What differences should I be hearing as my new system breaks in?


I recently upgraded and replaced my entire stereo system. I have been using the new components a few weeks now, maybe two or more hours per day. I’ve been reading here the components have various burn in times. My question is, what differences or improvements should you expect to hear as the system breaks in over time. All the components were purchased brand new except the power conditioner. I understand different components take longer to burn in than others. From what I’ve read, on the low end, the cartridge should take maybe twenty or so hours to break in. On the high end the speakers might need up to three or four hundred hours.

My new system consists of a pair of Magico A3 speakers, a Luxman L-507uX MkII integrated amplifier, a VPI Classic 2 SE turntable with an Ortofon 2M Black cartridge, and a Marantz SA 8005 CD player (which I have had for a few years). I also acquired a Shunyata Hydra Denali 6000/S power conditioner, used, which everything is plugged into. Wiring consists of Audioquest Rocket 88’s to the speakers, VPI’s house brand cable from the turntable to the amp, and an Audioquest Colorado cable fom the CD player to the amp. The Shunyata Hydra Denali uses a Shunyata Venom power cord to the wall outlet.

It’s been interesting so far. Thus far some records or CD’s sound very different form what I’ve been used to listening to over the years. I had my old Dahlquist DQ-10’s, Bang and Olufsen Beogram 4002 turntable and Phase Linear 400/4000 amp/preamp combination since the late seventies.

Some sparsely orchestrated Joni Mitchell sounded wonderful and beautifully articulated. Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers with Wayne Shorter, playing as I write, really shows off Mr. Shorter’s sax playing in full bodied way I’d not heard before. I really enjoyed Shostakovichs 5th symphony, where I’ve usually not been able to warm up to classical music. Stuff I’ve heard a million times before and was a little bored with has come alive for some reason. The Grateful Dead’s "Wake of the Storm" sounded inexplicably different and better for some reason. Bill Wyman’s bass intro into on the Stone’s "Live With Me" off Let It Bleed was a revelation. I’d never heard it before like that, although I’ve listened to Let It Bleed hundreds of times as the daily played soundtrack of my senior year in high school. Oddly, Let It Bleed sounded poor, particularly Mick’s vocals, at the speakers demo, to which I had taken it. Go figure.

On the other hand Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on Mobile Fidelity sounded like a muddy mess and super crackly to boot, although an almost brand new pressing. Next up is a record cleaning machine to see if that makes any difference with well cared for records like the Pink Floyd recording. Paul Desmond’s alto sax practically jumped out of the speakers on the Brubeck’s Take Five album, which had previously left me non-plussed, but now was quite enjoyable. I’ll have to try a little more West Coast jazz. I’ll stop rambling right now.

Anyway, I’m curious how much better things may get and what may change, as the system gets burned in properly. I’d appreciate any input about what to expect from those of you who have some experience in this area. There’s been mostly nice surprises so far. Thanks,

Mike
skyscraper
Since you've "upgraded and replaced my entire system" it will be difficult to separate component break-in.

My advice: don't worry or think about break in. Simply, sit back and enjoy the development of your new system and your investment.

All the best.
I agree with david_ten. I'll also add that each component breaks in with various hours of use. I would think your speakers will take the longest to break in and therefore that is going to vary your musical sound. Nothing will be constant until your speaker's break-in.
You should be hearing an ever so slight improvement in sound holistically as the system depreciates. This is called Value Added Listening, or Burn In.  ;) 

I always recommend Paul Desmond's alto on Take Five as a good test of whether a system has a "shouty" midrange.  Hopefully, things will smooth out.  
Normally, after burn in, it tend to sound more smooth and organic with less edge.

I think your weak link is CD player.

Since your speaker is on the analytical side, I recommend you to try out R2R Dac around 2k$ to connect from the digital output of your CD player.

Good luck!
David and lak, I’m not really concerned about the break in, I’m only curious what it entails sonically and the scope of the changes to expect. For instance what difference in the Magico A3’s sound might be apparent after 400 hours. Thanks.

Douglas, I expect my system will go up in value like a vintage Ferrari, as well as sound better, like a fine vintage wine tastes smoother as it ages. There’s already been a significant mark-up on the A3’s.

