Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › A nice new DAC2 from Benchmark showing at RMAF
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

A nice new DAC2 from Benchmark showing at RMAF - Page 5

post #61 of 229
Perhaps I worded myself wrong; what I ment was that the motorized control would not give a more accurate volume control, or improve the SQ of the volume control what so ever, apart from the noise it makes when it's actively changing volume ofc...
I suppose you could argue it has it's place for the automatic "volume down" and "volume up" on shutdown/startup, the HT function(since it's just a volume preset) and ofc the remote option.

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #62 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by CybDev View Post

Perhaps I worded myself wrong; what I ment was that the motorized control would not give a more accurate volume control, or improve the SQ of the volume control what so ever, apart from the noise it makes when it's actively changing volume ofc...
I suppose you could argue it has it's place for the automatic "volume down" and "volume up" on shutdown/startup, the HT function(since it's just a volume preset) and ofc the remote option.
Well that's the "HGC" part of the DAC2 design - the Hybrid Gain Control. Volume from digital sources is controlled digitally, and volume from analog sources use the analog potentiometer - which you wouldn't be able to adjust via remote otherwise.
post #63 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioSound View Post

Something I need to know about it though; are there any pops or clicks when you change sample rate? What about going from PCM to DSD?

One of my biggest annoyances with my current setup is that when I'm outputting via WASAPI from my PC and having it automatically switch sample rates, there's a loud "pop" and half a second of silence as it switches. If you're going through a playlist that has a mix of CD-quality tracks, HD tracks, and DSD audio, this is very distracting.

Others have suggested there are no clicks.

That is *not* my experience. I am used to the imeccable behaviour of my DAC1-HDR which never makes any unpleasant noises. Unfortunately that is not my experience with the DAC2 and its by far my biggest annoyance with the device. I get a loud switch on pop and various other clicks and pops during use. Switching from digital to analogue inputs is unpleasant with another loud click. Switching from PCM to DSD playback produces a click. As does switching back again. And a quiet click at the end of every DSD track. It is *far* from silent. Very disappointing to be honest.

Another irritating thing is that when you press on the DAC1, it mutes. Nothing more, nothing less. Likewise, turn it off and it just turns off. The DAC2 can't manage these simple operations without winding the volume control right down (which takes a few seconds and is quite noisy). My guess is it does this to minimise the annoying clicks.

Considering how operationally perfect the DAC1-HDR is, I am very surprised the DAC2 is so unpolished.

I might add, this is with the -20dB pads. With the -10dB pads, it's worse. And my power amp has modest gain (+27 dB iirc) so it's not as if my setup is particularly sensitive or problematic.
Edited by Chippy99 - 5/13/13 at 2:48pm
post #64 of 229

How does the DAC2 HGC sound with Audeze headphones?  

post #65 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99 View Post

Others have suggested there are no clicks.

That is *not* my experience. I am used to the imeccable behaviour of my DAC1-HDR which never makes any unpleasant noises. Unfortunately that is not my experience with the DAC2 and its by far my biggest annoyance with the device. I get a loud switch on pop and various other clicks and pops during use. Switching from digital to analogue inputs is unpleasant with another loud click. Switching from PCM to DSD playback produces a click. As does switching back again. And a quiet click at the end of every DSD track. It is *far* from silent. Very disappointing to be honest.

Another irritating thing is that when you press on the DAC1, it mutes. Nothing more, nothing less. Likewise, turn it off and it just turns off. The DAC2 can't manage these simple operations without winding the volume control right down (which takes a few seconds and is quite noisy). My guess is it does this to minimise the annoying clicks.

Considering how operationally perfect the DAC1-HDR is, I am very surprised the DAC2 is so unpolished.

I might add, this is with the -20dB pads. With the -10dB pads, it's worse. And my power amp has modest gain (+27 dB iirc) so it's not as if my setup is particularly sensitive or problematic.

 

That's very disappointing to hear, and I'm glad that I haven't done anything about buying one yet - I have been very tempted to though.

 

I may just end up with an O2+ODAC now.

 

When looking for a DAC & Amplifier with verifiable performance, there really doesn't seem to be much in-between the O2+ODAC, and the Benchmark DACs.


Just about everything else either measures worse, or doesn't have independent data. (or even useful data from the manufacturers)

 

It seems that even some of the Benchmark DAC's "competitors" such as the Grace M903 can't keep up with the O2, and at 1/10th the price, I'm not sure how I can justify that difference - I'm willing to give up a bit of flexibility to save 90%.

