I am in Canberra for a while and Decky was kind enough to invite me over to check out some of my stuff on his system.
On Thursday evening I popped on over with my level 2 PDX, Off-Ramp, and Metrum.
First I want to emphasize the SGR speakers Decky has have an entirely different presentation to my speakers so it is hardly surprising different stuff was heard than in my system - and that is what happened.
First to the PDX using its internal USB. It definitely had the same character I hear in my system - strong bass, beautiful midrange, but it did not evoke the impression - this is real - I hear on my system. We tried direct connecting to the amps in the SGR's rather than going through the pre-amp Decky had and as I noticed in my system things improved - even better bass, midrange, and detail. Now for something really interesting - we switched over to using my Off-Ramp. Wow - much better here. Bass a bit tighter and the midrange seemed smoother and better with more air around it. It was the difference I heard in my system but instead of rating the internal USB and Off-Ramp about equal the Off-Ramp had pulled ahead. We tried the Metrum again direct connecting via the Off-Ramp and tholught - yea - in this system the Metrum - when fed with the Off-Ramp - was better than the PDX - its simply very transparent - bass a bit tighter as well.
In the past I had a NFB 2 in my system. To be blunt I was unimpressed - excellent value for money but slow and uninvolving. On Decky's system it sounded pretty good. In fact he had a a feature with his pre-amp to direct compare it to the Metrum, not via the Off-Ramp - but normal SPDIF - and it was hard to tell the difference. It was conjectured the reason for this was the character of the Pre-amp tended to mask differences, but I also think it was partly due to it was not going via the Off-Ramp. Decky seemed very impressed with the Off-Ramp.
Now I do not want to get into the differences between my speakers and the SGR's except to say I know a few people who know both and some have opted for SGR's and others for what I have. Its like the difference between the PDX and Metrum when fed with the Off-Ramp - its about 50-50 which people prefer. You really have to hear both and make up your own mind.
Edited by bhobba, 31 March 2012 - 08:36 AM.