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Butcher

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Butcher last won the day on May 1

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  1. This player continues to thrill me. I've been meaning for quite some time to get away from my multi-channel Atmos thingy receiver. The only thing that has kept it in place has been the use of the remote for input switching, control of my Marantz Blu-ray player, system volume control, and lastly the ability to break the sound out of the HDMI and send it to my stereo amp. With the retirement of the Marantz player the list of reasons to hold on to the AV receiver just became shorter. I'd just lacked the spare moments to attempt any experimentation. I finally tripped over an adequate block of time that was just sitting there, derelict, which provided the opportunity for me to play some bypass shenanigans with the receiver. I took the HDMI output from the Oppo and sent that directly to my panel display, and the analog outputs went to my highly-regarded Nakamichi CA-7 preamplifier. With everything connected thusly, I found that I had stellar sound coming through my speakers, but somehow the tv was still getting sound and passing it through my Sonos "home theater". I silenced that noise, then found that the soundtrack was playing perfectly through the analog stereo but the vocals were far, far back, as if the speaking roles were phoning in their post-production dubs and Foley from the comfort of the loo. More research and experimentation were warranted. A few layers into the Oppo audio menus I discovered a positively wonderful setting that allowed me to choose what audio output format I wanted. It was but a moment to select 2.0, no LFE, and my show was ready for the big room. I found that Oppo thoughtfully provided a volume control on the remote. With the telly managing the inputs, the analog sound playing perfectly through the stereo, and the Oppo controlling the volume for my ancient, non-remote but very rare and stellar preamp, the Marantz receiver has been retired. Its a brilliant unit but not my particular malt anymore. I do believe my adventures with multichannel are over.
  2. Gents, I forgot to mention that I had purchased said Oppo 103D. Although I miss my Marantz - which has now taken an exalted spot with my office stereo equipment, as I'd mentioned before - the Oppo styling has grown on me quite a bit. It is square and purposeful, somewhat of a throwback to mid-80s hifi sensibilities. Performance-wise, it has done at least as good a job as the Marantz, and whilst I wasn't expecting it I did notice a bit of extra detail and depth to my favorite test movie. I mucked about with the Darbee for a bit, and I found myself enabling it but leaving it set to "zero", and it did make a difference. I thought for certain that I had read about that technique here, but I couldn't find the post. In any case I had no bias in favor of Darbee so I approached it with an open mind. I find this player to be a decent player at the price I paid - $300 - and though it lacks 4K and Dolbyvision I believe it will serve me well. Many thanks to my friends here who urged me to pursue it.
  3. That "technology" is just as good today. I have an ancient issue of Starlog magazine from the 70s that shows how to get the 3D effect from a pair of adjacent photos by crossing one's eyes. The Viewmaster took care of that for the user, and the result was as good as the source material. Since those pictures were taken from 35MM masters, the results were usually very good. I still have mine, and they've got lush, deep color and they're very sharp. I could imagine that the same player with high def pictures would be amazing. Just for the sake of the discussion, I was a dealer for 3dX back in the early 90s, which used a sort of fresnel lens in a modified rear projection cabinet to split an image into two imperfectly aligning images which was then resolved with glasses similar to the Epcot 3D movies of the early days. My demonstrator system was installed on a Pioneer Elite RPTV of a substantial size. The effect was quite striking. Not 3D as you're used to, with the images reaching out of the telly in an exaggerated fashion, but rather what 3dX called "depth enhancement", where the scene suddenly had a realistic viewing depth. Particularly striking when one would watch an action movie. Where... would that spike go? That appears to be an old patent medicine treatment for people who couldn't stop looking at pictures of landmarks. Ah, the old stereo photos. Long before the Dolby ProLogic photos took over the market. Those were the days. Still not as muddled as the new generation Atmos photos, where you have photo information overhead. It makes complete muck of the viewing experience, I'm afraid. Eagle Eye, indeed.
  4. That is an excellent resource. Bum to the rescue! I believe the best way for me to settle that would be to pull the top cover and have a look at the main board. I will of course report my results here. If you have the Darbee, could you please explain what it does, and under what circumstances it would be useful?
  5. As a side mention - would the proper answer to this be "= 3"? Asking for a mate. Yes I believe this player will be getting a healthy dose of grain spirits when I open it up and begin working on it. Techspray makes a fine 198 proof beverage that will really make it shine. I've spent some time researching the current generation of players and I've seen there's maybe 5 now that have analog audio. The next best thing would be to have an external DAC, as you say, but that means the player must have a 1.4 HDMI output in addition to a primary HDMI 2.0 output. Things have changed so much from when I started. The very first time I walked into my hifi store, I encountered an NEC S-VHS machine. Playing through a Proton monitor, I was astounded at the quality. Compared to today's pictures, it looks like viewing the world through a teething tot's toy binoculars.
