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Diamond 121 + Azur 351a help

Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
71
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Location
Kolkata
Hello,

This is Mounarshi. I am from Kolkata. I bought a diamond 121 recently from Utsav, WattEffects.He was most helpful. I am driving through a Cambridge audio azur 351a amp/dac(which I bought from him) through pc and foobar(ASIO output). However am seeing that when am playing any song with a lot of instruments (Metallica S&M, Linkin Park-the Hunting Party, Poets of the Fall-Temple of Thoughts), the sound is congested and a bit too warm. The aggressiveness is lacking. For Ghazals,Solos,acoustic music everything sounds good. I am using the Noise Sharpener DSP apart form the Foobar Graphic EQ.

Is it owing to the fact that the speakers need a lot of time to break in? I tried the xlo reference cd for burning and played it for around 45 mins (track 9). Do I need a better usb DAC like the Schiit Modi? (Am using Bandridge 2.5mm speaker cables, Bandridge USB Cable) . Or should I purchase a dedicated CDP to get the most of my system? I purchase original music cds and am currently using the FLAC files encoded by EasyAudioExtractor to play from my PC.

Thanks,
Mounarshi.
 
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shibashis

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In my opinion it would be best to stay away from software EQ settings and if needed play with amplifier's tone control.

I experienced much the same with my Sonodyne amplifier, but changing to a CA Azur 550A has addressed that issue quite a bit, so judging by my experience can not fault the amplifier much. Try some other DAC, will Utsav let you borrow some inexpensive DAC for a session to experiment?

A little more hours on the speakers would help, but I am surprised to know that you are not finding the sound attractive enough. CA are quite aggressive in my opinion.
The Diamond 121 could be the weak-link here but it is too early to conclude, give it more time and see. How long have you had them?

Where do you stay?
 

haisaikat

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I agree with all the points made by Shibashis. I want to know what kind of media MP3, FLAC, ACD, etc) are you using since the DAC is limited to max 48KHz inputs. Also ensure that foobar volume is always 100% since software volume controls are just another type of "EQ".
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2012
Messages
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Points
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Location
Kolkata
Fair enough. As I mentioned, I had heard them for like 5-6 hours max and they are fairly new. So I am assuming they need a lot more burn in time. I stay near Siemens, Kasba in a PG, so if it is possible for any of you guys to come over, that will be great because I am a total newbie and all my experience is based on web research only.. I am using FLAC/audio cds for my hearing sessions.

It is not that it's not attractive. There is plenty of soul in the sound. The mids are terrific and indian music is beautiful. It is just that am not enjoying rock music much without eq ing because it is getting very warm and the bass guitar notes are not having the kind of attack that is expected. The situation has improved after using the Noise Sharpener dsp and the Graphics Equilizer.
 

plasmoid

Active Member
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Nov 28, 2008
Messages
398
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43
Location
Bangalore
Hello,

This is Mounarshi. I am from Kolkata. I bought a diamond 121 recently from Utsav, WattEffects.He was most helpful. I am driving through a Cambridge audio azur 351a amp/dac(which I bought from him) through pc and foobar(ASIO output). However am seeing that when am playing any song with a lot of instruments (Metallica S&M, Linkin Park-the Hunting Party, Poets of the Fall-Temple of Thoughts), the sound is congested and a bit too warm. The aggressiveness is lacking. For Ghazals,Solos,acoustic music everything sounds good. I am using the Noise Sharpener DSP apart form the Foobar Graphic EQ.

Is it owing to the fact that the speakers need a lot of time to break in? I tried the xlo reference cd for burning and played it for around 45 mins (track 9). Do I need a better usb DAC like the Schiit Modi? (Am using Bandridge 2.5mm speaker cables, Bandridge USB Cable) . Or should I purchase a dedicated CDP to get the most of my system? I purchase original music cds and am currently using the FLAC files encoded by EasyAudioExtractor to play from my PC.

Thanks,
Mounarshi.
Just my 2 cents...Metallica S&M, Linkin Park-the Hunting Party are very badly mastered and have a squashed dynamic range of 5-6 db. They will sound congested on any system, which is probably why your other music sounds good.

As for sounding warm, that is the characteristic of Diamond 121. I have listened to these speakers paired with Marantz PM6004 (also warm) at a friends place and were amazed at how smooth,open and airy they sound. I liked the sound so much I will be upgrading to these soon.

