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tonionc newbie system

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engtaz

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"TAZ"

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Post Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:58 pm

Re: tonionc newbie system

Silver 7 is status of posts. OBI56 is the forum members call name.
engtaz


Carver M4.0T in front channels to Caver AL VI's in SACD & 2 Channel setup
C 16, PT 2400, Slim Device, Carver TX-8, 490T and Rega TT w Grado Gold cart in the 2 channel setup
Bogen SRB20 is computer amp
Carver PM-350 donated for youth church use
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OBI56

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Post Sat Dec 13, 2008 7:56 pm

Re: tonionc newbie system

engtaz wrote:Silver 7 is status of posts. OBI56 is the forum members call name.


Yes Engtaz and there are 2 Silver 7 statuses (stati?) Silver-7t and Silver-7 Tube Amp, the second of which is far more snooty and pretentious ... \:D/ :lol: \:D/ :lol: \:D/

Gna, gna, gna-gna ... gna!!!
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engtaz

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Post Sat Dec 13, 2008 8:31 pm

Re: tonionc newbie system

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
engtaz


Carver M4.0T in front channels to Caver AL VI's in SACD & 2 Channel setup
C 16, PT 2400, Slim Device, Carver TX-8, 490T and Rega TT w Grado Gold cart in the 2 channel setup
Bogen SRB20 is computer amp
Carver PM-350 donated for youth church use
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Dreamer

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Post Sun Dec 14, 2008 1:06 am

Re: tonionc newbie system

tonionc wrote:Thanks a lot for your message and all the comments and great advise on the outboard DAC. I posted a reply with pics earlier but I don't see it so I will try again.


OK, now I've seen al those new pics, and all I have to say is WOW. I just LOVE the look of some of the oddball vintage speaker designs. Those DQ-10s just look super cool, and the KEF speakers always look like fine English cabinetry (and sound as solid, elegant, and subtle too!)


tonionc wrote:I am very interested in making my digital music collection, currently on my mac and an external drive, sounds like CD quality. I have so much music and I love the convenience of making playlists and searching quickly for tunes.Unfortunately most is burned as MP3s, but I have as a goal now to burn all of my CDs in lossless format and try to share with my friends who have FLAC files.


Well, the MP3 thing is a bit of a problem. And the REALLY unfortunate part about it is that the better your system is, the WORSE those MP3s will sound, compared to original CDs or vinyl. MP3 is a very "lossy" way of compressing files. "Lossy" means that is actually is throwing away bits (information) to make the file sizes smaller--bits which, although they make up subtle, quiet, or seemingly insubstantial sounds on a recording, are KEY to that "WOW" experience we get when a system is really top-notch, and perfectly "dialed in". These highly compressed files may sound perfectly good on an inexpensive set of ear-buds, or on your car stereo, or through a boombox, but when you run them through some high-end home gear, you're going to be in for a rude awakening...

You see, once those bits are gone, no amount of technical magic, sophisticated digital sound processing, or esoteric speakers can re-create the original sound of that recording. In fact, the hore high-end a system is, the WORSE those highly-compressed MP3s will sound, because a high-end system has more resolution, and is capable of reproducing the signal it's being given with greater clarity, truth, and precision. If that signal is sub-par, or distorted, or missing important musical information, your high-end system will play it for what it is--distorted, compressed, and molested.

So if you've got a LOT of downloaded music that you got from the internet (and if it's the sort of music you got from free download sites, then it is probably HIGHLY compressed to speed downloads)--you gotta remember, the VAST majority of people who are engaged in music piracy on the internet are NOT audiophiles, and they are NOT concerned with the quality of the music, just the quantity they can download. I'd suggest going out and BUYING the CDs you really love (don't your favorite artists deserve some sort of token of appreciation in the form of royalties?), and just deal with the majority of everything else for what it is--free crap that you would never pay money for in the first place... ;)

Actually, not all MP3's are created equally. Some sound OK on a decent system, and some sound like absolute crap. It's very dependent on the skills, software, and attention to detail of the person creatng the RIP in the first place. If they are primarily concerned with keeping files sizes down at all costs, then they will sound like they were recorded on a cheap cassette Walkman from the dashboard speakers of a '76 Nova. If the person making the RIP was actually trying to make a decent-sounding file and willing to have a slightly larger file size to do it, then sometimes an MP3 can sound OK--not great, not even CLOSE to the original CD, but OK. There are a LOT of variables in ripping CDs to MP3's--bit rate, error correction, compression rate, the particular software and CODEC used to perform the rip, even the OS of the computer can make a difference.

