I want to thank you for your review of zero oversampling DAC's. As a result, I purchased the AMM Attraction DAC as well as the BYOB amp. You were spot-on with your review. If you haven't already, I would recommend you also try the amp. Only 10 watts, so not everyone's cup of tea, but I found it to have all the same attributes of the Attraction DAC.
Many thanks for the positive comments and for sharing your audio odyssey with me. I've said it before, but it's worth repeating: the best sound system is usually not the most expensive, and your finding is a clear validation of my own experience. I actually have the BYOB amp on hand as well, but due to time constraints it has not as yet received the formal audition it clearly deserves. The AMM Attraction DAC continues to delight; it surely lets you enjoy the music like no other DAC on this planet.
I've used you protractor on my last two cartridge installs.
Am glad the protractor has worked out well. You'd be amazed how many of those we have sent off or have been downloaded. Vinyl is very much alive and well :)
Thanks and as always... Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin
I have pair of TC-50s with an open voice coil in the woofer. Do you know of any resource for either replacement or repair. Please respond with whatever information you have.
Thanks for your e-mail and have suggest SpeakerEx.com in the past and they seem to be very good at repairing drivers. They have been in business a long time so I have faith in their abilities. Always glad to help :)
Enjoy the Music,
Steven R. Rochlin
Hello Mr. Gold,
It was a pleasant surprise for me to read your review about the Aurum Cantus Vollas. The black pair you saw last year in silent display at the FSI are in my listening room since the show ended. I am a relative new and young audiophile and this loudspeakers were the first component of my first high-end system. Indeed I attended the show with a pair of new monitors in mind, I expected to listen to the Sonus Faber Cremona Auditors or perhaps some Piega monitors. The sound that emanate from the Accentus Audio floorstanders captured my attention too and after contemplating the beauty of the Vollas, watching that were the same drivers of the Accentus and a quick listening with a tube integrated I knew these loudspeakers will come back home with me.
For me, the strengths of the Vollas are speed, an open soundstage and transparency, their weakness include an image with not enough depth and a lean mid-bass (until now). I'm using a solid state system but because of these characteristics perhaps the Vollas complement better a tube based system. It took a long time for the break-in, indeed the first time I took off the jumpers and used bi-wired cables the sound was incoherent with the ribbon moving faster than the woofer, but right now they are perfectly integrated.
In my case the soundstage is extremely wide and I love it, perhaps this is the trade off with the depth. The highs are very detailed and in my system the bass, although not weighty, is tight, clean and extended, as low as 32 Hz though the specs claim only 38 Hz. I must confess I'm suspicious about chinese audio products, but the Aurum Cantus Vollas have changed my perception about design, performance and finish. My only minor dislike is with the quality of the binding posts, but they function well.
The associated equipment includes a single dedicated AC line with dedicated ground, DH Labs Power Cable, Wattagate receptacle, a Wadia 861, Pass Labs Aleph 0 monoblocks, a Shunyata Hydra 6 conditioner with Python 20A cable, Shunyata Taipan Power Cables, Shunyata XLR Altair Interconects, Shunyata Andromeda bi-wired speaker cables, Cable Towers, custom-made individual metal bases with granite slabs, Stillpoints for isolation and custom-made 24" stands with parabola shape match for the Aurum Cantus Vollas.
I have to discover how does the sound improves as the rest of my system improves. Right now I'm still in the break-in phase of interconnects and speaker cables. Next upgrades will include Shunyata Anaconda Power Cables with an Hydra 8, Aurios Isolation Bearings and custom-made monolithic granite stands for the Aurum Cantus Vollas in the Sonus Faber Guarneri Homage style.
I hope this other point of view of the Vollas will compliment yours.
Thank you so much for sending me this note and including your listening experience. It seems your findings are not too far from my own.
Enjoy the Vollas, and Enjoy The Music!
Hey Mr. Gold,
I wanted to say that I enjoyed your review of the Shure E4c Versus Ultimate Ears Super.fi 5pro. I am in the market for some ear plug type headphones, and your article pitted the two that I am considering. I am going to buy a pair of the UE's based on your informative review. It is nice to know that you used both classical and jazz in your tests. I am a huge jazz fan and often workout to jazz. Thanks for your review!
I appreciate that. There will be a follow up review of custom fit canal earphones in a month or so.
Enjoy The Music,
And now a well thought out letter and reply between our Reviewer Rick Becker and Glenn Ruffus:
Rick Becker writes:
And now Glenn's letter:
The Mapleshades arrived first and I tested them just under the CD transport. There was a very noticeable improvement over the 1" hard wood blocks that I had been using to support each component. (My full platform is, under each component: carpet, 1" thick granite, a set of four Mapleshade "Isoblocks", a platform of 2" maple butcher block, a set of three 1" cube children's hardwood play blocks, and then the component). The idea behind my comparison was to replace the children's play blocks with sets of genuine absorption/isolation devices. I was quite pleased with the improvements that the Mapleshades brought.
The next day, the BAD devices came in the mail and I started direct comparisons. First, I listened to a familiar cut of about 1 minute in length with the wood blocks, then the same with the Mapleshades, and then the same with the TuneBlocks. The level of base, the detail and the clarity of highs, like cymbals, improved when putting in the Mapleshades. Again, I found the Mapleshades to be very satisfying. However, when listening to the TuneBlocks, there was the same level of bass but it was much cleaner and there was much more detail in the mids and highs - even the cymbals that were so impressive with the Mapleshades were that much more elegant with the TuneBlocks. (brush work on Bill Evans Trio recordings).
