Does this little grey belt really improve things?

The magical-unicorn white belt...

The magical white belt!

After reading endless discussions on this little grey (a/k/a “white”) belt, I finally decided to grab one to see what the fuss was about.  I have a wonderful Rega P9 table, and have used the stock belt for nearly 2 years.  Supposedly, this little belt is made to tighter tolerances, and ultimately yields better sound…  I’ll let you know, as I’m going to put it to action to night!

Update – May 31, 2012: Dang, I need 2…  Need to order the second.  What was I thinking?

Update – June 26, 2012: Ok, here’s my uncomplicated take on these belts – get them!  What I’ve noticed is that they deliver a improvement in the energy flowing from the music.  For me, they improve the tempo.  Why?  Maybe they grip better or their tolerances are better.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that my albums have some punch that just wasn’t there before.  So I say grab a pair!

Update – July 3, 2012: Ok, I’ve had the 2 belts installed for almost 2 weeks.  Here’s a brief follow-up.  What I notice more than anything is a sense if liveliness that just wasn’t there before.  Maybe the speed was off just enough to notice auditory, or there is something else going on.  But everything just has more zap to it.  More energy and vivaciousness.

Just my 2 cents!  Might be the best TT upgrade I’ve done, period!

Digimaster is a master

My apologies for running behind on my evaluation of the AcousticPlan Digimaster DAC.  I’ve just been very busy. You know, FWIW, I have a new found appreciation for what part-time reviewers go through…

So please check back the first week of June.  In the interim, I will say this – I think it is incredible.  It’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard handle digital.  The bass extension is ridiculous!  And it’s ability to make even an iTunes download sound good is a shockingly good development.  As for high-resolution files, they’re sweet, but not enough to make me forget my analogue front end, but damn good at making me enjoy my music!

My ONLY gripe – you can’t use it (or any other DAC for that matter) to handle ANY SACD source material!  Copyright issues preclude that.  Thankfully, I only have a handful of SACD files, but a whole lot of digital files!

Getting to the APD DAC review…

I’m wrapping up my thoughts on the AcousticPlan Digimaster DAC and finally plan to put fingers to keyboard for a lay person’s review.  This has taken a little longer than I expected, but I really should not be surprised.  This side endeavor is just that, a side activity and not my main priority.

In the interim, I thought it might be helpful and interesting to put in context my DAC samplings.  To begin with, my sampling is limited.  There’s the standard garden variety non-sense, then a Grant Fidelity specialty Tube entry level product, a MHDT Havana, and I’ve had the Rega in my system for a trial run.  I have also owned a few Oppo players, including the current reference BDP 95.

Using this for some perspective, I can share at this point that the APD is in a completely different league.  Frankly, I was never really impressed or pleased with any DAC that I’ve heard or owned.  Sure, they sounded nicer than an iPod, but nothing to really make you go wow, like I do with vinyl.

The APD, however, gives you reason to go wow!  Is it on par with vinyl?  Well, not exactly, but wow!  For now, until I finally get a review completed, let me just say this, unless you can afford one, don’t ever listen to this DAC.  Otherwise, you may just find yourself bummed and coveting the APD!

AcousticPlan DigiMaster DAC

Digital never sounded so good

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but I have the Acoustic Plan Digimaster DAC. Wow, incredible! I will hope to have a formal review out soon by the end of the month,.  But time and time again, when I listen to this little indigo box I’m blown away by how good digital can sound! Props to my dealer, Matthew Rotunda over at Pitch Perfect Audio for patiently answering questions for me about it. I really questioned how good a DAC might be and found my way to this little gem through numerous discussions and e-mails with Matt!

As for this little DAC – dang!

Mastering digital???

I know I keep promising to deliver on a review with my AcousticPlan Digimaster DAC.  It’s taken a little while longer than I expected to properly digest it and what my set-up allows with it.  I’ve also taken some time to consider how best to share my views.  In any event, I expect to post something this month.  So stay with me on this!

In the interim, if, by chance, you’re here trying to find out what I think about it because you’re in the market for a DAC at this price point and level, then let me briefly say this SHOULD be on your list!

AcousticPlan’s Digimaster, is it really a “master”…?

I recently acquired the Acoustic Plan Digimaster (APD). I’m still just getting to know it, and I’m sort of hindered with that because I have to currently run it through an entry level HT Pre-Pro, as I’m without the reference pre-amp for now. So my initial thoughts are that I’m warming to it… It’s been a pleasant surprise performer, and something that I continue to enjoy. I’m really looking forward to my pre-amp so that the real analysis can begin. But to wet your appetite, here’s my thought on it running through a simple pre-amp while listening to Frank Sinatra Wee Small Hours (UK CD) through my Macbook Pro via the USB (Wireworld Starlight standard – 1M). I used Channel D’s PureMusic for initial testing. FWIW, this is one of my all time favorite albums. I have a nice VG+ 2nd issue, grey label mono version (circa 1955) that I have listened to frequently. The APD did a fine job with the UK CD version, when comparing the two. It’s one of the few, if not only, digital versions of Wee Small Hours that does not introduce reverb, and is a nice product to compare to my album. Overall, I loved it. Frank’s voice sounded very natural and even carried with it a bit of grit, that I’ve not heard before on the digital retransmission. I really liked it, a lot!

More to follow-up in the next few months, as I really need to get the reference pre-amp in first before offering any insight and commentary.

Ciao for now!