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Mark Bennett
2004-05-02, 11:04
So earlier this week I tried the latest episode in our testing
of the Squeezebox as the source for an Audiophile system.

The Squeezebox was being served from a Win2K laptop, over a wireless
connection, and with all music used being losslessy (Flac) compressed.
The Squeezebox was connected digitally to a BenchMark DAC1 external
DAC, and in turn to Naim pre and Power-amps on to KEF Reference 4-2
speakers.

This was compared to the same system, but using an Audiolab 8000CDM
MKII transport.

We tested a range music, both optical and co-ax cables, and the
bottom line was that we couldn't tell the difference between the
two "transports". In fact when we asked for a second opinion from
his wife (in blind testing) her analysis of the very slight
differences they could claim to hear were the exact opposite of his.

I guess it means that Squeezebox with a good external DAC makes an
excellent source for at least reasonably high-end systems.

Shame that it still doesn't work with my friends fussy DAC for no
currently discernable reason.

Off-topic:

We also compared his DAC vs the Benchmark using the Audiolab
transport and the same amplification and speakers.

I thought the Benchmark was good, but this other DAC (old Audio
Synthesis DAX) just blew it away - completely. I'm sceptical about
"Audiophile" attitudes, but I just didn't believe the difference
could be that great. (BTW, this was blind A-B testing.)

Pat Farrell
2004-05-02, 12:32
At 02:04 PM 5/2/2004, Mark Bennett wrote:
>I guess it means that Squeezebox with a good external DAC makes an
>excellent source for at least reasonably high-end systems.

This is what I found, and what I expected.
The SqueezeBox is just a transport between the source bits
and the DAC. It actually has very little to do with anything,
all it has to do is deliver bits at approximately the correct rate.
Which it does most of the time.


>We also compared his DAC vs the Benchmark using the Audiolab
>transport and the same amplification and speakers.
>I thought the Benchmark was good, but this other DAC (old Audio
>Synthesis DAX) just blew it away - completely. I'm sceptical about
>"Audiophile" attitudes, but I just didn't believe the difference
>could be that great. (BTW, this was blind A-B testing.)

Interesting. Were the output levels identical? If one is a little bit
louder, the ear will confuse loudness with quality.
If it is within 0.1 dB or so, you are close enough.

Wow, my Benchmark sounds wonderful, I wonder what makes the Audio Synthesis
so good..... BTW, I've asked both Benchmark and the vendor who sold me
the DAC-1 why it sounds go good, and have not received a credible answer.
I know it sounds good (no absolutes here) but do not know what engineering
drives it to be better.

Pat