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All DAC's sound the same. - Page 18  

post #256 of 373

dacs all sound the same.

dacs sound different.

 

ne'er the twain shall meet.

 

does anyone here honestly believe there will be real, honest-to-goodness converts made by this thread?

no?

 

didn't think so.

so why do i keep seeing this 17-page thread popping up over and over again?

 

rolleyes.gif

post #257 of 373

messages crossed


Edited by nick_charles - 6/30/11 at 10:27am
post #258 of 373
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dynobot View Post

I merely asked Mr. Charles why he purchased all that nice expensive gear. After all, a pair of $800 headphones sounds the same as a $50 pair....doesn't it?

No. Just about all headphones and speakers sound different. Perhaps you haven't understood the terminology. "Transducers" are headphones and speakers. They are the mechanical means of converting electrical signals into sound. They all sound different. It's the digital electronics that all sounds the same, because digital sound is designed to perfectly reproduce all aspects of human hearing. If it meets those specs, it should sound the same as every other component that also meets them.
Edited by bigshot - 6/30/11 at 10:46am
post #259 of 373
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWuss View Post

dacs all sound the same.

dacs sound different.

 

ne'er the twain shall meet.

 

does anyone here honestly believe there will be real, honest-to-goodness converts made by this thread?

no?

 

didn't think so.

so why do i keep seeing this 17-page thread popping up over and over again?

 

rolleyes.gif


This is for the sake of lurkers and fence sitters so they hear both sides of the story before they go out and drop lots of cash looking for an improvement they may not find.

 

post #260 of 373
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWuss View Post

dacs all sound the same.

dacs sound different.

 

ne'er the twain shall meet.

 

does anyone here honestly believe there will be real, honest-to-goodness converts made by this thread?

no?

 

didn't think so.

so why do i keep seeing this 17-page thread popping up over and over again?

 

rolleyes.gif


A thread very similar to this one on the AVS forums made an "honest-to-goodness convert" out of me.  

 

post #261 of 373
My point in discussing these sorts of topics isn't to convince anyone who refuses to listen and insists on making intellectually dishonest arguments. Obviously there is no point in that.

My reason is to share with others what I know about translating complicated specs and charts into real world information that can be used to get good sound, and to learn from folks like Nick Charles who has put the time and legwork into researching how things work.

The people who make stupid comments in a thread aren't the intended audience for my comments. I'm speaking past them, whether they know it or not.
post #262 of 373
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Monkey View Post

Buy the cheapest DAC you can find for which you can't reliably tell a difference, sell your current DAC, and be happy.


Hiya Dinny

 

You've gone through a lot of DACs.

 

Could you go into some of your experiences to balance this thread?

 

E

 

post #263 of 373
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post




 

 

You've gone through a lot of DACs.

 

Could you go into some of your experiences to balance this thread?

 

E

 

 

Here's what I think: I heard differences, though in many cases they were minor and not necessarily price-dependent.  (So, to be fair, this should really be "I've perceived differences...")

Here's what I know: Just because I perceived differences does not mean there actually were differences.

 

Here's another thing I know: a lot of posters here have a difficult time differentiating fact from opinion, and a similarly difficult time with logic.  And this can be seen on both sides of the debate, but I think is most clearly illustrated by the person who claims to hear a difference and therefore that "observation" conclusively proves there is a difference.  No.  This kind of argument is the equivalent of placing one's fingers in one's ears and singing "LALALALA."  I'm still trying to understand this phenomenon of the All Knowing Ears and the desire to have such.  Is it arrogance?  A fear of the subconscious?  Plain old stupidity?  I'd love to know.

 

Similarly, I'd love to know the answer to the questions: Do cables make a difference? Do all DACs sound the same? 

 

I know I don't know for sure. 
 

 

EDITED for clarification.

 


Edited by The Monkey - 6/30/11 at 11:30am
post #264 of 373
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWuss View Post

dacs all sound the same.

dacs sound different.

 

ne'er the twain shall meet.

 

does anyone here honestly believe there will be real, honest-to-goodness converts made by this thread?

no?

 

didn't think so.

so why do i keep seeing this 17-page thread popping up over and over again?

 

rolleyes.gif




To some people the DACs that they have heard do not sound the same. To others the DACs that they have heard do sound the same.

 

The two side will remain polarised for as long as the inaccurate and simplistic 'I hear a difference', 'no you can't as there is no difference' debate continues.

 

Is the intention really to make converts? That there are sometimes converts is neither hear nor there for me.

 

For me the whole point of such threads as this is to discuss the issues for people who CANNOT hear any differences between the DACs that they have heard, to share that experience and to discuss why it is so.

 

That such a discussion may give others new ideas and attitudes about hifi to think about is a consequence. For me one of the biggest benefits of being a convert is that I enjoy my music more than ever before as I do not worry that my system is 'night and day' worse than others who have (generally speaking) much more expensive or flavour of the month systems.

 

 

post #265 of 373

+1
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post


For me the whole point of such threads as this is to discuss the issues for people who CANNOT hear any differences between the DACs that they have heard, to share that experience and to discuss why it is so.

 



 

post #266 of 373
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Monkey View Post

Similarly, I'd love to know the answer to the questions: Do cables make a difference? Do all DACs sound the same?
That's easy to answer.

They *should* all sound the same.

The whole point of the creation of digital audio was to create a format that reproduced the full range of human hearing accurately and to establish a standard that all digital audio should adhere to. In the analogue age, there were far too many variables to ever hope of achieving that. The only way to deal with all those variables was to accept individual coloration, employ Dolby and dynamic filtering, calibrate each piece of equipment individually, and keep the chain from source to transducer as simple as possible, so errors wouldn't pile up on top of each other.

