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  1. #1

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    Default Squeezebox Touch - how does it compare to other digital sources

    I know for a fact that my PC > SB Touch > CA 840C as standalone DAC provides better SQ than my Cambridge Audio 840C alone spinning discs, which is a pretty good feat. But I am always wondering how the Touch compares vs other solutions such as CAPS, Mac Mini, or one of the 3rd party network devices available. Some of the 3rd party solutions are ridiculously priced and I'm not about to pay 2-6K, but there are others like maybe the CuBox, Aune S1, Mac Mini, Auraliti or a CAPS build. Anyone out there that has moved from a Touch to some other solution that has reaped some benefit?
    Last edited by dragon1952; 04-23-2013 at 12:18 AM.
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  2. #2

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    I think BlueFox (IIRC, Bryston) has a high-end file player?

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
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  3. #3

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    Thats kinda a hard to answer question because your in essence just using your Squeezebox for the following:

    1: Networking capabilities
    2: Interface
    3: Remote

    There are many devices that do just the above that cost less. Lots of folks liked the Squeezebox because it also had a decent DAC section so it was one less thing in the chain. It also techincally has a volume control as well so if you wanted you could use it as a pre if you were just using your Squeezebox. You are bypassing most of that with your setup (which isnt bad, just means your deeper invested in good sound ) Most of the really good higher end players will do all that and add a better DAC section than your Cambridge Audio DAC, which is where the benefits are, one less item in the chain, and better quality parts.
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  4. #4

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    All depends on what you want to do and budget. You won't touch anything else comparable in the SB for the price or even double that price.

    Many upscale players abound but are in the thousands. The key to better sound lies in the quality of the playback file, software, a good dac.

  5. #5

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    Apple Airport Express has same DAC as SB and sounds great.
    Speakers: SDA-1C (most all the goodies)
    Preamp: Joule Electra LA-150 MKII SE
    Amp: Wright WPA 50-50 EAT KT88s
    Analog: Marantz TT-15S1 MBS Glider SL| Wright WPP100C Amperex BB 6er5 and 7316 & WPM-100 SUT
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    Cables: Mits S3 IC and Spk cables| PS Audio PCs

    Ofc: Wright WLA12 preamp: Anthem Amp 1: Pio Elite DV-79AVI: Airport Express: CAL Sigma II DAC: PA LS90 sonicaps and mills

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    All depends on what you want to do and budget. You won't touch anything else comparable in the SB for the price or even double that price.

    Many upscale players abound but are in the thousands. The key to better sound lies in the quality of the playback file, software, a good dac.
    I agree. You've got a good DAC and your chain isnt super long with un-needed components, so at this point like tony said, you are looking for the best software or file type for you.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    All depends on what you want to do and budget. You won't touch anything else comparable in the SB for the price or even double that price.

    Many upscale players abound but are in the thousands. The key to better sound lies in the quality of the playback file, software, a good dac.
    This is basically the reassurance I'm after I guess. I just don't want the Touch (in the way I'm using it) limiting my SQ if there's a better option at $1000 or less used/new. Just wondering if anyone out there has moved from a Touch feeding the digital signal to something else and had a 'wow' moment or something :^ )

    BTW, I'm using Logitech Media Server and FLAC with my library on an external USB HDD. Touch connected via ethernet.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon1952 View Post
    This is basically the reassurance I'm after I guess. I just don't want the Touch (in the way I'm using it) limiting my SQ if there's a better option at $1000 or less used/new. Just wondering if anyone out there has moved from a Touch feeding the digital signal to something else and had a 'wow' moment or something :^ )

    BTW, I'm using Logitech Media Server and FLAC with my library on an external USB HDD. Touch connected via ethernet.
    If your using optical out to your DAC then the limiting factor is actually the DAC not the Squeezebox assuming the Squeezebox has the same max bitrate as your DAC which I think they do. With digital the SQ is limited only by the A: Source file (cant get higher rez than it is by default) or B: Lowest bitrate able to be played/passed through your chain.

