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Author Topic: NOS1 Bass syndrome  (Read 9125 times)
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PeterSt
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« on: January 09, 2011, 10:08:48 am »

Hopefully this doesn't come across as "teaching", but I have the feeling that those who find the Phasure NOS1 DAC to lack in the bass a bit, may need some explanations from my side, or merely : how to look at things. The way I'll write it is no different from always, but there *is* a difference of course : now you can check it yourself.

First my "statement" or own observation : There is *more* bass and punch, and the better all is, the better that gets. "More" means : compared to anything which doesn't sound so good in general. Tough to say by itself, but I am fairly sure this is true.
Additionally : it is clear to me what people use for bass drivers - whom explicitly do not suffer from this "syndrome" ...

Let's first go to an example. Of course I chose the example, and may "you" have examples which proove the other way around, let them know so we can all check it out;

Important : I am using W7 SP1 (and this *really* matters).

Let's take "Basie Jam" (1) from Count Basie. I have always found this album a most natural sounding album, and although I really don't know, it seems it isn't messed with (like just taken with two microphones, no (re)mixing afterwards). Let's take the second track "Hanging out";
A first thing you should notice is the enormeous "straight" tones coming from the metal string electric jazz guitar which is the virtue of very low jitter. If you are able to compare this with a higher jitter DAC, you may do so, briefly. So, besides you may learn from this how low jitter can express, you can also learn from it what it *does*. It keeps instruments and voices on key so to say, and for the higher frequencies you may perceive that in strings like this. Weary straight so to say.
Ok, before I'm changing the subject ... listen to the bass here. To my mind the balance and impact is exactly right, and once the volume is "realistic" enough, I really don't see how this bass should produce more low frequencies. I "see" the instrument, and it can't or otherwise it will be an unreal mess.
In the mean time listen to the dynamically played drums, like a kind of wild jazz combo can use it. No real breaks are used, but fairly full powered hits on a snare (with the snare off) and a rise time that scares for reality. You want that more punchy ? then the snare will turn into a floor tom, while it isn't ... The dynamics will disappear, and it will be a mush thing.
Moral : know what you listen to, and since the NOS1 was made for that anyway : project your thinking on that particular instrument.

Hoping that you have this album and could listen to this track (or the others), it will be all so useful if you now also have "The Timekeepers" (Basie + Peterson). The track doesn't matter here, so you might just as well start at track 1.
If all is right you will perceive a snorring of the bass on this album, unheard for acoustic basses. Snorring is for electric basses, right ? haha. Well, maybe it is an electric bass then. I don't know. But now :
Do you hear this snorring ? It is all over in each track and never stops. If you don't hear it, something is "wrong" in the first place. And, I think this is important for our "bass judgement".
On a side note : This is why it is important to use W7 SP1, because Vista will make a mush of this, and no snorring will be audible. Merely "a bass". It will be perceived as smomewhat lower in key I think, but it's not the instrument anymore.

But was this a side note, or was this maybe an indication of how things can go wrong without you knowing it ? I mean, compare the both albums, and for those who don't hear the snorring in the second album, what's wrong with that second album compared to the first ?
Aha ...

Apart from proper control to begin with (and this *is* all about jitter - where especially the lower regions are far more difficult were it about jitter in general), I for now (dangerously) assume that hose who want more bass don't hear the snorring either. This can be about control in the amps, but mainly will be about the weight of the diaphragm of the bass driver; the snorring will imply for an "on-off" thing I often talk about, and which is similar to a frequency but unrelated to the pitch, and it needs sheer speed to do it. In this case the frequency where the on-off happens will be dealt with by the woofer, and it must be able to follow ... If it can't, there will be "a bass" with some bassy tone. Most probably you will hear the strings allright, but the bass will sound the same on both albums and it will be a good indication that you "can't" make a proper judgement on the bass coming from the NOS1 ...

