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Class
05-03-2009, 06:42
I'm very tempted to buy the 7520 DAC but I'd like to get some input first.

I have a Squeezebox 3 connected to a Cambridge Azur 640A, speakers are B&W685 on good stands.
Cables are Tara Labs Spectrum Helix 8 and Spectrum 3a.
Files are mostly FLAC.

This setup sounds ok but I'm missing high end details, soundstage and more.
Maybe I have to high expectations from a cheap system? (I used to be a hi-fi enthusiast with Apogee Scintillas (1ohms) and such.)

Could someone offer any input on how much a DAC like the 7520 could improve the sound from my system?
I guess the analogue out on the SB3 is pretty good for the price, but... :)

I also have Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 80, should/could the 7520 be modified to match these?

StanleyB
05-03-2009, 07:44
Maybe I have to high expectations from a cheap system? (I used to be a hi-fi enthusiast with Apogee Scintillas (1ohms) and such.)

The TC-7520 is even cheaper still:scratch:. Can music be bribed into performing better if lavished with cash? Well yes it can. A Stradivarius sounds even better, every time its auction price goes up.
If you were into Apogee, then it might well come as a shock to you that the TC-7520 outshines the Apogee DAC as shown in the picture frame of the AoS logo above this page. And I have that from several good authorities.

NRG
05-03-2009, 07:53
...

Could someone offer any input on how much a DAC like the 7520 could improve the sound from my system?
I guess the analogue out on the SB3 is pretty good for the price, but... :)

...

I think you would do well with either the 7510 or 7520. The analogue o/p of the SB is OK but not brilliant, either DAC will open out the top end and increase detail I think you'll like it.

Class
05-03-2009, 07:53
If you were into Apogee, then it might well come as a shock to you that the TC-7520 outshines the Apogee DAC as shown in the picture frame of the AoS logo above this page. And I have that from several good authorities.
I'm not sure if it's the same company? The Apogee I meant is http://www.apogeeacoustics.com/

These are the speakers I had: http://www.apogeespeakers.com/scintilla.htm

tizer2000uk
05-03-2009, 17:58
The 7520 outguns the SB3 no question and would be a good addition imho.

Covenant
05-03-2009, 18:44
Once you have your 7520 a decent power supply for the SB3 is a must....

Labarum
05-03-2009, 22:22
Either Beresford DAC will improve an SB3 very significantly.

You probably don't need a USB input, and you will probably use the Beresford's fixed output, so the difference between the two Standacs when driving amp and speakers will not be so great.

The more expensive Standac will pull ahead when driving the phones.

Gazjam
06-03-2009, 11:00
Having recently upgraded to a 7520 I have made comparisons between the 7510 and the 7520.

Dac still running in (30hrs or so) but I can truly say the 7520 IS BETTER AS A DAC than the 7510.

I dont use USB(yet) and I dont use variable outputs, so my opinions are purely as a stand alone Dac.

The 7520 has a lot more "air" around the music than the 7510.
Far more detail is leaking out too, there is more "thwack" to drums, I think this may be because the noisefloor is a lot lower on the new Dac.
Dunno, the individual strands that make up the music just stand out more, being easier to follow complex stuff.
Its easier to "get" the point of the song, as it just sounds more like people playing music.

I held off getting one as I wasnt using either USB or Variable output, but I can confirm the 7520 is a better Dac than the 7510.

I use it with the Maplins power supply, which I found to make a good improvement in my system to the supplied wallwart.

Class
06-03-2009, 11:50
I ordered the 7520, can't wait to try it in my system!

I was holding on to analogue sound for years after my friends bought CD players. Had a Micro Seiki turntable with SME3009s2 arm, Luxman M05 100W pure class A power amp but now I fear I will want another SB3 with another DAC for my bedroom etc :)

Thanks for your help so far.

Gazjam
06-03-2009, 11:59
Class,
There is something "analogue" about the sound of the 7520. I dont mean just the lack of any digital harshness or anything, it just sounds "right" in a way a good turntable does.
Its a solid sound, solid but very delicate and open too. Lots of weight and "thwack", but having a wide open soundstage - just like a good record player.

