Oh dear, it is embarrassing to read my post of 12 months ago. Why?
First, I blew up the beloved blockhead amp in an attempt to wire in an XLR to 2.5mm balanced socket converter. I obviously got the connections wrong. That dead amp was first replaced with a demo Aurilac Taurus head amp which ran rather hot and gave problems until I gave it better ventillation. But it in turn was replaced by a used Violectric 250 head amp with the Taurus moved to listening station no 2 in this office.
On the DAC front things have also changed, and genuinely for the better, I imported (at great cost) a Schiit YGGDRASIL DAC after reading all the praise for it and yes, it was an improvement over the Primare. But then I started reading (a fatal error) about the latest LKS MH-DA004 and spotted a used one, modified by Ric Schultz, on sale in the US, so bought it for the second system. It turned out to only be a 120V unit so a step down transformer was needed. But surprise, surprise, it was even better than the YGGDRASIL!! In turn this led me to sell the YOGGY (yes at a loss but still gave me money left over) and purchase another LKS and have it also modded by Ric.
Along the way I finally woke up to another potential source of jitter I had been ignorant about - the quality of balanced digital cable from the Aries to the DAC, I now have Canare D206 cabling in place in the runs from the Aries to the DACs in 3 rooms via a Canare 3 way passive splitter.
Now it is easy to be misled with new toys and a placebo affect take hold with the result that yes, the sound is different, but really no better. One has moved sideways rather than forward. In the situation here I had been really pleased with the AQ from a portable Pioneer XDP-30R as it was on the same level as that from the Blockhead/Primare DAC30 I posted about a year ago. That AQ is obviously inferior to what I’m listening to now, and it is in balanced mode with Sennheiser HD800S headphones. So the toy changes have been positive and have reinforced my bias towards the DAC currently being the most crucial item in a headphone setup. Speakers and their positioning is the weak link in a room audio set up, something headphones avoid.
And I also became fascinated with all the hype posted about the Focal Utopia headphones so imported a used pair from the USA for considerably less than their new price in Australia. Sadly however they broke down after a few months. Initially I blamed a visiting friend who drove them at loud levels but it was some time later before they collapsed although it left me wondering if that treatment did pre-dispose the trouble. So off the Focals went to France for repair last August. I still have not had them back but got the good news they are to be replaced under guarantee, something most pleasantly unexpected as Focal have the reputation for not covering second owners. They should arrive in the next week or so and it will be enlightening to observe any change in the audio after having been accustomed to the very comfortable and excellent sounding Sennheiser HD800S cans.
I guess some of you reading this are rolling their eyes in horror at the idiocy I’m relating and my only defence is that at 82 YO, listening to classical music is my retirement obsession and audio quality is just as important to me as the artistry of the performance. And the improved AQ is now obvious in the reproduction of the harpsichord and forte piano, instruments that can sound awful on many systems and used to sound that way here.
Bottom line is the music source controlled by ROON. No, it is not perfect but is gradually improving and is certainly much better and more reliable than the Sooloos system I finally sold in December. So yes, I’m currently a happy camper.
Apologies for a long. boring post, but maybe my antics are of interest to some!!