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Another power supply for the Cambridge Dacmagic

I’ve been reading good reports on various fora of using a 240 to 12V AC transformer from Maplin as a relacement power supply for the Dacmagic. It’s a 36VA tranny in a plastic case with a captive 2 core mains cable and a selection of pluggable DC plugs. It’s Maplin part number L54BR. It costs £15.

I’ve picked up one locally so reports of some listening results very soon.

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Ripping and Computer Audio

These two subjects seem to be the most contentious around in the world of audio now. Both centre around sound quality and both somehow seem to bring out the most passionate views, often different to mine.

Theory one, is that it’s possible to get good sound from a computer feeding a DAC.  The debate tends to be as much around whether a Mac is better than a PC as a source as which DAC is ideal.  The general feeling seems to be that a Mac Book with a DAC costing around a £1k is cable of delivering better sound that a serious or very serious CD Player.  I agree a Mac and a DAC is cable of delivering a very good sound – but not a great one.  The Mac/DAC to my ears delivers a polished performance with poor dynamics downwards and little soul.  A great CD player adds back the soul, and reaches down into the quiet to somehow increase the space between the notes.  I’m sure it is possible to get a great sound from a ‘puter but it am sure it’s going to take a bit more effort than just plugging a DAC on to the output of a Mac.

Theory two, is that if a rip is perfect it should sound the same as another perfect rip of the same CD.  Seems pretty logical to me but somehow it doesn’t seem to be the case.  Listening blind and sighted to different rips which are identical, according to CRC and EAC’s file compare, they seem to sound different.  Consistency of results leads me to believe I’m not fooling myself.  Now, don’t expect these differences to be huge and obvious.  And don’t expect these to hear differences unless you have a revealing system and time.  If you have both and are willing to try a few rips then relax and let the tracks play through and observe your reaction to each track from an emotional level.  You need to be relaxed and not trying too hard – tension and stress are great ways of hearing less. When last trying this blind Malcolm Steward and I found differences in the rhythm of the track.

My conclusions are the same as usual with serious hi-fi.  The more I understand the more I realise I don’t know.

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Closed minds

I’ve been reading audio forums for years and they have always had their share of posters that can’t seem to allow others to take pleasure in their purchases.
As an example someone might post how they have purchased a new cable and are very pleased with the improvement it has brought to their system. The negative poster will reply stating that there can’t possibly be a change in sound quality from changing this cable and the purchaser must be fooling themselves.

Recently the number of ‘disbelievers’ seems to be on the increase. They don’t believe that different cables sound different, that different supports sound different and even seem to believe that digital is digital and if it doesn’t have errors it must sound the same.

I tend to think the safer way is to consider that every change you make to a hi-fi system is audible. Might make it better, might make it worse or it might be so small a change it doesn’t really matter, but there will be a change.

In fact if you make a change and you can’t hear a difference then consider why.
Is it a scientific way to look at things? Probably more so than trying to convince yourself there isn’t a change.