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News: Dec. 31, 2012 : XXHighEnd + Phasure NOS1 DAC receive 6moons Blue Moon Award !
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1  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: The Lush on: June 25, 2017, 09:39:05 am
I'm growing a real hatred for all things USB. It's like we're all being held hostage by its whims. And unfortunately, it has us by the balls...

And our knight in shining armour, instead of defeating it and putting it in its place, is courting it! Appeasing it. Complementing it. But its fickle nature remains lurking beneath the surface.

Maybe you could offer to do the hard yards and burn-in Pauls cable for him.

Whatever Paul touches turns to gold. I wouldn't want to break the spell.

Mani.
2  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: The Lush on: June 24, 2017, 08:55:47 pm
Peter, are your thoughts on the sound of the Lush dependent on it being connected to a Phisolator (or 3!), or is it still effective if connected directly to the NOS1's USB input C? If you are using a Phisolator, are you using the 'standard' short USB link between USB B and C on the NOS1? Have you tried a short Lush between B and C?

I'm in a position where I simply don't need a 'lusher' sound than I'm already getting (assuming I understood your initial description). I'm not using either of the Phisolators in my respective NOS1s (preferring instead to use Intonas) and I'm concerned that the Lush will take the sound in a direction I don't like. The Phisolator hasn't worked out for me, and I'm concerned that the Lush might not either.

Any advice on what I should do?

Mani.
3  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: XX volume control - something weird going on on: June 19, 2017, 12:12:15 pm
Well, with PE is more "congested", but that sounds bad which is not necessarily so because it still sounds very nice.  There is more substance, a smoother, thicker sound but what is lost is some dynamics, transients and detail which is replaced by a certain monotony, or lack of diversity of sound.

Hmm ... That would be about 100% my description.

Well, it seems we're all pretty much agreeing:

Peak Extend OFF:
0dB - thick, full sound
-1.5dB (onwards) - much more sparkle and life, but maybe too thin for some material

Peak Extend ON:
0dB - thick, full sound
-1.5dB (onwards) - thick, full sound (exactly the same as 0dB, but slightly quieter, obviously)

My observation remains though that both XX and HQP sound very different at 0dB vs. any level of attenuation... and that this has nothing to do with clipping or the 'sweet spot' of the the DAC. And also that in XX, PE has a similar character to 0dB.

Who knows which , if any, is correct?

Yep, kind of like the vase vs. the face - does PE make the sound 'too congested', or is the sound 'artificially etched' without it? Take your pick and see (hear) what you want to.

It's going to take me a few more weeks to get my little 'vinyl studio' back up and running. Once it is, I intend to compare some needle drops to the original vinyl. I'm hoping that this will give me a clue as to which digital volume setting is the 'most correct'. But even then, I doubt I'll be able to come up with a definitive answer because of so many variables involved (e.g. the transparency of the ADC, etc.).

Mani.
4  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: XX volume control - something weird going on on: June 19, 2017, 08:59:32 am
Yep, PE+3dB sounds different to no PE.  I prefer no PE.

How would you describe the difference?

Mani.
5  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: XX volume control - something weird going on on: June 15, 2017, 11:50:51 am
Great! I'd recommend everyone who currently uses XX's digital attenuation to try this - takes 5 seconds to click on PE and decrease attenuation (i.e. increase volume level) by 3dB.

BUT... I almost guarantee that the sound will become duller. My feeling is that you should stick with it, and adjust other software parameters and/or hardware configs until the balance is restored.

Interested in hearing others' thoughts...

Mani.
6  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: XX volume control - something weird going on on: June 15, 2017, 09:53:25 am
And of course it is already known that about each person trying to digitally attenuate with a preamp (or analoge volume of other means) present, always comes up with this 6dB.

Yes but -6dB without PE still sounds different to -3dB with PE. You may feel that this is obvious - I mean, PE should be doing something to the sound, right? But I'm interested in why PE at any level sounds similar in 'character' to 0dB.

Any attenuation level without PE now sounds wrong to my ears. There's an edge to the sound. A 'hollowness'. The full-bodiedness of instruments and voices is gone. But if I switch to a Custom filter or put the Phisolator in the chain, PE simply sounds too dull.

Mani.
7  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: XX volume control - something weird going on on: June 15, 2017, 09:43:20 am
I also dare say that Mani has "visions" (don't want to call it issues) on this from what ? ... 6 years back ? or was it 8 years because even prior to the NOS1 ? I think so ...

