Cain & Almarro have been my salvation...everything else is going...money to pay for real-world things like house projects, kids dental projects etc. By the way, SOME vinyl sounds better depending on the pressing, VTA adjustment, etc., but having random access to 600G of my music collection through my iMac has been a revalation. How many times did I pull out those obscure albums to hear that great song? Now songs from my personal radio station surprise me and remind me why I got into this hobby. As I'm selling my collection of 3,000 LPs, I realize that some of those discs sounded more "real" than the CDs that replaced them, but given our limited time here, I can live with that compromise.
I'll keep my eye on Firewire 800 DACs as that area matures, but the Almarro and Cain can grow old with me. I'm interested to see if this thread keeps going with other transistions of philosophy.
CRIKEY! did you just get back from a 70's Haight street reunion when you wrote this?
AS the woman in the movie 'when harry met sally' said, "i'll have what she's having", in this case "he's". (:
You must realise that you can simulate a "live" performance,but you can't totally reproduce it.As technological as we are,it doesn't appear as though we can think outside the box.One needs a certain level of gratitude for what one is able to accomplish in ones' system.If we were able to recreate the performances on all of our LPs/CDs,the performance artist and their craft would die."Just send it to me" would be our cry and being socially interactive would become as fruitful as shouting at a passing cloud.JMO
Sounds like you might want to consider changing hobbies.
Maybe philately or numismatics.
I was in S.F.about 20 years ago and made the pilgrimage. I just felt like a good rant. Please let us know what is on your list of rantable issues.
Is that 70s something there was no High End then? Only more or less expensive equipment and magazines to read about it. Oh I forgot actual places where you wentto a few times to audition the piece of interest and bought it, if you felt so moved. As a rule you stayed with what you had or gave it to a relative if you changed your mind.
If you mean the style (free association). James Joyce more or less invented it but his was not random although it appears to be, and it came into the public eye with the self proclaimed intellectualism of beatnik poets of the 50s, the drug of choice was coffee then and now. So I have been told although I didn't exist except for a couple of months in 1959. I have read about it and some of the published material Ginsberg's Howl, Burroughs' Naked Lunch , etc.
Eat something quick and you'll come down in a half hour or so.
"If you remember the 60's, you weren't there . . . . "
--Get a guitar or a piano.
--Don't listen to reproduced music for one taxable year.
--When you charcoal steaks,make sure you don't squirt lighter fluid onto hot coals.
Amazing. Confusing as hell, but amazing. I hope I can now find my way home.
Does materialism bring lasting happiness? If so, go for it.
But if it's like being a kid who gets sick of his Christmas toy the next week, why bother? In that scenario, you need to keep buying more and more to feed the addiction. To keep the high going. Then you are hooked on materialism in the worst way.
Like you get a new audiophile fuse or power outlet. Sounds great. Then a week later you tire or adjust to the improvement and go hunting for the next upgrade. Where does it end?
the chase is more satisfying than the conquest.
it is sometimes a challenge to achieve one'sonic objective.
once that happens, there are two possible outcomes.
either one stops upgrading or one looks for a new challenge.
Well it is a long time since I wrote this and I found nirvana in both my systems. The answer is tube power output This is the simple truth. I find myself wondering about doing anything but listen. I like the appearence of wooden amp stands that was all I wanted I waited a long while before I ordered some amp stands/ platforms that are a ridiculous and flamboyant 3 or 4 inches thick. I anticipate little by way of improvement. My system sounds great now. I did not know or accept what a dear friend had known all along. He knew what would be the key to the kingdom of audio nirvana. Use tube power amps.
That is the answer if anyone really wants to know. It is truly the single most important thing you can do get that elusive utterly wonderful sound. It is incredible but absolutely true you need not change your cables or your source or your pre-amp. Please don't use the tube in the window of a preamp or integrated that serves no better purpose than an additional LED.
The only thing you need to find Nirva is to use tube power amps. End of discussion.
The rest is blather. Don't read it if you are stretched for time.
I say amps because the best result seems to be from tube mono blocks but my "all tube" Jadis DA 60 integrated is superb.
