CHORD ELECTRONICS DAVE
Jan 23, 2021 at 3:58 PM Post #16,576 of 18,194

sm60

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Thanks for the advice!
I had to place them close to one another because a set of aftermarket bnc cables which my friend passed along with the units was only 0.5m long.
I'll try with the stock chord cables and try placing them farther apart.

A bit odd that most of the marketing pics show the tt2 stacked on top of the mscaler; is the tt2 not affected as much as the Dave?

So far, I think I am still preferring Dave without mscaler..
Upscaling is definitely somewhat subjective. It’s benefits are not demonstrable with measurements. Every upsampler review in Stereophile including the M-scaler, has been prefaced with the same caveats. The benefits are in the eye of the beholder. Even the original dCS upscaler, the Purcell, which I owned for a few years, introduced some artifacts. The sound was smoother but seemed to lose a bit of directness. The early Audio Research CD players used an up sampling DAC, but deliberately turned off the upsampler. Later ARC digital products, including their CD players and DACs, allow you to turn off upsampling. There’s a tendency in the digital world that the higher frequency you go in upsampling, the greater the benefits. For example, Roon lets you upsample everything to DSD 512 if you have a beefy enough processor in your media server. As in everything else, it’s a trade off and artifacts get progressively worse the higher the frequency in my experience. Or you get RF issues like with the M-scaler or the Blu 2, necessitating expensive shielded BNC cables. Is the game worth the candle?
 
Jan 23, 2021 at 5:37 PM Post #16,577 of 18,194

gnomen

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I’m also disappointed with the sound from Roon. I think there’s too much processing going on under the hood and their upscaling makes things worse.
I am surprised at this comment. For those who do use digital files rather than CDs - a journey I have been on for the last decade - Roon is at the forefront of server software in what it can do. It delivers an amazingly clean data stream as source. Yes, it is possible to select options for digital processing and upscaling, but if you leave those off, as most of us Chord users would certainly choose, the core service is extremely good. Plus all the richness of the information media on performers, files, content, composers etc.
 
Jan 23, 2021 at 7:54 PM Post #16,579 of 18,194

ecwl

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Upscaling is definitely somewhat subjective. It’s benefits are not demonstrable with measurements. Every upsampler review in Stereophile including the M-scaler, has been prefaced with the same caveats. The benefits are in the eye of the beholder.
While I agree that upsampling is subjective to audiophiles and affected by other equipment factors, e.g. gear noise, I really don’t think people should lump all upsampling algorithms together. I personally think that good upsampling such as M-Scaler played through a transparent DAC such as DAVE in an optimal setup significantly improves transient accuracy and also timbral accuracy. Guitar plucks, piano strikes, drum strikes are much more realistic. To take an opposite of the spectrum (which surprisingly is not NOS R2R DAC but is) the MQA filter where the same melodic line coming from the same instrument in an orchestral piece actually sounds like the notes are struck differently because of the poor upsampling transient accuracy. Mathematically, different upsampling algorithms lead to different mathematical results. I think people can argue whether it’s audible or not. To me, it’s highly audible. That’s why I own DAVE & M-Scaler.
If you don’t hear any benefits, kudos, saves you some money...
 
Jan 23, 2021 at 8:04 PM Post #16,580 of 18,194

ecwl

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There’s a tendency in the digital world that the higher frequency you go in upsampling, the greater the benefits. For example, Roon lets you upsample everything to DSD 512 if you have a beefy enough processor in your media server. As in everything else, it’s a trade off and artifacts get progressively worse the higher the frequency in my experience.
I think once people start talking about upsampling to DSD256/512/1024, I’m not sure we are talking about the same upsampling anymore. Because you’re actually combining upsampling with noise shaping. And once again, there is good noise shaping and bad noise shaping. Even Chord Mojo to Hugo 2 to Hugo TT2 to DAVE has different levels of noise shaping once it takes the 16fs upsampling to 104MHz. Good noise shaping should reduce artifacts, lower noise floors, increase soundstage depth, improve transparency and reveal more micro details which to me enhances realism. Of course, once again, it would be affected by gear noise introduced to the system. Moreover, the DAC architecture has to be compatible with the method of noise shaping for optimal results. But I’m not sure that it’s as simple as higher frequency upsampling vs artifacts trade offs.
 
Jan 24, 2021 at 5:26 AM Post #16,583 of 18,194

Jawed

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Is there anything you can place between the MScaler & DAVE if you don't have the option to space them far apart?

