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Compatibility of parasound 2125 and 2100 with my kef c-80's

 

New member
Username: Martydel

Post Number: 1
Registered: Dec-13
Please advise whether the parasound 2125 and 2100 match up with my kef c-80's and rega rp1. I can buy the parasound pieces new at Sound Advice for $620 and $440. If there is a better match for similar dough please advise. Jazz and classical is what i listen to most often. Thank you!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17822
Registered: May-04
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You give no indication of your priorities when listening to music. Therefore, left with only electrical performance to judge, the system is matched well enough electrically; input/output impedance, current deliver and impedance load to make decent music.

Personally, I wouldn't have put as much money into the amplification as you have but, then, I'm not much on power for the sake of power. IMO you're turntable should be upgraded - though you haven't mentioned your cartridge - since the quality of the source player sets the level of quality for the rest of the system IMO. The ol' "garbage in = garbage out" equation.

The RP1 is a nice table which accommodates some very nice cartridges but it is still the low end of the Rega line. And it lacks any sort of suspension system. Overall, it plays music well, if not at a slightly more rapid tempo than is on the recording. This is a fault which plagues most of the Rega line until you add the outboard power supply to the RP3. Environmental damage to the signal is always a concern with any Rega table.


You've not stated a budget for the system so I can't say how much you should be spending on each component but again, IMO, you can do better than the Parasound amps and have funds to put in to the rest of the system. This assumes, of course, your musical priorities do not depend on the rather evident house sound of the Parasound line. It's a good line and should get more attention that it does but it does have a definite character that make system matching important to your final results.

All of these comments, however, make the assumption you listen for what the average magazine reading "audiophile" is aware of and that you've already devoted attention to the system set up and ancillary equipment within your system. In other words, if you've neglected the set up of the table, set up of the speakers and cabling at the very least, then more money spent on other gear is not reaching its full potential IMO.

What amplification are you coming from when you replace it with the Parasound gear? What's your reasoning for the Parasound? What are you expecting it to provide that you don't already have?




That's my opinion and others may disagree since we all have our own priorities when it comes to music.

Make sense? You're not necessarily on the wrong track, just not following the hierarchy of the "perfect" system. That said, what Stephen Mejias thinks is the best way to judge a system is not how I judge a system - not by any stretch of the imagination.




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New member
Username: Martydel

Post Number: 2
Registered: Dec-13
Jan, thank you for your insightful and timely response. The Parasound boxes were never opened and were returned the next day.

My priorities for music listening are to build a system for 90% vinyl and 10% cd/cassette. I bought a Nak CR1 which works as well as ever which is more than I can say about my Nak TA2A. Both were purchased new around 1986.

If you thought the Rp1 was a weak link, my Sony 5 disc changer is weaker still but it functions as well as it's limitations allow. As to budget, I'll replace the CD player at a later date.

I will upgrade the cartridge (AudioTechnica) which came with the Rp1. I've been told that an Ort Red would be a slight upgrade and an Ort Blue a much greater upgrade. Any other suggestions on cart upgrade or do you think that upgrading the TT to the Rp3+ outboard power or another line of TT is the bigger issue? Suggestions welcome.

My primary focus now is replacing my slowly dying Nak receiver. Would a Rogue Sphinx which a local dealer quoted me at $1,165 be a much, much better choice than the Parasound gear? Or do you have any better ideas as to integrated or power/pre in the same approximate price range. The local dealer also has a fair supply of vintage amplification including Mac. Jan, you didn't have much to say about the Kef C-80's. I believe they listed for $1,500 the pair. I bought them for $400, but I want your unbridled opinion as to whether the amp upgrade which I am considering will optimize what I'm seeking - great sound quality for what I like - jazz and classical music.

Is Straight Wire level 2 interconnects @ $50-$60 per pair adequate given what I'm trying to achieve? And also, could you expound a bit on what you referred to as TT set-up beyond cart upgrade and speaker set-up beyond the placement question.

Thank you very much for your honest and thoughtful insights.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17823
Registered: May-04
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Realize my opinion is only my opinion. I sold high end audio for decades but my own musical priorities are those I have developed for myself.

Those of us who sold the Nak receivers weren't terribly impressed with their construction or performance. But they hit a price range in a generation of receiver buyers where the next step up was often an uncomfortable stretch for many buyers. Vintage gear, even McIntosh and the like, is a rather dicey affair. Tubes from the time period can be an excellent choice but not typically for the first time buyer and certainly not if you don't have access to a very good tech who knows these products. My 50 year old MC240's have been with a tech for months as he has been hit with poor health and parts have, over the 30 plus years I've owned them, been slow in coming when they are particular to the specific design of the amp. The slightly better news is most vintage tube gear is rather simple circuitry and most parts are generic to any amplifier. First and even second generation solid state gear can offer some advantages over a receiver but you have to remember that, after the newness wore off, many listeners in the '60's discovered the musical failings of transistors.

Whole system discussions are difficult IMO since they involve a sense of character existing within the system and what is typically referred to as a "synergy" of goals. A well put together, synergistic system with lower cost but complimentary parts can, when attention is paid to the details of the system, have greater performance potential than a more expensive, but more haphazardly put together system. However, building that synergistic system requires a fair knowledge of what is available and, IMO, a good idea of what live music sounds like. That assumes, of course, your goals for your system are that it recreate music above playing audiophile tricks. Add to that many virtues of an "audiophile" system; soundstaging, imaging, width and depth, holographic dimensionality, etc are all two edged swords. Live music has such qualities but they are not the music itself.

I cannot tell you what music "is". I know quite well what I experience when I attend a live performance but I also know I have sat side by side with friends who come away with rather different impressions of what we both have heard. Often, my first advice to a potential client was to go out and experience some live music before spending money of audio gear.

I'll ask you the same questions I've asked of most of my clients. Do you listen to live music? Not live recordings, but music being created in real time in front of you? What was the last performance you attended? Do you play an instrument? Have you ever played an instrument for any length of time?


Can you tell me what your present system's strengths and weaknesses are? What are you finding your system does well and not so well? What qualities are most important to you when you are considering a new component?




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New member
Username: Martydel

Post Number: 3
Registered: Dec-13
Jan, answering your first question regarding to what extent I've heard live music reminds me of questions which I ask my students when I teach golf. I use questions to establish a base line and to promote efficient and effective communication. Answering the question that you posed has allowed me to re-live some "bright moments" and I will answer it fully in hope that it is both fun as well as illuminating.

1969 Chicago Checkerboard Lounge "Howlin Wolf"
I969 Muddy Waters
1970 Mr. Kelly's Ramsey Lewis Trio
1970 " Ahmad Jamal
1970 The London House Oscar Peterson
1971 Chicago Theatre Janis Joplin
1971 Alice's Revisited Buddy Guy
1971 " BB King
1971 Bahai Temple Paul Winter Consort
1971 Ravinia Park Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66
1972 PalmAire C.C. Pompano, FL Eddie Higgins Trio
1972 Florida Atlantic Univ.
John McLaughlin & the Mahavishnu Orchestra, BB King, and James Cotton Blues Band
1973 Lion's Share Hollywood, FL Ira Sullivan Band with Jaco Pastorius
1973 The Vanguard Miami Mose Allison
1974 Holiday Inn Ft.Lauderdale Buddy Rich Big Band
1985 Bubba's Ft. Laud. Carmen McRae
1985 Musicians Exchange Café Ft. Lauderdale The Brecker Brothers Band


You said that you don't know what music is, but that friends who sat next to you often had different impressions of what they had experienced. To paraphrase from Justice Potter Stewart's famous quote regarding a famous court case, I don't know what music is either, but "I know it when I hear it". I also know that it evokes a vast and varied personal response to the emotions of the human experience. Unfortunately, the venues where we can experience live music are fewer today. Does anyone know a venue near Ft. Lauderdale like the Musicians Exchange Café where you could sit within 20 feet of the Brecker Brothers Band ?


To answer your question as to whether I play an instrument, the closest that I've come to doing that is struggling for about two or three months with just a trumpet mouthpiece given to me by a friend who at the age of 15 was first horn in the Chicago Philharmonic. He sid it was tough love and that if you could produce something simple and somewhat musical that we would then add the horn. I say the trumpet is a hard instrument to play especially to play softly the way Miles could.


As to what the strength of my system is currently, I would say that is hard to determine with my Nak now less that what it was new. It doesn't drive the speakers adequately. Even past 12 o'clock the output is obviously inadequate so I didn't stay past 12 for long. I am hoping that I can find that "synergistic and complimentary system" addition in amplification which will either show the strength or weakness of the Kef C-80's. Since, as I said in my prior post that as the C-80's were the top of the "C" line and had some shared drivers with the 104's, that they might be a part of system. I love the challenge of putting together a synergistic system at a relatively low cost with knowing that live music cannot be duplicated no matter how much money is spent. My next step is to find the complimentary amplification and them to upgrade the cartridge.


I can tell by the way that you answer my post and others that I've read that you've got a good heart and soul and I am very grateful for your time and thought.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17824
Registered: May-04
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Well, first, thank you for the compliments.


I tend to focus on the music when I audition equipment. Not everyone does. Or, their concepts of what music should sound like have been diluted by a lack of experience with the real thing. That's quite a collection of stars you've seen live in performance. Howlin' Wolf no less?! Was he still able to climb the stage curtains when you saw him? I sat in awe of Hubert Sumlin a few months before his death and was astounded at his performance. While he only played four songs - sitting down no less, what he packed into those few pieces towered above what the rest of the performers of the night could produce in a two hour long show.


I would first suggest you give some consideration to what music is to you. I ask about playing an instrument simply because those who play have a greater familiarity with the terms of music, so when I mention "tone", "timbre", "pacing", etc they are not wondering what I'm talking about. No need to play an instrument to select a good audio system but knowing the experience of a less educated player can assist in grasping a few of the ideas I will mention. Those who have children in a school band can have much the same experience of hearing "music" which is not musical. IMO good playing involves timing and attention to rhythm. It has ups and downs in volume, dynamics and its impression on how intently you should listen at any one moment. Harmonization and communication between players is important also. As you say, emotions are invoked by good music and, if the recording has not destroyed the subtlety of the performance, judging the quality of a system by simply voting up or down on how well a system can achieve those same feelings can, IMO, be a worthwhile benchmark. Of course, there's always more to a live performance than just how you feel, so we probably need to have a more broadbased method of comparison.

Oddly, a music reproduction system has its own virtues and many listeners zero in on only how the system performs its tasks in a vacuum often removed from the music. The music becomes a means to an end, the end being a system or component with better virtues of, say, "imaging" than their previous set up. I would say it is to your benefit to know a few of the terms tossed about in audio and how they relate to selecting a higher quality component for your priorities. Most "professional" reviewers get it wrong IMO. There really is a good deal of quality audio gear available today and sorting through the variances between components has too many times come down to comparisons made over how one component plays this twenty seconds of a recording in ways this other component doesn't. I have no problem using amplified, rock, jazz or blues as a reference for your comparisons though I somewhat draw the line at purely electronic music which cannot exist outside of a computer. However, the ways of playing an electric guitar varies considerably between Waters, King, Sumlin, Guy, etc. Again, you do not need to be a scholar in how each performer plays, just that you understand each player has their own techniques and that a high quality system or component should not make these differences irrelevant. At its best a high quality system should demonstrate the differences between the venues where live recordings take place. That degree of sophistication, however, might be beyond the scope of your immediate desires. In the end, IMO, the music should be convincing. Again, a tough word to tie down to its meaning.


A listener who is captured by the broad dynamic sweep of horn loaded drivers may feel dynamic peaks are on their list of musical priorities. Fine, but most horn loaded drivers have other trade offs which may be outside of the priorities of another listener. Since virtually all components have a system of trade offs; good for bad and better for lesser, having a few "priorities" in your head as to what music is to you should provide a short(er) list of which pieces will fit into your system based upon that synergy of similar ideals.



The KEF speakers have long possessed "KEF-like" virtues. While most British loudspeakers will speak of neutrality in the adverts, KEF's neutrality is not identical to B&W's or Spendor's neutrality. This may be a moot point if your only choice is KEF and no other British speaker but, IMO, picking up on the finer points of what sets KEF apart from its British counterparts means listening not to the speakers but to the music as the speakers reproduce it. As your system sits, NAK not withstanding, it is somewhat balanced toward the speaker end. The C80's themselves are balanced towards a rather big, broad sweeping sound and can lack some of the refinement of the smaller KEF's. They are though what you have to work with right now.

I don't know your domestic situation or how much flexibility you have in set up but, if you have not properly positioned the KEF's to obtain their best performance, I would strongly suggest you do so before you proceed with any purchases. Your issues with the NAK receiver seem to be mostly with the inability of the receiver to drive the speakers well. Let's get the speakers set up to give their best and then we will have a better platform for comparisons against other equipment.

