The pens are coming! The pens are coming!

pencup_20141231I love pens!

There, i said it. I feel better now.

Of course, to those who know me, that comes as no surprise. I’m not sure why, but they all seem to know. Maybe it’s the 3 or 4 pens that were always in my shirt pocket, the half-dozen in my bag, or the dozen more in the cup on my desk.  Maybe it was the fact that I would ONLY wear shirts with pockets, because I had to have a place for pens. Surely it isn’t the hundreds of pens I own, or thousands that I have owned, or that I’ve subscribed to pen magazines, receive pen catalogs, cruise pen websites, and listen to pen podcasts on the internet.  I dont know what gives it away, but somehow they know.

It seems I’ve always wanted to be a writer. For about as far back as  I can remember, I’ve wanted to share my creativity with the world. My picture was done by a professional photographer when I was about three years old,  something very special in those days. It was printed in black & white, then carefully tinted by hand.  And across the bottom of the only 8×10 print that my folks could afford there appeared a lovely four car choo-choo train, complete with a stream of smoke coming from the smoke stack, drawn in brown crayon.  I just HAD to make it better with the only “written” communication i was capable of at the time. (Aw c’mon. I was only three). By the age of 9, I was banging out a family newspaper, circulation of 4, with a red tin-toy typewriter that used rubber stamps on a wheel instead of keys. Each copy of the “Roberts’ Family News” was carefully stamped out one black-inked letter at a time.

The need to write has continued all these years. So I guess a love of the tools used for writing was inevitable. I’ve always had them around me, in as many styles, types, and variations as I could lay my hands on. Crayons, pencils, typewriters, computers, even wood chisels, have been passions at one time or another. They’ve come and gone in droves as I’ve owned countless of them through the decades.  But PENS have never left my life since the day I first held one. I’ve accumulated and collected them for over a half century now, even going as far as having a small business hand crafting them at one time. Be they ball-point, rollerball, felt tipped, or fountain pens, I’ve always had more than one man could possibly use at my beck and call, all the while lusting for the next one.

I dont see any cure in sight. I dont want a cure. I want more pens!

So now, I am giving YOU dear reader, fair warning. There will be a lot of pen posts coming to Roosterville. It’s what  I do.  If it’s not your thing, that’s OK.  There will be lots of other stuff for your enjoyment.  But be aware, the pens are coming!

Magic In the House – Maverick Tubemagic D1 DAC

I just got a 6 month old Maverick Tubemagic D1 DAC from a member on Audio-karma. The DAC is in nice shape, showing no signs of abuse. It came with only the power cord and a USB cable for accessories, but that’s OK. For a close to 40% discount over new, I can use my own 1/4″ to 1/8″ adapter if I need to for the headphone amp out.

I was intrigued by the Tubemagic because of it’s versatility. It has USB/Coax/Optical/Analogue inputs, and out puts with and without a tube in the circuit. The Solid State output uses a socketted opamp, so the possibilities of opamp and tube rolling exist for future fun. Mine currently has the stock tube and opamp.

I hooked things up with the Squeezebox Touch running a coax connection to the D1, which then fed it’s signal via RCA analogue connection to the Pioneer SX-1250 driving both Snell CIII and Pioneer HPM-100 speakers.

I was greeted by a very large POP sound when the first song, a hi-res recording by Norah Jones, started playing. From then on, things sounded fine until I switched albums. There it was again, a loud noise that I feared would hurt the speakers. Perplexed by this, I switched to a coax connection from the SBT to the DAC. Same thing happened when switching albums. Some web research led me to find this a common issue with the Squeezebox Touch and it’s digital output to some DACs, including the Tubemagic. The quick fix was to use the Squeezebox’s RCA out. No more loud pops. I’ll have to do more research to see if there’s a better fix to allow the optical output in this situation.

After a few hours of listening to various genres of music, I have to say the Tubemagic D1 has taken my sound system up at least a notch or two. Bass is tighter and deeper. There’s more sparkle to the highs. The soundstage is both wider and deeper. A bit of an “edge” to the music that I’d not really noticed before is now smoothed out. I find myself sometimes running the volume up higher than usual, just because she’s sounding so danged good!

I like it!

(NOTE – This article was originally published awhile back on my now defuncted blog, Older Ears. )