Friday, September 5, 2014


Thought: It is sometimes assumed that because some part of an audio system is not up to standards, the rest need not be.  But actually a weakness in one place is multiplied by weaknesses in others, so the quality of the remainder is more critical when the preceding is poor in some way.

Played two albums on the bedroom MT-30.  I liked the sound, in fact thinking it better than when I last heard the albums, probably on the Sony PS-X800: Friendly Neighborhood Big Band, and then King James Version (D2D boxed version).  After hearing the first, I was thinking, OK, maybe 45 RPM isn't so bad, but the second album proved that 33 1/3 is sounding good also.  Maybe the old caps are reforming a bit.  I still think this table should be recapped and motor tuned.  The actual motor is apparently unserviceable but OK.  But the electronics is now 34 years old!  Anything that old should be fully recapped and restored.  Why better sound?  I think mainly the vinyl plank flooring with Quiet Comfort Premium underlayment sounding better than old carpet, and other improvements.  Not so much the table perhaps.  I'm still thinking that the Sony was better, when working.

Also thinking of the irony, I became an audiophile around the time the Sheffield Labs D2D recordings were being released.  I was convinced that reel tape was a horrible bottleneck.  Now I think of master tape as being beyond all, at 15ips even.  But anyway, D2D was an interesting stunt, and actually any reduction in signal path is an improvement, and the D2D involved lots of skipped intermediate steps and enforced simple recording and processing.  So the records are great sounding.  Very hot too.  Given that you are going to listen to LP, D2D gives the best possible sound, if possible, as usually not.  If it were D2D vs 2nd generation 15ips, I think the tape would win.

When at first I replaced the cheap stranded video cable I was using for the digital audio line from kitchen table to patch panel with a nice new custom Belden 1505F with Canare connectors from Blue Jeans Cable, the first thing that happened was that 88.2k wasn't going through.  I switched back to old cable and same problem.  Then I remembered the trick I had done at first, always start with 44.1 then switch to 88.2.  So I'm using the new cable now, as it worked at least as well as the old one.

But on Tuesday night I replaced the living room part of the line: the series of cables from patch panel to Tact preamp.  First, the F-to-RCA adapter, then a 6 foot Monster Video 3 (an OK cable), then a barrel connector (likely not a good idea), then a Radio Shack premium video cable (OK but not as good as the Video 3).  That whole slew got replaced with one cable, custom from Blue Jeans Cable, a Belden 1694a with F connector on one end and Canare RCA on the other.

Well when I connected that cable it started right up in 88.2khz, no problem.

But wait, isn't the main issue still the double 2-way optical conversions in the signal path?

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