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Mini Torii SE Amplifier (Read 28469 times)
Raduschka
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #350 - 10/22/12 at 22:21:12
 
of course Lon, I got that from the start, they are both valid routes to go. I shall not obtain any satisfaction in case HPDJ goes the USB route Smiley



But to say something that is not philosphical: in my understanding, the PS achieves a bit perfect reading of a physical cd, while the PC (or MAC) achieves the same thing in the absence of the physical CD (which you previously ripped bitperfectly to the drive).   Is this accurate?
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Raduschka
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #351 - 10/22/12 at 22:25:14
 
also, now that I don't depend on my Cd player, i can play files up to 24/192 through the V link (other dac's and converters go higher).  Foobar also plays hdcd and sacd iso files. ( i don't know how that compares to sacd itself).
I don't care that much for higher resolution, but it is something to consider.
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Lon
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #352 - 10/22/12 at 23:08:29
 
I think that's accurate. And then the data is sent into a buffer and re-clocked, and sent to the DAC (which buffers and re-clocks it yet again). This is the "digital lens" aspect and that makes a very significant difference to my ears, really the most "analog" sounding digital I've yet heard.

Listening to a disc right now that I hadn't played through the PS Audio Duo before and it is just astonishing me how it's never sounded like this before, and it sounded great before. . . . This is where I have jumped off the merry-go-round.

I also can do 24/192 with the Duo. It's similar to SACD, there's no clear winner between these two imo, I have a growing collection of Classical SACDs and that's why I gravitate that way.

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« Last Edit: 10/22/12 at 23:10:03 by Lon »  

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Lon
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #353 - 10/22/12 at 23:14:22
 
Rad, of course I agree strongly that both are valid ways to go. But I want HPDJ to know that imo he doesn't necessarily have to follow the dealer's advice. If he truly enjoys the physical product (the way I do) and was happy with the sound from his CDP, he can continue along that route, or expand the route by using a CDP or DVDP as a transport and upgrading to a nice DAC.
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« Last Edit: 10/22/12 at 23:16:53 by Lon »  

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Raduschka
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #354 - 10/22/12 at 23:14:29
 
I wish I could compare, but we live so far away. The same thing happens with the usb to spdif converter and then the spdif port on the dac. It is impossible to tell without listening, which combination sounds 'better' and then you have the personal preference of course.  And then you have the budget that goes into those components...
 I am still wondering what Cd player HPDJ has. A good external DAC would make a world of difference... ANyhow, I am listening to Waterloo Sunset Boulevard, sung by Bowie...
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Raduschka
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #355 - 10/22/12 at 23:20:33
 
Hi Lon, just got your message. Yes, I understand. If he likes to manipulate the CD then that PS thing of yours is probably an extraordinary machine (I had pondered buying that myself). Or he can go with a good external DAC and use the player as a transport (if it has an output at all). Or use a PC as a transport. In my experience the PC is the best transport, sonically (I think the dealer said that too).
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Lon
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #356 - 10/22/12 at 23:39:10
 
Raduschka wrote on 10/22/12 at 23:20:33:
In my experience the PC is the best transport, sonically (I think the dealer said that too).


I just am leary of what a lot of people "say" (especially dealers, etc.) and my experience is that the pc is not really an improved transport. Ah well. I'm glad so many have found otherwise, but I'm happy. Smiley

I wasn't saying that he should go with the PS Audio equipment, just that was my decision as a way to have my system be all I could afford it to be and I have zero regrets, marvelous sound.
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« Last Edit: 10/23/12 at 00:00:37 by Lon »  

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Raduschka
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #357 - 10/23/12 at 00:23:54
 
I hear you Lon! My pc was an improvement over my cd player. That is pretty relative.
It is true that a lot of dealers say a lot of things. Like you, i am happy and I hope he'll be happy. No matter which way. Now I,ll go and do my yoga.
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Fireblade
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #358 - 10/23/12 at 03:44:53
 
HPDJ:

The single most important current advancement in sound quality research and improvement potential lies in the technology around the external DAC for digital music streaming.

This centers around (and has evolved through) digital data streaming as:

1. USB to DAC
2- USB to S/PDIF to DAC
3- USB to I2S to DAC

All three approaches deal with varying DAC chips and output stages featuring differing filters, all aimed at reducing (not eliminating, yet) sound pollutant jitter.

The previous logistic stage (transport or PC), has pretty much reached a plateau today, where dedicated sophisticated transports are pretty much equivalent in SQ (other things equal) to a well tuned PC optimized for music streaming.

