System Synergy - Special Sound

Discussion in 'General Audio Gear Discussion' started by atomicbob, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. johnjen

    johnjen Friend

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    Hoo Boy…
    1st up, a hearty THANKS to atomicbob for this opportunity to explore the differences between the Bimby and Gumby dacs.
    We talked about a great many things, listened to some fine music, tweaked the setup, compared notes, and we both learned a great deal.
    Which really is the best part.
    AND since we both agreed with a great deal of the info we shared, we both confirmed (to ourselves anyway) we AREN'T CRAZY, or, er, well, any more crazy than the rest of you who will read this. :D

    And now the rest of the story…

    So to set the scene and paint a picture of who and what was involved here…
    Think DR. Science and the neighborhood kid, Jimmy, in the back of the good DRs. laboratory with all of the sciency stuff glowing and humming with a bunch of ongoing experiments in one state of operation or another.
    And then DR. Science sez,
    “Here Jimmy, hold these 2 wires…”
    So of course Jimmy gets to experience, first hand, :D the wonders of electricity and for these experiments some acoustics as well.

    These are the results of this joint effort…

    We were using a bel canto e.One REFlink DDC (digital to digital converter) to send a SPDIF data stream to both DACS which was fed via usb from the laptop, running JRiver, Sonarworks Ref 3 plug-in, in Windoz 10.
    And we used a Radial Engineering TwinISO balanced to SE converter, which uses Jensen transformers, so it’s a passive conversion.
    This way we could try either the balanced or the SE outputs from the Gumby and compare them to the Bimby.

    We also were using a Goldpoint (SA1X) passive balanced attenuator to level match the balanced to SE converted outputs of the Gumby to the Bimby.
    We did manage to get them matched within ≈ 0.26dB.
    And we used a 2nd Goldpoint (SA2) passive attenuator and selector, for the A/B function to control (with fixed steps for easy repeatability) the overall gain to the amp.

    Our conclusions are (the envelope please)…
    The Bimby (SE only) and Gumby (using the SE output) are or can be REALLY close.
    Cables will have a greater net effect, (ie. will further 'color' the end results), MOAR than the differences between these 2 dacs, in SE mode.

    We played around with SE interconnects and where the 'best' cables went, that was the 'better' sound.
    In fact when we 1st started, the Bimby had the ‘best’ cables and the Gumby had the ‘not best’ cables.
    I figured (not yet knowing this) based upon the overall sound signature I was listening to the Gumby when in fact it was the Bimby.
    So we switched the SE cables and even tried a pair of real short Pyst cables, and that’s when we figured out that the ‘best’ DAC followed the ‘best’ cables.
    When identical cables were used the differences were so close, it was simply amazing.
    Yes there were barely perceptible differences, but they were so slight, I lack the vocabulary to enunciate them with any real degree of elucidation… :D

    In addition I heard a reduction in output of upper mid to top end when the signal passed thru the balanced to SE passive xfrmr and passive balanced attenuator. Which in some cases (think poorly mastered CD’s with ‘etch’) could be of benefit.
    So the SE outputs from the Gumby was ‘better’ than the converted balanced outputs, in terms of matching the SQ output to the Bimby, when driving a SE’d amp, using this setup.

    So in effect if you’re running in SE mode only, the Bimby is a no brainer at $600.
    And if you have a balanced amp then, perhaps, the Gumby or Jggy might be worth twice or 4 times the cost of the Bimby.

    We were using the Project Sunrise III amp and after we dropped the output impedance to it’s lowest setting while feeding both the 800's or the 650’s, the bass came up nicely as well as a tetch bit more 'sparkle' (slightly better inner details and definition) in the mids and up.

    I think that was when we heard a guy cough/wheeze at the beginning of the Reference Recording of the Firebird suite in 172.4K native rez.
    What I heard was a guy semi-stifling a cough (he exhaled/wheezed over a second or 2 instead of a plosive cough) during a sorta quieter passage in the first minute or so.
    It’s like when you hear someone drop a pencil or pen on the floor, or the shuffling of paper (sheet music?) or the musicians joking in the background, or hear the ‘degree’ of audience participation etc., all while the musicians are playing.
    But what is truly significant here is not that you can hear these background ‘events’, but that you can clearly identify them for what they are.
    THAT is when you know you’re hearing something special.

