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Norton

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  1. You’re not going to go wrong with either the Planar 3 or 6. Best thing, as ever, is to audition back to back if possible and decide if the 6 is worth the extra. But any reason why you’re not considering used or at least ex demo for your budget? Used TTs and tone arms are fairly safe buys IME, cartridges AYOR of course.
  2. I tried a (well thought of) glass toslink cable between UPL and MOS. I was surprised to hear an immediate difference compared with the plastic cable I had been using (it’s just 1s & 0’s right?), but even more surprised that this was not to the advantage of the more expensive glass cable. With the glass cable it seemed to me as if the magic of this combo was diminished, the sound to me was brighter and harsher, just like I’d expect with increased jitter. Just my subjective opinion, YMMV etc. However, I did check with EC Designs. Seems that their measurements have indicated increased jitter at the optical receiver when using a glass cable and put this down to timing effects resulting from the multitude of individual fibres, compared to single fibre plastic cables. Seems that they recommend basic plastic cables with the UPL/MOS for +ve SQ, not just economy.
  3. Maybe not the exact comparison you are looking for, but last year I owned both an Esoteric K05x player and Resonessence Mirus DAC with integrated SD card transport. I sold the Esoteric and kept the Resonessence as I considered (comparing rips with physical media for same discs) the latter to at least equal the Esoteric on SACD and better it by some margin on RBCD. I’ve recently been using the EC designs UPL/MOS16 transport and DAC, a £700 combo playing RBCD from USB sticks. It would be interesting to compare back to back now with the K05x, but from memory, my sense is that the EC Designs kit would easily outperform the Esoteric on RBCD, at least for detail retrieval. YMMV of course, and at £7k the K05x is just one rung above entry level in the Esoteric range with a more modest transport... so maybe not the comparison you intended.
  4. I have two well known UK dealers on my doorstep. Both seem politely indifferent to MQA. I suspect this is simply down to the fact that, in the context of overall portfolio at a bricks and mortar dealer, MQA partner hardware just doesn’t generate significant revenue, or where it does, MQA replay itself is not the deciding factor. Likewise, I imagine that customers of traditional hi fi dealers are not at the heart of MQA strategy - probably a lot more potential for licence revenue to be generated from partner phones, chips etc.
  5. I didn’t think that artist revenue was necessarily the driving force of streaming services. Perhaps a legal/territorial dispute shuts out an artist or they are deemed too obscure, unpopular or too dead to be worth streaming anymore. Or they are still streamed but no longer in the format you want, or with audible watermarks or with restrictions on what DSP you can apply etc etc. Actually I have no problems with streaming at present (with caveats), I’m just pointing out that being concerned about the specific potential for DRM in MQA, if you are all in with streaming, is a bit like walking naked into the lions’ cage smeared in meat paste and worrying it might turn a bit chilly later on.
  6. You’re presuming that in a future scenario where streaming becomes the default supply medium, you’ll still have the opportunity to buy music. It’s the same argument others use against the DRM potential of MQA. I’m suggesting that, in both impact and likelihood, considerations of your right to the music and how that might be managed in streaming per se far outweigh those of MQA in isolation, which is in practice just one streaming technology.
  7. In the UK we have an expression “Can’t see the wood* for the trees”. Always amazes me that some of the people who get het up about the potential of DRM in MQA seem to be enthusiastic, unquestioning users of streaming services, where the issue is not so much the management of rights, but whether the user has any rights to anything specific in the first place. AFAIK no streaming service guarantees its paid-up users continued, let alone perpetual, access to any specific album or track; which (along with SQ) is why I’d only ever use a streaming service to supplement, rather than replace, my own library. *forest.
  8. +1 on both counts. The UPL/MOS has been my only digital source for a few weeks now. I know there’s a danger of throwing hyperbole around in audiophile circles, but for me (used to £5k+ sources in the past 4 years) these are truly disruptive products and a genuine reference in the sense that, providing the limitations of format and convenience can be lived with (or maybe even if you think you can’t), it would be wise to hear them before investing in anything else, regardless of budget. YMMV of course. I have no connection with EC Designs other than as a v.satisfied customer, but interesting to speculate where they go from here.
  9. Maybe he’s trying to bring it back from the Brink? Or just sees it as a path towards identifying “Sonic Hedonism For Everyone”?
  10. Thank you for a great piece Rajiv. I’ve read few (any?) other reviews that give such a comprehensible impression as to what something sounds like. I was struck by your comments about being able to maintain focus, if you so chose, on a particular instrument throughout a large-scale piece. This is something I’ve also noticed, but via a very different approach to digital audio, with the inexpensive EC designs transport and DAC I’ve been using in the last month. I have a suspicion the ECD UPL might be a great optical source for Chord DACs or the HMS. Going shopping for a DAC and ending up with a DAC, HP amp and something else unplanned is par for the course in this hobby. Looking for a phono stage or simply getting my power amp serviced proved particularly expensive in “knock on” purchases in my case. A DAC 64 and then ( 10 years later) Hugo were my first “serious” DACs and Chord don’t seem to have put a foot wrong in recent years. I’m intrigued by the M Scaler though and what it is doing that can’t be replicated by a pc running HQP etc, although my own experience with HQP has been a little underwhelming compared to what others report. Maybe the HMS dual wire spdif output has something to do with it? On the one hand a cynic might say this is to lock the user into the Chord ecosystem, on the other hand it limits in turn the likely use of (and sales) of the HMS outside of (some) Chord DACs. Why no USB output for example? Enjoy your new purchases. Looking forward to your big HP review.
  11. What’s different about these cards? They don’t seem particularly cheap compared to new SDXC etc, so I must be missing something to do with the SLC designation?
  12. Does your CD player have an option to disable digital output?
  13. Hi, I posted some impressions in the EC designs DAC thread:
  14. There’s a 24/96 version too at extra cost , although still very reasonably priced. My recommendation though would be to get the matching DAC as well (also comes in 16 and 24 bit versions)
  15. To compare and contrast, a Mirus Signature Pro has been my main DAC for the last year and I disagree in spirit if not the letter with all of the above. No, SD card is not a “revelation” vs. USB but it is certainly better SQ wise. I also found it easy, enjoyable and reliable to use. As I understand it, neither the UPL16 nor MOS16 applies any form of over/upsampling. Having been through the gamut of software players and DACs that do, plus a decent hires and DSD library, what I would describe as a revelation is how much better the ECD Kit sounds with plain old 16/44, sans upsampling, transcoding, LPS, networks, servers, renderers, NAAs, audiophile cables, power conditioners, USB toys etc etc etc etc.
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