Main Listening Room:
Dedicated purpose built acoustically tuned room approximately 550 sq.ft / 4400 cu. ft. Additional soundproofing with multiple layers of 5/8” OSB & Green Glue in progress.
Speakers: Danley Sound Labs SH50
Subwoofers: Epik Empire (four)
Subwoofer Processor: Behringer DEQ2496
Computer Source: Toshiba C855-S5350 Laptop. J River Media Center, 192Khz/24bit HDMI output
Streaming Source: Roon, Tidal
Main Amplifier: NAD M32 + BluOS, HDMI, PH1 modules, Tidal Hi-Res streaming
NAD C446 Digital Media Tuner 48KHz toslink output
McIntosh MX130/MR7083 for FM analog
Thorens TD126 MKII, SME III arm, Shure V15mr Type 5
Linn LP-12, Origin Live PS & motor upgrade, Moerch UP4 arm, Decca Jubilee
Phono Preamp: Audio Research SP6B
SACD Player: Sony SCD-XA5400ES HDMI
Tape Decks: Nakamichi Dragon, Tascam CC-222SL MK II, Sony A7 DAT (*toslink)
Headphones: AKG K270
Other: Various vintage Crown, McIntosh MX131 & MC7205, Luxman MB3045 , Wright Sound Lab 3.5 Mono, BoyuuRange A50 300B, Reisong A10, Decware Zen SE84UFO (2 - dual mono)
UHDTV: Samsung HU7200 55”
Receiver: Onkyo TX-NR838
Speakers: Klipsch RF-7 II mains, RC-64 II center, RC-7 rear/surround (vertical with horns turned 90d)
Subwoofer: SVS PC-2000
DVD/BluRay Player: Samsung
Model Railroad Room:
Speakers: Klipschorns (1976)
Reciever: Harman Kardon AVR130
CD Player: Denon D-600F
Office: Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 desktop, LG Flatron M237WD
- See My System
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Audio Research in Receivership??????I agree. But STUPID me, on my first "good" (real) stereo system (circa 1971), I had my preamp choice nailed down to a Crown IC150 OR Audio Research SP3a. One guess which one I bought - because of better specs, and lower price. Yup. Hodie-doh. Talk about starting off on the wrong foot!!
"In the end, everyone should choose what he likes better." Isn't that what I said? The problem here, as I've said, is that MQA does not make or break the sound quality of a recording. In fact, as per my participation in the afore mentioned listening session, afterward I asked the following question of the recording engineer - "So, it seems that the better the recording, the more improvement, realism, can be achieved?" The answer was "Yes, exactly". So it still boils down to how the original recording was made. What was the recording process? And that is what most audio"philes" lack, an understanding of the recording process. It's one of those things (the "art" part) where only through experience (in the recording process) can you really have any understanding of what's going on. To quote Mark Levenson: "to become a master in the art of music reproduction you have to approach it the same way you approach the art of photography—to not only know what the picture looks like, but also to know the process by which the photograph is made. You have to know what goes into the recording before you are in the position to evaluate what it sounds like coming out of a hi-fi system." EDIT: Paul Klipsch knew this, and practiced it too. MQA is supposedly "artist (producer) approved". But what if I don't like what the artist likes (sound quality wise)? Well, in my experience, I don't have to use it. I can play a non-MQA version of the file, either by streaming/playing it back on a non-MQA device, or from my own non-MQA CD rips or other recordings. I really don't understand what all the fuss is about. Also, I've never been "forced" to pay extra, outright, for anything MQA simply because the device or recording has MQA encoding available. The MQA license fee, regardless of where it is in the "chain" is far, far less significant than the streaming service cost, the product cost, whatever. Companies will charge what ever the market will bare. The "cost" of MQA to the end user is essentially inconsequential.
How do we know that we're listening to the same music file? We don't. We may believe it's the same music file, but that fact is, we don't know. Nor do we know if, or what, any of these sources did on their own (to enhance THEIR product). If you think you can actually hear the data reduction of MQA compared to FLAC I would have to say you (or anyone else) is sadly mistaken. AND, I would also challenge you or anyone else to put your money where your mouth is. You may indeed be hearing a difference. But I seriously doubt it's what you believe it is. Let take this one step further. Have you, or anyone else, been present at a listening session, with some very well-respected, unfortunately extremely expensive audio system, where you were able to audition 3 different recordings, all made by the same recording engineer, one who has a well regarded reputation, and you, at the time don't even know this, you don't know who this recording engineer is (or even know that he is one at this point - he could just be "one of us"), and unknowingly, do not know, are completely unaware (as in a totally blind test comparison), of what was being compared? By this I mean, you don't even know what MQA is (for instance) - never heard of it. You're just supposed to listen to two versions of each of the three recordings, and decide if there's a difference, and if so, what it is?
