Tag Archives: T+A MP2500R

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

PS Audio has 3 different boxes for its digital components. Their PerfectWave DAC,  a transport and now a Streamer.

I’ve been downsizing my audio racks and in fact, I am down to one rack for my electronics, although I have my T+A Amp 8 on its own platform. My digital components are two in number. My Melco server, which is where some 2500 CD’s are stored in WAV files and the other box, the T+A MP2500R, which does the rendering, controlling, CD/SACD playing and contains a truly great DAC.

Different strokes….


The last puzzle piece

In our little mini-series on streaming audio, we’ve covered the overview, the server, the controller, and today let’s finish up with the final puzzle piece, the renderer.

The renderer is sometimes a separate box or card (like PS Audio’s Bridge or AirLens), or part of a more complete grouping of the major components needed to stream music. Its job is to connect with the server, accept the digital bits being streamed to it, convert those bits to a form acceptable to your DAC, and pass them along.

  • Connect with the server
  • Recognize and organize incoming data
  • Convert incoming data to what a DAC wants (S/PDIF or I2S)
  • Deliver that data to the DAC

The renderer is the player*(though this can be confusing because typically, a player produces something we can hear—like the output of a CD player. Renderers are digital in and digital out.)

In some parlances, the renderer is also known as the endpoint.

From a sonic standpoint, the renderer has the most important job of all. For it is here, in the final puzzle piece, where the proverbial rubber meets the road.

If we think back to our streaming system’s architecture, we remember that the server is a big network-connected hard drive. Our controller (like Roon) talks to both the server and the renderer and connects the two together when you select a track of music.

What’s important to understand is that big hard drive in the sky is sending its digital bits over the internet through a crazy combination of switches, wires, satellites, fiber, coax, etc. There are no clocks to get messed up. It’s just millions of little packets of data swarming around like bees converging in the hive. They all know where they need to go but how they get there and in what order doesn’t matter.

Our renderer organizes the swarm of bits into a uniform, orderly stream, processes the data into a form the DAC wants, then adds that all-important clock to run everything.

That final clock is where all the magic happens. Get that jitter and noise free and we have perfection.

Skimp on this last step and….

The renderer is the single most important sonic piece of the puzzle.

Make sure it’s up to your standards.

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Apparently PS Audio’s newest DAC is perfect. Imagine that, as perfect doesn not exist.

So, yes computers for music are noisy and one way to get around a noisy computer is to use an audio only server, specifically made with an eye towards noise. That’s what I do with a Melco server and a T+A MP2500R DAC/SCAD player/Streamer, with galvanic isolation.

Works great and the streamer inside the T+A is wonderful sounding and as good as the WAV files I have ripped onto the Melco!

Know your enemy

I get a lot of flack for my dislike of USB as a medium between the computer and DAC.

Truth is, it’s not USB I don’t like. It’s what USB connects with that bothers me.

Noisy computers.

Here’s the deal. We all know computers are vile, noisy affairs that hopefully are as far away from our pristine high-end audio systems as possible.

When we want to extract music from these noise-ridden contraptions what’s the best arm’s-length, noise-free way to do it?

Ethernet—an isolated one-way communication medium.

What’s the worst way to connect?

USB—a two-way connected open-gate flood of data and noise.

Our goal should be to get the data out of our computers with as little noise and connection as possible, which is why Ethernet (or long-ago fiber optics before Toshiba’s TOSLINK format screwed up our chances for high sample rates) or WiFi are the best choices.

I get it. It’s a heck of a lot easier just to fire up a USB cable and be done with it. Ethernet and WiFi are pains in the keester.

But better.

One possible solution is to use a USB reclocker device like the Matrix.

It helps, but it isn’t perfect.

Perfect is a new DirectStream MK2 DAC with 100% galvanic isolation.

With an MK2 in the system, you can use USB and stop worrying about it.

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

My T+A MP2500R digital player sounds as good as an excellent Well Tempered Labs/Dynavector rig and factoring in convenience, where I can use it to play CD’s/SACD’s, my ripped music library of over 2000 WAV ripped CD’s, plus streaming via Qobuz, as well as Internet Radio, a lot easier than switching LP’S to enjoy a lot more music and do so quickly.

However, LP’s have their niche and I totally get it.

Complexity of sound

Thinking a bit recently about needle drops and the sound of vinyl (as I mentioned in my earlier post).

It occurs to me that if one can fully capture something without loss then logically the capture method is better than what’s being captured.

