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Computer vs Transport discusion and information (Read 11693 times)
Donnie
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #15 - 05/01/11 at 23:53:29
 
Wow, I'm finding out that everything that I am doing is wrong. It sort of depresses me, I was hoping thet everything I was doing was getting closer to the "truest" sound.
I'm thinking about shutting everything off and just humming to myself, but my timing is worse than my Dell's.
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will
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #16 - 05/02/11 at 02:00:49
 
Wow...this is really interesting. I am enjoying this trip into cutting edge front end technology. At the same time, I am reminded of the relativity of technology as it relates to sound and how we listeners use it toward our own ends. In each step my system has taken, it is always from a place I thought was so satisfying, how could it get so much better? But it does! And from this thread and Pale Ryder's recommendation, the very inexpensive Fidelia player's advantages over the iTunes I had been satisfied with...may be yet another little "leap."

Like Brett, I love this hobby! And the microscope analogy....the importance of the first lens being like the source in audio systems, hyper important since its attributes are amplified by what follows. I really like this, but with my system, I am also particularly attuned to his thought that each part is equally important.

And now, realizing my Mini/ZDAC source may not be in the technological cutting edge of data movement.... I was really scratching my head. Like Lon has indicated when talking about his satisfaction with his system, in part due to his beloved Sony 5400 disc player, and how it sounds better to him than anything else he has had, here I am, right now, with an audio system so beautiful that it has the ability to transport me into the experience of music, and from the less than optimal Redbook Cd stock....it just blows my mind.

Cool

But the ZDAC, coming from years of experimentation with circuits, chips, clocks and all, by a guy who has proven to me I can trust his sound decisions, it all worked for me....my trust was well placed. And regardless of theory, to my mind and body, it is a very good beginning in a system for which I can't possibly distinguish between the importance of one part over another!

The Mac/ZDAC is followed closely by the Zstage and its circuits and tube doing its "filtering," refinements, and enhancements; then the Torii and its many tube stages doing their part, and with my preferred tube sets in place; then the MG944s......with Decware interconnects and speaker cables tying it all together; and an assortment of power cables I moved around to suit my tastes; a bunch of Herbiesaudiolab stuff; and my room and power treatments tailored to suit my tastes........And last, but not least, all of it was designed by and built by three people working together toward a particular sound criteria.....Steve and ZYGI working independently, but interactively as Decware, and me working with their brilliant tools to make it all like I like it in my house.

As hard as I try, I can't think of a single one of these things that is less important than another to my system, and each improves on my very revealing and musical source, as the source improves the rest.

So, the nature of good tube gear and stuff designed for it supports the source = first-lens theory, but once that source is a good enough, and if the rest of the parts are synergistic, then everything makes everything else better at the same time! In this the technical efforts that led to the system parts are not unimportant, but they are now integrated into a sort of living thing that is very likely much greater than the sum of the parts! What an awesome opportunity to be able to play the game at this level!!!!!

And what a great opportunity to share information and experience in this forum.....the questing music lovers enabling each other toward a more refined musical experience! Thanks guys, and I hope it keeps on coming!!!

Smiley
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Lon
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and informatio
Reply #17 - 05/02/11 at 02:20:36
 
Will, glad to hear that your system is where it is and has you this happy!

I'm so pleased that I have finally gotten to this level of sound, and the hardest part of the audiophile hobby is possibly knowing when to stop. I'm hoping I'm done. Smiley At least for a while. I can't stop buying recordings though because I spend so much time listening and everything sounds (and looks) so damned good!

I take turns reveling in different components. My SACD player astounds me with its natural and open sound that makes cds sound like SACDs. The ZDAC asthonishes me on how it transforms my cable DVR from blah to killer. The CSP2 sometimes just amazes me in how it can transform the sound by gain and volume control. And the ZBox shows me everytime I think I don't need it that it adds that final bit of magic that makes the recordings have just the right texture and shape.

