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Old 26th January 2011, 10:13 PM   #1
TerryO is offline TerryO  United States
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Default Seattle : Is Digital ready for prime time?

For any Seattle area audio types

Anyone interested in listening comparisons of LP's and digital playback may want to attend the PNWAS's next meeting on Feb. 10th on Mercer Island, WA (about 4 miles East of Seattle). Here's the address:

Mercer Island Congregational Church (in the basement)
4545 Island Crest Way
Mercer Island, WA 98040

Should be both interesting and thought provoking.
And I might add it's free!

Best Regards,
TerryO

Anyway, here's the Official Blurb:

Is Digital Ready for Prime Time?

The club has many members who are dedicated vinyl-philes, and as many members where the CD/Music Server is their primary source. There have been endless debates on digital vs analog - theory and specifications vs "just listen". This month's meeting is not a debate on analog vs digital, but an exploration and discussion on state of the art in analog and digital playback.

As a basis of discussion, we have attempted to put together a system that is equally optimized for analog and digital. We will be able to compare high-quality analog playback with a pass through an ADC and DAC loop. While this is certainly not exhaustive, it will give attending members food for thought..... and whether with the system assembled, members in the acoustic space of the club meeting can hear the difference between straight analog, and analog digitized and then converted back to analog.

The system will comprise the following:
Roksan Xerses 20+ record player
Roksan Artemiz arm
MicroMagic Virus cartridge (with ruby cantilever and optimized contour stylus)
Burmester Top Line Ph100 phono stage with built-in 24bit/192hz ADC
Weiss Minerva DAC (plus mods by Gary Koh of Genesis)
Genesis SMc-1 Preamp
Genesis GR360+ amplifier
Genesis 7.1f loudspeaker

People are encouraged to bring their LPs to play.
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Old 13th February 2011, 03:51 AM   #2
TerryO is offline TerryO  United States
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Ok, the event is over, but the results are still being tabulated.

I thought that it might be interesting (for some, anyway) to post what we were using for the "MUT" (Media Under Test).
So, in the order they were played at the meeting:

1. Casino Royale:, Side 1, Track 2: The Look of Love (Dusty Springfield) female vocal, audiophile reference (45 rpm, single-sided Clarity Vinyl)

2. Hans Theessink: Call Me Side 1: Late Last Night, Track1 Male vocal, guitar (33rpm LP)

3. Joe Cocker: Sheffield Steel Side 2, Track 1: Ruby Lee Dynamic blues/rock (First Pressing, numbered radio station promo)

4. Oscar Peterson Trio: Nigerian Marketplace Side 2, Track 1: Nancy with the Laughing Face Piano Jazz, live recording (Red Vinyl, first pressing)

5. Les Brown and his Band of Renown: Goes Direct to Disc Side 2, Track 1; Tickle Toe Big Band, lots of brass (Recorded Direct to Disc, pressed at Teldec, Germany)

6. Minoro Nojima: Nojima plays Liszt Side 1, Track 2: la Chanpanella, Grandes etudes de Paganini Classical Solo Piano (Reference Recordings, Prof. Keith Johnson recording)

7. Royal Opera House Orchestra, Alexander Gibson (side/track not stated): Gounod Ballet Music from Faust Waltz Classical Large Orchestra (Red Seal, probably second pressing)

8. Deep Purple: The Mark 2 Purple Singles - Side 1, Track 1 : Smoke on the Water (Live) Rock, very hard rock (Limited Edition clear purple vinyl)
[Terry's Note: I think this was also a single sided disc]

9. Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong -Side 1, Track 1; Can't We Be Friends? Jazz in Mono (Direct metal mastered Waxtime re-issue)

10. Hugh Masekela: Hope -Side 4, Track 1; Stimela World Music audiophile's reference (45 rpm Analogue Productions 180gm re-issue)

11. Edmundo Ros: Heath vs Ros, Round 2 Side 2, Track 1: Granada Big Band in Mono (Promotional mono version of the Phase 4 Stereo)

These were, without exception, very nice pressings from several of our member's collections. FWIW: One of our members owns the most complete collection of Decca pressings in the world. When Decca finds a record without the original cover art in their archives, they contact him and arrange for a copy to be printed from his.

Also interesting in light of those who complain about Vinyl sounding bad, I noted only 2 pops (total), during the time all of the above were being played. Not too shabby!



Best Regards,
TerryO
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Old 13th February 2011, 04:12 AM   #3
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Did a quick search but didn't turn up anything. What mods did Gary Koh make to the Minerva?
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Old 13th February 2011, 04:41 AM   #4
TerryO is offline TerryO  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
Did a quick search but didn't turn up anything. What mods did Gary Koh make to the Minerva?
I don't know. If I remember, I'll ask him the next time I see him.

