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Toward higher end DACs - Page 2

post #16 of 142
Roam,

What CDP do you use?
post #17 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roam View Post
I suggest looking up the price of a BB PCM1704U-K along the DF1704. There are four of each in my CD player.
I just looked up the price of those the other day; I've been interested in hearing the Burr-Brown sign-magnitude chips for a while . When a single DAC chip costs $30, it greatly inflates the cost of production, which is one reason why sign-magnitude chips are mostly in higher-end equipment. Not all DACs are cheap!
post #18 of 142
Thread Starter 
All very informative.
post #19 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by granodemostasa View Post
it's the sound... once you get enough experience you can hear the difference between the lower end, the mid range (benchmarks, lavry, etc) and the high end (wadia, EMM, esoteric).
Bingo!
post #20 of 142
This is a fascinating thread. I don't know a whole lot about the engineering, but some I suppose about the sonic qualities. I agree with most that source is a huge factor, but a good DAC can forgive some sins of a lesser quality source.

For example, I have a Headroom Desktop Portable which has one of their higher end DACs (Burr Brown although I'm not sure which chip). I also have a Benchmark-USB for my Home rig. They both do a pretty good job cleaning up sources like Apple TV and my Sony laptop (which with Vista upsamples to the DAC). But, they can't overcome everything. I'm sold on the Benchmark-USB though and I believe for $1200 ish it is great value.
post #21 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by AS1 View Post
90% of the people on this forum agree that a high-end DAC really does make a worthwhile difference.
I'm still surprised about the far from subtle difference between my DAC2 and TC-7510. The DAC2 sounds a lot more refined and involving.
IMHO source comes very close in importance compared to headphones, possibly even most important. So far, it was my most appreciated upgrade.
90% of the people on this forum are either guests trying to figure out what to buy for a first headphone or people using mp3 players and stock soundcards as their source. Perhaps it's true that 8 or 9 of the remaining 10% would agree that a dac improvement is worthwhile, but the number who have (and can afford) high end dacs is really pretty miniscule in terms of the whole community, I think. What's more, I bet that less than one percent would say that dac choice is more important than headphones. Any weak element in the chain is a bottleneck for the end result, but headphones are the element that makes the greatest outright difference in how the whole thing will sound-- two great dacs on the same amp and headphone will show a subtle but potentially key difference, but nothing compared to if the headphones were the variable. This isn't to say that the dac isn't important, I fully agree that it's silly to buy a great amp and expensive headphones and then run them out of a poor source.


Quote:
Originally Posted by xenithon View Post
The DAC chip is but one of many variables. You need to consider things like output stages, power supplies, separation between the analog and digital domains, filters, word clocks, and so on. The way these factors are designed/implemented, and the DAC built, can often be seen in the finished product
All those things are absolutely key, and I think anyone venturing into a high end dac purchase should familiarize himself a little with these parts and their implementation, to gain some immunity from the other two elements that have a huge effect on price: casework and voodoo.
post #22 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by NC1111 View Post
What are the component differences? Aren't all DACs built around the same type of chips. Even a $10K dAC must use 5 or 10 dollar microchips.
The 8000$ Lavry Gold has discrete chips that are thermally heated to ensure equal temperatures so no, not all dacs use the same dac chip Integrated Circuits.
post #23 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herandu View Post
You didn't mention which of the 7510 you have. It would be most helpful to the discussion though since there is a clear difference in performance between the latest MK6/3 and any previous versions. I sit in a chair right between my speakers and I can hear and feel the difference between it and my MK3.
Another thing to note that the headphone amp on the 7510 is useful to decent IMHO. It was a QAD (quick and dirty) add on I understand, and at least several steps lower in performance than the rest of the DAC. So comparing the 7510 with another DAC through the headphone sockets is not doing justice to the true potential of the 7510 through a decent amp (headphone or otherwise).
The DAC1 is a decent set of kit. I had one, but sold it since the performance was only slightly better and I needed all those extra digital inputs the 7510 provides. Which makes me wonder if a new 7510 costing twice as much would finally put these arguments to rest.
As for the exotics: I listened to a number of them, but I really can't justify to my wallet the need to fork out U$2000 or more for a DAC. You can't get a better performance than what comes from the source. i.e. your CD. The whole idea is to extract everything good from a CD, and dispose of everything bad (jitter etc). Anything else that isn't originating from the source material is being faked by the DAC. Paying that much extra for fake audio reproduction is asking too much as far as I am concerned.
I have both the Lavry DA10 and the 7510 Mk6/3. I have to say that the Beresford is a surprisingly good unit even considering what its headamp can do but it does not do for me what the Lavry does. If I had the 7510 first I may not have gotten the Lavry but I didn't. But now that I have both, I am very satisfied that it when that way since I probably would not have learn what the Lavry can do. BTW, I have not A/B the two units side beside. For myself once a certain level of performance is reached I am becoming more and more apathetic toward changes and comparisons. I have two setups at different places and both the Lavry and Beresford satisfy different situations for me.
post #24 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by facelvega View Post
What's more, I bet that less than one percent would say that dac choice is more important than headphones.
You might want to watch this poll I just started. You'll be surprised...
post #25 of 142
DACs are painly expensive. Show me a dac better than mine and i'd be pissed off until i get it.
post #26 of 142
I have never tried a "high-end" dac or even a mid-end dac but have tried a variety of dacs at the lower end of the spectrum.

From personal experience there are differences between dacs using the same chip but different implementations, as well as dacs using different chips.

An example would be the Peter Daniels Audio Sector and the Lite Audio DAC-AH. Both use the TDA 1543 chip but I loved the PD and still use it but didn't really like the Lite very much. The PD was better in almost all regards, even though it used the same chip.
post #27 of 142
I really don't see how a DAC can cost more than a couple thousand. I doubt a $10,000 DAC sounds better than a $3,000 one...It's all casing, like those insane CD players.
post #28 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by AS1 View Post
You might want to watch this poll I just started. You'll be surprised...
Interesting poll. I'm very surprised that source is trouncing amp by such a margin.
post #29 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by OverlordXenu View Post
I really don't see how a DAC can cost more than a couple thousand. I doubt a $10,000 DAC sounds better than a $3,000 one...It's all casing, like those insane CD players.
They do. And it's rather obvious when you hear it. And it's not about the case, it's about the circuit design and going above and beyond the ordinary to put together something special. See the Lavry Gold or APL NWO 3.0. In this region the price is not necessarily representative of the parts inside the box, or the box itself, but what the creator feels he/she can/should charge for it. Obviously there are decreasing returns to scale when investing in high-end sources, but that is not to say that they don't sound better, only that they could hardly be considered a bargain.
post #30 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by OverlordXenu View Post
I really don't see how a DAC can cost more than a couple thousand. I doubt a $10,000 DAC sounds better than a $3,000 one...It's all casing, like those insane CD players.
If you get the chance, go listen to something like an Esoteric X-01 or similar. It's an eye opening experience and is a great way to help put your own system in context. Whilst some £10k units might not justify their price tag, the X-01 certainly does.
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