Thursday, March 24, 2011

More thoughts on Kenwood KT-6040 tuner and preview of Oppo BDP-95

Turns out 6040 is not birdie immune as I first thought.  I first thought that specifically because I had the high blend control turned on.  Without the high blend, I get lots more noises including the birdie noise which sounds like a faint buzz in one channel.  (The buzz goes away with high blend, and is not related to ground loops in my system.)

On the birdie immunity scale, it is somewhere behind the Yamaha TX-1000, which has merely a slightly tonal hiss.  The Yamaha is also considerably quieter when both tuners do not have high blend engaged.  However, the Kenwood continues to sound clearer, regardless of high blend.

I suspect Kenwood has noise level more comparable to Sony 730ES, which uses same MPX chip, and seemed to "perform" slightly worse than the Yamaha in previous testing, where "performance" was mainly apparent quieting slope on different stations.

I've decided that KPAC 88.3 is sufficiently quieter with high blend, and sufficiently noisy without it, to make high blend the standard way of listening to it with the Kenwood.
With the high blend, I get almost noise-free reception.  Subjective difference is like going from 45dB S/N to 60dB, right where it makes a big difference.  It's not clear how much stereo imaging I am loosing, stereo imaging seems not noticeably changed by use of high blend so far.

It brings to mind the possibilities of making more adjustable high blend, so that "just the right amount" could be added for each situation.  However, I'm not sure how that would differ from what it's doing right now, it seems to work pretty well.  With high blend, the remaining constant noise has a midrange quality to it rather than high frequency hissyness.  But that's exactly as expected, if I reduced the midrange noise I would be throwing out imaging entirely.

Better options would involve using better antenna...

Loved new Oppo player plugged straight into my Lavry AD10.  Played SACD version of Take Five, more palpable than I've ever heard it.  Due to failure in an Aragon preamp (the last thing you would think would fail) my Denon 5900 in living room cannot be used in its current location.  Was just thinking of getting second Oppo BDP95 just for playing audio discs in living room, then I could move my "good" 5900 into the bedroom.  But I don't imagine it will be easy to tell 5900 and BDP-95 apart in a fair audio test, though I might try that.

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