Chayro, you called it right on the Desmond alto solo. That’s the kind of thing mellowing out I was wondering about with the process of burning in. The bass response seems to be getting a little less subdued, and the soundstage may be improving a bit. I’m not sure if I should be making any adjustments to the cartridge’s arm height to reduce the treble response a bit or should I wait longer to let the system age a bit, before I work on that, speaker placement and other adjustments.

shkong, you’re right about the CD player being the weak link. I bought that to upgrade my old system a few years back after I’d acquired a hundred or so CD’s. Most of my source material is vinyl records. At some point I’ll have to upgrade that component and DAC especially if I continue to purchase CD’s. I appreciate your DAC suggestion, but I’ve dropped so much cash on this new system I have to stop for a while while pursuing other interests that also weigh on the budget. By the way, were you the person who was considering purchasing the vintage Western Electric(?) horn speaker system, or was that someone else? I could never find that thread again and have wondered how that turned out.

Appreciate your advice shkong. Hopefully some of the edginess will subside as time goes by as you suggest. That factor made me think something might be out of adjustment. I’ll need to be patient, which I can be sometimes.

Mike






If I am reading it right, more or less everything but Pink Floyd and one song by The Rolling Stones sounds better than before. Is it the material and not the equipment that is failing on those two? Trying to put it together with your original post title, no break/burn-in may fix it.

Your CD player may be relatively the weakest link but get Pink Floyd SACD ($15-20, used) and check what difference it may make. If nothing else, it is already considered burned/broken-in.

All in all, it seems that your upgrade of the system was successful. I remember when you were planning, it is nice to read it has worked.
@skyscraper...…………………….

I too have the first Mobile Fidelity pressing of DSOTM and the bass is excellent, but the treble is subdued a bit and that sparkle that is in the album is gone. I never cared for the MOFI version of this record and find the volume on the record to be lower than all of my other records by a wide margin.

Since you have a SACD player, I would look for a used SACD of DSOTM, I say used because it is out of print on SACD now. You will be amazed. Second best is the new remix of it on regular CD, very well done. I have not heard your speakers, but you have a well balanced system that needs quite a bit of break in. I am willing to bet you will notice differences (hopefully for the better) every few more days of playing. Enjoy the break in, that is half the fun and keep rocking!

If you want to expedite the break in, pick up one of the system burn in CD.  Follow the instructions and the system will be burned in much faster.
I’m only curious what it entails sonically and the scope of the changes to expect. 


Well now here's the problem. Your question, what to expect, only makes sense when asked first. When asked after two weeks of listening, well its like asking what to expect from sex after having sex two hours a night for two weeks. 

If you don't know by now....
Nice to hear from you glupson. The Stones sounded great. No issue there. Let It Bleed sounded much better at home than at the dealer showroom demo with their expensive monoblock amps. I think Pink Floyds Dark Side of the Moon disc itself is defective or came dirty brand new from Mobile Fidelity. That's really been the only disappointment so far. It sounded crackly on my old system too. I'll check out the Pink Floyd SACD you suggest.  

It's been a pleasant adventure so far re-listening to recordings I've had, some since the late sixties. Some sound so different. A number that I always thought of as so-so have pleasantly surprised me upon a new listen. 

The Magico A3's sound so revealing. My old Dahlquist DQ 10 speakers had their really good moments, but the Magicos have those moments all the time on a consistent basis. And tonight it seems the bass is tightening up. I can't figure out if its just my imagination or particular recordings. That's kind of why I posted this, to find out is this is the kind of thing to expect as the system burns in.  

Mike
During a break in, you will probably see or hear unwanted people in your home, probably taking things that belong to you. 
As far as buying classic albums like DSOTM, always procure the originals if possible. The UK Harvest in the case of Pink Floyd. I find Discogs originals, even if somewhat worn, to be better sounding than processed reissues.
@millercarbon That crossed my mind and then you said it. #funny
There’s a perfectly valid reason why the 2003 SACD Hybrid Dark Side of the Moon is the cheapest. Let’s see if you can guess why. 🤔

http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=Pink+floyd&album=Dark+side+of+the+moon


As I recently found out break in does not guarantee audio Nirvana at the end of the rainbow 🌈  The Hifiman Re-600S V2 earphones still sounded distorted, very bass shy and markedly unnatural after 300 hours of break in, much of it using the break in track of the XLO Test CD. It is what it is. On the up side my CD player sounds a lot better. 🤗
Geoffkait, its not like you to give up so easily.  Why not take your own expert advice and stick them in the freezer for 3 days.  Time to cryo.
jitter, are you too old to go back and get your GED?
Usually I’m not amused by the bickering.... but today I’m having a bit of a larf. For a few minutes, anyway.

