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Stello DAC comparison: Stello DA100 vs DA220 vs DA220MKII - Page 3

post #31 of 85
I have to say I didn´t find any information on the MKII on their website so did send them an email.
Regarding differences between DA220 and DA220 MKII I got this answer from April Music:

1. Add 1 USB port:
DA220MK2 supports USB (Universal Serial Bus) port for Personal Computer or Notebook connection. We didn't use DAC function in USB DAC chip itself. We specially designed digital to analog conversion circuitries for USB port externally with high-end grade DA Conversion devices.

Even a 1/10 compressed 128k MP3 files can be heard as close as the original WAV files. These files also upsampled upto 192 kHz sampling rate.

2. 6th Order Digital Filter:
Upgraded (Improved Phase Integrity)
Custom designed 6th order digital filter circuitries for sonic quality.

3. Internal Wiring
Replace by quality wires (BELDEN grade)

4. Wider frequency response
Extended the bandwidth as high as possible.
DA220: 10~55kHz/da220mk2: 10~65kHz

5. Music balance
We added 1 stage analog buffer more for music balance
post #32 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
I have to say I didn´t find any information on the MKII on their website so did send them an email.
That's strange, it's right at their site:
http://www.aprilmusic.com/products/p..._da220mkii.htm

Don't think we can distinguish the difference on the high end of the spectrum: 55K or 65K is too high to hear anyway. The difference the other modifications do on the low end is still amazing IMO.
post #33 of 85
Hmm, on their website I always just get the old DA220. Even refreshing the browser doesn´t help.
Only using your link I´m able getting the DA220 MKII page.
post #34 of 85
The MKII is further down the page. My guess is that the additional buffer is causing the sound change since eveything else is the same. More or less like adding the X-10D to the X-DACv3 for MF people.
post #35 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patu View Post
If DA220 (unbalanced) and DA100 share the same design then what makes that huge difference?
Imagination and the placebo effect my dear friend. I've had the DA100 for a while now to compare with the DA220 I've used for months, and I can hear nary a difference between the two. There is certainly no lack of bass in the 220 compared the the 100, nor a lack of detail in the 100 as compared to the 220, as the initial poster reported.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patu View Post
Did you use EXACTLY same equipment for both DACs? Same interconnects, power cords and so on?
Yep.
post #36 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iron_Dreamer View Post
Imagination and the placebo effect my dear friend. I've had the DA100 for a while now to compare with the DA220 I've used for months, and I can hear nary a difference between the two. There is certainly no lack of bass in the 220 compared the the 100, nor a lack of detail in the 100 as compared to the 220, as the initial poster reported.

Yep.
Thanks for the impressions Iron_Dreamer. What makes them interesting is the difference compared to LeonVB's impressions.

On the other hand, I've always had trust to your impressions. After all, you led me to SA5000 and W5000 which are on the Top5 of my all time headphone rankings.

I'm still waiting for a chance to give DA220 MkII a try.
post #37 of 85
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Imagination and the placebo effect my dear friend
I resent that opinion. There's a reason I fully describe my testbed.

The fact that you can't hear the difference with your system does not mean I can't hear it with mine. The RPX33 + K701 is a very revealing combo, but not exactly what I would call strong in the bass department (the latter has more to do with that than the former). So any difference the source makes on the bass can immediatly be heard. If you take a different combo, with "better" bass to start with, it's likely you'll never notice the difference.
I should also note that Arian told me he can't tell the difference between the three, but then he listens at way higher volumes (pot at 11 o'clock) than I ever do (7:30-8,9 max for very short period). The differences can be clearly heard at the lower to moderate volumes I use.
One more anecdote about being able to listen: Arian had a HP100 for me to test too, but within the minute I told him it was malfunctioning. To me it had very noticable background noise. With a big grin he revealed the unit had a wrong transformer, but none of the hunderds of people who listened to it during the meets he had the weeks before were able to notice something was wrong (!).

The differences I noticed have nothing to do with imagination or placebo effect. They do have to do with the method I used for testing and the system I tested with.
post #38 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeonvB View Post
The fact that you can't hear the difference with your system does not mean I can't hear it with mine.
I wouldn't sweat that. Nobody can ever, EVAR prove or disprove what one subjectively hears, so we are all free to argue about it without resolution for some eons to come.

