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Other Hi-fi and AV junkies anonymous

Discussion in 'General' started by Mister_Tad, 16 Jun 2020.

  1. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    I looked at some fitted blinds on rails for each door and window for my media room, ones which would have 100% blackout efficacy, but every quote was way more than I was interested in spending.

    Didn't want the bulk of blackout curtains.

    I opted for some made to measure vertical blackouts in the end, a plain fabric in almost an exact shade match for three walls, which do a good enough job to darken the room as needed.

    Most online blinds places will send you dozens of samples at no cost.
     
  2. Mr_Mistoffelees

    Mr_Mistoffelees The Cat Lies Down on Broadway

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    Pathos Aurium, the want has become strong. 2 or 3 months and victory will be mine.:grin:

    A question for people with knowledge of stereo interconnects. When I used to have a system of hifi separates (early 80s mid-range Technics), all interconnects were RCA, with the new amp and my M-DAC I will have the option of unbalanced RCA or balanced XLR. Now my understanding is that the XLR option is technically superior, has anyone compared the two and, if so, what is your finding when listening?
     
    Last edited: 22 Jun 2020
  3. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    Use balanced interconnects because they're technically superior and XLR is cool.

    I've tried both (with an M-DAC and Pathos combo as it happens), and whilst it was difficult to A-B because the XLR was a bit louder (so the knee jerk was to say it sounded better), when the volume was levelled out, and I really concentrated, I wasn't sure there was a big difference, which probably meant there wasn't. This was over a 18" run, over longer lengths your mileage may vary.

    There are all sorts of reasons my testing was flawed, not least the fact at this point the hifi was crammed into a study that was way too small for it (this is around the time I traded the MDAC out for an rPac). I continued to use XLR whilst I had it for the aforementioned reasons though.

    EDIT: Now I think of it, that was the second time I tested back and forth. The first was with an E-MU 1212M and Tannoy Reveal Active monitors (both of which are balanced only) - switched from a possibly-janky adapter based setup to use RCA cables I already had to balanced cables and there was certainly an improvement. This could have been because of getting rid of adapters, because of a longer run (10') in an electrically noisy environment in the rats nest behind my desk, or because of confirmation bias - or a bit of all three. Sound quality questions aside, background hiss was significantly reduced.
     
    Last edited: 22 Jun 2020
  4. jinq-sea

    jinq-sea 'write that down in your copy book' Super Moderator

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    XLR. Because balanced is best. Plus, imagine the distance you could run. Speakers on the moon!
     
  5. Mr_Mistoffelees

    Mr_Mistoffelees The Cat Lies Down on Broadway

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    Thanks both for your thoughts. I'll go with XLR, seems to me it would be daft not to.
     
  6. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    So they arrived on Friday. Packaging was exactly described & wouldn't look out of place on a market stall in Bethnal Green.
    First listen, f**k me they're bright, these things were brighter than my DT990's (and that's saying something).
    So I left them running for a bit to let the drivers warm up & relax a bit.

    Second listen, much better. Still bright but less piercing than the DT990's but compared to the Grado's there's a lot of top end.
    Added a boost to the bass/low-mids on the iFi Zen and things are a lot more balanced.

    Running through a few test tracks on Tidal, using the iFi Zen as the DAC & Amp, here's some of the things that stood out:
    "Give it away (2014 Remaster)" by RHCP on Tidal Masters is unlistenable, far too much going on up top & the snare is extremely thin. This happens on other bright cans (sometimes to an even higher extent).

    "i_0, lights" by AM444 - wow, with the iFi's TRUEBASS enabled (& high gain) these things have a decent amount of slam & depth to the bass. Not a massive amount of sub (compared to B&W P7's for example) but it's there.

    "Your Song" by Elton John on Tidal Masters has good separation and detail in the top end but Elton seems to lack the power & depth in his voice.

    "Final View From The Rooftops" by London Elektricity on Tidal MAsters. Good separation & detail again, a decent amount of bass when it kicks in and doesn't get too muddy when it gets busy but again the mids feel a little thin.

    As an experiment I then connected the rear outputs if the Zen to a Loxjie P20 amp via RCA (as I'm waiting for my balanced adapter to arrive still).

    Leaving the Truebass & Power Match (gain) enabled I listened again and this made a world of difference. The tubes really warm up these headphones the brittleness on the highs was gone, mids got a bit more body & the bass became fuller.
    Definitely didn't sounds like they cost me £25 delivered.

