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Everything posted by maxg

  1. Mark, My impression is that these systems are not being sold for $375 but for rather more - whatever the salesman can get away with I would guess. As for your question - what surround sound system can you get for that money - there are a plethora of options from really reputable companies. Sony et al all make "Home cinema in a box" systems for about this price. Whilst one would hardly call them audiophile I would imagine that they are better than these systems. Of course - some searching for used equipment would probably yield a better result for even this money - although I dont think "room filling" will be the order of the day.
  2. If your old receivers have a phono stage on them then it should be no problem to connect the tape out via a 2 RCA to single din plug into your sound card on your computer (these cables are quite common with computer speakers for example). The tape out bypasses the volume control on the receiver (or it should) so no problem there - you can control the sound level on the computer (just make sure it is low enough not to clip on the peaks). After that there are any number of sound recording softwares that can do the job as the vinyl source will appear like any other. Most sound cards some with software that will do the job. Last time I bought a Soundblaster it came with many recording options upto 96/24 for 2 channel (although you won't need that for an iPod).
  3. Tom, The MX-D1 is no ordinary Yamaha amp. Some reckon it to be one of the best amps ever made. It has nothing to do with any of the other Yamaha product lines past or present. It is also true that it is probably not the amp you would automatically choose for Horn loaded speakers. Not many people need 500 wpc with a 100 (+) dB/w/m sensitive speaker. Does drive a B&W 801 with consumate ease though....
  4. Well it appears to be a lot neater than before. I quite like the clean look. not checked out the functionality yet - but I would guess that anything missing will be put back in shortly. Feels - I dont know - spacious?
  5. Chuckle, giggle, tee hee hee... OK - which is better? Well the definitive answer is this - yes. Theoretically the LT arm kills anything else stone dead. And a passive LT kills all other forms of LT (zero micro-vibration). In practice , however, it isnt the easiest thing to live with and you are very restricted on cartridges. the only good news in all of this is that you do not have to buy the Goldfinger ($12,000?) to get the best out of it - a standard 103 denon will do the job perfectly. Forget the 901 on the arm - I have the same cartridge in a drawer here - if it worked I would be using it - you need a minimum of 2 grams of tracking weight - 2.2 better - I the 901 runs between 1.5 and 1.9. As an aside - if you are looking at a LT clearaudio right now the answer is - don't. When they made the statement product a couple of years back they made a new version of the arm that uses just 2 wheels on the truck that supports the armlet as opposed to the 3 we have today. This is a filter down product and will come into the standard line next year (as an upgrade for me - thankfully). In theory that product overcomes much of the limitations of the current unit - including the tortional tendency induced by the movement. This could be - if it works right - the most important single upgrade to the arm since souther orignially designed it. With a bit of luck I will be testing it out come January/February. Another product that has come down from the statement design is the mag-lev bearing. Take the signal to noise ratio on the unit to beyond CD - and it a low cost upgrade for any clearaudio table. I will probably get both at the same time. Bet that confused things..... BTW - the outer ring is not essential for the LT arm any more than it is for a normal arm - it is just a massive upgrade to the sound for several complex but important reasons.
  6. Unpack the Mavis Beacon at once and get at it. In about 3 days you will not believe what you can achieve. I am faster on the keyboard that any secretary I ever had. Last time I tested it I was at about 70 wpm.
  7. Well largely I am with John Potis on this one. Vinyl - done well - with good quality recordings and records in decent condition outplay digital IME. I have done the comparison too many times to be convinced otherwise - although all it would really take would be a single instance of digital outplaying vinyl to convince me (with the above caveats). As others have said CD is hardly state of the art for digital. For reasons I am not able to explain, however, SACD, has singularly failed to impress - even in comparison to CD. It is, possibly, slightly better but the downside (relatively small selection available, higher prices etc. etc.) makes it effectively a non-option. Vinyl can get expensive - but it doesn't have to. Used records can be had for $1 each in remarkably decent condition and even a brand new player that is more than capable of holding its own sonically can be had for comfortably less than $1,000. Finally - the use of headphones in the test does serve to mask one of vinyl's great virtues in comparison to digital - the soundstage. The soundstage of vinyl is invariably wider than that of CD - more often than not appearing to extend beyond the bounds of the speaker position. I have never heard a digital setup achieve this.
  8. The best DSOTM by a long long way is, funnily enough , the Greek version produced by EMIAL (Greek division of EMI). Its a long story as to why but in essence the record was produced by UK recording engineers over here as the division had just been setup. It was done from the original master tapes - by accident immediately after the UK orginial version was produced. The big difference, however, in production between the UK original and the Greek version was that all the machines were brand new and the production quantity was very small. Couple of years ago you could pick up Greek versions of the record for almost nothing - now they are rarer than hen's teeth. We did a side by side analysis of about 9 different country's versions of DSOTM in ACA one bright day. The Greek one bested the lot - including the 200gram audiophile versions which were produced much later and seemingly once the original tapes had started to deteriorate. It was funny with the audiophile version. One member called whilst we were testing and we told him that it had just been murdered by the Greek version. He didn't beleive a word of it and came straight round with his copy. Needless to say he was gutted when he heard the Greek one. BTW - the best Animals, by contrast is the US version. Knocks spots of the UK version - no idea why....
