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Re 75ohm BNC

 

The Canare LV-61S has a few good reports, how about the other standard non-boutique BNCs, like the Amphenol RF, and the Belden 1694A?

 

All much the same or noticeable differences for the M Scaler application?

 

 

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16 hours ago, sandrews888 said:

Hi Rob

I am running a Dave and the mscaler via analog in on my deqx hdp5 with high quality lenehan analog rca cables. It sounds absolutely spectacular to the point where I'm not even bothering trying to run it via digital out from the deqx as it suits my set up needs more and if I ever get the tikandi actives in the future, I am used to the sound this way. It would be worth for you trying again with the qutest/ mscaler running it via analog in to see the difference and to see how it is with your active tikandis.

 

I realise the Dave may be helping this here but I don't find the sound soft, it's exactly where I like it to be. Its transparent and detailed but very musical. The mscaler just makes me more involved with the music. Its got a vinyl feel, but is different. I feel its a combination of analog and digital with the best of both worlds.

 

Sounds odd but it makes absolutely everything I throw at it sound great, regardless of recording quality. Its revealing but it never exposes the poor quality recordings and it almost enhances them. Bad quality recordings sound great and "audiophile" quality recordings sounds absolutely amazing. Everything I find, sounds better with this combo.

 

I am at the point where I am running out of itches to scratch in my system with this set up and couldn't be happier with the sound.

 

I took a punt on the mscaler after not being impressed with it at all at the dealers, and I am very glad I did. I find now I cant live without it when I choose to down sample the output sample rate. Its not something to A/B immediately though, as it does grow on you. Initially I wasn't impressed with the A/B differences at the dealers but now that is a different story and I don't think its best qualities shine through with a direct A/B. For those who have heard this at the dealers and weren't impressed, I would say to try it out at home. If you have a chord dac, its a no brainer.

 

Another tip I got from someone on stereonet. The BNC cables make a huge difference and I was recommended to go with 

 
CANARE LV-61S. Whoever recommended that, thank you! Its a cheap upgrade but totally transforms the mscaler from the stock bnc cables. Highly recommended if anyone isn't running custom bncs.
 
My speakers are probably the weak link in the chain now, so  I still need to come to yours with my Dave to try this out with your tikandis on the deqx and mscaler. I feel this would be another monumental jump but I am very happy with what I am hearing currently.  In the last few years I have been incrementally adding small tweaks and new components slowly over time. I feel the mscaler is a key piece that has made all other improvements I have made over time synergise all together. Please excuse the long winded post, just wanted to give some different insight on the Mscaler into this thread.

 

 

Many thanks for the feedback - no problem with its length as good to hear your full insight!

 

I agree whole-heartedly that the M-Scaler makes almost all recordings a pleasure to listen to, including badly recorded ones.  However objectively (rather than subjectively) I find this a little worrying and wonder it Rob Watts has somehow added a little 'euphonic sweetener' with his WTA filters.  It does not occur with @Ittaku upsampling - or rather it occurs in a different way - they have slightly greater clarity that reduces the background 'white noose" (intermodulation distortion?) at high frequencies and one can hear more deeply into the recordings so they have a slightly greater sense of 'authenticity' though not necessarily 'niceness'.

 

I have had to dismantle connection to my active speaker system to do some more work on passive ones but hope to next week reconnect the Tikandis (and also the Big Red Actives) to try going from the M-Scaler at 705k (and so 1 M taps!) through the Qutest into the analog input of the DEQX.  

 

Of course you are very welcome to come to Nowra at any time to replace my Qutest by your Dave - I would love to hear what difference it makes. My Tikandi dealer in NZ has just borrowed a TT2 to compare with his Qutest using the M-Scaler via the DEQX analog-in and says it makes a significant difference but also says if he buys the TT2 he will have to remortgage his house and will be divorced - as would I!

