Audiophile has analog meltdown, rediscovers joys of digital playback!

After installing drivers for a Wacom tablet, my Mac Pro (the engine of my video Post production system as well as music sever) has become completely disabled. I’m learning the Terminal window and some Unix in an attempt to remove the offending divers, so I can at least safe boot. In the meantime I have no access to JRiver and my several terabytes of Hires music (some converted to WAV which I’ve found to sound much better)

After playing an LP or two I decided to turn off my DS and EtherRegen, since I wouldn’t be needing them until my OS problems are solved or reinstalled.

Turning them off In the middle of a song, I heard a definite shift of perspective from in front of the speakers to behind. The soundstage sounded a little narrower but definitely deeper and more relaxed, an effect I’ve always associated with less distortion.

As I listen to a great but not talked about LP, Dave Brubeck A-la-Mode, I had the distinctive reach out and touch experience of handling my friend’s upright bass. There was an intimacy and delicacy I don’t recall ever hearing on this LP before. Similarly cymbals had a quality I can’t remember hearing previously on any format.

The DS and EtherRegen are plugged into the digital bank of my Niagara 7000, with the rest of the system in their own banks for amps and sources.

I definitely feel thrust back into the 70’s before the digital era, when LP was my best sounding source, and am realizing the sonic benefits.

Many years ago I used to turn off digital gear when listening to LP’s, since the digital was a secondary source and I didn’t care that it took time to warm up to sound best, if ever.

Since like many, digital is my main source of music these days, and I’m not sure how I’ll handle things once my Mac Pro (and livelihood) are back online.

Has anyone else noticed added analog creamy goodness after disabling your digital playback?

I play vinyl and digital in roughly equal measure.

The Mac Pro is a noisy beast. It’s power consumption is around 300w, about 20 times the power consumption of, for example, my Innuos Zen server, and double my entire audio system. That may be an issue.

The conditioners I use (Shunyata Hydra Alpha and iFi Power Station) both have cross contamination isolation, so the individual power outlets are completely isolated from each other. So individual components should not have any effect on others. I do not know if this is a feature of the Niagara 7000.

If your digital system is sending noise into your phono amp, or you have a grounding issue, you are going to have a problem, but this is easily avoidable. The iFi Power Station costs only about $600.

The streaming route I wish I’d gone was SSD QNAP to dCS Bridge then AES/EBU out. This is ideal for a very large music library. It’s also simple and produces superb sound quality. As luck would have it, I bought an SSD QNAP for other reasons a year after buying an audio server.

Thanks for the response Steven. The Mac Pro and all the hard drive raids, video and audio interfaces are in another room and on their own conditioner. The only connection is ethernet and that is through an EtherRegen which has galvanic isolation.

The Niagara 7000 also has isolated sections for amps, preamps and digital. I have to test but the switching power supply of the EtherRegen could be a source of noise, but that too is plugged into the digital bank of the Niagara, which makes the ER sound better.

I’m having a dedicated 20 amp run put in so maybe getting the digital off that circuit could help.

When I was using an ER in my system I powered it with an sBooster MK2.

A-La Mode is my favorite Brubeck! Please don’t mention that to Desmond fanatics or family members of his estate.

I should probably rename this thread “Audiophile has analog meltdown rediscovers joys of digital playback!” I got my computer back online and a month or so later sent my tone arm flying across an LP and tore the diamond off the cantilever. I was planning on having Soundsmith make a few new styli for me anyway and update the electronics so I’m back to digital until I can find a good deal on a temporary phono cart, since my strain gauge will be away for upgrades for a quite some time due to a backlog.

Christopher, Thanks for the comment about Brubeck’s A la mode. I wonder why it has never been reissued on heavy vinyl. All I have is the Fantasy re-release (plus a sealed copy) and it sounds fantastic.

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I cannot wait to get my Turntable back in service!

Here is an inside look at what they are dealing with. The silvery aluminum box on the left provides pressurized air for the air bearing that floats the 75 pound platter as it spins. The exact same looking mechanism on the right provides vacuum that sucks the vinyl down until it basically becomes one with the heavy platter. This unit failed. I have been told this is the first ever failure. An 80+ year old man who represents TechDAS in the USA has been tasked with replacing the failed Vacuum unit. He says it is tricky and he has been working on it for a week and a half now.

I think TechDAS should have just sent an entire new box and saved him and me a ton of grief.

Bah! Bah I say!

$50K turntables (without a tonearm or cartridge) deserve a tad more SERVICE than I am seeing.

I am not impressed. No sir.


I agree.

Sounds familiar! :disappointed:


At that level of gear I am really surprised that they didn’t give you a loaner. Boo.


Not to belittle your pain, as I know it’s real, and I’m also not suggesting their staff is off doing more important things, but I’m still reminded of this favorite cartoon of mine:


It is possible that this specific failure has never happened before on this model of TT. I’m guessing the production “volume” on something this fancy is in the dozens.

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It is an unfortunate design decision that leads to this level of disassembly to replace a faulty vacuum pump. The pump for my SOTA Nova V is a stand-alone box connected to the TT (and platter) with a very long vacuum hose. Which not only means I can locate it pretty much anywhere I like (out of sight if that’s what I prefer), but also means if and when it needs to be serviced I only need to send the box back to SOTA for repair. Or simply get another box. A look inside your TechDAS leaves me impressed as heck by the fine craftsmanship, but price sure doesn’t guarantee smart design for maintainability. Hope you get your baby back without much more hassle.

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Sell me your rega when you’re rocking! :wink:


New box?? They should have sent you a whole new turntable.

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Limited edition / signature products are sold in such small numbers, there isn’t enough data for their quality assurance, usually by the same team that builds the product. The toughest part is when issues arise from poor parts supplied by 3rd party rather than design or part specs.

Update: My favorite Turntable repairman called today to tell me my Vacuum pump unit was successfully replaced and the entire unit was tested and found to be working properly. It will be shipped in 24 hours. That means I should be back to Vinyl by the end of next week! Joy!!!


Customers who had a problem solved become more loyal than customers who never had a problem! So, shall we hear praise from now on?

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That totally depends how how soon the next problem occurs. Hopefully the turntable returns to being the best thing I ever purchased.


Al, that’s what you get for buying a budget turntable. I’m sure you wouldn’t have had those problems if you spent a proper amount on a table, which these days seems to be 6 figures. LOL.

Seriously though I think this is the best value table right now that TTW is back in business.