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vs2

IMAGE 416 - Rimu

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Hi.

New here and joined to find out about bi-amping my Image 416's (ones with the side firing subs).

 

I have tried it using 6th and 7th channel of my CA 651r and do think it has made a difference. I am not an audiophile and 90% of what I listen to is Spotify Premium downloaded to a SSD on a Win 10 NUC (7 series) and 3.5mm out to amp and just use stereo mode. Nothing wireless but control is with Spotify connect on Android.

 

Anyway my 5.1 Image system is about 15 years old and the Rimu mains sit next to windows and were severely bleached and I could barely see the Rimu grain. They looked terrible. I emailed Chris Ball and he said he gets questioned about it a lot and there is not a lot you can do as the veneer is only 0.5mm thick and mentioned the harsh Kiwi UV.

 

So I decided to give it a go. Removed all speakers, cover inserts etc then coated with Resene paint stripper and gently removed the lacquer with a plastic scraper. Then lightly wet sanded with 400 grit. Let dry and very lightly dry sanded with 400 grit, then wiped on some Briwax Rimu Dye (twice), then wiped on a sealer coat of poly, then sprayed on 3 coats of Bondall Marine Satin with a LVLP gun.

 

Painted the speaker covers with Dupli-Color Fabric & Vinyl flat black.

 

Looks 100% better but can still see the protected areas under the speaker covers.

 

 

IMAGE_416_(3).jpg

IMAGE 416 (1).jpg

IMAGE_416_(2).jpg

IMAGE_4.jpg

Edited by vs2

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That's a really nice rescue you did on those cabinets. I did something similar to a pair of old KEFs but they didn't come up as good as yours.

 

Regarding your source: For a while, I was using a PC as my main digital source and I thought it sounded OK on FLAC or hi-bitrate MP3. Then I found one of the ancient 1990-era Musical Fidelity "Digilog" D/A converters which I bought for the grand sum of $40 and I ran the optical output from the PC into that.

 

I wasn't prepared for the massive difference in sound quality. Every single aspect of the sound was markedly better. Dynamics, Clarity, Imaging, and the darkness behind the sound. 

 

That old clunky black box stayed with me for several years.

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Thanks AdamR.

 

I get a little confused on how to get the best sound from the hi-bitrate MP3. I thought my CA 651r with it's built in DAC would have taken my source and given me the best possible sound. My Win10 NUC only has HDMI and 3.5mm outputs  for sound. Do I need to install a DAC after the NUC and then switch the CA 651r to analogue source input?

 

I just looked on the specs and the CA 651r has :

Cirrus Logic CS43122 24 Bit 192kHz

capable DAC for Front Left & Right

 

Ok just realized what I need to do.

Probably get something like this:

https://www.rapalloav.co.nz/topping-d10-dac-and-headphone-amplifier-3994.html

 

 

Edited by vs2

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I kind of went the other way. My sound source is a media PC, which doesn't have HDMI out off the vidcard,  I run USB out to an Aune T1 headphone amp/dac. Because the dac side of things outputs to analogue via a nice little valve you get really nice output thats silky smooth an like you found, all of a sudden the nuances in the music come alive. Flac and other high bitrate sources sound really good.

The good thing about this unit is it also has digital pass through so the sound is excellent for 5.1 sources as well such as movies.

Its quite anazing what this little unit can do.

 

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Wet weekend so I played around with and researched DAC's,Digital, analogue, Toslink, coax, wasapi, bit-rates and khz, streaming etc.

 

I am really only concerned about getting Spotify Premium to sound the best it can from my CA 651r amp and Image 416 speakers. I do realize I'm very limited because of my source.

 

I ended up buying a Topping D50 DAC with USB, coax and toslink inputs.

 

- If you use windows and attach a usb DAC (like I have) windows hardware, software still messes with the digital source before it goes to the DAC. (a bottleneck?) Only way around this is to use jRiver or similar and Wasapi settings to get the digital passthrough to the DAC. Problem with this is Spotify is not supported.