  6. It appears I'll be purchasing that 103D then. At the risk* of sounding pretentious, would anyone here know what DAC package this unit has? Bum? You have one of everything they make, apparently. I've downloaded the user manual and read it through a few times but I still have no idea what the Darbee nonsense is; it seems to be some kind of image enhancement, perhaps the visual version of Sonic Holography. Visual Holography? That would be a bit redundant, I think. The 103 doesn't have 4K and DolbyVision so I'll need yet another player later on when I get a new display, but this Oppo should be fine for my business at the moment. *Always make sure you get Australia first, you'll be a shoo-in for victory. Yes Asia gets you 7 armies and its fun saying "Kamchatka" every few moments, but its such a pain to hold on to.
  7. One must add value wherever one goes. Leave the earth a better place once you've done with your particular bit of it, and so forth. Thank you for the review!
  8. Interesting you mention that. Someone just tried to sell me an Oppo 103 with "DarbeeVision" for $300, whatever the blazes that is. I did not know much about the brand so I declined. You'll have to forgive me, I've neglected my video education these past 20 years.
  9. That looks like a very nice player, based on what I've just read at HTHIFI. Thank you for the recommendation. Yes I'm sure it does, just as long as I don't mind it playing everything no earlier than November. 🤨
  10. Hello lads, component disaster has struck yet again here at Schloss Butcher. I've been quite happily using a universal player that gave me Blu-ray (no 4K), SACD, and excellent analog audio - until recently. The bloody thing suddenly decided that no matter which format of video disc I placed in its treacherous maw, it would not provide any signal over the HDMI - only sound over the analog ports. I've switched cables, inputs, media, and even brands of hopped beverage - to no avail. Of course it is long past its in warranty date. It still performs admirably as an audio player - for now - and it will henceforth be relegated to an honored position in another room, delivering quality audio to one of my favored stacks of vintage hifi. (It was either that or the Fist of Doom, and I'm still rightly embarrassed about that whole thing with the M1.0t.) What I need is a Blu-ray player that can handle SACD - and DVD-Audio and 4kHD if possible - whilst giving me a nice pair of shiny RCA jacks to hook into an amp for when I decide to show people that stereo never went away. If the player can handle DolbyVision and HDR10 and all the rest of the alphabet buzzies, so much the better. I know everyone seems to be getting out of the physical media market, but there has to be something available at a reasonable cost. I would think under $500 would suffice. Sony makes the UBPX1100ES (why can't they just give it a proper name, like "Hank" or "Nigel"?) but I have no reason to trust Sony, based on my previous experience with their media players. (Dreadful things, they are. Enough to make a parson swear.) As my player was 7 years old, I'd gladly accept something 2-3 years old, if it were new-old-stock, and from an authorized retailer. Would anyone have a potential direction they'd be willing to point me towards?
  11. Greetings chums, I participated in a recent thread that dealt with Adcom preamplifiers (in part), and I brought up my desktop system. I felt that I would be a better help to all who are interested if I would explain what I have here. I have an iMac of recent vintage sitting on my desk. At one point I was satisfied just playing music through the built-in speakers, because they are actually excellent for their purpose. Clean, clear, good vocals, decent stage. Plus they fall readily at hand, as it were, since I can control them via keyboard. Bring up an album on iTunes, hit the space bar, adjust the volume, go back to work in a slightly better environment. But of course it completely lacks bass reinforcement. I've also become accustomed to using the Sonos system 20 feet away from my misplaced desk, which occupies one corner of my living room as I wait for my office to be finished. Which is another story entirely. Its rather easy to bring up the app on the iMac, or on one of my handy iPhones, and again, improve my environment with a good playlist. However, Sonos is supremely compromised. On more than a few recordings it does not have good separation, or detail, or soundstage. It'll go clear and loud, and have decent transient response. But older albums usually fall flat. Newer stuff sounds very overprocessed to my ears. I generally don't feel like listening to more than a single album, because I start to get fatigued. The main strength for Sonos is for the audio in a movie. Thats it. And bugger the whole thing if your movie has a DTS-only soundtrack. Then you end up with PCM stereo, not surround (or emulated surround at best). So what to do? If you're like me you have an immense pile of vintage hifi poking out of boxes stashed away all around the house. I decided to start matching pieces together to see what sticks. On my first go around I took an Adcom GFP-555 preamplifier ($300-400) out and put that on my desk. I stacked a GFA-535 amplifier ($250-300) on top of it. Its nothing major, just an exceptional power supply pushing 60w x 2 channels. I put the iMac on top of it. Its not blocking the air slots, and the frame seems to be holding it up quite well. A Monster Cable 2.5mm to stereo Y cable, a pair of their directional patch cables, and some quality speaker wire finished the system. Initially I went with the smallest speakers I had, which were some tiny Minimus-style wooden boxes from one of the online audio component suppliers. They go for about $130, and they are "some assembly required". They go together