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  1. #31
    Senior Member DomieMic65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Man in a van View Post
    @tjp888 & @DomieMic65


    I don't use DSD files , but if one scrolls through this thread, from this post onward, one may (or not) find some of the information useful.


    https://forums.slimdevices.com/showt...l=1#post946873


    all the best

    ronnie
    Thank you very much!
    I didn't have time just yet to try all the settings but I will and report!
    Main system: Synology DS115j/RPi3b(LMS)/RPi3B+[LnrPS](piCore)/M2Tech EvoDAC Two+[LnrPS]/Densen DM20&30/Spendor SP2/3E
    Head-Fi: Schiit Vali2/Sennheiser HD600 & HD25Alum/Audeze Sine.
    Aditional HW: Allo DigiOne, iFi iDefender, iPurifier, iPower

  2. #32
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    I was on the boards for some software-related issues, but noticed this thread. I'll chime in here, as we still use Squeezeboxen in some higher end audio systems, and have a very good sense of what works and what doesn't.

    When talking hardware, the bottom line is it depends on how much money you want to spend. There really are no free lunches with quality audio hardware.

    Most people overlook the relevance of the analog output stage as an essential element to high quality audio. IMO, even Mr. Adams did with the Transporter. Fantastic digital front end, strong digital filtering implementation, and a very good D/A section. But the output stage in the TP is blah, IMO, and lacks dynamics. All that preceding digital greatness gets slightly compressed and watered down, right as it is leaving the chassis. Most would never know unless they heard better.

    Unfortunately, the output stage is the one that costs serious money. And there is really no way around it. You just can't do it cheaply. If your front end doesn't do it, then something downstream has to deal with it. And once the original analog waveform is disrupted, just like a digital bitstream, you can't faithfully reconstruct it. It's lost information.

    That is why most audio manufacturers go on and on about the digital sections of their gear, because for the most part, it is not too expensive to design a very competent digital front end these days. Except for expensive NOS R2R converters or a custom implementation, the chips are dirt cheap. But sooner or later, every audio designer has to confront an analog signal. Ask them what's in the output stage, and you will find in most cases that is where they cut corners. And you can hear it.

    What we wound up doing was using a TP as a digital head end, and feed its digital out to a much better DAC with a superior analog stage. All of the key strengths of the TP are retained, but a stronger downstream component does the heavy analog lifting. We do the same with Touches and other less-expensive outboard DACs. By example, a Touch tethered to something like an old CAL Alpha is a brilliant combination for around $5-600 total these days. Drop in the right pair of 5751s, and you have a little giant killer.

    Depending on how it is implemented, some other home-made digital head ends could serve the same function as a retail-built squeezebox, provided that the digital output stream does not overwork the following filter stage. I have found the major shortcoming of cheaper digital implementations is enough skew and jitter that the downstream filtering stage is affected. And in re-constructive filter designs, that can result in a substantially impacted bitstream.

    But the TP delivers an outstandingly good digital output, and the Touch a very good one. Those are the two retail players to use in higher quality systems. Again, as with analog output stages, the power supply plays a critical role in developing a clean digital section. Which is why the old SB Classic is not so good a digital head end. Fortunately, building a cleanly supplied digital section costs only a fraction of an analog section. So you ultimately have lots of options on those sections.

    But once you reach an analog signal, be prepared to spend money if you want to maintain high quality. I'm not going to say that a discrete output stage is necessarily better than an opamp one. The very best opamps are excellent sounding. But both types require first-class power supply sections to shine their best, and that is where the money goes in the best implementations: expensive transformers, high quality rectification and filters.

    This is more of an 'audiophile' thread question. So there is a lot of emotion and competing views over things. But your ears will always be analog devices.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Apesbrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgmlaw View Post
    By example, a Touch tethered to something like an old CAL Alpha is a brilliant combination for around $5-600 total these days.
    Been running this combination with Sovtek LPS for many years. What tubes do you recommend?

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apesbrain View Post
    Been running this combination with Sovtek LPS for many years. What tubes do you recommend?
    The old CAL DACs, while fitted for 12AX7s, can accommodate 5751s. That is what I like to drop in them. The OE tubes were culled Sino production, and they were pretty lousy sounding. At least they didn't blow up. The Sovtek is a step up from that, but not by a lot.

    It will depend on the rest of your system balance -- but in these I am partial to GE 5751s (the earlier the better) and Raytheon windmill getter 5751s. Both are triple mica black plate types. The Raytheons have absolutely skyrocketed in price in recent years, and an NOS pair of those may sell for as much as a banged-up 18-bit Alpha at this point. Many years ago, I would pick up half a dozen new ones at hamfests for $5-10. The Raytheons were also sold under the Westinghouse brand. I prefer the Raytheons over the heavily hyped Sylvania in this tube family and in this equipment. It does everything perfectly right, and is one of my first choices when I see an Alpha. If you can find a used/strong pair at a reasonable price, you can rarely go wrong with them.

    Alternatively, a strong pair of early 50's GE 5751s, either military JG or five-star branded, can usually be had for well under $100 today if you are very patient and shop around. Those sound great, too. I don't like RCA 5751s in these, because I don't like RCA 5751s generally compared to the others.

