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post #2056 of 3424

Good idea about listening to vinyl tonight.

 

Sometimes I try to analyze what's different about the experience.  In digital, you have music emerging from an unnatural black hole of silence, something that never happens in real life.  In analog, there is, under the best circumstances, some surface noise which I find much more realistic as a listening experience and maybe contributes to the superiority of the soundstage.  Lately, since my revived analog interest, new TT/cartridge replacing old, I've been listening more to my mini-monitors.  It's not because they sound better than my headphones, they don't by a long shot.  It's because I get a palpable soundstage with speakers and analog.  I get depth, width and height in just a regular room.  Turn the lights out and I'm at a concert.  2 cents.

 

Oh yeah, the required pic:

 

 

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post #2057 of 3424
Looking forward to getting back home to my TT after 3 weeks of house sitting. I took the digital side of my system with me, but not having access to vinyl has made me appreciate it more.
post #2058 of 3424
Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post


I guess theres a reason why yours was posted on eBay, huh? Ive compared my Asus to the Benchmark DAC1, Grace Audio M903, and Violectric V800/V200 and it holds up very well. The differences are so minute that they may simply be my imagination.

Anyways, this isnt the forum for an objective/subjective discussion so I'll leave my point where it is. I havent used my TT in a while and this discussion has sparked a craving to listen to some records, which I plan on doing tonight. 😀

Interesting. "My" Essence One lost out at original owner's to Benchmark DAC1 by ??? ( lots...)  I use Pioneer PD D6J CD/SACD player, for CD via coax into heavily modified Technics SU-A60 preamp/DAC and this combo made mincemeat out of Esssence One. It was difference one could hear across the street. Considering I had high hopes for the Essence One, this was a very unpleasent surprise. That Technics, even in stock form, is one of the most dynamic 32/44.1/48 kHz DACs - at 18 (IN A WORD: EIGHTEEEN) bit. Pioneer PD D6J is no slouch in dynamics department, yet it can not hold candle to the SU-A60. Very few can. Here owner and service manuals you can download :http://www.hifiengine.com/library/technics/su-a60.shtml

SU-A60 is also a very capable phono and line stage, with GREAT sounding tone controls. Please note these comments apply if properly modified only - otherwise it can be a very nervous sounding unit in wrong system.  Check the owner manual, it can be hooked up in various ways, bypassing most of the line level if desired, it has external processor loop ( equalizer and other processors if required ). It is a rare unit and true sleeper.

 

I am not familiar with Volectric at all, but did consider Grace, although I have never seen it or heard yet. It seems to be a very good unit, not terribly expensive for the features and quality offered. As I require DSD capable DAC in the first place, I will wait till something comparable comes along. Being a Stax Lambda Pro and AKG K 1000 user, conventional headphone amps are also of little interest to me - so a DSD DAC minus hp preamp is a more reasonable choice in my case. For PCM and more conventional HPs, Grace would be on top of my list.

 

Enjoy your listening to vinyl, and given the time, please do go through Ricker interview. Loads of info, IIRC half speed mastering is covered in Part 2.

 

After hiatus from CD for almost half a year, as I write this, listening to the CD derived from the DSD128 master I recorded the previous Wednesday - uverture from Verdi's La forza del destino, Delius' Walk to the Paradise Garden, among other works. Great for CD, yet compared to DSD master ...

post #2059 of 3424
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbophead View Post

Good idea about listening to vinyl tonight.

 

Sometimes I try to analyze what's different about the experience.  In digital, you have music emerging from an unnatural black hole of silence, something that never happens in real life.  In analog, there is, under the best circumstances, some surface noise which I find much more realistic as a listening experience and maybe contributes to the superiority of the soundstage.  Lately, since my revived analog interest, new TT/cartridge replacing old, I've been listening more to my mini-monitors.  It's not because they sound better than my headphones, they don't by a long shot.  It's because I get a palpable soundstage with speakers and analog.  I get depth, width and height in just a regular room.  Turn the lights out and I'm at a concert.  2 cents.