    And now that this level of ‘transparency’ has become available in a $600 dac, well I figure the dac world is in for, shall we say, a bit of a re-shuffle.

    We both agreed that the Sonarworks EQ plug-in REALLY helped as well, especially when it gets dialed in by playing with the ‘knobs’ just a bit.

    Interesting Observation Alert!
    Has anyone else noticed the comments being made recently, with increasing regularity, that people are finding it REALLY HARD to take their headphones off and STOP listening?
    These Multibit dacs are delivering this level of IMPERATIVE involvement at a price point that ANYone who wants a decent headphone based audio system can afford, even if it’s one piece at a time.
    Lately, I too have been subjected to this extra late night, blurried eyes in the morning routine, but my dac didn’t cost $600.
    And to be able to listen to a system that is so captivating and involving that it DEMANDS your attention to the point that it’s 3am and you think, just one more, and no I won’t look at the clock, I don’t want to know what time it is… :D

    I’m seeing more and more evidence of this is happening…

    And now back to our regular program of dance music…
    er no, wait,
    what…?

    So in this case, when the phase reversal trick, along with, the Sonarworks DSP plugin, (after tweaking it just a bit), and adding just a touch of subsonic bass, are all combined with this system, the end results are most gratifying.
    And in some cases the results can be quite unexpected.

    Next we simplified the entire setup and used the Bimby via a direct USB data feed from the laptop to the Sunrise amp driving the 800’s and 650’s.
    I immediately noticed a change in the ‘density’ of the acoustical soundstage. The USB had more ‘there’ there, when compared to the usb to spdif converted signal we were using previously.
    It had greater impact and what I refer to as coupling. This is where the acoustical energy has more ‘power’ behind it.
    IOW the signal presented to my ears had more presence, power, and impact due to what I describe as better timing and precision in terms of the reconstructed analog signal from its digital source.

    THEN we played around with the short (11" to ≈ 24") 4pin xlr to 1/4" balanced to unbalanced adapters, which we used to plug in the balanced HPs into the Sunrise amp.

    I really was amazed at how much difference we could hear between the 6 different adapters.
    I figured it might be rather slight to near impossible to tell, I mean it’s like all we did was try 6 different chunks of 1-2’ of wire, but instead there was a great deal more variation than I anticipated.
    It may have had something to do with the different lengths, except the 2 ‘best’ were almost the longest and almost the shortest cables of the bunch.
    It may have something to do with metallurgy, or perhaps the physical construction of the wires, but again the 2 ‘best’ were radically different types of wires, so I really can’t say why these 2 were the ‘best’ of those we had on hand.

    Here is the collection of cables we used.
    Maybe we should see who can guess which pair were the best?
    cbls.jpg

    And here is the whole setup after being reduced down to it’s simplest configuration.
    cables:setup.jpg

    That Sunrise amp is a real sleeper.
    To be able to pair well with both the 650’s and 800’s means it scales really well right along with the Bimby and with other ‘optional’ hardware tweaks (like a better outboard power supply, cables, etc.)
    It has the best of all worlds, (runs in class A, NO feedback, tube and mosfet, 6 or 12 volt tubes, easy bias etc. etc.) all neatly setup in an easy to tweak/configure/tube roll/package.
    And it scales REALLY well right along with the HD 650’s

    Which all combine in this killer ≈ $1500 system to make for hours and hours of tweaking and listening enjoyment.
    AND this is not only a REALLY good starter package, but is good enough to act as a reference system for any further improvements, or for building a second system.


    Here is the list of equipment we used during all of this.

