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EndersShadows New Digs - Page 3

post #61 of 124
Thread Starter 
Office Update

After much thinking and posting on here and Club Polk I decided to get rid of the Denon 1610 and go with a Harmon Kardon 3490 (its a pending trade with a local Polkie). This receiver has more than enough power (120x2 @ 8 ohms) and can do 4 ohm speakers.

This will give me the flexibility later on of adding LSi's or other harder to drive speakers. It also has a sub out so I can do 2.1 and has pre-outs...So basically its the best stereo receiver out there IMO.

I am planning on using Coaxial from the mobo header (optical is broke) for now. I might later on look at getting a DAC, better internal soundcard or other gear later on down the road, but this receiver allows me the flexibility to add all that in without replacing it.

There is also a possibility of picking up a set of Polk S6's bookshelf speakers. No idea why they are called bookshelves when they are 21 inches tall. Going to audition them and see if we can work out a trade on them (also probably unloading my Infinity Studio Monitor 185's as well)...

There is also a set of Polk SDA CRS's that have my attention (as well as a Adacom GF-555 amp), but in order to get those I need to sell my server....

I am thinking I might pass on them for now and instead invest in a really nice set of headphones. I have been wanting a pair of Behringer DT7700's for a while now and they would probably be my last set of headphones for a very very long time.

But who knows. I am planning on the HK 3490 and then see what happens w/ the rest. If I could score a pair of LSi 7's for the office that would rock, or even 9's (those would end up in my main rig eventually).

For right now I think the HK 3490 will be more than enough w/ my Primus 162's.


As always will try to post pics to prove it happened

P.S. I havent posted in a long time here due to being in the hospital...I dont want to post the particulars again, but had a couple threads going elsewhere...so if your interested in what been going on check out the links below:

Hospital trip 1 (October 28-November 3)
Hospital trip 2 w/ "fun" surgery (November 21-28)
post #62 of 124
Thread Starter 
Just wrapped up everything.

Ended up getting the HK 3490 in exchange for the Denon 1610 + Infinity Studio Monitor 185's and selling the server for 250ish.

The HK has much much more power than my Denon for 2 channel. Have it connected to the computer via Coaxial right now and it sounds GREAT. Now I just need to tweak it a little bit and I am golden. Looking forward to doing some 2 channel listening in the next week or two.

I think I am going to purchase a set of Beyerdynamic DT-770 headphones and then put the rest of the cash toward purchasing my wife a pair of Infinity Kappa car speakers for Christmas...

Will be posting pics of the new setup shortly as well as my main setup since I dont have any showing the DLP
post #63 of 124
Hey glad to hear that your up and taking nourishment. Nice score on the receiver deal. Sound pretty sweet. (No pun intended). As always pics are a nice touch, and proof that deals actually occurred.

Oh, and the speakers for the wife for Christmas, well done.

Regards,

RTROSE
post #64 of 124
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTROSE View Post

Hey glad to hear that your up and taking nourishment. Nice score on the receiver deal. Sound pretty sweet. (No pun intended). As always pics are a nice touch, and proof that deals actually occurred.

Oh, and the speakers for the wife for Christmas, well done.

Regards,

RTROSE

Yeah, I want to get her two sets of the Infinity's for the car and maybe a remote starter, but cash is tight.

She knows I really want to get her those, but we cant afford it just yet....

She also knows what my dream buys are and we hope to make some of those happen with my bonus next May....maybe
post #65 of 124
Thread Starter 
Also for any folks in Indy there apparently is a local Pawn Shop with a huge assortment of audio gear (HT amps, Vintage Polks like LS50's, Monitor 5's, SDA's)

If you want the location drop me a PM...

Plan on trying to drop by in the next day or two to scope it out
post #66 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
Yeah, I want to get her two sets of the Infinity's for the car and maybe a remote starter, but cash is tight.

She knows I really want to get her those, but we cant afford it just yet....

