The Memory Player

Has anyone heard anything new about the memory player recently? It seems to have gone off the radar at most of the audio shows.
maybe they forgot.....
Another example of PS's marketing machine publishing 2 years of hype before the release of an unremarkable product.
I think the OP is not asking about the PS Audio player, but rather the Nova Physics player? I can see from their recent ad in TAS they've made some cosmetic changes, and I know from a few friends in the know that there have been some sonic and operational improvements and, I believe, a hi-rez capability added, but I have heard little else about it or if I'll be able to get my unit upgraded anytime soon. Perhaps, heaven forbid, they have made it a little more user friendly as well--that would be nice, even though I'm finally getting the hang of it.

Yes I am indeed referring to the p[layer from Nova Physics. You mean you have the first model? If you do, how has your experience with it been so far? How do you rate it against other supposed state-of-the-art digital players? Many thanks in advance.

It amazes me that people buy first-generation digital products, as they often are riddled with bugs. Personally, I would wait a year to see how things shake out. I'm not talking about an upgrade, such as the ARC 7 to the 8. This is merely an evolution. I'm talking about brand new products from new companies or a product that's a radical departure from what a company previously offered. Maybe it's just me.
Hi Chayro,
I am sure Rcprince bought the memory player after he was floored by it during his audition. Few people would buy something so new in concept and in execution unless it was a jaw-dropping first-hand experience with the product. The positive reviews from Positive Feedback and Stereo Times appear to confirm this.I can't wait to hear from Rcprince all about his personal eperience. Jon.
The version of the Memory Player I got was not the first generation, at least cosmetically, as it had been out for a while before I auditioned and bought it. Sonically, it bested my Forsell and EMM Labs transports pretty handily when I auditioned it in my system (I only have the transport model, not the one with the DAC and analog stage--I use the EMM Labs DCC2SE and Audio Logic for that), and also enabled me to clean up the clutter of a lot of CDs that were lying around or taking up shelf and drawer space, which was a plus. It gives me the best Redbook playback I have heard, to the point that I actually feel a bit less engaged in the music when listening to CDs played through a transport, even my EMM Labs combination. If you check the archives, I believe I tried to describe the differences I heard in some earlier Memory Player threads, and I can say that in the couple of years I've owned it I still think it outperforms other transport units I have heard. That said, there are now a lot of current products out there that probably approach or even equal its performance at a lower price, such is the way digital products seem to be coming out. I'll note that it also burns excellent CDs--I lent several copies of the Opus 3 Test CD 1(Depth of Image) to Ridge Street Audio in response to a request from the AgoN, the original disc, a copy of the disc burned from my music server (Yamaha), a copy on a standard aluminum disc from the Memory Player and a copy on a gold disc burned from the Memory Player, and in both my and their (at least the gold disc) opinion the MP versions did sound best.

Ergonomically, the thing is not a pleasure to use. I have to use a laptop to negotiate the menus, because the screen is really too small for my aging eyes. It is basically a computer, and you have to use it like one. Over time I have gotten pretty good at it, but it still takes longer to do than just dropping a CD into the drawer and playing it. Two major glitches that are annoying are (1) if you are listening to a stored disc that has music that flows over from one track to another (think of Pink Floyd albums, or a symphony where the movements flow into each other but there are separate tracks on the disc), in some cases, depending on the way the track was encoded I believe, you will get a small, short and quiet but still annoying little digital "zap" or buzz (for lack of a better description) where the new track starts, and (2) if you want to load two recordings from the library into the memory for playback, when you load them into the player and open the menu for playback it will put them in the order of disc 1, track 1, disc 2, track 1, disc 1, track 2, disc 2, track 2, etc., rather than disc 1, all tracks, then disc 2, all tracks. That would be an annoyance if you want to use the player for background music, but it isn't a big problem for me, as I use my Yamaha for that purpose, since the sound quality isn't paramount for that application. Also, the display of the library is not the greatest nor can it be rearranged or reconfigured into categories other than alphabetical (or at least I haven't been able to figure out how to do it), and you don't get the cover art and flexibility that I have seen from some computer-based systems. I guess I live with this because, as an old vinyl guy, I'm used to going through a little lack of convenience when listening to my music, and generally only like to listen to one album at a time anyway.

