Isn't a Bidat one of those squirters in a French bathroom? That would certainly give me a big jump! Talk about a bitstream.
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Performance wise, I'm think there's probably very little difference. I've been wondering about John's comments myself, and can only guess that single ended vs balanced operation is accounting for the slight difference. I'll take John's word for it that the bitstream sounds more musical but less detailed. That sounds quite plausible to me. But the Bidat does offer features such as a volume control (which I care very little about but some people do) and balanced operation (which I do care about). I ended up with a Bitstream because the Bidat (at the recent going rates) is not worth that many times the money strictly in terms of performance. Balanced operation is really the only thing that I want that the Bidat would give me over the Bitstream but I'll live without it for now.
I trust your ears Jonathan so I'm always interested in your observations. I don't doubt that the bidat by itself is better but if I understand things correctly, a lot of what we're hearing from these units are the mods done to it. Except for the original circuit board, pretty much everything has been changed. So I believe it's similar but nevertheless, the price difference between the two units is about as big as the difference between the Bidat and a used Dac6.
Maril, I have not made comparisions but the unit sounds good to me. But I do use Jena Labs cabling that cost more than the unit itself, which I believe help maximize the capabilities of my Bitstream. I'm maxed out in terms of my budget so I haven't looked too hard in terms of upgrades. I may look into doing some comparisons with some midrange units in the future, but I dream of the Meitner gear and this setup may be good enough until I can afford what I really want, which may be never. I don't know how good the bitstream is compared to others, but it's enjoyable to listen to and I feel the bitstream is good enough that I can concentrate on improving other parts of my system. For the price I paid for it, if I find an upgrade, I'll just keep it for some future use in another system anyways so I'm not worried. I simply didn't want to spend several thousand dollars on a CDP that may be a bit better than the Bitstream but not really up to the standards of what I really want, especially since I want SACD capabilities as well.
I have a fully modded Bidat with the 2004 level including BlackGates. Simply stunning for digital playback. Allows me to enjoy at least 80 to 90% of my CD collection like never before.. The other 10 to 20% are done so poorly, you know that if they sound good on a system, then there is some sort of compromise for the rest of your collection.
This modded Bidat walks that fine line between warmth, detail, top & bottom frequency extension, neutrality, transparency, resolution, musicality, smoothness etc etc. I no longer do any critical listening. I just enjoy.
I got a good deal on it and was pleasantly suprised to see one go for $3K used last year.
A better transport does help this Dac, like any other, but is not super critical because of Meitner's C-Lock system.
Jtinn - The subject refers to modified Bitstream and Bidat, not stock. I own one (Bitstream) and have listened to both. They are very, very close, after mods.
In a phone call last week, John told me he prefers listening to his modified Bitstream more than modified Bidat. He describes the Bitstream as sounding fuller, more like vinyl, while the Bidat brings slightly more resolution and detail to the table.
Where's Chiggy when we need him? Chirag's got both and would have some good insight. He's the one who turned me onto the Museatex units. When I asked his opinion back in July, he said "the bitstream is close. just a slightly different flavor. bidats are going for just too much money
Jon did the full-on mod with my Bitstream 5 months ago including Black Gates, Cardas rca jacks, and some other tweaks. I run it into the matching Museatex/Melior CD-D. It is extremely detailed without being etched or hard. Smooth with being soft or blurred. Musical as all get-out. Pretty much does it all for my tastes.
Lush, find Alex Yakovlev here. He is a digital engineer, owns both modified and unmodified Bidats and Bitstreams and would be a good person to speak with, if you still have questions. He told me that there is no comparison stock (bidat is clearly better than the Bitstream) but that after mods it is a very small difference, and more a question of taste than performance. I agree, based on my listening sessions. But, it sounds like you are happy with your Bitstream anyway...
I can't vouch for the bidat being better but I can say that I have an original CD3 meitner that was way ahead of it's time and never had any of the sonic characteritics that most other players had. This unit was and is still more analog sounding than most of the stuff that has come since it was made over 20 years ago.And reliable as all get out. I have never had a problem or repair.I wonder what a few mods to this unit would accomplish? Anyone ever had one of these modded?Any ideas on where to start?
