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Tara Labs ISM OnBoard Digital 75, Part 8

162.205.183.92

Posted on January 13, 2021 at 21:53:03
Luminator
Audiophile

Posts: 5075
Location: Bay Area
Joined: December 11, 2000
Every 2-3 weeks, an audiophile will suggest or request more information and stories about Hawaii. The vast majority of my relatives still lives in Hawaii. Until college, I lived each summer in Honolulu. So, Hawaii is my second home.

In summer 1987, after my sophomore year of high school, I took a couple classes at Punahou. One Friday after school, I went with a classmate from the Creative Writing class, to the Bose store, then on Kapiolani. We then walked to Ala Moana shopping center. At the Shirokiya, we were in the electronics section. On a TV up on a column, MTV played Swing Out Sister's "Twilight World."

After that, we walked to the Tower Records, then located near Keeaumoku. There, I bought the Swing Out Sister It's Better To Travel CD.



In late August '87, my mom's side had a big gathering at The Pagoda. Sony D-10 Discman and SOS CD in tote, I sat near the waterfall. With that yellow early evening sun, it felt like this was going to last forever, or at least be the new status quo.

In terms of digital transmission, we thought it'd be optical. In fact, between CD or Laserdisc players and a DAC, we were more familiar with optical Toslink, versus RCA or XLR coax. Which brings us back to Tara Labs' ISM digital cables. In the early-2000s, I bought The One Digital, and added a full-sized Digital Grounding Station. Those now reside with relatives in Hawaii. Presently, the ISM OnBoard Digital 75 is taking up residence in my (Bay Area) home.



If you get away from urban Honolulu, Oahu's streams can be clean. This photo makes my cousin appear to be standing atop a waterfall. No, the water is shallow, and the drop-off is only about 2'. The fresh water is neither hot nor cold.



In terms of image focus, the California Audio Labs Delta gets better, as it goes from bass to treble. The Delta does not give you wide-open, breathtaking soundscapes. Thus, it is like the photo above, of my cousin in the stream, and you do not see the banks and the riparian habitat. The ISM OnBoard Digital 75 is like clean water, making other digital cables the equivalent of polluted and/or stagnant water.



Growing up in Honolulu, I took poke for granted. It was always ubiquitous and abundant. They used all sorts of seafood, besides ahi. They had a wide variety of garnishes and marinades, as well. At home in the Bay Area, poke is a 21st century introduction. And it's really only ahi with shoyu.



Holy cow! The ISM OnBoard Digital 75 reveals that internet radio MP3 does not universally all sound poor. There's actually great variability in sound quality, from the wretched, to "okay for background music," to "Hey that's quite good."



As you go from station to station, podcast to podcast, the ISM OnBoard Digital brings out whatever the bits can provide. It's like going back to Hawaii, and having a wide variety of poke to choose from. They are all different, and some are better than others.

-Lummy The Loch Monster

 

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RE: Tara Labs ISM OnBoard Digital 75, Part 8, posted on January 14, 2021 at 03:28:04
fantja
Audiophile

Posts: 13748
Location: Alabama
Joined: September 11, 2010
Great cable/cord pics! Lummy.

 

RE: Tara Labs ISM OnBoard Digital 75, Part 8, posted on January 15, 2021 at 12:18:33
Rocket_Powered
Audiophile

Posts: 24
Location: East Coast
Joined: May 15, 2020
That some serious cable between your transport and DAC Lummy. I have some old Tara Labs balanced cable between mine CAL duo - probably the same vintage as the transport/dac.

Been to Hawaii a couple of times, and would go back in a heart beat. Asked a cab driver where Hawaiians go for vacation, and he said to places like Manhattan in NY - haha.

 

The cab driver wasn't wrong, posted on January 15, 2021 at 12:58:52
Luminator
Audiophile

Posts: 5075
Location: Bay Area
Joined: December 11, 2000
"I'm Lebron James!"



My relatives on Oahu like to vacation on (a) the outer islands (photo above is from Maui), (b) Las Vegas, (c) Seattle (many went to college in the Pacific NW), and (d) the east coast.



We still have the mid-90s vintage Tara Labs RSC Master Gen 2 line-level interconnects, which were, back then, used with a CAL Delta and Theta Cobalt 307. The mid-90s were also when I actually got to meet up with Bay Area audiophiles. Plenty of East Bay residents had CAL's Sigma II or Alpha DAC. Because these CAL models were shoebox-sized, you could place them side-by-side. Having CAL Delta and Alpha on a rack felt concomitant with the East Bay hills homes nestled in trees. You'd step outside, breathe in the air, hear the crunch of stepping on twigs, and feel as though the CAL pairing was similar in mood.

Back then, playing around with tubes, powercords, and digital cables was fun. I now work in Oakland, so I feel as tough I've come full circle. My parents have a Honolulu condo, just two blocks from The Pagoda, but due to their health, they remain in San Francisco. I no longer have the CAL Sigma II or Alpha, but two Deltas remain :-)

 

RE: The cab driver wasn't wrong, posted on January 17, 2021 at 08:30:12
Rocket_Powered
Audiophile

Posts: 24
Location: East Coast
Joined: May 15, 2020
Sounds like you're a life long west coaster. I've been in the east coast/NY for mine - and chuckled at the cab driver's answer, why would he leave paradise and visit a concrete jungle like Manhattan.

We have friends we like to visit from time to time in Sacremento. For us east coasters, the west is such a different world!

Thanks for the nostalgia pic of the RSC Master IC's. After seeing your pic, I finally realized that I have also have them, but in balanced config - the RSC Master Gen2. Nothing wrong with them and so never felt the need to upgrade. Had been a fan of Tara Labs, but am considering Nordost in the future.