I tend to recommend most listeners approach speaker set up by way of the WASP system; http://www.tnt-audio.com/casse/waspe.html

This system is consistent from room to room and typically provides the most user friendly set up for speakers which are positioned out into the room a bit to avoid major reflections from room surfaces. The article also mentions the Cardas method and the Genelec system of placement. It wouldn't hurt to read other suggestions for set up since all rooms have their own peculiarities and knowing how to veer from any one set up to obtain good results is a matter of knowledge of more than one method.

So before you go out and shop, do some work with what you have to stretch out as much performance as possible. Doing so will mean whatever equipment you replace will not be facing the same bottlenecks as the old system.


Regarding the Rogue, yes, it would be a noticeable, I think, improvement over the NAK at its best. At its best, the NAK was generally viewed as a somewhat clinical observer on the event. Not so the Rogue. It has a very inviting sound for a listener more focused on the music without giving up many of the finer points of what good audio gear can do. The Rogue line and their house sound is a good choice IMO to go with the Rega and KEF sound you have in the system right now building on the idea of synergy between components. I won't say go buy the Rogue just to have something new. But you might end up with the Rogue in the end.


We can certainly discuss the personalities of certain components as we go along but it's probably best to know many well known companies; KEF, Rogue, McIntosh, etc, have what would be called a "house sound". The differences between, say, Rogue and McIntosh are somewhat small and there are other reasons why one buyer would select the far more expensive Mac. KEF is similar to, say, Harbeth speakers but both are quite unlike, say, a B&W. Your selections are often dictated by locale and, therefore, probably limited to a small handful of components. I do recommend as often as is possible the ability to audition equipment before you spend your money.

The AT cartridge which you have on your Rega is a "balanced" sound. Often, and particularly when funds are not unlimited, "balanced" is the objective. No glaring sins and no obvious faults. Sins of omission are typically considered less objectionable than sins of commission. In other words, any system or component which constantly draws attention to itself will eventually become rather annoying since all music will eventually sound like the character of the system. Better to give up a little "here" than constantly be made aware of what is happening "there".


Those are some general guidelines to begin with. Do a speaker set up and let's discuss what you have after that. Use music you are familiar with for comparisons and listen to a few minutes of each recording for each comparison rather than just a few seconds before making decisions.

Always power down your amplifier whenever you are moving your speakers more than a few inches. We don't want a cable to come loose and fry your receiver at this point. And, of course, make certain your speaker connections are always clean - no frayed or loose strands of cabling - and "in phase". In phase meaning the same conductor on each speaker cable always runs to the same color of connector on each speaker; red to red and black to black at all locations.

When you have the connections done properly and the speakers set up well, a single voice - an FM announcer or a centered vocalist should appear to be fixed in space between the speakers. When your seat is located at the tip of an equilateral triangle formed by you and the two speakers, you should actually observe a voice which has no dimensions, just a small tiny spec which comes from a fixed position between the speakers. In other words, how a human voice would sound if someone were speaking from that spot between your two speakers. Recording studios do mess with this quality so select your audition material appropriately. Don't worry about your cables or anything else right now, let's just get the speaker set up and go from there.



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New member
Username: Martydel

Post Number: 4
Registered: Dec-13
Jan, I hope your holidays were enjoyable. I have been busy reading about WASP, Genelac and Cardas. Because I am interested in 2ch I spent very little time at Gen, but looked thoroughly at WASP and Cardas. My speakers had been on the long wall of my 8x13x24 room, too close to the speaker wall and too far from the listening spot. I am a bachelor so no issue with moving the furniture. The speakers are now 68 inches from the short wall and 42 inches from the side walls and 6 feet apart and 7 feet from the listening chair. The difference is beyond what I thought possible in spite of some room issues: my wall behind the speakers is 80% floor to ceiling glass sliders with no drapes looking onto a mature stand of pine and oak trees and beautiful golf course beyond. From what I've read some substantial drapes would help the sonics. The other issue is the wall behind the listening chair has a pass through from the kitchen 85% solid/15% pass through not including the hallway 47 inches wide and 12 feet to the entrance door. Even with those issues the new placement makes me think that good portion of my displeasure with the Nak was speaker set-up. Beyond the draping behind the speakers I don't know what can be done regarding the rear wall issues.


I took your advice and did a thorough AB comparison of the Nak vs. Rogue Sphinx. As expected the Rogue showed a wider soundstage and depth of image. Whether MJQ, James Taylor or Sibelius Violin Concerto in D the music was more present with the Rogue. While the AB was valid with regard to the amplification, it was not ideal since I didn't haul the Kef's but only the Nak. The price point of the speakers may have been nearly identical at app. $1400-1500/pr.,but I realize that the Dali 7's are new and ported which the Kef's are neither. That said I am not as tied to the Kef's as I may have implied, but am looking forward to hearing the difference when they are driven by the Rogue. I'll likely enjoy the Rogue/Rega/Kef for whatever a good while happens to be, but I can envision passing along the Nak/Kef/Sony CD changer some time in the future.


I recently purchased from the same local dealer a Music Hall 15.2 even though the reviews I read panned the MH 25.2 and praised the Cambridge Azur 100. Although, most reviewers agreed that the Cambridge customer service dept. was abysmal, I thought the DAC was pretty much plug and play who needed the CSD for a DAC unless it wasn't as good a product as was reviewed. Since I paid $299 for the MH 15.2 and the Cambridge 100 can be had for $349, I am feeling some buyers remorse setting in. Please offer your valued opinion Jan. The MH is still in the box.


The Sony changer was a gift which I could resell without qualms. While I am somewhat sure that changer issues aside, the most glaring issue with the Sony is the DAC of the unit, I am not sure from an efficient use of funds aspect what price point is required to have a single play CD which includes a DAC of at least the build quality of say a Cambridge 100 or MH 15.2. Please advise.


You asked the last time we spoke to consider what music is to me. While my home has been Ft. Lauderdale FL since I moved from Chicago 40 yrs. ago, the past 7 yrs. I have been teaching in Hilton Head SC. In that 7 yrs. my stereo has been in my FL condo since sharing 4 different houses in 7 yrs. would have made system transport an even larger issue than it has been just moving clothes and golf gear. Now that I'm in FL full time I have enjoyed on a daily basis what I previously had for most of my life. For me having been fortunate to have seen so many legendary musicians in live performance I am looking forward to feeling the joy which is what music has primarily provided for me. When listening to Janis or Nora Jones I feel both joy and melancholy for very different reasons. So compelling is the effort to build that synergistic system which approaches the reproduction of a live performance that I have given a good deal of thought as to what is possible to create a golden cuboid or golden trapagon or dare I go even better than the Cardas golden trapagon. Since parallel side walls are problematic for improved sonics, what if the trapagon had side walls which were angled at 70 degrees instead of 90 as is the case with many 2nd floors in traditional architecture. Or, what gain or loss regarding sonic improvement occurs in a geodesic dome listening room? And while it may only be an academic question what about a ceiling which is parabaloid in shape with the higher end of the parabaloid occurring behind the listening position as in the Cardas golden trapagon? Of course, you could also configure the side walls to be angled either 70 degrees inwardly or outwardly at the point where the curvilinear ceiling transitions to the rectilinear but non-parallel side walls. What prompted the latter consideration is my travels to South Korea and the Incheon Airport in particular. See the vast array of photos of Incheon Airport online. The same architecture firm located in and somewhat reminiscent of their design of the Denver Airport can be seen online as well. The Incheon Airport is far more vast in scale and by far more beautiful than the many photos could possibly convey. Viewed from the plane upon approach to landing gave me the impression that the airport itself could take off. The building is parabaloid with at various points 70 degree inwardly angled rectilinear walls of glass. Hope you enjoy the eye candy.


By the way, Howlin Wolf was seated for his performance when I saw my first ever live performance of a legendary musician and Hubert was a standout as were the other musicians who were obviously in communication with each other throughout the set as even an inexperienced listener could tell. I must give a shout out to the golfers from Jackson Park Municipal who so generously invited me to that performance. They also invited me to see Muddy Waters in spite of consistently relieving them of some considerable green. Because of that fact, it made it easy for me to buy more rounds. I'm sure glad that I was part of their entourage who made me feel so welcome.


Finally, please tell me where was the venue where a Dallas guy got to see Hubert Sumlin at age 79? And if you will, please note some of your favorite live performances of any genre.


Thanks and look forward to talking to you soon.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17828
Registered: May-04
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Any wall containing a large bank of windows will cause problems in two areas; first, bass response will be less than ideal since the room as an enclosure will allow a certain amount of flexing and, second, not unlike most hard surfaced walls the glass is nearly 100% reflective at all but the lowest frequencies. There are several solutions to the windows and the issues they present, none are perfect but then most room treatments are not perfect and all range in cost from something rather low priced to the far more exotic.

The bass issues are somewhat unavoidable since bass frequencies are essentially omni-directional and will move around any surface treatment you apply in the area of the windows. I doubt you want to block such a view so a material that can be retracted is likely your best choice here.

Keep in mind virtually any material you use for an acoustic treatment will be indiscriminate in its effects. With few exceptions most absorption materials are fairly broadband with their greatest effects coming at the highest frequencies where the wavelengths are the shortest. The tighter the weave or construction of a material, the more reflective it will become at all frequencies. The more open the construction, the more short high frequency wavelengths can pass through and the more the absorption centers around the midrange areas.

As you move downward in frequency you find the pressurewave becomes longer and longer between peaks and the amount of absorption decreases with any material. Eventually, at the lowest frequencies, the wavelengths are greater than 20-30' peak to peak and there are no practical treatments which will affect these signals. Even in an acoustically "perfect" anechoic chamber the walls might have absorption devices as thick as 4' yet only be effective in removing reflections down to about 200Hz. Beneath that frequency, on average, the dimensions of the room begin to dictate the peaks and dips, nulls and voids in the room's response and changing those results becomes increasingly expensive, increasingly intrusive and, ultimately, ineffective.

Most absorptive acoustic room treatments are meant to serve dual purposes of taming bass lumps and dips while also providing some degree of mid to high frequency damping. Since you're probably not going to obtain any draperies four feet thick, your greatest benefits from covering the windows will be in the upper mid to high frequencies and, at the windows behind your loudspeakers will generally affect only second, third and fourth reflection points, each of which are already decreasing in amplitude due to the rule of thumb which gives us -6 dB of SPL (volume) for every doubling of distance. Since lower frequencies become more omni-directional, logic would tell us higher frequencies become more uni-directional. Therefore, by the time you have third and fourth reflections reaching back to your listening position they have become quite selective in frequency and have diminished considerably in SPL.

Beyond the purely objective numbers based values for the issues found with windows, certain listeners might make the case the greater benefits of the view would actually outweigh any attempts to create a barrier between the window and the sound waves. I'll leave that decision up to you and some empirical observations at a later date. For now, I would concentrate any efforts to make this room "better" acoustically by focussing on those areas of the room where bass signals accumulate and are amplified and the more effective use of treatments to tame early (first and second) reflection points closer to the listening end of the room. Here's a link to ASC, who created the first commercial applications of "bass traps"; http://www.acousticsciences.com/products/tubetraps

Their site is usually informative and should give you some further ideas about room treatments.

Of course, one of the points of good speaker set up should be to minimize the need for intrusive, large panels and bass traps in any domestic setting. How far you would go with any treatment scheme is up to the individual making the decisions - and their bank account. Costs can be minimized by a little diy effort since the materials used in most treatments are rather common - it's only their specific application which provides their real world value - and a decent bass trap can be assembled in a short time by using an IKEA square shelf unit with fiberglass insulation inserted into the spaces between shelves. Cover the whole thing with a lightweight, open weave fabric and you'll have an effective bass trap for about 1/3 (or less) the cost of an ASC product. So looks also play a role in how you go about room treatments and, once again, domestic bliss must be taken into consideration. Even a real man cave can begin to look like things were done on the cheap when they were done on the cheap.

Ultimately though, domestic rooms are generally not designed with acoustics in mind and the best solution is to either forgo any overly dramatic attempts to turn a living room into a perfect listening space or to just succumb to temptation and go all out for taming as many niggles in the room's sonic thumbprint as possible. Keeping in mind the fact absorptive materials are seldom frequency selective and are, therefore, rather broadband in their effects, I find most rooms done up to resemble recording studios to be quite uninteresting overall if your priorities include bringing life to the music. One rather well known retailer of acoustic treatments is quite proud of his product's ability to minimize room effects. Yet, time after time, when reviewers/listeners are given the chance to audition his system in his treated room, they all comment on the music having a very lifeless quality due largely to the amount of treatments used.

My experience suggests most listeners who begin adding traps and panels to their rooms at first get caught up in the benefits of treatments and, if their budget allows, they begin to add more and more devices to their rooms. In the end, though, those who are more concerned with music values rather than flat frequency response will begin to remove those panels one by one until they go backward to the point where their music sounded interesting and not just like "flat frequency response". There is, I think, a warning in those experiences. But, on the other hand, there is also the frequent opportunity to purchase some second hand devices which are being cast off by their previous owner.




