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 Ron's System

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rrstesiak



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PostSubject: Update: NAD 516   Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:08 pm

All:

Temporarily veering away from my platforms vs stands design decision, back to the NAD 516 Project:

Here are some pics and latest updates with my NAD 516 tuning project...

Here is the latest incarnation of the unit:



My main goals were:
- separate the unit from the steel chassis; which often is NOT taken into consideration when the design engineers design the circuits!
- remove all clips, clamps, etc from all wires.
- remove all fasteners from circuit boards.
- Allow vibration to flow more freely across unit
- Most significantly: Allow EMF to ESCAPE and DISSIPATE
- Provide resonant, wooden substrate vs. steel

Notes:
1. The wooden platform was set upon wooden blocks as well.
2. I used the OPTICAL outs. Perhaps using the onboard DAC would introduce more significant results. I may look into this again if there is interest.
3. All experiments were performed between 10-12am, with a constant temperature environment, A/C turned off during recordings, and equipmentt NOT moved nor adjusted from very specific positions within error of 1".
4. Bass was adjusted to +8 on the Creek during all tests.
5. The Creek Integrated was resting on three Michael Green designed wooden blocks.
6. The NAD unit was then re-assembled and tested again, showing very little to no changes in frequency domain (which is excellent and a valid way to experiment to be sure no extraneous variables have been introduced by the physical act of severe modification).

Scientific Data in next post....

Regards,

Ron


Last edited by rrstesiak on Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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rrstesiak



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PostSubject: NAD 516: Scientific Data   Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:12 pm

All:

Here are plots in the frequency domain of the NAD 516 playing the first 2:00 of Miles Davis "So What" BEFORE removing it from the factory chassis:



And:


And here are the plots after the unit has been extensively modified and removed from its chassis:



And:



After realizing my initial testing methodology was flawed; in that the NAD unit did NOT have sufficient time to warm up for the unmodded measurements, I re-performed those measurements and compared it to the unit as previously mentioned extracted completely from its chassis and placed on a wooden, pine board approximately 1" thick, 20" wide, 12" deep...

The results: the Frequency graphs are nearly *identical* between the two (modded vs. unmodded).

While severely disappointing, I did NOT perform any tweaks to the transformer other than removing it from the chassis; as it has a custom OEM connector into the circuit board to which I did not want to violate the integrity.

So, having said all of this, is anyone more curious to see any continued research?

If there is sufficient interest still, I may consider further mods; including isolation of the transformer.


Regards,

Ron
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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Sun Jul 26, 2015 9:42 pm

Sweet picture Ron Exclamation What's the black thing where the power cord meets the supply?
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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:21 am


Greetings Ron

Given the near identical frequency response curves before and after the Tuning, what did you ears tell you?

On another comment from Sonic which is a by-the-way answer to Rotelguy's question -- the mains cable that connects to the power supply board has a plastic mounting piece moulded onto it which slots into the metal chassis of the player followed by the black cylindrical object which is a ferrite clip. The moulding may damp vibrations and the ferrite clip is used to raise the inductance of the cable and therefore provide some RF filtering. You see these clips on computer equipment particularly connecting to monitors.

In Tuneland, Michael's teaching say that ferrite gives bad sound. At one time Sonic was skeptical and took one and clipped to the mains feed to the CD player. At first the sound appeared good but as the days passed a sterile, fixed colour to the sound crept in. By fixed colour Sonic means a persistent characteristic that overlays itself on every recording played. I would suggest ditching the ferrite, even as a experiment.

Sonic
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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:25 pm

Hello Sonic, thanks for confirming this. I'm surprised to see these on audio gear. Maybe I missed them before but it sounds like a terrible idea. I use Type 1 now for my power cords.
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PostSubject: reply   Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:44 pm

Sonic:

Yes.... correct..thank you for answering Jim's question for me...


All:

What would be the recommended approach in this case? Should I remove the ferrite?

Kind Regards,

Ron
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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:43 pm

Hi Ron

Great lab work! It's exciting to get to the basics of a component. It's a different animal when looking at the core from the original design point of view.

