ack's system - end of round 1

ack

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Thanks; so this is actually extremely thin, 2mm. I spent about 4 hours tinkering with this, and alignment was not easy either, but I guess I can try the thinnest 1mm version one day...
 

PeterA

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So the holes was not the problem, and I did cut a rectangular piece as shown below - I just could not keep the cartridge perfectly horizontal/parallel to the headshell because of the pliability of the Isodamp

View attachment 64616
Why not just treat the pliability as a way to adjust azimuth. Just make note of how much you’re turning each screw.
 

ack

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Why not just treat the pliability as a way to adjust azimuth. Just make note of how much you’re turning each screw.
So the problem was not azimuth, but the fact that the cartridge would either tilt up or down; and then, as I lowered it onto the LP, it would ever so slightly lean back. Overall, it felt like it was floating. I then realized that good, hard plastic washers play a significant stabilizing role of their own in situations like mine.
 
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ack

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why won't the isodamp continue to compress over time and the torque/tension on the cartridge change? or are you expecting to adjust the tightness going forward? or a planned insertion of fresh isodamp?

isodamp is a closed cell foam of some sort? right?
Isodamp is actually a form of vinyl, an elastic vinyl if you will. It will probably sightly compress over time sitting between the cartridge and headshell, as it has elsewhere I use it, and I will re-adjust again, but at the same time, we are not talking about major forces and compression in this situation. I have experience with its compression characteristics for some 10 years under the speakers now, and over just a 2 sq. inch area per footer and under hundreds of pounds of force, it barely gave in 1mm. I also know that it does settle in Magico speakers as well, after a while.

There are other very positive attributes to it, like no cracking or drying out over those 10 years, unlike Sorbothane and other elastics I have tried. In a sense, it "perfectly" holds its form like an LP, over decades. Another one is that it holds its form over a wide range of temperatures.

The trick in this application, as I have come to realize, is to cut a precisely rectangular piece and place it exactly between the two cartridge holes, in a perfectly symmetrical fashion, otherwise the cartridge will inevitably tilt either up or down. In the pictures, I may make it look simple, but it did take me an hour to set it properly, using the slightly sticky side of Isodamp, and with the aid of a loupe. This is not easy work.

An important question to ask would be this: how effective a tweak can this be with many arms and cartridges, especially highly inert arms? Don't know. I like metallic arms for their stiffness and the shield they provide over the wires, but I hate their inevitable ringing and resonances. Wrapping mine with copper many years ago gave me most of the damping I was looking for, but in the end, isolating the cartridge from the headshell offered yet another level of performance - real tranquility. All of this simply confirms yet again that an arm can play a very significant role, and we are only talking about a few of its functions here. In my case, I've been fixing some inherent issues with this arm, like ringing and stability issues [my magnetic stabilization was just one spectacular mod]; but at the same time, I love the Nordost Valhalla wiring and that Lemo interface connector.

As I wrote in a couple of PMs with some folks over here, I have heavily relied on my stethoscope to assess initial impact of all of my analog mods - from motor whirring, to platter chatter, to plinth feedback, to arm ringing when I tap it with various objects, to noise bleeding into the arm, and now, listening to the cartridge body with the 'scope when I agitate the amwand in various places, with and without the Isodamp. The results are unmistakable, and easily verifiable again when subsequently performing the same tests with the preamp volume set really high and through the loudspeakers. When listening time comes, the verification and gratification is also quite evident.

Finally, I should just also note that everything has a purpose - down to that seemingly useless square piece of copper tape at the top of the headshell, between the two screws. Without it, tapping in that area with a metal object still causes some ringing; without it, it's dull. The same effect is actually also evident on the XP-25 case: with the mumetal stuck to it, knuckle taps are very very dull, like hitting a rock (I have a video which is not very interesting to post, with one side covered with mumetal and tapped, versus the other still without the mumetal); that ought to have its own benefit.

All in all, this is just more proof of how crazily sensitive the analog/LP chain is...
 
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ack

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The Yggy2 vs the MSB Premier + PowerBase (stock clock)

In recent months I was able to compare these two DACs in here with redbook, using the following configurations:

Yggy2: ground lifted, Cardas XLR-to-RCA out, MIT 50ic cables, AES/EBU input with an MIT MA-X, voltage attenuated at the preamp input because of very high output voltage (maybe slight loss of dynamics, but no overmodulation distortion)

MSB: Cardas XLR-to-RCA out, MIT 50ic cables, SPDI/F input with a Kimber Illuminations D-60 cable, bypassed volume control, Hi gain output

Both sounded really smooth, dynamic and resolving, but the scale always tipped towards the Yggy2 in all these aspects, though only with its ground lifted. The Yggy2 also exhibited a slightly higher dynamic headroom. Perhaps the MSB would tip the scales with the optional more accurate clock, but this was not part of my configuration. I swapped digital cables and inputs and the sonic picture did not change.

