I've had it for about a day. So there's going to be some time involved in critical listening and comparing it to say, the Schiit Loki (which we know is DSD64 only) and some ESS Sabre driven stuff.
I also fully agree on the $5k+ snake oil "noise". Diminishing returns fade well before that level. It'd be nice if the level of legitimate returns was $189.
As for an expertise pissing-contest, I'd rather not. But if you really want to, I will. Suffice it to say that no, this is not my first rodeo, and if you must have credentials, PM me, but in my recent correspondence with iFi, yeah, they have that. I work in DSD recording exclusively, meaning the ADC side of things, and I have an interest in these rates reaching their full potential. So I'm hoping, really, for the availability of DACs that can do DSD128 and DSD256 to take advantage of what we're recording.
I just want to know if this DAC is actually doing what it says, because otherwise, it's not a "complete" exhibition of what DSD128, DSD256 and DXD can do. And no, for $189, I wouldn't expect it to be, but hope springs eternal.
Yes I expected these sychophantic "Who cares if it can do what's advertised or not, how does it sound?" responses. But it does matter, again, as yes, there are supposed to be advantages in the higher rates (pushing the noise ramp further from the audible band, for example.)
Which is odd, when people tend to get up in arms if they find out their DSD DAC "converts to PCM internally".
So far what everyone is saying is "Well, magic." - No. DAC chips are REALLY simple creatures.
They either take the data given to them, or they don't.
With some exceptions, but I have yet to see iFi's explanation on that. (If I'm missing it, or didn't see it, please, point it out.)
I agree that it's possible that the DSD1793 (which is actually the same silicon as the DSD1791 that was used in a lot of lower-end SACD players in the early to mid 2000s) may be able to be, ostensibly, overclocked. 200kHz is not THAT far off from 384kHz; it is possible. 32 bits, well, I'm not sure how they'd be doing that. I'd be interested to know how they are without truncation, and maybe the answer is "dither" in the XMOS chip. Fair enough.
So, while there's a lot of flag waving here about "I don't care what goes on in the black box" and some "Does it matter? Trust your ears." of the likes of Bedini Clarifiers and Auric Illuminator gels, and a little bit of "I want to believe" (believe me, I want to, too) - really the only thing to conclude here is that iFi has the XMOS chip downsampling or truncating. And yes, that means we may not be getting the full potential of DSD128 or DSD256, DXD, etc.
If everyone's OK with that, then why not just downsample in software, where arguably a CPU can do it with a lot more accuracy than the rather anemic XMOS chip.
True believers, yeah, not going to change your minds. And I actually really like how the iFi Micro is shaping up, (though, same chip in question when their non-DSD dac uses the ESS Sabre chipset.)
But, "How does it sound?" - Well, I don't know, I can't tell what I'm *NOT* hearing, so, if this was *REALLY* doing DSD128 or DSD256, then maybe it would sound better than it does.
There is the idea of, well, it could indeed be running at DSD64 or PCM 24/192, and that's "good enough" for the data that's being resampled/dithered (hopefully) or truncated (hopefully not) at the XMOS chip.
In which case, we have a $189 really-good DSD64 / PCM 24/192 dac that can accept higher input rates. Cool. No sweat.
But I don't know why people get so defensive about just trying to find out.
Edited by michilumin - 6/28/14 at 4:42pm