As you discuss, a dedicated music room will ultimately be the answer to the dilemma of best sound quality vs least intrusive room treatments. But, at what cost? Each of us must approach our decisions with an eye toward value for the dollar spent. This means at some point we all reach a point of diminishing returns where expotentially greater cash outlay provides expotentially lesser benefits in sound improvements. Only the individual listener can say where that point will be for their system/room.

I'll talk a bit more about dedicated rooms in another post. For now, here's one more addition to your knowledge base; http://www.decware.com/newsite/room.html The Decware site has some interesting ideas regarding speaker and room set up. For the most part, the rules of set up and room treatments are fixed by the theories of physics and how sound travels - and excites - an enclosed space. There's not a lot of wiggle room for experimentation beyond the basics as we have used them for the last few decades but there is always the opportunity to use those theories in new and unique ways. While not unique to Steve Deckert's thinking, placing speakers on the diagonal of the room can be an effective way to further minimize the need for room treatments. To be honest though, I'm not a great fan of this sort of set up and only in the most extreme cases have I heard the realworld benefits of such a set up. But reading the material might give you more ideas to kick around and that's seldom a bad thing.

Be aware though, the illustrations in the articles make what is a fairly common mistake when discussing sound waves in an enclosed space. Too often the illustrations for such an article will represent the path a pressure wave will take in a room as akin to a billiard ball bouncing around a pool table. Showing the signal's path only as a single, straight line does not reflect the reality of most frequencies and can lead to some overly simple thinking about room treatments. Yes, it tells the reader about one of the more destructive effects of reflected sound waves but no room is as simple and no music signal is as basic as the illustrations would lead you to believe.

Do a little more reading and do a little more thinking and I'll get back with another post ASAP. Till then, enjoy the music.



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New member
Username: Martydel

Post Number: 5
Registered: Dec-13
Hey Jan, Wow, Between Steve Deckert and George Cardas are two very bright and thoughtful minds who have a large volume of info to share regarding a room's size and shape and the effect upon sound waves. I am somewhat surprised that only the expanding area at the rear wall in the Golden Trapagon addressed an improvement to the problem of slap inherent with parallel walls. I had thought that the addition of outwardly or inwardly angled walls either sidewalls only or sidewalls and front and rear walls perhaps angled at somewhere between 70 and 85 degrees would be an additional positive in slap reduction. Add the Platinum Parabaloid and then you have non-parallel floor and ceiling. What fun! I helped a friend build a 38 foot ferro-cement boat. The sidewalls were not at 90 degrees. It required patience, determination, imagination, plywood, chicken wire and lots of cement.


To build or alter a dedicated listening room would be more complicated that building a 90 degree box, but much easier than building, transporting and launching a ferro-cement sailboat. I am not restricted from building a wall inside the condo to eliminate the glass slider problem, but your IKEA solution and/or some combination of the many links from Steve Deckert's posts will provide an inexpensive improvement. So many variables, so little time!


I also enjoyed viewing the George Cardas listening room video. The juxtaposition of $100,000 worth of audio gear with what looked like Frazier Crane's father's chair was between notable and hilarious. At least he's got his priorities right.


The Rouge has been built and though the big snowstorm slowed it's arrival, I'll have it soon. I would most especially hearing some advice from you regarding the pan of the MH 15.2 and praise of the CA Magic 100 which are at the same price of $299.


I'm also very interested in hearing what other live performances than Hubert Sumlin's have been especially notable for you.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17829
Registered: May-04
.

Let's begin this post by discussing reviews. In short, I've stopped reading them.

I've particularly stopped reading any reviews by individuals posting comments about a product they have just purchased. Long ago I realized the fact that, other than the terminally insecure or obsessive over having the latest and greatest, virtually everyone loves what they just paid for. And, why shouldn't they? They likely selected the component, speaker, cartridge, cables, accessory, etc because it tweaked some aspect of what they feel is important to them in their system. Therefore, even if only for the first few weeks, they will find more good things to say about the new gear than bad. That's the course with most audio purchases; you like what you own until the day you not longer like it, at which time it becomes necessary to replace it. For the real gear heads this would take, maybe, a few weeks or a few months. However long it took for their "critical listening" skills to kick in and find the virtues they had loved were now superceded by the faults they had overlooked. Or the addition of another new speaker/component/cable/accessory, etc tilted the system in a different direction and now "X" component no longer fits their new interests in equipment. Most of these buyers are far more interested in judging an electronic component against other electronic components and not against a real world live music component. They will repeat the cycle over and over if for no reason other than their desire to be the gear guru for telling others what stuff they have owned and what they thought of it.

How to tell whether the review you're reading on line is from one of these gear heads? For the most part, you can't. For the most part, most readers know little to nothing about the writer whose advice they are taking. Often, you don't know the rest of the system or the room environment it is being used in. If someone comments a certain speaker/amplifier had issues in the bass, what are you to make of the comment if you have no idea whether the writer has done anything to their room to deal with bass issues? Or, whether the new component is simply showing a weakness associated with another piece of the system? If the writer claims a certain piece of gear either lacks or excels at "inner detail", how would you know whether this can be attributed to other components in the system or room, a near or far field listening position perhaps, or more practically IMO, just what the writer considers an appropriate amount of detail? This question has become especially vexing for me since the 1980's when reviews began to discuss hearing subway trains rumbling beneath live venues or the HVAC systems kicking on and off. Eventually, the predominance of pop music used as "reference" material has meant the vast majority of recordings used for equipment auditions are close mic'd and done in isolation booths away from other performers. Male listeners love the sound of female vocalists so that genre of material has become ripe for audition material. The sound of, say, Dianna Krall's lips opening and saliva parting is, for many male listeners, the height of detail retrieval. For me? not so much. It is an artifact of the recording process and not something I would be listening for should I attend a Krall performance. Therefore, when I read such comments made by "amateur" reviewers, I have to ask myself, why should I care what this person has to say when their priorities regarding music are obviously not my priorities? If I have nothing in common with this person, why should I care what equipment they just bought, what restaurant they prefer or where they want to go on vacation? If you know nothing about the situations of the review and you know nothing of the reviewer's musical priorities, what can you hope to take away from their comments? That they liked what they just acquired? Please, see my comments above regarding new purchases. It doesn't matter, IMO, how many people "liked" something. If you know nothing about any of those people, you should stop to consider a lot of people like a lot of things you don't. If they made it, a lot of people would probably like "Hillbilly Pawn Stars Cooking Stuff You Wouldn't Eat With a Once Famous Person You Don't Know".


"Professional" reviews are not much better in most cases. Here's the process as I see it play out most often. You begin to think it's time to buy some audio gear. Let's say you want a new CD player and you have a few lines in mind based on some very broad internet searches or a recommendation from someone you don't really know. You begin to think you might be interested in a Lirpa player so you begin searching for any comments made about the Lirpa units. Among the many individual reviews which praise the Lirpa as the new addition to their system, you find one or two from, say, Stereophile and Enjoy the Music. Both run through the typical system aspects of imaging, soundstage depth and width, lips smacking details and so forth. A sentence or two about comparisons to other gear you generally don't know which states the Lirpa bested the Kamakazee on the 30 second long saxophone solo of track 3 of some album you don't own but it fell slightly short of the Magma Force 120's performance on the two strikes of the tympani on another CD you don't own and have never heard since it's long out of print. You don't know who this reviewer is and you have no idea what their priorities are nor their room set up. Are they listening in a small, crowded, walk up flat in NYC or in a shared audio/video system in St. Louis or a large open room in the high altitudes of Colorado? Without any further context of more reviews from this same writer which discuss equipment you have some familiarity with or, lacking that reference, just more gear to make their musical priorities more apparent, what have you learned from their review of the Lirpa? Not much IMO. But, with another set of good comments regarding the Lirpa, you buy it without an audition since no one in your area stocks the unit. Will the Lirpa be a good fit in your system? Who knows? Other than, that is, most people like what they have just purchased until the day they don't. We want to like what we buy if for no other reason than it confirms our own suspicions that we are pretty darn smart.

IMO doing the whole buying process this way gives you about a 50/50 chance of success when it comes to building a synergistic system where all things are pulling in the same direction. 50/50, about the same odds you would have if you hadn't read any reviews at all. If you know nothing about the reviewer, nothing about their musical priorities or those of the magazine they write for and nothing about the performance of the component other than a twenty second comparison with like priced items, what do you actually have?

If I'm going to read a review, I prefer to read a review performed by a reviewer I already know. I know what they listen for and how they perceive music. What are their priorities? Do they synch with my own? Or not? I can, I think, get just as clear a view of how a component might perform within the context of a specific system by reading JA - with whom I share very few priorities - as I will by reading AD whose priorities are more like my own. I've read their comments for decades and followed their own development as listeners. While I may not agree with JA's priorities, they have been consistent over time. Not so with a few other reviewers in the same magazine. IMO, a reviewer who states a perception of some audio/musical quality taken from a "performance" which can exist only within a computer is blowing smoke up my skirt. If they say they enjoyed the music through a specific component, fine. But to claim computerized, synthesized music presents a true reference for judging anything about a component is, to my way of thinking, absurd. What is the timbre of a Mac PC? What nuances of performance are allowed within a performance comprised solely of 1's and 0's? What communication exists between the various "performers" of a composition created by one programmer?

It has been my opinion for many years that the person doing the buying must have their own priorities in order before they can begin to judge whether a reviewer's opinions are of any value to them. If your priorities are strictly related to the artifacts of the system - imaging, depth, width - or the artifacts of the recording process - over emphasized details which are not related to the performance of the music itself - then possibly you can find some value in any review which states what you want to hear. Subjective reviews have for several decades driven what designers build into their equipment. At one time "soundstage" was not a word which appeared in the earliest subjective reviews of the 196--70's. When hearing subways became a valued portion of a certain reviewer's writings, designers went to work churning out gear which did subways. And they learned the many ways which made their gear appealing to the average reviewer and, therefore, to the average buyer who reads reviews. A very small niggle in the frequency response of a component will add the very desirable "inner detail" so many buyers seek. Another wiggle in another area will create the depth of soundstage. None of this is difficult, it requires only that the designer understand the psycho-acoustics of how the average buyer perceives sound, not even music.


Therefore, how do I regard the pan of some component and the praise of another? I don't. Assuming the panned component is not the result of "design by committee" meant to satisfy the least educated listener, that device likely represents the concept of how one person understands music. That is generally what I consider to be the "house sound" of a line; the expression of one designer's perceptions when they listen to live music in the real world. No reviewer's perception of music is going to be the same. Many times reviewer's priorities, if they exist at all, are based more on what the magazine pushes. Now, if you have been paying attention for a long enough time, you'll understand the house sounds of certain lines and you'll base your decisions more on the priorities of the designer than the priorities of the various reviewers. Would I match, say, Parasound amps with Theil speakers? I wouldn't because neither designer clicks my list of priorities. Together they create a system which tilts too far away from where I point my musical compass. For other buyers the pairing might be fine, but not for me. I have a general idea which lines best fit my priorities and I know I can count on them to make a synergistic system. If a new line comes on the market, I try to find those musical priorities they want to place in their equipment. Reading literature is usually a good place to begin this search though I am always wary of the company website that tends to tick off too many "audiophile" wants and describes them in audiophile terms.

In the end, personal experience with any component in your own system - and, possibly, in another system you know well - is far more important than any number of good or bad reviews. Until you experience music sent through a component, preferably in your own system, you don't know anything about it IMO. If you are swayed by reviews or the opinions of others, then I can't help you. You need to say what is of value to you and you need to know whether a certain component can deliver on those values. Ignore the rest. What you own today will be outdated by next month. Satisfy yourself and you shouldn't be concerned whether the gear is the latest or greatest or not. I typically suggested my clients concentrate on putting together a "music system" and not a "hifi". Hifi changes constantly. Music has not changed much in the last 500 years.

While I place my emphasis on the music and not the gear, I do attend audio shows. Once Spring hits the audio shows will begin to pop up. Hearing two dozen systems in one day is an interesting experience. Hearing designers discuss their ideas one after the other is equally interesting IMO. Whether you come away with an idea of which pieces might be worthy of further consideration or not, you will have ideas in your head when you leave which likely were not there when you first came in.

So listen to live music as often as possible, even if it's just a solo guitarist busking in front of the grocery store. There's something to be learned from the experience. Attend audio shows when possible. Ignore virtually all reviews unless you can state in a few sentences how the reviewer's priorities do or do not match your own.

That's it.


More soon.




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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17831
Registered: May-04
.

To say which performers I've heard live and enjoyed would be a rather short list I suppose. First, my jobs have been in either live theatre or high end retail for the greater portion of my life. Neither allows for chunks of available time when performances would occur. Of late, the cost of top flight concerts has increased to the level where I just won't spend the money to hear certain performers.


