Okay the reason I mentioned resale value, is because many people upgrade eventually, and I personally always consider every aspect of everything I buy, because I don't have a lot of money, or the patience to wait months to sell stuff either. And people in this hobby generally avoid units with DACs included, like the plague. So I tend to advise against them for this obvious reason. If you plan on keeping it forever. That's cool. Just simply disregard this comment. Not a big deal AFAIK. Certainly not worth getting upset over anyway. That's for damn sure
Purists like myself understand something you obviously don't. Anything that your signal passes through effects the sound quality, and the signal passes through the volume pot. That's why almost every high end model built since the late 60's-early 70's has a better volume pot. My TOTL Toshiba SA-620 from 1977 (I think) has an improved pot with detents, and not a POS variable resistor. That's why you see gear advertising that it has a Alps pot, or a Japan Alps pot, which is a higher quality variable resistor, for instance. And really good ones will have detent pots, or resistor ladder pots. This isn't something that falls under the "snake oil" category. This is something that's agreed upon by techs, EE's, manufacturers, and buyers the world over. Total objectivivist even understand this, USUALLY. This is actually provable through science, and that means it can be measured. It's a real thing! Even if you don't believe it. It's still true. Google it, and see for yourself.
As for you ranking on purists. While you're doing that. You're ranking on the preeminent electrical engineers of our time. The great Nelson Pass is a purist, and uses this type of setup in his own HiFi rig. It's actually pretty much all he makes nowadays. And he's certainly no audiophool, nor a greedy person who's trying to take advantage of others. In fact he freely gives his designs away to the DIY community for the specific reason of wanting to be sure that anyone can listen to his gear. He also regularly gives his guidance and advice to the DIY crowd for free when he has spare time. He's very much an objectivist, yet he uses the most simply designed separates like I do, because he knows, as an electrical engineer, that they are without a doubt the best for sound quality. Again, these things are not normally debated, not even by the most cynical of people. This is regularly accepted knowledge, and, again, has already been proven to be true. But you're, uhh, different I guess?
As for why they wouldn't put the best DAC in something. It's because they have to build to a price point. It's just economics. It's regular practice for even really good companies to half ass some things in HiFi, because to do everything perfectly would be way too expensive, and they have competition to contend with. If you want everything done correctly. Prepare to spend thousands of dollars. A decent DAC costs much more then the amp I showed you. You yourself own a $500 DAC that's not even that good (argue if you must, but most experienced audiophiles stay away from Schiit, because they measure like Schiit. Google that too). Think about it.
"Further, this neurotic thinking/behavior that compels one to feel suddenly insecure about the hopefully well-researched component they purchased Tuesday, somehow needs to be replaced with a newer item this Thursday, is not only foolish, it's a little pathetic and embarrassing--reminds me of teen-age girls trying on ten different outfits before they can face the school bus each morning. Sure, if there's a material reason to upgrade, and one has the cash, be my guest, but not to the point of excess, and certainly not to exercise some audio-tic that's better treated in therapy than by another audio component purchase."
This one has me confused. Who exactly are you referring to here? Because it's certainly not my MO. I am new to this hobby, and still putting together my system. I've spent thousands of hours doing research, buying, trying, listening, learning, asking, etc. To slowly upgrade my system to the point it is now. And right now. It's most definitely the best I've heard it sound, and one of the best systems I've ever heard in my life. And I'm not even close to finished yet. I haven't even set it up properly. I'm still just learning. While I've learned enough to build an amazing system. This is only at of late though. I really had to struggle to get here, and I've had a huge (and incredibly cheap) surprise, or two along the way that helped me out greatly.
There's not enough space to tell my whole story, but to give you an idea. I've gone through 6 preamps total to find one that sounds good, is cheap, and (hopefully) won't break. I have two broken ones in my room right now that both sounded good. All of this, is just while I was trying to find a holdover unit, until I could afford a good one in the future. What this led me to though, was a $300 DIY unit from a gentleman
out of Texas. Who BTW is a complete objectivist, and relies strictly on measurements. There will be no future upgrade from this as I originally planned though. My man knows how to put together a great sounding piece of gear, and I want to buy more from him. My God this thing is perfect for me! It's a keeper! Although you may not like it, because it's a purist unit, and we're all neurotic according to you. Especially since it even has a (Gasp!) Japan Alps volume pot. Which is obviously BLASPHEMY! That's okay though. The rest of us nut jobs can enjoy it without you. It sounds f@cking AMAZING!
