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Audiophile cables, an interesting question. - Page 55

post #811 of 1186
Quote:

Originally Posted by x838nwy View Post

 

Sutff underlined: That's very few. Different to none. Even "hifi" DACS. SilverEars just managed to post an FR that isn't flat to 20kHz.

 

The cheap DAPs look fine. It is only the HM-801 that looks bad, and that is mainly because it intentionally uses outdated (non-oversampling) DAC technology which is "better" according to audiophile beliefs. It seems the problems are often with the expensive boutique products, while those they are intended to "upgrade" (iPods, sound cards, etc.) work fine, so maybe it is better to just avoid them, and not try to fix what is not broken ?

post #812 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by Astropin View Post
 

Look, as I said earlier. Find the most expensive DAC you can (that you think earns that price point) and I'll put up my $60 DAC in a DBT anytime, any day.

 

We run enough trials and you will not be able to consistently pick the more expensive DAC. I'd put money on it.

 

That's interesting, and I'm assuming you're talking about the uDac2?

 

Going from the measurements, it is clear that the udac2 is one of the examples of a badly made DAC, and I will take you up on the DBT vs my Benchmark DAC-1 anyday - how much money would you like to put on it? ;)

 

To be fair, there are a lot of DACs in the 1000 dollar range that do a better, AUDIBLE job than most of the 100 dollar range DACs out there. I am talking about MEASURABLE, AUDIBLE differences.

 

Are the differences HUGE? Well that depends on what's huge to you or not. Is it worth spending an extra 800 bucks to get the DAC-1 for these differences? To me it was, and still is.

 

Now onto personal experience: I did my own DBT, level matched test between all the sources I own. The DAC-1, my Samsung Galaxy S2 phone, my Realtek onboard soundcard and an Emu 1212M soundcard. I could tell them apart 10/10 times. So certainly, while theoretically, DACs should all sound the same, the reality is different.

 

Now, past the thousand dollar point (for me, my DAC-1), will there be worthwhile upgrades? That remains to be seen. I've heard higher end DACs like the NAD M51 that subjectively sounded better to my ears. I wasn't able to compare directly though, so jury's still out.

post #813 of 1186

The uDAC has since been revised. Those measurements hold no more than academical interest.

post #814 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post
 

 

The cheap DAPs look fine. It is only the HM-801 that looks bad, and that is mainly because it intentionally uses outdated (non-oversampling) DAC technology which is "better" according to audiophile beliefs. It seems the problems are often with the expensive boutique products, while those they are intended to "upgrade" (iPods, sound cards, etc.) work fine, so maybe it is better to just avoid them, and not try to fix what is not broken ?

Yes, I recall people talking about this around that time.  :D And, look at the HM-901 now, it's using the newer dual desktop ESS9018 (other is the mobile version ESS9018K2M with 4 channels per chip), I guess HM learned his lesson.  Each has 8 channels of signal path with total of 16 channels. :eek: I've heard each 9018 costs $65 whereas 9023 the one ODAC is using with costs $5 each.  

 

Based on the treble roll-offs on both graphs and both using same chip, I was assuming it's the chip causing it.

 

Is it true that ODAC was designed around the chip using only parts that are on the datasheet to get the chip to function to reduce the cost?  If so, that works for me as it's the best DAC I've heard so far, I'm trying to find something better.


Edited by SilverEars - 6/1/14 at 4:58am
post #815 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by limpidglitch View Post
 

The uDAC has since been revised. Those measurements hold no more than academical interest.

 

Great, though personally I wouldn't give my money to a company that can't even measure and design their product accurately the first time. So the interest is more than just academical.

post #816 of 1186

For those that say they've DBT, etc and can ALWAYS tell the difference. Why is it in a controlled environment no-one has ever passed a DBT.

I hate to call you all liars, but it's just, well, sketchy, ain't it?

post #817 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by paradoxper View Post
 

For those that say they've DBT, etc and can ALWAYS tell the difference. Why is it in a controlled environment no-one has ever passed a DBT.

I hate to call you all liars, but it's just, well, sketchy, ain't it?

 

 

Be it sketchy or not, between the gear I listed, there was a definite difference. Whether you believe that or not is of no consequence to me (which is why I haven't argued extensively on the DAC topic), I tested it out for myself, heard what I heard, and that's good enough for me.