The Sumlin performance was heard at the Lakewood Theater here in Dallas. An old 1930's movie projection house/live theatre venue it sat mostly idle for decades until one of the recent attempts at reviving some of the historical gems Dallas had long forgotten. The show was a "blues festival" which offered several groups playing around the headliner. This was a traveling show and Sumlin stayed in his bus for most of the night. He came on stage to play his four songs with the local band already onstage. The sound, while obviously amplified, was mostly old school with a speaker bank on each side of the stage. Sumlin was terrific and the small crowd was probably there to hear him, as I came with the same intent. It's difficult to imagine what a live show with talents such as Sumlin and Wolf combined and in their prime would be like. I'll sound like my parents when I say I don't think they allow such talent to exist nowdays.

When I was in undergraduate school my college had a summer music series held on one of the natural amphitheatres existing on campus. To be fair, this was before performers had lawyers and contracts which protected them from the concert promoters so dozens of acts were available night after night for a $5 lawn seat. Established stars from the 40's and 50's were combined with up and coming acts from the 60's and early 70's. Too many to name and literally too many which have been forgotten. Times change and there will not be another series with such a constant parade of talent.


For all its hype, Dallas does lack good venues for live music. The addition of the Meyerson has raised the bar for classical performances though many of the symphony heads have not risen along with the challenge. I gave up my season tickets years ago and now only attend performances a few times a year. Fortunately, there are some very good free concerts provided by way of donations and backers and they have been some of the best I've heard. Once again though, many times the venue's acoustics get in the way of the performer's talents.

I've confined most of my live music experiences over the last few years to smaller venues where no one in the audience is more than a few yards from the stage. Unfortunately, there really isn't a performance space in Dallas where amplification doesn't take over, even in the smallest spaces. And, too often, the amplification systems get in the way of the performance IMO. I've heard Doc Watson several times and just wished the sound reinforcement system wasn't there. Volume levels seem to be a standard substitute for quality and I left those thoughts behind by the time I was eighteen.

The loudest concert I've attended was an Eric Clapton affair back when he was still affordale and when he still cared to give a performance on tour. His first Crossroads concert was here in Dallas but I wasn't about to stand on the floor of the Cotton Bowl in the 100 degree plus summer heat and humidity for the entire day.

So I suppose I don't have the same list of stars to name that I see in your post. My most recent experiences have been with locally known performers who have, I think, made the decision to remain locally known. Excellent performers each but not a name most folks would recognize.




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New member
Username: Martydel

Post Number: 6
Registered: Dec-13
My good fortune in hearing the iconic musicians which I listed was largely due to being born in Chicago and being there in an era when small venues like Mr. Kelly's, The London House, The Checkerboard Lounge and Alice's Revisited had no cover charge, just a 2 drink minimum with only Oscar Peterson's performance requiring $5 plus a 2 drink min. You mentioned that you would have preferred an acoustic performance as I would as well. Ramsey, Amad and Oscar's performances were miked but the rooms were so small that very little amplification was required. The only acoustic performance and one of the most enjoyable ever was The Paul Winter Consort at the Bahai Temple with no chairs, just judo mats on the floor for about 100 lucky listeners. Amad's precision was so striking that his performance ranks very high on the list as did Oscar Peterson's dexterity. His fingers looked wider than the ivory keys. So much for my belief that piano players must possess slight hands to be dexterous on the keyboard. Janis's soul and vocal's were on such full display that I'll never forget that night. And finally, the animation of Howlin Wolf was in stark contrast to the stone faced delivery of Muddy Waters although what they shared in terms of their born of experience soul was clearly evident in both of them. Both the Wolf and Waters also had a very tight group alongside that to describe them as sidemen would understate how well they communicated on each piece.


With regard to the locally known musicians who have made the decision to remain locally known you can add Ira Sullivan and Eddie Higgins to that list. They have played at a very high level for a very long time.


Had I not been so ready to replace the Nak with the Rogue, nearly the same money could have gotten me a Deckert integrated, but I could not have previewed the Decware while I did AB the Rogue. I am definitely not concerned about the first watt of the Rogue. I will likely enjoy the Kef's for a good while as they come alive via the help from the Rogue. When I pick up the Rogue this Saturday I will have the ability to preview an AB with the Music Hall 15.2 but what the B may be, I don't know. Since my last set-up lasted from 1988, I suspect my new set-up will have a longer duration than many audiophiles gear. I'm just trying for that synergy as thoughtfully as possible given that there exists as few hi-end stereo shops as there are intimate venues for jazz and blues that once existed.


Next, I'll build some bass traps.


"Bright Moments"!!!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17839
Registered: May-04
.

Glad to hear the Rogue has been an improvement. It has been a very decent company for many years now offering huge chunks of value for the dollar. And I've often heard praise from friends who have owned Rogue gear that their customer service is top notch. There would appear to be a small market for the Nak receivers so you might explore that end.

As I suggested in my posts, be very careful with bass traps. It's quite easy to hear the benefits of improved bass performance and begin to overdo the amount of absorption in the room. Keep in mind, the best rooms have a mixture of absorption, reflection and diffusion.

Good luck.


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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3096
Registered: Oct-07
I just wanted to chime in with a few comments about bass traps. And a potentially inexpensive way to test the idea out in your room.

Get a couple large friends over for a listening session. Have 'em stand in the corners. We ran such a test at a friends house and you could easily tell when the corners of the room were occupied. And the bass was somewhat tighter with less bloom.

The speakers? Magnestand modified MMG Magnepans, which are certainly NOT bass-monsters in any sense of the usage.
 

New member
Username: Martydel

Post Number: 7
Registered: Dec-13
Jan and Leo, thank you both for the input regarding room treatment, however I have put the cart before the horse. I have a more pressing question regarding cabling. I did read the threads regarding effective use of funds and my conclusion which could be right or wrong is that comparing 3 websites: Swire, AQ and BJC, the latter has simplicity of choice with both LC-1 IC's and 10 white or 12 white speaker cable being Belden products. The other 2 sites offer a staggering array of colors and metaphors which strikes me as being more placebo than real sonic benefit. My attempt at building a synergistic system currently includes the Rogue Sphinx, Kef C-80's, Nak CR2, Sony CD changer and soon adding a CA Magic 100. Whether this grade of system or a higher level system benefits from cabling beyond what is offered by BJC is the burning question which I pose to you. That is my general question which leaves my specific question - 10 White or 12 white given that the Kef C-80's are 4ohm high current speakers? I did read the overkill comment regarding 10 gauge, but that considers different components and to me an unknown run of speaker cable. My run is only 6 feet to each speaker.


As always I am most grateful for your thoughtful answers.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3097
Registered: Oct-07
Cables are the 3rd rail of hi-fi. Touch and DIE!
So, anything you 'hear' will be opinion, until, basically, you verify for yourself.

However, one thing for sure�..you simply do NOT need 10ga. speaker cable��except perhaps for a 100 foot run.
I have 10 ga. Belden, but I'm running 500 watts per side @about 10' runs. I'd have just as well served by the 12 or even the Canares wire�..which would have set me up for bi-amping or wiring. My speakers are VERY low sensitivity, which means higher power needed for any given SPL.

Unless you are constantly at nose-bleed levels, I somehow doubt you need even 12 ga��..and some interesting alternatives exist. Once upon a time, there was a well regarded Home Depot Extension Cord, for example.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17841
Registered: May-04
.

Leo is certainly referring to the "cable wars" fought almost constantly on some forums. There are users who are strictly objectivists and they believe what numbers tell them. For these users, virtually all cables measure the same ... if for no other reason than the measurements are rather superficial. They feel quite strongly they are correct in their assessment of cables and they are not shy about calling anyone who disagrees with them some sort of name that typically launches a forum war with the subjective listeners. For far too many subjectivists there are no specific rules other than what they hear. In fact, many subjectivists will say their ears are all the measurement tools they need. Often you'll find these buyers select a cable based on something like, "That one looks good." To be sure, cable manufacturers and retailers have concluded the sector of the buying public interested in their wares are easily swayed by looks.

Somewhere between those two extremes is where you will likely find your answers.



Still, the problem exists, there are few agreements regarding cables and how they operate in a consumer audio system. Cable design is a combination of many fields; metallurgy, plastics, antenna and transmission theory to name just a few. One fly in the ointment would be most cables are not what you might consider to be "designed". There are very few facilities for turning raw materials into finished cables. Most especially with the online retailers, what you'll find is one manufacturing plant is turning cables with this name on them on Monday and another name on Friday with several other names in between each day of the week. That doesn't necessarily mean all cables are essentially identical. It does mean, IMO, differences between cables come down to some rather minimal changes in the cables themselves.

I seldom make product recommendations since there are so many variables to be considered and I have little concept typically of what any forum member might desire from their system. I would say cables should be considered as another component in your system when it comes to what is an appropriate investment. Placing pricey cables into a moderately priced system is a waste of money for most people. While the higher grade of cable can mean audible improvements in a very well organized system, most often the average system is simply not transparent enough to really show improvements in small degrees. Therefore, the point of diminishing returns comes rather quickly with most systems when it comes to cables.

If you've read any of my other comments regarding cables, you'll see I don't think much of selling cables by looks. Most RCA connectors are not well made when it comes to being a simple electrical transfer point. Audiophile jewelry is more the norm with a connector type which itself is poorly designed for the job it is asked to perform. Most cables themselves are sold by the look of the outer dielectric (insulator) with little regard to what's inside. Hyperbole all too often replaces reason when cables are described.

To say what I think about cables and how to select cables would take up far too much space and time here. The "why" of cables for me has been a long journey over the several decades of trying and listening and reading and questioning. My most basic recommendations would be to stay minimalistic in your selections. If you consider how gauge relates to cable choice, one of the first things you should realize is the appropriate gauge is determined by the requirements of Voltage and Amperage carried over time. Length of the run is another consideration in this decision but generally not a relevant factor in most consumer audio system's main cabling needs. Let's say you have an 18 AWG (American Wire Gauge) cable 12' in length and you want to run your electric lawn trimmer with it. After a short while you'll probably find the cable is warm to the touch due to excessive Voltage/Amperage draw through the cable. Increase the length to 100' and the cable is very much too light for the task and you risk a fire hazard in most cases. At 14 AWG the cable can handle the 120 VAC line Voltage and survive the average Amperage draw through the cable even at 100' in length. Yet, in reality, you could (for as long as it withstood the draw) use just a single strand of cable of about 38 AWG and even at 100' in length, Voltage would flow through the wire strand and the trimmer would run ... at least to the point where Amperage was required to do the job. So a single strand of the finest, thinnest "wire" will do the job but more material is required when the demands on the cable are increased.

IMO the best cable for the job here (we're talking speaker cabling for the most part) will be a cable not too thin and certainly not too thick. Given the fact most audio amplifiers are capable of only a handful of Volts out and even fewer Amps combined, it should be obvious, I think, there is no need what so ever for 10 AWG cables. The dynamic nature of music would tend to suggest those most difficult requirements exist only for brief seconds in a consumer audio system, not as a continuous demand with your lawn trimmer. You are correct to assume the four Ohm impedance of your KEF’s would make higher demands on current delivery. However, the nominal impedance of the speaker load is not the entire story when it comes to demands placed on the amplifier or the cables. (Various threads exist which detail how this relationship works between amplifier and speaker load if you want to search them out.) For your system, it’s enough to know that despite being a nominal four Ohm load, the KEF’s are a fairly easy load on most amplifiers. Their current (Amperage) demands are minimal. Straying from the simplest load with your future speaker selection will, IMO, make matters difficult in several areas, not just in cable selection. My preference is for the highest impedance load with the simplest phase characteristics when it comes to my own speakers. Only the most difficult speaker loads should require much beyond the limits of a simple 18 AWG cable run over a few feet in length. For decades Stereophile included 18 AWG hook up wire as a recommended component for the average system. Why? Well, first, it’s a very basic and inexpensive way to make a connection and two, it does the job for most systems. How the consumer audio market went from 18 AWG being more than sufficient to the point of 10 AWG being the norm is a tale for another thread.

Recently, there has been a slight shift to the "less is more" school of cabling. Ignoring the hype of the dozens of cable companies that come up with a dozen new ways each to build and sell cables every year, the idea is to take the least intrusive method of getting electrons from point A to point B and back again. The Anti-Cable company is just that, heavy gauge magnet wire typically used to wind transformers and microphone or guitar pick ups â€" you know, those things used in audio â€" and turn it into a very lucrative market for the audiophiles worn down by cable choices. I disagree with the need for the heavy gauge cables they sell but I do agree with the overall thinking.

For my money, cables are best done as with the Mapleshade products. As thin as possible and as thick as practicality suggests, they make more sense to me than most other products I’ve seen. Still, they might be a bit pricey for some buyers. It’s certainly possible for the inventive soul to take the Mapleshade ideas and construct their own cables.

