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  1. #1

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    Default Musical Fidelity Tube Buffer

    You see a while back, oh, a bit shy of a year ago, I passed my Denon 2900 to another member and good friend. Now I replaced it as my primary digital source in the Shed with a source piece retailing for 6.5 times more than the Denon, although the 2900 did me an excellent job on high rez formats like many others Redbook just did not do it for me, at least the gap between the two formats was rather large for me. The new source was indeed much beyond (and should of been) the Denon and I was more or less a happy camper, except..........

    Well, from the moment it left I missed this piece, not unusual for me to miss a favored piece of gear, but normally the feeling fades and I move on. Still, though this one lingered, so much that when one became available a while back I snatched it. You see, I missed hearing my DVD-A collection in the Shed as my new source did not do this format, I have many more SACD than DVD-A but some of my favs in high Rez DVD-A are Queen, Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Sinatra and so on, so I hooked the 2900 up in the Shed Rig and let her rip with a DVD-A........................

    Err..............what happened, not doing it, sure it was OK, pretty good, but this was a 2900, a piece I remembered taking me there with high rez, but the overall presentation was just not there, grain, edgeiness, mids seemed flat, no space around the instruments, dammm............pop in an SACD, same thing, Redbook............worse.............sheeze....... ...

    So there she sat, pretty much in standbye and the DVD-A's went back to the Reel Time Rig, no slouch by any means, but, two different rigs and the RTTR is more subject to volume control correction by my best friend and all that.

    So I see the Musical Fidelity Tube Buffer has a special deal at 299.00, now this is one my favorite companies, they build no junk, only top notch to hi-fi, plus I get the 30 day return if its not going to do it for me..............

    Cut to the chase................its staying, with either high rez format in the Shed the Tube Buffer does it, now its not the Tri-Vista, which lets me hear a bit lower down and has more air in this Rig and blacker background, but its pretty close, so much so its earned a shelf in the Woodshed Rig, the strings opening Hotel California ring true with plenty of space, I can close my eyes and see them vibrating, the bass run in The Chain (Fleetwood Mac) again gets me in the gut and lower. Count Basie, one o'clock jump is detailed yet smooth. The edges are gone. Redbook, well, I will play that from the Tri-Vista, but the DVD-A's will stay in the Shed and provide many hours of enjoyment through the Denon/MF Tube Buffer combination.

    If you want to try it, nows the time, for 299.00 guaranteed or return for your dough this might be something for you. The piece includes one unbalanced input pair one standard output pair and a tape loop output, the tape loop output is a straight shot from the source. MF has used the same tube set as found in the Kw series on this model. Hell, I, might buy another one.

    RT1
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  2. #2

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    Nice write up...

    If I ever ditch the Dared in favor of a solid-state pre, I imagine the Tube Buffer would arrive at my doorstep the same day.
    I never had it like this where I grew up. But I send my kids here because the fact is you go to one of the best schools in the country: Rushmore. Now, for some of you it doesn't matter. You were born rich and you're going to stay rich. But here's my advice to the rest of you: Take dead aim on the rich boys. Get them in the crosshairs and take them down. Just remember, they can buy anything but they can't buy backbone. Don't let them forget it. Thank you.Herman Blume - Rushmore

  3. #3

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    I got mine for a great price on the FM (thank EarlyB!) and found the same results. For the price, it accomplished more than I expected in mellowing out the sound.

  4. #4

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    I'd suggest trying the V3 power supply unit. I found it helps add that little bit extra (see sig below). The DAC has great synergy as well, but they're harder to find.
    1. JM Labs Electra 920.1 and CC30; MB Quart Vera Sub; Pioneer SC-57; Squeezebox Touch; Panasonic BDT-500 Blu-Ray; Samsung 52" LCD; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S3 cables
    2. Polk SDA-SRS 2.3TL; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 SE; Classe Model 25; Marantz SA8004; Acoustech PH1P; Squeezebox Touch; Music Hall MMF7; PS Audio P1000; MIT S2 cables
    3. Polk SDA 2A; Parasound Halo JC-2 and A21; Musical Fidelity X-DAC; Squeezebox Touch; PS Audio 4.7; MIT S1 cables

  5. #5

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    RT, nice writeup and thanks for the heads up on the tube buffer. Did you buy it directly from Musical Fidelity?

    It begs the question, why did the new 2900 sound worse than your old 2900? Do you think there is a problem with the player or what happened to the SQ???
    Carl

  6. #6

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    PS, Glad there's another DVD-A fan here besides me;) I have all the DVD-A disks you were talking about. Do you have REM's greatest hits or Natalie Merchant's Tiger Lilly?

    Carl
    Carl

  7. #7

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    Sorry I bought it from Music Direct about three weeks ago.

    I dont think anything was wrong with the replacement 2900. I had just become accustomed to hearing a higher level of hi-fi than it could provide on its own in this Rig.

    Emlyn I have read good things about the power supply and good to see you give it the recommendation, I will pick one up.

    You can rest assured some more DVD-A will be added to my collection, so thanks for the heads up on the recommendation, there are many DVDA folks here, its just SACD gets the lions share in most of our collections, including my own. But there are alot of great titles on DVD-A not on SACD, have my eye on a Meridan as an eventual source player for these discs.

    RT1

    RT1
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  8. #8

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    RT1, good write up.

    I had a similar experience: I have a Denon 2900 that I have been happy with, but recently decided redbook just wasn't cutting it. In my search for a source upgrade (RT1, thanks for your help with that, by the way), I tried a few sources, including the 2900 with a X-10v3 tube buffer and X-PSU power source upgrade. I gotta say, it did A LOT for the 2900. In fact, it compared very favorably with the McCormack UDP-1 that I had tried just before it, and that lists for much more. I eventually found better synergy with the PS Audio DAC, but the MF is a great piece, especially for the price.

