Audiophiles claim that different DACs sound different, more or less noticeably. I've been told, for instance, that a Clip+ and an iPod Classic sound completely different.
What do you think? Here's a chance to find out and / or to substantiate your claims.
I've made a 30s clip of the song "Cannonball" from Supertramp. The source recording sounds very good, it's very well mastered, and it has a high dynamic range (DR15 on foobar's Dynamic Range Meter). I've played it back through several devices, and recorded the output. I've aligned the recordings to the best of my abilities, and volume matched them.
Here's the list of devices that I've used, in alphabetical order: Clip+, EMU 0204 USB, Galaxy Nexus, iPod Classic, my laptop (Realtek ALC663), O2/ODAC. I used the EMU 0204 USB for recording the outputs.
Here's the list of FLAC files (16 bit / 44.1kHz / stereo), named randomly (I used /dev/urandom to generate random rankings):
A.flac, B.flac, C.flac, D.flac, E.flac, F.flac, G.flac. There are 7 files because I've included the original sample in there.
You may download them all at once with this zip file.
EDIT: C2.flac (channel imbalance corrected)
I will reveal which is which a month from now, on February 28, 2013, in a downloadable text file. In order to give you the assurance that I haven't tampered with it just to prove my point, here's the MD5 sum of that file (you may save it somewhere or quote it in this thread to make sure I don't edit it):
EDIT: ab6a17183e1b2d320c6e4d4c3d8195c0 (dac2.txt that includes C2)
You may try to identify a particular piece of gear, or which sample is the original, or rank the samples in descending order of preference (the one you like the most first, the one you like the least, last), or ABX any two samples… whatever you're most comfortable with.
P.S.: I don't expect that many people will venture a guess or two, but at least the opportunity is here.
Edited by skamp - 2/10/13 at 10:18am