Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Upgrade? Yes, Please! ..

Tentatively .. providing ‘it’ doesn’t fall through .. I have the chance to upgrade either my turntable, or digital front end, or amps.

If it’s going to be the turntable, I’m looking at a Rega arm and an Ortofon 2M P&P Black (definitely keeping my SL1210 Mk.2) ..

If it’s going to be a new digital front end, I’m strongly thinking about going the Auralic Vega G1 Network Streamer route (which will retire my olde Meridian DAC) and with the help of Roon .. will stream lovely Hi Res files to my Sonos.

If it’s going to be an upgrade to the amp end, it’ll be a NAC 82 (to replace my NAC 102) and a NAP 250 (to replace my NAP 140).

I’ll let you know if any of these are workable .. ‘if’ everything pans out.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Mishaps and Lost Treasures from The Attic (Part.1) ..

Back in the dim mists of time (early 90's), I had an AV system that was splendiferous! The main amp was Denon's AVR-3200. An absolute humongous best of an integrated amplifier ..

Time moved on and my AV system's components got either put to one side or sold as hard economic times bit-in. The AVR-3200 got put up in the various attics of houses we moved to. It collected dust and occasionally I thought to myself .. what if .. what if .. I put it to use someday again? Indeed, what if?

So, nigh-on 30 years after last turning it on, I took it down from the attic and gave it a good inspection. Surprisingly, the actual body had nary a mark on it, but peeping into it from the top .. it looked like I'd finally discovered the resting place of my hair from decades ago .. I could have knitted a new jumper out of it, if only I had the skills.

There was only one thing for it: take it my workplace and give it a damn good (but gently applied) blow-out from the compressed air blower that we used for cleaning out the inside of old, dusty, musky desktop pc's.

With that job done, it was back home .. plug it in .. and hope it didn't blow up.

The big bang didn't happen as a resounding 'click' from the solenoids and relays kicking back in to action .. no burning smell (that was a good sign, surely?) .. no overheating .. hmmm! .. after all this time .. good I be still on to a winner???

Leaving it to settle in, I went back up into the attic and plugged in my same-period-as-the-amp Sony DVP-NS92V SACD/CD/DVD Multi Player and loaded-up Bowie's awesome 'Ziggy ..' SACD (using toslink for connection) ..

I almost passed-out when the flippin' thing played! .. however .. not flawlessly. There was some distortion at peak level on certain songs.

Not to be deterred, I switched out the Optical connection and replaced with a darn good IXOS stereo interconnect. Bliss! The analog section of the amp was 100% flawless. After nearly 30 years in various attics, through cold winter's and scorching summers, I'm surprised it even turned on.

As I'm now using Naim amplification, the trusty Denon will not be going back into the 'system, nor will it be heading back up into the attic .. Nay! .. of to eBay she will shortly go.

Part.2 of this particular stream of consciousness will be coming soon.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Gravity and Jolly-Japes in the Man-Cave ..

.. don't go there. Really.

I'm a big believer in Backup! Backup! Backup! That's why I generally use 2 x 2TB Ext HDD and 2 x 1TB Ext HDD's to save a mixture of Music, Film and TV on to.

Every boy likes a change to his Man-Cave, so when organizing 'a bit of a clean-out', I needed some help from our Nik to hold one part of a divided (but pushed-up-hard to the other) worktop. I needed it moved to the left .. I thought she'd follow me .. so, on my command: " .. NOW! .. " .. I figured she'd push, so the worktop could be inched to the left (it did have a Sonos Play:5, the aforementioned HDD's, 1 x Laptop, 1 x TV, 1 x Tablelamp on it) .. she pulled right .. the worktop did the 'el collapso' .. all HDD's fell to the floor including the Play:5 😭


After much changing of the colour of the air, I surveyed the damage. On inspection (trying to fire the damn thing up) .. 1 x 1TB HDD was completely totaled .. luckily, everything else hadn't met its respective maker.

Please note: I'm a huge music lover and my 1TB HDD main drive had just bit the dust! The backup drive was fine, but what to do???

