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T+A PDP 3000 HV CD/SACD Player and DAC

Theory + Application Elektroakustik (T+A) could be the biggest and most technically innovative high-end audio firm you have heard small or nothing at all about. The Germany business has been on a lengthy-term growth trajectory but has intentionally kept a low profile in the U.S. so that it could focus on the European and Asian markets. That is unfortunate for those of us in North America because T+A makes an extensive variety of technically innovative, beautifully built, forward-seeking, fantastic-sounding merchandise that are relatively priced.

Founded in 1978 by Siegfried Amft, T+A began life as a loudspeaker organization with just two workers. Amft still heads the company, which has grown to a staff of much more than a hundred. Fourteen of the employees are graduate-level engineers, several of them specialists in fields such as circuit-board layout, computer software improvement, and mechanical engineering. The company’s history is 1 of fundamental technical research driving item improvement. T+A is as far from a marketing-driven “me-too” organization as you will locate. For instance, the business styles and builds its own disc-transport mechanisms from metal rather than buying off-the-shelf plastic mass-market drives. T+A also writes its own application, like the filters in its digital products. I was astonished to uncover that T+A was creating its personal computer software-based digital filters way back in 1989, a time when I believed that only Wadia and Theta Digital possessed that capability.

The PDP 3000 HV CD/SACD player and DAC reviewed right here exemplifies T+A’s engineering-driven strategy. The company’s flagship digital item is packed with sophisticated design and style and lavish execution. I got an inside look at the PDP 3000 HV in the course of the Munich show exactly where I sat down with T+A’s lead designer, Lothar Wiemann. A physicist by education, Wiemann has been with T+A for far more than 30 years. The 57-pound player’s prime panel attributes a round see-through window that shows off the internals. The enormous chassis is produced from aluminum, with isolated compartments for the digital and analog power supplies, and separate compartments for the digital and analog circuits. The transport is housed in its own aluminum chamber. This construction isolates the subsections magnetically and mechanically, and prevents coupling through RF. The exterior metalwork, which is available in dark grey or silver, is exemplary, as is the feel of the controls and the sophistication of their operation. Press the drawer-open button and the tray glides out with a smoothness and solidity that is unmatched in my expertise. I would not have been shocked to understand that the PDP 3000 HV was priced at twice its U.S. retail of $ 22,500 (alas, up from $ 19,500 ahead of the Euro-Dollar valuation swing this summer).

The front panel is dominated by two huge knobs that select inputs and access the player’s in depth menu. These inputs consist of USB, AES/EBU, three SPDIF on RCA, two SPDIF on BNC jacks, and two TosLink optical. All these inputs can be named by way of the remote control’s keypad. The remote handle is a large, heavy unit machined from metal. The markings are a bit cryptic you have to refer to the table in the owner’s manual to decipher their meanings. The disc drawer sits beneath a big display that shows the chosen input, track number or time, and the set-up functions.

The rear panel has a couple of uncommon twists. Very first, the PDP 3000 HV needs two AC cords, 1 for the player’s digital power provide and one more for the analog provide. The second twist is two sets of analog outputs, 1 for PCM sources and the other for DSD sources. Dual outputs are presented due to the fact the PDP 3000 HV employs fully separate signal paths for PCM and DSD decoding, all the way through the analog output stages and output jacks. Most DSD-capable DACs basically convert DSD to PCM for conversion to analog. T+A wanted to build a statement item with out the compromise of designing a single DAC and analog output stage that would perform for each DSD and PCM. This arrangement, even so, requires two pairs of interconnects among the PDP 3000 HV and your preamplifier if you strategy on listening to DSD downloads or SACDs. If you are not that hardcore, a menu setting will route all signals by means of the PCM output stage with a little penalty in DSD sound good quality.

Significantly work went into optimizing the functionality with SACD and DSD sources. In addition to separate signal paths for PCM and DSD, the DSD DAC is a T+A custom design realized with discrete elements rather than an off-the-shelf chip. In addition, the PDP 3000 HV makes it possible for you to choose among two SACD and 3 DSD filters and noise-shaping algorithms to optimize the sound top quality for distinct systems and DSD sample rates (see sidebar). I’m not conscious of any other DSD DAC with either a discrete custom DSD DAC or selectable DSD filters.

