Thursday, 24 October 2019

TIDAL Observations ..

Well, having tested out Tidal for a couple of weeks now on the free trial, I can honestly say .. it’s a keeper.

Surprisingly, I’ve not really visited my 77,000 strong song library held on my external hard drive. It seems that Tidal has everything that I could possibly need. Added bonus is that there’s a good smattering of what I like in MQA (thank you so much AudioQuest Cobalt Blue DAC)*

All I really need to do now to enhance my music experience, is get a better cartridge for my turntable. 

Thinking on preferred formats, I have to say: I like all of ‘em. At the end of the day, it’s the music that counts. All I can really say is upgrade what you have until you’re 100% happy. When you’re happy: Stop.

* Best purchase ever.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Alternate DAC/Streamer to MQA heaven? ..

Hmmm .. I’m exploring all avenues. Having more-than-strongly thought about the Auralic solution (Hi-End DAC / Streamer), thanks to John Darko .. I might think about hooking-up my iPad to an Audioquest Cobalt DAC to experience MQA. It’s certainly a lot less expensive.

Anyway, here’s John with a great 20 minute video about it (try to not let it fry your 🧠) ..



Thursday, 10 October 2019

TIDAL .. Here I come! ..

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1bMsDv3ngaB7qUd_1VXqVXQ85I6IT-IwL
Having taken out a three month free trial for Amazon Music HD, as good as it is .. I’ll more than likely drop it for the more expensive TIDAL.

*Just started a 60 day free trial.

Why (you may ask)? .. Much better resolution equals better sound quality. Plus ... the new audio magic of Bob ‘Meridian’ Stuart’s MQA technique and the promise of being able to listen to albums in Studio Authenticated Master quality (much, MUCH higher than Amazon HD).

I won’t get the full benefit of listening to fully unfolded MQA until next year when I get my Auralic Vega G1 DAC / Streamer, but I can listen to the first unfold via my IOS devices and Roon .. and .. BOY! .. even that sounds amazing!

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Naim’s NAP250 Power Amp. Does it live up to expectations? ..



The short answer is: ‘Yes! .. and then some!!’.

It’s now been plumbed-in for 24 hours and the first thing to notice is its vice-like grip on fast moving bass notes .. there’s no ‘slurring’ .. every note is rendered distinctly. 

There’s also better imaging. My KEF Q900’s seem to have disappeared, leaving a band playing music in my living room.

Overall, I’m really happy with my purchase. I could take it further with a NAC52, or go for the Classic black range, but .. no .. reaching the end of the Olive line at this stage is perfect for me.

Next stop: A new digital front end. A combined DAC/Streamer, here I come! 

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Upgrading Path Continues ..

Here we go. The last link in the amp chain ..

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1h7WOBNez-u2VZa8rdUYkXsT17159RBui

Here comes the Naim NAP250 power amp (upgraded from my NAP140). Should be plumbed-in to the system by Saturday.

What a year it’s been so far. Upgraded my Naim pre amp from a NAC102 to a NAC82 (a NAC52 is way out of my pay grade), upgraded my PSU from a Hicap to a Teddy Pardo DualTeddyCap (incorporates the equivalent of 2 x Hicaps and a NAPSC) and now the power amp upgrade from a 140 to a 250. Why a Chrome Bumper version of the NAP250? Word is, it had a better toroidal transformer in it than the later models 🍻

To be continued ..

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

New PSU has arrived ..

.. and what a fantastic addition to the system it is!

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1BF1HgQiiVqCqEfWrM23mOLDty1t7syds

I bought the Dualcap from Teddy Pardo (Manufacturer and Naim member). It basically performs the role of 2 x Hicaps and 1 x NAPSC in one box (so out came my one Hicap and NAPSC and in went the Dualcap).

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=10JNZ0Z63XrB-A95Q1se_9zE34cFmFI19

To say the difference was night and day is about right. It’s only been in my system for about a day (definitely not burned-in yet) and the separation and soundstage is incredible. Plus I can tell the difference between a kick-drum and a bass guitar now.

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1RznQVDLPWqd7bSGFE9JkqALU4wWnPflY

The one niggle I have with it has nothing to do with it’s performance and all to do with the currency conversion and VAT. Customers have to pay in U.S. Dollars and as the Pound is in the toilet at the moment, my wallet took a hammering. That’s the only grumble I have.

It even came complete with all the necessary cables ..

https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1EFcOQctZ6el3XH9eatDe-3ovu5MQf1Sshttps://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1tb9TS5DTobBvGbo-uaECjR7SQ9Vhd1CJhttps://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1kC2yQ56ZOctlsZNYYjaAxuT-smRF2uKD

The product is superb and highly recommended for Naim users.

*All pics courtesy of Teddy Pardo’s Website.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Digital Cables ..

Hmmm ... not sure whether to wipe the egg off my face, or pat myself on the back! 

The Meridian 563 DAC .. LIVES!!!!!!

It seems that either my IXOS Coax cable has bitten the dust, or ... the internal Coax input is kaput! 

I found out the problem was the £80 Coax, as I plugged in my under £5 Optical and the Digital signal was shown as ‘Locked’ (as it should be when the DAC senses a live connection).

Sound quality difference between the two? None. Zilch. Zero. Nada.

Which brings me along to the thorny issue of: Why spend £80 on a Coax cable when a £3.50p Optical cable delivers EXACTLY the same goods?

Very good question! 

The answer? Don’t. 

If there’s no perceivable benefits to be had, then you’d be a fool to spend the extra on something that isn’t an audible upgrade.

.. and that’s shocking to me, as that IXOS cable was the bees-knees. Or so I thought.

Everyday is still a schoolday.