quite easily, they are quite nice looking, and they sound pretty good. No bass though, which should be expected. I used those for about 3 weeks. Nice, but not completely satisfying. I then tried my favorite pair of B&W 602s (typically $300/pr). The sound was clean, but a little scratchy when I got into something with decent transients like Daft Punk's wonderful Tron: Legacy OST. Finally, I ended up putting a pair of Canton LE102 (under $200) bookshelves on the desk. As it turned out, I had saved the best for last. Vocals are a big deal for me, followed by strings. This system handles all with sparkle and heft. Mid bass was taut and precise, but the bass was a bit on the tentative side. I looked over at my makeshift printer stand, which is nothing more than the printer standing on the box it came in. "Hm," says I, "I wonder if we couldn't tidy that up a bit". I dragged a Velodyne 12 inch sub (under $200) out of storage, cleaned the spiders and related beasties off, and used it to replace the printer box, which was dispatched with a healthy kick. Another pair of interconnects later (I hooked the sub in stereo in order to take advantage of the internal crossover, a no-no to all of us usually "serious audiophiles") and the thing was up and running. Some quick sub-fu got the level and crossover point dialed in, roughly, and it was off to the races. I launched some instrumental music in the form of Michael Giacchino's excellent Lost soundtrack albums. In short order I was cheered by the amazing island sounds from the land of "WTH?". At a comfortable listening volume, the sub lends some genuine planetary mass to that music and transforms it from mere listening into experiencing. Also, with the speakers arranged parallel to each other at roughly 3 feet apart and sitting at the back of a 30 inch deep desk, the sweet spot at my chair is incredibly enveloping. Separation and soundstage appear to be at the maximum end of whatever limit is on such a presentation. Instruments appear to be floating in the air and every note has an etheric quality. The haunting piano of "Win One for the Reaper" or the strings of "Departing Sun" knocked me off my chair, metaphorically. I actually ended up with a distinct desire to return to playing piano after a few extended listening sessions. Or at least doing a better job of faking it. Honestly, I could sit and listen to all six of these albums end to end with this system. Its not fatiguing, its refreshing. Don't get me started about my SACD Dire Straits albums through this system. The server doesn't have enough drive space for what I would need to say. In summary: this system is STELLAR! So thats my desktop kit. While the cost - at around $900 not counting cabling - might prove to be a bit high for just a casual work system, I nonetheless highly recommend it.
  12. Thats a really nice piece. dbx things always look so purposeful. You just made me realize there's one thing that proves my cartridge setup is knackered: in the flat black places between songs, my turntable has very little hiss. That plus the compressed feel of certain albums tells me this thing is off.
  13. I know what you mean. I had a deal working with a few clams regarding some vintage gear. Those guys tried to mussel their way in. They almost had me hooked. Something about the whole thing seemed fishy, so I walked away from it.
  14. Clams? Are they particularly the problem or is it mollusks in general? I was warned by my nutritionist to avoid filter-feeders, so this won't be a problem for me.
  15. I really got into the fossil... record... in my vinyl dig. I started out with topsoil in the form of Van Halen's Women & Children First, then got into a layer of clay, which was a replay of yesterday's War album. Then it got interesting. Under a layer of strata which was mostly volcanic schist I found a record of a previous civilization - Martin Denny's Exotica. Unfortunately it was badly scratched and dirty, and I no longer have access to a VPI record washer. After the first few times my needle jumped that scratch like an airboat hitting river logs I had to admit defeat. The consolation prize was a wonderful LP from the Ahmad Jamal Trio, which apparently was made in the days before albums were titled. This one just has the track list on the front, superimposed over a lovely miss. On the back is what seems to be Epic's entire catalog at the time. What an interesting time that was to buy music. I find the last album to be especially interesting. I could bring this up on Youtube and listen to it in all its 384k glory without pops and scratches, but I doubt I would make it through that. I'm rather enjoying these 30 minute slices of pleasantry, static crackles and all. I've come to the growing realization that these past 30 years of digital have potentially harmed my music appreciation. I really don't think I was experiencing the music as much as I was just getting through it. I'm now actively considering cartridges, because as it stands my deck is putting out a compressed sound on some albums, and I know there's a lot more information available to me, I just can't get to it the way things stand. I'm certain that a simple alignment would probably do wonders, but I'm going to do the rewire and change out that cartridge. As a friend of mine in the platter business recently told me - don't ever buy a used cartridge. Of course, many of us entering the lacquer jack market do that "just to get going" - and thats fine - but there's nothing like that fresh little diamond tool to pick the fruit from those vinyl valleys. So... Grado, Shure, Ortofon...? I have experience with all of them and I'm cartridge agnostic. If we were talking headphones, different story. No one gets in between me and BeyerDynamic. But what cartridge?
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