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DAC Upsampling and Entry Equipment Comparisons

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm sure this has been asked before but I couldn't find anything specific.  I'll soon be buying a dedicated amp/DAC and I'm trying to figure out how DACs handle sampling rates that are higher than their specifications.  I currently use the motherboard built-in Realtek ALC889 DAC that supports 24-bit/192kHz playback.  Because that mobo DAC can handle higher sampling rates than some other standalone gear, it's making me wonder about how a DAC handles audio files.

 

Using the Schiit Modi for this example, it's supports sampling rates up to 24/96.  If I try to play audio that's 24/192 would it resample and play or would it choke and not play?  I'm trying to decide between a few different options between entry-level gear.  At the moment, it's a decision between the Schiit Magni/Modi, Fiio e09k/e17, JDS O2/ODAC, or building a my own tube amp and DAC.  The Modi is the only option out of those that doesn't support 24/192 and that's throwing me off.  I'm leaning towards building my own since that seems like a really fun project that will give me a nice intro into the how audio gear is assembled.

 

Edit

Changed some stuff that I had poorly written.


Edited by harry truman - 6/22/13 at 2:19pm
post #2 of 11

I demonstrated to a friend a while back that when a 24/192KHz file is played back through a 24/96KHz system the sound can change in length and pitch. So for best result you should play 192KHz files through something that can handle that type of file resolution.

 

You'll be lucky to hear the difference between a 320 MP3 file and a 192KHz FLAC file with headphones. So detecting any difference between 96 and 192 with headphones is a certain impossibility. I got about $5K worth of cans and I can't find anyone to tell me the difference between a wide variety of audio formats.
 

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

Yep, I can barely discern a difference between a high quality MP3 and any lossless format -- only songs that I know by heart and even then I have to be really paying attention.  I'm more interested in making sure whatever I get is simply capable of thorough playback.

post #4 of 11
It depends on your player. Most should be capable of handling conversion from 192kHz to 96kHz for playback.
post #5 of 11
Quote:

Originally Posted by harry truman View Post

  1. Using the Schiit Modi for this example, it's supports sampling rates up to 24/96.  If I try to play audio that's 24/192 would it upsample or simply not play?  Or something else...?
  2. Is my current headphone lineup, particularly the Sennheiser HD555 and Superlux HD668B, even good enough to present a distinction between 24/96 and 24/192?

 

1. Your PC software or operating system drivers will downsample to meet the DAC's requirements.

 

2. Very few humans can hear any difference between otherwise identical 44kHz and 96kHz files. None can hear a difference between 96kHz and 192kHz files, although dogs might be to and bats definitely are -- it's simply beyond the limits of our hearing but not beyond theirs.

post #6 of 11

Another consideration - neither the E17 or the ODAC handle 88.2 and 176.4 files natively.  The Modi does decode 88.2 files natively.  There is a fair amount of high resolution material at those sample rates.  So all 3 DACs would potentially require resampling of at least some source files.

 

Building your own could be a fun project if you are so inclined.

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry truman View Post

  1. Is my current headphone lineup, particularly the Sennheiser HD555 and Superlux HD668B, even good enough to present a distinction between 24/96 and 24/192?

Very unlikely with the amp/DAC combinations you mention.  IMO one would need to have a very high end system to distinguish between 24/96 and 24/192.

post #8 of 11

I've deleted the massive derail that was clearly coming, as it is unhelpful to the OP. 

 

Harry Truman: Much as others have already said, considering better headphones and other gear is a far better idea than high-res files at this stage at least.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi Rez View Post

Another consideration - neither the E17 or the ODAC handle 88.2 and 176.4 files natively.  The Modi does decode 88.2 files natively.  There is a fair amount of high resolution material at those sample rates.  So all 3 DACs would potentially require resampling of at least some source files.

 

Building your own could be a fun project if you are so inclined.

 

Good to know about the resampling info.  The more I've researched and learned over this week, it seems like my best options are to either spend far more money and get equipment that will last me longer than the entry-level gear or build something that costs as much as the entry-level gear while outperforming them.  I've been looking for a new project anyway.  Time to start researching some of the DIY gear that I've recently found.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

I've deleted the massive derail that was clearly coming, as it is unhelpful to the OP. 

 

Harry Truman: Much as others have already said, considering better headphones and other gear is a far better idea than high-res files at this stage at least.

 

My only concern with the various encoding and lossless formats is with the equipment not outright choking on the files that I throw at it.  I didn't know exactly how DACs handle up/down-sampling and whatnot when I first made this post.  I should have phrased that question differently because I never meant for people to think that I was actually concerned about hearing a difference from the headphones -- only a difference caused by the DAC.  I edited my first post.


Edited by harry truman - 6/22/13 at 2:30pm
post #10 of 11

You do know via usb the usb ports you will need a 2.0 port to support transferring 24bit 192khz. And I think the one with the best usb port is the modi but only supports up to 24bit 96khz.  The fiio and the jds can only handle up too 16bit 44.1khz via usb port.
 

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Chavez View Post

The fiio and the jds can only handle up too 16bit 44.1khz via usb port.
 


Yeah no, they both use tenor made usb receiver which support up to 24/96KHz via USB 2.0.

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