Chris has been working on his house, so will stop by when he can.
Fun news is I have a Nook Color running the Foobar2000 remote interface and able to scroll through the music library. I like the large 7" display! This is fun!
…not only the house, but the 24 acres of very remote, gorgeously prime timberland that surrounds it, before the rain / snow season in the Oregon Cascades starts. Not to mention trying to get my main listening room finished!
HAL, aka Audio Mad Scientist has an Insidious Plan.
He has taken control of vertical and horizontal as well as 3D Aural / Spatial.
If you acquire any HAL design or product, you will get absolutely ZERO accomplished for your Honey Do, Weekend Chores, etc.
You will be Listening. You cannot resist. HAL makes the concept of “Assimilation” just plain understatedly silly.
No matter how hard you try, you WILL find yourself back in the Sweet Spot; mesmerized, and hopelessly held captive in Audio Nirvana. Just, ya know- kind of a head’s-up on that
I couldn’t agree more with Scott’s (very nice word-smithing indeed) comments! I’m running the same “whisper mode” HAL-modded Amazingly Incredible Nearly Prototpe Music Server (HAL AINPMS) unit he is. I think for brevity (ironically, not something I’m known for since I don’t have much time to post or hang-out on the forums. So please don’t be offended if you post something and I don’t respond / see it), I’ll refer to it as the “HAL MS-1”. Any acronym with “PMS” in it is kind of a buzz kill.
Rich, you’ll just have to come up with an “Official” name, with a milspec part number.
I had the HAL MS-1 out of the box and playing music very quickly. I stick to .wav’s only at this point. Ripped my entire collection which did take a bit of time! Like months; given 60+ hr. work weeks.
I added a SIIG 7 port powered USB hub to take unnecessary a/c requirements off of the HAL MS-1. The SIIG will do USB 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0. Nice little unit!
To that, I added a Dell Ultrasharp 19’ monitor, a Logitech wireless illuminated keyboard, and Logitech wireless mouse. These are used basically for system maintenance and moving files around, as I did moving my audio collection from a 1TB WD USB HDD to a Samsung eSATA 1TB 2.5” HDD. I also added a USB Toshiba Super Multi Drive DVD+/-RW. So with the 7 port SIIG USB hub, I only use one USB port, and the eSATA port on the HAL MS-1.
I’m also using the M2Tech hiFace Evo running on battery power, and have driven an April Music DA100 Signature DAC, a highly modded PT P-3A as well as other borrowed DACs in multiple price ranges. Haven’t tried the PS Audio DAC/Transport so I’ll look forward to Stu’s comments on that. My favorite however is as Rich’s setup; using a battery powered DIY DAC via I2S bus. Ultimately, the HAL MS-1 will be battery powered as well. I think I know someone in this group who can set me up with that
Rich is playing with different WiFi devices such as smart-phones and tablets for controlling Foobar 2000, so I’m waiting for him to give the most positive nod to one of them. Right now, I’m just using a small laptop for wireless connection/ remote control. Quick and easy! The only thing I had to call Rich about was the Super Decoder Ring URL to access the remote app within Foobar. Works like a charm!
I’ve been looking at the idea of music servers for quite a long time (listened to just about every single one at every RMAF), but what I was seeing / hearing, was IMO, too high-priced and the technology not really anything that would make me want to lay out that kind of cash compared to a high quality DAC and Transport. Certainly, having one’s entire music collection, ripped at highest quality on an ultra flexible and convenient to use platform would be great. But what about the sound itself? As with anything worth waiting for, patience has paid off.
I never would have believed it myself, but just starting out playing EAC-ripped Redbook CDs 16bit/44.1kHz at their native rate is just truly stunning. The HD stuff is out of this world. So playing any music back at the native rate at which it was recorded, with a high quality interface and DAC is the way to go for me.
As Scott mentioned, the detail, imaging and definition really stunned me; having the same realization that EAC-ripped .wav’s played through two separate systems + Senn HD600s sounded better than the CD using very high quality DACs and transports. I have to be careful here, since this is a subjective thing but very simply: The HAL MS-1 integrates perfectly in the process of translating digital to analog as any high $$$$ digital system I’ve used / borrowed to date. I started long ago with an AA DDS PRO, DDE 3.0 + DTI PRO32.
How do I really “measure” what I’m subjectively hearing? Keeping in mind of course that’s just me and my experience; I’ve spent a LOT of time in recording studios with 2” 24 trk Ampex machines running at 30ips and own a Studer A-810 ½ track mastering machine. To me, the sound is noticeably more like I’m listening to the players in the room itself or analog playback right after the track has been laid down. For me, I’m not left wanting. It’s really that good.
I have a few older 1st gen. Redbook CDs that are just unbearable to listen to via the CD, but are actually very listenable as .wav-ripped through this system. Now that’s not to say (obviously) that it fixes horribly recorded and mastered sessions, but still, very impressive!
The rest of the system? OK, this is really going overboard here; but you may as well have the whole story…
Audible Illusions L-1 tube preamp (temporarily while I’m expecting delivery of my “new baby”- end of October). May borrow a Dodd Battery Buffer in the mean time, but I’m getting close to this custom tube preamp finally breathing music after years of design, re-design, and hand-built quality. I’ll let that cat out of the bag once I get it (need a "cat in a bag" icon for this one)
Bryston 7B-SST Mono Blocs. Great Clean Power (galore).
April Music Stello DA100 Signature DAC (I2S)
April Music Stello CDT100 Transport (I2S) Simon Lee (April Music) is a very talented designer. Many have not heard of him, but if you have the pleasure to listen his designs, you would most likely be very pleased.
Studer A-810 ½ Track Mastering Recorder. You just have to hear it to believe it. Hopefully, there will be at least one at RMAF this year, as there was last year.
Audiolab 8000T Tuner Yep. I love this tuner. Use it with a Magnum Dynalab ST-2 FM antenna and Terk indoor AM Advantage antenna. My house is located way up in the Oregon Cascade Foothills, and this setup pulls excellent signals in from a LONG ways away and reproduces them in a way which to me is very pleasurable. There is a lot on both FM and AM radio which is still true to the intended goals of long ago
Custom Built GR-Research LS-9s. These were truly a team effort. Hugh Nguyen, owner of Angel City Audio brought it all together for me. Flawless Piano Black cabinets built by Mr. Pu/ Sound Art China. Hugh provided and loaded the full compliment of No-Rez, Danny Richie, Owner of GR Research and designer of the LS-9s built the Upgraded Custom X-Overs and Sean Ries, Owner and “Head Gouda” of Skiing Ninja (who can also supply the same ultra high quality custom x-overs) loaded the drivers and wired the x-overs. Hugh also supplied gorgeous, “floating” custom Piano Black bases.
Analysis Plus Black Oval 9 Speaker cables.
Revelation Audio Labs I2S and Power Cables for April Music transport/DAC setup.
This is the Music Server System I’ve been waiting for, and the HAL MS-1 is obviously an integral part of it. Plus, with anything Rich designs, it evolves. Kind of like a “Transformer” (little double-entendre there
It will be highly scalable, based on the PC design for connectivity to products such as the “Squeeze-X” stuff.
Rich is a cherished friend and THE Audio Mad Scientist. I’ve had the pleasure of joining him in many excellent audio adventures. His insidious plan is to share his achievements with those of us seeking Audio Nirvana without having to sell your soul or [insert body parts here].
Now, you may think I have a bias here; but try this: have Rich send you one of these and decide for yourself!
Thanks Rich. See ya next week at RMAF!