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Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper (Read 1601 times)
Randy in Caintuck
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Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
05/14/14 at 18:52:15
 
If anyone reading this is already familiar with these products, just chalk it up to Randy in Caintuck being "late to the party" once again .....

If you are not familiar with the products, methinks that you are in for an audio treat.

Despite the fact that many readers of the forum are vinyl buffs or have set up computer based audio systems, the venerable RedBook CD format refuses to go away and there are still many of us with extensive (and growing) collections of CDs.

I have been very happy with my digital front end and was just introduced to something that has made it even better ..... much, much better in fact. During my past several visits to the home of Parker Audio Dave, I was greatly impressed with the sound he is getting from his "big rig". I was actually hearing some things from his system that were lacking in my system, despite the fact that our digital front ends and amplification are almost identical.

Dave's Excalibur speakers are truly superb, but my various speakers are nothing shabby so I was thinking to myself that there was something else at play that was giving me a severe case of "audio envy".

Last night, Dave paid a visit to my listening room and brought with him something that I'm convinced is at least partially responsible for the incredible sound I am hearing at his place (and now at my place) ..... the TruVoice CD dampers from Digital Systems & Solutions.

I was already using another brand of damping disk in my CEC belt drive transport which does improve the sound a bit ..... but nothing on the level of what the Digital Systems & Solutions product does.

Up to now, I would never have believed that something this "simple" could have this level of impact on the sound ..... but, hearing is believing ..... and I am now a believer.

Please notice that I said "simple", not "cheap" ..... and these dampers are not in the latter camp.
There are two versions, a blue one at 129.00 and a red one at 249.00.
According to George at Digital Systems & Solutions, one works better in some systems and the other better in other systems ..... or a combination of the two in yet some other systems.

Dave and I spent a couple of hours listening to music that we are VERY familiar with and wouldn't you know it ..... the more expensive red disk worked heads and shoulders better in my system .....  

I really wish that I could say the improvements to my system are subtle, but they are not.
All of the audio descriptors and buzzwords apply to what the damper does for the music .....
1 - It eliminates almost all (if not all) of the annoying "edge" on CDs that have one ..... while actually improving detail ..... amazing .....
2 - Increases bass response while "tightening" it at the same time and making it more tuneful and coherent.
3 - To my ears, cymbals have always been a weak spot in digital recordings ..... the damper adds some serious realism to cymbals.
4 - More silent background.
5 - Wider and deeper image with more (and better defined) space between instruments and vocals.
6 - Improved low level detail.

The music has a sense of "ease" that does not exist when the damper is removed. I was able to push the volume beyond what was formerly possible with no fatigue ..... simply put, the overall sound is more musical and believable.

The longer we listened and the more the amplifier warmed up, the better everything sounded.

I have never been a big believer in every "tweak" that comes down the road and frankly have found many of them to be disappointing over the years ..... but to me, this is the real deal.

Dave is of the opinion that one of the main functions of the damper is to reduce "jitter" ..... and I think he is right about this.

$250.00 might sound like a lot of money for a "piece of plastic", but this is one very special piece of plastic .....

*George has informed me that the damper is actually a "proprietary carbon fiber and filler combination" of his design *

Digital Systems & Solutions is so certain that you will hear a big improvement that they offer a very unusual warranty :
"A money back guarantee that includes shipping both ways plus $10.00" if you don't like the product.

http://audiogeorge.com/

Highly recommended.

Randy
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« Last Edit: 05/14/14 at 19:48:25 by Randy in Caintuck »  

CEC TL-2 belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
Decware Model SE84C+ amplifier
Greenvalve Audio Type 10 amplifier
Parker Audio Troll Magnus speakers
"Mini Me" OBs - with Hawthorne Augies, Wild Burro Betsy drivers and Heil AMTs
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DBC
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Re: Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
Reply #1 - 05/15/14 at 15:51:29
 
Has anyone tried the Super Black Hole mat from Herbies Audio ???  I have no experience with these mats but Randy's post prompted me to do a Google search.

http://herbiesaudiolab.net/cdmat.htm
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mark58
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Re: Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
Reply #2 - 05/15/14 at 16:08:54
 
That looks interesting and much more affordable than the previous poster's CD mats.  I might get the grunge buster mat too at $10.. Once I have my HR-1s broken in and other things dialed in, I'll make a large Herbies order for isocups, tenderfeet, turn table mat and these CD mats...and anything else I can think of.  Any more suggestions from current users?  Mark.
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« Last Edit: 05/15/14 at 16:10:33 by mark58 »  
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seikosha
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Re: Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
Reply #3 - 05/15/14 at 17:26:28
 
Is it safe to assume that in using these that there is no danger of the mat jamming up in the cd transport?  That would be my biggest worry.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
Reply #4 - 05/15/14 at 19:35:36
 
Hey guys,

I have used several of the Herbie's products over the years with good success .... and currently own the Black Hole damper.

