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  1. 16 points
    A shot showing the newly appointed Cyclonix subwoofers between the main LCR, replacing my four Velodyne Digital Drives. Screen and material masking then on top
  2. 15 points
    I’ll start off with an admission – I have no idea what I’m doing. Never built anything remotely electrical or fiddly in my life. Cannot even recall the old man putting a nail in a wall. With that said, I thought it be a great idea to take a perfectly sound classic ’76 Linn LP12 and rip it to bits. I got the Linn off here from another SNA’er in the classifieds. It was in wonderful original condition. The plinth is sensational. The bearing was the white one, the sub chassis and everything else except the PSU was also original. It was updated at some stage to the Valhalla. It came with an Origin Live Alliance tonearm. Origin Live don’t mention much about the Alliance on their website other than it is cheap. I assume they are embarrassed. Being kind, I would describe the arm as crap. When I sell it here, I may choose another description (it’s still rubbish though). The cart was a Benz Micro SL in great condition. Here is the original Linn. I was not expecting much when I plugged it in. The tonearm cable looks very much like those $1 RCA’s you get free and toss in the bin. I was shocked how good it sounded compared to my Rega P6. The P6 was still a better sound but I didn’t think it was an even match – a new 2018 Rega v a 42 year old Linn. The Linn was extremely bright. It sounded very much top heavy. It really didn’t have much bass at all. I tried to increase the bass on my Luxman SQ38 but it didn’t do a lot. Even still, I loved the look of the Linn and was keen to update it. There are a lot of options I soon found. My initial thoughts was to go all Linn. I then soon found my costs would be for Kore, new springs, Lingo 4 and Akito arm – all put together around $8k. This is on top of my $2k for the Linn. $10k all up. Another option was Mober Linn parts. I did a fair bit of reading here and the UK forums. Linn of course just canned their forum so no luck on that. The info on SNA was invaluable. Not only did I gain great info, but also found Mober’s owner and designer Edmund’s direct email address. This was the fastest way to communicate with Edmund. He also has an ebay page and facebook. I had no issues dealing direct with Edmund given his reputation on forums and was more than pleased when he was able to offer me a great deal on a Mober sub chassis, PSU, bearing and sub platter – US$1750 delievered. Speaking of delivery, Edmund was amazing. Paid Thursday, arrived Monday. Incredible service and well packaged from Hong Kong. Inspection of the Mober parts screamed quality. The DC motor I believe is sourced from the same manufacturer Linn get theirs, Maxtor. The sub chassis was very well made as were the bearing and sub platter. Instruction for installation of the PSU are supplied but non for the bearing and sub chassis. To be fair, they are self explanatory. Take out the old part, install the new. Stripping the Linn was not difficult. I drained the old bearing and put a cap on it. The tonearm was then removed. I then turned it upside down resting on some foam. My biggest hiccup was disconnecting the power cord from the Valhalla. I had an idea capacitors stored power but no idea if enough to kill me even if unplugged. My wife didn’t take kindly to doing this for me either with the dog and I watching from another room. I ended up going to Bunnings and buying an electrician’s screwdriver for $10. Perfectly safe to remove. The ribbon to the on/off switch just slides out of the Valhalla end and the switch pops out. Installing the new motor was also a breeze. Edmund provides very clear instructions and there is also a youtube vid of some UK bloke having a crack at it. All the new bits fit and use the existing screw holes etc. The power is connected via a XLR cable to the Mober PSU unit. The unit is well made and not ugly. The lights on the unit switch off once stable 33.3 or 45 rpm is established. The bearing came with a little black oil. It was not a lot of oil at all. With no instructions, I assumed you just put the lot in and did so. It is silent when coupled with the Mober sub platter. The platter just keeps spinning. It has a small ball bearing on the end that fits in the bearing. To adjust the springs my jig consisted of three dinning chairs. I levelled up the Linn before working on adjusting the springs. I was worried that this would be difficult but wasn’t too bad at all. The best advice I read online was from a UK supplier, Cymbiosis, that said have a go, make a cup of tea, have another go, more tea, etc… It took patience but I got there, or so I thought. While