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#47937 - 03/15/03 09:06 PM How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
pleary Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 03/15/03
Posts: 22
Loc: Plano, TX, US
For the past 6-9 months I've researched and auditioned a fairly large selection of home theater electronics in an attempt to find a combination of components that not only does HT right, but also does 2-channel CD exceptionally well.

When I started, I had a pair of Mirage M3si speakers that were leftover from a high-dollar (for me) Mark Levinson system. I also had a Sony 9000ES DVD player that I bought on impulse at the same time I bought my rear projection TV. I figured the M3si's would make nice HT mains, and the 9000ES would make a capable CD/DVD player.

My space and cost constraints are such that it's not practical for me to have separate HT and 2-channel CD systems. It's also not practical for me to spend the kind of $$$ on the new electronics that I spent on the previous Mark Levinson rig.

Alas, the 2-channel CD performance of the Sony 9000ES is marginal, at best (as it also seems for most DVD players save the most expensive). And using its digital out for CD (in conjunction with the receiver/processor's D/A) was also mostly disappointing. Also, most of the receivers/processors that I've auditioned were disappointing in 2-channel CD mode, though a number were quite satisfying for movies.

I was beginning to think that it wasn't possible to have a single system, on a budget, that does movies AND 2-channel CD well...until I heard about the Outlaws.

At this point, I'm fairly convinced that the 950/755 combo will work nicely as the core of my new system. I also plan to bolster 2-channel CD performance by using a separate Monarchy 22C D/A (and DIP) to process the digital out from my DVD and feed the bypass inputs on the 950. It probably won't get me to the same level of performance that I enjoyed with the Levinson #39/380s/23.5, but I'm betting I won't be too far off.

Anyway, before I take the plunge and order the 950/755 combo, I'd be interested in knowing what others are doing to max out 2-channel CD performance with the 950.

Thanks in advance for your comments.

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#47938 - 03/16/03 04:21 AM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Kevin C Brown Offline
Desperado

Registered: 12/11/01
Posts: 1054
Loc: Santa Clara, CA
My personal opinion, and others might disagree, but if you don't like the analog sound out of the 9000ES (i.e., its DACs), you probably aren't going to like the DACs in the 950 either. Sony, ES gear specifically, does a nice job on their analog backends.

I am slowly becoming convinced that I get better analog sound out of my DVD player (Pioneer 47ai with Burr Browns), but because of the sub phase issue mentioned elsewhere, I'm lazy and just use the DACs in the 950 for everything but SACD and DVD-A.


[This message has been edited by Kevin C Brown (edited March 16, 2003).]
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#47939 - 03/16/03 10:57 AM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
bossobass Offline
Desperado

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 430
Loc: charlotte, nc usa
it really doesn't matter which pre-pro or receiver you buy, or how much money you spend. the problem is still gonna be there.

ANY discrete multi-channel format is better sounding than 2 channel cd.

when you set up your system, whatever it ends up being, you will switch from a good movie soundtrack or dvd-a or sacd or dts-cd to playing a cd. your ears can't acclimate to cd because you have a constant a/b comparison between the formats.

a multi-channel system and good versions of the software simply exposes the inferiority of the 2 channel cd format.

a seperate 2 channel system is the only way to bring them closer, but, i would rather spend that money to upgrade some part of the multi-channel chain or buy hi-res multi-channel software instead.

it's not as much the wordlength and sampling rate (although it plays a part) as it is having 6 discrete channels of preamp/amp/speaker versus 2. many here will disagree, but the 'adequate for cd, great for movies' line is all too common.

if you insist on judging a system (especially a pre-pro) by it's ability to reproduce 2 channel cd, it will be a frustrating search. KCB is right...the player is your best option to improve the cd sound. a seperate, high-dollar cd transport sending analog signal to the 950/770/speakers.
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#47940 - 03/16/03 11:33 AM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
I solve this problem by having a high quality vacuum tube stereo preamp in line with the front left and right sends of my 950, with it going into an aux input. I have the CD, Turntable etc going into this preamp so that when I listen to 2 channel, I simply switch to those inputs on the preamp.

------------------
The Soundhound Theater

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#47941 - 03/16/03 11:47 AM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
charlie Offline
Desperado

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 1176
Quote:
I'm lazy and just use the DACs in the 950 for everything but SACD and DVD-A.