    Your setup sounds about as good as it can get for what you have in it.
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  9. #9

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    I am currently using a SB Touch with a DIY dual mono external DAC with ESS Sabre DAC chips. At first I connected it via SPDIF coax out with BNC connector. (BNC is a true 75 Ohm where RCA connector is not). SQ depends on jitter from the source, added jitter from components and possible reflections from connections and the DAC chips ability to decode the SPDIF. SPDIF has data and cock embedded and must be decoded. An ESS Sabre DAC chip handles SPDIF in a way that doesn’t rely totally on the embedded clock and it sounded very, very good with coax out.

    Then I modded my Touch to export I2S out and SQ was slightly better. I2S is the serial interface used in players and separates data from clock where SPDIF has clock and data embedded. However I2S requires special handling for long runs as it is designed for a short circuit path and your DAC has to have an input for it. But when done right I2S can result in slightly to so much better SQ over SPDIF, again depending on the DAC chip and how it decodes SPDIF.

    I've been experimenting with USB to I2S but haven't finished assembling all the parts needed for it. (An isolation/reclocking board). For me going USB will require remote desktop on my tablet so I can control what is playing, versus just having the Logitech Android app on my tablet. Currently for my my USB to DAC I use a laptop with a 1TB external USB drive.

    You could look at the USB to SPDIF converters that reclock before handing off to the DAC, but you would lose the Logitech software. Falconcry uses a Stello IIRC. Again, if you are using an ESS Sabre DAC you may not get a big bump up in SQ.

    After that you have the quality of the DAC’s analog output. Some DAC’s and players do it better than others and better costs more. My better digital comes very close to my vinyl SQ now.

    Just my opinion, but I prefer coax out over optical for two channel as optical can add jitter.
    Last edited by SCompRacer; 04-23-2013 at 06:24 PM.
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  10. #10

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    I'm using coax from Touch to DAC. Thanks for all the replies...I appreciate it.
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  11. #11

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    good discussion. I am now building more knowledge on digital music world. Thanks guys.

  12. #12

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    I think I might be getting the 'player' and the 'server' mixed up a little for one thing. I'm using my 'working' PC as both music storage (via a USB attached drive) and server running the Logitech Media Server. About all I'm doing on the PC is web browsing. It's got a fast processor (i5 650 @ 3.2Ghz) and 6GB RAM. And really if I'm listening to my main system I'm not doing anything on the computer anyway, although I know there are lots of things running in the background, etc. All of this talk about separate boxes running the music server and containing the storage has me wondering if there would be any advantage in using something like that (like a Mac Mini, Vortexbox, NAS, 3rd party device) vs running it off of a non-dedicated PC that's doing other stuff. Additionally, there's the possibility in connecting some of these devices directly to a DAC via USB and getting rid of the SB in the path. That would be difficult (adding more things to the path that might affect SQ) to do now because my PC is around 20 ft of cabling away from my DAC. But I'm really only concerned with the solution for the best possible SQ, screw convenience or cool features or whatever else.
    So 1) would a separate box for server and storage alone offer any SQ advantage over my PC. I'm thinking possibly not but maybe? 2) combination of a separate box connected directly to a DAC with a decent USB interface (gets rid of SB and PC)? 3) or is the SB Touch better than I'm giving it credit for and likely not any worse than any of those other methods the way I currently have it connected?
    PC > SB over ethernet > coax to DAC
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    ...You could look at the USB to SPDIF converters that reclock before handing off to the DAC, but you would lose the Logitech software. Falconcry uses a Stello IIRC...
    You do recall correctly! A Stello U3, to be exact. I've tried several different USB > SPDIF converters, and while the sonic differences are more subtle than the differences between DACs, the differences are still noticeable. I'm lovin' the U3!

    ...For me going USB will require remote desktop on my tablet so I can control what is playing, versus just having the Logitech Android app on my tablet...
    A lot of media players have apps to control them. I use foobar2000 and I have the app on both my android smartphone and on my ipad. I believe jriver has a good app as well.


