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Old 07-13-2019, 06:17 PM
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AVphile AVphile is online now
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Default Seeking the Original Intent

Over past couple of decades, I have constructed an audio system which gives me consistently pleasurable listening experiences. However, for the longest time it was CD-, FM- and vinyl-based, and so earlier this year I decided to add streaming to the mix. I attended the AXPONA show, listened (for my purposes, a fruitless exercise actually except for auditioning cabling and power conditioning, I came to realize in hindsight) and made various equipment decisions. My goal was to incorporate into my system a high resolution digital streaming capability of a quality commensurate with the rest of my gear.

What I purchased is tangential to the reason for this post; those audio components are now included under my signature. Furthermore, my system hardly represents the ultimate, but, again, that fact is not germane to the remainder of this post.

At this point, I now have multiple ways to listen to the same recording, utilizing seven different sources as well as four different DACs for converting the sources which are digital. Not surprisingly, dependent upon the source (and, if digital, the conversion mechanism), the resultant music, for the most part, can sound markedly different. Sometimes the voice is forward, other times receding; sometimes the bass is pervasive, other times it is tight; etc.

While I could simply keep expanding playlists of the source, medium and playback equipment combination that sounds best for each recording -- and I may well start doing that, this conundrum has gotten me to start thinking: what was the sound the performer(s) and producer/engineer originally intended in making that recording? For example, take Adele's voice. The essence of her voice is recognizable regardless, but the totality of the way her voice sounds will, to a great or lesser degree, be a bit different based on whether I listen to her on vinyl, CD, Blu-ray (concert) or high-res streaming. Each version, still sounds "nice" to me, but I really wish I knew what her actual voice sounded like and, consequently, could listen to "that" voice through my system.

I am describing a "high-class" problem, I know. Nevertheless, it gnaws at me a bit. I am interested how others handle it.
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Main System: Theta Casablanca IV preamp/processor; Wadia 8 CD transport and Digimaster DDC 2000 DAC (w/all updates); Theta Compli CD transport; Oppo UDP-203 disc player; Lumin T2 music server/DAC; Roon Nucleus+ core (w/Tedde Pardo LPS); SOTA Sapphire turntable (w Premier FT3 arm and AlphaGenesis 1000 moving coil cartridge); SweetVinyl SugarCube SC-2 non-destructive "click and pop" removal device; McCormack Microdrive phono preamp; Magnum Dynalab MD-102 FM tuner (w/MD-205 Signal Sleuth FM antenna amplifier and ST-2 FM antenna); Krell FPB 200c, FPB 250mc and KAV-250 power amplifiers; Revel Ultima Studio (2 - L&R), Voice (1 - center) and Embrace (4 - surround) speakers; Revel Sub-30 (2) and Velodyne MiniVee 10 (2) powered subwoofers; Transparent Audio Super speaker cables; various Shunyata, Kimber Kable, MIT and WireWorld interconnects; Shunyata [original] Hydra, Hydra 2, Denali 2000/T and Denali 6000/S power conditioners; various Shunyata Sidewinder, PowerSnake, and Venom power cords and Venom Defenders; Richard Gray's Power Company Substation; ExactPower EP-15A voltage regulator; Cisco SF-350 24-port managed switch; Sound Anchor amplifier stands (2) and Billy Bags equipment racks (3).
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Old 07-14-2019, 11:02 AM
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Default Seeking the Original Intent

It’s an interesting, if first-world, problem. If I have the same recording in multiple formats, I tend to default to the one which I enjoy the most (which may not always be the best “audiophile” sound) and forget the rest. Usually this is the format for which the recording was originally mastered, so for instance most 50s-70s recordings I prefer on vinyl, while music more recently recorded in the age of modern digital, especially classical, is better digital. The exception to that is when I’m just relaxing and don’t feel like getting up to flip records - then it all sounds good from the server using Roon and an iPad.

As for modern recordings on vinyl, I guess I don’t see the point in vinyl issues of music that’s been well recorded and mastered for digital on good modern digital equipment.
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Main system: Linn Klimax Katalyst DSM; D’Agostino Momentum S250 amp & HD preamp; Rega RP10 w/Rega Aphelion; Boulder 508; Sonus Faber Amati Futura; Shunyata Denali 6000T, Alpha NR & EF power, Ztron Cobra IC & SC; Quadraspire Sunoko-Vent T, ISOAcoustics Orea footers, HRS Damping Plates; SonicTransporter i7 & Synology DS412+; Audio Desk Pro
Personal audio: Woo Audio WA6, WA7 & WA8; Auralic Aries Mini, Sonore MicroRendu & UltraRendu, A&K AK100 II, AKG Q701, Shure SE535, Shure SH1540, Westone ES50 Custom, Sennheiser HD800, MrSpeakers Aeon Flow C, Various Moon Audio dragons
2nd system: Luxman SQ-N100, PSB Imagine Mini, REL T-5, refurbished AR XA w/Nagaoka MP-200 & VPI cabling, Linn Klimax DSM Renew, Shunyata Venom PS8 w/Defender & Viper, Nordost Blue Heaven power & IC, Acoustic Zen sc, Symposium Svelte Shelves
Workshop: Vintage Yamaha CA-1010 amp & CT-1010 tuner, Martin Logan Motion 4, Squeezebox Touch, Schiit BiFrost, AZ & WW cables
Video: Sony XBR65X850C; Apple TV-4; Vienna Acoustics Schönberg L/R, Webern center & surrounds; REL T1/T2/T3 subs; Arcam AVR850; Cambridge Audio 752BD; MIT-EXP SC

Last edited by Antonmb; 07-14-2019 at 11:06 AM.
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