ST Glass from EMM is what you want. DCC2 is 2 channel only, so you'll only get 2 channels from CD/SACD.
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Use ST glass for sure. The best out there (*see note) is the Aural Symphonics Optimism V2 ($950) and they now make one especially for EMM Labs. Go to:
* note: They also make one called the Exelon, on special order, for $4500, which will also floss your teeth with laser light :~))
If you are lucky enough to have CDT and DAC that can be connected with ST glass fiber optic, this stuff is the end of the movie, over the rainbow, etc. etc.
What is the context of your question? In other words, are you asking what is the best way to connect a CDSD to a DCC2? If so, one would get the required three proprietary cables with his/her purchase from EMM Labs. You can visit their website, download the manual, and see exactly how to connect the two units. The diagram is color coded and idiot proof.
Or, are you asking what is the best way to connect the DCC2 to another preamp, using the DCC2 as a two channel DAC only? If so, then one would use balanced XLR cables to connect the DCC2 to the preamp. Even in this context, however, one still would use the three proprietary cables to connect the CDSD to the DCC2.
Since I believe in simple is better, I dont really like any optical connections.
If CD is the main goal, why dont you try to following experiment?
Connect the fiberglass cables.
Connect a high quality Silver AES balanced digital cable as well.
Set the CDSD to external clock so it is synced with the DAC.
Put your favorite CD and alternate between fiberglass and AES.
Come back and tell us which you prefer. I bet the AES will be better. :-)
Please keep in mind that the PCM (CD) is being converted to DSD inside the CDSD and sent to the DAC via fiberglass cables. In the case of using the AES digital output, the PCM is being kept in its original domain. Once it enters the DAC, it is converted to DSD too.
I very much like the performance of the Aural Symphonics Optimism V2 and V1 and use those fine optical cables for my Wadia 270/27ix combo. But the Optimism is optimized for Wadia, not for EMM. In fact the V2 will not even work with EMM, the V1 does work.
Aural Symphonics is aware of this problem and is currently working on a new version of their Optimism cable, specially designed for use with EMM.
Uli, if you read my earlier post, you'll see I mentioned the special EMM Optimism that AS is producing (or will be producing) it's already posted on their website. If/when it is ready, I'm sure it will be outstanding.
Henryhk, I am using the standard Optimism V2 with my Wadia DAC and transport, and the reproduction is stunning. I wouldn't even consider going to an electrical connection now. Also the IO gel takes the performance a notch higher, and will improve the performance of any fiber optic cable, probably even Toslink.
I can't speak to the performance of the Optimism with the Meitner, or even if it's available yet. But I can tell you one thing: Tom Dzurak of AS puts an extraordinary amount of effort into developing his products. I don't think he'd take the time to develop something specifically for one brand of component, unless he thought it would result in significantly better performance.
BTW, AS glass cables are being used with a number of transport/DAC combos, not just Wadia. They are also the "drug of choice" for some very well known digital recording professionals who are involved with special applications such as HDCD and JVC's XRCD.
OK everybody, I just got off the phone with Tommy Dzurak (pronounced zer-ak) at Aural Symphonics. He has completed the final testing of the EMM Optimism V2 (which will be a 3-cable set). The initial production run is already on its way to Hong Kong, and he says general release in the US will be Dec-Jan, but some US dealers may have a few before then.
Now, to clear up all the technobabble. Tommy says that the ST cables supplied by Meitner are just, and I quote, "garden-variety, wide-bandwidth (one-size-fits-all) fiber optic cables as supplied with Wadia, Theta, Krell, etc. etc. They will work on any equipment, and by the same token, any wide-bandwidth cable will work on a Meitner."
One of the things he did in designing the Optimism series of cables was to narrow their bandwidth, for better data transmission. So far, they work fine with any machine (like Theta and Wadia and most others) which use the standard (wide-bandwidth) AT&T transceiver unit. But Meitner (according to Tommy) uses some type of narrow bandwith transceiver. So if you are going to use a narrow bandwidth cable like the Optimism V2, it's narrow bandwidth has to MATCH the transceiver's narrow bandwidth (or your shit don't work!) So the in the EMM Optimism V2, the bandwidth has been selected to match the Meitner transceiver narrow bandwidth (hope this all made sense.) Anyway, that's why the standard Optimism V2 won't work in the Meitner, and also why, because it had a wider bandwidth, why the older Optimism V1 WILL work, but nowhere near as good, according to Tommy, as his new EMM Optimism V2 set.
