Music Vault Diamond Ultra
The Diamond Ultra comes with 16GB of RAM and a very fast processor. The Ultra gets the most out of Hi-Res files and DSD. It utlizes an energy efficient i5 quad-core processor with passive heat sink. 16 GB of RAM. Included are a pair of 3TB Drives in Raid-1 for music auto-duplication, plus a 120GB SSD for the Operating System and control software.
Plays any sample rate and DSD effortlessly. The only Server that's faster than the Diamond Ultra is the M7.
The Diamond Ultra has bit perfect output over AES/EBU, SPDIF, Firewire, USB and Ethernet. The Ultra is extremely flexible in its digital output configuration. It can accommodate single wire AES/EBU, Dual Wire AES/EBU, Mono left and right AES/EBU for use with Mono DACs.
The Diamond Ultra is a digital source designed to offer your DAC perfect bits with the lowest jitter which is what your DAC needs for optimal performance.
The Diamond Ultra has an exceptional internal Digital Clock and will work with an external Digital Clock as well for the very highest level of digital playback. The ultimate playback occurs when the source and DAC are synchronized with an External Clock of the highest quality (ask me more about this).
The Diamond Ultra comes with a Blue-Ray drive. This drive was chosen for its superior ripping qualities and has the benefit of allowing the Music Vault to perform as a DVD and Blue Ray Player. CDs in perfect shape can be ripped perfectly in this drive in as little as 2 minutes.
The Diamond Ultra operating system is housed on a lightening fast solid State Drive which makes it very responsive to commands and keeps the pair of 3TB hard drives working as accurately and quietly as possible. Separation of control and data opens up the data disks to a full 3TB of music storage.
Music Vault Ultras are available in Black or Aluminum colored enclosures.
Footprint 17.5"W x 13"D x 6"H
Weight 30 lbs
3 TB Storage Price: $4995
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September 20, 2013
"As a lifelong audio enthusiast I have always been committed to obtaining the best sound I can possibly afford. In some cases I have ventured where I couldn't really afford it but did it anyway!
I moved away from vinyl in the mid 1980's and have purchased a variety of digtal sources over the decades. My first CD player was a very nice Sony unit and my latest is the Esoteric P-01/D-01/G-0Rb set-up. I am extremely happy with the Esoteric gear and the stratospheric cost is an issue I have come to terms with.
Always looking to progress and embrace opportunities for better and more versatile reproduction I started looking at music servers and high resolution formats. This process I approached with more than a little trepidation as I am not someone who has an easy rapport with computers. I looked at a few forums and realised that there was a whole new world of computer based audio out there, most of it confusing. I had no real idea where to start so attempted to simplify the process by selecting a few purpose built music servers to explore. My prerequisites were the ability to rip and store my existing CD collection and gain access to as many high resolution files as possible. Any machine without the capacity for ripping discs was not a consideration. Any server would have to be compatable with my existing equipment and to have external clocking capacity to accommodate the G-0Rb.
The Sound Science Music Vault Diamond looked very impressive and reasonably priced. I was reassured that the Music vault has duplicated hard drives for secure back-up. I contacted Neal Van Berg for more information and from the outset Neal was straight-forward, extremely helpful and very patient in explaining his product to someone with little working knowledge of computers. He answered all my numerous Emails promptly and did not attempt to sell me his most expensive product. We settled on the Music Vault Diamond as the most appropriate machine for my needs. I read the testimonials and postings on the Net regarding the Music Vault and decided to go ahead with the purchase.
Neal's service and communication has been flawless and I appreciate his personalised approach. The machine was constructed, shipped and delivered on time. Neal made himself available for the set-up which we easily accomplished over the phone. Neal is generous with his time readily helping out with trouble shooting and demonstrating how to get the most out of the Music Vault. Often you will purchase a product and then have trouble getting any sort of support, not the case with Neal. You will not get better after sales service anywhere!
I must admit that I was skeptical about claims that ripped discs through the Music Vault could sound better than through the P-01 transport. I had read the report that the dCS Scarlatti had been bettered by the Music Vault. Neal has configured the Music Vault outputs for left and right XLR outputs so I was able to use the second set of XLR inputs into the D-01's. I am also able to use the G-0Rb to clock the Music Vault.
Over the last few months I have done extensive direct A/B comparisons between discs through the P-01 and ripped discs through the Music Vault. My listening companions and I are unable to say that one is better than the other. There was no difference in detail or flavour and on blind testing my friends were unable to tell which was playing. This is in itself a remarkable achievement as the Music Vault is about an eigth of the price of an Esoteric P-01. Linked to an iPad the music Vault is easy to use from your listening position or, as I am doing now, from a different room.
There is one caveat regarding this conclusion - the P-01 is connected to the D-01's using the superb Stealth Varidig Sextet and the Music Vault by a budget off the shelf cable. I am looking forward to repeating the process with the custom made cable that Neal has had built shipped to me.
High resolution downloads were a different matter but that is nothing to do with the Music Vault. I had great expecations of these downloads and I have been very disappointed with some given the expense. In many cases the SACD reproduction sounds considerably better than the high resolution file. Cat Steven's Tea for the Tillerman is one example. Compared to the SACD thgrough the P-01 the download was thin and lacking dynamics. I must say though that the download of Hot August Night is absolutely brilliant and the CD version pales into insignificance. Perhaps the new cable will make a difference to the download reproduction.
In summary, I would unhesitatingly recommend the Music Vault Diamond and Neal Van Berg to anyone venturing into computer based audio. Neal has mentioned that upgrades should be available in the future that will keep the Music Vault current and very competitive. I am looking forward to these!" - Steve H., Perth, Australia
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