    And if you want to do it fast and easy, you can drop a pair of later production GE JAN 5751s in them, which a lot of CAL owners did. But they play a little thinner and with less tonal richness and nuance than the 50s and early 60s versions do. Some commercial tube vendors still sell these boxed and ready to go.

    Any of these 5751s will be a huge upgrade from the stock Sino tube and the Sovtek. And more importantly, they will last nearly forever.

    Otherwise, you can roll to your heart's content in the CALs with vintage 12AX7s and 7025s. Again, it depends on what you want to improve upon or mitigate that will dictate the tube choice. RCA (BP, long grey or short grey), GE, Raytheon, Sylvania, Tung-sol, long or short plate Mullard, Brimar, Teles, Amperex, even some Japanese Philips types ... you have a literal rainbow of choices. They all impart their own timbre and tone and dynamic signature. A nice pair of used/strong vintage era 12AX7s can go for as little as $10 on the bay. Look for organ pulls, as they are specially graded very low noise types. A nice vintage 12AX7 will stomp all over the current production ones.

    Again -- the precise tubing choice will depend on your system balance and what you want to change.

    These DACs were a steal when they sold new in the 90s. Both the Alpha and the Sigma II are wonderfully musical and dynamic. The fact that you can so easily roll in them is an added bonus. Now they are great vintage gear, and the Alpha can still hold its own with $2,500-3,000 equipment.

    But don't tell anyone.

  5. #35
    Senior Member Apesbrain's Avatar
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    @sgmlaw, thanks for all this information. I've been researching and may try a pair of Sylvania "Baldwin" 12AX7. I'll stick with 12AX7 as I have no need to lower the gain.

    I can't really say that there is something specific I'd like to improve about my current sound; I really like the Sovtek LPS. Might just do this for fun.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Apesbrain View Post
    @sgmlaw, thanks for all this information. I've been researching and may try a pair of Sylvania "Baldwin" 12AX7. I'll stick with 12AX7 as I have no need to lower the gain.

    I can't really say that there is something specific I'd like to improve about my current sound; I really like the Sovtek LPS. Might just do this for fun.
    If they are the later short plate Sylvanias (later still are Philips ECG types using the old Sylvania tooling), that will play a little cleaner and leaner than some others. Not saying thatĺs necessarily bad, but if your system already tends toward a cleaner, tighter timbre, this may bleach things a little more than some others.

    But even they should be more complete sounding than the Sovteks.

    Early Sylvanias, especially the very earliest blackplates, are fantastic sounding X7 tubes and among my favorites.

    Have fun rolling. Itĺs like playing with final seasonings on a gourmet dish.

  7. #37
    Senior Member Julf's Avatar
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    This really belongs in the "audiophile" section, but if you want to add distortion, noise and coloration, you can do it in the digital domain instead of having to resort to tubes (that were superseded by superior technology more than 50 years ago).
    "To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast-growing art of 'high fidelity' the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people" - Paul W Klipsch, 1953

  8. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julf View Post
    This really belongs in the "audiophile" section, but if you want to add distortion, noise and coloration, you can do it in the digital domain instead of having to resort to tubes (that were superseded by superior technology more than 50 years ago).
    You can't be serious. Gee wiz, another measurement and chips zealot.

    I remember folks like you bashing anyone who questioned the early CD players, because they all measured so perfectly. It was all psychoacoustics for anyone who disagreed.

    Then one day, engineers discovered jitter as a relevant engineering consideration. All of a sudden, those digital players weren't so perfect anymore.

    Then folks like you insisted that the S/PDIF was a measurably perfect transmission format. Until an engineer discovered that there was meaningful time-domain carrier ringing occurring at transmission lengths under 1.5 meters. And it was adversely affecting digital filter behavior in many instances.

    You can wallow in your odd-order distortion and measurement hell. After over five decades of this hobby, I no longer waste time with such conversations with folks like you. The measurements don't matter quite so much if you are not measuring the relevant quanta.

    Enjoy your chips, and your oscilloscopes if you even own one. I sold my last oscilloscope five years ago, and now am retired from heavy bench work.

    And last I checked, you weren't a moderator telling people what to post where.

    Now go bother someone else.

  9. #39
    Senior Member Julf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgmlaw View Post
    You can't be serious.
    I can, if I really try.

    Gee wiz, another measurement and chips zealot.
    Yes. Another description would be "fact- and evidence-based enginer".

    Then one day, engineers discovered jitter as a relevant engineering consideration.
    Yes, in the 1930s. A bit before CD.

    Then folks like you insisted that the S/PDIF was a measurably perfect transmission format. Until an engineer discovered that there was meaningful time-domain carrier ringing occurring at transmission lengths under 1.5 meters. And it was adversely affecting digital filter behavior in many instances.
    That was an impressive string of technical terms. Too bad it doesn't actually make any sense as complete sente

    After over five decades of this hobby, I no longer waste time with such conversations with folks like you.
    Apparently you still do.

    Now go bother someone else.
    Last I checked, you weren't a moderator telling people what to post where.

    Why do you think there is a separate "audiophile" subgroup?
    "To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast-growing art of 'high fidelity' the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people" - Paul W Klipsch, 1953

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