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About audioengr

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  1. It is probably the driver with your device. Try closing iTunes and reopening it each time. Steve N. Empirical Audio
  2. This is a classic latency problem in the computer due to slow I/O. Sometimes another USB port will solve this. If you have any other USB devices, particularly outboard hard drives, remove them. This is why I recommend Mini. It has very fast USB I/O on all ports. Steve N. Empirical Audio
  3. I would try a different USB port on the iMac. iMacs seem to be more trouble than Mac Mini. Steve N. Empirical Audio
  4. "can remote based music servers, even ones based on the lowly Airport Express, sound as good as locally attached music servers, like a firewire DAC to a Macintosh?" Certainly, if they are reclocked externally. "And as to USB and Firewire both having very good DAC possibilities, I DO think firewire is better because with firewire DACS, the connecting cable doesn't matter" Fallacy. I can use ANY cable with async USB. No difference. There may be some interfaces out there where it makes a difference however. It depends on implementation. I used a Fireface400 at RMAF in 2009. This is async firewire. My roommate changed the firewire cable just to see if we could hear a difference. He said the sound changed, so there you have it. Steve N. Empirical Audio
  5. The best upsampler is Izotope. Izotope is expensive, but you can get just the upsampler part of Izotope in Wave Editor for $79.00: There is a also a batch version that will do all of your files for you. This will beat any on-the-fly hardware upsampler. If you care about SQ, then forget hardware upsamplers. I have heard them all. The best way to deal with jitter is to reclock, either with a reclocker or a good async USB interface rather than upsample with hardware. Steve N. Empirical Audio
  6. What about option "D"? Mini --->USB---> USB DAC USB DAC's are every bit as good as Firewire DAC's. There is no technical advantage of Firewire over USB. They are both Async interfaces. Steve N. Empirical Audio
  7. "I'm a Pace-Car owner (with Logitech Touch slaved to PaceCar). If you go the Airport Express>PaceCar route, you have to have the AE shipped for a simple mod so the PaceCar can be tuned to it." The AE is not modded. It is left stock. Only the Pace-Car is tuned. Steve N. Empirical Audio
  8. First, I would stay with Amarra, but download rev 1.2. I think you will like the SQ better. email me for a link. Also, try the EQ function. It is transparent and very helpful. It can transform your system. Just a few dB with Q of around 1 at the right frequency can make all the difference. Second, active preamp or transformer-based passive delivers the best SQ. Active will be very expensive in order to sound transparent, at least $10K IME. If you can find a silver-wound transformer passive, this is by far the best, however it is a good idea to cryo-treat it since there is significant damage to the crystal lattice of the conductors in fabricating these devices. Here are a couple of decent ones, both copper and silver: If you need remote volume control, use your iPod Touch or iPhone with Amarra for fine-tuning after setting the volume to a comfortable listening level with the passive linestage. Steve N. Empirical Audio
  9. "PS Audio Perfect Wave Transport has an I2S output (over HDMI, but I assume an adaptor would be possible, if that were the only problem)." That's not the only problem. I've been interfacing to Perpetual gear for more than a decade. The interface on PW is differential and the Perpetual is single-ended. Not compatible. And the Off-Ramp 3 is not $699.00. It is on closeout for $499.00. What you must understand is that I2S is not as simple as digital coax. Digital coax typically has 2.8Mhz-6MHz signals on it and the terminations and impedance is standardized. I2S is not standardized. I2S has up to 49MHz signals. These MUST be terminated properly or it will not work or will have high jitter. An adapter cable can be ordered from Revelation Audio Labs that is silver and works great, but the termination must be tuned to it for best results. Steve N. Empirical Audio
  10. Well, it's not surprising that the clock inside the Mac Mini is not as good as your Transport. There are 2 things you can do about this jitter: 1) reclock the Mini before feeding your DAC 2) Use USB to drive a converter and then your DAC. This way the master clock in the Mini will be replaced with a low-jitter clock. A good S/PDIF coax cable 1.5m in length should outperform even the best HDMI cable. Steve N. Empirical Audio
  11. "but the discs sound clear and present while the rips of the same music sounds a bit muddied. I assume this is caused by "jitter", that elusive barely audible beast." It might be a contributor, but there are probably other issues with the way you are doing things including: 1) How did you rip these tracks and into what format? 2) What steps did you take to bypass the nasties in iTunes or Windows audio stack? 3) What playback software are you using? 4) What kind of ripping drive are you using? If you are using WMP to rip and playback compressed WMP tracks, then your result is understandable. Also if you are using iTunes on a PC and ripping with iTunes, understandable. These computer software/hardware vendors mean well, but the fact is that audio quality is at the bottom of their lists of critical features. If you are using the CDROM in your laptop etc., this probably does not have C2 error correction. It is critical to have a drive that does and one that the ripping software can work with accurately, including offsets. If you are trying to do it right, then it behooves you to do some more reading, and maybe even connect with a manufacturer that can guide you through these pitfalls. Believe me, I dont use a CD player anymore, not because of the convenience of computer audio, but because it sounds so much better than even the best CD players. Here are a few tips that might help you: Steve N. Empirical Audio
  12. " also like the idea of 1x rip speed mentioned somewhere in one of the above links...seems to make sense." I have a Yamaha that writes CD disks really well at 1X speed. This makes sense to get more perfect pits. I dont believe this is necessary however to get perfect rips. The Teac does rips much faster than 1X, and I believe it does it perfectly. Steve N. Empirical Audio
  13. "Think it is nice that Empirical Audio offers optional upgrades. The down side is that Steve does not design and build most of these upgrades himself (Hynes regulators, Ultraclocks); because they are sourced from third party companies, the cost of these upgrades is pretty high." All true. Some of these guys are industry experts in their areas however. There are no engineers that are the best at everything. This is why it is sometimes beneficial to leverage the best designers in the industry. However, all of this is about to change as I am in the process of designing my own versions for 2011. What makes sense is to compare one vendors best clock/configuration against another vendors best clock/configuration. Steve N. Empirical Audio
  14. "Steve of Empirical always makes you spend more money" No, I just offer options to put the device at any price-performance point you want. It's like buying a car without leather, without power locks, without sunroof and then complaining about this. Besides, the Off-Ramp3 is discontinued and soon the original Diverter will be as well. This is ancient history. I wonder how a device that sounded so "awful" could win Golden Ear Award..... Other converters are not upgradable for better power or better clocks. When new technologies come along, like LI batteries or new low-jitter clocks, its nice to be able to offer these as an upgrade. Steve N. Empirical Audio
  15. A company called "RIPNAS" did a study of a number of CDROM drives and came to the conclusiong that this TEAC did the best job, so they put one in their product. I have the external slot version with USB interface and it works superbly. Cost $50 on ebay. You may want the drawer version so it doesnt scratch disks. Steve N. Empirical Audio