    Album Descriptive File
     

     
    Here is the same information when being edited from the album's web page:
     

     
    The markdown format can also be used to add links (to other albums, to PDFs I store on a cloud storage).
     
    There is a lot of other information I could have added: composers, labels... I chose to focus on data which was essential to me.
     
    Entering information on each album is fairly simple and quick (though those large Mosaic box sets can take some time). I do not enter detailed information, however, for all my albums. 
     
    When I add an album to my collection, the application scans the tracks and reads some basic tags: album name, track titles, album artist, and genre. It also reads each track's duration, bit size and sample rate. The tracks are copied in the descriptive file of each album, and I can then add comments/credits, reorganizing the tracks if needed, based on recording sessions, by simple copy/paste. Here is another example of an album whose track order has been reorganized to correspond to the different recording sessions. I like to play the tracks in the right order:
     
    Album Page Example 2
     
    Having all this information available "at the tip of my fingers" is very useful to search through my collection. 
     
     
    Music Playback
     
    I have integrated my application with two systems for playback:

    - ECDesign's UPL (https://www.ecdesigns.nl/en/blog/upl96etl)
    - LMS (Logitech Media Server)
     
    In both cases, it involves keeping a copy of all my files on a separate drive:

    - the UPL only works with a "local" USB drive, so copying the files is unavoidable
    - for LMS, I use a separate drive with all my files converted to WAV, by choice
     
    In both cases, the copied files are numbered with a unique identifier which is used by my application to identify albums & tracks. The process to copy files from my local "working" directory on my PC to this separate drive is automated.
     
    In my application, I have two specific pages for playback:
    - the first page displays my current playlist (the albums added to the playlist queue) and the "now playing" track and album cover
     


    - the second page displays the "now playing" album with the currently played track highlighted. This page automatically gets refreshed as the playlist progresses.
     

     
    In both cases, the web pages are synchronized with the "player" using messaging:
    - command line interface on LMS
    - ECDesign's serial port communication messages with the UPL
     
    With LMS, anything played directly from the LMS webpage will be displayed on my "now playing" pages as well.
     
    There are unfortunately very few music "players" available that can be efficiently controlled from an external application. 

    Technical aspects
     
    I store for each album a copy of the album image (original format and thumbnail) and a copy of the album descriptive file on Google Cloud Storage (this is automated when I scan my folders/add an album).
     
    The album tracks and information parsed from the descriptive file are stored in a Postgressql database hosted online (with Heroku). 
    Search is performed using Elasticsearch.
     
    Everything is written in Javascript. Tags are read using "Exiftool" (which actually only works with Flac files - there are other programs I could have used). Flac files are converted to Wav using the official FLAC program (https://xiph.org/flac/index.html).
  3. Like
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to hopkins for a blog entry, More Ellington Gems   
    The Pittsburgh Jazz Festival organized on June 20, 1965 a "Jazz Piano Workshop" which was luckily recorded and issued on CD by Mosaic Records: https://www.discogs.com/Various-The-Jazz-Piano/release/5260834. Here is a picture of the "cast" on that day: https://collection.cmoa.org/objects/cfcdaea2-de64-4f61-92cf-8f4e6d9db60f
     
    Ellington plays two numbers (in addition to a duo with Earl Hines): a spirited version of "Take the A Train", with bass and drum accompaniment, and another piece "The Second Portrait of the Lion", an homage to Willie "The Lion" Smith, who was also performing that day. This is the outstanding piece on the album.
     
    The first "Portrait of the Lion" was originally recorded in 1939 with the full band. This second portrait has little in common with the first. There are a few other performances of The Second Portrait recorded in concert (Paris, Italy and Denamark, 1967), but in shorter versions. This one is 4 minutes long, and really fascinating. 
     
    Ellington starts off with a few introductory chords that hint to a melody, as if he had just sat down to compose. Humming along (as The Lion often did), he jumps into a very "classical" stride theme, which he then proceeds to "deconstruct" only to jump back into the same stride theme a second time, to "deconstruct" it once again but this time moving into a slower solo (at 1:40) that lasts for over a minute and a half (up to 3:00). In this long interlude, Ellington is exploring: he hints back to the stride theme at various points, leads us into different melodies, constantly changing, as if he were composing "live" (this was certainly improvised) - everything is in motion. The stride theme is then played a third time, but this time ends in a series of chords (at 3:15) that sets us up for another slow ending, more coherent, poised, and in which the stride theme seems (to me) perfectly merged into the slow melody, as if to say that the pianist had succeeded in this transformation and found his inspiration and peace.
     
    This is a brilliant homage of Ellington to the pianists that inspired him in his youth, with a perfect balance between classical and modern, that transcends any categories. As with anything published by Mosaic Records, the sound quality is good !
     
     
  4. Upvote
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to hopkins for a blog entry, Lady Day   
    In 1946 Hollywood made a film about Jazz  - "New Orleans" - and cast Billie Holiday, arguably the most influential singer in Jazz, in a secondary role as a servant.
     
    Yesterday, Hollywood celebrated Andra Day's depiction of Billie in the biopic "The United States vs Billie Holiday". Times have changed (though it could be argued there is still much progress to be made), but Billie Holiday is still remembered today as a "tragic" figure, somewhat obscuring her lasting contributions to American music - as exemplified by the "voice" himself, Frank Sinatra, who said in 1958: "Billie Holiday was, and still remains, the greatest single musical influence on me. Lady Day is unquestionably the most important influence on American popular singing in the last 20 years" (quoted in John Chilton's excellent book "Billie's Blues").
     
    Unlike Sinatra, Billie Holiday never achieved stardom during her lifetime. Her recordings were never best-sellers. It is hard to believe when listening to her wonderful recording sessions during her prime, starting with the famous Teddy Wilson small group sessions. In these sessions, Billie Holiday is one of the many "soloists", and her singing is often limited to a few verses - the 78 format obviously limiting the duration to 3 minutes.
     
    There is  little recorded trace of her singing live in clubs (her preferred venues) or concert halls, probably due to her lack of popular appeal ? This absence (comparable to missing footage of Sugar Ray Robinson in his prime, for a sports fan), is regrettable.
     
    Here is one of my favorites, recorded in January 1937 - a charming short song by Irving Berlin. Here are the lyrics:
     
    This year's crop of kisses
    Don't seem as sweet to me
    This year's crop just misses
    What kisses used to be
    This year's new romance
    Doesn't seem to have a chance
    Even helped by Mr. Moon above
    This year's crop of kisses is not for me
    For I'm still wearin' last year's love.
     
    This is her first recording with Lester Young. He sets the mood after a brief piano introduction by Teddy Wilson. Following her vocals, Wilson has a solo, followed by a very nice trumpet solo by Buck Clayton, another of her favorite accompaniests. The all-star cast is also composed of Benny Goodman blowing in the background, and a rhythm section with Freddie Green on guitar, Walter Page on bass, and Jo Jones on drums.
     
     
     
    The sound quality is not optimal. There are different masterings available, but ultimately this is secondary. 
  5. Thanks
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to bobfa for a blog entry, ADNACO-S3B USB 3.0/2.0 OVER FIBER OPTIC EXTENSION SYSTEM   
    https://www.adnaco.com/products
     
     
    Adnaco Remote host USB system is a PCIe to USB extender.  There is a  PCIe card that provides two USB 3.0 ports extended remotely by Fiber Optic Cables.  
    In an audio PC, this removes the USB interface from the noisy PC motherboard.  For better audio, use a high-quality power supply on the endpoint.
    I have found that this interface provides significantly improved sound quality vs. the USB ports on a typical PC Motherboard.
    Adnaco also sells a four-port card that can extend to multiple endpoints.  Several members of the forum have tested different SFP+ and fiber options to improve the sound even further.
     
     

    You can find ordering information here:
     
     
    https://adnacom.com/s3b/

     
  6. Upvote
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to DuckToller for a blog entry, Like a late November afternoon sky: About DACs and smartphones - an opinion:   
    Could we relate to DACs performance somehow like to a fall afternoon’s beautiful cloudy sky?
    I assume It may lie in the eye of the beholder which picture carries more beauty for him or her while obviously there are objective criterias to define a picture's qualities.
    For example, I’ve selected 2 fall sky images I took with my then smartphone in 
    2016 and 2018
    The technical quality is limited, the impression may suit you or not. But is as much in line how I saw the sky as I could capture it.
    It may be as the sky has inteded to be seen or even better ...