    JRiver MC20 in Windoz 10
    Sonarworks Ref 3 HP compensation DSP plug-in
    bel canto e.One REFlink USB to SPDIF converter
    Schiit Gungnir MB DAC (Gumby)
    Schiit Bifrost MB DAC (Bimby)
    Garage 1217 Project Sunrise III amp with Electro-Harmonix 12BH7 tube
    Talema LPS 25VA linear power supply for PS-III
    Goldpoint SA2 passive attenuation with switch for A/B selection
    Goldpoint SA1X balanced passive attenuation (Gumby balance output matching)
    Radial Engineering TwinISO with Jensen transformers (balanced to unbalance conversion)
    Sennheiser HD650 headphones (stock) BTG Audio Sunset cable
    Sennheiser HD800 headphones (stock) Norne Audio Draug cable
    Sennheiser HD800 headphones (modded) SAA Endorphine cable, hardwired
    Tecnec SPDIF cables with Canare LV-77S broadcast video 75 ohm cable.
    AudioQuest Forest USB cable
    Sescom XLRM to XLRF cables with Neutrik connectors and Canare L-4E6S starquad cable
    Sescom XLRF to RCA cables with Neutrik connectors and Canare L-4E6S starquad cable
    Custom XLRF to XLRM four pin polarity reversal adapter with Neutrik connectors and Canare L-4E6S cable
    DH Labs Silver Sonic Air Matrix RCA interconnects
    Schiit Pyst RCA interconnects
    Blue Jeans cables RCA interconnects
    * Q Audio TRS to 4-pin XLRF adapter
    * Custom TRS to 4-pin XLRF adapter (Neutrik TRS and XLR connectors, Canare L-4E6S cable)
    * BTG Audio Sunset TRS to 4-pin XLRF adapter (Furutech TRS, Neutrik XLR)
    * Norne Audio Draug TRS to 4-pin XLRF adapter
    * Custom TRS to 4-pin XLRF adapter (Neutrik connector and cut end of HD600 stock cable with TRS connector)
    * Zy Hifi TRS to 4-pin XLRF adapter

    Music from 44.1K to 192K
    HD Tracks and Reference Recordings for high rez sources.

    The *’d items are the adapters we tested…

    All in all, we learned some really ‘gud’ stuff’!


    So Jimmy did live to tell the tale, for one and all to read and gain a few more data points from, even after holding those 2 wires. :D

    But now Jimmy’s dilemma has grown even greater…
    Bimby - $600 ?
    Gumby - $600 x 2 ?
    Jggy - $600 x 4 ?

    Which one is the ‘right’ one for Jimmy’s requirements…?

    Choices - choices, decisions - decision,
    It’s so hard to choose, any more.
    B, or G, or J?


    JJ
     

  2. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

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    For those ready to get their air polluted by some solder flux fumes, quite a nice budget friendly rig is EHHA rev A and Soekris Dam dac with HD650 or HD800 for under 1k$ parts cost.
    While not exactly giant killer rig as it's not quite going to equal a Yggdrasil+EC 2a3 MK2 combo per say, it's still not outleaqued (subject to point of reference of course).

    Edit: Why? The proposed rig outputs robust and complete sound from HD800 and HD650 unlike numerous other similarly priced options I have tried. The Ehha will lack the final word in fluidity and microdynamics of good triode amp, while still besting a freakin' 10k$ Pinnacle as a whole package. The Soekris Dam will lack the ultimate grip of sound trails and soundstage completeness of Yggs, but then what do you expect for the money. Soekris's dac will be better match to HD650 (old) as it holds these back less and is better synergy tonally.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2015
  3. bixby

    bixby Friend

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    Wow, really nice, in depth write-up. Funny how the cables can make some rather big changes vs dacs. And so many get so amped up on dac differences and which is best, etc, then they go and throw a Monoprice cable in the mix and say cables don't matter. Well, they shouldn't but do. Nice to hear someone else says they can hear more difference in a cable swap than between two fairly disparately priced dacs.

    This kind of brings another dilemma to Jimmy's table. How much to you allocate in dollars for cables and when do you reach the point where you find a great value cable and pair it with the most expensive dac vs a pricier one and the lower priced dac. Again, sanity would have to rule, and there are great sounding cables for not a lot of money.

    As for the USB direct vs SPDIF arrangement. I have a friend who uses a DS Gungnir and has ordered a Gumby, but runs it via coax spdif, Hydra Z bridge, fed by powerless USB from IFi Power, via another powerless USB back to a Mac mini. My question to him was how much of what you are hearing is the 5 connections you have lashed before the dac? ..........no answer...............

