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About bhobba

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    Seriously DAC Addicted
  • Birthday 11/17/1955


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  1. Sorry mate - Mike is busy busy busy with some really exciting stuff eg he is thinking about some ultimate computer speakers that I will be itching to get a pair of. I was looking for a pair and the rubbish out there by and large was - well yuck. He is also pressing ahead with the promised kit speakers and the UBER ML5. The first one is for a friend of mine and he will be completing that shortly. maybe he can take it to Sydney - we will see. My friend is up in Toowoomba at the moment visiting his mother, but normally he lived in Canberra so even though he has paid for his speakers cant take delivery just yet. I will be seeing him tomorrow to hear the BHK pre I asked him to get in for me and make sure he updates his plans on this. Yes - I know - I spend far too much on this hobby - but its just so addictive. Thanks Bill
  2. I used to known as the DAC guy around here, getting all these new DAC's like the Burson, Chord etc when released so know very well what you get at what pricepoint. Now I must disclose I have known Clay for many years, just in the interests of being totally fair, so I could be biased. However the Klein at the price asked is a give-away. Nothing in its price range can touch it. Here is the list of DAC's I have heard and/or owned that bests it - all much more expensive: 1. A full house PDX with Duelunds - the whole works - but there isn't a lot in it - its just a bit more 'valvey'. I have one for sale if anyone wants it. Clay will be happy to check it before being shipped. 2. Direct Stream and Direct Stream Junior 3. Killer DAC 4. The Konverter. 5. EMM Labs DAC 6. Playback Designs That's about it - I don't even think DAC's like the Wiess (I heard an upgraded one - it was better but not the usual one) that are really any better - maybe just a touch. That's how good it is. There are other DAC's not as good but more expensive - all good DAC's actually (eg upgraded NAD) but the Klein has the edge IMHO. So buy it and then take around to compare to other DAC's - I think you will find it hard to find one better - let us know if you do. They have very good resale value so you wont loose much doing that. Thanks Bill
  3. Ok - my views of the listening session. First we tried Joe's upgraded Oppo with a 196k DVD audio disk. Not the best - a bit dull, dry and flat. But it was brand new and is well known not to be great with disks. We will try it later by plugging in some ripped disks to the usb input and casting from Tidal and disks plugged into a Windows machine - the Oppo can receive casts. My phone casts Tidal and casting is built into Windows 10 - its how I listen to my system using the Oppo. I think the Oppo sounds best that way. I use it to connect to my DS. Then Clay spent some time getting the Aries set-up and while he was doing it Mike plugged an Ethernet cable into the Direct Stream Junior meaning my phone, which has Bubble-Upnp can transmit to it - so I did. Instantly better, but it has, as I have noticed before, this 'thick' quality, not bad but - well at least a bit different if not an issue. However PS Audio is doing a lot of work on the Bridge, MQA and all that so the final verdict will need to wait until that's finished - its taking longer than expected though. Then Clay got the Aries LE working - WOW - instantly better. We listened to Blue which is MQA encoded and Mike, who is a very experienced and critical audiophile knew a particularly hard track in that album so we played it. He closed his eyes - I know that track as well and it was simply the best rendition I have heard - period. Mike however, while admitting its likely the best he has heard picked up some slight vocal coloration. Its cause - Mike thought the newly minted ML5's - but we don't know - further investigation is required which Mike will do as time permits. Its also when he 'conned' me into selling him my LE. Ok I had asked Clay to build me a supply for a uptone regen I had - Mike had a regen (he sells them with his Curios cables) so used one with Clay's supply. Instantly better - less grunge, clearer and with more detail. I immediately asked Mike to get me one of the new ISO regen's and he will get one for his shop. That should make things better again. That's where it all stands now - its better that any other server Clay or Mike has tried but exactly where it all stands will take some time to sort out. It should be a lot better once Clay builds one of his supplies to run the LE. I will give it a week or two for Clay to finish the LE power supply and see how it stands then. Once its all sorted out ie I get a proper audio cable for the Explorer 2, Auralic firmware version 5 comes out of beta, the new DS software updates are released, new power supplies are made and the ISO Regens arrive we will have a GTG which should prove VERY interesting. Clay may even have his Konverter without the pre there - who knows. Thanks Bill
