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Thread: The Cleaner is coming . . .

  1. #1
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! dallasjustice's Avatar
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    Lightbulb The Cleaner is coming . . .

    Not that Cleaner:
    Name:  the cleaner.JPG
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    This is it:
    Name:  cleaner front.JPG
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Size:  447.6 KBName:  cleaner back.JPG
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    Digital audio reproduction has many believers and I am definitely one of them. To this day, even the best DtoA converters have their weaknesses. We hear differences never thought possible with ever lower levels of clock phase noise. We can hear small differences between different DtoA chips or discrete FPGA converters. At some point, one wonders whether there's a different way to deal with nonlinearities that ALL DACs produce. Dr. Uli Brueggeman has been thinking about these problems for some time. We've previously discussed his method of introducing frequency dependent crosstalk. You can read more about that here:
    http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...ore-like-Vinyl

    The idea is to introduce frequency dependent crosstalk so as to reduce the load on the brain when decoding phantom sources. The result can be a more relaxed listening experience and even better stereo imaging. The "Cleaner" was developed to address the difficulties of localization. In particular, the "Cleaner" is designed to deal with left/right nonlinearities produced by the DAC. The theory according to Uli is that any small nonlinearity between the R/L channels stresses the brain which is attempting to localize the phantom sources while listening to a stereo image. In the worst case scenario, if left and right channel do not correlate our brain has to do a lot of decoding work.

    The "Cleaner" is a mid/side analog decoder designed to high quality standards. The signal in the digital domain is converted into a mid/side pair of channels and sent out the DAC into the "Cleaner." The "Cleaner" then decodes it in the analog domain. (analog in and analog out, 1:1 gain, low output impedance output).

    Mid/side encoding is not new technology. It's become very popular these days with many mastering engineers. Of course, they are using it for a completely different purpose. Mastering engineers can use mid/side to enhance spatiousness and adjust vocal in middle of the stereo image. The "Cleaner" does not change the original waveform.

    In Uli's words, here's how mid/side encoding and decoding work to reduce any nonlinear distortion caused by the DAC:

    "m/s processing means:
    M = (L+R)/2
    S = (L-R)/2
    Then you can reconstruct L/R by
    L = M+S
    R = M-S
    If the processing is perfect then you get the original signals back. This is the intention. There is no reason to change the original content (whereas with mixing and mastering there is a tradition to apply m/s processing with changes of M and S)
    Now assume that during DA conversion you get some signal dependent dirt. So you may get
    Lanalog = Ldigital + Ldirt
    Ranalog = Rdigital + Rdirt
    Ldirt and Rdirt do not necessarily correlate.
    Now instead of feeding the DAC with Ldigital and Rdigital you feed it with
    Mdigtal = (Ldigital+Rdigital)/2
    Sdigital = (Mdigital - Rdigital)/2
    The analog signal thus is
    Manalog = Mdigital + Mdirt
    Sanalog = Sdigital+Sdirt
    Mdirt and Sdirt do not necessarily correlate.
    With m/s decoding now you get
    Lanalog = Manalog+Sanalog = (Migital+Sdigitla) + (Mdirt+Sdirt) = Ldigital + (Mdirt+Sdirt)
    Ranalog = Manalog-Sanaog = (Mdigital-Sdigital) + (Mdirt-Sdirt) = Rdigital + (Mdirt-Sdirt)
    So the output signal is the original signal plus dirt again. We cannot avoid the dirt. But now the resulting dirt on left and right side has some correlation as both sides contain Mdirt and Sdirt.

    In reality the decoding circuit cannot be expected to be 100% perfect, it will also add some crosstalk. As we have learnt from flow the crosstalk is not necessarily bad. Anyway the decoding circuit has to be designed carefully.
    So you understand, the basic idea is very, very simple. But is has never been published before. So I have built a prototype and I have been excited by the result. Then I have got the chance to visit ABACUS for a three day workshop for demostrating Acourate. I have decided to test the prototype by demonstrating its function to the people. It has been a full success. The audience has finally baptized the circuit as "cleaner". And ABACUS and I decided to start a product AcourateCleaner."

    I have tried many preamps over the years. They were all some of the best out there. Everytime, I felt that the preamp reduced resolution compared with my DAC direct to amp. So, I've never used a preamp. The "Cleaner" is not a preamp. It simply decodes the m/s signal back into original 2CH signal and drives the amps from it's low impedance output. What does it sound like?

    The image is wider and more spacious. The usually harsh recordings are rendered more relaxed with increased detail retrieval. The really incredible improvement is with vocal located at the middle of the soundstage. Voices are deeper, more natural, more articulate and much more relaxed sounding. I highly recommend it for digital folks searching for a more analog feel to their favorite music.