Yer in for a treat. :)

Clive
06-03-2009, 12:12
Class,
There is something "analogue" about the sound of the 7520. I dont mean just the lack of any digital harshness or anything, it just sounds "right" in a way a good turntable does.
Its a solid sound, solid but very delicate and open too. Lots of weight and "thwack", but having a wide open soundstage - just like a good record player.

Yer in for a treat. :)
I very much agree with this, particularly when the 7520 is being driven from a PC, an SB3 should be similar. As a result of how the 7520 sounds with Foobar I'm now ripping my CD collection, 120 ripped, 400 to go....

bong
07-03-2009, 02:01
i've had the opportunity to pair up these two great pieces of gear, so I thought i'll drop in with my observations.

i've connected the sb3 to the 7520 via the optical toslink input, and am outputting it via the analogue RCAs to my preamp, and via the headphones out to my earphones. The 7520 has had about 70+ hrs of burning in, and I'm still letting the sound evolve and settle before making any serious observations.

however, the wife, who has a better set of ears than i do, has commented that she's hearing richer layers, a wider and more distinct soundstage compared to the out-of-the-box listen. and it is definitely a step up from the SB3's internal burr brown DAC.

here are some pictures of the coupling ...

the SB 3 or SB classic as it's now called
http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll258/konglip/Gear/IMG_0663.jpg

the SB3 and my kab1200 ... the sources deck.
http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll258/konglip/Gear/IMG_0648.jpg

the 7520, sitting pretty with my trichord dino phono stage. it's been analogue vs digital so far this deck and the sources. :ner:
http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll258/konglip/Gear/IMG_0660.jpg

finally, the setup in its entirety.
http://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll258/konglip/Gear/IMG_0656.jpg

Labarum
07-03-2009, 08:49
Some say the SB3 and the Beresford DAC work better together with the RCA digital connection. Stan is agnostic on the issue, and I can't hear any difference with my 7510.

I connect RCA rather than optically because I want the optical inputs for other sources.

But yes, add a Standac to a Squeezebox and it is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vorsprung_durch_Technik although I prefer the translation "A leap forward through technology".

Class
07-03-2009, 09:17
I ordered it with a coax cable. Back in the day I remember the hi-fi gurus saying this was superior to the toslink, but I have no idea :)

bong
07-03-2009, 13:56
i've got one of each cable, but decided to go with the toslink for now to run in the DAC. not sure if there'll be a significant increase in SQ if I make the cable switch, but I'm too lazy currently to do an A/B, and also, i think the sound is still evolving from the burning in, so it might not be wholly accurate. i don't foresee connecting too many devices to the standac so using up the toslink is not a concern. :)

Spur07
07-03-2009, 15:03
if anybody can't her the difference between SB naked and SB + standac, then you either need your ears fixing or your system is cack

adding a dac to a SB or any basic USB converter/streamer is a complete no brainer. the SB naked is poor - any dac will enhance its output considerably. i have read reports, however, that stan's dac doesn't have quite the same impact when run through basic, 'entry level' amp/speaker equipment.

Labarum
07-03-2009, 15:37
if anybody can't her the difference between SB naked and SB + standac, then you either need your ears fixing or your system is cack


Agreed. And the SB designers will also agree, though what they say is, at the price, they cannot match a stand alone DAC.

The Transporter is a different matter, they say, but it does cost over 1000.

Spur07
07-03-2009, 16:07
i've heard excellent comments regarding the transporter on the naim forums - apparently it more than holds its own against many expensive mac/dac combos

wish i could afford one!

Labarum
07-03-2009, 16:20
i've heard excellent comments regarding the transporter on the naim forums - apparently it more than holds its own against many expensive mac/dac combos

wish i could afford one!

On the Squeezebox forum you will find opinions divided: some say the Transport is better than a SB3 with quality DAC, and others that you can do just as well for half the cost of the Transporter.

Spur07
07-03-2009, 16:42
...and others that you can do just as well for half the cost of the Transporter.

interesting.


Its difficult to know what the future holds regarding transports - plenty of development to come, i'm sure. not sure how willing i'd be to give up itunes with all the artwork, remote, etc

NRG
07-03-2009, 17:22
...and others that you can do just as well for half the cost of the Transporter.

interesting.
...