The key today, more than ever, is in how to contain jitter (i.e., streaming data frequency distribution over time) from transport stage to final DAC's output.  It is this area that promises the biggest improvement potential for the near future and which has already demonstrated the irreversible path for development.

To give you an idea, today's PC-based music streaming through a competitive DAC has proven better in SQ than the best Transport/High-End CD players of a few years back, and at a fraction of the cost!

Then, there's the evident convenience of music material management with PC-based front-ends.

Furthermore, the big High-End (megabuck) audio hardware companies are offering modular design in an attempt to counter-balance this irreversible technological trend.  Now, think how easy it is today to update a SW platform in your PC and incorporate those advances in your home system in a straightforward way.

Cost, logistics and obsoleteness-robust arguments for this trend are growing up at an accelerated pace lately in the audiophile realm.  Let's just wait a bit for investors getting into digital Playback SW development for audio streaming from the PC (ala JPLAY mini), and this temporary resistance from the traditional firms will be washed out gradually and irrevocably IMHO.

In my particular case, back in the day I used to use sophisticated transport-processor based front-ends, and as I recall, what my simple laptop-USB/DAC is doing for my sound is as good as then.

I'm personally currently studying the best way to further improve my current PC-based system on that particular last stage 3 above, with already available, very affordable commercial offerings, that promise beating some of the best traditional high-end hardware out there.

Familiarize yourself with the current PC-based trend (plenty of education in the internet on this topic) and do not hesitate to take the plunge: Your ears and your wallet will thank you for that!  ;)
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« Last Edit: 10/23/12 at 13:13:49 by Fireblade »  

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Raduschka
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #359 - 10/23/12 at 03:51:43
 
Fireblade, did you compare usb cables? What is your experience with their impact on sound?
Excellent post, I feel like like a babbling baby now Smiley
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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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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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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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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #375 - 10/24/12 at 21:18:22
 
Good points. It makes a lot of sense if one can afford a really great front end these days to purchase one that is updatable/upgradable. That was a big attraction for me to my PS Audio gear; this company has the mindset that improvements can be made and offered to owners. I've already purchased one upgrade, and it has been important. It has actually highlighted what is really the heart of what has set this pair head and shoulders over others I've heard: the "digital bridge" incorporated within. PS Audio has plans to release a stand alone bridge and I sense this will be a great addition to almost any digital front end. It clearly has improved the sound to my ears.

Conversely, I'm not someone who likes to be constantly researching my front end needs and keeping up with Jones and the ever-changing technology. that's just not fun for me and has been a big reason I've kept from computer audio. And also contributes to my return to vinyl being so refreshing. My turntable really works, and I've been blessed with a very affordable excellent phono preamp, and this foundation was so enjoyable that I sprang for the ZP3 which I think will take my vinyl front end to a level which I won't really need to move from. There's not a shifting playing field in vinyl the way that there is in digital, and I see that as a good thing, very relaxing.
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« Last Edit: 10/24/12 at 21:44:40 by Lon »  

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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #376 - 10/25/12 at 13:03:49
 
Fireblade,

I don't know what your previous amplifer was but the transarency of the Mini *may* be showing you some faults with your front end. It may just need a little tweaking. Don't toss the baby with the bath water.
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #377 - 10/25/12 at 18:18:05
 
"Don't toss the baby with the bath water"   LOL  ;D

This is a moot point.  Whether you want to go about it tube-rolling, improving the front-end quality or simply fine-tunning it through cable and power cord manipulation and vibration controls, or more essentially, room conditioning, is difficult to prioritize.

What's the biggest bang for the buck?  That is the question.  Can't do it all at once, so where do you start?  :-?
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #378 - 10/25/12 at 19:02:56
 
FB, You have a great amp and speakers, some nice interconnects, and OK USB and power cord....the latter could likely be improved, but they sound better than stock... right???? So it looks to me like gear-wise your DAC is likely your weakest link at this point......that is if your USB cable has isolated power from the audio...If not...hmmm, might find out if this matters with your DAC...does with mine!

Vibration control...have you gone there at all...to dip your toe in that water...a few things from Herbie's particularly, perhaps baby booties for your DAC and tenderfeet for the MT could be an inexpensive exploration.

But then room could easily be even more important than the DAC depending on issues there..... do you hear room problems? ...dead, deadened, or exaggerated parts of the frequency spectrum, poor sound stage, boom or muddle..... If not I would think your idea of investigating the JK DAC very thoroughly might be a good exploration.....actually, I bet you have done that...

