Pure Overkill Computer Audio Office System

DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
edited August 2015 in Going Digital
Introduction

After becoming spoiled by the increased convenience, increased sound quality, and increased overall satisfaction that computer audio concepts brought to my home's two channel system, I decided I needed to implement a computer audio system in my office at work.

Starting Point:

Yamaha CDX-1110U CD player
NakamichiCA-5AII preamplifier
Adcom GFA-555 MkII power amplifier
Signal Cable Analog Version 2 RCA interconnects
Signal Cable MagicPower power cords
Monster Cable Z2 Reference speaker cable (25' pair, 12 AWG)
Polk Audio SDA CRS+ loudspeakers (hot-rodded) 4 ohms nominal impedance

006%20OfficeSourceComps-Dk-s_zps8vyjso8i.jpg
Figure 1. Former office system. Top to bottom: Nakamichi CA-5AII preamp, Yamaha TX-1000U tuner, Yamaha CDX-1000U CD player. The tuner was removed about a year prior to this upgrade project since I seldom listened to the radio.

Ending Point:

Cary Audio DAC-100 digital to analog converter
Bryston BDP-2 digital player with 500GB internal drive
Adcom GFP-750 preamplifier
Adcom GFA-565SE power amplifier (250 wpc 8 ohms/350 wpc 4 ohms)
Signal Cable Silver Resolution Reference XLR interconnects
Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy Cryo-Silver USB cable
Signal Cable Digital Reference power cords for DAC and digital player
Signal Cable MagicPower cords for power amp and preamp.
PS Audio Dectet Power Conditioner
PS Audio Statement SC power cord for Dectet
Douglas Connection CDF92 speaker cable (9 AWG)
HiFi Tuning Classic Gold fuses for all electronics.
Dell Venue Pro 11 7140 tablet computer for digital player control

My initial plan was to replace the 27 year old (1988 vintage) CD player with a DAC and run a USB cable from a computer running JRiver Media Center software. I don't particularly care for JRiver's sound quality in my home's two channel system. I thought it would suffice for an office rig. It didn't. I thought that a Bryston BDP-1 digital player (discontinued and available used at very nice prices) would work, but I wasn't satisfied with that either. I settled on a Bryston BDP-2, with internal 500 GB solid state hard drive, and a Cary DAC-1000 DAC. Both components were purchased as dealer demos with full warranty at significant discounts.

The significantly improvement in sound quality brought by the BDP-2/DAC-100 combo proved to be detrimental...to my wallet. A snowball effect ensued which resulted in everything, amps and cables, being replaced.

Preamplifier Replacement

Office%20Sys%20Dk-sJPG_zpstke1ulzb.jpg
Figure 2. Bryston BDP-2 digital player, Adcom GFP-750 preamp, Cary Audio DAC-100 digital to analog converter. This is the third GFP-750 I have owned.


The Nakamichi CA-5A II preamp (1988 vintage) was replaced with an Adcom GFP-750, which offers excellent sound quality and the option to use balanced cables, which are my preference. I found a near-mint condition, made in U.S.A. (blue circuit board and Alps potentiometers) on eBay. This unit also had the power regulator upgrade that is recommended in the GFP-750's service manual. The GFP-750 is based on the Pass Labs Aleph P preamp. Adcom licensed use of the design from Pass.

Pass%20Aleph%20P%20Front%20Left-s_zps65cbsocf.jpg
Figure 3. The GFP-750's ancestor, the Pass Labs Aleph P.

Power Amplifier Replacement

The GFA-555 Mk II power amp had served well. I bought it used off Audiogon in 2005. The Mark II 555 was manufactured from 1991 to 1994, therefore my unit was between 21 to 24 years old. I was probably past due for having the filter capacitors replaced. There are reports of dying Adcom filter caps taking out speakers. Adcom was offering generous trade in credit for older Adcom units. The 555 was traded in for an Adcom GFA-565SE.

I had an Adcom GFP-750/GFA-5802 combo in my two channel rig for a long time. I thought about buying a used GFA-5802, but the 565SE is supposed to be a better amp with regard to sound quality and parts quality. The 565SE's specs show significantly lower noise figures than the 5802: 2 to 15 times less total harmonic distortion depending on speaker load and frequency, 8 to 37 times less intermodulation distortion depending on measurement method. I didn't have a GFA-5802 to compare to the 565SE, but, right out of the box, the 565SE bludgeoned the 555 Mk II in every area of stereophonic performance. The 565SE is also a very cool running amp, unlike the 5802.

GFA-565SE%20Front-New-s_zpspcwfkoms.jpg
Figure 4. Adcom GFA-565SE power amp. The 565SE's noise performance, and sound, is significantly better than my former GFA-555 MkII, which was traded in.

GFA-565se%20Inside_zpseldtt5gv.jpg
Figure 5. The GFA-565SE's rail fuses, and power line fuse were replaced with HiFi Tuning Classic Gold fuses.

