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December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison - Page 23  

post #331 of 1331

Oh God - now I am just excited ... 8 may enter the Colosseum, but there can be only ONE !!  Mwahahaaha

post #332 of 1331

Let's throw some blood-thirsty lions into the mix to keep Gary's dogs occupied.

post #333 of 1331

Ooops!  I guess they're afraid of big cats...

 

post #334 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

I'd be concerned that they could all be compromised.

I'm thinking the whole test environment is unrealistic - running more than one USB DAC at time. There's no telling what kind of interference they could cause each other on the data circuits, independent of interactions and competition for adequate amps and volts. The contest could literally come down to a test of which DAC sounds best under the unrealistic conditions you are imposing for the sake of convenience - a classic example of the Observer Effect, where you alter the state of that which you are trying to measure through your choice of equipment or techniques that can inluence the results.

I've never come close to powering two USB DACs at once, much less four or five and I know that where some USB-powered DACS have fantastic immunity to ports that fail to meet USB specs, others have comparably poor power management.

A fair contest would ensure that every DAC gets the power it needs.

 I'm very concerned about even two DACs competing for USB power simultaneously - it's not how most of us will be running a DAC in our home

 

I agree 123%.

One DAC at a time is a real world test.

post #335 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post
 

Ooops!  I guess they're afraid of big cats...

 


Nope... Cops.

post #336 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 


Nope... Cops.

 

LOL!  I'll have to look for a better photo next time...

post #337 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Folks:

 

I know I have at least 2 USB cards, one USB 3.0 and the other USB 2.0 on the back of my computer, each with 2 ports.  I also have 2 separate locations with USB ports on the front of the machine -- one is a multi-card reader with 2 ports, and the other appears to be an extension of the sound card with one port.  So I might have as many as 4 separate cards supporting the 7 existing ports. 

 

And I only intend to listen to one DAC at a time, but there will be times when I want to switch quickly or do A/B/C checking without having to unplug and plug cables.  I will do some quick trials to see if there is any difference in performance with one, two, three or four DACs running at the same time, as well as with/without the switchgear.  If there isn't any, then I'll proceed with the test that way.  If I hear any noise or cross-talk I'll drop down to one running at a time, but will still probably have as many as 7 connected to USB but not powered on, so that I can avoid having to do the plug/unplug drill over and over into the DACs.  Again, both time and wear/breakage are serious concerns here. I just don't want to handle these DACs that much. 

 

My current thinking on the testing process is that 7 DACs will be compared the first week, 7 more the second week, and then there will be a down-select:  if they all sound alike they all go back and I keep my XDA-1;  otherwise I'm gonna try to thin the herd by at least half, maybe even more.  Then those remaining will get about a week of time against each other.  Then a final decision.

 

Of course, this is open to discussion.  But if I'm gonna keep all 500 9018 DACs in the field along with all of the other designs then I need a way to thin some of the contenders out after an initial round, otherwise the return clock will run out on me...

 

So if you didn't quite get the implications of that last statement, I will include all four 9018 DACs in the competition.  In fact, I will include all 14 of the units on the latest list.  But that's my limit, and I'm sticking to it this time... so if anybody has any more DACs to suggest, they have to tell me which of the current units falls out, and why.  If I agree, I will change the list of 14.  But only for a couple more days.

 

My credit cards will be groaning, and I won't be getting much sleep, but sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do...

post #338 of 1331
Sorry to mix things up so late into this, but I've decided that I am willing to send my Ultra-Fi DAC41 in for comparison.(for selfish reasons of course. Not sure if I should upgrade it or sell it for something else so I want to know how it compares to some other DACs.)

I'd also throw in my DH Labs USB cable as I have no use for it without the DAC. I honestly haven't compared the cable to any others(not counting the 10' printer cable I have, way too long to get a good signal) so I'd be interested in your opinion on that too.

What's the deal with shipping? I can cover shipping to you, but I'm kinda broke right now so I cannot cover return shipping. redface.gif

And another thing, you should really try out the Jplay software with this comparison. They have a demo version but they are currently on beta and may be able to let you run a full version that would deactivate after the comparison. It's a massive improvment over other players even with onboard sound.
Edited by MohawkUS - 12/3/13 at 11:45am
post #339 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Mohawk:

 

As indicated above, I already have more DACs than I need for this gig.  If you think the DAC 41 should be in, which DAC do you think should be banished from the field?  If enough others agree with you, and I can be convinced, then I'll cover return shipping.  But as of now, it has to fight its way into the competition.

post #340 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post

Mohawk:

As indicated above, I already have more DACs than I need for this gig.  If you think the DAC 41 should be in, which DAC do you think should be banished from the field?  If enough others agree with you, and I can be convinced, then I'll cover return shipping.  But as of now, it has to fight its way into the competition.

Oh, I don't know enough about the DACs to really say. Maybe the Acram?

The UltraFi is the upgraded version of the dbaudiolabs Tranquility SE, supposed to be more neutral and slightly more modern sounding. Anyone interested in it? cool.gif
post #341 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post


As in you guys would all pitch in to buy me a new unlocked phone?  :evil:

I have to admit I'm not in a position to do that. Maybe someone could split it with me. Or we could go with an Archos G9 tablet, which should be adequate for testing USB OTG operability. Or maybe someone has something to loan into the test. List of candidates is here https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3XYy1FuzDUecWx6Vmt0NlhUM1U/edit?usp=sharing (should be working soon). 

post #342 of 1331
Honestly I think we shouldn't add unnecessary load to Gary's busy schedule.
Smartphones can be a pain in the *s* to have them do things that they're not supposed to (USB Audio). Also this can be done by different people at different time/place.
The point here is that we have one set of ears listen to many DACs on the same setup, for a fair comparison. This should be the focus.
post #343 of 1331

Would love to see the TEAC UD-501 in the review mix.

post #344 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clemmaster View Post

Honestly I think we shouldn't add unnecessary load to Gary's busy schedule.
Smartphones can be a pain in the *s* to have them do things that they're not supposed to (USB Audio). Also this can be done by different people at different time/place.
The point here is that we have one set of ears listen to many DACs on the same setup, for a fair comparison. This should be the focus.

Can't agree more. The point is to push each DAC to its best, and find the one with the best sound quality.
Android/iPhone compatibility is not really relevant to sound quality.
And anyone who have these DACs can do their own test and report compatibility in this thread or other thread.
post #345 of 1331
Very interesting. Stumbled on this thread and looking forward to reading. Ta
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