You have missed the point. Which is understandable, especially if you haven't "done the study", so to speak, or at least not very much. First of all, there is no such thing as "perfect" system or "perfect" room (or, IMO, "perfect" anything). I referred to an audio playback system as needing to be "neutral" (unbiased). as a much as possible, in order to get beyond the beyond the format, component matching, blame it on the recording, etc crap. However, IF, one's desire is to only listen to certain "things", and have it sound how they want it to, without regard to reproducing an extremely good facsimile of the original performance/sounds, that's OK. Go for it. But don't blame it on the recording, or how it was recorded, or this is better than that, etc. What I'm saying is that, IMO, most people tend to unintentionally, even unknowingly, "bias" their audio system, to their liking, which is ok. It's your ears and your money. It only has to please YOU, no one else. But this has nothing to do with all the things I mentioned. Pick a popular recording that you like. Do some research on it. Where it was recorded, and by who. Take a look at a music database like disorgs.com and see how many "versions" of that recording there are. And then tell me which one Tidal, or Qobuz, or HD Tracks, whatever, is using. The fact of the matter is, we don't know. All I'm saying is that, I used to be a "purist". No tone controls. Continually swapping equipment trying to optimize something that can't, and shouldn't be "optimized" per se, but rather "neutralized". I'm passed that now. It doesn't matter whether I'm listening to a recording taken from a 1890's Edison cylinder phonograph, or current state-of-the-art whatever. It's still enjoyable. It sounds like what it is. And it has its own special qualities, some of which, IMO have been lost in translation (because nothing's "perfect").
Does everyone have a hiss when no music is playing?
artto replied to Don A's topic in 2-Channel Home AudioNOPE. NAD M32, DSL SH50, (100dB sensitivity), room has a noise floor in the low 30dB range
I'm going to play devil's advocate and take the opposite side of the "argument". And yes, this is probably going to sound arrogant on my part, but so be it. FIRST OF ALL, as one of our late Forum Members, Dave Mallet used to say, "the recording engineer is king". (I'm pretty sure he said that, lol. If not, sorry Dave) 2. I have ask everyone of you, how many of you have ever done ANY recording of live (acoustic) music or sounds? There is so much variation in "subjective" sound quality from recording to recording, even from the same performing artist(s), same recording engineer, same recording location that it's literally impossible to associate a "preference", and say that (for instance) MQA is $hit, one streaming service (Tidal vs. Qobuz) is better or worse, analog vs. digital, etc. I mean, literally, how many of you have ever made sound recordings of something extremely familiar to you (like your own backyard), in both analog and digital simultaneously, from the same signal feed? I suspect not many. When your audio system is finally "tuned" properly (in my world that means non-biased), you will be able to enjoy pretty much any and all recordings, no matter how old or recent they are, no matter what format they were recorded in. OTOH, I will readily admit that what I just said is easier said than done. Not everyone has the time, resources, dedication, or lack of personal conflicts to get to that point. After all, this literally is a "journey". And one tries to do the best they can with what is achievable for their self at any particular time. There's simply too many variables along the way, in the recording process, starting with the performance, how it's captured, and what happens to it before we get to hear anything. I can tell you as a matter of fact, that those "magical" recordings don't just happen, but then again, they do. I know, because I've done it. Same recording facility, same mics & other equipment, same mic locations, and yet, "it sounds different". Often, "that magic", just happens. We all have very little control over what we hear from any recording through our audio system - UNLESS - you are the recording engineer. Even then, it's often very difficult to achieve and maintain consistency. Take MQA for instance. (first of all, it's NOT a FORMAT. It is a CODEC). "Artist Approved"? What the hell does that mean? Jimmy Page is often the producer for many of the Led Zeppelin recordings/reissues/re-masters. How good do you think his ears are now? It sounds good to him, he approves it. Don Henley might be driving around in a Porsche Roadster with the top down playing the test tracks from a recent recording, calls his mastering engineer and says "Yeah. I like that. Let's go with it". We have no idea. And quite frankly, he's probably listening for something quite different than we are. But it's MQA approved. So what. It all, unfortunately, has nothing to do with we're all looking for. And then..................there's the listening room, influencing everything on its way to our ears. It's really quite folly to believe in the "purist" approach - no tone controls or EQ, for fear of how it might pollute our precious "sound". Been there, done that. If you don't like something you're hearing, on your system (which includes the room) - it's your system. Not the recording, not the format, not whether it's MQA or not, or something else.
