Parks Audio Puffin DSP Phono Pre

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Seafinch, May 5, 2018.

  1. AnkySoho

    AnkySoho Dream Brother

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Not sure if I’m answering your question but here’s my 2 cents...

    Gain is an analog stage prior to the ADC and Volume is digital prior to the DAC. I’ve always kept Vol at 100, but it’s simply DSP digital levels, so having it at 100% or 80% or 60% etc. shouldn’t make a sonic difference. I suppose it would lower the signal to the DAC and this also lowers the signal to noise ratio but probably not audible within reason. Digital volume control also tends to maintain more accurate channel balance than analog.

    Levels-wise in the Puffin the most important thing is to not set gain too high, otherwise the ADC will start clipping. Volume is a second best option to then match levels with other sources in your system. Or in a very simple system, if your Puffin is going straight to a power amp or powered speakers, you can use Volume as your volume control and shouldn’t feel like you’re losing any sound quality no matter where you set it.
     
    ScottRiqui likes this.
  2. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Location:
    Eugene, Oregon
    I did! I left the attenuators in that position too. It helped! That said...try as I might, I cannot bring everything back that the Lounge-only chain provides, so I gave up and now just listen to LPs.

    I still have the Lounge as pre-amp with the splitter out the back. I have been playing LOTS of LPs, and I only occasionally switch over to just the Lounge. The Puffin just makes playing LPs more enjoyable for me. So in that respect, it has done its job in my system. When that spotless LP comes up for play, it is just the tap of a button on my remote, and the Puffin is pulled from the chain.

    I am still a very happy Puffin owner.
     
    Crazyhorse11 and captouch like this.
  3. Yesterday, received an LP purchased off of discogs as VG+, on the Puffin, it graded as "C" on each side. What are the mappings for discogs grading vs the A to F on the Puffin? I'm not disappointed with the purchase at all. I realize that grading is quite subjective, and it actually still sounds pretty good. I have some D and F records that sound OK with Magic on, but I plan to replace these with at least C's at some point in the future.
     
  4. captouch

    captouch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    [​IMG]

    If you don't see reasons/marks on the record to explain the noise, you may want to give it a good cleaning and see if a lot of that noise goes away.
     
    Kristofa and ampguy like this.
  5. bizarrolarry

    bizarrolarry Active Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Thanks for the detailed responses! That makes a lot of sense - it's probably similar to how when I play audio from my computer through Audirvana, I have the setting on where the software volume is all the way up and can't be controlled. I was curious because I've been told that it's not wise to have a DAC with volume control sent to a preamp or integrated with volume control, as there can be degradation of the signal, but it doesn't sound like the Puffin necessarily works on the same logic.

    I'm fascinated by the Puffin, honestly. I've been reading about it today, and I'm intrigued by the idea of buying the Puffin as a phono stage with coaxial output, and an upgraded external DAC. That way, I'm either playing audio through vinyl or Audirvana, both sources through an external DAC into my preamp, and I can truly focus on choosing a recording with preferred mastering.
     
  6. Thank You!
     
    captouch likes this.
  7. ZenArcher

    ZenArcher Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC
    I don’t do vinyl anymore, but this seems like the coolest product ever. Kind of envious! It’s really gratifying to see someone bring such a flexible, fun product to market. I’ll enjoy vicariously...
     
    Kristofa likes this.
  8. bizarrolarry

    bizarrolarry Active Member

    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I decided to buy a Puffin last week, and I've been using the coax output into my (also new) Schiit Modius DAC. The sound is so great, especially adding +3 or +4 to the air function on the Puffin. I did some A/B tests with Mac DeMarco songs comparing the sound between vinyl and my Mac Mini, and even with a basic turntable setup, the vinyl sound was a little more revealing and detailed after customizing the settings on the Puffin. Running both digital and vinyl through the same DAC has wonderful advantages.
     
    Bill Why Man, ragwo, JohnO and 2 others like this.
  9. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    What does "air" do to the sound?
     
  10. captouch

    captouch Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    Air increases the higher frequency treble to different degrees, depending on where you set it.

    [​IMG]

    Tilt is an interesting setting, because it adjusts both bass and treble (in opposite directions) to either a) make brighter/thinner material more warm/full or b) duller/less dynamic recordings more bright/dynamic.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Thanks. That could be useful. I have an old-fashioned thing with a bunch of sliders (62 of 'em) that could duplicate that ;) I never heard it called "air" or "tilt" though. Still, I am interested in the Puffin for everything else it has.
     
