Thanx for replies guys. Thread has taken life of it's own now I see
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man
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.
Thanx for analysis. You are of course somewhat right.
But don't get me wrong.
I'm actually an old rat in the hifi game. Just used to play vinyl :)
I actually find it pretty easy to distinguish different amps, cables etc. digital to Analog sources, once you reach a certain price point IMHO is hard
Originally Posted by nick_charles
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...
You are quite right but a well know fact to me at least. However I found that listening to one track. Then turning the volume down and switching source and repeating same track and turning volume up again gave me a clearer picture of the differences.
It's still quite hard though. The first thing you distinguish is the small differences in coloration of the sound. Brighter , darker etc sounding. It's harder to hear differences in the interpretation of the sound. I mean the way different instruments are portrayed for instance.
Originally Posted by computerparts
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.
Edited by nightrhyme - 6/3/10 at 8:55am
I have listened to lots of neutral gear and I disagree that, that has any impact on ability to spot differences in dac's. It's not really a question of neutrality rather the gears ability to reveal. I'm never going back to boring neutral, analytical gear. My Vienna's are actually quite detailed and revealing. The ability to play detailed and or musical are not mutually exclusive IMHO
By now I think I have a very clear picture of the sonic characteristics of the dac'c.
Stello da100 sig: Warm kind of thick sounding with a little push in midrange. Big soundstage, a little rolled off at the top which makes it sound less detailed than the Lavry da10. Which I really don't think it is. It's just very colored in its representation and more forgiving of poor recordings than the lavry. I don't find it unfiltered as described by computeraudiophile review. It has this grand, voluminous, analog, pleasant sound (just returned it. I probably should have bought it)
Lavry da10: Very neutral and linear representation. Big precise soundstage. Very revealing of poor recordings. a little on the bright side but then again its probably just me, as those of you who have read the whole tread know. "Me no likey" too bright sound. I might add that the treble of this box is very nice and clear.
However I quite like the Lavry as it is as close as you get to analytical sound without killing the nerve in the music and taking the combined musical expression apart. As another user wrote: It's very detailed without making the music dead sounding. I thoroughly agree. In comparison with the Stello it sounds a little more digital to my ears.
Wadia 12: Something along the lines of the Stello. Not as warm and punchy. Doesn't color the sound as much and in that way doesn't call as much attention to itself . Darker sounding than the Lavry with sort of an oldish analog sound to it. Quite plesant.
Digital Audio Denmark ADDA 2402: Extremely detailed, big, precise, detailed soundstage. Highly analytical. Kind of cold and perhaps a little agressive sounding. (didn't spend much time with this one)
EMU 0404 pci: A little compressed in it's presentation, a little dark sounding in comparison with other soundcards, a little darker sounding than the Lavry. Deep bass sounds sometimes sound a little retracted. Sometime has a tendency to sound a little harsh. (forced myself to be critical)
But I bet you would be amazed by this little card and the sonics it is able to produce fed a a nice 192khz/24bit recording.
M2TECH: Only tested it against coaxial out from EMU. For the life og me couldn't hear any difference what so ever
When you read the above descriptions you might get the idea that the dac's and soundcards sonic representation differences is like night and day. That is, unless you read the entire thread.
So let me clarify. That isn't the case. The differences is very small. Especially between the dac's The clearest detectable differences lie in their coloration of the sound or lack thereof