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  1. #1
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    Memory Player, Aurender and Direct Stream DAC

    Writing to share my self analysis on comparing Master Recordings on SACD, against Streaming and the Components themselves.


    I anxiously ordered the new Masters Copy of Jimi Hendrixís Axis Bold as Love, done by the World Renowned Bernie Grundman. The same album where Jimi lost (never to be found) the final approved mixing while on his way home from the studio for the pressing of the first side of Axis Bold as Love - he had to quickly remix a full side in time for the Holiday release.


    I also played SACDís of Santanaís first album, Santana and the Grateful Deadís, Workingmanís Dead both from Mobile Fidelityís numbered pressings.


    While this may not be everyones favorite genre, it was the comparison result I was after.


    Playback:


    Currently I am using the PS Audio Direct Stream Memory Transport, connected via I2S as recommended, which in my system does make the best connection. PS claims the I2S (HDMI) connection transfers the data from the clocks on separate wires within the HDMI cable that allows for near perfect transfer rates to the DAC.


    I use an Aurender N10 8TB audio grade server highlighting its super accurate 12.8 MHz OCXO clock with an accuracy of 0.02 parts per million. This is fed into the PS Audio Direct Stream via AES cabling.


    The Direct Stream DAC is designed to receive data in a simple flow path with all signals upsampled to a rate of 10X DSD outputted via XLR into the PreAmp turned eventually into audible sound.


    All three components have the latest firmware upgrades, electrically and mechanically grounded with high-end power, AES, XLR and ethernet cables.


    I sat down for a listen and compared the SACD against streaming and determined the meter tilts slightly to the SACD player, with the caveat being the test is compared using only my ears. Volumes were adjusted while I conducted A/B switches between components by simply depressing the corresponding buttons on the remote. The volume was adjusted up and down between selections since the Aurender played slightly louder - the volume between the two was adjusted and measured to approximately 75 DB listening using the SD6 Microphone and its application on my iPad.


    I can use many adjectives until I am blue in the face, but keeping it simple, the difference in quality is very close where it was not easy to realize the sonic differences. In simple terms, there is just a bit (no pun intended) more resolution clarity in the presentation with the SACD, and I reiterate ďjust a bit moreĒ.


    What fascinates me most, is how two very different ways of engineering lands you virtually at the same place, maybe no different than many tangible inventions, and I guess you could throw in intangibles as well, I guess we all get somewhere eventually.


    In the case of Axis, here you have the latest SACD made from the supposed master compared to a stored catalog version being streamed over the internet and not really knowing how the music was copied on to the streaming companies server, in this case it is Tidal and despite this the comparison was a remarkablably close comparison.


    Post copy insert: I ran some PCM discs in the same manner, and would point the needle slightly to the Aurender N10, exactly the opposite of SACD. Again so minimal, that you really need to critically listen with no interruption. Both the PCM and SACD sound so damn good, that your lost in the sound while toe tapping, playing air guitars and drums.


    In this case, I went back and forth wondering if it is the music or the systems that makes up for things. In this test, the system seems to overcomes the music mastering making things almost equal where if I did not have both units as comparisons then how would I ever really know. If I replaced my current DAC and Transport with what is perceived to be a superior DAC and Transport costing $Mís more would that mean it would surpass both the Aurender N10 and the PS Audio Direct Stream and Memory Player? Dunno. Would it be worth it? Dunno. If so, how much more worth it? Dunno. And letís say a more higher DAC and Transport did surpass the Aurender, does that mean itís changing the sound in its own way?


    What does this all mean? Not sure any way is better than the other as your miles will vary, but the idea is to raise questions and help you to figure out whatís best for you. From what I am hearing at the moment, and was building a new system there would be serious consideration towards adding a transport as much as I like discs, and maybe use the money towards Analog. The easy button for me and the most used is to stream or download, however, the purchase of a transport was decided early on since I has a lot of CDís, followed by SACDís. And now with better options on ripping, I can simply transfer these to a server, 100ís at a time.


