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Computer Audiophile


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About audiophile65

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  1. audiophile65

    My Digital Sinatra Project

    I'd like some advice regarding a Frank Sinatra digital (no vinyl) project that I will be starting up. I'm sure just about all of us have heard most of, if not all, of "The Chairman's" most popular songs ("Come Fly With Me", "My Way", "New York, New York", "Strangers in the Night", etc.) from off of TV commercials and films...to just before the running of the Belmont Stakes... to visits to Olive Garden (yes, according to articles from CNN to the NYT, Americans are just simply nuts about Olive Garden). At any rate, I would like to try to find the best sounding (as possible) sources (on CD, SACD or hi-res download) containing his most (above-mentioned) iconic tunes. In the meantime, earlier today, I ordered 4 MoFi hybrid mono SACDs of some of his best Capitol recordings: Sinatra's Swingin' Session Where Are You? No One Cares Point of No Return Would love to hear from you. Thanks...
  2. audiophile65

    PS Audio

    I first just wanted to thank you all for your responses regarding PS Audio. You all have brought up lots of interesting examples of experiences to this topic. The other night, I seem to have made a startling discovery regarding PS. Just last month (May '18), they came out with their second incarnation of integrated amplifier (with DAC and headphone amp) called Sprout100. I read three great technical reviews for it, and the little $599 newborn-baby-cute int amp has got me stoked! Before I go on, here's a link to more about it: https://www.psaudio.com/products/sprout100-integrated-amplifier/ This looks to be a great match for headphones like my AQ Nighthawk, and the headphone amp in it can also drive the likes of Sennheiser's HD 800 S and Audeze's EL8. I am a sucker for detail and definition. Although it does have ESS' 9016 DAC internally (combined with Sprout100's fine innards to yield greater sonic results than any other AMP/DAC in it's class), I can get even better sounding results by mating an external DAC to Sprout100 such as, but not at all limited to, Chord's Cutest or Hugo 2 DAC. It's really much more the quality of the Sprout100 amp that appears to take center stage here. This sounds like it would be a great upgrade from my Pono Player + AQ Nighthawk (though I always listened to Pono player in fully balanced mode, I was assured that the Sprout100's 1/4" unbalanced could be as good as Pono balanced). And compared to Pono, even the diminuative (sp.) Sprout100 is, overall, a lot beefier with a solid internal power supply to boot. Looks like a great little amp/dac for either desk station use or even one's living room with a lot of good speakers (the KEF LS50, as an example). But, again, this looks like really cool stuff if you're like me and you live in tight quarters and you need high-quality headphones. Finally, I can't remember his name, but I got to talk with someone at PS Audio about the Sprout100, and we also did talk about power cables and PS Audio's Dectet Power Center. I have always been a firm believer, and I still am, that the components in any system can only be as good as the interconnects and, yes, even power cables are. The Dectet (at $499, their least expensive power conditioner) means business! And, though it comes with a generic power cable, I learned it's definitely a good idea to upgrade that stock power cable with PS Audio's much more advanced power cables. So I'll let you all know later about if I do indeed go with the PS Audio Sprout100 as my next chapter in my adventures in computer audio. I'll have to go from '09 MacBook Pro to new Mac Mini as well, too.
  3. audiophile65

    PS Audio

    I was wondering if any of you who own audio components of any kind from PS Audio could please tell me how really good they are? Or maybe some of you know others who own a PS piece or two. I do know that they are a very very high-end company and have been around since 1974. I am particularly interested in getting their Stellar Gain Cell DAC (which would be my first serious DAC) for it's DSD and, yes, PCM. I have read that listening to this DAC through headphones has had lots of great reviews (I have a pair of the AudioQuest NightHawk -- not the "Carbon" version nor the NightOwl). I also know that PS is available through Music Direct. Any thoughts, comments, etc. on PS, their DACs and any associated electronics would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  4. audiophile65

    Possibly Starting with JRiver?

    Later this year, I will be seriously considering working with Ari at Golden Ear Digital on getting my SACDs ripped into the very best DSD files for what will be my second (and better) computer audio rig. I have heard that Ari gets his clients set up with JRiver as software, as well as assist with "building" a good computer audio system. Could someone please provide me with the basics of JRiver, such as how much memory your computer needs to have (such as up to 8GB or even 16GB of RAM)? I also wanted to ask if the current (as of April 2018) Mac Mini can use JRiver? I will also have my music libraries loaded into external hard drives as back-ups. At this time, I intend to do headphone listening only on such a system with fully balanced operation. And yes, I do know that Golden Ear has the blessings of fellow CA forum members ted_b and Mr Wicked, our foremost DSD experts. Thanks for your help and input.
  5. audiophile65

    Classical Music on Blu-ray Video

    While I have not developed a full-blown appreciation into classical music at this time, I was wondering if any of you might be able to recommend just a couple or even a few videos that are on Blu-ray video disc (1080i or 1080p HD video, with LPCM 2.0/5.1 and/or DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0/5.1 audio). I have always enjoyed solo piano (started with the likes of Windham Hill), but I also enjoy acoustic guitar of any kind, including classical guitar and even Spanish guitar. I do wonder if there is a video out there of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata in C minor. I'm looking at labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, Sony Classics, EMI, or perhaps more esoteric labels. I'm not meaning to build a massive library, just only about 2 - 5 such Blu-ray video discs. I have also posted a similar inquiry on the Blu-ray.com forum. Thanks for your help.
  6. audiophile65

