Resurrected gear

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by wotan, Sep 6, 2020.

  1. wotan

    wotan

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    After years of not using my Pioneer SX1250 receiver and Denon DP23f turntable I bought an Ortofon cartridge and a pair of Klipsch RP-8000F speakers. I listen almost exclusively classical (preferably baroque) music. Instruments sound great but voice sounds a little distorted, sort of like a dirty needle. I had the receiver gone over by a local (San Diego) vintage audio guy., Hope my reciever is OK .
     
    wotan, Sep 6, 2020
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  2. wotan

    Sergeauckland

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    Assuming the receiver's fine, it could be cartridge set-up that causes mistracking, it could be worn or dirty records, or it could be that after years of listening to clean digital, you're now sensitive to the inevitable distortions of vinyl. Voices tend to have quite high recorded velocities on the record, so will both wear more and be where mistracking happens first.

    I would check the cartridge alignment first, then tracking using a test record, then possibly get a vacuum record cleaning machine if you have a large number of records.

    S
     
    Sergeauckland, Sep 7, 2020
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  3. wotan

    wotan

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    Thanks for your reply. I'm beginning to think my expectations were too high, Many of my records are at least 30 years old, some from the early sixties. Perhaps my eighty three ears could contribute. In any case I am truly enjoying my record collection.
     
    wotan, Sep 7, 2020
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  4. wotan

    Sergeauckland

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    I have quite a few records from the late 1950s onwards, with most being now some 40+ years old, and all, quite playable. What made the biggest difference was getting a vacuum Record Cleaning Machine and giving them all a thorough clean, sometimes twice, then putting the LP in a new clean plastic sleeve. It didn't make the few worn or otherwise damaged records playable but I scrapped very few. All my records were bought used, in record fairs or charity shops, with a few on-line.

    A line contact stylus also helps as the longer contact tends to bridge the worn part, which would have been mostly played using a spherical stylus, and so plays the unworn groove wall.

    If you have a decent sized collection, then an RCM is well worth the expense and effort in cleaning the records.

    S
     
    Sergeauckland, Sep 8, 2020
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  5. wotan

    wotan

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    Well now I am thinking about getting a d/a converter but I don't know anything about them. I really like my Pioneer SX 1250 receiver. excellent condition, 160 channel. amps per channel, don't want to give it up and buy the latest gear.
     
    wotan, Sep 8, 2020
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  6. wotan

    Sergeauckland

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    What would you use the DAC for? Bear in mind that all CD players and any digital player with an analogue RCA or XLR output already includes a DAC, I don't see the benefit. Any player made in the last 20 years if not longer will already have a DAC that exceeds one's ability to hear improvements, will have a flat frequency response, tiny amounts of distortion and low noise, that it seems to me just a way of spending money for a new toy without tangible benefit.

    That's why I've put all my efforts into my 'speakers as that's where there are still improvements to be made.

    S
     
    Sergeauckland, Sep 9, 2020
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  7. wotan

    wotan

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    What I wand to do is to be able to play digital audio sources through my Pioneer X 1250.
     
    wotan, Sep 9, 2020
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  8. wotan

    wotan

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    SX1250
     
    wotan, Sep 9, 2020
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  9. wotan

    Sergeauckland

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    Do these digital sources only have digital outputs, or do they also have analogue outputs? If they do have analogue outputs, then they already have a DAC, and you don't need a separate one.

    S
     
    Sergeauckland, Sep 9, 2020
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  10. wotan

    Sergeauckland

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    By the way, I've just looked up the SX1250. What a lovely receiver!

    I still have a Yamaha CR1000 of the same era. I'm rather partial to vintage equipment.

    S.
     
    Sergeauckland, Sep 10, 2020
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  11. wotan

    Sebrof

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    This is a somewhat late reply, but my reason for buying a DAC was so that I could put my entire CD collection onto a computer and play back at the highest possible quality.
    I ripped the CDs using Exact Audio Copy, and everything is now stored in lossless FLAC files.
    The files are kept on an ancient IBM Thankpad laptop running a simple version of Linux. The output is via USB to an ODAC, an inexpensive DAC with very high specs. It is no longer available but you can get an El DAC from JD Labs for similar money. Ignore the hype about the new one being much better - any paper improvements are very unlikely to be audible,
    The ODAC feeds a simple Class D amp while my trusty Quad is out of action, and the sound emerges from small B&W speakers (my listening room is small). They don't come near to my old Quad Electrostatics, but what does?
    If you're on a very low budget, the Behringer UCA202 is an inexpensive DAC with surprisingly good performance.
    Running the music through a dedicated DAC gives much better results than using the headphone outlet from a PC, where the data will have been fed through a rudimentary internal DAC of extremely low quality.
     