    We may have to note different schools of thought and beliefs when it comes to converting a digital signal into an analog one. Worlds collide and we’ve seen friendships ending about that dispute.
    I haven't got a final solution for this problem, however I’ve tried to create an approach for me that is workable for reviewing audio equipment for enthusiasts without suffering the maelstrom of the subjective/objective divide.
    As a rule of thumbs, I'd generally agree to the argument that - given all variables (DAC chip, implementation, components, signal path) are equal - equally measuring DACs should sound the same - transparent - and in possible cases the small but measurable variations are beyond most DAC's owner threshold of audibility.
    Nevertheless, the devices that convert our high quality digital signal show often differences like numbers and types of digital inputs, power supplies, functionality, comfort (Display/Remote/Menu & submenu), design of analog stages, network and streaming functions, DSP function and Upsampling options, software certifications along with their implementation, signal path design, case design, power supply design (internal/external) and on and on ... you name it. These differences - in my opinion - establish the markets for DACs and may have great importance for many of us.
    I assume most people allow themselves to have a personal answer to the question if it sounds different when the device has i.e. black PCBs, dual DAC chips, a 4k display and a 5 digit price tag, while design wise and proven by measurements another device under 1k may show equal performance & sonic qualities.
    In my opinion, even if it shouldn't be always like this, the personal reception is king.

    On the other hand it is usually quite critical when that personal reception subsequently evolves as the baseline for generalization for the audio hobby ... many of us are accustomed to avoid that trap...
    I for myself am aware that my bias, this untamed beast, all too often eats my objective findings for breakfast and remunerates me with toxic pleasure when listening to music with my system feels like bliss.
    There are the moments I notice clear differences, for example when I've sent back the MOON Ace loaner in September, an All-in-1 device that has an ESS Sabre 9010 DAC chip implemented, a service which I ceased to use as the ACE sounded clearly better using the analogue input and external DACs with Burr Brown (iFi) or ESS90382qM (ALLO Revolution) chips.
    Important note: I had almost 500 hours of burn in for the unit (about 400h advised by the manufacturer) before it opened up for its best performances. Sounds like a crappy phrase, but happened to be reality with this unit. I remember that in contrast to the Moon, the S300 allowed me from the first second to perceive a different presentation from other amolifiers. However, the step back to the PS Audio S300 Class-D power amp which I've appreciated for a long time proved extremely difficult for me because I sensed the absence of some sound quality in an unknown - quite physical - manner. This immediate lack of listening pleasure shocked and surprised shocked me somehow. The Stellar amp isn't a slouch, although subjectively warmer with less details and different in its form of presentation. It occured also as less pronounced and musical. Consequently, in the first weeks after my "loss" I went continuously to HiFiShark looking for MOON power amps …

    You may have noticed one thing or another implied with that anecdote:
    DACs may sound different to us, and amplifiers sometimes too. Bias is a beast and without DBTs the world may offer more romance and emotions. I can imagine that precisely this romance and emotions are the key for the entry door into snake oil and salesmen phrases, for sure. Your choice to take it or not. What's my approach then? I'll try to balance it out, somehow.
    Firstly, and most importantly I am looking at technology&features and their implementation. Secondly, giving an attempt of subjective impression & advice based on personal experience.
    If you are only interested in objective information, feel free to scrap that, it shouldn't be important to you.
    Hint: the subjective reading is always in the 2nd part.

    However, I feel that many readers like to read subjective impressions too, at least people often ask after perceived differences for orientation. Most of them - I would assume - are educated enough to take such descriptions with a pinch of salt.

    Another POV:

    In my view, DAC markets are already saturating with new "price/performance" champions every other month, so the risk of buying too early is permanent. Having seen this week a fully balanced DAC with dual ESS chips going at 380 Euros with everything the LA has to offer PLUS  remote, volume knob, display, an easy understandable menu and stellar measurements should give anyone some food for thought.

    It reminds me a lot about the market for android smartphones, where you'll get a very good performing processor like the one used in the latest Google Pixel 5 (Snapdragon 765G) with almost every feature you may need between 250 $ up to 800 bucks (Black Friday offers included). To relate the performance of 765G in comprehensible numbers for audiophiles, as a DAC it would be an ESS9038q2m with DSD256-512 while the ToL Snapdragon 865 chip may be the equivalent to an ES9038PRO doing DSD1024.
    BBK, the parent company of Oppo, Realme, 1Plus, Vivo and IQOO, alone had 14 entries in that list of 28 phones I found at dealntech.com sporting the 765G. Buy one now and next year you will peek again about what may keep you interested and perhaps makes you happy. sound a bit same/same for DAC/smartphone, however use cases imho look a bit different.

    I had been back in the smarthone game in the last weeks shortly before the Black Friday madness.
    I could sense that I was getting very excited about getting one of my "dream" phones for less than 400 bucks instead of 800 last year. Thus, after a thorough reality check I bought a sub 200$ phone, which does everything very well and allows me to check again next year in November ... perhaps for a 5g phone then ...;-)
  7. Thanks
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to hopkins for a blog entry, Meet Jan Evensmo - Jazz Archeologist   
    You may have come across Jan Evensmo's work referenced in jazz publications or liner notes or by reading his fascinating website  -http://www.jazzarcheology.com/ . I contacted him and he kindly agreed to answer a few questions:
     
    Q: Your website is entitled "the treasures of vintage jazz". You have written "solographies" of numerous famous or lesser known artists.  When did your passion for jazz start and how did you come to writing these solographies?
     
    It started when I was 15, and a few years later I joined the Oslo Jazz Circle, the knowledge center of Jazz in Norway.  I am not of those blessed with a good memory, and often I could not remember where the good guys were soloing. It started with tenorsaxist Leon «Chu» Berry with Fletcher Henderson and Cab Calloway, so I made a survey of that, and called the concept «solography». In there, I also dared to write some personal comments, called «advanced jazz consumer information».
     
    Q: How difficult is it to find all the recordings nowadays? Have you had the opportunity to discover unpublished recordings? 
     
    Most is quite easy. Spotify has helped me a lot. But it all started with my own and friends’ collections, contacts in various countries, later Rutgers University, Institute of Jazz Studies and others. Unpublished recordings are part of the concept, and people send me such things quite often, there are so much you would not believe, and it needs to be collected before the owners pass away.
     
    Q: How many people subscribe to your website? 
     
    Since «jazz archeology» is really something for specialists and not the ordinary jazz amateur consumer, I have not done much marketing. My newsletter reaches around 500 people.
     
    Q: What are you working on at the moment ? 
     
    I need to have several artists in parallel to be able to come up with something new every second month. Right now I am working hard on tenorsaxist Hank Mobley, a fantastic musician.
     
    Q: Your solographies provide not only factual data but personal appreciation of the music. How has your taste and music appreciation evolved over the years? Do you sometimes correct earlier appreciations?
     
    Interesting question! Difficult to answer though. I know that my taste has broadened during more than sixty years of listening. I find qualities in artists that I dismissed too easily before. And I sometimes  look at what I wrote before and found some youthful exaggerated negative critique. Otherwise I am the same guy!
     
    Q: I understand you had the opportunity to personally know some of these great artists. Can you tell us about some of these encounters?
     
    Well, I am doing jazz archeology, and that means so many great artists are dead already. I never met Charlie Parker or Lester Young or many others in person. Though I have met Ben Webster, Buddy Tate, Roy Eldridge, Irving Randolph, Illinois Jacquet to mention some during the solography work. Did not involve them deeply in that though. Nice guys!!
     
    Q: Is vintage jazz at risk of being lost or forgotten ?
     
    I wish I knew. I believe jazz is so strong an art, that the results from the past will always be treasured and protected by experts. The records of Billie Holiday/Teddy Wilson, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, to mention some from the thirties will survive anything, but probably only for a minority of people. I am more worried about lesser known artists. Knowledge about jazz has never been highly appreciated, even by many who buy records and enjoy the music. There seems to be many anti-intellectual jazz enthusiasts around. So whether Robert Carroll, Paul King, Leonard Ware, Tina Brooks, George Chisholm, Clyde Hart, Jerry Blake, Alvin Burroughs, to mention a few, will be remembered in 2050, I doubt.
     
