You are here

Log in or register to post comments
spampup
spampup's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Nov 25 2005 - 8:59am
How to Level Match Players for Comparison?

Hi, All,

I recently bought a new SACD/CD player (Marantz SA-11S1) and I would like to do some listening comparisons between this player and my Musical Fidelity Tri-Vista 21 DAC.

The Marantz' output level is about 1 dB higher than the Tri-Vista's (levels viewed on my scope using the CBS test CD).

I am interested in the best way to attenuate the level of the Marantz.

My hunch is that simply placing an adjustable resistor in series with the "hot" input line at the input of the preamp will do the trick. (I know that this would slightly increase the output impedance of the Marantz player, but probably only by a few hundred ohms)

Once I determine the proper resitor value I would solder up a plug-in attenuator using a high-quality fixed resistor.

Is there another, better, or more "standard" way of attenuating a signal?

Is there a web site that outlines a specific procedure?

I have done a number of CD player modifications over the years, and I've built two preamps (a-la Audio Amateur), so I am capable of building just about any resonable "active" device or buffer, but I would definitely prefer a "passive" attenuator here, for obvious reasons!

Thanks for any advice or suggestions!

Ken

Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: How to Level Match Players for Comparison?

I can certainly appreciate your skills and willingness to do this, but I am curious as to why you wouldn't simply measure the sound pressure level at your listening position and make note of the needed volume adjustment on your control amp?

I'm pretty sure your method could yield a bit more accuracy, but that just sounds like a lot of trouble.

Naturally, you may be listening on a completely different level and through much more serious gear than I am accustomed to.

spampup
spampup's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Nov 25 2005 - 8:59am
Re: How to Level Match Players for Comparison?

I am driving the Tri-vista 21 from the coaxial digital output of the Marantz, thereby simply comparing the two units' processors and output stages.

What I HAVE been doing is putting the Marantz in an "A-B" loop, continuously playing a passage of interest. I can jump up, switch the preamp input and adjust the (rotary, non-indexed) volume control on the preamp. The volume setting is notoriously difficult to get exactly right, though, and otherwise what's the point?

What I would LIKE to do is pre-match the levels, do the "repeating loop" thing, and have someone else switch the preamp input.

Ken

Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: How to Level Match Players for Comparison?

Back when HDCD first came out, manufacturers were required to attenuate their converters to the tune of like 3 or 6db.

I know Theta did this with their Chroma DAC and Robert Harley discussed how to correct this in his review of the Theta.

You might try to locate that old review and see how comprehensive his discussion about this was. As I recall, it was a pretty straight-forward fix and could probably be reversed in your situation.

Jim Tavegia
Jim Tavegia's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 4:27pm
Creek OBH vol control

I am not sure of the transparency of the Creek OBH remote level control, I have used one between a Cd player and a basic amp with good results. I must admit I was not looking for the last Nth of detail for critical comparisons.

Maybe others will chime in with their Creek OBH experiences. You might see if a friend has one to borrow and you could try and see what you think.

Good Luck.

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading