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Thread: Got sierra-1 nrt's!

  1. #21
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    Nov 2005
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    496

    Default Re: Got sierra-1 nrt's!

    Quote Originally Posted by Funambulistic View Post
    That being said, I have heard a sonic difference between some CD players (nowhere nearly as obvious as different speakers can be, of course).
    I've also heard differences between amps and between cd players. Or, more to the point, think I had heard differences... Because that's the thing. Placebo, you think you hear things you don't...

    I've also noticed that my EQ tweaks finally managed to pay off, only to realize that the EQ section was turned off... Ouch...

    Again, it goes back to, is there really differences or not? And if there really are differences, what are they and where do they come from? Some pieces of equipment purposely alter the signal.. Some might play louder than others (case of cdps), alter FR... So again, in the case of cd players, different doesn't necessarily mean better, same for cables, amps, etc...

    After a while, I was able to purchase a Sony XA2ES CD player (retail in ’98 was $800 – I bought it on Audiogon on for $250) and it sounded much better (this was a purely subjective assessment because I thought it should: built like a tank, smooth as silk transport mechanism).
    Thanks

    I popped in a CD and, being intimately familiar with my kit (one of the reasons detractors of blind testing cite it being bogus – along with fear of being called out) felt something was off and the music did not sound “right”. I did everything I could to make everything equal between the two (the CD player had a set of variable outputs and I level matched as well as I could with a cheap RadioShack meter). My daughter and I had some duplicate titles and I went back and forth (I even had her switch outputs without telling which was which – a rudimentary ABAB, ABBA, etc. test) and the CD player sounded better to my ears every time. Now, I wanted the DVD player to sound better because I liked it so much, which, in effect, negated my subjectivism. Needless to say, I kept both. The DVD player had an awesome picture (that is an argument in of itself; some pundits believe DVDs are DVDs and Blue-rays are Blue-rays and, because they are digital, no player's picture is visually discernable from another).
    Interesting. It would be interesting to find out why that is.

    I've browsed stereophile which does measurements to see how their high end cdps would compare to cheap units, but I wasn't able to find a cheap unit... lol They did a sony playstation 1 but it got destroyed by UPS and supposedly the DACs and RCAs varied and measured sounded much worst... Meh...


    For the rest, there's either differences or there's not. If there are differences, then they'll be measurable, and if they're audible, should pass a DBT test. It's possible that there are differences, and that they do sound different, but maybe it's because of an additional circuit or something... Jitter... Noise... No idea... Not impossible. But as I said earlier, different doesn't necessarily mean better. And it's also possible that there's no differences, and the test sample wasn't high enough, that because it was not DBT some outward factor influenced the result...

    People have been saying the same for cables and interconnects. Yet, has monster or any other cable company ever done a DBT to demonstrate they do indeed sound better? James Randi is offering one million dollars to anyone who can differentiate cables (not broken). Problem is that audiophile listening tests aren't rigorous and error prone. Until DBTs show that audible differences are there to be heard, (and why), then going with Occam's razor, rigorous DBT tests trumps error prone tests...

    But I'm all for being proven wrong...

  2. #22
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    Nov 2005
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    496

    Default Re: Got sierra-1 nrt's!

    Just to expand a bit on the above, and give a better perspective to my position.

    I think we can all agree that the world of audio is riddled with snake oil and all kind of bogus claims, crooked dealers, manufacturers, shops, or just plain charlatans, just too many are out to gouge the customer. Monster hdmi cables at 100$, RCA cables for 500$, power cords for 200$, isolation pads for an amp, 500$... There's countless examples. And honestly, Ascend is a very welcome change to that approach... BUT I digress...

    Some things do make a difference. I upgraded my Sierras to NrTs, and I definitely got an improvement. This difference is real. Some might argue that they still preferred the original Sierras, or the 340SEs, or the HTM 200s or whatever, but the differences are real, and the NrT really does improve in tangible ways; imaging, clarity, detail, etc... Subjectivity aside, if you hold aim for tenets of hifi, imho, more accurate transducer.

    But in the case of, let's take cables, a cable might be sold 400$, and the only difference from a 4.99$ Walmart special could be that what this 400$ magic cable does is act like a resistor and alters the signal exponentially more than the cheap ass cable. Then some people might see this as 'an uprade', and rave about, and say that this cable is great, and yadayada...

    Even worst, someone might upgrade a power cable, which makes absolutely no difference whatsoever, and again, will claim that it's great, improves this and that, and all... Of course, these people haven't done any kind of rigorous test, are are pretty much deluded. In the same way someone would be if he believed in fairies, an invisible man living in the sky, or any other kind of supernatural phenomenon... And they believe, they rave, the misinformation gets spread, people waste their money on useless junk which does nothing, all the while thinking they're really improving their audio...

    I'm 100% against snake oil. I don't believe in most of what is qualified as snake oil... Well I hope...

    In the case of cd players, the science/technology behind DACs is solid, and digital to analog conversion is nearly flawless. And this isn't ultra expensive technology... It's cheap, readily available and part of almost all cheapo components you can purchase today... DBTs, Double Blind Tests, have shown that even comparing extremes, with a super cheapo DVD player and a disgustingly expensive CD player, people aren't able to tell the two units apart.