An alternative would be to simply buy a high quality cable in bulk from a recognized manufacturer such as Belden and run those cables. A lot of what you'll find on the cable market amounts to not much more than dressed up Belden. The problem there is you typically need to buy more cable than you actually need and cost is still high for a 50-100’ roll of Belden when you only need 20’ of cabling. Leo is correct that simple orange and black extension cabling from Home Depot is a decent cable for speaker runs and will cost you not much more than a few dollars when purchased in bulk. I suppose the best advice here is to keep your choices as simple as possible and don’t stress about the cable runs. AudioQuest and Kimber are always decent choices in prepared cables if you want to have a more audiophile oriented name on your cables. You just don’t need to spend gobs on cables until your system can begin to show the real improvements possible in higher priced cables. This comes not only from component selection but form set up and attention to smaller details.

Cables can act as tone controls and that is quite a different thing than an improvement. Unless you have a retailer willing to loan out a few cables for audition, you really must decide on your own what your cables should do in your system. For the most part, I prefer my cables don’t intrude on the music which means I keep my cables very simple.



For ic’s Mapleshade still is leading the pack IMO. Their RCA’s are meant to terminate the system with the proper impedance. IMO this is very important as most RCA’s sold as jewelry do not adequately meet this most basic need. Thin conductors with minimalist dielectrics, the Mapleshade ic’s are, IMO, designed by thinking about what a good cable would be for signal transmission in the average consumer audio system and not about what will sell the most by way of visual appeal.



Please do not take anything I’ve said as a brand specific recommendation. Cables are, in a sense, the flavorings added to your system. Just as some people prefer to add nothing more than salt and pepper to a steak, others want more elaborate and more exotic enhancements. The thinking behind the Mapleshade cables is, to my mind, headed in the right direction; away from all the BS of the cable marketing schemes. On the other hand, known brands such as AudioQuest and Kimber are good values for the dollar. Somewhere in there you’ll have to make a few decisions on your own. I would, however, make any purchase of cables contingent upon an audition period whenever possible. There is an incredible amount of mumbo jumbo out there when it comes to cables and listening for more than a few minutes is still your best option for a balanced sound.


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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17842
Registered: May-04
.

http://mapleshadestore.com/feedback_doublehelixcables.php

http://anticables.com/

http://audioreview.ca/default.aspx?pagename=showthread&threadID=141



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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3099
Registered: Oct-07
Try BlueJeans Cable for a selection of Belden wire.

The ONE measurable which seems to make sense is capacitance. High measured values of this act as a hi-cut filter�the 'tone control' which Jan writes about.

Fundamentals count
 

New member
Username: Martydel

Post Number: 8
Registered: Dec-13
Hello Leo and Jan,
I was intrigued regarding diy speaker cables and interconnects at first and eventually may retest the magnet wire and painters tape app. What I have attempted was web searching for solid core 18 awg with Teflon insulation. I could find stranded 18 awg with Teflon, but not solid core Teflon. So I bought solid core 18 as an alternative to stranded. With no children or animals to trip and fall over the solid core, I will proceed to hook up without spades or bananas. One thought did occur. When I watched the Cardas Listening Room, I saw the small wooden supports keeping the speaker cables from touching the floor. With the rigid solid core it would be simple to run my left speaker connection above the carpet. However, the run for the right speaker if above the carpet would be impeding a natural path to the patio sliders. I know to keep my run lengths equal, but am uncertain if duct taping my right speaker run to the carpet would be harmful or if painters tape would be a better alternative considering that the solid core is insulated, I presume, with gruesome pvc. Which also begs the question of whether my choosing solid w/pvc was a better compromise than stranded w/Teflon?


I am considering CL1's from BJC as the alternative to the magnet/painters tape solution. BJC seems to have a less is more solution for interconnects which they use 25 awg and rca's with neither solder or crimping. They are using what they refer to as an ultrasonic weld, I believe, was their term. I would appreciate your opinion on the ultrasonic weld app.


Jan, I am using as my dedicated base for my TT- a 5 sided box made of 5/8" MDF covered in Formica with the 1 open side down on carpet. It is 24h x 25w x 18d and is quite heavy, but hollow nevertheless. I read one of your threads which described something very similar as "... the worst base possible for a TT." Did I understand correctly that this configuration is untenable or might a beanbag stuffing help to mollify the vibration? Furthermore, rather than spend a pile of hard earned money on a 4" solid maple plinth measuring 20" w x 15" d, I found online as a possible alternative a beautiful looking hard maple cutting board 3" thick and 20 x 15 for $76 as opposed to $360. Add some cork and/or rubber supports for the maple plinth to support the PL1 with it's 3 rubber feet - and the question is - is that a necessary and/or worthy solution to what I have described?


Also, my Kef C80's are 34" tall and sitting on the carpet with only the non-screwed rubber feet. I have thought about cutting a 2x12 into (4) 12x15 inch pieces and possibly gluing 2 sets to make a base to get the speakers off the carpet. Will there be a sonic benefit by doing that alone? I remember reading that short of spikes some large stack of washers glued together with JB Weld may be a diy solution. I think there is more to it than I have described, but I believe Jan, that you wrote it. If so, could you fill in the blanks? There is a 12x15 3" solid maple cutting board solution lurking, but if what I described has merit, then that and a can of stain may be a possible solution to reap sonic benefit.


Lastly, is there any type of blank cassette - chromium or other that you would recommend? I have not yet looked online, but am assuming there are choices out there.


As always, I appreciate your consideration and look forward to hearing from you.
 

New member
Username: Martydel

Post Number: 9
Registered: Dec-13
I just looked online re: blank cassettes. To record my vinyl onto Nak cassette rec. what would be most beneficial - normal, high, metal or specifically chromium bias?

Thanks,
Martydel
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17857
Registered: May-04
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I can't predict what your musical priorities will detect when changing what amounts to rather insignificant parts of the system. These are foundational components in the system and they need to be addressed. However, in the holistic view of the system, they are not major things but rather the proper application of "something" which will bring about a positive result.

IMO your questions are somewhat similar to asking whether you will be doing a good thing should you seal any air gaps around your home's windows. The answer would be, of course, sealing air gaps is a first step in the right direction toward greater efficiency in your ventilation system. However, are you putting your time and efforts in the right place? If your house had no or inadequate insulation, then sealing air gaps around windows is a bit like taking some duct tape to the side of the Titanic. Of course, the goal of everyone on board the Titanic in those last few hours was to not go down with the ship. Choosing speaker cables generally has less dire consequences.

Then, your series of questions would be a bit more like asking whether sealing windows, changing filters and checking for any leaks around the attic ductwork would be productive. Again the answer would be an affirmative "yes". Yet, if you were trying to gauge which project to take on first, it would be difficult to assess your benefits after the fact since you changed more than one thing in the equation. Which of those three changes reaped the greatest benefits? Or, is it possible doing all three in combination actually contributed to moving an old, inefficient system backwards toward an even more inefficient system? There is always the possibility well intended changes have unintended but still negative consequences.

Hard to tell what of those three projects had the greatest impact and might possibly be negatively affecting the situation since you made them all together rather than one by one measuring the improvements in efficiency after each successive change.

Finally, what if you have a fairly mild winter this year and you are comparing differences in your energy bills to put in place a scale for gains in efficiency? Other factors beyond the simple acts of making the system operate more efficiently must be taken into account and gains should, therefore, be judged over a longer period of time than just one or even just a few months. You can, in fact, reduce your energy costs while not changing the relative comfort level you perceive within the house. You could, for instance, change to a provider with lower kilowatt pricing and do none of the other changes and you would reduce your costs to operate the system while not altering one iota the comfort level within the house. What, in such a case, are your priorities? Lower costs of operation? Or, more efficient operation of the system? Or, by buying a more energy efficient system to replace the old, worn out one and then doing all of the other improvements to the losses within your home, might you gain the most over the long run while also improving your comfort level? The last choice would likely be the most productive, of course, but would also cost the most up front.



All of the above is to say you must first establish those priorities which are most relevant to you in your situation and then slowly and logically apply those priorities to any change you make. And, you must always have a realistic method established which allows an easy return to your baseline position should you decide your schemes weren't as productive as you had hoped. Filling the chimney with insulation would certainly make for less air leakage into your home since most chimneys represent large potentials for inefficiencies. But, if you decide to have a fire in the fireplace, then that insulation is going to quickly become a negative. Therefore, the need for logical thinking about the best way to approach changes is in order.

A scattergun approach to making your system more efficient, or simply more musical, is seldom going to be your best route to satisfaction in the long run. You must first be able to differentiate between what is a true improvement and what is simply a difference from what had previously existed. That alone is likely the oldest conundrum plaguing subjective listeners. How do you actually know what you've done is an improvement and not just a change? "Synergy" of parts to some listeners means a balancing act of adding "this" to a system which lacks "this" or, more commonly, adding "this" to a system which displays too much "that". Others, myself included, feel synergy is all parts of the system pulling in a common direction without tipping over into a too common a direction to be lost among others. There is such a thing as too much warmth, too much analytics, too much musicality really.

I, therefore, return to the idea you must establish those goals for your system which are relevant to your musical experience with live music. Understand what makes the live experience unique, whether it is with a single player standing on the street corner or the world's finest symphony. What then about your non-live musical situation is impeding your path towards that same experience with your audio system and sources?

In other words, improving your system is not just about making changes. It is about making alterations which bring about the greatest bang for the buck first of all. It is about a comprehension of where the bottlenecks are most tightly squeezing your present system's efficiency the most. Then developing a plan which doesn't just go after those easy things which cost the least but which actually addresses the faults in the present system without simply making changes which could actually present higher roadblocks at a later date.

Finally, I think "finally", for now at least, it is about not just accepting someone's word regarding what will be best for your situation. That acceptance, IMO, means you've not taken into consideration why someone would have made a suggestion. We'll assume for now you trust the person giving the advice and that their advice has been well reasoned through personal experience and not just being pulled from their posterior portions to see what they have up there. What were they going after when they made the decision the changes worked best for them? Would that change actually be a good step for you? What actually changes when you follow through on the advice?

I don't want you to have to spend weeks, months or years doing research on what solid core cabling might offer over stranded cabling. However, I do want you to have some passing understanding of why solid core cabling has been suggested as superior to stranded. Or vice versa. What about a five sided box might be "... the worst base possible for a TT"? Why would you prefer to spike your speakers? Why might you not want to spike your speakers? Just doing what you've been told is, IMO, fruitless unless you sort of have an idea why you would do something and how the consequences of doing something might matter to you.

There's more than a small bit of information, and contradictory information at that, which suggests "this" is a good thing in consumer audio. You need to sort through some of it to determine why you would prefer to follow a certain path toward a more musical system. I can assure you there were numerous listeners in the 1950's who felt their audio systems were quite adequate and very satisfying to experience. Much has changed since that time and, IMO, not all of it for the good of the listener.

All of which, IMO, boils down to two things first, understanding where your present system lacks and how that flaw or set of flaws relates to what you want to hear as it is relevant to live music. And, from that standpoint, how changing something about the system will impact your desires in the long run.

That's the prelude to this section of responses. More later when time allows. I have a close relative in the hospital right now, so this may not happen right away but I will make an effort to respond to your questions. [No duct taping of cables until I respond, please.] In the mean time, consider what I have mentioned above and why I have said these are my "rules" for how to go about building up any system.

Later ...



(And, just remind yourself as you wait, I am now 61 years old which means my hearing acuity has diminished and my tinnitus has worsened and, for the most part, I really don't agree with most of what is being written in the audio magazines or on the audio forums or most certainly by most twenty something audio salespeople with no realistic experience of the live music event and I really don't care that I disagree. That said, I'll provide answers as best as I can from my viewpoint. Take care for now.)


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New member
Username: Martydel

Post Number: 10
Registered: Dec-13
Thank you Jan for your response. I wish you and yours the very best at this time. Being close in age to you most certainly provides a shared experience. I do hope the outcome is positive.


With regard to the earlier body of your post, I have yet to do anything regarding changes. I am awaiting delivery of the wire. The hook up will provide my first listening to the Rogue. I get it when it comes to doing one change and listening for a difference. I've read many more of your posts than just your responses to my questions, and solid core without spades or bananas made common sense to me. I would have suspected that duct taping was not a solution even if you had not suggested reviewing WASP, Genelec and Cardas. Having seen the wood supports for the speaker cables in the Cardas listening room confirmed that there was a better solution than duct taping. I have left a path to the right side of my right speaker so that hurdling the solid core above ground app will not be required nor will it preclude access to the patio slider. Now when it comes to my 5 sided base for my TT, I did not hear any deleterious effect from using the base as it currently exists. However, you have consistently provided thoughtful, cost effective and common sense suggestions for sonic issues. Because the open side of my TT base sits on a heavy pad and carpeting, it might not be prone to vibration obvious enough that my aging ears can differentiate. If since there is no suspension system on the PL1, and a beanbag stuffing or 3" maple plinth with cork and rubber supports for the maple block might have merit, I'd like your opinion because I consider it to be common sense and valuable. If it provides nothing for sonic improvement, I will refrain.


