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Hifi+ 140 Pro review
#21
This topic fascinates me at the moment.  This is my subjective opinion, but I believe the following:

1. The Pro and the "old" Expert are totally identical.  
2. With some recordings / music Pro can sound harsher, or to use Pim's term more "in your face" than the old Expert.

The above statements may appear contradictory, so perhaps need some explanation.  Regarding point 1, when I first listened to a Pro, this was in a direct back to back A/B audition with an Expert amp.  (1000Pro and D800)  At this time, listening to both amps, with the same selection of music, at no time did I think the Pro was brighter, more clinical or harsher versus the Expert.  The one thing that was clear to me was that the Pro was more revealing and detailed.  Also, I am as sure as I can be that if you performed a dB versus frequency sweep with equivalent Pro and Expert amps, any deviations would be in the fractions of a dB range, no more.

Having lived with the Pro for a couple of years now, I have come to realise that things are not that simple.  There is something about the additional detail and resolution that can be a negative, but only with some recordings.  To put this another way, sometimes I would listen to something using the Expert.  I would think "this is a poor recording", but I could happily listen to the music and simply not wot worry too much about how good the recording may or may not be.  With the Pro, I might listen to something that is again a poor recording, and it annoys the hell out of me.  So, rather than being able to establish in my mind that OK, this is not the best recording ever, and then settle down to enjoying the music, I find it a lot harder with the Pro.  I am not sure if this is exactly what Pim was referring too, but the "in your face" aspect can get in the way of simply enjoying the music.  I do not want this to sound too negative, because there is a flip side, in my view, the Pro does very often sound just about as good as anything else out there, at any price.

I can see a parallel with the above and my experience last year with the original (pre Neo) SOtM sMS-200ultra.  When I first started using the sMS, I was totally convinced that it sounded brighter than my old microRendu, AIR or anything else.  In fact, I would still state that it did sound brighter, no question.  However, checking the in-room frequency curve with REW, the sMS-200Ultra, microRendu and AIR all measured pretty much identically.  So I have to think that there is some kind of phenomenon that causes the apparent subjective brightness to increase, whereas this effect is not measurable as an actual increase in HF sound pressure levels.  As to what causes this phenomenon, I could speculate, but to be honest, I have no idea.

In terms of this sounding like I am blaming things on the recordings, this too I think is not that simple.  Last week I was listening to a track, it did not sound right to me.  Too bright, maybe a little harsh in the presence range.  As it happened, I had another version of the track.  Exactly the same track, the same track length, but one version was the original from an album, the other was from a compilation disc.  It does not matter which was which, but the second version I tried sounded perfect.  Another recent experience, I was listening to a track in my car via an old iPod.  The track was excellent in terms of music, but it did sound a little bright and thin when listening in my car.  (My car has a reasonably good stereo system, I am always more than happy listening to it)  Out of curiosity, next time I was listening to music at home, I played the same track, and I mean exactly the same track from the same CD rip.  At home, it sounded great, somehow the "big rig" was extracting something from the recording that the in car system could not.  Conversely, I can think of another track I listened to in the car recently, where it sounded a little bright.  At home, the same track moved a little beyond "in your face" to something more like "slice your head off".  As I said, it is not that simple.

Whilst I have no idea why all this stuff seems more of an issue to me with the Pro than with the old Expert, what I can do is experiment, to see if the issue can be mitigated, and I think it can.  In terms of electronics, I think the "front end" is a factor.  A simple example of this is that I am much happier with my system now I have the Neo version of the sMS-200Ultra.  Indeed, whereas the original sMS made the issues worse, the Neo is a step ahead of say Roon AIR.  I have got to the point now where I am not bothered about chasing more detail with the "front end".  With the right recording the system sounds sensational.  What interests me more is perhaps fine-tuning to remove the "in your face" factor with those apparently troublesome recordings.

One recent thing I am experimenting with is reverting back to my CD player.  I have a huge stack of CD-R's.  I create a large playlist of favorite music and burn to multiple CD's.  When I have time for some listening, I simply play the next CD in the stack.  Why am I doing this?  I think I am playing with my own psychology, there is still a subconscious feeling in my mind lingering from last year's bad experience with the SOtM kit.  By playing a random selection of recordings via my CD player / Mutec set-up, the SOtM kit is taken out of the picture. It is also quite nice to play music with the PC out of the chain, but that is a different story.

Also, last year I made some revisions to speaker placement and relocated my rack.  The rack was causing issues that HAF's Thierry picked up looking at my REW readings.  Moving the rack, a tweak of the speaker positioning, and the "in your face" factor is much diminished.  

Next up will be room treatments.  I had an old blanket that I was throwing away recently.  Just for fun, I got a couple of bits of wood and rigged up some kind of soft surface with the blanket at what I suspect is a troublesome first reflection point in my room.  With a quick listen, the system did seem to sound a lot nicer.  Something to investigate further when I have time.  (I do not have much free time at the moment)  I may also be revisiting Thierry's HAF filters, I will post about this in a forthcoming update of my streaming thread.