For example, could I cover the MScaler in some Faraday fabric etc?
I suppose you could try something like this:

EMI/RFI Absorbers - 3M™ | DigiKey

But I have no idea about the efficacy. Presumably, like ferrites, these sheets "add up" if you layer them. Wrapping M Scaler tightly in this stuff might make it get too hot, but mine has always ran far cooler than DAVE, even on the hottest days of summer, so I doubt heat will be a problem. Rob uses his tucked into a bag when he's on a flight...

Honestly, I think your solution is simpler: place the M Scaler on the floor as far away as possible from the rest of your hi-fi. Maybe not next to the switched mode power supply module which is probably on the floor... Sure, it reduces the "perceived value effect" of your hi-fi, but if you find the sound quality uplift is important to you then why compromise?

If nothing else, if you decide to try RF absorber sheets, then a comparison against HMS placed on the floor will help you to decide whether the sheets are working. Putting it on the floor even temporarily will certainly help you to determine whether you should even bother with this tweak.
 
Jan 24, 2021 at 6:24 AM Post #16,584 of 18,194

TheAttorney

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Is there anything you can place between the MScaler & DAVE if you don't have the option to space them far apart?
For example, could I cover the MScaler in some Faraday fabric etc?

I've been testing 3M's AB-5100HF and SHF EMI/RFI absorbing sheets. There is some science behind this product as 3M is not a hifi company.
It's available in different sizes, but I've used the 1mm-thick A4 sheets. Quite pricey at around £40-50 per sheet.
The SHF variant has slightly better overall performance, especially below 1Ghz, but the HF does better above 2Ghz and is slightly cheaper.
In the tests below, I didn't notice any difference between HF and SHF, so would just go for the cheaper one, but probably best (and double the price) is to join the two together.

I originally bought some to line the inside of my NUC server (as some audiophiles have recommended in the past), but didn't notice much difference (hard to do A/B tests so can't be certain). I then tried putting a sheet onto DAVE and HMS, and on top of my cable spaghetti, again without noticing much difference.
But then I put some at the back of DAVE and HMS on top of the connectors - and that did seem to give a subtle improvement, with a slightly smoother, less edgy sound.

With a bit more experimentation, and driven by my OCD nature, I felt the following did give subtle improvements (this with HMS placed 2 thick wooden shelves below DAVE on my hifi rack):

* A full A4 sheet under DAVE, a surprisingly tidy fit, with the excess sheet underneath the rear connectors. Note, this may impact the vibration control if you use hard footers.
* Cut sections to cover the connectors of every component. (EDIT: 1 piece across the full width to protect all sockets).
* Cut sections to cover all of DAVE's top ventilation holes. Safety warning here, although it only marginally increased my DAVE's temperature in my environment. Note that I have an HRS DPX damper plate that already covers the holes on DAVE's LHS, so I only needed a small curved piece for the holes behind the display. The damper plate sounded better than the sheet, and putting the sheet over the damper plate made no difference. Note I always put DAVE into standby overnight, so no risk of overheating when I'm not looking.
* Cut sections across the front controls of HMS. This had the additional benefit of blocking the bright lights when I'm listening in near-darkness.
* A section to loosely cover the top and sides of my fanless NUC server. I would only risk this because my NUC is very cool running. Do not do this on any hot-running component.

When changes are this subtle, I'm fully aware that results can be impacted by Imagination and Expectation Bias.
Nevertheless, every time I tried to remove one of the above, usually from the top of DAVE's ventilation holes or HMS front controls (as these are the most aesthetically impactful), then the OCD part of my brain would force me to put them back again, because the sound got just that tiny bit thinner and edgier.

Sometimes removing one of the sheets seemed to make the sound a bit clearer and more dynamic, so maybe one can overdo this sort of thing, and maybe it's just imagination. Life can be tough being a dedicated audiophile :).
 
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Jan 24, 2021 at 7:27 AM Post #16,585 of 18,194

TheAttorney

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Honestly, I think your solution is simpler: place the M Scaler on the floor as far away as possible from the rest of your hi-fi. Maybe not next to the switched mode power supply module which is probably on the floor... Sure, it reduces the "perceived value effect" of your hi-fi, but if you find the sound quality uplift is important to you then why compromise?

I'm sure distancing HMS would help, but HMS is not the only thing that causes RFI, and DAVE is not the only thing that is affected by RFI.
And for some users, me included, separating hifi is not a practical or WAF-friendly option. I specifically want my hifi to be concentrated in one corner, although I did at least put HMS 2 shelves below DAVE - as far as my 0.6M BNC cables would allow.

WRT placement, vibration control matters for both DAVE and HMS, so placing on the floor is a step back in that regards - unless extra precautions are taken. I can't say whether vibration control is more or less important than RFI control. But I can say that the affects are cumulative, i.e. you have to sort out both to get the best out of any component.
 