Old men sniping one another. Soon it will change a bit and be old men sniping one another via ancient versions of counterstrike, COD, etc.
"There’s a perfectly valid reason why the 2003 SACD Hybrid Dark Side of the Moon is the cheapest."
2003 SACD Hybrid Dark Side of the Moon is not the cheapest version of it. In fact, it is quite expensive. Let’s see if you can guess why.🤔

I was referring to those two particular copies as being the cheapest ones on the market at this point. At least on the quickly accessible market on the Internet. Even then, they are expensive for a used CDs.

As a side note, "loudness-war" database is in practice as relevant as geoffkait’s obsession with it. It is less reliable than that, though. You can always be sure that he will try to quote it. Maybe the answer to problems with yogurt on a hot day can be traced to it, too.
As I said, just going by what you say, you don’t know much about anything. I mean that in a respectful way. We’re you involved in a serious motorcycle accident? 
"As I said, just going by what you say, you don’t know much about anything."
It takes one to know one.

At least I do not build my statements on inaccurate facts I invent to support them.

Instead of trying to divert every thread into three or four topics you feel would make you appear really cool, try to be helpful at times.

Dark Side of the Moon SACD is worth recommending to skyscraper. He will decide if it was worth buying it, not some website of unknown reliability.


OK, that settles it. I’m going with serious motorcycle accident. 🤕
I have never been in a motorcycle accident. I have seen a few, though.

Sorry skyscraper, I did not mean to hijack your thread.
@millercarbon That crossed my mind and then you said it. #funny
The vast majority and by far the most obvious changes are in the beginning. By the time you been doing it a while, to ask what "to expect", well no wonder this thread disintegrated into glupkaitsonbabble in no time flat.
How many people think Geoff Kait and Glupson are actually the same person?
glubson is my opposite. As are you. 😀
He is your complement? The one who makes you whole?
sleepwalker65,

Ouch: That was a low blow!

geoffkait,

"glubson is my opposite."
Thanks for the compliment.
Millercarbon, appreciate your input on most of the changes happening early on. I didn't understand what might be occurring with the Magico's for example over a 400 hour burn in period.

Sleepwalker, I take it  burn in, not break in is the correct terminology. If so, I stand corrected.

Stereo5, you describe exactly the sound of the old Mobile Fidelity recording. I'm looking forward to getting one of the SACD recordings you and Glupson recommend as I hadn't played that record for years because it took the magic out of that great recording as you said. There's supposed to be some excellent pressings of the Stones :"Let It Bleed" , I read about on a fairly recent thread here, I'm going to track down too.

Glupson, thanks for the links

Noromance, I did have the original US pressing of Dark Side from when it first came out, but gave it away after getting the inferior Mobile Fidelity one. My mistake.

Geoffkait, is there a version of Dark Side of the Moon you prefer and might recommend? There seem to been so many versions and pressings from looking at your linked list. 

After 400 hours of burn in time audio nirvana should be a given, but maybe not judging from your experience. I probably wont get 400 hours in until next year sometime to know for sure.

For those of you who are using my thread here for bickering, please get a room, or at least entertain yourself somewhere else. I'd really prefer to be learning something about equipment burn in periods and what should be occurring during them, which some of you have kindly addressed. Thanks,

Mike







It is not about burn-in, but you may want to try Let It Bleed SACD for comparisons of something you are familiar with. Once upon a time, I read an article that band members bought SACD players and were positively surprised by the sound of those albums. I think it was in an interview with Keith Richards, but I may be wrong.
Sure, if you enjoy compressed sound. Let it Bleed SACD will do nicely. Be my guest.
Thanks glupson. I will try that and would like an improved Let It Bleed recording.

Geoffkait are you aware of another version of Let It Bleed I might like to sample as well. I’m open to suggestions.

Mike
skyscraper,

I forgot to mention that there are at least two versions of Let It Bleed SACD. Second one is Japanese SHM something (it will certainly brag about it on the packaging and wherever you see it for sale). First one is the "original" one from 2002 in Digipak/gatefold and that was the one I had on my mind, if for no other reason but because it is likely cheaper. Gurus on the Internet have different preferences but it seems that more people prefer that 2002 Digipak version. I have never heard SHM version but this "original" one is quite good, I think. Just make sure it is a SACD and not only DSD. Later in the cycle, they started printing same CDs with signs DSD but those were not SACDs. They came in regular plastic boxes.