 

Out of interest, how do you feel the DAC1-HDR and DAC2-HGC compare sonically? Is there much between them?

post #66 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99 View Post

Others have suggested there are no clicks.

That is *not* my experience. I am used to the imeccable behaviour of my DAC1-HDR which never makes any unpleasant noises. Unfortunately that is not my experience with the DAC2 and its by far my biggest annoyance with the device. I get a loud switch on pop and various other clicks and pops during use. Switching from digital to analogue inputs is unpleasant with another loud click. Switching from PCM to DSD playback produces a click. As does switching back again. And a quiet click at the end of every DSD track. It is *far* from silent. Very disappointing to be honest.

Another irritating thing is that when you press on the DAC1, it mutes. Nothing more, nothing less. Likewise, turn it off and it just turns off. The DAC2 can't manage these simple operations without winding the volume control right down (which takes a few seconds and is quite noisy). My guess is it does this to minimise the annoying clicks.

Considering how operationally perfect the DAC1-HDR is, I am very surprised the DAC2 is so unpolished.

I might add, this is with the -20dB pads. With the -10dB pads, it's worse. And my power amp has modest gain (+27 dB iirc) so it's not as if my setup is particularly sensitive or problematic.

Curious

So I went home after work yesterday to find out how I could have possibly missed that, and all I ended up doing was verify that there is absolutely _no clicking whatsoever_ from my DAC2 when hooked up to my mac via USB and using Audirvana Plus (in direct integer mode without resampling).
I tried both headphone jacks with the HD800 and Shure SE-535 sensitive IEM, as well as the line out to a SRM-323S/SR-009.
There is a good second silence when switching from 16/44.1 to 24/176 or DSD and back again, but no click.

Maybe I was lucky with mine? I've got one with serial 13030xxx

Perhaps it's related to your software?
post #67 of 229
Cybdev, do you not get switch on and switch off clicks??? That is concerning for me if you do not.

I have contacted Benchmark about this and they have confirmed that my DAC2 is functioning normally and that the clicks are to be expected. I am not sure if this is disappointing or not. In a way, it would have been good if it was faulty.

The switch on and off clicks are, apparently, due to the DAC2 actually being powered on and off - as opposed to the DAC1 which never really powered off, it just pretended and was still powered when you switched it "off".

This explanation is undermined by the fact i used to switch my DAC1 off at the wall (to stop it wasting electricity when not in use) and it NEVER clicked or popped.

The clicks on switching from digital to analogue and vica versa are apparently due to the relays. Again, my DAC1-HDR has relays and no such clicks on switching from D to A to D.

Finally, they say the inter-track DSD clicks are due to Pure Music not being able to cross fade between two DSD sources. This may be true.

Sonically, I am honestly not sure if I can tell the difference between the DAC1-HDR and the DAC2. If I can tell, I would say the DAC2 perhaps sounds a little smoother, less analytical. But I am not convinced and I may be imagining it. If I had been expecting a dramatic improvement (luckily I wasn't), I would have been disappointed. But honestly I only expected very minor improvement at best. If the DAC2 had been dramatically better, that would mean the DAC1 was significantly flawed in some way, and I knew that was not the case. The DAC1-HDR is IMHO nigh on perfect, and its difficult to improve upon perfection.

But the features are better. DSD decoding is a plus of course, 2 sets of analogue inputs, trigger output, home theatre bypass and finally, perfect channel tracking (with digital sources). I will use all of these and this makes it a worthwhile upgrade for me. Shame about the clicks.

(To be clear, I don't get track-to-track clicks with PCM content - even between different bit depths and sample rates - so for normal listening, the clicks are not there, it's only in the circumstances I describe above.)
Edited by Chippy99 - 5/15/13 at 1:03pm
post #68 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99 View Post

Cybdev, do you not get switch on and switch off clicks??? That is concerning for me if you do not.

I have contacted Benchmark about this and they have confirmed that my DAC2 is functioning normally and that the clicks are to be expected. I am not sure if this is disappointing or not. In a way, it would have been good if it was faulty.