She also knows what my dream buys are and we hope to make some of those happen with my bonus next May....maybe
Know how that is...Hoping to move into a house mid next year and the only money we are spending right now is on stuff for the kids. Would rather skip birthday's and xmas stuff for now and buy what we really want when we can move.
post #67 of 124
Thread Starter 
YIPPEEE, more Christmas fun....we just discovered someone broke into my car last night because they thought my GPS unit was soo awesome they just had to have it....

So with no way to get the window fixed for the next few days because everyone's closed, I have left VM's w/ my insurance agent, working on getting the police over to file a police report, and now have to find somewhere to put my car so its covered since everything is accessible to thieves now.....

Doesn't that just put you in the Christmas spirit.....
post #68 of 124
Dude,

What a complete bummer! It really sucks that you can't have nice stuff around without worrying about someone else taking it off of your hands for you. That kind of stuff does tend to suck the Christmas spirit right out of you. I hope the rest of your Christmas Holiday goes better.

Regards,

RTROSE
post #69 of 124
Thread Starter 
So after getting over the intial annoyance/anger its not as bad as it could have been. They got just the GPS but not the CD player or Zune HD that were in plain site as well. They also didnt get my amps, or sub in the trunk.

Got it stored at my parents till it gets fixed which will be a few days. Got pictures taken and cleaned up what I could with my dads shop vac. I just hope insurance will have it detailed/cleaned well so the fine small glass particles I cant get at will be gone. Also hope they take a look at the passenger seat hinges since they were pretty full of glass and I was not going to mess with getting it out of them myself.

Overall my wife and I are just honestly almost at our wits end. Between me spending both Halloween and Thanksgiving in the hospital (with a major surgery the day before Thanksgiving) and now this we are just kinda like what else can go wrong. But there are many people with things worse off so we are trying to keep in mind the things we do have and appreciate them. Like for instance that we were blessed enough to have a GPS unit to begin with, that I am now healthy and on the road to recovery, and that material things can be replaced.

In any case Merry Christmas to everyone and heres hoping my 2011 starts better than my 2010 ended.
post #70 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post

So after getting over the intial annoyance/anger its not as bad as it could have been. They got just the GPS but not the CD player or Zune HD that were in plain site as well. They also didnt get my amps, or sub in the trunk.

Got it stored at my parents till it gets fixed which will be a few days. Got pictures taken and cleaned up what I could with my dads shop vac. I just hope insurance will have it detailed/cleaned well so the fine small glass particles I cant get at will be gone. Also hope they take a look at the passenger seat hinges since they were pretty full of glass and I was not going to mess with getting it out of them myself.

Overall my wife and I are just honestly almost at our wits end. Between me spending both Halloween and Thanksgiving in the hospital (with a major surgery the day before Thanksgiving) and now this we are just kinda like what else can go wrong. But there are many people with things worse off so we are trying to keep in mind the things we do have and appreciate them. Like for instance that we were blessed enough to have a GPS unit to begin with, that I am now healthy and on the road to recovery, and that material things can be replaced.

In any case Merry Christmas to everyone and heres hoping my 2011 starts better than my 2010 ended.

At least you are keeping it in perspective. I have had a lot of misfortune in 2010 as well, but also been very blessed too, it has truly been a mixed bag in 2010 and I'm really not sad to see 2010 go. I hope for all the best for you and continued health in 2011. Here IS hoping that your 2011 starts better than your 2010 ends. Wishing you all the best.

Regards,

RTROSE
post #71 of 124
Thread Starter 
Living Room/Family Room update

Finally posted pics of the setup w/ the 59" DLP.

Office update

Got a new Harman Kardon 3490 and moved my gear around. Sold off the Infinity Studio Monitor 185's. Still have the Primus 162's and am debating switching them w/ the Monitor 40's downstairs. Going to have some folks over to do some AB listening to decide tomorrow....
post #72 of 124
Thread Starter 
Living/Family room update

Had a friend take a look at my Carver's bad amp channels (4 & 5). He determined that the solder joint on the RCA's for those channels was basically gone so he re-touched them with his skills.