What I do at these points is setup a listening lab. A place that is stable and trust worthy to call and recall the sound as it progresses. Sonic for example does a writen account as he makes changes including pics and dates. This way he and others can be a part of the exploring using his ears as the reference.

Also good to go back and read Jim Bookhard from the TuneLand archives and others threads.

find that reference

I may go a little crazy but once I find a reference I may get several of them and have them run in several systems at the same time. I'm doing this now in the case of the maggie, and if something like the NAD ever became the new source I would do the same. At this point bringing in the NAD will be put into the mix as a lab rat for me, until it has a chance to relate on many levels. I'm currently bringing in several amps to play with the maggie so I can see the responses. You'll see me do this same thing in regards to all components, such as for many years using the MA700 amp.

consistancy

Now with you having one room and one system and one NAD, the task is more complex. Listening is going to be the most important part of this and I would try to get my chops around the sound and conditions and start referencing things in an extremely practical way. For example, any listening tests you do make sure all the conditions are the same discounting nothing. Everything is going to have it's say on the system, and the very first move I make is making sure I can hear even the smallest of changes. And this means starting on the path of removing blockage. You should be able to make very small changes with huge results. If this is not the case, make this your first priority.

Practical application is about being able to see any subject reach maximum potential. In audio the absolute is to make a testing system as sensitive as possible. You can make your own notes of this or have others reference with you. Another example, if you make a change and the result is 3 out of 10 on the difference meter and Hiend001 has a 7 of 10, and you can compare the change with description accurately enough it will help you look at your system in a new way "removing blockage". This for myself is job one, and above all other persuits untill I learn the practice of getting to the core of the signal. Doesn't happen over night and the more you do the better you get at it.

study

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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:14 pm

part 2

remove our ego

The place where most audiophiles struggle (happens in every industry) is letting go of their ego when testing. Letting go of the things you "think" and moving on to the things that "are" is a lot bigger challenge than a lab person first thinks. It's as much about deprograming as it is the event of listening itself.

A good lab technician is someone who can always go back to zero in their opinions. Opinions are formed way too quickly in testing of any kind. This is why again getting to the potential is so very important. Saying good enough is something we do when it is time to make personal involvement decisions. It's not what we should be doing when getting to any of the codes (audio, vibratory, recorded). If we let even the smallest amount of results slip through it will come back to bite us. Recently on the stereophile forum for example Geoff finally admitted to there being no absolute isolation (took him 2 years lol). In audio we don't want to let our egos dictate the end results. If we start thinking there is an absolute anything besides absolute motion we will limit our experiments to that absolute, making exceptions based on what could be a faulty intellect proccess. Last thing we want to do is put a limit on potential.

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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:37 pm

part 3

remove the signatures

This again is as much mental as it is physical.

With good lab work we want to be able to get to the music itself and let go of the personal attachments to signatures. Sound signatures can always be put back in, but learning how to remove them is a major step forward for any listener. Audio signatures are associated with brand names and certain designers, and can easily replace the signature that each instrument has or any audio effect.

How do you know when the true signatures are coming through from the recording itself? A big part of this is space and size. Another telling factor is if one is able to hear more of the pressure zones in the room over the direct path of the source. Always want to hear the zones more.

With this in mind. There is no true referencing unless the lab room is in-tune with the recorded code. This is tough for those who are listening to a rooms signature and the room not being part of the natural amplification. As soon as the recorded signal hits the amplification stage, it should be all amplifying from that point on. If the room is not amplifying properly you will struggle with the sound coming from the speaker or banana shape stage or other staging problems. We should be listening to Pressure Zones and they will either be in full bloom or some degree less than full.

Lab listening is all about the roles of the audio trilogy and the interaction they have with each other. Signatures are great after the lab work is done, but if we want true testing results, the signatures should be focused on the actual recording and not the products or room effects. Doing so does not mean removing the room or any other amplification stage, it means tuning the amplification to match the recorded code.

