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The Official Beyerdynamic T1 Impressions and Discussion Thread - Page 357

post #5341 of 8225
Quote:
Originally Posted by wisemanja View Post

 

One last item: interpretation is everything! There was a guy on this forum a couple of months ago that had tried upgrading to a much more expensive DAC. He tried using it and switching with his earlier less expensive one, but every time he was getting grain and sibilance with the much more expensive DAC. His earlier one seemed to have a much smoother sound that he liked. He eventually returned the expensive DAC not understanding why so many other folks on the forums liked it.

 

The problem was that he had bad source equipment and recordings. His old DAC was smearing the treble details during playback of his source equipment and giving the illusion of "smoothness" where the newer more expensive DAC was accurately passing all of the micro details from the bad source through. Because the DAC now gave him more details (including sibilance from his source equipment) the SYSTEM sounded trashy and he blamed the DAC. So he went back to a system with no details but smooth sound.

 

The synergy in audio systems frequently precludes "1 piece upgrades" where each upgrade makes things a bit better. In many cases, adding a single higher grade component can make the system sound worst by destroying synergy that was in the original system.

It's maybe why I prefer the DT880 03 over the T1 on some track, but I feel it's the opposite, the DT880 show a bit more in the upper range then the T1 and it allow to ear the texture in the sibilance, the T1 doesn't seem to be as good. 

 

But I can confirm that the dac make the difference, I want from a onboard sound card to a W4S Dac2, and it sound much much better, I think it's one of the best upgrade I have done so far. It's a bit less neutral then my SPL auditor, so it show a bit more bass and it sound more relaxed. Even my pc speaker sound better since they are connected to the dac.

post #5342 of 8225
Quote:

Originally Posted by wisemanja View Post

 

Yep. This is the bain of our hobby confused.gif The trick is to upgrade the weakest link in the chain first, but finding it is the problem. What if when you were checking out all of these DACs you didn't know that the amp you were using was actually masking the differences between all of your DACs even at the same volume?

 

Used a SPL Auditor as AMP and Beyer T1 as headphone for my DACs comparison . Even some "HD tracks" from http://www.2l.no/hires/

 

And before doing this tests i had SPL auditor for 5 months and A-GD NFB-17.2 for 3 months ...

 

So if i didn't hear any difference in my DACs comparison it means that the SPL Auditor is a very colored / not transparent amp that masked differences beetween my tested DACs ? . And the same also for T1 ? 

 

I always thought that SPL Auditor marketed at Studio application was a transparent device , i was wrong according to you redface.gif .

 

No i am not just sensitive to the DAC thing , that's all , peraphs with a heavely colored DAC i would hear it  but , no sorry  ,don't want to spend money in something that i don't have any certitude that it will bring me any improvement .


Edited by HaVoC-28 - 9/1/13 at 6:53pm
post #5343 of 8225
Quote:
Originally Posted by HaVoC-28 View Post

 

Used a SPL Auditor as AMP and Beyer T1 as headphone for my DACs comparison . Even some "HD tracks" from http://www.2l.no/hires/

 

And before doing this tests i had SPL auditor for 5 months and A-GD NFB-17.2 for 3 months ...

 

So if i didn't hear any difference in my DACs comparison it means that the SPL Auditor is a very colored / not transparent amp that masked differences beetween my tested DACs ? . And the same also for T1 ? 

 

I always thought that SPL Auditor marketed at Studio application was a transparent device , i was wrong according to you redface.gif .

 

No i am not just sensitive to the DAC thing , that's all , peraphs with a heavely colored DAC i would hear it  but , no sorry  ,don't want to spend money in something that i don't have any certitude that it will bring me any improvement .

 

I do have an auditor, but I don't know how it compare on a cheaper DAC, the only one I have is the W4S DAC-2. When the auditor was connected to my pc sound card it was not playing as good as now, so I guess a dac can do a difference, since a sound card is a DAC.

post #5344 of 8225
Quote:
Originally Posted by wisemanja View Post

Believe it! A quality digital cable can reduce jitter that is caused by a number of different things. And audible artifacts created from jitter in a decent highly resolving audio system CAN be heard.

Note that the OP didn't hear any tonality type changes (i.e., reduction of bass or changes in presence signatures). Jitter artifacts tend to be just as was described--losses in the openness of the soundstage, loss of micro details, and some smearing of low level and ambience related artifacts.

