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SA-2 Musical Dac (Audio-gd) - Page 3

post #31 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fonksta View Post

Does anyone know what the difference in sound signatures are between the SA-2 and the Ref 5.32? Which is more neutral; which is darker/brighter?

 

The SA-2 has a -2dB rolloff at 20 kHz by design, so it's almost certainly the darker one of the pair.

post #32 of 75

I doubt you can actually hear a 2dB difference at 20 kHz. There are no instruments that make significant sounds at that frequency. There's little even above 12kHz. The roll-off has to do with issues around the Nyquist cut-off. A steep filter introduces distortion (for reasons that are quite complex), so many companies use a slower roll-off filter setting.

post #33 of 75

For sure, the Reference 5 is dark. I owned it and returned it because of that.

 

If my SA-31 amplifier is any indication, the SA-2 should be rather warm and sweet sounding.

 

To my ears, the difference being that the former is more "tight" sounding when the latter adds some lushness to the sound (added harmonics).

post #34 of 75

I was initially interested in the Ref 5.32 for my CSP2+ and T1 that plan to order in a few months but now interested in the NFB 7.32. Nigeljames review on the NFB 7.32 sounds like the synergy I would look for in my first Rig. Overall I really need to attend a meet before taking this plunge though.

post #35 of 75

I am trying to decide between the SA-2 and the NFB 7.32 to replace my current DAC.  Are their any other owners out there with impressions.  FWIW I have owned the Audio GD DAC-19 MKIII, the Monarchy NM24 (a 1704UK design) and I loved both.  Complicating matters is that I love my current DAC and my previously owned Wyred DAC2.  

 

I think I will just flip a coin.

post #36 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by ciphercomplete View Post

I am trying to decide between the SA-2 and the NFB 7.32 to replace my current DAC.  Are their any other owners out there with impressions.  FWIW I have owned the Audio GD DAC-19 MKIII, the Monarchy NM24 (a 1704UK design) and I loved both.  Complicating matters is that I love my current DAC and my previously owned Wyred DAC2.  

 

I think I will just flip a coin.

 

I think the main difference between the 2 is the voicing (+ the added harmonics in the SA-2). 

 

The NFB 7.32 should have a similar voicing to that of the NFB-1: neutral/slightly bright with great extension to both ends but never harsh sounding.

It should add more impact and tighter sound than the NFB-1 (the bass on my NFB-27 is amazingly tight, a bit too much with the HE-500 for my taste, even).

 

I used to own the Reference 5.32 (which, to my ears, was faulty as I could not really focus on the sound, something I could not hear was distracting me so I returned it).

I would say the NFB-27 (and, by extension, the NFB-7) is more lively sounding with great dynamic, whereas the Reference 5 was, well, reference sounding! It was smoky, dark, as if you were behind the window's studio during the recording. The NFB-27 puts you on stage with the band.

 

Technically, the NFB-27 is better. It resolves better, the bass and treble extend further, hit harder (too hard sometime), the scene is larger.

Some say this is common to all 3x r-core gears from Kingwa so I suspect the SA-2 to have the same technicalities as the NFB-7.

 

I never heard the SA-2 so I cannot comment on the voicing. Kingwa told me it was warm (like my SA-31, which is rather close to neutral in my book) but never mentioned it as being dark.

 

As for the "SA sound", the added harmonics on the SA-31 simply grow on me! It's not mellow, syrupy or the likes, the sound is still highly resolving and the technicalities are clearly there. As I said in the SA-31 thread, this amp is technically on par with that of the NFB-27 (in term of soundstage size, dynamics, slam and detail retrieval) but the added harmonic make the difference.

post #37 of 75

Thanks for your response.

post #38 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

I doubt you can actually hear a 2dB difference at 20 kHz. There are no instruments that make significant sounds at that frequency. There's little even above 12kHz. The roll-off has to do with issues around the Nyquist cut-off. A steep filter introduces distortion (for reasons that are quite complex), so many companies use a slower roll-off filter setting.