    If you're going to plug these straight in to a device and just hit play, they're too bright and thin. They have detail and sound much better than they should for the money but lack some of the warmth of other headphones however, they're by no means bad and providing you don't mind a bit of tweaking they're fun and rather enjoyable.

    I think I might try adding a layer or two of felt in front of the drivers and give them another few listens.
     
    Last edited: 24 Jun 2020
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  7. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    I'm thinking I might leave them... if it was an unreserved "these are great" then I'm all in, but it sounds like the "for the price" caveat definitely creeps in. It would be fair to say I've backed myself into a corner in terms of expectations, so maybe I just don't get to have nice headphones until I actually need them for some reason or another.

    You raise another interesting topic though - the go-to reference material. You seem to have a list (I'm working through it now), care to share it?

    I can find it frustrating when, for instance, SSAV have given me a <thing> for a week to play with for a week - I have a few go-tos that I know are superb recordings and other than that I chuck on what I'm listening to at the moment, but then it's a question of whether it's a ropey recording or not... and often it's not not.

    My few "see what the kit is made of" go-tos, the ones that I know how they could sound (and have listened to on a zillion setups)...
    - Nirvana, unplugged in NY
    - Norah Jones, come away with me/feels like home
    - Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
    - Fleetwood Mac, Rumours
    - Any Decca classical album
    - Antonio Forcione, Touch Wood
    - Damien Rice, the first one
    - NIN, downward spiral
    - Massive Attack, mezzanine
    - Jlin, black origami
    - The Books, lost and safe
    - Photek, modus operandi. SQ is ehh, but also phat bass.
    - Basically anything Muse has ever recorded

    Definitely missing metal given how much I listen to it... I'm sure there are good albums that aren't clipped to sh_ out there, but I've not found them.

    Recently I've found that Hayley Williams petals for armor sounds pretty excellent (and I also like it a lot), but there's not a lot these days that pops up in the "latest releases" section that doesn't make me wince.

    EDIT: AM444 is something I'm adding to the list.
     
    Last edited: 24 Jun 2020
  8. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    Hayley Williams petals for armor is definitely on my current test tracks (didn't realise I had a list until now), really nice recording.

    A few from my current listenings (I'll put together a playlist on Tidal I think & share it later).

    Alice in Chains Unplugged - No Excuses & Down in a Hole are ones to try.
    Morcheeba - The Sea. There's a breathiness to the vocals which works on nice kit.
    Counting Crows - August and Everything After.
     
  9. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    I find my "go to" tracks for deciding whether I like something are;

    Pavarotti - 'O Sole Mio
    London Philharmonic - Nocturne No. 2
    Archive - Bullets
    The Glitch Mob - Drive It Like You Stole It
    Alestorm - Wenches & Mead
    Ghost - Spöksonat/He Is/Missionary Man
    Bal Sagoth - Battle Magic
    Type O Negative - I Don't Wanna Be Me
    Marduk - Nightwing
    Martin Harley - Money Don't Matter
    Steam Powered Giraffe - Honeybee
    The Kingston Trio - Greenback Dollar
    Transplants - Tall Cans In The Air
    The Real McKenzies - Up on a Motorbike
    Home Street Home - Monsters
    Iron Maiden - Fear Of The Dark
    Eels - Mr. E's Beautiful Blues

    For my listening habits I find the people involved in those bands and those tracks are involved in a large number of other things I listen to.

    I've heard as many versions of them as I can get my ears on, in as many places as I can get away with. Although the list does change a bit as time goes by, largely because the quality of recording changes as things improve or bands get bigger and get access to better techs and studio environments.

    The worst elements for me are Marduk, Alestorm, and The Kingston Trio. Victims of time, available equipment or experience in the sound engineer IMO.
     
  10. Mr_Mistoffelees

    Mr_Mistoffelees The Cat Lies Down on Broadway

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    What's with all this new music?

    Much of my favourite music is 70s and late 60s progressive/alternative rock, eg Pink Floyd up to The Wall and Genesis before Peter Gabriel left. As I have got back in to listening to music in the last few years, a priority for new gear is that it MUST be able to deal with older recordings without making too much of a meal of a recording's flaws. Anything clinical, like Beyerdynamic T5Ps, just sucks the enjoyment out. Genesis: The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, sounds wonderful on Focal Elegias.
     