it was easy to get level, and even looking good with the tonearm board, I soon discovered that I had the platter sitting too high. I found this because when I tested the Mober PSU it wouldn’t turn past 1-7 rpm’s. I worked out the sensor on the top plate was clearly too far from the strobe sticker that you attach to the outer platter. It wasn’t reading properly – much better than a stuffed psu I thought had happened. I should also say you adjust the suspension with the platters on and the belt attached. I had new springs, grommets, belt and screws I got from decibel hifi. I only ordered 3 springs and decided one wasn’t that great. I used the best old spring which I may add looked great in any event. I also sourced a new akito 3b tonearm. No instructions from Linn which I ranted about in another thread but was able to solve thanks to SNA again. Also scored a new Ortofon stylus guage which is magic. I replaced the Benz cart. To do this I considered purchasing a Dr Freikert but at $320 seemed a lot. A search on the net and it was solved for $3.16. A3 copy 16c and laminate $3 at officeworks. Used a plate to cut out. Works a treat. A final test and then I put the base board back on. The new tonearm cable was difficult to squeeze in the out hole being a lot thicker. I may go the Linn trampoline in the future. After a frustrating attempt to get the tonearm correct – not one piece of advice provided, nada on the net as well, pretty ordinary Linn!, I finally got it all together. I truly wasn’t expecting much as I assumed based on experience something would be stuffed up. It was wonderful. The soundstage appeared. There was bass, sharp and tight. Mids and highs are precise. I am amazed how good it sounds given my lack of any experience with this stuff. I still have some adjustments to do (the tonearm cable is too tight and pulling the board too close to the top plate – an easy fix), but nothing major. The player is totally silent – I cannot hear the motor as too the platter. The PSU takes about 10 secs to get to speed but 30 secs to stop. I just get the next lp ready. All up this cost approx. $7500. Not cheap, but I have the best sounding TT I have ever owned and learned a lot in the process. I highly recommend Mober and contacting Edmund direct via email. If I can do it, anyone can.
  3. 13 points
    Finally had a clean up. Back to a pre/power setup for now.. sounds pretty good for 16w! Also the new SB16 lurking in the corner helps.. (A little photo editing required due to how bright it is outside today!)
  4. 12 points
    Ooops... Fixed it ppl. $270 is what I told my wife I bought them for 😉
  5. 12 points
    Hello everyone. New member here and this is my current turntable: a modified Denon DP-47F that still sounds awesome! Cartridge is a Charisma Audio MC-2. I have a full list of the modifications I did, if any one is interested. Thanks
  6. 11 points
    We've moved to Canberra for a year or two, and into a two bedroom apartment, so no dedicated music room here. I couldn't go without a Meridian setup though, so music is handled by 3x DSP5200SL (centre obscured by the custom made Meridian DSP shaped coffee table) plus DSW subwoofer, Sooloos Control:10 (not shown) and a G68 processor. For music only. The TV just uses its own speakers for sound. Cheers, Jason.
  7. 10 points
    Time to put the feet up and listen to some tunes for Christmas Eve, Wishing everyone a merry Christmas for tomorrow.
  8. 10 points
    Santa came early this Christmas I must have been a good husband
  9. 9 points
    Just when I think I am getting out of vinyl, they drag me back in ...
  10. 9 points
    Got a new cartridge (Quintet Black). Enjoying some Bill Callahan this morning
  11. 9 points
    Merry Christmas everyone! Just finished assembling the stand, it's finally done. Well now that was an experience, 60 coats Epifanes Gloss Spar varnish on top sides, sanded w/400 between each coat to get them totally smooth. Then 3 coats of Minwax Helmsman Gloss Oil-based Spar Urethane Varnish sanded with 800 between coats. Last coat was sprayed. Here's a picture of it sitting in front of stereo. Will take more once everything is in place.
  12. 9 points
    Hi guys just received this text from Lifestyle Store in Parramatta. Big sale lots of great gear check out the link. https://mailchi.mp/lifestylestore/boxingday2018 Disclaimer: I have no vested interest
  13. 9 points
    ECC88, KT66 and 805 valves in AM 805 mono block Sorry about the phone pic.
  14. 9 points
    Finally the horn stands are done and work a treat. Now to build some Hiraga crossover networks for these and do some listening tests. A special thanks to muznuts for the horn flare restoration work and paint job. They came up really well and all before Christmas.
