IMO The best value products on the market for both MCH SACD & RB CD are the excellent Sony combination XA5400ES player & DA5400ES receiver which has a unique feature for CD playback called D.L.L.which improves the sound of early CD's. Furthermore the Sony reciever an EISA award winner has an excllent MM phono stage & FM tuner. I use the Chord active HDMI cable. Sony 760 Blu-ray player,. Front speakers are 4 way transmission line .centre channel speaker KEF IQ50 rear speakers B& W MI on stands, The sound is excellent.
I've been a little bit into hi-fi as well (as well as music) for almost 40 years, and have owned quite a few different components in that time. Currently my stereo system looks like this ...
Holy Moly is that a stereo or the control centre for a Death Star?
No Death Star here! Just a simple stereo system that plays most source formats including computer files.
I also have a home theatre system that looks like this ...
All that gear to watch the Leafs stink every Saturday night! And I bet you after a few beers you forget how to work the remotes.
All that [home theatre] gear to watch the Leafs stink every Saturday night! And I bet you after a few beers you forget how to work the remotes.
Ha! Well, let me tell you it's great for opera and multi-channel music too!
I have to admit that your diagrams have had me howling with laughter, not please understand in any derogatory sense, it´s just I´m a total audio ignoramous, and can´t even imagine what all that stuff does, but clearly you must be someone living the dream, and for that you have my total admiration.
Durob, sell the house and car, put the wife out to work, and get yourself a home theatre set-up. I've been laughing too at w-d's diagrams - partly out of jealousy because I can't make picture upload work on this site.
I'm watching opera on a similar set-up and the best bluray discs are absolutely astounding, both visually and aurally. Even standard dvd can be superb on an uptic player, depending on the quality of the original recording.
W-D, my amp will do the 8-speaker set-up but presently I'm wired for 6. Are you finding the two side speakers make a difference? I'm also fascinated by your DIY centre speaker. I currently have KEFs all round and they work well, but I do find centre speaker matching is tricky. I'm curious as to how you came to this particular solution.
I´m just imagining a similar set up in my place. I suppose my and the wife don´t really need a double bed, and we could put the loudspeakers in the bath, it´s only used occassionally. The neighbours kids are old enough to fly the nest I reckon so we could acquisition their bedrooms, and that should just about do it.
My speaker selection is a hodge-pod, but it got that way by historical accident. This is, I bought these speakers over the years, mostly for my stereo setup, and then they trickled down to the HT system. The matching is pretty reasonable, especially with the Audyessey EQ and time delay that the receiver provides. The 'DIY' centre channel is the best speaker of the lot, mind you. An all-round matched set (such as you have with the KEFs) would be nice, but it would cost me Cdn$2000+ to match the quality of the present ones, and I'm just too poor.
[EDITED BY MODS - no trading, please]
I also agree that most reissues of classical material have a problem with string sounds.
This could be another thread!!
This is the problem I'm struggling with at the moment - I'm hoping that my new amp, arriving early next week, will solve it. Strangely, this wasn't a significant problem with my ancient budget Technics SU-A600 Mk2 amplifier, even through a very revealing CD player (the new Audiolab 8200CD). Neither was I aware of it when listening for a few weeks through a modern CD player connected to a Quad 33/303 combination. Probably the CDs are mastered (or remastered) to sound good on "budget" equipment (or by people with cloth ears, although this is far less likely). Ironically, this then probably requires very neutral components with some treble rolloff (think valve amps) to hear them at their best on audiophile equipment.
This issue only became a serious problem when I "upgraded" from the Technics to a mid-price amplifier (Audiolab 8200A) - which sounded dreadful with strings above about 880Hz (i.e. A''). I'm moving to a more mellow amplifier (Arcam FMJ A38), trusting that this will be sufficiently "unexciting" to cure the problem with the rest of my setup.
I'm listening through KEF Q55.2s and am using some old (but very good) Van den Hul The Second interconnects. My new Arcam FMJ T62 tuner (I blew up my ancient Arcam Alpha 5 during the changes!) sounds pretty good for strings on FM (compression notwithstanding) when used with an external aerial. DAB is not fully stable soundwise for any instruments, even on Radio 3, but I'm almost certain that this is due to fluctuating signal strength from my indoor aerial and the consequent digital artefacts.
