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 81 
 on: December 26, 2017, 09:33:37 pm 
Started by briefremarks - Last post by briefremarks
I’m finally getting around to writing a review of the Orelo Mk II speakers.  There is a lot of information in the forum on design, measurements, etc. so I won’t get into any of that.  Just my impressions after having lived with them now for several months.

Ordering and customizing

First, getting the Orelos is nothing like buying speakers from anyone else.  Peter and Bert went out of the way to make sure that what I wanted for veneer, horn color, other finishes were exactly done, and offered suggestions, often blunt, about what would and would not work.  The result is a speaker that looks spectacular—a hybrid of angel and winged beast.  We finished the woofer baffles in figured mahogany finished to a high-gloss “guitar” effect.  This brings out the figuring in 3D much like you see in figured maple and mahogany guitars—which is where the idea came from.
 
The horn in BMW Valencia Orange (B44 for anyone who might want to do this).  The BMW Valencia orange is perfect with the mahogany, a rust-toned, rich, metallic orange.  The front “nose” and decorative grille are gloss black, and everything else is matt black.

Arrival and assembly

The speakers arrive packed expertly in four large crates.  I was initially a little apprehensive about assembling them.  But here is the surprise.  They are VERY easy to assemble!  It will take two people to move the woofer column, but the actual assembly only involves: bolting the baffles in place (they fit perfectly), placing the horn on its padded rest, wiring the horn, inserting the decorative grill into the pre-made slots, and THAT IS IT!   Once I had all the components unpacked and the woofer columns in place, it took less than an hour.  The packing includes a pair of soft gloves to use with the horns not to smudge them!

Wiring and getting ready to play

Wiring the speakers is extremely simple.  One connection for the input from the DAC, and one for power.  I cannot tell you how complex wiring my previous set up was with ten channels of amplification, active cross-over, associated interconnects, speaker cables, power cables, power supplies, etc.

Sound

I have not heard speakers that sound better.  I’ve had “audiophile” friends over to listen.  A problem evaluating SQ is that not many people listen to live music, and are therefore acclimated to an unnatural “hi-fi” sound.

The Orelos are completely neutral and balanced, extremely fast and dynamic, detailed and engaging.  The Orelos have none of the coloration associated with “horns.”  More importantly, I am beginning to recognize that wide-dispersion cone drivers are in fact more colored, except everyone is used to this particular coloration of sound.
It took a few weeks for everything to loosen up and break-in, the bass initially seemed slim BUT this was both because of the need for break-in AND the absence of aliased frequencies that give artificial “weight” to bass.  I still have my previous speakers set up in another room (LX521 without the NOS1a), and can hear the difference in quality of bass, even though the LX521 bass is very, very good.  The Orelo bass is now some of the best I have heard—deep, resonant, natural, with body, without bloat.

Positioning the speakers properly is critical, but not overly finicky.  I have them 10 feet apart center to center, with very slight toe-in, 4 feet from back (front) wall, and 10 inches from side walls.  Toe-in and distance from side wall have probably been the most import influence on sound.  VJ Rao has posted on his dramatic improvement with room treatment, and this may be something to consider.  Hoping to meet up with VJ again soon.  The Orelos seem to actually benefit from some side reflection, this at least is my observation.

I have tried the F-M switches, but flat (slope, dip and high all at 1) seems best for me.  Would like to hear what others are doing.  I would prefer one setting that works for all genres, or maybe a setting per genre (orchestral, small jazz combo/string quartet, singer-songwriter) than tweaking for individual recordings.
The one area for improvement in my set up is probably imaging and width of sound stage.  All relative.

Conclusion

The Orelos are spectacular, world-class speakers, worth the price easily if you consider they include amplification, DSP for bass, F-M filters.  I have listened to a wide range of music on them: classical, modern, rock, electronic, pop, experimental.  Some poor recordings sound bad, because that is reality.  I have not tried aggressive use of the F-M switches to fix that.

Peter and Bert are obsessed with customer satisfaction in a way that is simply unmatched.  

It would be good to have a little more on the forum from Orelo owners—setup, tweaks, etc.
 
A very happy owner!!