Oh yeah, I've been playing around with active, passive and digital attenuation for quite a while now. For a long time, I refused to use digital attenuation because it just sounded wrong to me, and used instead an Audio Synthesis balanced discrete resistor passive or a Pass Labs X1 active. I switched to using digital attenuation when I received the Orelos.

I am not sure how Mani tested it with the Orelos though...it must have been far to loud to listen with no attenuation.

With the Orelos, I just compared -21dB_no_PE with -18dB_with_PE - the difference in sound was obvious. I assumed that PE was messing the sound up in some way, but I now wonder if attenuation without PE is the issue...

Mani.
8  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: XX volume control - something weird going on on: June 15, 2017, 07:37:08 am
A very quick post for now, with a few points...

1. I don't think it has anything to do with the amp - the effect is the same in both my systems (totally different amps)

2. I noticed this quite a while ago, when I still had the Orelo speakers (though I may not have posted immediately)

3. The 'character' of the sound at -3dB with PE is very different to that at -6dB without PE - levels identical, so this has nothing to do with the 1704 'sweetspot'

4. The 'character' of the sound at 0dB without PE is similar to that with PE at any attenuation level

More later (gym first!).

Mani.
9  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: XX volume control - something weird going on on: June 14, 2017, 10:17:30 am
Perhaps my most controversial post ever...

There really is something weird going on, but it's not exclusive to XX - HQPlayer displays exactly the same behaviour. If the volume is attenuated anything below 0dB, the sound changes in the way I described in my first post - it appears to get clearer and more detailed. But I'm now convinced that 0dB (for both XX and HQP) gives the 'correct sound', and that with attenuation >0dB, the sound actually gets 'thinned out', and that other weird effects (such as a very slight 'echo' effect) come into play, giving the sound a 'lively' character. This seems to be counteracted to some extent by using the Custom filter, or indeed the Phisolator, but I think these are band aids to a certain extent.

But there does seem to be a 'fix' for those who refuse to go the preamp route (everyone here?):


Peak Extend OFF:
0dB - thick, full sound
-1.5dB (onwards) - much more sparkle and life, but maybe too thin for some material

Peak Extend ON:
0dB - thick, full sound
-1.5dB (onwards) - thick, full sound (exactly the same as 0dB, but slightly quieter, obviously)

In XX, using PE seems to keep the sound character exactly the same, irrespective of XX's attenuation level. What on earth is going on here, I have no idea.

[Interestingly, I've only started really noticing these effects since moving to single-ended tube amps and horns (in both my systems). Not sure if there's any connection. Perhaps for those with other system setups, this whole thing is simply a non-issue.]

Mani.
10  Ultimate Audio Playback / Phasure NOS1 DAC / Re: Mani's NOS1 G3 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.
11  Ultimate Audio Playback / Phasure NOS1 DAC / Re: Mani's NOS1 G3 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.
12  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / Re: London 3/6/17 on: June 04, 2017, 07:17:32 pm
After hearing the news (quite late this morning), I sat with my cup of tea and queued these tracks up, kind of subconsciously. And on finishing listening to them, it seemed to me that I had selected just the perfect music for my mood - kind of like selecting the perfect wine for a particular dish.

Not sure why I wanted to share, but I think it had something to do with the ability of music to communicate in a way that nothing else seems to be able to... to me, at least.

And why share on this forum?  Well because I doubt that the music would have moved me in the same way had I been listening on any other system in the house. And thinking about things now, surely this is the real purpose of our spending so much time tuning our respective systems - to be moved by the music, no? Talking purely for myself, I think it's easy to get drawn into analysing the sound instead of connecting with the music. The former certainly has it's place, but I think sometimes it's necessary to just let go and let the music take you to where it wants to take you.

Mani.
13  Ultimate Audio Playback / Chatter and forum related stuff / London 3/6/17 on: June 04, 2017, 01:00:34 pm
My playlist this morning:

1. Henryk Górecki - Symphony No. 3 Op. 36; III. Lento (cantabile semplice)

2. David Munrow - Palastinalied

3. Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells, Pt. 1

Mani.
14  Ultimate Audio Playback / Phasure NOS1 DAC / Re: Mani's NOS1 G3 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.
15  Ultimate Audio Playback / Phasure NOS1 DAC / Re: Mani's NOS1 G3 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.
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