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A DIY dac better than asus xonar dx? - Page 3

post #31 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

 

Because people still buy them anyway, and have no way to objectively determine which one is better ?

 

By the way, I doubt that "Any of the ones supported on Head-Fi would be better, hands down" than the Xonar. Here are some test results for the Xonar D1, which is the same card, but with a PCI interface. Check also the Sound Science forum where a number of other tests (ABX and difference extraction) feature this card among others. A PCM270x based DAC will measure worse even with a "perfect" implementation that achieves the datasheet performance of the chip. Also, the first suggested ODAC is more of a sidegrade with similar specs. Now of course it is possible for an internal sound card to have interference problems in some computers, but if that is not the case, then improving on it with a DIY DAC is not that easy. And even if you do succeeed, the difference would be difficult to hear at best under controlled conditions (try some of my ABX tests if you do not believe). Nevertheless, DIY can be worth it simply for the fun, so I am not suggesting the OP should not bother trying it at all. Also, when you spend so much time building something, and are proud of the end result, it will quite likely sound better subjectively. normal_smile%20.gif

I do not quite understand what you said, I'm sorry :(

you are saying that no advantage would be to replace the asus xonar dx?

post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

 

Because people still buy them anyway, and have no way to objectively determine which one is better ?

 

By the way, I doubt that "Any of the ones supported on Head-Fi would be better, hands down" than the Xonar. Here are some test results for the Xonar D1, which is the same card, but with a PCI interface. Check also the Sound Science forum where a number of other tests (ABX and difference extraction) feature this card among others. A PCM270x based DAC will measure worse even with a "perfect" implementation that achieves the datasheet performance of the chip. Also, the first suggested ODAC is more of a sidegrade with similar specs. Now of course it is possible for an internal sound card to have interference problems in some computers, but if that is not the case, then improving on it with a DIY DAC is not that easy. And even if you do succeeed, the difference would be difficult to hear at best under controlled conditions (try some of my ABX tests if you do not believe). Nevertheless, DIY can be worth it simply for the fun, so I am not suggesting the OP should not bother trying it at all. Also, when you spend so much time building something, and are proud of the end result, it will quite likely sound better subjectively. normal_smile%20.gif

Good thing you placed that in terms of a question.  They certainly have subjective ways of making that determination and do quite often.  The business-case implication is straightforward, even though entirely missed by your objective approach.  Granted, DIY is not what it used to be: offering the finest headphone electronics that were simply not available anywhere else.  This is what started headphone electronics.  Today like many other hobbies, cheap overseas labor is beginning to over-take the ability to build something demonstrably better than what you can buy ready-made.  That was not true even just a couple of years ago.  I can actually see myself quitting this business sooner than later.

 

Nevertheless, my comment was intended in context.  You can't compare a $22 DIY DAC to a $100 sound card and that was never intended.  (Perhaps I assume too much is already understood by some posters.)  But for comparably priced sound cards and perhaps commercially more expensive ones in some cases, a DIY alternative is going to perform better at a cheaper price point (hands-down?).  Right now, there are simply too many other things expected of a sound card to compete on a head-to-head-price-to-performance basis with a dedicated DIY DAC.  There are several DIY DACs mentioned in this thread with DAC chips that will measure much better with a "perfect implementation," so the potential is there.

 

I know of no DIY MOT who is purposely selling products based on, "Because people still buy them anyway, and have no way to objectively determine which one is better ?" 

 

Finally, this is not a forum for ABX testing challenges - the limits of which are well-known (exploiting the very short echoic memory). 


Edited by tomb - 9/1/13 at 10:50am
post #33 of 45
Thread Starter 

I try to understand but I can not, hopes to one day understand English to improve my DIY ... Thanks for everyone's help, I am very grateful

post #34 of 45

@stv014

 

I'm glad you posted that. I've been reluctant to post in this thread because I spend so much time disagreeing with what seems like a very large number of frequent posters. I don't seek out confrontation, but the continuous dripfeed of disinformation has created an atmosphere in which it has become difficult to post a simple truth without exciting a barrage of hostility.

 

w

post #35 of 45
Quote:

Originally Posted by tomb View Post

 

Right now, there are simply too many other things expected of a sound card to compete on a head-to-head-price-to-performance basis with a dedicated DIY DAC.