Listening through Arcam FMJ T32 ♪ Audiolab 8200CD ♪ Arcam FMJ A38 ♪ KEF Q55.2s ♪ Russ Andrews & Clearer Audio mains handling ♪ van den Hul The Second interconnects ♪ QED original cable
High frequencies in the digital media have a nasty glare and complex passages just can't cope in the digital mode. I think know why and will briefly explain.
Most acoustic based music produces a sine wave. We know digital is a square wave, so imagine what happens when the conversion happens!!!
Just a thought
This may not be the best way to think about D-A conversion. It depends on the amount of information available to recreate the original waveform (the complex "shape" of the original sound wave).
Think of it like an inkjet print. This is composed of loads of dots. The finer they are, and the more there are per inch, the closer it is to the original image. This is analogous to bit-length and sampling frequency in digital audio. Of course, there are subtleties (mainly psycho-acoustic, but usually with roots in the physics) and solutions (e.g. oversampling). Thus, more is always better, and ultimately we are "fooled" into hearing something closely akin to the original waveform. SACD always contains more information than CD and so should sound noticeably better, but interestingly I have not found this to be so in every case. Similarly with, say, "Studio Quality" FLAC downloads from Linn Records. Which just shows that it's more complex than it appears and that you can fool some of the people some of the time...
Either way, the digital "bit" is either there or it is not. In fact, its "shape" is essentially irrelevant, which is why digital has such a high immunity to noise!
Nice setup! I forgot to mention that I sometimes run a laptop into the ESS DAC on my Audiolab 8200CD. Really useful for expanding your musical horizons, although I'm essentially a CD man myself. Foobar2000 works quite well, but - to my surprise - Windows Media Player seems to sound even better. I've hacked it to play and display FLAC files under Win7x64. Word on the streets is that WMP on Win7 does give a superior sound (i.e. a better bitstream) which seems bizarre to me (I'm originally a semiconductor physicist), but I've been around hi-fi long enough to just trust my ears.
This is the problem I'm struggling with at the moment - I'm hoping that my new amp, arriving early next week, will solve it.
I wish you luck. My experience is the better your equipment, the more defects you find in your recordings. Talking about his electrostatic speakers, Peter Walker said it best - if you don't like the sound, you'd better take a look at the recording. Whenever my ESL63s have gone on the blink I've substituted my KEF 104s - far from shabby speakers themselves. Immediately I miss the transparency of the Quads, but the KEFs are far kinder to those strident 1980s DG recordings. Last time that happened I'd just bought the Chailly Mahler set and it sounded superb on the KEFs. Then I got the Quads back in action and realized that, good as the bass and sound-stage is on those Chailly's, there's a laser-like glare in the higher-mid-range - violins above the stave, fff high woodwind.
Despite all the technical advances in the past 50 years I'm hard put to identify a consistent improvement in recording quality. In fact the overall standard seems to have slipped. Recording levels have crept up, particularly in rock and jazz music, and the whole industry appears to be catering to people looking for maximum impact rather than subtlety in their music. Andrew Everard posted an interesting mini-article, Nov. Gramophone I believe, about how the direction of the recording industry has switched towards convenience of access and use, away from a quest for higher recording quality. Exactly the same thing happened in telecommunications. Just as the phone companies were able to offer superb quality over their land lines (remember the old 'you can hear a pin drop' ads?) people were discovering the convenience of cellular. For all its dropped calls, poor quality, iffyness, wireless is now the lifeblood of telecom and many people no longer own a landline. Convenience and features have trampled all over quality.
Today there's some magnificent hi-fi hardware available. Software too. Bluray is capable of staggering recording quality. But recording producers know where their market is. For every person listening through a $15,000 hi-fi or home theatre system there are thousands taking in their music via a portable mp3 player and earbuds, or a mass-produced home theatre system.
I'm not holding my breath for a future of breathtaking, true-to-life recordings.