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Why do people buy expensive DACs? - Page 9

post #121 of 131

^damn that is really bad luck, my condolences.

post #122 of 131

Never once I heard Ref. 7.1 broke, I guess I'm so lucky I'm the first one.

I'm arranging something out with Kingwa, as usual, he is very kind, prompt and understanding.

I guess I can get mine less than a week.  I'll update once I got mine up. 

In the mean time, I have to force myself to be happy with my NFB-2.

post #123 of 131

That is certainly a consideration if buying from China, or anywhere where the servicing is a long way away.  Maybe your 7.1 got a power spike?      If/when I get mine, It's getting plugged into my PS Audio Power Plant Premier.  Which is another story about feeding clean power to your AC DAC.  I think even Kingwa mentions that on his website. 

post #124 of 131

Hopefully the fuse would burn out if it was a power spike, but u never know. 

post #125 of 131

I'm not Shure it's the power though, the LED light still on and functioning, all the input selector 1 to 4 are still working as normal.

 

She's on the way to hospital tomorrow 10-12pm, off she goes, back to her creator, hope she'll get well soon.

post #126 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by No Disc View Post

That is certainly a consideration if buying from China, or anywhere where the servicing is a long way away.  Maybe your 7.1 got a power spike?      If/when I get mine, It's getting plugged into my PS Audio Power Plant Premier.  Which is another story about feeding clean power to your AC DAC.  I think even Kingwa mentions that on his website. 

I read on multiple occasions that the "Premier" killed more gear than saved, just FYI.
 

post #127 of 131

I'll knock on wood then, because it's designed to do just the opposite, and I have yet to have any issues. 

post #128 of 131

Why they buy expensive DACs? Here comes answer from who is in electronics but also in music creating.

 

My opinion is that they have no knowledge about electronics and they ARE in a trap!

Actually this was driving me nuts when I saw back in computer industry seeing things sold in different prices though the basic components were the same, or thins which were sold in skyhigh prices although it has very less components for its price! 

 

ALSO... that muse-audio DAC can be cheap becouse -- it has no case, no power supply.

The best clarification for differences and sounding is -- schematics and choice of components. If adding PSU and case, then it cant be so cheap any longer though it sounds the same as device without those necessities and still having the same DAC chip.

 

 You really HAVE TO get into electronics to get to know how that thing works. Otherwise You ends up thinking like red cars are faster than blue ones or the wine from the same bottle but in different glass will taste different... and the salesman can sell the same $5 USD junk for $2000 USD too.

And about details -- so far the best test is the specification of the component itself and how it behaves __in circuit__. And I am into building things myself too and comparing -- if it sounds different, then WHY. Here is one example that where cheap to build device sounds good too: 

http://www.record-producer.com/index.php?a=5163#article_2

 

 

So far about things which affect quality: DAC chip itself (yes there are some which have -3dB drop at 20kHz and nasty aliasing, but it was 1996 when I heard

those. SO far I have heard from no equipment which is produced with chips past 2000). But now the DAC chips are better and better so that the schematic design and labour is what counts.

 

My story is this: I bought m-Audio DELTA 1010LT card, but the problem was that the computer impulse power supply added much noise to the circuit path.

After doing some modifying in coupling I got rid of that noise PSU. So I can brag too that I have superior soundcard, but which is no longer m-Audio. :) And still 

with no skyhigh cost. The similar architecture, but properly made (DELTA 1010) costs much more.

 

Also, second case: Behringer (but also SAMSON, Zoom, ALTO) does good stuff, but... the capacitors are from china, No problem - swap out those. 

In the one effect rack unit Behringer V-VERB 2496 (that effect rack which sounds amazing and is all great but only negative thing is that its price was 100 USD only). Also -- cheap labour and production. that makes them so cheap. 

So, it has quite odd grounding and unsurprisingly CS-series dacs. with 114dB. But becouse of the labour I had annoying whistle at the -80 dBFS level and power supply noise in noise level too. I have 6 units of them and ALL of them sounded the same. After some modifying I got rid of that noise and I have to measure now over the spec. Can be close to the codecs spec with 110dB. (Still reverse engineering on it).

 

"But wait, there is more" -- Better codecs!  So, if I just use better codec inside and get that >120dB SNR both for AD and DA conversion, do I have then that most expensive unit? It can be compared to others, but its no longer that Behringer. Yet, I got more that its in the spec.

 

Behringer perhaps cut the costs also with choice of the ADC/DAC codec as they got CS series much cheaper as Texas Instrument ones. And if they would have used japanese caps and best codecs (what world leaders use), then Behringers device for development still have not affected with dramatic increase with price at the end.... but the world wide leader would grab from end customer 10 times more to have better chips and japanese caps *and their trademark*.

 

 

I am into tweaking things as I notice very often that to get that much better quality out from device needs just very simple tweaks what factory were holding back of keeping reserved for better versions. For example Behringer builds great stuff, but were holding back with DAC/ADC choice and capacitors. Mixerboards which have lower noise ICs, but they build it together with transformer-PSU which they dont isolate properly (well, I took out that PSU and made in separate case and got much lower noise profile).

