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December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison - Page 85  

post #1261 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post


And who's to say that switch isn't part of the problem?

Because he tested with and without the switch to verify performance.

 

Wasn't that after the switch had failed? Were all the dacs reevaluated after the switch failed?

post #1262 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry S View Post


What problem? Why would the finding that some DACs sound very similar be a problem?
Very similar is not the same as indistinguishable.
post #1263 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

Good question.
Why, exactly, is that a problem?
I assume they are all striving for neutrality, so is it not surprising that so many sound similar?
Again, similar is not indistinguishable. If you let 10 DAC manufacturers hear a live performance 'played' exactly the same way as many times as they needed to create the 'neutral' DAC, you would still end up with 10 different sounding DACs because they were made by 10 different sets of ears.

There will never be a standard for neutral sound, just lots of close options, from which to choose the one you like. It is time for the pure objectivists to get that through their heads. I am not a pure subjectivist either. I use both.
post #1264 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post


I don't post similar things on other review threads. Most review threads aren't comparing 13+ items and finding over half of them identical, though.

 

There are EASILY dozends if not hundreds of threads on head-fi where 10+ different items are compared. Only most of them are never in the same room together and instead compared from memory. Oh and - of course - most of them find a lot of differences - to be described in flowery language - between said items.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

I assume people know to use reviews as just another data point, but there are so many posts in this thread indicating this is the only source for their purchase, or that they are adopting this idea that most DACs sound the same, when that isn't the truth for most people.

 

1.) if one were bored enough to actually count the participants in this thread I bet there'd be just as many - if not more - people eagerly and anxiously hoping for any differences between the items to be reported.

2.) I've read every post in this thread from the very beginning. I dont remember anyone stating that he would base his decision what to buy solely on Gary's findings. (Which would be kinda hard since Gary's findings are that there arent many differences in SQ).

3.) How do you know "most people" hear differences between say the NAD M51 and the Dangerous Music Source? You state this as fact when you have absolutely nothing to back it up. But perhaps I'm wrong about you this time and you have knowledge of a double-blind-study with a reasonably big sample size that shows how people in general do indeed hear differences. I'd be very interested to see it!

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

Also, there are problems with this 'objective' approach, and there are problems with subjective approaches. Assuming one is better than the other is a mistake. Using equal shares of both yields a better decision.

 

You're confused. Gary's approach was not 'objective' in any strict sense. It was all about his subjective impressions, which he stated from the outset. The only difference between his subjective approach and the subjective approaches you seem to be fond of is that his findings were that there are no great differences whereas you would have prefered another outcome. Now Garys subjective approach was certainly somewhat more objective than 90% of the other subjective reviews you read on this board where there is no level-matching and no instant-switching, but it is still only a sample size of one (or two if you count the guy who visited Gary and who's name I forgot). An objective approach would be to 1.) compare measurements of all the known parameters of analog audio signals between the different units to see if there are any differences and (if there are such differences) to 2.) use volume-matched double-blind-testing with a reasonably large sample group and a reasonably highend system to figure out whether the measured differences are audible and how they manifest themselves in the subjective experience of sound. Such an approach would indeed be much better than subjective approaches but it is of course extraordinarily complicated, expensive, requiring access to state of the art measuring equipment and the technical expertise to interpret the findings, so its no suprise that we rarely see such things done properly. All this "equal shares of both"-talk is utter crap. If one could do objective tests as outlined above all the subjective ravings could rightly be put in the trash bin. It's only because the former is too difficult that one has to use the latter.

post #1265 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry S View Post


What problem? Why would the finding that some DACs sound very similar be a problem?
Very similar is not the same as indistinguishable.

 

Kinda like sub HD content vs 1080p. Some just cannot tell the difference, or assess it as marginal (perhaps on smaller screens). For others it's night and day and they pay premiums for larger screens and better content to utilise said components.

 

So should those who are more discriminate be ridiculed for an absurd pursuit? Is it pointless to chase refinement when the same scenes, characters, endings are portrayed? It's the same film after all. Right?

post #1266 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

[...] the wildly different constructions dictate they must sound different.

