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Ultimate Audio Playback => Phasure NOS1 DAC => Topic started by: manisandher on May 12, 2017, 07:53:40 pm



Title: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: manisandher on May 12, 2017, 07:53:40 pm
I thought I'd start my own thread to share my thoughts about my NOS1 G3 (both of them actually). I was going to just post in Paul's thread, but I think I'll have a lot to say, and wanted to keep my thoughts separate.

Only one thing for now, because the NOS1 in my main system has only been on for a couple of hours.

The Intona before the Phisolator totally kills the sound.

I replaced the NOS1 in exactly the same configuration it had been in before its upgrade, with the Intona in place. And if I'm totally honest, I was going to post that the upgrade had taken away the 'sparkle' that I was so much enjoying before. Yes, the sound was now 'fuller', and the bass was definitely deeper and more powerful, but there was a clear loss of sparkle and the sound was generally grey and flat, with the leading edges of instruments obscured.

But taking the Intona out of the equation has totally remedied these issues.

Lots more to come in time...

Mani.


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: manisandher on May 13, 2017, 09:37:28 am
Been listening with Arc Prediction this morning. Hmm... I think the G3 mates well with 'thinner' and more 'incisive' sound that AP tends to give, compared to any of the Custom filters. Will stick with AP for now and see how I get on with different types of music...

Mani.


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: manisandher on May 14, 2017, 08:17:02 am
A quick update...

The G3 is everything that Peter and others have already said about it. Here are my views, in my own words.

There is an unwavering 'solidity' to the sound that makes everything sound so right and natural. You don't know you don't have it in the non-G3... until you hear the G3.

Instruments sound fuller, but interestingly, more dynamic too. Before, it was the leading edges of the instruments that gave the impression of dynamics, but now it's the body of the instrument too.

My horns drop off quickly below 40Hz, and I just resigned myself to the belief that they'd never be any good with dance music. But with the G3, they do a pretty good job. No, they won't shake the house down with subterranean bass, but man, they'll get your feet tapping to the beat. I listened to music (all types) for a few hours yesterday, and my neck was hurting by the end of it.

The sound of the G3 is very hard to describe. Six years ago, I wrote this when I compared the then NOS1 to my beloved Pacific Microsonics:

Iíve mentioned before that the NOS1 is like taking an x-ray of the music. It is so crystal clear and pure. And yet it is so easy to listen to. It is exciting and yet relaxing at the same time. Iíve never been too bothered about imaging, but Iíll just mention that imaging with the NOS1 is super, super sharp. I think people for whom imaging is a big deal would love this aspect of the NOS1.

In contrast, the Model Two is more full-bodied. It gives the impression of richer harmonic content. Whatís interesting (for me) is that it seems to retain much of the NOS1ís detail but loses some of its super sharpness. Itís quite a nice balance. The bottom end is more pronounced and weightier Ė but then perhaps a little less tuneful.

At this point, it is a hard one to call. My wife actually prefers the Model Two, and I can totally understand why. It is so musically engaging. It just sounds so nice. Is this down to extra distortion? I donít know. But if it is, then itís nice distortion that is adding rather than subtracting from the listening experience.

If I had to guess, Iíd say that the NOS1 is more accurate. But it sounds a bit thin in comparison. If this sound Ďfleshes outí a little over time, I think it will be very, very good indeed.

The 'a' upgrade and the Custom filters in XX certainly helped to 'flesh out' the sound of the NOS1. But my feeling now is that they provided more of a 'translation' to the sound, and not a 'transformation' of the sound.

The G3 isn't an upgrade... it's a quantum leap IMO... but perhaps not an obvious one.

Mani.


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: PeterSt on May 14, 2017, 10:39:15 am
Hi Mani,

Of course I have been anxiously watching which direction this would go (maybe I haven't been the only one) and I am super glad that for you too it worked out.
I explicitly stayed silent, but now I can freely respond to a few things.

Quote
There is an unwavering 'solidity' to the sound that makes everything sound so right and natural. You don't know you don't have it in the non-G3... until you hear the G3.

Yes, and let's say that this is one great part of this hobby - you'll never know where it ends which probably is because you can't relate to real reality (unless you have Mark Knopfler etc. in the room).
There's two major "tuning" elements in my view; one which may take out further annoyances in certain types of music or recordings and one which makes things nore natural. The former is quite obvious although you will never know whether it can be solved until it happens and the latter you will never ever know in advance whether it ven can be solved.
In the end both may be the same thing (to solve) but I can tell you : it gets way difficut to improve by now.
... Or maybe not, because it is more and more easy to hear what's wrong and where to be ...

