In short, 'bit-stripping' with high-end DAC units is a thing way of the past.
Levinson gear, already back in the 90s left this method behind by using resistor ladder attenuation in their analogue output stage.
It's unimaginable that ANY present high-end gear would still use this sound degrating cheap attenuation method.
Wow, I do like that INT 250's sound/clarity & cohesiveness, the Luxman sounding a tad more warm/minutely veiled *by comparison*.
That PASS just creates a sense of almost supernatural & magical vibe with that music. Amazing.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
WC, thanks for your response,
I THINK what I'm reading in your take of my mentioning, is aligning with what I had to say.
I'm NOT speaking from theory - at all - but from my very own listening experience, with my own equipment.
I agree that this still seems the current status regarding DAC direct, yet things can or may change, "Nix is fix". Ever, eh?
Interesting also for me to learn, that some of your thread's followers in deed are running MBL Biegewandler, and do have positive experience with the use of alternative power-amp sources, to those monsterous MBL mono-block :).
Wireworld cable sounding better, more right somehow, just to me too.
Oh dear, DAC directly into poweramp, here I go again...
Shall I be mildly, or deeply, embarrassed not to call a dCS DAC my own?
Maybe my comment is targeted to folks that muck about below the stratospheric equipment regions...
Like I'm still using an ML 390S (it's actually a CD 'processor' not just 'player' mind you) with actually one very fancy volume control (not the bit stripping kind) i.e. the like that's used in most ML preamps, ML 38 onwards at least.
Some sort of very fine, 0.1 dB step attenuator and no Alps potentiometer either.
Maybe GOOGLE it if it warrants more interest.
So, of course what helps in my case too is, that I as well have to handle a tt...😉 Fine.
The point, of using my ML 326S preamp now in place of a direct connection from DAC to amp is that it simply sounds... BETTER in my scenario.
In the situation described it's nothing new actually, was also e.g. mentioned at the time by John Atkinson, if I recall correctly...
So - as always, IT ALL DEPENDS... on your gear etc.
Whereby in NO way do I wish to diminish WC's latest - epiphany on the subject. 😅
I agree with all comments regarding the very closeness as can be perceived not being right therein yhe room.
However, the Luxman at ½ that 30k cost of the Ayer... 😉... my pick for sure.
All that said, the music sounding absolutely fantastic, detailed, spacious, airy, ever so right, this for both units.
# 3 sounding the most real and captivating.
# 2 kind of holding some middle ground,
# 1 is certainly ultra detailed almost surreal but 'over-euphonic' if that is a/the word 😊.
# 1 sound somehow too 'new', not all settled in maybe, but in total all are very exceptional sounding sets for sure.
— What Watt/Puppies are those, if I may ask please? Version 7 ?
Sorry, I'm a bit behind the curve... 😏
Ah, still all about preamp or no preamp.
Hard for me to believe, what I'd said on the subject, going straight into my amp, turns out somethings have changed, - I was WRONG. 😣
IT DOES SOUND BETTER WITHOUT PREAMP - now at least.
I hadn't tried this for ages because I'm also playing vinyl.
But somehow, some things like: bias reset, DC offset reset, differt XLR to amp ICs (Transparent Ultra), must have done it?
In this case BETTER means more clarity, more air, more focus, different (more correct) tonality? And all not quite so subtle either.
The predicament... how to deal with all my vinyl?!?
😏 No idea as yet.
Thanks for your take dear, and it makes a lot of sense.
However, using my ML390S straight into my X350.5 Pass is a PITA - re-plugging the XLRs and setting the the ML390S from Fixed to Variable (output), and all back again for vinyl listening.
Most of my classic music is on old vinyl, as here in SA there's next to no interest in this kind of music by the Black majority of customers i.e. no CDs.
'Broadband' is "narrowband" at the best of times.
Therefore streaming is useless in most areas.
The difference of bypassing the pre, however is most noticeable, as I'd mentioned, so now I'm stuck with a conundrum - to change or not to change, this is the question? 🤔
Re. you last video, retrospective.
Call it a summary ok, me OMG... 🌬
Seriously it takes some missioning, good you where not married at the time, methinks 🤣
Me, I would have run, real fast! Wow!
But ok, that's just my subjective response.
Like how does it go with that Steve Wonder song? 🤔 "Every body's got a thing..."
I must play it now, lest I'll get too heavy. Uffff
In any case, I do feel to say THANK YOU, for sharing, yes.
#1 interconnect 💯 % for me. Absolutely beautifully open, clear and coherent.
#2 reminds me of my system when I somehow - don't like it. 👎
This by comparison of the two.
But your speakers are, in my estimate, one big contributor in the #1 top showing, - as they point out the #2 comparative lack there of.
Can this all be due to synergy? 🙄
Somehow, I don't think so, based on my own cable listening experience.
And, the ability of your top source is - 'coming through loud and clear'. WOW!
AMAZING SOUND I'm hearing.
