Well, TweekGeek is getting a shipment of the latest batch of M2Tech EVO’s in some time in the next week or so, and my new converter will be amongst them. Man, I hope it doesn’t suck.
Yes, I’m probably worrying too much, but then, I suppose I’m a bit OCD about this stuff. At least until the next thing to fuss over comes along. As Dennis Miller would say, that makes me a bit ADD about my OCD. “Know Thyself”, sayeth the Oracle.
Now, on to power supplies.
This bit bugs me, I’ll have to admit. The tweakers on various forums have reported that the EVO works better with a good linear power supply as opposed to a cheapie switching wall wart power supply. Really? A high-end power supply on a converter? Color me appalled. But I remind myself that we audiophiles are, as a rule, quite prone to convince ourselves of just about anything that justifies the hideous amount of money we’ve already spent. So, perhaps it’s a placebo thing? Who knows. But before I shell out $500 for a linear power supply from Bolder, I’m gonna see if there’s anything cheaper to look at.
(The astute among you will have noticed that I, as an audiophile, am already planning to upgrade a unit I haven’t even heard based on the rumor of some totally unverified random posts on a set of unregulated and largely un-moderated forums. Yeah. That’s how we roll.)
Interestingly, there is: batteries! Those same lunatics that seem thoroughly convinced that a linear PSU for a converter (!!!) is quite the ticket are even more impressed over the performance of that same device when run off of batteries. 9v batteries are rather cheap — but blowing through 2-3 per day seems a bit excessive, so I’m now looking into a custom rechargeable job from Battery Space. A LiFePO4 “rig”, which should include the plug adapter, the charging unit, a battery and a case, should run about $100 all wired up and kitted out. Alternatively, I could get a Black Lightning from my man Vinnie over at Red Wine Audio, for about $900. Vinnie is an awesome guy and his product line is sick and tempting. But I think I can skate by with a (much cheaper) DIY this time around.
I already have a nice long, super-low capacitance 110-ohm XLR cable from Blue Jeans Cable just sitting around that I was planning to use as a mic cable for some room correction stuff I was thinking of trying to do with a Behringer DCX2496 that is also just sitting around. Yes, I have some (admittedly, limited amount of) crap lying about, surprised? Well, I bought a pair of Rythmik F12G subwoofers this past summer to try and fill out the bottom end of the Merlins I had at the time, but then, I sold the Merlins and swapped in the old Totem Shaman speakers I have on semi-permanent (or so it seems) loan from a friend and the last thing those speakers need is help in the bass department, so the subs are just sitting off to the side with the Behringer I was going to use to use as a crossover.
Ok, fine — one step back. The subs were an experiment. No, the Merlins did not need bass help — they went very nicely down to 30Hz, and in my listening room, the room itself provided quite a bit of energy down way below that. And yes, I know it was the room because the Merlins have a brick-wall filter in the BAM that eliminates everything below 29Hz (it eliminates the cabinet resonance those ultra low freq’s will create, and also keeps the woofer from having to distort trying to recreate them). But one of the “criticisms” that the Merlins have received, a bit unfairly, is that they “don’t fill a room” as well as they might. I say “unfair” because they’re a two-way, and like most two-ways, are really nothing more than mini-monitors on integrated stands. With such small drivers (one 6″ and a tweeter), the expectation that they’re going to move as much air as a 4-way design that sports dual 8″ woofers is just absurd. But that said, I’m willing to bet that you’d be very surprised how much that single 6″ driver does put out.
Anyway, late this summer I invested in some room treatments from GIK which helped to tame the room dramatically. Then, just to see what would happen, I added the subs. Now, my rig at that time (all Plinius) had a separate amp and pre, and with the BAM sat between the amp and the pre, I couldn’t very well use the speaker-level inputs on the subs — the BAM would then eliminate all the sub-29Hz info due to its filter. Kinda defeats the purpose of having a sub. So, I ran the subs line-level out off of the second output terminal set on the pre-amp, and bypassed the amp entirely. Sound was, in a word, crazy. But getting the levels and slope to match is a bit tedious — enter the Behringer. Interestingly, Bobby suggests not bothering — just put the subs on-plane with the speakers (or even a bit in front) and set the low-pass filter on the sub at 29Hz. Level-match by ear (to taste) and off you go. This was a solution that worked spectacularly well for the month or so I used it before my Merlin VSM-MMe speakers sold, but I figure that the Behringer might be a bit more accurate than my guessing. And since I’m only using it for that lowest half-octave, I also guessing that any sonic degradation that the Behringer would introduce would be minimized (apparently, the Behringer isn’t as kind to mids and highs as perhaps it might be, or so say the Emerald Physics users).
Talked to Bobby over at Merlin today. Apparently my new VSM-MXRs (with Master BAM and Master RC) have entered the final production stages and will be run-in this week. Been a long haul as I placed the (what was to be 90-day) order back in May, but I’m hoping that the extra 90 days will prove sonically advantageous. Sheesh. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.