John Wright, of Museatex.com,does all the official Museatex/Melior/Meitner mods, he would be the best person to check with. At the very least, he could some extensive power supply upgrades.
His all-out upgrades for Bidat/Idat44/Bitsream only cost $250-350 max, so it is a great deal when compared to buying something else.
I was quoted $500 back for a mod to my Bitstream in Feburary of this year. Apparently the price increase is due to an inclusion of a "Black Gate cap" upgrade that he used to offer separately.
I've held off in hopes of more feedback. Black gates reportedly take a while to break in and I would rather hear a little more on what to expect.
I like mine as is - it is very detailed. However, in my solid state PC audio system I went with the CAL Alpha. I would like to hear the Bitstream it in my tube system (in storage until my house is built) prior to pulling the trigger on the mod as well.
Not to challenge the expertise of others here, but I don't believe that the modded BiDAT driven directly into a seriously decent amp and using its digital volume control can be surpassed by ANYTHING under $10,000, including the Bitstream, as good as that is. The BiDAT, based upon my extensive listening, is the one of the best three DACs on the market for redbook CD's if you drive a good amp with it. Using the BiDAT's analog outs robs you of a great deal of the Meitner magic, IMHO. That being said, you need to match it with an excellent main amp. I'll grant that a side-by-side comparison of the modded units going through a preamp is probably very similar. Just my two cents.
I have both a recently John Wright upgraded Bidat and Bitstream DAC and I enjoy very much. The Bidat is in my higher end living room system while my Bitstream is in my bedroom system. They are both very musical and resolving. I have had them on for about a month or so and the initial limited harshness is gone. Quality DACs really do make a significant positive difference to the music!
I've got to write a mea culpa here. I was totally wrong in my post of nearly three years ago about how a Bidat sounds with a high quality preamp and how the bitstream compares. I own a newly modded Bitstream (version II) and Super Plus modded Bidat. I now have a Conrad Johnson CT5 tube preamp and it has greaty improved the sound of both units. Even John Wright called the volume controller of the Bidat "flawed."
Wright's 2010 mods of the Bitstream are nothing short of revolutionary. I'm in the process of an extensive comparision between this latest iteration of the Bitstream and the Bidat. I'll post more later.
I didn't realize that you haven't heard John's very latest mods. Get ready, my friend. Even though you are a long-time Bidat fan like me, nothing can prepare you for what John is doing right now. He's raised the Bidat to an entirely different level. One caution: Because John uses blackgates and teflon caps extensively, the burn-in after modification is *not* to be underestimated. Listening during the burn-in process can be downright bizarre. Instrument placement can shift, bass comes and goes, and the very character of some recordings changes. Once the "new" Bidat settles, the soundstage, bass and microdynamics are unlike anything *I've* ever heard. Because you have access to a far more extensive array of DACS and understand the Bidat "sound" I'm particularly eager to learn what you hear.
Preliminarily, I can say that the "new" Bitstream matches the Bidat's soundstage but it's early days and my Bidat mods are several months old. John made what I consider to be a major breakthrough just before your unit got to him. Consequently, you're about to hear something very special.
I just received my newly built Bit-stream this evening which was built from the ground up and was finished in the beginning of March. W-O-W...the first note, the tone, the human voice is...beyond my expectation.
Two things I've noticed but it's early. Gain of this DAC is WAAAY up in comparison to other DAC's and CD drives I've used. Also, the bass can sound boomy at times. But that magical mid-range. It reminds me of a Ayon CD-2, just so clear yet so organic. Loving it. I've been without a Museatex DAC for well over a year...this kicks it up a notch over what I've had in the past. Wish I had my old Bitstream so I could do a direct comparison. First piece of digital equipment I've had in my setup where I could tell improvements were made on the first note. It was that night and day...
