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MUSIC SERVERS (Read 7065 times)
Pale Rider
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #30 - 09/10/11 at 16:56:14
 
Lon: when using the PW DAC on Blu-ray, are you getting 5.1/7.1 sound, or just 2-channel? My recollection is that the PWD is limited to 2, but I might be mistaken. There are marvelous multi-channel Blu-ray discs that are not to be missed.

P.S. I don't really see the music server decision or budget analysis as a discs-vs.-files issue. I still own all my discs. If I want, I can look at the case and artwork. I just have a faster, more convenient way to access their content (everywhere), and one which helps prolong the life of the discs themselves by significantly reducing the handling of the media. And in the case of music and DVD, I can listen or watch whatever without having to change discs. And if there are music pieces where I only want to buy a specific track, I can do so (increasingly uncompressed or lossless) and have a means to play it (iTrax, HDTracks, Linn, or even iTunes, etc.).

With the PW DAC, you are in a great position to take advantag of all that if and when you want. But doing so will not in the least detract from your discs.

@Will: I still love my 2008 Mac mini running Snow Leopard and Audirvana for my headphone rig. After trying Amarra, Pure Music, and Fidelia, I settled on Audirvana. Needs better playlist control and/or iTunes integration, but it is quite musical. Much as I like the new mini, I really want an integrated optical drive for ripping. I own standalone SuperDrives for our MacBook Airs, but that's not how I want to access discs for the mini.  In my main listening system, for most listening, I still like the Apple TV interface for most of my music. For hi-res discs, I revert to the Oppo.

@ beowulf: you are mistaken about Apple music. It is no longer DRM'ed. And even if it was, that has nothing to do with choice of hardware. I buy my music from other sources. Nothing about that has anything to do with my choice of Mac hardware.
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Lon
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #31 - 09/10/11 at 17:04:00
 
Greg, I don't do multi-channel, always been a bit indifferent about surround sound and my ERR two channel is perfect for me.

The PerfectWave IS only two channel.

And as for "convenience" et al. . . I only listen in ONE location predominantly, don't find it inconvenient to get up and change discs, can always download and burn to cdr from my iBook or iMac, and don't want to rip cds (I have so so many!), hassle with external drives, stream material, have an online storage, etc. I'm very happy with the listening mechanics and ritual I've had for decades and just flat have no desire to change that, it's part of my "foundation" of leisure time.

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« Last Edit: 09/10/11 at 17:08:35 by Lon »  

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will
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #32 - 09/10/11 at 17:09:15
 
Sounds really good Lon, and good point about plug and play system of that quality. The PerfectWave setup does sound very impressive, and really well suited to you with your huge collection of disks. Music Direct has a package deal on it for 6K with cables (they say the setup would be 8200 retail) and 6800 with the bridge, and with the bridge you still need a computer.

When I added up my current front end, I was shocked to find it around 3600 (computer setup, Music Fidelity async V-Link, ZDAC, ZStage, dBAudio Essential USB cable, amphenol glass toslink cable v-link to DAC, PI audio Power cable for the ZDAC, VH audio kit power cable for ZSTAGE, Decware IC DAC to Stage, MAC Ultra Silver IC (very cheap from audiogon auction) to Torii. And really I need to add PureMusic software player to make it real since I thought it sounded better than iTunes and was willing to give the 130 for it).

Makes a decent CD player look pretty good price-wise, but then there is the CD to drive thing, streaming, wireless internet connection on 4K's shopping list! And with my narrowed down collection of several hundred CDs that I actually listened to, it was really pretty easy to rip them over time. I would do several in a row while passive listening. As earlier stated, there is a learning curve with ripping, though iTunes makes it pretty easy.

There is probably something to a plug and play arrangement if all this is intimidating. My total front end arrangement seems complex with so many parts, but it is pretty linear and logical in setup, and once put together, works flawlessly. It also remains flexible for upgrading in every parameter, so I am glad I have it. I don't use streaming though, so can't speak to that.