When I contacted Adcom to order a service manual for the 565SE, I was told they don't sell service manuals for current products as a deterrent from copying the design. When I asked which direction current flowed through the DC rail fuses. I was told that fuses are not directional and that I should only replace the fuses with the same type and value. I used a multimeter and figured out the direction myself. Current flows through the rail fuses toward the rear of the amp. Current flows through the power line fuse toward the rear of the amp.

GFA-565SE%20On%20Floor-s_zpsknr0oyoa.jpg
Figure 6. The GFA-565SE was first placed on the floor with a thick plastic sheet over the face plate.

Under%20Desk%20Lt-cr-s_zpsrlabudgi.jpg
Figure 7. To reduce the risk of cosmetic injury, the 565SE was raised to higher ground.

I thought that a determined shoe or vacuum cleaner might eventually make contact, and that the plastic sheeting might not be sufficient to protect against such determination. The 565SE was placed on a thick plastic "milk crate" and the platform under the amp was braced against moving.

OfcDeskFar-AmpPanelcr-s_zps6zrnafqo.jpg
Figure 8. A 3/4" MDF panel was placed in front of the amp for further protection.

Amp%20Brace%20New%203%20Close-s_zps0zjf4g3k.jpg
Figure 9. Bracing blocks for the 565SE's platform.

CoE%20Machine%20Shop-s_zpsaiz2csy5.jpg
Figure 10. The machine shop downstairs was a convenient place for cutting the required MDF panel and braces.

Band%20Saw-s_zpsyk8mcipx.jpg
Figure 11. Woodworking fun.

Office%20System%20Fuses-s_zpsicci988s.jpg
Figure 12. All fuses in each component were replaced with HiFi Tuning Classic Gold audio grade fuses, available on closeout for 50% off retail.

"So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
"Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
"Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
"Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
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Comments

  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    edited August 2015
    Power Conditioning

    A PS Audio Dectet power conditioner, and a PS Audio Statement SC power cord provide passive power filtering. In addition to the lowered noise floor, improved bass performance, and improved clarity and detail, the loud transient pops heard when my shredder turned off or the loud transient pops heard when something in a nearby office switched on or off were stopped.

    Dectet-big_zpspbpstqgc.jpg
    Figure 13. PS Audio Dectet.

    Statement%20SC%20Coiled%20Closeup-s_zpslkzr01ub.jpg
    Figure 14. PS Audio Statement SC power cord.

    Cables

    Details of cable trials are provided in the threads listed in the reference section.

    DCF92%20Cable%20Pair-s_zpsds8q54cv.jpg
    Figure 15. Douglas Connection DCF92 9 AWG speaker cables replaced the Monster Cable Z2 Reference 12 AWG speaker cables.

    DCF92%20Coiled%20On%20Floor-s_zpsmlb8amto.jpg
    Figure 16. I'm waiting for someone to ask me why I have two water hoses running behind my desk.

    RAL%20USB%20-%20DualA-s_zpstaycl5px.jpg
    Figure 17. Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy Cryo-Silver dual-A head USB cable.

    Signal%20Cable%20Silv%20Res%20Ref%202PR-s_zpscpo8750l.jpg
    Figure 18. Signal Cable Silver Resolution Reference XLR interconnects.

    Loudspeakers

    As with my home two channel system, the only thing remaining after a major upgrade is the SDA loudspeakers. These 1989 model CRS+s have the following modifications:

    1. Cardas 15.5 AWG internal Litz wire.
    2. Vampire binding posts.
    3. Solen 10 AWG perfect lay low DCR inductor.
    4. Custom crossover printed circuit board with heavy and wide copper traces.
    5. Mills MRA-12 resistors.
    6. Jantzen perfect lay inductors.
    7. Sonicap and Solen film capacitors.
    8. Steel retaining rings for drivers, tweeters, and binding post cup.
    9. Dynamat Xtreme vibration abatement for drivers and passive radiator.
    10. Dreadnought AI-1 isolation transformer.
    11. Cardas 9.5 AWG Litz cables for Dreadnought.
    12. Thinner, sonically transparent grille cloth.
    13. Armacell speaker seals.
    14. RD0198 silk dome tweeters.

    005%20Bookcase%20Wall-cor-s_zpstgloy0iw.jpg
    Figure 19. The highly modified SDA CRS+ loudspeakers generate a literal crescent-shaped wall of stereophonic sound along the wall.

    The room is 11' x 12" with the speakers on a shorter wall. The listening position is 7' from the center of the speaker plane. The loudspeakers are spaced 6'-10" apart center to center

    DCF92-Dreadnought1000KV-s_zpsqmdvuyfo.jpg
    Figure 20. Stereophony is enhanced by a "Dreadnought" custom AI-1 non-common ground speaker interface containing an Avel-Lindberg 1000VA low-noise high-current toroidal transformer.

    5Work%20Office%20Room%20Resp%20DFC92_zpsej2wyeun.jpg
    Figure 21. Room response measured with the Dayton Audio OmniMic system at the listening position.

    System Control

    Tablet%20Close-s_zpszrokwncm.jpg
    Figure 22. The BDP-2 is controlled through its web interface with a Dell 7140 tablet computer. This was a refurbished unit, with 1 year warranty, purchased off eBay at 52% the cost of a new unit.

