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Technics R1 Reference System

Fitzcaraldo215

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#1
I just glanced at the latest The Abso!ute Sound. I do not care for the reviewers, except for one who is a good friend of mine. He is not the one who wrote this Technics review, however. But, I do learn some interesting new news there from time to time.

I was interested in the description of this new preamp/streamer, amp and speaker combo from Technics' reentry to the high end consumer audiophile market.

Most interesting to me is the SE-R1 amp. In addition to legacy analog inputs, it has a digital input for output from the SU-R1 "Network Audio Control Player" via their proprietary Digital Link. The amp is class D internally. But, it converts PCM to PWM digitally to drive the Class D amp with no intervening analog stages. The amp's analog inputs are also first converted internally to digital PCM. So, it performs d-to-a conversion in the amplification process directly without a separate DAC. There is also DSP in the amp to perform "Load Adaptive Phase Calibration" - LAPC - based on some sort of calibration, though there is no mention of a microphone. The rest is somewhat hazy and curious, thanks to the reviewer's poor description.

I like aspects of the ideas, except for the proprietary-ness of the digital input. The LAPC also apparently includes no comprehensive room correction. The technology may not be up to the most advanced active speakers, like the Beolab or Kii in many ways, including digital xovers. But, we do not see a lot of digital input to amps or speakers yet. I think we are likely to see more, and I would be in favor of that, ideally as part of open, rather than proprietary, standards extending back to the outputs from control units or PCs. And, direct digital drive of class D amps DAC-lessly would seem to be an idea with great promise, although this is likely not the first example. Not sure how Beolab or Kii address that. Of course, DSP is again almost essential in forward looking products.

So, I do not like some details, and there is likely to be a lot of evolution of some of these ideas. It is not a bandwagon I want to get on. However, I like some aspects of the trend and what it might help to define for the future. But, I think I would rather see it all in digitally driven, multi-way active speakers, together with comprehensive room EQ located somewhere in the playback chain.
 

Blumlein 88

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#2
I don't know if they were the first (I think they were), but the Tact Millenium and subsequent Tact amps converted the digital signal in the power output stage. Nothing other than digital prior to that. There were add on modules for analog inputs. The add ons were simply ADC cards. Wadia also had a PowerDac for a time.

Yes, I had hoped by now we would be all digital everywhere except at the transducers themselves. Hopefully it won't end up with lots of ways to connect digitally. Using the available standard interfaces would seem to be enough.
 

Phelonious Ponk

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#3
I have a Panasonic AV receiver from a few years ago that does the same thing. It's in a closet here somewhere.

Tim
 

Phelonious Ponk

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Yep.



SA-XR55. I didn't have any passive speakers that were very good, and still don't, so I can't really make any useful subjective comments. Oddly enough, the headphone output, which is probably an op amp and didn't use the direct to digital tech, sounded really good. I used it as a headphone amp for a few years, compared it, subjectively, with a few good alternatives, and stuck with it.

Tim
 
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RayDunzl

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Sal1950

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I find the current attempt of a few Japanese majors to reenter the high end interesting.
No doubt they have the technological background to design excellent gear but outside of a few
nostalgic turntables I'm a bit doubtful that western audiophiles will buy into the move.
Yamaha is offering a $8,000 2 channel integrated (A-S3000) but no stand alone premium separates?
Curious?
http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio-visual/hifi-components/amps/#page=1&mode=paging
 

Blumlein 88

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I find the current attempt of a few Japanese majors to reenter the high end interesting.
No doubt they have the technological background to design excellent gear but outside of a few
nostalgic turntables I'm a bit doubtful that western audiophiles will buy into the move.
Yamaha is offering a $8,000 2 channel integrated (A-S3000) but no stand alone premium separates?
Curious?
http://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio-visual/hifi-components/amps/#page=1&mode=paging
I wonder if they are re-entering the American high end. Perhaps they are entering the Asian high end. So might as well also market in the USA high end too. If they get a hit then fine, if not then not their primary market anyway.
 

Sal1950

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I wonder if they are re-entering the American high end. Perhaps they are entering the Asian high end. So might as well also market in the USA high end too. If they get a hit then fine, if not then not their primary market anyway.
You might be on to something there.
 

Werner

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#10
I don't know if they were the first (I think they were), but the Tact Millenium and subsequent Tact amps converted the digital signal in the power output stage.
Today's Lyngdorf amps take in PCM, convert it in the digital domain to PWM (as Tact before them), and drive the power stage with that. Moreover, the PWM power stage power supply is an advanced switched mode supply, whose DC output level is used as the amp's volume control, for the first 24dB of attenuation. Only for even lower output levels is digital attenuation applied to the PCM stream. I find that for most serious listening I am always above -24dB. This is the best volume control system I've ever had.
 

