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Mini Torii SE Amplifier (Read 72078 times)
Fireblade
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #360 - 10/23/12 at 04:03:25
 
Believe it or not, the best connetion between the USB port and the DAC input is through a rigid bridge of USB connectors plugged in series (2 or 3 would do having the DAC very close by), instead of a traditional USB cable.  Significantly cheaper and better, but inconvenient due to its rigid structure.  The other only alternative to this is to spend a bunch in silver-based audiophile USB cables (as short a length as possible).

Check this relatively recent article, as it is representative of my suggestions:

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/magazine/equipment/0412/usb_dac_shootout.htm







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« Last Edit: 10/23/12 at 04:07:15 by Fireblade »  

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Raduschka
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #361 - 10/23/12 at 04:06:46
 
interesting. Right now i am using a 5 meter el cheapo usb cable from Staples.
Silver cable? Hmmm...... I can already hear the beginning of Money on the Dark Side of the Moon Smiley
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Fireblade
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #362 - 10/23/12 at 04:08:42
 
I know what you mean ($$$).  Nevertheless, check out that link, it will clear your perspectives.  I'm currently using an Audioquest Forrest USB cable (1.5 Ft), not too bad.

2nd DAC development stage generation alternatives to that JKDAC32 DAC are combos like (more expensive due to the addition of the S/PDIF converter):

Audiophilleo2 + Metrum Octave DAC

Audiophilleo2 + Audio-gd Ref 5, etc.

Also, check out this link for a subjective, constantly updated competitive DAC quality index from a guy called John Darko (Aussie), whom many people tend to agree with regarding his ears, audio experience and sense.

http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/the-darko-dac-index/



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« Last Edit: 10/23/12 at 04:21:36 by Fireblade »  

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Raduschka
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #363 - 10/23/12 at 04:16:03
 
that is what i am using, an asynch usb to spdif converter. Great result over a direct connection to the usb port on the dac. Great article, i am going to get that Jplayer. Thanks
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HPDJ
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #364 - 10/23/12 at 06:13:01
 
OMG, thank you Radu, Lon Fireblad and everyone for your feedback wow haha! I was tied up for most of the day after writing my little post and got some fantastic responses! So thank you all!!

Radu, I was withholding the maker of my CDP mainly because I like them and I don't want it to seem like I'm saying they are bad or something. Apparently the issues I've had with the player (first with the transport and now with some weird digital static sounds that pop up every now and then) are unique to me....how lucky am I huh?? haha. I've been super patient with it all......ok enough stalling right!? The player is by Resolution Audio, it's their Opus 21 CDP that is discontinued (was $3500 when it was new, I got it for much less) and surpassed now by their new flagship player the Cantata music server. The Opus has some great write ups on the web if your curious at all and I bought it used from an authorized dealer.

It's a player that was reported to have a very analog like sound and a great even freq response and to also be highly resolving....I agree with most of these things.....it comes in two parts, the transport section and the power (DAC) section and the cool thing is that it all needs just one power cord. Their is an umbilical cord that connects the two units so they can "talk"......AND it has a digital input via RCA Coax (24/96)....and that was important to me because I wanted to try some of the higher resolution stuff on the web and be a little future proof....and least for a while....but the problems with the player prevented me from even getting to a point where I felt stable enough to try out the digital input or really enjoy the player without fear of some issue popping up...

NE way, so their is some (maybe too much) background on my "unique" issue. I'm now in a place where I may try and plead with the dealer to take the player back after it's repair (and resell it) and give me credit towards some of the DAC's he sells (he seems mildly open to this...I've had the player for like 10 months and it's spent almost half of that time being away for repairs on 2 different occasions)......I needed to get some more insight on the matter of DAC's and computer audio from you guys after the advice I got from the dealer and I have some more thinking to do for sure, but it's all been really helpful, truly...