  15. 9 points
    My workload is making it harder to get in any quality listening time. When I do get time, listening to something like this makes it all worthwhile. I probably would have preferred it to be a little less heavy on the flute content, nonetheless, the piano playing is exquisite, and Paul Chambers work on the bass is great, with solos plucked and bowed. All of this beautifully reproduced in mono by Atlantic Japan from the original tapes from '56. I really must set up a dedicated mono arm.
  16. 8 points
    I am writing this review on the "new" XA25 Pass Labs power amplifier. This design represents what I think is a big turning point for PL. To me it represents a fusion of the established way of doing things at PL with a new more contemporary design. And in design I mean sound character and the actual design. I am inevitably comparing this this amp’ to the XA30.8 that I owned previously. It's a logical point of comparison as both amp’s are at the bottom of the PL range (bargains LOL). Used XA30.8’s are floating around the same price as a new XA25 at the moment. There was a period of about a week between selling the XA30.8 and getting the XA25 but I think my auditory memory was sufficiently locked away to evaluate the differences. Straight out of the box (couldn’t resist), there was an obvious difference between the character of the 2 amps. I think that anyone who thinks all amps sound the same is operating on incomplete data. There is more to an amp than frequency responses. In the case of the XA25 versus the XA30.8, we have measurably lower distortion (not necessarily a better thing of course as was eventually realised after decades of SS high feedback designs). There is more 3rd order distortion versus 2nd order especially as frequency drops, a much higher damping factor (or a lower output impedance for semanticists). Also, a faster slew rate. We also has lower gain rate as (I was told by a PL employee) the design of the gain stage dictates it. That will affect things as we’ll see! Peak current is less in the XA25 and is limited to 10A which in real terms is still quite high. This is the only PL amp that I know of that has some form of protection other than the prerequisite fuse)! Which is one of the ways that this design is more contemporary. It gives you a little bit more piece of mind that is something catastrophic happens, the amp' will simply shutdown and not go up in smoke.The XA25 is rated down to 1ohm though as per the Stereophile review, you will get a rise in distortion at higher frequencies but these may still be an order lower than some other amp’s out there anyway. But it will thrive on a 4ohm set of speakers and power output will rise as well and according to the Stereophile review it works well speakers with difficult loads. Similarities are, as far as I can tell, a similar class-A power envelope (50 watts peak into 2,4,8 ohms) but with a smaller power envelope (about 1.5-2dB is real terms) so about 90 watts RMS into 8 ohms for the XA25 versus 120watts RMS for the XA30.8. In reality this extra power is not a consideration for me and I found the XA25 handles the upper ranges of it's power output with a god bit more composure than the XA30.8. I did read all the reviews on the XA25 and of course read the reviews on the XA30.8. They are pretty much without fail highly positive and there are a lot of comparisons to tubes. Personally, I don’t really comply to the solid state versus tube thing. I think there are characteristics that are more common in one technology over the other but there is overlap. More on this later. Depletion Mode: From a topology / circuit design POV, the big ticket item is the use of depletion mode MOSFETS. Nelson Pass started playing around with this type of circuit a long time ago I’m sure and he has several First Watt devices that use it but this is the first time he’s introduced it in the Pass Labs rang.e Which you might call courageous as he risks upsetting his existing customers. Or if you are cynical, well, you can think whatever. So what’s the big deal? Well a enhancement mode mosfet (as per every other PL design such as the XA30.8) uses resistors (ballast resistors) to control the Mosfet. From NP’s Burning Amp article – “There's a reason to try depletion mode Mosfets instead of usual enhancement mode devices. Mosfets conduct current based on the relative voltage between the Gate and Source pins. N channel Mosfets (like this one) conduct more current as the Gate becomes more positive with respect to the Source. In enhancement mode N channel Mosfets, the transistor is turned off when the Gate is at the same voltage as the Source. With depletion mode N channel Mosfets, current flows when the Gate and Source are at the same voltage, and it takes a negative Gate voltage to turn off the device.” In simple terms (that I can understand), you don’t have to use a resistor to stop the Mosfet from self-destructing. But I think that NP moved to this design as it has subjective benefits (otherwise I think he would have kept doing things the way he had). I’m not going to