McIntosh says no way to MQA.......BRAVO!!!

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  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,923
    I had a chance to hear this MQA thing recently. Can't say I'm for or against it as I found nothing stellar about the sound. Just seemed more rolled off to me at the extremes to make it sound smoother.

    Did it make me want to go out and buy MQA certified gear ?

    No

    Did I think SACD or DSD or even a good redbook cdp sounded better ?

    Yep

    But...to each his own, roll with what makes ya happy.
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  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,798
    Where were you able to demo it?
    tonyb wrote: »
    I had a chance to hear this MQA thing recently.

    Got Dayens?
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 10,163
    I was ready to order Exile On Main Street and Wheels Of Fire today from CD Japan. These are some of the first MQA encoded CDs available. I have the SHM SACDs of both these albums, so I wanted to compare the audio quality between both discs. After that I was going to rip the MQA CDs, and play those files through the Lumin. Since it now supports MQA, they would play at 192/24, and I wanted to determine if the audio stayed the same, improved, or deteriorated.

    Well, at least once a year my CC gets hacked, and it happened again yesterday. BofA send me a fraud alert at 3AM, and now I have to wait a week for a new card. LOL.

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  • ClipdatClipdat Posts: 4,798
    Did you miss the post I made equating this to the DVD vs. DIVX situation?
    Upstatemax wrote: »
    My point is that I find it ironic that he is so hard against MQA and he has not even listened to it.

    Got Dayens?
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,329
    edited June 21
    Upstatemax wrote: »
    My point is that I find it ironic that he is so hard against MQA and he has not even listened to it.

    Anyone that knows this forum, and Jesse, that is the EXACT opposite of what they preach.

    Go and look at ANY cable debate thread and you will find it full of comments about not slamming something because of something you read on another forum/heard from this or that person. Try it for yourself and make up your own mind, with your own system.

    I find it bizarre that you do not understand the concept that a manufacturer's specification indicating that a product has PERSONALLY undesirable effects NEGATES the need to test it for yourself. If a bottle of bleach says it's poisonous to ingest, no rational person needs to test that.

    Similarly, the MQA specification removes the last 8 bits of every 24 bit digital sample and replaces it with noise generated by a proprietary algorithm. Personally, if I pay for a 24 bit recording, I want the whole 24 bit recording, and not two-thirds (16 bits) of the recording and one-third (8 bits) euphonic proprietary induced noise. Some people may find this distortion pleasant to listen to. Others will be turned off by the very idea.

    I had many opportunities to attend MQA demonstrations when I attended the AXPONA 2018 audio show. I had no interest whatsoever in a proprietary format which cripples recording quality. I brought my own DSD recordings, which some of the manufacturers were happy to allow me to audition on their gear.

    I don't know of any cable manufacturer that is announcing that their cables are going to rob you of 1/3 of the music signal and replace it with custom crafted noise. All the cable manufacturers I know of say their cables will allow you to hear MORE of the music signal compared to less thoughtfully designed and manufactured cables. Accordingly, it would be appropriate to test to see if a particular cable does produce more natural and detailed sound.

    By definition, MQA is a step backward from higher resolution recordings.

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  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 40,494
    ^ Ed Zachary ^
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,329
    In the future ... when I'm more dedicated to audio than I am now, I will borrow some MQA certified playback equipment and MQA recordings and test to hear just how much high frequency detail and spatial information is missing from some of my favorite Redbook CD and DSD music.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
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  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 19,354
    edited June 22
    ...

    I don't know of any cable manufacturer that is announcing that their cables are going to rob you of 1/3 of the music signal and replace it with custom crafted noise. All the cable manufacturers I know of say their cables will allow you to hear MORE of the music signal compared to less thoughtfully designed and manufactured cables. Accordingly, it would be appropriate to test to see if a particular cable does produce more natural and detailed sound.

    By definition, MQA is a step backward from higher resolution recordings.

    So, just to be really clear, I think that the underlying push of MQA by its developers and sycophants is abhorrent. I also think that the notion of euphonic noise as an audio enhancement is as old as the hobby (heck, I use single-ended DHT amplifiers -- their detractors say that the magic therein is naught but euphonic noise ;) )

    But...

    Don't forget that the interrelationship of bits from the least to the most significant isn't linear, it's exponential (2^n, where n is the number of bits). I.e., 8 bits out of 24 isn't "one-third of the music signal"... it's 2^8 parts out of 2^24 parts -- which (calculator sound effects) is 256 divided by 16777216 which is 0.0015%.

