When Anton ego tastes ratatouille

Wharfedale EVO4.1 Bookshelf Speakers

firearm12

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we all are continuously looking for some elusive sound, right. But do we know exactly what are we looking for ? We may not be having the faintest of idea. Exactly what do we try to achieve through our music systems ? Soundstage ? Resolution ? Emotions ? Bass ? Musicality? Or something else that we don’t even know what we chase.

As a late 90s teenager and being in a non music affected family, while I never could listen to vinyl but had a moderate sized rack full of cassettes. With a Philips hifi system and a personal Walkman, I used to listen for continuous hours and hours and hours. backstreet boys , n sync, michael jackson, MLTR, boy zone, savage garden, used to be favourites, Kumar Sanu and Nadeem Shravan music made up the very golden years of my boyhood. Kishore Kumar was God. By the time I reached early 20s I had memorised lyrics of at least 2000 songs, more than academic syllabus. Time was good there was no worry about sound quality and even if there was worry then there was no money. Put the hifi system in bass boost mode and all was heavenly. Even sw radio vividh Bharti and Doordarshan sounded good to me. I remember all the nuances of songs from that time. AV max was the magazine to look for and drool over. Age of dvds was coming, all that sounded dream.

then came age of mp3s and computers. 100 songs crammed into one CD, fabulous idea. That too CD quality ( did not know CD was better than mp3.). Now with having access to computer at home, trash like computer speakers seemed like hifi sounding, better than any tapes I had. Winamp was the software of the day and equaliser was always in a v shape. collections of mp3 cds was increasingly day by day. Felt an urge to build a big database of songs that could last a lifetime.

college ended and with a job at hand, away from home now came the time and opportunity for improving sound quality. All audio was still on computer, so creative speakers and sound card was the first purchase. I also got a Sony portable CD player for playing mp3 cds. Sound was still kind of high on treble and bass. But still no realisation what was being missed. Sony Walkman mobiles were a trend and sort of better sounding. A cowon portable player coupled with sennheiser earphones were best of friends. Audio was still sounding good to ears. With few job changes and years, with some more money in bank, now started looking for audiophile level speakers to get ultimate sound. Bought a Dali speaker and Marantz amp. Well when it played at home I was so disappointed maybe because of coming from v shaped equaliser sound, but kept on the patience for learning to listen. I also got a basic arcam dac. this was the time when brain started tingling, it asked why after spending so much money is it not sounding that good. Suddenly sound of any of songs did not seem right. Now the greed to have greatest sound was more than ever as I had spent more than ever. Some months afterwards, I spent even more than triple amount of money, I got a naim amplifier and audiogd dac 19 at same time and also stands for bookshelves. this was first tryst with good sound. The dac was warm and melodious with r2r sound (whatever that was). Voices and instruments now appeared very realistic and I realised that only DACs to be considered from now on will be r2r‘s only. was very happy with the sound, led zeppelin and pink floyd used to sing fabulously and with all energy. But there was an empty space somewhere still. Bollywood 90s music and golden era songs sounded thin and literally I lost all interest in them somehow. I made up my mind maybe the recordings were not good so that’s why they dont sound that good. You know audiophile literature.

few years more and being tired with less bass of bookshelves I had, I got a floorstander which proved to be too much for naim to fire energy. It was not even matching with naim sound. Disappointed and dejected, I had no option but to change the amp. there was no money to go for naim high end, so I trusted the only other good brand I was so much impressed from, audiogd. I now got an all audiogd system and put all stakes on my luck. The pairing was not bad initially, but it was too soft and off the lines to my taste, I was never a jazz person. Then I made lot of cable changes, power cable changes and tried all sort of changes one can imagine in a 2yr span of ownership. I kept patience and more patience to listen and accustom to my ears , suddenly voices seem heavenly on the system, especially old Bollywood ( 90s was still crap, vocal and jazz was fabulous, rock was not so good). There was everything in the system, resolution, separation, treble, analogishness, lowest noise floor I could imagine though bass was less and I am not a bass head so that was fine fine also. still something in the mind had an itch and always thought that dil mange more. Sound was good but some how heart never set itself to a convincing level, it was set to an elusive sound which never seem to appear or vinyl kind of sound which was talk of the town.