    Sebrof, Oct 25, 2020
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  12. wotan

    Sergeauckland

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    Running the music through a dedicated DAC gives much better results than using the headphone outlet from a PC, where the data will have been fed through a rudimentary internal DAC of extremely low quality.

    This might have been true in the past, and I note you say that you're using an ancient Thinkpad, but more modern laptops have very good DACs, as audibly poor DAC chips just don't exist any more. My now 10 year old Toshiba laptop and my Lenovo Windows 10 tablets have excellent performing DACs using the 'headphone' output. Not SOTA by any means, but more than good enough for Transparency. I agree also about the UCA202. Very good performance as a DAC, perhaps rather less good as an ADC.

    S.
     
    Sergeauckland, Oct 25, 2020
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  13. wotan

    Sebrof

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    I am sure you are right that the DACs in more recent laptops are much better than they were, but I don't think they are likely to match the quality of a decent dedicated DAC with a good Burr-Brown chip.

    I have two other Thinkpads (T430 and W430) from 2012/13 and a Toshiba of similar vintage and I really don't expect they will compare with my ODAC, though I confess I haven't tried! Perhaps I should, but I don't really want to ditch my lovely old T42 (the music file host), which cost huge amounts of money in its day, and is a work of computing art!

    And the economics don't work either.

    T42 + ODAC = £125.00. I couldn't get a decent modern laptop for that money. Furthermore it would be no match for the T42 in terms of looks and charisma. It would be like comparing a Silver Cloud to an Audi. :)
     
    Sebrof, Oct 25, 2020
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  14. wotan

    Sergeauckland

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    They won't match the measurements of an good modern external DAC, but I would be astounded if anyone could hear the difference in a blind, level matched test. The measurements of any modern DAC chip such as is used in a laptop, mobile 'phone or tablet are so far in excess of what's required for transparency that I have questioned the need ever for an external DAC. There may be exceptions of course, but I think you'll have to go back a lot further than 2012 to find them.

    S.
     
    Sergeauckland, Oct 25, 2020
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  15. wotan

    Sebrof

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    Interesting. It's certainly true that the performance of electronic audio equipment (as opposed to mechanical equipment, like speakers) hasn't improved much for a very long time. There may be improvements on paper, but they are seldom audible.

    And even speakers haven't improved much, though it is true to say that if you want to improve your listening enjoyment, it's the speakers, and the environment they are in, that matter most.
     
    Sebrof, Oct 25, 2020
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  16. wotan

    Sergeauckland

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    Completely agree. Some loudspeakers, mostly DSP-based active 'speakers are capable of performance only dreamed of 30 years ago, but quite a few these days (especially quite expensive 'speakers like Boenicke) have a very ragged frequency response. They are the ones that will stand out at a Dealer's demo, and for so many, different = better, especially when the price is high.

    Standing out at a demo seems to be the thing even with some electronics manufacturers, especially SET amplifier manufacturers as neutrality is 'boring' compared with high distortion and a wonky frequency response.

    I've equalised my loudspeakers for a flat anechoic response to +-1dB above 200Hz, and flat, clinical, sterile are all good as far as I'm concerned! I'll let the music be organic, exciting, emotional, not the equipment.

    S.
     
    Sergeauckland, Oct 25, 2020
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  17. wotan

    Sebrof

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    You and I seem to think along the same lines.

    All I want from a loudspeaker is that it "correctly" reproduces the sound of an un-amplified human voice, preferably somebody like Montserrat Caballe both softly and at full force! I can never understand how hi-fi reviewers can use loud rock music to test any part of the hi-fi chain.
     
    Sebrof, Oct 25, 2020
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  18. wotan

    Sergeauckland

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    I've found male speech to be the hardest to reproduce accurately. Recorded in a benign environment, say a reasonably anechoic space, it's as close as we can get to a 'standard' programme signal, as we all know what sounds real. If a loudspeaker can fool one into thinking there's a real person there, it's doing a good job. I use BBC Radio 3 continuity announcers as a test, as there is very minimal processing and BH's studio spaces are pretty decent.

    S
     
    Sergeauckland, Oct 29, 2020
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