upsampling cd's

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Walt Park, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. Walt Park

    Walt Park Stunt Coordinator

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    I just ordered a Njoe Tjoeb CD player, and as an option, they offer a 24/192 upsampler.
    http://www.upscaleaudio.com/4000faqupdate.htm
    I'm wondering if it's worth it. I've read reviews saying that it is better and others saying it's just another oversampling and that any percieved benefit is from a better digital filter since you dont really get any more information than what is in the 16/44 encoding.
    So...... Anybody have any first hand experience?
     
  2. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    I have the Ah! 4000 but have yet to get the upsampler board. The few mentions I've read at Audio Asylum have been positive, but my biggest problem with them is that there's no common basis of comparison, due to the other tweaks that are available for the Ah!. For starters, people don't all use the same tubes (I use Amperex 7308s, if memory serves, which I have not seen commonly used in this unit). There are also options for a better power cord, op amp upgrades, etc. As a matter of fact, I think the new board has upgraded op amps as well. Since I still have the stock op amps, I won't really know what portion of the upsampler board improvement (if any) would be due to the upsampler chip versus the op amps (versus potentially other stuff as well). Guess it's worth a try, as I believe Kevin at Upscale Audio allows returns of the upsampler board.

    By the way, Walt, what other components do you have downstream of the CD player?

    Doug
     
  3. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    I have the Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 (Siemens 7308 tubes, stock power cord, stock op-amps). The upsampling board has had me intrigued, but I have not broken down to get it. I had pre-ordered some months ago but cancelled the order to wait for reviews. As Doug said, some reviews on Audio Asylum have been positive. However, Doug makes an excellent point that there are potentially too many variables that make comparing reviews impossible (aside from differing associated components). Even if I were to add the upsampling board without changing the power cord or tubes, I would not know if any differences in the sound (note that I did not say improvement) were due to upsampling, the different DAC, different op-amp, etc. All of this said, I still may try the upsampling board, but I might try the upgraded power cord as well.
     
  4. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    FWIW, I'm waiting for my environment to stabilize (video upgrade in progress) and probably need a few audio interconnect changes before ordering the board. I hope it knocks the socks off the redbook playback of the Sony C555ES, which I also possess (realistically, any noticeable advantage would make me happy; to me, both players sound fairly close to each other).

    Doug
     
  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Doug, I too would be curious to find out if the upsampling board for the Ah! would make the player better than the 'C555ES. Right now, I think the 'C555ES is better than the Ah!. The difference is quite obvious to my ears.
     
  6. Walt Park

    Walt Park Stunt Coordinator

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    I know what you all mean. The review on the upgrade parts is interesting (http://www.upscaleaudio.com/accessoriesrev.htm) but I'm not clear as to wheter the differences are completely from the board or because the board has different opamps. I ordered the 4000 with the mat and the BB 627 opamps. The effects of the 627 are reported similar to the board but described a little different. And the tubes.... I've held off on ordering tubes untill I can listen to it for a while. Unfortunately I'm new to tubes so I'm not sure what different valves sound like, or more importantly how they will sound in the 4000. I was kind of hoping someone either already had the 627's and up'd to the upsampler and could tell a difference, or to maybe hear from someone that had a player where you could disable it to know if it really does something or if it's hype.
    Doug: what do I have downstream? Nothing yet. This is a new project for me. I've ordered all the pieces, but they are all not here yet and CES 2k3 is slowing it down. I should have them all in by the end of the month. (AH 4k, bettercables SS interconnect with bullets, (no prepro, the "bonus" of having a cd player with volume control. Oh well... Cant bypass the volume electronics and still use the tubes so I didnt see a point in a pre at this point), Blue Circle CS amp, Cat5 (8 braided cat5's) home brew speak cables, and GR-Research Criterion speakers (raven/eaton 2 way), DLS titanic sub, Blue Circle Noise Hound for power noise. This is strictly for CD's, since HT is in another room. I'll probably build some home brew 16 ga twist and braided power cords for the amp and the cd player, but I'll probably wait till it's burned in and I can really do some comparisons.
     
