after TT upgrade, digital sounds like crap- help


I listen to mostly digital, and a bit of high quality 180g, 200g, etc vinyl. I upgraded my turntable, cartridge, and rack yesterday. I'm having a problem now in that my digital chain is sounding quite pale in comparison to some of my favorite vinyl. It's not sounding bad, just a bit cold, stale, hollow, etc in comparison. I'm not down with this at all.

I'm wondering if anyone may be able to suggest a method (maybe new piece of gear) to help fill out, warm up, etc my digital chain. The vinyl is just sounding wider, warmer, fuller. The stereo width difference on a lot of the stuff I listened to last night was quite dramatic.

My system is comprised of the following:

1. B&W 683's
2. McIntosh MA6300 (used as preamp, power amp, and phono stage)
3. Mac Mini and Sonos Connect running, Audirvana for hires, Spotify and MOG
4. Oppo BDP-105 (used as DAC for Mac Mini via USB and Sonos via coax)
5. Rega RP3 + Elys2
6. Audioquest cabling where it counts
radambe
You're saying that because it's new. So many people on here buy some new piece of gear and the next day pronounce it to be nirvana. A short time later, they're on here asking about the best IC or power cord or tweak to correct some sonic flaw and then they're selling their "beloved" whatever to go in some other direction. Personally, I would get rid of all that streaming computer stuff and just buy some good CDs and SACDs to play directly on the Oppo. It's a good machine and should hold up well against a Rega RP3/elys combo. If the Rega is blowing the digital away, all the extra baggage you've got going is probably not for the better sonically. You asked.
Chayro brings up a good point. How does a good CD or SACD playing on the Oppo compare to the streaming digital?
I was going to say that all PC setups I've heard were at audio shows and my one lame attempt at it and they always sounded a bit on the cool side. Detailed, yes, but not emotionally engaging. These were rooms that people raved about and I just didn't get it.

Like Chayro stated, try some good quality CDs and SACDs on the OPPO and see how you feel then. I just got a Marantz SA-15S2b and couldn't believe the weight and body it added along with exquisite detail and layering. But that's just me.

All the best,
Nonoise
Let me guess, you don't treat CDs. Am I right?
You could improve the jitter from the Sonos by adding a $600 Synchro-Mesh in-line. The USB on the Oppo is probably beyond help though. If the Oppo has a digital coax input, you could add a USB converter with separate power supply (to reduce jitter).

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I fixed up my digital (CD only) to be 'as good' as my Lp sound by addingg a good 'tube buffer'.
I tried a cheap tube buffer and it was no better.. So Went big and bought a VAC Standard four tube preamp to use as a glorified tube buffer.
Used i paid $1,500 (for a preamp retail $4,000 with an added $1,000 in factory mods remote and better caps added)

The VAC Standard solved my digital issues.
I am now happy (several years on) with my solution.
"Let me guess, you don't treat CDs. Am I right?"

Treat them to what?
Ice cream, after they've played nice.
There is no cure. A "garage-sale" TT beats digital. So, very simply, stop trying to fix digital.
Radambe...No, you just have to upgrade your digital gear. I have both a CD player and vinyl, and find pleasure in them both. The real bottom line is how the performance was recorded....playback will only give you what was recorded..good, or bad.
Would it make sense to try a tubed DAC or just a different DAC for that matter? The MusicHall 25.3 looks interesting. I bought the Oppo to use specifically as a DAC. I'm still within the window of being able to return the thing, but I'd honestly be surprised if I'd find such a huge difference moving to something else. Am I wrong? The difference using some of my best case scenario records is pretty vast. Switching back to the digital after listening for a few minutes sounds like someone just put a huge midrange cut filter on the preamp output. What I wanted was the mac D100 but didn't want to spend beyond the Oppo (whatever it was like $1100 or so).

