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post #751 of 1009
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

 

Does this same issue apply with the Audiolab Mdac as it uses the ESS chip as well?

 

Or is it just the yulong that cannot do poor signals as well such as freeview TV etc.?

 

Sorry, I'm not familiar with the Mdac design. If it doesn't have a dedicated digital audio receiver, then it has a good chance of exhibiting the same behavior. 

post #752 of 1009

So pretty much all the ESS sabre DAC's will only work properly with high quality sources and on things such as TV or freeview through S/PDIF it will probably get cracks and pops ?

post #753 of 1009

How about trying the optical output? s/pdif might be better than optical, but i believe there's a reason why yu long put optical input on the D18.

just my 2 cents. biggrin.gif

post #754 of 1009

I own both, and the M-DAC has a user-selectable level of jitter correction, and at the highest level can deal with some pretty crappy TV/satellite receiver S/PDIF signals, as confirmed by PFM forum members.

 

Based on a prior post, that probably means it has a dedicated chip but compared to the D18 it does definitely much better in that respect at least, based on my personal experience. If the D18 really has some form of jitter-correction, it might as well be non-existent... and that comes from somebody who really likes it.

post #755 of 1009

How do you find the sound compares?

 

People say the Yulong is "warm and smooth"...

 

Is the Mdac warm and smooth as well or is it bright and harsh ?

post #756 of 1009

I find the differences to be subtle, but since the M-DAC is a tinkerer's DAC, it makes user-selectable most of the filters and other settings in and around the ESS chip so that you can probably tailor it to your taste. Some people on PFM go as far as claiming they can hear differences between firmware versions which you can up/downgrade at will... The D18 on the other hand is what it is, whatever filter is loaded and other settings are dialed in by the makers, you plug it in and either like it or not.

 

Not to mention that the M-DAC has a solid headphone amp section included so you can listen straight off it until you decide on your perfect amp.

 

I like them both in their own way, and they have found a permanent place in my two main rigs; after trying a number of DACs I'm pretty much done with that part of my audio chain despite the availability of more expensive options. I'd rather explore more amps and esp. headphones instead...

 

P.S.: I'm not sure what constitutes bright and harsh to your ears, but I really don't like that myself and find them both to be detailed and smooth for the most part, at least within my chain(s) (usually ending something that involves tubes). I think warmth would indicate too much coloration and rather think they're both fairly neutral in that respect... to my ears anyway.


Edited by TheGrumpyOldMan - 1/27/13 at 10:13pm
post #757 of 1009

Thanks for the description...

 

By warm I meant that they can do good bass and dont have excessive treble or sibilance.

 

I guess what I am looking for would be detailed and smooth with a neutral sound... But when I tried the Arcam rdac I was quite suprised at how much worse the bass was compared to the dacmagic... Although the midrange and treble were better on the Arcam. I would like the smooht midrange and treble of the arcam with the bass quality of the dacmagic.

 

Looks like the mdac is probably the best option over the Yulong or the Rega dac because the Mdac has a LOT more stuff for the money compared to the rega dac... Async usb, heaphone jack etc.

 

Really the Mdac is quite good value for money even though it is hardly cheap... You are getting quite a lot for the money and the OLED screen is pretty nice as well. I just dont want anything to clinical or harsh sounding.


Edited by nicholars - 1/27/13 at 10:40pm
post #758 of 1009

One practical matter to keep in mind with the M-DAC if you have HD music: USB & optical are "limited" to 24bit/96kHz, only the coax goes up to 24bit/192kHz. The D18 does 24bit/192kHz on all inputs.

 

Not familiar with the Rega DAC. Had a DACmagic100 for a while, not bad for the size, but kinda meh overall, nothing really wrong, maybe a little thin-sounding, but also not something that'd make you sit up.

 

I'd like to reiterate though that in relation to amps and esp. the headphones themselves, the differences between all the DACs I've heard so far were comparatively small, if not almost inaudible in some cases, to my ears. And really of all the components, any reasonably well-designed DAC should add the least alteration to the original audio anyway.

post #759 of 1009

I agree that Dacs are hardly night and day differences but I think it is worthwhile having a decent one which is ideally not adding any harshness or sibilance to the recording / exaggerating it...

 

Did you find the dacmagic harsh at all compared to the other dacs?... Sort of an edge to the sound which is not there on other dacs and exagerated sibilance?

 

TBH I am not really that bothered about 24/96 because I think that is enough anyway and if you look at the quality of most source material it is more than enough I think for the forseeable future.... Similar to 4K TV's which are supposed to be comming out soon, when Sky TV still broadcasts at 1080i and there will clearly be no content for a long time etc...


Edited by nicholars - 1/27/13 at 11:54pm
post #760 of 1009
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGrumpyOldMan View Post

I own both, and the M-DAC has a user-selectable level of jitter correction, and at the highest level can deal with some pretty crappy TV/satellite receiver S/PDIF signals, as confirmed by PFM forum members.