I don't completely buy into some of the 'high-end' DACs and other related stuff for sale out there, but I certainly agree that for HT, where the visual sense should be engaged while listening, sound quality is probably less of a concern.
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#47942 - 03/17/03 04:12 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Joe Le Offline
Deputy Gunslinger

Registered: 10/18/02
Posts: 2
Loc: San Jose
Thank you to Soundhound for your wonderful idea, i just connect a two channel vaccum tube pre-amp to the aux input of 950, I could not be happier with the stereo music. I canot sellect aux input from the remote control, it only gave me tape input, select from the front pannel 950 is OK, am I missing something? Please, help Soundhound!!

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#47943 - 03/17/03 04:20 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
boblinds Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 02/07/03
Posts: 242
Loc: Los Angeles
I think what Soundhound described is a tube preamp BETWEEN the line out of the 950 and his amplifier. As in: OUTLAW950>>TUBEPREAMP>>AMPLIFIER Then he connects his two-channel devices directly to the tube preamp and those sources NEVER go through the 950.

(And isn't Aux input over there on the right lower side of the remote?)

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#47944 - 03/17/03 04:55 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Will Offline
Desperado

Registered: 05/28/02
Posts: 605
Loc: LA's The Place
Quote:

before I take the plunge and order the 950/755 combo, I'd be interested in knowing what others are doing to max out 2-channel CD performance with the 950.

Maybe someone in your area (Plano, Tx) may volunteer to let you audition their setup with their CD player and may even hook a 2 channel 2 CD player player that you would provide, for the demo.

At least around here, certain 950 owners are often willing to show others their setup!

Will

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#47945 - 03/17/03 05:39 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
pleary Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 03/15/03
Posts: 22
Loc: Plano, TX, US
Will: Good suggestion, but even if I don't have any neighbors with a 950, the 30-day trial from Outlaw is fine.

At this point, I'm fairly certain that a major factor in the less-than-stellar analog CD playback is my DVD player. While it works wonderfully for DVDs (and probably 2-channel SACD also), it's decidedly mediocre for regular CDs. And honestly, I suppose that CD playback is the best place to compromise for a $1500 DVD/SACD/CD player like the 9000ES. Even so, it should make a perfectly good transport for CD playback in conjunction with the Monarchy DIP 24/96 and 22C DAC/Pre.

With the Outlaws form-follows-function approach, I also expect that the 950/755 combo should be a big upgrade in terms of analog preamp and amp functionality (over the high dollar receivers and less expensive pre/pros). And I guess it goes without saying that its HT processing will be fine for my 5.1 setup.

soundhound: You've clearly got a preference for tube gear, so I can see why you've got the tube pre in the mix, but do you have any opinions on the quality of the 950 analog pre all by itself? Also, does the aux input on the tube pre (fed by the 950?) somehow bypass the volume control and route directly to the outputs?

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#47946 - 03/17/03 06:39 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
Quote:
Originally posted by pleary:
..... but do you have any opinions on the quality of the 950 analog pre all by itself? Also, does the aux input on the tube pre (fed by the 950?) somehow bypass the volume control and route directly to the outputs?


The bypass output of the 950 I would rate as being quite good, but not to the level of a tube preamp.

The "aux" input I referred to was a matter of convenience. I actually built the preamp and it has 6 identical stereo inputs. The volume control has two control positions: one is calibrated by trimpots for HT use to a DVD test disc, and the other position is through a conventional variable volume control for 2 channel listening. Either way, the volume is controlled by a conductive plastic attenuator, so it is as transparent as it gets.

Of course, if you go this route, you would need to mark a position on the preamp's volume control as "calibrated" for HT use so that you can conveniently return to it.



------------------
The Soundhound Theater

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#47947 - 03/19/03 10:26 AM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
HT crazed Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 124
Pleary - I also have a 9000ES player and the blue dot 950. One of the reasons I bought the 9000ES was because it's a very good audio player in its own right. Now that I have a projector, I'm also finding out that its has very good video as well (though only in progressive for some reason).

Anyway, I've always found the 950 performance in 2 channel (passthrough or otherwise) to be its achilles heel. The blue dot was a step up but not enough to make the 950 at all competitive with dedicated 2 channel pre's IMO. And as a result I tend not to listen to much music through my system.

