Mr Underhill

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About Mr Underhill

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    I am not in the Hi-Fi trade
  1. R2R NOS DAC and DDC Mini-Bakeoff

    Thanks Richard, Two additions: Bought the Matrix SPDIF2, it really is very good; and The Edge I was hearing was down to what I had put between the speaker stand spike and the base on which it stands! M
  2. Border Patrol

    Fun day. Thanks to Metatron and George.
  3. Introduction Would love to have opened this up, but I only have a small living room. Visited by Metatron and George47 yesterday, together with George's AudioNote (AN) 2.1, an AN4.1 he is currently sheltering and the Matrix SPDIF 2 that he recently reviewed. I bought a Schiit Eitr and so we had a three way comparison between my current DDC, the SingXer F1, the Matrix and the Eitr. The main aim was to repeat the get together a couple of weeks ago where we compared the AN2.1 and Border Patrol (BP) DACs in Metatron's system, but in mine. My system (briefly): USB Storage/StarTech/Raspberry Pi 3 powered by R-Core Chinese LPSU via LT3045 Sonore ultraRendu powered by R-Core Chinese LPSU via LT3045 DDC DAC EAR868/EAR534 Focal 1008be II One thing I have been wrestling with for months is edge. I think there are a number of reasons for this and present in different, although similar, ways. I have made progress but this was again bothering me, especially as I thought I had more or less put it to bed a few weeks ago - this was a driving force behind trying the different DDCs. They made NO DIFFERENCE on the edge front, but something else did, which I will return to later. We made up a review music list, which was modified over the day: See Appendix A. The DDCs Metatron was delayed so George and I initially compared the DDCs. My view: F1 Detailed. Eitr Detailed. Bit more weight to the intruments. Bass perhaps a touch better defined. Matrix Wow. Detailed. Weighty presentation. Warmer. Excellent sound stage. More below. The DAC comparisons were therefore done with the Matrix. The DACs The DAC comparison was obviously very straightforward: 4.1 > 2.1 > BP. Actually I bought the Border Patrol having done long comparisons with the Bel Canto DAC 3.5vb, Schiit Yggdrasil and the Lampizator L4G5. All are good DACs but their presentations will suit different tastes and systems. For me the BP wasn't as detailed as the Yggy, or as euphonic as the Lampizator, but it communicated music in a joy filled and enthusiastic fashion that I find extends any music listening session. Listening to the AN2.1 at Metatron's was very similar to the BP, but added: a bit more bass weight; detail; and spacial positioning. It repeated this in my system. The AN4.1 is a bigger and MUCH heavier beast. I believe this IS probably the best of the DACs .....but NOT in my system; system synergy. The 4.1 extracted more detail and nuance but just lacked the boogie factor of the 2.1 and BP. Intellectually I believe the order of the DACs in terms of detail and presentation is 4.1 > 2.1 > BP; in the right system. However, in my system the order for me was: 2.1 > (4.1 = BP), where the detail and nuance of the 4.1 was equaled by the BP's boogie. We ended the day playing Streetwalker and Billie Jean via the 2.1, what a blast. Edge While trying the 4.1 we useed the SE inputs, but decided to try the balanced, this failed for some reason (I suspect my cables). I realised that I had plugged the balanced cables into my Oppo 105D a few weeks ago. Removing these cables appeared to reduce the edge we were hearing. I will be testing this again today. Matrix I am very impressed by this small box of tricks. It is not simply that I am hearing added detail from very familier tracks it warmth and instrumental weight makes me listen to whole albums where before I might have been inclined to listen to certain tracks. Conclusion I suspect I will be buying the Matrix. I am very happy with the BP DAC, which I think is an absolute bargain. However, if an AN2.1 comes up at the right price I suspect I will find it very hard to resist. Thanks to George & Metatron. Appendix A - Music Playlist --------------------------------------------- Let Me Touch You Fir a While Alison Krauss & Union Station Live (Qobuz) Track includes some high notes that can be hot on my system Columbus Mary Black Live at Oympia (DVD rip > 16/44) My favourite recorded version of this artist and song. Keith Don't Go Nils Lofgren Acoustic Live Virtuoso Guitar Son of Man Phil Collins Tarzan Soundtrack (CD rip) Can be far too hot on my system Happy Martin Sexton Seeds (CD rip) Sharp Recording Crucify (2015 remaster) Tori Amos Little Earthquakes (Qobuz) Come Together Brian Bromberg Wood (Qobuz) Big fat bass! Unfinished Sympathy (2006 remaster) Massive Attack Collected (Qobuz) Hella Bar Talk / Enterprising Young Man The Music of Star Trek The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (Qobuz) Powerful stuff. Jungle Tash Sultana Notion (Qobuz)
  4. Border Patrol

    My thanks to Metatron & George: Metatron supplied the venue, the base system & the Chord Hugo; George the Audio Note 2.1 DAC and Esorteric D-03 DAC; and I supplied the Border Patrol DAC. Bottom Line: I am very happy. The tracks included problems (War if the Worlds & Simon & Garfunkel - The Dangling Conversation), Difficult (Nina Simone) & tests (Bela Fleck). My opinion: All four DACs are good and will shine in different systems and your preference will be based on your tastes, for me: Chord Hugo: As above, mids just don't grab you, sounds to me a bit academic - doesn't communicate the joy. Border Patrol: Now this was more like it. The fun came back. Emotional communication. Perhaps a touch rolled off. Audio Note 2.1: Oh! The emotional connection of the BP, but greater transparency. Esoteric D-03: Initially AWFUL, this was connected via the AES dual leads from the dCS Bridge. Changed to the spdif, yes - this was more like it. Chord on steroids? But, for me, lacked the magical middle. My order: AN 2.1 > BP > Esoteric > Hugo. Even better, the problem files were problems via all the DACs (apart from the Hugo - see the entry above). I think the essential DNA of the AN & BP are the same, but the BP is 1/3rd of the cost and is no way shamed by the comparison. For me this reconfirms the superb quality and VFM of the BP; but, I now have an idea of where I would be looking at going if I was willing to spend more. M
  5. Border Patrol

    Hi Richard, I have a suspicion that the issues we are covering above are more streamer based, and that what you hear may well be without them. A couple of days ago I took receipt of an IFI iDefender 3.0, and yesterday did some listening tests. As soon as I plugged it in ALL the edge issues vanished, but so did some resolution. As the widget settled down over the next couple of hours the detail returned, as did some of the edge. This made me bite a bullet I have been avoiding: My SingXer F1 was powered from the ultraRendu (uR), it has built in tech to clean the DC. I made up a couple of cables, blocked the DC from the uR, and supplied the power from an LT3045 (0.5A 5v). I then played with combinations of adapters, settling for the moment on: SBooster VBus2 (Blocks the DC) IFI iDefender 3.0 USB A > B adapter Result? More body and detail. Edge mainly gone - teh Richard Burton hard 'S'es are still there, but there impact is reduced. Played a couple of other tracks which I know can be a bit hot in places, same result. Do you have War of the Worlds on CD/SACD? If so could you give it a spin and let me know what you hear? Thx, Martin
  6. Border Patrol

    Hi Chaps, If I can grab the car on the day you pick any chance of popping over? Metatron, Thx for hosting me, great system. I agree with Metatron's observations. Of the two my pick would be the BP, and I agree it is superb VFM. We heard the same issues/highlights through both systems when swapping the DACs. Example test tracks: War of the Worlds – Thunder Child War of the Worlds – Spirit of Man ACDC – Thunderstruck Meatloaf – Bat Out of Hell Hugo Greater resolution and finesse with high frequencies. Mid band anaemic. BP DAC Propels you into the music Real meat and balls to the music ......certain sharpness with rock and pop in the mid/high frequencies. Observations If you play either of the War of the Worlds tracks and listen to Richard Burton ‘S’es you hear an over-emphasis. Bat Out of Hell has a souring guitar wail early on left field, through the BP it screeches. Oppo 105D Put in my Oppo 105D via its coax input – sabre DAC. All the problem files are STILL problems, perhaps even worse. This was also my experience when listening to the Schitt Yggdrasil (slightly less) and the Lampizator L4G5. I would be interested if anyone else has similar issue with these tracks via their DAC. M
  7. Border Patrol

    Hi Fourlegs, The Hugo is Metatrons. We listened to it through my system which used EAR-Yoshino amps. The effect which he describes as hearing in his system is the same in mine. M
  8. EAR-Yoshino (Esoteric Audio Research)