Quote
Instruments sound fuller, but interestingly, more dynamic too.

Well yes, and it is really quite easy to let it hang to one of these directions and have the balance all off. Difficult stuff.

Quote
Before, it was the leading edges of the instruments that gave the impression of dynamics, but now it's the body of the instrument too.

For me, personally, it has always been so that while all of you judged the NOS1 as possibly the most accurate D/A converter on earth, the sheer reason you could perceive this to begin with, was its leanness. Thus, obfuscate all with too much bass and you wouldn't be able to perceive the accuracy (say in the no-ringing of the higher frequencies). IOW, it could be quite fake, this accuracy.
And this now is behind us, because today there's no leanness whatsoever and the accuracy ony shows better than before (I'd say).

Quote
The Intona before the Phisolator totally kills the sound.

Well, this will be (or should be) similar to me trying the good old stock USB cable, and no sound coming from it at all any more (so to speak). This, while previously I perceived the Clairixa only as marginally better than the stock cable.
Moral : All is now so enormously better (whatever that exactly means) that all matters enormously more as well. Try another OS for fun ...

Quote
The G3 isn't an upgrade... it's a quantum leap IMO... but perhaps not an obvious one.

It actually is a completely new DAC but this is "able" to not express in each track (or album). I don't have the examples at hand, but some times I play something I did not play for a longer time with high expectations (justified to almost everything) and then it does not work out (sounds similar to 5 years back). So it also has to depend on the music styles you usually play. Now :

Quote
My horns drop off quickly below 40Hz, and I just resigned myself to the belief that they'd never be any good with dance music. But with the G3, they do a pretty good job.

In my view this is a good example of something people might not even be able to understand (what it is about). So, even for me (or maybe I am the good example) it is difficult to grasp.
Dance music ?
What's up with these Brits ?
NOPE, it is the other way around. I guess we all grew up with that at some (slightly older) stage. It worked in disco's. It worked at school parties. Maybe it even worked at your regular stereo. But it does not work in a fine system and it always bothered me somewhat. But hey, something which sounds like sh*t why bother.
Ehh ...
These days I'm having the best times with it and it is only that it is a bit difficult for me to find back because it is nothing I really ever kept on playing. But indeed it is so that now it works because the body is there to do it and the finesse in the highs is there to even let express drumming synths to something which is acceptable (not for all, but you'll get the idea).
Anyway it is quite hard to explain to those not experiencing it, how complete groups of albums (like all dance) suddenly start to work. And you know, this goes beyond new music to listen to, because often this is about an era of your life. And it just is back, suddenly ...

Thank you Mani !
Peter


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: manisandher on May 14, 2017, 01:17:59 pm
Dance music ?

Well, certainly not 'Saturday Night Fever' or anything like that! I mean this sort of stuff: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dance_music.

You don't refer to this as 'dance music' in the Netherlands?

Mani.


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: manisandher on May 14, 2017, 02:03:08 pm
Ö today there's no leanness whatsoever and the accuracy ony shows better than before (I'd say).

Yes, and Iíd say to the extent that even AP doesnít sound a tad too lean any more.

Moral : All is now so enormously better (whatever that exactly means) that all matters enormously more as well. Try another OS for fun ...

Iím not sure Iím going to be able to bring myself to try this anytime soon.

It actually is a completely new DAC but this is "able" to not express in each track (or album). I don't have the examples at hand, but some times I play something I did not play for a longer time with high expectations (justified to almost everything) and then it does not work out (sounds similar to 5 years back). So it also has to depend on the music styles you usually play.

Now, thatís interesting! I went through a few genres yesterday and there was nothing that I tried that I didnít feel was the best Iíd ever heard it. My only disappointment was being 3dB or so down from where I would have liked to have been with a couple of classical tracks. But actually, at the low levels I was forced to play these tracks (due entirely to the ultra-low gain of the amps in my main system), the sense of Ďdepth of stageí was staggering. Closing my eyes, it was just like sitting right at the very back of a real venue, the only give-away being the lack of sound from the side and rear walls Ė actually, a little like sitting in a concert hall box, which instead of being located at the front and side, is located centrally at the back of the venue.