The thing I find really funny about this particular comment is. I see lots of people on here that have hobbies I can't relate to at all, and some I even feel are a little effeminate, childish, silly, etc. Yet I've never even considered attacking them for doing what they love. I mean, who the f@ck am I to judge other people, for doing what they enjoy anyway? I think people do all sorts of weird things I would never do, but I understand that they enjoy them, it makes them happy, and that it's not my place to judge them for doing so. I don't attack them, simply because I'm a grown arse man, and I know better. But that's just me. What do I know? Right?
Did you ever stop to think that's all this is? A hobby. And maybe people upgrade their gear, because they enjoy it. Because they want to hear different gear. Because they want to learn how to get better sound. Because all rooms sound different. Because all gear works differently together. Because we all have different taste, etc.
Did you ever stop to think of other people's feelings, before you started your rant? Or were you just too easily sucked into the mob mentality that exists on the internet towards people who enjoy this hobby? Like a good lemming. I honestly thought of you as smarter then this. I guess I was wrong.
"Lastly, while folks with lots of disposable income (and pretentious hearing abilities to match) are free to chase whatever SQ dragons they chose,"
Could you please introduce me to these people with plenty of disposable income? Because I sure could use some of that myself.
"this is a $300 NuForce piece of average-quality, mid-range, nothing special, Chinese (fill in the blank), and shouldn't be compared with $1,000+ separates in sound quality or concept of design (meaning: what the hell it's made for, and who the intended audience is)."
I think you're seriously underestimating this amp. The other surprise I had recently, and one I talked about in my original post. Is a $21 (on sale, regularly $25) Ebay amp. It DESTROYS my $1000 plus (when new in 2004-2007) AVA amp I bought used for $225. There's a lot of ways to save money on HiFi gear, like DIY, internet direct companies (Schiit, Tekton, Musical Paradise, Scott Nixon, I own a DAC from the last one, and love it), buying used, Chinese Ebay stuff, etc.
And this NuForce amp is one of those "deals". This doesn't compete with $300 units from Yamaha. It is another level. This competes with much more expensive gear. While I'm sure there's better deals then this. I bet this punches way above it's price point. I wouldn't be surprised at all if this sounded better then some $1500 amps, but it will probably have less power. That being said. There's a trick to making these really sound amazing that not everyone knows about, but I most certainly do. ;)
"For someone interested a sub $500 unit, this (with the DAC it should have included) would be fine, as would the $480 Matrix Mini-i Pro 2SK DAC/Amp found elsewhere on this site, or the $500-ish Jotunheim I purchased about a year ago. The difference is one of convenience and expedience, not phantom sound quality measured in dollars spent, or the sheer number of little black boxes one can stack on top of each other (before they topple over in a heap). We are, after all, discussing desktop systems here, rather than living room-quality systems."
What aren't you understanding about the different classes of HiFi gear exactly? This isn't an integrated amp. This is a power amp. It most definitely should not have included a DAC. That's an integrated amp Ray. And the Jotunheim isn't even remotely in the class this is, it's a DAC. So I won't even bother with that weirdness. If the Matrix is fine. Then buy it. I don't even know what that is. Sorry. There's no phantom sound quality my friend. You either like it better, or you don't. That's up to you. This hobby is completely subjective. There's no Sound-O-Meter. Music reproduction is like art. You either enjoy it, or you don't. We all have different ideas of what sound quality is. We all have different sounding rooms, and we all own different speakers. If you prefer convenience, and don't want a bunch of boxes. That's fine. Do that. No one is stopping you. But all things being equal. The seperates will sound better. That's not really debatable either. No one, but you of course, argues this normally. It's an accepted fact. Again, if all things are equal though, because of course there's integrated amps that sound better then some preamp/mono block combos even.
