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New Audiolab DAC - Page 17

post #241 of 851

How would this Dac compare to the PS Audio Digital Link 3?

same price range, so worthy comparison.

 

Considering a woo audio + audiolab m-dac combo

post #242 of 851

Quote:

Originally Posted by 9VARZ View Post

Spent nearly half a day with the MDAC (and a fortnight before that running it in)....

 

Everything was too loud, I got hard clipped on most of my tunes (both CD quality and high-rez stuff), the soundstage narrowed to silly levels and the bass was too overpowering to the point of clipping wildly (almost Big Bad Wolf levels of bad, if you know what I mean). Timbrally, a lot of notes and textures seemed to have lost a lot of detail and accuracy in the insane levels of distortion (I mean, really? boxy sounds on HEADPHONES??).

...


9VARZ, can you recall what level of attenuation you were using on the M-DAC?

I have re-read your post and responses and can't see it mentioned anywhere.

The symptom sounds a lot like loss of resolution through excessive digital attenuation.

perhaps your original (favourable) audition had much less attenuation, due to a different setup?

It will be very non-optimal to use a lot of digital attenuation in a sensitive system.

 


Edited by murrays - 1/4/12 at 5:04pm
post #243 of 851

A few days ago I managed to get an audition with the M-DAC USB, but wasn't floored by the SQ of it, lacking in some areas. BUT bear these in mind. Would these things have an affect on the sound quality?

 

1. Everything was being upsampled by the stupid windows 7 audio to 24/96 from normal redbook CD flac. i.e. there was not a direct audio stream to the M-DAC and there was processing being done between the PC and M-DAC. 

2. No WASAPI/ASIO drivers. resulted in the above, and possibly would have offered improved SQ?

3. Am coming from a Fiio E7/E9 combo, which is on the bright side and is substantially forward sounding. So a few areas would have contrasted (in a bad way) to what I'm used to.

 

Maybe I just need an extended period to evaluate the M-DAC?

post #244 of 851

Question, why was there upsampling? Windows 7 doesn't do this natively AFAIK. Btw, i don't know what player you're using, but there's always JRMC/foobar/insert 'audiophile-approved' player.

 

there is wasapi on windows 7.

 

What was the setup? pc->usb to mdac-> headphones?

 

How much digital attenuation were you using? Some people claim that the digital attenuation, if applied sparingly, doesn't do much harm. But i think most people are using too much attenuation. Most reports i've read, people are using in the -20 to -30 dB range. That is way too much. If you're using that much attenuation or more, the sound will be pretty meh. Very thin sound, bass-light comes to mind.

 

And i'm guessing that's also the reason why john westlake is coming out with the PSU with fixed analog attenuation levels, to minimize the deleterious effects of excessive digital attenuation.

 

 

post #245 of 851

Even without bitperfect setup in win7, it should still sound very good. Yes, perhaps you used to forward and bright sound which little people could listen to for extended period. In this case try using itune as source, it will sound more forward then a proper bit perfect setup, at least I find this in my system.

 

To get bitperfect, suggest use asio4all with foobar and it will get exclusive use of MDAC while you play music with foobar.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrHouse View Post

A few days ago I managed to get an audition with the M-DAC USB, but wasn't floored by the SQ of it, lacking in some areas. BUT bear these in mind. Would these things have an affect on the sound quality?

 

1. Everything was being upsampled by the stupid windows 7 audio to 24/96 from normal redbook CD flac. i.e. there was not a direct audio stream to the M-DAC and there was processing being done between the PC and M-DAC. 

2. No WASAPI/ASIO drivers. resulted in the above, and possibly would have offered improved SQ?

3. Am coming from a Fiio E7/E9 combo, which is on the bright side and is substantially forward sounding. So a few areas would have contrasted (in a bad way) to what I'm used to.

 

Maybe I just need an extended period to evaluate the M-DAC?



 

post #246 of 851


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sorue View Post

Question, why was there upsampling? Windows 7 doesn't do this natively AFAIK. Btw, i don't know what player you're using, but there's always JRMC/foobar/insert 'audiophile-approved' player.

 

there is wasapi on windows 7.

 

What was the setup? pc->usb to mdac-> headphones?

 

How much digital attenuation were you using? Some people claim that the digital attenuation, if applied sparingly, doesn't do much harm. But i think most people are using too much attenuation. Most reports i've read, people are using in the -20 to -30 dB range. That is way too much. If you're using that much attenuation or more, the sound will be pretty meh. Very thin sound, bass-light comes to mind.

