Paul Hynes SR3-18 with M2Tech Young + Stello U3
What am I talking about in this thread ? please read the previous post to catchup with the beginning of the story M2Tech Palmer Power Station
I have finally received the power supply from Paul ordered in March, delivered in June.
The delay was due to the bad weather and shortage of components. I have to say that Paul albeit was not pro-active to keep updates flowing between order and delivery, he was always replying to my queries.
While waiting for the power supply I have come across few reviews about the new Stello products, particularly I was very interested by the 6moons review about the Stello U3 USB converter.
So I got in touch with the UK supplier Igloo Audio and promptly the Stello was delivered, to my door step within 24 hours.
At this stage is good to put you into prospective by telling what my system was like before the Stello U3:
Speakers: Opera Seconda
Amplifier: Unison Unico Nuovo integrated (valve preamp + Class A power amp)
Speakers Cables: High Diamond HD + 3
Interconnects: Acoustic Zen Matrix II
DAC: M2Tech Young
Transporter: MacBook Pro
Player: Pure Music
USB Interconnect: WireWorld Starlight USB
Now that we all know the setup let me explain you why I wanted to have another USB to SPDIF converter in my rig, considering that the M2Tech main feature is its USB converter, capable to process up to 382Khz.
Without the Stello and with the standard M2Tech Power Supply I found the DAC was missing something around the low frequencies and certain fluidity in the music. Also with a forward sound presentation, I have learned that the instruments separation was not very good either, causing an unhappy and fatiguing long listening.
I thought that would be a good idea to remove the USB to SPDIF conversion from the DAC and put up another box to do the job, instead.
More boxes better sound right? or we go for the one box that does it all?
With the Stello U3 in place, connected with a straight RCA to BNC adaptor (No cable, just back to back connection) the conversion frequency was limited to 192Khz but hey that for me is enough; of course I will not be able to play in its entire bandwidth 2L Nordic Sound but that was ok for me.
Plus I did remember out of the M2Tech review on Hi-FI Choice that the Young DAC was recommended highly but a remark was made on the fact that its best was given with music sampled up to 96Khz. After that THD and other stuff compromise the quality of the sound, based on hifi-choice labs.
So anyway with the Stello U3 in place without any drivers, my MacBook Pro was playing music into the Young DAC BNC port and surprisingly, I liked it.
It gave a much better frequency separation and a wider sound stage and richer bass, in general it did sound better.
So much better that I did not mind to wait for Paul Hynes power supply to be delivered.
The impression of the Stello U3 was very good but I have to admit that it did not give me the WoW effect I was given of when I have tested the Palmer PS issued by Keith months before.
So the Paul Hynes Sr3-18v ( set at 16,5v) then was delivered and after around 50 hours of breaking-in here I am talking about it in this review.
The signature that the PH PS gives is different compared to the Palmer PS.
One thing that was really shocking for me was the noise level. The sound coming out of the DAC with PH PS is almost 1 point lower on the volume pot compared to the standard PS. What I mean is that with PH PS I have to crank the volume up to get to the same level than before.
Music comes naturally out, all frequencies are there. depth and soundstage are deep and wide, but not as wide as with the Palmer PS.
(On this last comment, I think that this is due to the Stello U3 and not the PH PS)
The combination of the PH PS and Stello U3 does make a huge difference on the DAC signature, in a positive way.
The music is quiet and relax and the forward presentation is now controlled and the listener is put back by a couple of rows in the stalls.
Out of curiosity I wanted to try the Young with its USB and the PH PS, to see if they could bring me back memories of the Young and Palmer tested months ago.
Well they don't bring me those memories, but in all honesty the soundstage get wider and bass get richer, the only problem is that the sound is still too forward for my setup and I cannot listen music without the Stello, I have to plug it back in to the circuit...it just sounds better for me.
Overall I cannot recommend the Palmer PS enough as it is a game changer for the Young.
But for those that are willing to experiment and get a different signature, from the Young, by keeping the level of details and sound quality.
I cannot recommend the PH PS and Stello U3 enough either.
they provide another type of sound that is more musical and very very quiet. ( quieter than the Palmer).
On this I have thanks Simon for the tip on Paul Hynes voltage regulators...
removing the noise floor level from the music is priceless for the sound and the listener.
I think that the Stello U3 is an excellent choice to put between the DAC and the PC/Mac as it is driverless (Mac only) and provides the flexibility to change DAC without changing that USB to SPDIF conversation quality that sounds gorgeously.
Thank you for reading this
PS: I just bought a very cool album, and I really invite you to listen to it, if you like rock or similar.
They are The Black Keys and the album is El Camino
paul heynes knows what he's doing with his PSU's and regs. if you have funds and patience to cope with delays.
it's interesting that he believes that the original altmann DAC with his PSU and on-board reg upgrade is still the best DAC out there. he uses it in his home...