Short and sweet

March 2, 2023
 by Paul McGowan

Well, no sooner did I publish my short and sweet post, How many Wows, than I received another in my email box.

Bob Woodburger sent me the following message and picture that I could not resist sharing with you:

“Hi Paul,

I’m blown away by the MKII DAC. It’s Exceptionally real!

I hear space I never heard before.


The picture kind of says it all.

Thanks, Bob.

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50 comments on “Short and sweet”

  1. “Short & Sweet”…that describes my wife perfectly 😀

    Listened to Natalie Merchant – ‘Tigerlily’ today (1995)
    A real hidden gem, & mastered by Bob Ludwig 😉

    Just for the hell of it I’d love to have a PS Audio – ‘DS DAC Mk2’ vs
    the Denafrips – ‘Terminator ii 12th’ vs the HOLO Audio- ‘May KTE Mk3’

      1. Except the Chord Dave is so bloody ugly.
        It looks more like a David Cronenberg movie prop than a piece of audio gear….

        “The new Cronenberg eXistenZ-a-chord David DAC…. It PULSES as it plays….”

    1. And while we’re at it throw in the dCS Bartok.
      Any more?

      To be honest I think when you get to a certain level, such as the DAC’s above, they all deliver.
      Which one you choose is just a matter of taste.

      1. … as are the design of listening rooms. What the picture said to me was that Mr Woodburger was too lazy to stand up and take a proper photograph. There seems to be some coffee spilt on his jeans that I find quite disturbing. How can a man clearly OCD about his audio wear a pair of dirty jeans? The photo is more jeans than audio.

        Am I the only person completely disinterested in new DACs? Bought mine in 2016 and never even thought about changing it. My focus has been on clean power and clean signal paths to digital components, which has made a big difference. In this photo, the amps seem to be sitting on regenerators, but are the digital components also plugged into regenerators?

        1. Like some people who are too lazy to flick the light switches in their homes or to switch on their coffee making machines & just have to rely on ‘Alexa’ to do all that heavy lifting.
          I’d rather have a tiny coffee stain on my stone-washed jeans…maybe ‘Alexa’ would wash them for me 😀
          Obviously Bob desperately needs an ‘Alexa’.

          I think that Bob chose to sit because it puts the camera lens at exactly the right height to capture the perfect shot of his home-audio rig.

          1. You’re fighting a losing battle on Alexa and Amazon Echo. At the last count 68.2% of Americans use it. It’s also the most commonly used music player. Huge numbers use it in the UK. It now has something over 100,000 skills, so turning the lights on and off is pretty much scratching the surface.

        2. Steven,
          As you must know, there have been substantial advances in digital audio since 2016. Much equipment has become obsolete as measured by currently available sound quality. PS Audio’s constant software and equipment updates are a good example.
          Perhaps you have deliberately chosen to ignore this reality, not wanting to spend money on expensive equipment that is guaranteed to loose value over time as improvements become available. We have all had that that frustration to deal with.
          But, you sacrifice the thrill of the the newest reality in sound reproduction as Bob evidences. This Bob is willing to make that investment, it’s just really exciting to turn on my system and enjoy what comes out.

          1. Robert,
            I first heard the dCS Vivaldi stack in 2013 and that has always been my reference point, the same for a lot of people, although they now make more compact boxes that are pretty much as good. It is used at just about every demo I’ve been to over the last 10 years. Since 2016 my DAC (it’s part of a system) has had various software upgrades, for DSD, sound improvements, DSP, equalisation, Roon Ready in 2019 and a new streaming processor in 2017. All these were free. PSA DACs don’t have DSP, equalisation or Roon Ready, last I heard. I’ve never been disappointed with its performance. I’ve bought quite a bit of new audio gear in the last 2-3 years, including a pair of Wilson speakers, speaker cables and a seriously good tonearm a few weeks ago, but the main electronics are unchanged.

            My electronics might be 7 years old, but they are still a current model because when companies make modular and upgradeable hifi, changing boxes becomes less necessary. When I bought it, I did a full hardware upgrade, the basic case was originally made in 2010. Manufacturers want you to believe in redundancy and even build it in, but I personally think it’s far less of a problem than people think. Are my Wilson speakers bust because there is a new “X” model? No, they’re still fabulous and I’m not “upgrading” them.

            Of course none of this is an issue to Mr Woodburger, who has acres of space. If that room is say 25’x30′, where I live the real estate would cost 3 or 4 times the cost of his audio system.

