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Does this look like a plan?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone. I've always had a few pairs of headphones kicking around but my circumstances have changed somewhat and I'm now going to be spending quite a lot of time using headphones. Two months ago my favourite and most commonly used headphones were a pair of Sennheiser PX100II's. I've since bought a pair of V-Moda M-100's, FIIO E18 (for use with my Samsung Galaxy Note 3) and my personal game changer, a pair of AKG Q701's.

In all the discussions I read there's always one factor that seems to be virtually uncontrollable - colouration. I don't have a lot of money being in a minimum wage income. I also have a wife (fantastic though she is in all other respects) who just doesn't understand why anyone would want or need anything other than the kind of things that come free with a phone or MP3 player. So money is crucial. Also, I'm in the UK (at least until Scotland's referendum this September ūüėÄ) and so don't have quite the same access to the bargains the majority of members here have.

So, colouration. I've decided to go with an O2 amp as it's relatively cheap and I really buy into the ethos. It should be relatively neutral. For my first source I thought it logical to use an ODAC for pretty much the same reasons as led me to the O2. The one caveat I had was that I needed an amp which allowed me to pass-through the signal to my Marantz PM6004 stereo amplifier and then onto my Dali loudspeakers for communal use. This may change if I can sell the Marantz and find a decent cheap pair of active monitors. The particular O2 I've ordered allows for this.

Here's what I've assembled so far...

82,000 FLAC files

2 x LaCie Porsche 2TB USB3 external hard drives

1 x Apple Mac mini (2012 version i5 + 16GB RAM & USB3)

I x Head'n'Hifi ODAC XL (still en-route)

1x Head'n'Hifi O2 Desktop (still en-route)

I do have a couple of questions though.

1a. I have various RCA interconnects kicking around. Do they have as much impact on sound character when used between DAC and amp as they would anywhere else in the system?

1b. If the answer to Q1a is yes are there any RCA cables which are known to be particularly transparent/neutral and available on a limited budget?

1c. USB cables. Are they all the same (as I suspect) or is it worth spending more?

Power Supply.

2a. Do surge protectors actually work?

2b. Do they have any effect on ultimate sound quality?

Accessing the music. I have up to this point been using the Mac hooked up to a 32" Panasonic TV. I now have to find some other way of interfacing with my music. I own an iPad but for the love of me I can't work out a way to use it to access my music on the Mac that doesn't involve iTunes and therefore exclude my FLAC library. Even if it was possible to use iTunes I doubt that I would, simply because I prefer to just navigate thought th folder structure which I've maintained since day one

3a. Is there a way?

If the answer to 3a is No then I'm looking for a monitor. It will have to be small and preferably use an IPS panel. HP make one for not much money £120 iirc.

3b. What have I missed out? I'm bound to have not thought of everything so can you think of anything I could do increase my listening pleasure?

I can't wait for my DAC and amp to arrive. It's gonna be good having a base system that I can possibly upgrade in the future as funds allow but will still sound good today. I have this theory that the best EQ out there is to own multiple sets of headphones and use each according to genre. There are models from Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic & Hifiman on the distant horizon.

Let me hear your thoughts folks. I need all the help & advice I can get.

Gordon (I was quite a lot younger when I chose the name zorrofox) ūüėĆ
post #2 of 19

1a. as long as they are not total crap cables, no

1b. see above

1c. see above  (there is simply zero objective evidence that cables can make a difference.  zero.  subjectively...make your own decision.  i've made mine)

2a. of course, surge protectors protect from surges.  i would never run equipment without them

2b. there is simply zero objective evidence that power conditioning can make a difference.  zero.  subjectively...make your own decision.  i've made mine

3a. ...i use JRiver and either: JRemote or Webgizmo on my ipad to access my FLAC files.  i also sometimes use my WDTV box to access them.  point being, anything that uses DLNA or home networking (and is spec'd to work with FLAC) can be set up to access your files.  I will say that although JRiver and the WDTV box (and even my smart TV) can access the files, and to varying degrees can be highly customized for file viewing, only my WDTV box over home network (not DLNA) can view the raw disk folder structure as seen on the computer itself.  

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. I'm with you on cables, mostly. USB definitely. Digital either works or it doesn't is what I think.

JRiver. I didn't know that was out for the Mac. Bit from what you're saying it would rely on everything being tagged correctly. I'm not sure it all is. That's why I'd rather navigate by folder structure. Still that's all worth thinking about. I'll check out JRiver tonight.