Oh and one track I found fascinating was ĎStairway to Heavení. Since buying LZ IV on LP in around 1983, I must have listened to this a 1000 times. But never have I noticed JPís chord changes so vividly in the opening bars as I did yesterday. Did it add to the enjoyment of listening to the track? Well, I think it did, because it gave me better sense of the energy, the action, and I suppose the Ďmusicianshipí that went into creating it.

For me, the G3 may really provide a totally new way of listening to and appreciating music.

Mani


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: acg on May 15, 2017, 02:29:53 am
There is an unwavering 'solidity' to the sound that makes everything sound so right and natural. You don't know you don't have it in the non-G3... until you hear the G3.

Instruments sound fuller, but interestingly, more dynamic too. Before, it was the leading edges of the instruments that gave the impression of dynamics, but now it's the body of the instrument too.


What I imagine you are describing is what I referred to in the other thread as "wider bandwidth".  There is more bass texture, more delicacy and delineation between bass notes which gives the mid and high frequencies their own voice and the whole musical presentation "light feet", if that makes sense.


The 'a' upgrade and the Custom filters in XX certainly helped to 'flesh out' the sound of the NOS1. But my feeling now is that they provided more of a 'translation' to the sound, and not a 'transformation' of the sound.

It is interesting that you and Peter in his post referred to a leanness with the NOS1a (I never really took to the custom filters and remained with AP).  I directly compared it to several high end dacs and would have to say that the NOS1a had more flesh on its bones than just about anything else out there.  Two exceptions to this were modified dacs that in the owners quest for "more flesh" ended up with bass problems that I just found plain annoying.  It was evident that they were modifying the "presence frequencies", say an ocatave or two either side of 100Hz which gave the presentation of those dacs "more flesh".  But the sound was thick and highly coloured and not right.

The G3, by comparison and to my ears, has such an open and textured  rendition in the "presence region" that the entire presentation has been taken to and entirely new level.  For me it is revelatory, and I have heard this kind of presentation once before with a very specialised dac on certain types of music, but the G3 seems to apply it across the board with nil regard for genre.

 
The G3 isn't an upgrade... it's a quantum leap IMO... but perhaps not an obvious one.

Mani.

Oh, it is obvious!


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: PeterSt on May 23, 2017, 08:18:20 pm
Been listening with Arc Prediction this morning. Hmm... I think the G3 mates well with 'thinner' and more 'incisive' sound that AP tends to give, compared to any of the Custom filters. Will stick with AP for now and see how I get on with different types of music...

Well ... I have the good old Arc Prediction engaged for close to a week by now, and I must say that "this seems to be it" again.

Dryer, more natural and especially : the right amount of colour in cymbals (I found this lacking somewhat, lately). But also generally : more joy or something. More interesting at all fronts. Shows better what the artist is about.

Thanks !
Peter


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: Gerard on May 24, 2017, 11:00:09 am
Mani,

Thanx....

The cherry on the cake so to speak.

 ;)


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: Scroobius on May 24, 2017, 05:07:36 pm

Makes quite an improvement in my "setup" nice one Mani

Paul


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: manisandher on May 25, 2017, 10:28:25 pm
Just before sending both my NOS1s in to be upgraded, I was enjoying simply the most satisfying sound I'd ever managed to achieve in my listening room. But since receiving them back in their G3 guise, there has been something continually bugging me. Yes, overall the sound is better, but it sounds overly 'soft' and 'rounded'... a bit like DSD! The same sparkle that I was so much enjoying isn't there. Removing the Intona before the Phisolator has helped. Switching back to Arc Prediction has helped. But I think I've now found the culprit...

I had a couple of hours to play around with things earlier this evening. So I tried the following:

1. PC -> long Clarixa -> input A, ouput B -> short Clarixa -> input C

Oh dear, this simply amplified the 'softening'/'rounding' effect even further.

2. PC -> long Clarixa -> Intona -> short Clarixa -> input C

Yippee, the sparkle is back! The sound is simply stunning.

So, the upshot seems to be that I don't like the sound of the Phisolator, or that I prefer the sound of the Intona at least. I also think that in scenario 1, the short Clarixa was simply acting as a window on the sound of the Phisolator, and wasn't itself messing the sound up.

If other G3 users are happy with the Phisolator, that's great. But as things stand, I'll be continuing with the Intona in place.

