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All DAC's sound the same. - Page 11  

post #151 of 373

Well my case is little extreme.  I went from D4 Mamba to NFB-10WM as a DAC only feeding the WA6 and there were significant improvement.  Much less noise floor, more weight to guitar and piano, bigger soundstage and better instrument seperation.  We talking about $200 to and $800 price difference.  It really does depend on how much we want to pay to hear better music.

post #152 of 373

 

I could not stop myself from summarizing the stuff we all learned from this thread, along with authors' explanations:

 

  • all dacs sound the same (because bisayboy found no differences in sound between his integrated sound card and X-Fi Xtremegamer)
  • ipods match 20k$ CD players in blind tests (EDIT: no true blind tests, two different amp/speaker combinations, unconclusive results)
  • a cell phone does better at driving 300 ohm cans than a dedicated wall powered dac+amp (linked results not replicable, no backing in power specs, directly contrary to owners' experience)
  • no headphone amp can outperform Fiio E9 EDIT: E7 (I don't follow the argument here but contrary to most owners experience found in linked, dedicated thread)
  • modern 25$ Walmart DVDs are the ultimate in d/a conversion, sonically (bigshot: justified by "the specs" that "outstrip the range of human hearing" -> specs not quoted, what were they exactly?)
  • since the early 1940s mankind knows how to make distortionless volume control (bigshot: ....)
 
Sorry if my explanations were not 100% accurate, I was doing my best.
 
The question is, which of these generalizations are plausible in the sense of being backed by valid and convincing evidence? 

 


Edited by axw - 6/28/11 at 11:22am
post #153 of 373



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by axw View Post

 

I could not stop myself from summarizing the stuff we all learned from this thread, along with authors' explanations:

 

  • all dacs sound the same (because bisayboy found no differences in sound between his integrated sound card and X-Fi Xtremegamer)
  • ipods match 20k$ CD players in blind tests (nick_charles saw in stereophile, no links)
  •  

http://stereophile.com/mediaservers/934/index5.html -  measurements

 

http://stereophile.com/news/011004ces/ - Wilson iPod experiment

We also heard David Wilson's fascinating presentation of his conception of system hierarchy. He compared a pair of Wilson Sophias driven by a Parasound stereo power amplifier with a competitor's flagship speaker and an extremely powerful premium-priced amplifier. Not, as he explained, because he thought the Sophias sounded better, but to prove that meaningful comparisons could be made between systems assembled according to different priorities. This was a demo aimed at his hi-fi dealer clientele, after all (it's a trade show, remember?), but there's a kicker: after we all confirmed that we could hear meaningful differences, Wilson whipped a fake component shell off the digital source and revealed that with the Wilson speakers we weren't listening to the $20,000 CD player that had been used for the competitor's speakers, but an Apple iPod playing uncompressed WAV files

Commentary: reprinted with permission of my pal Hciman77 The point being that even with such sleight of hand a bunch of hifi dealers, audiophiles and pundits did not run screaming out of the room when listening to an iPod driven system.

This may be interpreted in many ways. It could be an example of the power of persuasion above ones own critical abilities , if so it makes sighted listening tests seem a bit less reliable somehow. If it really is that easy to persuade folks that they are listening to a high end CD player when they are not it makes me a bit more skeptical about hifi mag reviews and so on. When just the appearance of a high end piece of kit is enough to foster the illusion that you are listening to a high end piece of kit it makes me wonder. It could indicate that the iPod is actually a decent source through high end kit. 


 

 

 

  • a cell phone does better at driving 300 ohm cans than a dedicated wall powered dac+amp (linked results not replicable, no backing in power specs, directly contrary to owners' experience)

 

But the owners/listeners did not actually measure the performance in any way - and many items tested show far worse performance than their specs see some of NWAVGuy's tests for examples - anyone can hear fantastic differences when they know what they are listening and when they have an ego-involvement in it, but volts is volts and even high Z headphones do not often need that much power to be driven loudly - the woefully underpowered iPod Touch 4G will drive my 580s - with (most) headphones you really only need a few mW to get loud output - mine give out 97db for 1mW input

 

 

  • no headphone amp can outperform Fiio E9 (I don't follow the argument here but contrary to most owners experience found in linked, dedicated thread)
  • modern 25$ Walmart DVDs are the ultimate in d/a conversion, sonically (bigshot: justified by "the specs" that "outstrip the range of human hearing" -> specs not quoted, what were they exactly?)
  • since the early 1940s mankind knows how to make distortionless volume control (bigshot: ....)
 
Sorry if my explanations were not 100% accurate, I was doing my best.
 
The question is, which of these generalizations are plausible in the sense of being backed by valid and convincing evidence? 

