Custom DAC w/ 100 Farards; BC 307+; BC 60XX

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Ice Man
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Custom DAC w/ 100 Farards; BC 307+; BC 60XX

Post by Ice Man » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:51 am

The Custom Shop at Blue Circle has built and upgraded a few of my pieces:

Blue Circle has built for me a custom DAC with over 100 Farads of filtering. Output stage similar to NSL design. It is up to 24/192 resolution, but, of course, upgradeable in the future. Has KQ addition.

I upgraded my Custom BC3000 preamp to a Custom BC 30X. My unit does not have a 6SN7 tube, but instead has (4) 6922 tubes, and solid state. While the design, like the BC 307, combines both tube and solid state, the level of filtering is in excess of the L3 power supply. The filtering for the tube side is greater than that of a GZPZ, and the solid state side has over 1 Farad of independent filtering. Both the tube and solid state side have been KQ'd. Like the BC 307, I can have all solid state, all tube, or any mix of the two. I love this feature. I especially love the slam and speed when playing pop and rock music in all solid state mode. I have it set to solid state when I have it on as background music and when I'm not listening to the system to save on the tube life. Listening to vocals, like Eva Cassidy, is when I kick in the tubes. Depending on the recording, I will adjust the SS/tube settings. I love this option because it really lets me fine-tune the sound to what sounds best to me.

Upgraded my Custom BC 6020 to BC 60XX. Maxed out available space with the latest caps to cover the widest range of filtering. Total filtering (sillycone filters + BC 60XX + MR 1200) is equivalent to over 110X sillycone filters. I found that my system sounded best with my sillycone filters plugged directly into it, or as close as possible to the outlet containing it. I experimented with spreading it out, over the same electrical line, but it was night and day difference. Simply sounds much more alive, powerful, and clear when the filters were plugged into BC 60XX-- like it turbocharged it, with each additional filter. I have a MR 1200 connected to it via a 12X sillycone AC cord with FC quiet module with a nuetrik connector. I plug only my amps into the BC 60XX, and fill up all extra outlets with Sillycone filters. I plug my DAC, computer, and preamp into the MR 1200. I prefer the sound of the DAC and preamp plugged into the MR 1200 vs. the BC 60XX: the sound is a bit smoother.

I have never heard my system sound so real and alive. The musicians are right in front of me. I listen at night to relax, with the lights turned off. At times, depending on the level of recording quality, it sounds utterly real. Every breath, every pluck of the guitar strings, the various degrees of forcefulness with which fingers strike the piano keys are all vividly clear. I can easily distinguish between very good and okay recordings, and everything in between. I can easily place the musicians and how far away they are from the mic. But, more than the individual details, the overall sound is extremely musical while simultaneously being extremely detailed. Everything just works. My system has never sounded faster or more alive. The bass and mid-bass has never been so deep or tight sounding.

I now have a complete Blue Circle system, except for the computer and the speaker. All BC cabling throughout. It is well known that a lot of people buy their amp and preamp from the same manufacturer. Marc Mickelson, of The Audio Beat, went further, and said that there is a special synergy not only in having the same amplification from one company, but the source, as well. I say, it completely depends on the company: garbage in, garbage out. However, since you are reading this now, or better yet, if you own BC equipment, then you know that Blue Circle is indeed very rare, and very special. I have owned Blue Circle products for more than ten years now. There was never a question in my mind that The Custom Shop at Blue Circle could not build me EXACTLY what I wanted, while ALSO providing me with an absolute killer value. Have you seen what's out there? More specifically, what they are charging for the sound you get? Four words: buyer beware; buyer's remorse. I couldn't be more thrilled with my system or satisfied with the investment I have made. Tremendous value. And, isn't that what every purchase eventually boils down to: value?

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BlueKnight
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Post by BlueKnight » Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:00 pm

Very nice...! Image
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masluck
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Post by masluck » Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:50 pm

Wowzaa!!! That is a serious amount of caps. If we are talking small value capacitors, how big is the box??? Pictures, we need pictures!! :shock: :shock: :D

Also, if it takes my amp like 3 days to sound good after power up with 1.25 farads, how long does it take that DAC?? :D

Mark

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Post by stew » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:19 pm

Excellent!!! 8)

Ice Man
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Post by Ice Man » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:07 pm

Thank you!

Sorry, no pictures. I have not opened up the DAC, and have no idea what components or chips are inside. Case size is similar, I believe, to the BC 505. Measurements are: 17.5" x 4.5" x 15" deep. There are two boxes: one for the DAC, and one for the power supply.

I would say that I need at least a few days for it to open up, and perhaps, even up to a week for it to really sing-- if I had the entire system down for a few consecutive days.

The caps used in the DAC are the supercaps, which-- Gilbert, please excuse me if I am wrong-- are the same ones used in the BC 109. You can read more about the preamp, its design and massive 100-1200+ FARADS of filtering (that is NOT a typo: 1200+ FARADS):

http://bluecircle.com/page38.html

For those who know Blue Circle well, I think I can safely say that their second motto is, "The sky is the limit." The first being, "Simplicity, Artistry, Music."

On the other end of the extreme, some of you might have read my rave reviews regarding the USB Thingee and the 6X sillycone filters. Even to this day, I think they are both incredible products and killer values. If you don't need hi-res, and either new to dacs or want something that sounds better than a $1500 cd player, I can't recommend it enough! Don't forget you can upgrade the USB Thingee by adding capacitor packs! (I know a bit about filtering, and yes, it does make a difference.) However, I would take advantage of the great network of Blue Circle dealers and ask them which path would provide the best value: for X dollars, is it better to get a USB Thingee with XYZ capacitor pack or a standard BC 5XX with perhaps, some modifications. But, you just can't beat it for under $200 USD!!