Edited by legend
typo

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4 minutes ago, legend said:

However objectively (rather than subjectively) I find this a little worrying and wonder it Rob Watts has somehow added a little 'euphonic sweetener' with his WTA filters. 

I think that is exactly what he has done. Reading between the lines of some of his comments on Head-fi, the WTA filter is not just about upsampling, but adds some other proprietary manipulation as well. To my ears the M Scaler adds a lot of additional high frequency information and makes the tone somewhat brighter, so I suspect there is some EQ or other DSP applied to make it sound a bit warmer.

 

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5 minutes ago, legend said:

I agree whole-heartedly that the M-Scaler makes almost all recordings a pleasure to listen to, including badly recorded ones.  However objectively (rather than subjectively) I find this a little worrying and wonder it Rob Watts has somehow added a little 'euphonic sweetener' with his WTA filters.  It does not occur with @Ittaku upsampling - or rather it occurs in a different way - they have slightly greater clarity that reduces the background 'white noose" (intermodulation distortion?) at high frequencies and one can hear more deeply into the recordings so they have a slightly greater sense of 'authenticity' though not necessarily 'niceness'.

The M-Scaler has the WTA "Watt's Transient Aligned" modification to its upsampling which accounts for the difference in sound. Mine uses just a pure sinc filter (and a lot more taps.) The greater clarity at high frequencies is almost certainly a function of more taps.

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3 hours ago, HumanMedia said:

Re 75ohm BNC

 

The Canare LV-61S has a few good reports, how about the other standard non-boutique BNCs, like the Amphenol RF, and the Belden 1694A?

 

All much the same or noticeable differences for the M Scaler application?

 

 

You could send a message to this seller if they can put BNC on both ends.

http://www.ghentaudio.com/part/e09.html

 

Also get a beldon to try out too.

http://www.ghentaudio.com/part/e07.html

Edited by rocky500

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16 hours ago, Ittaku said:

 That said, the reason the mscaler changes the amount of taps has more to do with how the internal FPGA hardware works where it would need a very different hardware design to maintain the taps the same and vary only the sample rate.

You are probably right but intuitively I would have thought at lower upsampling rates the FPGA hardware would have had more time to do more taps.

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17 minutes ago, legend said:

You are probably right but intuitively I would have thought at lower upsampling rates the FPGA hardware would have had more time to do more taps.

If there were less cores and more outright speed maybe, but the extensive parallelism in the FPGA probably means taps and sample rate are intimately linked.

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Yet another (very long!) review of the M-Scaler with all of Chord DACs plus others:

https://audiobacon.net/2019/05/31/chord-electronics-hugo-m-scaler-review-digital-disruption/

and has even compared some digital coax cables to go with it:

https://audiobacon.net/2018/08/11/the-audiophiles-short-list-the-best-digital-coaxial-cables/

Like all reviews just one person's opinion.

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I only read his final thoughts, and yet again, the conclusion is echoed from most other owners, pure listen ability. 

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Over the weekend I did my Houdini impression and managed to untangle all the wiring to & from my DEQX HDP-4 and connect the M-Scaler to one of the DEQX analog inputs via my Qutest with full 16xupscaling to 705k (and 1M taps) via the dual BNC connections between M-Scaler and Qutest.

 

Unfortunately it generally sounded significantly worse than the M-Scaler connected direstly to the DEDX via one of its digital inputs with only 4x upscaling to 176k (and 256k taps) which is the maximum that the DEQX will accept. With the analog connection input much of the micro-dynamics, precision and PRatT of the music that makes it sound 'live' was lost as was the incredible soundstage with direct digital connection. The depth, texture and tightness of bass was particularly reduced.

 

The only cases where I might have preferred the analog method were some poorer orchestral recordings where it smoothed out some of the treble 'harshness' in massed strings or voices and where micro-dynamics can be diluted in any case by the reverberant acoustics of the large recording space - and some of the detailed soundstaging lost.

