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Audio-gd Digital Interface - Page 165

post #2461 of 4107

The dropout problem seems to only be an issue for certain people with Sabre-based DACs. Go ahead and get the digital interface if you want to replace the x-fi, I guarantee it will be better than optical if you could tell optical vs usb. Then, whenever you want to upgrade the FUN you've got a good digital interface to work with and there's some upgrades you can make to the DI to improve performance (hex inverter, usb isolator, cables).

post #2462 of 4107

thanks for the reply!

 

I was thinking the DI would be a permanent part of my system, and would give me a digital out from whatever source I have in the future, even after I upgrade other components. I figure it will never be a waste of money since it will give me a quality coaxial out of any computer for the next 10+ years. I'm just glad the drop out issues will not affect me, kinda curious why it only affects sabre dacs...

post #2463 of 4107

I have the DI and the NFB12 (among other higher end AGD units that the DI supplies). The improvement from DI to NFB12 USB input is quite subtle but noticeable. Your improvement for money spent is slight IMO. This is my direct experience and take it for what it's worth.

We were just in Vancouver and loved it!

post #2464 of 4107

Thanks Tim, Vancouver can be really beautiful when it's not raining! :)

 

Appreciate the feedback, I plan to use the DI for years to come when upgrading

 

When I switch back and forth between USB and wasapi optical out from my XFI there is a noticeable difference. I'm not sure how to describe it, but in some songs optical seems a little clearer. This seems to allow some of the ambiance a bit more obvious... I will agree that it is very subtle. 

post #2465 of 4107

Hello All,

I've been meaning to write about my experience with the DI. I purchased a DI about a month ago, version B with the added power supply to mate with my Reference One DAC. I thought the DI would be a good match for the Reference One.

 

My setup: iMac using Audirvana > Furutech GT2 USB cable > DI with power supply > BNC cable > Reference One.

I made no modifications to the DI, it is stock. I have not changed any jumpers.

For my Reference One, it was upgraded to include the DSP v5 chip which also has all the jumpers set to default.

 

From my Reference One DAC, I'm using gold plated (unknown brand) RCA cables to about a 40 years receiver, a Luxman R-1120. From the Luxman, I am using LCD-2 (rev1) headphones with standard headphone cable. I mainly listen to FLAC files and some 96khz music from every genre of music.

 

My experience with this setup has been good, but not great. There is a lot of detail throughout the entire sonic range and the sound stage is three dimensional. Highs are a bit harsh, some sibilance occurs when listening too loudly. All in all I was pleased with the pairing of the DI and Reference One but I was not blown away like I thought I should be.

 

Listening to Diana Krall's smooth voice, the system again does a great job of revealing all the details of her voice, the piano, bass guitar, etc. The highs with this type of music are also a bit harsh. If I switch up my selection to Jimi Hendrix, the electric guitar also fatigues me and I have to stop listening after about a half hour. Classical is a bit easier to listen to, not as much fatigue.

 

I chocked this up to my 40 year old receiver, the most unconventional part of my system. Surely this old vintage receiver is the X factor for this whole sonic experiment.

 

Enter a newly acquired Playstation SCPH-1001 with RCA outputs.

 

Wow. After listening to some Redbook CDs on the Playstation 1 I felt the presentation was more cohesive, the midrange was absolutely liquid. Some reviews accuse the PS1 of not being able to deliver the extremes of the spectrum and after direct comparison with the DI and Reference One, this may be true. However, simply put, I enjoyed the music more out of a $35 dollar PS1. It has an analog quality to the music, tonal accuracy, great sound stage, and it's also not fatiguing to listen to at all.

 

After switching back and forth between the DI + Reference One and the PS1, a couple things immediately stood out.

1. The PS1 is outputting a weaker signal than the Reference One since I need to use more volume.

2. The PS1 sounds more analog than the Reference One, no harshness at all in the highs. After comparison, it feels like I'm hearing some digititus with the DI and Reference One pairing.

