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Is an upsampling DAC (Cambridge DacMagic) worth it?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking about getting a budget balanced DAC. But most (if not all) of my music is in 16/44.1, so if I get a DAC that's capable of 24/192, I don't really get the benefits of the 24/192 DAC chip.

However, I read that the Cambridge DacMagic includes upsampling to 24/192. Is it worth it to get it over other cheaper choices such as the Little Dot DAC_I or the Matrix Mini-i just for the upsampling?

I'm thinking about feeding this DAC to a Little Dot MK VII+, so maybe the Little Dot DAC_I would have more synergy with it, so take that into consideration as well.

Thanks for reading!
post #2 of 23
Technically, if you get a USB --> SPDIF transport that can handle 24/96 (Or any USB DAC that can handle 24/96, since, if I recall, the uDAC's USB in can only do 16/44.1) you can have your computer do the upsampling aswell.

Some say it's an improvement. Personally, it smooths out the sound, makes it a lot nicer to listen to. But, some see it as a negative, because it modifies the source material, and doesn't produce a 'faithful reproduction'.

End all, don't make it the deciding factor. The DACMAGIC is a fantastic DAC, and so is the LD DAC-I. In the end, you can upsample either way. The DACMAGIC just does it in the unit.
post #3 of 23
Many/many people are of the opinion that NOS Dac's are better than oversampling.

And will your ears be able to pick a difference.I use no DSP's at all with Foobar just straight 16/44 into a NOS dac and to me it sounds great.

Quite often with Audio the simplest path is the best its just that some are on an eternal quest to get more out than is going in.
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by ford2 View Post
Many/many people are of the opinion that NOS Dac's are better than oversampling.

And will your ears be able to pick a difference.I use no DSP's at all with Foobar just straight 16/44 into a NOS dac and to me it sounds great.

Quite often with Audio the simplest path is the best its just that some are on an eternal quest to get more out than is going in.
We're talkin' upsampling, not oversampling. <_< And people saying NOS DACs are better make no sense.
post #5 of 23
Quote:
But most (if not all) of my music is in 16/44.1
So you know yourself that upsampling isn't going to make it sound any 'better'. how can it possibly add something that was meant to be in the original?

There is a strong case for using 24/96 and up if you are recording yourself and using samples in some way. i.e. continuous mixes, making your own tunes, podcasting. Then you know if you master back to 16/44 you haven't lost anything from the original.

The thing is with USB 2.0 and Firewire being so common it doesn't make sense for the best manufacturers not make 24/192 capable chips and for the best vendors not to include them in their devices.

So I'd get the device with the best converters you can afford not because it will make your music sound any better now but because it offers creative possibilities and is likely to have the best design, build and support quality now.

ed; formatting
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post
So you know yourself that upsampling isn't going to make it sound any 'better'. how can it possibly add something that was meant to be in the original?

There is a strong case for using 24/96 and up if you are recording yourself and using samples in some way. i.e. continuous mixes, making your own tunes, podcasting. Then you know if you master back to 16/44 you haven't lost anything from the original.

The thing is with USB 2.0 and Firewire being so common it doesn't make sense for the best manufacturers not make 24/192 capable chips and for the best vendors not to include them in their devices.

So I'd get the device with the best converters you can afford not because it will make your music sound any better now but because it offers creative possibilities and is likely to have the best design, build and support quality now.

ed; formatting
wut. Upsampling DOES change something. Going from 16 to 24 bit doesn't change anything.
post #7 of 23
I very deliberately didn't claim it doesn't change anything.

Perhaps I should have made myself even clearer.

If commercial material has been mastered at 16/44 then increasing either the bit rate or sample rate will not add anything the original author meant you to hear. You cannot add something that wasn't there in the first place. It won't sound 'better'. By definition.

otoh. If you re-record 2 samples from 16/44 to 24/96 then mix them both together in theory they might sound better than the same 2 samples mixed together at their native 16/44.

That's my understanding anyway. If anyone knows to the contrary I'd be pleased to hear from them.
post #8 of 23
If you take a source material of 16/44.1, and play it back, upsampled to 24/96, you'll notice a difference, and it will sometimes be a positive one. It doesn't change the source, but it changes the way that information is relayed, transmitted, and interpreted and thus the way it sounds.

It's not like you're ADDING anything, you're just changing the way it sounds.
post #9 of 23
Upsampling from 16 to 24 bits and from 44.1 to 96khz will change the sound.
Yes, most times for the better... rarely (but it does happen) for the worse, but that's usually a matter of taste.

Upsampling will change the waveform by smoothing it. It adds reference points along the wave. The result is often a softening of the sound taking away a mechanical harshness of the jagged waveform. It adds no sonic 'information'. You won't be able to suddenly hear things you couldn't before, but your perception of the music will change.

