About 2 weeks ago on Sunday I got visit from my DIY audio friends , my wife was out of town, kids were up stair, so that Sunday was Dad's day :D. Goodies are PCM1704 tube & opamp output DAC, balanced AD1865 DAC with Joyce & Moza output stage, fine and toasty DIY F5 with a pair of gigantic choke on its supply. Also my friends TDA1541-S1 balanced. Branded fine interconnect and digital cable also proved to give improvements.Too bad I forgot to take pictures.
After hearing all DAC, we found that Alex's PCM1704 DAC sounds very well and the owner challenges his1704 against Vinyl. This is an opportunity to hear what friends think about various pressing since I have planned to write about this on my own. I have some vinyl and it's CD version, so comparing is easy.
The gears are F5 power amp, Aikido tube pre, PCM1704 DAC, modified Azur 540P phono pre, Thorens TD320MK2, Kiseki MC cartridge & Scanspeak Elan speaker.
Here are the latest of my Azur, now with 2SJ74 JFET 's before LME49720 :) replacing original BJT's, note that 74s dancing legs and 2x 11 blue Siemens film cap :). Plenty room for improvement still, constant current source on the SJ74's, Salas Shunt regulators, better transformer also dearly needed.
The CD-LP's :
CD Tonny Bennet, Duets II, 2012 Grammy winner duet with Amy Winehouse (rip), LP Amy Winehouse, Lioness, Hidden Treasure, same track, Body and Soul. More about this 180gm 45rpm new pressing with digital recording and mastering. See her video with Tony here
Verdict : Friends says vinyl sounds finer, no hard glare & digital edges compared with PCM1704, formidable opponent to his DAC says the owner. I noticed that my MC stage need more gain when paired with F5 power amp.
Next is CD / LP The Other Side of Round Midnight, 1986, Dexter Gordon movie sound track, Blue Note, track "What is this thing called love" with Bobby mc Ferrin, same verdict, better sound than Amy's LP. No wonder this CD/LP is recorded analogue, but mastered digitally.
Now the full analogue LP's, I have no CD version on them : Azymuth, Rapid Transit, Milestone Record 1983. Latin-fusion with fast and furious percussion. My friends seems to be feeling not so warmed up with previous LP's. This time it's different, the true analogue sound quality is way beyond the sound DIY DAC ..wide, deep, layerings, speed with tons of details, no harshness what so ever, and those cymbals....
Unfortunately, as with CD even a full analogue vinyl does not always sounds good, that usually depends on the recording label, the engineers and pressing. But old analogue vinyl pressing sound quality is well documented, just Google "vinyl", or check out online hifi magazines where they have music review. There are also good sounding new pressing, check out Classical Record.
Now about the music.
Why Amy Winehouse? it's about feeling and emotion, not all song sounds good and the real treasure in this LP is the track Song for You, I got hell of hairs rising on my neck and hands when listening to this track the first time. The song was recorded in Amy's house, wide - very analogue sounded, and as is recorded with Amy's bri'-ish' chatters at the end of the track. There is a guitar played faintly on the background, not very well played but tuned to the music though. Could this her guitar played half drunk? I don't know. In all this is a historical record, worthy to listen and its all about music, Amy's emotion and ours. Thank you Amy !.