I really dont believe about trademarks, only specifications and tests and then I will listen too :) If someone asks which DACs I have then perhaps its better if my only answer is "Texas Instruments" or "Cirrus Logic" as they are those who make the chips, all other is just a nothing-saying sticker.

 

 

Well of course there are really expensive stuff, like Allen&Heath. Well, I got the schematic at first and what I saw were that there is quite minimum difference  with Behringer -- they both have the same ICs inside, but the difference comes from the components, and PSU design. But based on that schematic and as I have readed it, I got many satisfied clarifications why this or that has noise floor higher in my mixer. Its much better than just guessing or the belief that the "Allen&Heath" sticker is that makes that thing. Well, if Behringer is getting high quality pots, then it all makes very pricey that mixer, but just getting japanese caps? 

post #129 of 131

Quote DREZ>

Some of these higher end DAC's have such good digital sides that transport selection makes almost not perceptible differences (even to people who hear transport differences with other DAC's) for example the PerfectWave DAC and Antelope Audio DAC's (there are probably others in this category which I have missed) but this technology does not come cheap - manufacturers are not charities after all.

 

 

Yes, its possible to get all of it and more. But it just requires skill. And about the components there is 2 possibilities -- You are in that industry itself so you have access to components OR free samples from factory. 

 In other words: perhaps if You cant afford Apogee Symphony I/O, you can get for free entirely the circuits which are not even on the market even! :)

 

But your hobby lab in this case needs decent antistatic measures and SMD soldering equipment, PCB design and making. For someone who just is almost every day in this area, its cheap, but from someone who wants _just_ a DAC, has difficulties based on skill level, though all equipment can man get with less than 800 USD to make all that SMD antistatic soldering stuff properly.

post #130 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by sxr71 View Post

Well if you pick a pro product perhaps something that is used by modern recording studios, you can be sure you are getting what is in the data. When some recording engineers feel that a certain DAC sounds as close to the mic feed as they have heard, its worth considering. These pro DACs are expensive but not ludicrously expensive. They are in the $2k--$6k range. The crazy audiophile ones are into the $30-40k range. Usually these pro products come with 8 channels and have a host of DSP related features that you are paying for, but still considering they are used for modern recordings you can be sure you are getting the best and still save thousands off audiophile equivalents. 

 

 

With recording and studio equipment its quite simple: from one price tag the equipment sounds the same for Your ears.

For that $2k you get already 32 track interface. And it serves only one surpose -- recording, and to be as neutral as possible.

You can get the SAME converters for different price though if You manage to make yourself with the same DAC circuit, but sound is still the same.

And nowadays the great DAC is pretty cheap to make and almost everything has it inside if its manufactured after 2005 year or so. If someone is talking about "cheap DAC with low sound quality" then it really has to be something from 1991.

 

 

And if someone is just paying extra for something becouse "it sounds different, I like that more" then its a colorization what he seeks.... or wait, perhaps thats exactly that old technology with distortions. :) That I really forgot to mention in my posts above too -- I talked about the gear which is not "hi-fi" colorization.

 

What is actually $30..$40k range? Lamps at the output? Exclusive design? Thats all out of the scope for recording studio and I have nothing use for it in playback or monitoring as it does not provide me the soundpicture to make judgement.

post #131 of 131

I don't think all expensive DAC's are coloured, a few of them certainly are, but there are others that aim to be completely neutral and which could possibly be used for production work, save for the lack of functionality.  I find this is a real problem though - personally I am not very interested in very coloured DAC's, but many other people are mostly interested in euphony and have concepts of "synergy" which means they basically do not differentiate between good and bad performance on a technical level.  This is why I think specifications and empirical third party tests are useful to give us some way of attempting to understand what people are describing.  If a DAC is described as smooth in the treble, testing can show if there is high frequency roll off or distortion, or whether there is a lack of high frequency noise.  Unfortunately there is a growing trend of confusing high frequency harshness for a symptom of jitter or noise on the digital side of the DAC.  IMO this is not always true especially in gear that measures well in the high frequencies but people still describe as harsh.  Sometimes recordings are bad, maybe the amplifier is bad, maybe the speakers or headphone is bad, but people often blame the DAC or transport incorrectly IMO.

 

I think coloured gear is all well and good, euphonic distortion can be a good thing, and some of these DAC's no doubt sound good, whether because of psychology or sound quality.  But I think unfortunately most people tend to be either completely objective or completely subjective, I know of only a few people who can straddle both horses.  For me it is difficult to trust either complete objective or subjective thinkers.  finding people who's impressions I can trust is proving to be  trail and error until I can form my own understanding of the forces at work.  My electronics understanding is still pretty sketchy but you are right that understanding electronics can help a lot in understanding and evaluating equipment, and especially saving money and getting the most out of equipment by modifying it.  It is unfortunate that so many high end manufacturers cut corners especially when they have such high profit margins.  There is such a thing as doing less with more, but more often than not it is probably just cutting costs where they think they can get away with it irrespective of impact on performance or reliability.

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