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DirectStream Memory Player beta reviewer postings
Topic Rating: +177 Topic Rating: +177 (183 votes) 
November 20, 2016
1:03 pm
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I haven’t listened for a few days, got into other things. Sundays seem to be right for me.  I did load 1.68 the other day (Friday, I believe) but didn’t test it, just left the dmp powered on.

Well, I just sat down to listen.  Using the remote, the CD began.  But the dmp is now completely non responsive to any remote control input, the display is stuck on cut 1, the time bar is locked mid play and now the player is playing cut three as the cd continues as I write this. (To be clear, it just keeps running through the CD tracks.)

I also find the remote doesn’t control the dsd dac input selection, but does control the BHK pre volume and on/off, though pushing off while disc continues to play did throw out a loud click.

while the music played, I plugged in my trusty coax cable dmp to ds dac.  Lost audio, but gained proper track number on dmp, and time bar now works.  Input switching via remote on the ds dac is inoperable.  

I rebooted the ds dac and now the ds dac allows input switching, to coax.  Remote now seems to control the dmp.

Wilson SASHA 2s; BHK 300s,  BHK PRE, 2 P10s, PMD, DSDDAC. Audience AU24sx speaker cables, se power cables and interconnects. Audience Arp6t power conditioner,16 RPG BDRs, 2 bass traps, other panels.

November 20, 2016
1:16 pm
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I wanted to post the above as I didn’t want it to be lost as was another post some days back.  Seems the handshake between ds dac and dmp is the problem.  

I still haven’t tried a hybrid or SACD yet.  I’m inclined to leave it alone so I can actually listen to some music.

fwiw: I haven’t messed with the display brightness on the dmp, but the time bar times flicker as they increment – for example, as, say, 2:12 becomes 2:13, all digits flash even though only the last one changes.  It bugs me, because it’s not an elegant operation.  It seems the bar itself also acts this way maybe every five seconds. I’d record a video but this forum seems to want me to upload a file, as if from a pic, not my IPad Pro.  If I can record video into the forum directly, I’ll be happy to video what I’ve described.

I do feel empathy for the folks at PS trying to get the lid on Pandora’s box closed.

meanwhile… I ordered new Sasha 2s.

Wilson SASHA 2s; BHK 300s,  BHK PRE, 2 P10s, PMD, DSDDAC. Audience AU24sx speaker cables, se power cables and interconnects. Audience Arp6t power conditioner,16 RPG BDRs, 2 bass traps, other panels.

November 20, 2016
2:39 pm
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Woodburger said:

“I rebooted the ds dac and now the ds dac allows input switching, to coax. Remote now seems to control the dmp.”

This is potentially a key — Dennis take note.  This makes me wonder (given how many issues are I2S-to-original-DS DAC (vs. the Junior)…. how many issues are related to this I2S connection?

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November 20, 2016
2:55 pm
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Elk said:

“JeffreyMann said
I have owned the HD800 headphones for about 6 years . . .
Thanks, Jeff! Excellent information. I respect the HD800 but cannot get myself to love them. I want to. smile”

Allow me to toss my headphone story in this mix.

I’ve had the 600’s for years – thought they were bass light, but otherwise accurate.  My brother got the 650’s –OK, more like it!

Last two years at Axpona, we both went to the Headphone Room (or whatever the “kids” call it – itwasntme_gif

And both years we listened to the 600/700/800’s through the Senn amps.

This year, same impression confirmed – the 650’s were the most balanced and musical to me.

So then we went into the Woo room (not for the first time) and I listened to the 800’s through the tiny “portable” tube amp (can’t recall the name), and I had to take the 800’s off my head, confirm that they were indeed the SAME ‘phones I had listened to two years in a row through the Senn amp, and remarked to the Woo guy, “these are completely transformed by this amp”.

This did not mean I was willing to spend $3K for a headphone rig (I prefer speakers out in front of me playing in air, vs. an 8cm-wide stereo image inside my head) BUT – the difference was stunning.