Many thanks my friend.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
JRiver is not cheap. Is it really worth that kind of money?
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorrofox View Post

JRiver is not cheap. Is it really worth that kind of money?

 

that depends!  For me, it's money well spent....but:

 

JRiver is NOT the only software out there that allows for DLNA servers to be set up.  I can't name any others off hand, but a quick google search should help you there....

 

for me, JRiver is the best i've ever used for video and music (and photos, i do a lot of work related photos).  i have around 200,000 files in video and audio (and nearing a million photos) and JRiver has been very useful for tagging all of them, and is equal in quality to any audio or video player on the market (as far as video and audio quality).  Plus it works nice, easy to use (but difficult to master LOL) and the DLNA / zone functions are fantastic.  i cannot live without the zoning functions at this point.

 

but....it's expensive and as i said, there are other ways of doing it.  good luck with your search, i'm not a JRiver shill by any means but it does work very well for me.

 

edit:  i should say also, that if you are a full on iOS type of guy, itunes works quite well from the DLNA server point of view, it just doesn't work with FLAC and isn't very customizable for viewing the files.  changing all the files to ALAC and/or tagging them very well is a cheap (but time consuming) way out, and itunes does work very well with iOS stuff.  i am not ashamed to say i hate itunes...but i'm on PC (with iOS phones/tablets) so i don't need it.


Edited by ferday - 3/27/14 at 3:17pm
post #6 of 19

For Jriver, just try out the trials. It's at least 30 days. You could also "extend" the trial by downloading a older version. 

post #7 of 19
I use Media Monkey and MusicBee (not sure if it has DLNA), although those are PC platform. Might as well experiment with different media players before plunking down money on Jriver. I'm not saying JRiver is bad. Just that you might find something that costs less (or nothing) that appeals to you as much or more.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
That's good advice and at least initially is what I intend to do. Thing is at the moment my Mac is hooked up to the TV in the living room. It's not been a problem since I mainly access the internet via my iPad or my phone. But now that I need more access to the Mac I also need access to the TV. She who must be obeyed won't be too pleased at that so, unless I buy a monitor, I need software on the Mac which will allow me to access it via the iPad or phone. I'm currently using Cog for music playback on the Mac. I like Cog because it allows navigation via folder tree. That's all the functionality I really need to be honest. Ideally I'd like to find something which allowed me to access the folder structure from my iPad or phone.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
I fear this is not going to work. My Mac only has USB3 outputs and apparently they can't be used with the ODAC! I've also just received email confirmation that my ODAC is out for delivery today. Honestly, you couldn't make this **** up!
post #10 of 19

Uh why not? USB3 is backward compatible with all USB version, I certainly can use my laptop's USB 3 with my Tenor equipped DAC (same USB receiver as ODAC).

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
http://www.head-fi.org/t/611778/brief-odac-impressions/1380_20

http://www.head-fi.org/t/599915/issues-with-usb-3-0/0_20

http://www.head-fi.org/t/690214/jds-labs-o2-odac-issue/0_20

I've never heard of the problem until now. I've got to say I'm gutted. I was so looking forward to this and now I'm looking at having to pay for shipment back to Switzerland!
post #12 of 19

Well that sucks, cross your finger and hope it's somehow fixed between the time the problem was reported from OSX software update.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by laon View Post

Well that sucks, cross your finger and hope it's somehow fixed between the time the problem was reported from OSX software update.

Thats exactly what I'm going to do. You would think they'd have fixed it.
Edited by Zorrofox - 3/29/14 at 7:10am
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorrofox View Post

T
Thats exactly what I'm going to do. You would think they'd have fixed it.

According to the information I just read from those links, it's a problem with the Intel USB 3.0 implementation and may not affect third party vendor USB 3.0 implementation. Best thing to do is wait and see if you have the problem, and if you do, then find the techiest Apple forum you can and see if anyone has a workaround. And complain to Apple tech support.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

According to the information I just read from those links, it's a problem with the Intel USB 3.0 implementation and may not affect third party vendor USB 3.0 implementation. Best thing to do is wait and see if you have the problem, and if you do, then find the techiest Apple forum you can and see if anyone has a workaround. And complain to Apple tech support.

That's a good point. It does look like I'll have to wait & see. That will mean Monday too since the delivery company at my UK end of the chain doesn't do weekends.
Edited by Zorrofox - 3/29/14 at 9:01am
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