 

It is not necessarily right to assume that "more features at the same price" automatically translates to worse quality. A mass manufactured product like a sound card benefits from more cost-efficient production (Chinese factories), and the manufacturer can source components in large quantities at discount prices. PC hardware is a very competitive market. But, of course, it is always possible to design and build something measurably better with enough effort. I cannot dispute that, however, the original claim was that any DIY DAC supported on Head-Fi would be better than the Xonar, and not just some of them.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post

They certainly have subjective ways of making that determination and do quite often.  The business-case implication is straightforward, even though entirely missed by your objective approach.

 

I did not miss it, in fact I acknowledged that there are subjective benefits to listening to something you built yourself (in addition to the experience of building it). Even if it is not "real" in the sense that it might disappear when listening blind, it can still be perceived and experienced as a real improvement in casual listening, so it has value subjectively.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by tomb View Post

 

I know of no DIY MOT who is purposely selling products based on, "Because people still buy them anyway, and have no way to objectively determine which one is better ?"

 

They may not actually think like that, and probably do believe in what they sell, but business is ultimately about supply and demand, rather than educating the consumer. If people want to buy something, why not sell it ? A statement like "why the heck would any MOT be offering them to the DIY community if they weren't better than a sound card ?" is basically circular logic.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
Finally, this is not a forum for ABX testing challenges - the limits of which are well-known (exploiting the very short echoic memory). 

 

Any kind of listening test (sighted or not) depends on memory. There is nothing in a sighted A/B test that you cannot also do in an ABX test, except you have to guess what X is. The only thing that is inevitably removed is sighted bias (which some might consider part of the overall experience, however).


Edited by stv014 - 9/3/13 at 12:07pm
post #36 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post
 

 

It is not necessarily right to assume that "more features at the same price" automatically translates to worse quality. A mass manufactured product like a sound card benefits from more cost-efficient production (Chinese factories), and the manufacturer can source components in large quantities at discount prices. PC hardware is a very competitive market. But, of course, it is always possible to design and build something measurably better with enough effort. I cannot dispute that, however, the original claim was that any DIY DAC supported on Head-Fi would be better than the Xonar, and not just some of them.

I stated that it was an error if it wasn't in the context of price - and repeated that a reasonable read should've realized that context.  For instance, I sell several DACs at difference price points.  If I stated (as I have many times), "Why would a MOT sell the same type of device at different price points?" a performance difference is implicit.

 

Quote:
I did not miss it, in fact I acknowledged that there are subjective benefits to listening to something you built yourself (in addition to the experience of building it). Even if it is not "real" in the sense that it might disappear when listening blind, it can still be perceived and experienced as a real improvement in casual listening, so it has value subjectively.

 

There is nothing subjective about superior constructability.  Yes, that is part of the equation in a DIY product - by definition.  However, it must still stand in a competitive environment with respect to performance.

 

Disappearing in a blind test is another non sequitur.  Blind tests are nothing but a trick when it comes to audio.

 

Quote:
They may not actually think like that, and probably do believe in what they sell, but business is ultimately about supply and demand, rather than educating the consumer. If people want to buy something, why not sell it ? A statement like "why the heck would any MOT be offering them to the DIY community if they weren't better than a sound card ?" is basically circular logic.

 

Business is always about selling, first.  You have to convince the customer that you have something that he wants before it becomes part of the supply and demand equation.  We're not talking about commodities or universal needs with regard to audio equipment.  Guns and butter are something everyone understands.  Audio equipment is in a different category.

 

Quote:
Any kind of listening test (sighted or not) depends on memory. There is nothing in a sighted A/B test that you cannot also do in an ABX test, except you have to guess what X is. The only thing that is inevitably removed is sighted bias (which some might consider part of the overall experience, however).

 

A sighted A/B test is little different than a blind one if aural memory is the issue.  You have to live with a device over a period of time before you can draw accurate conclusions.  All that said, it's interesting to note that DIY-er's regularly use testing (horrors!) to develop a design, market, and compete it.

 

I've said enough and will ignore the rest of what may follow.  A discussion like this is nothing but a huge time-suck and a total diversion in this forum.

post #37 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 

Blind tests are nothing but a trick...

 

In about 3 months I will be a 4-year lung cancer survivor.

 

This is thanks in part to the skill of the surgeons who operated on me, but also in part to the chemotherapy I received, chemo developed under a regime of blind testing.

 

Now I see you here attempting to discredit blind testing, the gold standard for the evaluation of disputed experimental results.

 

You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

 

Fred

post #38 of 45
Quote:

Originally Posted by tomb View Post

 

Disappearing in a blind test is another non sequitur.  Blind tests are nothing but a trick when it comes to audio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post
 

 

 

Now I see you here attempting to discredit blind testing, the gold standard for the evaluation of disputed experimental results.