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November 20, 2016
3:16 pm
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woodburger said
  I haven’t messed with the display brightness on the dmp, but the time bar times flicker as they increment – for example, as, say, 2:12 becomes 2:13, all digits flash even though only the last one changes.  It bugs me, because it’s not an elegant operation.  It seems the bar itself also acts this way maybe every five seconds.

Same blink/flash experience here, and share your desire to see something non-blinking.

November 20, 2016
4:29 pm
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Are there anybody who have tried the new transport with 1DS and 2 DSjr in order to test SACD multichannel for SQ and synchronized audio?

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November 20, 2016
5:20 pm
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I wanted today to post my listening with the DMP and the Bridge II, but it was not to be. With the last Bridge II update, I can now no longer get any of my server apps to play music through the Bridge II. UPnPlay, BubbleUPnP, MConnect, none of them will get music over to the Bridge II. They all see it as a selectable renderer, but when I play a track the app track displays all show no music progressing on the time bar. MConnect is the only one giving me some sort of error message, saying that I’m trying to play an unsupported format. All these FLAC tracks played previously fine. So now I’m stuck not being able to listen to the Bridge II.

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November 20, 2016
7:35 pm
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badbeef said
So then we went into the Woo room (not for the first time) and I listened to the 800’s through the tiny “portable” tube amp (can’t recall the name), and I had to take the 800’s off my head, confirm that they were indeed the SAME ‘phones I had listened to two years in a row through the Senn amp, and remarked to the Woo guy, “these are completely transformed by this amp”.

I have a Woo Audio WA5.  Woo makes wonderful tube amps, but they are expensive.

November 20, 2016
9:14 pm
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JeffreyMann said:

 

Ken,

You wrote-: “I prefer to talk about the effect the music has on me through DMP. I’m energized, alive, on edge, and elevated. Music that I know can once againsurprise and delight. On discs that I have used to evaluate sound, in snippets, I now find myself listening to the whole thing through. And, I’m not thinking about sound, but instead, I get engaged.

Note that I bold-highlighted the word “again”.

You seem to be implying that the DMP has some “special” quality that allows you to again become engaged with music that previously surprised and delighted you. I am curious – how did that same music previously engage you, and delight you, prior to acquiring the DMP when you were listening to that same music via audio equipment that didn’t have that “special” quality that you believe exists in the DMP?

Jeff.

 

Elk said:

 

Ken’s post raised the same question for me. 

I have often had an analogous experience when new equipment allows me to hear more than previously.  This can be mesmerizing.  The most pronounced example occurred when I bought my first good headphone amp and headphones.  The detail I could now hear was fascinating.  I listened for hours.  But the music itself was not more engaging; the reproduction was. 

The novelty soon wears and one returns to listening to the music, rather than the equipment.  I learned long ago not to chase newness. 

It is akin to an addiction to horsepower.  After buying my first performance car which was capable of 0-60 in less than four seconds I found myself bored with the acceleration.  I tore the engine apart and installed a performance cam, headers, etc.  And delighted in the new rush of faster.  This too got old however.  Into the engine again with head work, polishing, new pistons.  Rush, followed by boredom. Rinse and repeat.  Lesson learned.

On the other hand, with audio, I respond to improved timbrel accuracy/texture and microdynamics.  As a classical listener, this is where the magic resides.  Thus, the new DS firmwares – which continually improved both – did increase my engagement as Ken describes.  But the same music on a portable player remains as delightful as before; it is just a different experience.

 

————————————————–

 

Jeffrey and Elk,

 

