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She's back home (Read 5853 times)
Pale Rider
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She's back home
03/03/13 at 04:07:16
 
And what a difference it makes. Home theatre is amazingly better with the Ultra back in the system. And while I am without my second Torii, I am enjoying the dynamics the Ultra restores. That, plus getting the Zektor configured so it permits fully remote switching between the PWD, the Oppo, the Apple TV, and the Comcast DVR (through the Outlaw 975) makes for a very nice setup.

Steve, thanks for getting her fixed.
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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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Lon
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Re: She's back home
Reply #1 - 03/03/13 at 13:44:18
 
Awesome! I know that you missed her. I marvel at how I used to make very effort possible to avoid using a preamp and have a "pure direct" signal (mainly a reaction I think to the sound of solid state preamps) and how now I would have to have my CSP2+s and my CSP2 pried from my cold dead fingers. Wink The ZBox I have was doing part of the work for a while, but when the CSP2 hit and I finally realized all that it can do for a system (it took me too long to master the gain settings) that opened up for me the "breath of life" a wonderful preamp can add to a system. So much so that I found myself not listening to the one source that I have that was not able to be routed through one of the two inputs of the CSP2+ as much. . . and finally bought another and yes, listening to that source right now and it now has the mojo.

I'm sure the Ultra is a fantastic machine and if I were using surround sound I'd have to have one. . . .
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,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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beowulf
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Re: She's back home
Reply #2 - 03/05/13 at 01:14:09
 
Hi PR, what exactly does the Zektor do and how is it integrated into your system?  Also, I was wondering when you get some time because I know this is probably a doozie of a question, but ...   Smiley

Can you tell us all the gear that is incorporated into your Home Theater Setup and how it's used and setup?

I think it would be great to have a full blown guide on how to do this with Decware gear and the Ultra in particular.  I know there's more than one way to skin a cat, but it would be cool to have a starting point.   Smiley

Thanks!
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Pale Rider
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Re: She's back home
Reply #3 - 03/05/13 at 02:44:14
 
@beowulf, sure thing; I can sketch that out. On your first question, the Zektor serves as two distinct sets of switches. It is an amazing unit, extremely well-built. I tried two other Zektor units, and a couple of other boxes from Monoprice and HDTV Supply. This is the only thing that fit the bill, and it was the hardest to get. Took me something like 7 months of auto-Google searches. When I see them in the used market, they are often priced above retail.

The switches are all passive relays, no ICs or anything like that to mess up the sound. They make a mechanical click when switching, but no signal noise, and thus no annoying amplifier surge or speaker thump. It can serve as a switch for three sets of 7.1 inputs, or—and this is the real beauty when it comes to integrating with the Ultra—it can serve as two banks of three switches for both 5.1 and 2.0. So, if you have a 5.1 home theatre like I do, but you have sources like the Oppo that also have a quality stereo output, and the PWD that is stereo only, I can use the Zektor to switch among various 5.1 sources like the Oppo, AppleTV and Comcast DVR, and also the stereo sources of the Oppo, the PWD, and the soon-to-be-added DSD DAC.

So, the Zektor feeds the Ultra, which only has one set of 5.1 inputs, but also has three additional stereo inputs. I don't actually need the Zektor to accommodate the stereo-only inputs, but its switching and remote control add convenience. When I add in the DSPeaker Anti-Mode, then the Zektor wil be even more handy, because I will be able to switch all stereo sources through the DSP into one of the stereo inputs of the Ultra.

I'll add some more detail in a subsequent post, but thanks for asking.
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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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Pale Rider
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Re: She's back home
Reply #4 - 03/05/13 at 03:35:08
 
Not sure this little drawing will help, but I hope so. The orange lines indicate 5.1 signal lines, and the blue lines indicate 2.0 signal.
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« Last Edit: 03/05/13 at 16:27:20 by Pale Rider »  

PaleRiderHomeTheaterSchematic.jpg

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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Pale Rider
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Re: She's back home
Reply #5 - 03/05/13 at 13:40:21
 
Lon observed:
Quote:
Awesome! I know that you missed her. I marvel at how I used to make very effort possible to avoid using a preamp and have a "pure direct" signal (mainly a reaction I think to the sound of solid state preamps) and how now I would have to have my CSP2+s and my CSP2 pried from my cold dead fingers.