Then suddenly something happened yesterday ( I wont reveal as I donot want to sound silly). since then I have been browsing over all my 90s Bollywood collection and all I can say is that I have never thought that Kumar Sanu would sound like what he used to be when I was in 90s with my Philips hifi and cassettes and neither it was my intention for him to sound like that (come on we are talking about audiophile Grail; not some 90s sound why would I want my system to sound like that). The system was sounding almost like what my cassette player (well almost like) used to sound like, first time I heard exactly same sibilances and decays with so warmth after two decades. I listened to tu hi re and feel of the sound brought back my old television in front on my eyes and even smell of that time. same happened when I listened to ye Haseen waadiyan. from Maine pyaar Kiya to tum bin any song from that era and I was transported back to history. Resolution, dynamics, treble, bass, soundstage, I don’t know what the hell happened to them but suddenly they did not seem to matter. I did not want or expected my system to sound like this, It was exactly like how Anton Ego felt when he tasted the ratatouille and then gave up the career as a critic. I felt like heart is listening now instead of ears. You know that when you listen to songs till 3o clock at night. The thread is just to inspire others to not cease to believe and work on the system and suddenly one day will realise that there is light at the end of tunnel and it may not even be an audiophile tunnel. You never know what will hit you. There is nothing like when it hits and then nothing else would matter.
 

arunlouie

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DEJA VU!! for many here :D

Nice write up and also reflects stories of many here in the forum. I make a smile when I listen to 70s/80s songs in AM radio where many details lost but still sounds good to me.

Still remember the twinkle that Aiwa earphones and the sony walkman & discman brought. I still remember the sound from the big headphones courtesy of British airways.

There was another similar thread where FM has explained how he found a tea shop speaker box sound from his son's desktop cheap F&D ( I guess) 2.1 small speakers.

My reasoning is just like you said its more towards the heart, where the nostalgic feel good experience comes form your first love, initial days Music (tonal) that we enjoyed. Memories of experience.
 

kapvin

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that was a really nice allegory. The emotional connect of music which so many talk about, is obviously what you experienced. I do really like the way you brought it alive using the Anton Ego example. So appropriate. the best things need not be complex
 

Rajeshh

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@firearm12 what a great write-up & straight from the heart!
Audio is a serious hobby for many of us, experimenting without being bound by technical correctness is the fun part of the hobby :)
The best measure of a great system, is how long we listen to it on a regular basis & how it makes us feel.

I dont take myself or the opinions of audio gurus/reviewers that seriously - it is after all a hobby for fun, So do reveal what was the tipping point, what happened last night? ;)
 
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drkrack

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@firearm12 This is a experience for most of us at one point or other, glad that you took time to put it in splendid words ; as always its not much about cost of the system, its how much time and energy you are ready to invest in getting what you are looking to achieve. I give this Analogy like this, if you put a kid in best of school, expensive personal coaching, can you guarantee a Topper in Results? Almost never, in the end it all boils down the hardwork the student is willing to put to achieve the Pinnacle. While someone with hardwork, from lesser known schools and coaching might end up being a Topper.

I Don't bother much about technical inconsistencies myself, definitely don't heed to the tantrums of well googled bookish audiophiles ( and their inexperienced remarks), because music Reproduction is an art too, and it doesn't always satisfy scientific explanations. All the best wishes. I have heard Quite a lot many systems in last decade, the only deciding point about system performance in my experience is, how much effort has been put on improving it by the person concerned. I have heard a pair of Boston A26 bookshelf speakers driven to audiophile dream by DIY amp and Electronics which the High End gears costing 50 times couldn't achieve.

Discussion of your gear, cables etc and the process of decision-making that went through selecting every components would be most helpful for everyone. Everyone's equally crazy here, don't worry about sounding silly.


The dac was warm and melodious with r2r sound (whatever that was). Voices and instruments now appeared very realistic and I realised that only DACs to be considered from now on will be r2r‘s only.
Probably this was the milestone moment, it was the same feeling when I heard the R2R like Ares2 in my system for the first time. It was a clear choice. The only two other components which made my decision instantaneously (that I should have them ASAP or Can't live without ) were a Tube Component in the chain and a Power Amplifier. After R2R, I Stopped chasing details and got invested in tonality forever.


You know that when you listen to songs till 3o clock at night.
In fact it is the Tag line for famous audiophile cable brand called 'Lessloss', and they're very good cables in my experience, if you can afford of course.
 

antoniodias

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we all are continuously looking for some elusive sound, right. But do we know exactly what are we looking for ? We may not be having the faintest of idea. Exactly what do we try to achieve through our music systems ? Soundstage ? Resolution ? Emotions ? Bass ? Musicality? Or something else that we don’t even know what we chase.

