Monday, April 18, 2011

King Crimson on Oppo

Last year I was delighted to find the DVD-Audio 40th anniversary edition of King Crimson's Court of the Crimson King.  It sounded fantastic on my Denon 5900 re-digitized to 24/96 with my MSB PAD-1, then on to living room system.

This year I have been even more delighted to play back Court of the Crimson King on my Oppo BDP-95 and Lavry AD10, with 1 foot balanced interconnect in between.

Unfortunately, DVD-Audio discs must be navigated with a video screen.  That a pain, IMO.  I normally don't like to hook my universal music disk players to a video display because that often introduces ground loops.  On this disc, somewhat count-intuitively, you must press "down" and then "right" to get to the audio menu, from which you can select two stereo modes, MLP lossless stereo at 192kHz/24 bit, and LPCM at 96kHz/24bit.  I greatly prefer the MLP version and immediately figured that it was a different mastering.  Indeed, the LPCM version is a 2004 remastering of Court, and the MLP version is a 2009 multitrack remastering for which they went back to the original pre-mixdown tapes and did a 24 bit digital remix, thereby bypassing all the previous technical limitations.  The MLP version is far sweeter, less harsh, and yet quieter and more detailed, all at the same time, a timeless recording done to the best of modern standards.

This is one of those recordings which is so essential you nearly must own a DVD-Audio player just for this one disc!

I had started by connecting my small battery powered TV display (bought for navigating DVD-Audio discs last year) to the Oppo, but not connecting the AC supply.  That lasted about a day or so with very little usage, then the internal rechargeable battery was dead.  So then I connected the plain old composite video output of the Oppo through a Jensen Isomax video isolation transformer, to the Olevia TV.  That should have been about enough isolation, but anyway I also chose to re-connect the Olevia TV to the dedicated 20A audio power circuit through the Belkin power conditioner.  That took some rearrangement including the removal of a new nearly functionless outlet strip connected to the non-dedicated circuit.  That circuit now powers only two things: the light (on X10 timer) and the remote control extender.  Anyway, now not only is the video isolated, the TV is on the same circuit and power conditioner anyway (which normally would make video isolation unnecessary).

When doing this, I discovered that I still had one of my subwoofers plugged into the non-audio circuit.  That might not be a bad idea for load sharing, but is not a good idea for isolation and ground loops.  I reconnected it to the Belkin through the line that goes to my Kurzweil keyboard and other equipment.

I need to create a new satellite power center for the pile of components on the right side, which will include Kenwood KT-6040 tuner, MSB PAD-1 (which will digitize the output of the tuner), and Sony 507ESD CD player (for playing guest discs), and subwoofer.  Probably the best configuration for this would be a 6 outlet strip with no surge or filtering and a integral 9 to 12 foot cable.  It will be plugged into the Belkin.  It could also have detachable cord, it may be easier to get the right length that way.

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