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View Full Version : Audible difference? Transporter versus SB



nicoff
2006-12-16, 11:31
First post here so if I am asking for something that has been covered at length elsewhere please excuse.
I have what many would consider a high-end audio system. I bought a SB recently and love the idea transferring my entire CD collection to the computer. I am using EAC to get FLAC files and streaming them to my SB. I am transferring the digital data from the SB to a digital preamp (Lexicon MC-1) which does the digital/analog conversion.
My first impression is that I sort of prefer the sound of my standalone CD player (by a tiny margin)than when using the SB. (BTW, my CD player is a Sonic Frontier CD-1, a tube player (yes, vacuum tube) that only has analog outputs; no digital). So no D/A conversion is needed by the Lexicon digital preamp when using the CD player.

I am going to assume that if I am streaming digital data to a digital preamp the SB and the Transporter should sound the same. Am I correct?

Using analog output, would I be able to hear a noticeable difference in sound (for the better of course) if I were to use the Transporter and its analog output versus the SB?

Thanks to all who reply!

tomjtx
2006-12-16, 11:47
First post here so if I am asking for something that has been covered at length elsewhere please excuse.
I have what many would consider a high-end audio system. I bought a SB recently and love the idea transferring my entire CD collection to the computer. I am using EAC to get FLAC files and streaming them to my SB. I am transferring the digital data from the SB to a digital preamp (Lexicon MC-1) which does the digital/analog conversion.
My first impression is that I sort of prefer the sound of my standalone CD player (by a tiny margin)than when using the SB. (BTW, my CD player is a Sonic Frontier CD-1, a tube player (yes, vacuum tube) that only has analog outputs; no digital). So no D/A conversion is needed by the Lexicon digital preamp when using the CD player.

I am going to assume that if I am streaming digital data to a digital preamp the SB and the Transporter should sound the same. Am I correct?

Using analog output, would I be able to hear a noticeable difference in sound (for the better of course) if I were to use the Transporter and its analog output versus the SB?

Thanks to all who reply!

IMO you sould try the Transporter using it's own DAC eg. TP analog outs

I have a Sonic Frontiers CDT and their SFD2 Mark2 with recent mods.

The TP is better than that by a WIDE margin. IMO

I prefer the TP to the SB>Lavry as well although that is a MUCH closer call than the Sonic Frontiers.

The TP has a 30 day trial period so I think it's a no-brainer to try it.

I may never play a CD again...............I buy it , burn it, listen to it :-)

stinkingpig
2006-12-16, 11:50
I'd ask in the Audiophiles forum. Personally, I don't hear any difference between SB3 and Transporter.

Mark Lanctot
2006-12-16, 11:52
I am going to assume that if I am streaming digital data to a digital preamp the SB and the Transporter should sound the same. Am I correct?

There is a difference, but it's small (smaller than analog anyway) and only your equipment and ears will be able to say for sure.

The Transporter has lower jitter and an overall better implementation throughout - from more stable power all the way to better S/PDIF conversion.


Using analog output, would I be able to hear a noticeable difference in sound (for the better of course) if I were to use the Transporter and its analog output versus the SB?

You should be able to. It's a much greater difference than digital anyway.

However it depends if the Lexicon converts incoming analog signals to digital, applies processing and converts to analog again. It probably does. This would make it sound different than going to an analog preamp or direct to an amp. However, knowing Lexicon, these would be high-quality parts and would not degrade the signal, plus this process would be applied both to the SB and the Transporter equally, so there should still be a difference. Only your ears can say how big a difference, but with your equipment it should be appreciable.

ModelCitizen
2006-12-16, 11:56
In my system the difference between the Transporter and the SB3 analogue outs is very obvious and I much prefer the Transporter.
However, with the Transporter you get the sound it gives, but with an SB3 you can add a DAC to suit your own taste (and add a linear PSU for more optimum output).

PS. No network player I've tried, using a variety of DACs, sounds as good as my NAIM CDX. You would not believe how much this pisses me off.

PPS. This ought to have been posted on the Audiophile forum for best responses.

MC

mr_bill
2006-12-16, 12:02
In my system the difference between the Transporter and the SB3 analogue outs is very obvious and I much prefer the Transporter.
However, with the Transporter you get the sound it gives, but with an SB3 you can add a DAC to suit your own taste (and add a linear PSU for more optimum output).

PS. No network player I've tried, using a variety of DACs, sounds as good as my NAIM CDX. You would not believe how much this pisses me off.

PPS. This ought to have been posted on the Audiophile forum for best responses.

MC

If I caught your meaning MC, the Naim CDX you have sounds better than your Transporter?
Thanks,
Bill

Skunk
2006-12-16, 12:08
Don't forget to disable replay gain and set digital volume to fixed in Player Settings>Audio. It may be so by default, but I can't remember.

ModelCitizen
2006-12-16, 12:26
If I caught your meaning MC, the Naim CDX you have sounds better than your Transporter?
Thanks,
Bill
Yup, I think so (others probably don't!). The NAIM CDX just has more weight than anything I've tried. The sound seems to be more solid, deep, punchier and just attractive. I'm beginning to think I probably like NAIM colouration.

It's possible that the difference to the vast majority of people would be extremely minimal (and to most, probably not discernable at all) and not worth fussing about but I'm a very fussy b****** (possibly due to the type of music I prefer and the way I listen to it).

And if skunk's post is referring to my comment (I'm not too sure), yes, I have everything set up for audiophile listening (much as I like the idea of replaygain... it just seems to destroy dynamics).