 82 
 on: December 26, 2017, 04:50:40 pm 
Started by charliemb - Last post by charliemb
Thanks Peter.   I'll get on these to get to the bottom of it all.

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The problem of stopped playback after the first or any other track never happened.  BIG WIN.

It should be clear that you actually solved the problem. But it also should be clear that by means of something you brought back the problem. So the obvious : try to think of what it can have been.


Absolutely nothing was changed from the previous session in terms of settings.  I've been very careful about changes.  No changes.  The only difference is that it was another day and a new boot.  That's all.  I didn't even change "copy to XX drive by standard" until after the problem arrived.
       One thing I can say is that I encountered several "this error should not happen, just restart xx" message before the "stop problem" first resurfaced (in case that matters).  And the stop problem.

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W7 Settings (amazing that I saved them) :


Thanks.  That helps.

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Over years I've spent many nights reading this / these forums and somehow I missed it.  
So all these years I didn't have exclusive access to the audio device?

I can't tell about others, but I don't think you have missed it.


Yes I remember all of that.  Well,  I missed it in the sense that my windows sounds were enabled.

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Alternatively, would it be more effective to chose the default sound device to be the motherboard audio device.  Then it is just bits going to another DAC.

You are correct. Still it is better to just shut off all the WASAPI (WDM) audio devices, which is all what you can see when being in Normal OS. Just disable them. Btw, I have the hint that this matters for your "This message should not occur" issue. So try it. Otherwise do know that when WASAPI is shut off (do that in Normal OS) in MinOS there just isn't another choice for Sound Device but your KS device.


Before I do this I had better check: This implies that I have to reboot into normal OS and manually disable all sound devices that I see INCLUDING MY DAC.  Then reboot into minOS and proceed.

Wouldn't it be easier to simply disable WASAPI from within xxHE in settings?   Or does this not sufficiently accomplish what you want?

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so xxHE probably already sends the data to the C drive.

No. When it is .WAV is stays where it is and is played from that location.


Most of my collection is .AIF, from ripped CDs.  Is AIF treated like wave?   (Maybe the problem surfaces when I eventually play a .WAV track)

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can't play DSD for the while that you are in this "test mode"


Of course, yes, I will disable WASAPI in one form or another and lose DSD for a while.   No problem.

Also,  I'll play close attention to when playback starts quicker than expected, and the file type as I select it.

Thanks again Peter.

Much appreciated.

Charlie

 83 
 on: December 26, 2017, 10:47:53 am 
Started by listening - Last post by PeterSt
Hi Georg,

Looks like a good idea to me. But it has to be made - not sure there's much time for that at this moment.
Still a good idea !

But what about the "Message Age" ? I think it is that what you actually like to use. Or ?

Kind regards,
Peter

 84 
 on: December 26, 2017, 09:18:39 am 
Started by listening - Last post by listening
Hello Peter,

is it possible to show (and search) the topic number and number of posting? It would be a nice feature and a lot easier to reference interesting parts of the forum.

Georg

 85 
 on: December 26, 2017, 08:03:47 am 
Started by charliemb - Last post by PeterSt
Hi Charlie,

The Coverart is a thing in itself. This is a text I made for myself but never put up because it is hard to verify (it first needs to go wrong for not showing); it is an OS thing :


It is assumed that  "Don't do anything with Coverart" (in XXHighEnd settings, Coverart section) is not activated. Also it is assumed that at this time Show as Wallpaper and At Attended both are active.

Press Stop in XXHighEnd.
Go to Control Panel - Personalization.
Again click Stop in XXHighEnd.
In Personalization click one of the Themes with a background. This should now appear.
Click Play in XXHighEnd. The Wallpaper Coverart will now appear (the normal Wallpaper will be disappeared).
Click Stop. The normal Wallpaper should re-appear.

When the above all happens as described, the Wallpaper Coverart should always appear in actual form (from the track currently playing) and when played Unattended, all should be fine as well.


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The problem of stopped playback after the first or any other track never happened.  BIG WIN.


It should be clear that you actually solved the problem. But it also should be clear that by means of something you brought back the problem. So the obvious : try to think of what it can have been.

Quote
Can you post your latest Win7 settings or send me a .XXSI file?