The Yggy2 is such a high performer that it sent me back modifying the Alpha DAC again, and was able to get it within 2%-3% and level-matched, which is great since I am using it for HDCD. It'll be fun to see if my friends can easily figure out which input sounds better.

I am now really curious how the Yggy2 would sound with a hi-rez feed...
 

spiritofmusic

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Ack, this is further fantastic praise for a dac that costs a mere pittance in high end terms.
 
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Al M.

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Ack, this is further fantastic praise for a dac that costs a mere pittance in high end terms.
Robert Harley puts it this way in his review of the Yggy (version 1, we have version 2), emphasis added:

"If you’re looking for a DAC that does quad-rate DSD, decodes MQA, offers a volume control, and includes a headphone amp, look elsewhere. But if the very best reproduction of PCM sources is your goal, the Yggdrasil is the ticket. It’s a spectacular performer on an absolute level, and an out-of-this world bargain. The Yggy is not just a tremendous value in today’s DACs, it’s one of the greatest bargains in the history of high-end audio."
 
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Al M.

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The Yggy2 vs the MSB Premier + PowerBase (stock clock)

In recent months I was able to compare these two DACs in here with redbook, using the following configurations:

Yggy2: ground lifted, Cardas XLR-to-RCA out, MIT 50ic cables, AES/EBU input with an MIT MA-X, voltage attenuated at the preamp input because of very high output voltage (maybe slight loss of dynamics, but no overmodulation distortion)

MSB: Cardas XLR-to-RCA out, MIT 50ic cables, SPDI/F input with a Kimber Illuminations D-60 cable, bypassed volume control, Hi gain output

Both sounded really smooth, dynamic and resolving, but the scale always tipped towards the Yggy2 in all these aspects, though only with its ground lifted. The Yggy2 also exhibited a slightly higher dynamic headroom. Perhaps the MSB would tip the scales with the optional more accurate clock, but this was not part of my configuration. I swapped digital cables and inputs and the sonic picture did not change.

The Yggy2 is such a high performer that it sent me back modifying the Alpha DAC again, and was able to get it within 2%-3% and level-matched, which is great since I am using it for HDCD. It'll be fun to see if my friends can easily figure out which input sounds better.

I am now really curious how the Yggy2 would sound with a hi-rez feed...
It is indeed astonishing, Ack, that the Yggy fares so well in the comparison. Some have suggested that the MSB has a fuller tone in the midrange. I was wondering if you heard this in your system as well?

In which way did you further modify the Berkeley DAC?
 

spiritofmusic

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I wonder if someone can chip in with how much of an improvement the Unison USB board is? I'm veering very much to the Innuos Zenith as potential streamer, and I know USB is the preferred option here.

Tbh, I may still go with the dac I'm able to demo in UK w the Zenith, meaning likely Lab12 Dac1 Reference or Aqua La Voce S3, maybe Chord Hugo TT.

All of these, plus offerings from MHDT, Hegel, Holo Springs, Exogal, Eera...and of course, Yggy...look like fantastic potential choices.

Yggy does have me on the hook.
 

ack

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It is indeed astonishing, Ack, that the Yggy fares so well in the comparison. Some have suggested that the MSB has a fuller tone in the midrange. I was wondering if you heard this in your system as well?
I didn't pick that up, over 4 days. Could be, without lifting the ground on the Yggy

In which way did you further modify the Berkeley DAC?
The output section again, plus selecting 52.5 on the output volume. It's such a fine dance to get resolution, enough gain, dynamic headroom, correct tone, and low distortion. I have so much respect and appreciation for all those manufacturers who spend years testing and voicing their equipment - really tough work, when the goal is faithful reproduction.
 

ack

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I wonder if someone can chip in with how much of an improvement the Unison USB board is? I'm veering very much to the Innuos Zenith as potential streamer, and I know USB is the preferred option here.
I have no experience with Yggy's Unison USB... I am actually not a fan of USB at all, because of how it works.
 

spiritofmusic

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Ack, I'm really spoilt w my Eera cdp. I played three straight Trilok Gurtu cds today, and it's ability to brush shoulders w my highly optimised analog is uncanny, falling just short in some areas, and ahead in others.