My use of “again” was a simple reference. The music was no longer new to me, but the improved presentation gave the music new life. And it was exhilarating. Will it remain so going forward? Is this different from previous improvements? That’s why I used the New Orleans analogy. In comparing the PWT with the DMP, listening to individual sounds, sound stage dimensions, and other parameters, doesn’t help me get a grip on these two pieces of equipment. But listened to as a whole, the difference to me was that music was more alive, much more, through the DMP than it was with the PWT. If there is a continuum from poor reproduction to live (New Orleans), then I am now nearer to where I want to be. That makes it easier to get swept away. And that’s why I think this is an important step for me to take. I will admit that I have been having a difficult time, over the last year or so, in getting really involved in music through PWT and DSDAC. I’ve had an easier time getting drawn in through vinyl. But right away, the DMP gave me something that I needed. Is this destined to be like Elks boredom with horsepower? No. There is a difference between music reproduction, and horsepower production. There is, in fact, a rate of acceleration that I think Elk could always be thrilled with. But, he’ll need to find his way in to a top-fuel dragster to find it. New Orleans, as my example, is something that I’ve experienced, and it’s pretty much as good as I need. We’re not there yet in our listening rooms, but the progress made from PWT to DMP is very meaningful, for me. In as much as I don’t tend to get bored with vinyl, the DMP may be enough for me. At least, that is, until another big jump comes along. And I’ll try to grab that one too. But, if I get bored with this, then I’m probably lacking in the ability to just let go, and allow myself to get swept away. Time will tell. But if I don’t grab this one, then it would feel like surrender.

 

I have been very sorry to hear about all the problems beta testers are having with their DMPs. Because I got mine so late, I started with firmware 1.68. I haven’t had any problems playing CDs, but my next step is DSD, DVD-A, and higer resolution WAV files. I’ll let you know if that gets buggy for me. But, for now, I’m happy to be trading in a 7 year old transport in for a new one.

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November 20, 2016
10:46 pm
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I’ve been out of town and am just getting back into beta testing mode, and will be doing more listening over the long weekend.  I rearranged my kit and got the 1/2 meter I2S cable supplied with the DSM into the system and, very briefly, it seems to do more of everything that I’ve noted the DSM does.  More to follow.  And I’ve edited my site signature (all the gear), replacing NAD M5 as a digital source with  PS Audio DirectStream Memory Player.

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November 21, 2016
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JM said

woodburger said
  I haven’t messed with the display brightness on the dmp, but the time bar times flicker as they increment – for example, as, say, 2:12 becomes 2:13, all digits flash even though only the last one changes.  It bugs me, because it’s not an elegant operation.  It seems the bar itself also acts this way maybe every five seconds.

 [moved to bugs thread]

November 21, 2016
1:37 pm
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Further impressions from this beta tester:

 

I decided to test and evaluate this component as if it were my day to day transport. I played cds and SACDs, lots of each, connecting the PMD to the DS via HDMI as I have for years connected the PWT. 

My PMD is nearing three weeks since it was installed in my system. I’ve had a few hiccups along the way, but once I settled in to just listening to cds and SACDs (which is almost all of my normal listening to music digitally) there were no problems in functionality. 

The sound really has bloomed over the weeks. And I have to admit that the sound inspired or otherwise motivated me to tailor the system a bit for this new “source.” And the overall system sound has benefitted in this manner as well. 

Honestly I think I had to come to grips with both the subtle and unsubtle differences between the DMP and the PWT. As has been mentioned a few times in these writings from beta testers “timing” seems to be central to the differences. The overall presentation has bloomed with additional, clear detail, which includes atmospheric “room information” as well. I don’t feel ashamed to admit that this took me some listening to adjust to. But with this adjustment under my belt the I feel the presentation is the best I’ve had in my home for digital discs.

With Redbook discs the quality of mastering has become very noticeable and with the PMD’s dynamic reproduction the soundscape is vibrant. . . or rippling calm. . . or richly resonant. I would say the most pronounced sonic difference between the PWT and DMP for me is the image, the shape of the sound of instruments. With the PWT they are often fleshed out, embodied in space so to speak. The PMD seems to have just a bit less of definition but reveals the interconnection of the instrument with its surrounds so naturally that I believe this is possibly the more accurate representation of the recording. The overall soundscape seems to cohere musically. 

Often playing one disc has led to another and another and in listening I’ve alternated between marveling at the sound and trying to assemble thoughts and impressions, and getting lost in sheer enjoyment and sometimes escape within the music.

