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best DAC EVER MADE? - Page 3  

post #31 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioSound View Post


DA conversion and amplification are not things you choose based on how they "sound". Either it's converting the digital signal to analogue accurately, or it's not. Similarly, an amplifier either has a flat frequency response, or it's poorly designed.

You pick your headphones/speakers based on the sound you like, not your DAC/Amp.

If you don't like how your headphones sound through a Benchmark DAC, you don't like how those headphones sound.

Anything that sounds different is inaccurate, and trying to change the sound of a pair of headphones that you don't like, into ones that you do, which is completely backwards.

 

If it don't sound transparent then its poorly designed, yep. Benchmark don't sound transparent, ergo....

post #32 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sapientiam View Post

 

If it don't sound transparent then its poorly designed, yep. Benchmark don't sound transparent, ergo....

 

As I explained in my post on the last page, transparent is a nonsense term.

post #33 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sapientiam View Post

If it don't sound transparent then its poorly designed, yep. Benchmark don't sound transparent, ergo....
The output from either the analogue output stage, or the 0-ohm headphone amplifier are totally flat - essentially perfect. You can't get any more "transparent" than that.

What you can have, is a colored output from another DAC that either does not have a flat frequency response in its DA stage (faulty) its amplification stage (poorly designed) or it has a non-zero output impedance (poorly considered) that is changing the frequency response of your headphones in some way that you prefer - but that is the opposite of "transparent".

It is not the job of the DAC or Amp to color the sound - their job is to reproduce the original signal as accurately as possible - and there are a number of devices now that are quite capable of this. The Benchmark devices are considered to be the "reference" by which all other designs should be judged though.

Your Headphones or EQ are the only things that should be changing the frequency response in a manner that you prefer.
post #34 of 62
Quote:
It is not the job of the DAC or Amp to color the sound - their job is to reproduce the original signal as accurately as possible - and there are a number of devices now that are quite capable of this. The Benchmark devices are considered to be the "reference" by which all other designs should be judged though.

Your Headphones or EQ are the only things that should be changing the frequency response in a manner that you prefer.

What is the point of having perfect output if you are going to eq it....lol.... that makes your point void. Does it matter if you have coloration in the dac and have neutral headphones or have a neutral dac and colored headphones? Either way it could end up sounding the same. Basically you are saying you like coloration, but it can only be done by the output devise. Who set that as the golden standard. Furthemore the benchmark is reference? It is barely even hi end. Go to audiogon, all the reviewers, etc and find a 20k+ system that uses a benchmark as there go to dac. Stats arent everything.

Quote:
If it measures good and sounds bad, it is bad. If it sounds good and measures bad, you've measured the wrong thing.
post #35 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

What is the point of having perfect output if you are going to eq it....lol.... that makes your point void.
I don't use EQ at all, but the only things that should have any effect on frequency response are the headphones/speakers or EQ if you want to use it. EQ is certainly cheaper than buying new headphones.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

Does it matter if you have coloration in the dac and have neutral headphones or have a neutral dac and colored headphones? Either way it could end up sounding the same.
Until you change your headphones. Buy a neutral (flat) DAC and a neutral Amp with a 0-ohm output, and you can change your headphones as much as you like without trying to find something that is a "good fit" or "synergizes well". You've just eliminated two of the four variables when it comes to music reproduction - the other two are your source (almost doesn't matter if you are going through a good DAC these days) and the headphones/speakers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

Basically you are saying you like coloration, but it can only be done by the output devise. Who set that as the golden standard.
Well it's stupid to introduce extra variables when there's no need for it. A DAC or Amplifier with a non-flat frequency response is defective as far as I am concerned.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

Furthemore the benchmark is reference? It is barely even hi end.
Find me something that measures better, that is actually within the range of audibility. At any price.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

Go to audiogon, all the reviewers, etc and find a 20k+ system that uses a benchmark as there go to dac. Stats arent everything.
Yeah, and I bet they're all throwing away money on expensive cables too. Expensive does not mean good, and more expensive does not mean better.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

Stats arent everything.
There is only one correct output from a DAC. You are reproducing a digital signal. There's no approximation involved here. Either the signal is reproduced correctly, or it is not.
Edited by StudioSound - 3/6/13 at 11:27pm
post #36 of 62
How do you know what the correct output is? It is a bunch of ones and zeros that reproduce a partial wave that is then filled in. It is always going to be flawed in on way or another. Just because the freq. response is flat doesnt mean it is good. It can still be sibilant , grainy etc. The benchmark is so not close to live music. Anyways, i am done here, if you think the benchmark is the best out there, congrats because you can be happy at a bargain price. for a good setup. To me, it is one of the few dacs i wouldnt own even if someone gave it to me. I feel the same way about the weiss 202. It isnt the price, it is the sound that it produces. It is grating to listen to, Have fun with neutrality, you better pick up some dt48 while your at it.
post #37 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