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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:52 pm

Nice long answer Mr. Green. We like that you take the time to go through the longer version of answering. It helps us see the event taking place. It also helps us to take the short route. My vote is if you want to learn the difference do what Michael suggest. For the short answer you'll end up getting rid of it anyway so go ahead and clip it. Smile
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PostSubject: Lab   Tue Jul 28, 2015 12:33 pm

Michael & All:

I do not have a dedicated lab; however, I am very carefully ensuring absolute minimum change in variables when conducting tests. I have found excellent lab software.. but I am considering making the following improvements and need your feedback:

Upgrading from MacBook Air internal stereo microphone to a Shure SM58 with boom stand, and a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 DAC from mic to mac.

This should yield significantly greater recording resolution/information; thus much more accurate lab measurements.

Any other recommendations of mic or DAC? (Analogue to Digital; rather than Digital to Analogue)


Kind Regards,

Ron
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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:55 pm

An SM58 is a performance mic. It's not really setup for using in tests.

Audix TM1
KP6M THE AUDIO KP-6M
TT3M THE AUDIO TT-3M
NTI Analog Audio Analyzer M221
Galaxy Audio CM-TM Checkmate (borderline OK)

Unfortunately, unless you are in a controlled environment your tests won't really reflect what is going on. An SM58 certainly doesn't have the right pattern for testing, but if your going to use it anyway take off the cap, it will screw off, and use it this way. You can also use a 57 if your going that route. But to be honest a real testing mic will run you $1500.00 and up if your wanting anything close to accurate. Same with programs and computers. To do real testing it's going to run you 8 grand or so without the room.

If I were wanting to be accurate I would buy into a system that has professional calibration available. A lot of these testing rigs are really just a gimmick for amateurs. Sad in a way, but true. Just like anything else consumers do, it's marketing based.

Maybe see if you can get a return policy on a SM58 and cheaper Galaxy and see which one you like the best.

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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:14 pm

Also, just thought of this, why don't you check out some pro or home testing forums and see if they know some shortcuts. The cool thing about the internet is, with audio there are always specialized forums for about any topic.

You might find a hot bed of testers out there that can help guide. Measuring audio is a hobby on it's own. If you do let us know so we can browse. I'm sure others might get into this.

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PostSubject: Reply   Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:01 am

Michael:

The Audix TM1 looks perfect..my software is already legit..and it expects a mic calibration profile; which the Audix provides.. and it's a reasonable price.

I was just hoping to get multiple use out of the Shure performance mic, but I understand that is not suitable for this purpose.
I'll let you know when I decide and get something. Will probably have to wait a month; but will be way worth it.

Respectfully,

Ron

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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Wed Jul 29, 2015 4:36 am

Excellent, that sounds like a good move. Also when you get it I have a couple free tweaks for you to try in your tests.



Cool

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PostSubject: Bristol coming!   Wed Jul 29, 2015 3:20 pm

All:

As you know, I've been somewhat struggling with getting excellent sonics from my digital chain...
I just ordered from Audiogon a BRYSTON  BDA-1 Dac.... Should finally make my files sound at least closer to the way my records sound.

The MAIN POINT of this post is I am looking to Anyone else with one of these who can chime in positives and/or negatives.. it would be *GREATLY* appreciated...

To date I have thoroughly evaluated; and ultimately disappointed, with the following DACS:

1. Musical Fidelity V-90
2. NAD 516 (CD Player)
3. PS Audio NuWave
4. Creek Ruby DAC

While the above DACS are all very decent, with the PS Audio being the best of the lot, my digital chain STILL falls short of records with my luckily very good Vincent PHO-8 phono stage. I am hoping by going to a true higher end company and product as the Bryston, that my digital chain will be much improved. I plan on keeping the Ruby DAC merely because it is decent, but has also an FM RDS radio builtin, and will increase the value of my amp when I eventually upgrade. It can also serve in a pinch as a second system one day as well. Who knows. I know though that better sound is out there.