Long story short this WORKED!!!!!!

I now have my Monitor 60's bi-amped using my Carver. I split the RCA's for the L & R with a Y adapter so each front is getting 2 channels of power from the Carver (so max of 125x2).

Listening to music on Pandora on my blu-ray player connected via HDMI it sounds quite better.

I am currently possibly going to be getting a set of used Paradigm Studio 40's and matching center to replace my Monitor 60's and CS2.

After hearing the current Paradigm Studio 20's I am quite sure that my setup will benefit greatly from these new speakers. Their imaging is much better as you lose where the speaker is much more than my Monitor 60's.

The 60's can definitely fill a room with decent sound, but the Studio's are just much much smoother and detailed. They also go down much much lower than my M60's.
post #73 of 124
Thread Starter 
Living/Family room update

So in looking at the reciever settings last night I realized something. When I took it in for servicing they totally reset it. What that means is that since I got it back there has been NO EQ OF ANY KIND.

I totally forgot to check that, so when I get some time this week I am going to re-run Audysee and see how things sound.

Hopefully this will tighten up everything and make it sound better, but you never know. At least this time around I have a tripod rather than having to stack boxes ghetto style like I did last time.....
post #74 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post

Living/Family room update

Had a friend take a look at my Carver's bad amp channels (4 & 5). He determined that the solder joint on the RCA's for those channels was basically gone so he re-touched them with his skills.

Long story short this WORKED!!!!!!

I now have my Monitor 60's bi-amped using my Carver. I split the RCA's for the L & R with a Y adapter so each front is getting 2 channels of power from the Carver (so max of 125x2).

Listening to music on Pandora on my blu-ray player connected via HDMI it sounds quite better.

I am currently possibly going to be getting a set of used Paradigm Studio 40's and matching center to replace my Monitor 60's and CS2.

After hearing the current Paradigm Studio 20's I am quite sure that my setup will benefit greatly from these new speakers. Their imaging is much better as you lose where the speaker is much more than my Monitor 60's.

The 60's can definitely fill a room with decent sound, but the Studio's are just much much smoother and detailed. They also go down much much lower than my M60's.

Loved Paradigm's when I have had the chance to hear them.
post #75 of 124
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SupaKats View Post

Loved Paradigm's when I have had the chance to hear them.

Yup, we listened to the Studio 20's at Ovation in both Castleton and also Greenwood.

We were there to listen to the GoldenEar Triton Two Towers that have generated a bit of buzz from folks. The Studio 20's were our reference speaker for the comparison.

Long story short, I disliked the Triton Two Towers quite a bit. They had lots of bass (but with 2 6x9 passive's and a 10" powered in each speaker they better). The highs were quite a bit brighter and strained than the Studio 20's.

The 20's were just super smooth and detailed. They had a relaxing enjoyable tone and if paired with a good sub(s) you wouldn’t miss the bass the Triton Two towers had. Plus with the Triton Two Towers you still want a separate sub since where the fronts are isn’t always the best spot for bass. So you get lots of bass but its muddy and not as good and the Towers are quite a bit more than the Studio 20's.

So if the deal I have in the wings doesn’t work out, I will probably be purchasing a pair of used Studio 20's or 40's and the matching center.

Bi-amping those should make for some real good sound
post #76 of 124
Thread Starter 
Living/Family room update

Tomorrow its EQ Time! Been re-reading the manual and have decided that based on my speakers specs (listed below) to set my fronts @ 60hz, center and surrounds @ 80hz. Also going to turn Audyssey Dynamic EQ on as well as the Music Optimizer. Hopefully these changes will result in some darn good sounding Fronts.

