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December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison - Page 75  

post #1111 of 1331

Quote:

Originally Posted by Koloth View Post
 

Well if differences between DACs only show themselves using one very specific set of headphones... tell me again why the 99% of 'audiophiles' that own different equipment should care?

 

Personally, I very much doubt that a difference could exists that would only be audible with one pair or headphones, or one model of speaker. It seems much more likely that it is audible on some and not others. This being the case, who's to say that you won't be able to hear that difference on your next pair of headphones? I would suggest that "99% of audiophiles" change equipment relatively frequently - so this isn't at all unlikely. I would even go as far as to say that, if I were to hear some combination of DAC and headphones that really sounded significantly better than the ones I currently use, I might consider switching over to them.... wouldn't you? (How is this any different than, for example, buying a new pair of speakers, then realizing that you need a better amplifier to reach their full potential?)

 

I think the important issue is to try and distinguish the type of "difference" we're talking about. Are we talking about two pieces of equipment which happen to specifically work very well together - which could be because they are both flawed and the flaws cancel out - in which case it is quite possible that neither will sound especially better when paired with any other product? Or are we talking about one piece of equipment that is really significantly better - but so far we can only distinguish that superiority with one other "mating" piece of equipment? In other words, if that DAC really does sound better - but only with one pair of headphones so far; then it is not at all unlikely that there are other headphones out there that will also be able to point up that difference - and, if there aren't, then there probably eventually will be.

 

Unless you are determined to never upgrade or change equipment, then it seems foolish to ignore a potential improvement when one presents itself.

post #1112 of 1331

Well if differences are so difficult distinguish on a $2000 headphone, which is reference class, then I'm finding it difficult to believe that it will make a substantial difference on other gear. I can only think of the HD800 that should be able to pick apart more differences and perhaps some custom IEMs, but then again those were designed for that purpose! It remains the first and foremost conclusion I derived from this thread that value for money should be a careful consideration when it comes to DACs.

post #1113 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry S View Post
 


Interesting. What DAC replaced the Gungnir?  I've heard the BHA-1 is bright, and the HD800 sounds very bright to a little north of neutral, depending on the amp. I think the HD800 is unlistenable on the Gungnir/Mjolnir--but I'm pretty sensitive to excess treble energy.

 

I also used the V800, DAC100 with the Bryston with stellar results. I didn't find the Bryston nearly as fatiguing as the MJ personally-and Maxvla and others also really like the HD800/BHA-1 pairing, despite it's slight sizzle up top. I would say it'sthe best ss amp I've heard with the Senns along with the Luxman-albeit completely ifferent sound sigs/strengths. I would call the Bryston slightly north of neutral-but for whatever reason it still sounds excellent with the HD800. I think the bright, aggressive Gungnir in that rig simply took those traits to another level-and wasjust completely overbearing and harsh-almost unlistenable. FWIW I found the BHA-1 very similar if you will to the HD800: a sonic chameleon with nice soundstaging, and a slightly annoying top end at times-but thoroughly enjoyable, and an excellent rig to hear the differences in dacs. My .02.

 

-Daniel

post #1114 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by daerron View Post

Well if differences are so difficult distinguish on a $2000 headphone, which is reference class, then I'm finding it difficult to believe that it will make a substantial difference on other gear. I can only think of the HD800 that should be able to pick apart more differences and perhaps some custom IEMs, but then again those were designed for that purpose! It remains the first and foremost conclusion I derived from this thread that value for money should be a careful consideration when it comes to DACs.
Any Hifiman headphone would do, except maybe the HE-400. I'm sure the TH-600 would as well.

There's also a bunch of DAC that are not designed neutral but have a distinct flavor to them (much like amps and pre-amps do impart their own sound). It is very easy to tell any two Audio-GD DACs apart, be them two DACs of distinct flavour (usually from the DAC chip itself, or the NFB vs SA output stage), or the same flavor but different class (in this case the technicality makes the difference).

I guess if any two DAC are designed neutral on both the digital and analog sections, the differences would require trained ears and hyper-resolving cans (Staxes, HD-800, HE-6).