 

Non sequitur. Its quite possible to get the same results using different means to get there. + the point is not whether different technical realizations lead to outcomes that differ 0.0002% in parameter x and 0.0003% in parameter y but whether those differences are in any way audible for humans.

post #1267 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post


There will never be a standard for neutral sound, just lots of close options, from which to choose the one you like. It is time for the pure objectivists to get that through their heads. I am not a pure subjectivist either. I use both.

 

 

Of course there is a standard for neutral sound? Its when every frequency is reproduced with the same amplitude and there is no audible distortion. Thats the standard. You may not like it, you may prefer a non-neutral sound that emphasizes certain frequencies, but if you do you're simply not going for neutrality.

post #1268 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post


Cheap shot or no, there is a difference between someone with trained hearing and not. People who can't hear the difference between 128k mp3 and FLAC aren't deaf, they just don't have trained hearing. Someone who can't tell a difference with so many DACs using different chips, different input and output stages, different circuitry layouts, different power supplies, not using trained hearing (or ears, as I said in that post).

My personal experience with some of these DACs shows major differences, but even discarding that, the wildly different constructions dictate they must sound different. Whether you are attuned to those differences or not depends on your experience and interest level in our hobby. Some people don't care beyond sounding good and that is fine. Others push further.

 

Yet you have no basis for claiming that Gary (or I) can't distinguish these differences.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post


Very similar is not the same as indistinguishable.

 

Indistinguishable was not my word choice, but I think the DACs in the group would be nearly impossible to distinguish in blind testing. There are subtle differences, and I do mean subtle.

 

The fast A-B switching and level matching is essential for accurate comparisons. It's too easy to interpret different volumes as different sound signatures without level matching. Not just the "if it's a bit louder it'll sound better" truism, but it's easy to qualitatively describe sound signature differences that aren't present in level-matched comparisons. I also don't think accurate comparisons are possible without near instantaneous switching. The lack of one or both of these elements may explain why some personal observations are at odds with Gary's results.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post


Again, similar is not indistinguishable. If you let 10 DAC manufacturers hear a live performance 'played' exactly the same way as many times as they needed to create the 'neutral' DAC, you would still end up with 10 different sounding DACs because they were made by 10 different sets of ears.

There will never be a standard for neutral sound, just lots of close options, from which to choose the one you like. It is time for the pure objectivists to get that through their heads. I am not a pure subjectivist either. I use both.

 

The objectivist/subjectivist classifications are just silly. My day job is as a scientist/clinical trialist and those terms aren't very useful in science.

 

I don't suppose you live anywhere near DC, because it would be easier just to listen together and compare notes. Even if you have access to a preamp, and can try some level-matched comparisons, it might give you a different perspective.

post #1269 of 1331

What's worse: people who claim someone's findings findings are suspect, based on their own hands on experience with many dacs on a more transparent rig-or those who say 'prove him wrong' when they themselves have nothing to go on other than some guy's blog which is no uncertain terms, flawed? Even the Nwavguy minions are laughing somewhere...

 

-Daniel

post #1270 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxvla View Post

Cheap shot or no, there is a difference between someone with trained hearing and not. People who can't hear the difference between 128k mp3 and FLAC aren't deaf, they just don't have trained hearing. Someone who can't tell a difference with so many DACs using different chips, different input and output stages, different circuitry layouts, different power supplies, not using trained hearing (or ears, as I said in that post).

My personal experience with some of these DACs shows major differences, but even discarding that, the wildly different constructions dictate they must sound different. Whether you are attuned to those differences or not depends on your experience and interest level in our hobby. Some people don't care beyond sounding good and that is fine. Others push further.

I suspect you're just taking the stance of a contrarian.
For what purpose?
post #1271 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post


I suspect you're just taking the stance of a contrarian.
For what purpose?

 

I suspect most here are taking the stance of...sheep?

For what purpose?

 

This isn't an appreciation thread last I checked.;)

 

-Daniel

post #1272 of 1331

:popcorn:

post #1273 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by BournePerfect View Post
 

 

I suspect most here are taking the stance of...sheep?...