    And my guess for the better sounding adapters are: ;)
    BTG Audio Sunset
    Custom TRS to 4-pin XLRF adapter (Neutrik connector and cut end of HD600 stock cable with TRS connector)

    Thanks for the write-up and opinions. Very informative!
     
  4. batriq

    batriq Friend

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    Somewhat related to the "cable" question: I noticed in the pictured the stock PCs were used. Do aftermarket power chords make a difference with the MB DACs? Did you guys try any, and if not, do you have any experience with changing the stock PC for at least the Bifrost MB?
     
  5. atomicbob

    atomicbob Friend

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    We did not have two identical aftermarket cables with which to make a consistent A/B comparison between the two DACs. We were attempting to keep differential variables to a minimum. The results you see posted were obtained from more than 6 hrs of data collection and several hours of write-up by @johnjen .
     
  6. batriq

    batriq Friend

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    Thank you for these details! The amount of work you guys put in is tremendous and very much apparent from @johnjen 's post. This test was very relevant for me because I only use SE outputs and was wondering if it is worth moving up from the Multifrost to the Gumby, or enjoy it now and save up for the Yggy later (I'm using the Multifrost in my main speaker system). The DAC is being fed from a Marantz CD/SACD player through coax. Currently, for some recordings I prefer the Multifrost, while for others I prefer the internal Marantz DAC.

    Note that Schiit switched my whole motherboard in the Bifrost since I had one of the original models (I could tell because the optical and RCA inputs are different, and the LEDs are less bright) so it probably still needs more time to break-in beyond the usual warm-up time. I can go into details about which recordings were preferred on which DAC but I want to repeat the test after a few weeks (note that the first "test" above was a blind test).

    Anyway, separately from this session, have you tried after market PC's with the Multifrost and noticed any differences?
     
  7. atomicbob

    atomicbob Friend

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    No. I have tried a Cavalli Audio Liquid Crimson with the Multifrost and noted a difference. :D I'm still listening.
     
  8. batriq

    batriq Friend

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    LOL. Got it :)
     
  9. johnjen

    johnjen Friend

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    Hoo Boy…
    Part Deux


    Hoo Boy is back for a 2nd test of the differences between these 2 Schiit DACS.
    And they are even smaller than I thought, while running in SE mode.

    During our preceding exploration of these 2 dacs using the Sunrise amp and HD650, the differences were so slight that it was hard to pick one over the other in terms of SQ alone.

    In my research I have found that when the differences are ≈10% or less, the ability to reliably differentiate such differences, as slight as these, is essentially naught.
    IOW I couldn’t tell one from the other in terms of which was ‘better’.
    And as I stated, “Yes there were barely perceptible differences, but they were so slight, I lack the vocabulary to enunciate them with any real degree of elucidation… [​IMG]”, and this evaluation still holds true.

    So for this next stage of evaluation we substituted for the ‘lowly’ Project Sunrise III, for the brand new, hot off of the production line, Cavalli Crimson amp, which some consider THE hot item right now.
    I figured the Crimson’s ‘superior’ resolution, power, SoTA design and tighter tolerances in manufacturing would reveal more of the differences between these 2 dacs.
    And so I figured it would be ‘easy(er)’ to pick which dac was ‘better’.
    That was my bias heading into this round of tests.

    And this time we had a truly hardware matched evaluation setup.
    ALL the wires for the Bimby were identical to those used with the Gumby, right down to the power cables, and up to the bel canto SPDIF converter.
    This included their lengths, type of wire used, the connectors etc.

    The A/B selector switch and stepped attenuator was the same as before (Goldpoint SA2 passive attenuation with switch for A/B selection), but this time the wiring was ‘hidden’ so neither of us victims volunteers knew which dac was assigned to which switch position.

    I utterly failed, again, to clearly tell which dac was which.

    I knew that there was a 0.5dB gain difference between the dacs but that was the extent of’ my foreknowledge.
    Only atomicBob knew which dac was ‘hotter’, so Big Poppa and I were left to figure which dac was which.

