What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?

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newzooreview

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Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #80 on: 17 Oct 2009, 04:43 pm »
I will be using the PS Audio DL III with Cullen Level III modifications, fed by USB from my MacBook. I can't report anything about the sound with Salk speakers since I just ordered my speakers a week ago. With my previous speakers I could tell that the DL III was very detailed and musical.

OgOgilby

Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #81 on: 17 Oct 2009, 05:07 pm »
Well, I'm glad that I strayed onto this thread because  I now know what my next speakers are going to be, even if I have to wait 3 months for Jim Salk to build them. I have been wanting to move up from my Polks for some time now but I was finding it very difficult to decide between several (too) expensive options.

It seems to me that, once you have a chain of fairly decent equipment - not big-bucks but well above Circuit City - then the next upgrade should be to very good speakers otherwise you won't really be able to hear the difference that upgrading some other component really makes. Reading this forum it seems that the Salks really are something special; I reckon that 3 months is about the time I need to save for the HT3s anyway.

Before you buy anything you should call Jim Salk an tell him what you are looking for in a speaker. I was planning to buy the HT3's but after a great conversation with Jim, ended up buying HT2 TL's. Saved some money and couldn't be happier. Now I'm upgrading everything else in my system to meet the quality of the Salks!

Cavafy

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Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #82 on: 18 Oct 2009, 07:37 pm »
Well, I'm glad that I strayed onto this thread because  I now know what my next speakers are going to be, even if I have to wait 3 months for Jim Salk to build them. I have been wanting to move up from my Polks for some time now but I was finding it very difficult to decide between several (too) expensive options.

It seems to me that, once you have a chain of fairly decent equipment - not big-bucks but well above Circuit City - then the next upgrade should be to very good speakers otherwise you won't really be able to hear the difference that upgrading some other component really makes. Reading this forum it seems that the Salks really are something special; I reckon that 3 months is about the time I need to save for the HT3s anyway.

Other than hearing Salk speakers for yourself, you have no idea what you're in for.  I have heard nothing that sounds like they do.  You are really in for something special if you get the HT3s.

Thanks, that's good advice. I'll call Jim and discuss it with him. The trouble with even my present system is that it makes the flaws in badly recorded CDs even more apparent  :cry: - if anything. Try listening to any CD of Dvorak's piano Quintet Opus 81, which is my litmus test. A lovely work but this particular combination of instruments seems to attract a host of ear-piercing artifacts. :x Maybe its because I have heard a lot of chamber music live (my father having been a violinist), but some recordings seem to have been improved by the MH DAC. It is strange! Perhaps what I need to do is to start domnloasing 24/96 recordings and just playing those. Then I will certainly want better speakers. What do you hear about the latest DAC fromBel Canto?

Cavafy

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Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #83 on: 26 Oct 2009, 08:00 pm »
May I make another suggestion? Perhaps a DAC party? Where are you located?

I would LOVE to have a bunch of you bring your DACs to my house for a DAC party.  If you're willing to make the drive, I'm game.  I'm in Wisconsin. :D

TJ, (I hope that you won't mind me referring to you by the initials of my son's prestigious high school Thomas Jefferson in Fairfax) and is both distinctive and easier to remember.

I thought that you might be interested to know that I'm seriously considering getting my MH DAC upgraded. I havn't yet decided between 'affordable audio', 'partsconnection' and 'underwood', cost ascending in that order. I remember asking you when this would all stop, but I never really thought that I would be considering an upgrade costing more than twice as much as the original unit did. However, as you read about these upgrades, particularly the main feature that replaces the crappy opamps with discrete component Burson Audio modules, lust sets in aa.

This could put off a little the date that I talk to Jim Salk about a pair of HT2s.

Do you think that I have my priorities right?  :?

Nuance

Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #84 on: 26 Oct 2009, 10:52 pm »
^ If you are choosing a DAC over Salk speakers, no, your priorities are not right.  The loudspeakers and the room will make up 99% of the sound you hear.  The DAC will "flavor" the sound and open up the sound stage, but the difference compared to getting great loudspeakers is VERY small. 

