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Ayre QB-9 Twenty


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I just upgraded my DAC from an Ayre Codex to a QB-9 Twenty.

Holy Cow!

My system has become so engaging. 

Though I tend to listen while I work at the computer, I now find myself getting distracted by all the great sound.

Though I know Mr. V still feels vinyl has the edge, I think digital is coming super close.

Bob

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  • 2 weeks later...

Great digital can be engaging etc.  All digits must have great electrical power. More than the other products we use for electronics.  Not sure why, but I’ve done a ton of testing on this including the same unit sounding so different in different houses and stores. Ayre really has nailed their digital. For the price ranges they play in , they are right there with the best depending on what flavor you like. 

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11 hours ago, ctsooner said:

Great digital can be engaging etc.  All digits must have great electrical power. More than the other products we use for electronics.  Not sure why, but I’ve done a ton of testing on this including the same unit sounding so different in different houses and stores. Ayre really has nailed their digital. For the price ranges they play in , they are right there with the best depending on what flavor you like. 

I have two digital systems, PS Audio DS Sr. and Chord TT2 + Scaler. I honestly could not tell you which I like best. The PS audio system is a lot closer to analog in my system, I've actually checked to see the 5.1 aspect of the system was not engaged it sounded so 3D. The Chord system is so detailed not fatiguing detail but in a good way. The Chord system is a bit harder on a poor recording,   but on a good recording I feel as if I could walk between each performer. 

I would like to experience Ayre one day. I like digital for the ease factor too. Alternatively there is something to be said about the engaging nature of analog too. Oh heck pour another beer and sit down and enjoy the music.

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With digital I believe the brain is constantly working to 'fill in the gaps'.  It's a bit fatiguing.  When you add the jitter issues, that's throwing off timing etc...  I've been blessed to hear the best digital on the planet in the MSB Ultimate I think they call it.  My buddy owns the DaVinci mk2 (selling it soon).  Been blessed to hear the Trinity DAC too as well as Brinkmann (once, but I am looking strongly at it), the DCS units, owned an Empirical Audio (one of the best I've heard and at a reasonable cost for high end), Total DAC from France..... just so many good DAC's, but very expensive to say the least. Servers and streamers are where many of the 'digital' problems occur.  Having what I feel is the best server/streamer you can buy, I believe my digital is in the very high end realm, but it's still so sensitive to the power I serve it.  I also still MISS analog, lol.. 

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Peter, a few days ago, I saw this somewhere:  “Digital is like a butterfly between two sheets of glass.  Analogue is like a butterfly in free flight.”

My digital front end is nowhere near the performance level of yours.  And while I do appreciate the convenience of streaming (mostly background music for me), I still find analogue more engaging.  

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it's much more engaging.  I jsut wish I was able to use a turntable, but it's just too difficult to constant have to get up to change things.  I also have some days that I've damage teh stylus trying to place the tonearm as I often lose feeling in my fingers.  I still want so badly to have a table.  Not sure if there is an easy to use, inexpensive table out there for me to use, lol.