With regard to getting my floor standers off the carpet, I have seen spikes, speaker plinths and brass between both speakers and plinths as a means for elevating the speakers off the floor. I would assume that even something as simple a gluing (2) 12"x15" pieces of wood might be an improvement to just leaving the speakers on the carpet. Or it may do nothing at all or even yield negative unintended consequences.


I will do one thing at a time because not only is it the logical approach, but it's also the fun of it to see if something inexpensive can yield an audible difference.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17858
Registered: May-04
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Let's begin with something simple. It doesn't really matter what type of tape you use. First, your choices are rather slim nowdays compared to the early '80's heydays of cassette. So you should decide which formulation of what's available is likely the most consistent formula. There's a small resurgence of interest in analog tape, more so on the open reel side, but most plants that turned out cassette tapes have simply ceased production. This means a retailer wishing to sell cassette tapes will one day have to find another production facility and use what they can offer as a sub for any one type of tape.

When I was selling Nakamichi - or any other high end recorder - we were aware of the brand and type of tape each manufacturer recommended for their decks. If, say, Nakamichi recommended a TDK tape, we sold the client TDK tape if they wanted the best performance from an off the shelf recorder and tape. We would suggest the deck head to the service department for a set up which adjusted the tape path and the recording bias of the deck to a specific tape pulled from current production. This assured the best performance from the most up to date pairings.

If the client chose to use a different tape than what was recommended, they were likely going to hear a slight reduction in performance since each tape has its own requirements, most particularly in recording bias.

Some decks allowed for only one broad adjustment which set the deck up for one specific tape. This was typically good enough for most people since they could just buy, say, a Maxwell chrome or chrome substitute and use it for their best recordings and whatever else was available for everyday use. A very few decks allowed adjustment for more than one tape type though this was a bit of overkill for most users. Eventually, user adjustable bias was introduced as a feature on some decks. We still suggested the deck be set up using test equipment found in the service shop and the user ignore the adjustments since they wouldn't have as fine an ear as the test equipment could provide. Some decks even provided auto-adjust for bias. Still, setting up the deck for one tape was suggested. More buttons and knobs made it easy for a dumb salesperson to sell sizzle when the steak wasn't that good to begin with. Buttons and knobs and switches seldom added up to better performance.

If you wanted the best from any one deck, you had it set up for a certain tape and tape type and you stuck with that tape for at least a year before you had us check the deck for re-adjustment as formulations of tapes changed slightly over time.

I don't know where you would have a cassette deck, particularly a Nakamichi, set up today. The tape you buy today won't be what the deck was set up to use and it's a good bet the deck needs an adjustment even if it has just sat on a shelf for years. Especially if the deck has just sat for a few years. Typically, a Nak dealer was the service center for Nak products and independent shops had no service information for the Nak products. Since Nakamichi was used in professional studios you might find a studio which could direct you towards a shop that does their service and they might be able to adjust your deck for the tape you want to use. They might even have a better idea of what is available in quality cassettes today.

Otherwise, which tape you use is a matter of what you want to spend. Chrome tapes don't really exist today, to my knowledge. Chrome tapes were somewhat abrasive to the heads and Nak tended to use the softer Perm-alloy based heads so they weren't a good match. The major tape brands eventually came up with chrome substitutes which had the benefits but not the downsides of real chrome. I see no real potential in metal type tapes over a good chrome sub.

I've mentioned more than once on the forum the direction of the consumer audio industry typically sliding towards the convenience of use aspect of sales vs the performance, longevity and sound quality of the product. Nakamichi's reputation aside, cassette is still a minimally useful source in my opinion. Phase errors and time shifts are inevitable with the constraints of the cassette format. Tracking errors are almost assured with the way cassettes are constructed and used. For casual listening, cassette offers convenience advantages over LP but doesn't compete with other source options available today. This presents a problem for those listeners who have a sizeable portion of their music collection on cassette tape. The Nakamichi will make the most of what remains a secondary source IMO but cassette will never be the source of choice for most serious music listeners today.

Your deck should be cleaned, if even only by you. Use some isopropyl alchohol and Q-Tips to gently but thoroughly clean the tape heads and the tape path paying particular attention to the capstan and pinch rollers. Don't over apply liquids to this deck. The cleaning device should just be damp and not saturated. Use more than one swab and go over the deck until you no longer get significant amounts of residue from the parts. If you have a demagnetizer, use it on the heads and the entire tape path. If you're unsure of how to use a head demagnetizer, there are instructions on line.

One consistent problem with any tape deck, and particularly one with such tape path restrictions as cassette faces, have always been the rubber parts of the deck's machanics which will inevitably dry out and then lose their specs. There's nothing a user can do to repair these, they will eventually need to be replaced. Adjustments of any kind are best left to a qualified service shop.

One tip would be to always use clean tape when recording, A bulk eraser does a significanly better job of erasing material than does the erase head of the deck. This is especially true of two head decks. So, if you are recording over a previously used tape, use a bulk eraser first to make a clean tape. Also, when you play a tape, don't use the fast forward/rewind at the end. Leave the tape in a played position - what's called "tails out". The tension created by fast winding is more likely to lead to print through of adjacent layers of tape. This is a very common problem with analog tapes and any cassettes you haven't played in awhile are good candidates for the problem.


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Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3105
Registered: Oct-07
Try to find PURE Isopropol Alcohol. MOST available is mixed with water�be that Deionized OR distilled. Read the Label.

Alcohol and water mix in ANY proportion and so is called miscible. The WATER is bad for any parts which will rust, since the alcohol will evaporate first. The Alcohol will also TEND to displace or dilute any lubricants.

Follow Jans 'dry' or 'damp' advice. No dribbling.

Also, I owned only a few Cassette decks over the years and nothing as high end as the Naks. However, and from our FWIW department, I eventually, and after testing, standardized on TDK SA or TDK SAX tape. I TEND not to buy the 90 minute 'size' since I think that is made from the thinnest tape stocks available and therefore has the worst print thru. I liked the 60 minute and I think at one point they made an 'odd length' which was good for albums and such.

PS: And I KNOW I shouldn't be a critic of spelling or Grammar, but 'Maxwell' was the hero of a TV Spy Spoof of the 60s while Maxell is the TAPE.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17859
Registered: May-04
.

Yes, it is. Not enough caffeine when I was posting. Tape in 45 and 60 minute lengths are usually the same thickness. 90 Minute is slightly thinner. Whether it is enough to be concerned about, I don't know. Various lengths fit certain LP's and you could usually fit an album on each side of a 90 minute cassette. 120 minute tapes are very thin and prone to break or f*** up in some other way before print through would be a problem. Though I have a very large collection of "Prairie Home Companion" shows recorded on 120 minute tapes. You know, the shows done before Garrison Keiller retired the first time.



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Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17860
Registered: May-04
.

" know to keep my run lengths equal, but am uncertain if duct taping my right speaker run to the carpet would be harmful or if painters tape would be a better alternative considering that the solid core is insulated, I presume, with gruesome pvc. Which also begs the question of whether my choosing solid w/pvc was a better compromise than stranded w/Teflon?"



Cables are simply one of the more heavily debated portions of consumer audio. Most people who are willing to explore cables with an open mind will suggest they amount to the seasoning on a good meal. I suppose that's a capable description of how to think about cables. A little plain table salt on your humble french fries will certainly make a difference. We've all experienced that effect. Those who have invested in cables feel they should be thought of as another component in the system and are, therefore, just as important as your turntable or power amplifier. Somewhat overstated IMO if the meaning of the sentiment is to spend a lot of money on cables. And it does seem as though the idea originated in the cable industry first and then spread through the magazines which accept advertising dollars from the cable industry. Not that I am suggesting the two parties are operating in immoral ways. I have though seen first hand the favoritism of certain magazine editors towards friends and it is not much of a stretch to think the magazines hold too much sway in what is acceptable in the market and what is not. The magazines make and break competition and, while being easy targets for the uber-cynics, they do hold the future of many small start up company's future in their hands.

There is no easy way to discuss cables other than to say everyone must listen for themselves and make their own decisions. Which, it turns out, is generally great advice for the cable companies. System not perking up your ears? Try new cables. Cables a few years old? Try new cables? Just nervous you don't have the best cable in your system? Try several brands of cables. Thinking your cables are what's holding your new amplifier back? Buy more expensive cables? Tired of all the hype surrounding cables? Try new cables from the handful of companies who promise they are cutting through all the cable industry BS. In many ways that is the most interesting segment of the cable market today; those companies which are anti-cable in their advertising while at the same time attempting to sell more cables. Ain't the free market won'erful? E-cigarettes, anyone?

Now, before anyone gets the wrong idea, I do believe in the value of cables to a high quality system with well thought out construction. I admit to feeling some high priced cables are well worth the money asked when they are paired with the proper system. Those beliefs and feelings stop at the word "transparency". IMO this is what you should seek from your components and the bits and pieces which support the components. Sins of omission are generally thought to be more acceptable then sins of commission. I could and probably should stop at that. But I seldom do.

I've often told the story of the local symphony conductor who came into our store for assistance with his "system". The "system" was a Pioneer rack affair sold in a department store and set up in ways which violated virtually every tenet of good audio. Tiny, give way quality cables were run long distances and in unequal lengths. To call the connectors cheap would be giving far too much praise. The speakers were positioned deep into the corners and on the diagonal of a thirty five foot span of several open floor plan rooms as the client stood on a raised level which placed his ears far above the axis of the inexpensive tweeters. It wasn't that this listener couldn't afford a better system but that the low cost, low performance system he owned afforded him all the transparency to the source he required. He detected flaws in the timing and balance of various instruments as he stood and "air conducted" his way through performance after performance. Whether this was all in his interpretation of how he would conduct the piece or not, I certainly couldn't hear most of what he claimed to experience. I took from this experience the fact we all listen in our own way and with our own preconceived ideas of how music should be reproduced. Whether cable companies promise accuracy, musicality, holographic imaging, 3D depth and width, etc, each listener must make their own assessment of what is standing between their music and their satisfaction of that music.

All of that is to say I can't say what cables are the best for any one system. I do think of cables as a component within the system and they should be thought of as exactly that by anyone buying cables. However, I look inside an amplifier and see things that aren't the size of a garden hose leading up to the speaker outputs of mega watt champions. I see most speaker manufacturers use very modest internal wiring. PC boards are typically laid out with electrical runs being quite close together but never twisted as most cables are. A transformer coupled amplifier runs the signal through several hundred feet of solid core wiring wrapped around a magnetically permeable core. Many speakers contain circuits which mitigate many of the effects of cabling and amplifiers. Many amplifiers contain circuits which mitigate the effects of cables and speakers. Pair all of that with what the average user is being told by the cable companies and I see immense amounts of confusion and misplaced funds being wasted on systems which are well intentioned but not put together well in terms of basic signal flow.

I've seen people, what? "over-appreciate" the value of cables? Yet, if you feel your cables perform to a higher level when they are reversed in direction, it's not my place to agree or to argue. In the end, I would agree with the concept of the more transparent the system the more each small thing matters. Yet, I also see the value of not finding yourself concerned with the small things if they get in the way of enjoying the music. I find it difficult to comprehend how so many cable companies can exist if each cable is so supposedly different from all the rest. I fail to understand how so many cable companies can create new lines of cables each and every year for decades. And, I admit, it has taken me many cable purchases to reach this level of skepticism. I have twenty year old cables that still sound as good or better to my ears than many new cables. Not that long ago I purchased a well thought of digital coax cable which met most of my priorities in cable specifications. In the end, what I had was the better cable to bring about greater transparency to my music. I gave the cable away to a friend. Basic theories of electricity suggest certain cables should have minimal effects on the sound quality of an audio system. Yet, it's not that difficult to perceive essential improvements when various other cables are put in those locations within the system.

One retailer who specializes in rather "unconventional" system tweaks talks about "the music which is already in the room". The opinion there is most audio systems are capable of providing all the music which exists on the source. It is getting that music to the listener which is the impediment to greater satisfaction from even quite modestly priced equipment. For many listeners, it is our own perceptions which stand in the way of our enjoyment of reproduced music. While acknowledging there are simply bad components and some very poor recordings, making the music accessible to the listener is essential to their enjoyment of the music. And here is where transparency gets yet another knock in the head.