I also still have my eyes on a set of Paradigm Studio Monitor 40's + center, and some B&W DM 305's caught my eye. The B&W may perform better than the Studio Monitor 40's but finding a matching center will be a PITA. That and they are rear & front ported so they do need some space to breathe, but so to the Studio Monitor 40's....

Also debating going to tubes for my office setup at some point. The only thing stopping me from selling my HK 3490 is that I need a external DAC of some kind to convert my coaxial signal and then either a integrated tube amp or 2 monoblocks connected in some way to allow me volume control....

Also discovered that Ovation carries Audioquest speaker wire in 14/4 wall rated for $1.25 per foot. I can get 2 10 foot runs of this to bi-amp my fronts and then another 10ft of 14/2 for my center for a grand total of ~30 bucks. I plan to gussy it up a bit with shrink wrap and black sleeving so it looks pretty and also buy some new bananna plugs.....

Now interesting fact, Ovation carries Audioquest bananna plugs. They go for 30 for 4. Audioquest also makes bananna's for Dayton Audio you can get from parts express for 12 bucks for a 16 piece.....so I plan to pick up 2 sets of those bad boys to go with the new wire.....

T90e specifications:

Overall Frequency Response 38Hz - 25kHz
Lower -3dB Limit 48Hz
Upper -3dB Limit 24kHz
Recommended Amplifier Power 20 - 200 w/channel
Efficiency 90 dB
Crossover 2.25kH, second order high and low pass

CS2 specifications:

Overall Frequency Response 55Hz - 25kHz
Lower -3dB Limit 60Hz
Upper -3dB Limit 24kHz
Recommended Amplifier Power 20 - 175 w/channel
Efficiency 90 dB
Crossover 2.3kHz, second order high and low pass

Monitor 40 specifications:

Overall Frequency Response 47Hz - 25kHz
Lower -3dB Limit 57Hz
Upper -3dB Limit 24kHz
Recommended Amplifier Power 20 - 125 w/channel
Efficiency 89 dB
Crossover 2.3kHz, second order high and low pass
post #77 of 124
Thread Starter 
Not a major change, but upgrading from my Monoprice wire to some AudioQuest FlX 14/4 wire and GLS locking Banana plugs. Total cost was 60 for the 20 locking banana's and 35 for the wire.

Making 3 custom 10 foot wires. One for the center will use 2 strands per plug and the others will be custom bi-amp wires with each strand getting its own banana.

I plan to do some ghetto bi-amping like I have it wired now and then do some bi-wire testing later on.

I have attached pics of my current connection setup, a bi-wired layout option and also of the partially completed cables.

Once I figure out how I am going to wire them then I plan to purchase the appropriate speaker pants and multifilament nylon to sleeve and make em look super purdy....

Then possibly upgrading my interconnects as well....not sure on this one yet
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post #78 of 124
Nice job on the custom cables. Well done. If your looking for some tips to purdy them up go to the speaker forum and take notes from this guy.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1301573

Good luck.

Regards,

RTROSE
post #79 of 124
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTROSE View Post

Nice job on the custom cables. Well done. If your looking for some tips to purdy them up go to the speaker forum and take notes from this guy.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1301573

Good luck.

Regards,

RTROSE

hehehe...been posting in that thread for a week before i started building my cables. Waiting on figuring out how I want to wire my fronts (bi-amp and bi-wire) before I purchase speaker pants and techflex...
post #80 of 124
Thread Starter 
After a bunch of threads looking into a couple things decided that I am going to bi-wire the fronts. Have not ordered the multifilament nylon or the speaker pants (budget is tight so it might be a bit).

Waiting on a monoprice order to arrive so I can re-wire my entire Entertainment center.

Bought color co-ordinating HDMI and ethernet cables for my Xbox 360, Samsung blu-ray player and Uverse box. We recently sold the Wii since we hadnt used it in like 6 months. I also bought 4 10 piece sets of 6 inch velcro ties.