However, as Soundhound said, that can be gotten around by getting a decent 2 channel pre and linking it into the system which is exactly what I intend to do. For $500 used, IMO with a little work you can get a 2 channel pre that would outperform $3000 pre/pros for music. And the 950 for HT is excellent.

That said if $3000 was in my budget I'd want to look closer at the Anthem or other units. But given your tastes, you'd probably find the 2 channel even at that price level lacking.

SoundHound - Do you find that the timbral differences through your tube pre on your mains at all distracting? I thought you'd pretty much need to go with a passive or maybe an active with HT bypass?

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#47948 - 03/19/03 12:28 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Dawg Offline
Deputy Gunslinger

Registered: 10/01/02
Posts: 4
Loc: Houston, Texas
I'm using and Adcom 750 for 2 channel. It has a processor loop with unity gain which makes it easy to integrate with home theater processor. It may be a little complicated if you have small children or wife that doesn't like having to turn on an additional component. I love the Adcom 750...very clean sound, active or passive mode and absolutley dead quit, no hiss, and no popping when changing sources or activating switches.

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#47949 - 03/19/03 01:23 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
chris3g Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 09/18/02
Posts: 26
i'm currently using an Anthem Pre2L for 2-channel along with the 950. The Anthem has a bypass input for a HT pre/pro which disables all pre-amp features and justs passes the signal through unaltered. Additionally, the bypass is a toggle which can be triggered from a remote. So i set a macro to automatically trigger the bypass off when listening to music, and then back on when finished. It's all done with a single button press on the remote so the system is still useable by anyone.

[This message has been edited by chris3g (edited March 19, 2003).]

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#47950 - 03/19/03 01:57 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
Quote:
Originally posted by HT crazed:

SoundHound - Do you find that the timbral differences through your tube pre on your mains at all distracting? I thought you'd pretty much need to go with a passive or maybe an active with HT bypass?



This isn't an issue because all channels go through vaccum tube electronics and power amps, even in HT mode. For instance, the surrounds go through an additional tube "warming stage" before going to the tube power amps. It all comes out sounding matched.

------------------
The Soundhound Theater

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#47951 - 03/20/03 11:34 AM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
HT crazed Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 01/05/02
Posts: 124
Anyone else using a seperate 2 channel pre? I'd like to find a list of the pre's with unity gain (HT bypass) so I have some options with used gear.

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#47952 - 03/20/03 10:54 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Hoots Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 53
Loc: Flower Mound, TX USA
In addition to the pre-amp...

I'm finding CD playback is improved over a DVD player and probably most $500 CD players by using a leftover PC w/quality sound card like Card Deluxe or RME and exact audio copy software.

The Jukebox capability is awesome as is the 24/96 lp recording. The only issue is getting a quiet PC. PII/400 is plenty.

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#47953 - 12/31/03 12:16 AM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
pleary Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 03/15/03
Posts: 22
Loc: Plano, TX, US
Soundhound,

Can you recommend an analog pre that would provide a worthwhile improvement over the 950's analog bypass for stereo listening?

Honestly, I've been pretty impressed with the 950/7100/ICBM/2xSub combo for stereo listening (and the quality of the HT playback almost makes me feel guilty), but I guess I can't resist the possibility of bettering the system for a modest sum.

Incidentally, I took your recommendation for stereo subs (2 x powered SVS subs in conjunction with the ICBM), and it's amazing how well they allow the 7100 to drive a rather large, inefficient pair of 6ohm floorstanders (Mirage M3si).

Thanks in advance for the preamp recommendation.

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#47954 - 12/31/03 11:54 AM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
Quote:
Originally posted by pleary:
Soundhound,

Can you recommend an analog pre that would provide a worthwhile improvement over the 950's analog bypass for stereo listening?



I'm afraid I don't know of any tube preamps I can recommend, not because there aren't any good ones, but because I don't keep up on what is available in the consumer marketplace. The tube preamp I have (and a lot of the other such stuff) I built myself from scratch.

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#47955 - 12/31/03 05:18 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Spiker Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 05/29/03
Posts: 297
Loc: Middle Earth
What about having an integrated stereo amp and run analogue line directly to it from CD or DVD player? Then provide a device that allows only one amp will be on at a time.