No .XXSI file - sorry !
W7 Settings (amazing that I saved them) :


W7 - February 9, 2014 (1.186-a)
XXHighEnd PC -> i7 3930K Hyperthreading On (12 cores) @*500MHz*, 16GB, Windows 7 Enterprise 64bit on SATAIII 2.5" 7200RMP spinning disk, XXHE on 2GB RAMDisk (IMDisk), music on LAN (dynamically stopped/started) / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = *6*/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = *1* / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 15ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = *0.40* (max 320.00) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = *Core3-5* / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off / Playback Drive 2GB RAMDisk (IMDisk) / UnAttended (Just Start) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - *Persist* (this is for conveniency and sub 1.186a)  / No WallPaper / No OSD / No Running Time / Minimize OS / XTweaks : *Use Settings* - *64, 1, 1, 0, 1* / Time Performance Index = Optimal / Time Stability = On / Double Octo Arc Prediction Upsampling / -> USB3 (*Silverstone *both* sides isolated*) -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4 (*16ms*) -> Blaxius BNC interlink -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.



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Over years I've spent many nights reading this / these forums and somehow I missed it.  
So all these years I didn't have exclusive access to the audio device?


I can't tell about others, but I don't think you have missed it. It is from the time just prior to XXHighEnd and how I myself (yes me) found out that XP applied dithering by standard as soon as it went through the normal "sound path". So back at the time we already knew that XP was not bit perfect (but it could be done by special RME drivers) and everybody was obsessed about it (say that this is 11-12 years ago). Then Visa came around and with Vista it was all about "Exclusive Mode" which was new to the Windows OS. Btw, XXHighEnd was the very first player whcih could utilize the new WASAPI (18 months later a second came about - XMPlay IIRC, and right after that Foobar). Anyway, back in the days it was all about "Exclusive Mode" and how to use and and how to avoid pitfalls.

You had Exclsuve access to the sound device all right, but it is about how to sustain that. And that part can be violated. I had lenghty discussions about this with AmirM (who designed this new means of Windows audio chain).

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Alternatively, would it be more effective to chose the default sound device to be the motherboard audio device.  Then it is just bits going to another DAC.


You are correct. Still it is better to just shut off all the WASAPI (WDM) audio devices, which is all what you can see when being in Normal OS. Just disable them. Btw, I have the hint that this matters for your "This message should not occur" issue. So try it. Otherwise do know that when WASAPI is shut off (do that in Normal OS) in MinOS there just isn't another choice for Sound Device but your KS device.

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so xxHE probably already sends the data to the C drive.


No. When it is .WAV is stays where it is and is played from that location.

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This time I noticed something new.   At least one of the two times where playback stoped after the first track,  I had selected about seven tracks in a row using Shift-click starting at about track 3 or 4.  But playback started almost instantly --AS IF ONLY ONE TRACK WAS SELECTED.


You maybe won't believe it, but this time this is interesting for me. I mean, I know about this issue, and it is beyond me when it happens. Yesterday I had it again. Hapens maybe once per several days and re-applying the same right after is OK. So this is clearly a bug somewhere (in there forever) which you now suddenly were able to let surface for the first time, relative to your old situation.
Let's say we can survive this and also that you can indeed see it happen when you pay atention; the list is just processed too soon. Btw, I am sure I did not apply a selection yesterday and of what I recall, it surely can happen without selection. What I noticed yesterday is that this was with .WAV. This is especially apparent because .WAV processes slower (one by one). So easy to see it goes wrong.
This is not a matter of finding out when it happens (I would have by now if it were this simple) but it is a matter of knowing settings where it just never happens. Apparently you indirectly know that. But still quite undoable.

Peter

PS: I don't think it is a big deal that you can't play DSD for the while that you are in this "test mode" (but I am not you). Once you know what the issue is (how it can be solved), I can solve it in the software and then you don't need to switch matters (which implies two boots in general). And as said, removing the message as a whole is a solution already.

 86 
 on: December 26, 2017, 07:24:56 am 
Started by music33 - Last post by PeterSt
Hi Dave,

See the first bullet point in the Release Notes of 2.09. Main issue is the not-usage of Wallpaper Coverart. So use that and all is fine. Tip : Do not use the On Screen Display (OSD) Text for better SQ. But read that bullet point please.
... And obviously, to do what's further in there you need to use 2.09. Thus if not, switch On the showing of the Wallpaper Coverart.

