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Hi All

 

I will get right to it - my USB only GROB simply blows away the Direct Stream.   That's right - a 2.3k or so DAC takes out, and make no mistake about it, the difference is not subtle, the much much more expensive Direct Stream with the latest software etc (I think its about $8k or so here in Aus).

 

Here are the details.

 

The system was:

1. An old Macbook running an old version of Audirvana and my little Windows machine running HQPlayer up-sampled to DXD.  HQplayer easily bested Audirvana - but I have to emphasize this was a very old version running on an old machine.  New versions running on more modern Mac's would almost certainly be a LOT better.

2.  The Direct Stream and my USB only GROB DAC.

3.  An ISO Regen using Clay's power supply.

4.  The BHK Pre

5.  The 250W BHK amp with new NOS tubes from a tube nut (well he is a nice guy actually with what many consider the best system in Aus- so 'I shouldn't say that - but I am sure you get my drift).   Its the best my BHK has sounded.

6.   A pair of standard ML1's  - no Duelunds or anything like that the maker, Mike, uses in his more upmarket speakers - just the standard version with Erse capacitors.

7.  Curios USB cables used into and out of the regen.

 

Mostly the critical listening was done with my standard critical listening track - Diana Krall - Case Of You but we did try some other stuff including Tidal MQA via the Tidal application which only does the first unfolding and compared it to some rips I had - one we checked that way was Diana Krall - Wallflower - full unfolding will need to wait until I can connect my Aries LE to it and see what happens.  We didn't try the Bridge on the Direct Stream to check out full unfolding of MQA because it wasn't connected up.

 

Ok - started listening to he GROB via Audirvana - not bad - not bad at all.  Switched to the Direct Stream.  Hmmm - a little different - maybe slightly better harmonic texture - but it was close.  Switched back - and as often happens in such comparisons when you go to something better the difference was more pronounced - I thought the GROB was better.   Better detail, bass and flow.

 

OK lets get rid of that old Audirvana and put in HQPlayer upsampled to DXD.  Holey cow - now we are cooking - it was at another level - it simply sounded so dynamic and real.  Switched to the DS - flat and dead by comparison.  Switched back - again now very alive.

 

Tried some other tracks - Air Supply - Best Of in 88.2.  Same thing.  Then John Williamson - 40 Year Anniversary - wow - I never heard John sound like this - he was there.  Boogy With My Baby just bought an involuntary smile.

 

OK I have Tidal on my little machine so lets see how it goes into the GROB.   We tried 44.1 Wallflower - blah - not that big a fan of 44.1 through Tidal - its OK and I listen to it a lot - but stuff on my disk is better - except for MQA.  Pity I can't run it through HQPlayer.   But I have a ripped copy of that on my machine so played that though HQ Player - now we are cooking again.   Played the MQA version - it sounded better again - a comment of someone else there was - listen to the bass - it was amazing.

 

I said that's it - my DS is going.  This is a USB only version - Clay will build me a SPDIF only version I will use for my HT stuff out of my Oppo.  Why not simply get one where you can switch between the two?  Clay will probably kill me for saying this - but I say it how I see it - my opinion is you will not get this type of performance out of a version with a switch on inputs.  I think the performance I was getting is due in part to it only being USB and internally all connections from the USB board were kept as short as possible.  However until a comparison can be made with a switched version it's just conjecture.  I mentioned it to other people and everyone (except one person) said - no - it couldn't make that much difference.   I just am not that sure - I have heard stranger things in this hobby.  That one person however is a DAC builder and designer himself (Rawl99) - he said - could be, could be - he only has one input on the DAC's he mucks around with - but much prefers the I2S interface.

 

So there you have it - a stunning result - well done Clay.

 

Thanks

Bill 

 

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On 21/10/2017 at 9:23 PM, Raffinator said:

Roon to DSD256 and HQPlayer to DSD512. Fingers crossed.

 

Hey Raffinator. Any reason why not Roon to DSD512?

 

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1 minute ago, Sean84 said:

 

Hey Raffinator. Any reason why not Roon to DSD512?

 

I'm only using Roon at the moment, because Clay installed the Linux firmware version. HQPlayer is on my PC.

 

DSD256 is sounding wonderful. DSD512 is a crackle-fest. Could be a combination of the older hardware (MacMini i5), wifi network and firmware stability.

 

So I'll wait until they have the unified next Amanero firmware for both PC and Linux. Then I'll try DSD512 HQPlayer from my newer i7 PC.

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31 minutes ago, Raffinator said:

DSD256 is sounding wonderful. DSD512 is a crackle-fest. Could be a combination of the older hardware (MacMini i5), wifi network and firmware stability.

Cool, got it. What's Roon's processing rate with DSD512? Over 1.3x ?

 

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23 hours ago, bhobba said:

I will get right to it - my USB only GROB simply blows away the Direct Stream.   That's right - a 2.3k or so DAC takes out, and make no mistake about it, the difference is not subtle, the much much more expensive Direct Stream with the latest software etc (I think its about $8k or so here in Aus).

