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Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in (Read 6791 times)
will
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #15 - 01/15/12 at 04:58:36
 
Hey Fireblade,

Man, I bet you will have fun getting to know your new gear. It seems to me the Mini Torri or any of the Decware amps could work well with or without a Zstage. But with the Mini Torris internal pre gain, it sounds like additional gain may not be necessary. But this might not rule out the riding the gain with a Zstage as a refinement tool.

If your tube choice and source cause the Mini to max out in the 12-2 o'clock zone, in terms of riding the gains, I would think it would be the similar to my setup. With music, I rarely turn my Torii up over 1 o'clock...it gets too loud!

If you go there, you could start with the Mini Torii gain point wherever the volume sounds right, and with a 12AU7 in the Zstage, I think neutral gain is about 12 o'clock. Say the Torii volume sounds good at 10 o'clock, and your optimal baseline for the Zstage is 12 o'clock. To add weight and punch you could ride the Stage to 1 or so while riding the Mini Torii to 9 o'clock or so, keeping the volume relatively the same, but tuning the sound values with the gain riding. Or the opposite to lean/open the sound. Not having a Mini Torii, I can't talk from experience, but unless there is some odd incompatibility with the internal Mini Torii gain setup, I would think it would work if you decided later that you could benefit from the Zstage. Ask Steve though.

But you have loads of flexibility in what you will have without a Zstage. With your treble cut, tube choices, cables and so on, your thought to hang with exploring the amp and new speakers with the front end you have until you get a handle on them should be plenty involving.

I think you will be amazed what the Decware gear will do for your front end. And with the Mini's built in pre, various voltage sources sound easy.

You will be covered by a world class amp and speakers. And maybe your room is treated, but if not, it is said that something like 40% of your sound quality is room. Then there is the adage ....."the source is the most important component in good sounding systems." After your AC, this includes, source files, their delivery system (source gear), and interconnects. For example, a CD quality music file played through a great transport, or that is ripped without compression and with error correction software, then delivered through a transparent server with good software.... with good cabling...this can sound as good as it gets source-wise. The music is delivered as it was mastered. Anything that gets in the way of the above will be perceivable if you are able to do direct comparisons.

And what feeds and conveys it all.....AC power, then IC, power, and speaker cables can really make differences too. Then there is vibration control! It all matters with this highly revealing gear.

Luckily though, by comparison to a lot of gear, it will sound really great without all this seeming peripheral stuff. But then if you want to go deeper, it is fun to explore.  I look forward to your sense of it once you amp and speakers are broken in and arranged to your satisfaction!
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« Last Edit: 01/15/12 at 05:03:21 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, TORII MkIV, MorrowAudio SP7 cables, 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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Fireblade
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #16 - 01/15/12 at 14:52:39
 
Thanks again. will.  You sure made it clear for me.

Too thin/lean music from source: Down with the Mini's volume setting and up with the ZStage volume setting, to get punch and dynamics (gain reserve build-up).  If the source music is too boomy/heavy, go the other way around, always from the original neutral settings, on both components.  That's clear enough and I understand why it works now.

I had replaced my Hi-Fi DVD player in my current SS setup with the USB/DAC some time ago, streaming music from my laptop (Windows-optimized for music streaming), and Man, the difference is about 20% improvement!  My files now are all FLAC or APE, as I'm converting all my  CD collection to FLAC files (EAC-FLAC). I'm already hearing things that weren't there before!

This, with a not so Hi-Fi SS setup.  That's why I'm investing in the Decware gear.  Great expectations! It's going to be a thrilling break-in period for me with these toys to play with.  Only when I'm sure it w'ont get any better, I'll try to incorporate the ZStage.  I think after listening room resonance control, this is the next best improvement step.

Evidently, I lack familiarity with tube rolling, so there's also a big opportunity there, to create different flavors and find my own ideal combination.  What a hobbie!

Hey will, thanks again for your input.  Take care ...

