Proof of concept

The thought of moving away from streamers to a Mac+DAC gets stronger. As proof of concept I’ve quickly tried an old copy of Audirvana 2.2.5 under Mac OS 10.6.8 on a Mac Book Pro (2008) not wanting to lug my iMac with 2.5.3 into the music room. ‘USB out’ into the ‘digital USB in’ on the Cambridge Stream Magic 6 directly accesses the oversampling DAC. I tired transferring a more up-to-date Audirvana database from the iMac but no deal. So rather than wait for endless indexing I pointed the newly installed copy on the Mac Book Pro to my Test files folder on the NAS drive.

Impressed is not the word. What an improvement! Image focus and stability massively improved; bass more cleanly resolved and real dynamic changes from within the stereo image (i.e. instruments not moving when they get loud). What a treat to hear the string sections so discretely imaged from the old Hi-Fi News test disc Dvorak Serenade for Strings with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe – and my chum Ivor’s flute playing in the Gluck Dance of the Blessed Spirits.

Raw DSD files were startlingly natural – thanks to Oppo’s website for Rodeo on a Ridge a pure DSD64 recording from David Elias’s Acoustic Trio – DSD Sessions download (and thanks to the techs who sorted out the proper CD Red Book camparison file download on the Oppo site for me too.)

Sadly, all put away at the end of the day but this points the way to go. Mac Mini or iMac? Touch screen or headless? Still plenty to think about…especially the issue of manual syncing to network drives. How’s that going to happend with a headless setup?


Ancient history II – Mastering

There is a handful or articles I feel truly proud of having written. My research into the mastering of vinyl and early CDs published in 1983 in Hi-Fi News is one of those. The original publication of ‘All Records Are Made Equal…But Some Are Made More Equalised Than Others Part I’ suffered from repro problems on the magazine page that obscured much of the data – though of course my text and analysis was fine. I’ve now rescanned the original Genrad traces and remade the pages to bring Part 1 into line with Part 2.

Both are available to download here: All_records_1 and All_records_2. Interesting how much is still relevant, primitive though the tools were.


SAMPLE GRAPH – ‘Lime House Blues’ from the Proprius double album ‘Jazz at the Pawnshop’ (PROP 7778/9); this is the dashed spectrum. The solid bar spectrum is taken from the single disc recut of highlights issued by ATR (ATR 300). Though average levels are the same (A and F bars) there is more ‘push’ in the 1k to 3.15kHz bands on the ATR recut; the pressings of the ATR issue seem quieter than the Proprius presssing. Difference in low end could be due to different tape machines being used for reply.


Präkel, David. “All Records Are Made Equal…But Some Are Made More Equalised Than Others. Part 1.” Hi-Fi News & Record Review 28, no. 7 (1983): 30-3, 36-7.

Präkel, David. “All Records Are Made Equal…But Some Are Made More Equalised Than Others. Part 2.” Hi-Fi News & Record Review 28, no. 8 (1983): 20-1, 24-5.