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Positive Feedback ISSUE 67
Our readers respond…we respond right back!
Hi David, Dave, Greg and you other creative
However, I digress, and should be polite and first introduce myself. My name is Warren Taylor and I reside on the beautiful Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.
My short story finds a man discovering he has unknowingly reached a point where he is confronted with chronic liver failure. Over the next few years he finds himself on a slippery slope where everything in life begins to lose its flavour, including his life-long passion for listening to music. Then, one night, as that unknown black/white hole was fast approaching, he receives the phone call that holds the key to allowing him another opportunity at life because of another human's generosity.
This reborn man finds himself viewing life through eyes, ears, mind and heart with a love that had been sadly absent, yet was only one thought away. Once again he is passionately impacted by music as he was in his youth, when it all meant something and required sharing so others could feel it also. So, having time on his hands while recreating himself, he has an epiphany that perhaps his pleasure could be enhanced by upgrading his trusty old music system. So he becomes the audio detective and goes in search with his trusty assistant "google," which leads him up many dark alleys, dead-end streets, confusing pathways, and contradictory directories. However, our detective understands when you are data mining you must dispose of a lot of rubble to reveal the gems.
The first quality sparkle our audio detective discovers is the audio analyst, which of course leads him to the mother lode, "pf online!" This cache of treasures required due diligence, substantial comparison with other mining ventures, and gradually our detective begins to feel comfortable and more cognizant of the direction he should take. Knowing he has only one opportunity to get it right, with limited funds, the need to future-proof as best he can, the ever-present WAF, and no opportunity to trial equipment, trust of particular reviewers' comments become compelling.
At this juncture a special note of thanks must go to Greg Weaver, whose "meaningful ramblings" set me on my path. I understood that selecting great components was one thing, however without synergy between them……….. First, from Greg I got Jim Smith's Get Better Sound. Understanding my room was component 1 was a big step for me. Now speakers to suit. Greg introduced me to Von Schweikert Audio in a way that triggered an emotion so strong I immediately knew that, although financially it was beyond me now, that was the eventual goal. I would keep my Sonus Faber Signums until then. Well I am happy to report that when such passionate, heartfelt energy was sent out into the universe, a chain of events occurred. Suffice to say I now have a pair of gleaming black Von Schweikert Unifield 3's awaiting other family members to arrive. This is fantastic, notwithstanding it stretched the marital mortgage and led to a small case of shingles. Undaunted, and with Greg's unknowing advice, I am certain Channel Islands Audio Class D monoblocks will be a good and cost-effective match.I am awaiting further funds and advice on whether the D100 MK11 or the D200 MK11 will be best suited.
Then David! I was privileged to watch the seminar you moderated at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest regarding DSD. The pf online mission to educate and entertain was exemplified. You spoke in such a well-informed, compelling manner I knew immediately that my yet-to-be-purchased DAC must have the capacity for DSD playback. This hopefully is the future, and is more likely to become so if more like-minded people participate. The other revelation from your seminar was that one of your panelists turned out to be the generous seller of my new Von Schweikert speakers. Up until that point he had just been a name and a wonderful guy. Now I was even more impressed with the level of service he had accorded me, given his extensive responsibilities.
Playback Designs products sounded magnificent, however, keen to keep my marriage intact, I had to look elsewhere. Requiring a preamp as part of the DAC was a prerequisite for me. My intention is to keep the system as minimalist as possible. At the moment I use a new iMac 27" Quad core i7 running Pure Music. So when I learned about Mytek, watched a seminar with Michal Jurewicz, [who came across as a lovely and clever man], and read your and other reviews, I felt the Mytek may help me get to where I am hoping to go.
Gentlemen, it is with heartfelt gratitude that I thank you for assisting me by sharing your experiences and knowledge from a lifetime of musical understanding and enjoyment. If my ramblings seem a little incoherent, I will blame it on the med's.
First, let me express to you how grateful I am that you chose to take the time out of your busy day to write! I couldn’t help but be moved by your passionate and obviously heart-felt letter. For what it’s worth, I hope you win the Mytek Stereo 192 DAC!
