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Thread: If It's Spring, It Must Be Time for New Speakers (and More): Janszen Valentina Active

  1. #11
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    Tom,
    Looks like you are having fun and getting better sound. Some suggestions:

    1. Better HDMI cable
    2. Better coax cable
    3. Super duper linear power supply for Kanex and you need to remove the toslink output connector (it is an led and will mess up the sound) and also the ON indicator (most likely an led)
    4. Modified IFI spdif Ipurifier on input of DAC. Mods include removing the leds (toslink connector and frequency indicator), hardwiring one power supply connection and damping the unit and damping it to the DAC. Info on my site. I charge $65 for the mod. I could also do you Kanex for free at the same time.
    5. Get all you cables off the floor/rug. I use cardboard triangles I make for nothing.....works great. If one of my power or signal wires fall off its riser and is touching the rug for even one inch the whole soundstage is off.
    6. Better signal wire to speakers.

    Digital is so touchy everywhere. This is why it has taken so long to get good digital.....every single thing everywhere effects the sound. I don't have a recommendation on cables as I have never played with HDMI and I make my own ten inch long wire for coax. But, I will tell you this: the connectors and how I damp them, the wire polarity and how I damp the wires.... on my tiny wire make a serious difference.

    Have fun!

    Ric Schultz
    tweakaudio.com

  2. #12
    WBF Technical Expert [Technical Expert] tmallin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ric Schultz View Post
    Tom,
    Looks like you are having fun and getting better sound. Some suggestions:

    1. Better HDMI cable
    2. Better coax cable
    3. Super duper linear power supply for Kanex and you need to remove the toslink output connector (it is an led and will mess up the sound) and also the ON indicator (most likely an led)
    4. Modified IFI spdif Ipurifier on input of DAC. Mods include removing the leds (toslink connector and frequency indicator), hardwiring one power supply connection and damping the unit and damping it to the DAC. Info on my site. I charge $65 for the mod. I could also do you Kanex for free at the same time.
    5. Get all you cables off the floor/rug. I use cardboard triangles I make for nothing.....works great. If one of my power or signal wires fall off its riser and is touching the rug for even one inch the whole soundstage is off.
    6. Better signal wire to speakers.

    Digital is so touchy everywhere. This is why it has taken so long to get good digital.....every single thing everywhere effects the sound. I don't have a recommendation on cables as I have never played with HDMI and I make my own ten inch long wire for coax. But, I will tell you this: the connectors and how I damp them, the wire polarity and how I damp the wires.... on my tiny wire make a serious difference.

    Have fun!

    Ric Schultz
    tweakaudio.com
    Ric, thanks for the suggestions. I may well get around to trying some of them as soon as I become less than enthralled with the sound of this system as it now stands. Three plus months in and I'm still thrilled most every time I sit down to listen. You know I respect your work. I currently use your fully-modified Oppo BDP-105D in this system and use your fully modified BDP-105 in my other system based around Harbeth M40.1 speakers. I remember well that the analog out sound from your modified BDP-105 clearly bested the analog out sound quality of the stock BDP-105 I also owned when I took delivery of your modified unit.

    But, to put things into my current perspective, digital things are changing for the better. I think that at least with the Benchmark DAC-3 DX I'm using, digital sound reproduction is no longer "so touchy everywhere." This was also true with my Lyngdorf TDAI-2170 I previously used in this system and now use in my Harbeth system. As an example, strain though I might, I really cannot reliably hear any difference (much less a difference that I can easily classify as "better" or "worse") between the Oppo HDMI out feeding CD sources through the stock Kanex into one input of the Benchmark and the Oppo's coax digital output which bypasses the Kanex entirely and directly feeds another digital input of the Benchmark. These two signals are instantaneously A/Bable without any time interruption with a single click on the Benchmark's remote control. I thus seriously doubt that anything you or anyone else could do to the Kanex would "improve" its sound. It basically has no detectable sound in my system in its present stock form.

    While the Blue Jeans Cables HDMI, digital coax, and analog cables I use are inexpensive, they have bested all comers I've used over the years. Most other cables are rather obviously colored tonally and seem to be engineered to be crude tone controls for those looking for a bit of EQ but who can't stomach the idea of active electronics to do that job. The BJCs are neutral tonally, quite clear, and display no spatial oddities I can detect.

    While I agree that cable lifters are worthwhile on a carpeted floor (carpets have nasty static electricity), none of my cables except those from the DAC to the speakers touch any carpet. They touch only air and wood flooring. I have never heard any problems from cables resting on wood.

    The Benchmark already has a bunch of LEDs and LCDs in it. Those are necessary to tell which input is operating, as well as the bit depth and sampling rate. I would not want to be without any of these indicator lights. The DAC-3 DX is already undoubtedly the finest DAC I have used.