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#47956 - 01/01/04 07:59 AM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
ssand Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 32
Loc: Holland, Pa USA
I would love to try this but need more information from somebody. How does the second pre-amp get hook into the system? Does the pre have to have a line-in and a line out. I was looking at one tube pre and it only had a line in and then a cd, tuner, aux connection. Can somebody make this simple for me.

Thanks

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#47957 - 01/01/04 01:03 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
You want to run the left and right line outputs of your 'home theater' preamp into a stereo line level input of your 'music' preamp. When listening to music, you just select on your 'music' preamp whatever source you want, adjust the volume and enjoy. When watching movies, select the line input on your 'music' preamp that corresponds with your 'home theater' preamp. The only thing you will need to do is mark a "calibrated" position on the 'music' preamp's volume control so that you can set it to that when watching movies, and use the 'home theater's' volume control to set overall volume.

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#47958 - 01/01/04 01:41 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
ssand Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 32
Loc: Holland, Pa USA
Quote:
Originally posted by soundhound:
You want to run the left and right line outputs of your 'home theater' preamp into a stereo line level input of your 'music' preamp. When listening to music, you just select on your 'music' preamp whatever source you want, adjust the volume and enjoy. When watching movies, select the line input on your 'music' preamp that corresponds with your 'home theater' preamp. The only thing you will need to do is mark a "calibrated" position on the 'music' preamp's volume control so that you can set it to that when watching movies, and use the 'home theater's' volume control to set overall volume.


Thanks Soundhound but you are dealing with somebody who really needs the kiss theory applied when explaining this stuff. Do I run the 950's main out to the main in of the pre or into one of its sources (tuner)? I am looking at a Sonic Frontier unit that also has a direct mode. How would this come into play?

Thanks again, you have always been a great help.

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#47959 - 01/01/04 06:29 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
The Sonic Frontiers with it's "direct mode" would be the best solution. You can also use the "tape loop" on a standard stereo preamp if it has one.

You can run the main output of the 950 into any available line input of your stereo preamp. Any such input will work - aux, tuner, tape - anything but "phono".

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#47960 - 01/01/04 08:28 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
ssand Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 03/05/03
Posts: 32
Loc: Holland, Pa USA
Quote:
Originally posted by soundhound:
The Sonic Frontiers with it's "direct mode" would be the best solution. You can also use the "tape loop" on a standard stereo preamp if it has one.

You can run the main output of the 950 into any available line input of your stereo preamp. Any such input will work - aux, tuner, tape - anything but "phono".

As always Soundhound...thanks.

Have a happy and healthy New Year.

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#47961 - 01/02/04 10:23 AM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Gunner Graham Offline
Deputy Gunslinger

Registered: 11/22/03
Posts: 5
Loc: Arlington VA USA
I'm intrigued by the discussion here since improving 2-channel playback on my 950/7100 combo is something I've been looking into, and I'll definitely be considering a separate stereo pre-amp per the advice above.

What I've been focusing on is improving my source performance (currently a Denon DVD 1600) and what I just did yesterday was order a stereo DAC (the Benchmark DAC-1) to replace the DAC within the Denon (I've found the quality of the analogue pass-through in the 950 from the Denon to be better than using the 950's DACs on the Denon digital signal). I'm hoping this will give me a much better analogue signal. The DAC-1 can also function as a pre-amp, and I'm intrigued about ways to pass the signal through the 950 rather than using the 950 as a pre-amp. This would necessarily make the order Source-->DAC-1 DAC and pre-amp-->950-->7100. I'm not sure how I'd do this though.

Any advice?

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#47962 - 01/02/04 12:21 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
You could always run the S/PDIF or optical digital output of your player to the 950 and the analog output of your new DAC to the stereo preamp. The 950 then could decode Dolby Digital and DTS, and do it's signal processing from the digital bitstream and you would get maximum purity from the outboard DAC through your stereo preamp.

Some players will let you use both the S/PDIF and optical outputs at once, otherwise you could loop one of them through the 950 and then to the outboard DAC - using the 950 as a "splitter" in other words. You of course would have to set the 950 to the CD player's input so that the bitstream would be looped through to the outboard DAC.