    So many questions, Iím starting to think maybe itís time to switch things off and go watch some American Football. Maybe Iíll just ask the Axis next time, he knows everything...yeah
    Source Analog: Kuzma Stabi R with 4point 9 arm & Kuzma 40 Cartridge
    Source Digital: Aurender N10 | Brinkmann Nyquist MK II
    Amplification: Dan DíAgostino Momentum Pre Amp and Monos | Boulder Phono 508
    Speakers: Wilson Alexias
    Cabling: Nordost Valhalla 2/Odin: power, interconnects & speaker | Ansuz: C2 power & interconnect | Audioquest Diamond RJ45ís
    Power: Nordost QRT series | Furutech FP55SN cable from 20 amp breakers to Furutech GTX D NSF packages | Keces P3 & P8 | ADD POWR series | Environmental Potential EP2050
    Other: HRS M3X | Stillpoints Ultra 6, SS & Mini | Nordost Sort Cones TC & BC | AQ Vox SE switch | etherREGEN | Gigafoil v4 | Vicoustics | Audio Desk Systeme - Glšss








  2. #2
    Audioshark
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    Re: Memory Player, Aurender and Direct Stream DAC

    Thanks for posting this comparison. Did you happen to bother to compare either to Tidal? When we did a shootout in the store, we concluded: CD/SACD = 10/10, the rip = 9/10 and Tidal was MAYBE 7/10 and we were being generous.

    Regarding new masters, I purchased the new Master of Sarah McLaughlan Surfacing ($50) on vinyl. Remastered from the original tapes by Bernie Grunman. I was super excited as this is one of my favorite albums. Ironically, I still found my old 1990ís CD sounded better when played through the MSB. I want my $50 back! LOL.

    I have found many of the ďEssentialĒ series CDís to sound quite a bit superior to the originals. For example, the Sade is night and day better.

    So, I guess it all depends.
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, TechDAS/AirForce Turntables, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
    Phone: 941-932-0282
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suncoast-Au...1105178279194/

  3. #3
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    Re: Memory Player, Aurender and Direct Stream DAC

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Thanks for posting this comparison. Did you happen to bother to compare either to Tidal? When we did a shootout in the store, we concluded: CD/SACD = 10/10, the rip = 9/10 and Tidal was MAYBE 7/10 and we were being generous.

    Regarding new masters, I purchased the new Master of Sarah McLaughlan Surfacing ($50) on vinyl. Remastered from the original tapes by Bernie Grunman. I was super excited as this is one of my favorite albums. Ironically, I still found my old 1990ís CD sounded better when played through the MSB. I want my $50 back! LOL.

    I have found many of the ďEssentialĒ series CDís to sound quite a bit superior to the originals. For example, the Sade is night and day better.

    So, I guess it all depends.
    Hey Mike,

    The comparison was between streaming Tidal, no MQA first unfold against the SACD and PCM using the Aurender N10 and PS Audio Transport and DAC - Iím being very diligent on this so if I move to MSB itís for the right reasons.

    What I didnít say here, but mentioned it before in a different thread on AudioShark I run the AQVox Network switch which I recognized gain on upping the streaming.




    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    Source Analog: Kuzma Stabi R with 4point 9 arm & Kuzma 40 Cartridge
    Source Digital: Aurender N10 | Brinkmann Nyquist MK II
    Amplification: Dan DíAgostino Momentum Pre Amp and Monos | Boulder Phono 508
    Speakers: Wilson Alexias
    Cabling: Nordost Valhalla 2/Odin: power, interconnects & speaker | Ansuz: C2 power & interconnect | Audioquest Diamond RJ45ís
    Power: Nordost QRT series | Furutech FP55SN cable from 20 amp breakers to Furutech GTX D NSF packages | Keces P3 & P8 | ADD POWR series | Environmental Potential EP2050
    Other: HRS M3X | Stillpoints Ultra 6, SS & Mini | Nordost Sort Cones TC & BC | AQ Vox SE switch | etherREGEN | Gigafoil v4 | Vicoustics | Audio Desk Systeme - Glšss








