Look at Weiss DAC202's or Ayre QB9's interior. In DAC-s design > complexity.
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I understand that, but a Reference 7 isn't complex for the sake of being complex. If anything I would expect a Western dac to try and pull something like that more than a bang-for-the-buck/performance company like Audio-gd (and some others). And you'd have a hard time convincing very many perople that Kingwa doesn't put 'design' (implementation) front and center in ALL of his products.
I hope I'm not coming across as an AGD apologist here, it's just that some of these new paperweight dacs leave me wondering if it's all in the chip (9018) now. That said it'll be interesting/exciting to see a future dual-mono ESS based Reference dac sometime this year, and how much improvement can be made with this complex super-chip as these guys come to grips with it more!
Also, Project86 get on with that review!!
One thing to remember is the Anedio and some other mentioned here that some said to be less complex (at least that's what I understand from their statements) use SMD (surface mounted device) instead of normal through hole components that are used inside most of the Audio-GD product. Therefore these DACs tend to look simpler than Audio-GD to the eyes. I think the reason Audio-GD products mostly do not use SMD is because they are handmade (handmade is not better for electronic in fact there are more chances for failure in manufacturing).
Can you elaborate on the surface mouted vs. hole through types. I'm pretty much at a loss. It sounds like that may have to do a lot with how everything is mounted to the main board, or what? And if so, how would that explain things? I'm curious.
Yes, it is about how they're mounted on the board (PCB). For through hole components you will soldier them on the other side of the board for SMD you do it on the same side, thus the latter needs more precision. An example is here, look at the picture and the comment. SMD are typically smaller, uses less PCB estate and does not protrude as much as through hole components. The same goes for chip, register and other stuffs. So using through hole component can give you the illusion of it being more complex to the same design using SMD.
Another thing, being more complex does not make it by default better. One thing is true though, the more components you let the signal passes through the more distortion you'll get, not to mention using more power and produce more heat relatively. Personally, I like clean PCB that does well. A clean PCB tends to produce less heat if the component ratings are chosen correctly. So say if the Anedio and the Ref7 perform similarly I would prefer the former, being lighter and cleaner that it is.
Edited by thuantran - 4/9/11 at 7:06am
There are substantial differences between good digital design practice and good analogue. There is no doubt that Kingwa is superb analogue designer but his designs appear to apply those analogue solutions to digital problems.
Isn't that the point of a dac, to take the digital and make a great analog solution?? Is the Anedio necessarily offering a better analog solution? I guess the digital solution (dealing with jitter) is probably better with the D1, but what else?
If by analog you are referring to the end result; what you hear...then the Anedio has accomplished that most impressively. I for one am very happy with my purchase and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a dac that does so many things right.
I don't personally care about who's doing what within a circuit...how it acts and sounds is my ultimate criteria for piece of audio equipment..so mission accomplished as far as I am concerned.
There are many different design philosophies that seem to be prevalent in all the equipment floating around here. I'm sure they all have their pros and cons, but if applied properly, they will give a reasonably accurate representation of what the artists and engineers are trying to portray.
It all seems to come down to a personal preference of the listener anyway, right?
Edited by Balmoral - 4/9/11 at 5:19pm
Agreed. The DSP-1 module has always been the weakest link in the DAC designs. Don't get me wrong, I love the Reference DACs, having gone from the RE1 to the RE7 and soon to be receiving the RE7.1. In the latest implementation, v5, almost all the issues seem to have been dealt with but I think it could still use a little more work. It is very intolerant of transport jitter, and so only performs at its best when you have taken every measure to ensure that your source is as jitter free as possible. The advantage to having the DSP-1 module is that you can upgrade it, which means any new design implementations will be accessible to you and your purchase won't become obsolete.
While I don't have quite the same selection of DACs to experiment with (NFB-11 with the Sabre, Reference 1 which preceded the Reference 7 and a Parasound DAC1600HD which has the older PCM63 chips) I am getting some impressions that match what people are saying here. The Parasound makes the Reference 1 sound digital when listening to piano and the NFB-11 didn't sound right at all until it had the clock upgrade done, but now sounds great, if a bit sharper in presentation and sacrificing musicality a little.
It's interesting to note that both the Parasound and Audio-gd DACs have very extensive power supplies (the latter is 80% power supply inside and the actual signal path is very short) with considerable filtering to lower distortion.
Essentially yes. In my case I am interested in high levels of detail and the most natural sound possible. Knowing something of how components work and how the designs affect the sound I find helpful in discerning what equipment to try or buy.
I think one user did. Bi-Amp if I recall. I believe he was a bit underwhelmed by them...perhaps he can chime in to add his thoughts
I done some tests with Audiophilleo 2 and Anedio D1 and for sure, AP2 help the jitter going down. Direct USB on Anedio is not the same level of the quality as the AP2.
Don't hesitate to buy AP2 or AP1 it's top quality USB 2 SPDIF for sure.
Originally Posted by project86 I'm pretty sure they have decided to sell the unit separately. I know the market is saturated, but what if it is roughly on the level of the Audiophilleo unit but for way cheaper? By that I mean very low jitter (with measurements provided, not just speculated or claimed but with no numbers available), asynchronous operation, separate fixed frequency oscillators for 44.1K and 48K (and their multiples), 24/96 native support with 24/192 via custom drivers, galvanic isolation, etc. The more I learn about the many USB to SPDIF devices out there, the more I see that there are really only a few that I'd bother with: Audiophilleo, Halide Bridge, Analog Research Legato, and JKenny HiFace. All of these have some area which could be improved upon, including price in most cases.
I'm not Anedio and I don't know their final design; this is just speculation from what I've discussed with them. If they could do all of the above for significantly less than the $500 Audiophilleo 2 (for example) then I think it is worth doing.
Thanks for the info about vinyl rips. I'll have to look into them.
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