#1 sounds forward, too much treble energy and unnatural to me. #3 sounds most natural and #2 very close to #3.
Showing 50 responses by dasign
WC, I understand that you will test your DCS Rossini DAC with an upcoming preamp, to validate if your system sounds better with or without a preamp.
The Rossini DAC has 4 user-selectable analog voltage outputs (0.2 Vrms, 0.6 Vrms, 2 Vrms and 6 Vrms) in the DAC software settings. To what output voltage have you set your DAC to?
The reason I’m asking, is that I own a DAC with 3 user-selectable voltage outputs and mine works best using the 2 Vrms value feeding my monoblocks (29 dB gain).
When I received my DAC, the original manufacturer setting was at 18 Vrms, which sounded horrible. I tried a second setting at 6 Vrms which sounded better but had a limited volume control (some lack of dynamic range). I finally set it up to 2 Vrms, which provided a linear volume control with dynamic/best sound.
You may want to check that out prior to your preamp test (if not already done). Looking forward to your next YouTube video. I really enjoy your journey!
Whitecamaross, I’ve been following this thread since the beginning. Probably the best forum topic I’ve read in a long time.
The Boulder/AR combo should be a world class pair IMHO. But how will you know if you do not test it? This mission you have started is like hiking to the Everest. It is a long and dangerous mission (back pains + lifting the Boulder).
Will you stop the hike with only a few feet left? Will you be filled with remorses not knowing if the Boulder/AR combo could potentially have beaten the Luxman pair? Will you sleep well? Pleeeeeaaaaase go for it!
Good luck with the install, if you decide so.
A fan (LOL!)
A few years ago I was using the Classe Audio DR-7 preamplifier in combination with their DR-9 power amp. The DR-7 was the top-of-the line Classe preamp at the time, and built as a 2 piece preamp (Power supply + preamp). I purchased an Audio Alchemy DAC and tried it with/without the DR-7 preamp. The best sounding combo was without the DR-7. But this was like +20 years ago.
I am now using a Benchmark DAC 2 HGC with a pair of Krell FPB-350 MCX monoblocks and very happy with the combination and not looking into using a preamp at this point. My thougth process is that when you have less equipment in the chain, the audio quality should be the best.
However, I would like to think that today's electronics are much better than ones built 20 years ago. The Audio Research Ref 10 preamp is probably one of the best preamp around and would surely would like to better understand the interaction with a recent DAC with/without its preamp section being used.
I've been following this thread with great interest and looking forward to Whitecamaross findings
Just came back from the Montreal audio fest and checked out a few pieces of equipment. Best speakers heard there, were the Martin Logan ESL 15A (illusion of speakers disappearing, nice woofer integration to panels, no coloration and wide soundstage). Another worthwhile speaker were the Focal Scala V2 Utopia (sounds very similar to the ML 15A). Also checked out the Wilson Audio Alexia series 2 (no coloration, full-range and very dynamic/in your face).
Simaudio introduced their new reference monoblocks called the '888' (888 Watts/8 Ohm or 1776 Watts/4 Ohm). These suckers are as big as a coffee table and look/sound marvelous. Shipping weight is 300 pounds!
Good luck in finding your audio Nirvana. This is such a great thread!
I totally agree with your position to avoid answering same questions/comments on both platforms. It is a total waste of your valuable time. Since you’ve been posting your videos on YouTube, I have decided to strictly post my comments on YouTube, since I feel this is the media that is most rewarding to us audiophiles and want to continue to support the production of these videos.
WC, I’ve been following your thread since the beginning and love the experiment you are sharing with all of us. I personally own a pair of rebuilt Apogee Duetta Signature (DS) ribbon panel speakers. I love panel speakers, because they do not colour the sound. The DS are a ‘flat’ panel type, i.e., barely no high frequency power emitted from their sides.
If I were to purchase a new panel speaker, it would be a ML ESL 15A which I have heard at the 2018 Montreal audio show. This is an impresive speaker, very natural, extended, high resolution and with 3D presentation.