TJHUB

Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #85 on: 26 Oct 2009, 11:22 pm »
May I make another suggestion? Perhaps a DAC party? Where are you located?

I would LOVE to have a bunch of you bring your DACs to my house for a DAC party.  If you're willing to make the drive, I'm game.  I'm in Wisconsin. :D

TJ, (I hope that you won't mind me referring to you by the initials of my son's prestigious high school Thomas Jefferson in Fairfax) and is both distinctive and easier to remember.

I thought that you might be interested to know that I'm seriously considering getting my MH DAC upgraded. I havn't yet decided between 'affordable audio', 'partsconnection' and 'underwood', cost ascending in that order. I remember asking you when this would all stop, but I never really thought that I would be considering an upgrade costing more than twice as much as the original unit did. However, as you read about these upgrades, particularly the main feature that replaces the crappy opamps with discrete component Burson Audio modules, lust sets in aa.

This could put off a little the date that I talk to Jim Salk about a pair of HT2s.

Do you think that I have my priorities right?  :?

I don't mind "TJ" at all or I wouldn't have used it as part of my user name. :)  Actually all my family members called me TJ growing up and my closest friends and my wife still call me TJ (although my wife has some other not so good names for me when she's mad).  :D

I wouldn't blame you at all for wanting to mod the MH.  I still do, but now I'm concerned as I really don't know that I want any part of the sound to change.  Although, sometimes you just don't know until you hear the difference.  I may want what I don't know I could have kind of thing.

My comments on the vendors you listed are as follows:

Affordable Audio:  I emailed the guy a few times and he could not have been more short with me.  I'm surprised he took the little time he did to respond to my emails.  I wrote him emails that were concise and intelligent.  What I got back was one sentence responses.  This is not someone I'm going to do business with when I have questions. 

Parts Connexion:  I don't know much about them, but I have read many good things around the internet.

Underwood:  Pricey, pricey, and PRICEY!!!  I'll pass thanks.  There is no way there high priced mods can be worth the difference.  We're talking subtle differences here as this DAC sounds freaking awesome to me.  There is no way their mods are worth the prices they charge.  There are many other high dollar DACs I'd buy long before sticking that kind of money in a $595.00 MSRP DAC.  :roll:

I've heard discrete output gear and I think opamps are just fine.  If the circuit is properly designed, opamps perform perfectly.  I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement, but I just don't hear the commonly known issues of opamps sounding bright or whatever... 

I found a guy that modified his MH with part recommendations from Parts Connexion.  I'm trying to get all of the information so that I can consider the changes as well.  I have a guy that can do the soldering work, so that part isn't and issue for me.  I'll keep you informed if I can get decent information. 

All things said, YES, MOD THAT DAC!!  Then you need to tell me in great detail what changed and how it changed.  That way I can decide whether or not I want to make similar changes. 

One advantage I have now is that a friend has a stock MH that I'd be able to compare any changes made to mine against his.  This way I'd know for certain that there truly are differences.  :wink:

I have to say that I really enjoy my DAC every time I get to sit and just listen.  I can't say I'm really missing anything.  Everything I play just sounds so good, I want to just keep listening to everything I can find.  I've been listening to mine in non-oversampling mode for the last few days.  I can't say whether or not I like it better than 96k or 192k oversampling modes or not, but it does create a deeper sound stage with just a tiny bit smoother sound. 

Are your priorities messed up?  YES!!!  I wouldn't invest a penny in any audio gear until you know what speakers you will have for the long run.  Tweaking the front end should only happen AFTER this, otherwise you may be wasting your money!!  Get the Salk's first if that's the way you think you want to go.

oneinthepipe

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Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #86 on: 26 Oct 2009, 11:42 pm »
Do you think that I have my priorities right?  :?

When building a system, IMO, 1) Speakers, then the 2) source, then the 3) pre-amp, and lastly the 4) amp or 1) Speakers, then the 2) pre-amp, then the 3) source, and lastly the 4) amp.