 

He's just saying blind testing revolves are short term subjective audio memory.  It's not empirical, as say a medical trial.  In fact, there is no relation at all.  There is no empirical baseline for results.  It's subjective at it's very core.

 

Note the qualifier in the original post.  It was not a statement about blind testing in general.  Now, in audio, if you had people prefer a piece of equipment (in a blind test) what does that mean?

post #39 of 45
@holland
 
I can see quite clearly what he's saying.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 

Business is always about selling, first.

 
Perhaps it's you who misunderstood his true priorities.
 
w
post #40 of 45
Quote:
@holland
 
I can see quite clearly what he's saying.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by tomb View Post
 

Business is always about selling, first.

 
Perhaps it's you who misunderstood his true priorities.
 
w
Waki - you're guilty of missing CONTEXT, too.  It allows you to think you can take cheap shots just as the above.  So what if I instead said, "Business is about making $$?"  In the theoretical principle, what's the difference?  The point being, if I don't satisfy customers with a good product - if I don't give them a service that they feel is worth paying for ... then how am I going to sell and make a little money, offer more products in the future and help build a culture?  Are you saying Head-Fi and all its sponsors and the entire headphone business is a sham because it's about selling?  What world are you living in?
 
You SELL if you're an engineer (like me) and you have a design.  Otherwise, management won't give you any funding.  You SELL an idea because it takes support to create something really special.  You SELL an abstract because you want it published.  Are you telling me in your long career of electronics design that you've never had to sell an idea to convince people to let you make it?  If not, then you never really did something that took some real convincing, a leap of faith, or asking someone to believe in your abilities.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post
 

 

In about 3 months I will be a 4-year lung cancer survivor.

 

This is thanks in part to the skill of the surgeons who operated on me, but also in part to the chemotherapy I received, chemo developed under a regime of blind testing.

 

Now I see you here attempting to discredit blind testing, the gold standard for the evaluation of disputed experimental results.

 

You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

 

Fred

 
Blind testing is very much in doubt when it comes to human hearing.  You can find multiple arguments about it all over the web and in the scientific community.  It's BS when it comes to sound science.
 
remainder deleted out of sympathy ...

Edited by tomb - 9/5/13 at 5:11pm
post #41 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post

I can see quite clearly what he's saying.

 

Then, why did you need to do a sensationalistic news station edit?  I guess you have some history with every one here.  I'm out.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post
Perhaps it's you who misunderstood his true priorities.

 

I doubt that.

post #42 of 45

Hey.

 

I'm going to go work on my electrostatic headphones and amplifier design. I bought a CNC machine a while back, I'm still trying to get it to mill PCBs for me.

 

Good luck with your health. I hope you never find yourselves talking to a Doctor who says 'Blind testing is very much in doubt when it comes to cures for cancer'.

 

Fred

post #43 of 45

Sigh. These last couple of pages play out one of the most unfortunate aspects of social media/group dynamics. There truly are no villains here. Tom, Fred - you both have had a significant positive impact in my (and I know others) audio DIY learning/experience. I'm enjoying pupDAC/Torpedo in my chain right now. pupDAC was my very first SMD build, and I was fortunate to be included in the prototyping. PCB's were provided, as well as most of the chips needed to build. Gratis. Then can the flood of stupid questions on my part and Tom's patience in answering them. I've board one of Fred's designs, and he's provided me with the boards/many parts for another (again, gratis). I'm looking forward to diving into that in the fall. Endless questions, patient answers. Great, giving, patient people - different opinions. I'm not convinced that our opinions are always that different. This media is so limited and inadequate that I suspect that most times, sitting in a room with a brew and eye contact would lead us to find we're not that far off. And when we are, I suspect they'll be quicker acceptance and respect.

 

I'll wind it up, as this post isn't intended to be another 'why can't we all just get along' post. I learned along time ago to check myself before I post. Would I say that if I was face to face with the people I'm chatting with? Really? Would I be willing to live with the consequences if I did? Too many times in my life I let fly without any attempt to understand where someone's coming from, where they're at, what they're going through. It's too easy online. It shouldn't be this easy. Now I'm done. This isn't directed at anyone in particular, and not intended to offend. 

 

Fred - enjoy your projects and get better. you - like Tom are important to the legion of 'nubes' that appreciate and benefit from your efforts and willingness to invest in this hobby, in us.

post #44 of 45
Thread Starter 

I do not know what you are discussing ^^

just know that the next month I will buy a skeleton dac, and when I build I post here. Thanks for everyone's help

post #45 of 45

Fair enough :-) The Skeleton's a nice little DAC for the price.

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