PDA

View Full Version : Weak Link ?



Deaf Cat
2005-08-24, 12:42
Hi,

At last, I have a SB2 - wonderfull bit of kit - small silent and remote to cd collection - FAB.

However, I am in need of some help or suggestions, I seem to have lost a slight but noticable amount of clarity/dynamics.

--System Set Up Pre SB2:
Lacie 500GB Firewire HDD with wma lossless files
Laptop with WMP9
M-Audio Audiophile USB sound card
Chord Signature Digital Cable
Arcam AVR200
Cambridge Audio Pacific Interconnect
Rega Maia3 to fronts

Quite pleased with the sound.

--System Set Up After file advice from these forums:
Lacie 500GB Firewire HDD with EAC/FLAC files
Laptop with Slimserver
rest same as above.

Quite amazed at the difference just by changing ripping style and file type, To me bass now sounded so much nicer and tight, so so much more separation and clarity...wow

--System Set Up with SB2:
Lacie 500GB Firewire HDD with EAC/FLAC files
Desktop PC
Network Cable to D-Link Wireless Router
Wireless SB2 (volume fixed on max & no limit cbr)
Chord Signature Digital Cable
Arcam AVR200
Cambridge Audio Pacific Interconnect
Rega Maia3 to fronts

Seems to be a slight loss in dynamics/clarity......??

I have tried the SB2 DAC with the interconnects Pacific and then QED2, I seem to prefer the digital o/p and letting the Arcam decode, maybe just because my interconnects need upgrading.

I very much look forward to hearing any comments or suggestions to get back that slight loss in clarity/dynamics.

All I can think of:
Maybe upgrade the Pacific interconnect?
Maybe mains filter - both amps or just SB2?
errrrrmm any settings I may need to check?

Jeff Moore
2005-08-24, 18:11
2005-08-24-15:42:13 Deaf Cat:
> I very much look forward to hearing any comments or suggestions to get
> back that slight loss, which I now miss.
>
> All I can think of:
> Maybe upgrade the Pacific interconnect?
> Maybe mains filter - both amps or just SB2?
> errrrrmm any settings I may need to check?

It's not at all obvious to me what the answer is. One thing you might
try, against the possibility that the new setup has changed electrical
noise coupling in a way you find unpleasing, is to take what's
conventionally (in audiophilic circles) considered a step backward and
use a Toslink digital cable between the SB2 and the Arcam -- that, and
get the wireless SB2's RF-rich little self physically far away from the
other audio gear.

Whatever you figure out, though, I hope you'll report back.

Aylwin
2005-08-26, 21:58
Maybe your SB2 just need a little more burn-in time? There's also a server setting where you need to specify "No limit" on the bit rate.

Having said that though, I prefer to use the digital out too.

mbonsack
2005-08-26, 22:17
One thing you might try, against the possibility that the new setup has changed electrical noise coupling in a way you find unpleasing, is to take what's conventionally (in audiophilic circles) considered a step backward and use a Toslink digital cable between the SB2 and the Arcam...

I did exactly this when I noted the exact same symptoms when playing through coax to my MSB Link DAC. Compared to my Pioneer DV525 player (at least a 5-year old unit), the SB2 sounded congested and full of "digititis". Using toslink (again, thinking that in most audiophile circles this would be a step backward) opened up the soundstage, removed a layer of hash, and basically turned a situation where the SB2 was worse than the Pioneer as a transport to one where it is slightly better. Try it.

pfarrell
2005-08-26, 22:35
On Wed, 2005-08-24 at 12:42 -0700, Deaf Cat wrote:
> Arcam AVR200

Did you A/B using the SB2 as a DAC?
And did you try Toslink rather than coax? While
audiophiles sniff at toslink, it does eliminate
any chance of ground loops.

I've never heard (or even seen) an arcam, the reviews look
very good, but it is only a $1200 receiver. It is very
hard to know if it actually should sound better than a SB2,
since the SB2 uses a Texas Instruments PCM1748 DAC chip,
and it seems Sean and company took care in the design.

> errrrrmm any settings I may need to check?

And you did verify that there was no converting going on at the
SlimServer end, right? It would be terrible to do testing while
the slimserver is transcoding the audio to something evil
like MP3


--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

Deaf Cat
2005-09-01, 15:43
Cool -

A good while ago I read quite a bit about Optical vs Coax, and coax seemed to come out on top, hence I went down the route of audio testing various coax cables at home - But I have since forgoten what on earth I had read many moons ago.

- Is "light" bothered if it travels down a cheap cable or expensive one ? (I will see if I can borrow one if they are going to be expensive just for testing)


Sorry Pat, is A/B short for blind testing?
In case it is ... No, I did not do a blind test I just used my usual playlist for sound testing, sat back shut eyes concentrated on each track with each different set of cables. But, I do feel it is a bit unfair comparing a 180 digital cable to a couple of 30 interconnects. It is in the plan to get a decent interconnect which should make the tests fairer.

Good Point - This conversion thing at the Slimserver end which may be kicking out the MP3 blurb - is this in the Server Settings File Types Section?
I have looked here before and forgive me but I have not understood it yet. There are alot of ticked items down the left hand side including :
Flac Flac (Built in)
Flac Wav Flac
and
MP3 MP3 (Built in)
I guessed that as my input file is flac, Slimserver would use one if the ticked Flac options....

