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What's the difference between this $100 DAC and $500 one? - Page 2

post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Formel View Post

Hello everyone,

              I am a little confused about DACs. From reading the forum, DACs basically have the same purpose of converting data for the computer to a wave form. Why are Schiit DACs varying in prices if they have the same function? Also I want to purchase one for my Audio Technica AD 700 and future AKG K701. What are some brands of DACs I should look at?

 

http://schiit.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=0&products_id=14

 

The Schiit Modi uses the output stage implemented within the DAC itself. That means that the DAC does the digital to analog conversion *and* the amplification required to send a line level output to a preamp / headphone amp. The Bifrost bypasses the integrated analog output stage with a custom designed, fully discrete circuit. This has potential for improving performance. The Gungnir takes this a few steps further and reclocks the incoming signal in order to more accurately sample the data (the 1's and 0's) and also swaps out the analog output stage on the DAC with a fully balanced design, which should further reduce the noise floor. This would have the greatest benefit if connected to a fully balanced headphone amp.

 

So the increase in price comes down to an increase in parts (both number and quality), the time it took to develop the circuit designs, and the more complex assembly required as you move from Modi to Bifrost to Gungnir. In each case, the more you pay, the better quality and the more features you get (or so it seems).

 

Hope this helps.


Edited by yage - 2/20/13 at 2:19pm
post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by scuttle View Post

 

This is a strawman. "Sound science people" know that headphones and speakers have different characters - flavour if you like. So do different DSP boxes and pieces of software like Exciter and SonicMax. But amps and DACs and CD players... No. The non-broken ones, which are avilable very cheaply, sound the same regardless of price. The idea of substantive differences is a myth projected upon gullible people my marketing professionals, which is then acted out by the placebo effect when their victims listen. But in reality, when you blind test these components:

 

 

 

Once again - this is NOT true of all components! But for amps, dacs, cd players - yes, you very quickly reach the point of wasting money when you spend more. In fact, you can spend more and get less - this is the case when comparing a lot of fashionable valve amps against decent solid state designs.

Thank you for your input.  May I ask you to recommend the DACs that you think are perfect, and priced accordingly so?  It will be very helpful and much appreciated.

post #18 of 33

I have an ODAC, and it is wonderful.  And the board can be had for $100 and then enclosed any which way.  Are you really saying that the rest of the market for DAC's is snake oil and shouldn't exist?


Edited by FraGGleR - 2/20/13 at 3:55pm
post #19 of 33
Quote:

Originally Posted by yage View Post
 

The Schiit Modi uses the output stage implemented within the DAC itself. That means that the DAC does the digital to analog conversion *and* the amplification required to send a line level output to a preamp / headphone amp. The Bifrost bypasses the integrated analog output stage with a custom designed, fully discrete circuit. This has potential for improving performance. The Gungnir takes this a few steps further and reclocks the incoming signal in order to more accurately sample the data (the 1's and 0's) and also swaps out the analog output stage on the DAC with a fully balanced design, which should further reduce the noise floor. This would have the greatest benefit if connected to a fully balanced headphone amp.

 

Without exception, every bit of added circuitry adds noise to the output. Those claims are marketing fluff and make an excellent reason to avoid manufacturers who make them.

post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by HamilcarBarca View Post

 

Without exception, every bit of added circuitry adds noise to the output. Those claims are marketing fluff and make an excellent reason to avoid manufacturers who make them.

But what if the noise is pleasing to the ear?  Then haven't the DAC manufacturers succeeded in part by producing a DAC that sounds good?  Does something that measures perfectly really sound the best?

 

I haven't auditioned DACs to find the best measuring one.  I am trying to find the best sounding one.

 

I will be impressed if you can name a single commercial manufacturer who doesn't add something to the output chain and doesn't claim it sounds better in some way.  

post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by HamilcarBarca View Post

Quote:

Originally Posted by yage View Post
 

The Schiit Modi uses the output stage implemented within the DAC itself. That means that the DAC does the digital to analog conversion *and* the amplification required to send a line level output to a preamp / headphone amp. The Bifrost bypasses the integrated analog output stage with a custom designed, fully discrete circuit. This has potential for improving performance. The Gungnir takes this a few steps further and reclocks the incoming signal in order to more accurately sample the data (the 1's and 0's) and also swaps out the analog output stage on the DAC with a fully balanced design, which should further reduce the noise floor. This would have the greatest benefit if connected to a fully balanced headphone amp.

 

Without exception, every bit of added circuitry adds noise to the output. Those claims are marketing fluff and make an excellent reason to avoid manufacturers who make them.

 

Please design, build and market your own DAC and make a living off it, then get back to us. Thanks. atsmile.gif

post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

Quote:

Originally Posted by HamilcarBarca View Post

Without exception, every bit of added circuitry adds noise to the output. Those claims are marketing fluff and make an excellent reason to avoid manufacturers who make them.