Tomorrow, I'll try my second Intona (yes, I have two of everything!) with the G3 in my office system - I have the same criticisms of an overly soft/rounded sound there too, compared to the sound before the upgrade.

Peter, thanks for adding the A, B and C USB connectors to the G3, allowing us to try these things.

Mani.

Edit: I'm finally happy to write a 'review' of the NOS1 G3, which I'll do in the next day or two, and post on CA.


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: PeterSt on May 26, 2017, 08:15:40 am
Hi Mani, thank you for sharing.

There must be something special in your situation with the Intona. I mean, what I recall is that everybody agreed that the Intona had to be out since 14393.0 (this is unrelated tho te G3 upgrade), except for one - you. Maybe there are more people like you, but then they did not announce themselves.

Indeed, everybody can choose. And we can bet that what today is to be set up as A will tomorrow require B. :)

Regards and thanks,
Peter



Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: Stanray on May 26, 2017, 03:35:39 pm
I mean, what I recall is that everybody agreed that the Intona had to be out since 14393.0 (this is unrelated tho te G3 upgrade), except for one - you. Maybe there are more people like you, but then they did not announce themselves.

I, for one, prefer the sound WITH the Intona (with 14393.0).
Without Intona the cymbals for instance are a bit too aggressive and the 3D picture shrinks a bit.

Stanley


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: manisandher on May 26, 2017, 04:05:12 pm
There must be something special in your situation with the Intona.

Sure, two things spring immediately to mind:

1. I use two separate AC mains circuits, one for the music server & Mach II, the other for the NOS1 & amps. I therefore require galvanic isolation between the Mach II and the NOS1. But the Phisolator should provide this just as effectively as the Intona does.

(Incidentally, I did try the Mach II on the same AC circuit as the NOS1, and there was absolutely no difference in SQ whatsoever. I decided to switch it back to the music server AC circuit, to keep the load on the PS Audio P10 regenerator powering the NOS1/amp circuit as low as possible.)

2. I use single-ended tube amps with my high efficiency horns. Compared to the high quality push-pull solid state amps I have here (Einstein and BD-Design at the moment), the tube amps sound way more laid back, and simply more natural to my ears. Although I didn't try it, I suspect I would have had less of any issue with the Phisolator sounding too 'soft' and 'rounded' had I been using either of the SS amps.

Mani.


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: arvind on June 05, 2017, 04:08:45 pm
Hi Mani,

You're spot on AP sounds much better than custom filters. However in my set up Phisolator is much better than Intona.

Best regards,

Arvind


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: manisandher on June 05, 2017, 06:19:01 pm
Hi Arvind,

Well, I've just compared the Phisolator to the Intona in my office system, and I totally agree that the Phisolator sounds better. I will try it again in my main system later this evening.

Mani.


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: manisandher on June 05, 2017, 09:43:28 pm
I've just tried a few different USB connection combinations. [For Peter: the whole system is running off the same AC mains circuit - actually, running off the PS Audio P10 AC regenerator set to 230V (changing the AC voltage changes the sound more than most people could ever imagine!).] I won't go through everything, but will share my main findings.

The Phisolator seems to clean the sound up. There are no annoying edges to the sound anywhere. The bottom end is full and dynamic. And there is a certain level of detail present. But as I've said from the beginning, the Phisolator seems to have an overly 'smoothing'/'rounding' effect on the sound. This might be welcome in many other systems, but not in my SET/horn system - it simply sounds too polite for my liking. I've mentioned it before, but it keeps coming back to me - it sounds like DSD to my ears.

My 3.5m Clarixa cable is simply phenomenal. No other USB cable I have here (including my ultra-expensive 3.5m Tellurium Black Diamond) comes close to the realism of this Clarixa. And in a strange way, I think this 'long' Clarixa sounds better than the shorter Clarixa cables I have. God only knows why...

OK, here's the upshot of my playing around this evening: The best sound I'm getting is with the Clarixa plugged directly into the NOS1's USB port C (i.e. with no Phisolator or Intona in the path). It's almost as though with the 3.5m Clarixa, I don't need any additional USB 'processing'.

On a final note, I will say that the Phisolator, and the short USB cable that comes with it, sounds very, very good indeed, and I can understand why it would be the best sound for most people.

Mani.