    So the thing for me here, is not whether someone believes he can or can't hear differences... It's whether there really is or if there really isn't a difference. If you claim that you can hear differences, and did hear differences, then you pretty much go against the above, you're saying that somehow science is 'bad' and for example DAC technology isn't up to spec because obviously a 2nd unit does it better than unit 1, and you're claiming that the DBTs results were incorrect because you were/are able to hear differences. Actually, you might not be saying that, but you're definitely implying that, unlike the DBTs have shown, there are differences.

    Now my issue with that is that, the rigorous tests goes against your claims... Now it is possible that there are differences, but one trick, is to purposely alter the signal in some way, so that it does sound different than unaltered... That's a good trick.. Take for example a Rega Apollo CD player: http://www.stereophile.com/content/r...r-measurements Rolled off high end... "Ooooh! Soo smooth! Much smoother than the McIntosh!!! The Mc sounds harsh..." Another Wadia has also rolled high end: http://www.stereophile.com/content/n...r-measurements ... Ok, it's quite small rolloff, .5dB at what appeared to be 15kHz, but still, if you want to make a case that there are differences in sound, it's possible...

    But we have to go back to, is this an improvement or not? In this case, no... It simply alters the signal, so it's a minus in my book. And a cheap DVD player probably wont have that... So yay for the 100$ player besting the 15000$ player.... Hell, if you like the roll off, instead of spending 15000$ on that cd player, buy a 10 cent resistor and solder it between the CDP and the amp... Woila, same rollof, saved 14899.90$ ...!!!

    But again, to go back, even if there is some measurable difference, is it even audible? Or is it just placebo... Your mind/ears playing tricks on you... Is there really a sound improvement, a REAL improvement, going from a cheap player to expensive one? The evidence I've seen show that no, there is none.

    So I guess there's two camps. Those who believe there is. Those are usually those who haven't done research, haven't seen DBTs or won't believe them, haven't done rigorous testing, etc... And the more skeptic... Which seems to be those who are more technologically knowledgeable (ex: engineers who understand the theory behind DACs/cdp/etc.) or who demand evidence that there are differences before believing there is...

    I dunno... lol... The above paragraph is definitely skewed from my perspective of being in most things a skeptic and butting heads with believers... But like most things, religion, homeopathy, tarot card reading, et all things superstitious, it always seem to be the same issue... One group has beliefs which most often never questioned, nor has been demonstrated true in any shape or form, and all too often these beliefs are held in face of evidence...

    In an earlier post, I linked I think it was at least 10 different DBTs with DVD/Cd players which showed that people couldn't tell units apart. Not ONE of those tests showed differences... Not at all strange?

    So I'd guess the burden of proof resides on the side of those who claim that there are differences. Until then, I can't see a reason to believe the contrary...

    Measure two units, see that both do the job well, and not one which messes up the signal and reduces high end or whatever... And see how well they do under a DBT test... Saying "I heard differences between X and Y!" just seems to me... Rather... Pointless... At this point, from my perspective, it's like someone saying: "But I did see some fairy yesterday night! I'm quite confident it was a fairy!". I'm not trying to belittle an opinion (sorry if it sounds like I'm trying...), but from the way I see things, extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. Let's see the evidence! Anecdotal evidence... Meh... It's old...

    And in the audio industry, littered with snake oil BS, unscrupulous charlatans, delusional audiofools... I think it's important to draw the line and try to make extremely clear what is real, what is significant, what is worth to purchase, and what is worthless... And since it's so easy to get fooled and hold erroneous beliefs, I think it's much better to side on the safe side, (truth, skeptical), rather than spreading misinformation about things one might think he heard...

    Woa.. Long... Hope that gives a better idea of my position.. Until I see solid evidence that expensive cd players sound better than cheap ones, I'm not going to believe it... All the serious tests I've seen show the contrary!!! If one DBT would show a difference, would have measurements to show that both units work adequately, and there was audible differences/improvements, then I'd jump ship... But I'm still waiting... Just like prayers, gods, homeopathy, cables, green marker pen, etc, etc.. I'm not holding my breath...

  3. #23
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    Mar 2004
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    Default Re: Got sierra-1 nrt's!

    Last night I had some quality time with my NrT's! I don't have the chance often enough to just sit back and let the music play, so it was well deserved.

    Well, playing several different CD's left me with the feeling that these puppies can handle pretty much anything you throw at them. They have the best high end I've ever had in my system, and the midrange is loaded with detail and clarity. I have a 12" Rythmik pulling bass duty below 60hz. When a horn instrument hits a high note the tweeter belts it out, no screeching or ear fatigue present, just clear as a bell. When a vocal hits a falsetto it is not rolled off, and it sounds as if the performer is in front of you live.

    I really need to purchase an ipod dock so I can play it on the system as well. I looked at a Cambridge Audio unit that sends a digital bitstream from the ipod to the receiver, but the darn thing is $299. My birthday is Monday, and I see the tax lady Wednesday, so.................
    Ed

  4. #24

    Default Re: Got sierra-1 nrt's!

