I use a dCs Purcell. I have found it to improve virtually all of the CDs I've played through it in the past year. When I bought it, my dealer had mixed feelings about it, feeling he liked some discs better with it and some better without. Don't know if he still feels this way. I'm not sure why, but since my feelings are that the Purcell, among other things, improves the bass and makes for a richer harmonic presentation, a CD with an abundance of one or both of those two attributes (a rare thing, in the case of the harmonics) might sound too bass heavy or muddy in the midrange through this upsampler. As I said, I haven't really found this in my listening, which is mostly classical, with some rock, folk and jazz thrown in, except perhaps some earlier Telarcs which had a tilt towards the bass. As for the second part of your question, the upsampler won't save a poorly done CD (try any overcooked pop recording or early digital classical recording from DG or Columbia), and I've found the best recordings (Reference, Harmonia Mundi, Delos) to sound even better, so I think that it certainly doesn't even the playing field between good and bad recordings, and may even widen the field a little (i.e., more improvement on good recordings than on bad ones). Just my observations; curious to see how others hear it.
I own the Delius and the Purcell. Listening at 24/192 spoils one very quickly. Even my wife can't stand listening at 16/44.1 anymore. If you have a chance to audition these two together - do it. dCS is also planning on releasing a new product later this year named the Grieg. The Grieg is a Purcell that allows analog and phono inputs, which can be fed to the Delius or Elgar at 24/192! For some more info check out http://www.enjoythemusic.com/ces2001/preshow/page2.htm - Scroll down to the dCS announcment.
Last summer, we had long, and often heated, threads about the difference)s) between "upsampling" and the more conventional term for increasing the digital sample rate, ie "over sampling", and it seems they are essentially the same thing. So any good DAC or CD player whether touting upsampling or not should sound good. Levinson DACs sample at a rate of about 352 KHZ, and they they call it 8X oversampling. When I asked Madrigal about it, they said "do you want us to lower our standards to 192 KHZ?". If you don't believe this, check with Resolution Audion, Muse Electronics, Theta Digital, Madrigal Audio and other digital manufacturers. Even JA of Stereophile finally admitted that they are essentially the same. As to sound quality differences, it's just a matter of the way the technology is implemented. And yes, at the cost, dCS gear should be excellent. I personally use the ML 360S and it also is excellent. I Don't really want to stir up a heated debate on this again, so if you want, just look up threads under upsampling. Cheers. Craig.
Garfish, Agreed - Pick your semantics upsampling or oversampling. Hoe I didn't come off as upsampling was the only way to go. As far as dCS and Levinson is concerned, they are both great gear. Cheers - Dan
I think that it is real funny that because dCS was the first to quote 24/192 most digital manufactures use that as the number to beat. Garfish says that Levinson is quoting 352, there are others quoting 384 and 768. All these high numbers are strictly fuzzy math. Here’s how they get to it…44K multiplied by 8 times oversampling and you get 352. Then there is 96K multiplied by 4 times oversampling and you get 384. Then there is 96K multiplied by 8 times oversampling and you get 768. This may all sound logical until you do the apples to apples comparison. None of the above companies quoting these high numbers can accept a signal above 96K. dCS accepts a 192 signal and for an apples to apples comparison then oversamples 64 times. So lets look at the math. 192 multiplied by 64 times oversampling and you get 12,288. So if you are going to buy into the marketing hype what would you rather have: 24/352, 24/384, 24/768, or 24/12288?
The bottom line is how each dac sounds, not the fuzzy math. Don’t buy into the marketing and mathematical figures, go out, listen for yourself, and let your ears be the judge.
Yes, all CD's sound better through the Elgar and Purcell combo, some more than others. The difference clearly is in the amount of information which comes through, and to me is most apparent in the way note-to-note flow of strings, and especially massed strings, is reproduced. As to what Levinson says, that's utter hogwash. The Levinson 360S, which I was previously using, sounded substantially better when I added the Purcell at 24/96, and when I finally substituted the Elgar for the 360S, it was another major improvement at 24/192. But there is another factor as well--the Elgar and Purcell are neutral in a way the 360S is not. When you change digital and analogue cables (between the DAC and preamp), there is a difference, but there is still remaining what I suppose might be termed the "Levinson sound". I'm not knocking it--I'm still using, and like, the Levinson 37 transport. But when you change cables with the Elgar and Purcell, the change is much more dramatic; you hear much greater differences, and you have to be very careful not to attribute cable sound to dCS. Whatever dCS does, it simply is not what Levinson is doing. I can't and won't generalize about other companies.
