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About blocky

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  1. Hi All, I finally picked up my QXR-upgraded 8xpd on the weekend! It's been over 4 months since I ordered it and there have been complications which means my amplifier was updated to the latest specifications. I would not think others ordering now would have similar delays but make sure they are aware of you serial number in case you have an early model like mine. I'll try and post my impressions over the coming weeks as I get time to enjoy it. Having a little one running around I have very little time for decent listening sessions. So it might take some time for my to voice a discerning opinion. But for the eager I have included photos essentially showing the same amplifier just with a QXR badge on it. As you can see the back is identical. My test setup is the following: Roon: iMac 27" i9 NAS: QNAP TS-259Pro+ (4TB mirrored) Switch: Cisco SG 300-28 Small Business Managed Switch CAT6 CD Marantz CD 17 MkIII (SPDIF) Streamers Allo USBridge Curious 0.8m USB Cable iFi iPower Low Noise Power Supply - 5V Other Streamer Allo DigiOne (SPDIF) AMPs 8xpd QXR PSXR Power supply 2 x x200 power mono blocks Power ISOTek EVO3 6 way power board ISOTek (green) cables on 8xpd + PSXR + power board Speakers PMC OB1i Very very very early early impressions: You have to remember I have been without the amp for about 7 weeks so I'm relying on my older impressions. I started by using the DigiOne on the SPDIF input as I had this setup already. The reason is the old DAC only supported 44.1/24bit on the USB. Initially I did not discern much of a difference. Afterward I realised I still had the parametric equaliser enabled on Roon that may have masked much of the improvement. I quickly switched to the USBridge. I went through a few personal listening favorites: Natalie Merchant Live 1999 "The Gulf of Araby" Led Zeppelin - How the West was Won "Going to California" Pink Floyd - Us and Them (very warm track) Radiohead - Let Down Radiohead - No Surprises Dire Straits - Love Over Gold David Gray - Cascade (Live) Dire Straits - Romeo and Juliet U2 - Stay Diana Krall - Live in Paris Overall I'd say "brighter", but not in a bad (harsh) way. The OB1i's are known to be a warm speaker and I felt the new DAC really raised the top end of the spectrum most noticeably. This was also the first time I used the Curious USB cable also I guess there might have been something due to this too. I tried Dark Side of the Moon that I have in DSD but it showed up as some really high rate PCM on the display. Later I realised that there is a setting in Roon that by default would covert DSD to PCM (as Roon did not have an entry for this DAC). Once I changed this to DSD over PCM (DoP v1.0) it worked and the front display showed "DSD64". Cool! So for the record, the fact that Roon does not know this amplifier/DAC does not seem to matter. More impressions later......
  2. Hi Daniel, thanks for responding. I understand that the realtime nature of audio precludes any error correction without the introduction of some form of latency due to the buffering required. I assume with the majority of DAC's, if the DAC is aware of an error in the decoding it, will not attempt to correct the error but will probably extrapolate the output from previous samples (or something of that nature). My point is that if we are aware of when the DAC does achieve zero-errors, then that is valuable information. At that point the digital part of the whole audio-reproduction equation can do no better. And we can stop stressing about that better Ethernet cables or that audio-friendly-switch that's only $500 more. I do understand that digital audio can (and I think often is) flawed and not 'bit-perfect'. But it is reasonable to assume that it can be, if implemented correctly. I'm just wondering how rare a bit error is in a typical middle of the road audiophile system? Judging bit-errors (due to jitter, signal degradation, interference from the power supply, whatever) using your ears seems ludicrous when we could know this information.
  3. I haven't read all the replies on this thread, but I think this is a very good explanation: see below The point to remember is that even so a streamer is digital in and digital out, the actual signal is always analog. We only infer it as being digital because we assume it will be interpreted that way and that the interpretation is perfect. Being an engineer with a Telecom background, what I find confusing is why don't DAC's report their errors. There is (apparently) enough redundancy in a PCM signal for a DAC to KNOW it has made an error. If a DAC would flash an LED every-time it made a decoding error in realtime, we could use that to know when to stop spending money on cables! I guess I just answered my own question.