There are two other of my club members who have this unit and are friends with George Bischoff and Mark Porzilli, and they tell me that the new version addresses some if not all of these items, as well as sounding better (not sure if they're referring to the analog stage or the unit as a transport), as well as adding higher rez reading, storage and playback. I'll probably be talking with them this Sunday (we're having an NJAS meeting at my house, and they'll be there) to get an update as to what's available and what upgrades I could get (assuming I could afford them at this point).

To answer Chayro's point, I guess I was sufficiently impressed by the performance of the unit after the audition to overcome my common sense, as I too had the same concerns that you mention. I can say that despite the bugs and inconvenience, it has been worth the investment, and I have had no problems with it that have affected my enjoyment of the music it plays.
I design and build the Music Vault Music Servers.
My Diamond series are memory players too although the buffer the Diamond plays from is not as large as the Memory player being discussed here.

We did careful sonic comparison from playing an entire CD from Ram versus The same music from HD into the normal buffer. We could not hear any difference in sound or imaging.

The Music Vaults will play back Red Book CDs to High Deff 24 bit 192 files in their native format into your favorite DAC.

We now have the Music Vault One Which Has a built in DAC that is very good, as good or better than DACs that cost the same as the entire Cost of a Music Vault One.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Thanks a million, Rcprince, for sharing your experience. You have been more than gracious. Am looking forward to your future updates. Jon.
I received the new Nova Physics MP late July. It has analog outputs only. I had the original MP transport which I purchased 1n 2007 feeding the 2009 "cd player of the year" and all I can say is "no contest". The MP doesn't sound like any cd player I have ever owned and I have had some stock and modded high end players in my system. I hear extradinary detail yet I never get ear fatique. Once you hear the new MP all other players sound colored in comparison. The new MP user interface is greatly impoved especially with the supplied ipad remote. My system consists of Von Schweikert Audio Unifield 3 speakers, VSA Signature interconnects and speaker cables, Ayon Audio Triton with Black Bottle KT-88 power tubes and Mullard CV4003 preamp tubes, and Acoustic Zen Gargantua power cords.
Mikeg, did they have a trade-in policy for the transport or did you have to sell it separately? And does the current player not have a digital output?
03-16-10: Wpines
Another example of PS's marketing machine publishing 2 years of hype before the release of an unremarkable product.

You found the PS Audio PWT unremarkable? What products did you compare it to before you decided to get rid of your PWT (or do you still have it - I may be interested)? How much did your preferred system cost compared to the $3,000 PWT? Did you use your PWT in conjunction with the PWD? You're the first person who I know of to state that the PWT is unremarkable - especially if it was used with the PWD. I have read that the PS-A combo could be bested, but the associated equipment that the combo was being compared to was (way) more expensive.


Are the analog outputs balanced or single-ended?
Is there a digital pre-amp which you can run direct to your power amp or do you need an analog pre-amp?
Thanks in advance.

My MP has both single ended and balanced outputs. The new
MP has a volume control which allows it to run directly into an amp. I recommend that you email Sam Laufer for all questions concerning the new MP capabilities. He is very responsive and approachable.

Many thanks for your response.
Looks like the "memory" player is getting more mainstream with new CD players. servers and DAC's sporting USB ports for thumbdrives, which are essentially memory sticks or cards for music files. The latest from Bryston, the BDP-1, and from Naim, the NDX, spring immediately to mind. Has anyone heard these so-called digital players? How do they compare with the older Naim HDX and Linn models? Many thanks in advance.
03-16-10: Wpines
Another example of PS's marketing machine publishing 2 years of hype before the release of an unremarkable product.

