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OK, Here Goes...ScottNC/Slight Shift in Direction (Read 3368 times)
ScottNC
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OK, Here Goes...ScottNC/Slight Shift in Direction
06/16/18 at 01:33:14
 
 Soo, I e-mailed in to asks Steve advice on what I was planning to do as far as a converter etc to incorporate my Macbook into the scheme of things, as you might recall from my initial posts in NEW GUY, I had a Tascam DA3000,Tascam CD500Bal, RME DA Converter, and Belkin Thunderbolt Dock on order. Steve responded and suggested that I take a look at perhaps Small Green Computer for a simpler more straight forward converter and feed the DA3000 from it. Well, I got a phonemail return from the guy who is Small Green Computers (Andrew Gillis) and he generously talked me through possibly changing things a bit and taking a look at his sonicTransport AP i7 (4TB, RoonServer), an ultraRendu and linear power supply, then checkout a MyTek Pro (w/MQA) Brooklyn...
 Damn... put the Backordered Tascam and other "stuff" to a hold and trying to research this weekend and talk to Andrew again Monday. I got a similar feel from Andrew as I did the first time talking to Steve. (he just e-mailed and told me he signed up on the forum here!) Anyway, that's where I'm headed if I can figure away to swing it.
 Any thoughts, likes, dislikes, suggestions, critique, as always asked for and welcomed, also please let me know if I have veered too far off and ho-back! LOL...

Best,
Scott

One remaining thought, is this the place to have this or should I stick it on my original post to consolidate? Just don't know, could use an opinion on that on too.
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TORII MKIV-25th,ZBIT,ZROCK2-25th,ZTPRE-25th,ZLC,DNA2's, REL S/3 SHO
MyTek Brooklyn DAC+,Sonore ultraRendu LinearPS,sonicTransport APi7 4TB
Woo WA6, Sennheiser HD660s
RoomTreatments,LineFeed,DHC1’s,DSR’s,ZENST,TriodeWireLabs,TimberNation Maple Plats
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Tommy Freefall
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Re: OK, Here Goes...ScottNC/Slight Shift in Direction
Reply #1 - 06/16/18 at 20:02:53
 
Scott, the music files on your MacBook - are all those files in iTunes?
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Torii Jr., Rachael SE34I.5, ERRx, Stage, ZBIT, ZRock2, Tascam CD-240, Border Patrol DAC, Zu Audio Mission speaker cables, Declare Interconnects, Zenhead, Grado 325e
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ScottNC
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Re: OK, Here Goes...ScottNC/Slight Shift in Direction
Reply #2 - 06/16/18 at 20:52:48
 
Tommy Hi,

Ah, yes, I guess is the best answer, I have also HiRes files that are on the computer, and in my Sony HAP1, My iTunes consists of approx 2500 of my own CD's that I no longer own, then several thousand downloaded and I also have availability to thousands of CD's from a local DJ's collection. I subscribe to Tidal also, in addition to a MacBook Pro which can have an interface ap on it for the music server which is a drag and drop and includes all meta data.

Best,
Scott
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TORII MKIV-25th,ZBIT,ZROCK2-25th,ZTPRE-25th,ZLC,DNA2's, REL S/3 SHO
MyTek Brooklyn DAC+,Sonore ultraRendu LinearPS,sonicTransport APi7 4TB
Woo WA6, Sennheiser HD660s
RoomTreatments,LineFeed,DHC1’s,DSR’s,ZENST,TriodeWireLabs,TimberNation Maple Plats
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Tommy Freefall
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Re: OK, Here Goes...ScottNC/Slight Shift in Direction
Reply #3 - 06/16/18 at 23:51:36
 
Scott, from the sidelines I've been monitoring your journey ever since I noticed - like me - you have a large room with tall ceilings and lots of hard surfaces, and I came within hours of ordering Zu speakers for it.
Additionally I've got a modest amount of music on my MacBook in iTunes that I'm trying to figure out how to best deal with.
That Small Green Computer solution looks promising.
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Torii Jr., Rachael SE34I.5, ERRx, Stage, ZBIT, ZRock2, Tascam CD-240, Border Patrol DAC, Zu Audio Mission speaker cables, Declare Interconnects, Zenhead, Grado 325e
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ScottNC
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Re: OK, Here Goes...ScottNC/Slight Shift in Direction
Reply #4 - 06/17/18 at 01:36:46
 
Hi Tommy,

Thanks for the reply, I'm trying to do as much research as I can this weekend. I'm expecting to speak with Andrew on Monday and try to get this sorted out and settled. It's a big stretch on where I was headed with this, but I really want to feel like I got the right equipment for my base. I'll be posting a update on what I learn and will gladly share anything I learn, although I don't think I am going to bring too much to the table for most of you guys. I am overwhelmed (LOL) but having a great time being so. My ZU's are on a truck, my MkIV is nearing completion and I also am hoping for floor covering this upcoming week, so I'm AMPED!

