And the winner continues to be...

Listening to a Haydn Piano Trio as I write this through the DS. More on the DS later.

I went with a coworker yesterday to audition some Magneplanar loudspeakers (the 1.7s and 3.7s). He had always wanted to hear them based on my telling him that it was the best midrange transducer I’d ever heard, other than the original Quad ESLs, of course.

I have a dream system in my mind that I’ve always thought would be a killer: Maggie 20s with a pair of REL sub-bass speakers, driven by really, really good high-power tube amps – VTLs, Carvers, or McIntoshes. It’s a pipe dream, I know, but the quest for great sound is never ending.

We spent about three hours listening to some high-res stuff I brought, some regular CDs, high-res files, etc. While my friend loved the sound of the Magneplanars, he came to a similar conclusion as I did when I almost bought the 3.6s six years ago: they need a special room, a big room, with enough space to make them bloom. Alas, his living room, and my music room, just aren’t it.

However, the most interesting result from our visit was this: we both kept comparing the CDs we were hearing to the DS DAC and found the DAC they were using (an inexpensive Jeff Rowland DAC in a preamp) wanting. The DS DAC, assuming you’re playing a well-recorded disc, just nails the presentation of just about any music. We came back to my house and replayed one of the CDs we had played at the store and were convinced of what our ears told us.

The DS DAC continues to impress and delight…

Interesting enough yesterday I did exactly the same: my PSA dealer provided me a private audition of his MG 20.7 (driven by a PWT into an DS, of course) and a pair of 3.7 in another room. Both setups were fueled by Jeff Rowland amps (the Corus pre and the model 525 amp in the main room; Capri S2 and model 125 in the other room)

I trust my dealer when he says that a room >25 square meter ( with >2.5 m hight) is good enough even for the 20.7. His room was about 4.5 x 8 x 2.5 m and the Maggie’s were really singing! But the 3.7 couldn’t compete with the big ones.

The most impressive thing for me was the bass performance of the 20.7. Maybe not that deep as my Genesis, but very fast and dry. Outstanding performance of a planar bass panel, indeed.

We only listened to red book CDs and again I was impressed by the performance of the DS with this kind of source material. But at the end my dealer couldn’t resist to switch from the DS to a MSB Diamond. What shall I say…yes, the Diamond did everything the DS does, and even a little bit more. But a look at the price tag of 40k€ left me absolutely satisfied with my DS.

So if I consider to change something in my setup, the MG 20.7 will be on top of the list. And the DS will stay.

It’s Saturday and I finally have some time to myself to relisten to CDs I have a tremendous fondness for, desert island picks all. I have a listening stack that ranges from Stan Getz to Horowitz to Carlos Kleiber, a couple of Rubinsteins, and, just to scare off the wife, son, dogs, and cats, a superb two-disc Ligeti compilation on DG.

I’m currently listening to the unedited 1965 Carnegie Hall concert by Vladimir Horowitz on Columbia/Sony. I thought I knew this disc well, having listened to the original edited version on LP for many years, the edited CD, and then his excellent three-disc reissue. I didn’t. The DirectStream DAC is extracting more information from these discs than I ever thought possible. Horowitz sounds present, not distant, here, in my room, with a piano that sounds as close to real as the recording allowed.

So far, the combination of my new ARC integrated tube amp and the Oppo/DS DAC combo is giving me the best digital reproduction I’ve heard in my room.


Nice to hear that things are sounding so good for you, George!

I keep having similar experiences with redbook CDs (or files ripped from them) in particular as my DS continues to break in. Last night I heard human voices reproduced like never before in my room–so natural, so smooth, so non-digital, so alive. (Keep in mind that I use tubes and for a long time have avoided any equipment that sounds at all harsh or bright, so my system was already oriented in that direction, and I thought it was pretty good). Whenever I put on a recording I haven’t listened to for a week or more, I hear new things. This is true with high-res downloads, but more so with CDs.

What Ted and Paul have created continues to amaze me! 77_gif

magister said Whenever I put on a recording I haven't listened to for a week or more, I hear new things. This is true with high-res downloads, but more so with CDs.
Same here. I'm ocassionally picking CDs at random I haven't heard in years and playing them. They are all a revelation. What was once "not like analog" is now so good I forget it's a plain ole' Redbook standard compact disc. I never heard this with any DAC I've ever owned.

I’m driving 3.7s now. My living room seems on the small side, but it’s hard to tell as there are so many openings to hallways, dinettes, rooms, etc. It’s a hideous setup, really… lots of holes and sinks.

Someday, when I upgrade my house, I’ll likely get some Maggy 20s.

The 3.7s are wonderful and an excellent buy. The bigger Maggies are better, but the 3.7s are impressively close.

Elk said The 3.7s are wonderful and an excellent buy. The bigger Maggies are better, but the 3.7s are impressively close.
Yeah, Elk... I've had zero complaints about them. A lot of second-guessing, of course, but no complaints.

I went from 3.7 to 20.7 and I’m really enjoying them with DS (as you would guess). I don’t really think the improvement is really worth the price difference, but as the sound quality goes up, the more you have to pay for small improvements (this doesn’t really go with DS since it made a big improvement, I think).

If I would still have 3.7s, I would try 2 pcs DWM woofers first before going to 20.7s.

As mentioned, I’m not considering moving to the 20s unless I first upgrade my house. Already have a pair of subwoofers for the 3.7s, which add a lot of dimension.

I have a pair of 3.7i Magnepans and am powering them with the M700s. They work very well together. Saturday I picked up a pair of DWM bass panels. I’m still playing with placement but they add quite a lot to the bottom end. I had the opportunity to hear a pair of 20.7s when I picked up the DWMs. Two very different rooms and electronics sets but my set up made a pretty good showing for itself compared to the 20.7s. The DWM isn’t a sub and never claims to be but if you find your Magnepans wanting in the bass department the DWMs might just be the fix for it. In my situation it was.