PR,

I have a 2010 Mini and like the sound better than the 2009 model, but it was not that one the 09 was bad in any way, the 2010 just sounded a bit deeper and more analog to me without loss of inner detail (that is if I recall correctly). And I do like the convenience of the drive in the unit too, but then it looks like Apple's Mini option drive may be made to stack with the mini so once cabled would probably seem more-or-less like part of the computer. You could isolate it with feet too.
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« Last Edit: 09/10/11 at 17:25:05 by will »  

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will
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #33 - 09/10/11 at 17:22:05
 
PR, I ended up with PureMusic over the more euphinic Audirvana or Fidelia for its integration with iTunes. I really like being able to to easily cut tunes from an album by the check box and that was a deal breaker for me. Also, since I think I recall the 2008/2009 Mini as more open and bright sounding than the 2010 mini, it makes sense to pick a player that is slightly warmer. I just can't stand the playlist making and the latest Pure sounds pretty real.
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Lon
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #34 - 09/10/11 at 17:24:58
 
Yeah, I did that Music Direct deal and I know it's an expense, I'm still reeling a bit from that. But. . . I have to tell you. . . the sound SMOKES the ZDAC-1. The ZDAC-1 is a great sounding unit for the price. But the PerfectWave DAC (and even more so in tandem with the Transport via HDMI) is a whole 'nother level of fidelity to my ears. It took about three weeks to really show itself and it may have even more to reveal. Having the remote preamp control of sources and filters and upsampling or NON is all the convenience I need and has really been satisfying.  I never knew the Torii could deliver this kind of sound. Really impressive. One friend of mine said he felt it was a very significant improvement in sound. I'm glad he heard that. . . because I know there's a danger I'd just think so to justify the cost.

And. . . I just don't really get into iTunes, I've had it on two Macs for about six years and I don't dig ripping, playlists et al. I have so much to rip that I would need to hire an assistant for a few years. Smiley I just don't need the convenience or "simplicity" of the setup.

All in all, I'm DONE. And it's a great feeling.  A bit of tube-rolling and more listening and viewing material for me.

So best of luck in your endeavors you looking to move into the PC/music server methodoloy! I hope that you can all be as happy as I am!
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will
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #35 - 09/10/11 at 18:08:32
 
Lon. It is awesome your PS setup sounds and works great! And your choices make sense to me. How much better it sounds than my mix and match setup, we can't say without putting them in the same room, though yours could easily have an edge. On the other hand, mine is not the ZDAC that your PS Audio gear smoked. You had yours with CD/blueray player front end. Mine has a very refined, tweaked out computer front end with error correction, a very refined software player with sampling and noise shaping, and other adjustments, an exceptional USB cable, and an async device before the DAC that nicely fleshes out the ZDAC-1. Also the PI audio power cable is amazing in for the ZDAC. Then the Zstage using very specific tubes offers a smooth richness and musicality with on the spot tonal and dynamics tweaking by volume riding with the Torii, and all this is put together with very careful cable synergy. So who knows how it compares with the PerfectWave setup, but it is extremely engaging.
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« Last Edit: 09/10/11 at 18:09:48 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, CSP3, TORII MkIV, Morrow SP-7, HR-1s...VHaudio DIY, Grover, MAC ICs...PSAudio P5 and Shunyata Defender, PI Audio and DIY power cables, HerbiesAudioLab isocups and tube dampers...
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Lon
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #36 - 09/10/11 at 18:21:05
 
Just want to say that the PerfectWave Duo has error correction, jitter free playback for Redbook (my biggest source and comparison), six filters to choose from, and non-oversampling or up to eight oversampling choices, etc. and a sliver HDMI cable for i2S and the top of the line PS Audio power cords which are stellar. So . .  I personally feel confident you'd prefer the PS Audio DAC, but you're right, we'd have to compare the two something that is not going to happen. However, the ZDAC is GREAT, but not quite what the PS Audio offers. Of that I'm sure.