Best,
Scott

Anyone reading this...Please throw out any comments or thoughts, they all help me get my bearings.
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TORII MKIV-25th,ZBIT,ZROCK2-25th,ZTPRE-25th,ZLC,DNA2's, REL S/3 SHO
MyTek Brooklyn DAC+,Sonore ultraRendu LinearPS,sonicTransport APi7 4TB
Woo WA6, Sennheiser HD660s
RoomTreatments,LineFeed,DHC1’s,DSR’s,ZENST,TriodeWireLabs,TimberNation Maple Plats
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Ace-Tone
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Re: OK, Here Goes...ScottNC/Slight Shift in Direction
Reply #5 - 06/17/18 at 19:38:50
 
Scott,  Steve has stated many times that you need to feed the Decware amps with the best sources possible (budget allowing). As I've upgraded Speaker wires, IC's, Room Treatments, Tubes, TT & Cartridge my little Zen SE84-CKC has kept up, and all improvements have revealed sonic improvements. Like me, I feel you are no-doubt going in the right direction. The benefits of which will make you, as they do me, shake your head in disbelief of the wonderful music you'll experience....give it all time to season and you'll reap the rewards.
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SE84UFO25, ZP3, Zstage, ZR2, ZSB, DM947 Monoliths 946+mid
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Blue Circle PLC FX2X0e, Herbies, GIK, PI Audio. Lonely Raven PC
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ScottNC
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Re: OK, Here Goes...ScottNC/Slight Shift in Direction
Reply #6 - 06/17/18 at 22:15:27
 
Acetone,

Thanks for the reply and encouraging words. I’m starting to get get a handle on this after more reading & research this weekend. I hope to move forward tomorrow after my talk with Andrew.

Best,
Scott
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TORII MKIV-25th,ZBIT,ZROCK2-25th,ZTPRE-25th,ZLC,DNA2's, REL S/3 SHO
MyTek Brooklyn DAC+,Sonore ultraRendu LinearPS,sonicTransport APi7 4TB
Woo WA6, Sennheiser HD660s
RoomTreatments,LineFeed,DHC1’s,DSR’s,ZENST,TriodeWireLabs,TimberNation Maple Plats
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ScottNC
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Re: OK, Here Goes...ScottNC/Slight Shift in Direction
Reply #7 - 06/18/18 at 18:41:18
 
Also Posted in General, hope that is ok.

A quick update.
I cancelled my order for the Tascam DA3000,CD500Bal, RME DA Converter, Belkin Thunderbolt Express and have now ordered:

Little Green Computer sonicTransporter APi7 (4TB spinning drive)
Little Green Computer ultraRendu & Linear Power Supply

MyTek Brooklyn MQA-Compatable DAC (Black)
MyTec Balance Headphone Converter

ZU Dirty Weekends Expected this week

Best,
Scott

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TORII MKIV-25th,ZBIT,ZROCK2-25th,ZTPRE-25th,ZLC,DNA2's, REL S/3 SHO
MyTek Brooklyn DAC+,Sonore ultraRendu LinearPS,sonicTransport APi7 4TB
Woo WA6, Sennheiser HD660s
RoomTreatments,LineFeed,DHC1’s,DSR’s,ZENST,TriodeWireLabs,TimberNation Maple Plats
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Lonely Raven
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Re: OK, Here Goes...ScottNC/Slight Shift in Direction
Reply #8 - 06/18/18 at 19:04:07
 

That's quite a setup!

Are you planning on using the DSP portion of Roon? If not, you could cut the computer price in half by getting their i5 version.

The PCs I build for people are typically i5 with SSD, assuming they will not use DSP, and will have their music on either an external drive or network drive. But everyone's needs are different.

I've owned the Rendu stuff for a bit and really enjoyed it, great sounding endpoint.  

Whatever you pick from his lineup, it's a great setup and I'm sure will sound amazing.
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ScottNC
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Re: OK, Here Goes...ScottNC/Slight Shift in Direction
Reply #9 - 06/18/18 at 22:53:49
 
Hey Lonely,

Thanks for the reply and input, I'm attempting to "Bullet Proof" what I can on my first go around, the Brooklyn seems to fit those needs, so hopefully I am getting what I'm after.