 

And i'm guessing that's also the reason why john westlake is coming out with the PSU with fixed analog attenuation levels, to minimize the deleterious effects of excessive digital attenuation.

 

 

Im using foobar2000, and I only say this because all of my redbook audio was supposedly being played (according to the M-DAC) at 24/96. When I used the store PC, it displayed it at 24/44.1, which at least showed some change in the right direction.

And yes, that was the setup.

Incidentally, the user manual advises using WASAPI with USB and shoes you how to connect WASAPI with foobar.

 

And I had no idea about digital attenuation, where can that be changed?

I would buy that PSU.
 

 

post #247 of 851
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mavwong View Post

Even without bitperfect setup in win7, it should still sound very good. Yes, perhaps you used to forward and bright sound which little people could listen to for extended period. In this case try using itune as source, it will sound more forward then a proper bit perfect setup, at least I find this in my system.

 

To get bitperfect, suggest use asio4all with foobar and it will get exclusive use of MDAC while you play music with foobar.

 


 



 

My issue was a slightly thin sounding item that was lacking in some dynamic. Then again, when I got back to my current kit, it felt overly bombastic and had the smaller soundstage as a result.
 

 

post #248 of 851
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrHouse View Post


 

Im using foobar2000, and I only say this because all of my redbook audio was supposedly being played (according to the M-DAC) at 24/96. When I used the store PC, it displayed it at 24/44.1, which at least showed some change in the right direction.

And yes, that was the setup.

Incidentally, the user manual advises using WASAPI with USB and shoes you how to connect WASAPI with foobar.

 

And I had no idea about digital attenuation, where can that be changed?

I would buy that PSU.
 

 


Play around with your foobar settings. I don't use foobar so i can't guide you along the right path. But that upsampling (not to be confused with oversampling) is something you don't want and it can seriously mess up your sound, especially when it's done via software. Is it still possible for you to have the MDAC for a longer trial period?

 

post #249 of 851
Quote:
Originally Posted by sorue View Post


Play around with your foobar settings. I don't use foobar so i can't guide you along the right path. But that upsampling (not to be confused with oversampling) is something you don't want and it can seriously mess up your sound, especially when it's done via software. Is it still possible for you to have the MDAC for a longer trial period?

 



Do you know how  to check on windows 7 for the sampling rate? Otherwise I have no idea if what I'm doing is changing anything.

 

I COULD rebook a demo slot, but time is not plentiful atm and the store isn't exactly nearby.

I might just take the plunge and hope that with these changes the SQ improves to what I heard...

post #250 of 851

Ya if you like a forward sound then it doesn't matter what connection you use as the M-DAC just isn't that. Having a thin sound is something a few people have said so maybe it's just not for you. 

 

I use pure music on OS X so I can't really chime in with all the foobar talk but I do hope you figure it out. You have to be sure to use Amarra, pure music, WASAPI etc otherwise it will butcher the sound. OK maybe butcher is a little harsh as I don't always use bit perfect software yet it still sounds really good.

 

I think for Windows there's WASAPI and an alternative ASIO. Maybe try that instead and see what's up. If you have a mac download the trial version of Amarra or Pure music to test it out. If I were you I'd figure that all out and book another demo just in case. 

 

post #251 of 851
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepaphobic View Post

Ya if you like a forward sound then it doesn't matter what connection you use as the M-DAC just isn't that. Having a thin sound is something a few people have said so maybe it's just not for you. 

 

I use pure music on OS X so I can't really chime in with all the foobar talk but I do hope you figure it out. You have to be sure to use Amarra, pure music, WASAPI etc otherwise it will butcher the sound. OK maybe butcher is a little harsh as I don't always use bit perfect software yet it still sounds really good.

 

I think for Windows there's WASAPI and an alternative ASIO. Maybe try that instead and see what's up. If you have a mac download the trial version of Amarra or Pure music to test it out. If I were you I'd figure that all out and book another demo just in case. 