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: Robert on June 06, 2017, 01:30:32 am
Quote
overly 'smoothing'/'rounding' effect on the sound

This is the effect I get with Filter engaged. Going back to AP I get more treble detail(especially cymbals) and bass, all round better sound. Moving from 120 SFS to 4 SFS is better and easier to hear. This is without the NOS.

Longer digital cables(over 1 metre) have often been quoted as sounding better going back 30 years.

I think Intona(and other devices) are very system dependant but I think it also has a similar effect as quoted above. Unfortunately it improves some aspects of the sound so I have it in my system. It comes down to your own audio morals whether you can live with it or without.

Robert


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: PeterSt on June 06, 2017, 07:46:47 am
Thank you for your contribution, Robert.

Regards,
Peter


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: manisandher on July 09, 2017, 10:42:28 am
Just a quick update...

Since swapping to the BD30-SPR mono amps, the Phisolator now 'works' in my system. It's 'ultra-natural and smooth' sound complements the hyper-resolution of the BD amps very nicely.

I still prefer AP over Custom, but feel that the Q settings need to be adjusted to prevent the sound veering to much on the 'metallic' vs. 'wooden' side. My current settings are those which Peter came up with a while ago: Q1=14, xQ1=10, Q3,4,5=1.

Yep, I could live with this sound indefinitely.

Mani.


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: Scroobius on July 09, 2017, 09:06:18 pm
Mani,

Have you got a Lush? I have kind of followed recent posts but not sure if you actually have one or not. If not, then get one NOW NOW NOW and then all rules will be changed and anything you think you know - well you really don't - forget them and start again. 

I don't think the posts on Lush quite do it justice but see below because things are a bit different here because..............

............................. a fundamental problem (I think you know what) was fixed in my system by Peter during his visit but since then and with the Lush all rules are re-written. In other words anything you may think you have heard here before needs to be forgotten.

Ha ha I guess that's an invite.

Oh and by the way when you install the Lush you will need to COMPLETELY change your settings. I love getting back to ultra small latency settings - always did love em and now I am back to them - well WOW.  But actually can you say WOW with just a natural sounding system - how can you WOW someone with a system that just sounds well RIGHT.

Cheers

Paul


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: PeterSt on July 10, 2017, 03:06:33 pm
Maybe for Mani himself (but also for you Paul) : No, Mani hasn't got one because we really didn't have any spare second to make one. This counts for all currently pending orders (and was promised, so to speak).

Thank you Paul,
Peter


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: manisandher on July 10, 2017, 07:16:08 pm
... get one NOW NOW NOW and then all rules will be changed and anything you think you know - well you really don't - forget them and start again.

From how people have described the sound of the Lush, I'm confident it'd transform the sound of my system 100% for the better. Although I very much look forward to receiving mine at some point, my system remains very enjoyable to listen to right now, albeit a bit tighter and more clinical than I'd like.

Oh and by the way when you install the Lush you will need to COMPLETELY change your settings. I love getting back to ultra small latency settings - always did love em and now I am back to them - well WOW.  But actually can you say WOW with just a natural sounding system - how can you WOW someone with a system that just sounds well RIGHT.

It's interesting, as soon as my valve amps were in chain, I started pursuing a similar route - trying to eke out more and more detail, because it seemed to improve the sound. But I suspect the valve amps were smearing the sound (just asking too much for them to drive full-range 3-way passive speakers with no LF assistance), and I very much doubt that's what the Lush is doing.

Ha ha I guess that's an invite.

I don't have any work travel for the next 6 weeks or so, so let's liaise...

No, Mani hasn't got one because we really didn't have any spare second to make one.

No problem from my end. It'll be a very nice surprise once it shows up!

Mani.


Title: Re: Mani's NOS1 G3
Post by: manisandher on July 12, 2017, 09:57:39 pm
Wasn't sure where to post this, but I'll put it in this thread for now...

My Lush arrived today, but I've only now had the opportunity to put it in. And what can I say? It is simply phenomenal! Everything that everyone has said to date, though Peter's initial description nailed it completely. It's all about 'musicality' and pretty much nothing else. More of my own thoughts (perhaps in the Lush thread) when I've had more mileage with it.

The best Phasure product/upgrade to date? Not sure... But certainly the best value for money, of that there is simply no doubt in my mind. And I suspect the Lush will transform any system, irrespective of software/hardware used.

My prolonged and immense frustration with USB audio has been vanquished in one fell swoop. Can't thank you enough Peter...

Mani.