Best,
Scott
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TORII MKIV-25th,ZBIT,ZROCK2-25th,ZTPRE-25th,ZLC,DNA2's, REL S/3 SHO
MyTek Brooklyn DAC+,Sonore ultraRendu LinearPS,sonicTransport APi7 4TB
Woo WA6, Sennheiser HD660s
RoomTreatments,LineFeed,DHC1’s,DSR’s,ZENST,TriodeWireLabs,TimberNation Maple Plats
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will
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Re: OK, Here Goes...ScottNC/Slight Shift in Direction
Reply #10 - 06/21/18 at 02:33:49
 
Thinking about the importance of the front end certainly includes the server and software for me…I really hear the differences with optimized operating systems, player software and settings. I had not looked at the Small Green Computer (SGC) site for quite a while, but am reminded how sensible their approach is.

Your current choices sound like they will make a quite nice front end Scott, a notable step up from your original choices I suspect. Do you still have a ZBIT on order? You may still want to consider it and/or CSP3 after getting used to your new system. “Gain Riding” where you can increase or decrease clarity and body to bring out the best of a recording is essential for me. I have a heavily modded CSP3, a souped up ZBIT I made, and pretty heavily modded Torii MKIV. Each have great qualities but effect different areas of beauty in how they influence the music. My Torii is solid, transparent and neutral. The ZBIT is a good signal clarifier that can increase or decrease body and clarity in its own unobtrusive way, good across the spectrum, but particularly nice for tightening up bass here. And the CSP3, OTL beauty if all is right, dynamic in clear inner space, its magic, also good for adjusting clarity, body and dynamics. Subtly balancing their volumes to best bring out different recordings can be pretty amazing.

Conceptually Small Green Computer (SGC) is no doubt onto the right stuff. But to try and fill out the digital saga a little, looking at some of the reviews linked on their site, I have a bone to pick, not with SGC but with reviewers.

In many server reviews I read: “better than my Macbook,” better than my Mini,” better than any PC!” To me these comments are too simple, not explaining what model they are referring to, if and how much they have been tuned for audio, whether they are dedicated for audio only, etc.

These comments make some sense based on my tests with Macbooks and perhaps Minis that are not fully optimized for Audio. But really, Small Green Computers are computers too.

I think Minis just happened to be good for audio because of parts and design for the small desktop concept, efficient (more costly but quiet) parts essential to fulfill Steve Jobs’ design objectives for quality of experience and size. Then audio people took off, making them better for music. But based on the many ways one can tune the many models of “stock” Minis, the reviewer’s “my Mini” or “my Macbook Pro," implies that all these different computers are kind of the same…

In fact, I and many others have found out just how much even the same model Mini can sound like different computers depending on how it is setup, software, and whether synergy is optimal. As examples, I can change feet, USB cables, USB filtering and regenerators, power filters, weight on the top, power cables (and much more), and clearly hear the differences. This points to how different we can make them, but also to how critical synergy is...something every designer determines differently, but the bottom line for beauty with home music.  

In 2011, I started computer audio with a new model Macbook Pro, using it for music only, then decided to try a used 2010 Mini, both audio only using a somewhat better than stock Kimber USB cable, some simple vibration management, the same player software and settings...otherwise stock. The Mini sounded noticeably better than the Macbook even though the Macbook had a better processor, more memory, a better drive, and I used battery power... I reasoned that the Macbook's monitor and keyboard, and need to pack things together to make it thin, caused more computer gremlins to damage fragile digital data and pass more noise with it.

Since then, I have had a few more Minis as dedicated servers with different: year models; computing power; memory types and amount; power and vibration treatments; noise filtering and regeneration for power supply and USB; serious exploration in power and USB cables (finally making both and liking them best); a few nice software players including lots of settings exploration and different schemes for turning off background processing; optimized internal drives; optimized external drives....and more. Each of these can notably improve the sonics of a Mini as music server, and collectively, they can create a different audio computer altogether...night and day for retaining fragile and subtle information...ideally revealing the data mostly unmolested by computer born artifacts... not truncated, masked, or damaged.

Taking clarification from reduced unnecessary-for-audio processing further, I got DbAudioLab's Revolution Server OS. 200,000 lines of code turned off from MAC OS Mavericks, a serious (sort of shocking) difference. Cutting out unneeded OS processing clearly causes less damage to fragile digital information and less noise! Compared to all of the hardware optimizations, this OS may be as transformative as the rest combined. Refinements manifested as liquid, dynamic, smooth body, spacious, complex and clear throughout….Big stuff. https://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1525543779 if you want more on that. My latest 2012 i7 Mini, optimized for audio, including the Revolution OS and Audirvana player software, is sort of lightyears better than the first 2010 Mini even with many overlaid tune ups.

I should qualify this with an observation though….if a system/room can reveal the source fully, I think how well we resolve and balance the last 10-15% in computer audio can define it as good, great, or amazing. Generally, if the more fragile fine information is present, the rest is there more clearly. And when that last few percent present without damage, wow!