It does a good job ..... but IMHO this is one of those situations where you get what you pay for.  The TruVoice damper improves the sound to a much greater degree in my system.

I originally purchased the Super Black Hole damper because I just could not justify paying 250.00 for a CD damper ..... however, when Dave brought his to my listening room it took all of 30 seconds for me to decide that it is money well spent.

As always, your mileage may vary, but to me the warranty offered by the vendor takes any risk out of the situation.

As to the damper jamming in the transport, my primary transport is a top loading belt drive unit ..... however, I also own an Onyx (Music Hall) front loading player.  I tried the damper in the Onyx with no problems.

Happy listening,

Randy
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« Last Edit: 05/15/14 at 19:38:43 by Randy in Caintuck »  

CEC TL-2 belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
Decware Model SE84C+ amplifier
Greenvalve Audio Type 10 amplifier
Parker Audio Troll Magnus speakers
"Mini Me" OBs - with Hawthorne Augies, Wild Burro Betsy drivers and Heil AMTs
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4krow
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Re: Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
Reply #5 - 05/15/14 at 19:37:53
 
I have never had such  a problem with jamming, but some of the heavier mats may be an added burden to the drive motor of the CD transport.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
Reply #6 - 05/15/14 at 19:40:09
 
Hi 4krow,

Both the blue and red dampers are very light weight ..... whatever the material is, it is low mass.

Randy
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CEC TL-2 belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
Decware Model SE84C+ amplifier
Greenvalve Audio Type 10 amplifier
Parker Audio Troll Magnus speakers
"Mini Me" OBs - with Hawthorne Augies, Wild Burro Betsy drivers and Heil AMTs
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
Reply #7 - 05/15/14 at 21:47:32
 
An additional thought .....

I must admit that the thought of paying 250.00 for a CD damper will certainly raise some eyebrows ..... even among hard core music lovers.

However, after thinking about this I have come to this conclusion .....

Over the years, I have owned several different DACs ranging from some very inexpensive ones to a Zanden 5000 MK IV ($10,000.00 retail price).

I can say with certainty that the difference this damper makes in my system is as great as the difference between the worst DAC I owned and the Zanden.

I currently use a Camelot Uther DAC (with current updates) because it sounds as good to my ears as the Zanden did with less concern for maintenance if something bad happened to the Zanden and I would have had to ship it back to Japan for service.  Even so, the Zanden was a SUPERB sounding piece.

So, would I spend $250.00 for a great sounding DAC ?
In a New York minute I would .....

If that is the case, for $250.00 the TruVoice damper is a bargain.

I have heard this damper in two different systems and it works in both of them.  With the money back guarantee, it is certainly worth hearing for anyone who is serious about CD playback.

Randy
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CEC TL-2 belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
Decware Model SE84C+ amplifier
Greenvalve Audio Type 10 amplifier
Parker Audio Troll Magnus speakers
"Mini Me" OBs - with Hawthorne Augies, Wild Burro Betsy drivers and Heil AMTs
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maddog07
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Re: Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
Reply #8 - 05/16/14 at 02:21:35
 
Hi Randy.... long time no talk... this is Mike in KC

I speculate the damper likely has a "flywheel effect" on the spinning disk thus stabilizing speed, in vinyl terms reducing wow & flutter which in CD terms is reduction of jitter.  

Take all your CD's and transfer them to a "hard disk" or solid state drive... and play them back from that source and I am almost certain you will experience the exact same type of "difference"(improvement) you've described with the disk damper.

I had trouble accepting that my music sounded better when sourced from my sever than it did from my very competent CD transport(Theta w/stable platter) - all other variables remained constant.  I had such cognitive dissonance over this, that I sprung it on four of my audio buds without them knowing what I was doing to see "if they noticed"... they did - everyone of them.  So I'm pretty confident this is not a psychoacoustic phenomenon.

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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
Reply #9 - 05/16/14 at 12:47:31
 
Howdy Mike,

Good to hear from you .....

Normally, I would agree 100% on the "flywheel effect" thought ..... but, my transport is a top loading, belt drive CEC which uses a heavy metal puck on top of the CD.  The TruVoice damper is extremely light, so I don't think it is contributing much to the (already excellent) flywheel effect.

I used to own a Camelot Morganna CD player (used as a transport) which used the stable platter mechanism.  It was a very fine transport ..... but I like the CEC even better.  There is something special about it and I love what it does for the music.  Almost analog .....