  9. Ditto. I joined the day before you did. Nowhere near Colter's post numbers though. I guess I go on too long.....
  10. I still own it but it is on loan with Tony at the moment.
  11. Now this is an interesting idea. I wonder - somewhere deep in a cupboard I have a steam cleaning device for clothing - if I can find it I might give this a try. FWIW I would suspect this would be great for records you have cleaned already but didn't come up too well. I'd guess I have a hundred or so records that are a bit too noisy all in all and it would be well worth a crack with steam. Thanks for the heads up....
  12. Many years ago I owned a PS1 and did try it for music playback. It was no match for my Denon 3000 DVD player of the day which, in turn, was no match for the Marantz CD6000 I got sometime later. Interestingly though. I once heard a PS2 that had some mods done to it that outplayed anything else I ever heard digitally speaking. I do not know what the mods were exactly but it had something to do with using the DAC to do the error correction by cutting some connections. The guy that did it suddenly stopped talking about it and rumour has it he was paid off bigtime by Sony who were pushing SACD as the be all and end all of sound at the time.
  13. Right then: 1976 School - 2 mainframes one of which was an enormous ICL. Reel to reel tape machines, ticker tape, programs on cards the whole bit. The best part was shutting it down. This was a process that took about an hour as you had to shut down each piece of software separately (and they wouldn't always). Anyway if it worked the last command was "Die" and the whole thing would power down with all the fans and bits coming to idle. I'd guess the background noise level dropped from over 95 dB to about 40 dB in about 10 seconds - really cool. Anyway - that got upgraded a year or so later with 2 removable 20 Mb drives. Each drive unit was about the size of a laundromat waching machine and the disks weighted about 15 lbs each. By 1978 or so it was one of the most powerful computers in England supposedly. I think it had 64 or 128 Kb of RAM and supported upto 300 users on terminals and the programming language was ALGOL (what happened to that??) When I came to Greece I bought a new server for our office (1993). If memory serves the 1 GB SCSI disk for the server was about $7,500 in a mirrored configuration. In comparison - I am about to get a new portable for my wife - it has a 250 Gb disk as standard and 2 Gb of RAM (upto 4). Come to that I have a 4 Gb SD card in my phone that cost about $90 or something. The card is the size of my thumbnail as it is the oldest version of the SD cards. Newer Versions (Mini SD's) are half the size and the latest version (MicroSD) is half that size again. Frankly those are too small - I would lose them in seconds - but you can get 20 of them in a matchbox I am told.
  14. There is a big difference between Xenix back in 1987 and modern Linux in 2007. Xenix was a closed platform (it was actual Microsoft's attempt at the Unix market), plus you needed a then very expensive 386 based machine with at the time, a pretty decent amount of memory. As opposed to Linux being completely opened and constantly being improved upon. It seems today, it already is succeeding on the desktop. Will it overtake say Microsoft, or even Apple anytime soon? I highly doubt it, unless Microsoft continues to shoot itself in the foot with draconian measures in an effort to "combat piracy" with it's ridiculous product activations and so called "Genuine (dis)Advantage" schemes. People may just get pissed off at Microsoft enough they will decide at least give Linux as well as Max OS X a try. At least in the case of Linux, they won't need to buy a whole new computer to try it, but if they do want to buy a computer, they may just decide to get a Mac instead (and believe me, I am definitely leaning that way myself). I am not really comparing the products here - just obseerving that "this is the year of ??ix" has been said for as long as I have been in the marketplace. Product quality really has little to do with this. Microsoft controls the desktop - has done for a long time and wont give up its position easily. As soon as I, the purchaser, have to go that extra bit of effort to get an alternative that alternative has a problem. Case in point. On Saturday I was shopping for my wife's company. She needs a new desktop and 2 new portables for her business. Walked in to the local PC supermarket and was dealt with very efficiently. All 3 machines come as standard with your choice of XP or whatever the new MS operating system is called. That was the only choice I was given. It was followed by a pick and mix session choosing peripherals (screens, keyboards etc.) and then I was out. No-one mentioned alternative suppliers of operating systems - shareware, freeware or otherwise. In fact buying the PC's sans operating system was somewhat problematic as the computerized matching system wasn't setup to cope with it. As the salesman explained there are so many people who try to use illegal copies of Microsoft software that they have to make it difficult to buy without the thing ready loaded. Unless or until your "ix" based software is an easy default choice I do not see any other operating system taking more than about 10% of the market. Could be wrong of course. But I have been watching for 20 years and it aint changed yet.
  15. I was first asked this question for a product called Xenix sometime around 1987. I didn't think so then and I dont think so now. Its a question that seems to come up every couple of years.