I understand the "best preamp is no preamp" school of thought, something BTW to which Paul McGowan subscribes. In the abstract, it makes perfect sense. But just as "flat response" can indeed sound flat, as opposed to accurate, the right preamp can indeed breathe life into a system. I love my PWD, but it sounds more dynamic with the Ultra between it and the Torii. Straight in, it sounds great; with the Ultra, it sounds superb. As Steve notes in his Ultra materials, it is an amazing two-channel preamp, as well as a home theater preamp. Even if I did not have home theater, I would be happy I acquired it.
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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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Lon
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"Love without
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worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

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Re: She's back home
Reply #6 - 03/05/13 at 14:49:35
 
I really enjoy the sound of the PWD Mk II straight into the Torii Mk III with my best cables, very clean and natural and dynamic. But my DVR just doesn't put out enough output to satisfy several TV watchers I have visit, and the great flexible gain that the CSP2+ provides fixes that and I love the sound of ti in the mix as well. Fleshes the sound out, which I am not sure is more or as accurate as the PWD Mk II straight in, but it sure is nice.

And I've never tried the ZP3 straight into the Torii, but the ZP3 to CSP2+ to Torii chain is an amazing sound I won't live without now!
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,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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Pale Rider
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Re: She's back home
Reply #7 - 03/05/13 at 16:22:07
 
When I get the new DACs in, I will probably redirect the Zektor 2.0 output straight to the front Torii, just for comparison listening. As you know, the PWD makes a heckuva preamp in its own right, and I suspect it will be better in the analog domain than either the Mytek or exaSound. I have some recordings in both hi-res 192/24 PCM files and DSD, and I plan to compare those that way.
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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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Lon
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"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7504
Re: She's back home
Reply #8 - 03/05/13 at 17:12:10
 
Cool. I've very limited experience with hi res as for the PWD the source needs to be on DVD-R and I don't have a way to burn wav to DVD-R. And I'm not a fan of computer audio files.

Seems like you're going to be well set up.
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,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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Pale Rider
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Re: She's back home
Reply #9 - 03/05/13 at 18:09:55
 
Lon explained:
Quote:
And I'm not a fan of computer audio files.

Lon, refresh my recollection: you don't have the Bridge installed in your PWD, right? Without the Bridge, I would probably feel same way.
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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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Lon
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"Love without
guts is
worthless!"
Philip K. D*ck

Posts: 7504
Re: She's back home
Reply #10 - 03/05/13 at 18:21:09
 
No, I don't have the bridge because I don't use a computer or a computer network for music.
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Decware:ERR,HR-1,ZP3,CSP2+,Torii Mk III,PS Audio PWT+DS,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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beowulf
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Re: She's back home
Reply #11 - 03/06/13 at 01:50:53
 
Quote:
PR
Not sure this little drawing will help, but I hope so. The orange lines indicate 5.1 signal lines, and the blue lines indicate 2.0 signal.


Wow, it's actually a pretty awesome layout!  Thanks for the walkthrough, this is a great reference to have if ever planning this far.

Few questions please:

1. Is the Outlaw neccessary with the Oppo BDP-105 and Zektor Combo?

2. What are you using the Apple TV for (i.e. for wireless connectivity streaming of certain files)?  It seems like the Oppo could take care of most of that as well.

3. Do you have a PC, Mac or NAS somewhere within this mix ... and is the PWD, Oppo and DSD Dac connected directly to the PC, through USB, a Network (ethernet or wireless) or somehow through the Zektor?

Thanks!
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« Last Edit: 03/06/13 at 05:50:38 by beowulf »  
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Pale Rider
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Re: She's back home
Reply #12 - 03/06/13 at 06:21:43
 
beowulf asked:
Quote:
1. Is the Outlaw neccessary with the Oppo BDP-105 and Zektor Combo?