Smiley
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #379 - 10/25/12 at 19:39:21
 
Quote:
Vibration control...have you gone there at all...to dip your toe in that water...a few things from Herbie's particularly, perhaps baby booties for your DAC and tenderfeet for the MT could be an inexpensive exploration.


On second thought, and better yet...I would go for the gusto... @ about 30 each, I bet three iso-cups would be great with your amp. To me they sound way better than tenderfeet....may be due to better isolation, or just tone...can't say.
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #380 - 10/25/12 at 20:02:43
 
I agree, with tube amps the Iso-Cups are clearly (to my ears) superior to the Tender Feet (which aren't chopped liver).

On some other components they aren't always better to my ears, but for amps, they're the ones.

And the beauty of addressing isolation is. . . odds are the pieces will work with present and future systems.
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« Last Edit: 10/25/12 at 20:52:59 by Lon »  

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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #381 - 10/25/12 at 21:01:58
 
Well, there's really nothing wrong with my gear, it sounds great.  Only once you see the potential, you want more!  I know my speakers and amp have a higher ceiling than everything else in the system, so naturally I want to try the next SQ improvement step.

Evidently, I have been questioning my USB/DAC, just by deduction, as I don't find a specific fault with it, except it's technology starts to be mainstream now.  Today it's still good, but could be better.  

There's also talk in this forum and other places about using tube-rolling to fine-tune the sound.  I'm assuming this would only mean making the sound 'flavor' closer to our subjective tastes/expectations, rather than an absolute (full consensus) sound improvement, correct?

In relation to the anti-vibration gadgets, we've had this discussion before and I agreed to get into it, and I certainly will.  For example, my wooden monitor stands are not perfectly squared at the bases' surface, so there's some play between these and the floor's hard surface (very minor but tangible).

In general, not having personal trial-and-error experience makes the situation more difficult to assess.  This is why I'm more comfortable with the theory behind USB/DACS than I am with the other avenues mentioned.  :)  With limited resources, I need to envision the step sequence involved before hand.

BTW, I don't hear or feel any sound resonance, degradation or disruption from the room itself.  I'm sure the room is way off from ideal, but I can't tell from the sound.  I just feel, in general, the need for somewhat more transparency, and a more hollographic soundstage, but it may be just fine the way it is ...  I do not have a reference.

Thanks, guys.  
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« Last Edit: 10/25/12 at 21:07:26 by Fireblade »  

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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #382 - 10/25/12 at 21:34:46
 
FB, If you rely on experience, then you are missing several areas of system refinement. For example...power separation from audio on your USB...If there is power noise from your computer that your DAC is not somehow isolating itself, and you eliminate it...this can definitely have a big impact on the refinement of sound. Your cable or DAC may already do this, but don't count on it. I would check this out.

Also vibration control. You could probably benefit greatly from something very simple, like grungebuster pieces under your stands and between the stands and speakers. A sheet of this is pretty cheap....but check with Steve at Herbie's. And as you said, you are planning to go here one day, so enough said.

And if you listen carefully to the sound spectrum and sound stage (should sound even, without particular funky places with extra hardness or bloat or edge or missing parts....and reflections can really hurt the sound stage...it should be well defined and saturated....and also wide and deep with well recorded stuff anyway.

Though stock tubes in my system sound pretty great, I would say it is way under what it is with better tube synergy for this room and my ears. I particularly think the rectifiers, inputs, and power VRs are great to roll in my MkIII...this of course could be different with the MT, but tubes are no small matter if you are craving a more refined sound to your tastes.

Remember that Decware can open sound doors others just can't hear, so our potential is rather huge, and what we can hear is often not present in many systems. Also, unless our Decware and room is sorted out and optimized, we can't hear its potential either...making some decware systems not reveal what they could. If it is not revealed, it can't be heard, so for that person, it does not exist. In my experience, it can ALL be heard, making subtle refinements rather big.

Finally you have to go the direction that makes sense to you according, not to the consensus, but from advisors you tend to believe...right??? If you listen to it all equally, it will be hard to do anything.

That said, since you are happy with your sound now, if it has no apparent problems, your sense of source as a next step is likely a respectable thought. How about emailing Darko and ask him if the JK would be a big upgrade from your DAC???
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #383 - 10/25/12 at 22:50:29
 
Excellent points, Will.  

