New Adventures in Chi-Fi

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Fretless
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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by Fretless »

The evil, twisted algorithms at Amazon have been up to their nefarious tricks again. The Netherlands branch has at the moment a short Spring Sale action with irresistable prices on articles you might just be wanting.

Knowing that I had been busy with portable hifi, the ads for earbuds came rolling by, including some heavily-discounted models from 1More - a brand where a 'buzz' has been circulating around for some years now. Their 'Triple Driver' earbuds were reduced to under €50.
Couldn't help myself ..... :doh:

Image

These earbuds come in an incredibly luxurious box with an extensive selection of tips and a nice carry-case. They look cool too with a coppery-gold finish and a classy solidity.

1More are American-designed and Chinese-made. They aim to offer high-end sound at affordable prices and their wired earbud range features models with multiple drive units (up to 5). Highly-regarded by those in-the-know.

Extracting the buds from the ornate packaging and fitting the largest tips, which are perfect for me, these sit very comfortably in the ears and it's time for a listen. Where the Hifi Walker buds had recessed midrange, the 1More Triple displays a full, warm character. Totally different presentation, mellower without losing detail. On the pocket player they have a more relaxing, long-listen feeling.

Plugging both sets of buds into my THX headphone amp gave a different result with the HFW A1 suddenly giving a rounded and exciting display and the 1More remaining a bit restrained. Also I note a problem with some phone-ready buds that the side with the in-line mic tends to be a touch muted and needing balance correction - the 1More Triple appears to be pretty well balanced, certainly once you work out how to insert them properly.

The 1More Triple Driver earphones are an absolute steal for what I paid for them and I'm already considering their Quad and Penta models for the future. The Hifi Walker buds are intriguing me with the desk-based amp and I'll keep them there for a while. Might give them a try with my Tablet on late-night SF-series viewing.

Onwards we go. :dance:
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Latteman (Sat Mar 23, 2024 1:58 pm) • antonio66 (Mon Mar 25, 2024 7:01 am)

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a {x2)
Little Bear MC2 + AQ NightHawk
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 & PSU - BMUAiyima A07 MAX + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d + AQ NightOwl
Office: Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith 887 + German Maestro GMP 450

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Fretless
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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by Fretless »

Earbud update - a few days further and the two sets of earphones are running-in nicely.

The Hifi Walker A1 are in use with my tablet for Netflix duties and are proving themselves to be ideal for TV shows. The clear treble and solid bass makes for an excellent viewing experience and, in bed, the buds sit very comfortably and unobtrusively.
Currently halfway through the '3 Body Problem' series which is mind-blowingly good - I had my doubts if the amazing books could be filmed but this show is essential viewing for those who enjoy solid Sci-Fi.

And downstairs, the 1More Triple Driver phones with the HFW H2 player are providing much entertainment in the long afternoons where I have to keep an eye on my wife and am still in a slow recovery path from my own health-problems.
These earphones are quite exceptional and, even to my critical ears, provide a thoroughly satisfying sonic experience.

Just got a 256Gb microSD card for the player, that has room for about 600 CD's in uncompressed WAV format. Takes a while to load and I'll be filling it with a selection of favourites from the NAS storage disk. Should keep me happy for a while.

Here's to better days. :guiness;
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CN211276 (Wed Mar 27, 2024 10:19 pm)

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a {x2)
Little Bear MC2 + AQ NightHawk
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 & PSU - BMUAiyima A07 MAX + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d + AQ NightOwl
Office: Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith 887 + German Maestro GMP 450

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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by Fretless »

It's been a long time since the vinyl side of my Upstairs rig has been used - and this is down to the DAC being wired direct to the amps via XLR connections with the phono running via RCA and changing from one input to the other on the back of the Class D monoblocks is a tricky job.

So I have spotted something that might make this possible - the Little Bear MC2 passive preamp. A small box with switchable RCA/XLR inputs and outputs and a volume pot. Ideal. It's available through Amazon but is far cheaper direct from the Nobsound / Douk Audio webshop, where I have ordered one for under €40.

Now that my health is picking up (slightly), I start to feel an urge to spin some LP's again. Must be a good sign. Don't know when this unit will arrive but I'll be reporting on it when it comes.