 

Oh yeah, the required pic:

 

 

Great description of analog vs digital, cans vs speakers! 

 

Which Sacre is in the picture?

post #2060 of 3424
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

Interesting. "My" Essence One lost out at original owner's to Benchmark DAC1 by ??? ( lots...)  I use Pioneer PD D6J CD/SACD player, for CD via coax into heavily modified Technics SU-A60 preamp/DAC and this combo made mincemeat out of Esssence One. It was difference one could hear across the street. Considering I had high hopes for the Essence One, this was a very unpleasent surprise. That Technics, even in stock form, is one of the most dynamic 32/44.1/48 kHz DACs - at 18 (IN A WORD: EIGHTEEEN) bit. Pioneer PD D6J is no slouch in dynamics department, yet it can not hold candle to the SU-A60. Very few can.

Funny, I sold my DAC1 and kept the Essence One...

Personally, I dont want my DAC to have dynamics - actually, I dont want it to have anything. It should just turn numbers into electricity AFAIC.

Theres no magic or emotion in audio equipment for me. It's all about ohms law.
post #2061 of 3424
Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post


Funny, I sold my DAC1 and kept the Essence One...

Personally, I dont want my DAC to have dynamics - actually, I dont want it to have anything. It should just turn numbers into electricity AFAIC.

Theres no magic or emotion in audio equipment for me. It's all about ohms law.

Funny indeed - exactly opposite experience.

 

Regarding dynamics in (CD) DACs - I used to record a lot directly to CD-R and Technics unit mentioned was the only thing that approached the sound heard during recording say two hours after returning home and checking the recordings. Any audio piece of gear is much more likely to be diminishing the dynamic range, not expanding it. Remember, this is comment after making live recording, not listening to (tamed down) commercial release.

 

Ohm's law rules just fine - output impedance of SU-A60 is 4 ohm, far lower than most ( Essence One included ). Weiss unit betters this by four times at X0 times the price. ( NOT the only difference, I know ...) Both turn into mush if connected through conventional (high(er)) output impedance preamp. That is why Weiss always sounds best directly into power amp. The first thing to suffer is the dynamic range - most people have never experienced it so uncompressed and it may well sound too raw and rough to some ears. Listening to a well played piano live will tell you which is right - in few bars.

 

I too try to be as rational as possible. Yet, while recording, every now and then all things click together - the acoustics of the venue, the mic positioning, the performance of musicians, the reaction of the audience, the performance of the recording chain - they all create much larger whole than the sum of the parts. Music can not be entirely rational experience - there will always be some magic and emotion involved, else music reading computers would have replaced the musicians long ago...

 

And squeezing all of the above into an analog disc and playing it back without too much compromise is my ultimate goal. You may well imagine it is no easy task. Sometimes, the desire to have achieved this at least "yesterday" , if not years or decades ago, gets the better of me.

post #2062 of 3424
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

Funny indeed - exactly opposite experience.

 

Regarding dynamics in (CD) DACs - I used to record a lot directly to CD-R and Technics unit mentioned was the only thing that approached the sound heard during recording say two hours after returning home and checking the recordings. Any audio piece of gear is much more likely to be diminishing the dynamic range, not expanding it. Remember, this is comment after making live recording, not listening to (tamed down) commercial release.

 

Ohm's law rules just fine - output impedance of SU-A60 is 4 ohm, far lower than most ( Essence One included ). Weiss unit betters this by four times at X0 times the price. ( NOT the only difference, I know ...) Both turn into mush if connected through conventional (high(er)) output impedance preamp. That is why Weiss always sounds best directly into power amp. The first thing to suffer is the dynamic range - most people have never experienced it so uncompressed and it may well sound too raw and rough to some ears. Listening to a well played piano live will tell you which is right - in few bars.

 

I too try to be as rational as possible. Yet, while recording, every now and then all things click together - the acoustics of the venue, the mic positioning, the performance of musicians, the reaction of the audience, the performance of the recording chain - they all create much larger whole than the sum of the parts. Music can not be entirely rational experience - there will always be some magic and emotion involved, else music reading computers would have replaced the musicians long ago...

