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Tone Malone

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About Tone Malone

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    Sydney
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    Australia

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  1. Tone Malone

    DVD player not working ... suggestions?

    Folks, I ended up getting a Marantz UD5007 for $300 and couldn't be happier. A few pointers for anyone else considering one: * Completely understand people may prefer an Oppo over the Marantz. I ended up going the Marantz because (a) I'd heard great things specifically about its sound quality (stereo 2.0) and that was my priority (b) it matched my Marantz amp and (c) I could get one with "lower miles" for the same price point as the equivalent Oppo. * If you want a disk player with streaming services, I can't recommend the Marantz. The only service it still plays is Netflix, after they discontinued YouTube support a year or two ago. I went into this eyes open, but if I had paid near retail ($960) for this player, I would've been pretty peeved at this lack of support. * It doesn't play Blu-ray 4K, but seems to play just about any other format. * Blu-ray video is superb, I'm stoked at how it brings music concerts to life - the musicians' expressions, the detail on the guitars ... awesome. It also seems to extract just about every drop out of the limited DVD format. * I had been warned that Blu-ray players could struggle to do justice to CDs, but the UD5007 exceeded my expectations. I did an A/B test with my Bluesound Node (1st generation) accessing WAV files ripped from CD, and expected the two sources to sound almost identical. Instead, the CDs on the UD5007 had a more open sound. The bass sounded lower and tighter, and there was more definition between the instruments in the mid-higher frequencies. It achieved this while retaining warmth and without sounding harsher on all but the poorest recordings. To put this in perspective, the Bluesound is a decent rather than high-end source, and this difference wasn’t night and day like it can be between different speakers or even amplifiers – I’d rate the ud5007 as a “5-7% improvement”. But the difference was definitely there. * It's a shame you can't use the UD5007 as a DAC - but then even its upmarket sibling the 7007 doesn't seem to offer that. * The UD5007 has a "source direct" button for audio playback. It looks good on its credentials, but unlike the source direct button on my amp, I couldn't tell any difference. * The back panel outputs could best be described as "minimalist"! 2ch stereo of hdmi out to an AV amp should be fine, but it's worth checking before buying that it will work for you. I hope this helps prospective buyers. I think some quality, non-Oppo universal disk players might be flying under the radar on the second hand market (a Denon dbp-2012ud was on Stereonet recently for under $200); and there's a chance to get a high-quality component for a bargain price.
  2. Tone Malone

    Bluesound Node 2i

    I'd be keen to hear opinions of how the Node 2i's sound quality compares with the gen 1 & 2 Node. I have the gen 1 Node and while it has a nice analogue sound, the DAC could do with a bit more clarity.
  3. Tone Malone

    Tivoli radio - thoughts

    This is the one by the way. Not even sure it was released in Australia!
  4. Tone Malone

    Tivoli radio - thoughts

    Agreed @eltech. The only reason I'd like DAB+ is to get ABC Grandstand and ABC News from time to time - and to futureproof if some clown in charge decides to shut down AM/FM stations. But on balance, if the elusive Tivoli DAB hybrid from 10 years ago doesn't turn up, I'll take my chances on a Model Three.
  5. Tone Malone

    Tivoli radio - thoughts

    Thanks @Batty. To give more context, I first used a Model Three as an alarm clock when staying in a hotel several years ago and it was awesome both in terms of sound quality and usability. I have been eyeing off both the Model One and Model Three ever since. I finally bought a Tivoli Model 10 thinking it was a "sensible" purchase as it had DAB+. Sadly, no ... the interface is too complicated and it relies too heavily on the remote. Then I went down the plasticky route of Sangeans only to have the buttons play up like crazy after a while (this has happened with both a Sangean alarm clock and a radio). I understand with digital radio there are a lot more stations and the interface needs to accomodate this, but I can't help thinking we were better off before it arrived. So was hoping the seemingly rare Tivoli "Model DAB" from about 2007 might be the sweet spot, offering both the old and new, and an alarm.
  6. Tone Malone

    Passive or active? Budget 3k

    I'll tell you one thing, if an interior designer ever gets to go through your house and provide furniture options, you'll wish you had gone active. The one who advised us coneniently assumed the existing one was empty 😕
  7. Tone Malone

    Tivoli radio - thoughts

    Hi all, I've always had a soft spot for Tivoli radios but like the older models with the large dials. In particular, I've been keeping an eye out for this early DAB one second hand, dating back to about 2007. https://www.techradar.com/au/reviews/audio-visual/hi-fi-and-audio/radio-tuners/tivoli-model-dab-100663/review Can anyone advise: - Did they release a DAB+ version in Australia? - Is it user friendly as an alarm clock? If it isn't, I'll just bide my time for the more common Model Three. No DAB+, but at least it sounds good and is simple to set as an alarm.
  8. Tone Malone