Off to lunch! Happy listening.
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will
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #37 - 09/10/11 at 19:13:05
 
Lon, I would not be surprised if I preferred the PerfectWave duo. But like I was pointing to earlier, with the capabilities of the computer/software/async/DAC/tubestage front end I have pieced together, it theoretically accomplishes many of the things the PS system does, but also has a tube stage which I consider as part of my front end, has internet access, and is stream ready. And being component based, it is flexible for changing out individual pieces in the future. Also mine is designed to my tastes, though it may well be that I would agree with the PS Audio designer tastes and the quality of the PerfectWave combo as you do, but then it is about twice the price too! A ZDAC alone, it definitely is not though.

Wink
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« Last Edit: 09/10/11 at 19:15:47 by will »  

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Lon
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #38 - 09/10/11 at 19:38:43
 
Points take. You'd not need the Transport, so the price is halved. And I really am enjoying NOT having a tube line stage in between, that was just a bit too much for the system now with the Duo. I have absolutely no desire to have an internet connection with my system, or a "stream," so that has no value to me, but with a Bridge added the PS Audio could do that as well I believe.  Anyway, I'm glad we're both happy.
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Lon
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #39 - 09/10/11 at 20:50:22
 
I apologize, I think I've been a bit protective or perhaps just plain curmudgeonly today, and I hadn't meant it quite that way.

Or maybe I did. I do often enough just scratch my head in wonder and don't see why the move to PC is such a good idea. It doesn't really offer me important conveniences, I guess that's the real reason. The inconvenience of re-equipting, "re-loading," and "re-calibrating" is really big. And I did hear my system set up for a laptop by a digital engineer, and spend time with his Mac-Mini based-system in another room of my house. I didn't feel a need to shift for sonic reasons because I didn't hear a moving improvement. And I have this feeling sometimes it's going to ultimately put even more people out of work. Smiley I'd make a strong case of hanging tight with separate components, non-computer. for anyone who's happy with the sound they have and have reached that "I want to listen to all the wonderful music I have and don't want to fidget with my stereo system all the time" level of quality playback. I'll always fidget too much, but I'm getting it under control.  ;)

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« Last Edit: 09/10/11 at 20:51:38 by Lon »  

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will
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #40 - 09/10/11 at 21:24:00
 
Yes, I don't care about streaming either...just speaking to the context of the thread. And in your setup, I wouldn't care about the internet either, but since there is a computer in mine, I do like the internet and wifi connections for software and music downloads and for moving files around my network.

The PS Audio PerfectWave system looks and sounds like it is very elegant. And though I could not quite settle into the sales spiel for the Bridge, it does look like it is an excellent streaming system once you hook up to a file source on a network.

I don't think there is really any difference with a computer front or a transport in terms of fidgeting or the possibility of having a playback system that does well with various recording qualities. This seems more a matter of design and synergy toward that goal. So to me, whether one likes to play around with gear or not does not really play into this. Actually, my system is very tolerant of various recordings, fidget free, and all I have to do now is double click a file or playlist to play it. I  prefer this to having a mass of CDs in my small space to sort through. I do occasionally wish I could easily look at the player list or something for finding new music, but if necessary I will look later. I like the pictures and stories too, but mostly I am in it for the music, so a computer is good for me. To each his own, they both have pluses and minuses at this point.

