WIMP WITH KORBA TURNS ADAM ON!
A lot of music at your fingertips. Under your remote … Enough to swipe a few times iPad’s screen and the music is on. Even to much of a choice. It reminds me when I first discovered Amazon.com and its music department some fifteen years ago. CDs started to arrive in bags. Now the dream about an access to almost everything slowly becomes reality, whatever on your mind and within seconds it can be retrieved from the Internet. I am talking about music on line in services like Spotify that I’ve been using for some time. And now I am discovering and adding WiMP HIFI, where the music is served in lossless format, at least compared to CD. Well I decided that is time to try to connect this source of music to my stereo systems. I do not want to dissect here the “what device is the best to play online music” dilemma. There is so much ways that it gives me a headache. I’ll just show how I tied technology from 21st century with the technology from the first half of the 20th century. After a phase of fast connecting the iPad through the line output – what is uncomfortable because it ties up the “remote” with the system – I decided to use Apple TV for this purpose until now used only in home theater system. Naturally the problem of connection emerged. Apple TV audio output signal is only optical and in old school stereo or simply in stereo amplifier usually there is no optical input. So time has come to look at the little monster omnipresent now everywhere. Mr DAC or digital to analogue signal converter. Back in old days, this little gremlin has been sitting quietly somewhere in the CD player and nobody even talked about it. No need for it. But since CD suddenly stopped to be the only digital format music source the whole DAC story gained momentum. It is a walk on a tin ice because on the market there is a myriad of black magic DAC boxes of different brands with price ranging form few dozen of Euros up. Upper limit? Better not to check. So my experience after quick check was to start by little steps. I tried a converter humble simple and small like a matchbox – it is FiiO D3 connected between Apple TV and the tube amplifier input. And here it is, a simple system: Apple TV with the iPad/iPhone as a “remote with menu” connected via FiiO D3 up to this point a group representing 21st century leading to the five to seven Watts amplifier driven by triode tubes 300B in a Single End set up (working name still Korba 300Bi), from which the music flows through the loudspeakers Closer Acoustics – this time – Adam.
It is cool!
I mean it. And don’t tell me that it’s easy to impress me. No no no.
First of all, connection through Apple TV and DAC offers a fuller sound than connecting only iPad through line output (I mean not the headphone one). I am sure the better the “black magic” DAC better the sound.
Second the WiPM HiFi sounds again fuller than Spotify at it’s best and it is easily discernable here.
And third… Do not panic! It doesn’t sound so good as a decent CD player or good and properly set up turntable, but the progress is here and the sound is already quite good. And for sure it is easy to discern poor recording from a good one.
Finally we have access to the large music library and if we like some record, there is always a possibility to buy CD or uncompressed formats (a different story again) or a good old vinyl.
My point is, that the digital source and specifically online music played via good tube amplifier and good loudspeakers can sound delightful. The marriage between 21 st century technology and technology from 50-60 ties of 20th century the golden era of HI FI offers phenomenal results. Anyway, try yourself :)