As a new concert season is coming up with BSO opening night next week I was sprucing up my recording studio. The machine is 3MHz with 2G memory – plenty run SoundLab5. The SoundLab just record and play, I do absolutely nothing else in this software, no editing of any kind. The machine is completely fan-less with external power supply. It has no sound card but juts Lynx-16 digits interface that is high quality 110Ohm digital in and out. I changed the stock Linx-16’s proprietary AES/EBU cable to a custom –way more convenient to use cable, though I did not detect sonic differences between them.
The major consideration this time was (and still is) about the AD and DA processors. I use external possessors: analog-to-digital is Lavry Gold AD-122 and digital-to-analog is Lavry’s multibit Gold DA-924
The objectives were to have play a FM broadcast directly from tuner and do not hear any differences when AD-DA chains is introduced in a signal path. Larry Gold processors do it. I would not make the same claim if I use tape, microphones or records as sources (I did not do it at the level as I would accept it convincing and methodologically correct) but in the context of somehow restricted FM broadcasters Lavry Gold converters chain are absolutely transparent.
Over the course of the last 8-9 years I was searching an opportunity to play with sound of Pacific Microsonics converters. I would not go into details – whoever know what the Pacifics were would know what I’m talking about. Recently I found a very good unit - a very last Model One production of 1998 and software update in 2000. I was contemplating to get Model Two but since I am not going to go higher then 88/24 I decided do not spend more money then I will be able to use. The Model Two has 96kHz and 192kHz, single wire operation option, extras post-production DD operation modes and more sophisticated choices for extra external clocking. Pretty much anything that that Model Two does is unnecessary (for me) except a theoretical ability to subordinate D/A clock from the A/D clock. From another side I think that Model two, since it has multibit AD (!!!) and runs 192kHz then it would have more powerful processing power and theoretically more opportunities for different noises. Why would I need if I stay with 88 kHz?
The Pacific Microsonics (Euphonix) unit is huge with externals power supply. Lavry Gold are small but they run hot like hell and need a LOT of room around then – so both converters take a LOT of room in my rack. I was considering putting both Lavrys right next to each other in a small pro rack-type box with forced air cooling – I did not do it yet.
I run both Lavry Gold tandem and Pacific Microsonics processor in parallel (Linx-16 is 8 channels card and allow to map the channel is any way I wish) and Pacific is truly stands to it’s reputation. It is also absolutely transparent during the injection test. (Live FM vs. AD-DA). The Pacific is also remarkably good with my CD transport (it is where Lavry slips) but unfortunately it has no such a wonderful Lavry’s flexibility to detect and reset own sampling rate. So, the major question that I ask myself and possible will be asking during next few mohth would be which AD/DA combination is better: Lavry Gold or Pacific.
As now it is very obvious that the both of the converters options are good but there are also some tiny differences between them. They are very-very small and more like “touches of sonic inflections” then truly sonic differences. It is like Lavry Gold chain has different lower bass but Pacific has different type of HF all together. They are not necessary better or worth but different – both very good quality. I would not try to make a final observation and a conclusions what “should go” until I will finish remodeling my playback and have the second 6-Chennals Super Mils done. Then it would be possible to look at fine moments of imaging, space presentation, accentuation, musical colorations and overall musicality. I need also my tweeters finalized with new dedicated amps as Pacific Microsonics has some very interesting options to inject custom dithers – something that I very much look forward to play with when my playback will be properly finished and calibrated. I will be posting my thoughts about it in a future and perhaps I should upload some files from Lavry and Pacific for others to compare and to see difference….
From Pacific Microsonics’ manual:
DAC-Monitoring System Performance Optimization
Unit has advanced DAC optimization capabilities designed to provide the highest possible fidelity with different types of monitoring electronics and power amplifiers. While DAC dither greatly improves the linearity of D/A conversion, it also adds supersonic energy to the analog output signal, which will interact differently with various types of line amplifiers and power amplifiers. Higher levels of dither generally improve DAC linearity, but also can stress electronics that have limited high frequency slewing capabilities.
This can manifest as audible Transient Intermediation Distortion, or a smearing of detail. To allow the best possible match of dither to amplifier performance, three selectable dither levels are provided for 1X conversion, and four levels are provided for 2X conversion.
The best way to determine the optimum DAC dither for a specific monitoring system is by listening to various types of source material while selecting different DAC dither curves. Optimum settings should be determined separately for 1X and 2X material. Generally, the “wider-band” or “faster” the monitoring electronics, the higher the optimum dither level will be. Rgs, Romy the caT
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche