High End Audiophile Thread Part 2

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by vbetts, Sep 24, 2018.

  1. tunejunky

    tunejunky Ancient Guru

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    wires and cables are the most "snake oil" part of audio.

    yes they make a difference, but not one that's proprietary.
    conductivity, resistance, and capacitance all directly affect sound (and create analog parametric eq points) - but not in the digital realm

    all one needs is an appropriately RFI shielded cable - analog or digital.
    before USB transports were standardized or common i made my own AES/EBU and digital coaxial cables - and i used RG 6 coax (heat molded the jacket for AES/EBU).

    i've used DAC's since the very first external DAC (Meridian). i've used from Audioquest to no-name cables. after being supremely unimpressed from doing double-blind testing from the 1st ten years of running a digital transport i just started to make my own.

    i make my own RCA, XLR, coax, USB, and speaker cables. i used to loom my own psu cables until CableMods
     
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  2. mikeysg

    mikeysg Ancient Guru

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    I've not been doing anything with my audio setup, but I have made some changes for my cans:
    1. Sheepskin earpads for my ENIGMACOUSTICS Dharma D1000
    2. Protein leather earpads for my AT ATH-A900X LTD (pretty big earpad, quite comfortable)
    3. Sheepskin leather earpads for my Denon AH-D7000
    4. G-Cush earpads for Grado GS1000i

    Other than these, haven't done much with my audio setup as I'm happy enough with it, oh yeah, I did get a pair of Creative T40 Series II as it was on sale. It's for my laptop setup as the Pebble V3, while great for portability, just doesn't quite do it for me....the bottom pic was just for testing, so it's a tad messy.
    [​IMG]

    Edit - Earlier this year, or late last year, I'd gotten a number of cheap cables because I got tired of all those long, sometimes stiff, stock cables. Below is a pic of just a couple of the cables, I'd actually bought more, one for my Dharma D1000, the other for my HD600, the earpads are for my HFM HEK.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2024 at 3:52 AM
  3. tunejunky

    tunejunky Ancient Guru

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    just wanted to clean up an earlier post:

    while i do make my own cables i'm very picky about the wire. especially since cheap Chinese copper clad aluminum wire has flooded the market.
    i source my wire very carefully and only use at least OFC (oxygen free copper) wire, i also use silver wire.

    because one of my friends oc's with LN2 i also cryogenically treat my wire. this does improve the sound by realigning the crystalline structure
    but it's not worth paying for after market because the price is hiked far beyond the reasonable costs of manufacture.
    if you know anyone with an LN2 rig offer to pay for part of their next oc run because if you are a careful listener you'll hear an improvement, if you're not you won't so yet another reason not to buy aftermarket cryogenically treated wires.
     
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  4. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I also only use OFC or silver wire and make my own cables.
    Silver exposes more detail and can sound brighter so depending on equipment for critical listening, I either use a mix of OFC and silver cables or only silver.

    Its nice to know your cryo results.
    I guess cryogenics on my wires will have to wait, I only have access to a fridge freezer :)
    Though we found purer silver sounds slightly mellower, a little easier on the ear, fwiw.
    edit: also forgot, the purer silver wire is extruded from a single silver grain, so no grain boundaries, that could account for the difference in sound.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2024 at 5:38 PM
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  5. tunejunky

    tunejunky Ancient Guru

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    :D

    when i make my XLR & RCA cables i use a mix of both, for main speaker cables (L & R) no just a high strand count 12ga OFC with soldered banana plugs (screw-ins are fine - they sometimes come loose) for two 4m runs
    for subwoofers and SPDIF i use RG59 coax with RCA terminals. for rear, side, and atmos i just use standard 14ga OFC
    the only reason i make my USB cables is i have a spool of CAT 7 and a good source for 3.1.2 and hopefully 4.0 plugs
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2024 at 6:10 PM
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  6. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Nice.
    Same here, very fat bi-wire high strand OFC to speakers, wonderfully clear without fatigue, and cheap to boot.
    Without bi-wire, treble detail/position is fuzzier, just a bit less precise. Bi-wire made a nice difference here.
     
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  7. tunejunky

    tunejunky Ancient Guru

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    last year i helped a friend update his rig. he's running an old pair of Tannoy 10" Definition series.
    we went from bi-wire to bi-amp. we added a Mc275 (75wpc) tube amp for the HF, Parasound A23+ solid state 125 watt amp LF, REL Classic 98 sub, and a Lanzar Vibe VIBEX6 3-way active x-over
    thank God the speakers were broken in..took two days of tuning but ... my God

    fun times
     
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  8. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Sweet.
    I considered bi-amp a long time ago but was using an Emotiva XPA-2 which is "huge", "hot" and power hungry, 110W idle.
    Though I forgot about this with my newer amp(s) ...

    Hmmm, I've got a Benchmark AHB2 sat here doing nothing, it only uses 25W idle, 180W/ch into 4 ohm (as I use), it was fantastic.
    Together with my lower power Topping LA90 Discrete (12W idle, 80W/ch into 4 ohm), which sounds even clearer but runs out of steam when 'blasting' movies (it can clip), this could be an awesome addition.
    AHB2 for bass, LA90 D for mid/treble where it really shines, perfect. Also less wear on the LA90, its been found to break as often as the older Topping PA5, 50% failure rate eek!!
    So 2 to 3 benefits, lower power load on the Topping so it wont clip, possibly even clearer due to not driving the bass cone and less wear.
    But it will need my Holo Serene KTE pre-amp to be on for any use of the speakers cos thats the only way I can get dual XLR out feeds to both amps.
    And the Topping amps triple inputs will become redundant, I love that ease of use without needing my high end pre-amp, hmph.
    At bare minimum I have to try it though, I have enough XLR leads.
    I'll hate you if it sounds better, lol.
    (edit: ah feck, XLR1 out from the Holo pre-amp is also high end headphone out. Will be a pita to use headphones)


    Btw, if you havent tried using high level input to that sub (from the front speakers amp), give it a try.
    The Classic 98 has this feature.
    When I tried this on my REL Strata II, something was better so always used it like that, whether it was timing or something else...