  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,923
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    [
    Don't forget that the interrelationship of bits from the least to the most significant isn't linear, it's exponential (2^n, where n is the number of bits). I.e., 8 bits out of 24 isn't "one-third of the music signal"... it's 2^8 parts out of 2^24 parts -- which (calculator sound effects) is 256 divided by 16777216 which is 0.0015%.

    Dang Doc...it's too early man, my brain isn't awake until at least my 3rd cup. :)

    But Ray made an excellent point....

    "I find it bizarre that you do not understand the concept that a manufacturer's specification indicating that a product has PERSONALLY undesirable effects NEGATES the need to test it for yourself. If a bottle of bleach says it's poisonous to ingest, no rational person needs to test that."

    F1NUT made a choice using provided info about a product, nothing wrong with that. They lost him at "removing bits of information". Had I known that myself in advance, I wouldn't have sought out a listen myself. Me...had to listen to make a final judgement and came away with ...meh. Nuthin' I'd chase after.

    I think the allure with MQA is....most people these days are listening to music with portable devices, earbuds, digital music on cheaper players not exactly known for quality audio. Digital....when played on these cheaper devices can get a little squirrelly around the extremes. MQA to my ears anyway seems to round off those extremes in the highs and lows making it sound better. Kinda like what Bose did for home systems....everyone loved them little cubes when they came out and swore up and down about the sound being better than their full blown system. After all, the same crowd listening to music today on portable devices, had no problem with the previous format that left out bits of information....MP3's. MQA sounds way better than MP3's....and that's the silver lining for them me thinks.

    In my opinion, MQA isn't really meant for a quality audio system, though the makers may think otherwise to sell their product to a wider audience.

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  • OleBootOleBoot Posts: 322
    I stopped looking at MQA articles as soon as I saw the word "lossy". For some reason I did wade through the eight hundred and sixty six pages of the article referenced by @KennethSwauger , and apart from concluding that a halfways competent copy editor could have reduced the piece to about six paragraphs, thought he reached the right conclusions once you get past the self-aggrandizement.

    I thought the interesting thing was that, if you did get through to the end of the tome, there was a link back to a contents page that linked to two (older) articles in which the author completely trashes SACD/DSD, with in my view a complete technical non sequitur.
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  • lightman1lightman1 Posts: 9,900
    ^^^ That's why I've missed your prose and wit...
  • OleBootOleBoot Posts: 322
    lightman1 wrote: »
    ^^^ That's why I've missed your prose and wit...

    Sit on it and swivel
    I started out with nothing and have most of it left.
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,329
    edited June 23
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    So, just to be really clear, I think that the underlying push of MQA by its developers and sycophants is abhorrent. I also think that the notion of euphonic noise as an audio enhancement is as old as the hobby (heck, I use single-ended DHT amplifiers -- their detractors say that the magic therein is naught but euphonic noise ;) )

    To the detractors I would say that euphonic noise in an amplifier is something that the amp purchaser chose as a matter of preference. Furthermore, the even order harmonic distortion in a tube amplifier is certifiably euphonic because it is even multiples of the fundamental frequencies in the music. The data loss changes to the original 96kHz/24 bit digital music file that MQA causes are not something chosen by the music consumer as a matter of preference.

    It is not clear that the added noise in MQA recordings could be be scientifically and subjectively described as euphonic.
    mhardy6647 wrote: »
    But...

    Don't forget that the interrelationship of bits from the least to the most significant isn't linear, it's exponential (2^n, where n is the number of bits). I.e., 8 bits out of 24 isn't "one-third of the music signal"... it's 2^8 parts out of 2^24 parts -- which (calculator sound effects) is 256 divided by 16777216 which is 0.0015%.

    I did not forget. The figure of 0.0015% really does not indicate how much of the original signal is lost because, with all the iterations of "folding" (MQA's nice term for COMPRESSION) and other signal manipulation that goes on, we really don't know how much of the original digital signal survives the MQA process. What we know is that the input to the MQA system is music sampled at 24 bits/96 kHz. The output is either 16 or 17 bit audio sampled at 96 kHz.

    I suspect that I am being unknowingly generous when I say that only a "third" of the original signal is lost because we have no way of knowing how the added noise affects the entire signal.