 

While I would agree that there are no significant harmonics or overtone frequencies above 12 kHz, since when has the pursuit of audiophilic nirvana ever been satisfied to stop at only what is significant? wink.gif

 

It is commonly held that up to to 4rth order harmonics can add perceptibly to the sound. The fundamental frequency, of say, a piano's highest notes are in the 4 kHz range. This means that the 4rth order harmonics are somewhere in the 16 kHz area. Whether you can actually detect frequencies at or above 16 kHz is another matter. I suspect most can't if they are much over the age of 20. And apparently men loose this ability faster. Being a good decade older than that, I'm lucky if I can hear 14 kHz (from sample test tones) - probably closer to 13 kHz to be honest - and I've been fairly careful about my hearing.

 

What you say about a brickwall filter vs role off is interesting. By distortion, do you mean distortion that is introduced by the driver in the headphone/speaker (which would make sense to me)? Or somewhere in the actual DAC output stage?

post #39 of 75

I have a question regarding the SA-2:

 

Will I benefit from the 32-bit/384 kHz audio controller? All of my music is lossless (~900 kbps) and the sample rate is 44.1 kHz. I can connect to the DAC via optical or USB.

post #40 of 75

The DAC chips (PCM1704UK) top @ 24bits/192kHz.

The USB-32 implementation is excellent and you should favor it over optical (for its convenience, at least).

 

The built-in DSP should get rid of a great deal of Jitter when using S/PDIF inputs so you might not notice much difference between the inputs unless your source is really bad. 

post #41 of 75

I'm interested in getting a DAC that's capable of playing DSD files without reducing the sample rate and I'm curious if the SA-2 can do this. I know that the PCM1704U-K chips top @ 24 bits/192KHz, so I initially didn't think the SA-2 was capable of handling DSD. But in November of 2012, Kingwa said this:

 

The USB32 can support DSD original file playback in DS / KS / WASPI model playback in our test with mulriple computers .

 

What exactly does this mean? 

post #42 of 75

If you don't get an answer here you might want to try posting in the NFB 11.32 thread as there is more discussion going on there with respect to types of file formats and general Audio-gd playback capabilities.

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/624517/audio-gd-nfb-11-32-delivery-impression-thread/480

post #43 of 75

After doing some reading, I'm assuming the SA-2 can support DSD playback via DoP (see here for better explanation http://wiki.jriver.com/index.php/DSD_Format). It will still convert the DSD stream to PCM but with little/negligible loss in fidelity. I'd like to hear how DoP compares to true 1 bit DSD playback.

 

There are many reviews circulating the web these days that use a DSD capable DAC to compare the following settings: 16bit/44.1KHz, 24bit/192Khz, DSD64, and DSD128. Here is an example of such a review: http://www.audiostream.com/content/dsd-v-pcm-file-comparison-16441-2496-24192-64x-dsd-128x-dsd?page=1. Now, I'm not surprised that DSD sounds better than PCM 24bit/192Khz on a DSD DAC, namely because it was made to play DSD. I'm certain that much less effort was put into to perfecting the PCM output. 

 

What I would like to do is compare a ~$1500 DSD DAC (such as the Mytek Digital Stereo-192 DSD DAC) playing original DSD material to a top of the line $1500 PCM DAC (such as Audio-gd SA-2) playing 24bit/192KHz recordings. I understand that each DAC will add it's own color to the recordings, but this is a much more important comparison in my opinion.

post #44 of 75

I've got myself a SA-2 to replace my older DAC19DF. It works perfectly with my Squeezebox Touch with FW #3 ( adaptive mode ) up to 24/192. While I'm still at the very beginning of the burn-in ( under 24 hours ), I find it "sweeter" sounding than my older DAC19DF, with a bit less bass-impact, but with better imaging and instrument separation.

post #45 of 75

Any more impression on the SA-2?

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