Spectral SDR-4000SV

ack

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The other two units sounded distorted by comparison and much less convincing in what I thought was a very transparent Magico/Spectral/MIT system.

Agreed again.
I just re-read your Rossini thread's original post http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showt...le-Redbook-CD-afternoon-at-Goodwin-s-High-End and I see you compared the Rossini DAC vs the Berkeley Reference DAC - no mention of a Spectral (it would have been the older 4000SL at that point back in February). Also, no mention of "distorted" sounds by any other competitor(s), just not as good to your ears as the Rossini DAC. What gives???
 

Al M.

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I just re-read your Rossini thread's original post http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showt...le-Redbook-CD-afternoon-at-Goodwin-s-High-End and I see you compared the Rossini DAC vs the Berkeley Reference DAC - no mention of a Spectral (it would have been the older 4000SL at that point back in February). Also, no mention of "distorted" sounds by any other competitor(s), just not as good to your ears as the Rossini DAC. What gives???
Anything that is not as accurate and real sounding as it should be is distortion. That we didn't call it distortion then by name, and now do, is immaterial.
 

PeterA

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Anything that is not as accurate and real sounding as it should be is distortion. That we didn't call it distortion then by name, and now do, is immaterial.
Yes, that is about it. One, the Rossini, sounded very timbrally accurate and natural to me in that system on that day. The others did not. I'd have to reread exactly what I wrote, but as I remember it now, that discontinuity of the note, a pronounced separation between the fundamental and its harmonic, was very unnatural sounding to me and quite distracting. I probably didn't use those terms at the time, but it is all the same. It was a distortion, a coloration, an artifact, unnatural, and inaccurate. But as I wrote, it was not the Rossini player, it was the DAC with a transport, and it was a different Spectral integrated amp, Magico two way speakers instead of full range panels with woofer, and an enclosed room instead of the open room that ack has.

It's just two different systems in different rooms heard by different sets of ears. This could account for the different impressions. We did listen though, to some material on a Chesky sample CD of mine as well as a variety of Al's CDs.
 

Audiocrack

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Hi Audiocrack - great to hear about your 'upgrade' to the Zanden clock...i have heard someone else having that done and it was a special version in his mind as well. Can you describe what was done, and what the improvements are? Most curious!
I am not a technician so I am not 100% sure about all the things Marcel changed in particular in my Zanden 2000p transport (I gave him carte blanche so to say, but I can check with him if you want. When I recollected the Zanden combo he stated with a very big smile that this Zanden combo must be one of the very best sounding out there, well who knows  ). I do know he put in a much better clock. As a consequence (and in combination with the Tidal LA's who are in my view 'transparency kings') the Zanden combo has become clearly more transparant and 'quick' (its 'weak' points in my view) than before the upgrade. But is still has this lovely 'human presentation', the main reason why the Zanden combo has always put a musical spell on me (and I suppose on the many reviewers).
 
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Audiocrack

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Hi Audiocrack, this is amazing - we both stumbled across Marcel, me through apogee search and you through your Zanden? Wow! He must be a genius. I think I am going to get some normal SS amp and send it to him to mod for my apogees. Hands off to Dutch DIY - Marcel, Henk, Judy Spotheim (SPJ Alba)...
Marcel is indeed a sort of audio wizard. He is also a lover of classical music - eg he shares my love for the late Montserrat Figueras -, visits classical concerts on a regular basis, is a good friend of Todd of MA recordings fame (some of the recording equipment of Todd has been modified by Marcel as can be learned from some of the beautiful sounding MA recordings) and is a former recording engineer. So Marcel is not only a technician of great fame (eg he has modified countless Krell amps and cd-players) but knows inside out how live (non amplified) music sounds.

And now I am going to stop because I do not want to 'highjack' this thread.
 

ack

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Anything that is not as accurate and real sounding as it should be is distortion. That we didn't call it distortion then by name, and now do, is immaterial.
So if you were to hear an even better system, the Rossini setup you heard would then be a distortion, but it currently isn't? Or was the Rossini setup the absolute best and utterly realistic sounding that you guys have ever heard??? In your threads you described no shortcomings of any kind with that setup, or did I miss something.
 

bonzo75

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Anything that is not as accurate and real sounding as it should be is distortion. That we didn't call it distortion then by name, and now do, is immaterial.
Accurate may not be as real sounding as distorted. Distortion causes naturalness - valve amps distort but have even order harmonics. Many SS amps have lower distortion but odd order harmonics. Jadis distorts a lot but sounds very natural.

Colour is not the same as distortion. Sometimes, the distortion is such that everything through a component plays with the same colour. That is a negative, of course.
 

Al M.

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So if you were to hear an even better system, the Rossini setup you heard would then be a distortion, but it currently isn't? Or was the Rossini setup the absolute best and utterly realistic sounding that you guys have ever heard??? In your threads you described no shortcomings of any kind with that setup, or did I miss something.
Peter said (in post # 96) that the other units sounded "distorted by comparison", which sums it up nicely. Compared to the real thing, unamplified live music, all systems sound distorted.
 

PeterA

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So if you were to hear an even better system, the Rossini setup you heard would then be a distortion, but it currently isn't? Or was the Rossini setup the absolute best and utterly realistic sounding that you guys have ever heard??? In your threads you described no shortcomings of any kind with that setup, or did I miss something.
Ack, Speaking only for myself, the Rossini setup that day at Goodwins, was the best DIGITAL replay that I have experienced to date. It still sounded different from the best analog set ups that I have heard, though that statement is qualified by the fact that the respective systems were different and in different rooms.