try to equate how this relates to my subjective observations and I am putting it out there as some reasoning behind why the 2 amps may sound different. Practically we also get an amp’ that weighs half as much, uses half the electricity and has a similar power output. It runs about 5 degrees cooler at the heat sinks from my measurements but it also kicks out less radiated heat. The XA30.8 weighed about 45kgs, the XA25 is 21kgs (a lightweight!) – that was a back breaker so I can see people being drawn to the XA25 simply for reasons of size, weight and power consumption. Running in: Ironically, Nelson Pass doesn’t seem to believe in run-in. Well I’m not going to pick an argument with him and other EE’s but I can only relate my experience. If you listen to a Pass Labs amp’ that doesn’t have 1-2 weeks on it then you are doing yourself and the amp’ a disservice. Of course I have no data to back that up but I do have comments from people who have popped in over the first month or so to listen to the amp’ and they’ve agreed. Plus a trust my ears. When I got my XA30.8 it sounded like crap for the first week, sounded better on the 2nd and only started to properly come on song in the third week with some improvement over the next week after that. So 4 weeks all up. The XA25 was bit different. Rather than sounding gritty and anemic during run-in, the bass sounding flabby and weak. Everything else sounded OK but there was no magic. Glad I stuck it out. My system: I have an Audiophonics I2S streamer feeding into a Direct Stream Junior (DSJ) via I2S (HMDI). I also have a BHK Signature preamp - it is a hybrid design that uses mosfets paralleled to tubes - either 6922 to 12AU7 variants. For most of this listening I ran the DSJ without the BHK preamp because I wanted to hear it without any enhancement from the tube preamp. I have recently used a pretty sonically transparent Clay Geiseler preamp though as the DSJ isn't really happy driving a power amp' and there was more gain needed in the setup). So most of the comments are sans BHK preamp. Fit & finish: This a Pass Labs. So whilst it will never have the bling factor of some high end stuff, you expect there to be a high standard all round. The XA25 is a simpler, less over the top construction compared to the XA30.8 (good news for your back). It doesn't feel compromised though - there is a nice degree of workmanship on the both the visible parts and the internal parts. It looks the part and feels like it will last forever. Good quality components are in use. Those Mosfets are rated at 750 Watt RMS and 150 centigrade so there is the usual over-designed feel there too. Some ownership notes: This amp' weighs in at about 22kg which is light-weight in the Pass Labs scheme of things but is still worth noting. It is a standard 430mm or wide and but quite deep (about 42cm including the grab handles) and quite high at about 22cm. The big factor with all Class-A amp's is getting rid of heat so there are the obvious fins at the side that need to be kept clear of things. You should also try to leave as much room above the amp's as possible too. It gets up to about 52C in my office which is about 25C above ambient - that's right on the figure that Pass Labs specifies. If you place something near the unit then the heat will creep up and place anything over the amp' and you can kiss it goodbye within a few minutes. Subjective observations: I listen to wide range of musical styles but I gravitate towards electronic music so that will show in my choices of evaluation music. Electronic music is useful to show the character of an amplifier and its limitations too. You need acoustic music to reveal other things of course. So straight into it: Imaging Width– I was listening to Moderat (German IDM) and I realised that the cymbals were all around me. Of course this is a contrivance of the producer but the fact is that this never happened with the XA30.8. The sound stage did spread out quite wide on some tracks but on the XA25 it was enveloping. Imaging Depth– With the right source you can get great depth from the XA25. I think that's all about low level detail retrieval. The XA30.8 did depth quite well but I don't remember there being as much ambient detail. With the right tubes in my BHK Preamp (12AU7 Haltron Tunsgram Holland) you can get a soundstage that seems to go off into the distances. Fun stuff. Imaging Accuracy– Performers and sounds are precisely placed in space (height, depth, width). There is no etching around the images. Treble- The XA25 sounded just right in the treble. It really projects treble detail without steering into any sort of sterility or exaggeration. This level of clarity makes low level listening quite satisfying. And it keeps its grip on the balance of the treble even when pushed – the XA30.8 started to get a little ragged when you gave it some wellie. Midrange- The midrange is probably where the most change happened over the run-in period. That is the magic that I hinted at earlier. No, it's not a tube amp' but it reveals a nice sweetness without any mushiness. Or as that guy over