With damage however, even pretty subtle damage many of us have grown accustomed to with digital, we end up with "glare," "ringing," hardness, weird distortions, smearing, truncation of fine detail and spacial information, etc, seemingly all reflecting damage to very important musical information that makes digital music more like "analog."

So what is a Macbook, Mini or "any PC"??? Obviously they are many things depending on model and how they are set up.  

All that said, “my Mini,” sounds truly amazing, enough so that it would surprise me if even the best offerings of SGC with ultra rendu could sound better. A dedicated server setup, parts chosen and optimized with intelligent listening as well as dedicated tech and dedicated software, should sound better, whether a tricked out Mini, or Small Green Computer!

Then there is balance. There are a few great audio designers around, and what seems to make one better than the other is their subtlety and completeness of perception, along with the abilities to utilize creative tech and parts to awaken beauty synergistically. This depends so much on what the designer is listening for, and sadly, there is not enough focus on the very fine space and detail information that is possible with great digital audio. Without it, other aspects of the sound are also compromised, and this is pretty “normal” unfortunately.

Small Green Computer to me is conceptually on a really good track, having designed and built their gear for quiet and clean computer audio, including minimized OS activity. Though the SGC OS limits software players, they have chosen very popular and apparently quality software to support. Also quite costly, but for quality sound and interface, HQ Player and Roon together are reported to do things right enough for them to have become a standard.

Hopefully this story fills in some blanks on the digital scene. Long story...but I bet your front end will be very good, and I am glad you chose this route over the original. If not there from the source, it does not exist!

Fun!
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Power-PSA P5, Brickwall/Shunyata Defender+>RevolutionMacMini/Audirvana>Kitsune Singxer>Gustard x20pro DAC modified; Cables: Pi Audio PC, DIY: PCs, ICs, USB, Speaker; Decware- CSP3, Torii IV, HR1-all modified; DIY ZBIT; feet- Madscientist, Archie's, isocups, DIY +
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ScottNC
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Re: OK, Here Goes...ScottNC/Slight Shift in Direction
Reply #11 - 06/21/18 at 20:55:05
 
WOW, what a reply, Thank you immensely for taking all that time, I've just printed it out so I can better study it tonight...

After I unpack my ZU's which came a day earlier than expected, along with the first part on my Little Green Computer order (the UltaRendo and Linear Power Supply) the  in sonicTransporter APi7 in a week when Andrew gets back from a family vacation, and also my Brooklyn DAC+, and a TripLite Power Block for my router and LynSys. Cables from DecWare expected tomorrow and soon my MKIV. It's been quite a day so far, but what fun.

Thank you and everyone who has offered up their valued advice, it's a great Forum, with a lot of great people.

Best,
Scott

PS Quickly read Steve's Post on direct wiring or rewiring from main breaker box and I think I need to look into that.
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TORII MKIV-25th,ZBIT,ZROCK2-25th,ZTPRE-25th,ZLC,DNA2's, REL S/3 SHO
MyTek Brooklyn DAC+,Sonore ultraRendu LinearPS,sonicTransport APi7 4TB
Woo WA6, Sennheiser HD660s
RoomTreatments,LineFeed,DHC1’s,DSR’s,ZENST,TriodeWireLabs,TimberNation Maple Plats
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will
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Re: OK, Here Goes...ScottNC/Slight Shift in Direction
Reply #12 - 06/22/18 at 00:55:04
 
You are welcome Scott. It can seem like a labyrinth!

Wow, Exciting times! And a lot to take in! Sounds like a really nice setup and a lot of fun..... Everything being new, it will take time before you hear it at its best, up and down for while, the ups likely pretty great, and the downs probably pretty OK with your setup... Plenty of time for  fine-tuning, speaker placement play, room adjustments, and a lot of music as it burns in!

Don't know if you downloaded the Torii manual yet, but for a long time Steve recommended (likely still does now) about 5 hours playing and 5 hours off and cooling to accelerate early burnin. It helps seat the amp caps while "exercising" it all, including thorough heating/expansion and cooling/contraction. I think this (or variations on it) help!

Yes, if you can fix a dedicated audio circuit for your power, this is ideal!

Have fun!

Will
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Power-PSA P5, Brickwall/Shunyata Defender+>RevolutionMacMini/Audirvana>Kitsune Singxer>Gustard x20pro DAC modified; Cables: Pi Audio PC, DIY: PCs, ICs, USB, Speaker; Decware- CSP3, Torii IV, HR1-all modified; DIY ZBIT; feet- Madscientist, Archie's, isocups, DIY +
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