I recently listened to some speakers/CDP's, etc. at 'Hometheaterdoc's place. I learned something that was surprising and impressive about a Denon DVD player. He had the regular audio outputs plugged in and it sounded flat/thin... and basically like any average mid-fi CDP. Then he switched from the RCA outputs labeled 'Audio Out' to the L&R surround outputs. Major improvement. OK, so fast forward to this past weekend...
I have a friend in need of some updates to his system.... speakers and cdp mainly... but also amp and maybe preamp at some point.
So, I brought my Pioneer transport (656a w/modwright transport mods) and Museatex DAC which has been upgraded... and some VR1 speakers from the HTdoc.
The VR1's were excellent in his room. The tweeters sound like they need some more break-in but whatever... this is about the 'revelation' I'd been taught by the Doc.
We connected my DAC first w/ the Pioneer just to get a feel for what it would do in comparison to his current old Phillips player. I can't remember which one but when we compared the two, the Phillips was very nice sounding, smoother than the Museatex.. .but smooth to the point that details were a little lacking and the sound was a bit dark for my tastes.
I then pulled the DAC out of the equation and connected the stock audio outputs of the Pioneer. This produced an average presentation of music that wasn't particularly enthralling. I remembered the Doc's little trick so I did the same thing here.
Blam! We were greeted with a musical reproduction that had the accuracy and detail of the Museatex without harshness... it had better depth in the soundstage and a rich sound that wasn't smoothed-over either. It bested both the Phillips and the Museatex! This was unexpected.
I haven't had a chance to do this little trick at home but I can't wait. Initially I thought the reason for all this change is the difference in DAC's used. They use better DAC's on the HT outs than the Audio outs. I have since had a quick conversation with Alex at APL and found that the outputs *should* be the same... so, now what... was there a change in the mod's Dan did? I don't know.
So, a big thanks to Shane/Hometheaterdoc for the idea to try this. I'm selling my DAC and looking even more forward to APL's mod'd player.