rates: some perspective
did as you suggested and bought an AudioQuest DragonFly v1.2 DAC for my Mac -- it's
amazing! I also tried hooking it up to my main system -- the Dragonfly's sampling rate is
96kHz and my Cambridge Audio CD player's is 384kHz. The DragonFly sounds just as good as
the CD player. Is this possible? Have you heard anyone else say this? Maybe the sample
rate is not the main variable.
sample rates you mention are the maximum rate for data handled (for the DragonFly) and
maximum upsampling rate (for your Cambridge Audio CD player). They aren't the same thing,
because while the DragonFly can decode 96kHz data, your CD player cannot decode anything
above 44.1kHz, the limit for CD playback. What your CD player can do is upsample CD data
to a higher rate, although this is really a kind of audio trick, because no product can
create data that's not there to begin with.
I'm not surprised that the Dragonfly sounds as good as your CD player. In fact, with 96kHz
files, it may sound considerably better. -Marc Mickelson
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an Audio Research Reference Anniversary preamp owner,
Ive read your review of the Reference 10 with great interest. You wrote:
Inside, the Reference 10 reflects the discovery of new passive parts, including new
coupling capacitors, replacing the absolutely immense Teflon ones used in the Reference
Anniversary. It looks like bigger doesnt always mean better! What exactly are
those new caps in Reference 10? We all know that Audio Research doesnt manufacture
their own, so the new caps must have come from the likes of Mundorf, Audio Note, Vcap,
etc. But Im guessing -- I dont want to. I want to know for sure who exactly
made the giant ones in my Reference Anniversary and who made the new ones inside Reference
to finish off on the capacitor subject, based on your knowledge and experience, which
manufacturer enjoys the reputation of undisputed leader in capacitor production? Who is
the best of the best?
I answered a question in March that addresses your first question -- sort of. As
I wrote then:
color of the capacitors that Audio Research uses in its products -- whether white or gold
-- doesn't necessarily indicate qualitative differences between them. In some cases, it's
a matter of different vendors and the outer-wrap materials they use. From ARC: "We
have some white and gold caps that are sonically equivalent. That is why some products
have been made using both." This is all the information I can get. Audio Research
doesn't reveal specific construction details and differences between capacitors because
they consider this proprietary information.
for choosing the best capacitor manufacturer, I can't help you there, because I've not
done any real research on the subject. I can say that Ken Stevens of Convergent Audio
Technology has done a great deal of listening to passive parts and he uses caps he makes
himself, along with Black Gate graphite-particle caps that are no longer made (although he
has a stock of them). I would tend to think that these are among the best available.
need your help again. I am looking for some reference cables (interconnects and power
cords) regardless of price. I have on the top of my shortlist Nordost Odin and
Kubala-Sosna Elation. Which of them would you choose? Of course, if you have a better
idea, I would like to hear it.
also need your opinion on the PS Audio Direct Stream DAC. It has won the product of the
year award both in Stereophile and The Absolute Sound magazines. How
would you compare the PS Audio DAC with the dCS Vivaldi DAC, which is the king in digital
audio? In other words, which of these DACs would you prefer if money is not a problem?
Among the cable lines that I know of and fit your "regardless of price"
criteria, the only one I've heard at length in my system is Nordost Valhalla 2, and it is very good indeed. Before you pay more for
Odin, you should definitely hear Valhalla 2. I wouldn't be surprised if you prefer it. I
would also investigate the new Transparent Magnum Opus Generation 5 cables. I loved the Opus MM
interconnects and speaker cables; in some ways, I've heard nothing else quite like them.
can't help you with the PS Audio DAC, as I've heard it only at shows and don't know the
company's products through other exposure. I will say that every time I've heard the dCS
Vivaldi rig, it has wowed me. If my digital budget was "regardless of price,"
the dCS stack is what I'd own -- maybe two of 'em. -Marc Mickelson