:dance:

Image
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CN211276 (Tue Apr 02, 2024 5:15 pm)

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a {x2)
Little Bear MC2 + AQ NightHawk
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 & PSU - BMUAiyima A07 MAX + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d + AQ NightOwl
Office: Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith 887 + German Maestro GMP 450

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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by Fretless »

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The Little Bear MC2 passive preamp is finally in and I have just installed it in the Upstairs setup, sitting centrally on top of the Sabaj DAC.

First spin of an LP up here in more than a year and the sound doesn't disappoint. Caravan's 'Land of Grey and Pink' coming across in comfy analogue glory. Next to try the digital side which is more revealing of any sonic limitations.

Also new in use - a Mogami 2549 XLR 50cm link between pre-power amps.

More comments in coming days as I listen further.

:music-listen:
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slinger (Thu Apr 11, 2024 11:37 pm) • antonio66 (Fri Apr 12, 2024 5:51 am) • karatestu (Fri Apr 12, 2024 6:56 am)

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a {x2)
Little Bear MC2 + AQ NightHawk
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 & PSU - BMUAiyima A07 MAX + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d + AQ NightOwl
Office: Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith 887 + German Maestro GMP 450

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Latteman
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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by Latteman »

Snap (ish)

Image
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Fretless (Fri Apr 12, 2024 10:03 am)
Analogue Source -
Denon DP47f; AT-VM95SH
GL-59; ARB uni pivot; AT- Signet
Ifi Zen Phono
Doug Self balanced Pre amp
Akai 4000DS mk2 R2R
Digital Sources- Argon Pi4 v2; IfI iUSB 3.0, Ifi Neo idsd Dac;
Tidal / Radio Paradise
Amplification Nva 300va mono blocks
Speakers Lii Audio F-15 in Open Baffle; Ls6
Weiduka AC8.8- for digital sources
Mini BMU for analog sources

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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by Fretless »

Image

Close-up of the MC2 in daylight. Casing is smoky transparent perspex that you can see the innards through. Glued together, not screwed - where have I seen that before ?

:think:
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slinger (Fri Apr 12, 2024 2:44 pm)

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a {x2)
Little Bear MC2 + AQ NightHawk
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 & PSU - BMUAiyima A07 MAX + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d + AQ NightOwl
Office: Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith 887 + German Maestro GMP 450

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Fretless
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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by Fretless »

More critical listen-session this morning.

The MC2 is very basic: Volume-pot and 2 in-out switches on the front, 2 sets of both XLR and RCA sockets on the back. Functions are selecting between XLR or RCA input and output along with master volume control. No active attenuation, no tone controls, just a passive box.

Hooking this up with DH Labs Air Matrix XLR from the DAC and NVA SSP from the phono stage, output to the power amps is Mogami 2549 XLR (more about this later). No 'clicking' through the speakers when inputs are selected and the volume knob feels nicely solid with silent operation when adjusted. It appears that the components used internally are of at least a reasonable quality.

My expectations of such an affordable unit were that it could really screw up the audio quality and, to my pleasant surprise, it doesn't! Vinyl is rich, full and detailed, digital has a warmer (more analogue) feel - rather nice actually. Yes, there is a slight loss of definition, veiling - call it what you will, but that doesn't reduce the musical enjoyment of the system as a whole (and the new output cable still needs some running-in).

In comparison: the direct XLR link from my Sabaj DAC to the matching Class D amps really showed off their razor-sharp detail and dynamics, the tempering of this with a little warmth is actually not a bad thing, certainly in that my current requirements are more for music to relax to rather than get all obsessively-critical about. I definitely do not have the feeling that I am missing out on anything in the recording at all.

And, the elephant in the room, comparison to the NVA P50sa passive preamp of which the Little Bear comes over as a cut-price copy. Having used the NVA pre for about 10 years (and this is the older RD version, not the current upgraded and improved one) I know that there is more transparency and clarity to be had from the stepped attenuator than the Little Bear can provide. So no giant-killing miracles here.

To sum up, for your 40 quid you get a handy little RCA/XLR switch with a nice volume knob that won't screw up your sound in an unpleasant way and can give a mildly cozy warm glow to your digital experience. Good enough for me!

:romance-cloud9:


In the next thrilling instalment we'll be discussing Mogami cables. Bet you can't wait ....
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antonio66 (Sat Apr 13, 2024 5:11 am)

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a {x2)
Little Bear MC2 + AQ NightHawk
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 & PSU - BMUAiyima A07 MAX + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d + AQ NightOwl
Office: Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith 887 + German Maestro GMP 450

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Fretless
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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by Fretless »

Image

Mogami cables : Not Chi-fi actually, but studio-use cabling manufactured in Japan and a mainstay of recording studios over the whole world for microphones, instruments, amps and recording equipment. A standard, reliable cable that engineers and producers swear by.