When such a thing happens, all you need to do is kill the Sund Engine (click in the Blue led in the right hand border).

The tick at reboot is as ancient as Rome (for the NOS1-USB). Along with it comes the "always check your DC Offset" after a reboot. Indeed switch off the amps at a reboot, which does not prevail you from checking the DC Offset, also at just switching off the Audio PC (it is not Stealth related). Or when the NOS1(a/G3) is switched on. Just when something changes (powering on/off amps does not matter that I have ever seen).

Kind regards,
Peter

 87 
 on: December 26, 2017, 06:04:23 am 
Started by charliemb - Last post by charliemb
Hi Peter

Sorry to report that it's not over.  Still have problems.  Tonight I twice ran into the original problem discussed above where playback stops after the first track plays.  And Six times in four hours I received the "This should not happen just restart xxHighend" message.

This time I noticed something new.   At least one of the two times where playback stoped after the first track,  I had selected about seven tracks in a row using Shift-click starting at about track 3 or 4.  But playback started almost instantly --AS IF ONLY ONE TRACK WAS SELECTED.   Normally it takes a little bit of time for 7 tracks to load.  So it could be, and it appears, that the error is that only 1 track was loaded for playback from the beginning, and not that playback suddenly stops after 7 tracks are loaded and prepared and the first track finishes.
       In this instance,  when xxHE came back,  all seven tracks were selected (in white highlight).  That's odd, and different from the usual behaviour.  Usual behaviour that if one track plays of out 7,  then only 6 tracks are highlighted then xxHE comes back.

After the first error I set "Copy to XX drive by default."  Then I got the 2nd error one or two hours later.  So this setting by itself didnot solve the problem

Thanks,

Charlie

P.S. 2.09 is still sounding great with ArcP

 88 
 on: December 26, 2017, 12:11:21 am 
Started by music33 - Last post by music33
First Happy Christmas to the xxhighend group.

With the holidays I've had time to experiment with settings.  In doing so every once in awhile a song will not play.  The clock stays at 0:00

I'm pretty sure it correlates with changing the volume and going into unattended mode.  I have a custom filter set, I don't remember this happening without a custom filter.

Once it happens I can exit unattended mode, turn unattended off, but song will still not play.  I can clear the song and pick another, still nothing will play.  I can restart xxhighend and that does not help.  The only thing that fixes things is restarting the Stealth.  When doing that I got a loud static discharge to my speakers.  I now have the amps off when I turn off the Stealth.

Help?

thanks,
dave
p.s.  i also think it happens when clicking on alt-u or alt-d in unattended mode, the music will stop playing.

 89 
 on: December 25, 2017, 06:34:47 pm 
Started by PeterSt - Last post by toddn
Merry Christmas Everyone!

I’ve been a bit out of the loop for a while, but I look forward to beginning a new chapter in my life in 2018! It will of course include my lifelong passion of music!
  Plus I have a wonderful, beautiful singer-songwriter in my life! Can’t wait to do some of my own recording of the actual artist to really test our wonderful playback system😉!
  I really can’t express how enthralling it is to have someone sing a newly created composition to you to ask your opinion! It’s a whole new wonderful musical experience in my life!

Cheers, Todd


 90 
 on: December 25, 2017, 05:31:54 pm 
Started by charliemb - Last post by charliemb
Hi Peter

Thanks and some good news!  

First and most important: last night I heard the best sound I've ever heard from my system.  And this was obvious within 10 or 15 seconds of my first playback.  Part of this is that I'm using an ISO REGEN which made a big difference even before these latest changes.  But the sound was staggeringly good.  To help describe how big of a difference,  this was with ArcP which I happened to have set from the night before.  ArcP in my system has always sounded dry, on a scale of DRY<->LUSH, too dry as if too much was missing in the highs.  Well not last night.  Last night ArcP sounded right.  Probably in the mid scale between dry<->lush.