 



 

 


Edited by nick_charles - 6/28/11 at 11:13am
post #154 of 373
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizardKing1 View Post



This post pretty much made the rest irrelevant. It makes a lot of sense and explains the OP's ignorance opinions. Digital is either God-damn-near-perfect or absolute crap. There aren't as many gray spots for a digital device as there are for an analog device (or at least,a s far as I know).

How am I ignorant when I was trying to back up aameford's post the WHOLE time. That's exactly what I was saying the whole time.You're exactly right the rest are pretty irrelevant.
 

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by axw View Post

 

I could not stop myself from summarizing the stuff we all learned from this thread, along with authors' explanations:

 

  • all dacs sound the same (because bisayboy found no differences in sound between his integrated sound card and X-Fi Xtremegamer)
  • no headphone amp can outperform Fiio E9 (I don't follow the argument here but contrary to most owners experience found in linked, dedicated thread)

You forgot that I had an E7 wink.gif
 

 

post #155 of 373

To the OP:

Have you tried any high end gear? I doubt it. 

post #156 of 373
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mralexosborn View Post

To the OP:

Have you tried any high end gear? I doubt it. 

I consider the headphones I had to be somewhat high end gear.

 

Sorry, but I'm not enticed to hear "high end" DAC's or even amps for that matter.

 

You do realize that hype and believing in placebo can effect the human hearing right? It's like an illusion.
 

 

post #157 of 373

Well, with RMAA tests and difference that's practically inaudible all seems good, all DACs are equally good, the proof is in the pudding. 

 

Though.. nobody has yet mentioned square waves and the detection of ringing, this factor is where some claim there's an audible difference as DACs utilize different filtering techniques (or different slew rate in op-amps for that matter).

 

As some claim the difference is not so much the resolution, but more the preciseness in the temporal domain. Others might argue that a CD doesn't produce a square wave, then some replies that the difference is all about fast transients, their response and by adding more harmonics, the closer one gets to a square wave.

 

One interesting test was NwAvGuy comparing iPod Touch with Sansa Clip+

 

Quote:
 But given many of the iPod's wins are likely an inaudible advantage, and the opposite is true for the Clip+ (the lower output impedance, higher output at less distortion, and better square wave performance), one could argue the Clip+ is more likely to sound better in real world use.

 

Some listen to resolution in a more analytical way, others listen to the rhythm in a more emotional way.

 

BTW here's a strange stat. -> http://www.gearslutz.com/board/moan-zone/390775-you-sick-digital-sound-14.html#post4209033

post #158 of 373
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mralexosborn View Post

To the OP:

Have you tried any high end gear? I doubt it. 

Also, people need to stop referring to me when it comes to "high end" gear. Haven't you read the other posts made by people who have heard "high end" DAC's?

There are some that agree with me as well. I assume you ignored all the other posts then.
 

 

post #159 of 373
Quote:
Originally Posted by bisayaboi View Post

You forgot that I also had an E7.

 

And to be honest, I don't really think you know anything about the X-FI chipsets. X-FI actually has uses for gaming. Besides DAC's by Creative Labs all had some pretty positive feedback here.

 


1-E7-Woopty do.  So that means you've heard all the other DACs right?  Since you've determined they sound the same.  Get better headphones maybe?

2-I've had an X-Fi Elite Pro for more than 6 years.  

3-What does gaming have to do w/ the DAC?  Nice shift.  We're talking about SQ.  You were the one linking the two together which is wrong.  XFi is a feature set, not a guarantee of audio quality.

4-Creative doesn't make any DACs.  They implement the DACs of others.

5-Do your research before you declare your limited experience as gospel.

6-This is really just another troll thread.  Everything sounds the same through my mediocre headphones ergo source upgrades are snake oil.  You can't hear ALL those measured differences because I said so.  Let's ignore all the valid points made by others so we can reinforce our beliefs.  Ignored and unsubscribed.

 

post #160 of 373
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post




1-E7-Woopty do.  So that means you've heard all the other DACs right?  Since you've determined they sound the same.  Get better headphones maybe?

2-I've had an X-Fi Elite Pro for more than 6 years.  

3-What does gaming have to do w/ the DAC?  Nice shift.  We're talking about SQ.  You were the one linking the two together which is wrong.  XFi is a feature set, not a guarantee of audio quality.

4-Creative doesn't make any DACs.  They implement the DACs of others.

5-Do your research before you declare your limited experience as gospel.

6-This is really just another troll thread.  Everything sounds the same through my mediocre headphones ergo source upgrades are snake oil.  You can't hear ALL those measured differences because I said so.  Let's ignore all the valid points made by others so we can reinforce our beliefs.  Ignored and unsubscribed.

 

Talk about smug and arrogant. Looks like someone got angry because of an opinion. Can't believe people twice my age can't keep their cool.

 

At #1,6 The HD650 is a highly regarded headphone that is known to scale very high and some people even prefer this to your HD800 and headphones like the HE-500 and LCD-2.