  4. Good News! The distributer are going to replace the front panel with a new one that will permit the upgrade. So I should essentially have an amplifier with all new digital components. Parts are coming from the UK so hopefully I'll be back in business in the next few weeks! It's going to be interesting making comparisons as it would have been a while since I have played my system. If I get time (which is a long shot) I can always setup an A-B comparison with my other 8xpd (with original DAC). I'll be really intrigued to see if I perceive any change out of the box.
  5. Update on this upgrade. It turns out not all 8xpd amplifiers are created equal. Once the service personnel opened my unit they discovered that amplifier is model 1 (there are 3 models apparently). It can't even have its firmware updated via USB! They all look exactly the same from the outside (at least to me they do). So while it is commendable that Cyrus state they support the upgrade for all their amplifiers going back 10 years (mine is 7 years old), they have obviously not provided sufficient support to their distributors to perform this upgrade. You would think they would have upgrade kits for model 1, 2 and 3, if they are that different. And this is after announcing the availability of the upgrade in January but not really making it available till the Munich show in May. I think it is a reasonable observation to make that their marketing dept have not handled this product release well. So the ball is back with the retailer and distributer and for Cyrus to get back to them with the answers. The retailer (and no doubt the distributors) and possibly Cyrus themselves are monitoring this thread and will have their say and hopefully set the record straight for all. And I'm not the earliest adopter: apparently they have already performed 7 upgrades (where are these people?). Just not one as old as mine. I tend to buy nice gear and hold on to it for years, part of the reason I like Cyrus. I hope the love is reciprocated! Watch this space.
  6. Wonderful speakers. The pinnacle of the Twenty5 series. Go 3-way or go home I say! Possibly my next upgrade sometime in the next decade. Great buy as these don't come up too often.
  7. I'm actually not too fussed at the moment. I'm so busy with work and under the weather with bloody viruses I barely have the time or energy to listen to music! The upgrade is really for the future for me: for the years ahead of listening pleasure. (I hope!) By the way: I strongly recommend this podcast to everyone if you have not heard it yet: http://strongsongspodcast.com/
  8. Rio Sound and Vision are performing the upgrade and its it taking quite a while. The offical estimate as "a few days" to do the upgrade but they have had it since 6th July and now the ETA is next Wednesday 24th. I won't be able to pick it up till the Saturday the 27th July. 3 weeks! In the mean time I have bought a 0.8m Curious USB cable to use with an Allo USBridge as a streamer from Roon. I will also be comparing with an Allo DigiOne SPDIF. Although after 3 weeks I may forget what the old one sounded like! I do have another 8xpd with the vanilla DAC but I'm afraid I really don't have the time for complicated A-B testing setups!!
  9. My QXR board has arrived. I won’t be able to drop my unit in till the weekend and most likely the following weekend to pick it up.
  10. Yes the PSX-R is definitely worth it! But having the DAC in the amp makes sense, as long as you're happy with your amp.
  11. I know it's an ESS Sabre. Yes I'm wondering if I chose the right path. Perhaps I should have gone the Hugo Chord route. Just more bloody cables!
  12. No not particularly. I will someday update the Mission M53 speakers but right now they are in the main livingroom and with a soon to be 2 years old running around they somewhat sacrificial. They sound ok and I'm not too stressed when he draws on them with crayons! I've already replaced the tweeters he pushed in and I've velcro'ed the grills on! Still in love with the PMC's. The next step might be second hand PMC Twenty-five 26, when they come down.
  13. Update: the QXR cards were only officially released in mid May. ETA is next Friday. So probably another week to get it installed.
  14. No, no news. I'll bug them again this week. Been sick and too busy at work. Don't worry I'll update this when I know something. In the meantime I bought an IsoTek Polaris board for my system which might help the listening tests. Still looking for a Curious USB cable but may need to buy new.
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