A modest tweak with results that can make you smile

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Manuel Delaflor, Oct 23, 2002.

  1. Manuel Delaflor

    Manuel Delaflor Supporting Actor

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    Im usually eager to read about any tweak everybody is doing in order to find the best possible sound. Some of us do this all the time, and I think the reason is simple. We want to know if for small amounts of money we can improve our already expensive gear.

    So I read constantly about cables, interconnects, power chords, line conditioners, digital clocks, coins under the equipment, etc. etc. Always looking for the last word in the tweaks arena.

    But on the other hand, I tend to trust double blind tests, I like to buy something that provokes palpable changes, something that is doing an improvement so real that if I take my new tweak out of the chain I can easily note it and feel the urgency to immediately reinstall it.

    About a month or so I wanted to buy a new amplifier. I had an old Technics Class A integrated that I wanted to get rid of. I wanted to enter the world of Hi End and still keep some money on my pockets.

    After listening some equipment I ended in the store of a manufacturer known by his tube gear. I was absolutely delighted and ended buying a couple of things. One is my Hybrid Integrated. The other was a small "black box" called Margules Magenta ADE-24. This last one is what I consider the best tweak of all. It is designed, in words of its creator:

    "The original and first enhancer for digital audio mentioned in STEREOPHILE magazine as a killer product. The most common problem in CD players is the analog filter, this unit is a very high quality analog filter with no feedback and totally discrete. Designed to be plugged between the CD player and the amplifier, improves substantially the tonal characteristics."

    As my main speakers are very revealing (Klipsch Heresy, from the Heritage series which use two Horns, one for the tweeter and another for the mid driver) I always felt that some CD's were "to bright", to "edgy" for my tasting. This little box cured that sense in just seconds.

    Another improvements I noted was a more defined tridimensional feeling about the position of particular instruments in the sound field. In other words, the image was more precise. I also noted more definition on some difficult to reproduce instruments, like violins and pianos. The feeling is that they become more clear, more detailed, more focused.

    Reading the user's reviews on Usenet and Audioasylum I realized also that the ADE-24 makes the sound more analog like. People who feel that the CD was a step back and that are still using turntables are buying the ADE-24 because the sound is more like the one of the turntables, more analog.

    As I don't listen to vinyl Im not the most qualified to talk about this topic. But I can surely say that the sound becomes more lifelike, which is what I think the vinyl lovers pursue. A less "metallic" sound, more rounded, more warm, more detailed in the mid frequencies which are the ones that "carry the music soul" in the words of some vinyl lover audiophiles I have talked to.

    Now, as I said at the beginning. Perhaps the best way to realize the work of the little ADE-24 is to get used to it and then disconnect it from our gear. In words of every user on other forums and in my own experience this is almost painful.

    And I hope that can resume what this little box do.
     
  2. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    Good morning Manuel. Wish I could chime in here, but my ADE-24 hasn't arrived yet. Ordered it a week and a day or two ago, so, hopefully, it will be here soon. I've been listening to certain CD's a lot this week to better evaluate the difference in sound when the ADE-24 is set up.
    Also, have done Google searches to find more info on this piece of equipment. All I read was very positive which is why I ordered it. It can be had for $190 (shipping included).
     
  3. Manuel Delaflor

    Manuel Delaflor Supporting Actor

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    Hi There DanaA,
    I know how that feels. [​IMG] Last time was when I ordered my Tempest driver to make my own subwoofer. I experimented the pain...
    Anyway, Im sure you will be listening the little "black box" in no time. Meanwhile I suggest you to familiarize very well with at least a couple of recordings. One with few instruments, perhaps just a piano or a quartet, and another record with entire orchestral fireworks.
    Hmm, well, Im assuming you hear classical music! Anyway, any acoustic recording will give you, IMO the best scenario to hear the differences that the ADE-24 can do.
     
  4. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    The recordings I've been concentrating on are:

    A Love Supreme - John Coltrane
    Moussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain and Pictures at an Exhibition - Cleveland Orchestra
    and
    Mozart Variations - Emily Mitchell adapts the piano parts for the harp.

    They should work out fine. I'm also thinking of adding Santana's Supernatural and Los Lobos' Good Morning Aztlan, as both have a wide variety of accoustic and electric sound.
     
  5. Dan Pawlowski

    Dan Pawlowski Stunt Coordinator

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  6. Manuel Delaflor

    Manuel Delaflor Supporting Actor

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    Actually, it does a good job even with higher priced CDP's. I have a lower end Sony, one of the best at the time with a 1bit pulse DAC (the exact model in my profile in case you are interested) and you don't need to bypass the internal DAC. You just connect the ADE between the analog out from your CDP and your preamp or integrated.

    What this device do is like improve the filtering or something, making the sound more analog like. In Audioasylum several people have reported gains with all kind of equipments. Also, on the Klipsch forum there is a guy who writes professional reviews and he says that it helps any CDP, even expensive ones with state of the art DAC's.
     
  7. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Just for info, there's another of these "harmonic enhancement" devices out there, the TDS, acquired by Recotron/AR, now selling under $100 here. I havent tried it.
    bill
     
  8. Manuel Delaflor

    Manuel Delaflor Supporting Actor

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    That one looks also interesting. The difference is that the ADE-24 is specifically designed to improve digital sources like CD in order to make the sound less artificial, and that box appears to be an all around solution.
    It is funny how I was happy before using this device. It is because I wasn't aware about needing anything...
    But well, this happens anytime we introduce something on our chain and find that it improves the sound. [​IMG]
     
  9. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    First off, I don't want anyone to go out and buy this piece of equipment on what I have to say here. Remember, it is only offered as my subjective opionion and each persons ears and listening tastes differ.