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will
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #17 - 01/15/12 at 15:44:08
 
Yes, great music production is a great and fun passion! Have you compared FLAC to uncompressed error corrected WAV files. Though FLAC is theoretically lossless, and if one can't hear the the difference, why change. But if you can, with drives as cheap as they are now, I use uncompressed, error corrected AIFF (Mac) files, the exact files from the CD master. Also, I have found that, as my gear and cables have improved, the differences in everything show up more, and since even subtle refinements are important to me, I am glad to start with the pure file.
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« Last Edit: 01/15/12 at 15:45:19 by will »  

Mac mini, Tranquility DAC, modded Oppo 83, TORII MkIV, MorrowAudio SP7 cables, 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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Fireblade
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #18 - 01/15/12 at 16:30:32
 
I was under the impression FLAC-compressed files were indeed lossless.  I know EAC creates the intermediate uncompressed WAV files before requesting final compression by FLAC.  I also know the relative disk space utilization is very high with uncompressed, so I assumed there was no point in getting them uncompressed and save some hard memory.

If it's true there's a noticeable difference, I would pay the hard memory price also, but it's the first time I learn about this.  

Now, I'm not sure I follow the 'error correction' part of your argument on uncompressed.  Presumably, EAC by default compares contents and reports accuracy levels at several std. deviations.  If it has info on it's database to correct errors, it will automatically.

If I just skip the last FLAC compression step, the uncompressed would be already corrected and accurate (unless reported with errors).  Am I right?  In this case I would submit the EAC process for only uncompressed (no FLAC).

I'm wondering if my music player (KMP) handles those ...
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will
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #19 - 01/15/12 at 17:08:06
 
If you look around there is question about even "lossless" compression. But let your ears be your guide. When I first started with computer serving, I could hear it comparing Apple Lossless to AIFF. I don't know why, it may just be the extra processing to put the compressed file into playback with subtle effects from realtime processing and/or on noise in the computer that carries into the signal out. I have not really looked into the details of the "controversy" simply because I heard it, and subtle though it may be, with the minimal cost of drives, I never looked back wanting as little compromise as I could get.

Since I use Mac, I am not familiar with EAC software, but it does sound like it does error correction, so presumably you are good there.

It could be fun to run a few really good recordings using FLAC "lossless" compression, and the same tunes without, and just see what you think. There are a lot of folks using Apple Lossless or FLAC, and lot who use the original file format uncompressed.

Might be interesting to check it with your present system, and then check it with your new Decware stuff. I think a lot of times when we can't hear stuff, it is because of some truncation of the music files as they go through whatever gear we use.

If it is from a standard redbook CD, the pre-Flac file would be 44.1K/16 bit and called WAV (the Windows protocol for files that have not been compressed). I would be surprised if your player would not play WAV files, but you could check.
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« Last Edit: 01/15/12 at 17:10:39 by will »  

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Pale Rider
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #20 - 01/15/12 at 19:01:24
 
Like Will, I am a Mac guy. But I have used EAC and it is quite good. When ripping files, I store everything as uncompressed AIFF. I am not a FLAC fan, so I use Max to convert those files to AIFF, making sure to preserve bit depth. I usually use Rip or Max to rip. Both can use the CD Paranoia engine, but Rip can check its rips against the AccurateRip database and it compensates well for optical drive inconsistencies. I like AIFF as a file format because it lets me use iTunes for my manager and for tagging. I stopped using iTunes for ripping when many rips failed AccurateRip checking. And with today's cheap storage, I don't see ALAC as offering any advantage. Using truly uncompressed files avoids the processor issues Will notes. And while there are a few players or renderers that don't play AIFF (I am looking at you Oppo and MSB), if need be, they can be transcoded (but I don't like that solution; some servers transcode poorly). Overall, the advantages significantly outweigh the disadvantages on the Mac platform.
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Fireblade
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #21 - 01/15/12 at 19:15:13
 
In general, it makes all the sense in the world to try and limit any compression whatsoever (as it is to avoid additional processing of the original source material).  The point is, I thought everybody agreed that FLAC (or lossless equivalents like Ape) had been tested in a bit-by-bit basis, with the conclusion that there were no differences (arrays of 0's & 1's don't lie, nor are subject to 'interpretation.')  So, theoretically at least, FLAC (equivalents) would be the minimum memory-using format still being 'lossless.'

Regarding testing your hypothesis, I've already begun re-copying some of my best sounding files to WAV, from the original discs.  I'll see if I find differences with their counterparts in FLAC (maybe my ears are not that sensitive anymore, maybe they are, who knows?)  I'll let you know.  If you are right, the main drawback would not be precisely the hard disk memory costs, but having to re-do all my collection again into WAV!

