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DAC testing, not much difference? - Page 2

post #16 of 167

There's some headphones said to be extremely unforgiving of source and recording, such as SA5000 or K701. If you asked me if the difference was worth it between different dac's when I use my pfr-v1, hfi-2200, or icans/zino, I would say no. But my recabled pro 900 isn't so forgiving, it reveals exactly how well a dac and amp maintains soundstage, especially with songs with continuous ambience.

post #17 of 167

I too liked how the EMU-0404 faired against the mid-fi DAC market, but I think the midrange on it is a little too bright for my taste in the end.

imo it does however demonstrate an excellent balance in my eyes between musicality and neutrality for the price.

post #18 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by nightrhyme View Post




Sure I would like to but it unfortunately isn't within my physical reach :)





sorry, I word it wrong. I did a lot DAC audition myself last few months too and found the difference are subtle too. Recently I bought a Perfect Wave that is scheduled to arrive tomorrow and want to know if my finding is inline with your impression.
post #19 of 167
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jc9394 View Post

sorry, I word it wrong. I did a lot DAC audition myself last few months too and found the difference are subtle too. Recently I bought a Perfect Wave that is scheduled to arrive tomorrow and want to know if my finding is inline with your impression.


Looking forward to your findings. Will also share my NAIM dac impressions next week. By design the NAIM sounds more attractive to me. But then again I love the NAIM philosophy. No nonsense just pure music. Feel free to come by with your PS audio, I live en Denmark (Europe)

 

Also have friend that will shortly recieve an old Linn Numerik DAC which I will test


Edited by nightrhyme - 5/28/10 at 3:28am
post #20 of 167

From the quotes below I think the reasons why you do not hear much of a difference are -

 

1. That you are more interested in the music than the kit, so you do not listen analytically.

 

2. You prefer a more lush deeper sound for want of a better descriptive over a detailed and bright sound. The differences are in the detail, which to hear clearly you need them to be presented in what is often called a forward sound.

 

You have also realised that a lot of nonsense is spouted and over the top descriptives are used to try and differentiate between kit. I prefer detailed and bright, but I still do not find the huge differences in DACs that others seem to find.

 


     Quote:

Originally Posted by nightrhyme View Post

 

 

 

First off the DAC I like the best is the Stello. It's by far the more musical of the lot and provides more listening enjoyment. Lavry da10 is very neutral with a very clear treble but the sound is on the boring side. 


     Quote:

For me it has alway been about the music and not the gear 


 

Quote:

 

When I initially bought my EMU 0404 pci I also auditioned EMU 0404 USB which I found bright, thin and unbearable. The 0404 pci sounds much better, much more musical.

 

To confuse you guys even more. When I bought my SR60 cans I also auditioned SR80, Sr125 and I liked the SR60 the best. Found the others too bright

post #21 of 167

One thing which helped me in evaluating audio kit was a switch box. Once you have a way to instantly switch between sources and thus avoid the whole audio memory thing, it is perfectly obvious that differences between items are *often* simply to do with volume level differences, a DAC that outputs 2.5V sounds different from one that outputs 2.0V.

 

Rigth now I have my media streamer and my bog-standard PC line out connected to my speaker rig and by rapid switching it is clear that there is little if any difference between the two, though the streamer is louder but I measured this before so I am not surprised. The other benefit of a switch box is it lets you see obvious problems like the fact that, bizarrely, my mini-to-rca has the channels reversed (or the streamer perhaps) a rapid switch shows this for what it is, if you introduce a long delay it is harder to identify this flaw for what it is and you might be tempted to characterise this as a *real* difference in sound. Once you have the knack for carefully time-aligning tracks it is a lot of fun...

 

post #22 of 167

Nick_charles, the more I read your posts, the more I think that alleged differences between kit is down to slight differences in volume and a supposed lack of memory of sound. Is that really the case?

post #23 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post

Nick_charles, the more I read your posts, the more I think that alleged differences between kit is down to slight differences in volume and a supposed lack of memory of sound. Is that really the case?