On a different note, I have been corresponding with David at Audio Nirvana and he is getting ready to release two new drivers in his "Classic" series ..... a 10" and a 12" to accompany the existing 8" version.

No whizzer cone ..... no phase plug .....

I'm excited and looking forward to hearing them .....

Best wishes,

Randy
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CEC TL-2 belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
Decware Model SE84C+ amplifier
Greenvalve Audio Type 10 amplifier
Parker Audio Troll Magnus speakers
"Mini Me" OBs - with Hawthorne Augies, Wild Burro Betsy drivers and Heil AMTs
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Re: Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
Reply #10 - 05/16/14 at 16:00:54
 

I agree with Mike, I was stunned when my ripped music sounded better than the original CD on my Oppo. I even wrote Oppo about it after the AVScience guys laughed me out of their forums, and Oppo agreed with me that the reduced jitter of a ripped copy is why I'm hearing better sound.

Not only do I playback my music off hard drive, but I got a USB powered hard drive so I have no (cheap) external power supplies adding noise to the system.

It does make a difference.

I'm done with silver discs at this point. And I'm honestly debating about tape...tape sounds amazing, but it's a hassle compared to digital files. I think the Direct Stream DAC might be my deciding factor. No more CD stabilizing gimmicks for me.
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Re: Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
Reply #11 - 05/16/14 at 17:17:28
 
My PS Audio PerfectWave Transport also produces and transmits extremely low jitter from discs, thanks to multiple readings AND a digital lens, so I'm keeping the discs and the amazing sound and I am not going to mess around with disc mats. It may make a difference, but I'm so stunned with the sound I'm getting now that I don't want to spend the money or take a risk of damage.

Contrary to the new paradigm I actually love the discs and the handling of the physical objects and loathe using files.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
Reply #12 - 05/16/14 at 17:22:57
 
"Contrary to the new paradigm I actually love the discs and the handling of the physical objects and loathe using files."

Hi Lon,

Yep ..... I work on computers all day and am happy to leave them behind at quitting time .....

Besides ..... my top loading belt drive CD transport goes a long way toward soothing my "analog envy" .....

To each their own, I say .....

Best wishes,

Randy
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CEC TL-2 belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
Decware Model SE84C+ amplifier
Greenvalve Audio Type 10 amplifier
Parker Audio Troll Magnus speakers
"Mini Me" OBs - with Hawthorne Augies, Wild Burro Betsy drivers and Heil AMTs
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Lon
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Re: Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
Reply #13 - 05/16/14 at 17:27:13
 
That's a good thing to say. I understand why people love teh files and yet I don't feel the same way. Nor do I need or value the "convenience."

Though my analog envy is sated with my analog front end. I enjoy having both lps and cds, a lot. The Rega and ZP3 are an amazing sonic foundation! Just surprises me every listening session.
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maddog07
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Re: Digital Systems & Solutions TruVoice CD damper
Reply #14 - 05/18/14 at 01:11:51
 
Hello again Randy,

I had the CEC for awhile long ago when it first came out.  No doubt, I agree with you 100% it does have a "soothing" or "analog" effect on digititis... which was a desirable thing in the day.  I ultimately found it to be a bit too much of a good thing in my rig.  But as you know, "synergy" is key.  I can certainly believe it being a good fit in some systems.
What you describe hearing with the damper is pretty much how I would describe what I hear from music sourced from a hard disk or SSD versus it coming from a spinning 4.7" piece of spinning aluminum.  What really amazes me, is that after nearly 30 years... we're still discovering ways to get more music and better sound from the CD format - who would a thought?

My "objective" with a file/server based system... was the staggering convenience of having every piece of music I own available at my finger tips without having to get out of my listening chair - with just a tap or swipe on the screen of my iPad.  It has increased my enjoyment of my system at least 3x fold.  Listening is a "unwind" and "relaxation" thing for me.  I usually fall asleep with the music playing.  Getting up and down out of my chair every few minutes to change disc, well... it just defeats the purpose.  Plus I rarely like every track on an album... so "file based" lets me choose what songs I want to hear and in what order - then let'em play!  It's freaking fantastic!  ;D  Not to mention the new music I discover from Spotify, Moog, Pandora, etc. by streaming off my mac to my DAC.   Eventually - * You will be assimilated - resistance is futile !!!!

Dicks did tell me about the new Classic series drivers.  I knew about the 8, but not the larger ones.  The 8 reminds me of the Wild Burro driver.  Dicks claims the current models with phase plugs, wizzers and Alnico or neodymium magnets are still better than the new Classic's.  So I'm not sure what the point is.  But I need to hear them.  Looking at his posted graphs the Classic 8 may have a "smoother" upper mid and  high frequency response.
Grin
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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva UMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Marsh P200b, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, I'm outta room..
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