    C-c-c-combo Breaker!

    Ed,

    I had my Sierras upgraded to NrT status as well. I bought them used and there was a warranty issue (a port had come loose). While they were in for repair, I asked Dina if there were any NrT kits available. Apparently, I got the last one! Well, before the next shipment, of course. Dave re-certified for another seven years.

    They are, without a doubt, the best speakers I have ever owned (and the list is quite long). They do run the fine line quite well between neutrality and musicality. I run them mostly with my subwoofer off (80% music, 20% movies [most of which require the subwoofer to be in the mix]) and strictly in a two channel setup. I find them so revealing that it is easy to tell the difference between CD players.
    "I aim to misbehave..."

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    11

    Default Re: Got sierra-1 nrt's!

    Mag Neato, look into the Pure I-20 dock. I got one recently and love it! For 99 bucks you can't go wrong with this thing. It's even got an internal DAC(which is surprisingly good) and can bypass the iPod's DAC, or you can run optical to an external DAC of your choice. It hasn't replaced my CDP or turntable, but it really is great for my background music in apple lossless, and Pandora streaming.

  6. #26
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    May 2007
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    Stouffville,Ont..
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    Default Re: Got sierra-1 nrt's!

    Quote Originally Posted by 1965 View Post
    Update folks! I don't need a new cd player. Remember I said in first post I only listened for 10-15 minutes. It was also all on one cd. Cross Canadian Ragweeds Garage. Still love the music, but that is one HOT recorded CD. Yesterday evening I talked my wife into taking my son to soccer practice so I could spend some time. I got out some cd's that I remembered sounding really good with the cbm-170's. Won't list them all but a couple were Allison Moorer's Mockingbird, and Allman Brothers' Live at the Beacon. Both are outstanding recordings and also vastly different. Mockingbird has a lot of acoustic guitar and is very dynamic. These speakers resolved lots of things I had never heard before. One that stood out was the sound of her lips actually opening to sing. I listened to the whole cd and never heard one harsh sound. Live at the Beacon was recorded March 25th and 26th of 2003 during their annual run there. This was actually the last cd I put on and only got to listen to disc 2. First wow was the amount of bass output. I won't be using my Hsu subwoofer with the Sierras. It is not needed in my family room. For those familiar, Oteil's bass was there driving the songs right along. No need to guess anymore who is playing the guitar solo. If it's Derek you know it, if it's Warren you know it. Derek plays almost exclusively a Gibson SG. Warren plays mostly a Les Paul. The tone is immediately apparant. Resolution of the drums is the best I have ever heard. So, sorry this is so long, but I wanted to give you some impressions. And thanks for all the suggestion, but the technics will die of old age I guess. Thanks guys.
    Louie
    I kind of stumbled on to this thread just looking for ideas in setting up my Sierra's for music only purposes. At the time of purchase(96-97..I believe) my Technics SL PD867 retailed for >$400.00 cdn and still to this day, its my personal favorite playback device. I really enjoy the benefit of having a 5 disc carosel vs. your typical signal disc player or those bulky& noisy juke box style cd players back in the day....

  7. #27
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    Aug 2003
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    Default Re: Got sierra-1 nrt's!

    I am a big proponent of streaming to a device such as a Sonos or a Squeezebox.

    I rip my CDs to FLAC, store the files on home network, and play on my Sonos. I can control the Sonos from my Android phone, PC, or dedicated remote.

    After the rip, I store the CD, without the jewel case. in a plastic sleeve with artwork, in a box. I rarely have to touch it again.

    With hundreds of discs stored on the network drive, I can play any of it, at any time, in any order....and create/save play lists.
    -curtis

  8. #28

    Default Re: Got sierra-1 nrt's!

    Curtis,

    Any tips on streaming from a Sonus or Squeezebox? Does the Duet or Touch work better, or either is fine? What do I need if I went Sonos, is the Zonebridge needed if I don't have hard-wired ethernet going to the ZP90? It's a bit confusing to me! Thanks.

  9. #29
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    Aug 2003
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    Manhattan Beach, California
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    Default Re: Got sierra-1 nrt's!

    I don't have any experience with the Zonebridge...my Sonos is hardwired.

    I don't have experience with the newer Squeezebox units. Squeezebox units can be used wirelessly. I think there are others on here that can help with it, but it is pretty simple to use.
    Last edited by curtis; 06-30-2011 at 11:34 AM.
    -curtis

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
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    236

    Default Re: Got sierra-1 nrt's!

    Quote Originally Posted by curtis View Post
    I don't have any experience with the Zonebridge...my Sonos is hardwired.

    I don't have experience with the newer Squeezebox units. Squeezebox units can be used wirelessly. I think there are others on her that can help with it, but it is pretty simple to use.
    Squeezebox touch has a nice interface and it's very easy to use. Between duet and touch, I would definitely go with touch. You will have to buy an app for your phone with squeezebox which is totally worth it. (iPeng for iphone and 'squeezecommander' for Android).

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