 

That brings on another question: how many tests in a controlled environment have you actually heard of? Real documented tests made by professionals with published results in a renowned scientific publication comparing DACs in a DBT?

 

An interesting observation: seems a little hypocritical to have a guy who it seems has owned over 10 thousand dollars worth of DACs and still owns a Cantata (I'm guessing the music center?) which costs 7000 dollars put into question the fact that different DACs can be differentiated in a DBT... Do you just waste thousands and thousands of dollars on your gear for fun then?

post #818 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post
 

 

 

Be it sketchy or not, between the gear I listed, there was a definite difference. Whether you believe that or not is of no consequence to me (which is why I haven't argued extensively on the DAC topic), I tested it out for myself, heard what I heard, and that's good enough for me.

 

That brings on another question: how many tests in a controlled environment have you actually heard of? Real documented tests made by professionals with published results in a renowned scientific publication comparing DACs in a DBT?

 

An interesting observation: seems a little hypocritical to have a guy who it seems has owned over 10 thousand dollars worth of DACs and still owns a Cantata (I'm guessing the music center?) which costs 7000 dollars put into question the fact that different DACs can be differentiated in a DBT... Do you just waste thousands and thousands of dollars on your gear for fun then?

It's just hard to believe 10/10 -- when it's been shown that none have passed a DBT.

Perhaps there haven't been enough tests done, but still none have passed those given. Not to mention all the foolery over the years. It just seems a bit funky to me.

I am bit young so I can't cite specifics to you, but I'm sure someone else may be able to provide that info.

 

It's not hypocritical at all. I never said all DACs sound the same, did I? I've already stated that yea, here -- I go against the grain..AND could very well be wrong.

I also acknowledge how no-one has demonstrated the ability to pass a DBT. I don't review gear -- for this reason. Subjectivity rules my enjoyment of this hobby

and in that, gear will differ person to person -- what is best, neutral, etc. So I don't bother trying to write gospel.

 

All that said, I think it's irrelevant. Maybe I like the Cantata's looks -- that could possibly sound the same as an ODAC -- I'm willing to shell out for aesthetics? I'm neurotic, sorry.

And what if I'm wasting thousands of dollars for fun? That is of no consequence to you. The fact remains, there's lots of bogus claims. And around these parts

simply saying I heard what I heard and trust my ears and that's good enough for me isn't going to cut it.

 

I just question if there weren't other factors in your test that introduced bias, etc. 


Edited by paradoxper - 6/1/14 at 6:02am
post #819 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by paradoxper View Post
 

It's just hard to believe 10/10 -- when it's been shown that none have passed a DBT.

Perhaps there haven't been enough tests done, but still none have passed those given. Not to mention all the foolery over the years. It just seems a bit funky to me.

I am bit young so I can't cite specifics to you, but I'm sure someone else may be able to provide that info.

 

It's not hypocritical at all. I never said all DACs sound the same, did I? I've already stated that yea, here -- I go against the grain..AND could very well be wrong.

I also acknowledge how no-one has demonstrated the ability to pass a DBT. I don't review gear -- for this reason. Subjectivity rules my enjoyment of this hobby

and in that, gear will differ person to person -- what is best, neutral, etc. So I don't bother trying to write gospel.

 

All that said, I think it's irrelevant. Maybe I like the Cantata's looks -- that could possibly sound the same as an ODAC -- I'm willing to shell out for aesthetics? I'm neurotic, sorry.

And what if I'm wasting thousands of dollars for fun? That is of no consequence to you. The fact remains, there's lots of bogus claims. And around these parts

simply saying I heard what I heard and trust my ears and that's good enough for me isn't going to cut it.

 

I just question if there weren't other factors in your test that introduced bias, etc. 

 

Where has it been shown? I've seen some DBTs with positive results when comparing DACs before, be it due to bad designs or something else. It seems you haven't even bothered clicking the links I provided, there's a double blind test comparison on there. Certainly the results aren't perfect, but they are coincidentally (?) contingent with what should be expected. Many DBTs do fail, but there are some that do not. You're young and can't cite specifics? So you're basing your opinion on what, word of mouth? Sorry but I've done my research, and while you're right for a big majority, there are still some properly done DBTs that show some differences can be heard between some sources. I encourage you to go through this particular topic, it's very interesting:

 

http://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=82777

 

Especially the french DBTs (helps to speak French for those though).