Detractors say there is no audible difference. There are some who say that people can not tell the difference btwn. mp3 at 260k (or CD at 16/44.1) and 24/96 audio. Well... maybe they can't.

shane
post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hybrys View Post
If you take a source material of 16/44.1, and play it back, upsampled to 24/96, you'll notice a difference, and it will sometimes be a positive one. It doesn't change the source, but it changes the way that information is relayed, transmitted, and interpreted and thus the way it sounds.

It's not like you're ADDING anything, you're just changing the way it sounds.
Oh crap! I pretty much repeated what you said!
Sorry. I should have read yours more carefully.

shane
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies, I think I have a better understanding of things now. Though I'm still a bit confused on some parts:

Quote:
Technically, if you get a USB --> SPDIF transport that can handle 24/96 (Or any USB DAC that can handle 24/96, since, if I recall, the uDAC's USB in can only do 16/44.1) you can have your computer do the upsampling aswell.
Does this mean I can get a USB -> SPDIF device that will upsample to 24/96 from 16/44.1? Also, what does this mean for actual 24/96 mastered files? Does the USB -> SPDIF device only take 16/44.1 as input, so it will downsample the raw 24/96 into 16/44.1 before upsampling it back to 24/96 to SPDIF? If the USB can't handle 24/96 input, this sounds like a really bad idea...

Also, what about optical out toslink? I know it can definitely handle 24/96 just fine, but what if I wanted to upsample 16/44.1 through optical out?
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by castigar View Post
Thanks for all the replies, I think I have a better understanding of things now. Though I'm still a bit confused on some parts:



Does this mean I can get a USB -> SPDIF device that will upsample to 24/96 from 16/44.1? Also, what does this mean for actual 24/96 mastered files? Does the USB -> SPDIF device only take 16/44.1 as input, so it will downsample the raw 24/96 into 16/44.1 before upsampling it back to 24/96 to SPDIF? If the USB can't handle 24/96 input, this sounds like a really bad idea...

Also, what about optical out toslink? I know it can definitely handle 24/96 just fine, but what if I wanted to upsample 16/44.1 through optical out?

Whoa! Now you are confusing me!
Some DAC's (not all) will handle 24/96 straight off the MoBo via USB. It will control the output from the MoBo. It will not alter the signal. If you send a 16/44.1 out to the DAC via USB or Coax or Toslink, the DAC will upconvert it.

shane
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane55 View Post
Upsampling from 16 to 24 bits and from 44.1 to 96khz will change the sound.
/facepalm

Changing it from 16 to 24 bits should NOT change anything. It'll just add 0s to the other 8 bits.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane55 View Post
Whoa! Now you are confusing me!
Some DAC's (not all) will handle 24/96 straight off the MoBo via USB. It will control the output from the MoBo. It will not alter the signal. If you send a 16/44.1 out to the DAC via USB or Coax or Toslink, the DAC will upconvert it.

shane
That's just insanely confusing. And no, if you send 16/44.1 out to the DAC is won't always upconvert it. Infact, few DACs upsample. Most OVERsample. But that's something different.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by castigar View Post
Thanks for all the replies, I think I have a better understanding of things now. Though I'm still a bit confused on some parts:



Does this mean I can get a USB -> SPDIF device that will upsample to 24/96 from 16/44.1? Also, what does this mean for actual 24/96 mastered files? Does the USB -> SPDIF device only take 16/44.1 as input, so it will downsample the raw 24/96 into 16/44.1 before upsampling it back to 24/96 to SPDIF? If the USB can't handle 24/96 input, this sounds like a really bad idea...

Also, what about optical out toslink? I know it can definitely handle 24/96 just fine, but what if I wanted to upsample 16/44.1 through optical out?
No. You can upsample in the software. Go into Foobar2000, look in the DSPs, and you'll see a 'resampler'. Enable that, and make it 96000, then change the bit output in the 'Output' section to 24. You can do this with any output that can handle it.

Most USB devices, such as the few that you were looking into can only handle 16/44.1, that's why I said that.

As long as your output supports 24/96, you can set your player to resample to 24/96. If it's set to resample to 24/96, it'll take the 24/96 mastered files and just output it as is, since there's no need to resample it.

I'm sorry if this sounds confusing. What I'm trying to make clean are these points:

You can resample in software. You don't need a separate device to do it for you.

If you set resampling in software, but offer it source material that's the same as the resample rate, it will not be modified. (As long as a bit-perfect delivery method is used. IE: ASIO/KS/WASAPI. If you're not using one of those, look into them.)
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shane55 View Post
Whoa! Now you are confusing me!
Some DAC's (not all) will handle 24/96 straight off the MoBo via USB. It will control the output from the MoBo. It will not alter the signal. If you send a 16/44.1 out to the DAC via USB or Coax or Toslink, the DAC will upconvert it.

shane
I'm asking because the DACs I'm considering only have up to 16/48 for USB input, but 24/96 for optical and SPDIF.

Also, the DACs I'm considering don't upsample at all, so why would they take the 16/44.1 and upsample it to 24/96?

Maybe I'm not understanding this correctly?
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