Not at all. I originally bought the Outlaw when it came on the market as a possible upgrade to the previous Dolby decoder/Switch, and as a brief substitute for the Ultra while it was in the shop. I already had a Dolby Digital decoder to run the audio outputs from the Comcast DVR and the AppleTV, but the Outlaw seemed a better arrangement, because it took HDMI in [video and audio], and allowed me to split out the 5.1 and send it to the Ultra, while sending the video straight to my display. And it had a decent FM tuner I wanted to add.

I had originally hoped the Oppo 105 could assume the task of accepting cable & Apple TV inputs, and eventually, it might, but right now, its lip-sync issues remain a problem, and while Oppo is committed to fixing them through firmware upgrades, so far, they have not been successful. Also, the Oppo only has 2 HDMI inputs, one of which is on the front panel, and I really do not like front panel cable inputs. So, for me the Outlaw is a bit of a "necessary luxury."

Quote:
2. What are you using the Apple TV for (i.e. for wireless connectivity streaming of certain files)?  It seems like the Oppo could take care of most of that as well.

The AppleTV syncs up and makes content available from our significant [4tb] iTunes audio and video libraries. At this, the Oppo pretty much sucks, as its network playback is not only not as robust as I would like, but it won't play back AIFF files [a preposterous limitation in my view] or many DRM-protected files [a more understandable one, but not very helpful considering the amount of such content I own].

Quote:
3. Do you have a PC, Mac or NAS somewhere within this mix ... and is the PWD, Oppo and DSD Dac connected directly to the PC, through USB, a Network (ethernet or wireless) or somehow through the Zektor?

I have a Synology DiskStation 411+ in an 8tb RAID-array. It does both Time Machine backups for all the Macs in the house, as well as serving as a separate iTunes & media server. There is also a 2012 Mac mini connected via Ethernet to a bridged Airport Extreme to the network. The mini hosts a third copy of the entire music library. The PWD is connected via Ethernet to the same bridge, so that neither communicates with the other over WiFi. The Mac mini runs PS Audio's eLyric Music Manager software to stream to the Bridge in the PWD. EMM is managed through iOS devices and apps. The mini is headless, and is managed remotely through any of the other Macs. The mini will also be connected to the various new DSD DACs I will be trying, either through Firewire in the case of the Mytek, or USB in the case of the exaSound and Invicta. For playback of DSD, I will use Audirvana Plus, or eventually JRiver Media Center for Mac OS X as the alpha release starts to get closer to a beta. Current alpha will not stream and it downsamples hi-res [kinda defeats all the purposes].

Hope that helps!
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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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Pale Rider
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Re: She's back home
Reply #13 - 03/06/13 at 17:31:04
 
BTW, I don't want to sound like I am dissing the Lumin. I am not. I think it is potentially a very good product. But for a big old hot mess of the problems that go along with this sort of device, check out this thread at Computer Audiophile.

In fairness, many of the problems discussed there are endemic to the entire streaming product category. Not for the faint-hearted.

That 6Moons had a wonderful listening experience, I do not doubt. That it may be difficult to replicate for many early customers, I would be willing to bet on.
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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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beowulf
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Re: She's back home
Reply #14 - 03/06/13 at 21:21:58
 
This answers most of my questions and gives me an excellent run down of how to do a Network Music and Home Theater setup.  I really appreciate your time and you have given some good ideas on how to do my setup as well ... although not as extensive as what you have going here Smiley

Quote:
PR
BTW, I don't want to sound like I am dissing the Lumin. I am not. I think it is potentially a very good product. But for a big old hot mess of the problems that go along with this sort of device, check out this thread at Computer Audiophile.


Oh no, not at all ... I can imagine it has quite a few bugs to work out being just released a couple of months ago.  It's out of my price range anyways and to be honest, I would probably take the PerfectWave DAC over it (if my funds permitted it) ... although it would be cool if the PWD updated to allow the DSD streaming because after reading the 6 moons review and speaking to you on the forums, DSD has really peaked my interest!
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« Last Edit: 03/06/13 at 21:32:51 by beowulf »  
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