Author Topic: Level 2 PDX  (Read 5356 times)

Offline bhobba

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Level 2 PDX
« on: November 22, 2010, 11:13:29 AM »
Hi All

Myself and John Darko heard the first level 2 PDX just after it had been finished literally a few minutes before. It has a few enhancements over the base model such as valve rectification, Duelund capacitors and Ribbontek wiring. We listened to a prototype of the PDX first and then the newly made Level 2. The level 2 to my ears sounded even more detailed liquid and smooth. I thought I had heard good sibilance control in some DAC's before - but this was on another level. I have heard the Killer DAC and prior to this it was clearly the best DAC I had heard. I am not sure this DAC will best the Killer but I think it will be a genuine contest. We compared it to the Tranquility Signature and everyone preferred the PDX - but then again it is more expensive. The Tranquility was interesting in that even though it was a NOS it did not sound like it. John Darko has taken the Tranquility back to Sydney for review so watch out for it.  I know Mario personally does not like the Tranquility and I do, but this PDX really is at another level and I think Mario would rather like it.

The PDX will remain at Mike Lenehan's for a while so people can have a listen - so guys up that way can check it out - but in a week or two I will take it back to my system.  I may leave it a bit longer depending on interest.

Oh and this will be the DAC, along with the Tranquility Signature, I will sending to you Killer DAC guys in Perth.  The base grade PDX is very good but to compete against the Killer you really need the level 2 PDX.

Thanks
Bill
« Last Edit: November 22, 2010, 11:19:53 AM by bhobba »

tuyen

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2010, 12:22:10 PM »
That's excellent news Bill.  Very greatful for you to share your toys for us Perthians to experience. I wish there was something one of us has that we could send you to try?

Offline bhobba

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2010, 01:11:22 PM »
No problem mate.

If there is anything you would like to send thats fine by me.  Right now what really interests me is I have found experimenting with USB and a transport the transport, much to my chagrin, simply clobbers it.  In my hubris, and from what I read, I though the USB was pulling ahead.  But what we found is transports benefit hugely from vibration isolation even more than a mac mini does and a statement transport it is well ahead - a modded but non statement transport we thought about 30% ahead.

Anyway because if that I though I might investigate a slightly different solution such as the QLS QA-350.  I believe you guys have investigated the 550 and found it pretty good.  If I could somehow check that out it would be very interesting.  Trouble is it so dirt chap the transport costs would probably not make it worthwhile so I may get a QA-350 anyway.


Thanks
Bill

Offline Hens

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2010, 05:22:12 PM »
Hi Bill, how much are the various incarnations of the pdx?

Offline bhobba

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2010, 09:14:28 PM »
Actually Mike handed me his latest price list with all sorts of options such as USB input, light-speed like volume control, remote, I2S input, all sorts of stuff.  But just to give you an idea the base model is $1900.00 with SPDF input, and the level 2 model with internal Ribbontek wiring, Dulund Capacitors and Valve rectification - $3100.  Of course you can get other stuff included such such as the volume control etc but to do it full justice I would really need to post the full price list.  Let me know if you would like to see it and I will post it when I get a bit of time.

I think Mike may be sending a base model for review and for others to hear but I will see if you Killer DAC guys can get my level 2 to check out against the Killer since that will be a better comparison.

Thanks
Bill

Offline Audio

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2010, 04:39:15 PM »
Bhobba, same as you, I had the impression that computer audio is the way to go in terms of sound quality. Given that a cd transport is better than a computer one, I am just wondering why not just get a statement cd player, instead of a cd transport with an external dac.

Offline bhobba

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2010, 05:47:15 PM »
Bhobba, same as you, I had the impression that computer audio is the way to go in terms of sound quality. Given that a cd transport is better than a computer one, I am just wondering why not just get a statement cd player, instead of a cd transport with an external dac.

Yes it is better but I find computer audio so convenient I am willing to put up with it not being the best.  Also the computer we used as transport was not optimized so I will reserve final judgement until such a comparison is done.  As far as a cd player goes, and while I have most certainly have not heard everything out there, I have not heard one near as good as the level 2 PDX.

Thanks
Bill

Offline kajak12

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2010, 07:06:10 PM »
Bhobba, same as you, I had the impression that computer audio is the way to go in terms of sound quality.
i had the same thoughts that computer audio is the future i hope they will make something that will be the next cd transport killer we just have to wait until it happens.

never heard a statement cd player in my life yet that includes ayre and acuphase top of the range players not worth the money IMHO.
still discovering the link between electronics and audio reproduction.so much to learn and so little time

Offline Audio

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2010, 09:51:15 PM »
Yup, agreed that computer audio is up there in terms of convenience. Anyway, I am wondering why would a cd transport w external dac sound better than a cd player. In a cd player, the connections would be much shorter and thereotically at least, should sound better

Offline zenelectro

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2010, 10:27:21 PM »
Yup, agreed that computer audio is up there in terms of convenience. Anyway, I am wondering why would a cd transport w external dac sound better than a cd player. In a cd player, the connections would be much shorter and thereotically at least, should sound better

*Theoretically* a corectly implemented USB -> I2S converter cct in the DAC should be superior to a CD transport.