    ... and the sub behind my sofa (for more seat feel) is a 15+yr old BK Monolith.
    This also sounded nicer with high level input when it was my only sub for a long time. I still use it this way with the original 5m lead.
    My other 2 subs are RCA in only so cant try high level in with them sadly.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2024 at 8:52 PM
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  9. tunejunky

    tunejunky Ancient Guru

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    if it was mine i would, but hiding the REL high level cable wasn't possible
    it absolutely picks up the ambiance of the main amp when you do.
    btw.. had a big laugh when KEF introduced this with their KC 62 sub...they have the wiring block but didn't add the wires w/ the sub
     
  10. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Ah, unfortunate.
    Yeah, I recall a few subs were high level input capable and didnt have a lead for it, dur.


    I've got a small issue bi-amping, the gains dont match:
    The AHB2 has gain settings of 8.2, 14.2 and 22dB
    The LA90D has gain settings 9.4 and 19.4dB
    Measured figures will be slightly different, I have them for the AHB2 but not the LA90 D yet.

    9dB is way too low, I settled on 14dB with the AHB2 and 19dB with the LA90 for general use.
    I should use 22dB and 19.4dB with probably a 3 or 4dB XLR attenuator on the AHB2.
    Though I could use 14dB on the AHB2, 19dB on the LA90 and turn its volume down to suit. But I lose a bit of s/n enabling the volume control.

    I havent tried to attenuate high end audio before, are there options that wont mess up sound quality or balance?
    A tiny change can be heard/noticed on my kit.
     

  11. Krizby

    Krizby Ancient Guru

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    I'm using KEF KC62 with the KEF LSX II LT, sound incredible, very little tuning needed from the KFE Connect app
    IMG_1715742713565_1715743412473.jpg
     
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  12. tunejunky

    tunejunky Ancient Guru

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    best in class combo
    what we were on about is just left of the (very much appreciated) x-over RCA plug in/out on the KC62.
    you're using the self powered version of the LS50 so this feature of the sub doesn't apply to you - but as KEF uses the same amp topology in the sub and speaker you get the same benefit.

    when you use a high level input (direct via speaker wire from the main amp) the characteristic sonic signature of the amp is applied to the sub, creating a more cohesive sound between satellites and sub.

    as far as "mighty mite" subs go the KC 62 is a class act - and is FAR easier to integrate into rooms and systems than many others that don't provide active x-overs, high level inputs, or frequency response like it. there are many apps but the KEF Connect is the best i've seen short of Pro Audio
     
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  13. tunejunky

    tunejunky Ancient Guru

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    gain matching is hard as hell, especially on inexpensive Class D amps. they set the gain at the level sure to get attention as folks often confuse getting loud faster with more power. that said i'm sure glad they're around as love of good music is more important than snobbery.
    5dB gain difference between amps is a lot.
    for now i'd suggest leaving the Topping @ 19dB fixed gain and use v/c and leave the AHB2 alone
    some active x-overs have gain matching but for the expense i'd just look for a more feature laden (continuous gain control) class D
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2024 at 4:25 PM
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  14. gridiron whirlw

    gridiron whirlw Ancient Guru

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    In my system silver sounds more bright than I like, I like the OFC and silver mix or the OFC copper.
     
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  15. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Yeah I agree, the best method will be 14dB on the AHB2, 19dB in the LA90 D with volume control to match them. Otherwise its costly and worse.

    Neither amp are Class D btw, LA90 D and AHB2 are Class A/B.
    They both use switching power supplies though, the AHB2 with Class H rails to reduce low output power use. Not sure on the design of the LA90 D PSU yet.
     

  16. tunejunky

    tunejunky Ancient Guru

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    wow just shows what assumptions can do (to me)

    what kind of power supply does the Topping use? internal, external, nice or run-of-the-mill?
    i knew the AHB was a/b, didn't know about the switching power supplies...
     
  17. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Yeah, same.
    When using KEF Ref1 speakers, they expose so much detail that all silver is a bit much.
    But no silver really misses out on what the system can do, has to be a mix.
     
  18. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Its a 64V external SMPS brick. 3pin to the amp, +/- 32V.
    Thats about as much info as is readily available.
     
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  19. tunejunky

    tunejunky Ancient Guru

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    i only use silver/OFC in interconnects
    because i agree with both of you about the brightness and i'm using ATC (scm20) and Tannoy (Gold 7)

    copper is both warmer and more forgiving with speakers...unless you have some kind of exotica purposefully designed to make you shed cash.
     
  20. Krizby

    Krizby Ancient Guru

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    My metal speakers stand arrived but unfortunately I don't like the sound, the speakers sound warmer and more bass when sitting on top of my 2in thick wooden desk.

    Looks like I made the right decision with the KEF LSX II and KC62 combo, didn't need to delve deep into all the technicalities and still come out with a kick ass sound system.
     
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