on the go: a much better solution
my dilemma: When I travel on vacation dont laugh now I usually lug along
my spare NAD CD player, my Creek headphone amp, and, of course, a bunch of CDs -- and
headphones. Plus interconnects. It all works, but as you can imagine its a PITA.
thinking of purchasing some sort of portable USB DAC to plug into my Mac. Presumably it
would have a headphone amp built in. I would then download some tracks to the Mac. Am I
going about this correctly? What exactly do I need to do this?
are a committed audiophile, lugging all of that stuff with you, or perhaps it's that you
should be committed! What you propose, a USB DAC/headphone amp to use with your Mac
(presumably a laptop), is the ideal option.
best such product for you is the AudioQuest Dragonfly -- a DAC and headphone amp in one.
It will replace your CD player and headphone amp with something the size of a USB thumb
drive. You can literally put it in your pocket. As for music, you can rip CDs to your
computer's hard drive or download recordings. The Dragonfly can handle up to 24-bit/96kHz
data. You'll be surprised how much music even a mid-sized hard drive can hold. -Marc
customer recently commented to us on the Lamm review by Tim Aucremann, found here. The customer wanted to know what we thought of this passage:
is correct; the reason this happens is because the Lamm has an XLR input connector, but
does not process the balanced signal internally, as pin 3 is ignored -- it's not hooked
up. The MP-1, which supports the balanced standard, has its output occurring between pin 2
and pin 3 of the XLR; so when one of those pins is not connected naturally, there will be
hum and buzz as the connection is incomplete!
problem is that balanced line and single-ended connections are not considered compatible,
so you have to jump through some hoops to make them play well together.
are many high-end audio preamps that do not support the balanced standard yet have
balanced outputs with XLR connections. In this way they would seem to get around this
problem. One set of examples is the Audio Research preamps. These preamps employ two
separate single-ended outputs that are out of phase with each other, both tied to the same
XLR connector. Each output is dependent on the ground connection. Since the Lamm is really
a single-ended connection on its XLR, this works fine with it, but it should be noted that
only one of the two outputs of the Audio Research is actually in use.
the balanced line standard, ground is ignored and is only used for shielding; the actual
output (pins 2 and 3) floats with respect to ground. This not only eliminates noise
(allows for a high CMRR value for those with a technical bent) but also dramatically
reduces cable artifacts. When the ground becomes essential to the signal connection, these
advantages are lost. This is why we support the balanced line standard.
simple method of solving the hum problem with our preamp is to tie pin 3 of the output of
the MP-1 to pin 1 (ground), thus causing it to become a single-ended source. We offer
optional RCA outputs on the MP-1 with a switch that takes care of this issue.
Atma-Sphere Music Systems, Inc.
thanks for your article regarding the IKEA Aptitlig chopping boards as supports for
you think the benefits of the boards would be negated/altered if I were to have the boards
painted? I'm thinking of buying some and having them painted to match my living-room
interior. Will help greatly with the wife-acceptance factor. I will have them properly
sprayed by a mate who is a panel beater.
question! Before we even get to the sonic issue there's the small matter of the oil with
which IKEA seal the surface of the boards. I'm not sure how undercoats or paint finishes
would adhere to this, although your friend could probably advise. It may be a case of
sanding the surfaces to remove a complete layer before painting, with the additional
concern that if the oil has penetrated to varying depths, it might cause blemishes or
differences in the finished surface. I guess the only way to find out is to try it, but
I'd love to know the outcome. I guess you could always run an experiment with the smaller
boards if you felt the need.
I'd always opt for direct contact; a painted surface will be at least some form of
barrier. However, especially if you are using couplers of any kind (wood blocks, Sort
Kones or similar) if you establish their positions in advance then it should be easy to
mask those areas and leave them bare -- with the added advantage that it will become
immediately apparent if your mechanical grounds have wandered from their carefully
optimized locations. Likewise, it seems an area ripe for experimentation, and although my
gut feeling would seek the direct-path solution, I suspect that the sonic differences
between that and a painted interface would be subtle, especially when compared to the
overall improvement generated by the adoption of the bamboo shelves in the first place.
the easiest and most versatile option would be to paint the edges of the boards and a
"picture frame" on the top surface, leaving the bulk of the area beneath the
units bare for positioning the couplers. That should give you the best of both worlds -- a
painted appearance that extends under the edges of each of your components, with a direct
connection between coupler and shelf. -Roy Gregory
read the article on the smart and useful equipment support system using Ikea's
Aptitlig. Very nice! Thank you for that.
have two questions regarding my system, and I need your advice. I own the same Soundstyle
rack as you. First, can I use the bamboo base under my turntable, a Rega Planar 3? The
Rega is sitting on the top of the rack. Second, under the Rega on the second shelf is the
integrated amplifier, a Musical Fidelity A220. After running for half an hour, it is very
hot! I am wondering if the heat of A220 will damage the Aptitlig. I have read that the
Aptitlig has oil on it.
Im glad that you (and so many others) are discovering the unintended,
cost-effective musical joys of IKEAs kitchenware!
Aptitlig chopping boards will work brilliantly under both your Rega turntable and Musical
Fidelity amp. In addition, it will be well worth experimenting with simple couplers to
bypass the feet on the amp (and possibly the Rega). These could be cut from a close-grain
hardwood or another block of bamboo. There are commercially available options, but
initially at least, experimentation is both the name of the game and half the fun.
to the issue of heat generated by the A220, as long as you can give it an inch or so
(30mm) between the top of the amp and the shelf above it, you shouldnt have any
problems. Ive used the Icon Audio A80 with its nine tubes, including four 6550
output tubes, in similar circumstances without any issues at all. -Roy Gregory
would like to congratulate you on your first article with The Audio Beat!
Starting your writing with the Bowers
& Wilkins CM10 Series 2 is an impressive introduction.
gravitated me was your knowledge and experience -- as a woman! There are zero to none in
this industry, as you are already aware. I feel I am no longer alone (LOL).
up the great work, and may this be the beginning of many wondrous written works of your
art and wild rides.
E-mail us your questions,
concerns and suggestions. We won't reprint every letter, but we will answer them all.