In terms of trying some CD playback..... I do not own a single CD. I could burn one I guess, hehehe.
Your digital is not going to sound great using a Mac Mini and Sonos without reclocking the signal (Audioengr's comment).
How does a CD played thru your Oppo BDP-105 sound?
Chayro,
I'm with you, both formats can sound very good or not so good, depends on what you're using and the setup. Sweeping proclamations that one blows rhe other away hasn't been the case in my experience. Some records and turntables are dogs as are some digital playback.
Regards,
In terms of trying some CD playback..... I do not own a single CD. I could burn one I guess, hehehe.
Burned CD's can vary greatly in quality. I have heard some that sound great and others that were unlistenable. Probably worth the price of a single CD to help determine the problem. I'm thinking the CD will sound much better than the Mac Mini or Sonos.
It's worth testing CD playback. You must know somebody who owns a CD; try using one mastered after 1990.
Buy my EAR 192 DAcute DAC I have for sale and it will fix your digital issues in a heartbeat! You need a better DAC.
Use the digital equalizer program that is in iTunes.
I have the same experience after replacing the old belt on my P3-24 with a Rega White belt and Groovetracer sub platter. It is more musical than my tube CD player. My 74 year old mother commented on the difference when she was visiting!!
Since my wife and I listen to classical, jazz as well as rock and our CD collection is huge we need both formats. My Ayon CD player does a very good job and didn't break the bank at around $2000 used. We enjoy CD's very much.

It does make me wonder how much better ultra expensive DACs and CD players fare against vinyl. Think about Audio Note Dacs that cost over $20000??? I would like to hear them side by side with vinyl. And if you believe that digital cannot compete with vinyl, at what price point is the sweet spot for digital?
"06-14-13: Radambe
Would it make sense to try a tubed DAC or just a different DAC for that matter? The MusicHall 25.3 looks interesting. I bought the Oppo to use specifically as a DAC. I'm still within the window of being able to return the thing, but I'd honestly be surprised if I'd find such a huge difference moving to something else. Am I wrong? The difference using some of my best case scenario records is pretty vast. Switching back to the digital after listening for a few minutes sounds like someone just put a huge midrange cut filter on the preamp output. What I wanted was the mac D100 but didn't want to spend beyond the Oppo (whatever it was like $1100 or so).

In terms of trying some CD playback..... I do not own a single CD. I could burn one I guess, hehehe."

If you go on like this, you will be disappointed. You can't take something that doesn't sound right to begin with and patch it up somehow so it competes with something that does sound right. You can't get more than what you started with. The solutions you are talking about can only take away/hide aspects of the sound that you don't like.

Before I go further, I'd like you to answer a question, if you can. Its regarding you DAC (The Oppo you mention). Leading up to its purchase, how much consideration did you give to the analog portion of the DAC? And what made you choose it overall?
Send your Oppo 105 to Modright for a tube mod upgrade. It will now compete very well with your vinyl setup.
My Modright Oppo 105 sounds better than the Playback Designs I had which sells for 17,000.00. The Oppo with mod is around 4,000.00.
I'm curious, you bought the Oppo BDP-105 for the sole purpose to stream music and not to play movies or CDs? Did you research any DACs in that price range at the time?
Seems like most people here use it for it's excellent multi-purpose functions. Again, just curious.
Maybe I'm missing something, but if you don't own a single CD, how are you ripping your music? If you don't rip your music in a lossless format you will not get near the resolution your mac mini can achieve. Also, jitter is a big deal but if you don't have a good dac and your music isn't in lossless you will never get close to vinyl. The Havana dac used is about 6 or 7 hundred dollars and will get you a lot closer to your records. Another good dac if you can find one used is the metrum octave.

Good Luck,

Greg
Greg makes an interesting point. If you don't own any CDs, where is your music coming from? iTunes and MP3 downloads?
If this is the case, then that is your problem.

You really can't even begin to assess the performance of your digital play back until you feed it some decent files. Ripped CD (or downloaded music) at 16/44.1 at the least.