It is, for some of us, very difficult to not expect certain things from our systems. Is a single driver, full range speaker actually better than a two, three or four way system? Obviously, there is no easy answer to that question just as the debate of tubes vs solid state will never be answered for everyone. If such debates could be answered, a lot of audio companies would suddenly disappear as antiquated or simply "bad" technology. Each listener tends to bring with them their attitudes regarding the virtues and the evils of any portion of the technology they prefer. Whether the technological differences are very broad, say, the difference between a horn loaded speaker system and an electrostatic speaker system or they are more minute as in the audible defects of PVC vs Teflon, we each have in our mind one is the auditory equivalent of eating chocolate covered grasshoppers. Over many years one listener may hone their selections down based on rather simple priorities and eventually reach a system level where they are satisfied. Most listeners never fully reach that level is my educated guess. I was speaking with a new client the other day who had just rebuilt a phono cartridge from the 1960's. He invited me over for a listen the day my partner fell and broke her leg and we ended up spending the day in the ER. Eventually, I hope to hear some music played through his system. Not because I am the least bit interested in the cartridge he rebuilt but because I'm always curious as to what priorities other listeners place on each element of music reproduction. I've been friends with people who love the smell of solder and are always tinkering with their equipment. And I've been friends with people who are constantly swapping out this piece of equipment for a new piece of equipment. At times I've found listeners who seem to have settled into a set of priorities which suit their goals of music playback. And I've certainly met those who have few priorities which I can recognize.

Which now brings me to PVC vs Teflon and solid core vs stranded cabling. In part, mostly based on my job as a salesperson, I don't have an opinion on any of that. My job for years was to find what the client thought was important and what they desired and then go back in the stockroom to find what I had which might suit those qualifications. It didn't matter to me what they wanted, my purpose for being there was to provide them with the best product I felt they would appreciate without unwisely spending their money. The difference between PVC and Teflon is one of increments. I have opinions regarding the two materials but those opinions shouldn't become your opinions as my opinions are always available for review and change.

It is usually impossible to sort out only the difference between PVC and Teflon in commercial cables since there will always be other variances which come into play in any two cables. I can look at a chart of dielectric constants and see that PVC is less desirable than is Teflon in those values which are affected by dielectric constants. But most cables are not just one dielectric material or they have a twisted pair vs a parallel run or they have higher purity copper than another cable. And so on. So the advice to change just one thing and then listen is almost always an impossibility with cables. You can reach some general ideas, most of which will be based on very generic measurements, and allow that to guide your future decisions. But even that may run into problems once you begin to sort out the real truths of cables in your system.

This has become a very long post and needs to wrap up soon. I'll just leave it at my opinion which is only my own opinion of cables as they have fit into my priorities for my system with my preferred music. My preference is for very basic ideas in cables, the simpler the better. Buy the best materials you can afford understanding there is no perfect cable for any system let alone for all systems. As you have discovered solid core with Teflon is difficult to find and will cost a considerable bit more than stranded with PVC if you want to go with relatively heavy gauge cables. The question then needs to be, is the expense worth it when those cables will meet the level of transparency your system has reached?

You are the only person who can answer that question and you would do so by experimenting with each type while attempting to minimize the other variables of the experiment. That is almost always an impossibility with cables. Two stranded cables are likely not made by the same manufacturer from the same materials. Achieving the level of consistency from sample to sample is expensive and time consuming. Yet, if you ignore the inconsistencies, you have proven nothing. On the other hand, if you can free yourself from the mindset that there is a "better" cable out there, you can stand on the higher level, off axis to the tweeters, and listen to music reproduced by a mediocre rack system and find all the music which is already in the room. Because the music is in your perception more than it is in the cables. Perception occurs beyond your ears and within your brain. What PVC affects can be totally acceptable or totally unacceptable to your perceptions of music. To really mess with your perceptions, think about which set of chemical presences, those things which go into PVC and those which go into Teflon, are most likely to be sensed as "unnatural" by your brain parts. If we accept the idea that all things must affect the music, then we also should consider the effect each part has on our person and on our perceptions.

For instance, you might be a listener who has a drink of alchohol while you enjoy your music. If so, surely you've experienced the moments when the music reaches a higher level of euphoric satisfaction. Everything sounds good and you are very much following the rising and falling tides of the music. Nothing else has changed in your system. All that has changed in the equation is your perception and those things which typically keep you from this level of involvement with the music. On a certain esoteric level those who distain digital playback for analog can typically be said to be more involved in the preparation of their sources. Cleaning a record or adjusting bias on their tape deck is a prelude to satisfaction. At least it is in the perception and continuing debates between the analog and the digital proponents of sources. Some days your system can do no wrong and some days your system can't follow the beat to Bob Marley. The system hasn't changed in one technical parameter. So, what has?



So, what's the point, Jan? The point is there are no rules I can provide you to your most recent questions. Providing certain answers establishes in your mind the perception of "this" will occur. I would prefer you discover these things for yourself at your leisure. Which means don't stress over things like cables. They are what they are and that is what you make them to be in your perceptions of cables. Nothing more and nothing less.

Those wooden risers you saw in the Cardas video? The suggestion is simple, any cable which has an electrical signal flow will produce a small electro-magnetic halo around the cable itself. This EM halo will be affected by the surrounding environment. Just as there are dielectric constants involved in the construction of a cable, the environment in which the cable exists will also affect the flow of this field and will, therefore, have a consequence to the signal flow. Some retailers promote wooden risers, some have exotic materials which are sandwiched between other exotic materials and, therefore, claim superior transparency over the wooden varieties of risers. Others promote specific constructions based on mathematical principles of ancient rules. After awhile, your eyes cross and your head explodes.

"Duct tape" does, however, contain some amounts of aluminum and should be kept away from your audio cables.

You can still purchase the basic Home Depot extension cables for very little money. The article which actually raised the question of just how much cables matter is now going on a decade in age. Surely, HD is likely to have changed vendors for their low end extension cables but you can try these cables and hear for yourself what a stranded cable in basic PVC insulation does for your music. I'll tell you when I did the experiment many years ago I found obvious differences between the extension cables from Home Depot, Lowe's and Walmart. I didn't care for the effects CAT-5 cable inserted into my system. I still am not offended by some twenty five year old AudioQuest cable that sold for a few dollars per foot. Virtually all Monster Cable sounds bad to my ears. I don't know why since it never sounded good enough for me to think about.

Sorry to have put you through all this just to say I can't say much. But that's what cables are in my perceptions.




.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Martydel

Post Number: 11
Registered: Dec-13
Hello Jan, I've had a few balls up in the air for a while, but recently had time to set up the system one step at a time. Before connecting the Rogue, I tried the solid core 18 with the NAK and was pleasantly surprised at the sonic improvement from 5.5 foot sc18 compared with the 16 foot Monster Cable 12awg stranded gone nasty green. I don't need any Cardas risers as the sc18 sits above the carpet. I played a 1977 Paul Winter Consort LP which had such clarity, detail and separation that I was taken back to the live performance.


A friend cut 2 pieces of 2x12 to make a pair of 11.5 x 15 bases to get the Kef's off the carpet. Such a simple thing seemed to make the speakers sound improve. No spikes just the 4 rubber feet that the Kef's had when I bought them and resting on the 2x12 pieces on the carpet. I cant rule out the placebo possibility, but it sure did sound better to my ears.


Next, I followed your advice and did a careful cleaning of the NAK CR. I played a Billy Holiday cassette which appeared very clean but which sounded horrible. Undeterred, I made a recording of the Consort LP onto a sealed FUJI normal bias tape and the quality was light years better than the Holiday recording. I was going to take your advice regarding using either Maxell or TDK, but while looking at used LP's I spotted a 6 pk. of sealed FUJI 90 min. type I for $2.00. The sound of the recording could not reproduce what stylus on vinyl offers, but it was clear and a rewarding experiment. Is it true that all type II is chromium or is type II sometimes or most often chrome substitute? I found no type III and the type IV was goofy priced.


Since I already had the NAK CR, I thought I make a Ravel tape and a few Marvin Gaye tapes for those times when critical listening is secondary. I also did a 1965 Ahmad Jamal LP on the B side which also came out fabulous. Along with a 1964 Ramsey Louis Trio with Eldee Young and Red Holt both on the Cadet label and both in condition beyond belief, the vinyl felt thicker and heavier than what is ordinarily felt.


After the recording, I connected the Rogue for the first time . I listened to the same LP's and while the NAK sounded better than I ever remembered, the Rogue made the Kef's come alive. The reverberation of the strings on the bass and the sound of the sticks on the skins was more distinctive than the improvement which was evident and appreciated upon hearing the piano of both great players.


And then a large surprise occurred. Having played Dark Side of the Moon on my modest Sony CD changer while still hooked up to the NAK receiver, I was surprised how well it sounded even though I still don't have a DAC. However, when I played the same CD powered by the Rogue, the vocals especially sounded harsh. Is it possible that I may have gotten a lesson in what Synergy means. Of course, sonic novice that I am at least when it comes to music reproduction, I expected an improvement in sound from the CD source just as the TT had provided. I suspect that adding a DAC like my targeted Cambridge 100, may be more necessary with the addition of the Rogue than had been necessary when powered by the NAK. Please let me know if I am on to something with regard to Synergy of the system.


As always, thank you for your direction. There's great sound in the room. Bright Moments.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17879
Registered: May-04
.

The basic idea behind spiking your speakers is to minimize movement in the cabinet related to force generated by the driver(s). The air mass against which the woofers operate and the compliance of the driver surround will create losses in the pistonic motion of the driver. Once the driver no longer functions purely as a piston it moves outside of its most linear motion resulting in lost information and greater distortions.

As the driver pushes forward against the resistance of the air mass there is a slight tendency for the speaker enclosure to move backwards. If there is compliance beneath the enclosure provided by the carpet pile and the underlaying pad, the cabinet is easier to move than is the mass of air when you are discussing most consumer audio cabinets.

"Spiking" the cabinet serves to mass load the cabinet in place. In other words, using spikes places the mass of the cabinet on the very insignificant tip of the spike. Now each spike sees several times the actual mass of th cabinet on each tip. If the spikes are not adjustable in height, this will normally provide a decent and noticeable improvement in sound quality as more of the driver's motion is translated into pressure waves within the listening room.

If the spikes are adjustable in height, the effects of the mass loading can be improved. Since most floors are not absolutely level, adjusting the height of each spike allows the user to maximize the loading of the cabinet onto the spike tip. Once this procedure is done, you should be able to push at the top of the cabinet and not be able to move the enclosure in any direction. It should quite literally feel as of the speaker cabinet has been bolted to the floor in this experiment.

While your platforms provide some similar effects to spiking, there is still some compliance beneath the rubber feet. Spikes can penetrate the carpet by pushing through fibers of the carpet and reaching the floor. Certainly, what you've done will serves the increase the mass placed on each foot but spiking goes the next step further. Your platforms do manage to spread the distribution of the mass across a wider area similar to the outriggers seen on some high end speakers. This wider base serves to create a more stable distribution of mass and would be desirable in most cases.

If you have hardwood floors, you probably don't want spikes digging into the wood. Your options are to use cups beneath the spike tips or using a rounded surface beneath the speaker. PartsExpress retails both spikes and cups. In my AV system I use some plastic balls which threads extending from them. These were intended for use in automotive trim but the threads happened to fit the pattern in my stands. If you remember your high school physics class, a circle has an apex - actually, it has an infinite number of points which would reflect its apex but we're only interested in one of those points. Using the ball in place of a spike, the contact area between the ball's apex and the floor surface is extremely small, just as a spike's tip would be extremely small. Therefore, the ball's apex has the mass of the speaker/stand combination placed on a single, small spot. It serves the same function as a spike yet its shape allows the speaker stand to be moved across the floor with ease and there is no damage to the wood surfaces.


To my knowledge, there are no real "chrome" tapes at this time. Type II has for decades been a tape which uses similar bias levels. While each tape would require set up for its specific needs if you desired the flattest frequency response and the lowest noise/distortion measurements, any Type II tape will work with any deck which has Type II switching. While it somewhat of a generalization, as you move from Type I tapes, the magnetic particles of the tape become smaller and require high bias levels to move about. Smaller particle size largely accounts for the lowered noise of the Type II, II and IV tapes. Since each of these types would require a specific bias current for best results and since most tape decks only allow adjustment for one bias setting. it is in your interests to use one tape type. If you feel your had good results with the Type II tape, I'd say stick with it. Before cassettes were displaced by digital tapes and discs, the quality level of most Type I tapes from the major suppliers had reached a level where Type II or higher was mostly unnecessary for good results. However, just as each analog film produced slightly different results in black/white and color balance or "accuracy" along with reduced grain, so to will each analog tape produce sound qualities which are slightly different with any one recorder.