The Jadis has an all tube power output section and it clearly benches about twice the stated output from the 8 Jim Mcshane matched GEC reissue KT 88s power tubes (yes that hurt my wallet) and even if biased low and the preamp section set to deliver line level out put and no more. People who have done this find that the 60 watt claim is nonsensense. Even if you chose the EL-34 option as you can use a host of power tubes with this amp. The actual output is about 110 watts per. You would have to lower the preamp output and cool it on the bias to get only 60 watts. A feat which no one seems to be able to do no atter what, the headroom is silly high.
No I don't mean high as in the euphoria from using illicit substances.
I am heading to 50 in only months now . That is why I could afford this materialistic owner of two great systems niether a cheap purchase, comparitively they were a bargain. The Mono bloks are "Oh No" Chinese.
Trust me brother philes this is the answer. I wish you could all hear its euphonic colored rich warm but deatailed tone timber and presentation. The stage is a mile deep and wide -simply incredible.
Although Trelja is leaving the business to someone else, I must endorse the Consonance 800 mono blocks a Brutus award winner for real resons trust me. I know they got nothing for free or were paid anything at all. In fact my buddy saw it as a challenge and had no idea what the outcome would be. When they won the award he sort of shrugged his shoulders not realizing that they will not give the award at all -if no product they reviewed is not worthy of it. It was much more important than he realized.
I owned them already and paid a discounted price but even at list I have not heard anything close to them. List is under 4K brand new and even though I am a dyed in the wool tube roller you don't have to change a thing.
I had to and did fiddle with the input and drivers using NOS Tung Sol 5687s and It took me an great while to finally find the 6922/7308 depending on your perspective tubes -I knew were truly an improvement from my last go round trying to roll without being completely bereft of money. And these ain't cheap-- almost out of reach, ---now they would be, but when I bought them I was fortunate to afford them.
As a side not why do these engineers use this tube so much when they know full well and will tell you by hinting and implying a roll will make things better. Thank the Lord that I have an extensive and a great number of high quality 6SN7s which I used in my first high-end all tube integrated amp and in my current giant killer modest preamp a used AE-3.
Anyway I found some one who had them for sale at an obscene -but market price- they were "Gee I don't know if they are NOS but I think they are at least the test very high." They came in original boxes with the cigar roll paper cradeling them for their trip from Sweden to the armpit of the nation. The most populatd per square mile State in this beautiful country. New Jersey !
I found them as pristine as pristine gets and if they were used, there were no signs of that, despite that these tubes were etched in the code that they were at the Old Blackburn plant dating telling e they were 47 years old. They have not been replaced or fiddled with since I put them in . I have no reason to they are great.
When or if I ever need to replace them, I won't be a position to do so. These were a costly venture. As if I could ever find an Identical batch matched quad of this somewhat rare tube again. Thank goodness that the Phillips Jan tubes sound fine. I just can't find a current production 6922 to love. I have a number of OS 12AX7s, some of the best, and can honestly say the New Sensor Tung Sols that I have and use are as good or better than some of the old tubes.
Well enough ranting buy some tube power amps and you may, I say will, find youself in Nirvana .
Word to the wise
I know a lot of us including me---- Have thought that if we put a tube any place in the chain that you will get that tube magic. The truth is that a tube pre and an SS power amp is equivalent to a tube power amp with an SS pre is utterly and entirely false. The magic will come to your ears with a tube power amp no matter what preamp you use. If you use a tube preamp it is a small step towards obtaining magic. I am telling you what my old pal says in his philosophy section of ultravioletaudio.com is true.
Cheers and best of luck, in your jouney to audio nirvana.
I have a theory that the vast majority of digital upgraditis cases are actually caused by the inherent limitations of redbook CD. The source is the most important component of any audio chain yet digital audiophiles have settled for a source the specifications of which were frozen in the late 1970s.
The underlying problem for most audiophiles is that they are stuck in a paradoxthe more they upgrade the more they hear the limitations of the CD format. This narrows their choice of music to only choice audiophile recordings and this leads to boredom.