Best Regards,
TerryO
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Old 13th February 2011, 11:55 PM   #5
TerryO is offline TerryO  United States
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Gary Koh has given out a short summery (which I have pasted below), with more to follow in the next few days.
Best Regards,
TerryO

We had great attendance - 28 people showed up, including some old members that we hadn't seen for a very long time.

We started with two cuts to determine that the system is actually transparent and had not been dumbed down. The better the system IMHO, the more of a difference we will all hear with two very similar LPs. So, I played two different pressings of Jazz At The Pawnshop that were very good - the all-white label German Teldec pressing Proprius did in 1992 and the Orange label first pressing done also at Teldec. Since the first reel was supposed to have been lost after the first pressing, we played Side 3 Track 1. I know that there is more difference between the two pressings on Sides 1 and 2.

I believe that everybody in the audience heard the difference, and the difference was remarkable with almost everybody preferring the Orange label.

The audience was handed out a sheet to mark their impressions. Three simple questions were asked:

1. Did you hear a difference? Yes/No
2. What difference did you hear? (including your preference)
3. Did you think A was analog/digital or B was analog/digital

Actually, it wasn't that they were listening to an analog source vs a digital source. What the audience was listening to an analog source (the LP). However, the comparison was between direct from the phono stage to the preamp, and from the phono stage to the preamp through an analog-to-digital-to-analog loop.

We played 11 cuts of music, and at the end of the night, 20 members of the audience handed back their responses. Two of the responses were blank - one said that no difference was heard, the other was too distracted by the great music. Many in the audience gave up after about half-way and just sat back to enjoy the tunes being played.

Some preliminary results:

The respondents explicitly said that they could hear a difference 51 times.
23 times, the respondents explicitly said that they could NOT hear a difference. (45 times if the two blank sheets were included)
Of all the responses, 87 out of 171 (50.88%) got it correct
The "trained" listeners did comparatively well - 9/11 (88.8%) and 8/11 (72.7%). Both were EXCO members and have heard the system and some of the music numerous times.
When a preference was expressed, 12 respondents expressed a preference for straight-thru, 14 respondents expressed a preference for the A/D/A loop. .
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Old 7th March 2011, 04:50 AM   #6
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I'm from the Seattle area (Eastside) and just getting my feet wet (no pun intended) in the DIY audio area. I have a few projects in mind, but I'm trying to figure out what to do first and I'm still in the learning mode. How can keep apprised on events in the area, or even down to Portland, Eastern WA, etc if I feel like taking a drive.

Also, are there any clubs or anything that I could participate in? Not necessarily just DIY, although that's the main interest, but I also don't want to drool all over stuff I can't afford at some high-end show where they serve caviar and require ties, either...

Thanks
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Old 7th March 2011, 06:18 AM   #7
TerryO is offline TerryO  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprinter View Post
I'm from the Seattle area (Eastside) and just getting my feet wet (no pun intended) in the DIY audio area. I have a few projects in mind, but I'm trying to figure out what to do first and I'm still in the learning mode. How can keep apprised on events in the area, or even down to Portland, Eastern WA, etc if I feel like taking a drive.

Also, are there any clubs or anything that I could participate in? Not necessarily just DIY, although that's the main interest, but I also don't want to drool all over stuff I can't afford at some high-end show where they serve caviar and require ties, either...

Thanks
sprinter,

In our area there is the Pacific Northwest Audio Society which meets once a month on Mercer Island. We have members that own several of the finest systems in the world...they're even listed on the Athens (Greece) Audio website. At the other end of the spectrum are several, like myself, that diy gear or modify existing gear.

The Club sponsors the bi-annual diy speaker contest ("The Puget Sound! Diy Speaker Contest"), which alternates with this coming Summer's DIY Meet in August.

FWIW: We try very hard not to humiliate those that have 10,000 times as much money tied up in their systems. You see, we like to be thought of as regular guys, not the Audio Aristocrats that we actually are.
If your interested, the next meeting will be held on Feb. 10th @ 7:30 pm. I believe that the address is given above.

Best Regards,
Terry
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Last edited by TerryO; 7th March 2011 at 06:22 AM. Reason: spellun, az usual
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Old 7th March 2011, 06:33 AM   #8
TerryO is offline TerryO  United States
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sprinter,

Here's something you should check out:
8th Annual Vancouver Island diyFEST 2011
The thread is on this forum.

Best Regards,
TerryO
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Old 7th March 2011, 06:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryO View Post
Some preliminary results . . .
Interesting! Thanks for the efforts!

-

Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryO View Post
Actually there's a bit more, which I hope to post it in the next few days.
Good stuff. Again, thanks for posting!


.
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Last edited by johnferrier; 7th March 2011 at 06:51 AM.
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Old 7th March 2011, 06:46 AM   #10
TerryO is offline TerryO  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnferrier View Post
Interesting! Thanks for the efforts!


.
Actually there's a bit more, which I hope to post it in the next few days.

Best Regards,
TerryO
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