This is all quite speculative, and maybe I am completely wrong. So, I just try to imagine what could be going on, and imagine a woofer which is more slow just can't produce the individual vibes, and therefore misses half of the "SPL" in this region. Thus, when a 100Hz has to be followed which also is quite squarey (which a string like this will be), it may be too difficult and not much SPL comes from it.
And this is to be compared with the not squarey at all because the source (DAC) can't do it, and now we suddenly have a more sine like (no snorring) wave, and the 100Hz can be followed easily. More bass ...

If you *do* perceive that snorring, try to imagine what would happen if more bass would come from it all. Maybe you even have a knob for it. But obviously the snorring will go away, right ? All I want to say with this, is that this by itself is a measure of whether things are correct or not. Such more technical "measure" things are eve needed, because to my own experience it is not so anymore (with the NOS1) that adding too much bass will show in colouring (before I used that to calibrate - and which was failry easy).


Of course I have many more reasons to "know" that something must be going on when not enough bass is perceived, and in the end it just needs the examples of how low and powerful things can go. Or more easy maybe : how much body a piano has, and more will be too much (that's fairly easy to judge). But if the snorring example works, it would be a more technical thing easy to check for, and we don't need to discuss in writing how much body a piano should have. Happy

All 'n all, if some other DAC produces more low, more punch and seems to carry more body in everything, please try to judge that for the particular instrument and whether it is correct. And remember, you should compare with reality just because the NOS1 can do it. The time of "how to get rid of this disturbance" is behind us. It is now all "does this sound correct". I hope you will believe me !

Peter


* Basie01.png (179.38 KB, 400x399 - viewed 764 times.)

* Basie02.png (258.22 KB, 399x397 - viewed 773 times.)
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« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2011, 10:33:40 am »

You mean we cant have both "real bass" and "hi-fi bass"?  Shocked

I have the Timekeepers. Will try it out in the afternoon!
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« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2011, 11:52:54 am »

Important : I am using W7 SP1 (and this *really* matters)... This is why it is important to use W7 SP1...

I have my new copy of W7 x64 and will 'upgrade' from W2008SP1 later today. I will use a 4GB RamDisk for sure, and assume it's still important to apply all the 'Tweaked to death' tweaks.

Any other recommendations for OS optimisation (uh, uh, Marcin, Nick, Josef and others!) would be appreciated.

Mani.
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« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2011, 12:28:31 pm »

Quote
and assume it's still important to apply all the 'Tweaked to death' tweaks.

For the general stuff like not indexing your drives maybe, but for the "batch" (file) ... I didn't do it. It just isn't necessary. Or not that I notice at this moment.
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« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2011, 03:32:40 pm »

I made some further test with NOS and arcpred. Yesterday, I decided to give it one more shot. I think I can now understand what you are hearing. I switched from a 90db filter with 8xOS@88.2/24 to NOS with 2xArcPred@32Bit. The highs were just beatyfull and so easy to listen to. I was very exited and it was perfect for classical music. I was listening to more details and all was still pleasent. But today, as I was listening to some rock, it seems to lack of dynamics and bass. The highs are overemphased. The complete air is full of highs. That might be an artifact of just 2xArcPred but I think, this also could be, what some people is bothering. I tested further and could get back of the mid dynamics with use of appointment scheme 3 (before it was 1). But it was still too much emphasis on the highs and to little bass. I got back to a 130db filter with 8xOS@88.2/32. The highs went down and bass and the last lacking middle dynamics came back. To me, tonal it sounds more right this way. But I consider one point, the tone engeneers, that mixed all our music, didn't had a NOS DAC nor they used arcpred. That means, that some records may contain simply to much highs! So I would use a low pass filter as work around. It is not the absolute pure thing, but a valid try to avoid that problem. Most of the NOS1 users have a pre amp. If these would have an highs-potentiometer,  the problem could easy be eliminated.
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« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2011, 03:45:49 pm »

Just finished listening to Timekeeper. Thanks for the tip! Have not heard it for years, sat through the whole album, enjoying the music. Forgot to analyze, ha-ha. What was it all about, again? Ah,yes, the snoring bass. Peter wrote “snorring” with rr, so I had to google it. But I guess you mean this vibrant string overtone character?