    Enjoy!
    Von Schweikert VR4-jr
    Valve Audio Predator
    Denon DVD-2900
    PS Audio Digital Link III w/Cullen Level IV Mods
    Pro-Ject Xpression w/Blue Point No. 2
    Graham Slee Special Edition 2
    PS Audio UPC-200

  9. #9

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    I checked out the Music Direct site and read the info on the tube buffer and power supply. Are you using the tube buffer between the Denon and your pre, or between your pre and the power amp? The product desription suggests this configuration as an option.

    I could see using this between my pre and the power amp since both are solid state, this might give me some benefit from all my sources. The supplemental power supply is $399, any opinions here?

    Carl
    Carl

  10. #10

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    I am using it behind the Denon as I have great synergy between the BAT gear I dont want to mess with it, but yes you can place this unit behind any analog piece and run analog out to another.

    Emlyn stated he has the PS and enjoys it as a further worthwhile tweak, he has the DAC as well. One the reviews I read stated the power supply was in fact almost manadatory after hearing it with the buffer.

    RT1
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  11. #11

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    One of the nice things about the power supply, besides the more stable power going to the components, is the fact that it powers four of the v3 components. The power supply can be used with an upgraded IEC power cord, and avoid having to use the cheap wall wart transformers. I have two tube buffers, the DAC, and the headphone amp. I can use a tube buffer for the DAC and tube buffer for DVD-A and SACD from the Denon. Sort of a cheaper way to get a universal player with tubed outputs. If I wanted, I could stop using the DAC and add a third tube buffer to use the Denon's 5.1 channel analog outputs as tubed outputs for DVD, CD, DVD-A, and SACD. I love the flexibility these things offer.
    1. JM Labs Electra 920.1 and CC30; MB Quart Vera Sub; Pioneer SC-57; Squeezebox Touch; Panasonic BDT-500 Blu-Ray; Samsung 52" LCD; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S3 cables
    2. Polk SDA-SRS 2.3TL; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 SE; Classe Model 25; Marantz SA8004; Acoustech PH1P; Squeezebox Touch; Music Hall MMF7; PS Audio P1000; MIT S2 cables
    3. Polk SDA 2A; Parasound Halo JC-2 and A21; Musical Fidelity X-DAC; Squeezebox Touch; PS Audio 4.7; MIT S1 cables

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by schwarcw
    I checked out the Music Direct site and read the info on the tube buffer and power supply. Are you using the tube buffer between the Denon and your pre, or between your pre and the power amp? The product desription suggests this configuration as an option.

    I could see using this between my pre and the power amp since both are solid state, this might give me some benefit from all my sources. The supplemental power supply is $399, any opinions here?

    Carl
    I'm using mine between the pre and amp. I'm thinking about moving it between my CDP and pre though because it seems to cause some volume variation during dialogue on movies.

  13. #13

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    I did some more research, read more reviews, looked at the Musical Fidelity website and . . . I ordered the tube buffer and the power supply. It should be here Friday.
    Carl

  14. #14

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    enjoy the wait, sweet anticipation, I found the buffer sounded pretty good right out of the box, mine is still so new its still burning in a bit, I like the idea of using a better cord rather than the wall-wart.

    congrats Carl.

    RT1
    REEL TIME THEATRE
    Onkyo-TX-NR5007
    B&K 7270 amplifier
    Polk SWA-500 Subwoofer amplifier
    OppO BDP-83
    Pioneer Elite 50"
    Polk LCi-RTS-105;LCi-RTS-C;LCi-RTSFx;LCi80Fx
    Subs-Twin Polk CSW200
    HTS5000


    RABBIT HOLE RIG
    BAT VK-31SE
    VTL MB-450 Signature monoblock
    Wolcott Presence monoblock
    Musical Fidelity kW SACD
    Rega P25/RB600/Clearaudio Aurum Beta
    Acoustech Phono-Pre
    Sound Lab Millenium ELS
    BillyBags Rack
    MIT S1/3 cables
    Shunyata/PS Audio/Virtual Dynamics Power Cords


    Everthing Matters...Tubes Rule...and It's Over until it's Not Over

  15. #15

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    Well the X-10 v3 with the separate power supply is in the house!:D

    I got it hooked up tonight and had it playing for about 1 1/2 hours. I was impressed! I took my Sheng Ya out of my system several weeks ago to do some mods. I picked up a Quad 99 CDP-2 to use for at least until I get some time (and parts) to do the mods on the Sheng Ya. The Quad was wonderful, nice detail and soundstage and the bass was deep and tight. I usually listen to music at night after my daughter goes to sleep, and I seldom play it above -35 dB at night. On weekends, I like to cut the big SDA's loose. I noticed that after listening to the Quad for about an hour, my ears became a little fatigued. I would stop short of saying the Quad was bright or harsh, but after some listening time at -25 dB or above I was a little fatigued. I guess that I got used to the smooth sound of the Sheng Ya.

    After my listen tonight, I'm convinced I did the right thing. I noticed a noticeable smoothness without a loss of detail right out of the box. The Quad CDP sounds super with the X-10 v3! With a 30 day money back deal from Music Direct, this was a no brain decision to give it a try, and I'm glad that I did. A big thumbs up and thank you's to RT, Emlyn and Schleppy for sharing your experiences.
    Carl

  16. #16

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    Hey Carl glad you are enjoying the buffer, now you really got me jonesin for the Power Supply.............

    RT1

  17. #17

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    Good stuff, fellas.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

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