Further, thank you for your kind words regarding the effect my efforts have had in helping guide you along on your unavoidably convoluted and arduous audio journey. It is so gratifying to know that my passion for our hobby/sport/disease, expressed in irregular outbursts of prose, along with the like efforts of my colleagues, has allowed you to move closer to the music you so obviously love. Helping others with such guidance and assistance is the singular reason that I started to write about audio, and continue to do so to this day.
Here’s wishing you a happy first day of winter down in Northeast Australia! Thank you so much for writing….
Another two complete Opus 3 albums are now available on: dsdfile.com - so all in all, there are 5 albums in DSD on our site right now, plus of course the Showcase 1 & 2 albums.
It is a great Jazz Trio album, "Around Midnight" with Johan Dielemans Trio, plus one of our all-time classics: The Stockholm Guitar Quartet, Transcriptions, recorded in 1978.
This album was really a "hit" for Opus 3 in our early days, and I remember so well how astonished people where to hear this spacious, open and three-dimensional sound, in a time, where most classical music was recorded in a studio. Here, it is of course recorded in a nice church from the 11th century!
And this is the first time that sound & music lovers can hear how the Master tape really sounds, thanks to Double DSD at 5.6 MHz!
The Stockholm Guitar Quartet is still unique in the world, playing on 4 differently tuned guitars: One Soprano, one Alto, one ordinary and one Bass guitar covering 6,5 musical octaves. An ordinary acoustic guitar only covers 3,5 octaves.
Because of this, they could transcribe music that does not "fit" on ordinary guitars, like for example Bach´s Brandenburg Concertos, piano music from Debussy and Ravel, etc.
More albums are already prepared and will soon come!
All the best
I'll be seeking out the Ligeti Organ Works on Wergo, a label not typically on my radar, but one which should be. I've found a few great discs in their catalog.
Thank you very much! I'm very impressed - in fact, completely overwhelmed - by the technical acumen I see here.
My take-away of the seminar was, "Enter the world of DSD downloads at your own peril, because the probability of encountering computer-related headaches for one who isn't especially computer-savvy, is very high." This left me discouraged.
The persistent thought I've had since then has been, "Instead of keeping DSD on a computer, why not write these files to a silver disc of some kind?" I suppose this means I just re-invented SACD for myself(!)
I like silver discs because they take-up little room and represent a tangible and reasonably permanent archive of music. Electronic files are just records of electron spin states. So, if I really want to avoid computers as much as possible, can I download DSD files and write them to disc instead of keeping them in computer memory? I know this means I need to add a transport to the playback chain, but is this a reasonable compromise overall?
Again, many thanks for your help. I truly considered it to be a privilege to be able to attend the seminar on Sunday. Also, since I'd imagine you're a very busy person, I would completely understand if you don't have the time to answer my question.
Very best regards,
I do remember you, most definitely. Thanks for your kind comments about our DSD seminar.
Don't let your impression of needing tons of computer acumen hold you back; it's actually simpler that you think. Did you attend our "DSD in the home" seminar on Sunday? We went over your options in DSD playback, for both the PC and the Mac. If you missed it, that presentation will eventually be available online at the THE Show video archives...keep your eyes peeled!
Yes, you can very easily copy your downloaded DSD files to DVD-R discs...I do it all the time. That's easy and cheap to do. It also preserves your files in backup form. Very simple.
Better yet, DSD files on a DVD-R disc can be played by the Oppo BDP-105. You just drop your DVD-R disc in, use your monitor and the remote control to navigate to the DVD-R with the DSD files, and play them. Also very simple...I'm listening to one now, in fact. Plus the Oppo 105 will do SACDs and just about any other disc format out there, including Blu Ray movies!
And at a fantastic price for audiophile quality.
For more on the Oppo BDP-105, check out
All the best,
Dr. David W. Robinson
Editor-in-Chief, Positive Feedback Online
BTW: PFO is a good online info source.
BTW2: I bought the Monarchy DAC PCM63 DAC on Lynn's recommendation.