 


It's not necessarily that I like a forward sound, it's more that it's the sound sig of my current (and first) system, and all I've ever been used to. I did appreciate the substantially larger soundstage of the M-DAC. I mean, my HD 650 is awesome and thats certainly not forward.
Once I pair it with the right amp it should alleviate some of these problems. I've got a feeling my source material was not consistently up to par.
Like I also said, I think getting used to it is part of it as well.
what have people found to be the best filter to use? Any other feedback?
How do I change the digital attenuation as mentioned previously?
post #252 of 851

Optimal Spectrum and Optimal Transient are what I'm using but who knows you may like something else. Those 2 are a good place to start though. If you are using the HD 650 then IMO the built in amp works pretty well unless you like your music really loud. Of course a separate amp (I have the Graham Slee Solo SRG II) is a little better but I could live without it while pocketing the extra cash. That's just me of course, somebody else may hear a big enough difference to keep their amp. I'm guessing you didn't really like the built in amp if you want to get another one right?

 

I just got my LCD-2 and unlike a previous post I believe the built in amp is NOT great at driving them. I plugged them into my Slee and now they sound much better and I don't think that's even a good match. This is coming from somebody who really didn't think amps below 1K really made that much of a difference but now I see they absolutely can. 

 

I have 0 clue about the digital attenuation and would like to know what's up with that as well.

post #253 of 851
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepaphobic View Post

Optimal Spectrum and Optimal Transient are what I'm using but who knows you may like something else. Those 2 are a good place to start though. If you are using the HD 650 then IMO the built in amp works pretty well unless you like your music really loud. Of course a separate amp (I have the Graham Slee Solo SRG II) is a little better but I could live without it while pocketing the extra cash. That's just me of course, somebody else may hear a big enough difference to keep their amp. I'm guessing you didn't really like the built in amp if you want to get another one right?

 

I just got my LCD-2 and unlike a previous post I believe the built in amp is NOT great at driving them. I plugged them into my Slee and now they sound much better and I don't think that's even a good match. This is coming from somebody who really didn't think amps below 1K really made that much of a difference but now I see they absolutely can. 

 

I have 0 clue about the digital attenuation and would like to know what's up with that as well.


Sleepaphobic, coincidentally I was planning on the eventual purchase of of Graham Slee Solo too, except the recent UL version. Considering you this exact combo (including the hd650) can u comment on it's viability as a combo with this DAC? maybe better options? 

 

post #254 of 851

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sleepaphobic View Post

[ ... ]

 

I have 0 clue about the digital attenuation and would like to know what's up with that as well.


This DAC's built-in volume control attenuates the signal in the digital domain by scaling the digital signal.  Full volume (i.e. zero dB) should retain full resolution.  The more you attenuate the signal the more resolution is lost.  Small amounts are OK, but a point is reached where the signal will become noticeably distorted.  This is due to the reduced "bit resolution" by the digital scaling.  This DAC uses an internal resolution of 32 bits, so attenuating by -48dB would reduce it to about 24 bits, but every -6dB loses another bit (approximately)of resolution and also drives the analog output closer to the noise floor.

The worst case scenario would be using heaps of digital attenuation to counter an excess of gain in, say, the amplifier.  The signal would first be attenuated (and distorted) too much at the DAC outputs, then all that noise and distortion would be magnified by the high-gain amplifier.  This shows up the importance of correct matching of components in the audio chain, as well as matching signal levels for best performance. 

If you are using this DAC as a "one-box solution" for headphone listening (i.e. DAC and amp) and you have particularly sensitive headphones, then you may find that you have to use too much digital attenuation all the time.

As I understand it, you can configure this DAC to operate at full output levels (like a normal DAC) without using it's digital attenuator.  This could then be fed into a normal amplifier which has an analogue attenuator (volume control) that may give a more balanced solution (YMMV).  It is good that you have the option to use it either way, so you can discover what works best for you.

 

post #255 of 851

I'm finding it hard waiting for my preorder for the DAC - so i should buy other stuff while i wait :)

 

I'm going to use it with my PC.

I'm using a denon H7000 for headphones.

But what about speakers? This is at my desk - so bookshelf speakers

(My main speaker setup is with the htpc and those are klipsih RF-7... i don't need to spend any more $$$ on main speakers. Only on audio stuff does one feel cheap when spending a ton of money :) )

Suggestion for desktop speakers? I was thinking maybe the PSB Imagine Mini? *shrug*

Do I need an amp or is the Audiolab M-DAC amp enough? I keep looking @ the miniwatt N3 because it looks cool.. but that is a silly reason :)

suggestions for an amp? (for using the headphones or speaker)

 

I'll be using for music and a lot of gaming :) (i'm buying 5 ati 7970s on monday.. 2 for the htpc and 3 for this gaming box)

 

Thanks!


Edited by Zurv - 1/6/12 at 7:07pm
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