 

Please design, build and market your own DAC and make a living off it, then get back to us. Thanks. atsmile.gif

 

You're quite welcome. Every component of an electrical device, from the wires up, adds noise. That's not only well-known, it's an inescapable fact of physics. There's simply no way around it.

post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by HamilcarBarca View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

Quote:

Originally Posted by HamilcarBarca View Post

Without exception, every bit of added circuitry adds noise to the output. Those claims are marketing fluff and make an excellent reason to avoid manufacturers who make them.

 

Please design, build and market your own DAC and make a living off it, then get back to us. Thanks. atsmile.gif

 

You're quite welcome. Every component of an electrical device, from the wires up, adds noise. That's not only well-known, it's an inescapable fact of physics. There's simply no way around it.

 

Not doubting you. Just saying, please design your own DAC and make a living off it. Then, please come back and discuss the issues and respond to criticism of your designs. smile.gif

post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by FraGGleR View Post

I have an ODAC, and it is wonderful.  And the board can be had for $100 and then enclosed any which way.  Are you really saying that the rest of the market for DAC's is snake oil and shouldn't exist?

That is what it seems they are saying.  That at some minimal cost, it is a fact that all DACs, amps, and cables sound the same, and higher end components only add color to the sound.  It make me kind of sad.  What an austere headphone life they must lead if their only choices that matter are choosing headphones and ensuring their amp has the correct impedance for them. tongue.gif

post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 
Not doubting you. Just saying, please design your own DAC and make a living off it. Then, please come back and discuss the issues and respond to criticism of your designs. smile.gif

 

Thanks, but no thanks. It's unnecessary to design a perpetual motion machine to know that it's physically impossible. That's my point.

 

My actual criticism has been of fanciful, unsubstantiated, and occasionally false marketing claims. I've said repeatedly that listeners should purchase the equipment they want to own.

post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by HamilcarBarca View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 
Not doubting you. Just saying, please design your own DAC and make a living off it. Then, please come back and discuss the issues and respond to criticism of your designs. smile.gif

 

Thanks, but no thanks. It's unnecessary to design a perpetual motion machine to know that it's physically impossible. That's my point.

 

My actual criticism has been of fanciful, unsubstantiated, and occasionally false marketing claims. I've said repeatedly that listeners should purchase the equipment they want to own.


Really?  You posted:

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by HamilcarBarca View Post

Quote:

Originally Posted by yage View Post
 

The Schiit Modi uses the output stage implemented within the DAC itself. That means that the DAC does the digital to analog conversion *and* the amplification required to send a line level output to a preamp / headphone amp. The Bifrost bypasses the integrated analog output stage with a custom designed, fully discrete circuit. This has potential for improving performance. The Gungnir takes this a few steps further and reclocks the incoming signal in order to more accurately sample the data (the 1's and 0's) and also swaps out the analog output stage on the DAC with a fully balanced design, which should further reduce the noise floor. This would have the greatest benefit if connected to a fully balanced headphone amp.

 

Without exception, every bit of added circuitry adds noise to the output. Those claims are marketing fluff and make an excellent reason to avoid manufacturers who make them.

 

Given your single point of reference about added circuitry increasing noise (and ignoring everything else involving electronic circuit design), you are basically (IMO and IANAL) slandering Schiit.  So here is your formal and public warning: Stop now while you're still able to post. FYI: This has nothing to do with them being a sponsor -- I don't tolerate this nonsense against anyone who is a MOT here, regardless of their status.

post #27 of 33

The stuff around the chip. Power supply, analog stage, capacitors. etc.

 

KP

post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by FraGGleR View Post

But what if the noise is pleasing to the ear?  Then haven't the DAC manufacturers succeeded in part by producing a DAC that sounds good?  Does something that measures perfectly really sound the best?

No-one can say what "sounds the best" to you. I think you have two choices:
  • try / buy various DACs based on whatever suggestions make the most sense to you; you may end up spending a lot of money (and time) before you find the one DAC that you really like;
  • buy a DAC that is neutral with low distortion, then add your own flavor with an equalizer, or some digital effects; that's the cheaper option, I think.

My opinion is that pleasant sound doesn't have to be very expensive, though I understand why some people invest a lot of money in it.
post #29 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by HamilcarBarca View Post

 

You're quite welcome. Every component of an electrical device, from the wires up, adds noise. That's not only well-known, it's an inescapable fact of physics. There's simply no way around it.

You are ignoring a very important aspect of electronic design with that oversimplified statement. And that is the fact that engineers have invented circuitry to reduce that noise to a negative level in some cases. Typical circuits that do that employ negative feedback. Other circuits such as high/low/bandpass filters can also be used to reduce noise to such an extent that the noise entering the input of the circuit is far less than the noise exiting it. That shoots holes in whatever assumptions you have in mind regarding noise.

post #30 of 33

$400

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