To Loquah:

I am not familiar with the DAC and sources that you are using, but if you can hear differences in USB cable quality you are likely hearing jitter artifacts. If so, I'll bet that the USB audio transfer mode that you are using is one of the synchronous (a.k.a. "adaptive") modes designed for USB audio support. The asynchronous USB mode defined in the current USB Audio Class 2.0 standard tends to eliminate most cable and source related jitter mainly because it doesn't have to recover its clock from the source (which of course has to pass over the cable). If your DAC supports asynchronous USB audio transfer and your source is set up to use it, you can replace a $500 USB cable with a $0.97 one from Monoprice and you will likely not hear a difference (when running at normal sample rates). If your DAC or source does not support the new asynchronous USB transfer mode, then everything is dependent on how well your DAC rejects jitter, how much jitter is introduced at your source, and how much jitter occurs on the cable. If the jitter is occurring on the cable, upgrading the cable can help. upgrading to a better DAC that has better clock recovery could help too. But going to an Asynchronous USB interface might be the best.

In the event that my supposition above is incorrect, one of the things that can cause jitter getting into the DAC are groundloops, especially if you have noise getting out of a power supply somewhere along the loop. A quick way to test for this would be to use a TOSlink instead of the USB to isolate the grounds of the DAC and source components. Some higher grade digital cables have special shield topographies that can increase the resistance to ground loop currents at high frequencies that can get into the DAC but good ol' fiber can keep them isolated as well and is always a good test.

I've seen where high grade digital cables can help and others where the cheapest cable works just fine. But it all depends on the rest of the system components being used and the environment the equipment is in and what sample rates are being used.

- Jeff

Jeff, I'm using an asynchronous system so not sure why there's an improvement, but it's definitely there. Unfortunately I don't have a source with USB and optical so I can't properly test the 2 inputs as my source device would be different.

I am very wary of derailing an excellent thread with cable debates so, to clarify for people reading this, my point is to try the Chord SilverPlus if you're interested in upgrading your USB (or to see for yourself if it makes any difference) or please completely ignore if you're not interested or don't believe USB can have an impact. Either is fine. :-)
post #5345 of 8225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loquah View Post


Jeff, I'm using an asynchronous system so not sure why there's an improvement, but it's definitely there. Unfortunately I don't have a source with USB and optical so I can't properly test the 2 inputs as my source device would be different.

I am very wary of derailing an excellent thread with cable debates so, to clarify for people reading this, my point is to try the Chord SilverPlus if you're interested in upgrading your USB (or to see for yourself if it makes any difference) or please completely ignore if you're not interested or don't believe USB can have an impact. Either is fine. :-)

Yeah... I did a research on the Chord SilverPlus, they say: "High speed low-loss gas-foamed polyethylene insulation." 

 

Then I did a search on "polyethylene" in wikipedia: "Polyethylene (abbreviated PE) or polythene (IUPAC name polyethene or poly(methylene)) is the most common plastic."

 

...

 

..

 

 

I really don't know what to add... I guess the "gas foamed" is what a foam is: "foam is a substance that is formed by trapping pockets of gas in a liquid or solid."

post #5346 of 8225
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmorneau View Post

I do have an auditor, but I don't know how it compare on a cheaper DAC, the only one I have is the W4S DAC-2. When the auditor was connected to my pc sound card it was not playing as good as now, so I guess a dac can do a difference, since a sound card is a DAC.

 

Erlier i said that i didn't hear difference beetween the DAcs i tested , but i did hear a difference beetwen them AND the computer onboard soundcard ^^

 

DACs can sound different , but i think that well made DACs should tend to the same .

 

Also T1 as a transparent headphone can reveal easely if something is colored in the chain IMO .

post #5347 of 8225
Quote:
Originally Posted by HaVoC-28 View Post

 

Erlier i said that i didn't hear difference beetween the DAcs i tested , but i did hear a difference beetwen them AND the computer onboard soundcard ^^

 

DACs can sound different , but i think that well made DACs should tend to the same .

 

Also T1 as a transparent headphone can reveal easely if something is colored in the chain IMO .

I think the W4S is a bit colored, not much, but a bit warm. I'm really happy with my setup. 

post #5348 of 8225
Quote:
Originally Posted by HaVoC-28 View Post

 

Used a SPL Auditor as AMP and Beyer T1 as headphone for my DACs comparison . Even some "HD tracks" from http://www.2l.no/hires/

 

And before doing this tests i had SPL auditor for 5 months and A-GD NFB-17.2 for 3 months ...

 

So if i didn't hear any difference in my DACs comparison it means that the SPL Auditor is a very colored / not transparent amp that masked differences beetween my tested DACs ? . And the same also for T1 ? 

 

I always thought that SPL Auditor marketed at Studio application was a transparent device , i was wrong according to you redface.gif .