You've got a Mac, and you say you are using iTunes--you've got a coog combination for ripping your own music. If you change the settings of iTunes to default to "Apple Lossless" for ripping new CDs into iTunes, you will have the best quality you can get in digital copies of music for use in a media player (OK, FLAC is pretty darn good too, but its a ROYAL pain to use on Macs, and the plug-ins to get FLAC files to play in iTunes are VERY dicey...). Your file sizes will be a lot bigger using Apple Lossless, which can be a problem if you're porting a lot of your music to an iPod, but if you're primarily listening to your music through iTunes from your computer, through your stereo, file size shouldn't be a big issue--you can always get a bigger HD. :D

Now, one thing you need to know is that going back and re-ripping those MP3's into Apple Lossless format will NOT make them sound better--it will just take the same crappy-sounding files and make them three times as large. Once those lossy compression CODECs perform their evil magic and mercilessly sacrifice those precious bits to the soul-less Gods of the Download, those bits are GONE FOREVER, and no amount of technical mumbo-jumbo can bring them back. The only way to get those bits back is to go back to the original recording and re-rip your music from the source...


tonionc wrote:Could you tell me more about these outboard DACS with TOSLINK capability? I noticed one on auidiogon (Cambridge Dacmagic) for a very reasonable price that appears to be able to enhance the computer stored music files as well as music coming from a cheaper DVD/CD player. What DACs would you recommend? Does getting a DAC take the place of having to buy a super nice CD player?


Almost all outboard DACs have TOSLINK inputs. This is the "plastic fiber optic" or "Digital/Optical" interface you see on a lot of new stereo gear. The port is a little square plastic port. If you are using a Mac or an Airport Express, the port that looks like a headphone jack (Apple calls it a "minijack") is actually a clever combination of a mini TOSLINK and a standard 1/8" stereo headphone jack. Some TOSLINK cables come with mini-TOSLink adapters, some don't. I picked up half a dozen of these adapters from a local computer parts store for less than $1 each...

My biggest complaint with TOSLINK is that it was never intended by Toshiba (they invented this interface) to be a high-bandwidth interface--it was originally designed to pass "control" information, like when you had a CD player and Cassette Deck hooked up to you rreceiver, and wanted to control all three components with one remote--or for providing the "synch" signals for dubbing from one format to another.

The electronics industry started using TOSLINK to carry PCM bitstreams sometime in the early 1990's, after Wadia came out with their digital seperates that used the AT&-ST glass fiber optic cable as an interconnect between transport and DAC. The AT&T-ST interface circuitry is expensive, the cables are difficult (and expensive) to make, and the licensing fees were considered prohibitive by most "consumer electronics" manufacturers, so even though the AT&T-ST interface was designed to be an EXTREMELY high bandwidth interface, capable of near-perfect precision, infinitesimal low loss (even over MILES of cable), and exceedingly low jitter and error rates, most of the comsumer-level manufacturers eschewed it for the cheaper (and far less precise) TOSLINK. Ultra-high-end manufacturers like Krell, Wadia, Proceed, AED, Esoteric, and Mark Levinson still offer the AT&T-ST interface on many of their digital components, and the difference is NOT subtle.

However, we must work with what we are given, and in the case of digital music from a computer, TOSLINK is pretty much the only game in town, at least if you are using an Airport Express. (it will sound WAY better, being fed through an external DAC than running the analogue outputs straight into your stereo!). If you can, I'd suggest using a glass-fiber TOSLINK cable though--even for short runs, it makes a BIG improvement.

As far as DACs go, well, I guess my first question is how much do you want to spend? The Benchmark DAC-1usb is what I own, for a number of reasons. First of all, I think it sounds great--as good (or even better than) "high end audio brands that cost twice as much. Secondly, the Benchmark has a plethora of inputs--TOSLINK, USB, Coax, XLR--and it offers RCA and Balanced XLR outputs too. Plus the Benchmark has an outstanding headphone amp on-board, and makes my AKG's really sing!

I'm sure there are other great DACs out there that other members prefer, andhopefully they will chime in on this thread.

The Entech is a pretty good DAC in the "bargain" price range--you can often get them for under $300 on EBAY. It sounds pretty good too--not as pristine and clear as the Benchmark, and perhaps not quite as warm and "musical" as the Musical Fidelity or PS Audio DACs, but for the price (1/3 these other brands) it's a real sleeper.