I always suspected that redbook CD was a poor format for an audio hobbyist, but I did not realize how poor it really was until I began investigating SACD and CD upsampling. With high-resolution audio or properly upsampled CD, the paradox is broken because the source is finally worthy of scrutiny.
If you are spending a lot of money upgrading a CD based system and arent satisfied, you dont have upgraditis. Chances are you are simply one of the many audiophiles caught in the CD paradox. The upside is that there is a good chance that your investment in speakers and amplification would pay off, if you had the proper digital front end.
It is my hope that the rise of iPods, music servers, and digital distribution will unfreeze the market from redbook CD and that the music industry will find a way to market higher resolution sound files so that we can finally move to a digital format worthy of our efforts.
Blackstonejd, while we do not agree on the source being the most important link in the audio chain, I take my hat off to your post!
I feel your point that Redbook CD is not an inherently good format for the audiophile from a sonic perspective is incredibly cogent. Apart from no more than a very small handful of players, we simply do not get close to superior formats such as vinyl, SACD, etc.
Let me rephrase. It probably is not accurate to say that the source (the recording being reproduced and the format in which it is fixed) is the most important component in the audio chain because a system can only be as good as its weakest link. That is not really what I meant. What I should have said is that in almost all digital audiophile systems the CD format is itself the weakest link in the audio chain.
"Garbage in = garbage out" is a well accepted guiding audiophile principle. I think a corollary of "garbage in = garbage out" is that if you are feeding your system with an insufficient digital format, you are ALWAYS going to get insufficient results out of your system at some level.
This is why so many digital audiophiles, I think, get an initial thrill from a new component but ultimately are not satisfied. A new pre-amplifier and amplifier can be a profound upgrade, but as a matter of logic, you can only be hearing more of the 16-bit PCM sampled at 44,100 Hz (1411.2 kbit/s) 1411.2 kbit/s CD that you are feeding those components, or you are coloring the sound in some way that sounds better to you. So you make your upgrade and are impressed with the results in the short term but over the long term you probably won't be satisfied because the underlying problem is still there. Your source material is not nearly as good as what the artist and the engineers recording the artist intended you to hear because there is information missing. Digital audiophiles understand this subconsciously and it drives them crazy.
Just when you think you've remedied one CD insufficiency, another pops up like a game of whack-a-mole. This is why end-game manufacturers like dCS and Esoteric are building DSD upsampling into their CD transports and developing upsampling devices for music servers. (See the new Scarlatti Upsampler or Paganini system) These systems interpolate high resolution audio from a standard CD and thus at least partially remedy the problem.
Using the Purcell upsampler, I am sometimes shocked by which CDs suddenly become audiophile grade material. Rock recordings I always thought were mediocre suddenly become stunning. Apparently, the recording engineers got it right--it is the CD format that was screwing it up. It isn't true for all of my CDs but it is true for a vast majority of them.
If we had more players using that sort of technology, or a viable high resolution replacement for CD, audiophiles could at least start with a source that is not inherently flawed. The hobby would be more about enhancing the source than remedying or masking it and audiophiles would probably enjoy themselves more in between each upgrade. As it stands, we are basically just trying to hear more of something that is not good to begin with.
Firstly, sounds like you just haven't found the right Redbook CD player.
Second, you seem to contradict yourself. CD's have a finite amount of information. An upsampler cannot add information- it's just another form of digital filtering- ie. coloration as you talked about.
First, I am not contradicting myself. YOU are making an assumption about upsampling. An upsampler interpolates information from the CD. It is not "coloration" when the end product sounds more like the original master tape.
Second, I have extensive experience with Redbook transports and DACs.
"I have a theory that the vast majority of digital upgraditis cases are actually caused by the inherent limitations of redbook CD.
I might agree with the qualification that it is the perception of the limitations of redbook CD that cause some to upgrade.
In my case, I upgraded when I determined that my system was not delivering all that was encoded on well recorded redbook CDs as well as it could.
The solution was a DAC followed by a pre-amp upgrade.