I describe the PDP 3000 HV’s technical specifics in the sidebar, but here’s a synopsis: custom digital filters, completely separate signal paths for DSD and PCM, an all-discrete signal path which includes the present-to-voltage converter, dual-differential PCM DACs, custom discrete DSD DAC, isolated digital and analog energy supplies including dual power cords, custom metal transport mechanism, an elaborate power supply, massive aluminum chassis, no op-amps in the signal path, and substantial jitter reduction. That’s an impressive list of design functions.

I need to mention that if you uncover the PDP 3000 HV attractive but it’s beyond your price range, and you do not want disc playback, think about T+A’s $ 3995 DAC 8. It is primarily based on the same style concepts as the PDP 3000 HV but in a much less elaborate implementation. It nevertheless provides the discrete 1-bit DSD converter, selectable DSD filters, and many other T+A technologies. I haven’t heard the DAC 8 but primarily based on my knowledge with the PDP 3000 HV, I count on it to be outstanding.

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Quad Artera Play Linestage/DAC/CD Player and Stereo Energy Amplifier

Robert E. Greene offers an in-depth commentary and analysis of the Quad Quad Artera Play linestage/DAC/ CD player and Stereo Power Amplifier reviewed by Paul Seydor in Concern 268 (December, 2016).

Like a lot of individuals who are interested in how amplifiers truly perform, I have lengthy been fascinated with the Quad “current dumping” amplifiers, starting with the 405 model and the 306 and 606 models, which I reviewed in Situation 71. In this evaluation, I concluded with the believed that if high-finish individuals did not feel the Quad amplifiers have been ideal inside their energy limits, as Quad asserted, then it was actually obligatory for the objectors to clarify what was incorrect with them.

This challenge arose not just from measured efficiency and Quad’s personal assertions that the amplifiers have been transparent to signal in audible terms. There had been these demos by Quad where they strung many amplifiers collectively, with appropriate attenuation in between and challenged listeners to inform the difference in between a chain of a quantity of them and a single amplifier. No one ever could tell. This struck me as a challenge handful of manufacturers would like to submit their own product to. In addition, Quad was on record as checking factors that other producers tended to roll appropriate over. For instance, they eschewed fuses—at a time when fuses in the signal path have been quite common—in favor of a thermal protection mechanism, which detected excessive heat production internally and if it were discovered, would merely turn the amplifier off. The purpose was that, as Peter Walker stated in a TAS interview, “You can hear a fuse.”

Altogether, I got the idea that Quad was trying to make its amplifier styles as precise as possible and was checking this by demonstrably valid listening tests, at a time when several higher-end designers were trying to check their amplifiers by listening to industrial recording to see if they could hear “soundstage” and other such comparatively indirect techniques. This nonetheless goes on, Individuals look to have a checklist of items they consider ought to happen in listening to industrial recordings but as frequently as not these expectations do not have significantly logical basis. (A bigger soundstage is not always much better. Perhaps the recording does not have a massive soundstage!)

Nevertheless, for all my enthusiasm for the Quad amps at the time (and I in reality bought the 306), I was concerned about two elements of the designs. 1st was that they had limited potential to provide existing and as a result did not react nicely to low- impedance loads. The second source of concern was that they were band-restricted, with a really serious roll-off in the bass and a considerable roll-off on the top as nicely. These had to my ears some audible impact, though it was difficult to be certain that the effects were not just the superior behavior of the amplifier otherwise. But on the Hafler differential input/output test, the phase shifts related to the band limiting made for a bigger differential amongst input and attenuated output then wider bandwidth designs exhibited. Although it was tough to square the achievable audible value of this with the daisy-chain inaudibility, the point remained a concern to me.

I was so impressed with the style in principle that I seriously regarded attempting to get a license from Quad to design and style and manufacture myself a version of the amplifier with greater present capability and wider bandwidth. I gave this concept up because I realized that I am genuinely a lot more a critic and theoretician than a businessman. Something I cooked up would most likely have remained a prototype! I always hoped, however, that Quad itself would make such a version of the present dumping design.