            1. Steven,
              “My electronics might be 7 years old…”
              Personally, I’ve found that if ‘it’ sounded great in 1993 then there’s no reason why ‘it’ shouldn’t still sound great today, whatever ‘it’ is, regardless of whether the model is still current or not (providing, of course, that ‘it’ still operates within spec.)

          2. Robert,
            Whilst understanding the valid point that you are making here, we must also remember that the PS Audio – ‘DS Mk1’ DAC’s firmware updates/upgrades were only good for six years, which means that even with PS Audio gear there are limitations.
            At our age how fast does six years go by? 😉

      1. I have a DXD DAC. Where does that fit in the scheme of things? Am I the only person to have bought a DSD DAC, decided it made no difference to PCM and sold it? (I suspect I’m very much in the majority.)

      1. Yes. That photo is like one of those silly tourist shots where Joe Schmuck fits the Eiffel Tower between thumb and index finger. It’s not even a good advert for denim.

        I have nothing against denim. My great-grandfather, who as I noted yesterday was a victim of colonial oppression when British Standard were created, and his equally oppressed friend, came to London specifically to make denim, the first business to do so in Europe. It was hugely successful and the business remains a global brand. Far more important, his son developed a love of cricket and became a member of the MCC, and I spent many days with him in the pavilion at Lords. My biggest regret is that he died before proposing me as a member. My kids regret it even more.

        1. But a great ad for ‘Spot the coffee stain’.

          My days of wearing denim are well & truly over.
          I am now a ‘sweatpants’ man through & through.
          If the dress-code requires me to wear pants that
          won’t stretch around my midsection, then I won’t attend.

    1. I agree, It is a great looking room. The system is very nice too. I’m not sure which Wilson’s those are, I think Alexia ( but not sure which version )? I just checked the Wilson website and my guess is the re not current vintage.

    1. Who’s to say that Bob already has the ‘more music’ issue resolved and now the ‘acoustic space’ has come to life as well. I would say Bob has the final word. Hopefully the recordings he’s listening to have natural reverb.

      Beautiful set up Bob, right down to the cable layout.

  2. So far most everyone seems to have missed the key word of space. No shortage of overall cubic volume in the perspective I see. Great cable management. I’m assuming the MK2 brought out “space” in the music that the space alone in the room fully didn’t.

    Nice pic* and mighty fine looking system Mr Bob.

    *Please dress appropriately and confer with sntbcws on the proper photographic composition on the next one

    1. Absolutely. Paul always nabs nice artwork off the internet, half the fun is working out what it’s got to do with the post. I’ll put it down to Bob being lost in space and having an off moment.

      What we need is a picture of Tonyplachy in his bathroom robe. I’m keen to know the brand. Marriott? Hilton? Holiday Inn?

  3. For what it’s worth, I think the Mk2 DAC is a big improvement over the original, and is now much closer to my EMM DAC which is, for all intents and purposes, state of the art. Plus, the PS DAC does a great job paired with the companion disc player via I2s. In other words, the Mk2 is really a great value.

  4. I’ve been waiting since mid-January for my MKII DAC. It finally shipped last week via FedEx just in time for a monster winter blizzard to shut down the I-80 pass over the Sierras. FedEx has been jammed up and stopped for days, and my DAC is sitting in a truck only 60 miles away. Funny thing is I live in Nevada on the east side of the Sierras where the roads are clear, but FedEx can’t move. Argh!!

    They say the best things in life are worth waiting for, and I’m certainly doing that.

  5. I can’t tell you how many times in 30 years of trucking I sat at Sierra Sids or Boomtown for 2-4 days waiting for the pass to open , so I could deliver my vehicles. I always marveled at the beauty of those mountains once the road was cleared.

  6. In all seriousness, the room looks so large, I wonder if Bob has considered building an acoustic layer over the walls rather than just using panels, or maybe the walls have been acoustically treated.

    1. You can intuitively figure out that the room acoustics are not optimal. But a proper REW measurement will give you the correct baseline.

      REW is free, the UMIK mic is cheap. the improvements possible (if you have DSP) are immense.

      But people prefer to spend thousands in unmeasurable differences on DACs and wires. Go figure.

      1. Don’t know why you’re replying to me, but I have a UMIK and use REW, primarily for bass response and subwoofer integration. The AIR that Bob talks about is most certainly due to a reduced noise floor and possibly other processing changes, which has ZERO to do with room acoustics.

        When I had poor wiring and noisy power a conditioner dramatically lowered the noise floor and it was blatantly obvious. The oscilloscope people fail to measure the effect, but that’s their problem, not mine.

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