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post #301 of 370

The push isn't against AGD but people with skin in the game trying to defend their purchases against anything not glowing.

post #302 of 370

I haven´t seen much of that in this thread. It´s been suprisingly fair and balanced actually (no Fox reference intended!). Either way, there are plenty of good choices in the DAC market these days. Impressions are always subjective - there´s been everything from complete praise to lukewarm reactions in this thread. And all of those impressions are valuable. That´s how it usually should go with any semi-expensive DAC :)

 

EDIT: this is pretty off topic, but if you ask me, the undisputed king of the phenomenon you described is the LCD-2 on these forums.

post #303 of 370

Recently, it's taken over the high-end forum, but I'm not sure about all-time king. =)

That would be a tough one to guess.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vrln View Post

EDIT: this is pretty off topic, but if you ask me, the undisputed king of the phenomenon you described is the LCD-2 on these forums.

post #304 of 370

Headphones are a bit different though because the changes are much more drastic.

 

If you hear a certain way with certain headphones, a change via a DAC should be reflected pretty evenly through all your gear - although we hear differently.

 

So while headphones can be extremely polarizing due to different ears and different tastes, DACs are going to pump out the same thing through each headphone.

 

So telling someone "you are used to boosted treble" in the case of the LCD-2 is fundamentally different than telling someone "You need a better transport/cables". There are lots of conversation you can have with headphones, and why people like what they do that doesn't really touch , or nearly as much, DACs and Amps. I know a lot of people are going to talk about the importance of system matching and you have a point and I am not refuting it. I am just pointing out you simply do not (fact) have the kind of change sonically that different headphones provide with any other piece of your kit.

 

Maybe I am missing the point but I don't think both events are that related besides the fact a lot of people care a lot about what other people think of their gear.

 

At any rate, I think the thread is healthier with not everyone loving it... we would look like some sort of cult otherwise.
 

post #305 of 370

LCD2 is really, really good at the price it commends and several long-time users whose ears I trust have been enjoying it around here for quite a while. Reference 7 is not as popular yet in that crowd but thanks to Amos, this loaner program already helps me tons on what to expect sounds-wise with this DAC. 

 

post #306 of 370

 

Quote:
So telling someone "you are used to boosted treble" in the case of the LCD-2 is fundamentally different than telling someone "You need a better transport/cables".

You are right with this statement but it is the opposit of what you actually ment. Normaly boosting trebles is just a coloration and provides no additional "distortion" to the signal. Your ears can adjust to that. If the headphone does this to much, has resonances, is not linear in its frequency response or has high distotion, it is not good, no matter what the price was. You need a base quality, where things are right, that is what I know from speakers.

A bad digital signal will produce an unnatural sound. And no matter how good or bad the speaker is, they will at best mask your bad source. If you have good base quality speakers, you will be surprised how far you can get with good electronics. And my experience is, that one major problem of the "digital" sound, is the quality of the source.

A nice experiment to test the quality of your source: Record a Vinyl LP with your computer and play the record through your digital system. If it still sounds like vinyl, your system is good. If not, there is something wrong.

I don't give much about cables. But the important one is the digital cable (and maybe the power cables). But even this should not cost more than 50€. Even a normal rg59 can be better than a so called high end cable. Also the other cables should be chosen right but it is more a matter of taste.

post #307 of 370

So to sum up, good gear sounds good; bad gear sounds bad.

post #308 of 370

And both of those terms are subjective.

post #309 of 370
Quote:
Originally Posted by flecko View Post

 

You are right with this statement but it is the opposit of what you actually ment. Normaly boosting trebles is just a coloration and provides no additional "distortion" to the signal. Your ears can adjust to that. If the headphone does this to much, has resonances, is not linear in its frequency response or has high distotion, it is not good, no matter what the price was. You need a base quality, where things are right, that is what I know from speakers.

A bad digital signal will produce an unnatural sound. And no matter how good or bad the speaker is, they will at best mask your bad source. If you have good base quality speakers, you will be surprised how far you can get with good electronics. And my experience is, that one major problem of the "digital" sound, is the quality of the source.

A nice experiment to test the quality of your source: Record a Vinyl LP with your computer and play the record through your digital system. If it still sounds like vinyl, your system is good. If not, there is something wrong.

I don't give much about cables. But the important one is the digital cable (and maybe the power cables). But even this should not cost more than 50€. Even a normal rg59 can be better than a so called high end cable. Also the other cables should be chosen right but it is more a matter of taste.