On a car, 1) tires, 2) steering/suspension, 3) brakes, and 4) motor.  All the power in the world won't provide great performance unless the car has great tires, great steering/suspension, and great brakes.  Great steering/suspension won't provide great handling without great tires. Great brakes won't provide great braking without great tires.  No one would worry about a high-performance motor in a car with mediocre tires, mediocre steering/suspension, and mediocre brakes.


TJHUB

Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #87 on: 27 Oct 2009, 12:28 am »
Do you think that I have my priorities right?  :?

When building a system, IMO, 1) Speakers, then the 2) source, then the 3) pre-amp, and lastly the 4) amp or 1) Speakers, then the 2) pre-amp, then the 3) source, and lastly the 4) amp.

On a car, 1) tires, 2) steering/suspension, 3) brakes, and 4) motor.  All the power in the world won't provide great performance unless the car has great tires, great steering/suspension, and great brakes.  Great steering/suspension won't provide great handling without great tires. Great brakes won't provide great braking without great tires.  No one would worry about a high-performance motor in a car with mediocre tires, mediocre steering/suspension, and mediocre brakes.

So you're saying I should get new speakers and then some tires?  :D :P

Sorry, I couldn't resist.  What a great analogy.  At least we are all on the same page with speakers first.  :D

oneinthepipe

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Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #88 on: 27 Oct 2009, 12:40 am »
So you're saying I should get new speakers and then some tires?  :D :P

Yes, exactly.   :lol:


mathgeek97

Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #89 on: 27 Oct 2009, 01:46 am »
When building a system, IMO, 1) Speakers, then the 2) source, then the 3) pre-amp, and lastly the 4) amp or 1) Speakers, then the 2) pre-amp, then the 3) source, and lastly the 4) amp.

So, next I should add a nice tube DAC?  :)

Nuance

Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #90 on: 27 Oct 2009, 02:13 am »
LOL at the analogy, oneinthepipe.  When I used to street race back in my "rebel" days, I checked the tire ware and pressure before I raced.  I also warmed the tires up for a good 30-45 seconds before lining up, which also put on a nice show.  And yes, it was a manual transmission!   :thumb:

To stay with the car analogy, listening to a great pair of speakers in a bad room is like test driving a Ferrari Enzo on an icy lake, then blaming the lacking of handling on the car.

Get great speakers, listen and measure, fix the room anomalies you find through measuring, and finally do the rest in whatever order you want.  Also, don't forget, crap in is crap out, so ensure the source player isn't flawed.  Its all downhill from there IMO.

oneinthepipe

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Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #91 on: 27 Oct 2009, 02:17 am »
When building a system, IMO, 1) Speakers, then the 2) source, then the 3) pre-amp, and lastly the 4) amp or 1) Speakers, then the 2) pre-amp, then the 3) source, and lastly the 4) amp.

So, next I should add a nice tube DAC?  :)

Yes, budget permitting, just like the rest of us, of course.  :D  A DAC, preamp, and amp to replace the Denon.   Tube or solid state, just something that will make those HT2-TL sing.  I think that it is difficult to pick an amp if you don't know how the preamp will integrate with the amp or vice versa.  Unless someone is buying the "ultimate" amplifier, i.e.; none better, I think that the preamp is more significant in the system's "sound" and should be selected prior to the amp.  Others will disagree, obviously, and some listeners don't even use preamps.

I prefer tube gear.  I had a lot of tube gear between 1973 and 1987.  It wasn't the greatest tube gear (i.e.; mostly Dynaco), but a lot of solid state gear was even less great back then.  Twenty-two years ago, I switched over completely to solid state gear, until about two years ago, when I bought an AVA Super 70i tube amp that I upgraded to an Ultimate 70 earlier this year.  The Ultimate 70 is the best amp that I have ever owned.  It's a 30 watt amp with "big amp envy".  It acts like it is a 100 watt amp and has the cajones to back it up.   I also have an AVA T8+ DAC (tube), and I have a T8 preamp (tube) on the way (or thereabouts).

Art_Chicago

Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #92 on: 27 Oct 2009, 02:41 am »
.