With Roon entering my life (with no music storage cap) .. like the man in the film when faced with a massive shark said .. " .. we're going to need a bigger boat .. ".

It was time to start moving things around. Things were moved between the 2 x 2TB and the remaining 1TB and my laptop's 'C' drive. After several days, my music now was stored on the two larger drives and my transient TV progs and Films were shared on the 1TB drive and a good quality 500GB drive that I had knocking-around.

I honestly don't know why I hadn't done this before. Music has always been more to the forefront of my life than Film or TV ever was.

Out of bad things, come change and good things. From a broken egg, a superior omelette was made.

The moral of the story is: If you want to make a change .. struggle .. and do it yourself!*

*Sorry, Nik.

Friday, 1 March 2019

The furthur adventures of Roon ..

I've had Roon now for about a month and I can honestly say it's the best Music Library app/program I've ever known. As a devout Sonos user, it's highlighted that systems shortcomings (particularly the absence of playing back true Hi Def files).

What refuses to play on Sonos, delights being played back through Roon .. aleit downsampled. And there's the rub.

I think in 2019 I'm going to be moving away from Sonos (at least the Connect anyway) and use something capable of working hand-in-hand with Roon (Roon sees a 24 bit file and (something like) Bluesound plays back a 24 bit file).

I'll possibly even hook-up an Aurelic to it, so I can make the most of Hi Res files, as Sonos without my Meridian DAC tackling ones and zeroes .. sounds .. how do I put this? .. utter crap. I think taking the digital-to-analog conversion away from the Bluesound will be worth it.

Then it'll be time to sell the Meridian and the Sonos Connect. C'mon Sonos .. sort yourselves out. Introduce the capability to play Hi Res.

So ..

Roon ..

If you have a digital library .. hook yourself with Roon and I absolutely guarantee you will be feeding your digital addiction forevermore.

Especially if you've got 24 bit files and the hardware to play them back on.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Punk Radio? .. Yes, Please!

Well, I never like to have idle hands, I always like to be doing something.

As some of you dear readers might know, I run a huge Facebook Music Group .. Songs From Under The Floorboards: The Best Of The Punk, Post-Punk, Alt Era. It's a heavily Magazine (the band) influenced Group, with nearly 3,000 members.

I was thinking about how to move things on and make it even better for our members, when I hit upon the idea of adding an internet radio station under the same banner.

The trial has been so successful, we're going to go ahead with it and keep it as an ongoing thing.

If that type of music floats your boat, instead of today's radio fodder of George Ezra, Ed Sheeran ad nausea .. here's the url for it:

Songs From Under The Floorboards Internet Radio Show

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Record Labels: Download Cards! Be Consistant!!

A nice day to be had, swanning around Chester. I picked up the last Kate Bush boxset that I needed and another 2 x Siouxsie and The Banshees Half-Speed Abbey Road Remasters ( .. only 'Kaleidoscope' and 'The Rapture' to find now).

I was really looking forward to getting home and taking out the download cards from the Banshees albums.

All the other Remasters had download cards that enabled WAV 96khz 24bit versions of each album to be downloaded .. (except I always had to convert them to FLAC in order for Sonos to play them, but ... since I discovered Roon ... no more conversion needed).

Carefully, I took off the polythene that encased the album sleeve .. I took out the inner bags .. peeked inside ... No download card ... for either album!


Why oh why can't record companies be consistant?!?!?!

There is a digital hole in my hi res collection! I am beyond grief .. I'm stuck to the old FLAC 16bit CD Rips of 2 of the most important albums in the Banshees catalogue .. 'Peepshow' and 'Hyaena'.

Damn you, Universal!


Sunday, 27 January 2019

Name that Naim Admin .. Why .. it's Me!

Today's the day I became Admin for the Naim Audio FB Group! 8,000 Members strong!

The fella who owns a NAC102 / NAP140 / Hi Cap .. is feeling very happy with himself.

Very short blog post .. I just had to spill 👍