I already received respective answers from both John Kenny and John Darko.  They tend to disagree on using and not using the USB S/PDIF conversion.  Darko thinks is better with it, Kenny has gone to the conclusion of avoiding this conversion altogether and go for the I2S directly to DAC.  Funny, as  he's been selling some of the best S/PDIF converters in the market.

But, Darko still likes the JKDAC32, only he would bearly prefer an Audiophilleo + Metrum Octave, for example.  Said he could live with either and both are 'superb,' and he thinks both would be a step up from my HRT.  Of couse, there's a premium to pay for the added Audiophilleo and the S/PDIF extra cable, plus the Metrum is more expensive than the JKDAC32.  I'm thus more inclined for the latter.

You make good points, and the tube-rolling issue is something I've been suggested by Les, for example, but I was not fully convinced.  For one thing, I thought it must be difficult to nail down the right tube set combination to your liking without a long trial-and-error experiment.  Also, I dismissed its importance assuming the designer has better ears than me.  But, now I understand it is both a subjective and conditions-dependent effect.

Power insulation within my Audioquest Forest is an unknown at this point, need to find out.  This is my USB cable:

http://www.listenup.com/AudioQuest+Forest+USB-p-Forest-USB-p-.html

and a Hi-Fi review on it (my cable is only 1 m long):

http://www.whathifi.com/review/audioquest-forest-usb-15

Need to think all this over and make a plan.  I have convincing arguments now.  Thanks so much for the valid advice.
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« Last Edit: 10/26/12 at 00:38:22 by Fireblade »  

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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #384 - 10/26/12 at 02:37:06
 
FB, the Starlight http://www.tweekgeek.com/wireworld-ultraviolet-usb/ (mentioned as better than the Forest in the review link) is the cable I use with my V-Link async unit and ZDAC. I know it isolates the power and sounds good if you find the Forest is not quite there.

I understand the tube dilemma... another area of confusion from one view, but of excitement from another. I also believe in Steve's ears, but suspect he voices the amp with the best he can of tubes he can acquire for production....this may or may not mean that he thinks this is the absolute best tube sound one can get from the amp. And this is aside from personal preferences and tuning an amp to one's system/room.

One thing I have found is that having a range to work with can be good...Just changing one recommended tube can help if it fits the criteria you are after compared to the qualities of your present tube, but it may or may not fit your sense of beauty exactly...But then... it could have attributes that could really be awesome with another tube change.....So a range of decent variation from the stock tubes can really open some great opportunities. A pair of rectifiers, power tubes, input tubes, and power VRs for example, each fitting criteria you like, could really open a lot of interesting mixing and matching, and very refined fine-tuning possibilities!!!

...but finding the bargains that are great  tubes, I can't help much as my tubes are different...except I know the nature of power VRs. I am pretty sure the MT rollers could point you to several nice tubes to explore, or tube sale people who are reliable to talk with and that can compare what they have to your tubes.

Are there qualities you can imagine that would improve your sound....more open and spacious...more dense and bigger bass, more texture, more warmth....
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« Last Edit: 10/26/12 at 02:38:56 by will »  

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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #385 - 10/26/12 at 15:12:13
 
Hey Will,

Audioquest's own description of the Forest USB cable talks about their focus in avoiding power interferences, so hopefully they also take care of that.  On the DAC side, I'm not sure about what the HRT is doing to prevent those interferences either.  I may want to try the Starlight cable sometime.

Les Lammers kindly suggested the same thing about those specific tubes to try with the M-T, and he seems to have enough experience in tube-rolling in these kinds of amps.  He's already rolled several combinations in the M-T, so I'm going to learn from his experiences.

Regarding the descriptive nature of my current perceived sound limitations, it is difficult for me to define, as I'm not yet familiar with the semantics used in these cases.  

My system sounds great as it is, but I would not mind having more openness (space) or transparency (air) and more efficient frequency separation (texture?).  A more hollographic (palpable, better defined) soundstage would be nice also. This last attribute may depend more on my imperfect listening room conditions, and all of these on the quality of the source material.

Of course, as you pointed out, it is essential to know before hand what types/specs of tubes indeed correlate with the kinds of sound tweaking outcomes expected. I would not know where to start, as this is a job for people with the actual hands-on experience, like you, Les, Raduschka and others in this forum.  I can just hope to get the right tips.

BTW, what is the meaning of 'warmth' in this context? I have plenty of good bass, so I won't be needing any more.  That's about all I can think of.  Thanks again for the pointers.   Smiley
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #386 - 10/26/12 at 15:50:37
 
FB, Isolation products can help you with these issues, will help the soundstage develop, will help with instrumental separation, textural delinieation, etc.
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #387 - 10/26/12 at 16:34:28
 
FB,

Sounds pretty good on the cable from your research.