at 6Moons said "I like Pass Labs because they get so much of what tubes can do without the disadvantages of tubes". Don't take that the wrong way. I love tubes. Again, with the right source you can get a nice delicacy that draws you into the music. Bass- Bass started out a bit flabby and lacking in depth when it was fresh out of the box. It became more and more extended, tight and tuneful over time. Bass definition – New Order – Blue Monday – the initial kick drum which punches away is well controlled, the woofers seems to stop and start much faster than they do with the XA30.8. Better still a little bit into the music, when the bass synth joins in, the elements are clearly differentiated. The XA30.8 did not do this in my system and once I’d heard this, I started to notice it in other tracks as well. Bass kicks (real drum or synthesised) are tight and very detailed and loud bass lines retain control even when the amp’ is driven hard. Hans Zimmer’s intro’ track to Black Runner 2019 has some nasty bass which borders on percussive – I played a game of dare to see how loud I could go before the XA25 lost control and I managed to get to 100 on my preamp. Higher damping factor I assume. By contrast, the XA30.8 would loss grip with an injection of what seemed like more 2nd order distortion - a deliberate move by PL of course and part of the character of the XA30.8. Bass on the XA25 is anything but dry or mono-tonal. It has great pitch definition and it can give you a new appreciation for the skills of your favourite bassist. Any album with well recorded drums will show up the XA25's ability to pick apart bass lines, drum lines and the acoustics of the venue (or the artificial acoustic of a studio). Definite Pitch by Greg Bendian is a delight through the XA25 - you can hear the minute changes in pitch in the percussion in this album - play it through a lesser amplifier and it is a merely "interesting" album. On a subjective level, the XA30.8 makes a fat, rich bass sound (if you wanted to resort to the stereotype, maybe a tube like bass). I found it captivating and it adds a physicality to music. This is a point where the XA25 is more contemporary in its design. Surely the relative popularity of high damping factor SS designs did not go unnoticed by Nelson Pass. So the bass is tighter and has more definition in the XA25 but doesn't have that rock solid foundation. Both are nice but I'd have to give it to the XA25 as I like to listen to fast electronic music where pitch definition is a necessity. Still I can still see the appeal of the XA30.8 and understand why someone would want that - try any classical music or Jazz or even live music on the XA30.8 and you'll hear what I mean. Dynamics / speed (PRAT?)- Even at low volume the first song on the Rapor EP by Active Child actually made me jump as the vocals kicked in. That never happened on the XA30.8 or any other amplifier that I’ve had. I had a bit of fun with a stereonetter who came into my office – I put on the first track entitles Discombobulation off the Sherlock Homes OST. Turned up the gain about 2/3rd of the way on the preamp and watched him flinch as the sudden clap of percussion kicked in about 10 seconds into the track. That was a mean trick I know but it proved a point. The XA30.8 just didn’t do this – it swelled up and presented the peak of sound but it took a microsecond to get there. The XA25 seems to just get there. Also the blat of the horns on the track is crisp and realistic (without being in any way harsh or metallic) on the XA25. The XA30.8 plays it safe here – yes, you can hear the horns are bright but it rounds off the edges a bit. This amp is quite fast. Not super fast like a Class-D but sufficiently fast to keep the propulsion of bass heavy music driving long. Your feet tap along to the music so I guess that covers the "R". Timing - well it just sounds right - no lagging or hardened edges - just right. Detail – Yes, I admit I love detail. That was a characteristic that drew me to the amplifier and being very low distortion and having a low noise floor, there is lots of detail on tap but it does not get in the way of enjoying the music. This won't get to Devialet levels of detail (at least not with the source and cables that I am using) but you want the detail to serve the music i.e. you want it to inform about what the performer intended. Factor X- Whatcha talkin bout Willis? Well Herb from Stereophile put it nicely (I paraphrase). He said, one of the guys who were gathered at one point listening to the XA25 said that it makes an album sound like an event. I think he was right on the money. Listening to studio recordings sucks you in and live recording helps you feel the atmosphere of the event. Then there is that top-tapping, leg jiggling, getting lost for ages in a song or in an album. Priceless. Cables: The XA30.8 really allowed me to hear differences in interconnects, digital cables and speaker cables and the XA25 is no different in this regard. Which of course is impossible as all cables sound the same ( ). Given the very low distortion and noise