I can't wait to get the Bryston and report back my evaluation!
It has dual DAC chips, fully balanced, Analogue output stage is A, and the thing used to be among the absolute best just a few years ago.
My unit is black...but here are some stock photos:







Ironically, it really just doesn't look all that impressive internally...but I've seen this approach in many highend products. I guess we are paying for the design, engineering, and quality of components chosen.

One thing that is evident if you look closely: it is a true balanced DAC.

It should totally elevate my system to the next level. Fingers crossed.

Cheers,

Ron

quick stats from Bryston:
NOTE: the most impressive are signal-to-noise ratio, and IMMEASURABLE jitter?!?? say what!?? Smile

Dual 192K/24 bit crystal DACs
DISCRETE Class A analog output stage
Independent analog and digital signal paths
Independent dual power supply
Synchronous upsampling (176.4K/192K)
Inputs: USB (1), COAX (2), OPTICAL (2),
AES-EBU (1) BNC (2)
32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176, 192K sampling
Outputs: RCA Single Ended, XLR Balanced, SPDIF (RCA)*
Signal to noise – Audio Precision AP2700 analyzer FFT digital measurement 140 dB unweighted
• THD plus noise - .002%
• IMD - .002%
• Jitter – below the measurement capability of the AP2700 analyzer
• Output Level - 2.3V unbalanced - 4.6V balanced
Control: RS-232 (DB9)**
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PostSubject: Stereophile Review    Wed Jul 29, 2015 5:18 pm

All:

I just had to quote the Stereophile A GRADE review of this unit; and I have high expectations now:

Larry Greenhill, Stereophile wrote:
"The resulting soundstage was the most realistic, palpable, and three-dimensional I'd ever heard in my room. Singers were enveloped in a 360° space that extended well behind them, as heard with the performance of Jimi Hendrix's Little Wing,..."

and a little later in the review:

"The Bryston BDA-1 let me enjoy the best-sounding digital playback I've ever heard in my listening room"



Read more at http://www.stereophile.com/content/bryston-bda-1-da-converter-page-2#opb2oEHgcswLX5Fo.99

Best Regards,

Ron
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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Wed Jul 29, 2015 8:35 pm

Hi Ron, not surprised with this at all. There's a reason Mr. Green does what he does. There's also a reason he uses what he does. We've gone back through many threads and reviews on how audiophiles and engineers have taken the long way around including me and the Mrs. to realize that Mr. Green has got his act together. Better than any reviewer or designer Michael knows how the audio signal works and knows how to make it come to life. Your welcome to go through all the DACs in the world but don't be shocked when you end up back at ground zero. Remember when you were upset that Michael used the Magnavox, time to reconsider. What is it that Mr. Green knows that these others don't. From what we have seen Michael is as patient as Job. He'll make the suggestion and back off till we come around. I'm not pushing the Magnavox on you only saying I have seen this movie play many times with the same results. I'm pretty sure Michael knew you were going to do exactly what you are. He's fairly tricky that one a genius no doubt to any who have worked with him. The answer is not in the DAC or the reviews it's in the method of tuning and we're lucky to have the guru of tuning show us the way. When we first looked into Michael Green we both thought this can't be. It can and is. Mr. Green has lived tuning his whole life without taking short cuts. A remarkable life and talent.
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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:33 am

Laughing WoW Exclamation

Now I'm a genius and guru all in one Laughing

One thing I will say, I enjoy watching the listening journey of everyone who gets involved in the hobby. Many of us have a same theme in common when it comes to looking at the hobby. Man if looks could make sound.

I also have to admit I'm somewhat relieved that the NAD did not work out so well. I'm more than willing to do it if required, but I remember the 515bee and all the hype, and it didn't deliver the goods. We were very close to pulling the trigger and get a few 516BEEs but at the last minute decided to hold off, even if just for a little while. Frankly the transformers bug me and it would have most certainly needed to be a two piece deal. Also with Ron looking into out-board DAC's I was seeing he wasn't as sold on the NAD as he was when saying it needed to be our new reference.

