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All the DACs money can buy, pt. 2 - Page 8

post #106 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
No, because the D3 does not have a line output--it can't be used as a standalone DAC for non-headphone systems.


R&D of parts, manufacturing cost of parts, labor cost of parts, marketing cost of parts, R&D of the DAC, parts cost of the DAC, labor cost of the DAC, marketing cost of the DAC.

It would be a very simple process except we're dealing with:

1. A finite amount of samples that need an infinite amount of interpolation.
2. Time constraints (i.e. work must be done before the next sample arrives).

44,100 samples per second only approximates the original waveform. It's up to the DAC to guess how to smooth it out. Keeping the timing accurate is difficult because clocking isn't always accurate--this is called jitter. The quality of parts varies in every section of a DAC: DAC chip, power supply construction, wire fault tolerances, etc., etc.

So, it's not simple.
+ if DACs were all under < $200 then we would not consider them high-end. Joking but the poster has it right. I am also making fun of myself since I have an "expensive" DAC.

But you may be on to something -- in another thread "Bel Canto USB Link SPDIF" we talk about a USB-Coax adapter (like the Empirical Freeway, Off-ramp) that claim to address timing, and other items so I wondered if you had one of these could you use an "inexpensive" DAC and have still superb music since the DAC no longer needs to worry about timing and some other elements.

I know it's not that simple.
post #107 of 198
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by spraggih View Post
+ if DACs were all under < $200 then we would not consider them high-end. Joking but the poster has it right. I am also making fun of myself since I have an "expensive" DAC.

But you may be on to something -- in another thread "Bel Canto USB Link SPDIF" we talk about a USB-Coax adapter (like the Empirical Freeway, Off-ramp) that claim to address timing, and other items so I wondered if you had one of these could you use an "inexpensive" DAC and have still superb music since the DAC no longer needs to worry about timing and some other elements.

I know it's not that simple.
The Freeway would address the jitter of the output device, but not the DAC, which has its own clock, and the clock isn't the only source of jitter. There are a lot of challenges in DAC designs that need to be addressed in order to have a 'near-perfect' DAC, but it's true that DACs are one segment where price and performance are not always linked.

Even if you're only looking at the specs, some of the parts choices manufacturers make can be head-scratching. For example, the E-MU 1212M sound card costs $150 and has Cirrus's top-of-the-line DAC and AKM's top-of-the-line ADC (CS4398 and AK5394A). The Digidesign 003 Rack costs $1,200 and has CS4392 for D/A and CS5381 for A/D, both mid-line chips. Granted, it has a lot more functionality, and the chips themselves aren't necessarily indicative of good sound quality, but for a few more dollars, why not include higher-end chips?

But these are probably ideas for another thread, since I want to keep this one on the objective topic of 'what DACs are available?'
post #108 of 198
Thanks for your post....

My initial response is .... Well then we should start a new thread because the topic is very interesting and would probably benefit all head-fi.org.

Yes on the parts and quality and interference and stuff. I was thinking if you had a DAC with a word clock and a transport then the jitter issue would dissipate no?

Sorry time for another thread. But again thanks for your insight.
post #109 of 198
Let's say I buy a $500 amp. Would I notice the difference between a $200 DAC and a $1000 DAC with it?
post #110 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric M View Post
Let's say I buy a $500 amp. Would I notice the difference between a $200 DAC and a $1000 DAC with it?
I think you would, but it depends on the 'phones.

EDIT: And, of course, the DAC. I think it's less about price point than it is about specific DACs.
post #111 of 198
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric M View Post
Let's say I buy a $500 amp. Would I notice the difference between a $200 DAC and a $1000 DAC with it?
This is a pretty subjective question. We don't know what you can or can't notice. It also depends on the other equipment in your system, which two DACs you're talking about, etc., etc. But if you're asking if a more expensive, better DAC is an improvement on a less expensive, inferior DAC, the answer is yes.
post #112 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
The Freeway would address the jitter of the output device, but not the DAC, which has its own clock, and the clock isn't the only source of jitter. There are a lot of challenges in DAC designs that need to be addressed in order to have a 'near-perfect' DAC, but it's true that DACs are one segment where price and performance are not always linked.