floor you would expect that this would be greater in the XA25. The XA25 runs on unbalanced interconnects which has less "audiophile" cred but the reason NP employed balanced was to lower distortion through the use of his Supersymmetry circuit. There's no need for that circuit here as the design has lower distortion and noise than any Pass Labs amp to date. Adding balanced inputs would perhaps unnecessarily add to the cost.Distortion in the XA25 is predominantly 3rd order with a bit of 2nd. The XA30.8 injects mainly 2nd, at least until it gets nearer it's power limits. The other thing is that in comparison, the level of distortion at low and moderate levels is a number of orders lower in the XA25. With the BHK Preamp: Everything just cranks up a bit. Bass is more powerful and seems more defined. Midrange is sweeter. Depending on the choice of tubes, treble can be varied to taste and mode. With the right tubes, the speed is amazing- Kraftwerk "Numbers" from "Minimum Maximum" just rattles off like a machines gun but each nuance of pitch can be followed. Backing vocals and ambiance sound great as you'd expect with tubes. This is a great preamp which I guess it should be for the price. It seems to operate like a studio-remastering process - cleaning things up - tweaking things, making the mix sound nicer. And it works really well with my XA25. Conclusion: I hope this hasn’t come off as a slag on the XA30.8. And I hope it doesn’t sound like someone trying to confirm their choice of purchases - I didn’t have to sell the XA30.8 though for practical reasons it made sense to. The price between a 2nd hand XA30.8 and a new XA25 is not a huge gap so I’m not trying to get over buyer’s remorse - I made a reasoned decision and I am really happy I did it. Is this is the “best” Pass Labs amplifier? It is for me, maybe not for others. Everyone will have their own answer based on their tastes, their system and their listening room.I could have made an argument on keeping the XA30.8 - it was beguiling and just had such a solid sound. It is also a piece of luxurious industrial design. The XA25 is a bit more middleweight in comparison (size, weight and subjective bass) but still packs a big punch. Anyway, I have stopped the search for my perfect amp' (and the BHK preamp has ended my search for the perfect preamp too). I am sure there are amp's out there that surpass the XA25 - maybe even for less money but I'm just not interested in the chase any more - I've found an amp' that works for me and suits my tastes. Description: Stereo power amplifier using JFETs and MOSFETs. Inputs: 1 pair single-ended (RCA). Outputs: stereo pair of Furutech binding posts. Power output: 25Wpc into 8 ohms (14dBW), 50Wpc into 4 ohms (14dBW). Peak current: 10A (200W peak into 2 ohms). **These official figures are not 1% distortion levels. If we move the goalposts to 1% then power envelope becomes 80watts RMS into 8 ohms). Bandwidth: DC to –2dB at 100kHz. Input impedance: 47k ohms. Voltage gain: 20dB. Distortion: 0.1% at 25W, 8 ohms, 1kHz. Noise: <50µV output, unweighted, 20Hz–20kHz. Damping factor: 500. Slew rate: 100V/µs. Idle power draw: 2.0 amps at 120VAC (240W).** I tested this at 205 watts into 245V. Dimensions: 17" (430mm) W by 6" (150mm) H by 17.3" (440mm) D. Weight: 45 lbs (20.4kg). https://www.stereophile.com/content/pass-laboratories-xa25-power-amplifier-measurements
  17. 8 points
    David Bowie: Scary Monsters. To me this album is one of Bowie's gems. He used to get some great guitarists into the studio. For this one they include Carlos Alamor, Robert Fripp and Pete Townshend. What a legend!
  18. 8 points
    1.Go buy one of those bluetooth doof doof systems for $40 2. play your music on that for a few weeks 3. plug your system back in and you”ll appreciate what you’ve got. repeat steps 2 & 3 when you think your system isn’t sounding so good
  19. 8 points
    Just a heads up. JB will be having their usual Boxing Day 20% off CDs and Vinyl next week. If they do what they normally do, it’ll last the week. Cheap(er) records for all! Instore and Online. Cheers, M
  20. 8 points
    I have recently acquired some Graham LS 5/9 speakers and had them paired with some mass loaded Partington Broadside speaker stands. While the speakers were a huge improvement on my previous speakers I did read that they should be paired with lighter stands. In addition the manufacturer had them paired with lighter stands. The Grahams were designed to vibrate so mass loaded stands weren’t the ideal. After looking around a lot and a few emails and calls with Anthony @GrizzlyI decided to commission a pair of stands to be built. The result has been fantastic with an improvement in dynamics and tonality without any loss in bass (which really surprised me). A side benefit was that my wife prefers the look of the new stands. They were packed ready for the usual treatment courier companies give hifi gear and survived the journey. They were packed so well that it took around 1/2 an hour to unpack. I would highly recommend anyone with Graham or Harbeth speakers to give Anthony a call.