 

 

M-Scaler.jpg

Edited by legend
added photo

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If it’s good enough for Chord, good enough for me. 

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After reading so much discussion and positive feedback, I borrowed the M-scaller home to pair with TT2. 
The impression is not a "wow" and the improvement is subtle, especially for High-res albums. It would make sense if someone has a lot CDRip but if someone already owns a Highres library, I do not see much value.

 

I have a big question with the price tags of 7.5k rrp which is close to TT2 price tag. In headphone world, it might be the missing piece to perfect the system but in hifi/high-end stereo, there are so many options to put your 7.5k elsewhere such as upgrading speakers.

 

Considering this is a piece of technology which including a very impressive chip system and a bunch of custom coding/filters to do the upsampling work, this is a purely overpriced product from Chord comparing the best consumer computer powerhouse  you can buy such as Core i9 + 16Gb + others (around 2k including HQplayer) to do similar jobs.  Of course I agree WTA secret filters  are decent and lots of salt/pepper of the tap things but once computer audio can catch up or there are equivalent upscaling devices on the market, this should be around 4k rrp to be considered as a good buy.

 

My system: OpticalRendu --> Hugo TT2 --> McIntosh MA252 --> PCM Twenty 24

 

Edited by ikhuong

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People can and will spend whatever they want on any device that benefits their individual system. 

And yes, it’s specifically designed for red book. 

 

Don’t like it? Dont buy it. 

And we are all aware of what one can buy to improve systems elsewhere. 

Edited by Sime V2

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By the way, there’s a huge difference between plugging in an M Scaler compared to hooking up a PC and software to do an equivalent job. 

One box, specifically designed piece of hardware that won’t ever crash. 

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22 hours ago, Sime V2 said:

People can and will spend whatever they want on any device that benefits their individual system. 

And yes, it’s specifically designed for red book. 

 

Don’t like it? Dont buy it. 

And we are all aware of what one can buy to improve systems elsewhere. 

Of course your money your decision but what feedback here is 7.5k price tag which is close to a Chord tt2 is overpriced for 10% improvement of Redbook via a DAC system. Most people who decide to purchase DAC nowadays are high-res adopters. If not high-res adopters/believers, they definitely own very decent CD player/vinyl systems. (When  money is no object, nothing to feedback or debate here)

 

The gold ratio of Audiophile recommendation over many generations like 50% speakers, 30% amp/pre and 20% source+else are compromised here.  Of course someone can say you can put money anywhere you like such as 70% in electronic and 30% in speakers.

(Make sense in headphone world when you have the very best headphones you can buy as around 5k and need to tweak upstream)

 

I am a Chord fan too with Chord Hugo and Chord TT2 ownership but I disagree with a product called digital revolution with lots of glorious overrated reviews which is actually an additional tweak layers. I can be wrong if M Scaler has been sold as hot cake or I might find out if lots M Scaler for sell as secondhand in the next one/two years.

 

The M Scaler still needs to hook up to a computer anyway and the system does not immune to computer noise by any mean. It functions are upscaling and "advertised" as to add  another Chord WTA's filters (which they should already do it at best in Chord TT2 DAC or similar).

 

The computer solutions are to do all upscalling on server ends (Roon/HQplayer servers) and DAC to connect to low-noise renderer (Roon endpoints)source such as SOTM Stm-200 ultra or Sonore ultrarendu. 

 

So purely upscaling+filtering, 1k5 for a very best computer server vs 7.5k for a single unit is hard to justify for me. I will do if it is at 50% of the current price tag.


 

 

Edited by ikhuong

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23 hours ago, Sime said:

By the way, there’s a huge difference between plugging in an M Scaler compared to hooking up a PC and software to do an equivalent job. 

One box, specifically designed piece of hardware that won’t ever crash. 

 

Don't assume it'll never crash... Just less likely.

 

It's not hard to replicate what Chord has done but it says a lot that no one has seriously tried (yes there are intermediate stages for use in DACs etc but none quite so extreme or external).