  4. Yes. Any old Dac that does at least 178 and 196 will work. Just as an overview here is whats going on in simple terms. MQA losslessly encodes 24 to 48k stuff and puts it in the last 7 bits where its simply sounds like noise - so you get 17bit resolution instead of 24 but through a trick called subtractive dither without going into it (you simply subtract it from the 24 bits - strip the last bits and put in the new 7 bits), its effectively something like 22 or 23 bits anyway so you do not really loose anything. Now MQA allows anyone to extract the data so you get 48k - that's called the first unfolding. However in creating the 96k PCM they use a trick - what the trick is, is say its 384khz PCM - it can be anything even up to many mhz - is you down-sample it to 96k by means of overlapping functions called Bessel functions. The simplest is a simple triangle. So you take 1/4 of a sample, then 1/2 of the next sample, then 3/4. then all the next, then 3/4 the next, then 1/2 the next, then 1/4 the next. The triangles overlap. It has the effect of keeping every 4th sample but chucking away the other three. It also causes a slight roll-off at about 6db per octave above about 20 k that is pretty much inaudible - but they correct for it anyway, so its within 1/2 db up to 20k but then rolls of at about 6db. The reason they do that is its not a brick-wall filter like you would have to use in normal down-sampling. When music hits such a filter it rings which is why High Res sounds better. However it has the problem of 'reflecting' the content above 48k into the normal audio band. Because of the mild filter used and the fact HF content naturally drops off this reflecting is inaudible so isn't a problem - its much lower than normal noise in the audioband. Now lets say we want to get the full 384 back. Its can be shown, and its rather intuitive anyway - you simply linear interpolate between the 96k samples to get the best approximation to the original (this is sometimes called sparse compression). Its isn't exact - but in that frequency range it's pretty much all noise anyway so the inaccuracy done by this is like adding extra noise so who cares. The up-sampling by linear interpolation is called the second unfolding and is in fact a digital filter optimized to match the encoding trick they use. But MQA goes further. It analyses the music to determine the optimum encoding method even trying to correct for issues in the original analogue to digital converter. It then uses the corresponding optimal up-sampling filter at the DAC claiming to correct for issues in the DAC as well which is why they only will give the MQA designation to DAC's not devices like the Auralic. Thats a lot of the MQA controversy - some like me think that last part about correcting errors in the DAC is BS. It's the falling out Auralic had with MQA and said F you to them. The encoding method used is put in metadata in the audio stream using inaudible methods. Now Aurilic will not say what they are doing with MQA but here is my guess. They are doing the first unfold - anyone can do that. But for the last unfold they came up with their own up-sampling method they use for all MQA files. They rekon their method is better. We will find out with my Explorer DAC so we can compare all the methods. Whats my bet? There will be virtually nothing in it - but we will see. I have to head off for lunch and will write up my impressions of the listening session Clay talked about after. Thanks Bill
  5. Sure will. But getting a bit late now and need to get up early tomorrow to pick up a friend who is having overnight tests in hospital so will leave it for a bit later. But like Clay Mike 'conned', sorry I mean rationally made the case, to buy the LE from me for his reference system - I have been relegated to the Mini Thanks Bill
  6. It was Joe Rasmussen's latest effort. Don't read too much into it at this stage - it was a first firing up and does a lot more such as video than the other stuff, plus is a cheaper than things like the DS or Clay's Konveter. I have one myself, but I use it for HT duties that IMHO it excels at. Like I said its a bit of a different beast. It has an upgraded clock that should improve the feeding of the DS I use an Oppo for - but I haven't checked it yet. Joe says he has been at comparisons where it was better than the DS so I think it deserves more time to judge. Again a GTG seems more and more whats needed. Thanks Bill
  7. Yes - his Curious USB cables are IMHO the best and many seem to agree - I use them for USB but right now simply have a spdif from my Oppo feeding my DS - my system is not complete right now - that will happen soon though and my 'experimenting' will stop - its far too financially draining as my dwindling bank balance readily attests to - but boy is it fun. Mike is calling his new cables Curious as well. Some likes Mikes cables, other Keith's - its a personal preference thing. The main thing is make sure you don't spend that sort of money until you hear them. I personally find Keith's power cables good - but wont be drawn into a discussion about the others - its what you like. Mike tried to do a power cable but failed miserably - you can read about it on his forum. Thanks Bill
  8. It's some new ones he is making - beyond his old ribbon flex which I have in my system right now. He makes the Curios USB cables these days (Clay uses them in his system): I think he will be calling them that. But really such a discussion belongs on Mikes forum rather than Clay's. Thanks Bill