    Sometimes I use my phone/tablet, but most of the time I use the PC itself, since I can scroll through the music, make playlists, look at other related documents etc. much faster with a mouse and keyboard than I can with a phone.

    My setup is like this: The actual desktop box is located right next to all my gear so I can use short cables between it and the Stello and between the Stello and my DAC... but my computer DESK, including my monitor, keyboard, and mouse, is on the other side of the room right next to my main listening spot.

    I'll put some pics up this evening.
    Last edited by falconcry72; 04-25-2013 at 10:17 AM.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  14. #14

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    How do you connect your mouse, KB and monitor?
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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon1952 View Post
    How do you connect your mouse, KB and monitor?
    Monitor: 30' DVI cable to the desk. Never had a hiccup in 2 years of use like this.

    Keyboard and Mouse: 30' USB extension cable for the wireless dongle to the desk. Haven't had a hiccup in 2 years of use like this.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    Monitor: 30' DVI cable to the desk. Never had a hiccup in 2 years of use like this.

    Keyboard and Mouse: 30' USB extension cable for the wireless dongle to the desk. Haven't had a hiccup in 2 years of use like this.
    Falcon your setup is about to mimic mine. I will be using a 10 foot or longer HDMI cable for my computer to my Monitor, and a 10 foot or longer DVI cable for the Denon 3910 SACD player I have to connect that to my computer monitor. Then like you I can keep my computer next to my 2 channel rack and whenever I finally get a nice DAC for that setup when it comes time to get a USB cord I can get a short one and the same with interconnects, which allows me to maybe get something higher quality due to how little length I need.
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  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon1952 View Post
    I think I might be getting the 'player' and the 'server' mixed up a little for one thing. I'm using my 'working' PC as both music storage (via a USB attached drive) and server running the Logitech Media Server.

    I'm doing similar; my desktop has an internal 1TB music drive with the Logitech software. If it didn't do anything else it could be called a 'dedicated' server. Honestly if you are not having problems now (noise, interrupts) it is hard to say you will have it better SQ going another route. I was in New York recently at Ed Savinon the SRT kings place. He uses a vortexbox box with Logitech software to feed his DAC. Wonderful sound. His vortexbox is nothing more than an older business PC with big storage. To rip he sticks the CD in and it does the tagging/album art. Great for folks that are not anal about initial tagging and selecting the best art.

    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    You do recall correctly! A Stello U3, to be exact. I've tried several different USB > SPDIF converters, and while the sonic differences are more subtle than the differences between DACs, the differences are still noticeable. I'm lovin' the U3!
    I’d put my money on the reclocking that does it.

    I use foobar on my laptop fed by an external drive when I use the USB to I2S module, but I prefer the remote control (tablet, cell phone, etc). If I go USB based I’ll use an old PC in the basement near the air compressor for my air bearing tonearm and route through the same wall plate as the air line with push lock fitting.

    Speaking of isolation, my USB to I2S module has none (ground connected to laptop but not powered by laptop through USB cable) but it does reclock. I get zero noise when playing music. No noise at full volume with no music playing. I’ve been too busy to finish the isolation and reclock board. SMD devices make it hard for my old eyes. It will use the much better clock in my DAC.

    Some pics of I2S out of the Touch. A LVDS (low-voltage differential signaling) Teleporter sends the signal over long distances while preserving the clock signal. Another Teleporter module in the DAC receives. I am told it will go 100 feet although I am using a one meter Cat5 cable. I also modded a Denon 3910 to export I2S (CD) and DSD (SACD). My DAC has input for raw DSD, so I am not playing DSD dithered down to PCM. My USB to I2S module will also play DSD.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by SCompRacer; 04-25-2013 at 12:55 PM.
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    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
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    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    I'll put some pics up this evening.
    Dragon, here are a couple of Falcon's setup I found in one of his threads:





