Yeah, there are many schools in the DAC world: NOS, R2R, ASRC...the Sabre's have a built-in 192kHz ASRC that's here to lower jitter, but they're also said to sound "cold" and "clinical". Some of the most expensive Sabre based DAC's disable its internal ASRC.
The DacMagic is also said to sound awesome due to this very ASRC by its manufacturer, but many ppl claim it to sound no better than a $99 uDAC
The R2R ppl like to whine about the supposedly high noise of the D/S chips, but AKM said in their press release that even the 3 generations old AK4396 was able to reach the noise level of the R2R chips:
"This DAC is a large departure from other delta-sigma DACs designed by us and others like BurrBrown, Analog Devices and Cirrus Logic. The AK4396 is an entirely new modulator, pioneered and patented by AKM. It achieves something unique. In the past, many of the old Phillips and BurrBrown parts were R-2R* based products. These older products were looked upon as some of the best. One of the reasons was high frequency noise. In older R-2R parts, HF noise was not present. In all delta-sigma parts prior to the AK4396, everyone has fought HF noise caused from the delta-sigma modulator with the insertion of large filters and other parts to attempt to solve a problem created by the delta-sigma design. The AK4396 today effectively does not suffer any modulator-induced HF noise and is over 60dB better than the nearest Cirrus and BB devices. All of this HF noise can cause many audible artifacts downstream. That is the 'miracle' we believe is making the difference today. This part gives you the performance and linearity of a delta-sigma device with the noise performance of an R-2R part, something that was never previously available"
...as usual, ppl will never agree on those matters.
As far as I'm concerned, I really don't want my audio to go through a mandatory 192kHz upsampling.
What's a PDX? The Bravo benefits greatly from a linear regulated PSU, and just as much from a USB Isolator. Surely, I wouldn't be so happy w/ it w/o USB Isolation and still using the cheapo SMPS wall wart.
When I first got the Bravo, I was too lazy to reconfigure the whole computer so I simply fit a Dayton glass toslink cable on its input and output a short coax to my Firestone Spitfire DAC = major improvement! The sound wasn't flabby anymore, and much tighter.
But it mostly boiled down to polishing a turd IMHO...the sound was clearly better, thanks to the great sounding WM8804 50ps reclocker, but going USB made up for another major step ahead. Toslink distorts the light signal, and POF is even worse than glass toslink...the light sources being crappy LED's. But yeah, the Bravo is a very good product IMHO...and it scales amazingly well w/ any improvement, whatever PSU/USB signal purity/cables length. I'm quite confident that this unit is not the bottleneck in my current set up, as any improvement done upstream or downstream always pays in cash. I'm eager to try that 24V LM317T based PSU
I sort of agree w/ the "Bad transport + jitter correction = good transport" statement in that thread, the Tenor chip is nice and all but I'm quite sure that I wouldn't like it so much w/o the WM8804 reclocking in the Bravo. When I hear what it does on a toslink>coax reclocking, I can more or less imagine how bad the Tenor chip would sound on its own. Surely, the Tenor chip in the Burson HA-160D doesn't sound as good as it does in the Bravo. Discrete reclocking is a god send, and that explains why several DAC manufacturers put WM8804 right before the DAC chip.
You can also read "Jitter is one thing, electro magnetic interference is another" in the first page of this thread, couln't agree more...isolation is the motto.
Edited by leeperry - 2/19/11 at 4:00pm