  9. Mikes cables is what was used. But other people like Keith Eichmann make 'proper cables' as well. If you are spending that sort of money you owe it to yourself to hear a few. The only thing is the Explorer 2 has a 3.5mm jack and Mike is making a pair with a 3.5mm plug at one end, otherwise you need a little converter like the following: Will getting rid of the converter make a difference? Who knows. Like I said you need to listen to a few. Trouble is the explorer is about $440, the Klein $750 and the Konverter $4k. You maybe can justify it for the Konverter - the others - well make up your own mind. I have heard the difference and am getting one for the Explorer - but I am a nut. Will sell the whole lot - Explorer and Cables a bit later. Thanks Bill
  10. Version 5 of the software is now in beta. Myself and Clay have checked it - it does MQA - not via standard MQA though. But who cares - how does it sound is the question - answer - very good. Will compare it to proper MQA in the Explorer 2 and, hopefully the Direct Stream that may do it next release. We will see how both of these go against Clay's Konverter - the Explorer 2 while very good for the money, and your jaw drops when you hear it with proper cables, is not as good as the Klein, and definitely the Konverter is better - the DS - well that's another story - see my Konverter review. Trouble is those proper cables cost $800.00 or more - gulp. Thanks Bill
  11. You bet. Clay, myself and one Mr Lenehan tried the Uptone regen with Clays supply on the LE Mike just got. Instant and easily audible improvement. Less grunge and more detail - cleaner and clearer. Next step is Clay's supply running the LE and the new ISO regen - will see what that does. I was so impressed with all this I got an Aries Mini, arranged to get and ISO regen, and asked Clay to build two supplies for it - one for the Mini and one for the Regen. Should prove very interesting since the Mini costs just $389. Reading stuff from people like John Darko, the difference was subtle with a good supply: But with the new ISO regen maybe even better - we will see. BTW Clay talked me into selling him the Aries - I have a Bridge 2 for my Direct Stream (DS) anyway - but from what we heard it may be better - only more listening will tell. A big upgrade is coming to the DS, both the engine and bridge, and it may, just may do full MQA decoding. A comparison of the Aries with regen etc and Clay's DAC to the DS when that happens should prove very very interesting. Before I gave the DS a slight edge over the Konverter (its also a lot more expensive - being twice the price) - now things may be a bit different - we will see. I can feel a GTG coming on. Thanks Bill
  12. First of course thanks going to the trouble to write it up - your time spent to enlighten other members is always appreciated. You hit it in one - say may or possibly. There are many fine floorstanders out there. The best I have heard is Mike Lenehans uber ML5 (I am working on tuning them with Rawl99) he will call reference or something like that. Its great - but the best? Love you Mike but not so sure of that - the Rockport's from what I hear from people I know that go to all the shows are really really up there: The other thing to realize is all the GOOD uber speakers, and the speakers I mentioned are no exception, need appropriate downstream matching. They usually reflect what they are feed rather than have a sound of their own. I wont regale you with the uber floor-standers I know that break this rule, but with them to get good sound you need even more careful matching eg one brand I know of, very very expensive you would not dare to put anything but high quality valve gear - it sounds very sterile otherwise. Thanks Bill
  13. Hi Clay Great to hear mate. My friend Kev who has the ML5 references or whatever he want's to call them on order form Mike, and who you saw at Mikes last Monday may want one depending on the way he want to go with amps. I think he may like mix and match. For stuff with real 'ooomph' he has the Arion 500's - for less 'loud' stuff he might like my heavily upgraded Leak you worked on - its sounding even better now. BTW Clay has my Truth pre to repair a simple fault - his pre easily bests that - but admittedly its higher priced. Thanks Bill
  14. Trouble is I live only about 30-40 mins away from both Clay and Mike - a good cosmetic surgeon may help discuise them though Thanks Bill
  15. I have been converted to Tidal long ago. I hardly use my disk drive full of music since I got it. Might not use the Vega though - I have a Direct Stream with the Bridge I stream it to. Audirvana just pips that in sound quality though - so it looks like the Vega is better sonically - but through Roon the word is its another story. Anyway exactly what will eventuate in time we will see. A GTG is definitely needed once it all comes to fruition ie version 5 of the Aries software is no longer Beta and the PS Audio guys complete MQA/Tidal integration on the bridge. It seems the bridge MQA may even be full decoding - Paul McGowan and his team are working hard on it. Again time will tell. This stuff has enormous potential, but its going to take time to fully eventuate. I have told Clay he can keep mine until he has built the power supply for it and the version 5 software is no longer Beta. Clay can report on what the go is then. Since Addicted To Audio is dropping the line maybe someone else up our way will take it up - again only time will tell. Thanks Bill