SACD playback has been in a way a surprise as the quality of the playback I feel is a clear step up for my system. Previous players have had quite good playback I thought, and I tended to settle on the “warmest” sounding I had heard. As a result of the SACD players and Universal players I listened to SACD through I found myself linking the sound of SACD to the sound of vinyl playback in my mind. This has changed, the PMD from the start convinced me that SACD was digital par excellence and I continue to pop in SACDs and revel in the alive and “quick” sound. SACD via the PMD is OMG. I am far more excited about my SACD collection than ever before. I now feel fortunate to have been collecting those that I have over the last decade.

I know the PMD can do so much more: play other audio discs, display artwork, play a USB stick, wow. I don’t have these incorporated in my music life other than a few other audio discs. I listen to vinyl and I listen to cd and SACDs, now using the PMD for both. 

A simple summation of my impressions: this is a superior product that any PWT owner would likely be thrilled with. And it offers SACD playback connected to the DS that might well incite SACD collecting fever in music lovers.

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November 21, 2016
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Thanks Lonson,very nice review. Sounds as if you have made the choice to keep the DMP. Congrats…

 

I have a question for the beta folks. Would any of you consider the differences between the PWT and DMP in sound quality to be on par with the sound differences between what you hear with the DS OS updates? Would anyone consider going from Pikes Peak to Yale to Torrey’s more of a musical improvement across the board vs the improvement going from PWT to DMP in red book alone?  I’m trying to get a better perspective for the DMP sound. 

What I’m asking is…do you prefer the DS firmware updates over the DMP’s musical upgrade over the PWT? 

Thanks for any reply on the questions…

November 21, 2016
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I think the difference between the PWT and the DMP is more comparable to the difference between a PWD II and a DSD.
By that I mean it is quite a significant improvement.

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November 21, 2016
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Great analogy ear plugs! I’d agree. 

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November 22, 2016
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On red book playback I concur that the difference between the PWT and DMP is significantly more than one of the firmware changes in DS. SACD on the other hand is a quantum leap over my previous SACD source. 

Comparing the DS/DMP combo compared to my M7/M1 SE combo is a bit different. The DMP is opening up with a clearer picture into the recording. The spatial cues have improved as well as I get more hours on it. The mids and high are very similar to the M1 it’s in the bass where the DMP plenty of weight just not the bass definition. The overall presentation of the DMP has less dynamics body as my server M1 setup

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November 22, 2016
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I never owned the PWD,so I cant compare it within my minds eye/ear. 

November 22, 2016
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Well, it’s even more profound an improvement in important ways than the early firmware in the DSD compared to the newest firmware. Tonal balance between the PWT and PMD in a basic way is about that much transformed. But there’s also a pervasive improvement in areas of precision and pace that is just flat better and is a foundation to the sound. 

That’s my best stab at the differences in comparison in use with the DSD via HDMI.

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November 22, 2016
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Lonson,thank-you very much. I now believe I can understand what I was seeking in regards to the sound quality differences in my previous post [463]. By the means of your simple, but profound explanation… Now….. I think I get it! 77_gif

November 22, 2016
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Whew! Glad that came out the way I intended it to. ;)

And you are right Mark, I am keeping the PMD, sent the PWT back today.

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November 23, 2016
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Thanks to @Dennis Kerrisk I was able to get my Bridge II to work through MConnect so that I could do some listening to it and the DMP. Now those of us who’d beta tested the various flavors of Bridge II FW know there were changes in the sound of the various FW builds, so given that I don’t know how “final” the version is that I just got from Dennis, take this with a grain of salt.

The DMP is better in my system than the Bridge II my a small margin, using RBCD music. The Bridge II may be slightly “blacker” in terms of noise, but it also has a slightly harder edge to the sound, noticed mostly with female vocals and piano music. But it does make you sit up and take notice of sharp percussive counterpoints in the music. But when I switch back to the DMP everything sounds just a bit more real. Small differences, and I didn’t listen yet to enough music to say it’s categorically true for everything, but at least for the music I did listen to the DMP edged out the Bridge II by a hair. I’m happy to live with both.drinking-39_gif

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November 23, 2016
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I’m THANKFUL for all your hard work, PS Audio folks!