Sure, I could begin a whole new adventure into a 'puter based system. And I do see the appeal, it's cutting edge, it's what the hip kids are doing. Wink But I'm happy.  I never really imagined I'd be able to have a system like this, and I might start pinching myself. . . .
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« Last Edit: 05/02/11 at 02:22:10 by Lon »  

Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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will
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #18 - 05/02/11 at 06:17:41
 
Lon, I agree, it is real joy. Cool I feel sort of like the cat that got the canary.

Pale Ryder, I finally had a chance to play around a bit with Fidelia doing direct comparisons with iTunes. At first I thought it a mixed bag, very smooth and nice micro detail, but a bit too warm for my tastes with default settings.

Then I started adjusting the preferences. I don't have much idea what many of the settings are, but in playing with them until I liked the sound most, I am feeling very impressed! Amazing detail and micro detail without hard edges, increased image density and space, smoothness, increased bass articulation. Thanks for the tip.

So far, I see no downside except that it is a bit quirky between uses, needing to restart the program, and I miss the checkbox for individual songs in iTunes for editing album playback....guess i'll just make different playlists. But man, the sound...... Smiley
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« Last Edit: 05/02/11 at 07:22:00 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PI Audio Uberbuss...PI, VHaudio DIY, Neotech DIY, Cryoparts DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab feet and tube dampers
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Pale Rider
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #19 - 05/02/11 at 14:24:38
 
I think that the joy and the pleasure in the music is all that matters. I was very happy with previous iterations of my system. I expect that moving up to the Ultra/Torii/ERR combo for the HT system will be wonderful. I have also found that each step is an educational process. Whether a microscope or a telescope, each stage of magnification or resolution reveals something new. But without the resolution and color fidelity, the magnification, like watts, is just more power. Just like the fact that a point & shoot camera might have a "bigger zoom" than a fine prime Nikon or Canon lens, does not mean that within any given focal length or composition or soundstage, it will show the same clarity and accuracy of something done right. I think the synergy is "something done right." Just like the different tubes in my Taboo and ZSTAGE; by definition, their different sonic results suggests there is some level of inaccuracy in the final outcome. The different sound results cannot all be accurate, can they?  I suppose, at one level, they are accurate, but then there is divergence, like the jungle greens of Fuji Velvia, or the etched blue of Ektachrome, the butter cream skin of Kodachrome. All of it rewarding, and from some point of view, along some vector, accurate.

With the Mini and the ZDAC, though I have not heard the latter, and uncompressed files, I suspect you are well "out past the nebulae" in your resolving. I know you mentioned having slow download speeds, so I thought I would make a recommendation or two for hi-res recordings you can order, and that you can then copy on to your hard (you don't even have to rip, just drag and drop files; Fidelia will play these just fine). Check out the Reference Recordings and MA Recordings offerings. A wide variety of tastes. And some stunning fidelity.

Yerba Buena Bounce: http://www.referencerecordings.com/HRxHCSF_DETAIL.asp

ma: http://www.marecordings.com

And somehow, you need to get either of the Moonlight Acoustica ( http://www.aixrecords.com/catalog/moonlight.html ) or Goldberg Variations Acoustica ( http://www.aixrecords.com/catalog/goldberg_bd.html ) either from iTrax or directly from AIX. I know you're not on super broadband, but either is worth the download wait.

I will be shocked if your system doesn't sing on these. Although toys are fun, at the end of the day, it is about the joy, not the toy.
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Decware: Ultra | Torii MKIII [2] | SE84ZS | Taboo MkIII Sources: Synology 1812+ | Baetis Revolution | PWD DAC MKII | Lumin Network Player | Mytek 192 | Oppo 105 DSP: DEQX Mate | Emotiva Outputs: ERR [6] + Servo Subs | LCD-2 & other cans
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will
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #20 - 05/02/11 at 15:56:19
 
Yes, for me, the technology is a vehicle to the beauty be it a good lens or a good DAC, but then there is photoshop these days, (at least for me) and like with tubes, it offers the chance of refining something relatively accurate, into something more resolved, and beautiful. No artist I know of who consistently makes good art, is/was a weak technician with their medium. But technique without heart and expression is empty.