 

Clearly some kit does sound different as there have been some successful DBTs of different classes of components such as  CD players and amps. That said, a slight volume difference is *almost* always perceived as better sound, if you ever did the rounds of the hifi shops in Tottenham Court Road in the 80s the salesdrones always turned the volume up sligthly on the unit they wanted to shift more badly.

 

Tom Nouisane did some tests comparing long term listening versus DBT using a switch box, long term listeners were unable to reliably tell whether the mystery box had ***2.5%*** distortion in it , the switch box listeners got it right. With long delays you can imagine anything with instant switching you have a very sensitive way of comparing things.
 

Of course with gross differences it is somewhat easier...viz a LP vs CD test is noddy as the extra noise is a dead giveaway.


Edited by nick_charles - 5/28/10 at 8:26pm
post #24 of 167

The volume issue is so simplistic I had dismissed it ages ago, but now.....

 

I am not convinced about memory. I have tester tracks that I am very familiar with and I know what to listen out for, so I am confident that I can compare kit accurately, even months apart. I am also sure that I can remember the volume I am used to.

 

I can still get a good idea as to a sound with music I do not know that well. Recently I tried some headphones in a shop where they had Bruce Springsteen in the CDP. Secret Gardens should give me goosebumps, but those headphones did not.


Edited by Prog Rock Man - 5/28/10 at 8:55am
post #25 of 167

Hey guys, just wanted to add that using a tube DAC, in my case Grant Fidelity Tube DAC-09 ($200) was a nice game changer for me. The tube sound is a remarkable sound change at least in my setup.

Your rigs may differ and I'm not familiar with all the DAC's mentioned but for relatively cheap dollars I have a unit that can be tweaked and flavored various ways by changing an inexpensive tube...I honestly didn't think a DAC or tube buffer addition to my setup would be so much smoother, and rounded. FWIW..:)

Ed L.

post #26 of 167

IMO you should completely reserve judgment on dacs until you get a dedicated transport and either more neutral speakers or more neutral amp. However most importantly you should engage in long term listening. I'm under the impression that your amp and speakers are not a good combination for noticing immediate differences between sources. With a setup like that, it's going to be long term listening where you will notice differences. Listen to one source for a few weeks and you will start to become familiar with how it sounds. Then switch it with another source and you should be able to note some differences. Testing properly involves long term listening. Some of the "hyped up" reviews are due to the fact we have lived with a source for a long time. Thus, we are very familiar with how it sounds. So when we switch it for another source, the difference is often immediately apparent.

post #27 of 167

Very interesting read.  It's very nice to have members take one for the team by auditioning VERY expensive gear for the rest of us.    Refreshing to read such an informative and non-hyped comparison.  

post #28 of 167

I have found the difference to be quite significant... My Keces 131 mk 2, DAC19 is like yin/yang. Hard to say which is better or worse. Elite Pro is also quite different. But differentiating the Elite Pro and the DACMagic was not that easy. Essence ST also different. 

 

Difference in sources seem in general be about the same as the different amps I have tried. Headphones are still the biggest change here.

post #29 of 167
Quote:
Originally Posted by oqvist View Post

I have found the difference to be quite significant... My Keces 131 mk 2, DAC19 is like yin/yang. Hard to say which is better or worse. Elite Pro is also quite different. But differentiating the Elite Pro and the DACMagic was not that easy. Essence ST also different. 

 

Difference in sources seem in general be about the same as the different amps I have tried. Headphones are still the biggest change here.


Very interesting.. Did you have a preference between those 5 dacs?  Or would you judge them to be roughly equal, but differing in their different signatures and compatibility with different headphones?  Between the different amps and headphones I've heard (and even standalone dacs, but I've only heard 3), I always found that I preferred one over another in A/B comparisons.  

post #30 of 167



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nightrhyme View Post


 


Looking forward to your findings. Will also share my NAIM dac impressions next week. By design the NAIM sounds more attractive to me. But then again I love the NAIM philosophy. No nonsense just pure music. Feel free to come by with your PS audio, I live en Denmark (Europe)

 

Also have friend that will shortly recieve an old Linn Numerik DAC which I will test


as a former all-Naim hi-fi owner, i'm betting you'll hear a difference.  
 

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