As for the desktop system thing. That's news to me. This could easily be a living room amp. It's like 80 watts, or something like that right? People use amps with much less power then this for their main setup. On the other hand. I don't really know of any desktop system that needs this kind of power, unless the person using it is trying to ruin their hearing. Maybe so they can go on disability, and never have to work again? I don't know, but when I think of desktop systems. I think about 25 watts maximum. Heck most computer speaker setups are like 5 watts. You're a foot away man. This is a real amp. Again. I think you're seriously underestimating what this can do. I have Klipsch speakers that this could power to well over 100db. Without even trying. And that's from 1 meter away. At desktop distance. We're talking concert level here.
"Speaking of desktop systems, mine consists of the afore mentioned Jotunheim and a pair of MD's JBL Series 3 Monitors connected to the Jot's pre-outs, so I'm covered for speakers and headphones. Not that I don't appreciate the tip on the MP-303 (it does sound pretty cool), but I'm all full up at the moment. I do have plans for a future bedroom system, and despite Tekton's habit of building the worlds most beastly-ugly speakers (gag me with a bright Red pair of Pendragons) I promise you I will listen to the Lores before I pull the trigger on something else. Thanks for turning me on to both!"
Thanks for the backhanded compliment. I guess? BTW I'm not sure you'll be listening to the Lores. Tekton is internet direct. So you'll have to purchase them to hear them, unless you know someone that owns them. I've never heard them myself, but I've read enough reviews from real reviewers, and fellow audiophiles to realize that they're the real deal. Especially since the use Eminence drivers, which are made in the US, and are known to be top quality. And a great bargain too. The designer, Eric, is a total objectivist himself, and doesn't believe in any audiophile hooha. He comes from a pro audio background, and the best part is that because he's using these pro audio speaker drivers. His speakers are very efficient, and these AMAZING sounding low powered class D amps (BTW low powered almost always sounds better, again, all things being equal) will drive them to great heights. In fact my little 8 watt 6L6 based SET/SEP (it's switchable) amp, or my 12 watt per channel HH Scott Stereomaster 200 (6GW8 output tubes, and a very cool piece) will have zero trouble driving these speakers to very loud listening volumes.
Now let's get to the real issue here. Ray my man. We've had a few very good interactions on this site in the past. I've purused your photos, and you even offered to send me one. Which I truly appreciated, and probably should have taken you up on, but life and all. Well you know. Anyway, I've always respected you in the past. We're of a similar age. I think you're only a few years younger then I am. I'm 46. I really respect your art actually, your photos I mean. And was highly impressed when I saw them. I certainly expressed this to you at the time. And I stick by that. I've laughed at your jokes the younger folks don't get, and have even had to explain them for you. I thought we were were copacetic. But then this!
I don't get it man? How can someone like yourself attack someone like myself for just trying to be helpful, and share my knowledge? I'm a newbie at this, but I read for hours every single day about this stuff. I know it inside, and out. I'm sorry you were led to believe otherwise, but this stuff is real. There are differences. You may not care personally, and that's just fine, but some of us do. And who gave you the right to trash us for doing so? You barely know me. You assume way too much, and you put your foot deep into your mouth too. The stuff you claim isn't remotely true, and your arguments are wrong. We're not a bunch of schmucks. We're just people who are enjoying a hobby, like you enjoy photography.
You've unfortunately fallen victim to a mob mentality (who's the real Kool-aid drinker here Ray? Take a swig pal), and that's not what I expected from you. I gave you more credit than that. I guess that's my mistake. I thought you were an independent thinker, and I assumed you knew how to use Google. Apparently I was wrong. You've been duped my friend. If you really want to know what's going on with so called "high end audio". You're going to have to spend some time, and money, just like I did. I was more then willing to share that expertise, because I just spent the past year, and a half doing exactly that. And could easily tell you everything I've learned. I was excited to do so actually, because I just had some recent breakthroughs that could have saved me a ton, if I knew them when I started. But hey, no big deal. You obviously don't seem to believe me anyway. So I won't waste time anymore.