When digital technology became the standard and perfect sound existed in every iPod and cd player regardless of price, audiophiles were liberated from worrying about generation loss, layer upon layer of noise and inaccurate representation of the sound. It freed them up to focus on the great big wild card of audio- the transducers.

However, some audiophiles clung to the old concepts of coloration from the analogue days. Instead of seeing it as error to be eliminated, they saw it as a good thing- "warmer" more "natural" sound. This was a reaction to the horrible ways that digital audio distorts when it's not working properly- digital clipping, compression artifacting, etc. Instead of demanding that digital audio live up to its promise of perfect sound, they became nostalgic for old fashioned analogue noise... Hence the fixation on tube amps and fancy record players.

The next generation of audiophiles latched onto this without the understanding of the way things were in the analogue days, and morphed this sort of thinking into a philosophy that embraced and celebrated coloration. They swore that vinyl sounded better to them, the massive harmonic distortion in tube amps sounded good, that the proper combination of coloration could result in a more "pleasing sound", etc. This combined with the prestige of owning exotic and expensive gadgets to feed their egos and created a monster.

Some of us, however, are just focused on equipment as a means to an end. We care about bang for the buck, and want to take advantage of the promise of perfect sound that came about with the advent of digital technology. To us, it's just about nuts and bolts practicality because we aren't wrapping our ego around our stereo equipment. We just want a tool that works the way it's supposed to.

Any human is subject to subjective bias. You can think of that as an error and try to remove it from your decision making, or you can embrace it and use it as the primary way to decide. It isn't surprising that those who think coloration sounds good are the same people who make decisions based purely on subjective reactions.
Edited by bigshot - 6/30/11 at 12:23pm
post #267 of 373

I'm not normally one to participate in smug back-patting, but... +1.

post #268 of 373

Up to the point a DAC does analogue, I see no reason nor evidence as to how it can sound different. Once it is working in the analogue domain the most convincing explanation for me so far as to why they could sound different is the earlier suggested slight line out differences causing a slight difference in volume.

 

I sit next to 2 DACs as I use a Firestone Fubar, but there is also one in my MF X-CAN amp. I must go and find the USB cable that fits the X-CAN and do a comparison.

post #269 of 373
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prog Rock Man View Post

Up to the point a DAC does analogue, I see no reason nor evidence as to how it can sound different. Once it is working in the analogue domain the most convincing explanation for me so far as to why they could sound different is the earlier suggested slight line out differences causing a slight difference in volume.

 

I sit next to 2 DACs as I use a Firestone Fubar, but there is also one in my MF X-CAN amp. I must go and find the USB cable that fits the X-CAN and do a comparison.


Hey Proggy

 

That might not be a valid comparison unless you are using the same usb transport for both dacs, or the same coax/optical.

 

I have 2 dacs with built in usb.  A Constantine+ and a Stello.  The Constantine is fine with an optical or coaxial connection, but the implemented c-media usb sucks.  The Stello uses a form of the 2707 for usb but it always sounded light and thin compared to a coax or optical signal.  To remedy this I got a Blue Circle Thingee, which uses a much better implemented form of the 2707 chip.  So, the coaxial or optical out of the usb BCT sounds exactly like coax or optical out of my dedicated music computer.

 

I have also added a HiFace usb transport to the mix.  The HiFace doesn't sound anything like the BCT.  If anything it is bass light and treble tilted, relative to what comes out of the Thingee and my music computer's optical out.

 

I have also recently found that my Dell laptop outputs coax spdif from what looks like an S-video port on the back.  Comparing the laptop's spdif out to the BCT's spdif out was interesting.... they sounded the same.... But not so with the HiFace's output, which although brighter, 'seems to have' more resolution than either, and has become my usual way of listening from this laptop.

 

So what I am saying is that the usb transport in the Constantine doesn't sound like the usb transport in the Stello and neither of them are able to sound like the BCT transport and the HiFace sounds different from all of them.  I'm sure that almost anyone who has a built in usb transport and has compared it to an external transport can appreciate what I'm saying.

 

So, the current chain is laptop > HiFace > Stello (I've apparently developed a preference for the Stello over my Constantine) > GS-1 ( I've also developed a preference for the GS-1 over my M^3) > T-1s.  Conversely, the HiFace doesn't work well with my upsampling NorthStar dac so I don't use it with that dac.

 


 

First of all, you know where I stand on these issues, but there are some things that were not fully addressed and seem significant if we want to say all dacs sound the same.

 

Do all opamps sound the same? 

 

Do all transistors sound the same?

 

Do opamps sound like transistors and vice versa?

 

Does a Hybrid mosfet/opamp dac sound like a mosfet dac or an opamp dac or do all three sound exactly the same?

 

Do capacitors have a sound signature?

 

Do all resistors sound the same?  What about plugs, jacks, switches and volume pots?  Do they all sound the same, regardless of manufacturer?

 

Do premium parts sound different from el cheapo parts, or do all parts sound the same?

 

Can power supplies affect the sound?  Will a dac fed from a switching PS sound the same as one fed from a linear PS?  Does the transformer quality matter?

 

How important is clean power?  Do all dacs filter power in the same way?

 


Edited by upstateguy - 6/30/11 at 2:31pm
post #270 of 373

I drive a Honda Civic, I drove my uncle's Lexus for a week while he was out of town. I didn't really notice a difference in how they both drive, therefore I conclude all cars drive the same. I bet none of you will be able to tell the difference between a Ferrari and my Civic.

 

EDIT: EXTREME SARCASM, EVERY DEFINITION OF THE WORD SARCASM IS CONTAINED WITHIN THIS POST.


Edited by steven_1026 - 6/30/11 at 6:09pm
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