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mrarroyo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mrarroyo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Oct 2011 at 11:39am
Can the user engage/defeat the spatial enhancement?
Miguel
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Graham Slee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Oct 2011 at 5:54pm
Not at present. It was a last minute thought to do this and send an extra Voyager thus wired. Probably best to send both out for comparison to those who are interested. I tried both before shipping and I must admit to a preference for the spatially enhanced version.

I will need to create the effect a different way as I am told Mr Meier has legal claims to the term "cross-feed" and the circuit techniques published. There is however a way which Mr Meier has not considered and I intend to do some work on this.

As several users have told us the contour switch is of little use to them, I am thinking of replacing the contour circuit with the spatial enhancement circuit and utilising the switch for it. I will have to wait until we have the next batch of cases machined and printed before I can change the switch function labeling.

Having said that I suppose I could label it "enhanced/flat" and offer a contour version or a spatial version because both could be classed as an enhancement? And so the one label could apply to either.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote discrete badger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2011 at 7:50pm
The Voyager (spatially enhanced) arrived at discrete badger towers today.

I'll give some context and then my first impressions based on an hour or so of listening.

The sound I like:

For me, the music is the thing. I like all types of music from renaissance polyphony to the stuff you hear playing in high street shops. But I have to admit that there are "hifi" aspects with being able to get to the music I like. So I like an clean, open, transparent, nonfatiguing sound that doesn't add any coloration or mess with the music. But I like to hear all the music, and that includes deep bass and high treble, and different elements of the recording not getting confused with others.

I buy "hifi" very rarely, but when I do I extensively research it, listen very carefully, and expect not to have to "improve" on it for many years. 

Components used with:

I already have a standard Voyager which I listen to nearly every day during my commute and at work. I've owned it for several years and am completely happy with it. I use only the internal battery for power and I drive it from the iBasso D10 which is a portable Wolfson DAC + headphone amp. I use only the DAC section of the D10 because I prefer the sound with the Voyager as the amplifier. I drive the iBasso from the optical output of the iRiver H140 running RockBox. For headphones I currently use HD250 Linear II except when at my desk at work where I use SE530 - less conspicuous. The rig is my personal ideal of portable audio nirvana, or very close to it.

I struggle to listen critically - it's too easy to get drawn into the music - although I'll have to force myself in this case. It compares very well to my non-portable rigs at home and of course headphone listening has an advantage in terms of lack of room coloration. 

I never use the Voyager's contour circuit, as my headphones don't need it.


What I did:

The obvious test was to swap the VSE and V back and forth, and listen to a few familiar tracks on the Senns. Both Voyagers were cold, but V has undoubtedly had much more burn-in.

The VSE and V sound very similar in general terms, matching my preferences as I described above. Either I would happily pay for and live with, as the positive aspects of the V have in no way been diluted by the SE additions. But the additions are something very interesting indeed. The width of the sound is exactly the same, but the effect is that there is almost a new third channel positioned exactly in the centre between my ears. It is quite distinct from a compression of the width of the sound image - which uncannily remains as identifiably wide as before. Since this centre spot is often occupied by the main vocalist in a pop/rock recording, the result is great for this type of music, because it brings them very much into focus without sounding artificial or manipulated. 

As a comparison, in my non-portable system I have electrostatics on the L and R channels, and if you listen to a mono or nearly-mono recording you would swear blind that the centre channel speaker is on, so sharply focussed is the centre image. I expect this is due to the coherence of sound from the two channels. The VSE effect is very similar to this.

I noticed that the VSE seems to have a brighter treble than the V. The treble sounds more akin to the treble on the Novo - I would characterise by saying that strings and cymbals sound "silvery". Whether this is an artefact of the change in stereo image (presence instruments/vocalists tending to be panned to the centre?) or a lack-of burn-in effect I don't know. The difference does not affect the listenability of either the VSE of the V to me.

RockBox has a software crossfeed and I spent a while tweaking the various parameters to try to recreate the VSE effect with the V, without success. Either the settings were so mild as to make no difference, or the width of sound became reduced, more confused, and a lot less open. The phantom centre channel did not appear. 

Next:

Give it chance to warm up a little. 

Much more listening.

Two more possible comparisons: In my non-portable system I have two boxes which can also do their own version of crossfeed, both in software - Behringer deq2496 which I use for room correction, and Lavry DA11 as the DAC. I don't normally use headphones (or crossfeed) in that system but the comparison would be interesting. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fatmangolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2011 at 8:43pm
Thanks DB. Please keep posting from discrete badger towers on your impression of this brand new development.
Jon

Open mind and ears, whilst owning GSP Genera, Accession, Elevator EXP, Solo ULDE, Proprius amps, Cusat50 cables, Lautus digital cable, Spatia cables and links, and a Majestic DAC.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote discrete badger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 2011 at 1:46pm
Ok. Had hoped to do some more listening today, moving towards acoustic (jazz, classical) recordings. But I gave up after half an hour. VSE sounds quite different from last week. I did leave it plugged in for a couple of days; perhaps it is "settling down" or something. Strings and any 's' in lyrics now sound very bright making listening fatiguing. Bass is reduced. To check I wasn't imagining it, I returned to some of the tracks I tried last week.  V non-SE (totally burnt-in) sounds great as always.

I don't think there's much point in trying to do any critical listening at the moment. 

Will leave plugged in and listen again in the middle of the week.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fatmangolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 2011 at 3:12pm
I think you are right to put off the next session of serious listening. Out of curiosity did your original Voyager's character evolve in a similar way?
 
Jon

Open mind and ears, whilst owning GSP Genera, Accession, Elevator EXP, Solo ULDE, Proprius amps, Cusat50 cables, Lautus digital cable, Spatia cables and links, and a Majestic DAC.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Graham Slee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Oct 2011 at 3:44pm
Just to remind the passing reader that the VSE - Voyager "spatially enhanced" is not the production version of the Voyager.

We made the "spatially enhanced" version as a kind of "play-thing" or "beta-test" unit to establish whether it was a good idea to perfect it or not. It is the odd-one-out compared with the rest of the available loan equipment in this respect.

We understand how to remove the brightness described and although it isn't apparent on the similarly modified unit we retained, I can see that given the appropriate circuit stimulus how its output can go into "ringing" (the technical description of "brightness" or "silvery" sound). Also, I have a different circuit implementation in mind since we hurriedly shoved these together at the last minute for inclusion.

As such, this first response has been very valuable in demonstrating that we are on the right track in our understanding of "brightness", its causes and the techniques to dispose of it - thank you.
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