I know there are quite a bit of hardcore vinyl people out there, but I would urge them to listen to a Blue Circle DAC. I can wholeheartedly tell you that like all Blue Circle products, its sound is neither that of a typical solid state nor that of tubes-- even at the highest price points--but, one that is organic, incredibly detailed, and musical. When I listen to BC products, it always draws me in and makes me a part of it. Time just stands still, and before I know it, quite a bit of time has passed. Going back to DACs, other than my USB Thingee and now my custom piece, the other BC DAC that blew me away was the BC 507 I heard at AXPONA 2013. Blue Circle DACs do not sound like your typical DAC or digital: they do not have a hint of electronic haze, and very much sound like live music. The sound is neither tubey nor typical solid state. If you have ever heard a Blue Circle amplifier, pre-amplifer or integrated, then you know what I'm talking about. If you like the Blue Circle way of presenting music, then you will love their DACs: it will give you more of everything you love. And, let's face it: vinyl is high maintenance stuff. If you enjoy collecting, and caring for all things involved, I can understand and respect that. However, if you don't want to part with the analogue sound, but want the incredible convenience of digital, you've come to the right website. Seek out a dealer, and ask for a demo. The DACs are a lot of fun!

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Sugarbrie
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Preamp

Post by Sugarbrie » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:24 pm

I actually have a custom 6SN7 preamp with what Gilbert says is GZpz +20%

There is information about the original version of it (before GZpz) and pictures, at the bottom of the BC21 upgrade page, and on AudiogoN.

Ice Man
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Post by Ice Man » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:55 am

Sugarbrie,

I have no doubt that The Custom Shop built for you a very refined and wonderfully sounding preamp.

IM

splityew
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Post by splityew » Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:17 pm

Hi Ice Man

Very interesting OP. I read with interest that you plug your MR1200 into the 60XX and play all your digital stuff through that and the amp just through the 60XX.

I was thinking of doing a similar thing on a smaller scale by getting a 6000si and plugging my PLC Thingee into it for the DAC and CD player (and TV), and then plugging the amp directly into the 6000si. I was concerned that using the PLC Thingee in this way would be over filtering, but instead it sounds like a worth while thing to do.

Good read, thanks

Chris

Ice Man
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Post by Ice Man » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:45 am

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the kind words.

Piggybacking filtering conditioners doesn't just provide extra outlets, but also increases the filtering power. The PLC Thingee and Sillycone filters use the same trickle down technology from the BC 6000 series.

Taken from the BC Sillycone page:

They work in parallel, as long as they are in the same circuit as the system the entire system will benefit from it. The closer the filter is located to the components, the better the result it is.

If you get a BC 6000si and piggyback it to your Thingee, you will see a very noticeable improvement in your overall system. Without using audiophile vocabulary, I will simply say that it will be significant.

Both the BC 6000 series and PLC Thingee are passive filtering devices; it means it can filter all the juice coming from your outlets. The Music Ring is not passive, but has multiple, active transformers doing the filtering. That is why it isn't as effective in filtering amps-- amps sounds best when they can draw from the maximum amount in one's electrical circuit.

I believe all current BC filtering conditioners are passive filters, and so piggybacking just compounds the filtering power straight from the outlet, without any restrictions.

One advice I can give you is if you are going to piggyback, the AC cord from the PLC into the BC 6000si should be as short as possible. The shorter the cord, the more of a "compound" effect the filtering will be between the two conditioners. However, if you need a long AC cord because your other devices won't be able to reach, that's another story. If that is not the case, you will want BC to cut down your AC cord down to the same length as their Sillycone filters:

6X Filter
6.25" long x 3.5" dia, 3.5 lbs
3" long power cord.

12X Filter
6.25" long x 4.5 dia, 4.5 lbs
3" long power cord.

Blue Circle has stated that the shorter the power cord, the more effective the multiple filtering. My sillycone power cord is less than 2 inches.

In my room, and in my system, the more I concentrate my filtering around my amplifiers, the better the sound. My only guess is that the the filtering reduces the "noise" from the electrical lines from being amplified. The amplifier is going to amplify the good AND the bad signals to the speakers. As long as your audio equipment is plugged to an outlet, there is electrical "noise." But unlike the dac, preamp or computer, they do not amplify the "noise."

I do have one recommendation for you, if you decide to get the BC 6000si or ANY BC 6000 series equipment: I don't know if it can be done with the "si" models, but if so, have a neutrik connector to be put in, so that you can buy the "+20" module. This module upgrades the BC 6000 to BC6020. If you get an "si" model, and don't get the neutrik option, then I don't know if it can be upgraded in the future. You want this option, because down the road, you will want the BC 6020. At least, give yourself the option. Same goes if you get the BC 6020si now. Your next upgrade will be the "+X0 module."

If you can spring for the BC 6020si model, the difference between the BC 6000 and the BC 6020 is well worth the cost.

splityew
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Post by splityew » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:26 am

Hi Ice Man

Thanks for taking the time to reply, I appreciate the very helpful advice.

Chris

Ice Man
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Post by Ice Man » Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:20 pm

Chris,

It is my pleasure, and you are most welcome.

IM

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