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Jan 24, 2021 at 8:53 AM Post #16,588 of 18,194

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I've been testing 3M's AB-5100HF and SHF EMI/RFI absorbing sheets. There is some science behind this product as 3M is not a hifi company.
It's available in different sizes, but I've used the 1mm-thick A4 sheets. Quite pricey at around £40-50 per sheet.
The SHF variant has slightly better overall performance, especially below 1Ghz, but the HF does better above 2Ghz and is slightly cheaper.
In the tests below, I didn't notice any difference between HF and SHF, so would just go for the cheaper one, but probably best (and double the price) is to join the two together.

I originally bought some to line the inside of my NUC server (as some audiophiles have recommended in the past), but didn't notice much difference (hard to do A/B tests so can't be certain). I then tried putting a sheet onto DAVE and HMS, and on top of my cable spaghetti, again without noticing much difference.
But then I put some at the back of DAVE and HMS on top of the connectors - and that did seem to give a subtle improvement, with a slightly smoother, less edgy sound.

With a bit more experimentation, and driven by my OCD nature, I felt the following did give subtle improvements (this with HMS placed 2 thick wooden shelves below DAVE on my hifi rack):

* A full A4 sheet under DAVE, a surprisingly tidy fit, with the excess sheet underneath the rear connectors. Note, this may impact the vibration control if you use hard footers.
* Cut sections to cover the connectors of every component.
* Cut sections to cover all of DAVE's top ventilation holes. Safety warning here, although it only marginally increased my DAVE's temperature in my environment. Note that I have an HRS DPX damper plate that already covers the holes on DAVE's LHS, so I only needed a small curved piece for the holes behind the display. The damper plate sounded better than the sheet, and putting the sheet over the damper plate made no difference. Note I always put DAVE into standby overnight, so no risk of overheating when I'm not looking.
* Cut sections across the front controls of HMS. This had the additional benefit of blocking the bright lights when I'm listening in near-darkness.
* A section to loosely cover the top and sides of my fanless NUC server. I would only risk this because my NUC is very cool running. Do not do this on any hot-running component.

When changes are this subtle, I'm fully aware that results can be impacted by Imagination and Expectation Bias.
Nevertheless, every time I tried to remove one of the above, usually from the top of DAVE's ventilation holes or HMS front controls (as these are the most aesthetically impactful), then the OCD part of my brain would force me to put them back again, because the sound got just that tiny bit thinner and edgier.

Sometimes removing one of the sheets seemed to make the sound a bit clearer and more dynamic, so maybe one can overdo this sort of thing, and maybe it's just imagination. Life can be tough being a dedicated audiophile :).

Your comments are very opportune because I have this morning been looking inside a Innuos Zenith and comparing it to the Statement which has what I now realise from your post to be 3M RFI EMI absorbing sheets stuck over its sensitive components including the SSD, RAM etc etc.

I think it is time to buy some 3M sheets and get my scissors out.
 
Jan 24, 2021 at 10:06 AM Post #16,589 of 18,194

Glossator

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Your comments are very opportune because I have this morning been looking inside a Innuos Zenith and comparing it to the Statement which has what I now realise from your post to be 3M RFI EMI absorbing sheets stuck over its sensitive components including the SSD, RAM etc etc.

I think it is time to buy some 3M sheets and get my scissors out.
How interesting - Nick, good luck with it: please do report back (I am sure I am not only one interested in how a Zenith responds) ....
 
Jan 24, 2021 at 11:52 AM Post #16,590 of 18,194

Uncle Monty

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I suppose you could try something like this:

EMI/RFI Absorbers - 3M™ | DigiKey

But I have no idea about the efficacy. Presumably, like ferrites, these sheets "add up" if you layer them. Wrapping M Scaler tightly in this stuff might make it get too hot, but mine has always ran far cooler than DAVE, even on the hottest days of summer, so I doubt heat will be a problem. Rob uses his tucked into a bag when he's on a flight...

Honestly, I think your solution is simpler: place the M Scaler on the floor as far away as possible from the rest of your hi-fi. Maybe not next to the switched mode power supply module which is probably on the floor... Sure, it reduces the "perceived value effect" of your hi-fi, but if you find the sound quality uplift is important to you then why compromise?

If nothing else, if you decide to try RF absorber sheets, then a comparison against HMS placed on the floor will help you to decide whether the sheets are working. Putting it on the floor even temporarily will certainly help you to determine whether you should even bother with this tweak.
Do you think this, wrapped around the MScaler, might work? Could wrap the DAVE too, though mine gets hot.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0895LTG3V/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
 

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