    Here are block diagrams of the MQA input/output processes, which were obtained from an article on the benchmark.com website:

    https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/application_notes/163302855-is-mqa-doa

    6i9szmev2mca.jpg
    MQA encoder, Figure 7A, MQA decoder, Figure 7B.
    Post edited by DarqueKnight on
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  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,568
    So, let me cut through the dank, septic muck that has developed,as a result of the aforementioned bloviating, and see if I can get some clarity. MQA is a lossy format that adds noise, and is proprietary and requires special hardware, and that somehow is supposed to be good? I'm not that desperate to crawl through the desert and drink sand when I find no water.
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  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 19,354
    ... you forgot the watermarking for copy protection.
  • AsSiMiLaTeDAsSiMiLaTeD Posts: 11,717
    I don’t see how having another choice is a bad thing, my experience with MQA has been inconsistent but there are a number of occasions where the MQA version of an album on Tidal simply sounds better than the other versions. Albums by Yes and Chicago are the first that come to mind but I could provide a more comprehensive list if I really cared enough to have this debate.

    If we were talking about MQA becoming the ONLY option then sure I could see the issue here, but that’s not on the table so I’ll repeat my question...how is choice a bad idea?

    When I bring up an album in Tidal I’ll look at the versions and chose which one sounds best to me, sometimes it’s the MQA version sometimes it’s not...it sounds to me like you guys are advocating that I no longer have those options and to that I definitely say NO.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,923
    Nobody is advocating removing choices. Some of us would like to see BETTER choices is all.

    Think of ...shoes. You can walk into any payless shoe store and have a million choices of shoes, but they are all the same quality give or take. Soon you will yearn for better quality, wouldn't ya ?

    ….and if your paying the extra for Tidal, I would assume you did so to move away from the lossy formats. Here with MQA, puts you right back into that camp....while charging you extra for it.

    I can't speak for anyone else, but to me, that's a no go from the start.
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  • AsSiMiLaTeDAsSiMiLaTeD Posts: 11,717
    But you're discounting my experience with MQA, in that some albums sound better. If MQA was pure trash across the board then sure get rid of it, but the fact is that in my experience some albums sound better with it. Whether that's due to the technology or the master used is probably important, but to be honest as a consumer I could care less.

    When I fire up The Yes album on Tidal, the MQA sounds better than the regular 16/44 version and it sounds better than the local CD copy I have as well. I don't want that to go away, simple as that. I challenge someone who's set up for proper MQA playback to go listen to those two version of that album and tell me the regular version sounds better.

    There's a lot of talk about math and science and stuff in this thread which is neat and all, I"m just talking about what actually sounds better and I like having the option of another format that sometimes sounds better.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,923
    edited June 23
    If it sounds better to you, then roll with it. All this thread is saying is for some, they won't roll with it for XYZ reasons. No harm, no foul to anyone.

    Just like any other audio debate, we all have our preferences and definition of "good sound".
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  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 4,626
    I’m sorry @tonyb but I trust Danny’s ears over ur old ears ;). If he says some them sound better, then that’s a good case to me. Some people have more refined palates than others due to both natural capacity and experience...

    And u have said over and over again in cable debates especially, that in the end sound quality is subjective and some subjective benefits cannot be OBJECTIVELY measured. Those measurements are useful, but not the end all.

    And finally, where did you hear MQA? Was it in your own system with gear that your are very familiar with and songs that are imprinted on your soul? Or was in on a dealers system with a few random tracks? Because another thing you stress with cables is that you MUST hear them in you it won setup.
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  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,923
    LOL, actually....these old ears can still pick out good sound when I hear it. Many others may also agree who I've attended AXPONA and LSAF with. We all seemed to have agreement on what dictated good sound....to us anyway.

    Go hear MQA and make your own decisions, that's all I'm saying. For me, and only speaking for myself, I have to hear things to make judgements and form opinions. Others look at specs, info to decide if a product is worth a listen. I do the same, but in the end I still want to hear it.

    No, I did not hear it in my own system, it was a friends. To hear it in my own system would require buying MQA certified gear, which I am not willing to do unless I really like something....and I'm not fond of Tidal either.
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  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,923
    rooftop59 wrote: »
    I’m sorry @tonyb but I trust Danny’s ears over ur old ears ;). If he says some them sound better, then that’s a good case to me. Some people have more refined palates than others due to both natural capacity and experience...

    And u have said over and over again in cable debates especially, that in the end sound quality is subjective and some subjective benefits cannot be OBJECTIVELY measured. Those measurements are useful, but not the end all.

    And finally, where did you hear MQA? Was it in your own system with gear that your are very familiar with and songs that are imprinted on your soul? Or was in on a dealers system with a few random tracks? Because another thing you stress with cables is that you MUST hear them in you it won setup.

    That's ok if you think that pal. I trust ears from guys like F1NUT/Kerry/Brian/Rich/H9/Ron and a host of others.

    Yes, you are correct also about my comments on cables....which is why I've said in THIS thread to give it a listen. Which is why I also said if you like it roll with it.