[This message has been edited by soundhound (edited January 02, 2004).]

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#47963 - 01/02/04 12:28 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
gonk Offline
Desperado

Registered: 03/21/01
Posts: 14054
Loc: Memphis, TN USA
If he's getting the DAC-1 as both stereo DAC and pre-amp, though, he probably wants to use the Denon 1600's digital output for both the DAC-1 and the 950.

I'd suggest using one digital output for the DAC-1 and one for the 950, but there's only one output on the 1600. You might use the 950's optical digital output to pass the 1600's signal from player to 950 to DAC-1?

------------------
gonk -- Saloon Links | Pre/Pro Comparison Chart | 950 Review
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#47964 - 01/02/04 02:30 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Paratrooper Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 164
Loc: Conyers,GA,USA
Is the 950 2CH(Stereo) so bad you need to go to all of this trouble? If so, that should be fixed in the next Outlaw pre/pro. There is no technical reason that a pre/pro in 2 CH mode cannot sound as good as a 2CH preamp.
(Putting aside the Tube Vs. Solid State issues)

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#47965 - 01/02/04 02:34 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
Quote:
Originally posted by Paratrooper:

(Putting aside the Tube Vs. Solid State issues)


Ah! but the devil is in the details.

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#47966 - 01/02/04 06:31 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Gunner Graham Offline
Deputy Gunslinger

Registered: 11/22/03
Posts: 5
Loc: Arlington VA USA
Thanks for the responses. I'd already considered the Denon 1600 digital output limitation by ordering a Toslink splitter to allow me to take the digital output from the 1600 and feed it both to the 5.1 input of the 950 and to the DAC-1. It hadn't even occurred to me to use the 950 as a "splitter" (now there's ANOTHER permutation I'll need to try out!). Come tax refund time I'm already considering an upgrade to the 2900/5900.

To Paratrooper's point, 2CH from the 950 isn't bad, but I did see a noticeable improvement by using the 950 passthrough and the 1600's DACs to do the D/A conversion. And since this whole hobby/obsession/addiction (for me at least) is about getting the best possible sound and picture given our respective budgets, it seems a worthwhile use of time to try out whatever tweaks I find out about. Simple economics would suggest to me that I'm going to get better stereo sound from a $850 dedicated DAC than by using the stock stereo DACs inside a $500 DVD player (that probably contributed $50-100 max to the price of the player).

I suppose I'll find out in a week or so, and Benchmark has a 30-day return policy so the risk is limited.

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#47967 - 01/02/04 06:41 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Paratrooper Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 164
Loc: Conyers,GA,USA
Soundhound,

I have to agree with that Tube equipment does sound different to some people. Does it sound better than solid state, maybe so, maybe not. A side story on the difference in sound; For years most program audio, radio and television was transported from market to market on AT&T buried cables. The carrier was designated as K. All transmission equipment was vacuum tube. K-Carrier was a 1930's technology that had exceeded is life cycle in the 1960's, but the major networks would not let AT&T take it out of service because to station managers and program managers, K-Carrier had the sound they wanted, not microwave which was where the video was transported.. The carrier was finally retired in eary 1970s. The line amp tubes had AC filaments. Many line amp failures were fixed by removing the tube and giving it a firm pat into your open hand. Just watch out for that devil he may be in the most unlikely place.

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#47968 - 01/02/04 06:56 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Paratrooper Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 164
Loc: Conyers,GA,USA
Gunner,

I was referring to the need of a seperate preamp for 2CH audio, not the use of a better D/A converter. My question is in regard to the performance of the 950's analog stereo inputs which would be after any out-board DAC. Do you plan to bypass the 950 entirely with the output of the DAC-1?

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#47969 - 01/02/04 09:08 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
[This message has been edited by soundhound (edited January 07, 2004).]

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#47970 - 01/02/04 10:40 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Paratrooper Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 164
Loc: Conyers,GA,USA
Soundhound QUOTE
"It is extremely difficult to achieve this in solid state equipment, and I know of only one designer who has been able to pull this off and actaully make solid state amps sound as good as tubes (better actually since the distortion components are in phase through the entire audio band)."