 

No i am not just sensitive to the DAC thing , that's all , peraphs with a heavely colored DAC i would hear it  but , no sorry  ,don't want to spend money in something that i don't have any certitude that it will bring me any improvement .

 

I'm really sorry, I definately didn't mean to imply anything in your particular setup (e.g., the SPL which I have never heard but according to others can be good), my "questions" were more to illustrate a bit how things can become misleading and maybe give some ideas. For example, assuming that you have clean sound coming from your source can mess you up as well sometimes. I have an iMac and normally, even if volume is all the way up and equalizing turned off, the audio data still is funneled through the OS's core audio processing and whatever it is doing there, it still strips micro level details from the recording that I personally would like to keep in the sound. I know for a fact that a digital anti aliasing filter is being applied and it's algorithm may not be that great. It wasn't until I installed BitPerfect which bypasses the core audio software and directly outputs the audio data to the DAC that I got a lot of my dynamics and openness back.

 

As far as being "sensitive" to a particular sonic aspect of the system, it only matters to the extent of what you want and enjoy. You sound like you have a good balance on how you are proceeding based on your understanding of what you like. The main thing to remember is that when you consider "improving" your system, you need to go into it already with a basic understanding of what you want to specifically improve in the sound. Remember that "better" sound is really quite subject to the emotion that you want to get from your music and "improving" you system is frequently just as much an exercise in learning what your own natural thresholds in sonic quality and cost balance are. When you find that you are enjoying the music and there isn't anything really annoying to you about the sound, you are pretty well there!


Edited by wisemanja - 9/2/13 at 9:53am
post #5349 of 8225
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loquah View Post


Jeff, I'm using an asynchronous system so not sure why there's an improvement, but it's definitely there. Unfortunately I don't have a source with USB and optical so I can't properly test the 2 inputs as my source device would be different.

I am very wary of derailing an excellent thread with cable debates so, to clarify for people reading this, my point is to try the Chord SilverPlus if you're interested in upgrading your USB (or to see for yourself if it makes any difference) or please completely ignore if you're not interested or don't believe USB can have an impact. Either is fine. :-)

 

Good point about thread deviations. Moderator please inform is this is too far askew. Thanks

 

So maybe not the obvious. Some folks have had the USB async capabilities but not configured completely correct. For example, I believe when using WASAPI on a PC, the "Event Driven" setting is necessary to allow the async mechanism of the USB driver to function. If it is set to "Push", the USB driver may try to operate in a USB synchronous mode, so make sure any potential configurations are set up on your source correctly.

 

Mis-direction in audio systems is a real problem. For example, with the T1 headphones, they have a character that if they are fed a signal with grain or sibilance in a particular frequency range, they will totally reveal it and even exacerbate it. That's the fact. Obviously changing the headphones might be one fix, but we all know how tricky that is and when phones like like the T1 do so many thing as well as they do, finding a replacement that also does all the good stuff can be difficult if not impossible. Going to a very clean amp and/or one that doesn't produce odd harmonics easily (e.g., tubes) can solve the problem as well and usually provides a wider range of choices.

 

This type of confusion can exist with digital equipment, especially in systems that are using separate components (e.g., external DAC). For example, a common problem with DACs is that the digital "hash" from the clocks and other digital signals can get out of the DAC's box by way of the power cord and using that cord as a type of antenna, will radiate this digital noise in the immediate vicinity of that power cord. In spite of interconnect shielding, this Radio Frequency noise can frequently get into the input of amplifiers of the system. Although the hash is way above audible frequencies, they typically will fall into non-linear sections of the amplifier, and as a result their intermodulation distortion drops into the audio range. Thus we have audible distortion.

 

So the problem is really the amplifier that has non-linearities in the RF region, but simply changing the power cord on the DAC to one that has a shield stops the problem. This shielded power cord only needs to be a couple of feet long to get the hash radiation far enough away from the interconnects and amplifiers of the system. So a power cord change appears to fix the problem which is really an engineering problem in the amp at the other end of the system. Who'da thunk.

 

Note, this is all just thoughts I have based on experiences I've had in the past, but it serves to show how you don't want to over simplify these issue. For all we know, your issue could be in part signal getting OUT of the USB cable and getting into surrounding equipment (and as we discussed before you could have ground loop noise)

 

Try re-arranging your cords so that the USB cable and power cords are away from your amp and its interconnects as much as possible and make sure that your interconnects have good solid shield connections to the amp. That's the only other thing that I can think of at present.

post #5350 of 8225
Quote:
Originally Posted by wisemanja View Post

 

Good point about thread deviations. Moderator please inform is this is too far askew. Thanks

 

So maybe not the obvious. Some folks have had the USB async capabilities but not configured completely correct. For example, I believe when using WASAPI on a PC, the "Event Driven" setting is necessary to allow the async mechanism of the USB driver to function. If it is set to "Push", the USB driver may try to operate in a USB synchronous mode, so make sure any potential configurations are set up on your source correctly.