    Doesnt show his desk, but gives you an idea how the computer looks next to the rack, although IIRC this PC got killed by lightning so he has a new one but assuming placement is the same
    Advice is free, the Flea Market is earned - F1Nut

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    HT: APC H15 | Pio 51FD | Uverse | Xbox 360 | Squeezebox Classic | Integra DTR 5.9 | Carver AV-705x & M1.0t MKII Opt002 | LSi 15 | LSiC | LSi F/x | Kimber Hero IC & 8VS SC

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    Falcon your setup is about to mimic mine. I will be using a 10 foot or longer HDMI cable for my computer to my Monitor, and a 10 foot or longer DVI cable for the Denon 3910 SACD player I have to connect that to my computer monitor. Then like you I can keep my computer next to my 2 channel rack and whenever I finally get a nice DAC for that setup when it comes time to get a USB cord I can get a short one and the same with interconnects, which allows me to maybe get something higher quality due to how little length I need.
    Oh I also have a 50' HDMI cable that goes from that same PC to my Pre/Pro in my HT setup in the next room. I'm getting a lot of mileage out of that PC! I could play all my media wirelessly in both setups if I wanted... but I just like clicking through stuff with a mouse.
    Last edited by falconcry72; 04-25-2013 at 01:16 PM.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    Dragon, here are a couple of Falcon's setup I found in one of his threads:

    Doesnt show his desk, but gives you an idea how the computer looks next to the rack, although IIRC this PC got killed by lightning so he has a new one but assuming placement is the same
    Thanks for diggin' those up! Yep, that PC is toast, but the new one is in the same spot. The black cords on the far left of the bottom pic are the DVI and USB cables that go to my desk.

    In the time since those pics were taken I've changed out the PC, Power Conditioner, USB converter, speaker cables, IC's, and speakers.
    Last edited by falconcry72; 04-25-2013 at 01:17 PM.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
    Source 2: Rega Apollo CDP
    USB > SPDIF Converter: Stello U3
    DAC: Audio GD NFB-7
    Preamp: Audio Research LS-15
    Power Amp: BAT VK-500
    Speakers: Magnepan 3.7's

    HT:

    Source 1: HTPC
    Source 2: Oppo 103
    Pre/Pro: Marantz av8003
    Power Amp: Rotel RMB-1095
    Fronts: LSiM-705's
    Center: LSiM-704c
    Surrounds: LSiM-702's
    Subs: Dual SVS PC12-NSD's

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    Oh I also have a 50' HDMI cable that goes from that same PC to my Pre/Pro in my HT setup in the next room. I'm getting a lot of mileage out of that PC! I could play all my media wirelessly in both setups if I wanted... but I just like clicking through stuff with a mouse.
    Yeah, I am looking at getting a streaming device for downstairs as I am getting into ripping blu-rays and dvd's now to my main system and that way I can access both them, and also my FLAC downstairs w/ my Harmony one I have.

    I also debate at a later date building a cheapy Mini-ITX computer to stream instead of a network player as I like the XBMC interface. I can use my laptop for that now and its not too much of a hassle besides the cords being out while I connect it via Ethernet, power and then HDMI to my AVR.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EndersShadow View Post
    Yeah, I am looking at getting a streaming device for downstairs as I am getting into ripping blu-rays and dvd's now to my main system and that way I can access both them, and also my FLAC downstairs w/ my Harmony one I have.