    Q: Audiophile Style readers may be curious to know what audio equipment you have at home 
     
    My audio equipment is very modest, just an amplifier, CD-player, turntable (with all speeds) and cassette player, all old stuff. Had to give up the reel player. And a pc connected to play all the music files I receive, plus spotify. I have never been very interested in sound as such. I noticed that people with expensive equipment always had very few records to play!!
     
    Q: Can you also tell us a few words about your music collection ?
     
    I never had the money to go for a really large and systematic collection. I have around 2500 CDs, 4500 LPs and 1000 78s; this is nothing compared to many people I have had contact with and who have helped me.
     

     
    Thanks Jan, I look forward to reading your next articles. Until then, as Jan himself invariably ends his emails: "Keep Swinging" !
     
    Since Jan mentioned him, we will finish this short entry with Clyde Hart accompanying on piano Roy Eldridge and Chu Berry in 1938:
     
     
    You can find out more about Clyde Hart on Jan's site here: http://www.jazzarcheology.com/clyde-hart/
     
     
     
  8. Thanks
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to Phil C for a blog entry, USB and Other Digital Cables Roundup as of July 2020   
    Introduction
    Sources for this cable roundup are mainly "Recommended Components" lists, "Editors' Choices" lists, and audio component reviews that mention the digital cable included in the reviewer’s stereo system.  If a cable appears frequently and over several years in these sources, my theory is that it may very well be a superior cable and worthy of consideration.  I hope that my fellow audiophiles and music aficionados will find this roundup helpful, for instance, when researching and shopping for a cable.  Speaker cables and analog interconnects are not included in this roundup.  
     
    The cables are divided into two lists:  1) USB Cables, and 2) Other Digital Cables.  You can find prices following each list. 
     
    USB Cables
     
    2020
    Audioquest Coffee USB cable was in Kalman Rubinson's audio system for a JL Audio Fathom subwoofer review in Stereophile, August 2020, Vol. 43, No. 8.
     
    Nordost Odin 2 and Valhalla 2 USB cables were listed as associated equipment in Jason Victor Serinus's Gold Note DS-10 DAC review in Stereophile, August 2020, Vol. 43, No. 8.
     
    2019
    Audioquest Coffee USB cable were used by Sasha Matson in a Wilson Audio Sasha DAW speaker review and by Kalman Rubinson in a Benchmark LA4 preamplifier review in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    Audioquest Cinnamon USB cable was used by Herb Reichert in an Elac Carina BS243.4 speaker review in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    Nordost Odin 1, Odin 2, and Valhalla 2 USB cables used by Jason Serinus in his Gryphon Ethos CD player & D/A processor review in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    Black Cat Digit-USB cable was reviewed by Tom Lyle, Enjoy-The-Music online, March 2019 and by Dave Clark, positive-feedback.com, Issue 103, April 22, 2019.
     
    Recommended USB cables listed in The Absolute Sound High-End Buyer's Guide 2020: 
    Belkin Gold Series
    Audioquest Forest
    Audioquest Carbon
    Audioquest Diamond
    Straightwire USB-Link
    Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7
    Clarus Cable Crimson
    Nordost Heimdall 2
    Shunyata Research Sigma (TAS editor Robert Harley's reference)
    Audience Frontrow
    Synergistic Research Galileo SX.  
     
    Kubala-Sosna Sensation USB cable was reviewed by Maurice Jeffries in positive-feedback.com, Issue 105, September 1,2019. 
     
    Mytek USB cable was used by Ken Micallef in a Trenner & Friedl Osiris speaker review in Stereophile, November 2019, Vol. 42, No. 11.
     
    2018
    Skogrand Beethoven USB cable was reviewed by Dave Clark, positive-feedback.com, June 14, 2018. 
     
    Audience AU24sx USB cable was reviewed by Ayles Astor, positive-feedback.com, Issue 98, June 25, 2018. 
     
    Nordost Purple Flare USB review by Jeff Dorgay, Tone Audio website, October 2018.  
     
    2017
    Curious USB cable and Anticables USB cable was reviewed by Dave Clark, positive-feedback.com, Issue 90, February 20, 2017.
     
    Kimber Kable Axios USB cable was reviewed by Robert Levi, positive-feedback.com, Issue 92, July 17, 2017. 
     
    2016
    Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 USB cable used by Chris Connaker, editor Audiophilestyle.com, in his MQA review dated February 5, 2016.
     
    Audioquest Coffee, Nordost Blue Heaven, and Nordost Heimdall 2 USB cables were used by Kirk Midtskog in a Hegel H360 amp review in The Absolute Sound, Feb. 2016, Issue 260.
     
    2015
    Curious USB cable was reviewed by John Darko Audio online, 2015. He called it a knockout cable from Australia.
     
    Audioquest Diamond and Cardas Clear USB cables were used by Jon Iverson is his review of the Apogee Electronics Groove DAC/headphone amp in Stereophile, January 2016, Vol. 39, No.1.
     
    Audience Au24 SE USB cable was reviewed by editor Robert Harley at theasolutesound.com in the Guide to Cables, Power Products, Accessories, & Music 2015 (free download). He concluded, "priced at the very top end of the scale, but if you want a no-compromise USB cable, look no further."
     
    Oyaide d+ Class A USB 2.0 cable was reviewed and highly recommended by Karl Schuster at theasolutesound.com in the Guide to Cables, Power Products, Accessories, & Music 2015 (free download).
     
    Kubala-Sosna Research Realization USB cable received a positivefeedback.com 2015 Brutus Award by editor David Robinson. He said it "is absolutely the best USB cable that I've heard to date. You can quote me on that…and you can take it to the bank."
     
    JPlay JCat Reference USB cable was reviewed by Paul Candy, positive-feedback.com, Issue 79, May 24, 2015.  
     
    Audioquest Diamond, Wire World Platinum Starlight 7, and Nordost Purple Flare USB cables were used by John Connaker in his review of the Schitt Audio Yggdrasil DAC in ComputerAudiophile.com on November 3, 2015.
     
    Kubala-Sosna Research Realization USB cable was reviewed by Steven Plaskin at Audiostream.com on October 22, 2015. He compared it to the Audioquest Diamond, Light Harmonic LightSpeed 10G USB, and Synergistic Research Galileo LE USB Cables. He said that it "receives my strongest accolades as the most satisfying USB cable I have had the pleasure to audition."
     
    The Shunyata Vemon and Audioquest Carbon USB cables were recommended as good matches with the Benchmark DAC2 HGC digital/analog converter by Steven Plaskin in the comments section of his review of the Kubala-Sosna Research Realization USB cable (see above).
     
    DanaCable USB cable was reviewed by Wayne Donnelly at EnjoyTheMusic.com in the September 2015 edition.
     
    Clarus Crimson USB and Kimber Kable KS2436 USB cables were reviewed by Neil Gader on August 26, 2015 in a The Absolute Sound online review. He gave the Clarus Crimson USB a Golden Ear Award 2015.
     
    Stereophile online 2015 Recommended Components (queried May 15, 2015):
     
    AudioQuest Forest iPod–USB cable
    Transparent Audio Performance USB cable
     
    Shunyata Research Venom USB cable. Reviewed positively by Steven Plaskin, Audiostream.com, April 30, 2015. In the review, he mentioned the Belkin Pro Series USB cable negatively and called the Audioquest Diamond USB cable one of his favorites.
     
    2014
    DH Labs Silver Sonic USB, Cardas Clear USB, and Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7.0 USB cables were reviewed online by Jonathan Lo, EnjoyTheMusic.com, mid-December 2014. The Belkin Gold Series USB cable is also mentioned in comparison.
     
    Nordost Blue Heaven USB cable. Listed as associated equipment by Art Dudley, Stereophile, July 2014.
     
    Audioquest Diamond USB cable, Stealth Varidig Sextet USB cable, and the Synergistic Research USB Active SE cable were compared online by Andy Schaub, positive-feedback.com, Issue 72, March/April 2014.
     