Plan to put all components but the reciever on the bottom level of the unit. This allows me to clean things up quite well. In addition by isolating all the power and ethernet cords to one side of the unit I can run my coaxial cables on the other side to my amp which should kill any noise that I might have gotten.

I am going to go ahead and use all 5 channels of my amp and drive my surrounds with it for right now since I have enough cables to do so.

This might change once when it comes time to buy my new interconnects, which I decided will be Signal Cable Analog Two's. The price is right @ 49 for set of 2 footers (6 bucks extra per foot) OR a set of 6 @ 135 for 2 footer (17 bucks extra per foot).

Pics will follow...
post #81 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post

hehehe...been posting in that thread for a week before i started building my cables. Waiting on figuring out how I want to wire my fronts (bi-amp and bi-wire) before I purchase speaker pants and techflex...


Oh, well a day late and a dollar short on the tip. Should have payed attention and kept up with that thread and I would have been aware of the fact you were up to speed.

Regards,

RTROSE
post #82 of 124
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTROSE View Post

Oh, well a day late and a dollar short on the tip. Should have payed attention and kept up with that thread and I would have been aware of the fact you were up to speed.

Regards,

RTROSE

LOL...no hard feeling mang... we all got other much more important stuff to do lol.....
post #83 of 124
Thread Starter 
Living/Family room update

Did cable management with new HDMI, RCA and Ethernet cables. The HDMI and Ethernet cables are color co-ordinated so that the blu-ray players cables are red, the Xbox 360's are orange and the cable box is black.

Attaching pictures here as well so when I remove them from my first post you can still see them....
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post #84 of 124
Nice and neat. Well done.

Regards,

RTROSE
post #85 of 124
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RTROSE View Post

Nice and neat. Well done.

Regards,

RTROSE

Thanks...next step is a power conditioner and possibly a battery backup. Got a Kill-A-Watt running to see how much everything draws with the exception of my amp and sub. Right now that number looks to be about ~350.

With the amp and sub I am drawing about 700 watts when watching movies and with everything on but thats just a guess. I want to get another Kill-A-Watt to measure at the plug so I can get a better count.

Right now I have a power strip with the amp and sub connected to it and then another power strip daisy chained to it with all the rest of the gear...

So my thought is get a 1k power conditioner for everything and then a battery backup for everything minus the sub and amp....

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Looking at the APS H15 for a power conditioner and perhaps the J10 battery backup. I wanted a silver S15 from Vanns since it was like 250 but they are sold out and not restocking it . That woulda been enough to run all my gear off of plus a nice power conditioner....
post #86 of 124
Quote:
Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post

Thanks...next step is a power conditioner and possibly a battery backup. Got a Kill-A-Watt running to see how much everything draws with the exception of my amp and sub. Right now that number looks to be about ~350.

With the amp and sub I am drawing about 700 watts when watching movies and with everything on but thats just a guess. I want to get another Kill-A-Watt to measure at the plug so I can get a better count.

Right now I have a power strip with the amp and sub connected to it and then another power strip daisy chained to it with all the rest of the gear...

So my thought is get a 1k power conditioner for everything and then a battery backup for everything minus the sub and amp....

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Looking at the APS H15 for a power conditioner and perhaps the J10 battery backup. I wanted a silver S15 from Vanns since it was like 250 but they are sold out and not restocking it . That woulda been enough to run all my gear off of plus a nice power conditioner....


That was the one I was looking at as well. Knew I should have taken advantage of it sooner. I have also looked at Belkin products, they seem to have a reasonable performance vs. price factor, just look around for some deals online you can usually find some decent pricing on them.

Regards,

RTROSE
post #87 of 124
Thread Starter 
Been doing a bunch of digging and am debating moving from a receiver + passive speakers to a external USB DAC + powered Studio Monitors.

The contenders right now for speakers are either: KRK Rokit 5's, KRK Rokit 6's, AudioEngine A5's. I am leaning much more toward the KRK's.