I will say though. I don't know if you had an argument with your wife, just a bad day, or if you forgot to take your meds. But either way. You really need to talk to people with a little more respect, and I highly recommend you check out Google, before you post your opinions, because there's a damn good chance that, unless you do, you're going to look very silly. The stuff you attacked me for isn't normally even debated, like I said before, and this makes you look very foolish, and quite clueless. Plus all the assumptions about me too. Wow! I mean. I'm just a regular dude, working a regular job, who's trying to find his way to a good sounding system without spending a fortune, and you think I'm a frikkin lawyer, or something, and I'm some crazy person. You don't know anything about me really. And you can come back with "I wasn't talking about you in particular. I just meant audiophiles in general" all you want. The clear implication was there. My man. I've spent the last 18, or so months of my life getting an education in all things 2 channel audio. I put together a few systems. I wasted a few bucks, and had a lot of fun. But like I said earlier. I've recently had a couple of huge breakthroughs, and I've gotten to a level I never thought I would, at least without any room treatments, or any real details being sorted out.
You do not have to spend a lot of money, but you can not have a closed mind if you want good sound. Maybe you don't really care, and that's fine. But I do. I went into a high end audio store in the early 90's to look around, and talked to the sales guy on duty for a bit. He took a liking to me, and even though I was completely honest with him, and very clear I wasn't spending a penny. He set me up in a listening room with some tube mono blocks, a $1000 at the time CD player, and for the life of me. I can't remember what the preamp, or speakers were. All I know is I thought the old black guy on the blues CD he played was right there in the corner, playing for an audience of one. Me. I'll never forget that realism as long as I'll live, and I've been longing for it ever since. Not on a daily basis mind you. I've had a crazy hectic life, but I decided to do something about it about a year and a half ago. And when I decide to do something. It gets done. Well needless to say. I'm about there already, and most certainly will be all the way there within the year.
It cost me a lot of time (I'm literally talking thousands of hours here), and a lot of money to figure out what's what. And I'm so close it's ridiculous. I'm right there. The only reason I don't know if I'm there yet, is because I haven't had the time to tweak it all (including my new transport I just got, but haven't put in my rig yet), and I'm using a pretty crappy pair of speakers right now (I own about a dozen pair, and swap them out fairly often). But I know that in due time. I'll be there. And the thanks I get for trying to share this effort with you. For trying to help you have a great sounding rig too. Is for you to spit in my eye. I'm not mad, mind you. I'm hurt, and really disappointed. I stupidly thought you were a good dude. I should have known better though. People like you that act all cool are almost always more style then substance. And that's totally on me.
Especially since I just had to lose an old friend who's just like you. I tried to help him with something, related to audio too actually (he's into vintage boom boxes), and he did exactly what you did. Instead of just trusting me. He argued with everything I warned him about (and now I see him online arguing with people about exactly what I told him he would be having an issue with). So I had to remove myself from the situation. And that's what I'm going to have to do here too. And I don't care what your comeback is, or what anyone else says on here. None of that matters. What matters is. You messed up. You had a truly genuine person with a wealth of knowledge trying to help you, and you threw that away. I know what to buy, where to buy it, and how to make it work correctly. And you don't. If you want to. You're going to have to figure it out yourself. And with your attitude, and pessimism. You never will either. What a shame. Enjoy your pedestrian HiFi rig. Me. I'll be hearing the magic. Maybe someday you'll hear it too, and then you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. Until then. You'll probably just think I'm crazy. And that's just fine with me. I don't care either way, because I've got the magic, and you don't. Have a fine life Ray.
Oops I almost forgot.
"but not to the point of excess, and certainly not to exercise some audio-tic that's better treated in therapy than by another audio component purchase."
Let's be clear here Ray. The only one who needs therapy is you. For anger management. And I'm quite sure this post will get a great response from you, and probably some others too. That's fine. But don't expect a response from me. I'm much to self assured to waste my time with that nonsense. That's my last little gift to you. Peace out Ray! smh