  21. 8 points
    One will never be able to keep everyone happy, so when SNA's founder and the moderators follow what they believe is the right path, those, like me will stick as we agree in general. We also stay as we enjoy the forum and interacting with most members. It is not to say that I am 100% happy with the forum, but the bits that bother me I manage myself, for example, I have my own lists of: the "flippers" the "trolls" the "know it alls" etc. I just ignore the members that do not add value for me and communicate with those that does. And may I add "adding value" means those agreeing and disagreeing in a respectful manner as that is how one learns. I have learned a lot on the forum so also try to give back by being patient with new members and answering questions. By no means I think I am perfect and I have done some dumb posts, which so far has been taken in the right spirit. I have also met some eccentric and normal people due to the forum who have enriched my life. There is one thing I would like to read more about in 2019, and that is an area I am very guilty about. I am always promoting buying used and supporting Australian made. I have not been supportive of retailers, not that I have anything against them, I just have not had much exposure to them. A distributor had a chat with me and said that retailers are the lifeblood of the industry and we need to support them. So, putting my flameproof suit on, Ladies and Gentlemen, lets support the remaining retailers in Australia, they, like other brick and mortar stores are doing it tough. Looking forward to 2019.
  22. 8 points
  23. 8 points
    [moderator post] thread cleaned up, don't feed the troll folks, just report it, we take out the garbage ! [end moderator post]
  24. 8 points
    So I'll try and recount my experiences with the discrete DAC and friends. Firstly, a shout out to the guys at https://www.audiofidelity.com.au/. They were fantastic at setting up exactly the sort of audition I needed, though it took quite a while to organise, having started investigating a couple of months back (but was worth it!) All the equipment I got to test was already burned in and actually all warmed up as well. They set up their reference speakers for me, which were needed to really do these DACs justice because they're resolving enough and very neutral in their presentation and close enough to being full range. As speakers go, their design are actually somewhat removed from mine, with closed boxes, and active class A/B SS 850W amplification (which would have spent 90%o f their time in class A) while mine are passive, open baffle and use valve class A/B 250W amplification (and I never drive mine into class B). Fortunately being similar dynamic drivers their sonic signature wasn't that far removed from mine though so with enough time I felt I could "see through" the differences and just listen to the DAC. The main reason I could do this was we only ever changed one component at a time. Bear in mind that these are all subtle changes, and I'm being ruthless because I am comparing DACs at stratospheric prices! Also all of this is sighted listening, so if you're only interested in blind comparisons, stop reading here. First up was the discrete DAC. This is MSB's new base model offering, though still at a pretty steep price for most people. I would describe the sound from it as neutral, polite, unobtrusive, reasonably detailed without any real hint of glare or fatiguing sound. It's not an in-your-face kind of sound, with decent soundstage presentation and would probably be great for long-term listening. I couldn't help shake the feeling that there was something missing from the top end though, with it being soft and missing the liquid sweetness I was expecting. The other thing that was odd was this strange feeling that the phase or balance was almost off, with the soundstage being off to the left. I thought it might have been the room initially since there was an open door to the right, but later DACs revealed to me that this was actually an intrinsic quality of this DAC. I have no idea what it means since these things measure exceptionally well, but it was there. Suffice to say that I wasn't exactly blown away by the sound, but I rated it above PS Audio's top offering, and far above the Chord DAVE, which I have expressed on numerous occasions to dislike. Not as bold or big and brash as the Chord, but lacked all the glare and fatigue of that. The next thing we did was put in the premier powerbase onto the discrete DAC. This is a power supply that costs almost as much as the DAC itself. I wasn't expecting a dramatic improvement to be honest since the default discrete power supply is still a very good power supply. I was quite wrong. This was an instant improvement. A huge veil was lifted from the sound and the stage all went into focus and shifted back a few feet, and that odd left sided stage aspect disappeared with a much more solid presentation with instruments where they should be. Everything also sounded "cleaner" with a layer of grunge just disappearing. I then tried going back to the default discrete power supply, but using two of them instead of one (which is an optional extra but nowhere near the cost of the premier powerbase). My