Originally Posted by Xaborus
Originally Posted by mink70
I appreciate your response, but let's don't get into another eternal argument about objective sound vs. coloration. Most, if not all, perfectionist audio components are "designed to be invisible," but not a single one has yet succeeded. And digital fails in this regard differently than analog. From reading about people's experiences, I don't think I'm alone in finding most inexpensive digital sources to be musicality-challenged. And what I'm looking for is just to relax, forget about the gear and get into the listening.
The ODAC (and O2 Amplifier) was designed to be completely transparent. Didn't read much into this thread but i think that's what your getting into. Hope this helps :]
The results are interesting considering. I pinched a friend's ODAC and gave it a run. Where it really shined compared to the high-end gear I have here was if I plugged it into the USB hub I bought from Vaunix (which was designed to power their signal generators and so provides a good power supply compared to that coming from a computer). Then it really scares the high-end gear. It wont replace any of it anytime soon though, because it's a one-trick pony.
I think what is going on is, compared to the more vintage gear, the newer USB audio receivers available are far better than the old BB ones of before. That, along with the new Sabre chips allow much higher fidelity with less effort than was previously required. The Calyx DAC is an example of that. Ignoring the price it's a relatively simple design compared to the Parasound and Audio-gd units.
The thing about high-end audio is, however, that much of the market is still focussed on spinning disks and fussing over CD and SACD transport quality (if not vinyl). I know I can get excellent results from a computer and the newer DACs with asyc and other high-quality USB solutions are examples of that. What I discovered is that the older DACs without USB, depending on what's inside, in my experience, could be very transport-sensitive and the ones I've tried sometimes sounded harsh if a poor transport was used, leading back to my original complaint about the sound out of many DACs impressing me as being unnatural. There seem to be valid technical reasons for that. The Audiophilleo or other high-quality USB converter effects the same as a top-of-the-line transport and can transform an old, but already over-designed DAC by both dealing with jitter issues, as well as the quality of the S/PDIF output.
I think much of the issue will become moot once the Tenor TE8802, TAS1020B or VIA 32-bit chipsets become the norm in DACs, unless one spins CDs (or SACDs) still. For those people, encouraging them to use a good streaming transport after ripping their collection to a computer is probably the way to go.