 

Even CD players have built-in DAC's and the only way to get the true digital source to your DAC is with a CD transport device.

 

I have read that streaming Spotify Premium (which is 256kbps AAC which is evidently the same quality as 320kbps mp3)  you will get true digital bit for bit input to your DAC. Even using hi-res Tidal will be fine streaming.

 

Using a simple google chromecast audio puck (I had one laying around) and using a mini toslink to toslink cable I will get true bit for bit digital audio to my DAC at 256kbps AAC. I have heard this $35 device does the same as the very expensive streamers do($2k+).

 

TEST:

I tried my 15yo HK CD player directly to my CA 651r using toslink and RCA. I also tried via toslink to the dac then RCA to the CA 651r and then toslink directly to the CA 651r.

 

I tried Spotify Premium download onto a SSD at 320kbps mp3 on a Win 10 pc connected to a USB DAC then RCA to the CA 651r.

 

I tried Spotify Premium streaming at 256kbps AAC using the Chromecast Audio and Mini toslink to toslink to the DAC and RCA out to the CA 651r. Also tried the direct connection form the Chromecast Audio toslink to the CA 651r.

 

I then tried some FLAC files about 1100kbps from the PC through the DAC then RCA to the CA 651r. 

 

CONCLUSION:

I must have bad ears or my choice of music is crap...or my amp and speakers are just so so because I cannot tell the difference between any of them.

 

So for now as long as I have good wifi and Spotify Premium I'm just going to stream unless someone has a better solution.

Edited by vs2

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Unless I'm reading it incorrectly, why don't you try this?

Your weakest links are the analog output of your NUC, and Spotify's own resolution limitations.

 

Give TIDAL's free trial a go and download the app to your NUC. Ensure the output resolution is set to "Hi-Fi".

Connect the NUC via USB to your Topping DAC. 

 

This should yield you the best sound quality so far from the things you've tried IMO.

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On ‎11‎/‎26‎/‎2018 at 11:57 AM, Marc said:

Unless I'm reading it incorrectly, why don't you try this?

Your weakest links are the analog output of your NUC, and Spotify's own resolution limitations.

 

Give TIDAL's free trial a go and download the app to your NUC. Ensure the output resolution is set to "Hi-Fi".

Connect the NUC via USB to your Topping DAC. 

 

This should yield you the best sound quality so far from the things you've tried IMO.

 

Thanks. I'm led to believe that the 'Windows audio stack' is NOT bypassed when using a USB DAC so I am not getting bit-perfect digital to my USB DAC using Spotify or Tidal etc, whereas using chromecast audio bit-perfect digital is sent to the DAC but only if Toslink is used otherwise the built-in DAC on the chromecast does the conversion.

 

Or the other way is to use jRiver or foobar2000 which uses wasapi and asio drivers to bypass the Windows audio stack, only problem is Spotify and Tidal are not supported.

Edited by vs2

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I don't think any of that is your biggest concern when you are using Spotify as a lossy source to be honest.

That is going to have more to do with your sound quality than your output device IMO.

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I've ordered a Topping D50 now, which will be added to my Chromecast Audio. I'll be interested to hear the difference it makes. I am tempted to make up my own linear 5V supply for it since I am old-school and don't like the idea of switching supplies anywhere near audio. 

 

Something involving a transformer, rectifier, lots of capacitance, linear regulator with heatsink, and a shielded twisted-pair power cable to take the clean DC to the DAC.

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Just FYI these Chromecast Audio's have become a bit of a rarity these days, I mean try finding one in NZ. I n saying that I think they are great because of there mini toslink digital passthrough and the ease of use using the 'home' Android app.

 

Loving the Topping D50, it turns off after 30 seconds of no signal and turns on when the CCA sends a signal. I use it two ways 1. Android streaming spotify premium via CCA  and 2. usb from my i7 NUC . I simply power it from one of the the NUC's USB ports. Everything is crystal clear and no noise at all. It has never been easier to power on my amp and listen to music.

 

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