My audio room size is 18 x 12 x 8 and have plenty of bass coming from the DS. Over the years, I’ve contemplated purchasing a pair of Apogee Diva, but had abandonned the project, since users who tried to shoehorn the Diva in smaller rooms were greatly disappointed.
The ML Neolith video is somewhat misleading. The Monolith is a big ‘curved’ panel type. So there will be more high frequency energy coming out to the sides of the speakers when compared to a flat panel type. ML is doing so, to probably improve the imaging of the speakers. Since they are playing in a small room, they are toeing-in the speakers to potentially avoid side room reflections.
The other concern I have, would be bass-loading your room. I know you like to hear your music ‘pedal to the metal’ and that would be a high risk to purchase such an expensive speaker to resell it, a few weeks later...
I would ask ML the recommended room size for the Monolith before making a move.
WC, installing a 30 A breaker should cost about $75 (time) + cost of breaker (around $35). However, the wiring benefit will be if you re-wire your 30 A dedicated circuit with 10 gauge wire. I have done so for my Krell FPB-350 MCX Monoblocks and had a dramatic increase in bass/dynamics.
If you decide to re-wire, figure out 2 hours @ $75/hour + cost of 10 Ga wire.
WC, I’m with you on uber priced cables, IMHO, they are not worth the money they are asking for. I would strongly recommend that while doing the breaker/outlet job, you also should consider replacing your electrical wiring feeding the power amps.
My Shunyata PCs (used Anaconda CX) are built using 10 GA. A typical NA house would be wired with 12 or even 14 GA wiring. Maximum current rating for a 12 GA wire is 20 A, while 10 GA is 30 A. Redoing the wiring would be beneficial to any power amps you would be trying. This would only add a low incremental cost if you have an electrician already coming in for the breaker/outlet job.
I was astonished by lower noise floor and improved bass on my monoblocks, when my 12 GA wiring was replaced by 10 GA. It is the best bang for the buck improvement I did on my audio system.
Here is a very interesting article written by MSB Technology on the subject: http://www.msbtechnology.com/faq/how-to-wire-your-house-for-good-power/
WC, I am looking forward to hear from you regarding the Sonore Signature Rendu SE.
I have owned a few of their products ( Microrendu and now the Ultrarendu). You will be shocked by the audio improvements. They have created a mini PC and proprietary OS to minimize typical audio impairments generated by laptops/PC.
You should noticed a very black background and increase in instrument delineation/low level details. Your bass will be as solid as it has ever been with the Magico/Focal.
Your post of August 19th (4:52 AM) is somewhat misleading, where you have hyperlinked what looks like a speaker frequency response graph. There is no title on the graph itself and a reference to the Soundstage test article, would have been beneficial to the understanding your post.
While I now understand what the linearity test plot you posted means and the conclusion you arrived to, it was done on the MK1 version and not necessarilly relevant to the speaker discussed here (MK2).
Agreed that it would be interesting to have the same testing done on the MK2 version.
Exactly. A frequency response plot will only provide info on frequency linearity or flatness of the speaker at a specific power input.
Nothing to do with driver compression, which would need to be measured by an audio spectrum analyser at different power level inputs to verify appearances non-linearities or distorsions.
WC, you just came up with a very interesting conclusion about today’s best preamps. In the late 90’s, I purchased an Audio Alchemy (AA) CD player with volume control, to replace an early Telefunken CD player (which sucked real bad...). The AA CD player was feeding a Classé Audio DR-7 preamplifier/DR-9 power amp. The DR-7 preamp was one of the best SS preamp at the time, a two-piece design with separate PS.
Once I connected the AA CD player directly into the DR-9 power amp, there was no coming back and sold the DR-7 preamp. The DR-7 was subtracting some bass and low level details compared to the AA direct connection.
However, technology evolving at a fast pace, I was recently reconsidering this decision with my current reference system. I guess you just put the last nail on the coffin regarding this idea with your recent finding...LOL!
WC, I have personally heard the Focal Scala Evo as well as the ML 15a at the 2018 Montreal Audio Fest. Both speaker sets were my favorites among all the speaker sets present.