 

There is no issue with digital sound... There are people who take issue to its purity and wide bandwith. Vinyl by all metrics is fundamentally worse but some people prefer it. Ok good -got that cleared up.

 

Now, the person was stating they weren't hearing a difference with a DAC, so why would the transport have anything to do with it? He is feeding the same transport to all his DACs when testing so it is a constant variable. Seems to me like his impressions are very fair. Perhaps a better transport would cause him to distinguish it from his other DACs but it would also change his other DACs and still doesn't guarantee a change.It is a pretty weak assumption to base your entire argument off and trying to devalue the validity of his posts.

 

Also, by your logic, wouldn't the more revealing DAC be more critical of lesser upstream components than cheaper DACs? Therefore, by your logic, the Ref - 7 should hypothetically sound WORSE than his other DACs and not better if we assume his transport is to blame. Yet, he does not hear a difference even though he should be hearing a higher purity version of a "bad transport" which in turn should sound worse than a lesser purity of bad.

 

And to be perfectly honest, you have no way of justifying that you yourself actually hear these differences in transports/cables/etc -rather you believe they are there.  And you can play the jitter card if you like, but the Ref - 7 reclocks everything to 50ps jitter if I am not mistaken.

 

If you are interested in audio tests, there are many out there that are much more telling than your LP test above, and they have far less variables to consider for causation of results. There are many ABX comparators available online with varying difficulty and if you have a DAC you can go crazy with them - swapping gear in and out.

post #310 of 370

 

 

Quote:
So to sum up, good gear sounds good; bad gear sounds bad.

Quote:

And both of those terms are subjective.

Yes, you are right. It is very subjective. But there is a point where you can distinguis the good from the bad. At least I do beleave you can, if you know for what you have to look in the sound and you have a system that is right. You also got to know its weakspots. That is what I said, it is not as easy like just dropping the new DAC in and it is fine. Even if the new DAC is better, maybe there is something that prevents it from performing at its level. That is nothing you can blame the DAC for. Maybe there is something wrong in your system and you never realized it before, because your old stuff didn't showed the weakspot. I made the experience more than one time. And again, I don't say this must be the case here but it could.

 

Quote:
Now, the person was stating they weren't hearing a difference with a DAC, so why would the transport have anything to do with it? He is feeding the same transport to all his DACs when testing so it is a constant variable. Seems to me like his impressions are very fair. Perhaps a better transport would cause him to distinguish it from his other DACs but it would also change his other DACs and still doesn't guarantee a change.It is a pretty weak assumption to base your entire argument off and trying to devalue the validity of his posts.

First, I do not devalue his post. I trust his judgement and think it was a fair and honest post. Read what I wrote. I said "could be" the cause, not is devenitly the cause. I think this leaves enough room for discussions.

Yes, of course it is not said, that if a better transport is used, the result will change. It just could be the cause for the more or less same sound he found. Normaly, you would expect a different sound from DACs made that different. I mean a modified Tube DAC with DeltaSigma converter and a discrete transistor based R2R DAC should not sound the same, don't they?

 

Quote:
Also, by your logic, wouldn't the more revealing DAC be more critical of lesser upstream components than cheaper DACs? Therefore, by your logic, the Ref - 7 should hypothetically sound WORSE than his other DACs and not better if we assume his transport is to blame. Yet, he does not hear a difference even though he should be hearing a higher purity version of a "bad transport" which in turn should sound worse than a lesser purity of bad.

It could be. I had a PCM1704 DAC before and found it very sensitv to the source. It can get nasty but connected to a good source, it can show what is really on the record. But if after the DAC comes a "masking" preamp/amp you will not hear it.

 

 

Quote:
And to be perfectly honest, you have no way of justifying that you yourself actually hear these differences in transports/cables/etc -rather you believe they are there.  And you can play the jitter card if you like, but the Ref - 7 reclocks everything to 50ps jitter if I am not mistaken.

It is my point of view.

 

 

Quote:
If you are interested in audio tests, there are many out there that are much more telling than your LP test above, and they have far less variables to consider for causation of results. There are many ABX comparators available online with varying difficulty and if you have a DAC you can go crazy with them - swapping gear in and out.

You don't need to do it.