Here are a few observations from others...

https://www.sa-cd.net/showreviews/6498

I know, it has nothing to do with burn-in, but you may find it useful anyway.
I have quite a few of the Abkco 2002 Stones DSD CDs. They are all fabulous! 🤗 Check out Through the Past Darkly, which is about the cost of a six pack on eBay.

As one can plainly see from the data even the SHM SACDs from Japan 🇯🇵 are quite compressed compared to their vinyl brethren.

http://dr.loudness-war.info/album/list?artist=Rolling+Stones+&album=Let+it+bleed
Glupson and Geoffkait, thank you both for your suggestions. I'll check out both your links soon as I have a minute. I wish I had a DSD player to try out that format. I understand that a standard SACD player will not be able to play DSD's. Correct me if I've misunderstood.

Are recordings in a DSD format not similarly compressed like some other formats?  I'm completely unfamiliar with DSD.  My old Phase Linear 4000 pre-amp had a Peak Unlimiter function that was supposed to help "de-compress" recordings. Bob Carver loved all those fun special features designed into his equipment. 

As it is, it's vinyl or CD/SACD only. I've never owned a SACD disc for that matter, although my Marantz SA 8005 will play them, so I'd like to try that format as well as the DSD if I could. Most of my source material is vinyl, with maybe a 150 CD's. I do mostly buy CD's anymore as new records are so expensive for no apparent or legitimate reason. And the only used record store in nearby Roanoke closed it's doors about a year or two ago further limiting choices.  

Mike
You may want to replace 1 item at a time with your old equipment (except speakers) Listen for awhile to see what may be making the greatest difference. 
I also replaced entire stereo system 2-3 months ago, and while I can't really cognitively notice the burn-in changes over that time, I have been amazed by the audible changes that even very minute speaker and sub placement/angling differences can make. 

I'm talking 1-2 inches of speaker movement closer or further from back and side walls, or angling in or out of a couple degrees, where the nominal distances from back wall are about 22", side wall 30-35", spaced from each other about 10-11' and each from listening position about 12-13'.  So positioning changes of just one or two percent can make amazing differences in bass fullness and tightness and high end smoothness.  Then there's sub filter freq and output volume not to mention streamer upconvert and filter settings ... endless testing opportunities ...

Happy listening!
Right. What I thought. Everything so messed up you couldn't hear even if you knew what to listen for. But the good news, you are listening! I'm harsh but fair. For what you have noticed, good. Keep listening.

Okay so now here's the thing. The inches you find so amazing, in terms of where you want to be, might as well be miles. Inches are fine in terms of adjusting what you're hearing so far, gross frequency response. Reason I say gross, its gross. So gross you can hear it easily with any stereo. You can hear it with your laptop. Play anything with the laptop sitting on a table. Now lift it up. Hear the difference? That's bass reinforcement from the wide flat table top. Same exact thing happening with your speakers relative to the floor and walls.

The changes that happen with burn-in are much less obvious yet still easily heard. It helps a lot to know what to listen for. And to have speakers accurately placed not just plopped down like they are now.

Because where you want to be is measured in millimeters, and I mean only one or two, or fractions of an inch, and I mean like 1/8.

Get a tape measure and square. Tweak the speakers to be the same distance from your sweet spot and angled in so they are exactly symmetrical. You find inches amazing, wait till you hear the difference a few degrees of toe in has on imaging when your speakers are precisely aligned like this!

Now what to listen for in terms of burn-in. Warm-up. Whatever. Same thing. Different only in terms of time frame. Let me explain.

Take anything cold, new or used, wire or component, does not matter. Start using it cold, when it hasn't been used in a while, it will not sound anywhere near as good at first as it will later on. The difference between brand new and used but not recently is the same in terms of character but different mainly in terms of how big the difference and how long the time to get to stable and good. A system or component used all the time but not since last night will probably be back to great in an hour or so. A system or component brand new will probably be more like a couple hundred hours or so.

Got it? This is not one and done. This is always and ongoing. 

Now sorry for blowing you off earlier but you know there's a lot of goofballs and trolls around here, the place is full of them, and you could easily have been just one more. Only saying you have been moving things around and listening changed my mind. So here's what to listen for and how to learn to hear it.