Difficult to say which one was better, since listening to them in a hotel room, with different ancilliary equipment makes it virtually impossible to sort them out.
However, if I was in a market to purchase some speakers, these would be on my short list.
WC do not worry about your Krell not being in position to correctly feed your upcoming speakers with 87 db sensitivity. I had the Krell FPB-200 CX stereo amp feeding my refurbished Apogee Duetta Signature ribbon speakers which have a 86 db sensitivity. Never felt that my speakers needed more power. The Krell drove those babies without a sweat.
Do not forget that the Krell and probably the D’agostino have more power/current available than published in their specification sheet.
Which Apogee speakers have you owned? What ancilliary equipment were driving them?
Which refurbished Apogee retailers cannot set them up properly?
I had my Apogee Duetta Signature rebuilt by Rich Murry from True Sound Works. My DS have natural and extended treble since I followed the original Apogee installation procedure. Second, Apogee restorers typically only restore the speakers and ship them back to their owners.
There are only 2 official US Apogee restorers, 1 on the East coast (Music Technology, VA) and 1 on the West coast (True Sound Works Audio, NV). Do you really think they will drive/fly half of the USA to their Apogee owners to install them? This would be a local sales store responsibility. As you know, there are none of them left, due to Apogee going out of business shortly after being bought up by a VC company.
I agree with WC on the recorded audio quality of many electronica/edm musical tracks.
Here is a representative sample of well recorded electronica/edm I listen to from Roon/Tidal:
The Plinius amplifier terminals are fed from the same internal bus, so you’re good on this one. I’m somewhat confused about your recommendation to use WW unterminated jumpers. How will WC connect these to the speaker terminals? Seems very unlikely that WW will ever sell such wiring jumper arrangement. The jumpers connecting the speaker binding posts must be removed for bi-wiring. I think the replacing the original ML jumpers by WW jumpers could provide marginal benefits (if any) in a non bi-wired mode. I do not think that ML is providing cheap jumpers on its best speakers. Remains to be proven.
The main idea behind bi-wiring is to improve sound quality by directly feeding a pair of cable the crossover tweeter circuit and another pair connected to the woofer circuit. In a bi-wired system, the power amplifier sees a higher impedance on the tweeter cable at lower frequencies and a lower impedance at high frequencies. The same logic also applies for the woofer cable portion (higher impedance at higher frequencies).
Altough the complete signal gets out of the amp on each terminal, it will split up because of the lower impedance of individual Xover sections seen by the amp. The high frequencies will travel mostly in the loudspeaker pair driving the tweeter circuit and the low frequency will travel mostly on the loudspeaker pair driving the loudspeaker woofer circuit.
How does this improve the sound? There is a large magnetic field generated in the woofer cable when music is flowing. If you split up cables like in bi-wiring, you are reducing magnetic interactions in the cables. So the magnetic field generated in the woofer cable cannot interfere with the high frequency energy in the loudspeaker pair driving the tweeter circuit. Bi-wiring provides better overall resolution without changing the speaker personality.
I am personally using bi-wiring on my rebuilt Apogee Duetta Signature speakers. I tried it a few years ago with MIT cables and Classé DR-9 power amp and no way I was returning to my original wiring setup. It was a very clear improvement.
I’m currently using Acoustic Zen Absolute silver bi-wiring cables fed by Krell FPB-350 MCX monoblocks and love my sound. If your speakers have bi-wired inputs, you should reaaly give bi-wiring a try. I would be surprised if you would not like it.
@mrdecibel, I totally agree with you. Depends on what techno_dude has tried (or not). There are many ways you can do bi-wiring, some better than others.
Well, WC did mention that he was going to do bi-wiring testing last week. Not sure if he had the opportunity yet, since he is waiting for the Block Audio monos to arrive.
Since he already invested so much money since the start of his journey, it may not be such an issue to try bi-wiring. Wireworld offers all of their top speaker cables in bi-wiring configuration as an option. He could probably trade his current cables for the bi-wired versions for minimal incremental money.