3. The PS1 is a LOT cheaper! :-)

 

Help me out here guys. Is this just the inherent flaw with using USB as a digital medium? As great as the DI is and as great as Kingwa's R2R PCM1704UK based DACs are, is it possible that a cheap sigma-delta CD player can provide a better musical experience, a more analog and cohesive sound? Is this simply a matter of CD vs computer audio? I know this is a rhetorical question and this depends on the listener every time, but I imagine that some folks must be disappointed with the quality of their digital audio when compared to CD players. After looking at the insides of the DI and the Reference One DAC I know these are quality pieces of equipment that that should be capable of outperforming a Playstation 1. I think this speaks more to the quality of the PS1, not to take anything away from the DI and Reference One.

 

Any tips for helping my DI and Reference One sound a bit less harsh, more analog? I've switched from the standard 8x oversampling on the DSP v5 chip to NOS. This seems to have smoothed out the presentation and killed a little harshness at the expense of making the sound stage a bit smaller. I appreciate your comments!


Edited by log0 - 8/10/11 at 3:02pm
post #2466 of 4107
Quote:
Originally Posted by log0 View Post

Some reviews accuse the PS1 of not being able to deliver the extremes of the spectrum and after direct comparison with the DI and Reference One, this may be true. However, simply put, I enjoyed the music more out of a $35 dollar PS1. It has an analog quality to the music, tonal accuracy, great sound stage, and it's also not fatiguing to listen to at all.

...

The PS1 sounds more analog than the Reference One, no harshness at all in the highs. After comparison, it feels like I'm hearing some digititus with the DI and Reference One pairing.

 

 

OT: why do people always associate roll-off in the treble to analog sound???

post #2467 of 4107
Quote:
Originally Posted by log0 View Post

Hello All,

I've been meaning to write about my experience with the DI. I purchased a DI about a month ago, version B with the added power supply to mate with my Reference One DAC. I thought the DI would be a good match for the Reference One.

 

My setup: iMac using Audirvana > Furutech GT2 USB cable > DI with power supply > BNC cable > Reference One.

I made no modifications to the DI, it is stock. I have not changed any jumpers.

For my Reference One, it was upgraded to include the DSP v5 chip which also has all the jumpers set to default.

 

From my Reference One DAC, I'm using gold plated (unknown brand) RCA cables to about a 40 years receiver, a Luxman R-1120. From the Luxman, I am using LCD-2 (rev1) headphones with standard headphone cable. I mainly listen to FLAC files and some 96khz music from every genre of music.

 

My experience with this setup has been good, but not great. There is a lot of detail throughout the entire sonic range and the sound stage is three dimensional. Highs are a bit harsh, some sibilance occurs when listening too loudly. All in all I was pleased with the pairing of the DI and Reference One but I was not blown away like I thought I should be.

 

Listening to Diana Krall's smooth voice, the system again does a great job of revealing all the details of her voice, the piano, bass guitar, etc. The highs with this type of music are also a bit harsh. If I switch up my selection to Jimi Hendrix, the electric guitar also fatigues me and I have to stop listening after about a half hour. Classical is a bit easier to listen to, not as much fatigue.

 

I chocked this up to my 40 year old receiver, the most unconventional part of my system. Surely this old vintage receiver is the X factor for this whole sonic experiment.

 

Enter a newly acquired Playstation SCPH-1001 with RCA outputs.

 

Wow. After listening to some Redbook CDs on the Playstation 1 I felt the presentation was more cohesive, the midrange was absolutely liquid. Some reviews accuse the PS1 of not being able to deliver the extremes of the spectrum and after direct comparison with the DI and Reference One, this may be true. However, simply put, I enjoyed the music more out of a $35 dollar PS1. It has an analog quality to the music, tonal accuracy, great sound stage, and it's also not fatiguing to listen to at all.

 

After switching back and forth between the DI + Reference One and the PS1, a couple things immediately stood out.

1. The PS1 is outputting a weaker signal than the Reference One since I need to use more volume.

2. The PS1 sounds more analog than the Reference One, no harshness at all in the highs. After comparison, it feels like I'm hearing some digititus with the DI and Reference One pairing.