    "ESS 9038 Reference DAC"

    Arcam has always had a great reputation in Hi-Fi gear. They make great components, and then they spend lots of time in painstaking research on how to improve something that is already impressive. As technologies all over the world change and improve, such as DAC chip manufacturers like ESS, AKM, Wolfson, and TI, good companies like Arcam learn to capitalize on such revolutionary and evolutionary changes in technology in order to make a still better product. So, to answer your question, Arcam has never made a bad piece of gear. Moreover, nearly 10 years ago, I was pretty impressed with one of their earlier rDACs. Those were my earliest years as a computer audiophile. In sum, I will be watching and waiting for the CDS50 in the weeks ahead.
  7. audiophile65

    "ESS 9038 Reference DAC"

    Thanks for your link to ESS Technology. I have already looked at that page several hours ago today and, like you, I can't make heads or tails about it either. In the meantime, I will learn more about the Arcam CDS50 in the weeks ahead. Perhaps will run into one to audition.
  8. audiophile65

    "ESS 9038 Reference DAC"

    Just a question: I am interested in getting the forthcoming Arcam CDS50 SACD player, which is no doubt going to be their very best "disc spinner" ever conceived. According to Arcam, what is most striking about the $1000 USD player/streamer is that it employs ESS' "ES9038 Reference" DAC. Is this the same as the ES9038PRO (found in the OPPO UDP-205 universal 4K player), or is the ES9038 just below the performance parameters of the 9038PRO? Since Oppo just announced the end of producing Hi-Fi and Blu-ray players earlier this week (and I have given up all hope on securing an Oppo 205 purely as an audio-only player/streamer), I am seriously looking into this new Arcam as a replacement/consolation for a potentially exceptional music player. Thanks...
  9. audiophile65

    Oppo UDP-205

    That would require an Oppo 103 or 105 with the 10X firmware upgrade, right? Or is there another way for SACD ripping, as I do have my share of SACDs?
  10. audiophile65

    Oppo UDP-205

    Yes, one of the 2 Sabre 9038's is purely stereo in the 205, while the other 9038 is purely for the 7.1. Also, you're absolutely right about the difference between the 9018 and the 9038. The 9038's are light years better than the 9018's. I would be curious about your computer audio setup. What computer do you have? Do you use Audirvana, JRiver....? What is your external DAC?
  11. audiophile65

    Well Produced Progressive Rock/Metal Albums

    As for Prog Rock, I have always been a sucker for The Alan Parsons Project's "I Robot", especially for it's staggering imaging and tonal brilliance. I hope to soon do a comparison between the MoFi SACD and the Classic Records HDAD of "I Robot". Now Van Halen might not be considered "metal" by some people. Nevertheless, it's good, hard rock from, at least, a minimalist's point of view. In any case, I have to recommend the 24/192 (from HDTracks) versions of their 1st ("Van Halen") and 2nd ("Van Halen II") albums. They feature exquisite soundstaging and clean sound.
  12. audiophile65

    Oppo UDP-205

    One external DAC that comes to mind would be a far more affordable, yet a very capable one such as the Ayre Codex. $2,000 for the Ayre is a far cry from the $8,000 Chord DAVE. Other external DACs would be those equipped with just about any AKM DAC chip (the TEAC UD-503 and their forthcoming UD-505, for example) or ext. DACs with the highest-end ESS Sabres (such as those found in the Oppo 205). Earlier today, I talked with a customer service rep at Oppo. We specifically talked about the use of headphones with the 205, particularly in balanced mode. I am currently a headphone user and will be for quite some time. Anyway, I told him that I currently have a pair of the AudioQuest NightHawk 'phone. I was told that NightHawk's 25 ohm impedance, coupled with it's 99dBSPL sensitivity, would not only be a virtually perfect mate with the 205 sonically...a NightHawk doesn't require much power to be driven quite well by the 205. I hope these are good examples ext. DAC-wise. Please feel free to share more of your thoughts....
  13. audiophile65

    Oppo UDP-205

    To those who own the Oppo UDP-205 universal 4K Blu/DVD/CD/SACD player, I was curious to know if any CA members use it to listen to SACDs and CDs through it's dual DACs alone? What I am wondering is if the 205 might actually sound better listening to discs and downloads (both PCM and DSD) through it's dual ESS Sabre 9038 DACs alone than through any computer+external DAC combination? This can apply to both loudspeaker listening and headphone listening, but not very many headphones can be sufficiently driven by the Oppo 205. Any comments, experiences, or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Thanks......
  14. That said, would I be better off buying the CD and then ripping it, or is it available as a download on ECM's website?
  15. audiophile65

    Least Horrible Xmas music

    You would be alluding to WH's "A Winter's Solstice" series of CDs. They had released 5 or so different "Winter's Solstice" albums, as well as some other 'Christmas-y' stuff that I can't think of now. Now, solo pianist George Winston's "December" is past 25 years old, and it is still a very relevant and timeless recording. Highly recommended.