 

Long overdue for an east coast trip, posted on January 17, 2021 at 11:37:53
Luminator
Audiophile

Posts: 5075
Location: Bay Area
Joined: December 11, 2000



During the Winter and Spring 1975 quarters, my dad worked in Washington, DC. We lived in what a neighbor called a "gulag" apartment building. I was still 2 then, and my earliest recollections are actually of DC/VA, not my native San Francisco. Early '75, snow was on the ground, and for the first time, highs were going to hit the 50s. I lay on my back in the snow, looked up at the sun, and, man, that was the hottest 50 degrees I've ever experienced!

The employer asked my dad to stay and continue working, but my mom was pregnant. So, at the end of the Spring '75 quarter, we moved back to SF. In July, my only sibling, a brother was born.

In late-winter/early-spring 1980, we returned to the east coast, hitting not just DC/VA, but Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Toronto. Carter was President, and John Lennon was still alive. We stayed at a family friend's house in Arlington. And I thought that Billy Joel's imagery in his then-new "All For Leyna" was hilarious.

And that was the last time I've ever been east of Vegas or Phoenix! A couple years ago, my present family planned to go to DC for Spring Break, but with the possibility of government shutdowns, we canceled.

My brother went to UC Davis, which is just west of Sacramento. In fact, he now lives just south of Sacramento. His in-laws are from there. They have been joined by waves of former Bay Area residents, who were priced out of real estate as expensive as NYC's.

There's just something really fun, about the CAL Delta. The Delta allows us to play around with powercords, digital cables, and even fuses. And if you lose the remote, you can still find some on the used market, or get the codes, and program them.

Since the March 2020 SIP orders, I've only done drive-bys, with other audiophiles, mostly to exchange cables. When the pandemic is over, an east coast trip is high on my to-do list.

 

RE: Long overdue for an east coast trip, posted on January 18, 2021 at 11:29:28
Rocket_Powered
Audiophile

Posts: 24
Location: East Coast
Joined: May 15, 2020
We had plans for a Yellowstone trip last year but then COVID happened. When this plague is over we definitely have plans for a trip to the west.

For my Delta/Alpha, besides the mentioned Tara Labs cable between them I am also using a pair of MIT (also 'vintage', well not at the time when I got them) power cables. I wished it had balanced outs, but perhaps with a new CD player after amp upgrade one of these years.

For the Delta, do you know if a replacement belt is still available? There are times when I open the transport drawer it closes immediately. I have to pull at it the 2nd time and then it stays open. It doesn't happen all the time, just every now and then. Thanks.

 

MIT powercords on CAL Delta, posted on January 18, 2021 at 16:23:31
Luminator
Audiophile

Posts: 5075
Location: Bay Area
Joined: December 11, 2000



On the CAL Delta, we have tried MIT's Z-Cord, Z-Cord II, and Shotgun AC2 powercords. If you like or are okay with the throwaway OEM powercords, then the MIT Z-Cord and Z-Cord II maintain that, without screwing things up. They then make the Delta sound not as hazy and grainy. And then the music itself isn't as micronized.

We still have MIT's Digital Reference S/PDIF cable. Coming out of the CAL Delta, the Digital Reference seemed to work best with Theta's DACs. There, the DR made everything sound kind of like L.A. Guns' Cocked & Loaded.

We might have to search on EBay, for replacement belts.

 

RE: MIT powercords on CAL Delta, posted on January 19, 2021 at 09:30:36
Rocket_Powered
Audiophile

Posts: 24
Location: East Coast
Joined: May 15, 2020
Thanks Lummy.

I'm not sure if I like the sound from the Alpha to be like 'Cocked and Loaded';P

But yes, for both the Delta and Alpha I have the MIT Z-Cord II's. Not a big fan of MIT otherwise, but have a couple pairs of their IC's - they are like anchors putting a strain on the RCA plugs, as my system is on a rack. Those boxes on the Z-Cord II's are even heavier.

I'll dig around on fleabay to see if replacement belts are available. Wish there was info like belt diameter and circumference so we can find generics, without having to remove the one installed (knowing my luck, it will probably snap on me).

 

MIT Z-Cord II, posted on January 19, 2021 at 17:32:00
Luminator
Audiophile

Posts: 5075
Location: Bay Area
Joined: December 11, 2000



My audiodharma Cable Cooker has seen at least a dozen MIT Z-Cord IIs, but those were before we acquired the Ground Breaker adapter, which treats all three legs. The more modern Z-Cord II samples had new AC plugs.

Quite a few audiophiles tell me that they like the way their systems sound, with the stock OEM throwaway powercords. They say that many after-market powercords mess up the sound. So for these users, a Z-Cord II might work, not messing up the fundamental sound, but also reducing haze and grain.

In late 1989, while a college freshman, I came home to San Francisco. My then-girlfriend KJ and I went to an L.A. Guns concert at The Warfield. Tora Tora opened, and were quite good. L.A. Guns were actually straight-forward and professional. Steve Riley's Tama drums had a combination of POP and punch, which rocked!

In 1994-95, I briefly tried the Tara Labs RSC Master Gen 2 RCA digital coax. For AES/EBU, I liked Tara Labs' Air 110 between the CAL Delta and Alpha.

 

RE: MIT powercords on CAL Delta, posted on January 20, 2021 at 03:26:56
fantja
Audiophile

Posts: 13748
Location: Alabama
Joined: September 11, 2010
Great pics and great taste in Music- Lummy.

 

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