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About austinpop

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    In Aures Speramus

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    Austin, TX

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  1. Bruce, I didn't mean to confuse you. You're right, I no longer use an sMS-200ultra. I use the SE straight to tX-USBultra. The only reason for the above comparison was to directly compare the vanilla to Neo - because it was possible - as a service to the community. Most people who upgrade don't have the old unit still in hand to do this kind of comparison. The NUC approach that Roy is taking goes a step beyond the sMS-200ultra, by using an in-memory OS using the ramboot feature of audiolinux. As Roy said, it's not clear why endpoints like the sMS or the uR do not give the same level of performance as his/Larry's ramboot NUCs, although we suspect it has to do with the low latencies of operations when running the OS in memory.
  2. @flkin - thanks for your valuable impressions of the Pink Faun 2.16 and Antipodes CX/EX servers. And Roy, it's always fascinating to hear about your continuing saga! I feel you and Larry are on track to unlock another "massive" leap in sonic performance. Comparison of sMS-200ultra vs sMS-200ultra Neo In the flurry of activity pre- and post-RMAF, I have not had a chance to report on a comparison Eric @limniscate and I did. We were able to compare the sMS-200ultra Neo (the same one Roy mentioned above) with Eric's vanilla unit. Both units have a reference clock input, so we were able to run both with a reference clock from the Mutec Ref-10. We did this in my system, so the chain was: Vanilla: Router > TLS OCXO switch > Zenith SE (Roon Server) > TLS OCXO switch > sMS-200ultra > tX-USBultra > DAC Neo: Router > TLS OCXO switch > Zenith SE (Roon Server) > TLS OCXO switch > sMS-200ultra Neo > tX-USBultra > DAC In both cases, the sMS was running the Roon Ready application. The nice thing about this test is we did not have to rely on auditory memory to do this comparison; we were able to A/B them in real time. Sure enough - there is a difference in sound signature between the two. I would not characterize this as a large, knock-your-socks-off difference. But certainly, SOtM have managed to alter the tonality of the Neo to be mellower, and not as "bright." I think Roy is spot on when he says it's reminiscent of the smoother tonality the original mR has. The Neo has smoother treble, and slightly improved lower mids and upper bass. As I said, it's reasonably subtle, but very welcome. The second finding is even more interesting. May had suggested I try their beta firmware, where they have a new kernel that they have tweaked. She wouldn't (and hasn't) tell me what exactly has changed, but I have to say, I felt the beta version sounder better for sure. In fact, it seemed to be doing the things Roy and Larry are reporting with their experiments - more dynamic and more expansive. If you want to try it - AT YOUR OWN RISK, obviously - here are the instructions from May. I strongly recommend you make a backup of your SD card before you do. 1. Go to the following link URL: <your eunhasu ip address>/beta.php 2. Enable the Beta server and save. 3. Go to the Eunhasu upgrade page. URL: <your eunhsu ip address>/upgrade.php 4. Click the kernel check. After that, reboot the device and test. After testing, 5. Go to the beta page again. URL: <your eunhasu ip address>/beta.php 6. Disable the Beta server and save. 7. Reboot the unit and use.
  3. Let’s keep politics off of here please.
  4. austinpop

    MQA vs HiRez: an apples-to-apples comparison

    Mani, Just for your benefit, I did listen again with fresh ears, and indeed X did sound better than D. Of course at this point, this could be written off as confirmation bias, but I don't care enough to be biased. Anyhow - FWIW.
  5. austinpop

    MQA vs HiRez: an apples-to-apples comparison

    Yes, this has been one of my objectives. With a series of optimizations which make no objective sense at all, I am now at the point where the streaming SQ is very close to local playback. But it's a good point. I have done similar hi-res and MQA comparisons with 2L files, and even though the 2L MQA files were white-glove curated, I still don't hear any of the MQA versions sound significantly better than the corresponding DXD. So MQA = meh.
  6. austinpop

    MQA vs HiRez: an apples-to-apples comparison

    Well, they were closer. I did this last night, so I had no idea about the dither findings. Let me amend this to say: X and D were more similar than Y and C. Yeah, but ultimately, it's this that limits my interest in further MQA experiments: These days I'm just enjoying Qobuz.
  7. austinpop

    MQA vs HiRez: an apples-to-apples comparison

    Funny you should mention that. I did try it. And gosh, I remember it sounding different, but at this point my brain was fried, so who knows what I was hearing. This also should result in a fully decoded MQA in the end, correct? Except it's Roon doing the Core decode, and the Brooklyn doing the render? I'll have to give this a try again.
  8. austinpop

    MQA vs HiRez: an apples-to-apples comparison

    Mani, I have no ability to take captures, but I am not convinced C and D are consistent with the originals. Here's what I mean. I now have 3 more configuration, let's call them X, Y and Z. X = the original 24/88.2 song you provided me Y = streamed from Tidal to my DAC (Brooklyn DAC+), Core decoding only (Roon device set as "No MQA Support") Z = streamed from Tidal, full MQA decoding (Roon device set to "Renderer and Decoder") - infamous blue light is on. If the captures are correct, then X should = D, and Y should = C. But to my ears, while X and D are arguably the same, Y and C don't sound the same. Y sounds better. And surprisingly Z sounds better than Y, so even though there is no more unfolding necessary for this track, something about the MQA decoding does sound better. So, ignoring C and D, and just focusing on X, Y, and Z, here are my purely subjective listening results: Y < X Y < Z Z ≈ X In other words, the fully decoded MQA and the original hi-res sound qualitatively as good, although they are "different." I am hard pressed to pick one over the other. BTW - this has been my experience with a lot of fully decoded MQA tracks, compared to their hi-res equivalents. Some sound a tad better, some a tad worse, but I've never found one (MQA) that just blew me away.
  9. austinpop

    Mutec REF 10 Masterclock

    I had to eyeball it the best I could for the front to back... Height (with feet): 3.75 inches depth - from front fascia (not counting knob) to the ends of the BNC connectors: 12.5 inches
  10. austinpop

    MQA vs HiRez: an apples-to-apples comparison

    Thank you. I have it. I also found the MQA file on Tidal. I will do some listening tonight when I next have some free time. Note that my current chain is comprised of several "wondrous machines," not least of which is the Ayre QX-5 Twenty DAC, which has always sounded best fed native sample rates.
  11. austinpop

    MQA vs HiRez: an apples-to-apples comparison

    Could you re-enable the link to the original hi-res file - at least for a short while? I've only listened to C and D captures.
  12. austinpop

    MQA vs HiRez: an apples-to-apples comparison

    Hi Mani, i listened to to these two, and have to agree D sounds better to my ears. The beginning of the track, the fret work is much more focused, the bass is tighter, brush strokes have more detail. so in summary, C = D, blurred. i guess that makes C MQA.
  13. austinpop

    Innuos Zenith SE MkII

    Wow, where do you find this stuff? Bravo! Yes, I suspect Aurender and Melco are the logical references.
  14. austinpop

    Article: RMAF 2018 Show Report

    Agreed, Chris. Was just pointing it out in the context of high prices of high end gear, and what drives those requirements. I doubt a typical CA'er would have wanted to push for a part like that - which probably drove MSRP up by $1.5-3k.
  15. austinpop

    Album of the Evening

    I was introduced to this album at RMAF when a fellow audiophile requested a track from it in the room we were both in. Wow, this is good stuff! https://open.qobuz.com/album/w27dushm2bsac