Edited by flecko - 2/16/11 at 4:00pm
post #311 of 370

Most gear or rigs are flawed or suffer from some weakness.  Some of these weaknesses are endearing, others infuriating.  I think the best rig is the one with the flaws you like the best.  Sort of like a spouse.

post #312 of 370

Yes. If you like to hear some music and you just want to enjoy it, it is more a matter of taste. If you like a real representation it is not that easy, because things that sound nice, doesn't necessarily sound right. Just as an example, a modest priced tube amp will sound nice. It will please a lot of people. But does it sound right? For me the reference is the real instrument. And to image the real instrument, a system must can sound nasty and nice. A cymbal can sound very hard, also a snare. With some nice sounding gear, this will sound nice too, wich it shouldn't. A piano is a more nice sounding instrument. So, if a system give you the hard and agressive sound of a drumset and give you the full and rich sound of a piano, it is a very good system. But this is very hard to achieve and it is even harder to get there, if you just look for what pleases your ears most.

post #313 of 370
Quote:
Originally Posted by flecko View Post

Yes. If you like to hear some music and you just want to enjoy it, it is more a matter of taste. If you like a real representation it is not that easy, because things that sound nice, doesn't necessarily sound right. Just as an example, a modest priced tube amp will sound nice. It will please a lot of people. But does it sound right? For me the reference is the real instrument. And to image the real instrument, a system must can sound nasty and nice. A cymbal can sound very hard, also a snare. With some nice sounding gear, this will sound nice too, wich it shouldn't. A piano is a more nice sounding instrument. So, if a system give you the hard and agressive sound of a drumset and give you the full and rich sound of a piano, it is a very good system. But this is very hard to achieve and it is even harder to get there, if you just look for what pleases your ears most.

 

 

I agree that impressive is not always a good thing right off the bat... lots of time when you go "wow" in the first few listening sessions, there is a colouration at work.

 

That being said, we are not engaging in pagan spells when it comes to audio. I would say any system that struggles with a significant chunk of the bass, mids, or treble is not very good period. Piano is indeed a good benchmark because it spans a huge bandwith so chances are if your piano sounds good, most other things will too. Drums are not bad either. However I would estimate a good 90-95% of this is based on the speakers/headphones and the rest is purely complementary.

 

I do wonder what experience you have with instruments though in order to know what they really sound like? you don't see most musicians fussing like this over their system yet they can probably pick out more things than many here, kind of funny how fussy we head-fiers can be.

post #314 of 370

Imo, if you are like me and don't have a lot of experience with instruments or don't care to listen too critically for faithfulness, the best thing in judging audio gear is movies. You may not know exactly how instruments should sound, but everybody should know how voices and the multitude of sound effects (even if artificially produced) in movies ought to be like. I may be wrong, but I believe when your audio gear is extremely neutral, the sound just really clicks with what your eyes see on the tv screen, sound effects sound real, and actors seem less artificial, and more human, and with the visual stimuli it is much easier to be transported to the recorded event than if you didn't have the visual accompaniment to keep your imagination from drifting away from what was recorded.

post #315 of 370

 

Quote:
However I would estimate a good 90-95% of this is based on the speakers/headphones and the rest is purely complementary.

We can argue about that but I just want to give my estimation in "How much money would I spend on the setup". Now it depends on, if you build your speakers yourself or buy them. Mine cost about 600€ what is realy not much money for a pair of speakers. But I put a lot of effort in building them and I know what to do to make them sound good. So, say you would buy speakers like this for 2000-3000€. Now when it comes to electronics, with china it has become much more affordable. If you buy clever I would say: 1000€ Power amp, 1000€ Preamp, 1000€ Transport 1500€ DAC. So the sum would be 4500€ for the electronics and 2000-3000€ for the speakers. That is how I would buy. So you can say 1/3 is the Speaker and 2/3 is the electronic setup.

 

 

Quote:
I do wonder what experience you have with instruments though in order to know what they really sound like? you don't see most musicians fussing like this over their system yet they can probably pick out more things than many here, kind of funny how fussy we head-fiers can be.

I play differnt sorts of guitars. Electric, akoustik and concert guitar. Also played 2 years piano but as I can not have one in my apartment, I can not do it anymore (I refuse to use something like a stage piano ;) ) I play in a band and do al this for about 15 years. Also going to concerts of classical music, jazz and rock music are occasions where I get my reference sounds from.

 

Using movies is an funny idea I never thought of. I think electronic sounds are good, if you like to hear if "everything is there". Like bass or highs. But to test things like transports, my experience is that hand made, unamplified music works best.

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