Also, the preamps might have a different behavior regarding the output stage of the DAC. Call it synergy if you will.
post #1115 of 1331

Gary, if I could make a suggestion, it would be to update the first post with a brief synopsis of your findings for each DAC. As it is right now, you really have to search for a long time through a pretty extensive thread to find the DAC you are looking for. Maybe you could also rate them in terms of sound quality, and a separate "value" for the money rating.

 

Excellent work, but I think a concise summation would really take this from a great thread to a fantastic resource.

post #1116 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry S View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by BournePerfect View Post

 
Well the Gungnir is pretty aggressive-maybe the DC-1 isn't? That could account for obvious differences right off the bat imo.,,

I've heard that from a few people, but after directly comparing the Gungnir with other DACs, and testing different amps with the Gungnir, I don't think it's true. The Mjolnir is very forward and I think that's where this impression comes from--since the two are frequently heard together. If someone has a Gungnir/Mjolnir and is looking for a warmer, thicker sound--the Mjolnir is the component that needs to be swapped.

Nope. The Gungnir was definitely the culprit for me. Its flaws were still evident when heard through speakers.

Yes, the MJ shares similar traits, but they're not as obnoxious as the Gungnir. The MJ does nothing to sugar coat the source component. This was confirmed when the M51 entered the stable.

Read purrin's thread. There are other people there who independently reached the same conclusion. Even purrin agrees with the assessment, though he does value the Gungnir's aggressive nature and has rated the DAC accordingly.
post #1117 of 1331

Where in the 3ad I can find the list of the DACs tested by Gary?

TNX :beerchug: 

post #1118 of 1331

My Gungnir yelled at me and made me cry. :(

 

Sounded good, but was hyper aggressive. While I respect the findings in this thread, I find it hard to believe it ended up in the 'indistinguishable' pile because it was so aggressive. I ended up selling it recently, but I feel I was missing something with it. Like it COULD have worked if I had tweaked something. I dunno. Hopefully the guy that ended up with it enjoys it.

 

On a lighter note, this thread created a run on the Emotiva DC-1 before the sale ended. I think Emotiva owes Gary a kickback for the added business, lol

post #1119 of 1331
start reading at post 582
post #1120 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by subsonic1050 View Post
 

Gary, if I could make a suggestion, it would be to update the first post with a brief synopsis of your findings for each DAC. As it is right now, you really have to search for a long time through a pretty extensive thread to find the DAC you are looking for. Maybe you could also rate them in terms of sound quality, and a separate "value" for the money rating.

 

Excellent work, but I think a concise summation would really take this from a great thread to a fantastic resource.

Excellent suggestion, I agree. Gary, if you have some time and energy to spare, an overlay of DACs tested along with their attributes and the finalists would be a great help to possibly 100's of people. 

post #1121 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post
start reading at post 582

There is no "simple summary list"?

post #1122 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Esprit View Post
 

There is no "simple summary list"?

not yet, so you should go ahead and feel free to chip in and make one!

post #1123 of 1331
No.

Guys, it was Gary's personal quest, not a science project for our behalf.

Presumptuous of us to expect him to do more work after all he's done!
post #1124 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

Excellent suggestion, I agree. Gary, if you have some time and energy to spare, an overlay of DACs tested along with their attributes and the finalists would be a great help to possibly 100's of people. 


+1

 

A list of the DACs that fell into the indistinguishable category (with their price points listed beside them), plus a quick summary would be a perfect resource.  By the way, I have read through this entire thread, and found it to be highly entertaining and educational.

 

Don't sweat those who are trying to poke holes in your testing methods or associated equipment. You went through a lot of work, and had an open invite to the forum to come over and listen. The one person who took you up on that, seemed to come to the same conclusions as you, and didn't find fault with your methodology, so I can't say I would have came to any different conclusions myself.

 

Thanks for the effort. :beerchug:

post #1125 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by cizx View Post

not yet, so you should go ahead and feel free to chip in and make one!
i've got to say that at first I thought you were a little, um....wired, but now I look forward to your posts. I can't sto laughing.
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