I am a fan of panel speakers. I currently own refurbished Apogee Duetta Signature ribbon speakers. Panels were refurbished by Richard Murry from True Sound Works. I personally rebuilt 100% of the Xover circuits using latest component technologies. What I like about panel speakers is that they are free of any cabinet coloration and minimize room side reflections, due to their cardioïd radiation pattern. Obviously, there is some care needed in speaker placement, especially minimum spacing behind the panels.
I was at the 2017/2018 Montreal Audio Show and the best speakers I heard were the Focal Grande Utopia, ML CLX Art and Rennaissance 15A.
The Focal Grande Utopia had a massive, dynamic and huge soundstage. It is a magnificient speaker but at a price tag that goes with it ($120K). You need a huge room/big amps to satisfy these monsters.
The ML CLX Art had the most incredible resolution I ever heard from any speaker. Its mids/high frequency reproduction were to die for, but seriously lacked output at the low bottom end. If I were to purchase these, I would add 2 subs. This is still an expensive solution ($29K = $22K panels + $7K for 2 Balanced Force Subs). You still need a huge room to accomodate the panels/subs.
My goto ML speakers would be the Rennaissance 15A. This speaker is full range, wide soundstage, well integrated sub for a panel speaker. The mids/high are very detailed, but not as much as the CLX Art. However, the 15 A just kills the CLX Art in the bass department. The 15A has an Anthem Room Correction system built into the speaker for greater room intergration. Priced at around $25K, it is within reasonably priced for what you get. This speaker would fit in a medium-sized room.
I have never heard the Neos, I guess they would sound like a mix of the best features from CLX Art with bass from 15 A and probably/surely better than this mix....
Mikepaul, I had the same question asked to Krell’s technical support department and got same response...
However, I always like to make my own mind about any tweaks. So I purchased 2 Furutech top of line power inlets (Rhodium 20 A) and started dismantling original power cords. I had to cut-out a square on the back panel by drilling small holes and using a metal file to install the power inlet.
All this work was worthed. Once done, I used Shunyata Anaconda CX powercords on my FPB-350 MCX monoblocks and heard immediate audio improvements. Bass was much tighter and also felt an increase in overall dynamics. An another unexpected result was that these class A amps were now running cooler. So even if the original Krell internally wired power cords are pretty sizeable, I think they were somewhat strangling the amps.
Viber6, inductive and capacitive reactance varies per frequency as you indicated. It would very difficult to guess how a cable assembly would sound, even if a manufacturer would share this information.
The ideal cable would have zero reactance and infinite conduction level (zero resistance). Supra conductivity is possible but not at a commercial level...
I am currently using Acoustic Zen Absolute silver cables (XLR interconnects + biwire speaker cables). Acoustic Zen provides inductance/feet as well as resistance/ feet specification on their speaker and interconnect cables.
If all manufacturer would publish these infos, it could potentially give you an idea about the design quality, assuming we are looking for the perfect conductor cable. But numbers do not necessarily provide good sound...An audition of any cable is required + matching these cables between active components is also a must, as WC is currently experimenting.
Viber6, I’ve owned the Acoustic Zen Silver Absolute speaker cable for a few years and it is somewhat difficult to precisely answer your question, since I’ve had so many modifications on my system. Prior owning the Absolute Silver, I owned the Acoustic Zen Double Barrel speaker cables.
The Double Barrel was an improvement over my Audioquest speaker cables (I do not remember the model number...) which had better bass extension/resolution and overall spatial presentation.
When I replaced the Double Barrel with the Silver Absolute (SA), there was an increase in resolution for all frequencies, like lifting a veil from the Double Barrel. The two cables had similar tonal flat balance, but the SA had a ‘thereness’ quality when listening to acoustic jazz or chamber music.
Faxer, thank for your detailed explanation on the GT Audioworks speaker design. The information on their website is somewhat confusing when they mention ‘that the driver uses no crossover’. From your explanation they are using a high pass filter crossed over at 2.5 kHz for their high frequency ribbon.
