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  1. #11
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    Don't bother with the Digital Lens...

    Quote Originally Posted by joncourage View Post
    a related question, hopefully I'm not derailing the thread too much....

    I use the SB3's digital out to an AudioNote DAC 1 (non-OS). How do I know if this DAC is doing anything similar to what the Lavry does to eliminate jitter? I like the sound of this combination very much, but as always if there's something I can do to improve on it - short of the 2k required to upgrade to the Trans - I'm game.

    In a recent a/b between the AN DAC and the Benchmark DAC1, everyone present decisively preferred the AN. To me it just had a much more engaging, musical, natural presentation. So I'd like to try to keep it.

    Would the Bolder digital mods, plus the upgraded Elpac p/s, plus say a Digital Lens put me in the same or better territory than a Transporter? I guess, part of what I'm asking is, is it worth using the Lens to clean up jitter if the DAC itself is just going to re-introduce it's own at a level comparable to a digital- and p/s- modded SB3?

    Hmmm, any case, let's see $$ how that adds up in comparison anyways:

    SB3 - 300
    Bolder mods - 275
    Elpac w/mods - 110
    Lens - 450

    Still a bit cheaper than a Trans, but not by a ton.

    Have never tried the Lavry, but if that coupled to a the SB3 both eliminates the jitter issue and sounds as good / better than the AN, it would seem an excellent alternative as well.

    So, which to choose? Trans, Bolder mods + Lens, or replace AN with a Lavry?

    Wouldn't it be cool to be able to do a shoot-out between the three systems?
    I just sold a Digital Lens because it wouldn't work with the SB3 at 48kHz. Of the 4 relevant PCM resolutions supported by the SB3 (44.1/16, 44.1/24, 48/16, and 48/24), only 44.1/16 worked with my Digital Lens. Oddly enough, the Lens did work with a 48/16 stream from my DVD player.

    I was considering a Transporter and have settled instead on a SB3 plus an Apogee Big Ben feeding my TacT gear. Conceptually, this is at least as good as a Transporter, and there's no need to mod the SB3 at all.

    If you're considering a Lavry, it's also supposed to be insensitive to the input device, so you wouldn't need SB3 mods either in that case.

    So, the options as I see it are:

    1) Transporter ($2000)
    2) SB3 + Big Ben ($300 + $1200) = $1500 (no mods needed)
    3) SB3 + Lavry ($300 + $850) = $1150 (no mods needed)

    If you need analog outs, it looks like the Lavry is the best bet.

    The big difference between these options is that the Transporter supports 96kHz media, the SB3 doesn't.

    Personally, I'm now waiting for a SB4 that does support 96kHz. I think I'll buy a Transporter remote to tide me over...

    Regards,
    Kim
    Last edited by krochat; 2006-09-27 at 12:35.

  2. #12
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    Quick digression:

    what types of media/recordings result in the different PCM resolutions listed (once ripped of course, to FLAC in my case)?

    I'm only familiar with standard red-book CDs...

    Also - does the Lavry have any digital outputs? If so, it might make a better alternative to the Lens...


    I guess what this all points out to me is that the perfect device for my needs would be a SB with a Digital Lens-type thing built-in, no DAC, just outputting bit-perfect, jitter-free music. Seems to me this would be the killer-app for Slim. How could any disc-based transport compare?
    Last edited by joncourage; 2006-09-27 at 12:46.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by jan van mourik View Post
    Same problem here. I want to add a SB to my main system, and get an external
    dac like the Lavry or maybe one of those Chines Dacs (Lite maybe?). But the
    Transporter looks sooo nice, but would it make sense to spend the extra
    money on that? And maybe somebody will build a dac with the AK4396?

    Decisions, decisions...

    jan
    The new APL HiFi DAC will have 6 AK4396 chips using both outputs on the AKM DACs (differential mode). This equals 12 DACs per channel.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by joncourage View Post
    Quick digression:

    what types of media/recordings result in the different PCM resolutions listed (once ripped of course, to FLAC in my case)?