It’s only been recently that digital capture has gotten good enough to grab what’s on analog without much change, yet for some time now we’ve been able to capture perfectly the sound of vinyl (Fremer’s been doing that for years).

Which says to me that pure analog as captured by a microphone is far more complex than a vinyl reproduction of it.

As I write those words it seems rather obvious to me that of course that’s the case. That vinyl, for all its wonderfulness and loyal followers who prefer it to digital, could never capture and reproduce all that comes from a microphone.

Not to diminish the magic of vinyl because that’s obvious to anyone with a great setup.

No, this rant is just an observational rambling about what’s possible in the world of perfecting audio capture.

We’re so close.

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl

My T+A MP2500R plays SACD’s, as well as CD’s and boy, does it sound great doing it!

Go for the gold

Today marks a smile milestone for Octave Records.

We’re launching two new killer discs, each mixed on the FR30s, and each available as a 24-karat gold CD in addition to our standard SACD and download versions.

While our SACD releases are popular, we get soooooo many requests for lower cost CD versions that we rolled up our sleeves to see what we could do.

Our first challenge was to make sure the 44.1kHz versions of the original DSD masters were flawless and held all the magic of a DSD recording. Our second challenge was to find the perfect pressing plant to make these rare 24-karat releases with the quality that we demand.

And we did! Now, for the first time for many, you’ll be able to enjoy state-of-the-art recordings as made by Octave.

Our first is our latest Audiophile Masters compilation number 6. What a wonderful collection of tracks from the likes of guitarist Miguel Espinosa, the Seth Lewis Quartet, a touch of country, classical, and sweet music.

The second is without a doubt killer. The Everlasting Dance by Tierro. I can’t wait for you to hear the recording quality we achieved on this masterpiece.

Both are available now.

Can’t wait for you to see what your system is really capable of.

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek Audio and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

I use balanced Interconnects for my T+A MP2500R digital player and have to use RCA for my Well Tempered Labs Amadeus GTA, as that’s the only option. As an analog signal is balanced by nature and as a majority of preamplifiers now have balanced inputs, I expect to see balanced outputs on record players become more normal.


SE vs. balanced

We sometimes form incorrect conclusions based on logical leaps.

For example, just because a balanced interconnect is quieter than a single-ended type doesn’t mean single-ended systems are noisy.

A single-ended system using the standard RCA interconnects can be as quiet as the proverbial mouse. It’s the system many of us have for years been using as our reference standard.

It wasn’t until fairly recently that we in High-End Audio began adding XLR connectors and their supporting circuitry so that we could take advantage of the benefits of balanced audio. (Balanced interconnects were for many decades the exclusive purview of the pro-industry: recording studios, live events)

So, to set the record straight balanced audio is, IMHO, the better way to connect your high-end audio system. It sounds better and is quieter. It offers the ability to separate the source gear from the amplifiers so that we might place the amps next to the loudspeakers and keep the preamp and sources close to the listener.

And yes, balanced audio is quieter.

But that doesn’t mean that single ended systems are noisy.

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

This article from Paul mentions MQA. MQA, or Master Quality Authentication,  is another way to record and playback music that’s supposed to sound better than full WAV files, yet save disc space…That is, it supposed to sound as good or better than anything and  take up less file space. Does it work, or just the latest fad? My T+A MP2500R Digital Multiplayer, which is an SACD and CD transport, as well as a UPnP player, AM/FM tuner, Internet Radio renderer, etc, sounds fantastic, yet no MQA and I do not believe its in T+A’s plans to make their products compatible with the format.  I can tell you that if it actually improved sound quality, they would probably implement it and do so in a heartbeat.

I do not have it to compare, but after promoting it heavily at the beginning, I sense its fading as so many other musical formats before it. Not a big surprise…


The title of today’s post might be a misspelling of a very famous collie or a word that should be expunged from audio’s vocabulary.

Lossie media files save bandwidth by sacrificing musical content. As audiophiles, we should be up in arms or at least a little upset. ��

In the same way few of us are happy about the dumbing down of society, why is it in this day and agree we are alright with lossie music?

The creators of MQA tried to make us believe it was not only ok to lose data but worse, it’s better than lossless!

Spotify seems alright feeding us with lossie music. Fine for them because that’s their business model, but why do audiophiles support them? Probably because Spotify’s library has far more tracks to choose from than the lossless services.

In the end, whatever floats your boat works. Music’s music and it’d be a shame to miss out on great tunes because we’re worried over quality.

Still, it stresses me the word lossie remains alive and well in the context of music reproduction.