 

You're definitely contradicting yourself though. On the one hand, you're willing to spend tens of thousands for higher quality sound (or is it purely aesthetic? Because I'd be more than willing to put an ODAC in a big fancy case with LCD display for you if you're willing to give me 20k for it :D), on the other hand you're arguing that nobody has passed a DBT (which again, is wrong). Of course it's of no consequence to me, it's your money, I'm the first to admit I spent my fair share of hard earned bucks on audio equipment, but I actually have tested and came to the conclusion that it does in fact make a difference...

 

If you need to question my test that's fine. In fact, you should, so much so that you should do your own tests, and figure things out for yourself. My only goal is satisfying my own curiosity, whether or not others believe the validity of whatever I do is of no consequence to me. I just gave you plenty of other tests (some positive, most negative), you can believe whatever you want to believe. I didn't film myself or have any kind of record of my results to begin with, so there's no point arguing about it. I've been thoroughly schooled on these very forums on the proper procedure of a DBT, which is enough for me.

 

edit: here is another interesting one, scroll down for the procedure:

 

http://forums.audioreview.com/digital-domain-computer-audio/hifi-choice-dac-blind-listening-test-35748.html


Edited by elmoe - 6/1/14 at 7:23am
post #820 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post
 

 

Where has it been shown? I've seen some DBTs with positive results when comparing DACs before, be it due to bad designs or something else. It seems you haven't even bothered clicking the links I provided, there's a double blind test comparison on there. Certainly the results aren't perfect, but they are coincidentally (?) contingent with what should be expected. Many DBTs do fail, but there are some that do not. You're young and can't cite specifics? So you're basing your opinion on what, word of mouth? Sorry but I've done my research, and while you're right for a big majority, there are still some properly done DBTs that show some differences can be heard between some sources. I encourage you to go through this particular topic, it's very interesting:

 

http://www.hydrogenaud.io/forums/index.php?showtopic=82777

 

Especially the french DBTs (helps to speak French for those though).

 

You're definitely contradicting yourself though. On the one hand, you're willing to spend tens of thousands for higher quality sound (or is it purely aesthetic? Because I'd be more than willing to put an ODAC in a big fancy case with LCD display for you if you're willing to give me 20k for it :D), on the other hand you're arguing that nobody has passed a DBT (which again, is wrong). Of course it's of no consequence to me, it's your money, I'm the first to admit I spent my fair share of hard earned bucks on audio equipment, but I actually have tested and came to the conclusion that it does in fact make a difference...

 

If you need to question my test that's fine. In fact, you should, so much so that you should do your own tests, and figure things out for yourself. My only goal is satisfying my own curiosity, whether or not others believe the validity of whatever I do is of no consequence to me. I just gave you plenty of other tests (some positive, most negative), you can believe whatever you want to believe. I didn't film myself or have any kind of record of my results to begin with, so there's no point arguing about it. I've been thoroughly schooled on these very forums on the proper procedure of a DBT, which is enough for me.

 

edit: here is another interesting one, scroll down for the procedure:

 

http://forums.audioreview.com/digital-domain-computer-audio/hifi-choice-dac-blind-listening-test-35748.html

With repeatable results? No. IF you say 10/10 times you can tell the difference, then that generally should be repeatable, but has not been the case.

Unless, that is, you have Golden Ears?

 

Citing specifics like providing you exact links, etc. Over the years AVS, HA, AA etc there are countless discussions, experiments, et cetera. You can look for them. 

You may well believe that fluke performances are burden of proof, I do not. 

 

I still don't see how that's contradicting? IF DBT's are indeed impassable, I've already stated I approach this hobby purely subjectively. That is, perhaps

bias/placebo influences my perceived experience of increased performance, which is where I justify the costs of gear?

 

That's fine. Post up your experiences/tests or whatever else. But it shouldn't be a shock that one question's your methods or results.


Edited by paradoxper - 6/1/14 at 7:57am
post #821 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by paradoxper View Post
 

With repeatable results? No. IF you say 10/10 times you can tell the difference, then that generally should be repeatable, but has not been the case.

Unless, that is, you have Golden Ears?

 

Citing specifics like providing you exact links, etc. Over the years AVS, HA, AA etc there are countless discussions, experiments, et cetera. You can look for them. 

You may well believe that fluke performances are burden of proof, I do not. 

 

I still don't see how that's contradicting? IF DBT's are indeed impassable, I've already stated I approach this hobby purely subjectively. That is, perhaps

bias/placebo influences my perceived experience of increased performance, which is where I justify the costs of gear?