    I fail to see how any of my comments pissed in your cornflakes this morning. :)

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  • cfrizzcfrizz Posts: 13,042
    kharp1 wrote: »
    So, let me cut through the dank, septic muck that has developed,as a result of the aforementioned bloviating, and see if I can get some clarity. MQA is a lossy format that adds noise, and is proprietary and requires special hardware, and that somehow is supposed to be good? I'm not that desperate to crawl through the desert and drink sand when I find no water.

    LOL, Thank you, this is all I needed to know!
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  • rooftop59rooftop59 Posts: 4,626
    edited June 23
    tonyb wrote: »
    rooftop59 wrote: »
    I’m sorry @tonyb but I trust Danny’s ears over ur old ears ;). If he says some them sound better, then that’s a good case to me. Some people have more refined palates than others due to both natural capacity and experience...

    And u have said over and over again in cable debates especially, that in the end sound quality is subjective and some subjective benefits cannot be OBJECTIVELY measured. Those measurements are useful, but not the end all.

    And finally, where did you hear MQA? Was it in your own system with gear that your are very familiar with and songs that are imprinted on your soul? Or was in on a dealers system with a few random tracks? Because another thing you stress with cables is that you MUST hear them in you it won setup.

    That's ok if you think that pal. I trust ears from guys like F1NUT/Kerry/Brian/Rich/H9/Ron and a host of others.

    Yes, you are correct also about my comments on cables....which is why I've said in THIS thread to give it a listen. Which is why I also said if you like it roll with it.

    I fail to see how any of my comments pissed in your cornflakes this morning. :)

    You didn't upset me Tony, just honest questions. And I am not questioning your ears, just busting your chops. But more to the point, Danny has done an in-depth evaluation in his own home on his own equipment, and you have done a quick eval on someone else's gear, and as far as I can tell no one else in this thread has evaluated MQA on their own gear, and I just find that a bit hypocritical based on all of yall's typical mantras lol...

    I agree with lots of the criticisms of the business model of MQA, and I wouldn't invest significantly just for it (I also have NOT invested significantly for SACD or vinyl). I have TiDAL because it sounds far superior to spotify and other streaming services, and my life is so much crazier than many of you that streaming is the best option for me at this point in my life. MQA is just icing on the cake, and I haven't really invested much to take advantage of it.

    FYI, If you own a laptop and a USB DAC its not that expensiveto try out MQA in your own system, just a little elbow grease. Sign up for trials of TiDAL and Roon, and pick out some albums and tracks you know really well and give it a spin. Of course, a PC isn't the highest fidelity method, but it will give you a free way to evaluate it in your own system for no investment...
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  • tonybtonyb Posts: 29,923
    Don't have a laptop, and tidal costs extra too. Don't have an MQA certified dac either. If I thought it all was worth a significant jump in sound quality, then maybe, but it isn't in my view after hearing it on another decent system.

    I'm still fine with cd quality streamed to a decent dac. Someday I may move up to streaming DSD. I come from the camp of....if your going to spend some coin, do so that aligns with the jump in sound quality. That's just me though, YMMV.

    Now that I think about it, I should have asked Derek to play some on his Rosso's for better clarification at LSAF. EH, shame on me there.

    Some things in this audio hobby require a leap of faith, others require due diligence, and some just old fashioned getting your ears on it. Sometimes all 3 at once. We all won't have the same experiences, opinions, but that goes for just about everything audio related.

    This MQA thread started because some have valid reasons to give it a thumbs down, doesn't mean others can't like it and give it a thumbs up. Decide for yourselves.
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  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,568
    rooftop59 wrote: »
    tonyb wrote: »
    rooftop59 wrote: »
    I’m sorry @tonyb but I trust Danny’s ears over ur old ears ;). If he says some them sound better, then that’s a good case to me. Some people have more refined palates than others due to both natural capacity and experience...

    And u have said over and over again in cable debates especially, that in the end sound quality is subjective and some subjective benefits cannot be OBJECTIVELY measured. Those measurements are useful, but not the end all.

    And finally, where did you hear MQA? Was it in your own system with gear that your are very familiar with and songs that are imprinted on your soul? Or was in on a dealers system with a few random tracks? Because another thing you stress with cables is that you MUST hear them in you it won setup.

    That's ok if you think that pal. I trust ears from guys like F1NUT/Kerry/Brian/Rich/H9/Ron and a host of others.

    Yes, you are correct also about my comments on cables....which is why I've said in THIS thread to give it a listen. Which is why I also said if you like it roll with it.