Frankly, I sometimes wonder if we are even talking about anything in the same universe when someone says an audiophile word "A." The world could all be a giant tower of Babel, and what you think is "bass" may be somebody's "treble"
post #39 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeonvB View Post
The differences I noticed have nothing to do with imagination or placebo effect. They do have to do with the method I used for testing and the system I tested with.
How do you prove this? You can't know if it's placebo effect or real difference in SQ. But what's the funniest thing is that it doesn't matter. At least I don't care if I really hear differences or if they're just a placebo effect. If the difference is there then it's worth it.
post #40 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeonvB View Post
The fact that you can't hear the difference with your system does not mean I can't hear it with mine.
This is very true.

It's also true that the placebo effect is strong beyond what many people believe.

There's one very simple way to prove the differences that you hear: double-blind listening sessions, where you consistently identify the differences correctly. Without doing this, there's no real way to rule out placebo.
post #41 of 85
LeonvB and Jon L, I have to agree with both of you.

But I feel people are usually exaggerating the differences, but sure if the money ain't thing then only the best will do it or "good enough".
Being with tighter budget means imho to be more critical of what is reasonable to pay for differences and for how big difference per dollar/euro .

But not always the most expensive model of same manufacturer is the "best", all products are anyway some kind of "point of views".
post #42 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeonvB View Post
Given the time I had available (I took about 3/4-1 hour to work with each device)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iron_Dreamer View Post
I've had the DA100 for a while now to compare with the DA220 I've used for months,
That's a big difference in evaluation time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patu View Post
Thanks for the impressions Iron_Dreamer. What makes them interesting is the difference compared to LeonVB's impressions.

On the other hand, I've always had trust to your impressions.
I also like reading Iron_Dreamer's descriptions of things as he always seems very balanced and fair, also experienced. Unfortunately I'm not familiar with LeonVB's experiences.

I'm planning a DAC change in 2007 and have been following the various threads of Lavry, Stello, etc and always keep an eye out for Iron_Dreamer's opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rumatt View Post
It's also true that the placebo effect is strong beyond what many people believe.
I don't think anyone should be too upset if "placebo" gets pointed at them (although it seems to never fail in inflaming). Placebo is so commonplace and everyone is subject to it. I know for sure that I've been its victim quite a few times.
post #43 of 85
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeteeth View Post
Placebo is so commonplace and everyone is subject to it. I know for sure that I've been its victim quite a few times.
I wouldn't necessarily categorize placebo effect as something negative every time.

*Edited*
post #44 of 85

I certainly appreciate your point of view on pretty much everything Jon but I won't get into it here as it'll surely derail the thread.
post #45 of 85
It was not my intention to tick off anyone with the use of the word "placebo," however you must recognize how easy it is to be unduly influenced in such a short listening session using devices which generally have subtle differences, like high-end DAC's.

That said, I've had many hours over the course of the last week to assess the DA100. I started out listening to in instead of the DA220 for a longer-term impression. Switching back to the 220 after several days, I did not feel as if I had been missing anything by using the 100. Short-term tests made the matter even more conclusive, as changing between the two at the flick of a switch (with perfectly matched volume, since the both output the same levels unbalanced) I have yet to hear a difference. I've compared them both with 192kHz upsampling as well as in bypass mode.

Given that in the past, I've noticed differences in the DAC's I've owned in much less listening time than a week, I'm quite skeptical that a difference between these two will pop up suddenly.

Now this is not to say they will always sound the same. Perhaps the slightly less beefy power supply of the 100 would lead to a slightly worse performance in a system with highly unstable AC lines. But in my system, they sound indistinguishable, which is not something I can say of any other audio gear with which I've had a longer in-home comparison.

In my mind, the performance of the DA100 makes it a relative bargain (if comparing new to new or used to used prices) compared to the other high-end DAC's I've heard at length, ASSUMING you don't need/want balanced inputs or outputs. Of course, the DA100 needs a headphone amp or preamp to be useful, whereas the DA10 and DAC1 don't. Going back to what I wrote about those components earlier, the features and intended use of the DAC can trump sound quality, when differences there are quite subtle. But comparing like prices, the DA100 has the best sound quality (as a DAC alone) for the buck of the DAC1, DA10, DA220, and USB2D/A.
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