Interesting, and worrying...
Could you quote the question/response?
If it's _supposed_ to have those clicks then why are they not apparent on mine?
I did get mine from the official source here, fairly sure it's legit, - and if it's not it's still a very good DAC imo smily_headphones1.gif

If I switch it off there will be two clicks, followed by a very faint third one. The first two are my finger hitting the off button and it activating, the third is just as the power goes completely out.
If I switch it on there is again the click of the button activating, followed by a very faint click.

I can't remember noticing those last clicks before, guess I wasn't paying enough attention or switching it on/off enough times to pick up on it...

Anyway, I assumed we were discussing clicks when switching samplerate/wordlength when all the relevant gear was powered on?
EDIT: haha, now I noticed your disclaimer at the end of your post... tongue.gif

So I guess my answer would still be "no _audible_ clicks".
The lights do go out when it switches, and like I said, it takes a second or so when there is total silence between tracks.

I should note, I listen to it at home, and I don't have a super noise isolated room for it. There could be clicks so low they are drowned out by background noise I suppose. I don't pretend to have super hearing of any kind, but I don't have particularly bad hearing either.
When you are in a relatively silent room (quiet bedroom in a city, double isolated windows closed, no equipment but the DAC2 and MBPr powered on) listening for a specific kind of sound I would think there is a better chance of hearing one if there is one.
(In fact probably a good chance you imagine hearing one even if there is none :P)

The only way I can seem to produce clicks is if I deliberately skip a track or seek in one, since the software does not crossfade anything. This behavior can be replicated using standard output on any and all DAC/output on pretty much any audio gear I've ever owned tho...

One of the very reasons I chose the DAC2 was the lack of those super annoying clicks that I noticed with the Fostex HP-A8C, Grace Design m903, Lynx Hilo, MyTek Stereo192 etc...
Edited by CybDev - 5/15/13 at 1:46pm
post #69 of 229
If all you are concerned about is track to track clicks, then everything is fine... with PCM at least. And perhaps with DSD playback it is my media player causing the noises, not the DAC2.

So for an evenings listening where you are not changing inputs, you will likely be ok, I agree.

I just felt it necessary to respond to the original suggestion that the DAC2 produces no clicks or pops of any kind: mine certainly does.
post #70 of 229
Yeah tbh I've never used the other inputs than optic and usb, and never switch between them when in use...
Thanks for clearing that up tho smily_headphones1.gif
post #71 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99 View Post

If all you are concerned about is track to track clicks, then everything is fine... with PCM at least. And perhaps with DSD playback it is my media player causing the noises, not the DAC2.

 

Chippy99, can you try a demo of JRiver? It should show whether the DAC2 is capable of changing between DSD tracks without a click.

There is also an option in it that may remove the click if there is one, which some DACs need. (play silence on DoP stop)

 

 

So it can change between PCM formats without clicks (JRiver can also be set to crossfade when seeking or changing tracks for what it's worth) and CybDev says that he doesn't have any clicks with DSD either.

 

Can it change between PCM and DSD without any clicks though?

 

 

Actually, I'm also wondering if there is any silence between format changes too, now that I think about it, or can you do gapless playback between say 16/44, and 24/96?

Just thinking about when I am using the play doctor feature in JRiver - right now I have to upsample everything to the same rate to avoid gaps. (and clicks when it switches)

 

 

And the clicks that you are reporting when switching on/off and changing inputs - are you talking about relays switching, or clicks through your headphones/speakers? I don't mind hearing relays switching inside the unit itself - a lot of devices do that now.

 

 

 

I'm still unsure though - it's a lot of money, and I don't know if I need top-of-the-line performance that badly.

As things are, these days I am likely to only be using a single input. (I use my PC as a source for everything)

 


Have you done any comparisons between native DSD and PCM?

Do you think native DSD support actually matters? (JRiver can also convert DSD to PCM for playback, to compare)

Some sources seem to suggest that hi-res PCM is actually better than DSD. (at least 64x DSD rather than 128x, which is all the DAC2 supports)

post #72 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioSound View Post

Quote:
Chippy99, can you try a demo of JRiver?

Not easily.  Benchmark tell me the DSD clicks are caused by my media player and I have no reason to disbelieve them.  Plus, CybDev says he doesn't get them with DSD, so that tends to back this up.

 

Quote:

Can it change between PCM and DSD without any clicks though?

I would doubt it personally.  Maybe CybDev can confirm?

 

Quote:

Actually, I'm also wondering if there is any silence between format changes...

There is.