    Yeah the ever so slight differences remained and we both detected and correctly identified the 0.5dB gain difference using the A/B switch, and we both identified an ever so slight change of nuance in tonality as well.
    That we could tell an improvement in SQ of the lowered output Gumby attests to the SQ of these 2 dacs and our ability to peer into the music and counter the difference (albeit 0.5dB) in gain.
    And we (at least I) assumed/guessed this was the Gumby, but it was FAR to close to make a definitive assessment.
    Both dacs presented a lovely sonic image with detail and resolution and precise image position and outline definition.
    I simply couldn’t definitively tell, they were that close.

    And when Big Poppa picked out the Gumby he said, “it was splitting frog hairs”.
    He figured there was like a 1-2% difference between these 2 dacs, which made it really hard for him to tell them apart.
    And he was unfamiliar with the music we were using, whereas I was familiar, so along with hearing the 0.5dB difference in gain, his ability to hear which was ‘better’ is all the more impressive.

    And speaking of familiarity of the music…
    We have one track that we use to help us with delineating ultra fine inner details and focus.
    Have you ever heard a track with the sound of rain falling that actually sounds like rain?
    Not a swishing nor a phisssing sound but of actual rain drops falling on the ground and you can actually sense the ‘wetness’ of the rain and hear it change as it rains harder?

    This is a real true test of any system’s ability to recreate and present the acoustical signature of rain, such that it is unmistakable, ie. you KNOW its rain and not a facsimile nor some sound effect that sorta sounds like rain.
    This is no small task as this sound resembles the sound of masking (white or pink noise), such that only a highly resolving system will be able to differentiate the sound of rain from ‘noise’.

    The Bimby can and does fulfill this task, even on the $1500 system we tested before the Crimson amp was put to the test.

    But wait, there’s more…
    This test track has the rain in the background, which means the foreground instruments are playing over the top of the rain.
    This additional foreground layer makes it even moar difficult to hear the rain as rain.

    Yet the Bimby and the Gumby deliver enough of the presence and subtle intonation of rain such that rain IS what is heard and not some semblance of rain.
    I swear I can hear the moisture in the air change as it rains harder.
    And of course living up here in the PNW, where we KNOW rain, certainly helps keep us familiarized with its sound, all to often… [​IMG]

    Bonus points for those who recognize this obscure quotation… [​IMG]
    “And now we return you to the further adventures of Nick Danger 3rd eye…”


    So our collective sets of ears and experience were stymied by these two sets of tests.

    Which also tells us that the differences between the Sunrise III ($250) and the Crimson ($2,850) amps were not enough to help differentiate these 2 dacs either.
    They truly ARE that close in SE mode.

    And it should also be noted that Bob had listened to “a pile of 9 pin tubes” before settling upon a 12BH7 for the Sunrise III amp because it had;
    1. no microphonics
    2. minimal internal electronic noise which disappeared upon completion of powerage
    3. excellent bandwidth
    4. best overall sound
    5. currently in production and available for $22 (not unobtainum ridiculous prices)
    Which points directly at the Sunrise’s versatility and tweakability as it ‘encourages’ tube rolling so easily.

    And again we shared stories, and valuable information as to what we have learned, both what works and what doesn’t, which often times is much more valuable.
    We listened to some good music and scratched our heads even more than in the 1st session.
    And if this keeps up we may need to join the hair club for men… [​IMG]

    So here is a picture of the setup, in which you can see the sonarworks plugin running in JRiver,
    which then feeds the bel canto e.One REFlink usb to spdif DDC (digital to digital converter),
    which then feeds both of the dacs,
    which then are routed to the A/B switched, stepped attenuator,
    with DH Labs Silver Sonic Air Matrix cables used for all RCA interconnects
    which then drives the Cavalli Crimson amp,
    and lastly the HD650 headphones.

    [​IMG]




    So what does all of this tell us?
    1st…
    The family resemblance between these 2 dacs is mighty strong.
    And even though there are major technical differences (dac chips used) and the change in sophistication of the support circuitry, (the power supplies and digital circuit paths that feed the actual dac chips, not to mention the analog output circuitry), are quite different between these 2 units.
    And granted the Gumby delivers both balanced and single ended (SE) outputs of which we have only evaluated it’s SE outputs thus far.