    The Absolute Sound (TAS) 2014 High-End Audio Buyer’s Guide, Issue 237 recommendations:
     
    Audioquest Carbon
    Audioquest Diamond
    Audioquest Forest
    Belkin Gold Series
    Straightwire USB-Link
    Wireworld Platinum Starlight
    Wireworld Silver Starlight
     
    The Absolute Sound 2013 Editors’ Choice Awards, Issue 241, March 2014 recommendations:
     
    Audioquest Carbon
    Audioquest Diamond
    Belkin Gold Series
    Wireworld Platinum Starlight
    Wireworld Silver Starlight
     
    Audioquest Coffee and Belkin Gold USB cables were used by Stereophile editor John Atkinson as associated equipment in a  DAC review. Source: Stereophile, March 2014, Vol. 37, No. 3.
     
    Audioquest Diamond and Cardas Clear USB cables were used by Jon Iverson as associated equipment in a DAC review. Source: Stereophile, March 2014, Vol. 37, No. 3.
     
    Light Harmonic LightSpeed USB cable was used in a Ayre QB-9 DSD DAC review in Audiostream online by Michael Lavorgna on February 24, 2014.
     
    Cardas Clear and DH Labs Silver Sonic USB cables were used by Erick Lichte as associated equipment in a DAC review. Source: Stereophile, February 2014, Vol. 37, No. 2.
     
    Audioquest Diamond and Wireworld Sliver Starlight USB cables were used by Chris Connaker as associated equipment in recent reviews on 1/29/2014.
     
    Light Harmonic LightSpeed and Synergistic Research USB Active SE cables were deemed the best sounding match with the Bricasti Design M1 DAC under review by Steven Plaskin in Audiostream online on January 20, 2014.
     
    2013
    Stereophile online 2013 Recommended Components:
     
    Audioquest Forest
    Transparent Audio Performance
     
    Pranawire Photon USB cable won a Positive Feedback 2013 Brutus Award from editor David Robinson. He stated this is his new reference standard.
     
    Purist Audio Design Ultimate, Wywires Litespd, and Light Harmonic Lightspeed USB cables won Positive Feedback 2013 Brutus Awards from editor Dave Clark.
     
    Audioquest Diamond and Synergistic Research USB Active SE cables were deemed the best sounding match with the Benchmark DAC2 HGC under review by Steven Plaskin in Audiostream.com, December 4, 2013.
     
    USB cables that Plaskin uses in his own high end system are: Audioquest Diamond and Light Harmonic LightSpeed.
     
    In Audiostream.com, there is a review of three cables titled, “USB Cable Shootout” by Steven Plaskin, April 22, 2013, for the Audioquest Diamond, Synergistic Research USB Active SE cable with Enigma Tuning Circuits, and Wireworld Platinum Starlight.
     
    2012
    Wireworld Platinum Starlight USB cable won a TAS 2012 Golden Ear Award from Alan Taffel in the Sept. 2012 issue.
    Audioquest Diamond USB cable review in TAS March 2012 by editor Robert Harley. This is his reference cable.
     
    DH Labs Silver Sonic USB cable was reviewed favorably by Tom Gibbs in Positive Feedback, Issue 59, Jan/Feb 2012 edition.
     
    DH Labs Silver Sonic USB cable won a Goodsound/SoundStage! 2012 Great Buy Award. Reviewed by Hans Wetzel, January 1, 2012.
     
    USB Cables Price List
    Anticables (1m $240)
    Audience Au24 SE USB cable (length not specified; $895 single connector; $995 double connector)
    Audience Frontrow ($1300)
    Audioquest Carbon (0.75m $150; 1.5m $200)
    Audioquest Coffee (0.75m $279; 1.5m $349)
    Audioquest Cinnamon (0.75m $80; 1.75m $100)
    Audioquest Diamond (0.75m $600; 1.5m $760)
    Audioquest Forest (0.75m $35; 1.5m $50)
    Audioquest Forest iPod–USB cable (1.5m $39)
    Belkin Gold Series (1m $15)
    Belkin Pro Series (6ft $8.25)
    Black Cat Digit-USB (1m $749)
    Cardas Clear (1m $168)
    Clarus Crimson (1m $250; 2m $350)
    Curious (1m, $399)
    DanaCable (2m $895)
    DH Labs Silver Sonic (1m $70; 1.5m $80)
    JPlay JCat Reference (1m $499)
    Kubala-Sosna Research Realization (1m $3500)
    Kubala-Sosna Sensation (1m $2200)
    Kimber Kable Axios (1m $900)
    Kimber Kable KS2436 (1m/$1195)
    Light Harmonic Lightspeed (1.6m $1399)
    Mytek ($100)
    Nordost Blue Heaven (1m $249; 3m $699)
    Nordost Heimdall 2 ($1m $499)
    Nordost Purple Flare (1m $200)
    Nordost Valhalla 2 (1m $3500)
    Oyaide d+ Class A USB 2.0 (1m $50; 2m $70; 3m $90)
    Pranawire Photon (0.6m $995; 1.2m $1295)
    Purist Audio Design Ultimate (1m $995)
    Shunyata Research Sigma ($995)
    Shunyata Research Venom (.75m $125; 1.5m $195)
    Skogrand Beethoven (1.5m $14,000)
    Stealth Varidig Sextet (1m $3,000)
    Straightwire USB-Link (1m, $50; 1.5m, $60)
    Synergistic Research Galileo SX (1m $2995)  
    Synergistic Research USB Active SEe w/ Enigma Tuning Circuits (1m $595)
    Transparent Audio Performance (1m $95)
    Wireworld Platinum Starlight (1m $599)
    Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 (1m $700)
    Wireworld Silver Starlight (1m $275)
    Wywires Litespd (1.5m $799)
     
    Other Digital Cables 
     
    2019
    Straightwire Info-Link AES/EBU and coaxial digital cables recommended in The Absolute Sound High-End Buyer's Guide 2020.    
     
    Audioquest Diamond AES/EBU digital cable was used by Sasha Matson in a Wilson Audio Sasha DAW speaker review in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    Esperanto Audio S/PDIF coaxial cable and a DH Labs AES/EBU cable were used by John Atkinson in a NAD M10 integrated amplifier review in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    Kimber Kable D60 Data Flex Studio coaxial cable was used by Herb Reichert in an Elac Carina BS243.4 speakers review in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    Kimber Kable AGDL coaxial cable was used by Tom Norton in a Monitor Audio Gold 300 speaker review in Stereophile, November 2019, Vol. 42, No. 11.
     
    2017
    Esperanto Audio Black S/PDIF coaxial cable was reviewed by Michael Zisserson at Positive Feedback website, Issue 91, May 5, 2017.
     
    2016
    Audioquest Hawkeye 75 Ohm and Shunyata Anaconda Ztron S/PDIF digital cables were used by Kirk Midtskog in a Hegel H360 amp review in The Absolute Sound, Feb. 2016, Issue 260.
     
    2015
    Empirical Design ED-120 Coaxial 75 Ohm Digital cable is part of reviewer's Karl Schuster's stereo system as noted in his review of the Oyaide d+ Class A USB 2.0 cable at theasolutesound.com in the downloadable Guide to Cables, Power Products, Accessories, & Music 2015.
     
    Stereophile online 2015 Recommended Components (queried 5/15/2015):
     
    Canare DigiFlex Gold model RCAPOO3F digital cable (75 ohm)
    DH Labs Silver Sonic D-110 AES/EBU digital cable
    Kimber Orchid AES/EBU digital cable
    Kubala-Sosna Expression digital cable (75 Ohm)
     
    2014
    Black Cat Veloce 75 Ohm digital cable was listed as associated equipment by Kalman Rubinson, Stereophile, July 2014. (Also, reviewed in 6moons.com, July 2010, by Srajan Ebaen.)
     
    DH Labs Silver Sonic D-110 AES/EBU digital cable was used by Stereophile editor John Atkinson as associated equipment in a DAC review. Source: Stereophile March 2014, Vol. 37, No. 3.
     
    DH Labs Silver Sonic D-110 AES/EBU digital cable and Stereovox HDVX coaxial cable were used by Erick Lichte as associated equipment in a Benchmark DAC2 HGC review. Source: Stereophile, February 2014, Vol. 37, No. 2.
     