The hard part about this is you're trying to hear something that develops very gradually over a long period of time. The one time it happens fast is right at the very beginning. When you know what you're doing you'll be able to hear changes happening in real time as the minutes go by. Later on its more like you will notice one day it sounds a whole lot better than it did last week. This happened to me just last night. "New" as in recently modded Active Shielding MPC. Only thing new in them is the diodes and caps ala Michael Spallone. Everything in my system thoroughly burned in. Only 9 diodes and two caps were new. Monster changes as those few parts burned in!

The sound initially, and yes I'm still talking about this but its the same for everything, it has the overall character but its like a sketch or drawing yet to be painted. The sound has a grain to it. Leading edges exaggerated, harmonic development sketchy. Instruments are localized as in there is width and depth, but this also is kind of sketchy as if not quite really there. There is an impression of detail, but then you realize this is mostly because of the exaggerated leading transients. In fact there's a tremendous amount of detail being hidden or glossed over.

(Learn to recognize this, its the main thing responsible for "hi-fi" sound and its killing a lot of audiophiles. They just don't know it.)

Then over time the sketchy sound gets filled and colored in until eventually if you got a good one its Technicolor and if you got a really good one 70mm. Last night after one week the sound was so divorced from the speakers and room I could hardly believe it. Fundamentals and harmonic development so fully realized it was easy to hear the skin on the drum, and so free of grain and glare it was like real, palpable presence, on and on.

Hearing this as it happens over such a long period of time is hard at first. Here's a trick that worked for me. Leave everything on all the time. Just leave it on. Everything. No matter what. Do this for at least a week. Probably you will notice nothing. Perfectly normal. Changes happen slow and you're not yet a very experienced listener. Just do it.

Then after at least a full week of this plan some time when you can do the following. Have a really good late night listening session. Play your favorite best recording last. Turn everything off and go to bed.

Next day turn everything on and immediately play that same recording. 

Yeah. And keep in mind that was just overnight. What your system sounded like brand new was much worse. The degree to which you hear a difference doing this is the degree to which you have developed as a skilled listener. Which if you are, it will sound like crap. So crappy you will never ever want to do that again!

Let me know.
Tobor007, that’s an interesting idea.

Kren0006, thanks for sharing your experience with your new system. It’s surprising that minor speaker placement and angling changes can make such a difference. I’ve put off playing with speaker placement until my new system has had more time to burn in. The bass response seem to be improving on its own at this point.

I am looking forward to making speaker placement adjustments now with your input that minor changes had a significant impact with your system. I’m fairly limited on where I can place the speakers in the listening room so am limited to minor adjustments.

There are constraints on how far out from the wall I can place the speakers or how much further I can move them apart from each other. My room is roughly 22’ X 13’ with a high 12/12 pitch cathedral ceiling running lengthwise. At present the speakers are about eight feet apart from one another on center on the long wall. I could squeeze out another foot apart maybe, but that’s about it. The back of the speakers are currently only eleven inches out from the wall. I am unable to place them any further out without creating a foot traffic roadblock.. I spoke with Magico before purchase and they said the A3’s would perform adequately with a minimum of 7" between them and the wall. That’s one of the reasons I got them, as well as that they are not a ported model requiring a greater distance.

So minor adjustments making a big difference is good news to hear Kren. Thanks,

Mike
skyscraper,

DSD is closely associated with SACDs. For simplicity, you could think of it as SACD equals DSD although it is not quite like that. Your Marantz player will play/decode SACDs just like it plays/decodes CDs and you have nothing to think about there. DSD, as the name of the file (it is actually .dsf, or .dff, but do not bother yourself with that) becomes important if you have such a file and you want to play it through some DAC (digital-analog converter). If you ripped a SACD and wanted to play it as a file, and not as a physical rotating disc, you would end up with DSD form of it.

Your Marantz SA-8005 can actually be used as a DAC only and it does support/play DSD files (2.8 and 5.6 MHz). It opens a world of possibilities for trying and time wasting. To do that, you need a DSD file and to figure out how to do it which should not be too complicated. If you are willing to dip your toes in that, I believe that those two albums we have been talking about exist as DSD downloads on some of the "high definition" websites/stores.

If you have not heard your Marantz play SACDs yet, I would like to urge you to try it soon. It is usually quite a difference from a regular CD. You will have to decide if it is big and worthwhile difference, but it is definitely worth trying.