 

And squeezing all of the above into an analog disc and playing it back without too much compromise is my ultimate goal. You may well imagine it is no easy task. Sometimes, the desire to have achieved this at least "yesterday" , if not years or decades ago, gets the better of me.


The ability to remember nuances in sound is impossible after two minutes, let alone two hours. Plus, during the recording, you are experiencing the acoustics of the studio - something that cannot be reproduced anywhere else.

 

Where did you learn the output impedance of the Essence One? As far as I know, it has not been published. However, looking at the spec sheet (LME49720 is rated at 0.001 ohm), it should be a fraction of one ohm. And of course you know that the output impedance of a preamp is irrelevent when it is feeding line level to a power amp. The only place in the chain where output impedance matters is at the speaker terminal/headphone jack.

 

Your comments on the recording process are well stated. Acoustics, microphones, performance, etc. are by far the most important things in the chain. They determine the sound, the emotion of the recording. Next in importance is the headphones or speakers/listening room. Finally, the electronics in between - far, far less influence on the sonics of the entire chain. That's why I don't sweat the small stuff (cables, amps, DACs, etc.) As long as they are of good design and commit no errors, the performance comes through just fine.

 

"Squeezing it into an analog disc and playing it back" is a worthy goal. A valid, challenging, and enjoyable pursuit and passion. Nothing wrong with that - I enjoy it too biggrin.gif


Edited by palmfish - 7/23/13 at 3:17pm
post #2063 of 3424


 

Which Sacre is in the picture?

It's the new re-issue by Sony of Bernstein/NYPO in 1958.  Beautiful gatefold with extra notes from the contra bassoonist who was there(!) and a recording in stereo before engineers let the technology lead them astray.  You can buy it several places, this one came from archivmusic.  Surfaces are very quiet (180 gram) and album notes say it was mastered from the original analog tapes(!).

 

 

AppleMark

 

 

 

AppleMark

post #2064 of 3424
Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post


The ability to remember nuances in sound is impossible after two minutes, let alone two hours. Plus, during the recording, you are experiencing the acoustics of the studio - something that cannot be reproduced anywhere else.

 

The output impedance of the Essence One has not been published, but judging by the opamps and feedback circuit used (standard TI amplifier spec), it should be less than one ohm. And of course you know that the output impedance of a preamp is irrelevent when it is feeding line level to a power amp. The only place in the chain where output impedance matters is where the speaker/headphone cable meets the amp.

 

Your comments on the recording process are well stated. Acoustics, microphones, performance, etc. are by far the most important things in the chain. They determine the sound, the emotion of the recording. Next in importance is the headphones or speakers/listening room. Finally, the electronics in between - far, far less influence on the sonics of the entire chain. That's why I don't sweat the small stuff (cables, amps, DACs, etc.) As long as they are of good design and commit no errors, the performance comes through just fine.

 

"Squeezing it into an analog disc and playing it back" is a worthy goal. A valid, challenging, and enjoyable pursuit and passion. Nothing wrong with that.

I never record in a studio - always on location, be it hall, church, town square - whatever.

 

I try to achieve as much resemblance in sound between listening live ( without any gear at all ) and signal in IEM headphones. While actually recording, I always monitor the recording with IEMs - the same can be used at home, making any electronics comparison possible. I disagree regarding output impedance of a preamp feeding power amp. Although far less critical than output impedance of headphone output, it is audible.

I agree sonic memory is short - but long enough to hear the relatively large difference in the dynamic range as described. Using speakers is far less precise, because of acoustics of the room. They do, however, provide spatial positioning, particularly depth - something in most cases next to impossible to hear with headphones when recording is intended to be listened primarily on speakers. In such cases, I carry monitor speakers on location, preferably setting them up in an adjacent acoustic space to say  a church, where a recording is taking place. VERY hard to set the speakers up correctly in always too limited amount of time available.