How do you know what the correct output is? It is a bunch of ones and zeros that reproduce a partial wave that is then filled in. It is always going to be flawed in on way or another.
It is not a "partial wave that is filled in" - the original signal is reproduced perfectly - there can be only one correct result. If you don't believe that, then you don't believe that digital audio can work at all.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

Just because the freq. response is flat doesnt mean it is good. It can still be sibilant , grainy etc.
Sibilance is an emphasis of higher frequencies - around the 5-8kHz range if I remember correctly. If it's flat, it isn't adding sibilance - unless the source you are comparing it to is not flat, and rolls off the higher frequencies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

The benchmark is so not close to live music.
That's not what a DAC is even trying to do. That relies on the quality of the original recording, and the headphones/speakers you are listening to.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

To me, it is one of the few dacs i wouldnt own even if someone gave it to me. I feel the same way about the weiss 202. It isnt the price, it is the sound that it produces. It is grating to listen to
Again; the Benchmark DACs are totally flat and neutral. If there is something "grating" to listen to when you are using one, it's revealing a flaw somewhere else in your system, whether that is the recording you are listening to, or the headphones you are listening with.
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

Have fun with neutrality, you better pick up some dt48 while your at it.
I never said that you should be aiming for neutrality or flatness in your headphones. Pick whatever sounds best to you. Your source, DAC, and Amplifier absolutely should be as flat/neutral as possible though. That is the only way you will hear the actual tonality of your headphones as they were designed, and it means the only component you need to change out if you want a different "sound" is the headphones, instead of buying a defective component that somehow changes the sound of your headphones in a way that you like, that may work with that specific pair of headphones, but then sound terrible with something else.

E.g. by rolling off the high frequencies - which might reduce sibilance in a sibilant pair of headphones, but make a more neutral pair of headphones sound bad. That's something which is better done by EQ, or by changing the headphones for something else you actually like the sound of, rather than trying to "fix" them with a new amplifier or DAC.

It should not be difficult or extremely expensive to have a linear signal chain up to the point that the sound reaches your headphones. It boggles the mind that someone would argue against trying to achieve that - that is the ideal position to be in.

And you call this neutral?!

EDIT: And then why is it that the most coveted headphones also happen to measure the flattest?

Stax SR-009, Audeze LCD3, Sennheiser HE-60, Sennheiser HD800.
Edited by StudioSound - 3/7/13 at 1:46am
post #38 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioSound View Post


It is not a "partial wave that is filled in" - the original signal is reproduced perfectly - there can be only one correct result. If you don't believe that, then you don't believe that digital audio can work at all.
Sibilance is an emphasis of higher frequencies - around the 5-8kHz range if I remember correctly. If it's flat, it isn't adding sibilance - unless the source you are comparing it to is not flat, and rolls off the higher frequencies.
That's not what a DAC is even trying to do. That relies on the quality of the original recording, and the headphones/speakers you are listening to.
Again; the Benchmark DACs are totally flat and neutral. If there is something "grating" to listen to when you are using one, it's revealing a flaw somewhere else in your system, whether that is the recording you are listening to, or the headphones you are listening with.
I never said that you should be aiming for neutrality or flatness in your headphones. Pick whatever sounds best to you. Your source, DAC, and Amplifier absolutely should be as flat/neutral as possible though. That is the only way you will hear the actual tonality of your headphones as they were designed, and it means the only component you need to change out if you want a different "sound" is the headphones, instead of buying a defective component that somehow changes the sound of your headphones in a way that you like, that may work with that specific pair of headphones, but then sound terrible with something else.

E.g. by rolling off the high frequencies - which might reduce sibilance in a sibilant pair of headphones, but make a more neutral pair of headphones sound bad. That's something which is better done by EQ, or by changing the headphones for something else you actually like the sound of, rather than trying to "fix" them with a new amplifier or DAC.

It should not be difficult or extremely expensive to have a linear signal chain up to the point that the sound reaches your headphones. It boggles the mind that someone would argue against trying to achieve that - that is the ideal position to be in.

And you call this neutral?!

EDIT: And then why is it that the most coveted headphones also happen to measure the flattest?

Stax SR-009, Audeze LCD3, Sennheiser HE-60, Sennheiser HD800.


This, a million times.

post #39 of 62
I also agree strongly with the post quoted above.