In the mean time I will see if I can sort a long optical cable of some discription, and of course will be burning in the SB2 - just incase it needs it.

Mr Perceptive
2005-09-01, 22:25
SEe my post in Sound Views thread, but I felt the AVR200 DAC/DSP in two channel mode was inferior to an SB1 internal DAC! I got much better sound putting a Meridian 203 DAC as follows:- SB1 -> Meridian 203 -> AVR200.

Ultimately the AVR200 just wasn't up to the job of driving my speakers so I replaced it with an all Meridian set-up

Mr Perceptive

Mike Hanson
2005-09-02, 07:41
The problems with the optical interface are:

The electrical signal must be converted to an optical one at the source
The cable manufacturers (especially the cheap ones) often screw up the termination (connection of the plugs), such that some of the light is "reflected" within the cable, causing bad information.
The optical signal needs to be converted back into an electrical one at the other end.

Considering how fragile a digital signal can be, I would rather avoid the above issues.

-=> Mike Hanson <=-

Deaf Cat
2005-09-02, 14:14
So ermmm... I guess stereo interconnects can also cause ground loop problems?


"I felt the AVR200 DAC/DSP in two channel mode was inferior to an SB1 internal DAC!"

What cable connections/type were you using?

pfarrell
2005-09-02, 14:39
On Fri, 2005-09-02 at 14:14 -0700, Deaf Cat wrote:
> So ermmm... I guess stereo interconnects can also cause ground loop
> problems?

Cause? no.

The cause is different voltage reference points between
different pieces of equipment. The cure is to remove the connection.
Sometimes you can disconnect one end. Othertimes you need
an isolation transformer, and as posted earlier, all transformers
have some impact on the signal.

As much as audiophiles complain TOSLINK is not all that bad.
And it sure guarantees no ground loops.


--
Pat Farrell
http://www.pfarrell.com

void
2005-09-02, 17:29
Seems to be a slight loss in dynamics/clarity......??
Less jitter can sound like less clarity and dynamics. Jitter makes the soundwaves more 'edgy', so it could give the impression of more clarity and dynamics. However the real transparency and dynamics decrease, it's just distortion. Listen if you can hear more diversity (in timbres) between different instruments, this will give you a better indication if the quality has increased/decreased. It could be that you prefer a brighter tonal balance, but you don't want that by adding jitter (makes the music much less enjoyable in the long term).

Mr Perceptive
2005-09-02, 23:44
Deaf Cat

I was using the co-axial digital connection with a Chord Prodac Cable. I thought the SB1 internal DAC was better than the Arcam but in reality both were poor. Putting a Meridian 203 DAC in between the two elevated the sound to a good quality.

But remember everyone is different and prefers different sound presentations, it all 'In My Opionion' !!!

Mr Perceptive

Deaf Cat
2005-09-03, 01:57
As I am listening to more and more tracks (no alterations to SB2 set up yet), the repro does not seem to sound as full/rich as previous set up, not so smooth, and the separation of instruments does not seem to be so concice/real.

OK, lets have a bit of a summary so far, so I know roughly what I am up to, please do comment, of course:

1) Give a long, reasonable quality toslink cable a bash, to remove SB2, and hopefully some RF, from the area of the other bits and bobs.

2) Check my settings to make sure that FLAC is being used and not converted to something like mp3 - but I'm not 100% sure how I go about this (post #6)- (6.1.2 slimserver settings, file types as default)

3) Try a decent stereo interconnect from SB2 to my Arcam to give the nice DAC in the SB2 a chance to shine.

4) I am afraid my budget can not streach to a new external DAC, however somewhat on the cheaper side, I have been reading about linear 5Vdc power supplies, such as:

http://www.lascarelectronics.com/PRODUCTS.CFM?STOCKNO=PSU%2020105&CFID=13852724&CFTOKEN=62348064

http://www.stontronics.co.uk/productdetails.cfm?lproductid=3

Any thoughts?
Sorry, I can't seem to get the addresses to act as links.
EDIT - no, they do work....

Cheers for all the help so far everybody!

Mr Perceptive
2005-09-03, 08:38
Shameless Plug < My Meridian 203DAC is on on eBay at present 99p start no reserve > End of Shameless Plug

I'm now using a Meridian 568.2 which is just astonishing on the end of an SB2 (using the Meridian DAC/DSP)

Mr Perceptive

Deaf Cat
2005-09-06, 14:28
I am Afraid the Arcam has decided it likes humming to its self so its back at the stereo shop ... may take a while, typical just as we were going to start playing.

Deaf Cat
2006-01-22, 10:47
Long time ago a!

Well I think I have found one of the major week links, mind you I've not connected the M-audio back up to compair, don't think I need to either!

The changing of the interconnect between the AVR200 and the Rega power amp has made an amazing difference. Each cable I tried I heard an improvement in a different area, bass, clarity, soundstage, voices etc etc, so kept on looking until I found one that did it all.

Have eventually settled on a Virtual Dynamics cable which seems to open the system right up and gives a performance I did not know could happen from my kind of kit. Just like having a whole new set up!

May try the linear power supply thing next, but in no rush as still sit there amazed at what I am hearing!

FAB little Sbox! and FAB new interconnect!