  16. No Larry I dont know those channels. It is a French Channel called Mezzo that offers a mix of classical, jazz and opera performances. Generally the Jazz is in the early hours with Opera and classical dominating the evening slots (suits me). There are a lot of ballets on there during the day too - ideal for my daughter. There used to be another channel (Musique Classique) that I got for a while but now it is encoded and not a part of my package.
  17. Here is the ultimate conspiracy theory: Conspiracy theories are all started by the government to ensure that everyone is asking the wrong questions.[] For example: Was 9/11 a government conspiracy? Probably not - but the decision to use it as the basis to decide to invade Iraq (which had nothing to do with it)..... Or: Aliens are being held at Roswell. Or not - but it is a great cover for testing "black ops" aircraft and the like. IME the question that everybody is asking is rarely the right one and this cannot be an accident!!!
  18. Excellent report - nice to see someone interested in how a system plays at low volume for once. Funny thing - I remember going to listen to a system at a high end store a couple of years back with Tony. We listened at pounding volume till my head hurt and he was ecstatic with how it played. I then rested control of the remote from him and lowered the volume about 20 dB. Suddenly it was less than impressive. He was simply amazed I did a test at low volume - it had genuinely never occured to him to try it. I really think you have nailed the benefits of the Accuphase higher end models here - when in a properly matched system they play superbly across the volume range from pp to FF. To be fair Macs are not bad at this either - but I think this is where Accuphase really scores.
  19. I have lots of DVD music - I guess about 70. They were the thing I got into after CD and before SACD and then the return to vinyl. Some are good sonically - others poor to dreadful. My current DVD player - the Pioneer 575 just doesn't have good sound so these have taken something of a backseat latterly. As it happens though - we get a classical music TV channel on the Satellite and I often watch that - although the selected performances aren't always the best. On the subject of quality of sound I tend to find I am more forgiving when the music is accompanied by video. An interesting little test when comparing a DVD to a CD is to listen to the DVD with the TV off. I usually find the CD sounds better on its own but I prefer the video combo (unless it is truely sonically dreadful). As ever (for me) vinyl trumps everything else in the sound quality department.
  20. Can't agree with you there Paul. I started listening to music as a kid with a Transistor radio pressed up against one ear under the covers at night. Believe me - the sound quality was way worse than any digital offering of today. Unless - of course - you are not refering to a quality issue. If it is the ability to record someone's work for free - again not all that much has really changed. I used to tape off the radio back in the day....
  21. The article is probably over stated and a bit misleading - but funnily enough it could be closer to the truth than might otherwise be obvious. The major threat to CD - as others have noted is downloadable music in all its forms along with any other form of digital music that is available today. This means that ultimately the only people who are likely to buy CD's will be the luddites (like us) who crave quality and the ability to actually own the music on a physical form. The thing is - so many of those luddites (small in number as they are) actually keep and buy vinyl for many of the reasons (above) that CD might be purchased. If the CD market is dwindling it will overlap more and more with the vinyl market. Vinyl could indeed be the FINAL nail in its coffin. Interestingly, and on a related note. I read recently that 70% of UK singles in the charts are available on 7 inch vinyl disks - and they sell like crazy. Apparently it is in vogue with the kids to download the music and then buy it on vinyl - even if they do not have a record player. Quality has long since not been the driver for music buying. Convenience is king and the download trumps the CD at that. CD in technology terms is as many generations old as is vinyl in real terms - if not more, The music server now rules the roost. Vinyl will always have a market of course - but CD? I wonder.
  22. Not generally big on Rock albums but I do own this one. Funnily enough I own an illegal vinyl copy apparently: 1977, abc records with "For promotion only - Ownership reserved by MCA Records INC. Sale is unlawful" stamped in golod letters on the front. The cover is not in very good condition but I have no idea how it plays (I dont actually recall ever playing it). Anyway - cant do it now (6 am - everyone asleep) but I will give it a go over the weekend. Thanks for the heads up - I had quite forgotten I owned it.
  23. "But why do I have the feeling that many won't let the test get in the way of their emotional opinions? " I tend to find that if I can listen to a piece of music without getting emotionally involved then that is a piece of music I would not normally choose to listen to. I have long suspected that the digital/analogue conversion is not the problem with CD's - although I could not hazard a guess as to what the problem actually is (for me of course). As others have mentioned this is not the first time I have heard of a analogue/digital/analogue conversion being done in the signal and there being no apparent degradation of quality. Suffice to say - accepting that listening to music is an emotional experience I get a fuller version of it listening to vinyl than to CD. High Res digital formats have been hugely disappointing to me too which is largely what lead me to my conclusions in the first place.
  24. I dont know - there is something....er.....fishy about that whisky. I quite liked "olded" on the label too, as opposed to aged: I old, you old, he olds, they are so old they dont care about labia....
  25. Bit of a risk here I would say. I have not seen the VPI outer ring but I do have the Clearaudio version. The Clearaudio version has a bevelled inside edge that pretty much automatically seats it exactly centrally on the inner ring (sold together now). If the VPI lacks this then you risk having an off-centre ring. This is not a good idea as it will cause undue stress and wear on the main bearing. Like I say - not seen it - but I would give it a thorough examination before proceeding.
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