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About Tobes

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  1. Tidal actually costs A$24 a month. For unlimited access to a huge catalog of CD quality music that is a bargain IMO. I don't buy CDs any more - what's the point? I'd rip them to my NAS and then have to store the physical disc somewhere. Tidal is more convenient, cheaper and has far more music than I'd ever hope to own.
  2. One take is that the DAC is impervious to source SQ - the other is that the DAC (or something else in the chain) is levelling all the sources and failing to discriminate the differences. I wasn't really impressed with computer sources until I retrofitted an LPS to my Mini and put the iFi usb reclock/rebalance/regen device in the chain. Personally I think all the software players I've tried sound slightly different - though personal preference might dictate which was actually 'better'. At the moment I find Audirvana 3 offers the best transparency and clarity and ahead of the Roon player in these regards. I like some things about Roon's presentation/features, but not others, so it's a kind of a mixed bag for me when it really should be 'the best' given the price.
  3. I'd never owned a Mac before either until I bought a s/h Mini to try as a music server. It's a good option for sure - and, like other computer options, it benefits further from a quality dc supply and optimised usb path. In the big picture Audirvana is part of the puzzle not a magic bullet. Once you have your computer server optimised most of the players sound very good - heck even Spotify sounds good. Like most things in audio it comes down to nuances and details, things that are more easily heard in comparison than in isolation. In other words if you have a nice Windows or Linux server I wouldn't sweat it - unless you like to experiment.
  4. No, the interface is pretty much the same - probably overdue for some improvement. I find the sonics to have an airy transparency and clarity that sets it apart from the previous 2.66
  5. Have now done some extended listening to A+ through my Harbeth speakers (previously using headphones). I'm pretty excited about the SQ I'm getting! I cancelled my Roon membership this morning. Enough said.
  6. I've done some more listening to A+3 since my comments above - and I feel that a revision of my assessment is in order. There's little doubt in my mind that A+3.01 shows improvements in clarity and transparency over the previous 2.66 version. In comparison to A+3, Roon/HQP sounds a bit more upfront in perspective with a warmer/fuller but beautifully detailed sound - which perhaps benefits some material. However my current feeling is that A+3 is more transparent than Roon/HQP. Who knows, maybe restarting my Mac shook something out or cleared some cache info with how A+3 is handling data. In any case I now find A+3 to have the upper hand in SQ. Note again that I'm comparing these players in passthrough mode without any volume controls/upsampling/filters etc. Of course A+3 is bargain priced compared to Roon/HQP which is a very expensive combo player at more than A$340 together - and that only gives you a 1yr subscription of Roon. This makes A+3 no-brainer IMO, unless you're totally in love with Roon's interface/features (which I'm definitely not) - or must have the HQP upsampling filter options etc.
  7. Apart from the better SQ and MQA unfolding feature, I've noticed that Tidal folders with lots of albums load a lot faster - otherwise it seems pretty similar to 2.66. However, this is the first iteration of A+3 and what you're paying for is the further development and enhancements that will come over the lifespan of A+3. Personally I think the upgrade cost is pretty reasonable - especially compared to US$119 per year for Roon.
  8. Yes A+ in direct mode - still using El Capitan. I prefer A+ to using the built in Roon player. However using Roon with HQPlayer gives me the best SQ from computer audio (so far). A+ still sounds better than everything else I've tried.
  9. Putting MQA aside, I was looking forward to hearing whether A+3 would catch up to the SQ of the Roon/HQP combo. I like the simpler operation of A+3 compared to Roon/HQP (fewer button presses required for basic playback operations) and being a single app it's less laggy than Roon/HQP. However with preliminary listening I think Roon/HQP still has the SQ advantage. This is without any upsampling/DSD conversion with either app - i.e. HQP used with none/none filter options. Roon/HQP seems to provide more complex tonal qualities making music sound more involving. How/why this would be the case is the frustrating question. I would prefer to use A+3 and dump Roon/HQP.
  10. Thanks @Misterioso, that helps. One of the great traits of the 103R is it's musical engagement and boogie factor, so good to hear that the PP300 ticks that box. The Graham Phantom seems to like heavier cartridges - over 10g - and works beautifully with the low compliance 103R, so I'm thinking it will match up pretty well. The low dcr of 4ohms should mate nicely with the Lundahl 1941 SUT kit I put together last week also. Out of curiosity what arm/phono stage was being used with the Blackbird turntable?
  11. Thanks Hergest. It's odd that these cartridges have been around for a few years and there are very few reviews and not much user feedback (apart from your own ). I did manage to find a German review of the PP300 - but it's not really brimming with detail and of course some meaning can be lost in translation. The fact that Pure Music are handling them here in Australia is a positive, since they seem to have carefully selected their stable of cartridges.
  12. Yeah, I think Hergest had the earlier Phase Tech P3 or P3G. Nothing much to be found on the PP300 - here or anywhere else for that matter. Trying to gauge whether the PP300 would offer anything more than my Soundsmith re-tipped 103R - or whether it would be a bit of a side-grade.
  13. Over the past year I've got more into streaming music and reduced my analog investment, selling off my nice Hashimoto SUT and Cadenza Black. Perhaps predictably I've circled back to analog and now thinking of buying a 'not too expensive' cartridge to provide an alternative the Denon 103R variants I'm using. Looking around the $1.5K mark and the Phasemation PP-300 caught my eye. Not much independent info on the Phasemation cartridges, so wondering if any owners here could offer their thoughts? I've liked the brief descriptions I've read on these cartridges - can anyone compare to the 103R (modded or otherwise) or perhaps the similarly priced AT ART-9?
  14. Release date for Audirvana 3 " in a few days now..." according to Damien on the FB page.
  15. FWIW, the latest update to Roon 1.3 - build 194 - has fixed the HQP integration issues on my Mac setup.