Have a good holiday!beer_gifmusic-078_gif77_gif

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P3, DirectStream Memory Player via I2S (AQ Carbon) or Bill Ernst-modded Mac Mini running Roon via galvanically isolated USB chain (or ethernet to Bridge II) to DS Junior, Transparent Ultra XLRs, DEQX HDP-4, Transparent Ultra XLRs, Hypex nCore 400-based amp, Harbeth SHL5+ or Quad 988's with JLAudio f112 subs.  Analog:  VPI Scout, JMW 9 arm, Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC, VTL TL 2.5 Phono analog to DEQX, or PS Audio Phono Converter, I2S to DS Jr.  Surround: ARCAM AVR 600, Oppo 105, ACI Sapphire XLs, JL Audio subs.

November 23, 2016
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I just installed firmware 1.76. The first thing that came up after the installation was a whited out screen again!! Scary… I powered down and up again and the DMP turned on without problems. I then proceeded to test the unit with a Blu-ray disc, the “2@L The Nordic Sound”. It started playing just fine but I cannot get the DMP to advance to the next track. The Blu-ray Audio of Stevie Wonder’s Songs in the Key of Life will not even start on Track 1, it jumps to 2. Back to the drawing board??

November 23, 2016
4:21 pm
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badbeef said
I’m THANKFUL for all your hard work, PS Audio folks!

Have a good holiday!beer_gifmusic-078_gif77_gif

Thanks Mark!

Co-founder and CEO of PS Audio. Hobbies (other than audio) include cooking, artisan bread baking, writing The Carbon Wars, hiking and inventing stuff. Infinity IRSV, MG Audio Designs and Audioquest cables, five P10 Power Plants, DirectStream DAC, NuWave Phono Converter, Clear Audio Master turntable, Lyra Cartridge, BHK Monos and BHK preamp, LANRover USB Transporter. I live in Boulder Colorado with my wife Terri, both of us are vegetarians for many decades. If you want to see support my first shot at writing a novel go here.

November 23, 2016
8:53 pm
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I’ve been favorably impressed with the new DirectWave Player right out of the box. The sound signature was a bit shrill at the beginning, but a week of burning the electronics in dissipated any harshness in the sound. SACDs sound absolutely magnificent; this player has really unlocked the potential of my music system. I feel like I am finally reaping the splendor of SACD playback. I’ve had several players recently ranging from an BDP-105d, to a McIntosh MVP871, and the DirectWave blows them totally out of the water.

The Columbia/Legacy SACD – “The Best of Johnny Winter”, displays the best of the DirectWave Player. Lots of air, and space, surrounding the instruments, and you can concentrate on either the individual tracks that comprise each song, or the totality of the sound. I think that is one neat trick. Mr. Winter’s vocals are crystal clear on every track, and the tones of his slide guitar in “Highway 61” are transcendent. He is missed.

I am also delighted in the way the DirectWave reproduces the DVD-A format. Though not quite as resplendent as SACD, DVD-A offers a fullness that redbook CDs lack.  R.E.M.’s “New Adventures in Hi-Fi” maintains a certain ambience to my ear from start to finish, and the DirectWave does a great job of making the disk sound as if it were recorded in one take.

Redbook CDs are rendered beautifully; the player performs that trick of reducing the song to the individual tracks that comprise it. I absolutely love Harold Budd’s “Lovely Thunder”; it is one of my most played disks. I am hearing it with new ears through the DirectWave. It’s absolutely amazing how Mr. Budd sustains notes and chords through an entire track, and how the DirectWave reproduces the sound.

I have flashed the player to version 1.76, and playing a Blu-Ray disk is not working for me. Tried the Blu-Ray version of XTC’s “Oranges and Lemons”’ and the Blu-Ray version of Discipline from the latest King Crimson Box Set – “On (and off) The Road.” In both cases the player appears to read the data and gets to track 1, but no sound is forthcoming. It also shows for each case a total of 255 tracks, which most likely is not the case.