By the way, I finally got some pairs of RCA and Sylvania straight bottle 5U4Gs and first impressions are very good. I am particularly enjoying the Sylvanias in the tube set I have just now! Both are musical, textural, and have a nice, and real bottom, so thanks for the pointer.
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« Last Edit: 09/10/11 at 21:26:20 by will »  

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Lon
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #41 - 09/10/11 at 21:41:12
 
We must leave no stone unturned! Every type! Every brand! Smiley

Regarding the fidgeting: if you are in a curmudgeonly manner and have a big resource of material and are very happy with your non-computer-based system the very act of moving to a computer-based-system could seem a herculean effort, and I can only see from my vantage and walk with my shoes, but I know that on the other side I'd start a whole new series of fidgeting and discovery through futzing about . . . . I don't dispute that this is something many audiophiles might do anyway, but if you somehow have managed to calm that itch down, a drastic system change (including source material, and a lot of attendant learning pains) that leads to a long time of increased fidgeting may seem unnecessary. Smiley
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beowulf
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #42 - 09/10/11 at 22:15:47
 
Quote:
@ beowulf: you are mistaken about Apple music. It is no longer DRM'ed. And even if it was, that has nothing to do with choice of hardware. I buy my music from other sources. Nothing about that has anything to do with my choice of Mac hardware.


Pale Rider, my bad ... I thought I read somewhere that Apple TV does not allow the streaming of DRM free music and movies, but I could have twisted that up somehow as I can't seem to find the link that was talking about that.

I also agree, I'm not ready to give up my discs, but look at stored music for it's convienence and accessibility (I do enjoy thumbing through my cd's too much to give them up) ... however, the link that "will" gave us in his first post http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=74816.0 (yes, I read through all 46 pages) is making an excellent argument to stored media edging out CD's especially when using the USB interface ...

Until reading that thread I didn't put a huge amount of thought into the fact that the CD does not extract every bit of the sound file, instead it pulls data off in streaming mode (in real time) and when errors occur the missing data is just interpolated, in comparison to when a music file is being read by a hard drive the drives reads the computer file without loss of information and implemented with USB interconnectivity -- USB does not carry timing from the computer, it just carries a "start of frame" signal to let the DAC know when to start and buffer the packets of music data.  So, while jitter is never reduced to zero, it is reduced to one singular area  that a correctly setup DAC can compensate for.

Anyways, thanks for all the cool posts everybody, great thread!
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Donnie
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #43 - 09/10/11 at 22:38:49
 
I must admit that the main reason for my transformation to what I will call "memory based" listening is the end of the physical handling of the media. I would love all of the hours back that I have spent searching for albums, cleaning albums, setting up my turntable..... I now think of something I want to listen to, push a few buttons, ta da, the music I wanted. I will also admit that 99% of my listening anymore is off of my Ipod just because of the convenience. Lazyness is creeping into my life at a rapid pace.
Last night I conducted a test between my computer and my Ipod, I hooked them both up to my ZDAC-1, USB from the 'puter and Coax from my Wadia 170i. I then played the same file from both, a WAV. of The Black Crowes. The Ipod kicked my computer's ass. Now I will admit that I haven't played around with cables or all of the other variables that can influence computer sound, but out of the box the Ipod/Wadia combo wins. The Ipod was much less congested, the treble sparkled more and the bass was stronger. I should also mention that my hearing might have been off a bit because I had shot off a couple of hundred rounds out of my Kimber .45 earlier. Yes, I had both ear plugs in and muffs on, but loud noise is loud noise.
I might have to look into the Apple Mini approch. Looking on Ebay I saw that I could buy one for $500-$600, not too bad a price.
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« Last Edit: 09/10/11 at 23:10:31 by Donnie »  

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Lon
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Re: MUSIC SERVERS
Reply #44 - 09/10/11 at 22:52:45
 
Well, I understand, but I actually really enjoy the searching my collection, etc. Part of the process for me.

I'd be interested to hear whether these differences were as pronounced if you swapped the coaxial and optical connections. I find optical cables to be very different one to another and to coaxial. I never really liked optical til someone here mentioned a glass optical cable and that opened up optical for me; it is very clearly better than any other optical cable I'd used. And a thirty dollar glass optical cable rivals the sound from a one hundred dollar coaxial cable. .. which was not the case with the other cables.
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