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?