Is there only one designer because there is no market for such equipment? Maybe too expensive? Maybe just hype that tubes sound better? No one really interested? I do not believe that there is only one designer in the world that can accomplish this feat,if in fact there is something to accomplish. Eight years at Bell Labs taught me that experiments are great, but you must sell to have the resources to experiment. I am now going to crankup my 1964 Fisher 500C and see if I have been missing that tube sound. Beside you cannot toast marshmellows over Tansistors.

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#47971 - 01/02/04 10:47 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
[This message has been edited by soundhound (edited January 07, 2004).]

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#47972 - 01/02/04 11:39 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Spiker Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 05/29/03
Posts: 297
Loc: Middle Earth
soundhound:

Thanks for posting pictures of our homemade preamp in "Your System Saloon” under “Sound distortion” thread.
Assuming it works as well as a high-end preamp (to meet your standard), what will it take to build one of these? Or, would you rather not give away your trade secrets?

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#47973 - 01/03/04 12:30 AM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
Quote:
Originally posted by Spiker:
soundhound:

Assuming it works as well as a high-end preamp (to meet your standard), what will it take to build one of these? Or, would you rather not give away your trade secrets?


Top Secret.....

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#47974 - 01/03/04 01:47 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Jeff Aguilar Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 03/06/01
Posts: 27
Loc: Olympia, WA USA
For two channel music, I bought a Cayin integrated tube amp. I really like my 950, but I wanted to experience some better 2 channel music experience.

The integrated tube amp was only $500 and I use it instead of my 950 and amps. I am currently running Parasound amps. Which are suppose to be pretty warm sounding.

To hook it up, I connected my analog outputs from my Dennon 1600 and my Sony mega changer directly into the tube amp. It really widened the sweet spot, and increased the depth of the music. Also it smoothened out the mid range and high end. It is hard to explain exactly how it sounds, but it is very different. I am really enjoying it. I had the place I bought the tube amp from put in a sub out connection so that I can use my SVS subs in connection with my Martin Logan speakers. Sounds fantastic.

Jeff

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#47975 - 01/03/04 04:33 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Gunner Graham Offline
Deputy Gunslinger

Registered: 11/22/03
Posts: 5
Loc: Arlington VA USA
Paratrooper - sorry, I missed the intent of your question. I hadn't thought about bypassing the 950 altogether, but given the discussion here it's something I'm wondering about. Just how "clean" is the bypass of the 950? If I were to use a dedicated stereo pre-amp (or the pre-amp capability of the DAC-1) how much would passing the signal through the 950 change the signal?

From Jeff's post it looks as though he's using two entirely separate source -> amp chains for HT and 2CH, but if I understand him correctly using the same speakers. My question would be whether it would be possible (or advisable) for me to connect a stereo pre-amp directly to my 7100 (in addition to the 950 being connected to the 7100 for HT)?

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#47976 - 01/03/04 05:33 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Spiker Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 05/29/03
Posts: 297
Loc: Middle Earth
Quote:
Originally posted by soundhound:
Top Secret.....


Then would you ever consider marketing it? Call it “Preamp for those searching like the hounds”. That doesn’t sound bad. I may buy one if the price is right and perhaps comes with 30 day money back return policy.

While I’m at this DIY preamp subject and my attempt to pull some hints out of SH on it turned out to be futile, is anyone familiar with Grounded Grid preamp kit? http://www.transcendentsound.com/preamp%20kit.htm I’ve heard a few good reviews on it.

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#47977 - 01/07/04 12:44 AM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars

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#47978 - 01/07/04 03:48 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Spiker Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 05/29/03
Posts: 297
Loc: Middle Earth
I’ve been running into more people who would choose tube gear for music listening. I’m curious, if one wants to enjoy good music and home theater sound, which combination below would be the most beneficial one for a 950 and 7100 owner with around $600 budget? Or, is there a better combination?

1. Integrate a stereo tube preamp with a bypass feature between 950 and 7100.
2. Integrate a tube amp between 950 and main speakers with a selector switch to choose between 7100 signal and tube amp signal to the speakers.
3. Get an integrated tube amp and feed CD or DVD analogue signal directly, then a speaker selector switch and to the mains. But unless it has a sub outlet and a crossover control, this will loose the ability to redirect low frequency to subwoofer (own only one).
4. Get tube preamp and amp both (if good ones exist at that budget) and have the same connection as #3. Again, low frequency redirection may not be possible.