 

 

 

There's surprisingly little information about it, but I think the M-DAC uses a Wolfson WM8805 digital receiver. That means it should be fine with nearly any signal you could feed it. The potential downside is the 50ps jitter spec - theoretically, there wouldn't be much point feeding the M-DAC with a high end DDC (Off Ramp, Audiophilleo, etc) that has super low jitter, as the WM8805 will route it to the ES9018 with 50ps regardless. 

 

Having said that, I use the Anedio D2 with the same WM8805/ES9018 configuration and it is spectacular. So the M-DAC could be great as well. 

post #761 of 1009

From what I understand both those levels of jitter should be completely inaudible anyway....


Edited by nicholars - 1/28/13 at 2:01pm
post #762 of 1009
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicholars View Post

From what I understand both those levels of jitter should be completely inaudible anyway....

 

That's an often argued topic and I have no desire to revisit it here. 

post #763 of 1009
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

That's an often argued topic and I have no desire to revisit it here. 

 

lol fair enough... I agree it is a pointless conversation... I must admit that although theoretically jitter below a certain point shouldn't make a difference, when I tried an async USB dac it was definately better sound quality than coaxial s/pdif... Not sure if this was due to jitter or different dac design etc. Only way to know for sure is to buy it and try it myself I suppose.

post #764 of 1009
Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

 

 

Exactly. Many designs use a separate DIR (aka digital audio interface receiver) chip like a Cirrus CS8416 or a Wolfson WM8805 or a TI DIR9001. Those chips are pretty good at locking on to any source, even a poor one. 

 

The D18 (and some other DACs) instead goes with the built in DIR functionality in the ES9018 chip. The drawback - it clearly isn't as good at recovering poor signals. The upside - it leads to lower overall jitter and removes any bottleneck in the signal path by delivering a more pure signal to the ES9018.

 

Something like a CS8416 (which is very common) uses a phase locked loop to recover a relatively low jitter clock from the incoming signal. Some designers consider that detrimental as they don't want additional processing to the signal. That particular chip results in an "average" jitter spec of 200ps being sent to the DAC, assuming a good design (poorly done, jitter could be far higher). The TI DIR9001 supposedly gets the jitter down to 50ps but is limited to 96kHz. The Wolfson WM8805 does 50ps and goes to 192kHz but is harder to properly implement.

 

With a most good CD transports, the SPDIF output has a jitter level somewhat higher than any of these numbers. So the DIR helps for the most part. But with a really good transport the native jitter on the output may be lower - for example, my JF Digital HDM-03S has around 100ps jitter on the SPDIF output. So if it sends a signal to a DAC using CS8416, that chip does more harm than good. And then there is the matter of top level USB to SPDIF converters - my Audiophilleo 1 with PurePower spits out an SPDIF signal with jitter in the single digit range. Any of the above mentioned DIR chips is going to mess with that pristine signal and make it worse. Consequently, the D18 shows the biggest improvement when using these sources as compared to my other DACs which have their own DIR chips. 

 

This of course is an overly simplistic way of explaining it, but hopefully it makes a bit of sense. Yulong didn't choose this design just to mess with us and make our transport choices difficult. 

Ok I completely understand your point, in High-end gear jitter reduction chips can be more harmful then helpful. But thats limits you to ONLY using high end sources. Which in my case is a big CON, but for many others with very good transports, like yourself, won't be. 

 

So for me it looks like the MDAC is a good buy, especially since I'm a tweaker. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by T.F.O.A View Post

How about trying the optical output? s/pdif might be better than optical, but i believe there's a reason why yu long put optical input on the D18.

just my 2 cents. biggrin.gif

optical is SPDIF........ SPDIF is just the format of transmission, The medium can be optical or coaxial.

Quote:
Originally Posted by project86 View Post

There's surprisingly little information about it, but I think the M-DAC uses a Wolfson WM8805 digital receiver. That means it should be fine with nearly any signal you could feed it. The potential downside is the 50ps jitter spec - theoretically, there wouldn't be much point feeding the M-DAC with a high end DDC (Off Ramp, Audiophilleo, etc) that has super low jitter, as the WM8805 will route it to the ES9018 with 50ps regardless. 

 

Having said that, I use the Anedio D2 with the same WM8805/ES9018 configuration and it is spectacular. So the M-DAC could be great as well. 

This sort of supports my statement, I have no interest in buying expensive transports. To each his own.

post #765 of 1009
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by WiR3D View Post

So for me it looks like the MDAC is a good buy, especially since I'm a tweaker

 

 

 

In some circles, that means something very different that what you probably intended to say wink.gif

 

Seriously though, M-DAC is probably the way to go in your case. Since it seem fairly popular you can probably even find one on the used market if you want - a lot of these units from smaller companies are difficult to find second hand. 

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