How does it sound in my system? Quite prominent in the mix, considering it is Oscars and Counts album. Dead center, very tight, lots of bass detail. I don’t know his instrument*, but it sounds not to be one of the big ones, although he tends to end the songs on a low note (like the very end of track #5 Hey, Raymond). I certainly hear this “snorring” reminiscent of what you hear from noisy transformers.

*A bass is not a bass. There is a huge variation in brands, sizes, how they are tuned, how they are mic’ed in the studio and how they are mixed into the final stereo version.

After The Timekeepers I pulled out one of my favorite jazz nuggets, Christian McBride/Gettin To It, from 1994. Here is a very funk horn section on some tracks, together with McBride displaying his versatility and great skill on beautiful ballads, soloing or even side by side with Milt Hinton and Ray Brown. Hear their marvelous bowing and fingerwork on Splanky! Or McBrides solo take on Night Train, which is a well known hi-fi demo fave.

-Listening today through the NOS1, this album came alive more than ever. Don’t miss a thing, just sounds very “real” with plenty of (natural) low end and mid bass punch.


* ChristianMcBride.jpg (29.09 KB, 300x300 - viewed 750 times.)
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« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2011, 07:44:41 pm »

Quote
But I guess you mean this vibrant string overtone character?

Oh boy, I just wrote "snorring" and never thought about it may be completely wrong or not understandable.
Just spent 20 minutes on the proper term, and I still don't know ...

It should be "growl", but this is too often associated with synth sounds and not what I mean.
It is a grrrrrrrrrr sound like a cat can do when she is happy (eh, snoring ?). A more severe case would be a growling male dear in October.
But an electric bass player would know immediately what I mean. It is that special on-off sound, I think created by cancellation and emphasis of meeting sound waves. In dutch : een knorrende bas (Google for that, and it's all hits).

It is nowhere near the oscillation of a stage amp, although funnily enough that too is something which is there the more - the better the reproduction.

The "vibrant overtone character" might be what I mean, if you only translate it to the "buzzing" I talked about earlier (regarding W7 SP1). This buzzing is more high frequency though, and although present here too, it's not what I mean.

And yes, it seems a smaller bass to me.

Oh well, I hope you got the idea. Now it's still the question whether you can hear it (with further implications ??).
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« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2011, 08:45:50 pm »

Important : I am using W7 SP1 (and this *really* matters)... This is why it is important to use W7 SP1...

I have my new copy of W7 x64 and will 'upgrade' from W2008SP1 later today.

OK, any issues I had with a thin sound have totally disappeared with W7 SP1. The sound is beautifully full-bodied now and the NOS1 sounds simply superb.

Mani.

PS. Cats 'purr' when they're happy.
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2011, 09:22:08 pm »

Hey Mani, thanks. And great of course.

Well, "purring bass" at least comes up with hits I'd concur with. Won't forget that one.

Thanks,
Peter
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For a general PC :
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*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2011, 10:23:37 pm »

Now it's still the question whether you can hear it (with further implications ??).

Of course I can hear it. This purring character is heard occasionally from the bass on every song throughout Timekeepers.

BTW: The "purring" has a somewhat oscillating nature, A sound slightly "out of control" from the bass itself. It's nice to hear it. It adds to the notes being played. I doubt it is coincidental. The bass player must have done "something" the create it.

It reminds me about the purring bass (guitar!) on another favourite: Shirley Horn Here Is to Life, last track #11 Summer/Estate. Beautiful late evening listening. One of my favourite albums!



* Shirley Horn.jpg (52.46 KB, 250x249 - viewed 703 times.)
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« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2011, 10:46:28 pm »

Ah Pedal, good !

I have that album, and she will be my first tomorrow. grazy

Quote
The bass player must have done "something" the create it.