I think you got a little too excited there my friend. Trust me as Jim said, I've seen this movie a few thousand times and thought it wise to wait it out a little. I'm not saying the NAD won't come about, but I don't want to burn up time either. I'm glad to see you reporting on the different products though, and am finding that you are experiencing what many others have talked about "the digital sound". One of the causes for this character is bigger transformers being so close to the sensitive DAC chips. With a good EMF (Gauss) meter, the story is fairly revealing. After tons of playing for years, I'm pretty use to the sound of EMF near the DAC parts and can say with confidence, this is an area that has been grossly neglected. Shielding, will create stage holes, so as I have determined the choices are, shield and suffer the loss or go with players using small transformers properly placed in relationship to the DAC goodies.

In high end audio, designers got so carried away with bigger is better they forgot to think about what they were creating. The bigger the part the bigger the field effect. Don't know if you have ever hooked up and done field testing before, but I think people would be surprised at how big these creations can and do get. It doesn't take much to cause field interaction and interference. With this the more the pull, the bigger the reading. There are tons of factors, even the wiring of your house as to what the digital signal will sound like, but few in the industry will take the time to break this down or maybe they don't even know.

It's not the recording and it's not the CD. It's the playback. DAC is a completely different ball game and math plays a lot bigger role in the sound. I'm not talking about rates, but charges. The D to A conversion process should not be done in a high EMF gain area. It causes that terrible sterile sound to happen cause the harmonics of the signal and the field intermingle.

let's look at the Magnavox again

Look at how small the parts are as compared to the board and DAC. Sound wise it's a freak yes. If the board was smaller it wouldn't sound as good, but besides this, on purpose or accident the DAC is being messed with very little as compared to other players. The NAD for example has maybe 20 times the transformer size to it, as well as the other parts. More field, more interference. Simple math.

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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Thu Jul 30, 2015 2:45 am

Now I know where NOT to go for useful information and feedback on higher end gear.

I look at it like this:

I am taking a BMW, and adding the M Performance package to it when I eventually tweak the Bryston.

Why all the bad karma and negative feedback?

Regards,

Ron

ps. I never said ONCE the NAD was bad. just comparing DACS to DACS. I was also careful to mention I use it as a Transport in my detailed review; and at that I am pleased.

pps. There is a reason *I* do what *I* do: to get the *BEST* sound achievable; leveraging my doctorate scientific background as well as electrical engineering degree, advanced woodworking concepts & techniques, etc.
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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Thu Jul 30, 2015 6:45 am

Hi Ron

One thing I think might be helpful for you is, because someone is interpreting your posts a certain way, it's not and never has been with the intent of bad karma. Quite the opposite. I can speak for myself. In reading your posts you have stated that you are not please with the results.

"To date I have thoroughly evaluated; and ultimately disappointed, with the following DACS:"

I don't think anyone read into this more than what it says. Thoroughly and ultimately are strong words. Don't make bad karma when there isn't any my friend. We are all enjoying your journey with nothing but positive Vibes Wink

Wash that gray right out of your hair, we're excited for you Exclamation

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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Thu Jul 30, 2015 7:58 am

Hello Ron, sorry you took it that way. You might want to adjust your karma reader. I was merely stating the obvious of what Mr. Green does whether he does it to $20.000.00 units or $20.00 his approach is the same. Thought you guys went over this before? By the way first or second time we went to the MG hideout we had finished a week of listening to the towns highest end TT setups comparing them to digital. The vinyl killed the CD's Shocked and the files. We had Dead Can Dance with us vinyl and disc and some others. Mr. Green put on "Into the Labyrinth" and it didn't blow away the tables it made a joke of them. I would suggest before judging too harshly you and Michael should reference some recordings and compare what you and he are hearing. As for the karma I think maybe your bringing it with you cause Michael is not about bad vibes at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:06 am


Greetings Ron

I know an audiophile who has Bryston gear and has nothing but good to say about them (amps not the new DAC). Sonic has heard his amps driving the Spendors SP1/2 and the sound is very good. So quality of their products and the innovation of their engineering is there.

