Take 2... (too lazy to start another thread)
So yes, with my wife away and an offer to dump my kids at my sister's house for a few hours, I took the opportunity to host another small GTG at my place on Saturday.
Present was b4sound (with his Audiophilleo 2), jamesg11, jcjuice, djb, goochman and goochman's friend Nathan. Unfortunately, Lebowski had to cancel, bodhisattva had a prior engagement, and cheekyboy and xtrachewy were both out of town for the long weekend.
This GTG was more relaxed than my first one, in which we had a group of folks keen to put the ML-3s through their paces by throwing all kinds of music at them at jet engine SPLs. This time, jamesg11 caught me out by arriving before i did (!), and had to watch me picking up kids' toys, moving the speakers out from the walls, and generally getting ready. We started with Ella & Louis, lovely warm music and very well recorded, and just let it play, evertthing streamed from my iMac. We barely changed moods the entire afternoon. Vinyl man djb was amused to watch me fighting with the iMac - well, really Audivarna, which crashed twice. (Actually I believe I have found out why in this particular instance, and have posted a bug report).
As mentioned by b4sound in a more appropriate thread here
, we compared the sound quality direct from the iMac into the (ministreamer) USB input of my PDX DAC and via the Audiophilleo 2 and the S/PDIF input. As expected, the latter was superior. At John Kenny's suggestion, we then tried the 6dB and 10dB attenuators - actually, we tried 6dB and 16dB, and then compared 16dB with 0dB attenuation. Although the comparisons were fairly casual in nature, the general consensus was that the attenuators changed the sound (although personally i was not sure i could always detect a change), but there was not agreement as to which sounded best. The degree of change also seemed signal-dependent, with a solo piano not being much affected, but Ella & Louis being noticeably different. In the end, we mostly seemed to feel that the sound was best without the attenuators. In any event, the afternoon was a strong endorsement for the Audiophilleo 2. (I would have bought one already on the strength of kdoot and Mike Lenehan's rave reports, but in the end I decided I would go with something with an I2S output mounted within the PDX.)
It was a nice afternoon and made me want to do another before too long. The only comment I would make to the attendees was that the speaker placement and tow-in was rather arbitrary. After everybody left, I experimented a bit and ended up with more toe-in and a greater distance to the listening spot (i.e., the couch).
p.s. the Richmond Hill cheese room rocks!