I had to wait a extended time. But right here it is. The Artera Stereo is primarily flat to 1Hz and has a -6dB upper limit of just over 100kHz, -.35dB or so at 20kHz (figures are specifications by Quad, supplemented by Paul Miller’s measurements for Hi Fi News). This is hardly the proverbial DC-to-light territory (some amps go out to megahertz—though they usually do so at the price tag of other issues), but it is plenty to get largely rid of what I had supposed had been the audible consequences of the band limits of the older “current dumper” designs, as indeed they turned out to be. And the Artera Stereo does a respectable job of even 1-ohm loads—which thankfully are rare presently. Definitely for two ohms on up, a single will be in great shape, with the existing capacity becoming 12 amps—not adequate to drive trucks but practically certainly enough for domestic audio with ordinary speakers in rooms of plausible size.

In short, the Quad Stereo is the amplifier I would have hoped to build myself, back when I was dreaming dreams of existing dumping.

Does it sound “good”? Of course it does—if the material is great, the sound is good. This is a stable, clean, basically neutral amplifier.

Often when a single waits for something a extended time, when it arrives it can look not so important as when one 1st was waiting for it. In the decades considering that Problem 71, when I very first encountered in the Quad current dumpers, amplifier style has come some distance, even though not in truth fairly as considerably a distance as reviewing occasionally suggests. And the Quad Artera Stereo, which might have swept all ahead of it in 1985, has significant competitors right now, even at its affordable cost. For a single issue, for not significantly much more funds, there is the Benchmark, which has slightly much less energy but even much better distortion specifications and is significantly quieter and has wider bandwidth (-3dB at 200kHz, -.17dB at 20kHz).

Is this wider bandwidth going to be audible? Yes, just barely in in-band response terms. When the Quad arrived. I place on a recording I had been listening to a lot with the Benchmark amp. (I did not switch to the Quad Play—the input to the Quad amp was the same as the input to the Benchmark amp had been). And yes, the top sounded just slightly more subdued—but slightly is definitely the word. The Benchmark costs a bit far more but not a lot a lot more. For folks who require far more power, there is the Sanders Magtech, which expenses roughly twice as a lot but will drive something at all (and sounds excellent). And of course other people will have their personal favorites.

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PiDeck makes a USB stick into a free DJ player, with turntables

There’s anything counterintuitive about it, proper? Plug a USB stick into a giant digital player alongside turntables. Or plug the turntables into a laptop. What if the USB stick … was the actual player? In the age of fast miniaturization, why hasn’t this happened but?

Nicely, thanks to an open source project, it has occurred (really nearly, anyway). It is known as PiDeck. And it radically reduces the amount of gear you want. You will still need an audio interface with phono input to connect the turntable, plus the (really tiny, very inexpensive) Raspberry Pi. But that is just about it.

Connect your handheld personal computer into a turntable, add a handle vinyl, and you’re prepared to go. So your whole rig is only slightly larger than the size of two records and some gear the size of your two hands.

You have a rock-solid, Linux-based, ultra-portable rig, a minimum of fuss, primarily no space taken up in the booth – this all tends to make digital vinyl cool once more.

It operates with USB sticks (even after you yank them out):

And you can scratch:

Their recommended gear (touchscreens these days can be actually compact, as well)

  • A current Raspberry Pi (only Pi 3 model B tested so far) and energy supply. Initial generation Raspberry Pi’s are not supported, sorry
  • Touchscreen (single-touch is adequate), or a HDMI monitor and keyboard
  • Stereo, full-duplex I2S or USB soundcard with a phono input stage, or line input and an external pre-amp, soundcard must be supported by ALSA
  • Micro SD card for the application, at least 2GB in size, and an adaptor to flash it with
  • Handle vinyl, Serato CV02 pressing or later advised
  • USB stick containing your favourite music. FLAC format is suggested (16-bit 44100Hz format tested)
  • Non-automatic record player that can hold speed, with a clean, sharp stylus. It aids scratching if the headshell and arm are adjusted appropriately
  • Slipmat, made from felt or neoprene
  • Sheet of wax paper from the kitchen drawer, to go beneath the slipmat

Previously from this same crew (more just a enjoyable proof of concept / weird way of DJing!):

This is how to DJ with a 7″ tablet and an NES controller

Verify out the project website:

http://pideck.com

And you can download this now – for totally free.

https://github.com/pideck/pideck-distro/releases/

pideck-reverse-side

pideck-spinning

Developer Daniel James writes us with much more particulars on what this whole factor is about:

Chris (in cc) and I have been working on the project in spare time for a couple of months, right here on the Isle of Wight. Chris built the hardware prototype and did most of the operate on the custom Debian distro.