 

I agree that the electronics are the least important in the whole chain. Yet, once everything else is optimized, they do provide decisive edge. But fail to position mics properly - everything goes down the drain. A well placed mic into a Sony WMD6(C) casette recorder would wipe the floor with improperly positioned mic feeding theorethically perfect yet non existing recorder. 

post #2065 of 3424
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbophead View Post

It's the new re-issue by Sony of Bernstein/NYPO in 1958.  Beautiful gatefold with extra notes from the contra bassoonist who was there(!) and a recording in stereo before engineers let the technology lead them astray.  You can buy it several places, this one came from archivmusic.  Surfaces are very quiet (180 gram) and album notes say it was mastered from the original analog tapes(!).

 

 

AppleMark

 

 

 

AppleMark

Thank you for the reply. Seems like it would be Sacre-lige not to get it. I agree the engineers let the technology to lead them astray quite soon after - 

I am subscribed to some pro recording gear magazines - mainly to see what must be avoided at all costs...

 

The liner notes by the musicians that were playing on these vintage recordings are the most direct link to the times past - and are to be cherished.

post #2066 of 3424
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

I never record in a studio - always on location, be it hall, church, town square - whatever.

 

I try to achieve as much resemblance in sound between listening live ( without any gear at all ) and signal in IEM headphones. While actually recording, I always monitor the recording with IEMs - the same can be used at home, making any electronics comparison possible. I disagree regarding output impedance of a preamp feeding power amp. Although far less critical than output impedance of headphone output, it is audible.

I agree sonic memory is short - but long enough to hear the relatively large difference in the dynamic range as described. Using speakers is far less precise, because of acoustics of the room. They do, however, provide spatial positioning, particularly depth - something in most cases next to impossible to hear with headphones when recording is intended to be listened primarily on speakers. In such cases, I carry monitor speakers on location, preferably setting them up in an adjacent acoustic space to say  a church, where a recording is taking place. VERY hard to set the speakers up correctly in always too limited amount of time available.

 

I agree that the electronics are the least important in the whole chain. Yet, once everything else is optimized, they do provide decisive edge. But fail to position mics properly - everything goes down the drain. A well placed mic into a Sony WMD6(C) casette recorder would wipe the floor with improperly positioned mic feeding theorethically perfect yet non existing recorder. 

 

I have no experience with recording but what you do sounds very cool. Some of my favorite recordings are direct to master (unmixed) live performances. Mapleshade, Chesky, etc. are a couple of examples. I also have a large collection of the RCA Living Stereo SACD releases from a few years ago (my father had many of the original vinyl versions). The ambience and spacial cues are vastly superior to the majority of mass market commercial releases. I wish more studios and labels put the kind of care into their recordings that you do.

 

OK, I should clarify the preamp output impedance comment. In theory, if your preamp output impedance is very high and your amplifier input impedance is very low, then it is theoreticlly possible for it to be audible. On the other hand, most amplifiers are rated at a minimum of 10K ohms input impedance and so a preamp would have to have a freakishly high output impedance to cause an audible change in frequency response.


Edited by palmfish - 7/23/13 at 3:34pm
post #2067 of 3424
Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post

 

I have no experience with recording but what you do sounds very cool. Some of my favorite recordings are direct to master (unmixed) live performances. Mapleshade, Chesky, etc. are a couple of examples. I also have a large collection of the RCA Living Stereo SACD releases from a few years ago (my father had many of the original vinyl versions). The ambience and spacial cues are vastly superior to the majority of mass market commercial releases. I wish more studios and labels put the kind of care into their recordings that you do.

 

OK, I should clarify the preamp output impedance comment. In theory, if your preamp output impedance is very high and your amplifier input impedance is very low, then it is theoreticlly possible for it to be audible. On the other hand, most amplifiers are rated at a minimum of 10K ohms input impedance and so a preamp would have to have a freakishly high output impedance to cause an audible change in frequency response.

Ultimately, it boils down to the source having as low output impedance compared to the input of the next stage - as much as possible. From the phono cartridge to the power amp. In either case, frequency response anomalies start when freakishly high impedance is feeding relatively low input impedance of the next stage. Dynamic compression starts at much lower impedance discrepancies, where even measurements can show next to zero or zero frequency response difference .

