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Posted on November 14, 2021 at 11:31:59
Posts: 973
Location: Maine
Joined: August 16, 2011
The first page of the latest Stereophile has a great letter by Jim Austin titled Complicated. I thought it was great. I'm almost 65 and seem to have lost my way navigating the world of the DAC.Jim Austin painted a pretty good mini tutorial on the subject without even knowing it and also the story of his son and friends and the volume control. Who hasn't that happened to with old school controls?
Because of the absence of DAC's in a lot of systems I've seen in friends rigs I would think that Stereophile would benefit both sides by printing an article on what's available and how to most benefit easily from it,(less complication). The Complete Guide to Stereo/Hifi Equipment mag. had articles like this, pre DAC era.
It might bore the real smart guy subscribers but I think over all would benefit DAC sales, of all brands.I've never seen an article like that in your mag.It may have been covered in bits and pieces in past issues but to simplify , maybe a reference article.
Just an idea.I think that was a great letter Jim wrote.I think you get to know him a little better by reading it....Mark Korda


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Dacs? Complicated?, posted on November 14, 2021 at 13:21:50

Posts: 584
Location: Toronto
Joined: January 1, 2010
Not compared to turntables!!!


You know..., posted on November 15, 2021 at 07:30:19

Posts: 32767
Joined: May 12, 2000
April 5, 2002
Because of the absence of DAC's in a lot of systems I've seen in friends rigs...

that new fangled digital music thing might catch on! ;)


And in the same issue, both Fremer and Reichert . . ., posted on November 15, 2021 at 12:57:32
Brian H P

Posts: 910
Location: Oregon
Joined: December 18, 2012
. . . go deeply into the complexities of TT/cartridge setup. You've got vertical tracking angle, vertical tracking force, stylus rake angle, tangency, azimuth, stylus overhang, zeta, anti-skate, and who knows what else? More adjustments than there are dimensions in space. All extremely fiddly-twiddly, requiring precision dialing-in to a tiny fraction of a millimeter, or a degree, or a gram. And all with a delicate, indeed FRAGILE, mechanism that could cost many of us several months' pay. I'm old, my eyes ain't what they once were, my fingers have a slight tremor -- they very thought of thumbling around with such a thing fills my heart with dread. (Even Fremer busts an occasional cartridge, though he can afford it.)

Fortunately, my 1982 AR table with a Stanton MM cartridge doesn't have ANY of that crap, except a counterweight to adjust tracking force. Could it be improved upon? Almost certainly. Does it play records, as-is, in a way that gives me musical enjoyment? Absolutely.

When I read about elaborate TT/arm/cartridge setup, my eyes glaze over the same way they do when I read about all the different digital formats, filters, algorithms, and the glitchy ways they refuse to function as intended. I already basically hate computers. No freakin' WAY will I, at my age, ever get into digital downloading/streaming/whatever.

I like physical media. I have several hundred vinyl records, a couple thousand CD's, and I'm content. Settled in for life, and not about to take on anything frustratingly or infuriatingly complicated.


RE: You know..., posted on November 15, 2021 at 13:06:33
Posts: 973
Location: Maine
Joined: August 16, 2011
DAP, I was restoring or spiffing back up 4 low priced tables that were cheap in the day but built to last. A Technics SL-20,belt drive,no bells or whistles 99.00 new. A Technics SL-23, the same table but automatic return and start, great feature when your a little shakey. A Sansui 212 manual table,highest Japanese quality for cheap and the old AR turntable.
I started getting these little green catalogs in the mail from Mapleshade Acoustics. Pierre Spray runs this small company that does audio mods,maplewood bases and stands, and these cd's of different jazz and other nusic styles.I took a chance and bought a few cd's from that catalog where Pierre records or produces them. All work,I had the cartridges ready to go, stopped.The sound was stunning and I gave a sampler to New England Nusic where they use it for a demo.After listening to the Mapleshade stuff my vinyl obsession died. I hope only for a while though....Mark Korda


A different perspective, posted on November 17, 2021 at 07:13:12

Posts: 1325
Location: East Coast
Joined: February 23, 2003
I am coming at this from the opposite direction. I have several thousand LPs and roughly 400 CDs. Until recently my listening has been almost exclusively to vinyl; I only put on a CD when I didn't have that music on vinyl. However, after some arm twisting I gave in and bought an inexpensive streamer and signed up for Amazon Music HD. Now I find myself listening via streaming a lot of the time probably more than half. The reason is simple: I am exploring music I had never heard before.

Two examples:
1. Each month when I read Stereophile or TAS, I circle references to music that a reviewer is recommending. Then I listen to them via streaming and if I really like the music I order the CD or LP.
2. At the 2021 Capital Audio Fest I heard some music that I liked either for sonic quality or for musical interest. Again I made a note of the selections, listened to them at home via streaming and have now ordered a couple of them in LP form.

In my case, LPs still sound the best sometimes startlingly so. CDs, however, still sound very good and I really don't mind listening to them at all. Streaming with my setup doesn't sound quite as good as the CD but it still sounds very good. The point is I am able to enjoy the music with each medium very much, but streaming opens the door to an incredible wealth of music that I simply wouldn't hear otherwise.


Those are advantages, for sure, posted on November 17, 2021 at 11:25:19
Brian H P

Posts: 910
Location: Oregon
Joined: December 18, 2012
A single inexpensive streamer like yours, and a subscription to only one music provider, would not be near as bad as the kind of complicated glitchy networks of multiple boxes so favored by SVS and other critics. If its just for discovering new music, I wouldn't need to obsess about sampling rate, bit rate, reconstruction filter type, and so on, the way those guys do.

But maybe I'm just a Luddite. I understand speakers well (been building them for 30+ years), and the basics of analog amplification. I truly don't know the difference between a hidme and an usbee and a spidiff and a wifi (a faithful wife?) and a bluetooth, and don't particularly care to learn.

Damn kids get offa my lawn!


RE: Those are advantages, for sure, posted on November 17, 2021 at 13:42:49
Posts: 973
Location: Maine
Joined: August 16, 2011
Brian, on Audio by VanAlStine, Frank VanAlStine has a page on a tune up and modification to the AR turntable. It's in his olderAudio Basics newsletter which is on his website.I modded 2 of them and it's real easy and fun. That was 1983. It's a must read anyway for an ardent AR man as yourself. If you can't find it I'll do my best to find it for you...Mark


Just FYI, Pierre died a while ago (nt), posted on November 20, 2021 at 13:32:44
Dave Pogue

Posts: 11566
Location: DC Area
Joined: October 9, 2001
March 18, 2003


perspective... Well that succintly yields sum total...cannot improve... on that view.nT, posted on November 28, 2021 at 09:36:20

Posts: 7252
Location: Kentucky
Joined: June 30, 2005
The Mind has No Firewall~ U.S. Army War College.


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