  7. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Walt, I am no tube expert either. However, there has been a lot of discussion of tubes for the Ah! on the Digital Drive board on www.audioasylum.com . Do a search over there.
     
  8. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Walt,
     
  9. Ahmose

    Ahmose Extra

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    Question from a newbie:
    Does upsampling really make a difference in the sound ?
    I mean if your source (CD in this case) is only 16 bits 44.1khz, how can you improve on the source ?
    Where are the extra bits coming from ?
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Doug, I use my Ah! with the volume level set to max. I got many, many recommendations on Audio Asylum to use it this way. At the same time, I have read that the Ah! does not have good enough volume control circuitry for connection to a power amp. Some folks on Audio Asylum have said that one has to go to a much higher-end player for suitable results.
     
  11. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Keith,

    May very well be a good idea not to connect directly to a power amp. I personally have never considered it. On a related note, later this year I may be trying out a tube-based pre-amp to connect to the Ah! (instead of its current connection to my HT controller).

    Walt,

    It does appear that the Ah! 4000 remembers the last volume setting. Maybe it was the previous Ah! model that has the problem I mentioned. In any case, do give Keith's warnings serious consideration.

    Doug
     
  12. Doug_B

    Doug_B Screenwriter

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    Ahmose,
     
  13. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Doug and Ahmose, upsampling is a controversial subject. With upsampling, dither, which is actually noise, is added to create the extra information. Proponents of upsampling feel that this added dither yields a more "analog" sound than does standard 16/44.1 (Redbook), which they prefer. However, the argument has been made that while many audiophiles prefer analog sound (LPs) or "tubey" sound due to the smoother presentation than digital or solid-state, they are actually hearing distortion and, therefore, coloration of the sound. I don't want to get into a huge debate here, but the addition of distortion and the resulting interpretation of the sound quality is a very controversial subject. As Doug said, you must decide if upsampling is right for you.
     
  14. Walt Park

    Walt Park Stunt Coordinator

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    Volume Control on the 4000: Well.. Hmm.. I guess I'll just have to see when that time comes. The Ah! propaganda specifically says you can do this.
    "Remote volume control means you can plug it into a pre-amp without remote, or plug it directly into a power amp. Very handy." --- http://www.upscaleaudio.com/4000basic.htm
    ----
    Upsampling extra bits:
    Well... That is why I asked the question in the first place. Upsampling works like oversampling, in that it guesses what values should be between actual data present. The down side is that in Upsampling the new sample rate is a non-integer, where oversampling is always an integer value. Either way, it's guessing about info that would be there but is restricted between the recorded freq's and passing it to a dac and filters. There's alot of disagreement as to wheter the different sound coming out comes from actually upsampling or from a different process after the upsample, ie a different dac/filter.
    See the following:
    http://www.stereophile.com/showarchives.cgi?344
    and from the foot note:
    http://www.madrigal.com/upconversion.htm
    They imply that upsampling is more or less a smoke and mirrors trick, which is the reason I didnt buy the board.
    But at the same time, some people swear it sounds better, and others swear it does not. I was really hoping someone tried it with the Ah! and could be objective, but with the different mods I'm not sure how to compare them.
     
  15. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Correct me if I am wrong here, but didn't Pioneer introduced a circuitry that was somewhat related to upsampling in its line of Elite series CD players?
     
  16. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Danny, you are thinking of Pioneer's Legato Link. The Legato Link technology is often thrown in upsampling category, but I am not sure if it operates in the same manner. I don't think it is quite the same as 24/96 or 24/192 upsampling. However, I believe the purpose of Legato Link is to "smooth out" the digital sound to make it sound more analog. In that respect, it is much like typical upsampling employed in high-end players and DACs.
     
  17. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    That's right, Legato Link! Thanks for the explaination, Keith.
     
  18. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Danny, no problem. I think my explanation of Legato Link was a bit rough around the edges, but it gives a general idea. A search for "Legato Link" on the Digital Drive board on Audio Asylum would probably yield more detailed information. I doubt Pioneer has much if anything about it on its web site.
     

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