    Tablet%20Pouch-s_zpsickuai4z.jpg
    Figure 23. At the end of the day, the little tableta is slipped into its carrying case and goes home with me.

    Reference Links

    digital-interconnect-cables-what's-your-experience

    douglas-connection-furez-dcf92-speaker-cables-review#latest

    long-speaker-cable-recommendation

    crs-1989-version-pcb-xover-and-sda-inductor-upgrade

    driver-and-passive-radiator-rings-for-the-sda-crs

    sda-tweeter-brackets-for-sda-srs-1-2tl-sda-srs-and-sda-crs
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 13,941
    I think you should change your name to 'Overkill'. :).

    Just kidding. When I saw the machine shop I immediately thought he better have power conditioning, and later I see you do. Good.

    Now, do you subject your students to good music, and do they respond?
    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1 file player
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    BlueFox wrote: »
    When I saw the machine shop I immediately thought he better have power conditioning, and later I see you do.

    Shops, labs, and offices are on different circuits.

    Back in 2012, I took the PS Audio Power Plant Premier AC regenerator from my master bedroom system to the office. It made a big improvement. So, as good as things sound now, I know there is room for significant improvement.

    Work%20Office%20PPP%20Close-s_zps2ip3t14q.jpg

    I'm trying to resist the urge to take the PS Audio P5 AC regenerator from my HT system to the office...for research purposes...just out of curiosity.
    BlueFox wrote: »
    Now, do you subject your students to good music,...?

    Always.
    BlueFox wrote: »
    ...and do they respond?

    I sometimes get a "what is that?" accompanied by a "WTF" look of bewilderment.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • gudnoyezgudnoyez Posts: 7,538
    edited August 2015
    Very Impressive DK I would love to have that GFP-750 hooked up to my GFA- 555II nice very nice, that cubicle has to have the best source of music by far, probably the best cubicle ever bet you look forward to going to work :p
    Home Theater
    Parasound Halo A 31 OnkyoTX-NR838 Sony XBR55X850B 55" 4K RtiA9 Fronts CsiA6 Center RtiA3 Rears FxiA6 Side Surrounds Dual Psw 111's Oppo 105D Signal Ultra Speaker Cables & IC's Signal Magic Power Cable Technics SL Q300 Panamax MR4300 Audioquest Chocolate HDMI Cables Audioquest Forest USB Cable

    2 Channel
    Adcom 555II Vincent SA-T1 Marantz SA 15S2 Denon DR-M11 Clearaudio Bluemotion SDA 2.3tl's (Z) edition MIT Terminator II Speaker Cables & IC's Adcom 545II Adcom Gtp-450 Marantz CD5004 Technics M245X SDA 2B's, SDA CRS+

    Stuff for the Head
    JD LABS C5 Headphone Amplifier, Sennheiser HD 598, Polk Audio Buckle, Polk Audio Hinge, Velodyne vPulse, Bose IE2, Sennheiser CX 200 Street II, Sennheiser MX 365

    Shower & Off the beaten path Rigs
    Polk Audio Boom Swimmer, Polk Audio Urchin B)
  • BlueFoxBlueFox Posts: 13,941
    BlueFox wrote: »
    When I saw the machine shop I immediately thought he better have power conditioning, and later I see you do.

    Shops, labs, and offices are on different circuits.

    Doesn't matter. Noise goes back to the panel, and comes in on other circuits. Even if there are different panels I would not be surprised to find noise leakage.

    Bud - Silicon Valley

    Lumin X1 file player
    Sony XA-5400ES SACD
    Pass XP-22 pre, X600.5 amps
    Magico S5 MKII Mcast Rose speakers, SPOD spikes

    Shunyata Triton v3/Typhon QR on preamp, Denali 2000 (2) on amps
    Shunyata Sigma XLR analog ICs, Sigma speaker cables
    Shunyata Sigma HC (2), Sigma Analog, Sigma Digital, Z Anaconda (3) power cables

    Mapleshade Samson V.3 four shelf solid maple rack, Micropoint brass footers
    Three 20 amp circuits.
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    Yeah, there is always going to be some leakage from interconnected circuits. That's why I want a dedicated transformer to isolate my house's utility feed from the neighbors'.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    In the pursuit of better power, I took my Power Plant Premier and P5 AC regenerators to the office.

    P5-PPP-On-Desk-s_zpsrexo3z1v.jpg
    PS Audio P5, foreground, and PS Audio Power Plant Premier AC regenerators.

    With the power amp and other components plugged into either regenerator, there was an overall veiling of sound, slight blurring of bass, the pace of music was slower, and the sound level was apparently lower. The P5 was less detrimental than the PPP. The sound was significantly better than with the Dectet when I plugged the power amp back into the Dectet and plugged the source components and preamp into the PPP or P5.

    I was surprised that neither the PPP nor the P5 could handle the instantaneous peak current demands of the Adcom GFA-565SE power amplifier. With everything plugged into the P5 and idle, there was a steady state load of only 22%, current draw of 1.88 amps, and power dissipation of 145 watts.

