MBL Noble Line N31 CD player-DAC Associated Equipment

Sidebar 2: Associated Equipment

Digital Sources: NAD M50.2 music server; iPad mini & iPhone 6S with Apple Camera Connection Kit; AVM Ovation MP 8.2, Ayre Acoustics QX5 Twenty, PS Audio PerfectWave DirectStream DACs; Mac mini running Roon 1.3.
Preamplifier: Ayre Acoustics KX-5 Twenty, NHT Balanced Passive Volume Control.
Power Amplifiers: MBL Corona C15, Pass Labs XA60.8 monoblocks.
Loudspeakers: GoldenEar Technology Triton Reference.
Cables: Digital: AudioQuest Coffee (DACs), Belkin Gold (iDevices), USB; DH Labs, AES/EBU; Esperanto, S/PDIF. Interconnect (balanced): AudioQuest Wild Blue, Canare. Speaker: AudioQuest K2. AC: AudioQuest Dragon, manufacturers' own.
Accessories: Target TT-5 equipment racks; Ayre Acoustics Myrtle Blocks; ASC Tube Traps, RPG Abffusor panels; Shunyata Research Dark Field cable elevators; AudioQuest Niagara 5000 Low-Z Power Noise-Dissipation System. AC power comes from two dedicated 20A circuits, each just 6' from breaker box.—John Atkinson

MBL Akustikgeräte GmbH & Co.
US distributor: MBL North America, Inc.
217 N. Seacrest Boulevard #276
Boynton Beach, FL 33425
(561) 735-9300

Axiom05's picture

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this whole issue a consequence of the mastering being done poorly? If the people doing the mastering didn't "push" the recorded levels so high, right up against 0 dB, then there wouldn't be any intersample overs? Isn't this another issue caused by the poor quality of the recordings that we are being offered? A higher quality of engineering would eliminate so many of the problems that we are facing in recorded music. These are not "digital" defects, these are symbolic of poor quality work. IMHO, of course...

CG's picture


But, this is being done deliberately by somebody in the recording chain. I can only speculate that this is what they feel they need to do in order for the recording to play well over the devices of the time. So, it's not "poor work", although we might think so.

It's funny... People wonder why young folks today don't show as much interest in "hifi" as kids did back in the 70's or thereabouts. Maybe part of the reason is that the contemporary music they like doesn't reproduce well over what we might call "hifi" systems.

supamark's picture

and mastering engineers (and consumers). Labels want it to sound "good" on earbuds and crappy bluetooth speakers because that's how most pop music is consumed so it's heavily compressed/limited, and mastering engineers do it because that's how you keep the lights on and the rent paid.

The upside, if you like vinyl, is that records are mastered with far less compression of the dynamic range (you simply can't cut a record as hot as modern CD's and expect it to be playable). Those young hipsters buying vinyl are the next crop of audiophiles. Unfortunately, a good vinyl playback chain is significantly more expensive (and fiddly) than a comparable DAC/transport.

supamark's picture

that white/gold finish looks TACKY in pictures. The black/silver is a bit cold, but at least it doesn't look like it has a comb-over and tiny fingers [rimshot].

jimtavegia's picture

The issue of the loudness wars I am afraid will always continue and why too many think that headroom is a bad thing I don't understand. Do these same people fill a beverage glass right up to the top rim and then try and walk 25 feet to deliver it to their guests?

It is important to turn on the last bit, -6db to get full use of the recording DAC, and -3db or -2db of headroom should be left as who knows if the metering being used is accurate to even +/_ .5db?

I certainly like dynamic range which is what makes digital great in the first place with no need to really worry about the noise floor, except the room noise.

I am afraid there as just too many plug-ins being bought and used in mastering and recording to make things just louder. I would have hoped by 2020 this would not be an issue anymore.