It took me all of three decades to find a cdp I could live with day to day and really enjoy as the closest analogue to analog as I'm gonna find this side of a Lampi Pac, TD-12 or MSB Select 3-box.

A major reticence on going streaming is this very dilemma...finding THAT magic dac at sub $5k which will not send me back to my digital blues days.

There is a fascinating tube output APL dac for €7k, that initial reports absolutely rave about, I'd have to really justify going that far.

But continued stellar reports on Yggy make me hugely reassured about a potential choice here.
 

Al M.

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I didn't pick that up, over 4 days.
Interesting, especially since your system is easily capable of portraying variations in midrange fullness/density.

Could be, without lifting the ground on the Yggy.
I didn't notice much difference in midrange tonality with using grounded AC cable vs ground lifted. But that could also depend on AC quality from the wall. So many variables in this audio hobby.
 

Al M.

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I have no experience with Yggy's Unison USB... I am actually not a fan of USB at all, because of how it works.
I am not a fan of USB either, for that reason. While many early reports on the Yggy were enthusiastic, some were like "nice DAC but not that great". But those reviews mostly compared the Yggy on its USB input, and I guess most users now would agree that the then available USB 3 module wasn't that good (it was from a time where Yggy designer Mike Moffat declared that he "hates USB"). Those early reports (including a comparison with the MSB Analog DAC) are probably irrelevant to the sound quality that Ian and I have experienced on AES/EBU with the Yggy 1, and all three of us on AES/EBU now with the Yggy 2.

The later USB 5 module has been reported to be so much better, and I have heard enthusiastic reports on the new Unison USB.
 

ack

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The later USB 5 module has been reported to be so much better, and I have heard enthusiastic reports on the new Unison USB.
Meantime, it feels like there is a high-pass filter which may be responsible for the drop of deep bass output, and it shows up on all of their analog measurements; example:

Balanced : Signal to Noise Ratio
Waveform:Sine
Generator Level:-0.000 dBFS
DC Offset:0.000 D
Frequency:1.00000 kHz
Low-pass Filter:20 kHz
Weighting Filter:Signal Path
High-pass Filter:20 Hz
Signal to Noise Ratio (10/8/2019 1:40:46.308 PM)
Ch1 126.710 dB
Ch2 124.433 dB


BTW, the superiority of the balanced measurements over single-ended is quite evident.

https://www.schiit.com/public/upload/PDF/Schiit DAC APx555 Standard Test Suite_ Yggdrasil Analog 2_Gen 5.pdf
 

Joe Whip

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I have been through the original USB on the Yggy and then to Gen 5 and now Unison. Unison is way better And the equal to the AES input. There is no reason not to use the USB input at this point.
 

spiritofmusic

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What exactly is the antipathy to USB anyway?
 

ack

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Marc, it's noise and non-linearity (sorry, just seeing this question of yours); USB interrupts every few seconds to query for new hardware plugged in or out, among other things. USB is just plain sh*t by design and never meant for streaming, sorry.

Next chapter: 30 seconds says it all about the Yggy2 sound

This is what it feels to listen to the Yggy2 through the Spectral DMA-500AR amplifiers, using the XLR outputs and plugged into the 30SV preamp with the -6dB input attenuator engaged to remove over-voltage-caused glare - watch Ozawa's facial expression

 

Mdp632

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May 30, 2016
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I have been through the original USB on the Yggy and then to Gen 5 and now Unison. Unison is way better And the equal to the AES input. There is no reason not to use the USB input at this point.
I read that the Unison USB was specifically designed to pair with an upcoming Schiit CDP/transport. If and when this product is released. If so, wonder if @ack and @Al M. would entertaining trying it out in their systems and comparing to their current transports feeding Yggy 2.
 
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Lagonda

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I have been playing around with a Yggy 2 the last week and have to agree that it is an amazing dac. I bought it used from Marcus from Perfect Sense in Sweden, he is also active on WBF. Very analog sounding non fatiguing with a great rhythm. I got it for my brother who wanted something affordable, but must admit i have to get one myself now. I’m dropping it of tomorrow and realize i have not fired up my Io Eclipse phono the last week, going to miss the damned thing. Normally i can do digital for a couple of hours when i desire music i only have on CD, but this has been a game changer :eek: P.s analog still rules ;)
 
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