3. The PS1 is a LOT cheaper! :-)

 

Help me out here guys. Is this just the inherent flaw with using USB as a digital medium? As great as the DI is and as great as Kingwa's R2R PCM1704UK based DACs are, is it possible that a cheap sigma-delta CD player can provide a better musical experience, a more analog and cohesive sound? Is this simply a matter of CD vs computer audio? I know this is a rhetorical question and this depends on the listener every time, but I imagine that some folks must be disappointed with the quality of their digital audio when compared to CD players. After looking at the insides of the DI and the Reference One DAC I know these are quality pieces of equipment that that should be capable of outperforming a Playstation 1. I think this speaks more to the quality of the PS1, not to take anything away from the DI and Reference One.

 

Any tips for helping my DI and Reference One sound a bit less harsh, more analog? I've switched from the standard 8x oversampling on the DSP v5 chip to NOS. This seems to have smoothed out the presentation and killed a little harshness at the expense of making the sound stage a bit smaller. I appreciate your comments!

 

It sounds like the rolled off sound of the PS1 isn't exposing weakness elsewhere in the chain.  Have you replaced the capacitors on the reciever? They really need to be redone every 10 - 20 years.

 

It is easy to make a system sound worse by improving your source as problems elsewhere are likely to be more obvious.

 

Regards

 

Macrog
 

 

 

post #2468 of 4107

I would try different amps to try to find a better sound signature match. I get quite good sound out of my ref 1 rca to a 15 year old mid-price panasonic receiver, just some digititis from the receiver. Also try plugging the ref 1 and amp directly to the wall without any surge protector, that should reduce dynamic compression in the amp. And make sure your computer isn't equalizing.

post #2469 of 4107

 

DI-> Ref 1-> a decent head amp, whould surpass the PS1 thousand times.

post #2470 of 4107

I did a little more testing yesterday. I hooked my receiver up to my speakers, Definitive Technology BP7002s, and the DI + Reference One combo sounded better to my ears than the PS1. Must be with headphones. I hope anyone out there who is looking for a cheap CD player will give the Playstation 1 a try, it is truly as impressive as Jeff Day over at 6moons says it is. Whether it's $6k good, probably not but it definitely performs beyond it's price.

 

As for the capacitors on the Luxman R-1120, no they have not been replaced, I cannot find someone to do it for a reasonable price. I have a Pioneer SX-1250 that will also need the service, people seem to be charging a lot to restore these beauties. Might be worth it to sell both and buy a modern amplifier, I've been wanting to try a Leben receiver.

 

Thanks for the responses.

post #2471 of 4107

Glad to see you put your system together.  I rarely checked DI thread but just happened to see your post here.

 

In all my experience with DI+Ref-1/7, they were anything but hash or fatiguing, PERIOD.  Those are words that I never used on that pair.  I have never heard of LCD2.  In my experience of T1, HE-6, and Stax SR-407,  I learned that if there is harshness or siblance, then it always come from the music (file).  All my music files are FLAC and I knew some are just have hot treble and those are used as the "test for the extreme case".  The harshness is in the music already.  If I feel less of it, usually it is because the headphone or other part of the chain "smooth" it out (not necessary "improves" it in absolute sense.)   For example, my sr-407 let me hear those hot recording with less strain, but I knew the higher extreme was less prominent in 407 than all my past phones.  And I might miss some of those sparkling of high in other music that calls for it.

 

So, music may be the source of the problem but the rest of the chain alters it.  You might want to check with other music files.

 

I will call DI+Ref1 as a very revealing setup especially in the mid/high range.  The high resolution and "high density" of sound is actually where DI+Ref1 shines and wins over my other past DACs.  However, if the rest of your chain do not handle those freq properly, you might have problem instead.

 

So you might want to consider getting a "normal" quality amp that does not need work and check. (I like my Pioneer SX-950, but I have been re-capping the whole amp and I can hear great change on the sound). And if you are really sensitive to the treble, you really need to check into the Stax gear.  A used SRM-1 MK2 or new SRM-323S plus a SR-407 will make a system that compete really well with all the top tier dynamic phones, and with a very reasonable cost.  And the bass is unique and great!  wink.gif
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by log0 View Post
My experience with this setup has been good, but not great. There is a lot of detail throughout the entire sonic range and the sound stage is three dimensional. Highs are a bit harsh, some sibilance occurs when listening too loudly. All in all I was pleased with the pairing of the DI and Reference One but I was not blown away like I thought I should be.

