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RMAA Test results for Audio-gd DAC-19MK3 and Reference 1

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hi folks,

I found some results of RMAA Test for Audi-gd DAC-19MK3 and Reference 1 on Japanese forum.

Quote:
DAC-19MK3

Reference 1


DAC-19mk3

Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.11, -0.91 Average
Noise level, dB (A) -87.3 Good
Dynamic range, dB (A) 90.2 Very good
THD, % 0.0049 Very good
THD + Noise, dB (A) -81.4 Good
IMD + Noise, % 0.014 Very good
Stereo crosstalk, dB -81.5 Very good
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.013 Very good
General performance Good
I know RMAA is one thing and sound quality is another, but these results are still interesting as highs are obviously weak. What do you think about this?
post #2 of 22
I measured my Compass with the M-Audio transit and saw similar curves on the highs - M-Audio's own output-input-loopback was straight so it should not be a problem with measuring. It seems that this is designed on purpose but why? Can anyone ask Kingwa about this? Oh and I measured both pure DAC output and output thru the amplifier section, they look basically the same with highs rolled off.
post #3 of 22
Yeah, this is not something that makes me too happy since I have a Reference One on order. Kingwa claims all his gear is neutral. Well, this is not neutral. Perhaps it is native to the PCM1704UK chip?

I do have a question though. Kingwa's higher-end gear is designed to be used with CAST. Where were these measurements taken from on the Reference One? From SE output? From XLR output? Or from CAST output?
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Olev View Post
I measured my Compass with the M-Audio transit and saw similar curves on the highs - M-Audio's own output-input-loopback was straight so it should not be a problem with measuring. It seems that this is designed on purpose but why? Can anyone ask Kingwa about this? Oh and I measured both pure DAC output and output thru the amplifier section, they look basically the same with highs rolled off.
Yes, you can ask him. Just email Audio-gd's main address and it goes straight to him.

Syu: Would be nice to have the link to thread in the Japanese forum that you found.

Edit: Isn't that roll-off from the oversampling filter? It's only 1.5 dB@20kHz on the Ref 1.
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
Edit: Isn't that roll-off from the oversampling filter? It's only 1.5 dB@20kHz on the Ref 1.
It does seem that way. Actually rather similar in that frequency range to plenty of other hi-end DACs (as far as I can see from some Stereophile measurements).
post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Syu View Post
Hi folks,

I found some results of RMAA Test for Audi-gd DAC-19MK3 and Reference 1 on Japanese forum.

Quote:
DAC-19MK3

Reference 1


DAC-19mk3

Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.11, -0.91 Average
Noise level, dB (A) -87.3 Good
Dynamic range, dB (A) 90.2 Very good
THD, % 0.0049 Very good
THD + Noise, dB (A) -81.4 Good
IMD + Noise, % 0.014 Very good
Stereo crosstalk, dB -81.5 Very good
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.013 Very
General performance Good


I know RMAA is one thing and sound quality is another, but these results are still interesting as highs are obviously weak. What do you think about this?

Hi,
When I first got the DAC-19mk3, I did some RMAA measurements using the EMU 0404 usb input and I was puzzled too by the roll-off in the highs.
However I got better results in Signal to noise ratio than those quoted. From memory, I got something like 107db SNR. I will run another measurement when I get back home tonight and I will post the results.

Anyways, the ST-3 (head-amp preamp) seems to behave the same way using RMAA measurements and shows a big roll-off in the highs. However, the roll off changes depending on the position of the volume pot. Is it possible that impedance output is a factor here ?

The strange thing is that the highs that I am experiencing now (with the DAC-19mk3 paired with ST-3) have never been so extended and they are much better than what I get with the EMU 0404 usb that measures perfectly in RMAA (113db SNR, and almost ruler flat frequency response)
post #7 of 22
These measurements don't look very flattering. Though measurements don't usually tell you much about the real sound quality. I've noticed that our local hifi magazine often gives the best reviews to the eqipment that measures worse than many other or has much simpler design than the others. Usually their sound is described more lifelike and realistic or not as cold and edgy as the ones which have measured almost a flat line. Of course it's not always this way but I've noticed it and I've been wondering why it is so.
post #8 of 22
The Zanden DAC which costs $16,000 is one of the worst measuring DACs I have seen in reviews. (see here). It also exhibits a roll-off at the highs.
I haven't had the chance to listen it but according to most reviews I have read (Stereophile, 6moons, French hi-fi reviewers, ...), it is supposed to be one of the best sounding DACs.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
The Zanden DAC which costs $16,000 is one of the worst measuring DACs I have seen in reviews. (see here). It also exhibits a roll-off at the highs.
I haven't had the chance to listen it but according to most reviews I have read (Stereophile, 6moons, French hi-fi reviewers, ...), it is supposed to be one of the best sounding DACs.
That's exactly what I meant.