The thought behind the PiDeck project is to combine the digital convenience of a USB stick with the hands-on usability of the classic turntable, in a way which is affordable and accessible. The parts price (at retail) for each PiDeck device is at the moment about £150, not including a case or manage vinyl. There is no soldering to do the hardware screws and clips together.

I utilized to run DJ workshops for young men and women, and found that whilst the children were genuinely satisfied to get their hands on the decks, a lot of them had been put off by getting to use the laptop as effectively, especially the younger kids and the girls. The teenage boys would tend to crowd around the laptop and take over.

Then there’s the functionality aspect of real turntables which some digital controllers lack, and the sneaking suspicion that the pc is actually performing the mixing, or worse nevertheless, just running via a
playlist. PiDeck does not have any mixing, sync or playlist characteristics, so the DJ can take complete credit (or blame) for the sound of the mix.

We’ve deliberately place no configurable choices in the interface, and there are no personal files stored on the device. This aids make certain the PiDeck becomes element of the turntable and not special, in the way that a laptop and its information is. This makes the PiDeck less complicated to share with other DJs, so that there should be no downtime between sets, and need to make it less difficult for up-and-coming DJs to get a turn on the gear. If a PiDeck breaks, it would be possible to swap it out for another PiDeck device and carry appropriate on.

Although the DJ does not have any settings to deal with, the application is open source and totally hackable, so we’re hoping that a community will emerge and do interesting things with the project. For example, a number of PiDeck devices could be networked with each other, or used to control some other technique by way of the turntable.

Yeah – this could alter a lot. It’s not just a nerdy proof of notion: it could make turntablism way far more enjoyable.

CDM Create Digital Music

HiFiMAN Goes Ultra-Transportable with its SuperMini Player

The following is a press release issued by HiFiMAN.

Tianjin, China | August 22, 2016 -– HiFiMAN, a top designer/manufacturer of higher efficiency headphones and transportable audio products, announced their latest transportable player, the SuperMini, a tiny, fashionable model for music lovers on-the-go. In addition to supplying very best-in-class sound high quality, the HiFiMAN Supermini supports all lossless file formats like DSD. Lossless formats provide the full dynamic variety and realism captured from the original recording. The player characteristics expandable memory up to 256 GB by way of micro SD card. SuperMini is offered now with a MSRP of $ 399 U.S.

HiFiMAN has extended been recognized by several audiophiles as possessing the very best-sounding transportable players on the marketplace. The company is credited with pioneering the higher-res transportable player as far back as 2008 even though the company’s reference players have a tendency to be somewhat bigger and heavier. By contrast, the SuperMini combines ultra-light weight (two.4 oz) and compact size with exceptional efficiency that rivals its bigger siblings.

The SuperMini’s robust output will drive all but the most energy hungry headphones and despite its slim chassis, it characteristics each normal and balanced outputs. And to make sure you can take pleasure in your tunes for a quite long time, the HiFiMAN player boasts an amazing battery life of 22 hours. As an added bonus, SuperMini is shipped with a higher efficiency set of balanced in-ear phones so it is ready to rock appropriate out of the box.

According to HiFiMAN Founder and President, Dr. Fang Bian, “Starting with our HM-801 numerous years ago, HiFiMAN pioneered the high-res transportable music player and we are still recognized as a category leader around the globe.” Dr. Bian went on to add, “Though we are mostly identified for reference, higher functionality players, we have also had a lot of requests over the years for a player that was compact, super light, effortless to use and reasonably priced. The SuperMini is our answer that checks all the boxes. Portable players have often been a passion of mine and I am very pleased with how SuperMini turned out.”

About HiFiMAN
Founded by Dr. Fang Bian in 2007, HiFiMAN is broadly regarded as one particular of the leading companies of higher overall performance headphones and transportable audio products in the planet. HiFiMAN is particularly identified for its critically-acclaimed Planar-Magnetic headphones that feature state-of-the-art driver technology. The business also styles and manufactures best-in-class dynamic in-ear phones which have also garnered awards and rave testimonials. 

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