 

That's fine. Post up your experiences/tests or whatever else. But it shouldn't be a shock that one question's your methods or results. 

 

:rolleyes: Alrighty then.

post #822 of 1186

if the differences in the music are for sounds below -80db, then usual listening should never be able to discriminate between 2 dacs (or amps, or cables or anything). that's my vision of things and when I call something inaudible.

because how something is audible when playing no sound doesn't matter. we're buying audio systems to listen to music.

from my own pseudo trials of very dubious nature, I seem to be easily bothered by sounds around -60db below music. and up to -70db/-75db on silent parts while paying mighty attention and knowing what I'm looking for(all that while avoiding listening loud because I actually hear less from loud music). I'm pretty much never listening at 90 or 100db.

something at -75db with music playing above, I honestly don't hear it. and I'm not talking about white noise, I'm talking about another music or my own voice recorded at -75db and under, on music with the loudest part close to 0db. my tests were not rigorous but the scale of sounds was always in that range.

so -80db (or 0.01%) sounds to me like a very safe zone of inaudibility when music is playing at normal levels at the same time.

 

based on that, if all the measurements (I feel like a broken record) of time errors, distortion, and noise are below -80db. if the frequency response of both gears have less than 0.2db variations, if crosstalk is around the same values. and if the same voltage gets into the amp. then I can positively say that they will sound the same to me, and I'm pretty confident that they will sound the same for pretty much everybody.

it's not theory, it's not wild guess, if all those factors are true, I will end up with music playing at the same volume level on both gears, and sounding exactly the same up to -80db, sound level that I don't hear when playing music. that's my definition of sounding the same and a lot of dacs should be able to deliver just that without involving big prices.

 

 

so if someone is really having audible differences on 2 dacs measuring well under -80db for everything , I would say that the measures are wrong on one of the dacs (manufacturer specs are often very wrong).

and most of the times, I would guess that differences are frequency response related(sound signature) or volume level related( just like cables). and impedance might be one of the reasons why. 

 

that is why a good DBT will show no difference. because a good DBT would try to get rid of any frequency or volume level mismatch before starting the test, to free the listeners from those bias and let them concentrate on the rest.

 

 

 

 

now if money was not a concern to me, I would probably want to buy a benchmark too. and I might when everything else in my system will be close to perfection. let's be honest, knowing I have one of, if not the best, can be very much satisfying I would guess.

but then I certainly wouldn't go for a tube amp ;) . cause spending money to get rid of -90db noises when a tube amp will create distortions probably above -60db (0.1%), it doesn't sound like a reasonable move. as always it's a matter of proportions and what we are really trying to obtain. nice sound or real sound?

post #823 of 1186

Exactly right. To my ears the Benchmark on its own is too bright, almost shrill in fact, no matter if I use its headphones out or use it as a preamp feeding the power amp. I also absolutely love the sound of my tube amp/preamp, and I couldn't care less about what's "real" or "high fidelity" if what I have sounds better. I'm not the only one, a great many Head-fiers who own the DAC-1 also own tube amps, and the pair sounds.. well... simply awesome. In the end the final judge is always going to be my ears...

 

Anyway, to follow up on what you're saying, I agree about volume matching, but how would you take care of frequency mismatch? What would be the point of that since that's exactly what (seemingly) causes the differences to begin with? A good DBT will show differences if differences there are, and none if there are none.

post #824 of 1186

If there is a frequency response imbalance, I wouldn't bother to test it any further. I'd box it up and send it back to the store. No excuse for that. Even cheap equipment can control that.

 

It's a pain in the rear to have sources with different response curves. I apply equalization at the last step to correct for my speakers and room. If the sources didn't match, I'd need EQ settings for every source. Chaos.


Edited by bigshot - 6/1/14 at 12:58pm
post #825 of 1186
Quote:
Originally Posted by castleofargh View Post
 

based on that, if all the measurements (I feel like a broken record) of time errors, distortion, and noise are below -80db. if the frequency response of both gears have less than 0.2db variations, if crosstalk is around the same values. and if the same voltage gets into the amp. then I can positively say that they will sound the same to me, and I'm pretty confident that they will sound the same for pretty much everybody.

 

It depends on the type of noise or distortion too. What you are quoting here is absolute worst case. In the real world, stats wouldn't even have to be this good to be audibly transparent.

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