    I also debate at a later date building a cheapy Mini-ITX computer to stream instead of a network player as I like the XBMC interface. I can use my laptop for that now and its not too much of a hassle besides the cords being out while I connect it via Ethernet, power and then HDMI to my AVR.
    yea I'm lucky now that the space I'm in allows (1) PC to be physically connected to both of my main systems. When I end up getting a bigger place, I'll stream with the Western Digital TVLive or something similar. Also, most new TV's and bluray players have USB inputs that will play MKV's and other 1080p video files as well as FLAC and other audio files. I do that sometimes with a 2TB external hard drive and it works great... plus you don't have to rely on your wireless network. It;s good to have that option in case your wireless goes down or something. Video and audio quality is great on 1080p uncompressed rips going USB into both my bluray or TV.
    2-Channel:

    Source 1: PC
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    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    yea I'm lucky now that the space I'm in allows (1) PC to be physically connected to both of my main systems. When I end up getting a bigger place, I'll stream with the Western Digital TVLive or something similar.
    Yeah I looked at one of those to but I am not super familiar with the interface hence wanting to go with XBMC. That said I may get a streaming device now and then build a HTPC later since its a bit more expensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by falconcry72 View Post
    Also, most new TV's and bluray players have USB inputs that will play MKV's and other 1080p video files as well as FLAC and other audio files. I do that sometimes with a 2TB external hard drive and it works great... plus you don't have to rely on your wireless network. It;s good to have that option in case your wireless goes down or something. Video and audio quality is great on 1080p uncompressed rips going USB into both my bluray or TV.
    Oh trust me, as a IT guy, I am NEVER wireless. I am hardwired all the way . I plan on building a NAS server to store everything and then be able to access that from all my different systems.
    Advice is free, the Flea Market is earned - F1Nut

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    Sonos music system with a good DAC & call it a day.
    "2 Channel & 11.2 HT "
    Panny 65" 3D Plasma
    Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A3010 AVR
    D>SONIC M2-600M mono's / mains
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    Rotel RMB-1075 / 5 channel amp
    TEAC UD - 501 DAC
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    SONOS System
    KEF Q900 / mains
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    Def Tech ProMonitor 1000 / front & rear presence
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    Quote Originally Posted by pearsall001 View Post
    Sonos music system with a good DAC & call it a day.
    Probably a wash vs the SB Touch, but either way you might be able to pair with good DAC and call it a day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon1952 View Post
    Probably a wash vs the SB Touch, but either way you might be able to pair with good DAC and call it a day.
    +1000. Definitely a wash.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30; Eastern Electric Mini Max; Adcom GDA600; MIT S3/Z Pc; SDA 1C; Squeezebox; Tubes add soul!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    SPDIF has data and cock embedded
    Rich that has to be the most hilarious typo I've seen in a year! I won't go so far as to say it was a Freudian slip.

    I know your post was full of hard-won information that you've learned in your digital voyage, but I lost my ability to concentrate right after reading that sentence!

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    Ha ha...yeah I saw that earlier and declined to comment. As for the Freudian slip I guess you could say he likes his digital a little too much :^ )
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    Quote Originally Posted by agfrost View Post
    Rich that has to be the most hilarious typo I've seen in a year! I won't go so far as to say it was a Freudian slip.

    I know your post was full of hard-won information that you've learned in your digital voyage, but I lost my ability to concentrate right after reading that sentence!
    Yeah I caught that too late to change. What was I thinking of? Might have been that cell phone pic about beware of autocomplete I posted the other day. The one where I texted back to the wife "I have your bottle of White Zinfandel" but autocomplete changed it to "White infidel." The blacked out part above that mentioned what would happen with us if she drank a bottle of White Zinfandel.

    I sent a PM to the mods about it. First jon s who is listed as a mod at bottom of page next to Patrcik C, but he said he ain't no mod. Then I tried Patrick.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    Yeah I caught that too late to change. What was I thinking of? Might have been that cell phone pic about beware of autocomplete I posted the other day. The one where I texted back to the wife "I have your bottle of White Zinfandel" but autocomplete changed it to "White infidel." The blacked out part above that mentioned what would happen with us if she drank a bottle of White Zinfandel.

    I sent a PM to the mods about it. First jon s who is listed as a mod at bottom of page next to Patrcik C, but he said he ain't no mod. Then I tried Patrick.
    I think its Jon_S, not jon s (the underscore is the diff I believe)
    Advice is free, the Flea Market is earned - F1Nut

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