He said the sound of 2 channel CD's, but especially SACD surround, is absolutely amazing using his cables with the Meitner, and much better than using either their stock ST cables or coax. I guess, in this instance, a one-component product seems to be good marketing. He said his Hong Kong production run is already sold out!
Guys, I have been trying to post for the past 3 days or so and it seems that Audiogon is having a problem getting it to the thread.
I cannot believe you guys are actually considering spending the kind of money being charged for an optical cable. I have tried many different brands and have only heard a difference once. The one cable that sounded different was terrible and did not work properly. Maybe there was something wrong with it, who knows. Think about it, we are talking about optical cables. We are not talking about running 1000's of feet or anything that might present a challenge.
I fear that EMM Labs owners are being targeted and that makes me uncomfortable. A while back I had asked Ed Meitner if there was a way to improve on the stock optical cables we were providing and could we make our own cables. He said "no way."
Jonathan, I beg to differ. I've had the same digital front end for long enough to know how it sounds with different cables -- both the analog out, and digital ICs. I have tried several ST cables, Tara, XLO, even some specially polished ones from Wadia. They all provided minor improvement over "off the shelf" cables, but nothing even came close to the quantum leap in performance of the Aural Symphonics optical cable. I suggest you try one for yourself if you haven't yet.
Please note that ST cables take time to settle in(300hrs. I have tried 5 different types of ST cables and from the stock standard(one's that came with the emm labs gear-orange/black/blue/red), the Audioquest(stereophile recc.), AT&T(brand)and Aural Symphonics very first model that they all have a 'noticeable' different sound/presentation. The AS is so directional based for performance, that there is aChalk & Cheese difference(imaging crumbles)if it is the wrong way around. Not only changing the data cable gave you the most difference but even the clock cables changed the presentation smoothness. At the end of it all it comes down to personal preference.
It would be good for Emm to review their judgement if they could do a re-trial. But as Jon (Jtinn) says let's not get pulled in by other manufacturers who base their cost not on actuals(materials/labour and a bit of R&D time), but on who are it's potential users- which could be expensive!
As cautious as I am to approach this thread I will venture to make a comment. I do believe there are wide differences in speaker cables/interconnects but am more cautious about optical. For one, the cables are designed to run hundreds of kilometers to transmit information before they need any boosting. Data loss over a few meters would be exremely small. A second point specific to emm is that with the dac as the master clock and the cdsd slaved there is an infinite jitter barrier thus jitter is not really an issue. I am cautious to think that there is likely to be a major improvement. Frankly, money is just not that plentiful for me to spend several thousand on this chance. More music would likely be a better idea but its simply my opinion.
Well, the poor poor Emm Labs owners are now targets of the viscous optical gang cable manufactures.If one cannot hear the difference between a Aural Symphonics and a stock cord, then they must have a Tinn ear!!!I really am amazed at some of conclusions audiophiles reach based off of some suedo experiences of others,this example is text book. The Aural is one of the finest at time and space as far as resolution and dynamics ( as long as the light conversion is done well). One can only hope that you trust your own ears rather than some of the dealer ears that have agendas-Take care Dennis
The margins are too good in these cables to not come up with a new one. Think about the costs of manufacturing and the selling prices. It is a great business. I have realized a lot of things about cables through experimintation recently. One is that price makes little difference to it being better or not. 2nd is that they need time to settle down on an A/B comparison. 3rd, the same exact cable model and brands might sound different between 2 samples. Now on to this question. I switched my cables on my EMM from some old ones that came with my original Philips to kneew ones that came with the CDSD and did realize a major difference. They can get dirty & go bad if not handled carefully. Saying that, EMM is emphatic to not use gels or after market cables as it is a waste of money. If you want to spend thousands of dollars on cables to tune you system by a TACT. It will give you more versatility.
I don't own a CDSD, I'm still using the old Philips SACD 1000 with my DCC2. After a year of running the combo with the recommended orange ST Glass cables from EMM, I decided to try an AES/EBU cable (an inexpensive one from Cardas that was leant to me).
Well, what do you know! I guess I'll need the little orange cables for SACD but I'll never use them again on Redbook.
Rather than going into detail about how the Cardas sounds better than the glass cable, I'll just say that it does everything thing a little better and everything from the midrange down, a whole lot better.
Maybe my glass cables are defective in some way?
Maybe the Philips reacts differently than the CDSD?
The improvement is way too obvious for others not to have picked up on.
I can't wait to try one of the highly-touted digital cables.
Your comment does not surprise me. As I stated earlier in this thread, my dealer has been recommending AES/EBU connection over the ST cables for a long time.