If he agrees to take the player back and gives me some credit towards something else, I'll be limited to choosing from the things he offers (I've been curious about battery powered stuff from Red wine audio like their DAC...so that will be a no go...also Anedio's DAC)....the dealer has stuff from Peachtree and Hegel and some pricer stuff from Pathos and AMR which are out of my reach for sure...I suppose something that is immediately appealing to me is that if I use my computer, then all I need is a DAC....and a usb/spdif converter I guess, depending...and I'll be set! I'd have to buy a seperate external hardrive to store music too though, but those are pretty cheap nowadays in relation to most audio components...no more CD's skipping for some reason or another as well...the file would be their in it's entirety and ready to play smoothly...barring any issues with the computer itself which makes me a little nervous..

I loose remote control access and rewinding with a remote (not a big deal I guess)...though I know there are ways to have a remote with some setups and some DAC's.....Hegel has something with a remote when you use their USB input.........I'd loose the ritual of going to my CD shelf (which is alphabetized and quite neatly arranged) and stumbling upon something I haven't heard in ages and choosing that instead of what I thought I wanted to hear etc...I like that stuff.....then again, my vinyl rig could satisfy that part of things for me though...
There are more positives and negatives, but this is a long enough post as it is so........yeah...to be continued..

I think I'll end up asking to demo something this dealer offers while my CDP is away for repair and then go from their. I'll hear it in my little desktop system (which is my only system so I want to really get it to sound the best it can sound)...I'll play some of my most well known/loved tracks and feel it all out....could be fun Smiley
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Les Lammers
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #365 - 10/23/12 at 13:54:22
 
I am a computer audio Luddite. I have an audio buddy that built a server
in a small case for $500 using Jriver software and a Benchmark DAC. He says it sounds great and is easy to use. I'll post more after I hear it. I have a Softone Model 4 player/transport and a Havana USB DAC but no server. The Softone is an excellent transport. I bought it direct from Japan a few years ago. However, it may not be needed with a server.
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Fireblade
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #366 - 10/23/12 at 21:47:17
 
The general consensus on audio-gear investment criteria stresses the importance of investing heavily in speakers and amps, and much less so in the front-end, as technology is evolving too fast in the latter component. What seemed the best solution early on this year, has by now been relegated to a mere follower.

In other words, obsoleteness is working against heavy investments in digital playback systems and external DACs, not so much in speakers and amps.

This is certainly more evident in the context of PC-based front-ends, of course, but it will eventually rule the high-end hardware choices too, IMHO.  As time goes by, a good amp/speakers set will improve, whereas the front-end ancillaries (although very important), will unfortunately become less competitive through obsolescense.

IMHO, one should consider facing a horizon of likely periodic digital front-end updates, just to keep SQ competitive over time, and this should be treated as an operating cost in this hobby, rather than an investment.  This is another reason to stay away from expensive front-end hardware, and justifies more significant investments in the more permanent audio components for the long run.

The good news is, new trends in front-end technology aren't as expensive as these used to be, and should allow for affordable periodic updates as it evolves over time.

Just my $0.02.
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« Last Edit: 10/23/12 at 21:48:41 by Fireblade »  

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JD
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #367 - 10/23/12 at 22:26:44
 
Well said Fireblade
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will
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #368 - 10/24/12 at 02:03:24
 
There is a lot of talk about the digital trend that is real, but there are also very good, and relatively affordable options that are really, really good now. Don't forget that there are some Steve Deckert types working with digital too and have been for years. And though there are distinct possibilities with the latest and greatest technology, design, and design implementation.....synergy of parts, and most importantly....good ears can make old technology better than many new tech offers.

My 16 bit, 44.1K NOS Tranquility DAC with my optimized Mac Mini using Pure Audio as a software player (again highly optimized for my room/system), using an AQVOX USB power supply, and with the right feet and cables all around, this is producing a truly world class sound. I can imagine that it could be better, but have no urge to go shopping it is sooooo good. This is without async/spidf and is USB.

The Tranquility folks have really good ears by my tastes. And by double blind testing, they determined the right parts (and not many of them) and a synergistic configuration that in their opinions, makes a more real sound from a NOS USB DAC than many popular DACs costing 1-3 times more, and those with all the popular tech of our time. Think this one through.....why else would anyone sane try USB/NOS is a market that loves new trends and technology (a lot of which IS very good in the right circumstances)? They also tried Async, SPIDF themselves, etc, but couldn't beat the simple NOS Tranquility.