    In my home theater system, the P5 read 118.3 volts in, 120.4 volts out, 1.4% THD in, and 0.1% THD out.

    At work, from the wall, the P5 read 120.1 volts in, 120.0 volts out, 1.7% THD in, and 0.2% THD out.

    At work, from the Dectet, the P5 read 120.0 volts in, 119.9 volts out, 1.7% THD in, and 0.2% THD out.

    In my master bedroom system, the PPP read 117 volts in, 122 volts out, 1.7% THD in, and 0.4% THD out.

    At work, from the wall, the PPP read 118 volts in, 121 volts out, 2.0% THD in, and 0.5% THD out.

    At work, from the Dectet, the PPP read 118 volts in, 121 volts out, 2.0% THD in, and 0.5% THD out.

    PPP-On-Flr-s_zpshwshr11a.jpg
    The PPP was much better than the Dectet.

    P5-On-Flr-s_zpssrqtwmts.jpg
    The winner - in every stereophonic aspect: the P5.

    With the preamp and source components plugged into the PPP and the power amp plugged into the Dectet, the sound was apparently louder, images were heavier and more of a sense of solidity. There was more clarity and detail at the sides and rear of the sound stage. There was an enhancement of depth and sense of holography. Bass had a more "thunderous" quality. Music also sounded "faster". The music maintained more weight and detail at lower sound levels.

    The P5 brought all the benefits of the PPP, but to a much greater degree.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • Moose68BashMoose68Bash Posts: 3,727
    @DarqueKnight,

    Another in a long line of very nice reviews.

    Your reviews are always great to read -- well written, well documented, and thorough.

    Thank you for sharing your experimentation, learning and experience.
    Family Room, Innuos Statement streamer with Morrow Audios USB cable to DirectStream DAC w/Bridge II; AQ Sky XLRs, McIntosh MC 220 Tube Pre; AQ Sky XLRs, CAT 600.2 Dualmono Amp, Morrow SP7 Speaker Cables, SDA SRS 1.2tls (RD0198s, Dreadnought, Black Hole 5, Acousta-Stuf, Dynamat Extreme, JBWeld. Vr3 Mods: "The Abbot" Monastery-Level Xovers, Custom Internal Wiring, Binding Post Plates, & SDA ICs).

    Exercise Room, Wadia 171 iPod Dock, PS Audio PerfectWave Transport, Innuos Streamer with Cat 6 cable connection to PS Audio PerfectWave MkII DAC w/Bridge II, AQ Sky XLRs, Perreaux PMF3150 Amp, Dreadnought, Supra Rondo 4x2.5 Speaker Cables, SDA 1Cs (Vr3 Mods Xovers).

    Synology 713+ NAS on Gigabit LAN serving PW MkII DAC & DirectStream DAC.
  • cnhcnh Posts: 13,310
    edited August 2015
    nbrowser wrote: »
    DarqueKnight, according to some, your office system isn't overkill as it's insanity!

    That said it looks like a nice system, I can only imagine how good it sounds!

    lol! That system is better than my best home system!

    My computer system? A couple of Minimus 7Ws (wood case), Cheap STA-700 receiver, HD600 Sennheisers, and a Lenovo laptop with an upgraded sound-card. Embarrassing by comparison!

    Really, DK. You should publish this stuff as a DIY pamphlet? Spectacular office rig!
    Post edited by cnh on
    Currently orbiting Bowie's Blackstar.!

    Polk Lsi-7s, Def Tech 8" sub, HK 3490, HK HD 990 (CDP/DAC), AKG Q701s
    [sig. changed on a monthly basis as I rotate in and out of my stash]
  • Toolfan66Toolfan66 Posts: 14,543
    Very Nice, and as always I'm Jelly... B)
  • ***Update***

    I installed a PS Audio P10 AC regenerator over a little over a week ago. Everything in the office rig, including the GFA-565SE power amp, is plugged into the P10. After 194 hours, sound stage width has not returned to pre-P10 dimensions. With the P10s in my two channel and home theater systems, normal sound stage width did not return
    until around the 250 hour mark.

    Significant improvements in image weight, bass growl and articulation, and depth, were apparent from the beginning. Sound stage shape went from a wall-to-wall thick crescent that surrounded the speakers to deep rectangle that was no wider than the outside edges of the speakers and that had a front edge along the speaker plane, rather than projecting 2 feet in front of it.

    P10%20On%20Ofc%20Desk-s_zpseyypwfj0.jpg
    Setting up the P10 prior to installation.

    P10-Amp%20Stack-s_zpsr7tyh6kh.jpg
    GFA-565SE power amp and P10 hiding under the desk. Since this picture was taken, a protective covering was also placed over the front of the P10.

    I checked with PS Audio to make sure the P10's top could support the GFA-565SE's weight. I continue to be impressed with the 565SE's performance.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • I sure hope you lock your door when you leave at night because I am sure there might be one or two grade student who hang around that would love perform an experiment to determine if they could here that system when they are working in the machine shop downstairs. :)
  • ***Update***

    I have over 300 hours on the P10 AC regenerator. Sound stage width and imaging forward of the speaker plane have returned, along with

    1. Enhanced bass slam.
    2. Enhanced overall clarity and detail.
    3. Enhance image weight.
    4. Enhanced depth, from the speaker plane rearward, was apparent immediately after installation.
    5. Enhanced low level detail.