Checked Wikipedia for WAV compatibility/support by KMP, and yes it handles them also (great little tool this player, BTW).  I definitely understand/share the motives for your precautionary strategy, and I will try to see if I detect differences.  Later ...









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Pale Rider
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #22 - 01/15/12 at 21:27:40
 
Quote:
The point is, I thought everybody agreed that FLAC (or lossless equivalents like Ape) had been tested in a bit-by-bit basis, with the conclusion that there were no differences (arrays of 0's & 1's don't lie, nor are subject to 'interpretation.')  So, theoretically at least, FLAC (equivalents) would be the minimum memory-using format still being 'lossless.'


Well, I am not sure everybody agrees (this is audio, after all), but I do think the objective tests show that FLAC and ALAC files reproduce the same sound files as their uncompressed WAV, AIFF, and .cdr counterparts. That doesn't mean the process of playback doesn't impart colorations, jitter, etc. It just means the potential outcome can be the same. From my point of view, the ripping process is critical. Once the "not-quite-1s-and-0s-pits" on the CD are accurately ripped, then I think you're in pretty good shape. Once the file is truly digital, then moving the file, backing it up, and checking its integrity is much easier.
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will
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #23 - 01/15/12 at 21:43:30
 
The sound that comes from your computer is not all 1's and 0's. If it were, all servers, async transmission versus non-async, and all cables would sound alike, and they don't. If I get it correctly, one issue is the processors ability to process from compressed to non-compressed, and then convey those "exactly the same" 1's and 0's in exactly the correct time with the DAC. Another is noise. There are analog aspects of the computer to DAC conveyance in which noise can be a big deal. This is why all the tweaked out servers use the computer processor for as little as possible, focussing only on the music....to help it to come out quiet and pure as they can get it.

But I am no expert on this...I am satisfied with what I hear and care little about the naysayers who try to use limited scientific information and knowledge to tell us the sound differences that we can hear are not real because "they are all 1's and 0's." I get the idea, but if it doesn't play out with sound, it just isn't real...There are a lot developers out there that have theories on why it is not all 1's and 0's and if I were one of them, I would take the discussion more seriously.

I imagine FLAC uses similar computer memory to uncompressed files since the processor has to make the compressed file back to the original as it plays it???? But compressed files definitely use less hard disk storage space.

I am not all that concerned about being right, I know what I hear and how my reasoning works, and am good with that. But if you or anyone else can hear a difference and it is worth it to you, then my experience will have helped you get better sound. If one can't hear the difference, or the difference is not worth the hard drive space, that is fine with me too. But if for one of many possible reasons, one can't hear the difference and uses incomplete information to explain why what I hear is not real, this is where I get pissy. Less because it hurts my feelings, but because this kind of attitude holds back creative process and new growth in knowledge. I prefer "science' that says, hmmm, there is something here I can't explain, I would be fun to find out what it is!

I look forward to your listening tests!

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will
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #24 - 01/15/12 at 21:49:09
 
Sorry for the redundancy with your post Greg...I just write and post, and I am a slow typer and not too efficient with words! Jeez there could be ten posts by the time I get a response out!
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Lon
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #25 - 01/15/12 at 22:34:46
 
will, I can't vouch for your typing speed, but you seriously under-represent your way with words. Smiley You have a very SOLID way of expressing yourself understandably.
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will
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #26 - 01/15/12 at 22:40:11
 
Fireblade....I wonder. If you find you are interested in converting your FLACs to uncompressed WAV or AIFF, it seems to me that I have tried programs that can batch process files. My current ripper, XLD, does not, but I wonder if EAC could do this?
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will
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #27 - 01/15/12 at 22:42:08
 
Thank you Lon. I am glad to hear that! I just get frustrated that my posts end up so long a lot of times.
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Lon
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #28 - 01/15/12 at 23:06:57
 
Well, there's little fat to trim. They're "healthy" reading. Wink
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will
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Re: Compounded Mini Torii/MD945's break-in
Reply #29 - 01/15/12 at 23:27:00
 
Hmmm...... "healthy" fat!
Roll Eyes
Wink
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« Last Edit: 01/15/12 at 23:27:32 by will »  

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