So I get the thing about advancement in tech and implementation, but I also absolutely love the MUSIC in my room with this simple USB DAC.

Though the cable thing is sometimes hard to believe, I tried a stock USB cable next to a Wireworld Starlight into my ZDAC, and it was worth the 85 bucks. It isolates the USB power from the audio wires. Think about it...power carries electronic noise....Then I tried the $200 DbAudioLabs Tranquility Essential USB cable (also isolated USB power but tweaked incessantly for transparent sound), and with the Tranquility DAC it beat the wireworld enough to pay 200 for the cable.

By then I had added a Music Fidelity V-Link async/spidf unit to the ZDAC, and still I could hear notable differences from a stock USB cable to the wireworld starlite, which makes sense as the V-link is powered by the computer USB. In this case the Essential cable was not better to my ears.

As with ICs and Power cables, with this quality of gear, and depending on the DAC technology, the cable does matter. If I recall, several async DAC builders suggest using wirewold cables...I don't guess they would do this if their DACs (which are supposed to completely isolate the computer with async) did not improve from the isolation of power....

By the way, my ZDAC (a musical high res DAC) with the V-link (now we have high res from the DAC, and async/spidf from the V-Link) and with my ZSTAGE after the DAC...for me this did not win out over my Tranquility on its own...in the end the straight up USB NOS DAC is my choice....amazingly real sound with seductive inner detail and associated complex ambient and textural improvements, and the associated refinement in timbre throughout. And as with any good small audio company, when DbAudio comes up with improvements, they will upgrade your DAC since our listening pleasure is good for them too.

I am not selling the Tranquility, and I have not done any source shopping since I got it some time ago...the point is that you can get great sound right now, and at relatively good prices!

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will
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #369 - 10/24/12 at 02:21:09
 
PS: though there is merit to your point about developing tech and the upgrade path FB, the old adage Steve keeps telling us: that the source is the most important component in a very refined audio system (like our Decware systems) very likely remains true. This does not necessarily mean mega bucks, but you know....

Wink
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Lon
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #370 - 10/24/12 at 04:17:54
 
My recent experience tells me that you can get awesome vinyl playback these days at surprisingly low price points, especially if you shop for great used gear. I'm totally amazed at how good vinyl sounds through Decware equipment. And I haven't even gotten the ZP3 yet. Just added another whole layer to my listening world, a lush and swinging layer at that.
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Fireblade
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #371 - 10/24/12 at 14:11:14
 
Will,

Your points are exactly a consequence of my earlier observations.  Whether it is an ear-based improvement (based partially on technology anyway) or a real break-through in audio science, new gadgets are showing up everyday with incremental SQ improvement potential.  My point is, precisely, you are not supposed to break the bank for one of this new offers, but look for the optimal bang (SQ improvement) for the buck, and keep moving forward to improve SQ over time.

Remember, there's an improved SE signature model for the Tranquility that beats the predecessor.  Further, you have complemented this effort with so many peripheral sound aids, your final sound product may not have a single cause-and-effect with the Tranquility.  If you had invested a large amount on a single generation front-end, you would (unless filthy rich) have limited your spending in those other aids.

I get it that you like your Tranquility, but this is not a deviation to my statements.  Tomorrow it may be called 'Serenity', but things will change for the better, and it just makes sense to optimize the money at the front end, to be able to really invest in the essential and more permanent Speakers-Amp infrastructure.

You will be getting 'Serenity' in the near future, I'm sure, but it would not have been a mistake, as technology makes new advancements relatively affordable.  My point is don't go overboard on expensive front-ends bearing short life cycles.  What seems the top sound today will probably be mediocre tomorrow.  Sound appreciation is relative to our own references and experiences, not an absolute.   Smiley
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« Last Edit: 10/24/12 at 14:14:51 by Fireblade »  

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Fireblade
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #372 - 10/24/12 at 14:28:24
 
Case in point:

Having invested in an HRT MS II+ the relatively minor amount of $350.00, when it was truly a great Asynch direct-to-DAC USB/DAC, allows even me (retired middle-class, who pays 40% mark-up on all US prices) to consider replacing it soon with a much better Asynch USB - I2S JKDAC32, with significant proven improvements over my HRT.  Had I invested a significant amount on that initial front-end, I would be stuck behind the trend for a very long period of time.