I guess there's no need to worry.
post #10 of 22
This is so strange, here I am listening to one of my favorite tracks through REF1- and it never sounded so real. And I have a smile on my face as I say to myself Thank God when it comes to music its what you hear that really matters and not what you see..

PS. The REF1 to me looks great too !
post #11 of 22
I'm only interested in the REF1 because that is what I have. This looks like much ado about nothing to me.

First, I like the way it sounds

Second, I don't sense a lack of anything on it, quite the contrary, it seems detailed and resolute thru all the registers.

Third, the response at 15K is less than a dB down, and a little over a dB down at 20K. Insignificant as to amount and where it's occurring to me.

Fourth, I just don't hear much up around 20K. When I hear tones around 17-20K, it's more pain than pleasure.

Fifth, I'll ask my dog if he thinks he's missing anything in those "Bitch" tracks he listens to. There might be a concern here if you possess Canine DNA.

Sixth, I like the way it sounds, ohhh, I already said that...

Seventh, I spend little of my time listening to graphs.

I would like to "hear" Kingwa's response though.

.
post #12 of 22
Wish granted, Les. Here is Kingwa's response:

PART 1:

Dear Philip,
I think this test is by RCA output.
We always design RCA output has a little warm than XLR and CAST, so RCA output is a little roll off than XLR, but you can ask some one to test most wellknow oversea brand CDP or DAC, years ago I ever test Marantz ,Accuphase, Marklevinsion ect CDP and DAC, they also roll off a little.
I accurate remember Marantz CD7 (because it was my love), it roll off -2DB at 20KHZ.

Why most CDP or DAC will roll off?
PCM data has a lot high frequency noise, so oversampling DAC apply the digital filter to attenuation these noise , but after digital filter, feed to D/A chip, the DA chips also bring the new noise, so the normal DAC must design a 1nd to 4nd analogy filter after the DA chips, the analogy filter usually roll off -3DB at 25KHz to 44KHz , and let the brand under 20KHz has a little roll off.

If the DAC is NOS, the roll off is much more than OS DAC, usuall at 20KHz has -6 to -10 DB roll off.

If the DAC/CDP don't design the analogy filter, the high frequency easy make not roll off at 20KHz, but the problems is the noise no attenuation, and feeb to the amp, the noise will effect the signal and let the amp born a lot distortion, though high frequency is not roll off but sound much bad.

I ever buy a lot oversea CDP and DAC for study at some years ago, they all have the analogy filter and let the hign frequency less or much roll off, this is normal, but I also see some bad grade CDP or DAC not roll off indeed boost up the high frequency, these not they have good technology, the reason is the output amp has oscillate.

Upon is base of normal analogy technology, but if apply CAST technology and CAST output, there is much excellent than normal analogy technology, so I think CAST is much neutral than normal output, and said XLR only has 85% of CAST in the combo.

And I want to say, human ears much different to test meter , zero distortion, very wide brand, the test meter will tell you this is a excellent gears. But if listen to these gears, you maybe not gree with the test instrument. Just like Tube gears, they has unacceptable distortion and noise, but why a lot fans love listen to tube gears?

A lot student if finished electronical university course, they maybe can design and make a amp has very excellent test parameter, but do you think they all can make the good gears for listen music?

There are a lot audio brand in world, because there are most fans will enjoy different music style, some will love warm or tube like , some will love dynamic, some will love neutral. But what is neutral? I think there are a lot manufacturer affirm there gears is neutral. this depen on the designer experience , not depend on the test meter.
If depen on the test meter, I think all gears in world only has one sound style. Just like the copy humans in << Star War>>.

Finally, I think you can ask some one to test some other well know brand CDP/DAC like Krell or Wadia or other well know brand, then you can understand what happen.

Kingwa


PART 2

Dear Philip,
BTW, we can make the DAC output no roll off,(cancel the analogy filter only), but I don't think this will has better sound level.
Kingwa
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by slim.a View Post
Hi,
When I first got the DAC-19mk3, I did some RMAA measurements using the EMU 0404 usb input and I was puzzled too by the roll-off in the highs.
However I got better results in Signal to noise ratio than those quoted. From memory, I got something like 107db SNR. I will run another measurement when I get back home tonight and I will post the results.
Fyi, I did some RMAA measurements of the DAC-19mk3, DAC-100 and EMU 0404 USB that I posted here.

Even the results do not mean much usually, they are still much better than those published in quote.
I used the EMU 0404 usb to do the measurements.
post #14 of 22
If someone knows a website or just has some measurements for some well known CDP or DACs then it'd be interesting to compare them with these. Please post links or measurements if you have any.
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patu View Post
If someone knows a website or just has some measurements for some well known CDP or DACs then it'd be interesting to compare them with these. Please post links or measurements if you have any.
Stereophile has posted measurements of DACs and CD/SACD players on there website, here for example.
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