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  11. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    For me, I find that most of the older music I listen to wasn't, for one reason or another, recorded particularly brilliantly. Hell, even some of the not-that-old music I listen to appears to have been recorded using a dodgy 8-track and some old nails.

    Which is why I tend to listen to music that's involved people who're involved in the older music for testing - EG The Transplants. There's a fairly shotgun-style coverage in there for bands with less than stellar recording quality - But it was engineered by either the same people or people involved in the original projects that I also like listening to.

    It's also kind of what I grew up with. Marduk - Nightwing, as an album, was my first "properly" metal album, so the title track (The one I think sounds the best technically on that album) has a spot in my "does this sound right?" list.
     
  12. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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  13. Mr_Mistoffelees

    Mr_Mistoffelees The Cat Lies Down on Broadway

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    AS I see it whatever you use to test, it has to be music you are familiar with, otherwise you won't know how it should sound or, how you want it to sound.
     
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  14. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    Exactly. There's a load of "standard" albums you see places who review kit using. Most of them I'd never listen to normally or they're really poor recordings/messy production so they sound like dog poop to me.

    Equally, there's a load of music out there that musically it's terrible (think Spice Girls) however the recordings are amazing and I can actually listen to them.

    I'm blaming my training in being a sound engineer. You spend so long listeneing to a recording that it can really spoil music for you
     
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  15. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    It's hard to argue with a sound engineer, or someone who's had training in sound engineering!

    I still find, though, that some albums I own have the same problems regardless of what they're played on.

    For example, if you play the non-remastered version of Anaal Nathrakh - The Codex Necro, it sounds about the same anywhere. I have similar issues with older Rancid albums (Basically the four or so pre-2000) where the faults aren't any better or worse on any equipment I've ever listened to them on that isn't, say, a PC monitor speaker or a car.

    Which is why I like to check out Transplants in some form, usually Tall Cans in the Air, because the same kinds of style are present there as they are in Rancid, The Interrupters, Lars Frederikson & the Bastards, and so on and so on.


    I'm not sure anyone would lend me equipment long enough to listen to every album I might play on it, though. I'd need a month of non-stop listening to check everything..
     
  16. saspro

    saspro IT monkey

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    There are some albums/recordings like that.
    Over-saturated tape, old tape, overloaded channels recorded on to said tape, even with early digital systems people overloaded things and recordings have got a whole heap of nastiness "burned in" to the recordings. Take Sargent Pepper as an example, that was overdubbed and bounced down so many times that you can't seperate things out now to clean it up and the tape was knackered at the end (& let's not even go in to the Tubular Bells 2 fiasco).

    Then there's the "we'll fix it in the mix" camp. Overly processed sounds trying to get something usable from the cr@p they recorded, which could have been avoided if they'd just spent the time getting a clean source at the beginning.

    And not forgetting the loudness wars which spoilt a lot of potentially great albums.

    There are also a lot of awful sound engineers out there (The French music scene, I'm looking at you, please sort it out)

    Now, we can't blame all of it on engineers, kit back then just wasn't as accurate as it it is now.
    If I use the Valve Radiogram in the front room with some original 60's vinyl then it sounds warm and like it should/would have at the time, play the same thing through modern kit and there's a high chance it's sound terrible. Modern (decent) hifi speakers are better than the monitors they had in studios (& I've still good some 30-40 year old monitors from studios), combine this with the clarity of modern digital systems and all the flaws & limitations of old recordings really shows.
    Even budget modern kit far exceeds the spec of all but the best vintage kit (yet a lot of vintage kit has a preferable sound for most people).

    Hmmn, I just realised how much I'd written in reply & it's started in to a rant. I'd better stop now.
     
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  17. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    So I have next week off and I'm thinking I might start, and maybe even finish, a little project.

    Wouldn't mind some advice from any fellow DIYers.

    I currently have an NHT Power 2 amp feeding my L/R on my home cinema setup.
    I've been after a 3ch amp though for the LCR, looking at various implementations of nCore, ICEPower and Purifi modules (maybe DIY, probably Nord), any of which would add up to 4-figure sums of varying significance.

    Thing is, I've already got most of a 3ch amp, and I think all it's missing is terminals on the back.