  4. #4
    Audioshark
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    Re: Memory Player, Aurender and Direct Stream DAC

    Quote Originally Posted by UltraFast69 View Post
    Hey Mike,

    The comparison was between streaming Tidal, no MQA first unfold against the SACD and PCM using the Aurender N10 and PS Audio Transport and DAC - Iím being very diligent on this so if I move to MSB itís for the right reasons.

    What I didnít say here, but mentioned it before in a different thread on AudioShark I run the AQVox Network switch which I recognized gain on upping the streaming.




    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
    Thanks. Iím very interested to learn more about the AQVox Network switch. Do you use an aftermarket power supply with it?
    My Systems: http://www.audioshark.org/showthread...481#post158481

    "We can hear everything we measure, but we can't measure everything we hear. Let your ears be your guide."

    Dealer for: Aqua Hi-Fi, Audio Research, Aurender, AudioQuest Cables & Power Products, Avantgarde Acoustics, Avid HiFi, Ayre Acoustics, Berkeley Audio Design, Boulder Amplifiers, Bowers & Wilkins (B&W), Bryston, Chord, EMM Labs, FirstWatt, Focal Headphones, Furutech, Fyne Audio Loudspeakers, GigaFoil, Gryphon Audio, Harbeth Loudspeakers, Hegel, HiFi Man, ISO Acoustics, Keces Power Supplies, Kuzma Turntables, Lumin, Luxman, Magico Loudspeakers, MBL Speakers & Electronics, MSB Technologies, MySonicLabs Phono Cartridges, Naim Audio, Ortofon, Pass Labs, Quadraspire, Shunyata Research, SimAudio, Stein Music Products, Stenheim Loudspeakers, Stillpoints, T+A Electronics, TechDAS/AirForce Turntables, VAC, Vicoustics, Viva Audio, VPI Industries, WireWorld Cables.

    https://suncoastaudio.com/
    Phone: 941-932-0282
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Suncoast-Au...1105178279194/

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Memory Player, Aurender and Direct Stream DAC

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post
    Thanks. Iím very interested to learn more about the AQVox Network switch. Do you use an aftermarket power supply with it?
    I use the one AQVox supplies with the switch, they specifically say donít upgrade this, including their own upgraded power supply offerings - here is one time I did not veer as I heard no reason to, it was that good in my system, but of course I also run upgraded Ethernet cables as well and had this before the AQVox.

    I did shy from Nordost and used the AQVox top of the line Ethernet to the DAC Bridge II for connectivity on the network with the Mac Mini supporting Roon and full MQA, but the Mac Mini does not keep up with the Aurender in comparison and I only use this every now and then to keep it updated and remind how good the other side sounds.
    Source Analog: Kuzma Stabi R with 4point 9 arm & Kuzma 40 Cartridge
    Source Digital: Aurender N10 | Brinkmann Nyquist MK II
    Amplification: Dan DíAgostino Momentum Pre Amp and Monos | Boulder Phono 508
    Speakers: Wilson Alexias
    Cabling: Nordost Valhalla 2/Odin: power, interconnects & speaker | Ansuz: C2 power & interconnect | Audioquest Diamond RJ45ís
    Power: Nordost QRT series | Furutech FP55SN cable from 20 amp breakers to Furutech GTX D NSF packages | Keces P3 & P8 | ADD POWR series | Environmental Potential EP2050
    Other: HRS M3X | Stillpoints Ultra 6, SS & Mini | Nordost Sort Cones TC & BC | AQ Vox SE switch | etherREGEN | Gigafoil v4 | Vicoustics | Audio Desk Systeme - Glšss








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Memory Player, Aurender and Direct Stream DAC

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