You have to make sure it is set to read SACD layer of the disc. Some players can be adjusted to preference so yours may be a regular CD layer which would be missing a point. Page 30 of the manual explains what to do...

https://www.us.marantz.com/us/products/pages/ProductDetails.aspx?CatId=hificomponents&ProductId=...

Glupson, thanks for the explanation and the link.  I'll read through the explanation on how to play the SACD on the Marantz link you provided. Am I to understand the DSD material is not sold in a disc format, but only as a file download?  I'd like to try out a SACD. At the time I bought the Marantz it appeared  the only content available in SACD  was primarily classical music, and pricey at that, so I never bothered with it.  

If I recall correctly from when setting it up, I think I use the DAC portion of the CD player to play the audio content coming from my Samsung Smart TV. I've yet to reconnect that since I moved all my equipment, so you've reminded me to get that done.

Millercarbon, Thanks for your time in writing that long explanation. After reading though your post twice, I will have to study your explanations some more and learn from them. 

Mike
You have a turntable. Right. Get the harvest version of Pink Floyd. Music Direct sells a very good vinyl Pink Cloyd for about 50 bucks. Is it as good as my 7.95 harvest  no! But close. Read reports   It is best test record in existence. Few months back I was in Walgreens. An audio magazine caught my eye. ( 500 records to die for ) No 1? Harvest Pink Floyd. Sorry but I do not want to part with my two sealed ones. Tea for the Tillerman has great midrange and base. 
Jepatey, I do have a number of earlier Pink Floyd albums on Harvest. I’m giving Obscured by Clouds a listen right now. I unfortunately might have given my brother the original Harvest Dark Side of the Moon when I thought I was upgrading to the original Mobile Fidelity version back then. Next time I’m up on Long Island visiting I’ll have to rummage through his stuff. It’s probably long gone though.

By coincidence I just happened to receive the new Music Direct Summer 2019 catalog in the mail a few minutes ago. I’ll take a look through it to see what Pink Floyd material they have in it. Their asking prices for vinyl records are always appalling though. I purchased most of my 1960’s and 70’s rock albums for $4 when they first came out. Since these companies use their old masters to press new vinyl their cost can’t be more than a few pennies per copy.

Mike
Skyscraper:
 Thus far some records or CD’s sound very different form what I’ve been used to listening to over the years. ...

 Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on Mobile Fidelity sounded like a muddy mess and super crackly to boot, although an almost brand new pressing. ...

Paul Desmond’s alto sax practically jumped out of the speakers on the Brubeck’s Take Five album, which had previously left me non-plussed, but now was quite enjoyable. ...


Okay so here's the thing, or my view on it anyway: what you are shooting for is not a system that sounds any way in particular, but a system that sounds like nothing at all. The perfect system has no sound of its own. It disappears. If perfect it would literally disappear. But we will settle for when you turn the lights off and the music on then all you have is the music.

When that is the case then yes sorry to say but you will sometimes find yourself playing recordings that used to sound great and ought to sound great but instead sound like crap. There's a lot that goes into this and its not an easy thing to understand so let me try and explain.

DSOTM, I have four or five copies (just of the LP). One original issue from about 1972, two MoFi reissues, one remastered reissue. I pulled the virtually brand new and supposedly audiophile reissue out recently. Even though I hadn't played DSOTM in years it was immediately obvious this version was crap. Absolute crap. Congealed, smothered, obnoxiously hard edged flat yet grainy crap. Could only stand a few minutes. Pulled out the others to compare. The original was much more open, detailed and dynamic. The MoFi (both of them) were close to the original, with just a hair of presence smoothed off, enough that a lot would probably prefer it as more quiet if they never heard them side by side.

In this case it would seem the crap reissue was ruined in mastering, while MoFi probably just did better mastering and took more care in the pressing, yet even with all of that still didn't quite match the original. 

Listen to all of these however and then put on the Brubeck. Which is a whole different story. Both have some pretty fine sax, but the Brubeck is far more viscerally present and there in the room. In fact the difference is much more than that. Its more like when playing that recording the whole room is different. Your room is the same. But the room you hear is different. As your system gets better you will better appreciate what I'm talking about. But listen, you should be able to get some sense of it even now.

This is the goal and the better your system gets the bigger the difference you will hear between recordings, and even between different pressings of the same recording. 

A friend listening to Terry Evans Putting it Down one time said he thought one track sounded better than another. We looked and sure enough, that one track had been recorded live to two-track. The others were mixdowns. So even that small a difference can be heard- when your system is good enough to reveal that small a difference.