 

What is the point of insulting people following this thread? There's a diversity of opinion here and we all read a lot of threads on this site and come to our individual conclusions.  I don't see people jumping into Purrin's DAC thread with insults and endless vague criticisms. I think it's cool to raise reasonable questions.  I had many myself and that's why I made two trips to Garys. I'd love to see other people do their own level-matched A-B comparisons and post their results.

post #1274 of 1331

OK - Let's be done with this. Everyone take Gary's work for what it is worth - a DATA POINT. Use it in combination with all the other reviews of the respective equipment, and if possible, your own listening experience.

 

If you don't like his findings - FINE. If you don't like how he conducted the experiment - FINE. But now it's put up or shut up. Go out and put $10,000 worth of DAC's on your credit card and conduct the tests the way you deem fit. If not, then feel free to follow the latter part of the expression.

post #1275 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post
 

 

Kinda like sub HD content vs 1080p. Some just cannot tell the difference, or assess it as marginal (perhaps on smaller screens). For others it's night and day and they pay premiums for larger screens and better content to utilise said components.

 

So should those who are more discriminate be ridiculed for an absurd pursuit? Is it pointless to chase refinement when the same scenes, characters, endings are portrayed? It's the same film after all. Right?


It is this kind of passive-aggressive put-down that I'd would ask people to please stop posting. 

 

Barry and I can both hear.  We've been audiophiles for decades and I've been a videophile for decades too, for that matter, and yes I can tell the difference between 480P and 1080P... In fact I can tell the difference between 720p and 1080i, and between 1080i and 1080p, between just about any plasma and any LCD, between a Samsung LCD and an LG LCD or a Sony LCD or a Sharp LCD etc.  Blah, blah, blah. "Yay for me, I'm anal"  Except it's actually bad for me, because being that anal is really hard on my wallet.

 

Back to the particular charge here, I could easily hear the difference between the Cable Co's LCD-2 and LCD-3 (and Barry's LCD-X, but you'd have to be totally deaf to not hear that difference) in side-by-side testing, and spent the extra money to buy a pair of -3s because I felt the difference was significant enough to make them worth twice the price.  I heard stark differences between my LCD-3s before they were sent back to Audeze, and after.  They were like a completely different pair of headphones when I got them back.  They were WAAAAAY better after. With them I could easily hear the difference between 2 different brands of resistors that I tested with the TBI Millennia.  In fact, I have heard differences between pretty much every can/IEM/speaker, and between every amp I've ever listened to, usually within seconds.

 

So I was as shocked as many of you were that I could not distinguish between most of these DACs.  I spent 3 frigging weeks trying to find something that would stand out about any of them.  If you read my posts, you should be able to sense the glee I felt when I finally tested the Metrum and heard a difference.  A DIFFERENCE!!!! YAAAAAYYYYYY!!!! 

 

Unless you have done this, you have no idea how hard it is to test components that don't easily distinguish themselves in side-by-side testing.  I concentrated on individual sounds in each song, for HOURS at a time, trying to pick out something that I could describe as different.  I couldn't.

 

But I was not going to make up differences where I didn't feel there were any.  If I didn't feel that I would be able to pick out one DAC vs. the others in a blind test more than I would through random choice, I labeled it as indistinguishable.  Maybe that wasn't the word many of you would have chosen, but I think it gets the point across.   

 

And one final point:  unless you've actually heard my rig, please stop assuming it is a pile of crap.  It isn't.  It is a mid-level rig, which is why I was testing mid-level DACs.  I have no idea if a $3000-$5000 amp would have been more transparent, but the reality is that most people will never own a $3000-5000 amp, myself included, so that isn't really relevant to this thread.  It was a mid-level DAC comparison using a mid-level rig.  If some of you don't think that was good enough you should just ignore the results, in fact ignore the thread entirely.  I'm sure that someday somebody will plunk down bazillions of bucks to test a bunch of high-end DACs using a high-end rig and a mega-buck testing system connected by solid unobtanium cables, and that they will find stark differences in the DACs.  And I'm sure it will be a very entertaining read, but that's not what this thread was about.


Edited by Gary in MD - 1/9/14 at 9:26pm
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