I re-read my last comment, and decided it wasn't fair. For all I know, Levinson is 100% correct as to the technology. But what I can state is there was a substantial improvement when I substituted the Purcell (for the Genesis Digital Lens) between the Levinson 37 and 360S; that the 360S sounded fabulous at 24/96 with the Purcell; but that the Elgar sounded even better, at 24/192. I am attributing the differences to upconversion because I have nothing else to go on, but I suppose it could be something else I don't understand just as well. Same with neutrality: what is clear is that cable differences seem more pronounced with the dCS components, which seems to me to be a result of grater neutrality, but could be something I am not factoring in too.
Dan 2112, I agree, it is a matter of semantics, and the digital designers that were contacted last summer (see above) also agreed that the difference between upsampling and over-sampling is purely semantic-- and to some extent "marketing hype" . Bpgtt's numbers are pretty confusing. Increasing the sample rate of a digital stream is based on the Sony/Phillips Red Book for CDs which specifies a 16 bit word length sampled at a rate of 44.1 kHZ. The word length cannot be increased without adding dither (noise). As to the sample rate, it can be whatever the designer wants, or deems desireable. But 8X oversampling has been used since the early to mid '80s, even in inexpensive CD players, ie it is not new technology, and re-naming it "up-sampling" does not make it so. An "upsampled" value such as 192 kHZ cannot then be "oversampled"-- unless you just want to play word games. Rather than beat this to death again, please, please, please look up the past threads on: "upsampling", "what the heck is Resolution Audio", and "up and over sampling". There are direct quotes from leading digital designers such as Jeff Kalt of Resolution Audio, and Kevin Halverson of Muse Electronics. I am certainly not an expert on this subject, and what I know is what was learned in the threads last summer. And yes, I also contacted Madrigal Audio, who had released a position paper on the subject in layman's terms. I agree that Bpgtt is right on when he says (paraphrasing) go out and listen and let your ears be the judge. It seems to me that the sound/music quality differences among competing digital components has more to do with the method of implementation, and parts and build quality. I have not heard dCS gear, but would expect it to be excellent. I find my Levinson gear to be excellent also. Cheers (I hope). Craig
....BTW, Kevin Halverson also released an excellent position paper on this subject. To address Hornby's question, I would only say that "upsamplers" such as MSB, Bel Canto, dCS, and others are essentially similar to any outboard DAC, and there are many. Pick your price and as Bpgtt says, let your ears be the judge. Craig
Rcprince (as usual) and all the others seem to be dead right!
I use the ML 30.6 and the 31.5 for digital and adding the Purcell to the chain did not make bad CD's sound much better, but also certainly not worse. With good CD's there was a fantastic improvement in clarity, resolution, soundstage, presence, dynamics. Cabling is indeed important. I am happy with the Purist Dominus. I found the computer in the Purcell sometimes a little tricky to handle. After occasional power failures the unit was difficult to reprogram, behaving in an erratic fashion. It took time and patience. But we are used to that from computers, I guess.....
You might want to audition the Accuphase DP-75V player which upsamples to 24/192; it's stunning. J10 reviewed it in 'Phile a couple of months ago. After hearing it at length, I've decided to upgrade to that player. After hearing the Sony SCD-1, I'm not prepared to buy into SACD, which many consider the "ultimate" CD playback format. I don't find it that much better than upsampling, and in some cases, I think SACD is less. I'm not buying a remastered remaster of something I already have. IMO, SACDs should be DSD to disc, not fold downs of earlier recordings, to bring out all the nuances of the format. Also, I'm not enthralled with most SACD releases to date, particularly at $25 per. For me, the Accuphase DP-75V is the future.