peterears1

Making the move from CD to hard-drive

7 posts in this topic

Hi,

There's a lot of folk on here with wiser ears than mine...but I'm really happy with where I've netted out...in sorting out my system...and I'd not have got there without this forum, so, just in case this helps anyone else...I thought I'd tell my story....

 

I've had a meridian 506, audiolab p/q, monitor audio ma1200 gold, with audioquest midnight 3 cables and quartz (I think) interconnects for 20 years. And until this house...loved the sound.

I listen to lots of classical. Some world. And less pop/rock.

I love a lyrical/sweet/spacious/real/warm sound that doesn't push itself at you.

For me the 'in your face' sound - which is so impressive for 30 seconds in a store...gets VERY wearing, very quickly.

 

But...more and more of my music was shifting to the hard drive.

Not least cos the Meridian was skipping on older CDs - so I copied them for safety.

And...

The Meridian clearly needs help.

The room the hi fi is in is the worst I've had for years - cathedral ceilling. Hi fi on one side of the room (asymetrical) with windows/curtains down one side. Speakers practially on the back wall. And closer together than I'd like.

The soundstage was narrow. The music sounded dull and lifeless. And the mac sounded even worse than the meridian.

And - given that I now have to listen at lower listening levels (kids!) - all these issues were exacerbated still further.

 

So - time to do something....

With one, perhaps unusual startpoint....the speakers were NOT to be changed...why ...because I have young kids and I'm not making the speakers a reason kids can't enjoy the living room...changing them can be a dream for the future....

So all the rules that say start with the speakers had to be ignored.

 

In fact I started with cables...partly because I have been staggered in the past, how much difference cables make.

Plus someone was selling AQ Cheetah's for $200 on gumtree. (I've sent them off to AQ in the US to be reterminated...and will doubtless find out in the process, if they are legit!!) I picked up a couple of other good cables too and played a little...

 

Not loving what I was hearing....and more than anything, realising that if I wanted to inject some vitality into my system, it had to be more than just cabling - as it seemed that to get the vitality just from cables - which I did - I lost depth and weight...which was no good to me at all.

 

Then I moved onto DACs....and everything I read on this forum (and a little elsewhere) suggested to me that the Rega route might be the best one for me...as though I clearly was looking for a bit more 'clarity/articulation' - I knew that if it got too dry and clinical, I wouldn't enjoy the listening anymore.

 

And I opted to go for buying used...knowing that I can onsell for not much loss...rather than trying to audition in store...which is just hopeless for me....as you need all your kit...in your place... to really hear.....

 

So I bought the rega dac from a SN member...(who was going on to try an M51).

 

And I loved it. (And had a really good experience buying it from him too. Even to the point that he contacted me after the sale to make sure I was happy...)

 

Much more emotion and space in the music than the mac mini on its own....but without making the sound too harsh or too clinical. For a Meridian lover...the Rega is a really good choice.....

 

More playingwith the cables again....and now they were helping more than just 'changing'...I bought some more audioquest midnights too so I had separate runs to the top and bottom connectors at amp and speaker terminals. And loaded up the MA1200s with sand to tighten up the bass. (It's such a clever bit of design that.)

 

And I probably would have left it there, but for an exchange of PMs with another SN member from whom I tried to buy a used audiophilleo...and was too late (it went in a nanosecond).

 

And on the basis of that conversation...and realising that the difference between a used price on the audiophilleo and a brand new one is really very little.....I ordered a new audiophilleo from the US. (And may I say...everything about the culture of this site was reflected in my various exchanges with a gentleman called Philip at audiophilleo - he was fabulous - and had the boxes to me in less than a week!) 

 

I plugged them in this afternoon...and notwithstanding Philip's advice that they would take a while to 'settle in'...I am absolutely socks knocked off, can't leave the sofa, rapt in the sound of the audiophilleo.

 

The Rega Dac, for me, was a seriously good/ lucky choice.

Doing the four separate runs of the audioquest was good too - whatever the science between separating the bass and treble - really worked for me - and 20 year old high end cable is cheap as chips to buy.

 

But, even though it came last...and therefore started from the highest mark...I have to say that the audiophilleo (plus Pure Power) is just amazing. (I bought the audiophilleo 2)

 

I had an experience more than 20 years ago when I went to a hifi show and Linn were there showcasing an $50000+ speaker system that made classical orchestral work sound so real that I've kept a dream alive in my head that one day, somehow, I would find a way to get that sound in my house. (Without the $50k of course!) They even built a purpose-built building within the trade show 'hangar' so that we could enjoy the speakers without all the cacophony that typifies such events....but I digress....

 

I'm not saying that my system sounds (quite) that good. But truly...given that the source is a mac mini (running audivarna plus) and the speakers are 20 year old mid to bottom end (compared to what all the people on this site seem to have)...the sound uplift by the audiophilleo is simply breathtaking. Not breathtaking in that the Rega is lacking...but breathtaking in that it lifts the total sound as much again as the Rega lifted the mac mini. I'm as close to the $50000 Linns as I've ever been - in my house or anyone else's. And mostly thanks to a $1000 box the size of a pack of cards!

 

I know everyone's ears are different. But it's hard to imagine music getting much better than this.

 

Thanks to everyone whose posts I've read and who has responded to PMs. To Rega - for keeping it 'musical'. And especialy to Audiophilleo - for bringing the music to life.

 

P

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What a fantastic post.

I have a mac mini and an Audiophilleo 2, (unfortunately without pure power)

Yes, there are fantastic members on SNA and Peter of Audiophilleo is really good to deal with.

The best news is that you have a system that you enjoy.

Thanks for sharing.

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Hi Peter. 

 

For someone with a bad room (or even a decent one), try borrow a calibrated mic and trial this software 

 

http://www.sonicstudio.com/amarra/amarrasymphony_irc

 

If USB converters make a profound difference to your ear you're going to have to invent a whole new language for this one :)

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The opposite of my experience where my CD player sounded much better than any of the twelve DACs I tried and adding an Audiophilleo only made things worse.It robbed music of vibrancy.

Now I just burn/rip off my hard drive and listen to the copy on my CD player.No DACs for me any more.

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Fabulous story, thanks for sharing. :)

My AP2 is on its way back from the USA after being repaired and upgraded to PurePower. Very much looking forward to having it back - it really is a crucial piece of the computer-as-transport puzzle for the majority of DACs.

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With you on this thomo...btw, what cd player do you have?

Gret post from OP btw...

Edited by rotur

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With you on this thomo...btw, what cd player do you have?

Gret post from OP btw...

An old Sony CDP 715.A bit of freak model where everything just clicked and you get a very clear and 3D sound.

Just last weekend my brother and I did an A/B comparison with his Accuphase DP 77 and once level matched and using the same interconnects they sounded almost identical.The Accuphase is a great sounding player and friends have settled on this after trying a vast range of DACs and players.It cost $11,000 new so should be good I suppose.It is maybe only 1% better than the Sony though.

Edited by THOMO
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