You are here

Log in or register to post comments
struts
struts's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Feb 1 2007 - 12:02pm
State-of-the art computer audio!

Well I was down at Audio Concept today picking up my HD 800s and as usual Robert had something new I just "had to hear".

The product he was singing the praises of today was the recession-flouting ORACLE MA speaker cable from MIT ($25k if I heard correctly. I have learned after all these years that when he mentions prices he is generally not joking).

Apparently there is some circuitry in the huge box of electronics on the cable that sounded to me like some sort of fancy 'graphic equalizer'. Robert is a qualified engineer and talented audio designer who is generally a cable-skeptic, however he was as enthusiastic about the sound of these cables as I have heard him in a long while.

The system he had hooked up was pretty much all new to me so I can't really comment on any of the individual components or their contribution to the overall sound, not least the cables. What I can say is it sounded bloody amazing!

The system comprised:

  • Nagra CDP transport
  • Weiss Minerva Firewire DAC
  • Spectral DMC-30 Pre
  • Spectral DMA-160S Power
  • Focal Utopia La Scala

In a very brief audition Robert played a Pie Jesu accompanied by church organ (didn't catch the disc but it was definitely standard red book). The resolution, particularly at the frequency extremes was quite extrordinary, amongst the best I've ever heard, and this from a system whose total cost (cables aside!) was quite modest in the context of much of the other esoterica on show.

My interest being very much up at the digital end of things right now it was the Weiss Minerva ($4950 iiuc) that really caught my attention.

One really doesn't hear digital this good very often at all. If I weren't just about to take delivery of my own "home brew" DAC this piece would be right at the top of my list to audition. In fact when I finally receive my 'baby' I'll probably take it straight down to Audio Concept for a comparative listen!

Mmmm, Weiss. Remember the name.

linden518
linden518's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Dec 12 2007 - 5:34am
Re: State-of-the art computer audio!


Quote:
My interest being very much up at the digital end of things right now it was the Weiss Minerva ($4950 iiuc) that really caught my attention. One really doesn't hear digital this good very often at all. If I weren't just about to take delivery of my own "home brew" DAC this piece would be right at the top of my list to audition. In fact when I finally receive my 'baby' I'll probably take it straight down to Audio Concept for a comparative listen!

Mmmm, Weiss. Remember the name.


Funny, but you're the second person in three days who was bowled over by the Weiss Minerva. I'm glad a lot of these pro companies are getting in the act, now that PC-fi is taking off.

RGibran
RGibran's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 3 months ago
Joined: Oct 11 2005 - 5:50pm
Re: State-of-the art computer audio!


Quote:
Mmmm, Weiss. Remember the name.

Yes indeedy. Alot of buzz on that one.

But...

Gotta check out same priced Berkeley Audio Designs Alpha DAC.

Then the giant slayer at less than half the above...

Bryston BDA-1

RG

RGibran
RGibran's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 3 months ago
Joined: Oct 11 2005 - 5:50pm
Re: State-of-the art computer audio!


Quote:
If I weren't just about to take delivery of my own "home brew" DAC ...

OK, c'mon, give it up. Inquiring minds want to know.

RG

struts
struts's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Feb 1 2007 - 12:02pm
Re: State-of-the art computer audio!

Mwah ha ha! Just a fun little side project.

A friend of mine put together something pretty interesting using some reference boards from one of the top DAC chip manufacturers. I heard an early prototype and was blown away. Since then we've worked on refining the design, particularly the power supply and shielding (casework). Our aim has been to get something absolutely SoA for about $3000 in parts cost.

Hint: what do

and

have in common apart from both being Swiss and both costing north of $30K??

The real challenge has been finding a power supply that is up to the job, but after a long search we finally turned up a unit from Acopian that has a pretty impressive CV. Among others it has been used in NASA's moon landing, Lockheed Martin Hubble project and Project IceCube (the international high-energy neutrino observatory being built and installed in the ice below South Pole Station). Currently testing that but we also have a lead on a disconnected (battery-based) supply that could be really interesting.

Should be ready in the next few weeks by which time I'll probably be on holiday but I'll be sure to provide pics and listening impressions on my return.

RGibran
RGibran's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 3 months ago
Joined: Oct 11 2005 - 5:50pm
Re: State-of-the art computer audio!

I suspect Anagram Technologies may have something to do with it?

RG

struts
struts's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Feb 1 2007 - 12:02pm
Re: State-of-the art computer audio!

linden518
linden518's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Dec 12 2007 - 5:34am
Re: State-of-the art computer audio!

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