    Straightwire Info-Link AES/EBU and Coaxial Digital Cable in The Absolute Sound 2014 High-End Audio Buyer’s Guide (other digital cables) Source: Issue 237.
     
    Transparent XL Reference Digital Link cable (75 Ohm; 110 Ohm) in TAS Editor's Choice Awards 2014. Reviewed by Jacob Heilbrunn in TAS January 2014, Issue 239.
     
    2013
    Stereophile online 2013 Recommended Components:
     
    Analysis Plus Digital Oval
    Canare DigiFlex Gold model RCAPOO3F 75 ohm
    DH Labs Silver Sonic D-110 AES/EBU
    Kimber Orchid AES/EBU
    Kubala-Sosna Expression
     
    2012
    Ocellia Reference Cables digital cable won a 6Moons.com Blue Moon Award in September 2012.
     
    2011 and Prior
    Stereovox XV2 75 Ohm Digital cable was reviewed by Rick Becker at EnjoyTheMusic.com in July 2006.
     
    Stereovox HDVX Coaxial Digital cable was reviewed favorably in Enjoy the Music.com in January 2004 by Todd Warnke. This site has several other cable reviews.
     
    Rick Becker, EnjoytheMusic.com, July 2010, reviewed three digital cables: Harmonic Technology Photon S/PDIF, Audio Sensibility Statement S/PDIF, and Teo Audio Liquid.
     
    Kimber D-60 digital cable (75 ohm). Audio Advisor states that this was a Stereophile recommended cable in 1996.
     
    Other Digital Cables Price List
    Analysis Plus Digital Oval 75 Ohm (1m $190)
    Audio Sensibility Statement S/PDIF (1.0/1.5m $199)
    Audioquest Diamond AES/EBU (1m $1200)
    Audioquest Hawkeye S/PDIF 75 Ohm (2m $200)
    Black Cat Veloce 75 Ohm (1.23m $123)
    Canare DigiFlex Gold model RCAPOO3F 75 Ohm (3ft $19)
    DH Labs Silver Sonic D-110 AES/EBU (1m $99)
    Empirical Design ED-120 coaxial 75 Ohm (3ft $96; 5ft $110; 8ft $131)
    Esperanto Audio S/PDIF coaxial (price unknown)
    Esperanto Audio Black S/PDIF coaxial ($1000) 
    Harmonic Technology Photon S/PDIF (length unknown $1900)
    Kimber AGDL coaxial (1m $600)
    Kimber D-60 75 Ohm (.5m $228; 1m $390)
    Kimber Orchid AES/EBU (1m $757)
    Kubala-Sosna Expression (1m $775)
    Nordost Odin 2 75 Ohm or 110 Ohm (1.25m $11,000)
    Ocellia Reference Cables (1m $1027)
    Shunyata Anaconda Ztron S/PDIF (1m $1250)
    Stereovox HDVX coaxial (1m $100 in yr. 2004)
    Stereovox XV2 75 Ohm (1m $150)
    Straightwire Info-Link AES/EBU/coaxial (1m $300; 1.5m $400)
    Teo Audio Liquid (1m $749)
    Transparent XL Reference Digital Link (75 Ohm $3195; 110 Ohm $3595)
  9. Thanks
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to Phil C for a blog entry, USB and Other Digital Cables Roundup as of July 2020 Revision 1   
    Introduction
    Sources for the digital cable roundup include the Internet and audiophile publications and are mainly "Recommended Components" lists, "Editors' Choices" lists, and audio component reviews that mention the digital cable included in the reviewer’s own stereo system.  These are lists and reviews I have happened upon over the years.  I have no doubt overlooked many lists and reviews, so let me know and I can include them next update.
      
    If a cable is mentioned frequently and over several years, my theory is that it may very well be a superior cable and worthy of consideration.  Here’s hoping my fellow audiophiles and music aficionados will find this roundup helpful, for instance, when comparison shopping for a cable. 
     
    Note:  Speaker cables and analog interconnects are not included in this roundup, digital only.  
     
    There are two sections:  1) USB Cables, and 2) Other Digital Cables.  Price lists follow each section. 
     
    One last comment I just can’t pass up:  Prices range broadly from $8.25 to $14,000.
     
    USB Cables
     
    2020
    Recommended USB cables listed in The Absolute Sound High-End Buyer's Guide 2020: 
    Audioquest Carbon
    Audioquest Diamond
    Audioquest Forest
    Audience Frontrow
    Belkin Gold Series
    Clarus Cable Crimson
    Nordost Heimdall 2
    Shunyata Research Sigma (TAS editor Robert Harley's reference)
    Straightwire USB-Link
    Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7
    Synergistic Research Galileo SX  
     
    Audioquest Coffee USB was used in Sasha Matson's review of Wilson Audio Sasha DAW speakers in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    Audioquest Cinnamon USB cable was used by Herb Reichert in an Elac Carina BS243.4 speaker review in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    Audioquest Coffee USB cable was listed as associated equipment in Kal Rubinson's the Benchmark LA4 preamplifier review in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    Pangea Premier SE USB was listed as associated equipment in Tom Gibb's review of the Bel Canto e1X amplifier, stereophile.com, May 14, 2020.
     
    Audioquest Coffee USB was in John Atkinson's audio system for the Parasound Halo JC1+ mono amplifier review in Stereophile, June 2020, Vol. 43, No. 6.
     
    Audioquest Carbon, Cinnamon, and Coffee USB cabless were listed as associated equipment in Jim Austin's review of the T+A MP 3100 HV SACD player/streaming DAC in Stereophile, June 2020, Vol. 43, No. 6.
     
    Audioquest Diamond USB was used in Robert Schryer's review of Totem Acoustic Skylight speakers in Stereophile, June 2020, Vol. 43, No. 6.Audioquest Diamond and Cardas Clear High Speed USB cables were used by Herb Reichert in his review of Tannoy Revolutions XT 6 speakers in Stereophile, July 2020, Vol. 43, No. 7.  
     
    Audioquest Coffee USB cable was in Kalman Rubinson's audio system for the JL Audio Fathom subwoofer review in Stereophile, August 2020, Vol. 43, No. 8.
     
    Nordost Odin 2 and Valhalla 2 USB cables were listed as associated equipment in Jason Victor Serinus's Gold Note DS-10 DAC review Aavik Acoustics U-380 integrated amp reviews in Stereophile, August 2020, Vol. 43, No. 8.
     
    2019
    Audioquest Coffee USB cable was used by Sasha Matson in a Wilson Audio Sasha DAW speaker review and by Kalman Rubinson in a Benchmark LA4 preamplifier review in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    Nordost Odin 1, Odin 2, and Valhalla 2 USB cables were mentioned by Jason Serinus in his Gryphon Ethos CD player & D/A processor review in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    Black Cat Digit-USB cable was reviewed by Tom Lyle, Enjoy-The-Music online, March 2019 and by Dave Clark, positive-feedback.com, Issue 103, April 22, 2019.
     
    Nordost Purple Flare USB cable was in a review by Michael Mercer, theabsolutsound.com, June 18, 2019.
     
    Kubala-Sosna Sensation USB cable was reviewed by Maurice Jeffries in positive-feedback.com, Issue 105, September 1,2019. 
     
    Mytek USB cable was used by Ken Micallef in a Trenner & Friedl Osiris speaker review in Stereophile, November 2019, Vol. 42, No. 11.
     
    Kimber Kable USB B CU USB cable is recommended by Steven Rocklin, enjoythemusic.com in the Great Audiophile Gifts 2019 article.
     
    2018
    Skogrand Beethoven USB cable was reviewed by Dave Clark, positive-feedback.com, June 14, 2018. 
     
    Audience AU24sx USB cable was reviewed by Myles Astor, positive-feedback.com, Issue 98, June 25, 2018. 
     
    Nordost Purple Flare USB review by Jeff Dorgay, Tone Audio website, October 2018.  
     
    2017
    Curious USB cable and Anticables USB cable was reviewed by Dave Clark, positive-feedback.com, Issue 90, February 20, 2017.
     
    Kimber Kable Axios USB cable was reviewed by Robert Levi, positive-feedback.com, Issue 92, July 17, 2017. 
     
    2016
    Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 USB cable used by Chris Connaker, editor Audiophilestyle.com, in his MQA review dated February 5, 2016.
     