Any chance to learn what music/song you'd been playing? 🥰 Lovely stuff!
Maybe I was a bit too subtle.
I have no issue with your 'fine' music.
I mentioned hearing REVERB even when you are SPEAKING, like in a church!
IT'S YOUR ROOM - at least that's what was trying to convey.
One of the latest class D offerings, e.g. by MBL N51, using a huge linear powersupply?
The treble speed, and low end punch (hammer) could just point to that. Seriously.
This lot sounds worlds appart from the Wilsons. Seriouly unlistenable to me.
Yes, I’m sure it can be improved - by how much? Who knows...
Though this is so bad, it can only get better - one hopes!
Sorry to be so ’in front of the waggon’ about it.
Good for you, actually finding ANY sort of 'positiv'. KUDOS, I say! 😊
I just couldn't, not trying to be horrible, maybe just spoiled?!? OMG, maybe am lacking imagination ... 🤔
WC's Wilson DAWs sounded really lovely on my gear! But this present stuff - BAD. Seriously.
Eish man, 😔
Can only agree with your statement.
I had a pair of Mola Mola mono block on test for some 2 weeks, to see if I could replace my power-hungry PassLabs X350.5.
In short, I had the same experience as you described it.
Though, really well and solidely made stuff, and accordingly pricey to boot.
Putting the X350.5 back in, had just so much more authority and overall natural sound quality.
These Class D monos, for me, sounded like hyper-hifi.
Just not right. At all.
Interesting comment on bass control of the Pass X350.5.
Not that I disagree, but I had a notion, it is what reflex-port (Burmester 961) plus room nodes, was at least adding to that tendency.
Then I recalled this issue, from way back studies, of the 'back EMF'... created by the 8" woofer, in my case.
Similar issue with some Watt/Puppies I'd auditioned in my system, a while back.
The damping factor of the X350.5 is quoted reasonably high at ~170 and that in theory at least, should take care of that issue - but, there are different ways to ALLOW for this back EMF to be absorbed more rapidly by the amp.
My best way, *very* short speaker cables, 4 foot, single (i.e. not bi-wired) connected to the bass terminals, and 5½" mid-woofer and AMT tweeter connected by a substantial set of short copper-jumper, braid type cables with crimped cable shoes.
It makes a notable difference in my setting.
Leaning out the bass response (maybe X350.8 ?), affects EVERYTHING, all the way to the treble, as I had noticed when auditioning the Mola Mola monos.
Seems, ultimately there's no free lunch, eh? 🤔
Just two points,
one new, and one pretty old - and actually just repeating what I'd to say a long while back in this thread I.e. using DAC direct into amp.
So FINALY there seems some more agreement on the subject as it APPEARS. GOOD!
a) To reiterated; even with a most finely resolving ladder resistor (R-2R, analogue) DAC output volume control i.e. no bit stripping, the use of a good quality preamp improves SQ.
This, even ages ago, was found to be the case during Sterophile's J. Atkinson testing Levison gear, which I use and which I could confirm also. No if or but.
b) Regards Viber6 comment about Wilson Alexia2 and 'the weakest link' ...
IMO, WC's top notch frontend equipment is in fact, practically relegating ANY speaker to the 'weakest link' - in this system setup.
At this extremely high frontend quality level this is practically unavoidable.
This is perhaps a more philosophically stated point of view, and in NO WAY diminishes the very top SQ achieved.
So much so, that as stated, this speaker is revealing minute changes, that a lesser quality speaker would hardly be able to do.
Never the less, it can still be the 'weakest link' (for now?).
Only, e.g. some top of the line MBL 'Biegewandler' MIGHT change this, by pointing back at the frontend setup.
Though, the question would arise, what sort of monster mono-blocks, other than the MBL items, would then bring everything back into a new 'balance'?
I'm hearing a truly noticeable amount of reverb - this includes when you speak as well.
I'm wondering, and despite the 'fine' sound I find it impinging on ALL the music presented.
Sort of playing your equipment in a church? 😇
Maybe it's just me...?
Justmetoo M. 🇿🇦
I really like what I hear, though not really at all what I see! Ghastly. Eish!
Not into monoliths, too bad, eh?
Had myself a medium long thread on acceptably looking (WAF) speakers - (reasonably more affordable) alas yielding loads of monstrosities. 😏
Great sounding I'm sure, but reason for a divorce if they'd be put in any family living room.
In general with European households (where I come from) there'd be neither space nor a willingness to plant such items.
Sure that this was mentioned before, so I'd be excused for saying so, eh? 🤷♀️
Who can not agree, best sound EVER! 😊
Oh yes! 'The mind! ' - the ever restless mind, looking for new and different experiences on the road to this 'apparent' elusive goal.
Yet in German there is the saying:
"Der Weg ist das Ziel"
i.e. - The journey is the goal... ".
The other thing which can not be mentioned ENOUGH ever is - synergy, synergy, synergy...
Same as is in real estate - location, location, location!
'nough said again 😉