    But what they DO have in common is that a DSP controller is feeding the data stream to the dac chips using the “supercomboburrito” filter.
    And this one single commonality seems to be the deciding factor in why they sound so similar but also do so independent of the design of the ’support’ hardware used.

    This is a remarkable achievement for Mike Moffat, and his design, development and implementation team(s) that have brought to the entire field of audio, by any standard or measure.
    To be able to have nearly the same degree of performance of a dac at 1/2 or even 1/4 of the price of its’ progenitors is remarkable for a variety of reasons.

    I remain astonished at their technological achievements.

    2nd…
    Improving the ‘quality’ of the amp did not really aid in differentiating these 2 dacs.
    Granted the Crimson needed more break-in time to be able to reach full resolution and focus.
    Still the Crimson had some additional resolving capability and dynamics etc. but all of that didn’t help us.
    These dacs are so close that if your system is SE only, there is really no reason in terms of audible SQ to spend any more $.

    And it should be mentioned that these 2 amps share similar design objectives, namely they both use a dual triode tube for input voltage gain and solid state mosfets for the output current gain.
    Which may account for the degree of close similarity between these 2 amps which are at near opposite ends of the $$$-$$$$ continuum.

    And as atomicbob noted, the Crimson is like a highly focused race car, its performance so ‘tweaked’ that it richly rewards the listener when used with source components and headphones equally as capable. [​IMG]

    Whereas the Sunrise is much easier to live with, and tweak/tube roll, and adapt to the specific needs of a wide range of setups.

    Lastly, our aim is to pursue audio gear that is truly worthy such that it creates a special auditory experience. These amps, dacs, headphones and related gear are special in that way, and they work VERY well together to create a system that demands that you keep listening, regardless of what time it is, what else you should be doing, no matter how raised the eyebrows of SWMBO become. [​IMG]

    These components are magical when used together.
    And they deliver an immersive and addicting experience as music you once thought you knew,
    is discovered anew,
    all over again.

    I remain astonished at these technological achievements which atomicbob has brought together which result in astonishing qualitative improvements, along with the IMPERATIVE nature (as in I MUST listen) of the experience.
    I think we all are witnessing milestones in the making.

    JJ
    ps I just discovered that I also have that same track of the Firebird with the guy coughing. It happens about 10 seconds into the piece. And for the first time I have a sonic difference I can directly attribute to the superiority of the Bimby/Gumby dacs vs. my PWD.

    And yes I can hear him cough, but it wasn’t as distinct, nor as individuated.
    IOW listening to the Bimby/Gumby, his cough was distinct enough to draw attention to itself, whereas my PWD is more ‘subtle’.
    But once I knew what it was and that it was there, it was easier to hear, but it’s just not as distinct.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015
  10. Yuanathan

    Yuanathan Rando

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    JJ thanks for the detailed post, it was very informative!
     
  11. johnjen

    johnjen Friend

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    Thanks!

    But I can't take even half of the credit since atomicbob did all the work and all we had to do was listen…
    It's a tough situation but someone has to do it… ;)

    JJ
     
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  12. rott

    rott Secretly hates other millenials - Friend

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    @atomicbob can you link to a product listing of the 12BH7 you used? Which specific brand?

    I see on Garage1217 that they have several "12BH7A" and am trying to find out what the difference is.
     
  13. atomicbob

    atomicbob Friend

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    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  14. rott

    rott Secretly hates other millenials - Friend

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    Thank you, somehow kept missing that bit in your component list(s).

    Curious about the DH Labs Silver Sonic Air Matrix RCA interconnects - compared to more pedestrian interconnects such as the Pyst, did they in any way diminish anything noticeable (soundstage/width) while at the same time enhancing whatever they specifically enhanced (detail, etc.)?

    Is it a fair assumption that using silver interconnects between Bimby and amp could somewhat counter its relative warmness (compared to Gumby)?
     
  15. atomicbob

    atomicbob Friend

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    The Electro-Harmonix 12BH7 is a nice sounding, reasonably priced current production tube. not some NOS unobtainum.
    In Part Deux above, all interconnects were identical and were the DH Labs cable mentioned. I'll let @johnjen answer the difference between Pyst and the Silver Sonic Air Matrix. He is better at describing that than I.
     