The Perefct Wav Transport/Dac combo Unremarkable ? I own the combo. There is no system (trans and Dac) for under 6K that sounds better.... in my strong opinion. If you owned it, I doubt you would be saying that. That is a diservice to the OP.
The new memory Player (64) from Nova Physics has been released!
It is cheaper than before, should be a bit better, definitely easier in use.. And the website finally gives clear information on what it does and why..
I am, after reading this information, quite sure it outperforms all the competitors Memory Players!
Why bother with disc spinners? A bit of software will turn a Mac into a memory player - there are probably similar architectures on PC.
On a PC, you can put your media player software and your music files in a ramdisk, so there is no hard disk access at all. I tried this a few years ago by putting the entire JRiver program into memory as well as the music files. Didn't hear a difference. Solid state drives are also around now too.
Digital Network players like Squeezebox stream to the dac from onboard memory. Some computer based player software may also. This is the wave of the future. Streaming in real time from a CD is not. However digital music streaming from a memory buffer is a best practice I would say from a jitter management perspective so it is a technique that will continue to grow and thrive in various new forms in the upcoming years.
My old MP has been converted into a new one (also converted from transport only into a unit with the DAC built in). I'm still working with the distributor on properly setting it up, loading the files and operating it, but just from playing around with the files that were already loaded into it I think that it certainly seems much easier to use, and it has the capability of storing and playing hi-rez files that my old player did not. The new version does sound noticeably better than the old unit, which I thought sounded better on CD sources than any disc-spinning player (including my EMM Labs SE transport/DAC combination with its optical cables) I've ever heard. I can report later on it when I get some familiar and hi-rez tracks in it and learn how to work it properly. One feature on it that I heard for myself on a friend's earlier iteration of the unit eliminates every last trace of jitter from the signal, and it made a surprisingly audible difference for the better in the playback.
"One feature on it that I heard for myself on a friend's earlier iteration of the unit eliminates every last trace of jitter from the signal"

I do not doubt playing from memory sounds better than real time reading from optical CD in general, and that is consistent with my findings, but...

How do you know for fact that every last trace of jitter was eliminated? Is the jitter measured and displayed somehow? If so, how could one know if it was accurate or not for sure?
Correction--"purports to eliminate jitter". Should have been more accurate. I didn't see any of those little jitter critters hanging around, but they still could have been there. :^)
The more jittery you feel after an hour of listening, the more jitter in the signal. Do not drink ANY coffee or other caffeinated drinks at least three hours before the expiriment, because it will lead to inaccurate test result.
Too bad.

I would be very interested in any source device that can be quantitatively proven to be essentially jitter free.

Those jitter critters are tricky. I think tehy are almost always there to some degree but how to know how much really for fact? I would have to hear a proven jitter free source in a good system first probably before I could attempt to recognize the same with jitter, and even then for many of the better newer devices out there, I suspect it would still be quite difficult to identify by ear.

I do seem to recall there is some quantitative threshold for measured jitter tossed around below which the audible effects are supposedly nil.

Still, I am an audio kook so 0 jitter definitely interests me though I suspect it cannot be achieved practically any more than a perfect vinyl lp can be pressed and a perfect vinyl rig created with which to play it. We live in an imperfect world.....
IMO It would be more interesting to empirically establish at what point differences in jitter levels becomes indistinguishable to a human listener.
Are there new owners of a Nova Physics Memory Player yet, who wants to share his/her findings? Whether something is 100% jitter free may not be relevant. When it sounds much better than the competitors, that is relevant. And with all the positive claims, I am interested to hear all about it!
Thanks all for your input. I recently came across an announcement on the website that Mark Pozilli has unveiled the new MP64 Memory Player by Nova Physics. Has anyone personally listened to it and if so, how does it compare to the current state-of-the-art in digital players? Thanks in advance.
Found the owner's manual for the Memory Player.
It looks very interesting and hopefully it sounds just as exciting but the cost is about high at $25000.
"It looks very interesting and hopefully it sounds just as exciting but the cost is about high at $25000."

Squeezebox Touch plays from memory for about $250 and sounds very good!
Wow, thats looks so awful in so many ways.

The UI of this thing looks terrible. It reminds me of Windows 95.

Im sorry, but if youre going to sell a 25.000 USD piece of hardware, the least you can do is provide a user friendly experience.

I work in IT and this typically looks like an engineer made piece where no thought or work has been done on the end user side.
However it may look, it better sound great at 25k. Apparently, it was exhibited at the recent AXPONA and audio journalists have made positive comments about it except for the price, or course.
The Music Vault Diamond Music Server is $4600 and plays from memory. It is essentially the perfect digital source. You get to choose the DAC you connect it to, Berkley Alpha, Zodiac Gold or Brucasti DAC are all excellent choices. The Music Vault will also store your entire digital library and allow you to shop at HD Tracks and download directly to it.
The Music Vault automatically backs up your library to a second internal Hard Drive.

No Digital source outperforms it.

In all fairness I build and sell the Music Vaults so I am predjudiced in its favor. It has beaten everything it has ever been paired against including the DCS Scarlatti Transport.

The User interface is easy to use and I am available while you are learning to use it.

Neal Van Berg
Do you have a link to the review pairing the Music Vault with the dCS Scarlatti? Thanks.