Thank you.

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#47979 - 01/07/04 11:47 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
bossobass Offline
Desperado

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 430
Loc: charlotte, nc usa
SH is just afraid you'll hear how terrible it sounds.

Two channel...Hmmmm..oh, yeah...that's the multichannel format that came right after 78RPM slate, right??
_________________________
"Time wounds all heels." John Lennon

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#47980 - 01/08/04 12:03 AM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
Bosso:

I have done experimental mixdowns of master multi-track music recordings in discrete 7.0 with stereo side surrounds and stereo rear surrounds in addition to the L-C-R fronts. The increase in envelopment absolutely eclipses 5.1 - no contest. Having the ability to image accurately between fronts and sides, sides and rears, and between the two rears creates a seamless soundfield all around. With conventional 5.1, it is impossible to attain good imaging front to back and behind the listener at the same time due to speaker location constraints - 7.0 discrete solves this problem.

The problem is, you'll never hear this format....



[This message has been edited by soundhound (edited January 08, 2004).]

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#47981 - 01/08/04 11:06 AM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
bossobass Offline
Desperado

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 430
Loc: charlotte, nc usa
SH,

I'm way beyond doubting you. I just like to poke ya with a stick once in a while to see what you have up your sleeve.

The main reason I am attracted to 5.1 (or 6.0) discrete MC is the matter of headroom/per/channel. In stereo, you have 24 tracks and more that you have to mix down to 2 channels. Very hard to do with some music.

I hope never is the wrong word. Some day (maybe this coming summer), I would love to show up at your door and listen (to your system as well as your ideas and knowledge on these subjects).

BTW, does Dolby brick wall limit the LFE channel @ 120 Hz, or not?
_________________________
"Time wounds all heels." John Lennon

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#47982 - 01/08/04 12:01 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
soundhound Offline
Desperado

Registered: 04/10/02
Posts: 1857
Loc: Gusev Crater, Mars
Quote:
Originally posted by bossobass:
SH,

BTW, does Dolby brick wall limit the LFE channel @ 120 Hz, or not?


I believe this is so, but I am not an expert on the compressed formats - when films I work on get to the stage where they're encoded for DD, I just plug my ears and tune out.

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#47983 - 01/09/04 02:35 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Spiker Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 05/29/03
Posts: 297
Loc: Middle Earth
soundhound:
I guess there is a “water down” factor on just about everything made for consumers. Everyone can see that those awe inspiring concept cars at Detroit Auto Show do not end up looking the way they did by the time they reach the consumers (due to various reasons). Being an architect, I can say I share the similar experience often. What’s designed is not what gets built and almost always for the worse.

I haven’t been around in the Saloon for that long so I do not know even if you’ve mentioned it before but I’m just curious, would you list some of the film titles that you worked on?

Thanks.

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#47984 - 01/16/04 04:54 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
Spiker Offline
Gunslinger

Registered: 05/29/03
Posts: 297
Loc: Middle Earth
Quote:
Originally posted by bossobass:
The main reason I am attracted to 5.1 (or 6.0) discrete MC is the matter of headroom/per/channel. In stereo, you have 24 tracks and more that you have to mix down to 2 channels. Very hard to do with some music.


bossobass:
I am new at this subject so please bear with me.
Does this article below pretty much explain what you are saying?
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/dvdaudiointerview.htm

I listen mostly to classical and some jazz. Most of those CDs have “stereo” written on it. Will there be an issue with this multi channel vs. stereo listening for those CDs?

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#47985 - 01/16/04 05:11 PM Re: How Do You Make the Most of 2 Channel Listening with the 950?
bossobass Offline
Desperado

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 430
Loc: charlotte, nc usa
Spiker,

What a cool article!! I just bookmarked it, and yes...it's exactly what I'm talking about.

As I've said before, acoustic, small ensemble music has always been the audiophile choice for the best stereo discs because less information in = less information tossed in the CD format.

I don't think full orchestral classical falls into that category, but most other classical does.

The short answer is, yes, you are better off with those genres of music in stereo, but ALL of them sound better in either Hi-Rez format.

Again, thanx for the link.
_________________________
"Time wounds all heels." John Lennon

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