    Audioquest Coffee, Nordost Blue Heaven, and Nordost Heimdall 2 USB cables were used by Kirk Midtskog in a Hegel H360 amp review in The Absolute Sound, Feb. 2016, Issue 260.
     
    2015
    Curious USB cable was reviewed by John Darko Audio online, 2015. He called it a knockout cable from Australia.
     
    Audioquest Diamond and Cardas Clear USB cables were used by Jon Iverson is his review of the Apogee Electronics Groove DAC/headphone amp in Stereophile, January 2016, Vol. 39, No.1.
     
    Audience Au24 SE USB cable was reviewed by editor Robert Harley at theasolutesound.com in the Guide to Cables, Power Products, Accessories, & Music 2015 (free download). He concluded, "priced at the very top end of the scale, but if you want a no-compromise USB cable, look no further."
     
    Oyaide d+ Class A USB 2.0 cable was reviewed and highly recommended by Karl Schuster at theasolutesound.com in the Guide to Cables, Power Products, Accessories, & Music 2015 (free download).
     
    Kubala-Sosna Research Realization USB cable received a positivefeedback.com 2015 Brutus Award by editor David Robinson. He said it "is absolutely the best USB cable that I've heard to date. You can quote me on that…and you can take it to the bank."
     
    JPlay JCat Reference USB cable was reviewed by Paul Candy, positive-feedback.com, Issue 79, May 24, 2015.  
     
    Audioquest Diamond, Wire World Platinum Starlight 7, and Nordost Purple Flare USB cables were used by John Connaker in his review of the Schitt Audio Yggdrasil DAC on November 3, 2015, in ComputerAudiophile.com (remaned AudiophileStyle.com).
     
    Kubala-Sosna Research Realization USB cable was reviewed by Steven Plaskin at Audiostream.com on October 22, 2015. He compared it to the Audioquest Diamond, Light Harmonic LightSpeed 10G USB, and Synergistic Research Galileo LE USB Cables. He said that it "receives my strongest accolades as the most satisfying USB cable I have had the pleasure to audition."
     
    The Shunyata Vemon and Audioquest Carbon USB cables were recommended as good matches with the Benchmark DAC2 HGC digital/analog converter by Steven Plaskin in the comments section of his review of the Kubala-Sosna Research Realization USB cable (see above).
     
    DanaCable USB cable was reviewed by Wayne Donnelly at EnjoyTheMusic.com in the September 2015 edition.
     
    Clarus Crimson USB and Kimber Kable KS2436 USB cables were reviewed by Neil Gader on August 26, 2015 in a The Absolute Sound online review. He gave the Clarus Crimson USB a Golden Ear Award 2015.
     
    Stereophile online 2015 Recommended Components (queried May 15, 2015):
     
    AudioQuest Forest iPod–USB cable
    Transparent Audio Performance USB cable
     
    Shunyata Research Venom USB cable. Reviewed positively by Steven Plaskin, Audiostream.com, April 30, 2015. In the review, he mentioned the Belkin Pro Series USB cable negatively and called the Audioquest Diamond USB cable one of his favorites.
     
    2014
    DH Labs Silver Sonic USB, Cardas Clear USB, and Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7.0 USB cables were reviewed online by Jonathan Lo, EnjoyTheMusic.com, mid-December 2014. The Belkin Gold Series USB cable is also mentioned in comparison.
     
    Nordost Blue Heaven USB cable. Listed as associated equipment by Art Dudley, Stereophile, July 2014.
     
    Audioquest Diamond USB cable, Stealth Varidig Sextet USB cable, and the Synergistic Research USB Active SE cable were compared online by Andy Schaub, positive-feedback.com, Issue 72, March/April 2014.
     
    The Absolute Sound (TAS) 2014 High-End Audio Buyer’s Guide, Issue 237 recommendations:
     
    Audioquest Carbon
    Audioquest Diamond
    Audioquest Forest
    Belkin Gold Series
    Straightwire USB-Link
    Wireworld Platinum Starlight
    Wireworld Silver Starlight
     
    The Absolute Sound 2013 Editors’ Choice Awards, Issue 241, March 2014 recommendations:
     
    Audioquest Carbon
    Audioquest Diamond
    Belkin Gold Series
    Wireworld Platinum Starlight
    Wireworld Silver Starlight
     
    Audioquest Coffee and Belkin Gold USB cables were used by Stereophile editor John Atkinson as associated equipment in a  DAC review. Source: Stereophile, March 2014, Vol. 37, No. 3.
     
    Audioquest Diamond and Cardas Clear USB cables were used by Jon Iverson as associated equipment in a DAC review. Source: Stereophile, March 2014, Vol. 37, No. 3.
     
    Light Harmonic LightSpeed USB cable was used in a Ayre QB-9 DSD DAC review in Audiostream online by Michael Lavorgna on February 24, 2014.
     
    Cardas Clear and DH Labs Silver Sonic USB cables were used by Erick Lichte as associated equipment in a DAC review. Source: Stereophile, February 2014, Vol. 37, No. 2.
     
    Audioquest Diamond and Wireworld Sliver Starlight USB cables were used by Chris Connaker as associated equipment in recent reviews on 1/29/2014.
     
    Light Harmonic LightSpeed and Synergistic Research USB Active SE cables were deemed the best sounding match with the Bricasti Design M1 DAC under review by Steven Plaskin in Audiostream online on January 20, 2014.
     
    2013
    Stereophile online 2013 Recommended Components:
     
    Audioquest Forest
    Transparent Audio Performance
     
    Pranawire Photon USB cable won a Positive Feedback 2013 Brutus Award from editor David Robinson. He stated this is his new reference standard.
     
    Purist Audio Design Ultimate, Wywires Litespd, and Light Harmonic Lightspeed USB cables won Positive Feedback 2013 Brutus Awards from editor Dave Clark.
     
    Audioquest Diamond and Synergistic Research USB Active SE cables were deemed the best sounding match with the Benchmark DAC2 HGC under review by Steven Plaskin in Audiostream.com, December 4, 2013.
     
    USB cables that Plaskin uses in his own high end system are: Audioquest Diamond and Light Harmonic LightSpeed.
     
    In Audiostream.com, there is a review of three cables titled, “USB Cable Shootout” by Steven Plaskin, April 22, 2013, for the Audioquest Diamond, Synergistic Research USB Active SE cable with Enigma Tuning Circuits, and Wireworld Platinum Starlight.
     
    2012
    Wireworld Platinum Starlight USB cable won a TAS 2012 Golden Ear Award from Alan Taffel in the Sept. 2012 issue.
    Audioquest Diamond USB cable review in TAS March 2012 by editor Robert Harley. This is his reference cable.
     
    DH Labs Silver Sonic USB cable was reviewed favorably by Tom Gibbs in positive-feedback.com, Issue 59, Jan/Feb 2012 edition.
     
    DH Labs Silver Sonic USB cable won a Goodsound/SoundStage! 2012 Great Buy Award. Reviewed by Hans Wetzel, January 1, 2012.
     