Unfortunatley not without a lot of DIY and understanding. Once you factor in the cost of an external DAC, super regulators for all the supplies, the new clock and clock supply, packaging, case etc you won't be far off the asking price for the Transporter!

Labarum
07-03-2009, 17:33
Unfortunatley not without a lot of DIY

I wasn't suggesting any DIY beyond connecting a SB3 or Duet by s/pdif to a stand alone DAC.

In the Audiophile section here http://forums.slimdevices.com/forumdisplay.php?f=7 you will find two views: that the Transporter is worth the extra, and that it isn't.

I can't say. I have not heard a Logitech Transporter

http://www.slimdevices.com/pi_transporter.html

It costs over 1000.

NRG
07-03-2009, 17:46
I didn't imply that you did ;)

An SB3 plus external DAC does not cut it against the transporter. I'm a member of the SD forums and have read the debates. In pure sound qaulity terms the transporter is way better, I've compared the two at length, to get the SB3 to the same level would take a lot of effort and skill, a challenge that a dedicted DIYer would probably relish. In terms of value that comes down to individual choice, if you want the best sound from a Logitec SB but can't hold a soldering iron the right way 'round then the Transporter or Mr Dixons SB+ represent good value...YMMV

leo
07-03-2009, 21:31
I didn't imply that you did ;)

An SB3 plus external DAC does not cut it against the transporter. I'm a member of the SD forums and have read the debates. In pure sound qaulity terms the transporter is way better, I've compared the two at length, to get the SB3 to the same level would take a lot of effort and skill, a challenge that a dedicted DIYer would probably relish. In terms of value that comes down to individual choice, if you want the best sound from a Logitec SB but can't hold a soldering iron the right way 'round then the Transporter or Mr Dixons SB+ represent good value...YMMV

I have to agree with you there Neal, I'm sure people are more than happy with a standard SB3 + external dac which is fine but its no way able to outperform something like the Transporter, the SB3 has design compromises as standard (its no dig at the thing especially for the price) , if you understand circuits then simply take one apart and you can see where these compromises are, no matter what external dac you use, de-jitter tricks on the SPDIF or I2S is just a bandaid, it takes time and work inside the SB3 to get the best out of it

Spur07
08-03-2009, 09:51
Neal / Leo

what can you expect with regard to driving the transporter with a dac?

how 'high' would you have to go to hear a noticeable upgrade?

judging by comments on the naim forum i'm guessing a lavry wouldn't cut the mustard.

leo
08-03-2009, 11:01
Neal / Leo

what can you expect with regard to driving the transporter with a dac?

how 'high' would you have to go to hear a noticeable upgrade?

judging by comments on the naim forum i'm guessing a lavry wouldn't cut the mustard.

I think that would be down to personal taste tbh regarding the Transporters analogue out against a Transporter feeding an external dac where as a stock SB3 used either as a transport or source falls behind imo.
It makes sense the cheapest ugrade for a SB3 owner is an external dac, the analogue outs of a SB3 isn't exactly that great


With some work either by paying a company that knows what its doing or doing it yourself the standard SB's can be modified boosting its performance as a transport no end, even the analogue outs can be improved.
Patric Dixons SB+ is a heavily modified SB3 and the reports are it betters the Transporter

The only real main limitation of a SB3 stock or modded is that it cannot supply an external dac higher than 24/48 where as the Transporter can do 24/96

As mentioned before a stock SB3 + external dac would be decent enough for a lot of people

Covenant
08-03-2009, 11:50
Leo are you aware of anyone (individual or company) that offers SB3 upgrades in the UK? The only one I have come across is Audiocom.

Labarum
08-03-2009, 11:56
And what about these modders?

http://www.audiocom-uk.com/

I hesitate to buy a Transporter because I am enjoying my stock SB3 and Beresford 7510 6:4 so much, and because the market for streamers is still relatively immature. Who knows what is round the corner (who knows in any market)?

I may, of course be up against the limits of my upgraded Quad 405-2 and my 20 year old MB Quart loudspeakers, even if they were in the same price bracket as the Quad Electrostatics when I bought them.

In the longer term I may be in for a Transporter (or something of that class) and a pair of active speakers, or else some active speakers with internal DACs.

But the speaker manufacturers are not rushing to the future!