Lush and Darkmoebius,
Just wanted to give a shout out to you guys. Your posts over the years are what inspired me to get my Moray James digital cable and pursue mods on my bidat and get a bitstream. You should get a commission! If people new just how the bitstream and bidat stack up to most of the current digital, they'd be stunned. Audiofun's the first person who's really tried to run a head-to-head comparision with the latest and greatest. It should be interesting.
P.S. If you haven't heard Moray's latest cable, it's a revelation. I had his version of two years ago and the latest one is *twice* as good and was (as usual) used to voice John's latest mods.
I got my old Moray cable from my Uncle who took it along with my original Museatex Bitstream well over 18months ago. The Stereovox cable I was using was about the same as the older Moray on the older Museatex Bitstream however I haven't done an A/B on the new Bitstream. I'm not sure I'm in a hurry though, once the original modded Bitstream left my place I really began to 'lose it' with regards to putting together a system. I was going through sources, amplifiers and even considered a speaker change. Now that I have the new Museatex I'm going back to what my true passion is...finding new music.
I've come to realize that while the Bitstream might have flaws exposed over time (what component doesn't) I'm more afraid of the damage that can be done by removing it then the sound improvement that can happen replacing it. I once thought of purchasing a friends Ayon CD 1 MK II, then heard his newer CD 2 and I have to tell you...that little cheap modded DAC smokes it lol...it truly is a revelation that one must experience in order to appreciate it.
My understanding is that John stumbled across a way to radically improve the power supply. As the story goes he actually did it too one Bitstream but didn't write it down and had forgotten what he had actually done. That Bitstream was incredible...he finally figured out what he had done and is now offering it on all Bitstreams...the difference is more of everything the Bitstreams give you.
I own the older modified Bitstream. John sent this to me regarding the new upgrades he is offering.
The new update is quite a departure sonically from what the previous updates have provided. Where the older update sounded very analogue like with a slightly soft bottom end and more bloom through the upper bass and mid-range the new update sounds very tight. It has deeper bass with none of the softness and roundness that the older version has. It actually has more dimensionality and better timing than the older update as well. I was concerned initially that people might not like it compared to the older version but I have listened to it in a number of systems now and had enough ears listening as well that I feel certain there's no going back.
I hope that helps,
For what it is worth, I don't find mine to have any softness or do I find it to have that much of an analogue sound but if it does, I prefer having mine sounding analogue. Mine sounds very clear with great dynamics and pretty tight sounding all around. The information he provided does not convince me that the new upgrade is any better then what I already own. It seems to offer just a different flavor from what I am interpreting from John. As I understand it, the new version does not use the black gates and a few of the other parts that were used. I think John told me that they are not available anymore. I think that he also told me that Ed M. told him that using no cpas was the best route so John figured out how to mod the units without the old way of upgrading them.
I concurr with Lush. I've been in pretty constant communication with John and Moray during the past couple of months and I just did a A/B at a friend's house with the brand new mods and an older one. It *is* more of everything we like about the unit. My friend is shipping his unit out next week...and he's pretty tight with his money, FWITW. The good news for bidat owners is that the power supply innovation is now part of the upgrade for it, as well.
My uncle is good friends with John, I've actually had dinner with the gentlemen. My uncle had my old Bitstream and was able to do a direct A/B vs my new Bitstream. These are the impressions sent to John:
"At first and on newer, or well made recordings the differences were minimal. After awhile and especially on older recordings (The Essential Leonard Cohen by Columbia), the newer dac was more detailed, smoother and had an even greater ease. Sibilants disappeared. Just a more refined sound overall. Nice work once again. Congratulations."
I haven't done a direct A/B because I don't have my old DAC on hand. However I don't blame you if you don't want to upgrade your DAC, I wouldn't want to. I simply had an opportunity to get a Bitstream back and I took the opportunity as I had cursed the day I had originally traded for a Benchmark of all things. I can honestly say that out of all of this I've learned an important lesson. Don't replace Bitstream because you might gain in one area but lose in many others. The new Bitstream is as analog sounding (or more so) as I had remembered with my old one. Again merely working off memory.