memory of the sound of the DAC with the single discrete power supply was that this didn't sound remarkably better, it was a little more solid in its presentation but that was about it. The premier powerbase was a dramatic improvement by comparison. Now bear in mind that the price of the discrete DAC + premier powerbase actually ends up costing as much as the next step up DAC, the premier. The premier comes with a premier powerbase so it wouldn't actually make much sense to buy the discrete and powerbase unlesss you bought it as an upgrade later on, or you thought it sounded better than the premier (very unlikely.) Next up we tried the premier DAC. Well this was an instant remarkable improvement over the former in ways that I particularly like. Suddenly there were much more harmonics filling in the sound of instruments, it's as though there was some kind of comb removing every other harmonic on the discrete and the premier filled all these in. It made for a much richer sound and instruments sounded more full bodied and warmer. All the instruments had more presence in their presentation, and it simply breathed more real world life into the music. At this point I was starting to like what I heard and wanted to take this home and audition it in my system. Next up we tried something that I wasn't expecting much if anything from - going back and forth between the default clock and the more accurate lower jitter clock. Now we've had a long discussion about jitter on another thread and the scientific conclusion is that jitter is not a problem, but clock implementation may be. The default clock on the premier DAC, MSB does not actually describe its accuracy, but the clock upgrade is called a femto 93, meaning less than 93 femtoseconds of jitter, but no further description. Most accurate standard clocks these days are in the picosecond range (10-100?) so this would make the clock upgrade potentially 1000 times more accurate, but also implementation details may be just as important as the accuracy. Anyway enough introduction, what did I hear? Upon initially changing to the more accurate clock I did not hear anything dramatic. Just a subtle improvement to how much the sound is confined to the speakers. But then we did some back and forth between them and there was more to the difference. It's hard to describe, but going back to the lower spec clock there was just more grunge to the sound, as though when plucking on a guitar for example, the plectrum dragged on the string slightly before letting go of it. I did not anticipate this improvement with a clock upgrade but there you have it. Maybe the clock was just quieter rather than anything to do with its accuracy? Who knows. So I was going to take the premier home and audition it in my own system but then I was given an offer I couldn't pass up - they had an ex-demo reference DAC they were selling and would I like a listen? I said sure since it was bringing it closer to the amount I was willing to spend on a DAC. We plugged it in and had a listen. The difference was not subtle. It breathed life into everything, added literally tons of detail to everything, made singers' consonants bite as though they were standing there, changed the stage - didn't just make it bigger; it made close mic'ed instruments huge, but ones that were further back actually got smaller and focussed! The harmonic richness went up yet another notch. Bass, oh my god, what happened there? It sounded like the bass was turned up. I don't get it, all these things measure the same frequency responses... Everything just sounded more real, and there was this intense sense of quietness around and between the notes. Anyway I didn't even need to audition it in my system as I heard things through this DAC I'd never heard before. It came with a clock upgrade to the femto 77 (140 is default). Sold.
  25. 8 points
    For industry conferences/shows (non HiFi ), if you talk to those organising, all I have spoken with over years have said Melbourne as location is it. Qld(goldcoast/Bris) next and Sydney last. I have seen organisers run stuff and I am talking mega conferences, they have run them in Tassie and WA in preference to Sydney ! Sydney is costly and doesn’t get the numbers ... its all good and well for some to demand it run in Sydney and say poor showing if its not. But it’s not your money and neck on the line to fund and organise it ! i say this as someone with a hand in organising a national conference (non HiFi) in melb next year. A LOT of work goes into this, it costs a LOT of money ! And we do alternate melb/syd/Qld so understand aspects with each. We are expecting melb to be bigger than Qld we ran this year and bigger than Sydney year prior. as to HiFi, be happy we even have a HiFi show. How forgetful are people that what a decade went by with no HiFi show at all ... no matter where ? and to be clear, I say this as someone who has no part in the HiFi show, make not one cent from it. Infact cost me money, I bought a ticket like every one else, even paid full price (happy to do, it’s a small cost) personally I think we are fortunate enough the future of the show is decided. Dates set and leaves everyone something to look forward to.
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