As a late 90s teenager and being in a non music affected family, while I never could listen to vinyl but had a moderate sized rack full of cassettes. With a Philips hifi system and a personal Walkman, I used to listen for continuous hours and hours and hours. backstreet boys , n sync, michael jackson, MLTR, boy zone, savage garden, used to be favourites, Kumar Sanu and Nadeem Shravan music made up the very golden years of my boyhood. Kishore Kumar was God. By the time I reached early 20s I had memorised lyrics of at least 2000 songs, more than academic syllabus. Time was good there was no worry about sound quality and even if there was worry then there was no money. Put the hifi system in bass boost mode and all was heavenly. Even sw radio vividh Bharti and Doordarshan sounded good to me. I remember all the nuances of songs from that time. AV max was the magazine to look for and drool over. Age of dvds was coming, all that sounded dream.

then came age of mp3s and computers. 100 songs crammed into one CD, fabulous idea. That too CD quality ( did not know CD was better than mp3.). Now with having access to computer at home, trash like computer speakers seemed like hifi sounding, better than any tapes I had. Winamp was the software of the day and equaliser was always in a v shape. collections of mp3 cds was increasingly day by day. Felt an urge to build a big database of songs that could last a lifetime.

college ended and with a job at hand, away from home now came the time and opportunity for improving sound quality. All audio was still on computer, so creative speakers and sound card was the first purchase. I also got a Sony portable CD player for playing mp3 cds. Sound was still kind of high on treble and bass. But still no realisation what was being missed. Sony Walkman mobiles were a trend and sort of better sounding. A cowon portable player coupled with sennheiser earphones were best of friends. Audio was still sounding good to ears. With few job changes and years, with some more money in bank, now started looking for audiophile level speakers to get ultimate sound. Bought a Dali speaker and Marantz amp. Well when it played at home I was so disappointed maybe because of coming from v shaped equaliser sound, but kept on the patience for learning to listen. I also got a basic arcam dac. this was the time when brain started tingling, it asked why after spending so much money is it not sounding that good. Suddenly sound of any of songs did not seem right. Now the greed to have greatest sound was more than ever as I had spent more than ever. Some months afterwards, I spent even more than triple amount of money, I got a naim amplifier and audiogd dac 19 at same time and also stands for bookshelves. this was first tryst with good sound. The dac was warm and melodious with r2r sound (whatever that was). Voices and instruments now appeared very realistic and I realised that only DACs to be considered from now on will be r2r‘s only. was very happy with the sound, led zeppelin and pink floyd used to sing fabulously and with all energy. But there was an empty space somewhere still. Bollywood 90s music and golden era songs sounded thin and literally I lost all interest in them somehow. I made up my mind maybe the recordings were not good so that’s why they dont sound that good. You know audiophile literature.

few years more and being tired with less bass of bookshelves I had, I got a floorstander which proved to be too much for naim to fire energy. It was not even matching with naim sound. Disappointed and dejected, I had no option but to change the amp. there was no money to go for naim high end, so I trusted the only other good brand I was so much impressed from, audiogd. I now got an all audiogd system and put all stakes on my luck. The pairing was not bad initially, but it was too soft and off the lines to my taste, I was never a jazz person. Then I made lot of cable changes, power cable changes and tried all sort of changes one can imagine in a 2yr span of ownership. I kept patience and more patience to listen and accustom to my ears , suddenly voices seem heavenly on the system, especially old Bollywood ( 90s was still crap, vocal and jazz was fabulous, rock was not so good). There was everything in the system, resolution, separation, treble, analogishness, lowest noise floor I could imagine though bass was less and I am not a bass head so that was fine fine also. still something in the mind had an itch and always thought that dil mange more. Sound was good but some how heart never set itself to a convincing level, it was set to an elusive sound which never seem to appear or vinyl kind of sound which was talk of the town.

Then suddenly something happened yesterday ( I wont reveal as I donot want to sound silly). since then I have been browsing over all my 90s Bollywood collection and all I can say is that I have never thought that Kumar Sanu would sound like what he used to be when I was in 90s with my Philips hifi and cassettes and neither it was my intention for him to sound like that (come on we are talking about audiophile Grail; not some 90s sound why would I want my system to sound like that). The system was sounding almost like what my cassette player (well almost like) used to sound like, first time I heard exactly same sibilances and decays with so warmth after two decades. I listened to tu hi re and feel of the sound brought back my old television in front on my eyes and even smell of that time. same happened when I listened to ye Haseen waadiyan. from Maine pyaar Kiya to tum bin any song from that era and I was transported back to history. Resolution, dynamics, treble, bass, soundstage, I don’t know what the hell happened to them but suddenly they did not seem to matter. I did not want or expected my system to sound like this, It was exactly like how Anton Ego felt when he tasted the ratatouille and then gave up the career as a critic. I felt like heart is listening now instead of ears. You know that when you listen to songs till 3o clock at night. The thread is just to inspire others to not cease to believe and work on the system and suddenly one day will realise that there is light at the end of tunnel and it may not even be an audiophile tunnel. You never know what will hit you. There is nothing like when it hits and then nothing else would matter.