    The BJC signal wires from the Benchmark to the speakers carry only balanced analog signal, not digital. The star-quad balanced Canare cable BJC uses has extreme resistance to EMI and RFI effects and is the specific type of cable Benchmark recommends for connecting its DAC-3 to downstream components so as to avoid compromising the Benchmark's extremely high signal to noise ratio at its outputs. This kind of cable is great for resisting pick up of environmental hum and noise, even from the Benchmark DACs themselves. See: https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/app...stration-video

    The IFI spdif Ipurifier seems to get high marks from most users even in its stock version. I may well give the stock unit a try before seeking your mods for it. However, I can't help wondering whether this unit, like so many other purifiers and filters I've used, makes a difference only because it intentionally or unintentionally alters the frequency response just a bit. Or, perhaps users are using DACs which are still "touchy everywhere." At present, given the Kanex A/B example I gave, I tend to believe that the Benchmark DAC-3 really is pretty close to the mythical "bits is bits" device we've all been seeking since the dawn of the digital age. It seems to ignore all sorts of digital nasties (jitter and whatever else may matter) presented to its inputs.

    I can easily and repeatably hear the sonic differences made by physical set up of speakers, listening position, and room treatments. Such things tend to swamp small electronic differences these days since the digital electronics have gotten better. For example, I can easily hear the sonic difference (and easily classify the difference as "better" or "worse") caused by insertion or deletion of a 1/16"-thick felt spacer below the front feet of my speakers. I tweak such things because they make significant, repeatable better/worse changes to the sound reproduction. As indicated in my previous posts, that's where I've spent my efforts on this system up to now. I'll start further tweaking electronics when I start to become disenchanted. For now, however, the enchantment remains very strong.
    Last edited by tmallin; 07-05-2017 at 03:00 PM.

  3. #13
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    Tom,
    One cable can move the resolution to its level.....for instance....say the Blue Jean digital cable has a resolution level of 80 on a scale of 100. If you use that cable then you will never get any higher level.....so maybe adding the Kanex and HDMI cable keeps it near 80.......but what if you used a better digital cable of say 95 scale.....then maybe you would hear the degradation of the Kanex/HDMI thang.....and so it goes. Maybe a modified Kanex plus better HDMI cable even with the Blue Jean digital cable would raise the level much higher because the HDMI thing is actually a plus. One person emailed me that using the Kanex from his Oppo was mucho better than straight coax....that is what he heard. What I do know is that everything you do makes a difference but the lowest level transparency thing in the system sets the basic level. There is no way to know anything unless you listen. I cannot imagine Blue Jean cables being totally neutral or transparent. In fact, Belden has just brought out a "high end cable line" (Belden Iconoclast) that sell for tons of money and all the "Belden fans" seem to think they are way better than the "ordinary" Belden's. All DACs are still "touchy everywhere".....even the $100,000 MSB Select 2 needs the best cables and feeding. Same with line level cables.....no way Canare balanced cables will sound as transparent as many others. All cables add noise and distortion.....this is the problem.....which one is neutral? Blue Jeans?......hard to believe....specially knowing all I do about connectors, solder, damping, directionality of wire, purity of wire, etc. But if you are happy with the current sound of you stereo, then that is really all that matters......its not ignorance is bliss......because bliss is the highest knowledge....but what you want with your stereo really has nothing to do with bliss. Real bliss is eternal.
    Enjoy,
    Ric

  4. #14
    WBF Technical Expert [Technical Expert] tmallin's Avatar
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    Ric, it makes little sense to say that a cable limits the transparency of the system to upstream events. We all listen for transparency of anything through loudspeakers or headphones. Even the worst serviceable cable is far more transparent and has less measurable distortion of any kind than the best speaker or headphone and yet you and I can clearly hear cable and many other upstream changes through speakers such as the Janszens or Harbeths. This is so even for fairly mediocre speakers like vintage AR-3a. And most program material itself was recorded with hundreds of feet of less-than-audiophile grade cable and connectors and yet we can hear the effect of changes in short lengths of downstream audio playback wire. If what you say is true, changing any cables downstream from the recording studio should be inaudible since all the fine detail would have been filtered out in studio.

    I have not heard anyone claim that the HDMI output or HDMI cabling is in any way sonically superior to coax digital outputs or cabling. If HDMI were a superior format, expensive DACs (expensive enough to make the HDMI licensing costs a non-issue) would have HDMI inputs. The fact that most don't means that manufacturers have concluded that for audio signals there is no advantage. Note that one of the things Oppo claims for its new UDP-205 is reduction of jitter in the HDMI output.

    Belden is free to grab part of the audiophile cable market. The company owners can laugh all the way to the bank and justify their good fortune knowing that many audiophiles may well enjoy spending their money for new "better" Belden cables. To a good share of the audiophile audio market, higher price automatically equates with higher quality sound. The same is true in DACs and every other audio component. Listeners must listen for themselves with open minds and some sort of valid reference points for better and worse sound versus just different sound.

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