 

Mis-direction in audio systems is a real problem. For example, with the T1 headphones, they have a character that if they are fed a signal with grain or sibilance in a particular frequency range, they will totally reveal it and even exacerbate it. That's the fact. Obviously changing the headphones might be one fix, but we all know how tricky that is and when phones like like the T1 do so many thing as well as they do, finding a replacement that also does all the good stuff can be difficult if not impossible. Going to a very clean amp and/or one that doesn't produce odd harmonics easily (e.g., tubes) can solve the problem as well and usually provides a wider range of choices.

 

This type of confusion can exist with digital equipment, especially in systems that are using separate components (e.g., external DAC). For example, a common problem with DACs is that the digital "hash" from the clocks and other digital signals can get out of the DAC's box by way of the power cord and using that cord as a type of antenna, will radiate this digital noise in the immediate vicinity of that power cord. In spite of interconnect shielding, this Radio Frequency noise can frequently get into the input of amplifiers of the system. Although the hash is way above audible frequencies, they typically will fall into non-linear sections of the amplifier, and as a result their intermodulation distortion drops into the audio range. Thus we have audible distortion.

 

So the problem is really the amplifier that has non-linearities in the RF region, but simply changing the power cord on the DAC to one that has a shield stops the problem. This shielded power cord only needs to be a couple of feet long to get the hash radiation far enough away from the interconnects and amplifiers of the system. So a power cord change appears to fix the problem which is really an engineering problem in the amp at the other end of the system. Who'da thunk.

 

Note, this is all just thoughts I have based on experiences I've had in the past, but it serves to show how you don't want to over simplify these issue. For all we know, your issue could be in part signal getting OUT of the USB cable and getting into surrounding equipment (and as we discussed before you could have ground loop noise)

 

Try re-arranging your cords so that the USB cable and power cords are away from your amp and its interconnects as much as possible and make sure that your interconnects have good solid shield connections to the amp. That's the only other thing that I can think of at present.

Balanced connection are not made to avoid that particular issue? I'm connected in XLR between my dac and my amp.

post #5351 of 8225
Im no scientist, but the theory behind expensive USB is, from a technical standpoint, and from what I know, bogus.

USB, and all other digital transfers, solely transfer digital binary code, ones and zeroes. Unless your cable is destroyed, those ones and zeroes should still be ones and zeroes I believe,

I could be totally wrong but that's what I understand
post #5352 of 8225
Quote:
Originally Posted by DutchGFX View Post

Im no scientist, but the theory behind expensive USB is, from a technical standpoint, and from what I know, bogus.

USB, and all other digital transfers, solely transfer digital binary code, ones and zeroes. Unless your cable is destroyed, those ones and zeroes should still be ones and zeroes I believe,

I could be totally wrong but that's what I understand

+1, i fully agree. This can also be proven on a spectrum analyzer. Take ANY two USB cables and compare the output signal fed from the same signal on a spectrum analyzer and you will not be able to discern any difference. Snake oil. Oh...and WWF wrestling is also fake btw.
post #5353 of 8225
Quote:
Originally Posted by DutchGFX View Post

Im no scientist, but the theory behind expensive USB is, from a technical standpoint, and from what I know, bogus.

USB, and all other digital transfers, solely transfer digital binary code, ones and zeroes. Unless your cable is destroyed, those ones and zeroes should still be ones and zeroes I believe,

I could be totally wrong but that's what I understand

Yeah it's a pretty sticky subject. One thing i do know is that in the past i tried several different HDMI cables, ranging from $5 to $300. If you look at your HDTV on a black background closely, you'll see very tiny specs moving around, usually green. These are all errors and there's thousands of them. The more expensive cables actually eliminated much of it, thus the black was blacker and pictures appeared more focused. Granted, we're talking gigahertz of bandwidth in a tight tolerance cable, so I don't know if the same holds true for audio. I'm on the fence about it personally.

post #5354 of 8225
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmorneau View Post

Balanced connection are not made to avoid that particular issue? I'm connected in XLR between my dac and my amp.

Yes, the balanced can help, but when you start getting into very high RF type frequencies, they can still get into other things. That's why in some cases you really need shielded balanced cables to get the best rejection. Balanced cables can get a bit dicey in other areas too. It used to be that the shield on a balanced cable (e.g., XLR-3) was a separate chassis connection. most equipment now that doesn't have a ground lift just shorts the shield and signal common together. Keeping RF out of the system can be a trick if something in your system is sensitive to it.