    Hi Rosewind, Just to say that I wouldn't rule out the 534. Shame you are no in the UK as I would offer to haul it over. Interesting that you think the difference between the line inputs is marginal, and something I will keep in mind if I see a 912 anywhere near the money i would be prepared to spend. Hope someone can give you some meaningful feedback. M
  9. Border Patrol

    It was a fun afternoon having Metatron over and slotting in his Hugo. It hasn't tempted me to change, but has made me think there may be other things going on that I would like to address. The impression was definitely that the Hugo was more extended and resolved at either end of the scale, but I do wonder whether this was due to a lack of action in the center ground. Either way, two good DACs and I am very much looking forward to listening to the BP in Metatron's system. This is one of the GREAT things about the WigWam - the opportunity to listen to other peoples systems, and varieties of kit within them. M
  10. Border Patrol

    Hi Richard, A cheap Dell unit via £25, unswitched, non-filtered, no LEDs. This plugs into a BT 4A 1kv isolating transformer that I bought via the bay fro £100. M
  11. Border Patrol

    Hi Richard, Glad to hear that it is working out for you. Like you I found it excellent straight out of the gate. Sorry that it was a bit more of a roller coaster for you Jon ....interesting. I have to say that I have been doing a LOT of work sorting out the grounding & powering of my system and I have found the BP DAC to be absolutely transparent, in that as I make changes I hear it through the system. I actually find that in terms of the main components I am absolutely happy with where I now am. I have been spending relatively small amounts on LT3045, Power Distribution units and an Isolating Transformer - to great effect. Look forward to how things progress for you both. M
  12. Schiit Yggdrasil

    Hi Metatron, I haven't heard the dCS or PSA; although I have considered trying both in the past. My route to the BP over the years was: Audio Synthesis > Benchmark DAC1 > Naim DAC/XPS > Bel Canto 3.5vbs > BP SE. My view is that what people hear from a DAC can vary strongly with the system it is in. When I had the Benchmark it was roundly critised on the Naim forum and so I popped down to my local dealer, who I knew well, and he left me to insert it into a middling Naim setup that they had in their dem room. It sounded poor - in my system it was very good. In my moves between Benchmark DAC1 > Naim DAC/XPS > Bel Canto 3.5vbs the sound quality did not vary tremendously, I was changing for facilities. I do think the BP is a step up on these DACs, in my system. WRT your comments: Yggy has great detail & is never ragged, but I found listening to music through it was quiet forensic, removed me from the emotion. This sounds similar to your Hugo objection. You can borrow the Yggy from them for £30 towards postage. You then have it for two weeks. IF I just listened to classical music I would have got the Lampi. The one I borrowed is still at: I found them easy people to deal with. Gary will send you the BP for two weeks, from memory, BUT you have to buy it initially. He will supply you with a UK address to return it to if you decide not to buy, double check this. I think all three are good DACs, and can see different people buying different ones based on taste. M Look forward to your opinion as and when ...
  13. Schiit Yggdrasil

    Hi Metatron, I was waiting for JezR & his thoughts of the BP & the Audio Note. My comparisons were between the BP, Yggdrasil and Lampi 4, as covered above. I am still VERY happy. I just can't believe how good this DAC is. Saw a new review: In addition to: A number of viewpoints have astounded me in doing posts, telling me: As I am enthusiastic I am in the pay of BP; As the chip is a 1543 the DAC just can't be any good; As this DAC is NOS it simply isn't worth listening to. I have to say I have not come across anything that I thought was a stone bonker bargain before. M
  14. Audio Physic Fans?

    I use an Audio Physic Center II. Bit if an impulse buy but I wanted something to go with my then Living Voice speakers. Worked OK. Since then I have moved on to Focal 1008be IIs, and these it matches perfectly. Great speaker.
  15. Schiit Yggdrasil

    Just to update: I think the Border Patrol SE is a stonking DAC. I use Qobuz and through my Bel Canto DAC is was pretty good at 16/44.1, with the BP SE it sounds simply excellent. Over the last few weeks I have been tweaking my system. The BP is transparent to this, my system revealing minor changes in the system further upstream. For instance, changing the LPSU that IO use to power my Raspberry Pi 3, which hosts Logitech Media Server. I listen to my music daily for hours, it is now very rare that I find an album that is less than listenable, and I find new detail on albums that I have not listened to for a while - but presented in a way that I just find addictive. M