    I'm only familiar with standard red-book CDs...
    I'm not aware of a source for 44.1/24 material.

    48/16, 48/24, and 96/24 are all available on various DVD-Video and DVD-Audio releases.

    You can extract tracks from DVD-Video using DVD Audio Extractor (http://www.castudio.org/dvdaudioextractor/).

    DVD-Audio is more secure and can't be ripped - you need a player with a digital output and then record the bit stream in real time on a PC.

    I'm transferring my 2000 LPs to 96/24 - that's my primary source for 96/24 material.

  5. #15
    Senior Member adamslim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krochat View Post
    DVD-Audio is more secure and can't be ripped - you need a player with a digital output and then record the bit stream in real time on a PC.
    I suspect that if you search Bittorrent for "DVD-A ripping MLP" you might find tools that can rip digital DVD-A and get 24/96 from a DVD-A. I've managed to get 24/96 from the one DVD-A I've bought; once I get the Squeezebox I'll see if it sounds much better than CD. If it does I'll be buying quite a few DVD-As
    SB3, Dac-in-the-Box, Sony VFET, Snell Type Cs
    Boom x 2, Radio

  6. #16
    Senior Member jmourik's Avatar
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    Re: Transporter vs. Lavry et al foranalog output

    Quote Originally Posted by jhm731
    The new APL HiFi DAC will have 6 AK4396 chips using both outputs on the AKM DACs (differential mode). This equals 12 DACs per channel.
    But that one will cost ~ $4k, a bit more than I want to spend. Cool though that with the transport ($3k) you can play sacd and dvda!
    Last edited by jmourik; 2006-09-27 at 14:08. Reason: formatting

  7. #17
    Kim,
    Did the Digital Lens improve the sound when used with the SB3 ? Do you already have the Big Ben ? Or have you already compared SB3 + Digital Lens vs SB3+Big Ben ?
    I was going to get a Digital Lens but seeing your posts I am doubtful now (even though I am using 44.1/16 mainly now).
    Do you have any mods on your SB3 ?
    (sorry about the too many questions. You seem to be on the same path I am thinking of, except I dont want to spend that much)

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoftwireEngineer View Post
    Kim,
    Did the Digital Lens improve the sound when used with the SB3 ? Do you already have the Big Ben ? Or have you already compared SB3 + Digital Lens vs SB3+Big Ben ?
    Do you have any mods on your SB3 ?
    Prior to getting the SB3, I did extensive comparisons between the Lens and Big Ben (which I did already have). The Big Ben had several advantages - sounded better, supported up to 192/24, and was insensitive to the input device.

    With the Lens, I could clearly hear differences in transports and cables - an "impossible" characteristic noted in the classic review at http://www.stereophile.com/digitalprocessors/824/

    I did not do any critical listening with the SB3 and Lens. I had been using it with the Big Ben, and decided to see if the Lens I had in storage would work with the SB3. Since it didn't meet my needs (all my FLAC files are 48/16, upsampled from 44.1/16), I sold it.

    Using the Big Ben with the SB3 is a significant improvement over the straight SB3 digital out. It's possible that internal SB3 mods would produce the same result, but I already had the Big Ben.

    My only SB3 mod is a linear power supply. It was a nice improvement over the stock supply when using the SB3 digital outputs without the Big Ben. I haven't tried swapping the stock supply back in when using the Big Ben.

  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by krochat View Post
    ...

    With the Lens, I could clearly hear differences in transports and cables - an "impossible" characteristic noted in the classic review at http://www.stereophile.com/digitalprocessors/824/

    ...
    Yes Kim, this was an odd thing that stood out in the review. Clearly proves something is not right with the Lens. If the Big Ben sounds the same irrespective of player, cables etc. then it really isolates the jitter out. I will spring for one whenever I find a good price, Thanks for the reply.

  10. #20
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    How do you use the Big Ben? Does it sit between the SB and the DAC?

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