    USB Cables Price List
    Anticables (1m $240)
    Audience Au24 SE USB cable ($895)
    Audience Frontrow ($1300)
    Audioquest Carbon (0.75m $150; 1.5m $200)
    Audioquest Coffee (0.75m $279; 1.5m $349)
    Audioquest Cinnamon (0.75m $80; 1.75m $100)
    Audioquest Diamond (0.75m $600; 1.5m $760)
    Audioquest Forest (0.75m $35; 1.5m $50)
    Audioquest Forest iPod–USB cable (1.5m $39)
    Belkin Gold Series (1m $15)
    Belkin Pro Series (6ft $8.25)
    Black Cat Digit-USB (1m $749)
    Cardas Clear (1m $168)
    Cardas Clear High Speed (1m $400)
    Clarus Crimson (1m $250; 2m $350)
    Curious (1m, $390)
    DanaCable (2m $895)
    DH Labs Silver Sonic (1m $70; 1.5m $80)
    JPlay JCat Reference (1m $500)
    Kubala-Sosna Research Realization (1m $3500)
    Kubala-Sosna Sensation (1m $2200)
    Kimber Kable Axios (1m $900)
    Kimber Kable USB B CU USB (0.5m $50)
    Kimber Kable KS2436 (1m/$1195)
    Light Harmonic Lightspeed (1.6m $1400)
    Mytek ($100)
    Nordost Blue Heaven (1m $250; 3m $700)
    Nordost Heimdall 2 ($1m $500)
    Nordost Purple Flare (1m $200)
    Nordost Valhalla 2 (1m $3500)
    Oyaide d+ Class A USB 2.0 (1m $50; 2m $70; 3m $90)
    Pangea Premier SE (1m $50)
    Pranawire Photon (0.6m $995; 1.2m $1295)
    Purist Audio Design Ultimate (1m $995)
    Shunyata Research Sigma ($995)
    Shunyata Research Venom (.75m $125; 1.5m $195)
    Skogrand Beethoven (1.5m $14,000)
    Stealth Varidig Sextet (1m $3,000)
    Straightwire USB-Link (1m, $50; 1.5m, $60)
    Synergistic Research Galileo SX (1m $3000)  
    Synergistic Research USB Active SEe w/ Enigma Tuning Circuits (1m $595)
    Transparent Audio Performance (1m $95)
    Wireworld Platinum Starlight (1m $600)
    Wireworld Platinum Starlight 7 (1m $700)
    Wireworld Silver Starlight (1m $275)
    Wywires Litespd (1.5m $800)
     
    Other Digital Cables 
     
    2020
    DH Labs AES/EBU cable was in John Atkinson's audio system for the Parasound Halo JC1+ mono amplifier review in Stereophile, June 2020, Vol. 43, No. 6.
     
    Audioquest Diamond AES/EBU digital cable was used in Sasha Matson's review of Wilson Audio Sasha DAW speakers in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    2019
    Straightwire Info-Link AES/EBU and coaxial digital cables recommended in The Absolute Sound High-End Buyer's Guide 2020.    
     
    Audioquest Diamond AES/EBU digital cable was used by Sasha Matson in a Wilson Audio Sasha DAW speaker review in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    Esperanto Audio S/PDIF coaxial cable and a DH Labs AES/EBU cable were used by John Atkinson in a NAD M10 integrated amplifier review in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    Kimber Kable D60 Data Flex Studio coaxial cable was used by Herb Reichert in an Elac Carina BS243.4 speakers review in Stereophile, January 2020, Vol. 43, No. 1.
     
    Kimber Kable AGDL coaxial cable was used by Tom Norton in a Monitor Audio Gold 300 speaker review in Stereophile, November 2019, Vol. 42, No. 11.
     
    2017
    Esperanto Audio Black S/PDIF coaxial cable was reviewed by Michael Zisserson at positive-feedback.com, Issue 91, May 5, 2017.
     
    2016
    Audioquest Hawkeye 75 Ohm and Shunyata Anaconda Ztron S/PDIF digital cables were used by Kirk Midtskog in a Hegel H360 amp review in The Absolute Sound, Feb. 2016, Issue 260.
     
    2015
    Empirical Design ED-120 Coaxial 75 Ohm Digital cable is part of reviewer's Karl Schuster's stereo system as noted in his review of the Oyaide d+ Class A USB 2.0 cable at theasolutesound.com in the downloadable Guide to Cables, Power Products, Accessories, & Music 2015.
     
    Stereophile online 2015 Recommended Components (queried 5/15/2015):
     
    Canare DigiFlex Gold model RCAPOO3F digital cable (75 ohm)
    DH Labs Silver Sonic D-110 AES/EBU digital cable
    Kimber Orchid AES/EBU digital cable
    Kubala-Sosna Expression digital cable (75 Ohm)
     
    2014
    Black Cat Veloce 75 Ohm digital cable was listed as associated equipment by Kalman Rubinson, Stereophile, July 2014. (Also, reviewed in 6moons.com, July 2010, by Srajan Ebaen.)
     
    DH Labs Silver Sonic D-110 AES/EBU digital cable was used by Stereophile editor John Atkinson as associated equipment in a DAC review. Source: Stereophile March 2014, Vol. 37, No. 3.
     
    DH Labs Silver Sonic D-110 AES/EBU digital cable and Stereovox HDVX coaxial cable were used by Erick Lichte as associated equipment in a Benchmark DAC2 HGC review. Source: Stereophile, February 2014, Vol. 37, No. 2.
     
    Straightwire Info-Link AES/EBU and Coaxial Digital Cable in The Absolute Sound 2014 High-End Audio Buyer’s Guide (other digital cables) Source: Issue 237.
     
    Transparent XL Reference Digital Link cable (75 Ohm; 110 Ohm) in TAS Editor's Choice Awards 2014. Reviewed by Jacob Heilbrunn in TAS January 2014, Issue 239.
     
    2013
    Stereophile online 2013 Recommended Components:
     
    Analysis Plus Digital Oval
    Canare DigiFlex Gold model RCAPOO3F 75 ohm
    DH Labs Silver Sonic D-110 AES/EBU
    Kimber Orchid AES/EBU
    Kubala-Sosna Expression
     
    2012
    Ocellia Reference Cables digital cable won a 6Moons.com Blue Moon Award in September 2012.
     
    2011 and Prior
    Stereovox XV2 75 Ohm Digital cable was reviewed by Rick Becker at EnjoyTheMusic.com in July 2006.
     
    Stereovox HDVX Coaxial Digital cable was reviewed favorably in Enjoy the Music.com in January 2004 by Todd Warnke. This site has several other cable reviews.
     
    Rick Becker, EnjoytheMusic.com, July 2010, reviewed three digital cables: Harmonic Technology Photon S/PDIF, Audio Sensibility Statement S/PDIF, and Teo Audio Liquid.
     
    Kimber D-60 digital cable (75 ohm). Audio Advisor states that this was a Stereophile recommended cable in 1996.
     
    Other Digital Cables Price List
    Analysis Plus Digital Oval 75 Ohm (1m $190)
    Audio Sensibility Statement S/PDIF (1.0/1.5m $199)
    Audioquest Diamond AES/EBU (1m $1200)
    Audioquest Hawkeye S/PDIF 75 Ohm (2m $200)
    Black Cat Veloce 75 Ohm (1.23m $123)
    Canare DigiFlex Gold model RCAPOO3F 75 Ohm (3ft $19)
    DH Labs Silver Sonic D-110 AES/EBU (1m $99)
    Empirical Design ED-120 coaxial 75 Ohm (3ft $96; 5ft $110; 8ft $131)
    Esperanto Audio S/PDIF coaxial (price unknown)
    Esperanto Audio Black S/PDIF coaxial ($1000) 
    Harmonic Technology Photon S/PDIF (length unknown $1900)
    Kimber AGDL coaxial (1m $600)
    Kimber D-60 75 Ohm (.5m $228; 1m $390)
    Kimber Orchid AES/EBU (1m $757)
    Kubala-Sosna Expression (1m $775)
    Nordost Odin 2 75 Ohm or 110 Ohm (1.25m $11,000)
    Ocellia Reference Cables (1m $1027)
    Shunyata Anaconda Ztron S/PDIF (1m $1250)
    Stereovox HDVX coaxial (1m $100 in yr. 2004)
    Stereovox XV2 75 Ohm (1m $150)
    Straightwire Info-Link AES/EBU/coaxial (1m $300; 1.5m $400)
    Teo Audio Liquid (1m $749)
    Transparent XL Reference Digital Link (75 Ohm $3195; 110 Ohm $3595)
  10. Thanks
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to hopkins for a blog entry, In Praise of Ellington - The Pianist   
    Duke Ellington recorded music for 50 years.
     
    Ask any Ellington fan to pick their favorite album, they will not be able to decide. Ever changing, throughout these 50 years, but always distinctive, what is it that makes Ellington so special ?  His arrangements, his compositions, his ability to gather in his band the best talents and use them at their best ?
     
    One aspect which I find fascinating is his piano playing. His style and sound is instantly recognizable, and forms the "foundation" of many of his recordings: it shows great finesse, inventivity, while having an exciting quality. But most of all, there is "depth" in his playing. A single chord will resonate and touch your soul ! 
     