 

I am familiar with Benz MC carts - as good as Benz Micro LP S MR is ( coil impedance approx 30 ohms ), it can never pack a wallop of Benz Micro TR MR ( coil impedance 1 ohm, in word one ohm ). Back in the day, there were Ruby models with 100 ohms, which were soooo smooooth to barely carry resemblance to any real dynamic range at all. Long forgotten, for a good reason.

post #2068 of 3424
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

Ultimately, it boils down to the source having as low output impedance compared to the input of the next stage - as much as possible. From the phono cartridge to the power amp. In either case, frequency response anomalies start when freakishly high impedance is feeding relatively low input impedance of the next stage. Dynamic compression starts at much lower impedance discrepancies, where even measurements can show next to zero or zero frequency response difference .

I am familiar with Benz MC carts - as good as Benz Micro LP S MR is ( coil impedance approx 30 ohms ), it can never pack a wallop of Benz Micro TR MR ( coil impedance 1 ohm, in word one ohm ). Back in the day, there were Ruby models with 100 ohms, which were soooo smooooth to barely carry resemblance to any real dynamic range at all. Long forgotten, for a good reason.

BTW, you never said.... What is the output impedance of the Essence One? I assume it is 0.002 ohms (two LME49720 opamps in parallel) but I have not found any reports to confirm that specification.

Thanks!
Edited by palmfish - 7/23/13 at 5:28pm
post #2069 of 3424
Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post


BTW, you never said.... What is the output impedance of the Essence One? I assume it is 0.002 ohms (two LME49720 opamps in parallel) but I have not found any reports to confirm that specification.

Thanks!

No idea - should have measured it back then. And I do not remember seeing LME49720s in mine - but I might be wrong. I will try to find that spec, but it may take a while - usually hidden in some large review.

 

Using very similar LMEs in my take on the SU A60.

post #2070 of 3424
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

Interesting. "My" Essence One lost out at original owner's to Benchmark DAC1 by ??? ( lots...)  I use Pioneer PD D6J CD/SACD player, for CD via coax into heavily modified Technics SU-A60 preamp/DAC and this combo made mincemeat out of Esssence One. It was difference one could hear across the street. Considering I had high hopes for the Essence One, this was a very unpleasent surprise.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post


Ohm's law rules just fine - output impedance of SU-A60 is 4 ohm, far lower than most ( Essence One included ).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by palmfish View Post


BTW, you never said.... What is the output impedance of the Essence One?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

No idea - should have measured it back then.

 

I know this is straying off topic so I won't belabor the point, but as a satisfied owner of an Essence One, I feel I should straighten the record - so to speak.

 

Since you didn't keep your Essence One, you probably don't know that early production versions had a few bugs that were subsequently corrected by Asus. RMA's were issued and new units were sent to owners suffering from a firmware glitch that caused noise in some units and a channel imbalance present in all units with the Alps B10K volume pot. The channel imbalance was measured as high as 2dB, which would certainly cause a noticeable sound quality degredation to someone as experienced as you are. If you had purchased your Essence One from Asus instead of eBay, you probably would have had a very different opinion of the Essence One.

 

As for the Essence One output impedance question, I think it is misleading when someone states something as a fact without actually having any basis in fact. You mentioned that Asus used a generic spec amp for the headphone portion of the Essence One, and that is most certainly true (and smart). But even a most cursory look at the Essence One shows a two-channel negative feedback circuit with two TI opamps as buffers and two as amplifiers. Obviously, the purpose of using this circuit design is to achieve a near-zero output impedance.

 

I have owned and used a good number of headphone amplifiers and DACs over the years, and I can confidently say that the Essence One is a well designed, high performance DAC/headamp/preamp that compares very well against units costing 3, 4 or 5 times more (Benchmark, Grace, Burson, etc.). Maybe you should give it another chance - I think you would be pleasantly surprised. smile.gif


Edited by palmfish - 7/24/13 at 10:06am
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