So - if it's good enough for recording the music then, in theory, it's good enough for playing it back.

When I put the Sabaj DAC/monoblocks combination into use at the beginning of last year I got, via Amazon, XLR interconnects using Mogami 2534 wire. Recommended for good value and sound. Certainly it isn't a bad cable, but I found it to be a bit 'woolly' in that highly-revealing system. Now, with the arrival of the Little Bear passive preamp, I needed another set of XLR links and took a fresh look at Mogami, deciding to go a step up the ladder to their 2549 design: OFC copper of high purity, twin-strand internals and shielded.

Finding a company in Greece that make up bespoke leads, electrically balanced, for a good price, I ordered a set of 50cm links which turned up a week later. Rewiring the system went easily and we're spinning vinyl again after a (very) long pause.

The 2549 is stated as being of extremely low capacitance and highly transparent - it certainly comes over as such. I haven't really had a proper chance to play vinyl through the Class D amps as my tastes had shifted back to digital playback when they came into use, so this is a new experience for me ....

.... and it is a revelation. LP's are coming over with a solidity and dynamism that is really enjoyable. The incisiveness of the Class D sound gives a punch and clarity that I find quite breathtaking from such a humble installation. The new Mogami cable is in there somewhere but I can only say it must be very neutral and revealing because I have no complaints at all about the fidelity of the system. Wish I'd know this earlier as it is a quarter of the price of DH Labs Air Matrix and, I suspect, with pretty comparable SQ.

Oh dear - I fear that the old vinyl addiction has been reignited again. Help !!!

:confusion-helpsos:

Upstairs:
Vinyl
Pro-Ject 1.2 + Grado Sig Jr + Cambridge Alva Duo
DigiVolumio PC + Kiss DP-500 + Sabaj A20d
NVA: Cube2 - SSP - LS6+ Sabaj A10a {x2)
Little Bear MC2 + AQ NightHawk
Downstairs:
Vinyl
Logic DM101 + Syrinx LE1 + Grado Sig MCX
DigiDenafrips Ares II + Volumio PC + Cambridge CXC
NVA: P50 & PSU - BMUAiyima A07 MAX + Arcam One
HP: Allo DigiOne + Sabaj A10d + AQ NightOwl
Office: Allo DigiOne SIG + SMSL M300se + Douk G4 (x2)
Mission 760 + Monolith 887 + German Maestro GMP 450

Vinyl-ant
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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by Vinyl-ant »

Ive been using a mogami cable for a little bit, i took my SME 309 off the oracle and put it on my JBE recently, and it didn't have a cable with it when i got it, so i got a yannis tome made mogami neglex cable. Apparently linn use this cable for their t kable and charge big money for it.
I get the same impression of it, that it doesnt really sound of anything.
I really really couldnt be bothered to make a cable for it, i just dont have the time any more otherwise id have just got some off the reel and made one up.
I will probably get some normal interconnects made of it somewhere down the line because i quite like it
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Fretless (Sun Apr 14, 2024 2:48 pm)
Analogue: oracle delphi sme 309, jbe series 3 cx unipivot dv20x2l, roksan xerxes tabriz vm750, jvc ql-y5f rigb at440, jvc ql-y3f vm750, lenco 75, technics sl150

Phono stages: cole lcr, benedict audio hothead

Digital: cyrus cd7, wiim mini x2, topping e30, jds labs el dac 2+

Amplification: nelson pass b1, nelson pass f5

Speakers: 15" fane aperiodic wardrobes

Cans: myryad z40, hifiman sundara + deva, fostex t50rp, sennheiser momentum on ear +over ear, b&w p5 and p7

antonio66
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Re: New Adventures in Chi-Fi

Unread post by antonio66 »

I owned Mogami interconnects with quality RCA plugs (name escapes me but they were plastic), never thought I would sell them but finally replaced with Chi Fi cables https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4001195 ... 1802JrkMGo

and

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003 ... 1802JrkMGo (it was suitable for interconnects)

both fitted with pure copper RCA plugs, also purchased off AliExpress.
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Fretless (Mon Apr 15, 2024 7:48 am)

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