The usual metaphor is one of looking through a lot of panes of glass. The amp is one pane of glass, speakers another, and it turns out there's a lot of em, everything from the power cords right down to the individual diodes and caps is a pane of glass. Some panes are thick, some thin, some clear, some colored, some flat, some curved and distorted, some cracked, chipped, smoked, etched, clean, dirty, on and on.

The goal with upgrades is pull out the etched glass replace it with clear. Only thing, turns out there is no clear glass. Even if it is, guess what? Its still glass! What you want is no glass, not even air- no such thing.

Right now you got a much cleaner window than you had before. Looking out, some scenes look dramatically better. Others, like your DSOTM, you can't understand why they look worse. Because they were ugly to begin with. You just didn't know it, looking at it through your beer goggles, as it were. Now though when you do find a really good pressing- magic. Gonna sound better than you ever imagined.

That's the way it is. Sometimes your system getting better will make some recordings sound worse. Oh well. Other recordings though.... buried treasure. 
skyscraper,

DSD material, under that name, is sold as downloads. However, DSD material on the purchased disc is SACD. Somewhere on each SACD you will see written DSD. The idea of DSD predates current widely-accepted music file download era so it came "packaged" on the disc (SACD) which provided a few more "advantages" (no copying). Since then, DSD files proliferated while SACDs continued existing. In general, SACD players play SACDs and some of them, including yours, will play DSD files via digital input (yours will NOT do it via front panel USB).

There is a couple of consumer-level disc players that will play DSD files from a disc that is not SACD but those are relatively rare and probably not what you will be looking for. For them, you could burn a data disc (not SACD) with DSD files and they would play.

It does get confusing but, in short, you have a set up to do, more or less, all that there is. Records, CDs, SACDs, digital files of many kinds. You are good to go, it seems.
Millercarbon, Thanks for your clear and cogent explanation about what I may be hearing or experiencing with various recordings played on my new equipment. I’ve honestly been a bit confused about what I’ve been hearing when playing some records or CD’s; whether it’s’ the system still burning in, the recordings themselves, speaker placement or anything else impacting the sound. Curiously on a couple of recordings no sound did seemed to emanate from the speakers at all. Usually, at least a couple of the instruments or voices can be localized as coming from one or other of the speakers, the other between the speakers somewhere. The other day I noticed one instrument playing off to the right of the speaker on the right side. What’s next, sound coming from above and below?.

By and large I’ve been very pleased, but somewhat baffled by the experience. A few recordings sound the same as ever, many more much clearer and well defined, some simply great. I was listening to Coltrane’s Live at Newport (redbook) CD the other night. It was wonderful, particularly his soloing being captured in such a vivid and well defined.manner, like uncovering buried treasure as you said. Also like you said I’m likely now being able to hear the difference between recordings much more clearly than ever before. That makes sense and explains a lot. I guess without thinking about it, I was anticipating all recordings to sound equally better. Thanks.

Glupson, you are correct it does get confusing. If I understand you correctly an SACD does have DSD content and will play on an SACD player. Otherwise if I wanted to play a downloaded DSD file, I could somehow on my CD/SACD player via digital input, whatever that might entail. Since I don’t ever plan to download music, that should not be an issue anyway, unless CD’s go the way of the dodo and I’m stuck doing that.

I have way too much fun buying CD’s and records anyway. I was excited today, for example, to find Volume 2 of Miles Davis’ "Live at the Blackhawk" on Amazon Music, having owned Volume 1 for many years. It’s way too much fun to get CD’s in the mail, or find second-hand records occasionally, to want to download instead. Let the kids do that. I still go to real bookstores too and I happily threw my cell phone in the garbage when I retired. So much for the electronic age, although these internet forums can be informative and fun. Thanks for the explanation Glupson. I'm glad to have learned something.

Mike


The biggest reason a system has to break in for 90 days is because that is the standard limit for getting a refund on a credit card.  See online Skeptic Magazine's, "Audiofoolery".   TeeHee  But seriously, your mind's placebo filter will learn to ignore the parts you don't like and help you concentrate on what you do like.
Dan, hopefully you're correct, and I can only hear the parts I like. I guess with the speakers 400 hour burn in period a full year's warranty period might be exceeded. But the Magico's are built like a brick, so no need to worry. There are way too many scams out there as you imply. Take it easy,

Mike