Another thing I have tried is playing with Roon PEQ curves.  Using Roon and checking with REW, I managed to create an in room response that was pretty close to the classic "Harmon" curve.  This was interesting because listening with this curve, any notation of the Devialet sounding harsh, clinical or "in your face" completely vanished using my pseudo-Harmon curve.  If anything, the system sounded too dark, bordering on muffled.  (or you could say warmer, more tube-like)  So I created what I have dubbed the semi-Harmon curve, somewhere between the full Harmon curve and flat.  Some tracks sound great with PEQ turned off.  Get a track that is slightly in your face, switch to the semi Harmon curve, and this sounds great too.  Also, I am beginning to suspect the issue is more with the presence range, rather than simply rolling off the treble.  This should beome clearer to me in time.

I could waffle on for ages here, the short version is that I hope to retain the sensational detail and realism I have managed to achieve with the Pro, whilst finding ways to mitigate the "in your face factor".  OK - I could revert back to the old Expert, but I would rather try to optimise a detailed sounding system than simply give up and revert to something less detailed.  I consider this a case of the Pro simply highlighting issues that were always there, but less apparent with the old Expert.

A final point I would make is that I do not think that anything I have written in this post is somehow unique to the Devialet Pro.  I recall a thread in the Roon forum a while back.  This was about a feature request to allow Roon PEQ settings to be assigned to specific tracks or albums.  One guy enthusiastically posting in this thread was someone I recognise from "Audiophile Style" (Computer Audiophile).  His angle was much the same as mine, some recordings benefit from a PEQ tweak to make them listenable, and his system is not Devialet, it comprises of dCS electronics and tubes.  

Looking forward, I will be picking up on some of these points in my own streaming / system thread.

As a final point, and something that might be fun for others to try.  This morning I was listening to a brand new CD I bought.  This was Sparks "No 1 In Heaven" 40 year anniversary edition, which was released this week.  I am not sure if this is on any of the streaming services yet?  Anyway, listening to some tracks today, it is a fine recording, but a touch too bright for my liking in the presence range.  It does not qualify for the full "in your face" rating, I would say it is just borderline in the "presence range is annoying" category.  If anyone else gets to listen to this, it may help to gauge my listening observations.  To be clear, I suspect this recording might sound just fine on some other systems, I will probably give it a play in my car later and see how it sound there.
1000 Pro - KEF Blade - SOtM sMS-200Ultra Neo - tX-USBultra - Mutec REF10 - MC3+USB - Pro-Ject Signature 12
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#22
Do all “Pro’s” have the ci board? If not, then what are the differences between the expert and the pro models?
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#23
(17-Mar-2019, 03:26)mmorrison55 Wrote: Do all “Pro’s” have the ci board? If not, then what are the differences between the expert and the pro models?

The Expert to Expert Pro upgrade was released in 2016. See this link which sums up the changes: https://darko.audio/2016/07/high-end-fut...-pro-1000/

When the Pro line was released, and its upgrade for existing Expert owners, the Core Infinity daugherboard was not yet finished. This was released a year or so later (November 2017) and owners of an Expert Pro had to send their D’s back to France for the CI board.

So could there be Pro’s without the CI board? Yes, if an owner of a Pro did not send back his device yet for fitting the CI daughterboard.
PS Audio P3, Shunyata ΞTRON Alpha Digital and HC/Furutech power cables, Paul Hynes SR7EHD-MR4, DIY Roon Server & Roon Endpoint running AudioLinux Headless, Phasure Lush^2 USB cable, Audioquest Diamond RJ/E ethernet, Mutec MC-3+ USB, Shunyata ΞTRON Anaconda Digital XLR AES/EBU, Devialet Expert 250 Pro CI, Nordost Tyr Reference LS cables, Von Schweikert VR-5 SE Anniversary Edition, Anti-Mode Dual Core 2.0, JL Audio Fathom F112. More detail here.

The Netherlands


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#24
Thanks for the link!
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#25
(16-Mar-2019, 14:40)Confused Wrote: This topic fascinates me at the moment.  This is my subjective opinion, but I believe the following:

1. The Pro and the "old" Expert are totally identical.  
2. With some recordings / music Pro can sound harsher, or to use Pim's term more "in your face" than the old Expert.

Well, I won’t argue with that, but thereafter, and having read your very extended message, I ended up feeling, hmm, what can I do to contribute? To be honest, I was at a loss on what to say.’

I’ll give you MHO. You may not accept it but I’ll say it anyway. 


Your input section/components are/is way too complicated and as a result you are losing what your simple Divialets can realistically process. The more circuits in the signal path, the woolyer to sound will be. Basic networking is absolutely fine. Have a try and cut out all the other units you have.