Collectors have raised the going prices for many of the early LP pressings. Even budget labels used higher quality vinyl in those days than they budgeted for once the DynaGroove mindset was established. You can order new LP's in several weights from a fairly typical 120 gram to 180 or even 220 gram pressings. (I can't put the word on the forum but) "V*rgin" vinyl was typically used in the early days rather than what we had at the end which amounted to chewed up and remelted crap with large disparities in quality. More care was taken with the recording, mastering and pressing process at one time and then succumbed to the dollar of profit to be gained over 100k units by leaving out that five cent hanger on a Pinto mentality. With the current renewed interest in vinyl, some groups are turning out LP pressings of decent quality but possibly not the music you want. Music Direct is one retailer who offers a wide selection of remastered LP's from the '50's through the '90's. I don't bother with them if I already have an original copy from earlier than the mid '80's since many of the LP's I purchased at that time are, IMO, higher quality than the "new" versions.

DSOTM is an unusual album. It's one of the most popular rock albums of all times and has gne through numerous masterings and pressings. Some very good to many not so good at all. As the record companies tried to squeeze every bit of profit from popular recordings, they seldom bothered to do a anything other than make another run from the same tapes which were by that time often fourth and even fifth generation copies. If the tapes were cleaned up in any way, they may have actually sounded worse than the originals. So without hearing what you have with your copy of DSOTM, I can't say whether you have hit a synergistic wall or just have a particularly weak copy of the album. It in particular is such a crap shoot when it comes to sound quality I can't even recommend most copies. Check with Music direct if you want to shop for a new remastered version. Out of the many copies I own and which were used for demonstration purposes, the very best is the SACD version which was completely remastered by Waters. I don't know of any LP's would have the same quality. It's unlikely since the SCAD version was produced for that digital format and even the included two track Redbook version didn't sound at all as good as did the SACD.

DSD was the proprietary Sony/Philips format for mastering SACD. There are many issues regarding DSD and PCM formats but even after SCAD's demise, DSD lives on with several outboard DAC's. http://dsd-guide.com/faq/what-difference-between-dsd-audio-and-sacd#.UyhqzpAo_UA

IMO DSD was a superior digital format with very high quality sound. It was finally delivering the promises made for digital way back in the 1970's. It wasn't well thought out financially however and wasn't adaptable to other formats (once SACD died) until digital downloads brought it back to the surface. This, however, means a switch to a computer based source and that's still not where many listeners want to be. Dollar for dollar though, it seems apparent you can get more bang for your buck today with a computer based system than by putting money into a conventional CD player with outboard DAC. The basic issue I see with computer based systems or music servers is they are moving along at a rate which means whatever you buy today will be superceded by a new model in a year's time.

There are many issues both in favor and against a purely digitally based system, not the least of which are the listener's who own a large LP collection. Turntables are better than ever as are cartridges even at the lower price ranges. CD players have, IMO, reached their manageable limits due to the age of the Redbook standards. Converting your CD's to a hard drive format is time consuming but likely well worth the trouble for many listeners. What it comes down to in many ways is the generation which made high end audio what it is has now aged and are generally reaching a point where funds for audio aren't as important as funds for other things. The proliferation of audio companies over the last two decades has in many ways hurt the industry. Brick and mortar dealers are hard if not impossible to find if you want to audition equipment. And, despite their interest in things such as LP's and cassettes, the generation with disposable funds right now still prefers portability and convenience of access to superior sound quality.


"There's great sound in the room. Bright Moments."


That's always good to hear. Happy to be of assistance. Enjoy the music and check back on occasion.

Take care.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3111
Registered: Oct-07
'Nasty Green' copper is 'rusty' copper = Copper Oxide.

Copper Oxide is a semiconductor from which, in the early days of Solid State electronics, rectifiers were made.

I'd say that Green Copper Immediately disqualifies the wire from use where it counts. Junk it out, right this minute.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Martydel

Post Number: 12
Registered: Dec-13
Leo, I prefer to think of the green copper as patina. Some people pay big dough for objects with a beautiful patina. I'm putting it out there in cyberspace that I'll trade a vintage pair of 16 foot 12awg Monster Cable with a wonderful patina in exchange for an ESS based DAC.

Serious replies only!


I actually settled on (2) 66" runs of 18awg solid core. The sound through the phono (RP1) and Sphinx and Kef C80's is beautiful to my ears. I'm currently using the most common RCA IC's for my NAK CR and Sony CD changer. The recording that I made from vinyl to cassette sounds below the vinyl level, but I do plan to get 2 pair of CL-1's from BJC to see if there is an audible difference to my ear. I must say that the recording sounds amazing whether played back on my home system or on the car audio. The CDP without an outboard DAC sounds harsh to the point that there is no IC made that can, without adding a DAC, produce a sonic improvement.


I've read the forum regarding CDP's and DAC's, and am inclined to try the plodding approach of first adding the CL-1's and then adding the DAC. I will first have to decide which DAC. I am aware that upgrading the DAC will be much more responsible for improved sonics than the IC's.


It makes sense to me that there is more versatility to have an outboard DAC rather that an upgraded CDP with DAC all in one. However, given that I am inclined toward either the CA Magic 100 @299 or the DAC-it @$450, where do I go from there if I feel the burning need to upgrade the CDP which, from a best use of funds spent perspective, may already have an at least equal to quality DAC all in one. I may never be inclined toward the versatility aspect of internet radio listening since my 400 lp's and 200 cd's keep me in jazz, blues and classical heaven for now. If I do opt for an all in one solution, would not the addition of a Dragonfly at a later date be an inexpensive solution to adding internet radio while retaining the quality of the AIO solution. This, of course, begs the question- am I missing the point that future DAC's may obsolete the AIO solution?


Please also advise as to whether the much praised ESS Sabre is far more desirable to the Wolfson 8740. Also, if more is better, what does the addition of (2) 8740's or (2) ESS Sabre's provide in DAC improvement and ballpark cost?


So far I think my thought process of attempting to put together a synergistic system has been logical based upon the help I have received through the forum. As always, I thank you all very much for your direction.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17883
Registered: May-04
.

Keep in mind ic's can operate as tone filters. Most objectivists would say this is the only thing ic's can accomplish, serving as a tone control, and this is why subjective listeners believe there are sonic differences between ic's. But, then, most objectivists within audio blindly hate subjectivists and look for any reason - even a very dumb one - to berate subjective opinions. Makes 'em feel better about themselves, I suppose. Lord knows, they can't feel very good about themself when they're listening through their $99 recievers picked because THD is all that matters to an objectivist.


Also, keep in mind, if the source cannot retrieve the information from the disc or tape, there's nothing an ic can do to make the situation better other than to serve as a tone control. ic's cannot add back what was left out by the source player. Nothing can. They can allow information through which was being lost in your present cables, but they can only pass on what they are fed. If the source player doesn't not do justice to the disc or tape or somehow abuses the information, the best you should hope for is the ic does serve as a tone control.

The same goes for a DAC. CD transports do matter. Cheap transports cannot be helped by superior DAC's IMO. There are more chances for things to go wrong in the circuitry after the transport but, still, transports matter. That's why all digital source players include "error correction" for misread bits taken from the transport. Don't know about you but "error correction" as a concept always made me nervous.


"It makes sense to me that there is more versatility to have an outboard DAC rather that an upgraded CDP with DAC all in one. However, given that I am inclined toward either the CA Magic 100 @299 or the DAC-it @$450, where do I go from there if I feel the burning need to upgrade the CDP which, from a best use of funds spent perspective, may already have an at least equal to quality DAC all in one."



If I understand that statement correctly, you do not have to worry about the quality of the onboard DAC in the Sony changer being equal to any outboard DAC you've named. Consider that, while there are some economics involved in including a DAC in with the transport and calling it a one box, one power supply player, you would have to spend a fair amount to have an onboard DAC of equal quality to a current outboard DAC. You certainly might find an all in one player with sonics you prefer over a generic CDP and an outboard DAC. This is especially true if a good deal of your CD library was purchased early in CD's existence. However, given the current state of digital transports - there are no dedicated CD transports being used (or even built) by any mid to low priced manufacturer and very few even using a DVD transport nowdays - buy the DAC with the advertised sound quality you prefer and don't worry about the rest for now. If you want to up grade the CDP, I would suggest you look at one of the highly rated players from a few years ago, say, a Rega or a Cambridge player - and buy used. Transports have not moved forward in the same way DAC's have progressed and a three to five year old CD player with good ratings then will still have about as good a transport as you can find at a reasonable price today. Likely better. Any player from that time should have a dedicated digital output along with the analog outs.

The Dragonfly is a well respected USB DAC that should serve you well for a long time. While I have not had one to audition, the reviewers I respect claim is has a very musical sound. You have to accept that DAC's will become obsolete rather soon after you make a purchase. That is a rationale for an outboard DAC. Replace the DAC and stay up to date without swamping your entire system. Buy a "musical" component and you'll probably be satisfied for a longer time than if you purchase based on specs or features.

Both the Sabre and the Wolfson DAC's are well thought of and both are used by numerous high end manufacturers. IMO you're rather splitting hairs if you make a choice based only on the chip. Any chip performs only as well as the rest of the circuitry allows. A DAC is by definition a digital and analog component. How the chip is implemented and how it is supported by the power supply can make significant differences in its performance. Whether the DAC has been designed with superior filtering of electrical and digital artifacts plus stray RFI and EMI is more important than either one of those two chips alone. The quality of the analog section is very important since many manufacturers using identical chip sets still are unalike sonically. Even the connectors and the remote interface are considerations which are important to take into account. The chip you buy today will be obsoleted soon. That's how this market works. Make sure the rest of the DAC is good and you should do fine. Are two chips better than one? In theory, yes. In reality, read my previous comments.



.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3143
Registered: Oct-07
RE: Adding a DAC.
IF POSSIBLE, check into a DAC with 'Balanced' outputs.
This is possible only if your stereo / preamp or control 'thing' will accept such connections. They are 3-pin, and about 20->25mm in diameter. This is the lowest noise connection (electrical) available to the consumer.

At that point, one of the reference cables is available over at Guitar Center for about 43$ each�.and is made by Mogami.

And yes, implimentation is MUCH more important than whatever chipset is used. And given how fast the DAC market 'moves', I personally wouldn't spend more than I spent�.about 500$ If you are 'up' for an all-out assault, you can EASILY spend 5 digits and change. Nutty, eh?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Martydel

Post Number: 13
Registered: Dec-13
Thank you Jan and Leo re:DAC input. I've been out of Florida since my last post. Before I left, a friend gave me an Onkyo C-7030 because she knew my old Sony changer was a noisy wreck. I was shocked at what sound improvement came from such an inexpensive unit, which is proof of DAC technology advancement. The sound is so vastly superior to the Sony, that it's closer to vinyl than I thought possible. Just before my road trip, I scored a 1965 Ramsay Lewis with Eldee Young and Red Holt (smudge free) for $1 at a Goodwill type store. What a treasure!


I'm watching the Texas A&M - Alabama game. What initially prompted me to write, Jan, was the name of A&M's coach - Kevin Sumlin. Any relation to Hubert?


Hope all is well with you both, and thank you.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17992
Registered: May-04
.

Apparently no close relationship exists between Kevin Sumlin and Hubert. Kevin's father was named William according to a bio of the younger coach. He was raised, at least in part, in Arkansas and Hubert also spent time in that area when he was young. So there may be some more distant ties between the two but they are too difficult to locate without further information.

Good find on the Ramsey Lewis disc. Do you have a record cleaner?



.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Martydel

Post Number: 14
Registered: Dec-13
I have a Pro-ject antistatic brush. I did meet a vinyl collector at my most productive thrift. He beat me to a new donation stack by 15 minutes in which time he latched onto 20 jazz and blues sides. I asked how he cleaned his vinyl, and he recommended Glass Plus (no ammonia) and a clean and not too well worn white tee shirt making sure to clean in the clockwise direction after a light spray applied to the fabric which is then followed by a clean dry clockwise follow-up. I then use the anti-static brush. I met the collector just before I left town for 6 months, so I haven't "cleaned" too many sides since. My impression (unintended pun)is that I have done no harm, but there was more click and pop than I expected. I thought that I did a careful job, but the technique may be flawed. Your help is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17994
Registered: May-04
.

There are several posts on record cleaning fluids and procedures to be found in the archives of the "phono" section of the forum. I'm not sure how far back you'll need to go, I posted my original cleaning thread, I would guess, probably six or seven years ago. A vacuum machine is the best method and you can buy a machine from several sources or build a diy through on line instructions. See what you find and ask questions of need be.


.
 

Gold Member
Username: Magfan

USA

Post Number: 3201
Registered: Oct-07
A subset of vinyl cleaners use WOOD GLUE.

You'll have to see the video on youtube to believe this one.
 

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 17995
Registered: May-04
.

IMO a subset of vinyl lovers are living dangerously. Even a small bit of glue left behind in the groove has the potential to wipe out a stylus. IMO there is the chance the glue "cleaning" method will simply serve to seal in additional crud while removing only the largest chunks of debris. There are far better, proven methods to clean a vinyl LP or 78. Looking at a groove wall after being cleaned with a surfactant type cleaning fluid, whether you vacuum clean the disc or not, shows far less crud remaining in the groove than any images of the after effects of glue.


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