    That said, I want to offer my initial impressions of the ADE-24 that I just received in the mail from a dealer in the New York area. Why would I want to buy it after never having heard it? First, Manuel referred to it in a post on Klipsch speakers and he piqued my interest. I found very positive reviews of it on Secrets of Home Theater and by Ms. Anna Logg, as well as finding nothing but positive comments in a rather extensive Google search. I also had a question about it and emailed the company in this regard. In no time at all, the company owner graciously responded himself to issues I raised. I also searched out other products offered by the company and found they have a somewhat extensive line of audiophile type equipment, although I personally had never heard any of it. Both the dealer and company owner/inventor assured me with confidence that I would notice a significant improvement. Anyway, for $190 delivered, I figured I would take a chance.

    I went into my first listening expecting very little. Sometimes difference in sound gets confused with improvement in sound. I also knew that it was recommended that you break in the ADE-24 for at least 24 hours before you could expect the total package of improvement as it were. I went into the listening highly skepical to say the least.

    The first thing I put on was Mozart Variations, featuring Emily Mitchell on Harp. Even though the ADE-24 was only just plugged in, there was a huge noticible difference, especially in the detail and clarity of sound. Did it sound more analog like. You'd better believe it did. Running a Harman Kardon CD player, through a Rotel 1066 pre/pro, feeding my Parasound 1205A amp, into my Klipsch RB-5 reference speakers. The tone and timbre of instruments took on a whole new life, completely different from what I had heard before, much more musical and true to what a harp sounds like. The recording was suddenly more musical and lifelike.

    I couldn't help but to put John Coltrane's Ascension CD on next in that I've been listening to that on and on the last few days. I will note that I played clarinet and sax in high school orchestra and love reed instruments, so, although I'm no Coltrane, I at least have some understanding of sax (sex too). The improvement here was even more stated to my ears. I could feel Coltrane's embrouchure tighten and almost feel the reed in my mouth.

    I hadn't intended to post here, but felt I should, given my strong initial reaction to the ADE-24, for which I thank Manuel. I don't feel at all that it is simply a placebo effect going on here, although it is impossible with my setup to do a true double-blind test or even compare the two sounds quickly one after the other. I do feel strongly in what I heard though. Again, this is just my ears subjectively listening on my system, so please take this with a grain of salt, but there is no way that I'm returning my ADE-24.
     
  10. Manuel Delaflor

    Manuel Delaflor Supporting Actor

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    Glad to read your impressions! [​IMG] Yep, what you say is what this box does. It adds some kind of "dimensionality". My best way to define it is to say that the image is sharper and more realistic, and that the instruments tonality do sound closer to the real thing.
    You can try a little experiment. Have the ADE-24 in your system for a while, then disconnect it. Chances are you will think about how you could have enjoyed your system before!
     
  11. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    Manuel,
    It's hard for me to even consider disconnecting it. I've had it for about four hours now and I've not stopped playing music with the thing. I'm enjoying jazz the most right now from Ella Fitzgerald to Duke Ellington, but I also listened to some Beatles. The thing is I just hear the wind coming out of the end of the sax so much and so much more dynamically. I can only wonder how good it will sound when it's broken in. I will observe that, on these initial impressions, the improvement is more inclined toward accoustic or classical or jazz. But then again, I haven't put on Hendrix or Clash or anything of that vein yet. Tell you the truth. I've never been so happy with my system. [​IMG] Thanks
     
  12. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    Found this in a review of this unit:
     
  13. jeff peterson

    jeff peterson Supporting Actor

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    I can't find the answer on Margules web site or Paul Knutson's review: what are the inputs and outputs configuration? Coax/optical digital, RCA, balanced, etc?
     
  14. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    The imputs/outputs are RCA audio in left/right and out left/right. I just went into my box where I store cables from years past and found an old Monster cable red/white set of connects.

    I will add to my previous posts that, while I won't tell anyone to go out and buy it here because I don't trust my own ears enough to do so, I will recommend it to a friend of mine whose system is somewhat similar to Manuels (Klipsch Heresy, 2-channel integrated amp) as he owns something like 1500 classical recordings and has always complained about the sound of his digital sources when compared to his analog sources.

    The reason I can't out and out recommend the unit is that it does alter the sound. It does it to my taste, but not everyone has my taste. There's also the fact that it might impact different systems in dissimilar ways. You'll notice that Manuel, the friend I'm recommending it to, and I all use Klipsch speakers.
     
  15. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Has anyone tried the ADE with SACD source?
     
  16. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    I don't have SACD yet. Sorry.
     
  17. Manuel Delaflor

    Manuel Delaflor Supporting Actor

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    Rich, the manual says it is designed only for digital recordings up to 44.1Khz As I understand it some DAC's do a not so wonderful work when dealing with a digital signal, so instead of a resulting sinewave you have more something like a squarewave. This last one is composed of the original wave and spurious higher frequency harmonics. The ADE-24 is designed to clean up those harmonics and leave a more analog like sinewave, specially at high frequencies.
    I don't know if that is exactly what is happening, but it is my best guess. [​IMG]
     
  18. Manuel Delaflor

    Manuel Delaflor Supporting Actor

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    Saurav,

     
  19. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Saurav: wanna bet its adding some even order harmonics?
     
  20. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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