I think (not sure) that for an electric bass this is about (deliberate !) distortion somehow. That's why I thought this may be an electric bass. Can't find anything about it.
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For the Stealth III LPS PC :
W10-14393.0 - Oct 31, 2018 (2.10)
XXHighEnd Mach III Stealth LPS PC -> Xeon Scalable 14/28 core with Hyperthreading On (set to 10/20 cores) @~660MHz, 48GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 14393.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 30/-/1/1/1/ Q1Factor = 10 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 15ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 140.19  (max 140.19) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / Stop Desktop, Remaining, WASAPI and W10 services / Use Remote Desktop / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD Off (!) / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = 35 / Nervous Rate = 10 / Cool when Idle = n.a / Provide Stable Power = 0 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = Optimal / Time Stability = Stable / *Arc Prediction Filtering (16x)* / Always Clear Proxy before Playback = On -> USB3 from MoBo -> Lush^2*A:B-W-Y-R, B:B-W-R* USB 1m00 -> Phisolator 24/768 Phasure NOS1a/G3 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (16ms) -> B'ASS Current Amplifier -> *Blaxius^2 A:B-R, B:B-R* Interlink -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere (also from the PC).

For a general PC :
W10-10586.0 - May 2016 (2.05+)
*XXHighEnd PC -> I7 3930k with Hyperthreading On (12 cores)* @~500MHz, 16GB, Windows 10 Pro 64 bit build 10586.0 from RAM, music on LAN / Engine#4 Adaptive Mode / Q1/-/3/4/5 = 14/-/1/1/1 / Q1Factor = 1 / Dev.Buffer = 4096 / ClockRes = 1ms / Memory = Straight Contiguous / Include Garbage Collect / SFS = 0.10  (max 60) / not Invert / Phase Alignment Off / Playerprio = Low / ThreadPrio = Realtime / Scheme = Core 3-5 / Not Switch Processors during Playback = Off/ Playback Drive none (see OS from RAM) / UnAttended (Just Start) / Always Copy to XX Drive (see OS from RAM) / All Services Off / Keep LAN - Not Persist / WallPaper On / OSD On / Running Time Off / Minimize OS / XTweaks : Balanced Load = *43* / Nervous Rate = 1 / Cool when Idle = 1 / Provide Stable Power = 1 / Utilize Cores always = 1 / Time Performance Index = *Optimal* / Time Stability = *Stable* / Custom Filter *Low* 705600 / -> USB3 *from MoBo* -> Clairixa USB 15cm -> Intona Isolator -> Clairixa USB 1m80 -> 24/768 Phasure NOS1a 75B (BNC Out) async USB DAC, Driver v1.0.4b (4ms) -> Blaxius BNC interlink *-> B'ASS Current Amplifier /w Level4 -> Blaxius Interlink* -> Orelo MKII Active Open Baffle Horn Speakers.
Removed Switching Supplies from everywhere.

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« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2011, 10:47:42 pm »

Something else, related to the topic “Hi-Fi Bass vs Natural Bass”:

I have used the same amplifier brand for more than 20 years; Dynamic Precision, -huge and very powerful transistor amplifiers made in Norway. The 2 guys behind it came from Tandberg.

These amplifiers lock your bass woofers in an iron grip. Making them go, subjectively, lower in frequency and with very tight and controlled bass. (Combined with lesser loudspeakers, they might even sound too controlled – but that is not the fault of the amplifiers of course!).

Anyway, some years ago I tried out a Krell amplifier in my system. It didn’t sound as tight in the bottom octave, but it had more “boogie factor” in the mid bass. I asked Dynamic Precision about this, and they said that they could create the same “Krell bass” simply by designing the circuits in a special way, reducing the damping factor in a limited part of the bass range. -Actually making the amplifier (slightly) worse in a narrow frequency range, to give longer and “fatter” tones in this particular frequency area. That, they said, was the whole "Krell-secret" (in combination with being otherwise well build/very powerful too, of course).

OK, I said, why don’t you do it? It will sell more amplifiers on demo. The answer I got was “no way are we going to compromise the performance”. If you want Krell-bass, buy Krell. If you want to hear what’s on the recording, buy ours”.
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Hardware: Stealth Mach III > Lush^2 > 24/768 Phasure NOS1a/G3  > active preamp > 3-way active XO > amps > ribbon/dynamic true line source speakers.

Settings all settings as recommended by Peter by October 2019.
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