Regarding external USB DAC's I am looking at either the Audnst HUD-MX1, or the Yulong U100.

Figured I would post a couple some info on the USD DAC's I looked at incase since it took me forever to compile them

Fireye II: http://www.touchmyapps.com/2009/10/1...amp-in-review/
Pros: volume and headphones
Cons: channel imbalance, 16 bit only

Matric Cube: http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/...atrix-cube-dac
Pros:
Cons: USB input only accepts up to 16 bit/48kHz

Musiland Monitor 02:
Pros: Good DAC, externally powered, Asynchronous USB, 24/192 playback
Cons: No volume control
Quote:


I would roughly rank the DAC section on similar levels to the uDAC2 and the Fiio E7, while being a bit below the Audinst HUD MX-1′s or HRT Music Streamer II's DAC section

Audnst HUD-MX1: http://www.headfonia.com/audinst-hud-mx1-dac/
http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/...x1-usb-dac-amp
Pros: Powered Headphone jack & Volume control, Asynchronous USB
Cons: DAC not as good as the HRT Media Streamer II

HRT Media Streamer II: http://www.headfonia.com/the-hrt-mus...96-for-149-95/
http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/show...light=Musiland
http://highresolutiontechnologies.com/products/
Pros: Best DAC in bunch, Asynchronous USB
Cons: RCA only. No headphone or volume control, no external Powersupply
Quote:


Regarding volume control, depending on the program and drivers you use, you can control volume with the software. However, I believe it's best to keep a bit perfect stream going to the DAC and control volume in the analog domain.

Yulong U100: http://www.headfonia.com/the-new-rec...-u100-usb-dac/
http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/...ct-usb-dac-amp
Pros: Liked better than the Audnst, can do multiple inputs (3.5mm jack & usb), Asynchronous USB
Cons: None
Quote:


One thing that I have to mention is that the USB connectivity doesn't seem to be as robust as the one on the Audinst, or all the other Mac-compatible DACs. Sometimes, plugging in the Yulong to my MacPro will immediately give a bleep bleep bleep sound on the headphones, the sound that you get when you're hitting the volume level button on your Mac. Unplugging and plugging the USB cable back would solve the problem, so it's not a big deal, but I am obliged to tell you about it.
post #88 of 124
Thread Starter 
Some excerpts from the reviews:

Review of HRT compared to Audinst:
Quote:


Like the MS2, the Audinst also does 24/96 over USB. But that's as far as the similarity goes. The MS2 is equipped with a PCM1793 D/A chip, which is the lesser version of the PCM1794 chip used in the MS2+. The Audinst on the other hand is equipped with the WM8740 D/A chip. Although D/A chips do matter, ultimately you can't predict a DAC's sound quality just by knowing the chip it uses, as there's a lot of variables in the design of the circuitry.

The Audinst HUD-MX1, as always, sounds very musical. With the 2-ch Beta22 and the Hifiman HE5LE, I noted no deficiencies in the Audinst's sound output. The sound is slightly warm, there is a good body and musicality in the music. The soundstage information is very good, separation very good. For sure, the Audinst still remains a very good performing DAC for the price it's selling for.

Moving to the MusicStreamer II, the first impression that strikes me is how soundstage has been improved. Most notably is the soundstage depth, where the MS2 is much more three dimensional than the Audinst. The width and the open-ness of the sound is also improved on the MS2. I am liking the improvements a lot, as soundstage performance is very important to me. The instruments are more alive and independent, where the HUD-MX1 still maintains everything fairly close together.