On the other hand, I agree, there is nowhere to go without a truly good lens. No disagreement there, and thanks to the experience of others involved in this quest for great sound, both with advise and gear, I have gotten somewhere very satisfying fairly efficiently. But as we all know, once something gets really good, even small refinements can be fairly revelatory!

My net thing is limited to 5GB/mo, the speed is pretty good. But this allows the occasional big file, and I can go to town too. So thanks for the recommendations. I will get some high-res things in here one way or another.

I wish there was an easy way to audition gear. It is interesting that at a certain level, the details of circuit synergy becomes the big player in the game. But it is also clear that those circuits are really important! My personal tastes go more toward smooth detail than warmth, and since it is only in the hearing and preferences of the listener that the "best" is found, I would love to compare the ZDAC/Zstage with a comparably priced asynchronous DAC.
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« Last Edit: 05/02/11 at 15:57:52 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PI Audio Uberbuss...PI, VHaudio DIY, Neotech DIY, Cryoparts DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab feet and tube dampers
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Pale Rider
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #21 - 05/02/11 at 16:31:50
 
Edited:
Then I started adjusting the preferences. I don't have much idea what many of the settings are, but in playing with them until I liked the sound most, I am feeling very impressed! Amazing detail and micro detail without hard edges, increased image density and space, smoothness, increased bass articulation. Thanks for the tip.


No question it has its quirkiness still, but these traits definitely make it worthwhile, plus having the ability to play all sorts of files is huge. I predict you will continue to love it!

And like you, I wish there was an easy way to audition gear. Again, the synergy is everything, and to your point about smooth detail vs. warmth—on which you and I are on the same page—the only way to know whether you are getting what you want out of the equipment is to listen. Reviews can be very helpful, especially with reviewers who are consistent in their lexicon, but there is no substitute for listening. But I have also found that there are a fair number of Decware aficionados or "apprecionados" out there in multiple forums, whose value perspective is strong enough to hear through the high dollar audio hype, and their listening reviews can be very instructive. I noticed this in particular when I clicked through a number of the links Steve provides to other high efficiency speaker sites.

And at bottom, I am so convinced that Steve designs and builds really great stuff, that I am confident that stuff other than my amp is likely to be the gating factor in resolution. The one exception I currently have pending is my order of a Cavalli Liquid Fire headphone amp. It is a hybrid tube/MOSFET design, by a guy whose designs are well respected. He previously designed headphone amps for others to build. Some of his designs were converted to kits. I got to hear one someone had built at a head-fi meet (I plan to take my Taboo to future meets myself), and it was very nice. Cavalli decided to get in the production business himself, and his first product is the Liquid Fire. Pre-production reviews are very encouraging, but the hype of "OMG, this is an entirely new level" is something about which I have learned to be cautious.

We'll see. I figure on certain cuts, I will prefer either the Taboo or the Liquid Fire, and that depending on which way it goes, one will stay in the office and one will go home.
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Donnie
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #22 - 05/03/11 at 00:43:07
 
I see the need for another piece of equipment. There needs to be something that can take a file, buffer it, reclock it and release it the correct time domain. The buffering would be the important thing. You need to hold the information so that it could be put together correctly.
Is there anything out there that does this?
I know in high speed machining we have had problems with transferring information from our CAM systems into the controllers of the machines rapidly enough. When you can put a buffer into the system it helped with the transfer of program and you get a more accurate part. This is the same thing that we are trying to do with our music files. Get them to the the end product as accurately as possable.
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Pale Rider
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #23 - 05/03/11 at 03:44:34
 