Ultimately this is purely subjective. Don't make non-sensical objective statements about a subjective topic. We all know there is no such thing as "the ultimate headphone/best headphone ever." Seriously keep your cool.

 

At #5 Don't remember when I said this is my opinion? I don't have to add, "in my opinion" if I don't want to.

 

At #3, #5, #6 You yourself are just trolling. You can't and haven't objectively either prove that more expensive DAC's sound better other than "just because they are more expensive." Same as the others. No one else has really answered my question. I'm not being ignorant, I'd honestly like to hear an answer. If someone gives an objective sensible response I'd be glad to hear it.

 

Just because I don't add, "in my opinion" doesn't mean I'm trolling. So what if I sound polarized in my opinion. It was my exact INTENTION to do that. I don't want to add apologies or disclaimers to my beliefs it just makes it weaker. The subjectivity is IMPLIED or should already be known.

 

I guess you like to attack the weaker link in this topic because I haven't heard the more expensive DAC's but then I also guess you forgot that people who HAVE heard the higher end DAC's agree with me and have made some very strong points in this topic. You haven't said a word to them have you?

 

More expensive doesn't mean better.

 

 

post #161 of 373


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post

http://stereophile.com/mediaservers/934/index5.html -  measurements

 

http://stereophile.com/news/011004ces/ - Wilson iPod experiment

We also heard David Wilson's fascinating presentation of his conception of system hierarchy. He compared a pair of Wilson Sophias driven by a Parasound stereo power amplifier with a competitor's flagship speaker and an extremely powerful premium-priced amplifier. Not, as he explained, because he thought the Sophias sounded better, but to prove that meaningful comparisons could be made between systems assembled according to different priorities. This was a demo aimed at his hi-fi dealer clientele, after all (it's a trade show, remember?), but there's a kicker: after we all confirmed that we could hear meaningful differences, Wilson whipped a fake component shell off the digital source and revealed that with the Wilson speakers we weren't listening to the $20,000 CD player that had been used for the competitor's speakers, but an Apple iPod playing uncompressed WAV files

Commentary: reprinted with permission of my pal Hciman77 The point being that even with such sleight of hand a bunch of hifi dealers, audiophiles and pundits did not run screaming out of the room when listening to an iPod driven system.

This may be interpreted in many ways. It could be an example of the power of persuasion above ones own critical abilities , if so it makes sighted listening tests seem a bit less reliable somehow. If it really is that easy to persuade folks that they are listening to a high end CD player when they are not it makes me a bit more skeptical about hifi mag reviews and so on. When just the appearance of a high end piece of kit is enough to foster the illusion that you are listening to a high end piece of kit it makes me wonder. It could indicate that the iPod is actually a decent source through high end kit. 


 

  • a cell phone does better at driving 300 ohm cans than a dedicated wall powered dac+amp (linked results not replicable, no backing in power specs, directly contrary to owners' experience)

 

But you did not actually measure the performance in any way you just listened with your prejudices (not a derogatory term) totally unaltered , did you measure the performance, as has been shown specs are often inaccurate and NwAvGuy showed some items show **way** below spec under actual tests

 


So the experiment was as follows:

Wilson Sophias -> Parasound amp -> iPod
vs

Competitor flagship speakers -> Premium priced amp -> $20k CD player

and the results: "we all confirmed that we could hear meaningful differences" ?

 

Thank you for providing some ready interpretations, but pretty much any two devices out there, when connected to two different amp+speakers combos produce "meaningful differences". And I agree that iPods aren't far from some CD or DVD players as the measurement suggests (especially priced $300-500 -- which is hardly surprising given iPod classic price tag of $250).

 

To claim that iPods are comparable to $20k CDs, I'd expect real blind tests done using the same set of speakers and the same amp, repeated a few times, volumes matched, and especially not during noisy audio shows with (usually) poorly adapted rooms and distracted attention.

 

As to the measurements, of course that I did not measure since I do not own a Galaxy S and outputs from my HTC Desire are so low quality even with low impedance iems that any tests, not to mention regular listening, is a waste of my resources. However, I am going to try to voodoo patch the HTC and measure against the closest I have around, the NFB-10ES. But clearly it will not be comparable to the crappy test (EDIT: crappy in the sense of not reproducible because of serious lacks of information about associated equipment and testing scenario)  you linked to, as there is no way to replicate that half-mystical scenario. This leaves that test at wonderfully safe positions by the way, because nobody can re-examine it and find possible flaws..


Edited by axw - 6/28/11 at 3:18pm
post #162 of 373



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by axw View Post


 


So the experiment was as follows:

Wilson Sophias -> Parasound amp -> iPod
vs

Competitor flagship speakers -> Premium priced amp -> $20k CD player

and the results: "we all confirmed that we could hear meaningful differences" ?