I prefer tube gear.  I had a lot of tube gear between 1973 and 1987.  It wasn't the greatest tube gear (i.e.; mostly Dynaco), but a lot of solid state gear was even less great back then.  Twenty-two years ago, I switched over completely to solid state gear, until about two years ago, when I bought an AVA Super 70i tube amp that I upgraded to an Ultimate 70 earlier this year.  The Ultimate 70 is the best amp that I have ever owned.  It's a 30 watt amp with "big amp envy".  It acts like it is a 100 watt amp and has the cajones to back it up.   I also have an AVA T8+ DAC (tube), and I have a T8 preamp (tube) on the way (or thereabouts).

wow, OINP, it is pretty neat to have two AVA setups-- SS and tube  :thumb: But now you need the second pair of Salk speakers :wink:
unless you are willing to sell the solid state stuff... I could probably buy the DAC  :D

Nuance

Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #93 on: 27 Oct 2009, 05:59 am »
^ Nah, he's giving me the solid state AVA amp.  :lol:

mathgeek97

Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #94 on: 27 Oct 2009, 01:29 pm »
How do different DACs deal with jitter reduction?  Remember, I'm looking at going from AirPort Express -> DAC -> Pre -> Amp.
Looking at MusicHall's web site, they talk about asynchronous reclocking.  Do all DACs do this sort of thing?

TJHUB

Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #95 on: 27 Oct 2009, 03:16 pm »
How do different DACs deal with jitter reduction?  Remember, I'm looking at going from AirPort Express -> DAC -> Pre -> Amp.
Looking at MusicHall's web site, they talk about asynchronous reclocking.  Do all DACs do this sort of thing?

Most DACs reclock the signal, but not all do it well.  The PS Audio DLIII is supposedly VERY good.  I'm not certain how good the Music Hall's reclocking is, but know that the AirPort Express is known to have severe jitter.  All I do know is that the Music Hall was designed with digital media servers in mind, so I can only assume it would handle jitter well.  Maybe an email to Music Hall?

 

Cavafy

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Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #96 on: 27 Oct 2009, 04:11 pm »
^ If you are choosing a DAC over Salk speakers, no, your priorities are not right.  The loudspeakers and the room will make up 99% of the sound you hear.  The DAC will "flavor" the sound and open up the sound stage, but the difference compared to getting great loudspeakers is VERY small.

Thanks for your reply Nuance, and TJ agrees with you, so you have both put me back onto the straight and narrow to a speaker upgrade. The HT2's, according to comments on this thread sound like a very good upgrade from the Polk LSi 15s that I have had for a long time.

I think I was lured by a DAC upgrade because the MH DAC 25.2 with a NOS Siemens ccA tube  makes the POLKs sound really good; my wife said that I have listened to more music at a stretch than she has ever seen me do before.  I suppose one has an instinct to try and wring even more out of the component that performs so well, but it is a strange response when I think of it; it's as if I'm saying to it: "Come on - you can do much better than that". 

Also as both TJ and yourself point out, it's a bit silly to spend about $1220  - which is at least quarter of the way to a pair of HT2s .

Cavafy

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Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #97 on: 27 Oct 2009, 04:41 pm »
I wouldn't blame you at all for wanting to mod the MH.  I still do, but now I'm concerned as I really don't know that I want any part of the sound to change.  Although, sometimes you just don't know until you hear the difference.  I may want what I don't know I could have kind of thing.

My comments on the vendors you listed are as follows:

Affordable Audio:  I emailed the guy a few times and he could not have been more short with me.  I'm surprised he took the little time he did to respond to my emails.  I wrote him emails that were concise and intelligent.  What I got back was one sentence responses.  This is not someone I'm going to do business with when I have questions. 

Parts Connexion:  I don't know much about them, but I have read many good things around the internet.

Underwood:  Pricey, pricey, and PRICEY!!!  I'll pass thanks.  There is no way there high priced mods can be worth the difference.  We're talking subtle differences here as this DAC sounds freaking awesome to me.  There is no way their mods are worth the prices they charge.  There are many other high dollar DACs I'd buy long before sticking that kind of money in a $595.00 MSRP DAC.  :roll:

I've heard discrete output gear and I think opamps are just fine.  If the circuit is properly designed, opamps perform perfectly.  I'm not saying there isn't room for improvement, but I just don't hear the commonly known issues of opamps sounding bright or whatever... 