    Michael.
    Last edited by dallasjustice; 09-15-2014 at 06:16 PM.
    MUSIC IS GOOD

  2. #2
    Addicted to Best! esldude's Avatar
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    Well I don't know how necessary this is. I do know when doing difference testing to compare audio interconnect, the difference between right and left channels of even high quality DACs is some 10 decibels higher than between interconnect on the same channel. Of course basically interconnect differences are down in the thermal noise floor and channel differences are just out of it. I have my doubts it really is audible, but it is a real effect.

  3. #3
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    How much does the Cleaner cost?

  4. #4
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! dallasjustice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wisnon View Post
    How much does the Cleaner cost?
    Not enough. :-)
    http://www.audiovero.de/en/acouratecleaner-xlr.php

    One would need a mid/side encoder. The Acourate ASIO convolution engine does it for me. I think there are some mid/side plugins available too.
    MUSIC IS GOOD

  5. #5
    "... And ABACUS and I decided to start a product AcourateCleaner."

    Does the above statement mean that you have a financial interest in the commercial success of this product?

  6. #6
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! dallasjustice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Newton View Post
    "... And ABACUS and I decided to start a product AcourateCleaner."

    Does the above statement mean that you have a financial interest in the commercial success of this product?
    Those are Uli's words. That's why it's preceded with "in Uli's words" and the part you tried to quote was originally in quotation marks. Therefore, you should have used ' instead or " to signify the original in quotes.
    MUSIC IS GOOD

  7. #7
    I am fortunate to have stumbled upon this thread when I did because I am finishing up a new DAC design and adding the option of M/S decoding to the output circuit is trivial and adds little additional cost. Incorporated in the DACs output stage is where it belongs; not in an external box with a power supply, active circuits, and additional interconnects.

    Of the two stereo image enhancers, Acourate Cleaner and Acourate Flow, which do you prefer and have you found value in using them together?

  8. #8
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! dallasjustice's Avatar
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    I like the cleaner better. I've found the flow to be an improvement only sometime. The cleaner makes image clarity much better with all music.

    I agree an m/s decoder could be very helpful at DAC output stage. However, no commercial MCH DAC/ADC has one and the lynx hilo is otherwise perfect for my application wherein I use 4CH and DSP filters for active crossover, delay and room correction.

    Tell me more about your DAC.


    Quote Originally Posted by Tam Lin View Post
    I am fortunate to have stumbled upon this thread when I did because I am finishing up a new DAC design and adding the option of M/S decoding to the output circuit is trivial and adds little additional cost. Incorporated in the DACs output stage is where it belongs; not in an external box with a power supply, active circuits, and additional interconnects.

    Of the two stereo image enhancers, Acourate Cleaner and Acourate Flow, which do you prefer and have you found value in using them together?
    Last edited by dallasjustice; 09-27-2014 at 12:32 PM.
    MUSIC IS GOOD

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by dallasjustice View Post
    Tell me more about your DAC.
    I don't want to hijack your thread with tales of my 'paper' DAC...But since you asked... I'll share a few highlights that involve coordinating DAC and PC-based DSP functions. The DAC uses a proprietary USB transfer protocol and will require a companion player in order to function. The player can resample, apply sinc compensation, convolutions, and most other common DSP operations, in real time, as directed by the audio fille's metadata. The metadata is also passed to the DAC.

    So, the application of M/S encoding would work as follows: If the default setting of the player is to use M/S or the file had a M/S tag, the player would perform the encoding and send the M/S tag to the DAC which would then do the decoding. Simple, yet effective.
    Last edited by Tam Lin; 09-27-2014 at 01:14 PM. Reason: typo

  10. #10
    Member Sponsor Addicted to Best! dallasjustice's Avatar
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    What is the reason/hope for adding ms decoding output stage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tam Lin View Post
    I don't want to hijack your thread with tales of my 'paper' DAC...But since you asked... I'll share a few highlights that involve coordinating DAC and PC-based DSP functions. The DAC uses a proprietary USB transfer protocol and will require a companion player in order to function. The player can resample, apply sinc compensation, convolutions, and most other common DSP operations, in real time, as directed by the audio fille's metadata. The metadata is also passed to the DAC.

    So, the application of M/S encoding would work as follows: If the default setting of the player is to use M/S or the file had a M/S tag, the player would perform the encoding and send the M/S tag to the DAC which would then do the decoding. Simple, yet effective.
    MUSIC IS GOOD

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