About audiophilia and melomania, Meze Empyrean and RME ADI-2 DAC

I love music: I have listened to it since I was just a kid, and I do it a lot. And with a lot of passion. Music isn’t just ‘important’ for me: it still sends shivers down my spine, and I couldn’t control it even if I wanted to. The thing is that the music actually controls me.

I remember falling asleep to Pink Floyd and Toto Cutugno (you only may know Toto Cutugno if you’re Italian or Russian of at least 25 years of age) when I was 4 to 6 years old wearing those vintage Soviet Amfiton TDS-17 headphones. Then I graduated from the piano class of the music school, went to Bach organ music nights in the City Philharmonic Hall with my parents and did many other academic music-related things when I was younger. As I grew older, my musical taste evolved with me: starting from those very first post-Soviet pop bands and Scooter and the so called Russian rock, passing through Placebo, Portishead and Marilyn Manson and ending up with growling metal, industrial and howling delta blues. By the age of 25 I realized that the fact of liking one or another genre doesn’t actually say anything about a person except that the person is tunnel-visioned. In fact, there’s no bad genres (let’s not mention Russian rap or Russian chanson, these are objectively worse than anything you’ve even heard in your lives), there’s only bad music and good music. Regarding the good one, you can find it in any genre, you just need to learn how to listen to it and to perceive it.

As incredible as it may seem, I’ve always been looking for good music and not equipment to make any track sound better. My musical ‘growing-up’ happened in the first post-Soviet decade, when you had to decide whether you want to have some decent sound while listening to the music or to have something to eat (no kidding, these were tough times in Russia). Obviously, most people including me chose the physiological over the aesthetic.

That’s why I was more than happy listening to the music via cellphone and the headphones provided with it, until I met them: the in-ear Fischer Audio DBA-02 mkII headphones. After the very first time I used them I discovered that the music can actually sound differently, even somehow unearthly. It was wide, bright and very detailed.

So I dug into frequency response, square waves, output impedance and other specs and started to look for my own perfect sound, that special combination of devices to make the music sound just like I love it: as if the band performed right in my room, and a little bit better. Then I started trying different cables, earpads, portable players experimenting with their firmware etc. I ultimately found my perfect sounding after 7 years of stubborn searching. To be more precise, it wasn’t a perfect sounding or perfect equipment, it was an approach that spared me all this typical audiophile drama.

That is, this post is for those who want to know how to find a decent sounding and skip years of information digging. To be honest, I’d give anything to have somebody give me this post on a silver platter at the very beginning of my journey.

Here are the 3 main principles to remember when building your own sound system.

read more

First AX — ASUS RT-AX88U

As soon as the first AX router hit the market, I bought it immediately.

Why would you need such a cutting edge router that doesn’t even have any compatible clients? Well, it actually does have some — a Galaxy S10/S10+ and at least one Intel AX200 adapter. Moreover, any manufacturer, when releasing a cutting edge router, usually implements not only support of the latest standards and the widest functionality, but also the most progressive hardware, maximum memory capacity, more ports, etc.

The router itself is a huge black box. You can position it on any surface or you can hang it on the wall — as you wish. As you can see, I chose the wall mounting option. Antennas have a little bit of ‘gold’ on them to increase throughput, of course.

Continue reading “First AX — ASUS RT-AX88U”

Kraken X42, Kraken G12 and installation of a liquid cooling system on GPU (2080 ti)

It has been said repeatedly by intelligent men on the web, that liquid cooling systems make sense only if the following conditions apply:

  • your chassis have very limited space;
  • cold plate can be installed directly on chip;
  • you need to cool something really hot.

In other words, this option is perfect for GPUs.

Why you need this

To decrease the GPU temperatures radically and — consequently — to get higher operating frequencies and less noisy set-up. Obviously, it makes sense to perform such procedures only if your GPU really heats a lot and costs higher than average, because a ready-to-use closed cooling system solution with an adapter plate (to be installed on the GPU) plus everything else (more about this coming later) will cost you around 250 USD. Therefore it makes sense to install such system only if you have something like 2080/2080ti.

Overview of the procedure

You remove the standard cooling system from your GPU (additionally, in 90% of cases you also remove the back plate), you install the cold plate and the pump unit, then you install the GPU inside the case, and then you install the heat exchange unit together with the radiator fan inside the case as well.

Below is the description of how to install a liquid cooling system successfully (from the first try!) on your 2080 ti. In this example we will take the Kraken X42 + Kraken G12, because this set-up seems to be optimal for the cooling efficiency vs. noise factor.

Continue reading “Kraken X42, Kraken G12 and installation of a liquid cooling system on GPU (2080 ti)”