They may be your pride and joy, but personally, I have absolutely no time for Kef Blades. Your description of harsh sound IMHO can be directly attributed to these speakers. 
Sorry, I don’t want to offend you. I am simple telling you what my ears tell me. I appreciate you are likely to reject my opinion, but of course, unless you try something else, you’ll never know.
Roon (lifetime), sonicTransporter. Denon DP-80 in bespoke CLD plinth, Audiomods Standard Series 5 arm with continuous silver wiring loom, Ortofon Kontrapunct B, Primare R32 Phono stage. Both into Devialet 250 Pro C/I. World Audio Design (DIY) KLS3 MkII speakers with upgraded crossover and SEAS T25CF002 Millennium tweeters. All internet links are hard wired with basic CAT5 cable. Interconnects are home made based on IPL Acoustic IC2 cables. Plugs are variable as there is bugger all difference between them regardless of price (IMHO).
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#26
(17-Mar-2019, 22:49)Greg Wrote: The more circuits in the signal path, the woolyer to sound will be. Basic networking is absolutely fine. Have a try and cut out all the other units you have.

This sentence above triggered me. Smile While this used to be true in the past with analog circuits it no longer is true in the digital domain. Actually we’re seeing the opposite. When high quality devices are used (with high quality power supplies and clocks) these can actually improve signal integrity/fidelity through re-generating/re-clocking and thus by lowering jitter/phase noise and isolation of upstream components.

Of course we have to be careful not to make things worse but I’d just like to point out that a blanket statement like yours is not something I agree with.

We’re used to seeing devices like re-clockers for S/PDIF (or AES/EBU) but these are now joined by devices that work for USB and ethernet as well.

Before you ask; the exact reasons why this works (bits are bits right) are not yet fully understood in all cases.
PS Audio P3, Shunyata ΞTRON Alpha Digital and HC/Furutech power cables, Paul Hynes SR7EHD-MR4, DIY Roon Server & Roon Endpoint running AudioLinux Headless, Phasure Lush^2 USB cable, Audioquest Diamond RJ/E ethernet, Mutec MC-3+ USB, Shunyata ΞTRON Anaconda Digital XLR AES/EBU, Devialet Expert 250 Pro CI, Nordost Tyr Reference LS cables, Von Schweikert VR-5 SE Anniversary Edition, Anti-Mode Dual Core 2.0, JL Audio Fathom F112. More detail here.

The Netherlands


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#27
(17-Mar-2019, 22:49)Greg Wrote:
(16-Mar-2019, 14:40)Confused Wrote: This topic fascinates me at the moment.  This is my subjective opinion, but I believe the following:

1. The Pro and the "old" Expert are totally identical.  
2. With some recordings / music Pro can sound harsher, or to use Pim's term more "in your face" than the old Expert.

Well, I won’t argue with that, but thereafter, and having read your very extended message, I ended up feeling, hmm, what can I do to contribute? To be honest, I was at a loss on what to say.’

I’ll give you MHO. You may not accept it but I’ll say it anyway. 


Your input section/components are/is way too complicated and as a result you are losing what your simple Divialets can realistically process. The more circuits in the signal path, the woolyer to sound will be. Basic networking is absolutely fine. Have a try and cut out all the other units you have.

They may be your pride and joy, but personally, I have absolutely no time for Kef Blades. Your description of harsh sound IMHO can be directly attributed to these speakers. 
Sorry, I don’t want to offend you. I am simple telling you what my ears tell me. I appreciate you are likely to reject my opinion, but of course, unless you try something else, you’ll never know.
Regarding my way too complicated input section, I basically agree with Antoine's words above.  Furthermore, I do periodically revert back to using AIR.  I have been making a few changes to my "front end", and I like to go back to AIR occasionally as a kind of base line check.  Maybe I was not clear in my overlong post, but I find that the issues discussed in this thread are in part mitigated by the SOtM / Mutec gear, for me it is a great improvement.  Furthermore, I sometimes play vinyl.  The thing is though, my post above has very little to do with my "front end.  The comments would stand based on my experience with just using AIR on the Pro or Expert.  Plus, I have used my old Expert with a microRendu / Mutec etc. 

You have mentioned before that you dislike the Blades, and I have politely responded to this.  However, for the purposes of keeping this thread on topic, lets say that I am happy to agree that the Blades are harsh.  My post was picking up on earlier comments in this thread and making the a point about a certain harshness in some recordings being more apparent with the Pro versus the Expert.  This observation is based on the Expert with the Blades and the Pro with the Blades, so the Blades are a constant, the difference is with the amp, so whatever speakers I am using is not actually relevant to the point I was making.

Off topic here, but I do actually have some other speakers, LS50's and some big JBL's.  If I ever get some free time, I might give the JBL's a try with the Pro, just for fun, and it might be interesting.  Why not?

Back on topic - I actually tried that new Sparks CD in my car this morning (see my previous post) - most tracks sounded very bright, and a couple a touch harsh. - so no surprise it sounded a touch "in your face" back on the big rig.  Shy
1000 Pro - KEF Blade - SOtM sMS-200Ultra Neo - tX-USBultra - Mutec REF10 - MC3+USB - Pro-Ject Signature 12
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