A dramatic improvement in sound will occour!!!

Dear friends, in the next days I will be busy with testing my new pre-amp and his integrated tube phono section. So you maybe have to wait some time for my next rip.

I bought a “used” (ahahahahah)(*) unit of one of the best pre-amps ever built: the Audio Research SP 15, in near Mint condition(*) for a price (Don Vito would say) that you absolutely couldn’t refuse.

The Audio Research SP 15 was built end of the 80s until somewhen in the 90s, the initial price here in Germany was around 18,500 DM (at now around 9,500 EUR), then around 12,000 Dollars. When I saw it this afternoon (was offered as NM but I didn’t believe it) I was speechless. Looks like new, fresh from the Minnesota factory.

Four hours later in my home I listened to the first tunes and I tell you, this is a machine not of this world. The music floats in its stage, breaths, has an incredible vitality, a bass of its kind, a control of what happens musically that I seldom have heard before…outputs up to 65 Volts (!!!)

In few words, I’m happy like I have won in the lottery.

(*) The father of the seller had this for more than 30 years. Beeing for work out of home during the week, he returned home only in the weekend and heard around 12-15 hours monthly. So, you can see, the amp is really like new. The seller sent it to the distribuition point in Hamburg for checking before selling and it was almost in perfect condition.

I hope to finish my testing phase as soon as possible to return with new and better sounding rips to you.




27 thoughts on “A dramatic improvement in sound will occour!!!

  1. I’m really happy for you. Must have been one of your dreams to obtain smth of that kind. just curious what would you look for next?..

    • Of course, I gladly would continue my search for the “perfect” sound, but somewhen you must admit, that the goal is reached (*). If you never come to rest, you can get crazy.

      (*) I mean, parallel and hand in hand with your financial possibilities…

  2. Wow! McIntosh and Conrad Johnson are much loved tube hardware here. I did not know about this one. Looking forward to hearing the sound! Perhaps a Fone vinyl or an MFSL would really let it show off. 🙂

    On a related note, I have noticed some rip the raw digitals in 32bit and then down sample to 24bit — why is that? Is there a technical reason besides file size?

    • Even if not certified, I let open the theoretical possibility, that a recording with 32 bit something better is than 24 bit. My system can handle it (32 GB Ram) and it doesn’t hurt 😀

      • I think you should try it. I would love to hear something like a Fone vinyl played through a tube phono stage and ripped at 32bit depth. It is a worthwhile experiment, even though file size would be huge! 😀

        I guess most people have 16bit or 24bit sound cards in their systems, so a 32bit signal would get down sampled anyway. That may be the reason why the extra file size of 32bit is considered wasteful at present.

        I have my Foobar output set to 32bit but what the Conexant hardware does with that before pushing out the analog signal I don’t know.

        • It takes the 24 most significant bits (the 24 upper), anyway you won’t hear any difference !
          The most important is to convert at the highest depth (here 32 bits), then you can downsample to 24 bits even 16 bits without loosing quality. Converting straightly at 24 bits depth will get a little less dynamics, at 16 bits much less.

          You can experiment this : with foobar downsample a 24bits/96KHz rip to 16bits/48KHz then listen and compare.

          • I have listened to the same rip in 24/96 and 16/44 and there is definitely a difference. The 16/44 is better than a CD rip certainly, but it does not have the same dynamic depth, the spatial ambiance that tube hardware specially captures. The difference between 24/96 and 24/192 is pretty much imperceptible to me, but that could be because of the analog output stage of my hardware. For high end vinyls, like Fone or MFSL, playing through a tube phono stage I think the highest bit depth is probably worth it. If the digital can be as close to the analog as possible, then why not? 🙂 It is a real treat for someone like me, who does not have the budget for high end analog hardware.

                • Yes I meant using Foobar convert. That’s what I meant too to get 16/48 from a 24/96 rip. In my case I don’t detect any loss of dynamics in16/48 and it’s logical for the converter keeps the 16 upper bits of the 24/96. If you make a rip ONLY and STRAIGHTLY in 16/48 you’ll get a significant loss of dynamics.

        • The problem is, most of the available sound carts don’t go over 24 bit….so it is the same if I record with 24 or with 32 bit. I record anyway with 192/32 alone by the possibility the 32bit modus could give alittle more. But this is only a supposing. Normally I should be sure that there is no difference…After ripping I reduce to 24/192 or 24/96.

          • I am requesting, as an experiment, that you rip a Fone vinyl with the new hardware, and leave it at 32/192 — just one time, so I can test it with Foobar 32bit output. It would be highly appreciated!

            I just tested a 24/96 rip of Shakti: Natural Elements (not tube phono) with 24bit and 32 bit output — behold! there is a subtle difference, the 32bit output sounds less compressed, more defined, even though the source is 24bit! Somehow, the Foobar up sample and Conexant down sample algorithms work nicely together. Amazing!

          • I found another rip of Shakti: Natural Elements online of 24/176 bit rate. Dramatic difference! The fine tonality of the guitar shines, the stage is more ambient, all instruments are better defined. No hardware information is provided, but I am sure the main difference is in the cartridge, and phono stage, not the bit rate.

  3. Good luck with the new gear. I look forward to seeing (hearing) which discs you will rip first.
    Looks like I will be needing another hard drive soon 🙂

  4. Alf, congratulations. The future Post with the new “Wonder”
    should be a special brand icon?-I am awaiting the first post with joy. Greetings Trottar

    MERECES tener el mejor equipo HI-END del Mundo.
    GRACIAS POR COMPARTIR. Ya que estan comentando sobre si los archivos deberían o podrían ser de 32b creo que sería interesante probar subir un archivo directamente sin convertirlo a FLAC. O sea dejarlo en WAVE 24b a 192khz. QUISIERA saber opiniones.

  6. RACHMANINOV greetings.
    You deserve have audio’s equipment the best quality.
    THANKS FOR SHARING. Since they are commenting on whether the files should or could be 32b, I think it would be interesting to try to upload a file directly without converting to FLAC. Music Uploading WAV 24b 192kHz. comment opinions please

    • To load as wav or aif file instead of flac means 40-45% more storage. It is non-sense as far as flac is identical with wav or aif, concerning the quality: full quality is preserved, only the file is “smaller”…that’s the (only) advantage of flac.

  7. RACHMANINOV greetings.
    Okay, but there file compression in FLAC and i think in clasic music decreases the final sound quality.

    • No, this is a misunderstanding. Flac is compressed on saving, not on playing. When you play a flac in fact you play a wave file. Flac is like a zip or rar….is only a container for the wave, flac is not a format (like ogg, mp3 etc…).

Leave a Reply