Thanks Lush. I have the older upgraded Bitstream with the Black Gates, etc. At that time, my Bitstream had already a few mods done to it before John got it for his top upgrade. When finished, he told me that mine was one of the best ones that he had measured. Whatever that means to the overal sound, I do not know. I would love to do a comparison between what he does now to the Bitstream and mine as I am not married to any component but John's reply did not make me want for anything new. Anyone want to send me their newly upgraded unit?
I have no answer to your conundrum, Bigkidz and what I'm about to write should not be construed as advice because I don't profess to know what's best for anyone.
For me, cost is always an issue. Does the improvement justify the trouble and the money involved? It's also one reason why I keep going back to the John Wright well. I've never paid for an upgrade (I've done three) that wasn't worth *more* than the time and cost I invested. I'm always a bit skeptical going in (i.e. what more could you do to make this better?) and so far I've always been blown away when the unit returns. I think the mods are successful because John listens to these units constantly. He helped create and refine the product. This is not his full-time job and he tends to understate the quality and impact of his work. In my conversations with him, he seems to be in pursuit of a "musical ideal" more than drumming up extra business. I trust his ears and while I wouldn't upgrade every year, I'll probably want whatever he calls a "breakthrough." I think the guy's a genius when it comes to DACS....and he's humble about it.
I'd be interested in knowing who has done an A/B of an unmodded Bitstream and one with the current mods. I don't quite get from this conversation that this has been done.
I have a low S/N unit "105". It does not say on the panel that it has the C-Lock circuitry. I thought it was a little bright sounding at first, but extremely detailed. All I know is that once paired with a Meridian 518, it blew away all others in comparison. If anything, I would like to experience slightly deeper base. Scared to death of modding it though. Perhaps I may try and get hold of a Moray cable and see what effect that may have on it - or is the Moray the preferred post-mod cable?
I just did a direct and lengthy A/B with my just modded bitstream and a low S/N bitstream that belongs to a friend here in St. Louis. He *loves* his bitstream but is packing it up this weekend for the mods. You lose none of the analog flavor and musicality but you get a huge and cinematic soundstage and much better, deeper bass. The PRaT is also vastly improved. Personally, I consider Moray's digital cables, and I've used three versions, to be an essential part of the upgrade. I've directly a/b'd his digital to top-of-the-line offerings from Harmonic Tech and Kimber I have owned and it blows them away when used with the bitstream or bidat. The mods will be the best $500 you're ever likely to spend on audio; the modded bitstream is one of the world's great DACS and it's been run against units costing thousands more by me and many others.
This *is* an opportune time. John's breakthrough has to do with the power supply and some new caps, but the swagger over these mods is not just hype by niche users or people who can't afford "better." The changes can be appreciated in every level of system. I own the new Thiel CS3.7's, which are HIGHLY revealing, but my other friends who own bitstreams have Magnepan's or two-way transducers as well as completely different wiring and amplification. When the front end source is right, everything else just sings. Plus, the price is just crazy for the increase in quality that is delivered.
I'm sure John would never refer to them as "miracle mods" but they're enough a stride forward that I'm sending my Bidat in for the upgrade even though it was done in November of 09. As I understand it, the power upgrade discovery occured around January of 2010. There may have been other minor modifications during the year since your mods were done and I have no idea what they are. My bistream was completed in March of this year.
I just traded message with John. I will send him my Bitstream first and then the Bidat. Any power cord suggestions for the Bitstream? I haven't been able to decide on one and am still using the stock cord. I am using a really nice Shuyata one on my Bidat along with a Moray James digital coax. (His products are very tough to find, and almost impossible on the used market!)
I use the Shunyta Python CX on both units and MJ's latest digital. I'm too poor to go up higher in the Shunyata line. Sigh. John has Moray's email or you can email me for it. I haven't found anything better than this combination with the Museatex gear..YMMV. Which Shunyata are you using with the Bidat?