  12. Air is also meant to adjust for cartridge loading. I leave my Air and Tilt at zero most of the time. Just upgraded from the beta 1.2D to the released 1.2D so I'll probably go through all the settings again soon. Also, plan to check my cartridge alignment using the Puffin, once I get one of those test records. There is a nice interactive graph of the settings here:

    Home
     
    ragwo likes this.
  13. AnkySoho

    AnkySoho Dream Brother

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I've now set "Magic" on by default. It won't hide true surface noise, nor should it, but it attacks stray pops and ticks just the right amount while leaving the music intact.

    Playing clean records and using Magic, listening to vinyl has never been more stress-free. Can't recommend it enough.
     
  14. rtrt

    rtrt Well-Known Member

    Location:
    UK
    I've been using mine successfully with the digital output now for several months - tbh its so good I can't see the need to use the analogue out option again.

    So then my thoughts started to wonder - would it be possible to modify the Puffin to use the unused output phono's as a 2nd physical input?

    Even if only as a 'Y connector' into what's almost certainly a single input capable hardware on the inside .

    I was thinking to use it either for my 2nd turntable or my CD player to make use of the DSP functions for CDs.

    It'd save disconnecting my main turntable, to then connect the CD or 2nd turntable. But maybe 2 devices connected at the same time would cause the Puffin issues - anyone had similar thoughts?
     
  15. sixthstreet

    sixthstreet Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    Y'know, you made me think of a cool feature Shannon might be able to implement if the RAM isn't volatile, or if there's a way to hold info in storage otherwise: tracking the number of hours played, so you can have an idea of how much mileage you've put on a stylus.
     
    ragwo, Kristofa and Jvalvano like this.
  16. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Location:
    Eugene, Oregon
    I mentioned this upstream. I think it would be fantastic to tie it to the grading “go!” Feature.
     
  17. ragwo

    ragwo Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Norway
    Doing a small tweak to feed my OCD. A couple of layers of bitumen in the chassis to dampen resonances makes me sleep tight at night. I have also added some sound dampening material to parts of the PCB an decoupled the PCB from the chassis with some rubber o-rings. Do I hear any difference? If I include placebo, yes.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Bitumen? What about a layer of Mu metal as well? After all, blocking external intrusions by EMI and RFI is a lot more important when protecting the delicate little voltages produced by phono cartridges. Frankly, I don't know how any self-respecting OCD audiophile can sleep tight at all without such protection.
     
    ragwo, TarnishedEars and Phil Thien like this.
  19. ragwo

    ragwo Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Norway
    I only listen to music with the Puffin in a Faraday cage while wearing a tin foil hat. I slept very well thank you in my padded cell, but now you have ruined it all and I have to source some Mu metal.
     
  20. LARGERTHAN

    LARGERTHAN Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eire
    Rest assured, we're all here relatively nuts by most standards.
     
  21. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    From the bottom of my bottom, I do apologize for adding to the complexity. You know you love it.

    Nothing like some eye-wateringly expensive mu-metal to get the tech juices roiling again.
     
    ragwo likes this.
  22. GKH

    GKH Forum Resident

    Location:
    Somerville, TN
    Sounds like a nice phono stage with some cool extras! I messaged Shannon earlier regarding the Puffin with my system.
     
  23. You’ve got a nice system! The Puffin should be adaptable and muscular enough to enhance your system. Good luck with your moves!

    Bill
     
    GKH likes this.
  24. GKH

    GKH Forum Resident

    Location:
    Somerville, TN
    Thanks Bill!
    The Puffin certainly has my attention right now. I'm sure I've read 'all' the reviews today! Lol!
    I wasn't looking for anything with any kind of adjustments like the Puffin offers. That's for sure!
    I have to wonder just how much better a phono stage like the Sutherland Engineering 'Insight' might sound at a little over twice the price! Would I really notice the difference? Lots to think about!
     
    Bill Why Man and SteelyNJ like this.
  25. SteelyNJ

    SteelyNJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Pretty much out of nowhere I just pulled the trigger on a new Puffin. I wasn’t even in the market for a phono preamp, LOL! My curiosity got the better of me after reading all the great reviews and about everything this little wonder can do. When I saw that Amazon had only one unit available, I couldn’t resist. 5% back on my Amazon Visa card, too! Talk about an impulsive purchase!
     

Share This Page