 

Quote:

Just thinking about when I am using the play doctor feature in JRiver - right now I have to upsample everything to the same rate to avoid gaps. (and clicks when it switches)

You don't get clicks on sample rate changes.  But you will get a 1 second or so of mute... which is fine as it's between tracks of course.

 

Quote:

And the clicks that you are reporting when switching on/off and changing inputs - are you talking about relays switching, or clicks through your headphones/speakers? I don't mind hearing relays switching inside the unit itself - a lot of devices do that now.

No, they are audio clicks.

 

Quote:

I'm still unsure though - it's a lot of money, and I don't know if I need top-of-the-line performance that badly.

As things are, these days I am likely to only be using a single input. (I use my PC as a source for everything)

 

I would not worry remotely about the clicks then.  OK so you get them when turning on and off.  Big deal.  After that you will hear no clicks.

 

Quote:

Have you done any comparisons between native DSD and PCM?

Not really.  I don't have enough DSD content.

 

 

Quote:
Do you think native DSD support actually matters? (JRiver can also convert DSD to PCM for playback, to compare).  Some sources seem to suggest that hi-res PCM is actually better than DSD. (at least 64x DSD rather than 128x, which is all the DAC2 supports.

My personal opinion (I expect to be flamed for this) is that it is the current hype and a bit of a waste of time.  As a recording format for primarily classical or simply miked acoustic material, it probably has a place.  But for replay in a domestic environment, I don't think it offers any audible improvement over 24/96.  There's many people who swear differently, but there are probably an equal number who swear that their DAC sounds better on spikes, and therefore who's opinion can be competely ignored.

post #73 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99 View Post

 

Not easily.  Benchmark tell me the DSD clicks are caused by my media player and I have no reason to disbelieve them.  Plus, CybDev says he doesn't get them with DSD, so that tends to back this up. 

 

Well, I don't plan on using anything other than JRiver, so if it's dependent on software, that's potentially a problem.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99 View Post

 

You don't get clicks on sample rate changes.  But you will get a 1 second or so of mute... which is fine as it's between tracks of course.

 

It would have been nice to be able to use gapless playback, but ~1s gapped playback is fine I suppose, or I can always resample everything for gapless playback.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99 View Post

 

No, they are audio clicks.

I would not worry remotely about the clicks then.  OK so you get them when turning on and off.  Big deal.  After that you will hear no clicks.

As long as the "click" when turning on/off is similar to what I hear from my current system when it changes sample rates, that's fine.

I assume it's not the headphone-destroying problem that Schiit had with the original Asgard.

 

It could be an issue if switching between PCM and DSD had a click though.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99 View Post

 

My personal opinion (I expect to be flamed for this) is that it is the current hype and a bit of a waste of time.  As a recording format for primarily classical or simply miked acoustic material, it probably has a place.  But for replay in a domestic environment, I don't think it offers any audible improvement over 24/96.  There's many people who swear differently, but there are probably an equal number who swear that their DAC sounds better on spikes, and therefore who's opinion can be competely ignored.

 

I'm actually glad to hear this. I do have some DSD tracks, but right now I have to use JRiver to convert them to PCM.

Back when SACD was invented, it was DSD vs 16-bit PCM, and there was a clear benefit.

 

DSD does still offer a lower noise floor below 20kHz than even 24-bit PCM, but virtually no hardware is even approaching that noise floor. If your DAC can actually output better than -144dB, then DSD might still make some sense. But look at what happens to the noise floor as you go above 20kHz:

pcm-dsdh7klw.jpg

That is significantly higher than PCM, and needs to be filtered out. PCM has a fixed -144dB noise floor all the way up to 192kHz with a 24/384 signal, and DSD is above -50dB at that point.

 

I know the DAC2 has -160dB idle noise, but I think it's a lot higher than that when it's actually in use and outputting audio.

 

If you believe that ultrasonic audio can be "experienced" then even 24/96 PCM should theoretically be better than 64x DSD. (-144dB up to 48kHz)

 

128x DSD does offer a lower noise floor than PCM up to 40kHz (though the DAC2 doesn't support it) so it could theoretically be better there, but again, what hardware has a noise floor that is below -144dB?

 

 

Like you, I also believe that DACs shouldn't have a sound, so it's encouraging to hear that you still thought it was a worthwhile upgrade to get the DAC2 after owning the DAC1-HDR. (and that you decided to stick with Benchmark)

post #74 of 229
In an ideal world, I don't think any hifi components should have a sound, not just DACs ;-)

I am entirely convinced - without any doubt in my mind - that the majority of sonic improvement that people attribute to higher rate PCM and DSD recordings is down to two things: 1. The care taken in making the recording; the mics, the mixing and mastering, and 2. Placebo.