Blumlein 88

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Today's Lyngdorf amps take in PCM, convert it in the digital domain to PWM (as Tact before them), and drive the power stage with that. Moreover, the PWM power stage power supply is an advanced switched mode supply, whose DC output level is used as the amp's volume control, for the first 24dB of attenuation. Only for even lower output levels is digital attenuation applied to the PCM stream. I find that for most serious listening I am always above -24dB. This is the best volume control system I've ever had.
Yes the Tact amps also controlled volume by varying the PS voltage that way. Lygndorf of course was part of Tact initially and the basic tech is the same.
 
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Fitzcaraldo215

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Thread Starter #12
Today's Lyngdorf amps take in PCM, convert it in the digital domain to PWM (as Tact before them), and drive the power stage with that. Moreover, the PWM power stage power supply is an advanced switched mode supply, whose DC output level is used as the amp's volume control, for the first 24dB of attenuation. Only for even lower output levels is digital attenuation applied to the PCM stream. I find that for most serious listening I am always above -24dB. This is the best volume control system I've ever had.

I am somewhat aware of Lyngdorf, though they are obscure in the US market. And, they also supply preamps and Mch processors, of course, to drive their digital amps, as well as their RoomPerfect EQ system and interesting, though pricey speakers, all passives, maybe, except for subs.

Meridian has also offered digital interconnection for years from their preamp/controllers into their pricey active speakers. Though, I believe, wrongly perhaps, the speakers are still internally powered by class A/B amps.

I would be much in favor of trickle down of the digital interconnection architecture idea, keeping the signal in the digital domain as long as possible through the playback chain. But, industry fragmentation and hyperspecialization would seem to keep most traditional manufacturers away from it. Most are also just too small to tackle the engineering problem, given there seem to be no firmly established, off the shelf standard solutions. And, consumers are just not demanding it.

Not sure how proprietary the current consumer digital interconnection standards are beyond the reasonably well defined computer-to-DAC interconnection systems now in place - spdif, AES/EBU and USB. But, none of those are ideal looking forward. Cat5/6 would seem ideal. It is cheap and allows very long cable lengths. I am just not sure about wireless digital in high end applications, like hi rez Mch, at this point. Maybe someday.

Lyngdorf and Meridian seem to use ordinary Cat5/6, but I am not sure exactly what format standards they use for signal transmission and for managing details, like getting the right signal to the appropriate amp/speaker channel. They might not be compatible with each other.

The Technics system seems definitely proprietary, though it uses standard Cat5/6 cables for each channel. The Beolab speaker is worth watching, also, as it offers numerous digital inputs. Perhaps the pro audio world is already more standardized and more forward looking in more open fashion.
 

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#13
I would be much in favor of trickle down of the digital interconnection architecture idea, keeping the signal in the digital domain as long as possible through the playback chain. But, industry fragmentation and hyperspecialization would seem to keep most traditional manufacturers away from it. ...
Lyngdorf and Meridian seem to use ordinary Cat5/6, but I am not sure exactly what format standards they use for signal transmission and for managing details,
True enough. There is too much fragmentation, and this is holding back progress.

There is room now for a universal standard for transmitting audio plus the data required to operate an entire system. The most critical IMO is volume control. Today sees the daft situation of DSP-enabled active loudspeakers whose volume can only be controlled by attenuating the incoming digital signal. A system should have one and one only point of level control (the optimal one, obviously), and the system controller should relay all volume commands to that point, and nowhere else. We need similar for assigning channels and determining where crossovers and equalisers run.

The Meridian and Steinway-Lyngdorf interfaces are entirely proprietary. Lyngdorf themselves (sans Steinway) don't even have a proper interface, using SPDIF between, say, a TDAI2170 used as preamp and a TDA2400 digital-input poweramp.


Does anyone know where and how exactly the Kii and Beolab 90 control volume?
 

Purité Audio

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I know the Kii attenuates within the speaker itself, I will ask exactly where and how.
Keith
 
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Fitzcaraldo215

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True enough. There is too much fragmentation, and this is holding back progress.

There is room now for a universal standard for transmitting audio plus the data required to operate an entire system. The most critical IMO is volume control. Today sees the daft situation of DSP-enabled active loudspeakers whose volume can only be controlled by attenuating the incoming digital signal. A system should have one and one only point of level control (the optimal one, obviously), and the system controller should relay all volume commands to that point, and nowhere else. We need similar for assigning channels and determining where crossovers and equalisers run.

The Meridian and Steinway-Lyngdorf interfaces are entirely proprietary. Lyngdorf themselves (sans Steinway) don't even have a proper interface, using SPDIF between, say, a TDAI2170 used as preamp and a TDA2400 digital-input poweramp.


Does anyone know where and how exactly the Kii and Beolab 90 control volume?
I agree completely. Volume control should be in the DAC if there is a separate DAC stage, or, better still, in the Class D amp if it is DAC-less. With active speakers, those would be inside the speaker, of course. We want to maintain full bit resolution as long as possible throughout the chain.
 

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