MC

peter
2006-12-16, 12:30
nicoff wrote:
> First post here so if I am asking for something that has been covered at
> length elsewhere please excuse.
> I have what many would consider a high-end audio system. I bought a SB
> recently and love the idea transferring my entire CD collection to the
> computer. I am using EAC to get FLAC files and streaming them to my SB.
> I am transferring the digital data from the SB to a digital preamp
> (Lexicon MC-1) which does the digital/analog conversion.
> My first impression is that I sort of prefer the sound of my standalone
> CD player (by a tiny margin)than when using the SB. (BTW, my CD player
> is a Sonic Frontier CD-1, a tube player (yes, vacuum tube) that only
> has analog outputs; no digital). So no D/A conversion is needed by the
> Lexicon digital preamp when using the CD player.
>

You probably mean that no D/A conversion is *possible* by the preamp...

IANAA (I Am Not An Audiophile), but I understand the attraction of tubes
is that they colour the sound. You won't get this colourization from the
SB or the Transporter so if that's what you prefer you'll have to wait
for the tube version of the Transporter. (well, if they can build a tube
CD player, why not a tube network audio player?)

> I am going to assume that if I am streaming digital data to a digital
> preamp the SB and the Transporter should sound the same. Am I correct?
>

Sounds reasonable to me, but IANAA...

> Using analog output, would I be able to hear a noticeable difference in
> sound (for the better of course) if I were to use the Transporter and
> its analog output versus the SB?
>

I certainly hope so for the poor sods who paid $1700 extra for it ;)

Regards,
Peter

Skunk
2006-12-16, 12:38
And if skunk's post is referring to my comment (I'm not too sure), yes, I have everything set up for audiophile listening

Apologies for ambiguity. I meant to suggest it to the OP.

I'm wondering if the Inguz eq might help to recreate some of the lower end weight you said you're missing.

adamslim
2006-12-16, 13:59
IANAA (I Am Not An Audiophile), but I understand the attraction of tubes is that they colour the sound. You won't get this colourization from the SB or the Transporter so if that's what you prefer you'll have to wait for the tube version of the Transporter. (well, if they can build a tube CD player, why not a tube network audio player?)

Well I have both tube amp and CD player, and I think my system is remarkably linear, and a good representation of what I hear at concert halls. I have heard good solid state amps, but valves are generally more accurate to my ears.

(Although I should point out that I normally don't use the tube outs on the CD...)

Adam

mkozlows
2006-12-16, 14:01
I am transferring the digital data from the SB to a digital preamp (Lexicon MC-1) which does the digital/analog conversion.
My first impression is that I sort of prefer the sound of my standalone CD player (by a tiny margin)than when using the SB. (BTW, my CD player is a Sonic Frontier CD-1, a tube player (yes, vacuum tube) that only has analog outputs; no digital). So no D/A conversion is needed by the Lexicon digital preamp when using the CD player.

You're wrong about that last sentence. The Lexicon will convert the analog output to digital, do its processing, then convert back to analog. So your CD-1 is going D/A (in the CD-1)->A/D (in the Lexicon)->D/A (in the Lexicon). The Squeezebox's digital signal is going through the same Lexicon D/A as the CD-1, but skipping the first two steps -- so it's pretty much guaranteed that the SB is more neutral and accurate.

If you prefer the sound of the CD-1, odds are that you like the euphonious distortions introduced by the tubes.

peter
2006-12-16, 14:07
adamslim wrote:
> Peter;162877 Wrote:
>
>> IANAA (I Am Not An Audiophile), but I understand the attraction of tubes
>> is that they colour the sound. You won't get this colourization from the
>> SB or the Transporter so if that's what you prefer you'll have to wait
>> for the tube version of the Transporter. (well, if they can build a
>> tube CD player, why not a tube network audio player?)
>>
>
> Well I have both tube amp and CD player, and I think my system is
> remarkably linear, and a good representation of what I hear at concert
> halls. I have heard good solid state amps, but valves are generally
> more accurate to my ears.
>

Quite possibly, but then again, there's probably nothing more subjective
and coloured than the human ear, or perhaps I should say, the human brain.

Regards,
Peter

peter
2006-12-16, 14:15
mkozlows wrote:
> nicoff;162861 Wrote:
>
>> I am transferring the digital data from the SB to a digital preamp
>> (Lexicon MC-1) which does the digital/analog conversion.
>> My first impression is that I sort of prefer the sound of my standalone
>> CD player (by a tiny margin)than when using the SB. (BTW, my CD player
>> is a Sonic Frontier CD-1, a tube player (yes, vacuum tube) that only
>> has analog outputs; no digital). So no D/A conversion is needed by the
>> Lexicon digital preamp when using the CD player.
>>
>
> You're wrong about that last sentence. The Lexicon will convert the
> analog output to digital, do its processing, then convert back to
> analog. So your CD-1 is going D/A (in the CD-1)->A/D (in the
> Lexicon)->D/A (in the Lexicon). The Squeezebox's digital signal is
> going through the same Lexicon D/A as the CD-1, but skipping the first
> two steps -- so it's pretty much guaranteed that the SB is more neutral
> and accurate.
>
> If you prefer the sound of the CD-1, odds are that you like the
> euphonious distortions introduced by the tubes
Quite possible. I recently read an article by a Dutch guy who let
(audiophile type) people listen to three .WAV files. One clean and the
others distorted in different ways. Most people named one of the
distorted files as the cleanest.

Article:
http://amorgignitamorem.nl/Audio/5ProcentTHDexperiment/HoeHoorbaarIs5PrctTHDH2.pdf

More (english) discussion at:
http://groups.google.com/group/rec.audio.pro/msg/c3a4638b5b6b8bef

Those amazing audiophiles!

Regards,
Peter