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We also own a QB-9 Twenty and it is truly great, at least in my wife's and my opinions.   I have zero desire to upgrade that part of the system. 

~~~~~~

My opinion, for whatever it's it's worth, is that digital reproduction can be just as engaging as vinyl reproduction or more so.  There's two major provisions to this, however.

One is that a lot of digital albums have been poorly converted to digital along the way.  Some have even been entirely remastered, which may not be what you want to hear.

The other is that almost all home digital systems are rife with noise problems.  This often affects digital systems far more than analog systems, since digital reproduction is usually in the hundreds of kilohertz realm with many up to dozens of megahertz.  I've spent probably hundreds of hours trying to address all this, with some success.  It's a problem at both the system level as well as at the individual component level.

I've already probably said too much...

One other point to consider is that an awful lot of the vinyl albums that so many people rave about were cut using a digitally based system.  The Ampex ADD-1 was introduced some time in the 70's. 

vinAd79AmpexATR100ADD1.jpg

 

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You should ask your old Naval friends about this.  Ships and, especially, submarines are noise centers.  The people who design them and the people who outfit them go to great lengths to minimize electrical and acoustic noise.  Who knows what insights you might get!

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I already have.  I went nuts over my electrical.  My two isolated circuits are both individually grounded to earth.  I ordered the Niagara 3000 today (the 1000 does a great job, but it's time to sell that and get the 3000).  I'm also getting a Dragon power cord for the 3000.  I'll be using the Basis power cord on the server/dac for now and then get a Dragon when I can afford one.  The server has MAJOR power cleaning throughout the unit.  They clean it up in many ways and everything has it's own dedicated LPS.  It's why he's going to a two unit box.  He's literally stuffed a LARGE component with a ton of components inside as it's three components in one and he had to keep it all dual differential, fully balanced from start to finish etc...  He also has grounded it the way Richard does in his components (I forget the way, but I asked the maker after speaking with Richard and he said they do it the same way.  That way I never need the special grounding units I was about to buy.  

He also uses some special contact (goop) with graphite or something, and it really does clean up the sound in a positive way.  I was in SHOCK when he showed Matt and me on Matt's unit.  Matt has been a close friend for years now and he writes for TAS. He has the same server, but uses  a Davinci mk2 for his DAC.  Just found out the DAC in my unit doesn't have any caps in the signal path at all.  That too will help a ton, but I'm still now sure how the DAC will sound.  A bit nervous.  HE's FINALLY getting the unit installed tomorrow, so I"ll use the cables/cords I have for now and hopefully the new stuff will arrive in the next week or so.  

Sorry for adding way too much info, lol.  

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@ctsooner,

Hopefully Sam will have my unit ready this week, too. I have been snaking cables in preparation for the 'Big Day'.

One of the things I have been working on is the ethernet cabling.

I decided to add some Audioquest ethernet cabling from my Verizon Fios box to my router, and then to my streamer. The one difference between the original cabling and the Audioquest is that the latter has a grounded connector.

Will this 'improve' the signal? Who knows? I just found some bulk cable and wanted to try my hand building ethernet cables. It isn't hard, but you need the proper tools to add the Telegartner ends to the cable.

At the least, I learned how to terminate an ethernet cable.😉

 

Why am I telling you this?

Oh yeah, I had some of The Balveinie after connecting everything. 🥴

bob

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I've got a GREAT Wireworld ethernet cable that I'm selling.  It's their series 7.  I may sell both that I have.  If I decide to sell the second one, I'll upgrade.  Been using both with a medical ethernet filter in the middle of them, but my new unit has a special filter built in, so I don't need the extra one.  Just ordered new cables and cords and will be listing a bunch of them on USAM.  can't wait to get my new loom.  I went crazy and even got a dragon power cord for the Niagara 3000.

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Yes, I was all in on that years ago when if first came out.  I went with the enterprise components.  I am on Computer Audiophile and was walked through by a few of the guys. I LOVED what it did.  The Ayre QX5/20 has a simple one built in and that's what I was running. I found that the simple hospital grade filter worked great too and it was much nicer looking, so I went that route.  They build these types of optical filters into my ethernet card in the server per my instructions.  The card wholesales for about $900.  Not cheap. They are also working on the Sotm USB card but I'm not using any inputs other than my optical for TV.  

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@ctsooner,

I have heard about using an ethernet to optical to ethernet conversion, but thought it was adding too much stuff.

Though some claim lower noise, I felt running fully grounded cables would do much the same. And, my new cables have rather serious shielding.

So, what differences did you hear when using optical conversion?

Bob

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@ctsooner,

Quote

The sounds is different AND better.  

That is what I am concerned about. Is it good because it is different?

I know you have great ears, but a thing that I get hung on is about messing with a signal. RE: changing from ethernet to optical and the switches in between. Those packets of information should be no different from the original.  At least according to TCP protocol.

I 'll admit my knowledge of this is rather basic. In fact, I rather doubt all my wiring will make any difference, but, it's winter and I needed something to do. I can't garden in the snow.

Bob

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Been using the Schiit Yggy for years. Love it. The Unison USB input is superb and beats all of the other inputs. I also swapped out all audiophile company power cords and went with pro audio stuff from ESP. I was so impressed with the results that I did a formal review.  It is like hearing what the 3A Sigs are capable of for the very first time.

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So, now after a couple of days, I have noticed a bit of difference.

( I replaced the stock Cat 6 cable from Verizon  to  Audioquest Cat 7 Pearl. as well as some Audioquest Sky RCA interconnects).

Things sound a bit more 'darker' and 'rounded').-Almost 'Tube-like'). Part of me liked it before, the other half seems to be warming up to this new sound.

Hmmm...

Bob

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2 minutes ago, ctsooner said:

Cables make a big difference as long as they are properly engineered, lol.  

Actually, I think they make a big difference even if they are *not*properly engineered. 

The problem is, cables do exactly what they are expected to do based on physics.  That includes lots of stuff that we may not want them to do, unless you are strongly dogmatic about cables in a "denial" sort of way and don't want to believe in hundreds of years of science and engineering.  Selective application of physics, if you like.

So, some cables do better in your system than others might.  That might even change if you move things around or change rooms.  Certainly it will if you change electronics, since each piece of electronic gear is more or less susceptible to whatever crap is fed to them, in all sorts of different ways.  It could also be that almost none of the cables are really right, but some are acceptable or seasoned to your taste.  That last one is probably likely, in fact.

In the case of Ethernet cables, you're kind of stuck.  When you connect via Ethernet you are adding a giant current loop to your system that *has* to add noise and other crap into the audio parts.  The addition could be from straight conduction, electromagnetic field coupling, or both.  You can't help it.  (This is not the insane ravings of a madman, ether.  Go read some of the books from Ralph Morrison, Henry Ott, or even Richard Feynman.)  The only way to avoid this is to not use a conductive cable.  That means either WiFi or optical fiber.

You have similar issues with power cables.  It's pretty hard to get around those with WiFi or optical fiber connections, though.  😉

Now, for a short insane rave from a madman: One of my pet peeves in life is how many  audio cable companies just completely tell fibs and offer misdirection when it comes to how their cables work.  I'm not saying that the cables don't work, but certainly not as they claim.  That's too bad, because it completely throws out the company's credibility, at least to me.  I actually get how their pricing structure works, even if I don't always like it.  That's the free market system.  The scientific claims are just plain male bovine excrement.  (Side comment to the side comment:  One thing I greatly appreciate about Vandersteen products is that the explanation of the products is based on genuine science and knowledge.  The products also perform to how they are described.  That might not be to everybody's taste, but I pretty much only worry about my tastes and my wife's in this regard.)

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