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oddeophile

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DirectStream DAC, DirectWave Transport, Luxman L-505uX, Sony XA5400ES, JansZen zA2.1 Speakers, Woo Audio WES with premium tube Upgrades, Stax 007 Omega II Electrostatic Headphones, Silver Circle Vesuvious I Power Cords, Silver Circle Juice Box 1, CablePro Reverie Speaker Cables and XLR Cables, Shunyata Research - Venom HDMI Cable for the I2S DirectStream DAC/Perfect Wave Connection, Nordost Heimdall I RCA Interconnects, CARDAS - CLEAR USB Cable for the DirectStream DAC/Windows 10 Pro Workstation Connection.

November 24, 2016
2:30 pm
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Just sat down with 1.76 in dmp (into ds Dac and then bhk pre)

i had connected my illuminati d-80(?) coax back when there was an issue via i2s.  I remembered it wasn’t plugged in so I did,  then compared the sound of coax vs i2s cable supplied.  

Do you ever just think, “that’s good” in an almost surprised way when you listen?

thats what I thought choosing the i2s feed…

I guess I could figure out the difference logically, but it just was a “whoa!  Better!”

the thing is, on my rig, on the pwt, I could hear no difference between coax, i2s, or digital xlr.

Btw: I like the new screen design.  Sorry to say,       The increment is stuck on 1 and the bar is stuck too.

Wilson SASHA 2s; BHK 300s,  BHK PRE, 2 P10s, PMD, DSDDAC. Audience AU24sx speaker cables, se power cables and interconnects. Audience Arp6t power conditioner,16 RPG BDRs, 2 bass traps, other panels.

November 24, 2016
4:03 pm
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Sly and the Family Stone Greatest Hits (CD) remastered sounds incredible and is great via dmp – it’s so very clear and cleanly detailed

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oddeophile

Wilson SASHA 2s; BHK 300s,  BHK PRE, 2 P10s, PMD, DSDDAC. Audience AU24sx speaker cables, se power cables and interconnects. Audience Arp6t power conditioner,16 RPG BDRs, 2 bass traps, other panels.

November 26, 2016
3:18 pm
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Keep coming back to the sound of transients as a way of talking about an aspect of the “rightness” of this thing – the leading edges of sounds are more realistic and natural than I’ve ever heard before.  Though I suspect it doesn’t end there…it’s just that it’s a big deal to actually hear these things articulated naturally.

The bow attacking the string, the drumstick on the skins, the pick on the guitar, the hammers on the piano strings.  This is not to say that they are exaggerated.  Rather that there is information there I had been unable to hear before, because it was rounded off, late in coming, if there at all.  Don’t know it’s missing until you hear it as it should be.

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oddeophile

P3, DirectStream Memory Player via I2S (AQ Carbon) or Bill Ernst-modded Mac Mini running Roon via galvanically isolated USB chain (or ethernet to Bridge II) to DS Junior, Transparent Ultra XLRs, DEQX HDP-4, Transparent Ultra XLRs, Hypex nCore 400-based amp, Harbeth SHL5+ or Quad 988's with JLAudio f112 subs.  Analog:  VPI Scout, JMW 9 arm, Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC, VTL TL 2.5 Phono analog to DEQX, or PS Audio Phono Converter, I2S to DS Jr.  Surround: ARCAM AVR 600, Oppo 105, ACI Sapphire XLs, JL Audio subs.

November 26, 2016
4:04 pm
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I don’t disagree. I see this as supplementing my impression that “timing” is the defining difference between the PWT and DMP, and the source of improvement. Everything has been presented correctly with no drift. That helps the transients be properly placed, the body of the notes to appear, and allows the swing of the music to be delivered. I really love this machine. 

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oddeophile

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November 26, 2016
4:15 pm
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lonson said
I see this as supplementing my impression that “timing” is the defining difference between the PWT and DMP, and the source of improvement. 

I’m certain you are correct, for what else could it be.

I continue to be amazed with how much jitter influences what we hear.

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