 

Listening to Diana Krall's smooth voice, the system again does a great job of revealing all the details of her voice, the piano, bass guitar, etc. The highs with this type of music are also a bit harsh. If I switch up my selection to Jimi Hendrix, the electric guitar also fatigues me and I have to stop listening after about a half hour. Classical is a bit easier to listen to, not as much fatigue.

 

I chocked this up to my 40 year old receiver, the most unconventional part of my system. Surely this old vintage receiver is the X factor for this whole sonic experiment.

 

Enter a newly acquired Playstation SCPH-1001 with RCA outputs.

 

Wow. After listening to some Redbook CDs on the Playstation 1 I felt the presentation was more cohesive, the midrange was absolutely liquid. Some reviews accuse the PS1 of not being able to deliver the extremes of the spectrum and after direct comparison with the DI and Reference One, this may be true. However, simply put, I enjoyed the music more out of a $35 dollar PS1. It has an analog quality to the music, tonal accuracy, great sound stage, and it's also not fatiguing to listen to at all.

 

After switching back and forth between the DI + Reference One and the PS1, a couple things immediately stood out.

1. The PS1 is outputting a weaker signal than the Reference One since I need to use more volume.

2. The PS1 sounds more analog than the Reference One, no harshness at all in the highs. After comparison, it feels like I'm hearing some digititus with the DI and Reference One pairing.

3. The PS1 is a LOT cheaper! :-)

 

....

 

Any tips for helping my DI and Reference One sound a bit less harsh, more analog? I've switched from the standard 8x oversampling on the DSP v5 chip to NOS. This seems to have smoothed out the presentation and killed a little harshness at the expense of making the sound stage a bit smaller. I appreciate your comments!



 


Edited by dukja - 8/11/11 at 6:32am
post #2472 of 4107

Hey dukja,

Thanks for the response! I am enjoying the Reference One very much, I'm finding I like it more in my system when hooked up to speakers rather than headphones, though I attribute this to my old receiver. It does need to be recapped.

 

The same faults I heard from the DI + Ref One combo when listening with the LCD-2 disappear when listening to speakers, though the same receiver hooked up the PS1 sounds fantastic through headphones, nice and smooth.

 

I too only have been listening to FLAC files, both 44.1khz and 96khz, so I don't think the music files themselves are to blame. As for Stax gear, maybe one day when the funds are there, but my next purchase will hopefully be a tube amplifier that sounds great with headphones and can drive efficient speakers. I'm hoping the famed Leben receivers will fit the bill. Thanks again for the great deal on the Reference One, and let me know if you have any other gear you want to unload wink.gif

post #2473 of 4107

Just so you don't go on a wild goose chase, keep in mind audio-gd's balanced amps and headphone amps are great matches with the ref 1. Other amps can sound good with it, but you'd have to do some trial and error to find an amp that is a great technical and sound signature match for the ref 1.

post #2474 of 4107
Quote:
Originally Posted by haloxt View Post

Just so you don't go on a wild goose chase, keep in mind audio-gd's balanced amps and headphone amps are great matches with the ref 1. Other amps can sound good with it, but you'd have to do some trial and error to find an amp that is a great technical and sound signature match for the ref 1.


Oh yes, I've been considering purchasing a Phoenix as well, I've been waiting to see one hit the used market to see what they would ask for it. One of the things I'm trying to accomplish with my setup is to use all pieces for both speakers and headphones. The DI + Reference One is a great starting point for a computer audio speaker setup in addition to headphones. I also enjoy the sound of tube amplifiers the very few times I've heard them. While you're right, something like the Phoenix would be a great match for the Reference One, it cannot drive speakers although I've thought about keeping it in the speaker system as a preamp. We'll see, if the price is right...

 

post #2475 of 4107

 log0,

 

 I think you problem with harsh highs is being caused by the Furutech USB GT2 cable. When I added it to my system there were some improvements, especially in clarity, but the differente it made on the highs were not very welcome here in my system.

 I've been searching for an alternative cable (warmer if that is possible) but haven't reached any conclusion yet, unfortunately. I said something about my experience in another forum I participate, and one member said he had the exactly same experience as mine when added this cable to its system.

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