I said majority, it is conceivable to me that 24/96 might sound infinitessimally better than 16/44.1 i am far from convinced however that any perceived shortcomings of 16/44.1 are inherent to the format itself. Circa 100dB of signal to noise ratio and 20-20KHz bandwidth is good enough. No musical instruments produce output above around 8KHz and harmonics attenuate dramatically above that to the point that there is effectively nothing there above 20k, not that we can hear it anyway. Or have mics that can record it, or speakers that reproduce it. Debate about reproducing sound above 20KHz is perhaps the emperor's new clothes - debate about signals that are just not there and which you couldn't hear if they were.

I heard some idiot (sorry, but there is no milder word for it) suggesting that different types of computer ram having different sonic signatures. When ridiculous ideas like that are relatively commonplace, it's difficult for the lay person to see the wood from the trees.

So I bought my DAC2 knowing it offered useful features and would likely sound at least as good as my DAC1, if not staggeringly better. There is also a sense of "comfort" in buying decent gear - you can sit and listen nice and relaxed, confident that the kit is performing well. If you buy a lesser component, sometimes you are left wondering if it could be better. That's part of it as well, I think.
Edited by Chippy99 - 5/16/13 at 11:53pm
post #75 of 229
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chippy99 View Post

In an ideal world, I don't think any hifi components should have a sound, not just DACs ;-)

I am entirely convinced - without any doubt in my mind - that the majority of sonic improvement that people attribute to higher rate PCM and DSD recordings is down to two things: 1. The care taken in making the recording; the mics, the mixing and mastering, and 2. Placebo.

I said majority, it is conceivable to me that 24/96 might sound infinitessimally better than 16/44.1 i am far from convinced however that any perceived shortcomings of 16/44.1 are inherent to the format itself. Circa 100dB of signal to noise ratio and 20-20KHz bandwidth is good enough. No musical instruments produce output above around 8KHz and harmonics attenuate dramatically above that to the point that there is effectively nothing there above 20k, not that we can hear it anyway. Or have mics that can record it, or speakers that reproduce it. Debate about reproducing sound above 20KHz is perhaps the emperor's new clothes - debate about signals that are just not there and which you couldn't hear if they were.

I heard some idiot (sorry, but there is no milder word for it) suggesting that different types of computer ram having different sonic signatures. When ridiculous ideas like that are relatively commonplace, it's difficult for the lay person to see the wood from the trees.

So I bought my DAC2 knowing it offered useful features and would likely sound at least as good as my DAC1, if not staggeringly better. There is also a sense of "comfort" in buying decent gear - you can sit and listen nice and relaxed, confident that the kit is performing well. If you buy a lesser component, sometimes you are left wondering if it could be better. That's part of it as well, I think.

 

I agree completely. biggrin.gif

 

 

And as much as it pains me to admit it, I think I need to buy it in black.

 

I have been trying to move away from buying any more black gear. On the consumer side of things everything went black, and then glossy black, but the high end has stuck with high quality aluminum finishes, and I think when it's done well, that looks a lot better when it's not just gear that you can hide away.

 

But the front of the DAC2 is just too "busy" in Silver with all those LEDs on the front, and because they just reused the same controls as the black version:

0srLgji.jpg

 

It can almost look pretty nice when paired with the right headphones, and only the front of the unit is exposed:

LAulxuH.jpg

 

But in black the "interface" disappears for a more unified look:

gcHhT20.jpgx3MEdH5.jpg

 

I think an ideal design for me would be to have a flush faceplate - lose most of the etching around the controls and the recessed jacks.

Go with metal buttons on the front for a unified silver color, and use a laser perforated "window" for the LEDs like Apple use on their notebooks so they are "invisible" when off.

Add an option for the LEDs to only display for say 15s after the sample rate changes, then fade out.


It's too bad you can't just buy a replacement faceplate for $100 or whatever it costs, remove the set screw from the gain control, undo the four hex cap screws, and swap them over...


Edited by StudioSound - 5/20/13 at 10:13am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Dedicated Source Components

Gear mentioned in this thread:

Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Dedicated Source Components › A nice new DAC2 from Benchmark showing at RMAF