    Typical of P10 installations in two of my other rigs, sound stage width was compressed to the area between the speakers. A music selection that I use to gauge sound stage width is a short intro cut from Sheila E's "Writes of Passage" CD entitled "Train A Goin'", which is the sound of a train beginning at the left and picking up speed as it moves to the right. Prior to the P10's installation, the train would start at the left wall and above the speakers and end at the right wall. Immediately after the P10's installation, the train would start at the outer edge of the left speaker and travel along a line midway from the bottom of the speakers and end at the outer edge of the right speaker.

    After 222 hours, the train was elevated above the top of the speaker cabinets and would begin in the space between the outer edge of the left speaker and the left wall and end in the space between the outer edge of the right speaker and the right wall.

    At the 312 hour mark, the train was beginning and ending at the walls.

    P10%20Stock-HFT%20Fuse-s_zpsj1chr019.jpg
    Figure 24. Stock P10 fuse on left, HiFi Tuning SilverStar fuse on right.

    PS Audio's P5 and P10 regenerators used to come with ordinary glass fuses. They now come with ceramic body fuses with gold plated caps. The fuse had a logo with a capital "S" inside a square. When I asked PS Audio about the fuse manufacturer, I was told:

    "The fuses we use are custom made gold ones but the HiFi Tuning ones are better still."

    Replacing the stock fuse resulted in an immediate improvement in overall clarity and detail.

    Measurements

    Sine wave and noise spectrum plots were taken with a Tektronix TDA 2012 oscilloscope.

    Wall%20Sine-s_zpsbpbqghfd.jpg
    Figure 25. Sine wave plot of power from the wall.

    P10%20Sine-s_zpshrg2s8se.jpg
    Figure 26. Sine wave plot of power from the P10.

    Wall%20FFT-s_zpsxbsulvke.jpg
    Figure 27. Fast Fourier Transform (noise spectrum) plot of power from the wall.

    P10%20FFT-s_zpsxldz1da4.jpg
    Figure 28. Fast Fourier Transform (noise spectrum) plot of power from the P10.

    P10-PC%20Control-s_zpsukec2nz4.jpg
    Figure 29. The P10 hides under my desk, but its functions are easily monitored and controlled through its Internet interface.

    I had some doubts about investing in a P10 for this office rig, as it would be the most expensive component in the system by far. I thought it might be too much overkill, even for an overkill system. All those concerns vanished after the first listen.

    Conclusion

    Updated equipment list:

    Cary Audio DAC-100 digital to analog converter
    Bryston BDP-2 digital player with 500GB internal drive Adcom GFP-750 preamplifier
    Adcom GFA-565SE power amplifier (250 wpc 8 ohm/350 wpc 4 ohms)
    Signal Cable Silver Resolution Reference XLR interconnects
    Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy Cryo-Silver USB cable
    Signal Cable Digital Reference power cords for DAC and digital player
    Signal Cable MagicPower cords for power amp and preamp.
    PS Audio P10 AC regenerator
    PS Audio Statement SC power cord for P10
    Douglas Connection CDF92 speaker cable (9 AWG)
    HiFi Tuning Classic Gold fuses for all audio electronics
    Hifi Tuning Silver Star fuse for P10 regenerator
    Dell Venue Pro 11 7140 tablet computer for digital player control

    As usual with my upgrade projects, I went far beyond my original goals. I initially just wanted to replace the CD player with a music server and DAC that would allow more music to be stored (I can now have my entire CD collection at the office) and provide a variety of playback options (custom playback lists). The initial music server and DAC install lead to Such Good Sound that I wanted more and more, and now, here we are.

    The most surprising result was how much I liked the Adcom GFA-565SE amp. I bought the 565SE out of curiosity. My initial plan was to replace my old Adcom GFA-555 Mk II with a Parasound A21, which costs nearly twice as much as the 565SE. The A21 has been put on hold...for now.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    ***Update***

    The Bryston BDP-2 digital player in my office rig was upgraded with the new Integrated Audio Device sound card. The sonic improvements were the same as those noticed when I upgraded the BDP-2 in my two channel rig:
    1. There was more overall clarity and detail.
    2. Bass performance was the greatest area of improvement. There was more bass detail, bass articulation, bass weight, and more tactile sensation through the floor, seat, and against my body.
    3. Music sounded louder (lower noise floor) and "faster" (better transient response).
    4. There was more crackly edge on singer's voices.
    5. The "reedy" edge on saxophone notes was more defined and detailed.
    6. The sense of depth and stereophonic holography was enhanced.

    http://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/166413/bryston-bdp-2-digital-player-review

    As with the BDP-2 in the two channel rig, I heard small improvements during the first 100 hours and no changes or improvements thereafter.