I just reread my posts in the Rossini thread and I did in fact mention some shortcomings. I posted a number of times in the first few pages of that thread. I discussed the lack of Presence in particular in that system on that day. I chose instead to focus on the positive attributes of the sound, many the high degree of information retrieval from the source, ie resolution, and also the high degree of natural sound. I attribute the lack of Presence to the room and set up, but it could also have been for some other reason like electronics or cables. That is why a home audition is so valuable, as you found out.

I also wrote that I thought the Magico Q1/Spectral integrated amp/MIT cable system was extremely transparent and demonstrated very clearly, to me at least, the sonic differences between the Rossini and Berkeley Ref DAC. We did not spend much time listening to the Spectral player in the system, but did hear a few of the same CD cuts on that one too. The audition of the Spectral was brief so I chose to write about the Rossini and Berkeley in my report.
 

ack

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We hear differently, and we'll leave it that.
 

PeterA

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We hear differently, and we'll leave it that.
Yes, of course. We all hear differently. Compounding that is that you heard the Rossini Player in your system, and I heard the Rossini DAC with a Moon transport in a system with different components, in a different room and with different source material. Having different opinions about the sound of two different devices is not at all surprising.

I have just now posted a link to your report of the Rossini Player in Al M's thread about the Rossini DAC.
 
Aug 26, 2012
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So if you were to hear an even better system, the Rossini setup you heard would then be a distortion, but it currently isn't? Or was the Rossini setup the absolute best and utterly realistic sounding that you guys have ever heard??? In your threads you described no shortcomings of any kind with that setup, or did I miss something.
Am confused as well ????
 
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Marcel is indeed a sort of audio wizard. He is also a lover of classical music - eg he shares my love for the late Montserrat Figueras (...)
Referring to Montserrat Figueras does not hijack any thread. :) She had an wonderful voice and is really missed. Her 2005 recording "Lux Feminae", as well as many others, has been a regular in my late night listening since it was issued. Her voice often spread in our whole house since long, singing in the 'Llibre Vermell de Montserrat', also known by my children as the LP of the Rose, because the LP cover had a large pink rose on the cover.
 

Audiocrack

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Referring to Montserrat Figueras does not hijack any thread. :) She had an wonderful voice and is really missed. Her 2005 recording "Lux Feminae", as well as many others, has been a regular in my late night listening since it was issued. Her voice often spread in our whole house since long, singing in the 'Llibre Vermell de Montserrat', also known by my children as the LP of the Rose, because the LP cover had a large pink rose on the cover.
Oh yes, she is sorely missed with this peculiar and haunting beautiful voice of her. The Lux Feminae sacd you are referring to is one of my test recordings. I have quite a lot of the Alia Vox sacd recordings which are most of the time very well recorded and their booklets are a class of their own, in particular the various 'books' such as for example Mare Nostrum, the Borgia and Erasmus recordings.

Marcel heard Montserrat singing in a very intimate concert setting when he was stationed in Switserland during his Goldmund period. Talked with her and was utterly impressed with her singing as well as her kind personality.

Are you familiar with her daughter Ariadne Savall's recordings for inter alia Carpe Diem and ECM? Unlike Marcel I like her voice too although it is possible not as spectacular as Montserrat's voice.
 

MadFloyd

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@madfloyd: I suggest you evaluate the Rossini and I think the improvement over the Lampizator B7 you had in when I listened to your system will be obvious, and staggering. Just play the Finale of the Mahler 2nd with the BSO/Ozawa I gave you, and I am quite certain you will fall off your chair, especially at the clarity of the chorus and the power of the organ - which in my system is very authoritative. But I don't know what your overall goals are...
Thanks, ack. I really DO want to compare it to my NADAC. Probably not fair to compare against the Lampi since I never had the proper tubes with it.
 

ack

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Am confused as well ????
Not important at this point. It is true that every system is a set of distortions of reality, one way or another. Peter just wanted to say that, IF the Rossini is reality, then the Berkeley was a distortion; not that the Rossini WAS the reality.
 

PeterA

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Not important at this point. It is true that every system is a set of distortions of reality, one way or another. Peter just wanted to say that, IF the Rossini is reality, then the Berkeley was a distortion; not that the Rossini WAS the reality.
Not I. Perhaps you are thinking about Al M. I never referred to the Rossini as reality, conditioned or not.

I think you referred to Al's post and then asked him a question sounding confused. Then Jazzhead referred to that as well.

I simply described the Rossini DAC with the Moon transport as producing the best sound from any digital source I had yet heard. And, in comparison to the Rossini, the other two digital units sounded distorted, though I called them discontinuous or something like that. They just did not sound as real to me in that system.
 

ack

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You are probably right - the point being the same, though; that IF one is reality, the other one is a distortion.
 
May 30, 2010
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Oh yes, she is sorely missed with this peculiar and haunting beautiful voice of her. The Lux Feminae sacd you are referring to is one of my test recordings. I have quite a lot of the Alia Vox sacd recordings which are most of the time very well recorded and their booklets are a class of their own, in particular the various 'books' such as for example Mare Nostrum, the Borgia and Erasmus recordings.

Marcel heard Montserrat singing in a very intimate concert setting when he was stationed in Switserland during his Goldmund period. Talked with her and was utterly impressed with her singing as well as her kind personality.

Are you familiar with her daughter Ariadne Savall's recordings for inter alia Carpe Diem and ECM? Unlike Marcel I like her voice too although it is possible not as spectacular as Montserrat's voice.
Yes, the booklets are fabulous, although sometimes I would love if the font type was larger or the contrast between text and background higher. The Erasmus booklet is particularly interesting.

Two weeks ago a good friend brought Lislevand - Nuove Musiche (ECM) to listen in my system. Beautiful music, I have ordered it, as I appreciated it, but I am still waiting for delivery.

Carpe Diem is one of the few labels that makes me think about computer audio. Why buying redbook when it is available in HiRez flac?
 

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