I found a guy that modified his MH with part recommendations from Parts Connexion.  I'm trying to get all of the information so that I can consider the changes as well.  I have a guy that can do the soldering work, so that part isn't and issue for me.  I'll keep you informed if I can get decent information. 

All things said, YES, MOD THAT DAC!!  Then you need to tell me in great detail what changed and how it changed.  That way I can decide whether or not I want to make similar changes. 

One advantage I have now is that a friend has a stock MH that I'd be able to compare any changes made to mine against his.  This way I'd know for certain that there truly are differences.  :wink:

I have to say that I really enjoy my DAC every time I get to sit and just listen.  I can't say I'm really missing anything.  Everything I play just sounds so good, I want to just keep listening to everything I can find.  I've been listening to mine in non-oversampling mode for the last few days.  I can't say whether or not I like it better than 96k or 192k oversampling modes or not, but it does create a deeper sound stage with just a tiny bit smoother sound. 

Are your priorities messed up?  YES!!!  I wouldn't invest a penny in any audio gear until you know what speakers you will have for the long run.  Tweaking the front end should only happen AFTER this, otherwise you may be wasting your money!!  Get the Salk's first if that's the way you think you want to go.
[/quote]

TJ, OK I'm convinced! see my reply to Nuance's comment on this thread. But I loved the idea of at least replacing the opamps with the Burson Modules. According to 'omclive' on another blog:

http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/forum/  (follow the General Audio then DIY)

one can just plug them. This sounds like the guy that you found as he was talking to partsconnection.



Nuance

Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #98 on: 27 Oct 2009, 06:28 pm »
I think modding the DAC is a decision that should be left for last.  I really do feel the Salk's will be a huge step up in sound quality over your Polks, so if you do order a pair, set them up with your current system and listen, listen, listen.  If you still desire something more, measure your room to see if changing placement, adding room treatments, or other various "cheaper/fee" options will resolve your issue.  You'd be surprised how much moving the speakers even a few inches changes the sound. 

Like I said before, get a great pair of speakers, then fix the room if there are still issues.  Once those two things are achieved, then it's time to start upgrading the front end to the caliber the loudspeakers deserve.  But hey, you might find that you don't have to change a thing after getting the Salk's and fixing the room acoustics.  Wouldn't that be nice!?

Cavafy

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Re: What DAC are you running with your Salk speakers?
« Reply #99 on: 27 Oct 2009, 07:06 pm »
I think modding the DAC is a decision that should be left for last.  I really do feel the Salk's will be a huge step up in sound quality over your Polks, so if you do order a pair, set them up with your current system and listen, listen, listen.  If you still desire something more, measure your room to see if changing placement, adding room treatments, or other various "cheaper/fee" options will resolve your issue.  You'd be surprised how much moving the speakers even a few inches changes the sound.

OK, so its definitely the Salks first - to get a good measuring device, so to speak.I  have lot of clearing up to do in the room, mainly the relics of my failed attempts at a multi-channel (SACD) playback system and evolution through abot two prior stereo amp and pre-amps and three pairs of speakers.

I tryed to get my 3 children to take away the older but perfectly good pieces (e.g March amps) but no, all they want or need is iPods to download mp3 stuff and put Tower records out of business. I even bought a Wadia iTransport last Christmas and connected it up to a pretty good DAC and receiver in the family room, it sounds terrific with lossless files and not bad with MP3. To this date, 10 months after, they may have played about 5 tracks through it. I'm going to reposses it and connect it up to the MH DAC.
Like I said before, get a great pair of speakers, then fix the room if there are still issues.  Once those two things are achieved, then it's time to start upgrading the front end to the caliber the loudspeakers deserve.  But hey, you might find that you don't have to change a thing after getting the Salk's and fixing the room acoustics.  Wouldn't that be nice!?