An asynchronous USB -> I2S converter should have a buffer that is filled on demand. The I2S (DAC side) is clocked out from
a fixed, HQ clock.

Unfortunately there are a lot of things that can get messed up in the implementation... don't have time to go into them all.

cheers

Terry


Offline kajak12

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2010, 11:02:09 PM »
i just love theory in audio its out the window with reality  ;D
still discovering the link between electronics and audio reproduction.so much to learn and so little time

Offline Audio

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #11 on: November 26, 2010, 02:41:31 AM »
Bill what transport were you running with the PDX? I suppose the pdx to be quite sensitive to jitter..

Offline bhobba

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2010, 02:25:28 PM »
Yup, agreed that computer audio is up there in terms of convenience. Anyway, I am wondering why would a cd transport w external dac sound better than a cd player. In a cd player, the connections would be much shorter and thereotically at least, should sound better

There is zero reason why a CDP should not sound as good, or perhaps even better, than separates.  Its just that my experience is similar to Mario's.  I have not heard a CDP even close to the PDX or even the Tranquility for that matter.  What there may be some argument about, and I hope to verify it soon one way or another, is if a cheap DVD player as transport such as a $40 el cheapo from KMart into the PDX sounds better than CDP's.  I hope to check that out sometime next week after the cricket is over.  My experience is it will be no contest, the cheap transport and PDX will be better.  But we will find out.

Thanks
Bill

Offline bhobba

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2010, 02:31:10 PM »
Bill what transport were you running with the PDX? I suppose the pdx to be quite sensitive to jitter..

A heavily tweaked Marantz player as transport.  My understanding is the PDX has a de-jitter circuit.  As mentioned is a previous post will check how it performs with an el-cheapo transport.

Thanks
Bill

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #14 on: November 26, 2010, 07:48:36 PM »
Yup, agreed that computer audio is up there in terms of convenience. Anyway, I am wondering why would a cd transport w external dac sound better than a cd player. In a cd player, the connections would be much shorter and thereotically at least, should sound better

There is zero reason why a CDP should not sound as good, or perhaps even better, than separates.  Its just that my experience is similar to Mario's.  I have not heard a CDP even close to the PDX or even the Tranquility for that matter.  What there may be some argument about, and I hope to verify it soon one way or another, is if a cheap DVD player as transport such as a $40 el cheapo from KMart into the PDX sounds better than CDP's.  I hope to check that out sometime next week after the cricket is over.  My experience is it will be no contest, the cheap transport and PDX will be better.  But we will find out.

Thanks
Bill
Yes bill but the cheapo dvd players are very ordinary sounding. So good luck.

Offline ozmillsy

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #15 on: November 26, 2010, 10:04:02 PM »
My experience is it will be no contest, the cheap transport and PDX will be better.  But we will find out.
In my experience, cheap dvd players kill the music.  Can add a really harsh digital edge to the playback.   De-jittering can help some, but isnt perfect.  Abit like trying to polish a turd. 
There's more fun trying various changes to your hifi gear,
than there is in trying to explain why those changes are having an effect.

Offline kajak12

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #16 on: November 26, 2010, 10:21:53 PM »

  Abit like trying to polish a turd. 

yeh it still smells like sh!t  :D
still discovering the link between electronics and audio reproduction.so much to learn and so little time

Offline Audio

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2010, 11:09:27 PM »
Bill what transport were you running with the PDX? I suppose the pdx to be quite sensitive to jitter..

A heavily tweaked Marantz player as transport.  My understanding is the PDX has a de-jitter circuit.  As mentioned is a previous post will check how it performs with an el-cheapo transport.

Thanks
Bill

bill thanks, this tweaked marantz is i2s out or spdif? Would be quite interested in the comparison of the el cheapo. 

Offline bhobba

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2010, 12:17:17 AM »
Yes bill but the cheapo dvd players are very ordinary sounding. So good luck.

Having heard the improvements a decent transport makes it is likely I will wince using a $40.00 transport but I suspect it will still sound good enough to best typical CD players.  Anyway we will see.

Thanks
Bill

Offline bhobba

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Re: Level 2 PDX
« Reply #19 on: November 27, 2010, 12:47:09 AM »
bill thanks, this tweaked marantz is i2s out or spdif? Would be quite interested in the comparison of the el cheapo.

It was a mid level modded transport using SPDIF - not close to the full house modded transport with I2S I have heard which is drop dead good.  Make no mistake the cheap DVD player will be a step down - the question though is how would it compare to your typical CDP at the same price point.  I think it will still sound better based on experiments I have done with other DAC's - but we will find out.

Thanks
Bill