They can call it like they like it, but IMHO, GT Audioworks is using a crossover (or high pass filter), to limit bass frequency going into their high frequency ribbon. There are few speakers with no crossovers and they all have frequency limitations, since physics rules apply to all transducers.
WC, here are my favorite test tracks. These are identified by track/artist/album and are all available on Tidal. I have diverse musical taste and sorted things out in order by mood, ambient up to techno:
Music Box/The Cinematic Orchestra/Ma Fleur
Notes Falling Slow/Cowboy Junkies/ Notes Falling Slow
Everything Disappears/Thomas Stronen/Time is a Blind Guide
NY is Killing Me/Jamie XX/We're New Here
As ricred1 indicated, there could be an issue with your power grid. I noticed that my best sound is occuring on Sunday mornings. I notice a blacker background and greater dynamics.
I also have intermittent DC on my AC line, which makes my Krell monoblock transformers mechanically hum. So I’m investigating DC blocker devices as we speak. Balanced power transformers could also be of some help, to mitigate grid pollution.
WC, I agree with tjassoc suggestion. I also have used rock wool soundproof insulation for my ceiling and sidewall of my basement audio room. Basically it turns audio vibrations into heat. Works well is not too expensive. Another interesting product is Soundcoat GP3 dampening sheets which have an adhesive back. I’ve used these to minimize airborne vibrations to my equipment or noise generated by my power transformers. If I was in your situation, I would tack the GP3 sheets on your back wall and then fill up with rock wool.
Happy new year to all. I've been following this thread since the beginning and just love it. WC, looking forward to your Youtube Channel to which I will subscribe.
+1 to Viber6 and mrdecibel regarding their music listening process.What is most important to me, is listening to music whatever the replay gear is (car radio, Youtube via TV or my audio reference system).
If I purchase new gear/tweak, I will listen to my favorite music which I am familiar with. My mindset is not expecting anything but musical enjoyment. If the musical enjoyment is increased during the new gear/tweak listening session (new details unheard of, increased dynamics, etc.), I will keep the new gear/tweak. I rarely use 'reference recordings' tracks since they are rarely musically interesting to me.
I am a music afficionado first and audiophile second. I am an audiophile just to increase my musical pleasure and not to show of my gear. When I get friends/family into my dedicated audio room, it is to share a musical experience with them. I never discuss my gear with them, unless I get questions/comments from them. My friends love music and none of them are audiophiles. I guess there are 2 types of audiophiles, the materialistic one (loves his gear first) and the philosophic one (loves his music first).
My 2 cents.
I am a regular follower of Audiophilestyle web site specialized in audiophile computer setups and audio gear. I currently own the Sonore OpticalRendu combined with the OpticalModule. This setup is nearly the equivalent of the Sonore Signature Rendu SE Optical you are referring to.
One of their concept is to isolate the upstream noise coming from the home network router, using galvanic isolation provided by the optical connection. I previously used the UltraRendu ( Ethernet/USB converter) and could not believe the improvement when I purchased the OpticalRendu/OpticalModule.
It was a huge audio improvement (less veil, increase in low level details/bass). It is like accessing the master recording of the track you are listening. I thought my system was good prior to this purchase...Believe me, there is a lot of crap coming from your home network which affects the audio stream. I have a very simple home network (Cable modem + WiFi/Ethernet router + PC) and when I installed the Rendu optical network, it just brought life to my music. It is a huge improvement and relative inexpensive upgrade.
The Sonore Signature Rendu SE Optical is even better than my current optical setup according to AudiophileStyle forum members. It is an approved Roon endpoint.
WC, I agree with other post members that you should use the better PCs for your interconnect/speaker cable tests. As you experienced yourself, PC make a positive difference sound wise.
If I was in the market to purchase a new interconnect cable, I would make sure that the rest of my system is tweaked correctly (PCs, speaker cables, amp matched to speakers, preamp matched to amp, etc.).
I think your test should replicate a real audiophile life situation.