Sonic wonders if digital separates are more flexible on one hand but in the hands of those besotted by the audiophile mags they are bags of trouble. For instance, an engineer told me that the digital output and input is a standard of 75.01 ohms. Change that and all sorts of reflections and standing waves appear in the interface. Now when the hi-end digital cables that cost loads were measured, I understand not many adhere to the 75.01 ohms standard.

I remember helping a listening years ago who had a Rega Planet which sound very nice alone. Then it was paired it with a Rega DAC using the Roy Gandy supplied digital cable. That sounded good too. Then this vendor he say to the owner "that freebie cable is rubbish! you need this Super Digital Power Cable with a box of Networks attached". The reviews were read and the price indicated Quality so one was bought. The sound was disappointing, closed in and artificial. Sonic heard this and was puzzled because I had kind of advised the owner to go cable because everyone was giving it the thumbs up. OK there was no digital glare but the band was playing like you did not pay them enough....it was hard admitting a mistake was made till the sound was so bad that the freebie cable went back.

Lots to try but for the audiophile with no framework or test methodology there are risks of getting side tracked. And if you tune the two units and the cable, a lot of gains are possible or jumble or effects.

And Sonic knows what getting side tracked means -- look at what I am discovering with my speaker cables.

Got for it with the Bryston!

Sonic
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PostSubject: My Reply   Thu Jul 30, 2015 1:56 pm

All:

Thank you all for your kind replies.

I can be a bit sensitive a lot of times...it's just a personality trait I was born with.

As for the topic at hand, I'm truthfully thinking that throwing more money at this DAC problem will alleviate it with the severely positive reviews of the Bryston. As for the age of the BDA-1, it is still under warranty,and the new one only differs by offering newer versions of the DAC chips and updated USB. Everything else is *identical*. Also, 99% of my huge flac library is 44.1 anyway. I have an upgrade path to 192; as the unit does support it; just not through USB. There are many valid workarounds. As for the DAC chips, they are still dual mono, and many articles claim no sonic improvement is noticeable in the new unit wrt the DAC chips; mainly Bryston did the upgrade to say they are truly 32-bit for marketing purposes. I got this information from a long telephone call with a Bryston engineer yesterday. Further, through my own experience, the analogue output stage is severely critical and they are identical. As well as the clocks; immeasurable jitter. *Immeasurable*. So I'm getting a $2400 player for $750. I would say a very good deal.

I am hoping others on this forum have direct experience with Bryston equipment and their DACS. If not, that's ok too. Just fishing for advice and opinion on Bryston DACS.

One thing that really frustrates me is that I get truly phenomenal sound staging with my vinyl chain; which by audiophile standards is very humble. I am truly struggling with the digital chain; and I know by now through trial and error and research the DAC is the culprit. Going back to another guiding philosophy of mine: EMF is by far the strongest force when dealing with audio gear. And in this way, if I can change the way the master recording's information is translated from digital to analogue, that will solve my core issue. I see any tweaks and other improvements as merely making a good product better. But I feel I need to start out with a product I am pleased with and THEN tune it even further. I also think the DAC is the center piece to the digital chain and unfortunately seems to be costly by nature, so I have increased my budget accordingly and have gone high end luckily with a used bargain. Kind of like again using car metaphors getting a "Pre-Owned" Mercedes vs. a brand new Chrysler. I'd take the Mercedes every time.

One final thought: I also applaud the success of the Magnavox unit people have had and now am a supporter. However, there isn't a way of using the Magnavox as a DAC for my largest library: FLAC. So that argument is irrelevant.

I look forward to continued learning and interaction.

Kind Regards,

Ron

ps. Michael and I have had at last count three referencing listening sessions via Stereophile and I truly enjoyed them. That's one good thing happening over there.
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rotelguy

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PostSubject: Re: Ron's System   Thu Jul 30, 2015 3:06 pm

Hi Ron no harm done. sunny
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