  16. johnjen

    johnjen Friend

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    As was mentioned the differences between these 2 dacs in SE mode were so small I couldn't describe the differences, as I lack sufficient vocabulary.

    IOW, given the goal of evaluating a $1500 complete system and that the Bimby was so close to its' bigger brother, it was a no-brainer in choosing the Bimby as the dac.

    As for using "coughs, rain drops, farts and insect wings" etc. it isn't so much that these subtle details are or can be heard but that you can IDENTIFY them as what they are.
    THAT is what is so startling.

    That is why I mentioned that we use the sound of rain as but one of the tests.
    It is all to often heard but not recognized for what it is, namely rain falling.

    Being able to recognize these subtle sounds and hear into them (when it begins to rain harder) etc., is remarkable in and of itself.
    And to be able to do this on a $1500 system is astonishing.

    JJ
     
  17. johnjen

    johnjen Friend

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    Now yer gunna make me hafta remember back a few weeks…o_O

    During the 1st test setup we tried 3 different sets of cables, the Pyst by Schiit, the DH Labs Silver Sonic Air Matrix, and the Blue Jeans RCA interconnects.
    The DH Labs cables were the 'best' we had on hand, with the Pyst as 2nd best, and the Blue Jeans cables 3rd.
    I figure one major factor why the Pyst came in 2nd was they were VERY short (like 6"), while the other 2 sets were like 2 to 3' in length.

    As for what I noticed, well the 1st test compared the DH labs to the Blue Jeans and the differences were as if veil dropped down and obscured some of the details. This was improved when we tried the Pyst cables but the veil while less obvious, was still there.
    This is when we figured out that the SQ difference followed the cables and not the dacs.

    As for specific differences the DH labs cables use silver cladded over copper where as the Blue Jeans are just copper, as are the Pyst cables (I would guess).
    And of course the RCA connectors play a role as well, with the DH Labs connectors using a 'barrel pinch down' type.

    But the use of the silver in the wires and the barrel pinch RCA connectors was clearly an advantage over even the much shorter Pyst cables.

    And in terms of how much difference there was if I were to 'rate' them would be a 20-25% loss of inner detail and musical enjoyability between the best and 3rd place. And the Pyst cables were in the middle but closer to the DH labs cables.

    Clearly in this system the influence of the silver cables was noticeable and helped remove (or not create) a veil from the soundstage.
    There was a sense of direct connectedness to the music, which is one of the hallmarks of these dacs that was diminished by the other cables.
    IOW the DH Labs cables presented this connectedness with a greater degree of palpable 'realness', than the other 2 cables.

    JJ
     
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  18. johnjen

    johnjen Friend

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    Ah, I see now.

    Let me just say that when all of the pieces of any system work well together and as I put it, 'When the system gets out of its own way', then all manner of subtle and meaningful additional information (some never before heard) becomes much more evident and noticeable.
    This is, or can be, a good thing depending upon if these sorts of sonic attributes are sought after.

    But once these inner details have been experienced it sets a new level of desirability (again if these traits are considered as 'good') and the desire to attain and enjoy this new level of enjoyment becomes a driving influence.
    IOW as the saying goes…

    "Sorry about your wallet!"

    JJ \/
     
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  19. rott

    rott Secretly hates other millenials - Friend

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    Reading up more on the Liquid Carbon and trying to get a feel for whether it'd be worth choosing the Gumby rather than the Bimby to go with it, came across this in the LC thread on HF and thought it was somewhat pertinent to your findings (HF'er who reported his findings is well loved here I believe).
     
  20. johnjen

    johnjen Friend

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    I am writing a series of articles that can be used to "describe the impact of the equipment on the music".
    Or more accurately stated, it's noticing and characterizing changes in the music to determine, due to changes in the equipment, if the system has been improved, ie. is truly 'better' or just different.
    Or not.

    It is on the head-fi site in the DIY section called a DIY'rs Cookbook.

    What these observations can be used for is to determine if changes made are truly improvements, or are just differences.
    Theses tools can also be used to help us pay attention to those subtle (and not so subtle) cues so we can hear 'into' the music and appreciate it all the more.

    JJ
     
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