Speaking of Musical Fidelity, if you like that "Brit Kit" sound (and since you own KEFs, I assume you do), you need to listen to the Musical Fidelity DAC, and maybe if you can, listen to an older Meridian DAC too, like the Meridian 203. It can usually be had used for under $500, and it is a VERY sweet-sounding DAC. It has that subtle precision that good Brit gear has, but it also has a warm "real-ness" that is all to often missing in other high-end brands like Krell and Levinson.


tonionc wrote:My next buy will be interconnects and speaker wire, and then either a DAC or nicer CD player. Thanks for any thoughts on this. I never thought I would become obsessed but I can see how this could easily happen searching audio forums, sales, alwas wanting better sound. You are right, once you hear better sound it is hard to go back.


It is a never-ending spiral into the abyss of Audio Perfection. Abandon hope all ye who enter here... :shock: ](*,) :shock: ](*,)


tonionc wrote:Oh, I do use an aiport express and would love to still use this with much better sound quality It is so convenient! Thanks for the comments on the speakers. I thought the KEFs sounded good with my cheap old amp but now with the Carver system, they are incredibly powerful and the bass feels like I almost have a subwoofer with the tone function and sonic hologram features of the C-1. I may look for another pair just to have back up parts!


Well, it's good to know that there is another Mac guy on this forum--I think you are only the second person (after me) to have the Airport Express in their rig. It is a REALLY convenient way to get your music into your stereo--especially if you have a laptop. Once you get your music re-ripped into Apple Lossless from some original CDs, and feed that AirTunes bitstream into a decent outboard DAC, you will be ASTOUNDED that your digital music collection sounds so good!


tonionc wrote:I am not sure if it is worth the money to have the DQ10s refurbished (regnar service for about $1000) Maybe someday in the far future.


Can't you refurbish those speakers yourself--they seem to be pretty simple to work on. I've even seen a website where the owner changed the configuration of one of his speakers so the drivers would be in a "mirror image" configuration, and it seemed pretty simple. Swapping out or replacing drivers is a pretty straightforward operation--all you need is a screwdriver, wire cutters and a soldering iron... ;)

Hopefully, all this info helps you in some way. I know it's a lot of info, but the subject of outboard DACs is a complicated subject. There are a LOT of variables--system synergy, budget, input versatility, cost-performance ratio, overall "sound", etc. Hopefully some of the other more knowledgeable folks will chime in with their opinions though.

Anyway, welcome to the forum. Now that we've got you hooked, you can pretty much give up any hope of ever having any money left in savings for the rest of your life though. Audio systems can be like crack--once you've had a taste of the REAL THING, you can't ever get enough... 8-[
.....HT Rig • Sony STR-DG600 Receiver • Carver M-500t • Sony BDP-S1 • Sony DVP-NS3100ES • Apple Airport Express •
..............................• Martin Logan Scenarios, Logos • Realistic Minimus 7's • Velodyne F-1500b •

2 Ch. Rig • Carver C-4000t • Silver 7t's • Krell KAV-300i • Oppo DV-981HD • Benchmark DAC1-USB • MacBook Pro 17", iTunes •
......• Technics SL-1350 turntable with Sumiko headshell, leads, and Bluepoint cartridge • Martin Logan Sequels •

.........................................................-+-Click Here to see my system-+-
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Rainman

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Post Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:10 am

Re: tonionc newbie system

Dreamer, after reading into this interesting thread I had a thought.... I wonder if we could get Mr. Carver to build us a bad ass music server something along the lines of the one Linn came out with and then..... here's the cool part.... have him use one of his way cool tube designs for the output!!!! I think it's a great idea because it would return your digital music back to the warm, smooth, and pleasing sound that our 490T blesses us with.
There is some equipment out there that is so digital, digital, that it makes me cringe when I hear it. It's almost like fingernails on a chalkboard (sony) to me. I almost get the feeling that I am listening to a fax machine and sometimes I swear I can see the 0's and 1's coming out of the speakers!
I also wanted to mention that I have a connection with someone who may still be able to service those DQ-10's using the correct original parts. I had him service my DQ-10's before we sold them. I will give him a ring and inquire........

Rainman
Question: Do you know why turds are tapered on the ends? Answer: So your asshole doesn't slam shut..