I went through the same process with a couple of other recordings (Nat "King" Cole and Center City Brass Quintet) and found the same results. I then went through the same process with my other components. As I wrote above, the BADs were always better and in the same way, so I'll just describe the improvements/sound of the BADs. Here is the readers digest version of what I found:
CD D/A converter - no noticable difference (outboard power supply and no moving parts)
Pre-amp power supply - not much improvement with the Mapleshade but a noticable improvement with the Tuneblocks. Surprising to me - just an outboard power supply.
Pre-amp - very nice improvement. Overall image size remained the same but each individual instrument seemed to become more precisely placed with the BADs. MUCH cleaner and more detailed.
Amp - nice improvement of a similar type. Imaging didn't change drastically but I heard much more detail - standup bass clarity and clean cymbals that shined. It was almost as if the cymbals held onto their ring for a longer time.
Turntable - BIG improvement. The most drastic change was when they were placed under the turntable. A huge difference in upper frequencies (like sizzling cymbals that are brushed or trumpets.) Much cleaner and deeper standup bass - plucked or bowed. -Very nice detail and warmth in the mids.
I just sent an email to Austin, asking for a quote for several more sets so that I could put them under all of my components. I did find a use for the Mapleshades, however, so I won't be returning them. If I turn them over and place them, triplepoints down, one each on the three transformers of my tube amp, they take out some vibration that was making it to the tubes. I got used to listening with them on the transformers and then pulled them off for a comparison. Yuck! They went right back on and that's were they are going to stay!
By the way, I also purchased a Mat 1, based on your review. I am quite pleased with it. The addition of the TuneBlocks made an even larger improvement than the use of the Mat 1, alone, did. The combination of the two is striking. (I have a stock Music Hall MMF 7 turntable (acrylic platter). My turntable sounds much better than ever before.
While I "have your ear", have you ever heard of using artificial trees in the corners behind your speakers to refract sound that hits them, thus preventing any sort of sound reflecting out of those back corners? A friend of mine had heard of this though he hasn't actually purchased the trees. I was going to try this. I'm very interested in what you have to say.
Dear Mr. Olsher,
I just want to let you know, that the statement : “The Attraction DAC is said to be the world's only digital playback machine with static non-oversampling DA conversion up to 192 kHz.” is not true. We have also designed a DA converter, which runs for DVD-Audio data streams with sampling rates of 176.4kHz and 192kHz without any analog or digital filter.
This DAC circuitry is based on 16 PCM1704 in a so called “LIANOTEC” arrangement.
LIANOTEC stands for Linear Analog Oversampling Technology. So we do the oversampling in the analog domain. I know this sounds strength, but is true. I have published a few paper about our concept on our website. I did also some tests with lower sampling rates as well, but have decided to remove the digital filter just for the high sampling rates, but the analog filter is removed in all cases.
In the part of “Jitter games” you should mention that the jitter problematic is more a problem for sigma-delta converters ( see the enclosed “Enhancing sound quality with DACs”), but I agree with you that the jitter problematic is sometimes overestimated in the audio literature. The enclosed BB Design Seminar describes the difference of multibit and DeltaSigma converters very well. On pages 26 & 27 you can find a formula and a response curve, how the jitter effects the SNR. It is said, that the audible threshold for “golden ears” is –110dB, so I think the jitter should be below 1ns.
Dear Mr. Brauer,
Thank you for your feedback and for bringing the LIANOTEC technology to my attention, and I look forward to auditioning your DAC designs in the future. You are absolutely correct to point out that jitter is more of a problem with the sigma-delta type of DAC architecture. I note with interest that Burr-Brown (BB Design Seminar) considers the sigma-delta DAC best suited for consumer use, while the R2R architecture was rated as the overall performance winner and ideally suited for professional use.
Regarding the audibility of jitter, I think we agree that jitter levels should be below 1 nS. How much lower is the real question, and in my experience even 0.2 nS is audible.
My best regards,
I enjoyed your recent review of the Altmann Micro Machines Attraction DAC with great interest, more so now because I am at the threshold of buying a DAC and had decided on the Benchmark DAC1 - until I read your glowing review of the Altmann. Although the Benchmark was also recently reviewed by you, I wonder how th Altmann would stand on a head-to-head comparison of the Benchmark? One other thing that I was not clear about the Altmann, does the listener have to manually toggle between the various sampling rates of CD? If so, it sounds quite bothersome since I may not know what sampling rate it may have been recorded in.
I appreciate your time in advising me.
Thank you for your feedback. I am very serious when I say that the Attraction DAC obliterates the competition under $3K, and that includes the Benchmark DAC1. The standard CD sampling rate is fixed at 44.1; no need to toggle anything if all you are doing is listening to CDs. My review sample came outfitted with the sample rate option, 48 kHz for playback of Digital Audio Tapes (DAT) and 192 kHz in support of DVD Audio, and these settings are manually selectable via toggle switches.
Note that if you are only planning on listening to CDs, there is no reason to purchase the multi sample rate option. Simply power on the DAC, kick back, and enjoy your CD collection like never before.
As always, enjoy the music!
Thank you very much for your prompt reply and kind explanation. You are one of the few reviewers whom I admire and respect greatly! In fact, I have decided to own the Altmann Attraction DAC and feel sure that, like you, I will enjoy my CD collection like never before! I hope you will continue your excellent and tireless work and effort in carefully reviewing audio equipment, and help consumers like myself distinguish the grain from the chaff!
Many Thanks and Best Regards!
Stereophile needs you back…big time. Great article as usual on the Dac’s. Also, that is an awesome Gene Ammons disc. Could you imagine how good Kind of Blue would have been with Gene on it???
Thanks for the kind feedback; it is much appreciated. Rest assured, however, that I have found my niché at Enjoy the Music.com. There's no going back!
As always, enjoy the music.
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