 

You could market something around the $2k mark and most audiophiles/fools would immediately assume it inferior to the Chord.

 

I think Chord has knocked this one out of the park - price, functionality, packaging - all a good fit to audience and market. Well played.

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21 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

You could market something around the $2k mark and most audiophiles/fools would immediately assume it inferior to the Chord.

 

I think Chord has knocked this one out of the park - price, functionality, packaging - all a good fit to audience and market. Well played.

Shame it only works fully into Chord DACs with their proprietary dual coax connection and not into USB. I started work on a generic solution at that $2k mark you mentioned but lost interest due to hearing loss issues.

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On 18/08/2019 at 8:45 AM, Sime said:

By the way, there’s a huge difference between plugging in an M Scaler compared to hooking up a PC and software to do an equivalent job. 

One box, specifically designed piece of hardware that won’t ever crash. 

Having lived with three M Scalers (okay, two M Scalers and a Blu 2) with four chord DACs, the DAVE, TT2, Hugo 2 and Qutest, and having compared the M Scaler to PC upscaling via Roon, I don't agree. 

 

It is true that the M Scaler sounds a bit better than PC upscaling. Rob Watts clearly tweaked it to produce a warmer sound than conventional upscaling. But it still sounds bright, brittle and etched to me - the same as software upscaling - just a bit less so. In other words, not an improvement at all and in my opinion, a significant downgrade in sound. The effect of the M Scaler is to remove the natural warmth, fullness and texture of the music, and replace it with an artificial sense of detail that people seem to hear as an improvement.

 

For a couple of years I drank the Chord Kool Aid and convinced myself that the Blu 2 improved my DAVE, and that the M Scaler improved my TT2. I posted gushing reviews of which I am now embarrassed. When I briefly listened to the DACs without the M SCaler and found that it sounded warmer, fuller and more natural, I convinced myself that I was mistaken. The M Scaler made a remarkable difference, so of course it must be an improvement. Except that it wasn't.

 

Try making a digital recording from a known and repeatable audio source - eg from an LP - play it back over a Chord DAC without the M Scaler. And then play it again with the M Scaler, compare it to the source, and you will find that it becomes a bleached, etched replica of the original. 

 

The first time I heard the DAVE and Blu 2 at a dealer a couple of years ago we swapped back and forth with another well-known, reputable high end DAC. The DAVE/Blu 2 sounded so radically different that I thought Rob Watts had discovered some hitherto unknown principle of digital playback and that what I was hearing was a revolution. I wasn't sure I liked it but it sounded so radical that I ordered the DAVE on the spot. But I know now that most of what I heard that day was the Blu 2 upscaler. In that unfamiliar system, it was the Blu 2 producing the massive difference between the DACs, and if I had heard it in my own system that day I would probably have recognised the bright, colourless, forensically lean sound it was producing as grossly unnatural. Unfortunately, like many others, I interpreted difference as improvement, and strangeness as innovation.

 

Of course, I am in a minority. Most people do seem to like the M Scaler, and believe that it is in an improvement. But I know I am not alone, there are quite a few others who have similar views of the M Scaler to mine. But if you own a Chord DAC, definitely listen to the M Scaler before buying one and be sure that the difference you are hearing is a worthwhile one before spending big money on one.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Ittaku said:

Shame it only works fully into Chord DACs with their proprietary dual coax connection and not into USB. I started work on a generic solution at that $2k mark you mentioned but lost interest due to hearing loss issues.

I'd think you've an audience. If you want help getting it to market, reach out.

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On 19/08/2019 at 8:39 AM, rmpfyf said:

 

I think Chord has knocked this one out of the park - price, functionality, packaging - all a good fit to audience and market. Well played.