Since my last comment, I have had a chance to personally compare the AES/EBU intefrace to ST one on my friends CDSD/DCC2 combo (the rest of his system consists of big Canary Audio monoblocks that use 4x300B tubes, Peak Consult Emperor speakers, Stereovox top of the range spk cables, Hydra 8 and all power cords from Shunyata).
We have used Nordost Valhalla AES/EBU cable and as you said - it betters the OE ST cables in every respect. Interestingly, we both feeled that the biggest difference was in the highs, which were even more extended.
I have found that locking the signal of the EMM DAC 6e w. the Philips to the Philips produced much better sound than slaving the Philips to the EMM DAC 6e. I then thought maybe the ST cables were defective. I then did compare them w. the new cables supplied w. my CDSD and found that the new cables were much better but still the sound was better w. the SACD 1000 as a master to the DAC 6e. Still the CDSD is much better than the SACD 1000 on CD. Not on SACD. In the case of SACD it is only slightly better. The CDSD upsamples SACD to 2 times & outputs it to the DAC 6e. The CDSD upsamples CD to 4 times & outputs it. I didn't ask EMM if this is via the only select inputs or if the SACD 1000 does the same. They mentioned w. the CDSD they were able to design a transport from the ground up to do exactly what they want it to do. I asked them what? They replied in reference to the oversampling. I assume the SACD 1000 does not oversample the outputed digital signal. I also know that they can do a ROM update that will change the sampling algorithm on the CDSD.
I never compared the AES/EBU to the ST cables but they are very emphatic about the glass cables being superior. They also felt using any gels etc. can ruin the sound.
I wonder if the oversampled signal is output via the AES/EBU output. If not then this could explain the difference & your dislike for the oversampled signal.
Also running the AES/EBU on the Philips SACD 1000 elminates the ability to slave the SACD 1000 to the DAC 6e. This might be a similar change to my experience. It might be that the sound w. the SACD 1000 running as the Master is superior. This again might also be the situation w. the CDSD but I haven't experimented here yet. Maybe I will, but I am spinning vinyl these days.
Thank you for the feedback! I knew it will be the case.
Someone said you can't externally sync when AES is used. I don't believe that is true because, even if the glass clock is not working, you can use the BNC clocking interface with the AES and experiment syncing the transport to the DAC or vice versa.
Bernhard -- I had the Pro 2, Tara Labs Luminary, and XLO Type 7. All very good (I liked the Tara the best, the Pro 2 the least)
Now, I finally bought a new Aural Symphonics V-2 (from an Agonner who had two!) It is absolutely amazing. The other "high end" ST cables were indeed better than the stock Wadia or Krell, it's true. And, to be fair, it is also true that some people (depending on the brand of DAC and/or transport) find that nothing (not even the AS) improves the performance over the stock ST cable they already use.
However, what I can report is, that with my Wadia WT2000S transport and 64.4x DAC, the AS isn't just better -- it's in another universe altogether!
So I give you one caveat: Unless you are running Wadia equipment (or of course plan to get the EMM version of the Optimism for EMM equipment) make sure you can return the cable for a full refund, if it doesn't work with your equipment. If it does, I promise you won't mind the price!
Dennis, I do use the IO gel. I put it on right after I determined which direction I liked the cable best, which is how Tommy Dzurak said to do it.
But before I did any of that, I first cleaned the transceiver in the old Wadia DAC. (The transceiver in the transport is new.) I took a 10 cc syringe of 100% grain alcohol (dries really fast) and squirted it forcefully into the transceiver, followed by an air blast. Just to make sure the gel didn't pick up any dirt in there :~))
You can use IO gel with any ST cable. It is available from Aural Symphonics separately (from their cable) for I think $80. And you don't get much for that (not that you need much, but $80?!) Maybe there's another source?
You can clean ST cable tips with an alcohol swab, and then
dry with a tissue. Make sure to blow or brush off any lint. And be careful not to rub vigorously across the tip of the little glass rod, which is highly polished.
Bernhard, the gentleman that I bought my "pre-owned" AS Optimism V-2 from was doing just that. Unfortunately, the EMM version wasn't available yet and the standard version which I bought, didn't work in his EMM units, and we now know why. So therefore, the experiment was never completed. I think you should email Tommy Dzuryk at AS and just ask him straight out. Tell him you don't have $3000 to spend, but you would like to buy one EMM cable for the audio signal, for now, and would that be OK?
I'm sure many other people would like an answer to that one :~))
Below a fast response from Tommy about using one or all three cables. Alsoo a review from AA.