Consequently, I was able to invest in the best amp and speakers I could afford, and these have such a high ceiling they will probably remain the strongest link in my rig for a long, long time.  Had I invested in a high-tech, high-end, short life-cycle front end, I would have surely compromised the quality of the audio infrastructure by buying lesser fine amp and speakers.  As simple as that.
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« Last Edit: 10/24/12 at 14:36:48 by Fireblade »  

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will
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #373 - 10/24/12 at 17:21:51
 
FB, I think your observations are valid, but the the best amp and speakers can only perform to the level of what is fed to them...so I think the best source our comfort zone can allow for our amp and speakers is pretty real. And you can save money on source now based on your theory, but then the cost of your current source has to somehow be factored into the next one if the old source is now obsolete....Also power and cables...the best amp with compromised power and connectors is not what it could be...So there are a lot of ways to look at this with the objective of great sound first, and efficient shopping toward end game gear in the balance.

It is true that I have slowly upgraded my source over time...I prefer this progression for more valid evaluation of new stuff, and financially. But the open-box Tranquility alone, which was greatly improved by being upgraded to stock caps (from V-caps) and the latest outputs while I was testing it, started out as a very good upgrade to my previous source, and at a lower overall cost.

So I definitely agree that quality, and relatively cost effective DACs have been blooming in the last years. But the tech is for the most part also pretty well established, and though I may be off here, I don't expect giant breakthroughs at the pace you suggest. They will come...but then what about our listening TODAY...how long do we wait for relative brilliance.

In this context, the John Kenny's offerings sound very interesting, and thank goodness for another little guy coming out with gear that reflects low overhead and intelligent cost-effective design for great sound. But his moving into relatively low cost DACs from USB convertors may be more an anomaly than a standard.

It appears to me that only every so often a real breakthrough comes along whether in tech or pricing. This is what Decware did, and DbAudioLabs, and PI audio, and others, and now John Kenny. There will be more, but .....

Also... price-wise, look at all the DACs now made in China or with Chinese parts. The low price-for-quality stuff is already in the market. We hope it gets better faster....but for now, a lot of what we might expect to make things better for cheaper is already in place.

So I get your point, but every weak place we have in our systems weakens the whole...so the balancing act is to get the best sound we can TODAY at the lowest cost, and to me, the source is very very important in this equation.
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« Last Edit: 10/24/12 at 17:23:32 by will »  

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Fireblade
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #374 - 10/24/12 at 20:33:17
 
Will,

Where did I write anything about having a lesser front-end in my discussion?  I thought I had stated very clearly that precisely to be updated with the best capabilities on hand, given the fast paced technological evolution, you have to periodically replace what becomes obsolete.  In my case, the HRT was a leader for USB implementation at the time I ordered it. 

Today, you can afford this thanks to open domain technology and smart little guys in garages with great ideas and no fancy aspirations.  It's a natural niche created by the over-ambition of the High-End Ivory market.

On the contrary, my point is you may end-up stuck with an expensive, rapidly devaluating high-end product that does not sound better than your neighbour's anymore, just because you spent an eye and an arm getting it when it was at its demand peak, so you cannot replace it anytime soon.

Of course front ends are essential, that's why I was suggesting to take advantage of the described scenario and do not commit yourself to an Ivory Tower.  Innovative new Dacs may be better than the legacy competition when they come out, and cheaper until the big guys make them fancy and expensive, with a lot of advertising ldverage.  

I was mainly suggesting to ride the wave of technology and creativity and remain always at the state of the art, periodically replacing obsolescence as a reasonable operating cost.  

Since this is just the opposite of what you concluded from my original notes, it makes me think my writing is apparently not that clear.  My apologies.

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« Last Edit: 10/24/12 at 20:42:28 by Fireblade »  

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