 

Thank you for providing some ready interpretations, (Hciman77 and I were in the same Masters Psychology degree cohort back in 1991-1992, but I largely support his interpretations, he is more of a hair-shirt objectivist than me, if that is possible)    but pretty much any two devices out there, when connected to two different amp+speakers combos produce "meaningful differences". And I agree that iPods aren't far from some CD or DVD players as the measurement suggests (especially priced $300-500 -- which is hardly surprising given iPod classic price tag of $250).

 

To claim that iPods are comparable to $20k CDs, I'd expect real blind tests done using the same set of speakers and the same amp, repeated a few times, volumes matched, and especially not during noisy audio shows with (usually) poorly adapted rooms and distracted attention.

 

Of course, that would be much better ! , the point you gloss over is that an early gen iPod is not immediately a sore thumb when it is believed to be a $20K CD player - Audiophile dogma would insist that the iPod would be immediately detected as an inferior device - I do not know of any DBTs between iPods and CD players but I can point you to DBTs of modest DVD players vs $12K boutique CD players .... 

 

 

But clearly it will not be comparable to the crappy test (on what grounds is it crappy ?) you linked to, as there is no way to replicate that half-mystical scenario. This leaves that test at wonderfully safe positions by the way, because nobody can re-examine it and find possible flaws..

 

I altered my response as I realised you were not the same chap I was talking to earlier ...

 

You can ask the Voodoo guy on his forum for more details of his test at  http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=774500 the Voodoo homepage is at http://project-voodoo.org/documentation 



 


Edited by nick_charles - 6/28/11 at 12:07pm
post #163 of 373
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post

the point you gloss over is that an early gen iPod is not immediately a sore thumb when it is believed to be a $20K CD player - Audiophile dogma would insist that the iPod would be immediately detected as an inferior device - I do not know of any DBTs between iPods and CD players but I can point you to DBTs of modest DVD players vs $12K boutique CD players .... 

 

[..]

 

I altered my response as I realised you were not the same chap I was talking to earlier ...

 

You can ask the Voodoo guy on his forum for more details of his test at  http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=774500 the Voodoo homepage is at http://project-voodoo.org/documentation 


I did gloss over this point because it does not tell anything in these circumstances. SQ degradation in the 20k$ CD player setup could be caused by multiple not disclosed factors. Examples: some combinations of speakers and amps don't sound good when matched (aren't neutral if you prefer) and we do not know what the devices were. Some rather expensive speakers and amps do sound mediocre despite their prices. I happened to test several 4-6k$ speaker sets from known audio manufacturers, performing on the level of some 2k$ ones. I would feel much more reassured if these results could be obtained using pro audio equipment, eg. top 20k$ CD vs an iPod plugged into a pair of active Adams, Barefoots or top Genelecs. Last but not least, maybe the 20k$ CD was the underperformer here.

 

Hell, actually nothing prevents me from blind testing the dacs I own vs the iPod on Adams S3X. LOL

 

And thanks for the voodoo links, I will search and try to replicate the results on HTC vs NFB-10. 

 

post #164 of 373

This post is totally stupid..

 

There is multiple factor in the signal path from digital to your ears that affect the sound. Some factor are subtle but still there...

 

Of course, some might say subtle difference aren't important but most audiophile are looking for the perfect natural sound...

Every hardware in the chain cannot be truly transparent and to be mostly transparent a lot of important things are necessary.

 

here the list of the chain

1. Headphones and Speakers are the most important in the chain..

2. Matching headphones amps and matching amplifiers (preamp if needed)

3. DAC (dac chip, analog stage, clocking, psu etc..)

4. Transport ( softwares, cd readers, wasapi, foobar, win7 etc..) are also important..

5. Even cables, computer psu, EMI and ground loop fixes... are important

 

Some dac use tubes, some amps use tubes and those tubes will give you a totally different sound.

Some dac are NOS, other are oversampling dac, those will give you a totally different sound.

 

Etc.. Audiophile hardware are a mix of science and art. In the 500-3000$ you find those who perfected the art at a point where it will have an impact on the sound...

 

Since DAC are the first in the chain, even if you have very good Speakers and amps worth like 3000$ and you compare a crappy dac to let's say Audio-DG dacs or Eastern electric or Isabellina LPV :) you will crearly the next day buy one without even thinking about it..

 

Of course if you have crappy amp, crappy headphone, crappy speakers, you will never be able to detect the difference in any dac since your chain is crappy. And this will crap your brain...

 

to listen to anything on a crappy sound path for years and years is plainly stupid in my opinion.

 

Any decent person who really likes music or movies should invest in speakers, headphones, amps, dacs etc...

 

Whatever anybody say an audiophile will never be able to go back to crappy signal paths.. and the reason is because it's really another world..

 

post #165 of 373

lol ! thaks all

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