    I fail to see how any of my comments pissed in your cornflakes this morning. :)

    You didn't upset me Tony, just honest questions. And I am not questioning your ears, just busting your chops. But more to the point, Danny has done an in-depth evaluation in his own home on his own equipment, and you have done a quick eval on someone else's gear, and as far as I can tell no one else in this thread has evaluated MQA on their own gear, and I just find that a bit hypocritical based on all of yall's typical mantras

    Not hypocritical at all. After this entire thread I find that statement dense. Assimilated has pointed out one (1!) album that he likes better on MQA I understand he claims he could find a few more, but, that only reinforces the point many are trying to make, that you seem to want to argue about and "bust chops" over. I've made an educated decision based on a lifetime of this type of business decisions in am industry well populated with hucksters and snake oil purveyors.

    I won't buy an album for only one good song, and, I'm not going to run out and dump good money into a format that has all the downfalls mentioned in this thread, to get a couple of good albums that sound better. I don't need to do an in home, in depth A/B testing for only a couple of better sounding albums. Glad it works for Assimilated, and any others that like it, but, what I have is more than sufficient to favorably sustain me.

    Again, only those with a stake in the game are saying it's the end all. If, you think the real word synopsis of its better on a few albums is enough to convince you, go for it. Prove it to yourself. Those of us that have been around the block a few times have seen this kind of thing a time or two and cam make an educated decision to sit this one out.
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 40,494
    Another company says NO WAY!
    EXOGAL Abandons MQA Development

    June 22, 2018
    For Immediate Release


    EXOGAL Audio announced today that they are ceasing development of MQA for inclusion in EXOGAL products.

    Said Jeff Haagenstad, CEO of EXOGAL: "We have been evaluating MQA technology and watching the wider MQA ecosystem since early 2016. After much research on the fundamental technology and more importantly on the market demand for MQA, we have reached the decision to cease the pursuit of adding MQA to our products for several reasons:

    1) Our products by themselves exceed the performance of our products with the inclusion of MQA,

    2) Regardless of the breathless hype by the audio press, actual consumer demand is just not there.

    3) Regardless of the announced support from record labels, a suitable base of playable content is not widely available.

    4) As for the technical details of our evaluation of the technology vis á vis our own technology, we prefer not to violate our NDA’s with MQA and Meridian.

    5) Much like Wadia's technology before us, EXOGAL technology is already oriented in the time domain and does not suffer from the time-smearing effect which MQA is supposed to eliminate.

    Suffice it to say we were never able to achieve the advertised level of performance using the MQA technology and thus it does not meet our standards for inclusion in our products. Many experts outside of our company have articulately made the case against MQA and we see no reason to elaborate or comment on those findings."
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • Viking64Viking64 Posts: 3,493
    I don't want my MQA.
  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 6,931
    edited June 23
    There is a discussion at Roon community titled "MQA Disappointing."

    A great response that I felt was quote worthy was in answer to this post..
    That is one interpretation. Another is that they are starting with one of the same tools and so may have better insight into what the mastering engineer was trying to achieve.
    Only the mastering engineer knows that. Bob Stewart certainly doesn’t, MQA’s sound is only his interpretation through DSPing. (signal processing)

    IMO that is why you find those who love it and those who don't. I heard MQA and don't feel I need it. To those who like it, rock on.

    The thread...

    https://community.roonlabs.com/t/mqa-disappointing/44057
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's * Audio Research Reference 3 * Bottlehead Eros Phono * Park's Audio Budgie SUT * Krell KSA-250 * Harmonic Technology Pro 9+ & Pro 11+ * Signature Series Sonore Music Server w/Deux PS* Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC * Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive * AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm * AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R * Richard Gray 600S * NHT B-12d subs * GIK Acoustic Treatments * Sennheiser HD650 *

  • kharp1kharp1 Posts: 2,568
    @tonyb I like your ears, can't begin to think how ugly you'd be without them! And I certainly appreciate you turning me on to the Butler. Even though your old, decrepit ears aren't worth much you did get that one right. :)
    Main System:
    Joule-Electra LA 100 MKIII
    Pass Labs Aleph 30, McCormack DNA-125, Parasound A21
    Marantz SA-14S1
    Usher CP-6311/Tyler Acoustics Taylo Reference Monitor, LSA-1
    Dual SVS SB2000
    Wireworld Equinox 7 bi-wire, Wireworld Silver Eclipse 7 IC

    Secondary Rig:
    Parasound P5, Audio Electronics by Cary Constellation
    Marsh a200s, Audio Elecrtonics by Cary Hercules
    Pioneer Elite DV-45a, Denon DVD-2910
    Klipsch Epic CF-1, Vandersteen 3CE sig
    Analysus Plus Oval

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