Donnie, if I understand what you are saying, I believe you will find the Empirical Audio Pace Car Re-clocker does exactly that that. But then, in reality, so do most of the asynchronous devices out there. I am not sure if you are emphasizing the need for a buffer to address a known technical defect, but I am not aware of a need for more buffering than is already built into devices like the Ayre, Cosecant, W4S, etc. But perhaps I am missing your point.
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Donnie
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #24 - 05/03/11 at 22:32:25
 
Pale, It was a incomplete thought of mine. I hadn't thought it through.
I was thinking that perhaps some of the issues that people hear is from insufficient data transfer. And that a buffer would work like a capacitor in a electrical circuit. Like I said, not a complete thought, I get them fairly often. That could by why I'm not filthy rich.
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will
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #25 - 05/04/11 at 00:06:37
 
Donnie, if I get what Brett and Pale are talking about with these USB interfaces, and with DACs that have integrated asynchronous USB interfaces, they sort of do what it sounds like you are thinking about. Here is a sort of dopy review of a bunch of USB interfaces I found.
http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue51/usb_converters.htm

But then I think.....your ZDAC1 is designed with very low jitter in mind too. Since Steve did the research and experimentation, and undoubtedly looked a lot at this issue, it might be worth a talk with him to get his take on it before investing in a USB interface. When I read about the Empirical Audio interfaces mentioned earlier in this thread  http://www.empiricalaudio.com/products/
I see that they would help us as follows; "you will hear differences in cables, power cords, formats and playback software. It masks nothing." Sounds like the ZDAC sounds to me. Some more subtle than others, but I can easily hear differences in all these things in my system.

Huh
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Lon
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #26 - 05/04/11 at 00:23:46
 
That's a good point. I can hear those sort of differences on cds with my SCD-XA5400ES, and with my ZDAC-1 and any source connected to it.

I found that for ME the quest for "the perfect setup and sound" was a path to stark raving madness. Smiley I know I'm close and that's more than good enough to me.

Listening to some new Japanese jazz cds that  arrived in the mail today from Dusty Groove in Chicago, and the sound is superb, I've just been drifting along happily, surfing and listening and sipping some hot chai. Life is so good sometimes!  ;D
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Donnie
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #27 - 05/04/11 at 02:30:28
 
The more that I read about this, the more it points that I don't know Jack about anything. I went the route of the 'puter and Ipod to make it easier to handle music and not have all of the hassles that my days with vinyl had become.
Right now my ZDAC is down for the count, on it's way back to East Peoria, I need to buy a Apple computer because my Dell is a POS. I'm using the wrong software and I need to spend about $50,000 on a USB cable. I'm thinking about going back to motorcycle racing, I spent more money, but I knew what I was talking about.
But, and this is a huge but, my stereo sounds way better than I ever thought a stereo could. I'm not going to get wrapped up in the minutia and just sit back and listen to my music on a system that sounds way better than it should.
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Lon
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and informatio
Reply #28 - 05/04/11 at 03:18:16
 
Hope the ZDAC is back very soon my friend. I can imagine and almost feel your pain.

You're right, sit back and enjoy the wonderful sound of your system. Your amp is a wonderful thing. Just being able to listen toi music in your home is an amazing technological marvel, and to get the quality we do as Decware system users. . . well past generations couldn't even dream about it. Sometimes I just feel amazed at what's possible and how fortunate we are.
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+PWD MkII,PowerBases,PPP,AC-12 pcs, Denon DBP-A100, Denon DCD-A100,Rega RP3 +TTPSU,white belt+Exact2, VooDoo Cable:Evo,Ultra Linear, Iso-PodMapleshade:Double Heiix Plus.Samsonv2+v3 +4" platforms,Herbie's Iso-Cup
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will
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #29 - 05/04/11 at 05:37:14
 
Glad the ZDAC is on the road to repair. I totally feel the pain!
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