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Confessions of a DigiPhile III

Rating: 2 votes, 1.00 average.
The quest for Digital solutions begins

I needed something decent to tie me over till I found my final solution and the needed funding.

An Arcam rDAC made the cut. It’s a USD 500 unit and it has given me full value for the money.
Cheap enough to be disposable and good enough to not make me do something rash.
Today I would probably have chosen a Rega DAC or M2Tech Young.

I hit the local audiophile pushers, but most of them think that I speak Russian. They have lots of nice analogue rigs, some even with a digital front.

One sales guy was really hyped over a rig with an amp dedicated to each driver in a stereo setup. Linn or Naim as far as I remember.
The rig takes analogue a little further with “active x-over”. Active is actually passive x-over before the amps. Not a bad rig, but it’s just another analogue rig in my world.

I hit the web, and finally I stroke digital gold.
It seems that I had to do some more homework to better define my demands and preferences.
Hours of surfing turns into days, days into weeks, and weeks becomes months.

Great Digital Solutions that made my first cut:

Steinway Lyngdorf
Digital perfection – way out of the reach of mere mortals.
Headed by Peter Lyngdorf and endorced by Steinway.
“Model D Sound System start at US$ 158,900 MSRP.”

behold / Ballmann Electronica GmbH
behold was invited by the SoundStage! Network to contribute to The World’s Best Audio System 2009 (TWBAS 2009)

I personally like the UPA192 Tri-Amping Mono Block with active crossover (DSP)

Professional active studio monitors, now available with build-in DSP and AutoCal room correction.

Uses the professional AES/EBU digital signals straight to the 8200 series monitors / 7200 series subs.
Internal or external digital soundcard is needed to feed AES/EBU, some options:
Weiss AFI-1
Lynx Aurora 16.VT
Lynx AES16

Meridian delivers complete digital audio and video home entertainment systems.
This may be the most fail proof way in to an integrated audiophile surround system with video.

Posh looking speakers, they are often seen in Hollywood movies.
Meridian beats Bang & Olufsen in product placement these days.

Lyngdorf Audio
Peter Lyngdorfs original venture into audio perfection, then setting new standards in digital amplification and RoomPerfect room correction.

The sound is quite good and you can buy a whole stereo setup with dual woofers.
The Lyngdorf system has not been updated for a while, but RoomPerfect is still high class.

Spatial Computer
Spatial offers external DSP capable multi channel DACS and remote help to calibrate the x-over and room/speaker correction.
Spatial uses Pure Music and they optimize your MAC to be an exclusive transport.

sixmoons gave Spatial the Lunar Eclipse Award.
Read the mind-provoking article about it:

The HDP-3 is a DAC pre-amp, room correction X-over unit.
A versatile unit that has received much acclaim.

Software for Digital EQ and time domain correction.
Audiolense can also do X-over, surround and multi seat.

Audiolense must be the fastest and cheapest way to get all the DSP options (price ex. VAT):

EUR 390 Audiolense XO – the most expensive package
EUR 161 Calibrated measurement kit

PC only, but the filters can on a MAC be embedded in
USD 129 Pure Music

Remember, these are my picks – your list may look very different.

The homework – what do I really want? Specs and limits.

Find my blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at

Updated 04-22-2012 at 08:00 AM by DigiPete

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  1. gvr's Avatar
    Just wanted to point out that this is wrong: "Active is actually passive x-over before the amps". See
  2. DigiPete's Avatar
    gvr, you are right: active x-overs have active components in them, hence the name.

    I will hence forth leave the explanations of passive, active and digital x-over to those more knowable.
  3. DigiPete's Avatar
    X-overs really puzzle me.

    Their function and influence is so central, yet the pro's and con's are flying under the radar most of the time.

    I divide X-overs in 3 categories:

    Passive X-over

    Active X-over

    Digital X-over

    I still think passive X-overs are evil in nature, expensive little blood suckers.

    Active X-overs should be ok if optimized together with amps and drivers.

    I still think that a well implemented digital X-over should be better and more consistent.

    I find it especially convenient to have digital Sub X-over.

    That way you can move the X-over freq if it collides with a room mode.

    Genelec integrates everything in the DSP combined with AutoCal:

    . . . the 8260A features Genelec DSP signal processing responsible for all loudspeaker functions, such as the crossover filters, driver equalizers, driver position alignment, room response alignment, calibration, and equalization related filters as well as distance compensating delays.

    (quote from

    FYI AutoCal even calibrates the Sub phase to a chosen speaker and warns you if there is a room mode at the X-over freq ;-)

    Neat and it works like a charm!