 

It's sometimes a matter of neatness. If you have separate left and right channel interconnects that are laying down with a big gap between them, you have created a "Loop antenna" with their shields. If you have a good Radio frequency source near them (e.g., a DAC radiating hash off its power cord or a poor digital cable), loop currents can flow in the shields. These are all minuscule but can add up to make subtle effects on what you can hear.


Edited by wisemanja - 9/3/13 at 10:20am
post #5355 of 8225
Quote:
Originally Posted by DutchGFX View Post

Im no scientist, but the theory behind expensive USB is, from a technical standpoint, and from what I know, bogus.

USB, and all other digital transfers, solely transfer digital binary code, ones and zeroes. Unless your cable is destroyed, those ones and zeroes should still be ones and zeroes I believe,

I could be totally wrong but that's what I understand

When you are talking about USB synchronous transfer, the problems are really all the same as the problems you get with S/PDIF protocols such as TOSlink, AES/EBU, or the digital coax interfaces. Asynchronous USB transport does get around some of these problems *If* your equipment has that capability. But consider the following:

 

The transfer of "ones and zeros" is an oversimplification of what physically must occur to convey data and typically is not understood by many. All information transfer is analog. Digital data is transferred in an analog format and therefore is still subject to some (although fewer) analog problems.

 

For example, on a wire that is sending a voltage between 0 and 5 volts, what voltage would constitute a "0"? 0 volts for sure but what about 0.1 volts or 0.2 volts? Noise does occur on digital lines. And what would be a "1"? Well 5.0 volts for sure but the further down the line you get, that signal degrades. If you saw a value of 0.5 volts, would you consider it a "0" or a "1"? Noise on the line can knock a signal up or down. And when do you look at the line to "read" the bit value? In the middle, the end, or the begining? How do you even know where any of these are when the waveform of the bit is distorted due to noise, cable length, and loss of required harmonics?

 

If a bit is knocked out or a block of bits is hit, most digital protocols have error correction and parity detection to deal with it. If a receiver gets a section of data that is marked as containing bad information, it can request the transmitter to re-send it. This allows computer data to be transferred with exact precision.

 

That is "computer data". Audio data is quite a different story. Audio data is all "real time". In general bits coming in must be EXACTLY in the time slot they are expected. Let's go back to the voltage on a wire discussion above.

 

In our example, when a bit stream is sent out on the wire, it is basically a stream of squared off waveforms (i.e., step functions) with a value of either 0 or 5 volts. A Fourier analysis of a step function shows that you have to have all of the odd harmonic frequencies of the base in order to keep the step function "sharp" (i.e., for the square wave to look like a square wave). If you start losing those harmonics, the square wave begins to distort into a rounded off waveform. Once that is gone it is hard to know where the "beginning" of the bit is. So here's a little math:

 

If you are transferring a 24/196kHz audio file over a digital cable, that is a total bit frequency of 24 * 196kHz = 4.7 megabits per second. In order to maintain a decent signal waveform lets limit the number of odd harmonics to support to about 5. This takes you to the 11th harmonic of 4.7 mHz which is around 52mHz. Your cable has to pass 52mHz just to maintain the bulk of the waveform. If you are trying to transfer computer data, this is not necessary. Even if the waveform is totally rounded off by losses in the cable, the computer just looks for the middle of the bit's signal to determine if it is a "0" or "1" and if it reads wrong, it uses error correction techniques to fix it. A normal 12mHz USB cable would be sufficient for that computer data.

 

However, since audio data is real time, you can't be requesting re-transmission of data (no time to do it) when hits occur so the cable needs to be uber-shielded and the DAC has to have some other scheme to eliminate bit erros. Also using the 12mHz USB cable you barely get the first odd harmonic (4.7mHz * 3 = 14.1mHz) of the 5 that you need for prober bit positioning. Since the re-clocking of data is based on when the bits are detected, and since each bit is significantly rounded off and distorted without those odd harmonics, the clock has to continually re-adjust when the bits are fed into the DAC for conversion. This constant jumping around of the clock positioning of bits is called jitter and the effects of jitter in the data conversion can be heard, especially on highly resolving amps and transducers.

 

So in summary, even though the USB standard can be used for errorless data transfer of computer data (assuming that proper error checking and correction is used), under many circumstances USB cables with a much higher bandwidth and noise rejection than that required by the USB standard will improve audio data transfer (less jitter) and reduce data hits (less noise). How much of those benefits that you see on your system is dependent on many other issues, of course.

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