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Best DAC (or amp/DAC) under $150 - Page 2

post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by rahzim View Post

 

Hmm so I've heard now that it should be 100%, and 80%.  I wonder if there's any scientific evidence to back this up or if it's just conjecture.  I think I'll ask this question in the sound science forum.  I tried adjusting volume on fubar myself and with the amp and didn't notice a difference, but then again I didn't listen very critically.

Yes, digital volume controls throw away bits of resolution as you decrease from 100%.  But they use dithering and mix some noise into the signal to minimize the distortion from the lst bits.  The following links talk about what happens in digital attenuation as well as using dither to help this distortion.

 

 

http://www.wadia.com/technology/technicalpapers/Digital_Volume_Control_2.pdf

 

http://www.weiss-highend.ch/computerplayback/Digital_Level_Control.pdf

 

Most software players, but not all, have dithered volume controls.  

post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

 

 

Some DACs, for whatever reason, aren't designed well and have issues running at max volume.  They might clip the peaks slightly if you run them at 100% or close to it.  So turning the volume down for these devices, would avoid this problem.  How much you need to turn down depends on the device.  

 

So on decently-designed hardware, 100% is better—but practically the same.  To be safe, something lower avoids a potential issue and is probably negligibly worse (16-bit) or pretty much not worse at all (24-bit).

Great explanation on the loss of resolution at anything lower than 100% but the note on dacs above has me confused.  Nearly all dacs I have used have no issues with the 100% output from a player or software.  The attenuation comes in when going form dac to amp that does not have an analog attenuator.  And if you use the software's attenuation you run into either loss of resolution or noise even noise caused by a computer running extra processes to run the dithering algorithms.  Yes, everything matters in the search for great sound, whether you can hear it or if it bothers you is the big question.

post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by hipster2010 View Post

Hey everyone,

 

So I recently got a Denon D5000 and I'm looking to upgrade my DAC from the FiiO E7 that I currently have. I am trying to decide if it is worth upgrading to something else that is up to $150. Ideally it will be closer to $120, but I can stretch up to $150 if necessary. I don't need portability so it doesn't matter if the DAC is portable or for a desktop.

 

I don't really know much about the different DACs available, but currently I'm looking at the FiiO E17. I'd appreciate any help and recommendations to point me in the right direction. Thanks

Most of the under $150 dac/ amp combos are not that great.  One that is decent for the money is the HRT Headstreamer.  I liked it a bit better than the Audinst for example.  Check my blog for a review.

post #19 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bixby View Post

Most of the under $150 dac/ amp combos are not that great.  One that is decent for the money is the HRT Headstreamer.  I liked it a bit better than the Audinst for example.  Check my blog for a review.

Thanks for the input. I'm currently debating between the headstreamer and the Audioengine D1. I'm just trying to figure out if I really can spend the money right now haha

post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by hipster2010 View Post

Thanks for the input. I'm currently debating between the headstreamer and the Audioengine D1. I'm just trying to figure out if I really can spend the money right now haha

 

The HeadStreamer would probably pair better with the Denons, since it has <1 ohm output impedance, whereas the D1 is 10 ohm.


Edited by manveru - 7/1/12 at 4:27pm
post #21 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manveru View Post

 

The HeadStreamer would probably pair better with the Denons, since it has <1 ohm output impedance, whereas the D1 is 10 ohm.

Good point. I have very little experience with amps/dacs so I'm just learning about the specs and how to pair them properly with different headphones. I think I'll pick up the Headstreamer soon!

post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 

Went ahead and ordered the Headstreamer and should have it by Thursday! Thanks for the help everyone.

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