Even if you're only looking at the specs, some of the parts choices manufacturers make can be head-scratching. For example, the E-MU 1212M sound card costs $150 and has Cirrus's top-of-the-line DAC and AKM's top-of-the-line ADC (CS4398 and AK5394A). The Digidesign 003 Rack costs $1,200 and has CS4392 for D/A and CS5381 for A/D, both mid-line chips. Granted, it has a lot more functionality, and the chips themselves aren't necessarily indicative of good sound quality, but for a few more dollars, why not include higher-end chips?

But these are probably ideas for another thread, since I want to keep this one on the objective topic of 'what DACs are available?'

A few upsampling DACs have their own clocks, and these need to be upgraded to make them sound good. Upsampling does not eliminate incoming jitter, contrary to what some manufacturers might claim. You can never get totally rid of jitter and upsampling DACs are not insensitive to jitter.

DAC sound quality has a lot to do with the implementation, including board layout, power supply, power delivery, termination of transmission-lines etc.. There are a lot of good sounding DAC chips out there (I dont agree that the AKM is one of them), so it is mostly the implementation details that result in a musical DAC.

Jitter is actually more important than the DAC itself. Once you have a really low jitter digital source, you can be quite happy with a $200 VALAB DAC from ebay. Great-sounding DAC. Highly recommended.

With high-jitter, DACs sound very different from each other. With a low jitter source, they all start to sound alike, with the simple NOS DACs pulling ahead.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
post #113 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by audioengr View Post
A few upsampling DACs have their own clocks, and these need to be upgraded to make them sound good.
-edited-
Jitter is actually more important than the DAC itself. Once you have a really low jitter digital source, you can be quite happy with a $200 VALAB DAC from ebay. Great-sounding DAC. Highly recommended.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Okay, so how does one find out how much jitter he has in his system?

And how can jitter be reduced?

Thanks,

Jon
post #114 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric M View Post
Let's say I buy a $500 amp. Would I notice the difference between a $200 DAC and a $1000 DAC with it?
It am quite sure you would.
But then again sound quality is very subjective, so only you can tell for sure. It also depends which DAC's you compare, since they are not all equal within its price frame.
post #115 of 198
Thread Starter 
Whoa, whoa, whoa... This is a can of worms for another thread (and already discussed in hundreds of 'em). I apologize for responding to the off-topic questions, since I really would like to keep this thread on track. DAC availability, please!
post #116 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
Whoa, whoa, whoa... This is a can of worms for another thread (and already discussed in hundreds of 'em). I apologize for responding to the off-topic questions, since I really would like to keep this thread on track. DAC availability, please!
Just to make sure it didn't get buried:

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/5469429-post105.html
post #117 of 198
One more for the list...

Abrahamsen V6.0 $475 (NOK 3,350) link 1, link 2
Quote:
Inputs: Coaxial, Optical, USB
Outputs: RCA, XLR
post #118 of 198
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Monkey View Post
Just to make sure it didn't get buried:

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/5469429-post105.html
Revised that one yesterday afternoon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
One more for the list...

Abrahamsen V6.0 $475 (NOK 3,350) link 1, link 2
Added!
post #119 of 198
Quote:
Originally Posted by krmathis View Post
One more for the list...

Abrahamsen V6.0 $475 (NOK 3,350) link 1, link 2
I've had my eye on that one for a while. krmathis, does the site indicate that it is shipping this month? Also, have you been able to find any other specs?

Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
Revised that one yesterday afternoon.
Thanks. Excellent thread.
post #120 of 198
DAC Reference One ????$ (1390$)
DAC: 8 x PCM1704UK
Input: RCA and BNC coaxial
Output: CAST/XRL/RCA
 
DAC Reference Two ????$
DAC: PHILIPS DAC7
Input: RCA and BNC coaxial
Output: CAST/XRL/RCA
 
Audio-gd: DAC-3SE 715$
DAC: 4 x PCM1704UK
Input: RCA and BNC coaxial
Outputs: RCA/XLR

Audio-gd: DAC-19SE 450$
DAC: PCM1704UK*2 or PCM1702K*4
Input: RCA and BNC coaxial
Outputs: RCA/XLR

Audio-gd: DAC-100 245$
DAC: PCM2707+DIR9001+AD1852
Input: USB & Coaxial Mini DAC
Outputs: RCA
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