Originally Posted by Bill Mac
Thought I would post a quick update on the 2100 as I decided to try it once again in my system. I had Emotiva's new preamp the USP-1 in my system for a short while and decided that it was not for me
. I have had a TAD TADAC tube pre/DAC in my system for about 4 months. I have enjoyed the TADAC very much but I really need a sub for 2 CH music as my Ascend Sierra-1s only go so low
I got a "open box" 2100 from Audio Advisor for $399.00 which is one of the best deals in audio IMO
. This is the second "open box" I have bought from AA and both were brand new with a full Parasound 3 year warranty. One of the issues I had with the USP-1 was that it was too bright IMO. I also feel the 2100 has a much better feature set, no bright blue lights and does not need to be powered up for the HT Bypass feature.
I took the USP-1 out of my system then installed the 2100 and fired it up to do a quick comparison of some familiar music. I would like to have done a direct comparison but it was not possible. I found with some tracks that I am very familiar with were almost unlistenable with the USP-1 due to the brightness. One track from Steely Dan, King of the World at about the 2:00 mark was a mess of sibilance from cymbal strikes that were undistingushable. I played this same track with the 2100 and found it was not as bright and there was more definition between the different cymbal strikes.
One other feature the 2100 has that the USP-1 does not is a sub level which I find to be a huge plus as the amount of bass from CD to CD can vary so much. Being able to tweak the sub level at the front panel of the 2100 is huge feature IMO. The only way to adjust the subs volume level with the USP-1 is to raise or lower the volume level at the sub. This was not good for me as the sub level on my Outlaw LFM-1 Plus is on the back panel which requires a mirror and a flashlight
. Also changing the volume level and not remembering where is was is not good as far as Audyssey settings with my 886.
As far as SQ I have had limited time to listen to the 2100 since Friday but so far I like having the sub in the mix for 2 CH music. Today I decided to try something totally different and placed the TADAC back in my system solely as a DAC for my Consonace CD-120 then to input 2 of the 2100. I listened for a few hours between input 1 (CD-120 analog direct to the 2100) and input 2 (with the TADAC) switching back and forth. Not a huge difference but with the TADAC the SQ especially the midrange (vocals) and bass weight was better IMO.
I really would like a good solid 8-12 hours of listening comparing the two to get a real good feel of how the 2100 sounds with and without the TADAC in the mix. I had planned on selling the TADAC but now I might reconsider. The 2100/TADAC combo might be just the sound I am looking for
Welcome back to the 2100 club.
I followed your posts on the Emo forum and I know everything you went through (at least everything you posted). It's very clear that Emo blew it with the USP-1. It was very difficult to stomach some of those Emo fanboys. It's funny really...
Nonetheless, I wanted to make some comments on your post. I'm a little confused by you comments regarding sound. I understand why you dumped the 2100 and just used the TADAC, but when switching back to the 2100, you would still obviously want the TADAC as the DAC providing the sound you like. It's just now the 2100 is handling the inputs, volume, and of course the sub. You can't pull the TADAC out.
This brings me to a question. You see, many of us 2100 owners really like the 2100 because it is so transparent sounding (true to the sound of the source). You now have the ability to test the TADAC alone and then with the 2100. If the sound doesn't change, then the 2100 is truly transparent. If the sound does change, then it is not. If the sound gets worse, not good. If the sound gets better, then the 2100 is a magical piece.
All that said, would you be willing to put this to the test? I for one would love to know.
My one last comment to you regarding the different bass output from different CDs. Yes this is an issue, but I have found the issue is MUCH less with a sub that has been EQ'd flat in-room. You are most likely experiencing a bigger issue than really exists because your sub's FR is NOT flat. My sub is basically flat in-room, and I don't really ever feel like I want the bass turned up or down jumping from CD to CD. Something for you to think about...
I'm surprised at the sibilance issue with the USP-1. I always thought that sibilance started with the recording, was amplified by certain tweeters, and less of an issue from electronics. I did read somewhere that a preamp that has over-driven outputs can add sibilance. I don't know how true that is or isn't. Certainly a simple piece of electronics like a preamp shouldn't cause sibilance or brighten the sound. Strange...
Do yourself a favor Bill, keep that 2100 this time!