You took us all from childhood to teenager to adulthood. In your write up you gave us the feeling of music that can be felt from the heart. I envy your thoughts that just poured out from your heart and the mind.
Thank you for the wonderful thoughtful literature. You have unblocked our minds to what real music means to us many.
 

firearm12

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the best things need not be complex

Thats the very experience i gained. With a change i moved from a hifi sound to more subtle sound with less actual details, lesser dynamics, lesser soundstage and lesser other audiophile properties but more of something that mattered. Its now the third day and i am yet to find a song that makes me feel something is missing. Its like moving from riding a car in a city to walking down the countryside.

Probably this was the milestone moment, it was the same feeling when I heard the R2R like Ares2 in my system for the first time. It was a clear choice.

This is so true, there is no going back once you get used to that sound. I had a chord qutest for a short period of time and it was a short period because i could not go back to the audiophile details.

Discussion of your gear, cables etc and the process of decision-making that went through selecting every components would be most helpful for everyone. Everyone's equally crazy here, don't worry about sounding silly.

The main setup is simple as i did not buy and sell much stuff, decided to hang on with what i got and stick to one brand for dac preamp and amp.

Only part where i played extensively for two years was placement, isolation, speaker cables, interconnects and power cables, connectors and electricity. Almost all the time i spent on the system, it was related to one of these only. Long story short, i have found furutech cables (especially power cables) very good for my liking in this system (honestly i was never convinced of costly cables but furutech was worth a find), found they have a very natural tone with a warmth and focus and lot of details, especially instrument and voice tonality is spot on, other cables may have more details but that tonailty i could see nowhere. Though not every model of their cables sound would suit and sound differs too much between different models. I have diy'd and used them everywhere except usb and hdmi i2s cable. They have some problems, they can be costly, they may not be suited for all setups thats what i feel and the sound signature will not go with everyone. I hated a furutech cable which i used in my naim system in past and thought of them as audiophile rubbish.

Some defining changes which made lot of impact-

1) using polycab 4mm cable from mcb to wall board. Dedicated one phase. Polycab cable is extremely good especially for that refined treble, better than havells i used previously.

2) hardwiring and soldering all my furutech power cables to the above polycab cable bypassing any connectors. Hardwiring with heavy heart but it pays well, you cant imagine. Audiophile companies loot us by making costly connectors. Connectors suck life. I have also used a power conditioner for some time but removed that as it was robbing the audio purity off (maybe due to connectors)

3) using furutech gold power connectors at equipment end only (actually best way would be to hardwire but that would be extreme OCD case.) Fi28g i found was best but dont have experience with even more costly sounding ones. Connectors other than gold did not give good results especially similar grade rhodium was trash.

4) all my audiogd equipment came with a aluminum feet but had cheap rubber dots below their feet (i dont know why maybe so as not to scratch the tables). I removed them and felt it was better. Having them on will give a soft airy voice which was not my choice. I also experimented with isolation feet, wood, plastic, rubber below feet, but dis not like. I am getting a strong feeling that keeping anything below the feet makes sound more airy, less dense, more treble and more refined bass and more of those audiophily things but i somehow do not like that effect. I have found that putting soft materials like rubber, plastic, even pine wood anywhere in an audio system would degrade the sound. Steel is also no no takes life out. Brass and aluminum sounds better. Reason brass is used for most musical instruments.

5) maintaining good audio hygiene (as Hans Beekhuyzen says) by placing your cables as away physically as possible from each other as well as from ground.

6) all balanced interconnects made from furutech cables using connectors provided by soundfoundations.

7) audiogd di20he usb to i2s converter. This was one of the last purchases and additions to my system to feed my dac. This changes the sound unlike anything, removes noise and makes the sound rounded and analog if thats the right word.

