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Toward higher end DACs - Page 5

post #61 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herandu View Post
Nope. Unless you got esoteric amps, speakers, cables, power conditioners etc., you are wasting your money just having an expensive DAC.
Sorry, I'm a bit confused. Did you mean that you've not heard an Esoteric, DCS or similar, or that you have, but your kit wasn't upto showing the differences?
post #62 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by neilvg View Post
You wouldn't be wasting your money at all. Especially with headphones where we have no need for speakers and speaker cables (and Esoteric doesn't make speakers). Besides, a good dac is a good dac and thats all there is to it.

Neil
So how much is that CD player going to cost that you intend to use with your U$2000+ DAC? And how much are the interconnects going to cost as well?

A good DAC is only as good as the quality of the data entering its input.
Every performance car driver knows that only high octane fuel is going to deliver max power. The same goes for an expensive DAC. It needs high performance auxiliary equipment to perform to the level it was built for.
As for the performance of headphones: a headphone cannot match a set of speaker in the same manner. The experience is completely different.
post #63 of 142
somehow i doubt if he's plonking down 2k for a DAC that he's going to stick it in a Sharper Image, besides the term "waste" is subjective, you might not feel it is worth it but he might feel otherwise


Quote:
Originally Posted by Herandu View Post
So how much is that CD player going to cost that you intend to use with your U$2000+ DAC? And how much are the interconnects going to cost as well?

A good DAC is only as good as the quality of the data entering its input.
Every performance car driver knows that only high octane fuel is going to deliver max power. The same goes for an expensive DAC. It needs high performance auxiliary equipment to perform to the level it was built for.
As for the performance of headphones: a headphone cannot match a set of speaker in the same manner. The experience is completely different.
post #64 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by neilvg View Post
The EMM is possibly one of the best deals in Audio when it comes to DAC's. Try to get the SE version. In my opinion, you need to spend a lot more money to top it, and until recently wasn't even sure it could be done. I've heard a lot of top tier CDP's and DAC's that have some sort of coloration or take but essentially are on the level more or less (personal taste does play a role) as the EMM (and the like). There has really only been one thing I have heard that clearly and cleanly beats it in the way that the EMM clearly sounds better than a benchmark DAC1.

Neil
But doesn't it cost 5x as much at $5000? It better sound clearly better. That would cost more then the amp, interconnects, power cleaners, and headphones combined on most setups...
post #65 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by unkle11 View Post
somehow i doubt if he's plonking down 2k for a DAC that he's going to stick it in a Sharper Image, besides the term "waste" is subjective, you might not feel it is worth it but he might feel otherwise
I think that that is his point. It is pointless to spend $5,000 on a DAC if the rest of your system isn't up to snuff. You would hear a improvement, but it might not be that drastic since the rest of the system is holding back the DACs true potential.

You would probably hear a greater difference upgrading other parts of the system and spending less on the DAC. If the rest of your system is made up of top notch gear then it would be worth it, but just spending 5k on a mediocre system doesn't make sense.
post #66 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by Herandu View Post
So how much is that CD player going to cost that you intend to use with your U$2000+ DAC? And how much are the interconnects going to cost as well?

A good DAC is only as good as the quality of the data entering its input.
Every performance car driver knows that only high octane fuel is going to deliver max power. The same goes for an expensive DAC. It needs high performance auxiliary equipment to perform to the level it was built for.
As for the performance of headphones: a headphone cannot match a set of speaker in the same manner. The experience is completely different.
System matching IS important. This doesn't mean that all the components in your system have to be expensive. I've heard plenty of $$$$ systems that sounded horrible due to the fact that they did not have synergistic components. At every step of the way your upgrades have to fit with what you want to see as an improvement in the sound. What is better is what you think is better, and it is inherently subjective at the higher end.

With DAC's, a better DAC will be drowned out in the MIX if your stuff isn't up to par, but we have to get more specific. If all your components are gelling but you want more fidelity, or whatever it is you are looking for - you can upgrade just ONE component and see what it is doing in your system. Obviously having radio shack speakers and a 5K dac isn't going to do much. Your system has to be matched and harmonious. But this doesn't equate to price of individual components.