(Edit: Covenant, you beat me to the question by six minutes!)

leo
08-03-2009, 12:20
Leo are you aware of anyone (individual or company) that offers SB3 upgrades in the UK? The only one I have come across is Audiocom.


I'll have a look but don't think theres much choice over here

Not knowing what mods these places do make it hard to recommend any of them, obviously the improvements will vary depending whats been done internally.
Maybe Audiocom should provide an evaluation for a modded SB so you can see if you feel the improvements are worth it;) it makes it easier to compare against your own stock unit

I'm actually amazed at the small choice of streaming devices , its time they did ones with 24/192 capable outputs

Labarum
08-03-2009, 12:30
I'm actually amazed at the small choice of streaming devices , its time they did ones with 24/192 capable outputs

One of the reasons why I am not spending lots on the project at the moment.

And what's Linn up to?

https://www.ripcaster.co.uk/node/399

1000 with 20w power amps. Why? At that price I would want more than 20w to drive suitable speakers. Or is this their "Squeezebox Boom" for bedroom or kitchen use?

On the up side I note that the box has been hacked to work with Slimserver because the supplied software is - awful. And some say it sounds better than the transporter.

We have a way to go, and I hope open software will prevail so we can mix hardware.

I wonder if AVI will pitch in.

Spur07
08-03-2009, 13:53
"I'm actually amazed at the small choice of streaming devices , its time they did ones with 24/192 capable outputs"


couldn't agree more.


forget dacs, this is where the real action will take place and its anybody's guess as to what's going to happen. due to circumstance i'll probably be streaming from my G5 for a good few years to come, so i'll be upgrading my amps/dac for now - but i'm intrigued to see where the transport/streaming technology will go, and who's going to emerge as the big players.

The thing that bothers me most regarding transport/streamers is, just like dacs at the moment, it's going to be incredibly difficult to compare and contrast set ups. i've got a feeling its going to be a long time before retailers catch up on all this and start catering for the likes of you and me.

Quietschbox
23-04-2009, 13:33
"The only real main limitation of a SB3 stock or modded is that it cannot supply an external dac higher than 24/48 where as the Transporter can do 24/96"

I can't find the passage now, and also it didnt tell how to, but there was a thread, maybe http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=19822,
mentioning some advanced geeks were able to stop the SB 3 from halving 24/96 down to 24/48 on the digital outs, thus delivering full 96khz.
Haven't dug further into that yet, but since the SB primitively drops every second sample from 96, it seems there indeed could be a way to stop it from doing that. Possibly it was just decided this way to increase compatibility for older DACs?

Peter314
25-04-2009, 20:02
... since the SB primitively drops every second sample from 96...

Happily, the latest version of Squeezecenter no longer does this. It uses a more sophisticated algorithm (TITES, or something like that) which does a great job.

Would be great if SB3 could be made to output digital 24/96 though. I must check that link...

Stratmangler
25-04-2009, 20:24
"The only real main limitation of a SB3 stock or modded is that it cannot supply an external dac higher than 24/48 where as the Transporter can do 24/96"

I can't find the passage now, and also it didnt tell how to, but there was a thread, maybe http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=19822,
mentioning some advanced geeks were able to stop the SB 3 from halving 24/96 down to 24/48 on the digital outs, thus delivering full 96khz.
Haven't dug further into that yet, but since the SB primitively drops every second sample from 96, it seems there indeed could be a way to stop it from doing that. Possibly it was just decided this way to increase compatibility for older DACs?

IIRC from what I saw on the Slim forum is that the latest beta versions of Squeezecentre can transcode 24/96 to 24/48 on the fly. Still doesn't give 24/96 from a SB3.

Chris:)

Quietschbox
26-04-2009, 14:55
"7.3.1 (latest) will do server-side proper resampling down to 48Khz, using the SoX library."
"Earlier versions passed on the data untouched and the SB3 threw away alternate samples."

Well. Found a "24/96 at non optimum way" mod/hack claim, and I may have mistaken another
statement in the context of 24/48 and 24/96, mentioning "digital mods improving output",
for a "24/96" mod statement.

Considering bit depth being more important than rate, 24/48 is not too "bad",
and using a good DAC (and rest of line) may be way more important.