Furthermore, the two DACs are also different in terms of sound signature, the Audinst HUD-MX1 has a more relaxed and slightly warmer sound signature. The MS2 is more neutral, and doesn't quite have the coloration of the Audinst. The MS2 is also more lively and energetic. Treble is more decisive on the MS2, and bass is tighter and punchier. I'm not saying that the Audinst is highly colored, because it's still mostly a neutral sounding DAC, but it's warmer and more relaxed in comparison to the MS2. Depending on system synergy, some people may prefer the Audinst's more relaxed and warmer sound. The MS2 is more forward, although with a Beta22 and the HE5LE, I don't feel the HUD-MX1 to be overly laid back.
Again, little differences between the two DAC. The HUD-MX1 has slightly more low end presence, but bass punch is less tight and less punchy, where on the MS2, even guitar plucks sound more decisive and snappy than the HUD-MX1. Vocal is slightly more forward on the MS2, with richer texture, where the HUD-MX1 is smoother and slightly more laid back.

Going up to the $345 model, the MS2+, does yield some nice improvements, although they are more subtle and more in the small refinements. The MS2+ has an even bigger soundstage, a more refined treble, and slightly more midrange body for a more musical sound than the MS2. The subtler improvements is very appreciated on a highly transparent system such as the Beta22 and HD800/HE5LE that I'm using, and the MS2 sounds quite less refined and a little harsh than the bigger brother. On lesser transparent systems, I'm not sure if the difference is going to be that noticeable.

What matters more in this comparison, (at least from a practical standpoint) is how the Audinst come with quite a decent headphone out that's able to drive big impedance cans such as the HD650 and the HD800. That makes it a very convenient unit, as you don't need the clutter of another headphone amplifier. The Music Streamer II, on the other hand, is more of a purist approach. If you own a high quality headphone amplifier, you'll probably like the Music Streamer approach better, as it just give you a high quality digital to analog conversion for pairing with your headphone amplifier. Otherwise, the Audinst would be preferable, because you don't need to worry about getting an amplifier, as the built in amp is quite competent.

I'm very happy to see that the bar on the $100+ USB DAC has been raised by the HRT Music Streamer II. When you move to a bigger and more expensive high end DAC, one of the thing you notice is the improved soundstage performance, and in that area the MS2 is quite superior than the Audinst HUD-MX1, which is my previous favorite $100+ DAC

The Audinst is very nice as I can hook it up to my laptop and have a very nice system that's able to drive heavyweights such as the HD800 or the HE5LE. With the MS2, you need another headphone amplifier, another power outlet, an interconnect cable. So ultimately it depends on what you're looking for. If you already own a good quality headphone amp, then you probably want the MS2, which is the better quality DAC. If you want a simple entry level system, then the Audinst is the better choice.

Review of the Youlog U100 v Audinst:

Quote:


The obvious competition here is the Audinst HUD-mx1 and the Matrix Cube. If I had not heard those two I would probably be a lot more excited with the level of performance being attained by the U100. Still, just because a few others have achieved it, doesn't mean it is less of an accomplishment for a small company like Yulong to join them. The good part is that they are different enough to warrant individual recommendations in different circumstances.

The Audinst mx1 is still going strong as the most neutral DAC of the bunch. In comparison the U100 has slightly more authority in the lower regions and a bit of extra fullness and snap in the mids, followed by more gently defined highs. The U100 ends up being simultaneously more laid back and engaging, concerned more with the pacing of the performance rather than the minute details. The Audinst is more focused and has a more intimate presentation, with a nice balance across the whole spectrum. Overall I think the DAC sections are somewhat different but equally good. The amp sections couldn't really be more different though, and it would be a matter of taste which you would prefer. For many headphones the U100 is better in my opinion.

There's no real loser in this comparison. Each has a valid application where I would recommend it over the others. For those who just want a solid foundation that is neutral and evenhanded, the Audinst is the way to go. Someone needing more inputs (especially an analog in for SACD or DVD-A playback) that likes a warm musical sound and values an expansive soundstage should look no further than the Matrix Cube. The U100 is my top choice for someone who will likely not be upgrading soon, who simply wants a nice low profile unit that will make anything you pair with it sound good. In fact it might actually make sense to choose the U100 over the D100 in some instances. Consider a person on a budget of around $600. Barring any future upgrading, it might be better for them to get the U100 and pair it with a nicer headphone; the headphone budget would be $350. If that same person went with a D100, there would only be $150 left for headphones. I know this is a specific example but there are plenty of similar scenarios where the U100 would be a great choice. Its forgiving nature lends itself well to all types of music and headphone pairings.