Since you like heavy metal listen to Metallica - and justice for all/Ride the lightning (original cd pressings from the 80's) on your system and you will be amazed at the difference. Hope this helps.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Location
Kolkata
Just my 2 cents...Metallica S&M, Linkin Park-the Hunting Party are very badly mastered and have a squashed dynamic range of 5-6 db. They will sound congested on any system, which is probably why your other music sounds good.
wow! Thanks for the helpful insight!! I will surely try Ride the Lighting. Yes, as I am saying I find the bollywood stuff/ghazals/rabindrasangeet very soothing indeed. I was playing some instrumentals last night and it felt blissful. My only concern came because of these cds. Umm Is there any way I can improve these badly mastered ones? Since I buy these cds and create the FLACs, I have no idea how to get better ones.
 
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by the way can any of you guys highlight on how good the DAC of my azur 351a is compared to say schiit modi or the audioquest dragonfly? I know they are Burr Browns from some obscure source which I do not recollect presently. But otherwise, I cannot get the exact specifications.
 

plasmoid

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wow! Thanks for the helpful insight!! I will surely try Ride the Lighting. Yes, as I am saying I find the bollywood stuff/ghazals/rabindrasangeet very soothing indeed. I was playing some instrumentals last night and it felt blissful. My only concern came because of these cds. Umm Is there any way I can improve these badly mastered ones? Since I buy these cds and create the FLACs, I have no idea how to get better ones.
I had this same experience when I upgraded to my setup. Digital Mastering these days caters to car stereos, ipod and component systems. These systems don't bring out much details so the music will sound decent on them. When you upgrade to a good setup you will see all the flaws in modern recordings(especially hard rock/heavy metal)They will sound harsh and congested. You can use the equalizer to tame harshness but it will not clear up the muddiness and congestion.

Nothing to worry about your setup...in my opinion you have made a great choice. As for getting early cd pressings you will have to buy online on ebay/discogs.
 
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When you upgrade to a good setup you will see all the flaws in modern recordings(especially hard rock/heavy metal)They will sound harsh and congested. You can use the equalizer to tame harshness but it will not clear up the muddiness and congestion.

You are absolutely spot on. I am facing the same. And hence my doubt was that the DAC is not performing well enough compared to the CDP I heard at WattEffects. And the funny part is, T-Series, whom I have had many a grudge (I was listening to a cowon e2+ sony mh1 iems all these days) for their bright and harsh sounds are now sounding much better than their Universal Rock counterparts. I think I need to refine my taste in music a tad more. :p Thanks, man!
 

shuv

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I should be getting my Dragonfly soon. I could visit your place for a listening session if you want.
 
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haisaikat

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I think if you have normal CD ripped FLACS at 16/44.1 then the DAC is enough, of course a dedicated DAC like the ones you mentioned will be better but since you compared with a CDP please remember that a 30,000 CDP for example, apart from a possibly better DAC will have a sound transport mechanism to get the bit perfect data out of ACDs which your normal PC CD/DVD Drive may not be able to achieve. Moreover there are many optimizations that can be made to PC Audio which you will find abundance on this forum.
 
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I should be getting my Dragonfly soon. I could visit your place for a listening session if you want.

Thanks Shuv.You are most welcome. That would be me most helpful to me. This weekend I have a marriage invitation to attend but next weekend should be fine by me. Will pm you.
 
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Moreover there are many optimizations that can be made to PC Audio which you will find abundance on this forum.
Yeah, agreed.I am using a simple ASUS DVD RW to encode my CDs to flac. And yes, these pc audio optimizations are the ones I am hunting for. I have tweaked my foobar and have tried the jRiver audio player also with ASIO. I have changed many a setting like reducing the buffer time and all. I will look for some more in the forums.

Thanks.
 

shibashis

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As long as computer optimization for audio is concerned try something like this:
Daphile Digital Music Convenience for Audiophiles

It is quite easy to setup, run from a pendrive and control with your phone or tablet, very nice. I have used it and there is noticeable improvement to the output.
However I do not think that will be the answer to your problem of muddled instruments and lack of synergy.
 
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As long as computer optimization for audio is concerned try something like this:
Daphile Digital Music Convenience for Audiophiles
Thanks Shib.I did a bit of research on this. Very interesting indeed. I need to have a wi-fi to connect the two devices which I do not have presently. However, that apart, is there any way to operate it without the second device? I mean the smartphone. I don't think so because it looks like a client server concept but wanted to confirm nonetheless.
 

shibashis

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You will always need 2 devices to have Daphile going and there has to be a network, so if you do not have one probably this is not the option for you.
There are other Linux distros aimed at similar functionality, I have not given them a try yet (have not had the time...), maybe you can experiment a little and let us know the results.
 
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Shib,
yeah.got it. Will try it when feasible.Thank you for the insight.
For now ,the 121s are sounding great. I guess the burn in is done.Either that or the amp burn in is done.It is sounding much more open now. I am hoping teh sonic properties will improve over some more days.Thank you guys. :)
 
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