    The NHT amp consists of
    1x IcePower 500ASP module - https://icepower.dk/download/2402/
    2x IcePower 500A modules - https://icepower.dk/download/2411/

    the 500ASP module is a fully integrated amp and power supply, yet in this particular implementation it's only the power supply that's used to feed the two 500A modules, leaving a wasted amp.
    And the description even states "The power supply of the 500ASP includes a DC hanger bus output, which can be used for powering additional 250A or 500A modules. This makes it very convenient to create 2 and 3 channel amplifiers, combining the 500ASP with the 250A and the 500A"

    I started out thinking there must be more to it and just wiring up a few terminals, but I think that may actually be the case here?
    I also think that the input buffer board on this amp is identical to the 5ch version, meaning that I don't even have to think about converting RCA to XLR to feed the module.

    I've yet to crack the amp open to inspect in more detail - clearly that's the next step... just want to sanity check first:

    - Could it really be as simple as wiring up a couple of RCA and binding posts to the back?
    - Should I consider any impact to current delivery from further sharing the power supply? My speakers are well known for their thirst, and I wouldn't want to add one channel to the detriment of the other two. However the 5ch model of this amp uses 2x 500ASP and 3x 500A, so is running like this, and states the same power ratings.
    - I use the 12v trigger, I believe as there's no trigger input on the 500ASP, this means that it would be handled by a separate relay, so nothing to do there
    - There's a bunch of proprietary NHT things I don't use (like the ethernet-like "NHT Bus" plug, and another board for the front LEDs which I don't care about - again I think I can ignore these entirely
    - Assuming I wire it up carefully and correctly, can anyone think of any reason not to?

    I'm sure I'll upgrade in future anyway (because POWARRRRR), but in the meantime, would be nice to actually use what I've got here if I can.
     
  18. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Will work for nuts Super Moderator

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    The plot thickens...

    [​IMG]

    So this is approximately as complex as I initially thought, but more complex than I had subsequently convinced myself.

    It seems it's the same input and output boards as the 5ch model, but there's components missing. Or rather, unused for 2ch and correctly left out, but presumably missing for my plans.

    I thought perhaps just soldering on some connectors and calling it a day would be a bit too easy, but the fallback could be to directly wire to the 500ASP input and output.

    The signal input to the 500ASP is already connected though, which is surprising... perhaps a hangover from the 5ch? From the looks of it the only things missing on the green input board is the connectors themselves, so might be able to simply plumb that in, and the directly wire the output to binding posts on the back of the chassis? I don't really understand what the massive caps or any of the other components on the large red PCB at the back (where the binding posts are attached to) are for as binding posts can be wired directly to the amp modules. There placeholders are a number of components "missing", including one of those massive caps. I'm sure many are associated with the "other other" two channels from the 5ch model, but it's difficult to trace from the 500ASP without properly taking everything apart.

    Not sure whether I'm going to attempt to press on as planned any further or not at this point without a confidence boost.

    Option B could be to strip everything but the amp modules out and wire it up DIY style.

    EDIT: actually now it makes more sense. Tracing more closely, the DC output of the 500ASP goes to the red PCB and that feeds the two remaining 500A modules. So some of the missing components (notable the large cap) are related to the second 500ASP which would be feeding an additional 500A in the 5ch.

    If using the NHTBus (the ethernet connection to other NHT components), it will also turn off unused channels individually, so that will have something to do with this board as well.
     
    Last edited: 26 Jun 2020
  19. MiNiMaL_FuSS

    MiNiMaL_FuSS ƬӇЄƦЄ ƁЄ ƇƠƜƧ ӇЄƦЄ.

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    Thinking of upgrading my DM601s to a pair of Monitor Audio RS6's...any one for any helpful thoughts? :)
     
  20. KayinBlack

    KayinBlack Currently Rebuilding

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    Can anyone recommend a decent set of headphones (over-ear, please, large piercings) for video game soundtracks and occasional recording purposes? I'm a classically trained musician (French horn/voice) and I know what I'm listening to, but most headphones I listen to these days either do stupid bass boost or sound tinny or overdriven. Just want something that sounds accurate.

    Also, saspro my daughter is going into audio production. There's a program at UNA (in Muscle Shoals, one of the recording capitols of the world) that she's been accepted to, but where would she go after her bachelor's to further her training?
     

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