A Good DAC For Mediocre Recordings?

In my opinion PP woofers are less than desirable… your system is more revealing right now of your speakers… not exactly your music.

Using your logic when I upgraded my old car using the same amps, speakers, source and everything from passive to dsp/active, all of my music should have gotten worse.

It all got many times better! And no it wasn’t only the dsp! EQ flat, no time alignment, just active crossovers and speakers direct to amps was immediately night and day!

How about a good forum for a mediocre user?

One more thing… I demoed my Goldenears on a $24,000 Nagra DAC in at least $50k system, maybe $100k and I used no “audiophile” recordings! Nine Inch Nails “The Day The World Went Away” was musical not harsh!

Guess what, Strata/SP3 + Zu DW sounded way better to my ears at a minimum savings of $47000. Why? The speakers!

Also consider that noise manifests differently with different setups. The bad switch I had, Cisco SG110, turned my system into a etchy edgy mess. I’m sure audiophile music would have been okish but rock was awful. When I recapitulated my system with Zu Omen DW the same switch had no effect on musicality!

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I’m happy with my W4S Class D. Been running Class D since 2011. Other things give do give me headaches though…:grin:

I guess you havent heard the Stellar M1200’s… SWEET!!!

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Honestly, here’s my solution–a component that works marvelously. In its basic form it will be very kind to mediocre recordings. (Does far more than just restore bass).



A good suggestion. This may well accomplish what @dancingsea seeks.

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I honestly suspect it will. I have my third one on order now, so that there’s one in each of my systems! It’s the cure for what ails them for me.

I noted this and and moved on long ago. It is a blessing and a curse to have a great, revealing system in this regard. There is no going back for me. I tend to leave the old favorites that are now more or less unlistenable behind – at least on my revealing systems.

If you are truly seeking to find a way to listen to these particularly afflicted recordings in the same system that they won’t work with now, I believe the only way to do that is to reinstall the less revealing component(s). If you noted a particular breakthrough/ Ah ha! moment with a system upgrade – that’s the kit you should reinsert when you want to listen again.

I am unaware of any way to maintain a revealing system and enjoy “crappy” recordings (EQ options aside, which were already mentioned)

Interestingly, in my experience, I also have recordings that were nearly unlistenable BEFORE my system evolved to its current state of resolution. I just take the good with the bad and try to enjoy the music. (But there are some - very few - CD’s and rips that I simply cannot listen to now.)

Another variation/observation for what its worth: I have a few recordings (CDs) that I cannot play on a transport and enjoy, but sound significantly better ripped and “streamed” via my iMac/JRMC - Wi-Fi - Router - Ethernet cable - TP-Link Media Converter (MC) - Optical Cable - MC - Ethernet Cable - Paul Pang Switch - Ethernet Cable - Pink Faun LAN Isolator - Bridge II - DirectStream DAC digital signal path. I like to keep things simple, :slight_smile:

If you have not compared spinning CD’s to listening to the ripped version via digital streaming you might try that and be pleasantly surprised. (Others report that the PSA DMP has rescued similarly unlistenable CDs/SACDs.)

Finally, FM radio and car stereo environments are still great places to enjoy these crappy recordings and crank it up.

Will be interesting to see what others have to say…


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Great suggestion, IMO; but I am still a fan of deftly applied DSP and EQ-ing.

@lonson: And the Z-Rock II has a bypass switch! I just read the description on the DECWARE site more carefully. Pretty neat…

That’s cool. I’m not using a computer or server etc. and don’t plan to.

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The Zen stuff really does look nice - a Zen triode amp would be perfect for my Pavanes!


Just to be clear…my comment was meant to say I like the Z-Rock concept/kit BECAUSE it offers a practical EQ solution.

Off topic: What is your favorite amp/integrated from DECWARE? I am still planning on upgrading my low wattage tube integrated amplifier with a more powerful tube integrated amplifier or a tube stereo amplifier with volume control like Decware offers.



If you want power, go with the Torii Mk IV or the Torii Jr. I lived with Torii amps for a long time, loving them. But then I bought a Taboo Mk IV and rediscovered the joy of his SET amps, and the watts were enough for my speakers–and then he came out with his 25th Anniversary mods and I upgraded to that and wow, more amazingness. There’s just something about these SETs of his that are the real deal for me. So I had him build me a pair of the SE84UFO3 monoblocks with the 25th Anniversary mods and I think these are my final amps. Just amazing. . . detail woven into a tapestry of sound with vividness and delicacy.


Thanks. What high-efficiency speaker gems are you pairing your amps with?

My office system is built around Anthony Gallo Acoustic Reference Strada (Gen I) speakers and two REL Acoustics Tzero subwoofers. The Gallo’s are nominally rated:

Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms
Sensitivity: 87 dB/W/M

Thanks in advance.

You’re going to want the Torii or the Zen Mystery Amp I think with those.

I’m using the Decware HR-1 speakers in two systems.

92.5 dB with 1 watt at 1 meter
4 ohm nominal impedance


I love these speakers–omni-directional AND directional.



Please provide examples of what you are referring to as bad recordings?

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Please explain what an audiophile recording is, with examples.