But all that done still mind was not satisfied until two days back when i moved from a more resolving power cable for my usb to i2s converter to a less resolving power cable, both furutech, the sound just fell into place like a jigsaw puzzle solved (may sound silly but its true).

astonishgly most of the changes i did above was to make the system less of a hifi sounding. Believe me most of the connectors that are available in market are geared to make sound more hifi and airy. Hardwiring the power cables made a lot of improvement to bring down the artificialness connectors bring. It may sound that i have brought down my system to a dumb level but i am certainly not complaining.
 
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D

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Thats the very experience i gained. With a change i moved from a hifi sound to more subtle sound with less actual details, lesser dynamics, lesser soundstage and lesser other audiophile properties but more of something that mattered. Its now the third day and i am yet to find a song that makes me feel something is missing. Its like moving from riding a car in a city to walking down the countryside.

Isn’t that a wonderful feeling (a Eureka moment) when that happens? I’ve termed it as ‘a home-coming feeling’ in one of the threads. It’s like coming back to the point where you started, but wiser, more assured and at peace.


astonishgly most of the changes i did above was to make the system less of a hifi sounding
That’s the gist.
 
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firearm12

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Isn’t that a wonderful feeling (a Eureka moment) when that happens? I’ve termed it as ‘a home-coming feeling’ in one of the threads. It’s like coming back to the point where you started, but wiser, more assured and at peace.

Yes its exactly like that. Home coming feeling its true, surprisingly sense of taste and smell also goes back to school days.
 

firearm12

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Are you secretly listening to them "hemp cone" speakers that came on sale yesterday, the Audio Note AZ-Two ;)
Cheers,
Raghu

Lol i had to google to find what hemp was. Why would they make comes out of that, to intoxicate the listener?
 

raghupb

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Hemp fiber is a very popular choice for making ropes, bags, etc. Very strong and durable

Maybe they found cones made out of hemp to be stable and better than paper. In the audio industry, designers keep trying out all kinds of "stuff"

Cheers,
Raghu
 

firearm12

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A taste of newly found 90s 'sound'. The audio is recorded with a rode microphone placed at listening position.


 

bornfi

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7) audiogd di20he usb to i2s converter. This was one of the last purchases and additions to my system to feed my dac. This changes the sound unlike anything, removes noise and makes the sound rounded and analog if thats the right word.
Not immediately but sometime in future, since this device has 10 MHz input, try a good clock. The I do not recollect any reasonably priced one but some are like Mutec Ref 10 and various from Cybershaft. Just to venture out, you can give this one a try. https://www.ebay.com/itm/10M-GPSDO-...rand=Unbranded&_trksid=p2047675.c101196.m2219

Esoteric too have something like this. I have limited knowledge so, please first read thoroughly first then invest but can assure you that this is gateway to purity.
 

firearm12

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Not immediately but sometime in future, since this device has 10 MHz input, try a good clock. The I do not recollect any reasonably priced one but some are like Mutec Ref 10 and various from Cybershaft. Just to venture out, you can give this one a try. https://www.ebay.com/itm/10M-GPSDO-GPS-clock-LCD-GPS-DISCIPLINED-OSCILLATOR-with-LCD-Display-Frequency-US/163420553622?_trkparms=aid=1110012&algo=SPLICE.SOIPOST&ao=1&asc=20200818142651&meid=79f5ae150fa34d4296e8601f26df79a8&pid=101196&rk=2&rkt=12&mehot=lo&sd=164191410727&itm=163420553622&pmt=1&noa=0&pg=2047675&algv=PromotedSellersOtherItemsV2&brand=Unbranded&_trksid=p2047675.c101196.m2219

Esoteric too have something like this. I have limited knowledge so, please first read thoroughly first then invest but can assure you that this is gateway to purity.

Thanks for suggestion, lot of guys on headfi are using external clocks. But i am having a lot of clutter so prohibiting myself to add anything more. Customs are also not very friendly these days so i am getting reluctant to order something from abroad.
 

moktan

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Hemp fiber is a very popular choice for making ropes, bags, etc. Very strong and durable

Maybe they found cones made out of hemp to be stable and better than paper. In the audio industry, designers keep trying out all kinds of "stuff"

Cheers,
Raghu
Superhemp ..
B96EB7CC-760C-467B-A3E8-8681B450E654.jpeg
 

Rajeshh

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@firearm12 that is some serious lengths you have gone to :D
I have similar experiences using a Furutech power cord, and have since moved from Isotek to Furutech. I use Gold connectors as well.

For isolation, i am using a cost effective solution - the "Aptitilig" Chopping board from Ikea. The plan next, is to use Mapleshade brass footers for my Amp.
 
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