I agree with Lon on the isolation.

There are likely ways to do what you want with any of the tube types, that is unless one of them is already on the open, less dark/dense side of things. For a more open, transparent sound, and tighter/less bass, I would try a pair of OB3s, or for more of the same, some OC3s, and more yet, OD3. OA3s give a stronger, bigger, deeper, darker, bassier quality to the by pushing the output tubes more, and OD3 give the most open/spacious, least bass/density, with Bs and Cs in between. Also, each type and vintage have tonal qualities that vary...for example, Sylvania sound different than Raytheon.....This can confuse the waters...like an 80s Sylvania OA3 (tubeworld) that opens the sound with tight bass more than any other OA3 I have, but it still has the OA3 "push." Anyway regulators could be an inexpensive experiment that might accomplish all of your wishes...If the room or amp give darker/denser qualities to the sound, this can overwhelm the inner detail and spaciousness. So relaxing darkness and density will increase spaciousness and inner detail, helping to further define soundstage.

I think of warmth as a slight darkness (usually showing most in the mids and lower mids) that does not have a sense of "veiled," not sacrificing detail, while contributing to that lovely balance of detail that gives a sense of warm texture ...like a warm, soft, cozy, blanket...it can sweeten the feeling of the music without adding a sense of density or darkness. It can be a fine line between "warmth" and "dark," to me the distinction being the detail balance within the dark. Transparent would convey the same information, but with a cooler, more neutral quality...not bright, not dark...

I think of texture as all the subtle pieces of detailed information overlaid to make the sound as opposed to the sense of a sound having very defined body and edges.....a place to look for textural sounds might be hearing the bow string/resin with strings, then vibrating the woods of the string instrument, particularly noticeable with solo playing...or you can hear it in the reed sounds of a sax...or solo voices... it imparts a sweet, nuanced richness.

Hope this helps...the semantics are odd in describing sound nuance.

Check your PM
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« Last Edit: 10/26/12 at 16:39:11 by will »  

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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #388 - 10/26/12 at 21:19:02
 
Right, Will, thanks.  If you read my last post on the Mini-Torii threads, you will realize I'll be needing replacement tubes asap.  So, I'd probably profit to follow those guidelines when ordering the ones I'm currently urgently needing.

I'd been carefully studying the sound in my rig, and before it went off I came to the conclusion that it sounds more on the warm side than anything else.  That is, darker and more dense, bass-oriented.  That is why I was talking (unconsciously) earlier about openness and space as sound improvement objectives when tube-rolling.

OB3's or OC3's sound about right for what I sense I need, according to your description.  I'll look into the details.

Thanks again,
David.
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #389 - 10/26/12 at 21:22:22
 
Lon, thanks for that input.  I get it.  I'll give that isolation issue some attention as soon as I settle my current rectifier problem.   Sad
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #390 - 06/27/14 at 19:07:33
 
Hello everyone, long time no see,  I truly need a quick answer on this, if anyone can help:  which position of the 0C2 switch turns them on on your mini torii? towards you or away from you? (if you stand in front the amp)
it would be of tremendous help, as I can"t figure out how the 0c2"s are wired and i had disabled the switch a long time ago. Now trying to make sure i did it properly. Can the 0c2"s light up even though they re not in operation?  thank you in advance.
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Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #391 - 06/27/14 at 19:50:54
 
According to the manual "The OC2 is lit when in use and off when not in use."

http://www.decware.com/newsite/Minitoriimanual.pdf
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Mini Torii, SE84CKC, Omega Super3XRS, Oppo95 as Transport, Shiit Bifrost UBER Dac, PS Audio P3 Powerplant
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Fireblade
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Knowledge comes, but
wisdom lingers.
A.L.Tennyson

Posts: 1046
Re: Mini Torii SE Amplifier
Reply #392 - 06/27/14 at 23:40:41
 
'ON' is turning it towards you. BTW, my OC2's never seem lit but they are evidently working.
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Toshiba-Foobar2K-ASIO Direct-WD 2.0Tb HDD-Schiit USB cable-Schiit Yggdrasil DAC-Decware Silver Ref IC's-Decware Mini Torii SE-8PR Kimber Kable spkr cbls-Decware DM945's-Tekton Lore 2-Velodyne DLS 3500 SUB-BJC SUB Cbls-Tripp Lite 500 Isolation Trnsf-Jellyfish S
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