Thank you for your interest in Aural Symphonics Optimism emm.
The clock is vital in playback performance as is the data. Wadia customers
realized the vital importance of a high performance clock cable more than 8 years ago.
If you purchase an Optimism v2 or Exelon Digital as a data only, they are not designed to perform with the EMM Labs gear. Sorry.
Purchase the Optimism emm as it is designed to perform as a matched set or continue using the stock EMM optics.
Consumer review to follow on Optimism emm.
Aural Symphonics LLC
13409 W. Solano Drive
Litchfield Park, Arizona 85340-7361
First dealer sale to U.S. customer and he writes review on Aural Symphonics Optimism emm. posts on Audio Asylum.
One of the many lessons I've learned during my time in audio is that everything can be improved. Everything. This can be a daunting reality for some, since many of us spend a small fortune on this hobby, and technology never stands still. So it is with even the mighty EMM Labs gear.
Aural Symphonics is a company new to me. I heard through the grapevine that they were working on a replacement fiber-optic cable especially designed for EMM gear, specifically the company's CDSD transport and DCC2/DAC6 processors. Ever the curious audiophile, I contacted the Cable Company to see if I could audition one. I then phoned Aural's founder, Tommy, who graciously sent me the first set in the country. It wasn't long before I realized what a privilege it was, though the price of entry was steep--$3,000 worth of steep, to be exact. But audiophilia is not a cheap disease, so the price didn't exactly shock me, though I did take a deep gulp.
The cable arrived very quickly, as I was demoing my system for a few interested visitors the weekend after I ordered the set. The Optimism-EMM, as it's called, proved a snap to install. Everything was color-coded in the same manner as the stock cable. Even I, who possess the technical ability of a three-toed sloth, managed it is a scant five minutes--which means the average person will be able to do it in three or less. :)
Before installing the cable, I dabbed a bit of Tommy's Io-Gel on the tip of each of the six connectors. According to Tommy, Io-Gel is supposed to enhance signal flow, thereby providing a clear improvement to the sound. In fact, he considers it mandatory for use with any of his optical cables. Since I didn't A-B the cable with and without the Io-Gel, I can't speak to its effectiveness, but I'll take Tommy's word for it.
Now on to the sound. I used a variety of discs and songs to A-B the stock cable and Optimism-EMM. My references are "Water of Love," off of Dire Straits' eponymous first album, and "Telegraph Road," from the band's "Love over Gold." I also use all of Johnny Cash's masterful American Recordings CDs as sonic benchmarks.
Let's cut to the chase: The Optimism-EMM was a quantum improvement over the stock EMM cable. Most obvious was the gain in low-level detail. Resolution, which was already scarily good, became absolutely supernatural. "Water of Love" has a very faint percussion part at the beginning of the track. With the stock cable, it was only barely audible. With the Optimism, it was clearly audible. Faint details in Johnny Cash's "Unchained" were similarly brought forward. But the added resolution did not come at the expense of naturalness. Music attained a liquidity and warmth--particularly on vocals--that was not present with the stock cable.
Dynamics and bass were also greatly improved. At a point in Dire Straits' "Telegraph Road," the drummer hits a series of thundering kick-drum thwacks. With the Optimism, they were not only more clearly resolved, they also hit and decayed with startling power and quickness.
I fear I'm coming down with a case of verbal diarrhea, so I'll conclude my little treatise. In short, the Aural Symphonics Optimism-EMM is a clear upgrade over the stock cable. In fact, I heard no sonic weaknesses. It is superior in pretty much all respects. Its only Achilles Heel is cost. At $3,000, it is undoubtedly expensive. I will do whatever I can afford to keep my system at the top of the curve, but even I took a deep breath at the expense. But if you're an EMM owner and can afford the price of admission, it's a no-brainer. It's taken a state-of-the-art product and fired it into the stratosphere. Great work, Tommy!
I know that people like the AS.
But i cannot spend 3000$ at this time.
So i thought maybe it would work with only one cable.
That was my intention.
There is one question i was forgotten:
Are all three cables from EMM or AS the same?
I know they are colored and i alsoo used the manual for the right connection.
But are they the same?
According to Tommy at AS, the cables he makes are not all the same and are matched to each other to make a set of three. I don't know about the ones that are supplied by EMM, but I think they would be all the same generic ST cable except for the colors. The main reason for the color coding is to insure the proper connection of outputs to inputs at each end of each cable. However, with the set from AS, the colors may also insure that you use the proper cable for each purpose. You should check that with Tommy.