    $3k budget - Audio setup from scratch

    Yes, the second hand option is daunting, I only felt more confident about it once I had already bought new! Half width amps are coming back into favour. Others to consider are Rega Brio and Cyrus One (a new Cyrus One HD has just been released). Another thought is the compact Quad Vena amp, which you could match up with the Quad S1 speakers ... I think you can get the combo for about $2k. Some half-width amps especially are "class D" ... it helps them generate a lot of power from a small box but they can have a different sound profile which isn't to everyone's taste. Regardless, if you go an amp and passive speakers, I'd find the speakers you like first and then check the amp complements the sound profile.
  9. Tone Malone

    $3k budget - Audio setup from scratch

    A few other considerations: - How many boxes do you want? It's not just sound related if you or your household members get frustrated by the space taken up by components and extra wires. There have been some great gains recently in active speakers with built-in amplification. For instance, Triangle were offering an active speaker and turntable package which I think would leave you more than enough left over for any other components. If I were starting over, I'd be seriously tempted by the active speaker route. It also takes care of the challenge if amp/speaker matching. - The user-friendliness of your network player app is crucial IMHO, as it could likewise affect how often you actually enjoy music. I'm a +1 for the Bluesound, it's user friendly and quality is decent for the money. Also, streamers are likely to be superseded more quickly than many other components, so when the time comes you can just swap it out. There are also some great second-hand Bluray/universal disc players out there, if you can forego 4k Bluray. Check out Oppo, also Marantz and Denon. (Some may also meet your audio streaming needs.) I got a Marantz ud5007 for $300 and while it's a poor streamer, the sound and visuals are well beyond what I anticipated. That would take a lot of pressure off the budget for the other components. Good luck with your system building, trust your ears and enjoy the experience 😊
  10. Tone Malone

    Possible Fetch replacement

    I'm on to my 4th Fetch unit as part of an Optus deal over 5-6 years. It's kind of okay if you can just put them in a postpak for an exchange when they fail, but I find it extraordinary they can sell these things alongside other household PVRs.
  11. Geez, not sure how this is still here at $150. Just got a second hand Marantz ud player otherwise I'd be buying it myself. GLWTS!
  12. Thanks for the advice. It's less neat cable wise, but given the potential sync issue I do have the alternatives of using: 1. the digital optical out of the TV through a DAC, or ... 2. using the 3.5mm (equiv small headphone socket out) of the TV with a converter cable to RCA. Any thoughts on option 1 vs 2 for sound quality? Can't imagine the DAC in the TV is much chop, but then I don't know if the source material (Netflix and TV audio via Fetch) would justify a better DAC anyway ...
  13. Hi folks, I'm in the market for a DAC that will convert the digital optical out from my Fetch Mighty box to RCA L/R for my integrated amp. I'm looking in the hopefully "decent but budget" range of preferably <$200, and definitely less than $300 (I figure that between the likely compression of the Netflix audio signal and the components in the Fetch box, even a budget DAC will probably be the strongest part of the chain!) In online research I narrowed it down to a Schiit Modi 2 Uber (asynchronous DAC) at the top end of my budget, and thought it was "case closed". I also liked the switchable inputs which may offer some flexibility down the track - although that was a bonus, not a must-have. However, another source (with a background in audio) then recommended I look at the Gefen GTV-DD-2-AA DAC (https://www.ambertech.com.au/gtv-dd-2-aa-dts-dolby-digital-to-analogue-audio-converter-gefen-tv). He said the digital audio signal out was often only in 5.1 (and possibly that Netflix only provided the 5.1 stream?), and that the Gefen DAC, with its licensed Dolby & 5.1 decoder, had the capability to convert these signals to analogue stereo correctly. "All good!" I thought ... except I then checked some Amazon reviews for the Gefen. I get the impression the Gefen is great when it works, but reliability and longevity are not among its strong points. I'm pretty used to Amazon reviews and expect a disproportionate number of unhappy people, but there were enough low reviews to make me think twice. Does anyone has any further advice for a "TV audio DAC"? Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated 🙂
  14. With cables (speakers, RCA or other) you're heading into a contentious area - some swear there is a difference, others say something $5/m will sound exactly the same as something many times that - provided there is a solid connection. I think your amp is the next step - don't overcomplicate things. The MF M3si is a mighy fine amp and I've heard the a5 is great as well. But audition first if possible to make sure you like the sound. Re cables? Personally, I'm planning to go to a hifi store that will let me compare cables ... or compare a $5 cable with a highly recommended $50 cable (blind, with a friend switching between them) at home. If I can't hear a difference, that'll be my answer.
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