Audio Research in Receivership??????Well, Klipsch. Here's your (second?) big chance to add an excellent, highly respected high-end audio amplifier company with a compatible & desirable product line to your portfolio. IMO Klipsch probably should have bought Mark Levenson, or McIntosh years ago when the opportunity arose. But since Klipsch is now owned by Voxx Internaltional (formerly AudioVox, the cheap car stereo company) this probably won't happen. https://parttimeaudiophile.com/2023/05/02/audio-research-in-trouble-announcements/ But, IMHO, ARC would make a great match with Klipsch, and also an opportunity to maybe introduce some more affordable vacuum tube products into the mix. "Just sayin"
Lost my best friend today.I'm so sorry to hear of your loss wuzzer. 18 years is a long time. But they make it so good. I don't know why, but this sometimes seems more difficult than losing a parent or sibling. I'm going to lose my pal in the next few weeks - stage 5 lymphoma. He just turned 8 and he's been with us 5 years and a week.
New HyperX Headphone Technology!!!
artto posted a topic in Headphones
😊 That's funny Rich. For me I'd have to say it's quite the opposite. More sparkle in the midrange, yes. Especially 300B amps. But IMHO the treble tends to roll-off more with tube amps in general, especially with a speaker load. To ne, clarity and transparency are too different things. Benchmark is another one I'd like to try. But right now I'm seriously considering swapping out the M32 for a M12 preamp and getting a NAD M23 for power. And maybe a Decware Sarah 300B. If I order it now I might have it in 2 years. Bottom line (for me) regarding the SE84UFO is it's pretty much like all the reviews have said. I've come up with all the same subjective descriptions they have. Well balanced, transparent, "musical" (I really hate that one), not lacking any bass, surprisingly quiet for a zero neg-feedback SET, plays louder than one would expect, etc. and whatever else I've read. I'm putting them back on tonight.
Initially I just used one UFO for a few days. I had to get a pair of decent Y-adapter/splitter cable/connectors. When I received those I hooked them up as a pair of monoblocs. The last week or so I've been using two.
Thanks! And one other thing.........the M32 has optical & coax digital pass-thru outputs, deleted on M33. All the manufacturers seem to be removing any ability to "copy" or transmit digital audio/video data through/from the amplifier/receiver to another component as was done in the old days with "record out" features. I've done a lot of my own recording. Having digital output/pass-thru is important to me for my own use. Did some listening last night with the M32 only (no subs either), only streaming radio, NPR WDCB.org. BluOS app player. Compared to the SE84UFO, M32 is definitely "crisper", cleaner, with stronger more powerful bass. The night before I listened to a few long tracks from the live recording "The Mothership Returns" - Return to Forever (reunion). One notable difference/characteristic I've noticed with SE84UFO (indeed, probably most tube amps) is, for instance, Jean-Luc Ponty's electric violin. even with a very clean & clear amp like M32, Ponty's violin can have some edge, bite, sharpness, especially in the highest registers. It can get at my ears at times, espically at higher SPL as the room acoustics get increasingly involved. With the SE84UFO that edginess, sharpness, is what I would call "polished". Not necessarily any "smoother". Polished seems like the correct subjective description to me. This recording has more slam using the M32. So, as usual, it's kind of a pick your poison, what kind of flavor do you like sort of thing. The SE84UFO is more "polite", some might say more forgiving, but personally I think it exposes everything that needs to be exposed. (for referrence peak SPL C-weighted 95dB with subs on)
You can rest assured that NAD will probably introduce a new model of the M33 (ie: M34 or whatever) that has what both the M32 & M33 have. M33 has DIRAC which is something I wish I could get on the M32. But I can do a similar EQ thing with ROON once I get an Intel i7 NUC to handle the DSP. OTOH I’m quite certain NAD partnered with Bruno Putzeys on their new power amp sections because, well, they have done so in the past, and were able to license exclusive rights to manufacture their own “Purifi Eigentakt” hybrid digital technology from him. The M32 (390DD & M2) are all true direct digital DAC amplifiers. Basically just software. NAD co-developed DDFB (direct digital feedback) technology with U.K. company Zetex Semiconductor. https://nadelectronics.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/DirectDigital_WhitePaper.pdf However, Zetex later got bought by CSR, and then CSR was acquired by Qualcomm. That ended NAD exclusivity using DDFB. Reading about DDFB on Qualcomm’s website you would think they are the ones who invented it. Qualcomm obviously has other “bigger” plans for DDFB.
Klipsch probably isn't going to like this but I've been using Danley SH50 for quite a while now. I'm using 4 Epic Empire subs. But the rest of the house is all Klipsch. My old Khorns are now in the model railroad room. That's an NAD M32. I love it. At the moment I'm using it as a digital front end, preamp, streamer. Unorthodox, I know. But so far I think this might actually be the better way to go (instead of tube front end). I've considered the NAD M33 but I don't like what NAD took out compared to M32. Only 2 MDC upgrade slots vs 5. Fixed sub 80Hz crossover vs 40Hz-200Hz or full range. No attenuation of mains or subs available. No adjustable high pass filter/crossover for mains. And as much as I like the new simulated M33 meters, they only work for BluOS streaming. And they're VU (input) meters, not power output. So kind of worthless.