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1st impressions Solo ULD trial

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gbr2004uk View Drop Down
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    Posted: 16 Feb 2018 at 6:42pm
Just got it today on the fortnight's trial and so far I'm loving it.  I've been testing it out on flac files from CD's that I have -- so far piano, string quartets, full orchestra (at ff or fff strength as well as pianissimo), and one song only so far.   I'm running it connected to the Bitzie (itself connected to desktop with a Lautus cable), using a Cusat50 cable, and power via PSU1.

It's just amazing, like stepping into a new sound world, as different as that.  The previous harshness I'd noted in some of the higher violin tones in the quartets has completely gone, the cello has gained enormous warmth and depth, there's tremendous clarity for example in the inner parts both of the chamber music and the more complex orchestral writing.   And the soundstage is really wide, wide enough for me anyway.

I'll try it with direct playing of CD's and a few videos of operas.  Tomorrow a run-through of some jazz CD's and more songs at various low-voice/high-voice samples.   And I also want to see if it makes a difference to the streamed music from Naxos Music Library (one of the glories of the web, along with the Petrucci Music Library and The Lieder Net Archive -- they don't pay me for these plugs, I just want everyone to know about them if they don't!)

So I'm raving about this Bitzie-Solo combo.   More later in the week.

Brian 
Voyager 2009, Bitzie+Lautus cable 2013, Sennheiser HD700 & 650, Yamaha Clavinova
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Ash View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2018 at 7:07pm
As the Bitzie has two analogue outputs, one can be left free and the other connected to Solo. This would allow rapid plugging in of your headphone of choice into either so you can more easily ascertain if you hear a difference between the outputs. What headphone are you using?

Edited by Ash - 16 Feb 2018 at 7:07pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gbr2004uk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2018 at 10:35pm
Thanks Ash, yes I've been doing that, as well as comparing headphones -- the Sennheiser HD700 with the HD650.   There's a huge difference I can hear with the Solo as compared with the Bitzie on its own.  I can remember how 'blown away' I was when I first got the Bitzie, as until then all I'd had was direct connection of headphone to desktop (or laptop).  (Back in the day I also had a CD player - gosh! Do they still have them?)

The HD650 is still a great headphone (for me) but the 700 with the Solo/Bitzie combo does give a fuller sound -- the sound takes a little getting used to because with the above combo, it's much more 'forward'.

What do you, and most people here, (if this is a reasonable question!) use for playback from PC or Mac?  I am finding that foobar2000 seems to give the sound straight as it is (although I have sometimes tried adding the Dolby headphone wrapper, not that it makes much difference -- I used to combine it with something else which had to be in the correct order, but I've forgotten what it was and the particular file got lost in a pc crash I had last year and I stupidly hadn't backed it up).

I have used VLC (Videolan) but unless you keep everything absolutely flat it does seem to mess with the sound.  (I realise this part of the post really belongs somewhere else.)

I wondered if the DAC actually in theory or in practice should prevent any effect coming from the VLC or foobar, but experimenting around with it indicates that mucking about with the former (eg compressor / spatialiser etc) does certainly change the sound.
Best
Brian
Voyager 2009, Bitzie+Lautus cable 2013, Sennheiser HD700 & 650, Yamaha Clavinova
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gbr2004uk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2018 at 10:38pm
PS  Channel mixer (?) I think it was, plus the Dolby but it doesn't seem to exist any more
Voyager 2009, Bitzie+Lautus cable 2013, Sennheiser HD700 & 650, Yamaha Clavinova
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ash Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Feb 2018 at 10:55pm
There must be something about the HD650/HD700 that benefits from the Solo ULDE circuitry then. I have used HD250i&ii/HD540i&ii/HD560ii/HD800 and AKG K1000 with the Bitzie. I've used the 540/560 models with the Solo as well and couldn't really hear any improvement compared to a lone Bitzie but maybe I'm just tone deaf. Above a certain level of reproduction, I don't think I can hear tiny differences in sound without spending weeks or months using the devices and really accustoming my "subconscious" or "unconscious competent" hearing to them, unless of course the differences are quite significant and obvious. Even then, I can sometimes find myself unable to distinguish. I'm not cut out for being a hi-fi "buff"; I guess I may base some of my judgements on how much I'm enjoying my choice of music. I have only used VLC and Winamp so far but want to try others soon.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gbr2004uk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2018 at 1:05am
I'd hate to feel a right total fool with the embarrassment of changing my mind having posted such a rave notice of my initial impressions.   You find something similar in all sorts of human endeavours.  People often want to believe that, say, the psychotherapist whose fees they're paying is really, really doing them good, better than any previous -- until they realise much later it aint so.  Or plays, novels, films that get hugely over-rated by critics, reviewers and the public.  Or we seem to find awesome virtues (or whatever) in people we've recently got to know, but the whatever-it-was didn't belong to them at all, if they belonged anywhere, apart from one's own head.

So I spent hours last evening trying CD after CD, classical, jazz, opera, DVD's of a few movies ...  Switching rapidly between Bitzie on its own and Solo + Bitzie, really, really wanting it to be objectively true that the improvement I was hearing wasn't just subjective wishful thinking.   I mean, there shouldn't be any doubt, should there?  If something is that good?

I need to give it a break, apart from its being 1 a.m. as I type!  (Nagging thought from the never-resting subconscious, should I spend the money instead on a different kind of headphone?  OMG.  Or even a new digital piano, trading in the old Clavinova?  I think this is called dithering ...)

But I wanted to ask a practical question.   From the day I got the Bitzie, I've left it plugged into the desktop whenever the desktop is on.  I've listened to everything through it, music, news, youtubery, rubbish(!).   My question is, I don't suppose it's advisable to leave the PSU1 plugged in 24/365?

All best
Brian
Voyager 2009, Bitzie+Lautus cable 2013, Sennheiser HD700 & 650, Yamaha Clavinova
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aussie Mick Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Feb 2018 at 3:17am
Hi Brian,
   My PSU1 (3 of them) stay on 24/7, 365, unless it’s a leap year. They’ve been safe and just fine on my floor. No overheating or anything detectable. My only exception is lightning storms, which are rare in my neck of the woods. Everything is switched on, all of the time. Never a problem.
Cheers,
Mick.
Rega RP8/Ortofon 2M Black/Rega Apheta 2 - Reflex M/Elevator EXP - C.E.C. TL5 CD Transport - MacBook Pro/JRiver - Majestic DAC - Proprius - PMC Twenty5.22
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