Carver- SDA490t, SDA450, 2 TFM45's, TFM15, CT23, CT28v, CT27v, Linn Kaber speakers, Sunfire crm2's, PS Audio Statement speaker cables and I/C's, A.P.C. power
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Dreamer

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Post Sun Dec 14, 2008 3:03 am

Re: tonionc newbie system

Rainman wrote:Dreamer, after reading into this interesting thread I had a thought.... I wonder if we could get Mr. Carver to build us a bad ass music server something along the lines of the one Linn came out with and then..... here's the cool part.... have him use one of his way cool tube designs for the output!!!!



This is a great idea, but I think Bob himself admitted that his forte' is really analogue circuits--he's not really a digital guru at all. I don't know if he'd be able to do the same sort of magic in the digital domain. He could design the front panel and the analogue outputs, but he'd need a team of digi-heads to do all the other guts--DAC, storage system, server software, graphical front-end, etc. I'm sure it would be a fantastic product if he set his mind to creating such a beastie, but I don't see it happening,at least not from Bob's hands...

I've been kicking around the idea of a Mac Mini-based media server for a while--the OS, hardware, and software is already off-the-shelf--it would just be a matter of integrating it with a decent DAC and then slapping the whole ting into a spiffy chassis with some nice connectors. Funds are sort of low right now though, so that project is just sitting on my drawing board for a while. Maybe I can have a prototype by next CarverFest, complete with tubed line-level outputs... [-o<
.....HT Rig • Sony STR-DG600 Receiver • Carver M-500t • Sony BDP-S1 • Sony DVP-NS3100ES • Apple Airport Express •
..............................• Martin Logan Scenarios, Logos • Realistic Minimus 7's • Velodyne F-1500b •

2 Ch. Rig • Carver C-4000t • Silver 7t's • Krell KAV-300i • Oppo DV-981HD • Benchmark DAC1-USB • MacBook Pro 17", iTunes •
......• Technics SL-1350 turntable with Sumiko headshell, leads, and Bluepoint cartridge • Martin Logan Sequels •

.........................................................-+-Click Here to see my system-+-
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BillD

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Post Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:45 am

Re: tonionc newbie system

He should probably work with jvandyke_texas on that. I understand that James works for nVidia as a digital designer of high end graphics stuff.
It should sound like it isn't there!
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TNRabbit

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Post Sun Dec 14, 2008 11:29 am

Re: tonionc newbie system

Richard, you make some long and articulate posts, but has to be the longest one I've ever seen on this forum!
=D> =D>
TNRabbit
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From FrankieD's lips to your ears: Sunfire - a quiet box of endless power.

Sunfire TG-IV/400~7 Amp
Carver SD/A-360 CDP
Benchmark DAC-1
Sony SACD/DVD-A
Active bi-amp: Ashly XR-1001 & 2 Rane PEQ-15s
Main: HotRodded AL-IIIs
Sub: Klipsch RT-12d
Center: Sunfire CRS-3c
Surround: Sunfire CRS-3 (x 2)

OconeeOrange wrote:"Gary likes to play it 'loud' as do I. His system begs you turn it up until you die"

RIP WIlliam B. Dibble, 1948-2012. I'll miss you my friend.
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engtaz

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Post Sun Dec 14, 2008 12:58 pm

Re: tonionc newbie system

BillD wrote:He should probably work with jvandyke_texas on that. I understand that James works for nVidia as a digital designer of high end graphics stuff.


James also tweaked the 4000 with design improvements. The neatest thing was to watch him and Bob get up at the same time and tweak the settings for every song played. I was like watching Bob and Bob's Bob's clone. James is a great guy.
engtaz


Carver M4.0T in front channels to Caver AL VI's in SACD & 2 Channel setup
C 16, PT 2400, Slim Device, Carver TX-8, 490T and Rega TT w Grado Gold cart in the 2 channel setup
Bogen SRB20 is computer amp
Carver PM-350 donated for youth church use
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tonionc

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Post Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:47 pm

Re: tonionc newbie system

Dreamer, thank you so much for that very detailed response ! Wow, that is a lot of information about DACs and digital music files. I have learned a ton just reading your post. I think I am in for some research on DACS since there seems to be very substantial price differences. My basic understanding from reading your message is that I should be able to connect a CD player that has a digital out to the DAC using a glass fiber TOSLINK cable and simultaneously, connect my mac book pro to the DAC via a USB cable. However if I am using airport express, do I connect the aiport express to the DAC? Then I would be connecting from the DAC to the preamp connections for the both the cd player and computer? Sorry, I got a little confused there.