    This is what Earl  Hines has to say about Ellington (in "The World of Earl Hines"): "I think that what made him so different as a pianist was that he was not just a stylist and an arranger, but a composer, too. I wish he had made more solo records, but I never forget how he could stimulate that band of his. Sometimes you might hear them playing at a dance before he arrived. Then he would come out and sit down at the pinao, and the difference was like night and day. He had a lot of rhythmic drive."
     
    Eddie Lambert, in his book "A Listener's guide", provides a very articulate description of his qualities, in reference to the sessions with Hodges and Edison released as "Back To Back" (and part of "Side By Side"):
     
    "Duke's perfromance here [on "Back To Back"] is one ot the most inventive displays by a jazz soloist in the entire history of jazz. Ellington does not have the virtuosity of Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, or Earl Hines, but he has a balance in his musical vocabulary which none of these possesses, as well as invention which surpasses that of any other jazz soloist except Louis Armstrong.
     
    In the piano solos, everything is in proportion - melody, harmony, and rhythm combine in a remarkably articulate language. And Ellington improvises with all three elements, creating new melodic patterns, new rhythmic shapes, and unusual harmonic blends […]
     
    His beautiful touch is also in evidence, as is his subtle way of playing chords with each note given a different weight. Ellington's solo mood on these performances varies from the musing intimacy of Beale Street Blues to the wild, driving conclusion to Stompy Jones. Not the least impressive aspect of Duke's playing on the sessions is his absolute mastery of the blues idiom. It is fascinating too to hear his accompaniments in such an impromptu setting, exactly the right chord, figuration, or riff pattern always effortlessly to hand."
     
    So here is an illustration - perhaps one of my favorites after all. Does it get any better than this ?
     
     
  11. Thanks
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to hopkins for a blog entry, Loren Schoenberg on Ben Webster   
    Loren Schoenberg (of the the National Jazz Museum in Harlem) has published a four part lecture on Ben Webster on YouTube. 
     
    The production is not of the highest quality (but the content easily makes up for it), and some of the tracks are better heard on youtube directly or from your collection, if you can find them. There are quite a few rarities.
     
     
    Part 1:
     
     
    Part 2:
     
     
    Part 3:
     
     
    Part 4: 
     
     
     
     
     
    An excellent "solography" of Ben Webster is available here, to discover some of his best tracks: http://www.jazzarcheology.com/?s=ben+webster
     
    Here's a good one, with Johnny Hodges, recorded live at the Jazz Cellar in San Francisco (the song is also titled "One For Duke" on another release), on November 22, 1960:
     
     
     
  12. Like
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to hopkins for a blog entry, Ellington gems   
    Ellington never ceases to amaze and suprise me. Witness this short piece, released by Storyville earlier this year: "The Lake", part of his suite "The River", and performed at the end of a 1969 concert. Here are the Storyville notes: 
     
    "On November 7th, 1969, Duke Ellington and his orchestra played two concerts in Rotterdam, in the famous De Doelen concert hall. The second concert of the evening was prolonged, as the public wouldn’t let Ellington go. So while the rest of the bandmembers left the stage, a quartet with Duke, Wild Bill Davis, bassist Victor Gaskin and drummer Rufus Jones stayed, and played four more numbers, much to the delight of the sold-out house. You can hear the whole band concert on the Storyville CD “Rotterdam 1969” (1018440), and here we offer the ”afterparty” music by the quartet. "
     
    Check it out ! 
     
    https://storyvillerecords.bandcamp.com/track/the-lake
  13. Like
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to hopkins for a blog entry, Japanese greetings   
    At this time it is relevant to reflect on the merits of japanese-style greetings. Respect can be shown to others while avoiding the traditional western handshake. 
     
    Bowing can start when you first see the person at a distance, and continue as you approach them, but has to stop at a one meter distance !
     
    Avoid the mistakes of Trump and Obama.
     
     
     
     
     
     

  14. Thanks
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to hopkins for a blog entry, my simple system   
    After spending quite a few years experimenting with various components, I finally have a system which satisfies me, so I thought I would describe it and explain why.
     
    Speakers: Davis Courbet 4 (http://www.davis-acoustics.com/en/courbet-n4/)
    Amplifier: Lavardin ISX (http://www.lavardin.com/lavardin-isE.html)
    DAC: ECDesigns MOS16 DAC (https://www.ecdesigns.nl/de/info/mos16)
    Source: ECDesigns UPL (with ElectroTos cable) (https://www.ecdesigns.nl/de/info/upl16)
     

     
    The speakers are the latest models that the french company Davis has produced. They are floor-standing two way speakers, with a crossover at 4000 Hz. In the few reviews that have been published, they are described as "well integrated" with a natural, transparent, and cohesive sound. I feel they are particularily well suited to medium size rooms - living spaces which do not have the acoustic characteristics of dedicated listening rooms. I previously had Harbeth P3ESR (anniversary) speakers, and the Davis are IMO much better on all aspects of sound reproduction.
     
    The integrated amplifier Lavardin ISX is well suited to these speakers, and is both dynamic and transparent. The volume control is very precise, and does not seem to degrade the sound quality in any way. A good power cable (I use TWL) is a plus. The amplifier is plugged in to a Daitron Isolation Transformer (the models recommended by J.Swenson for their ability to filter high frequency noise on the power lines), and I feels that adds a little plus as well. Lavardin is known for their implementation of "memory distortion" principles (see here, for example: http://peufeu.free.fr/audio/memory/). I don't understand the technical aspects, but I do feel the Lavardin is a very transparent amplifier.
     
    The DAC and source, I will comment on together. The UPL reads wav files from USB keys, and outputs an optical signal. The UPL was initially using a standard Toslink interconnect to the DAC, but ECDesigns have developped a novel interlink called "ElectroTos", which basically consists in putting the LED on the DAC side. Its all explained here: https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/79452-building-ultimate-nos-dac-using-tda1541a-744.html#post6031506
      The UPL is a "pain" to use as you need to copy your music files to USB keys, and I cannot "stream" (but I don't, as I only listen to my own albums, or to the radio). But so far, it is simply the best digital source I have heard - and I have heard quite a lot... ECDesigns will be coming out soon with a new "product line", which promises to offer superior quality than the UPL using a simple USB->ElectroTos adapter plugged in to any computer - if that turns out to be the case, then there will be no need for "optimized" servers/players - a small reveolution for computer audiophiles !   The system as a whole is not "high end" (read: expensive), it is simple, and I really enjoy it as it is very natural and non-fatiguing. All this I believe comes from the use of very "transparent" components. When I listen to music, I am not thinking of the system, but simply enjoying the music     I listen essentially to Jazz. A lot of what I listen to is not extremely well recorded. In order to "test" my system, I always play both very well recorded tracks, and at the opposite poorly recorded tracks. My acid test, is to listen to early Bessie Smith recordings (I can recommend the Frog Record CDs) - I can now say that those recordings have come to life.   I am now looking forward to ECDesign's new product line to be able to achieve even better sound quality (I have no idea how that will sound !) with the convenience of using a regular computer (or something like a raspberryPi) as a source to browse and play through my entire music colleciton and dispense of USB keys. 
  15. Upvote
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to bobfa for a blog entry, The NAS (Network Attached Storage)   
    The NAS (Network Attached Storage) is a type of computer that, in general, has a single function.  It contains some form of data storage devices such as disk drives or SSD devices.  The primary purpose of a NAS is to make the information stored on the drives available to other computers on the network through file sharing.  Ordinarily, the user interface is via a web browser.  
     
    Over time the operating system and applications on NAS computers have gotten more powerful. Companies such as Synology and Qnap have developed many tools in their NAS devices to allow them to function on many more roles that the file server. In audio applications, the NAS is principally used to store large quantities of music files.  Also, the NAS can have software applications installed to act as a music server and more.
     
    There is more information on Wikipedia: 
     
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Network-attached_storage
     
  16. Like
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to NOMBEDES for a blog entry, Twits on Twitter   
    If 50% of the accounts on Twitter are bots, how can they make any money on advertising?   I mean, bots don't buy peanut butter, do they?
  17. Upvote
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to 1s&0s for a blog entry, Now Playing...   
  18. Upvote
    The Computer Audiophile reacted to wgscott for a blog entry, Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data   
    This looks like it might be a good University of Washington course, perhaps even with relevance to audiophile-type issues we debate.
     
    http://callingbullshit.org/syllabus.html
     
     
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