    IAD%20Install%20Setup-ASBag-s_zpsoi5f0rz7.jpg
    Figure 30. Prepping the BDP-2 for surgery.

    Prior to the IAD upgrade, the USB connection was the best sounding. After the IAD upgrade, the coax connection was the best sounding.

    RAL-Sig%20Coax%20Cables-s_zpsngzchrax.jpg
    Figure 31. Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy Cryo-Silver RCA-BNC digital cable on left ($549-1m) and Signal Cable digital coax cable on right ($39). I didn't hear a difference between them.

    I expected the RAL digital coax to outperform the Signal Cable digital coax, but, unlike the various USB cables I have tried between the BDP-1 and the DAC-100, there was no difference between them. I will revisit cables once the Bryston BDA-3 DAC arrives.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    CORRECTION: The last paragraph in the previous post should have said:

    "I expected the RAL digital coax to outperform the Signal Cable digital coax, but, unlike the various USB cables I have tried between the BDP-2 and the DAC-100, there was no difference between them. I will revisit cables once the Bryston BDA-3 DAC arrives."

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 32,506
    Just an off the cuff question Ray, is there something about Ral that set it apart from all the other brands out there for you ? Something specific you were looking at that set that brand above the others ?

    Just curious is all, because I know I can hear a good amount of differences in my mid-fi system between digital coax cables and yours is definitely a cut above.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • nguyendotnguyendot Posts: 3,587
    Well then, that's quite the insane office setup. I was going to say you should look at what Kurt300 has in his office, but dang.
    Main Surround -
    Epson 8350 Projector/ Elite Screens 120" / Pioneer Elite SC-35 / Sunfire Signature / Focal Chorus 716s / Focal Chorus CC / Polk MC80 / Polk PSW150 sub

    Bedroom - Sharp Aquos 70" 650 / Pioneer SC-1222k / Polk RT-55 / Polk CS-250

    Den - Rotel RSP-1068 / Threshold CAS-2 / Boston VR-M60 / BDP-05FD
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 17,542
    I hope that is an "audio grade" milk crate or I've lost all respect for you. B)B)


    Very nice man
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    edited March 2016
    tonyb wrote: »
    Just an off the cuff question Ray, is there something about Ral that set it apart from all the other brands out there for you ? Something specific you were looking at that set that brand above the others ?

    I'm always looking for better stereophonic performance.

    The main thing that differentiated the RAL digital cables from the others I've tried is their spatial performance, in addition to music sounding louder and clearer through them.

    I have been evaluating my new Bryston BDA-3 DAC ($3495) over the past four days and I am thrilled with it. I can easily hear the difference between the RAL coax and the Signal Cable coax whereas I heard no difference between them with the Cary DAC-100 ($2495).

    BDA3-vs-DAC100-s_zpsvb0qmokr.jpg
    Top to bottom: Bryston BDA-3 DAC, Bryston BDP-2 digital player, Adcom GFP-750 preamp, Cary DAC-100 DAC.

    BDA3-Stack-MED-s_zpszthpnfos.jpg
    The new stack. I need to see about changing the Adcom's red LEDs to blue. There are also a few hot rodding options I am researching for the Adcom. One thing leads to another. Such is life in the rabbit hole.

    Post edited by DarqueKnight on
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    edited April 2016
    ***Update - Cable Trials***
    ***Update***

    RAL-Sig%20Coax%20Cables-s_zpsngzchrax.jpg
    Figure 31. Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy Cryo-Silver RCA-BNC digital cable on left ($549-1m) and Signal Cable digital coax cable on right ($39). I didn't hear a difference between them.

    I expected the RAL digital coax to outperform the Signal Cable digital coax, but, unlike the various USB cables I have tried between the BDP-1 and the DAC-100, there was no difference between them. I will revisit cables once the Bryston BDA-3 DAC arrives.

    The BDA-3 DAC has arrived and cables were revisited! BDA-3 review is here:

    http://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/comment/2227414#

    I discussed digital and interconnect cables in the BDA-3 review. This update discusses power cables.

    Office-PowerCableEvals-s_zpsvud8s0kb.jpg
    Figure 32. The stuff of cable naysayer's nightmares: $9,736 worth of audiophile power cables; and these are not even the "expensive" ones. Top to bottom: Signal Cable MagicPower cord ($109-8 feet), PS Audio Statement SC ($659-2 meters), PS Audio Premier SC (3 x 1.5 [email protected]$1,394 each, 2 x 2.0 [email protected]$1,793 each), PS Audio AC-12 ($1200-2 meters)

    Now, every real audiophile knows that the retail markup on high performance cables is astronomical, that's why we don't pay those prices. We buy used. We buy demos. We catch sales, or we negotiate well with a friendly dealer. For example, 2 meter PS Audio AC-12 power cables have a retail price of $1,200, but new ones can be bought for around $400 and lightly used ones can be bought for under $400. High performance audio cables are often counterfeited, therefore the buyer must exercise caution and due diligence to make sure the product is authentic. PS Audio, AudioQuest, and MIT are favorites of overseas counterfeiters.

