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DAC battle, round 1

This was also posted in the computeraudiophile.com forums. I’ve patiently waited for Esoteric’s D-07 since it was announced last year. It has still to find its way to Sweden though, apparently due to a change of distributor for western Europe. My DAC fund is still a work in progress, but today I decided to stop waiting for the D-07 and instead test the D-05 against Weiss’ DAC202, to at least get a sense of the difference in “brand sound”. I... Read More

Hunt for hifi XIV: Speak of the devil…

It turns out my previous post was rather prophetic: …We’ll see if it gets to stay.  Read More

Hunt for hifi XIII: Amp woes — Separates, at separate times?

After ruling out the option of pairing my digital amp with an ADC, I’m facing the fact that I need a new amp in order to get my system to where I’m satisfied. Since the speakers aren’t paid off for quite some time, my funds are pretty limited. So while a high-end integrated like the tried & tested Pass Labs INT-150 or the esoteric and mysterious newcomer Devialet D-premier would be tremendously exciting, I am simply unable to pay for something like that,... Read More

The challenge of scaling the digital threshold

Over the weekend I’ve been involved in some forum discussions regarding whether USB cables can make a sonic difference when connecting a computer to  a DAC. I went into the discussion thinking it couldn’t possibly matter since USB sends CRC-signed data packets, but changed my mind as I researached the topic deeper. In short: With most current USB dac’s, the clock for the D/A is derived from the 12 MHz frequency of the USB 1.0 spec that the stream is locked to.... Read More

Hunt for hifi XII: But what if I keep the amp?

If the ultimate goal is the best sound possible, there is no point in taking little intermediate steps when upgrading as that will just throwing money away. So with the speakers, I bought the best I could possibly afford. I would very much like to continue in the same way with all other components, but the research and auditioning is tiring work, when all I want is for it to be over with so I can forget the model names and technical data and just play music. This longing makes... Read More

Hunt for hifi XI: Onward, brave soldier!

The DAC articles I bravely set out to write are on hold for now. I’ll still ramble on about sound, though. Having poured so much time and money into my speaker purchase, it would be wasteful to lower my standards and efforts for the other components. The required patience is in short supply however, as all my hifi investments from here on will have a smaller effect on the sound than the speaker upgrade brought. It’s tempting, then, to just go with what is affordable... Read More

Hunt for hifi X: There are ten types of people who understand binary…

Digital audio has been around for a very long time – the CD format is over 30 years old now – yet enormous leaps in progress are still being made, and the latest development is undeniably server-based playback. The days of swapping CD’s seem to be over for me, and I’m not looking back. I still buy all my music as physical releases though! As of writing this, I still have not purchased a single electronically distributed piece of music. But that’s another... Read More

Hunt for hifi IX: Now what?

Now that the Focal Diablo Utopia speakers #19 and #20 are mine (Focal are numbering every speaker in their Utopia line, and I appear to have gotten my filthy mitts on an early pair), I stand before the daunting task of trying to find a way to afford source and amplification electronics that do them justice. First of all, I need to figure out where to aim my priorities next. My current amplifier, while immensely powerful, is not the poster child of resolution and finesse. When... Read More

Hunt for hifi VIII: It’s over, yet only just begun

So, the time had come to decide. MBL? Focal? Neither? What impressed me the most with the MBL 121 speakers was their stunning ability to illustrate the space of a recording. This makes them nearly unbeatable for classical, jazz, singer-songwriter and live recordings. Since I don’t listen to those types of music much, instead often drawn to “produced” sounds, this argument loses some of its weight in my case. Instead, their ability to provide an accurate and deeply... Read More

Hunt for hifi VII: Verdict prelude

Before I reveal to you, my imaginary horde of loyal readers, what the final outcome of my quest to replace my old speakers is, I will briefly summarize the previous posts in this series: Part I briefly touched on my approach to music and attitude towards high-end, or audiophile, sound, before telling the story of how my eyes (or rather, ears) were opened by what may well be the most impressive speaker I have encountered. Part II explains in greater depth how I think with regards... Read More