I suspect it was because I set Windows sounds to off, as you showed me.  The only other things I did at first was set to KS, and 111.  That is aside from booting probably 10 times the day before and going into BIOS several times, and back out;  who knows if I affected something by doing all of that to the system.  
    [Editorial: Assuming this big gain in SQ was due to disabling Windows sounds, what the heck!  Just doing that makes such a big difference?  I'm sorry but a good Audio Linux as a base OS is probably a much better platform for xxHE.  How many years did I waste just because I never turned off Windows sounds?  Crazy.]


Although there was great sound at first, there was a strange problem which I solved by setting to Core 3-5.  In case it gives further clues, the problem was that playback in Unattended didn't get to the cover art until after the last track played.  Instead of the cover art, I saw only the Windows desktop image.  After the last track, cover art displayed for a few seconds until xx came back.
     Core 3-5 changed the sound for the worse so I had to go to a few other changes to get close, Straight Continuous and Q1=6,  in addition to 111.  
     I then spent the rest of the night listening to ArcP with these settings;  three hours.  Wonderful!

The problem of stopped playback after the first or any other track never happened.  BIG WIN.  AMAZING to me.  Again this is with ArcP, which has always been more reliable than the Custom filters.  Next I will try the Custom Filters and hopefully the joy continues.

That's the good/great news.  
And now the bad  unhappy   Twice I received the "This should not happen please restart xxHE" error.  How can I disable this?

And now to address your specific comments / questions,  the quoted text is yours:

Quote
me knowing the best what the defaults are plus stupilating that they will be good. Please don't take that assumptions ...
Far better will be to copy my settings, apart from those your DAC will not allow for.


I went looking for your Win7 settings on the forum and I cannot find them.  Can you post your latest Win7 settings or send me a .XXSI file?

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some OS (W8 ?) it defaulted to no sounds, and prior to that I am sure we all shut off the sounds explicitly. Really. All but you, apparently. Haha. ...  It is the prerequisite for enabling Exclusive (hogging) of the audio device ...


Over years I've spent many nights reading this / these forums and somehow I missed it.  
So all these years I didn't have exclusive access to the audio device?

Actually, it seems like choosing the "no sounds" profile does nothing more than disassociate .wav files with system events, as opposed to disabling sound interrupts or bypassing code; unless built in / under the covers it does something to reconfigure the OS.  
      Alternatively, would it be more effective to chose the default sound device to be the motherboard audio device.  Then it is just bits going to another DAC.  Maybe not.  Just a thought.

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Also funny : When you'd use KS this can not happen. The Windows sounds don't operate on that (as far as I know/recall).


Isn't my problem direct evidence that this can and does happen when I use KS?  Doesn't exclusive KS access mean that if xx is playing then Windows cannot grab the device until xx releases it?

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Next up is : When you are in MinOS and disabled WASAPI at going to MinOS (see in Shut Off Services section), there *is* no sound device for Windows. Only your KS device and only for you ...


I can't listen to my DSD collection if I disable WASAPI within xxHE.  I listen to DSD with HQPlayer, ASIO, which doesn't work if xxHE disables WASAPI.  So I leave it enabled to avoid rebooting just to listen to a few DSD tracks.
     
[Feature request: Why not support DSD playback for DSD capable DACs by simply sending the DSD file through the USB interface, no decoding or conversion to PCM?  Just send the file over DoP (by which I mean DSD over PCM standard, which to you boils down to a simple header before the raw data transfer.  Do I oversimplify?  Of course there is no benefit to NOS1 owners, that I understand.]


And from your latest post:
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Now I see you writing about the Playback Drive ...I should have said :
Activate "Copy to XX Drive by standard".
This does exactly what I intended (per my description) but in a very simple way. You won't have "SQ Control" with this really, unless playing from the OS disk coincidentally sounds good.
The Playback Drive will sound different per "media" (it can be anything) and even brand.


I suppose this could be moot if my success continues.  But I will keep a note of it.  Actually,  this shouldn't have an effect because my playback drive is powered down permanently / and possibly the SATA cable unplugged,  so xxHE probably already sends the data to the C drive.  The only other drive is where the music is stored, but I don't think xxHE uses this drive other than to pull the tracks and gallery stuff.   Let me know otherwise.

Thanks  thankyou thankyou  You've been a great help.

Charlie

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