    When the previous DAC-100 was in the system, changing the P10 AC regenerator's power cord from a Signal Cable MagicPower cord to a PS Audio Statement SC provided a small improvement in clarity, detail, and bass definition. Replacing the P10's Statement SC with a Premier SC or AC-12 provided no audible benefit. There was also no benefit after replacing the MagicPower cables between the P10 and the components with Premier SCs.

    With the BDA-3, I could easily discern differences in image placement, image weight, sound stage boundaries, clarity, and detail with different analog interconnect, digital, and power cables. Following is a summary of results of power cable trials. All power cords

    Trial 1

    Replace PS Audio Statement SC power cord on PS Audio P10 AC regenerator with PS Audio Premier SC power cord.

    Result: More electric bass growl. Increased smoothness in horns. More detail in low level background images. More bass decay. Apparently louder sound level.

    Trial 2

    Replace Signal Cable MagicPower cord on Adcom GFA-565SE power amp with PS Audio Premier SC power cord.

    Result: More image weight at sides and rear of sound stage. Increased sense of space around images. For the first time, could localize sounds behind the speakers.

    Trial 3

    Replace Signal Cable MagicPower cord on Adcom GFP-750 preamp with PS Audio Premier SC power cord.

    Result: Increased bass speed (transient performance), more overtones on guitar and piano strings. More bass rumble, growl, and overtones. Sound stage is 1 foot higher. More ambient details. More "edge" and "chest" in male and female vocals.

    Trial 4

    Replace Signal Cable MagicPower cord on Bryston BDA-3 DAC with PS Audio Premier SC power cord.

    Result: Apparently louder sound. More overall clarity, particularly in background percussion instruments. More low level detail.

    Trial 5

    Replace Signal Cable MagicPower cord on Bryston BDP-2 digital player with PS Audio Premier SC power cord.

    Result: Apparently louder sound. More image weight at sides and rear of sound stage.

    Trial 6

    Replace PS Audio Premier SC power cord on PS Audio P10 AC regenerator with PS Audio AC-12 power cord.

    Result: More bass definition, rumble, and growl.

    OfficeStack-PowerCables-s_zpsgz1y9ui2.jpg
    Figure 33. Big, thick, garden hose-sized power cables! It was no fun maneuvering these stiff, thick cables into the back of the P10 under my desk. These cables require a bend radius of 6" and there is only 6-1/2" of space between the wall and the rear of the P10.

    OfficeStack-RearCables-s_zps2sl8eeap.jpg
    Figure 34. Neatness counts. Cable arrangement behind the component stack.

    The power cords are heavy. Strain relief for the component IEC power jacks is provided by jamming a wedge between the edge of the desk and power cord, thereby "pinching" the cord between the wedge and the wall.

    Discussion Of Results

    The unexpected benefit of the new computer audio stereo system is that it makes my office seem like an extension of my home rather that a "work space". I have been very impressed by the speed and transparency of the Adcom GFA-565SE power amp. Even though I am thrilled by what I am hearing, I can't help but sit on the edge of my seat in anticipation of the Bryston 4B3 amp that is coming.

    Further Study

    I won't promise anything, but I will try to resist the urge to replace the remaining Premier SC power cords with AC-12s. I've already given in to an amp upgrade, but the 565SE was only a "curiosity/stopgap" solution anyway. I am leaning heavily toward sending the 750 preamp to Musical Concepts for performance modifications...or...or...or...*choke*...a preamp upgrade.

    Updated Equipment List

    Bryston BDA-3 digital to analog converter
    Bryston BDP-2 digital player with IAD sound card upgrade and 500GB internal drive
    Adcom GFP-750 preamplifier
    Adcom GFA-565SE power amplifier (250 wpc 8 ohms/350 wpc 4 ohms)
    PS Audio xStream Transcendent XLR interconnects for DAC and preamp
    Revelation Audio Labs Prophecy Cryo-Silver CCIC USB cable
    PS Audio Premier SC power cords for DAC, digital player, power amp and preamp
    PS Audio P10 AC Regenerator
    PS Audio AC-12 power cord for P10 AC Regenerator
    Polk Audio SDA CRS+ (1989 version) loudspeakers (heavily modified)
    Douglas Connection CDF92 speaker cable (9 AWG)
    HiFi Tuning Classic Gold fuses for amp, preamp, AC regenerator
    HiFi Tuning Silver Star fuse for DAC.
    Dell Venue Pro 11 7140 tablet computer, with dock, for digital player and DAC control

    Reference

    Bryston BDA-3 DAC Review:

    http://forum.polkaudio.com/discussion/172529/bryston-bda-3-dac-review
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 32,506
    Aha....you have the 4B heading your way, sweet. Nuthin' like stayin' in the family.....a family you like anyway.

    Thanks for that power cord review. I've use the Magic PC's before also and found them a step up from the original cords that came with the gear but many others surpass it, at a cost no doubt too.

    What I find interesting about your comments, is you might find the same comments when comparing pre-amps, or amps....to a larger or lessor degree. Depending on your starting point, a good PC can give you close to the difference changing an amp can, or pre amp, depending obviously.