Benchmark DAC2 HCG. It is stupidly well made and measures way better than anything else. DAC2 is superlatively the best, but it's also quite redundantly good, as in you wouldn't hear flaws in it's DA conversion even if it was worse by a multiple. DAC1 offers similar audible performance. I don't know about the amplifier requirements for LCD-2, but it's very common that people who haven't earlier heard a flawless system (from the electronical point of view) say it's harsh or bright, when there suddenly isn't a bass emphasis or highs roll-off.

For all intents and purposes you might be hearing the LCD-2 alone without the amp/DAC messing stuff up for the first time, and not liking it! How does it sound with another transparent system like the ODAC/Objective?

The aforementioned pair is by logic (people not hearing differences between DAC1 or ODAC, and in other cases between DAC1 and DAC2) also flawless and better than good enough for transparent playback. If you can do without the brand image that is. I would personally still want a DAC2, haha.

Also, one should prefer EQ because it's a controlled way of altering the signal knowing exactly what has been done to it, unlike trying to couple dysfunctional DACs and flawed colouring amplifiers to reach some odd combination that suddenly DOESN'T sound worse than transparent gear. Also, signal transparency is a valid term.
Edited by sandslash - 3/7/13 at 7:00am
post #40 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandslash View Post

I also agree strongly with the post quoted above.

Benchmark DAC2 HCG. It is stupidly well made and measures way better than anything else. DAC2 is superlatively the best, but it's also quite redundantly good, as in you wouldn't hear flaws in it's DA conversion even if it was worse by a multiple. DAC1 offers similar audible performance. I don't know about the amplifier requirements for LCD-2, but it's very common that people who haven't earlier heard a flawless system (from the electronical point of view) say it's harsh or bright, when there suddenly isn't a bass emphasis or highs roll-off.

For all intents and purposes you might be hearing the LCD-2 alone without the amp/DAC messing stuff up for the first time, and not liking it! How does it sound with another transparent system like the ODAC/Objective?

The aforementioned pair is by logic (people not hearing differences between DAC1 or ODAC, and in other cases between DAC1 and DAC2) also flawless and better than good enough for transparent playback. If you can do without the brand image that is. I would personally still want a DAC2, haha.

Also, one should prefer EQ because it's a controlled way of altering the signal knowing exactly what has been done to it, unlike trying to couple dysfunctional DACs and flawed colouring amplifiers to reach some odd combination that suddenly DOESN'T sound worse than transparent gear. Also, signal transparency is a valid term.

 

Completely agree.

Mix n' match works if you've got loads of cash to spend. Otherwise its best to know what you're doing, and eliminating some of the variables in the chain helps a lot.

post #41 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by sandslash View Post

The aforementioned pair is by logic (people not hearing differences between DAC1 or ODAC, and in other cases between DAC1 and DAC2) also flawless and better than good enough for transparent playback. If you can do without the brand image that is. I would personally still want a DAC2, haha.

Also, one should prefer EQ because it's a controlled way of altering the signal knowing exactly what has been done to it, unlike trying to couple dysfunctional DACs and flawed colouring amplifiers to reach some odd combination that suddenly DOESN'T sound worse than transparent gear. Also, signal transparency is a valid term.

I guess I should pick up an ODAC some time.  Then I would have a completely neutral and transparent DAC that I could compare to my current DACs.  Having it would let me better understand the colorations that make my current systems so enjoyable.

post #42 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi Rez View Post

I guess I should pick up an ODAC some time.  Then I would have a completely neutral and transparent DAC that I could compare to my current DACs.  Having it would let me better understand the colorations that make my current systems so enjoyable.
Excellent idea to approach it like that! Sounds way more productive and mature to dismantle and examine the current set with a known reference even if you prefer your current set over the reference , than to try and discredit transparency because your own tastes or interests lie elsewhere. Good man!
post #43 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioSound View Post


The output from either the analogue output stage, or the 0-ohm headphone amplifier are totally flat - essentially perfect. You can't get any more "transparent" than that.
 

 

So if something has flat FR then its perfectly transparent? That's what you're claiming? No other measurements necessary at all?

post #44 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sapientiam View Post

 

So if something has flat FR then its perfectly transparent? That's what you're claiming? No other measurements necessary at all?

I love great dynamics/impulse response and low distortion.....     but the dynamics.... it rustle my jimmies to hear that first few miliseconds of transients,the microdetail...   lol

post #45 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sapientiam View Post

So if something has flat FR then its perfectly transparent? That's what you're claiming? No other measurements necessary at all?
No, but if the frequency response is not flat, then it cannot be "transparent".

The Benchmark DACs are not just the reference that other DACs are compared to because of a flat frequency response.
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