Originally Posted by Currawong
I think the problem is what people are referring to is the subtle effects of one of the following:
Converter and Filter choices. Some have a slow roll-off to the Nyquist frequency which, although at the limit of hearing (or beyond for most people) is perceived as being "warm". The degree of oversampling, including no over-sampling, subtly changes the sound too.
Output stage: Non-negative-feedback output stages have the proverbial "black background" sound, whereas amplification (which an output stage is) that has significant negative feedback, often the result of using OPAMPs, has what people describe as a more analytical sound. The choice of OPAMP (since they are amplification circuits in their own right) may affect the perceived tonal balance.
With cheaper DACs, there is a compromise in what components can be put in them, importantly including compromises in the design of the power supply, which is important to keep distortion down and ensure linearity in performance.
A good point, I find the differances in Dacs is mostly in mirco details and sound stage, they all "sound" the same. It's where and how the sound is placed that imrpoves very minimally over time and as you get more expensive gear. That said, I do like Audio GD Gear. I like my NFb 10ES2. Sounds nice and clean and was imo pretty darn inexpensive!
That said, as others have mentioned you want your DAC to be as transparent as possible. I had an oDac it was very nice! And I own a Behringer UCA202, and for a Dac... it was darn cheap and honestly while it doesn't sound as "spacious and well imaged" as my NFB 10ES2... it's still super great! I use it for watching movies on my Laptop when I'm on the go. And the extra details that a GOOD dac get's you... I've found as I've upgraded over the years... it's usually about 1/10 songs that I MIGHT find a BIG noticable improvement in the sound. Usually it's over the course of a few months that I accidently stumble upon the benifits of the new dac. Meaning the tiny little details that a new DAC bring are pretty subtle, and again you want a transparent dac to retain as much of that detail as possible. But don't throw THOUSANDS of dollars into a Dac when you want warmth, if you want a warmer sound as others mentioned new headphones or a new amp would do wonders :3
Also I had a chance to compare the oDac and my NFB 10 [too lazy to write a reivew it was a busy BUSY month] and again... out of my 7 refrance songs. ONE of them had an improvement to my ears... ONE and maybe out of that entire 5min song, there was about 10 seconds total of "Oh hey that's new... COOL" meaning you could honestly keep ur oDac for a long time, and keep making upgrade to your headphones and amps! As the Dac is the LEAST noticeable improvement. As to why I sold my oDac... I needed something with multiple Digital Inputs and analong outputs :3
Originally Posted by Currawong
There was one guy here, computerparts, who loved the old-style DACs and disliked newer ones. In the end, he went for an Audio Note kit DAC, second-hand.
ooh that sounds interesting! And a big thank you to google! As I found the website for that DAC pretty quickly
Edited by Mshenay - 11/16/13 at 8:28pm