True, great marketing strategy I have to agree. Chord definitely has their own market. a current suggested hifi chain/demo of  from Chord around $22,200 rrp like:

Chord M-scaller (rrp: 7500) --> Chord Hugo TT2 (rrp: 8500) --> Chord Chord TToby amp ( rrp: 6200) 

 

This looks like a good chain, flexible/upgradable with some improvement but the price portion shifting  too much upstream which might not mean  the biggest improvement/best bang for your buck.  Is this chain  comparable with a very best Integrated amplifier with built-in DAC at $22.220? (Such as McIntosh MA9000 2 x 300 Watt Integrated Amplifier at $21,995)

 

Hope someone with real experience can tell me if the latest Chord chain blow the McIntosh MA9000 away by many miles in term of system synergy or budget as a whole?  Of course integrated is not as fun as dedicated components but I only care about the most I can get for a same budget investment before considering innovation 

 

In this instance, Chord DAC with upscaling vs McIntosh built-in DAC  and 50W/channel vs 300w/channel in 8 ohm. Can the Chord chain make a resolution as a whole with those upstream innovation? If someone has AB demo a system chain in a similar manner and confirm Chord is weight better, I will hands down to agree a revolution in hifi happened on the upstream end rather than a tweak for Chord system itself.

 

 

 

Edited by ikhuong

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37 minutes ago, ikhuong said:

Hope someone with real experience can tell me if the latest Chord chain blow the McIntosh MA9000 away by many miles in term of system synergy or budget as a whole?  Of course integrated is not as fun as dedicated components but I only care about the most I can get for a same budget investment before considering innovation

That's an impossible question to get an answer to. You are asking for peoples' opinions. I'm sure they'll be divided into two distinct groups - one would tell you the Chord chain is lightyears ahead of the Mc chain, and the other will tell you exactly the opposite. I've not done a direct comparison, but I've heard parts of the comparison and I can tell you I don't like the Chord DAC sound at all so it's my gut feeling the Mc chain sounds better. The irony of it is, I do like what the MScaler does, enough to try to emulate it myself in some fashion.

Edited by Ittaku

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2 hours ago, ikhuong said:

Hope someone with real experience can tell me if the latest Chord chain blow the McIntosh MA9000 away by many miles in term of system synergy or budget as a whole?  Of course integrated is not as fun as dedicated components but I only care about the most I can get for a same budget investment before considering innovation 

 

I'm with @Ittaku here, I'm not a Chord freak (don't like the sound, the design, the ecosystem etc) but if you like what they do they're a bargain at any price. We have people on this forum that are Chord freaks to the point of intransigence.

 

If you close your eyes, listen and it leaves you smiling more than any other solution at what price you can stretch to... then its a winner.

 

No it probably won'y beat a solution that you have to do a lot of the legwork in though if you're buying an MScaler you're probably doing so because you have little interest in DIY'ing something else that might bork itself once in a while.

 

Without taking away from their technical achievements... whoever runs Chord's marketing is a genius. 

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17 minutes ago, rmpfyf said:

No it probably won'y beat a solution that you have to do a lot of the legwork in though if you're buying an MScaler you're probably doing so because you have little interest in DIY'ing something else that might bork itself once in a while.

For what it's worth, I'm looking to completely revamp my layout such that I can do DSP at any sample rate (instead of my current 96/88 limits) so that I can upscale all my existing music to 705/768 offline/in advance. That's how much I've learned from the MScaler experience. Although my upsampled files sound different to the MScaler since they have their proprietary WTA whereas I just use a (much much longer) pure sinc filter.

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9 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

For what it's worth, I'm looking to completely revamp my layout such that I can do DSP at any sample rate (instead of my current 96/88 limits) so that I can upscale all my existing music to 705/768 offline/in advance. That's how much I've learned from the MScaler experience. Although my upsampled files sound different to the MScaler since they have their proprietary WTA whereas I just use a (much much longer) pure sinc filter.

 

I want to do this on a multichannel setup, trying to work through a DAC design that's good for 10 channels with DSP.... argh. 384kHz much easier. The mission continues.

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