You need a good system (to you, and one you are familiar with) ... and then once you have this BASELINE, you can step it up with individual component upgrades and see for yourself if they are moving you in the right direction.

Neil
post #67 of 142
Also, you have to like the sound of the analog section (+ power supply) of the DAC. Digital design aside, there will definitely be a difference between the various DACs here.
post #68 of 142
Right - just because something is better doesn't mean you will like the 'signature'. I spent a while trying to find a DAC that while it has a signature so to speak it is the almost total lack of signature that creates this feeling. Of course I don't even want to mention how much I spent on my CDP/DAC because more than 1 car could be bought in its place.

Neil
post #69 of 142
I think this is a good thread. I personally think people spend too little on their typical DAC.

People go to great lengths to have an amp with all discreet circuitry, and then they plug their amp into their Dac1 with its opamp I/V.

Just about any Dac under $2000, and 99.9% under $900 have IC opamps doing I/V and analog duties.

If you have no opamps in your amp it makes a lot of sense to spend a couple grand on a DAC without opamps. Even if your transport sucks.

The fact of the matter is the only way to truly get reduce jitter is to slave your transport to your DAC and then your transport quality really doesn't matter . Buffers have been tried but I have seen mixed reviews as to whether these really do anything at the small sizes offered.

Good luck finding a DAC with a clock out and a discrete analog stage. So I am just looking for a DAC with no opamps
post #70 of 142
The transport doesn't matter as long as it is bitperfect and doesn't up/over/resample. Jitter isn't audible in consumer components.
post #71 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by OverlordXenu View Post
The transport doesn't matter as long as it is bitperfect and doesn't up/over/resample. Jitter isn't audible in consumer components.
Thanks for the opinion, but what relevance does it have in a DAC thread? Are you refuting someone else's comment?

In other words, save that debate for a "Does transport matter?" thread.
post #72 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
Thanks for the opinion, but what relevance does it have in a DAC thread? Are you refuting someone else's comment?

In other words, save that debate for a "Does transport matter?" thread.


I think the revelance is so many DAC' manufacturers now pitch "Jittery Reduction" in their product.

Basically a DAC has three functions

1. Receive data from transport and make it readable by DAC chip w/ timing
2. Convert to analog
3. Convert to voltage and amp

Most DAC's in the mid range price either advertise features that excel at one or two of the above. #2 is probably fairly difficult to audibly discern variance in quality. IMO #3 is more important than #1. Yet there is only one or two DAC's I can think of below $1000 that are at all concerned with a quality #3 implementation.
post #73 of 142
I guess that's a fair point... If there are other more important areas that need attending than jitter reduction, it might be a good idea to focus on those.

Do you think that something like the DAC1 would be better if they had used discrete circuitry instead of an I/V stage (correct me if I'm getting my terminology wrong here)? Basically, op-amps vs. no op-amps.
post #74 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
Thanks for the opinion, but what relevance does it have in a DAC thread? Are you refuting someone else's comment?

In other words, save that debate for a "Does transport matter?" thread.
Sorry, I was responding to regal.

Edit: Whoops, it seems as if I misread regals post.
post #75 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by regal View Post
Basically a DAC has three functions

1. Receive data from transport and make it readable by DAC chip w/ timing
2. Convert to analog
3. Convert to voltage and amp

Most DAC's in the mid range price either advertise features that excel at one or two of the above. #2 is probably fairly difficult to audibly discern variance in quality. IMO #3 is more important than #1. Yet there is only one or two DAC's I can think of below $1000 that are at all concerned with a quality #3 implementation.
I agree, especially with the part about 3 being more important than 1, and often overlooked. I think it's just easier to talk about 1 and make dac claims on that end than to deal with what happens to the signal after it's already analog but before it reaches the output. After all, the quality of the analog signal out is what all this trouble is about in the first place.
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