But I will start to read up on DACs for sure. Sounds very interesting. I agree with you about downloaded music. I have no problem supporting the musicians and will start a long process of re-burning hundreds of cds! Well, I will do some tests to test out the sound quality difference along the way.

The more I listen to the KEF 104.2s the more I love them! The DQ10s are great, but just not quite as clean and clear. Maybe if they were worked on they would be outstanding, too.

Thanks again for all the information.
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TNRabbit

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Post Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:23 pm

Re: tonionc newbie system

You'd be better served utilizing a digital coaxial hookup. The TOSLINK is not quite up to the capability of the digital coaxial.
TNRabbit
Image

From FrankieD's lips to your ears: Sunfire - a quiet box of endless power.

Sunfire TG-IV/400~7 Amp
Carver SD/A-360 CDP
Benchmark DAC-1
Sony SACD/DVD-A
Active bi-amp: Ashly XR-1001 & 2 Rane PEQ-15s
Main: HotRodded AL-IIIs
Sub: Klipsch RT-12d
Center: Sunfire CRS-3c
Surround: Sunfire CRS-3 (x 2)

OconeeOrange wrote:"Gary likes to play it 'loud' as do I. His system begs you turn it up until you die"

RIP WIlliam B. Dibble, 1948-2012. I'll miss you my friend.
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Dreamer

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Post Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:33 am

Re: tonionc newbie system

tonionc wrote:Dreamer, thank you so much for that very detailed response ! Wow, that is a lot of information about DACs and digital music files. I have learned a ton just reading your post. I think I am in for some research on DACS since there seems to be very substantial price differences. My basic understanding from reading your message is that I should be able to connect a CD player that has a digital out to the DAC using a glass fiber TOSLINK cable and simultaneously, connect my mac book pro to the DAC via a USB cable. However if I am using airport express, do I connect the aiport express to the DAC? Then I would be connecting from the DAC to the preamp connections for the both the cd player and computer? Sorry, I got a little confused there.



TNRabbit is correct on this one. If you've got a LOT of devices that you need to plug into an external DAC, your choice of DAC starts to diminish substantially. There are only a few DACs that have all the "standard" connections PLUS the USB inut. The Benchmark DAC-1usb is one of the best though. That's what I'm running.

If you want to hook up your Mac AND your Airport and a CD player, I do it this way in my rig:

1) Plug the CD player into the DAC's Coax (RCA or BNC using an adapter plug) Digital input.
2) Plug your Mac into the DAC using USB
3) Plug the Airport Express into the DAC using TOSLINK.

Do it this way for this reason: You're going to get the most "true to original" bitstream from a CD transport, so you want ot use the best audio interface you can, which in this case is Coax.

Like I said before, TOSLINK wasn't originally designed to be a high-bandwidth interface. A lot of improvements have been made in the design of TOSLINK in the last 5 years or so, though, so it's an acceptable option for some signals like streamed music or sme AV applications. Now, remember, you're not going to get the same sound from a wirelessly streamed track ripped to iTunes (even with Apple Lossless format) as you'd get from a CD, but it should be pretty close. In my experience, streamed music is going to give you a sound quality that is actually pretty darn good--better than most people's systems and certainly acceptable for "background music" fo reven the most critical part guest--but it probably won't hold up for a long-term critical listening session.

I hope that helps.
.....HT Rig • Sony STR-DG600 Receiver • Carver M-500t • Sony BDP-S1 • Sony DVP-NS3100ES • Apple Airport Express •
..............................• Martin Logan Scenarios, Logos • Realistic Minimus 7's • Velodyne F-1500b •

2 Ch. Rig • Carver C-4000t • Silver 7t's • Krell KAV-300i • Oppo DV-981HD • Benchmark DAC1-USB • MacBook Pro 17", iTunes •
......• Technics SL-1350 turntable with Sumiko headshell, leads, and Bluepoint cartridge • Martin Logan Sequels •

.........................................................-+-Click Here to see my system-+-
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tonionc

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Post Thu Dec 18, 2008 4:26 pm

Re: tonionc newbie system

Thanks TNRabbit and Dreamer for the suggestions. Dreamer, why do you plug in your Mac and the airport express? Is it because a direct plug in from the Mac provides better quality if you do not need to be controlling music from another room? Thanks a lot! Antonio
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thuffman03

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Post Fri Jan 23, 2009 2:58 pm

Re: tonionc newbie system

You are doing well. Put most of your money in the speakers is a good thing.
Some cool Carver stuff!
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