Beautiful feedback from Simon
and his amazing system!
Simon from Australia is one of our very top customers and over time, he's put our cables into every part of his very high-end system, with improvements at each stage.
We are privileged that he's chosen our cables to wire-up such a top-quality system.
So when we introduced our new pure silver network cable, Simon was in for yet another purchase, which sadly for us means he's nearing the end of his journey - it's been a joy reading about how he's optimised that system over time.
So here's what he had to say about what happened when he received the
"Ulimate Silver Network" cable:
I'm used to being surprised when I install another of your cables into my system, but this journey was an adventure that bore double benefits!
As you know, I was wondering how much difference installing the silver ethernet cable as the 'last mile' (or 1.5m in my case) between network switch and Naim ND 555 Streamer would make - given the tens of metres of CAT6 cable running between router, NAS and switch, all of which was carrying the audio prior to being delivered by your USN ethernet cable. My 555 is sending a digital signal to the Lampi DAC via your Ultimate Digital Dream BNC cable using the Oyaide SLB connectors.
So, initial impressions were good using the 555 streaming Tidal. As the cable opened up a bit over the first couple of hours, I was comfortable that the breadth, depth and dimensionality of the sound was improved. The accuracy of textures in the mids and lows also seemed better. Okay, 'easy' job done.. Next test, as that worked well, was to use the 555 as a Roon endpoint and see how audio running on a Synology 48TB NAS would sound - by comparison with the same files stored on my Aurender W20 (locally stored on the Aurender's drives and cached on solid state drive internally, running your Ultimate Silver Stream 2 USB cable to the Lampi DAC)..
Up until now, while the sound was good coming from Roon, it wasn't as three dimensional, deep or texture-accurate as the signal coming from the Aurender, so I was avoiding using Roon, playing from the Aurender instead. Imagine my surprise when the sound coming via the ND 555 from Roon was showing more detail and volume in the lower registers than the Aurender - and sounding pretty much as good elsewhere! Major changes were texture in double basses, kettle drums, large organ pipes, contrabassoon etc. I listened for a number of hours and figured I might just end up playing via Roon, using the 555.. But, in all truth, that shouldn't be the best solution..
So I decided to try something else.. I decided to use the AES/EBU output from the Aurender and run that to the Lampi DAC using your Ultimate Digital Dream cable, fitted with Furutech CF601/602 plugs.. Bingo! All of the additional low frequency level and texture was there - only all of the sound stage and every voice from low through mids to highs was audibly better than using the Roon/555 combination.. Really as it ought to be! But what a gift.. :)
So, here's my thoughts on the USN silver cable.. Amazing! Using it for the 'last mile' makes a significant difference - the detail it reveals is really surprising. In addition, it will make (I reckon) a significant audible improvement in sound by comparison with 'ordinary' CAT5 or CAT6 cable - and possibly quite an astonishing one! For me, though, the additional benefit here was that it allowed me to see the limitations of the USB connection (less detail and volume in low frequencies and reduced depth of sound stage, textures and three-dimensionality) by comparison with an AES/EBU connection. The only (tiny) downside is that I need to downscale DSD audio files on the fly due to the frequency limitations of AES/EBU (192khz) - but the Aurender does that as it caches if I ask it to, so all good..
So there you are, a larger novel than last time - but what a ride! I'm running our of options to add your cables, but may still order another USN ethernet cable to connect the Aurender to the network switch, in case I decide to use Tidal via the Aurender, rather than the 555. A thousand thankyous - as always..
Have a great day.. :)
It really ain't just zeroes and ones folks!
Simon's story illustrates the complexity of optimising a truly "bleeding-edge" digital system.
Also it illustrates what all the most experienced audiophiles already know: everything in a high-end system matters and makes a difference to the sound...
Simon attached the picture that you see above of his amazing super-high-end system, so I asked whether he'd mind listing the components, for the interest of our valued customers (that's you folks!).
He obliged me with the following reply:
Funny - I was thinking about sending you that info, but didn't want to overdo it!
[UPDATE FROM SIMON April 2023:
"45 years into this particular obsession, I suspect I'm as close to attaining audio Nirvana as I'll ever be.. It's an international cast of contributors, starting with good ol' Oz, then Poland, Korea, the Isle of Wight, Hong Kong, USA, Germany and China - and of course, the absolutely international list of musicians and composers whose voices are so magically reproduced. Long live music, art and healthy obsessions!
So, significant changes to the system...
Amplifiers are now AM833S Ultima - Pure Class A single ended design, all wound/wired with silver, AM RT-3 Ultima preamplifier, also wound in sliver, also pure class A single ended design. Lampizator Horizon DAC, Wu Audio WU-5 headphone amplifier, Focal Utopia cans, Aurender W20SE music server - and I'll soon add the Aurender ACS10 server to extend capacity. The Nimitra EtherStream 2 network switch handles network traffic. The PS Audio P20 powerplant remains the same, as do Greg Osborn's Grand Monument speakers and SGR Audio racks. Both amps and pre-amp are connected with silver power cables by AM. And all, of course, all components are connected with Artisan Silver Cables!]"
So the above is a list of updates from the original sysem, listed below - and the photo above now shows the updated system...]
So, here's what's there, left to right, top down -
Acoustic Signature Challenger Turntable and Acoustic Signature preamp with Rega 10 tone arm and Audio Technica ART9 cartridge
PS Audio P20 Power Plant
PS Audio BHK Signature 300 monobloc power amps x 2 (design is such that they are effectively 4 monobloc amps, 2 per side)
Lampizator Pacific Balanced DAC running KR Audio T-100 tubes
Naim ND 555 Streamer - accompanying power supply sits to its right under the TV
Brinkmann Marconi Preamp - this processes incoming signal in and out of phase and removes anything that is the same at the end of the signal path (so any noise)
Aurender W20 music server
Marantz SA-10 SACD player
All audio components sit on Nordost Sort Titanium Kones to remove any internal vibration (electronic or mechanical) and transfer it to shelf below, where it disappears
SGR Audio rack - sonically dead due to structure of shelves, dampers, shelf supports and frame
Sophera Transparent 1 Isobaric speakers with stands sitting in Nordost Sort Futs (or is that feet?) - to isolate speakers from floor vibrations
All components are connected using Artisan Silver interconnects (including speaker cables) - choosing your highest specification cables and connectors
All cables - speaker and power - are raised and isolated on damping pads
All power cables are as high spec and component-specific as I can reasonably afford - main difference is between power running to signal originators (DAC, SACD player, music server, turntable etc) and signal generators (power plat, amps, preamp)
So, if there's anything I've missed, just let me know...
And if you're ever in the neighbourhood, you have to drop in and have a listen! ;)"
Well, sadly I'm unlikely to be in the neighbourhood, seeing as Simon's on the other side of the World, but I'd love to hear it...