 

...............

 

I said that's it - my DS is going.

Excellent review Bill.  Are you going to revisit the comparison with the new DS firmware?

 

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51 minutes ago, Snoopy8 said:

Excellent review Bill.  Are you going to revisit the comparison with the new DS firmware

Depends upon if I have sold it by then or not.

 

Thanks

Bill

 

 

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On 28 November 2017 at 4:19 PM, bhobba said:

Hi All

 

I will get right to it - my USB only GROB simply blows away the Direct Stream.   That's right - a 2.3k or so DAC takes out, and make no mistake about it, the difference is not subtle, the much much more expensive Direct Stream with the latest software etc (I think its about $8k or so here in Aus).

 

Here are the details.

 

The system was:

1. An old Macbook running an old version of Audirvana and my little Windows machine running HQPlayer up-sampled to DXD.  HQplayer easily bested Audirvana - but I have to emphasize this was a very old version running on an old machine.  New versions running on more modern Mac's would almost certainly be a LOT better.

2.  The Direct Stream and my USB only GROB DAC.

3.  An ISO Regen using Clay's power supply.

4.  The BHK Pre

5.  The 250W BHK amp with new NOS tubes from a tube nut (well he is a nice guy actually with what many consider the best system in Aus- so 'I shouldn't say that - but I am sure you get my drift).   Its the best my BHK has sounded.

6.   A pair of standard ML1's  - no Duelunds or anything like that the maker, Mike, uses in his more upmarket speakers - just the standard version with Erse capacitors.

7.  Curios USB cables used into and out of the regen.

 

Mostly the critical listening was done with my standard critical listening track - Diana Krall - Case Of You but we did try some other stuff including Tidal MQA via the Tidal application which only does the first unfolding and compared it to some rips I had - one we checked that way was Diana Krall - Wallflower - full unfolding will need to wait until I can connect my Aries LE to it and see what happens.  We didn't try the Bridge on the Direct Stream to check out full unfolding of MQA because it wasn't connected up.

 

Ok - started listening to he GROB via Audirvana - not bad - not bad at all.  Switched to the Direct Stream.  Hmmm - a little different - maybe slightly better harmonic texture - but it was close.  Switched back - and as often happens in such comparisons when you go to something better the difference was more pronounced - I thought the GROB was better.   Better detail, bass and flow.

 

OK lets get rid of that old Audirvana and put in HQPlayer upsampled to DXD.  Holey cow - now we are cooking - it was at another level - it simply sounded so dynamic and real.  Switched to the DS - flat and dead by comparison.  Switched back - again now very alive.

 

Tried some other tracks - Air Supply - Best Of in 88.2.  Same thing.  Then John Williamson - 40 Year Anniversary - wow - I never heard John sound like this - he was there.  Boogy With My Baby just bought an involuntary smile.

 

OK I have Tidal on my little machine so lets see how it goes into the GROB.   We tried 44.1 Wallflower - blah - not that big a fan of 44.1 through Tidal - its OK and I listen to it a lot - but stuff on my disk is better - except for MQA.  Pity I can't run it through HQPlayer.   But I have a ripped copy of that on my machine so played that though HQ Player - now we are cooking again.   Played the MQA version - it sounded better again - a comment of someone else there was - listen to the bass - it was amazing.

 

I said that's it - my DS is going.  This is a USB only version - Clay will build me a SPDIF only version I will use for my HT stuff out of my Oppo.  Why not simply get one where you can switch between the two?  Clay will probably kill me for saying this - but I say it how I see it - my opinion is you will not get this type of performance out of a version with a switch on inputs.  I think the performance I was getting is due in part to it only being USB and internally all connections from the USB board were kept as short as possible.  However until a comparison can be made with a switched version it's just conjecture.  I mentioned it to other people and everyone (except one person) said - no - it couldn't make that much difference.   I just am not that sure - I have heard stranger things in this hobby.  That one person however is a DAC builder and designer himself (Rawl99) - he said - could be, could be - he only has one input on the DAC's he mucks around with - but much prefers the I2S interface.

 

So there you have it - a stunning result - well done Clay.

 

Thanks

Bill 

 

Just when I think I have forgotten how good the Grob is I read this. Groan.

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Go On   @BAM ......... do it .............. :):) ................. it's not the outlay ............. you are really saving 5.7K (according to Bhobba's figures) .................... it is an investment ........... :angel::angel:

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11 hours ago, Ancientflatulence said:

 

Go On   @BAM ......... do it .............. :):) ................. it's not the outlay ............. you are really saving 5.7K (according to Bhobba's figures) .................... it is an investment ........... :angel::angel:

Yes. I could advertise the PS as the second best DAC in the world.

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Ahh well , I’ll give Bill a grand for his DS then. 

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