Thank you for your help.
For the record, I use a DAC 24, SAS preamp, and a First Watt J2 amp and Reference 3a DeCapos.
Best to all of you!
Dear John Hoffman,
I plan on commenting more about the I-20 in a separate article about that device. Just haven't gotten around to it yet. It is a very nice little iPod dock, and though it does sound pretty good using it's own built in DAC, playing out through the SP/DIF output into the Wyred4Sound DAC was quite a bit better still. With the 320 kpbs files that comprise most of my iPod's music, the difference were noticable, but not huge. Playing some Apple Lossless files made a bigger difference, mostly in terms of overall transparency, detail, soundstage size. Tonally, there wasn't much if any difference to write about.
Using the TOSLINK connection was a noticeable downgrade in sound. In fact, I preferred a cable out of the headphone jack to the dock with the TOSLINK connection. Just lost too much in terms of dynamics and detail. I do like the uDAC's TOSLINK input for my ATT Uverse receiver. Makes movies fun, and certainly better than the analog audio output of that receiver.
But, for a dock with digital outputs costing under $100, I really like the I-20. Next year it will be the main source for my son's college system.
Oh, and thanks for reading my article!
The Higher End
About the "expectation of privacy" and those emails to Positive Feedback Online…
Ye Olde Editor
We do like hearing from you, our readers. It adds a great deal fun to what we do, encourages our editors and writers, provides information we may have missed, and correction that we may need. This is all to the good.
Your communication with us these days is almost always via the highly rational path of email. And we do read it, responding to the constructive correspondence—which is most of it, really—as quickly as possible. (The destructive stuff is routed directly to the bit bucket. Didn't yo' mama teach you better than that?!) Dave Clark and I are generally pretty rapid in getting back to you if a response is needed from us, or in re-directing inquiries to the appropriate person at PFO if it needs to go to an editor or writer.
By the way: please understand that the writers and editors at PFO are helpful folks, eager to assist their fellow audio/music lovers, or they wouldn't be doing what they're doing. Nevertheless, PFO is not an audio consulting service. Please do not clog the gears with complex requests for assistance with the sourcing of audio gear in your personal setting. Remember too that PFO is not, and has never been, an audio ombudsman. If you are having problems with a particular vendor, company, or dealer, please avail yourself of the normal channels for such resolution; no audio publication has the time or resources to take on such a responsibility for consumers. Enough said.
With an increasing flow of emails to Positive Feedback Online, and upon evidence of some recent confusion on the part of our email correspondents, it's become necessary to re-state the ground rules by which we operate here. So gather round the campfire, friends…
Any time an email, or an exchange of emails, is both constructive and of potential wider interest, we exercise the reserved right to publish it in "Reverberations," the letters section of PFO. This is, after all, a publication, a "journal for the audio arts." We are seeking to further educate and entertain our readership in our common love for fine audio, and contributions in the form of emails/letters from our readers are one way that we accomplish this goal. When you write to any of us… our essayists and reviewers included… we assume that you are aware of our nature as a publication, and that you write to us in the light of that knowledge.
This means that—unless you request confidentiality explicitly in your email or letter—there is no expectation of privacy here at Positive Feedback Online.
To put it another way: Any email or letter sent to this journal will be considered fair game for publication, unless you state in the document itself that the contents are private/confidential.
So… our default is PUBLISH.
The reverse is also true: the editors do reserve the right not to publish an email or letter. We are not obligated to publish your letter or comments simply because they are submitted. And hostile, negative, sarcastic, destructive emails or letters are never published.
So…sometimes we DON'T PUBLISH.
Finally, our subtitle for "Reverberations"—"Our readers respond—we respond right back!" is not a guarantee that we will always respond to an email or letter that is published. Often we do; sometimes we don't… usually when we don't, it's a case of res ipsa loquitur.
So finally… sometimes we PUBLISH WITHOUT RESPONSE.
I think that makes things clear. Having said all of this in the name of clarity, keep those cards and letters coming in!
All the best,
David W. Robinson