    Be awaiting your thoughts on the head to head with the Adcom and 4b, but I already have a feeling how that's going to turn out.

    Last I had an ear on a Bryston amp, older model, I thought it had a tad too much on the bottom end, Kinda brought attention to itself. Hopefully the newer versions have overcome that slight characteristic. Otherwise, I thought the musical presentation was quite peachy.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    tonyb wrote: »
    Be awaiting your thoughts on the head to head with the Adcom and 4b, but I already have a feeling how that's going to turn out.

    I've been impressed with the 565SE's sound staging, transparency, and bass performance...and this is in a small room with bookshelf speakers.

    On one hand, I am anxious to hear what stereophonic performance improvements the 4B3 will bring. On the other hand, it would be "nice" if the difference/isn't justified by the price premium and I can save some money.
    tonyb wrote: »
    Last I had an ear on a Bryston amp, older model, I thought it had a tad too much on the bottom end, Kinda brought attention to itself. Hopefully the newer versions have overcome that slight characteristic. Otherwise, I thought the musical presentation was quite peachy.

    Interesting. I had always read of older Bryston amps being bright and the top end calling attention to itself.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • headrottheadrott Posts: 5,490
    edited April 2016
    I have been evaluating my new Bryston BDA-3 DAC ($3495) over the past four days and I am thrilled with it. I can easily hear the difference between the RAL coax and the Signal Cable coax whereas I heard no difference between them with the Cary DAC-100 ($2495).

    Wait, so you are saying that the equipment (i.e. DAC, in this case, but applies to any audio gear of course) affects what you hear when utilizing different cables Ray!? Wow! Who knew!? :D

    Also, I haven't done a search Ray, but have you utilized any MIT power cords? I purchased an MIT Magnum AC1 power cord, but have yet to even break it in. I probably have another 100 hours until it is "finished". I am interested in your thoughts, or experience Ray. Thanks again for all your time and effort into furthering our audiophile hobby.
    Relayer-Big-O-Poster.jpg
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:
    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion." :\
    My response is: If you need 60 seconds to respond in one sentence, you probably should't be evaluating Polk speakers.....


    "Green leaves reveal the heart spoken Khatru"- Jon Anderson

    "Have A Little Faith! And Everything You'll Face, Will Jump From Out Right On Into Place! Yeah! Take A Little Time! And Everything You'll Find, Will Move From Gloom Right On Into Shine!"- Arthur Lee
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 9,422
    I hope your office door has a good lock that doesn't open with a master key. ;)
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    Nightfall wrote: »
    I hope your office door has a good lock that doesn't open with a master key. ;)

    Very good locks and good building video surveillance. The only people who have master keys are old men who have no interest in good audio equipment. The only thing I'd worry about "walking off" is the tablet...and it goes home with me.

    I wish I could have remained satisfied with my boom box CD player. :'(

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    headrott wrote: »
    ...have you utilized any MIT power cords?

    No.

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • EndersShadowEndersShadow Posts: 17,165
    Nightfall wrote: »
    I hope your office door has a good lock that doesn't open with a master key. ;)

    Very good locks and good building video surveillance. The only people who have master keys are old men who have no interest in good audio equipment. The only thing I'd worry about "walking off" is the tablet...and it goes home with me.

    I wish I could have remained satisfied with my boom box CD player. :'(

    Thats because you finally hit the "someday" in your "someday when I am more dedicated to audio...."

    :wink:
    "....not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." William Bruce Cameron, Informal Sociology: A Casual Introduction to Sociological Thinking (1963)
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    edited April 2016

    Thats because you finally hit the "someday" in your "someday when I am more dedicated to audio...."

    :wink:

    Nope. I ain't there yet. :)

    In the future, when I am more dedicated to audio than I am now, I will have floor standing speakers and a sound proofed office with proper room treatments...so I can crank it.

    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,673
    tonyb wrote: »
    Be awaiting your thoughts on the head to head with the Adcom and 4b, but I already have a feeling how that's going to turn out.

    The 4B3 is here, and it shot down the 565SE in a blaze of glorious flame and thick smoke.

    4B3%20Blue%20LEDs-s_zpsuajmcese.jpg
    Figure 35. The 4B3 is "aggressive" is both looks and stereophonic performance. I like it.

    565SE-4B3-Front-s_zpsqzzqkfoo.jpg
    Figure 36. The Bryston 4B3 and its predecessor, the Adcom GFA-565se.

    This comparison was reminiscent of one of Mike Tyson's 12 second knock out fights.
    tonyb wrote: »
    Last I had an ear on a Bryston amp, older model, I thought it had a tad too much on the bottom end, Kinda brought attention to itself. Hopefully the newer versions have overcome that slight characteristic. Otherwise, I thought the musical presentation was quite peachy.

    The 4B3 sounds balanced from top to bottom. there is no part of the frequency spectrum that calls attention to itself. What calls attention to itself are the amp's spatial properties and transparency.

    More details later.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 32,506
    edited May 2016
    Cool Ray, in any event I enjoy your review of the amp and system in general. A 5 Cannoli review in my book.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1420
    lsi 9's
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