CONCLUSION

As I mentioned before, the U100 is not quite the achievement it could have been if we didn't already have amazing value units like the Audinst and Matrix Cube around. Still, while not quite raising the bar, I'm pleased with the performance it gives. It might not be as resolving as those competitors, but it makes up for that with a very organic almost analog type sound. For someone who wants a small combo unit that makes practically everything sound great, the U100 is an easy product to recommend. It has very nice build quality and comes with a comprehensive package to get you started on your road to musical enjoyment.

This is the 3rd product I've tried from Yulong Audio and I have been nothing but impressed by this company. I'm not sure what else they have in development, but based on what I've seen I am confident saying it will be good. I've given the U100 to my nephew and he has nothing but good things to say about it. He has already gone through some different headphones to find his preference including Sennheiser HD555, Grado SR80, Ultrasone HFI580, and Audio Technica AD700. It's great to see a budding music fan become more passionate about good audio reproduction, while at the same time not losing sight of the music or being too hung up on the hardware aspect of things. I suspect he will settle on a single model one of these days (possibly the AKG K701 as he really enjoyed it when he tried mine) and stick with it and the U100 for many years to come. Finding him a few years later with a bigger collection of music, and more knowledge of what he likes, but the same DAC/amp unit would be a great complement as to what gear is supposed to do for us.

Audinst v. HRT

Quote:


HRT MUSIC STREAMER+ WITH CREEK OBH-21

The HRT Music Streamer+ was my first foray into computer audio. I was impressed with its musicality and low noise, as well as its simple operation. The Creek OBH-21 is an old standby, sort of the gatekeeper of the amp world. If an amp is not better than the Creek, I'm probably not interested.

The Audinst simply outclassed this combo in almost every possible way. More powerful in both volume and drive, more instrument separation, more natural timbre, better soundstage, more realistic attack and decay, the list goes on and on. I found myself at one point thinking the HRT/Creek combo was more musical. Eventually I discovered that it was due to the lack of top end sparkle combined with an overall dullness that took me right out of the performance and had me viewing the music from a distance. Imagine standing outside the gate of a loud outdoor concert; you are likely tapping your toes to the music but at the same time completely missing most of the details. I have a theory about NOS DACs that follows this same logic but I need to do some more listening to confirm that.

In contrast, the mx1 was giving me an excellent seat in the front section of the performance. I tried using the mx1 as a DAC and going out to the Creek and it slightly cleaned things up over the HRT but was still pretty uneventful.
post #89 of 124
Thread Starter 
Spent most of my weekend ripping my CD's to FLAC using the 21 free day trial of dbpoweramp and listening to them in MediaMonkey.

I have to say, dbpoweramp is a AWESOME program as is MediaMonkey's player. Easy to update info, add album covers....

Oh and it sounds AWESOME!!!!

I discovered my soundcard was only sending out 44.1 khz signals instead of the 192 khz signals it could.... that plus listening in FLAC opened up these infinity's like none other.

I had to turn down the bass and treble controls to default levels (which is awesome) and I still had a massive amount of bass...
post #90 of 124
Thread Starter 
So after thinking I was almost done with all the CD's we have.... I found my wife's CD collection lol.... only about another 100+ CD's and most of them will not be in the accuraterip library so they will take longer...

time to start utilizing my laptop in addition to the desktop lol....

oh and did I mention I am grabbing a bunch of my Dad's old CD's too? hehehe...

might buy MediaMonkey Gold so I can keep our collections separate...
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