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December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison - Page 34  

post #496 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 

Geez, I thought I'd turned off that webcam...

Quote:
Originally Posted by zilch0md View Post

LOL!!
 

 

:D

post #497 of 1331

hehe!!!

post #498 of 1331

Gary, Looking at all these DACs lined up and in person, which one takes the beauty contest and what are the runner ups? I am guessing that the PWD will take honorable mention as the most expensive looking.

post #499 of 1331

Gary, if you could provide some info in the future on the DA8/Octave/PWD comparison I would really, really appreciate it :)

post #500 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barra View Post
 

Gary, Looking at all these DACs lined up and in person, which one takes the beauty contest and what are the runner ups? I am guessing that the PWD will take honorable mention as the most expensive looking.


Mostly they are just small black boxes, though the NAD is bigger and silver... and the QuteHD is just... odd.  The Arcam, Metrum and Benchmark are the most boring, but that's fine with me.  The NAD and Emo have blue LED screens that tell you the basics.  The Yulong's screen is a color LCD that has more information on settings, but all that is doing is encouraging me to read the manual to figure out how to turn off all of the filters and phasing and what not.  And I hate reading manuals, especially when they are poorly written,  We'll see how I feel about the Yulong's instructions when I actually attempt to look at them. 

 

At this point the PureDAC is invisible, which is a completely different problem, but it looks the most interesting in photos, so we'll see if/when it gets here.

 

The PWD is here (Thanks again Preproman, and I hope your weekend plans go well ;)) but I haven't had it out of the box yet, because I haven't had room.  It's a big sucker, and something large is going to have to come out of the cabinet in order to fit it in -- probably my old Emo XDA-1.  But I'm not moving anything until I get this burn-in process done in the next day or so.  Everything is working right now, and I don't want any problems that slow down the overall process.

 

Once the burn-in is done, the Yulong, Benchmark, Metrum and Chordette come out, along with my XDA-1, and the PWD, Concero, Gungnir and Dangerous Music Source go in.  The Source still has to be burned in, so while it is in the first group, I won't be listening to it for a while. 

 

My first test once I get the competition started for real is to see if I can hear ANY difference between having the Niles switch in the loop or not.  If I hear any difference at all I will not use the switch during the testing.  As I've said, I hope the switch is transparent, because I really want to minimize the cable swapping.  But I also want each DAC to be at its best, so if I have to keep messing with cables, I will.

 

One other note for the night, I have been feeding the NAD optical for the past day, because I concluded that its USB was causing the problems that resulted in hiccups and stoppages with JRiver.  After repeated problems over the first few days, I haven't noticed any issues with the overall setup in the past 24 hours or so, since I switched the NAD feed to optical.  Recall that I had problems getting the unit set up in the first place, as the computer had a hard time finding it with USB.  In the end, I might find that this is all user error, but none of the other DACs has had these issues except the Emo Stealth, which didn't like its drivers much either, but now is working fine. 

 

I will check one more time for updated drivers for the NAD (actually, for all of them before I test them... I know I have to download the Benchmark's DSD drivers) but if the M51's USB doesn't work with my computer I will just have to go with the toslink.  I can still feed it up to 192K, so it isn't a big deal, but it does mean that the testing isn't perfectly equal for all of the units.

post #501 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

Gary, if you could provide some info in the future on the DA8/Octave/PWD comparison I would really, really appreciate it :)


Brunk:

 

That shouldn't be a problem.  The DA-8 and Octave are both in the 2nd group, and the PWD will be here for a while, so I can hook it back up even if it doesn't make the final group, and do a comparison with the Yulong and Metrum.  Just remind me if I forget.

post #502 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 


Brunk:

 

That shouldn't be a problem.  The DA-8 and Octave are both in the 2nd group, and the PWD will be here for a while, so I can hook it back up even if it doesn't make the final group, and do a comparison with the Yulong and Metrum.  Just remind me if I forget.

Thanks a bunch Gary! I'll remind you when things cool down a bit for you :)

post #503 of 1331
Thread Starter 

It's not so much the heat as the fog in my brain...

post #504 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 

 

One other note for the night, I have been feeding the NAD optical for the past day, because I concluded that its USB was causing the problems that resulted in hiccups and stoppages with JRiver.  After repeated problems over the first few days, I haven't noticed any issues with the overall setup in the past 24 hours or so, since I switched the NAD feed to optical.  Recall that I had problems getting the unit set up in the first place, as the computer had a hard time finding it with USB.  In the end, I might find that this is all user error, but none of the other DACs has had these issues except the Emo Stealth, which didn't like its drivers much either, but now is working fine. 

 

I will check one more time for updated drivers for the NAD (actually, for all of them before I test them... I know I have to download the Benchmark's DSD drivers) but if the M51's USB doesn't work with my computer I will just have to go with the toslink.  I can still feed it up to 192K, so it isn't a big deal, but it does mean that the testing isn't perfectly equal for all of the units.

 

   This could be a significant disadvantage for the NAD. Perhaps you could either compare the NAD's toslink versus it's own USB or try a different software player?! I mean, not for all the testing, just putting it against it's closest competitors in terms of sound, as a small scale all-USB additional test to check if it still remains, say, "slightly better than dac A because of smoother overall sound but still with less controlled bass that dac B and similar stage depth / width" or moving the NAD to USB changed these rapports a bit. I don't know it I'm being clear enough...

post #505 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drsparis View Post
 

Thanks for the input. this just raises more questions though, some of these points just try to correct the issues with USB, whereas Optical has none. In a decicated audiophile source that has the option of USB and Optical, would't it be wiser to just choose the input that has no chance of interferance? instead of a USB system that has (possibly amazing) technology to remove the problems inherent of it's wires?

 

Optical has plenty of disadvantages, which is why it seldom gives best results.  For example few if any systems have asynchronous optical, though it was popular many years ago.  So you need very good adaptive clocking schemes, which can work fine but are rarely implemented at the top level.

 

And optical carries plenty of noise, which must be dealt with in various ways.  The demodulation of the optical signal into electrical generates plenty of noise unless a simple comparator is used, but those have more jitter than smarter receivers.  But both of those generate electrical noise--there is no free lunch.  The big advantage of optical is the nearly perfect avoidance of a varying reference level.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post
 

USB is flavour of the month right now.

You are correct, Optical does have on big advantage: no direct electrical connection.

This is big.

 

As above, to use it you generate electrical noise, though you are able to redefine your ground at the receiver.  And if you do not have bidirectional clocks (toslink certainly doesn't) or a fully synchronous receiver (which doesn't reclock) you will have some small timing drift between channels, though it often doesn't matter except when processing effects.

 

All the same, I would like to know just how good the clocking of a completely synchronous graded multimode or single mode fiber optic system could be using a great output clock like a Grimm, Mutec, or Antelope and excellent receiving circuitry.  You would need to run the signal with minimum processing on the receiving end, I think this is how I^2S interfaces work.


Edited by Sam Lord - 12/18/13 at 12:53am
post #506 of 1331

^^ WOW only your third post sense 2008.  This thread must have really peaked your interest.  Nice to have you join in..

 

:beerchug:

post #507 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post

 

Optical has plenty of disadvantages, which is why it seldom gives best results.  For example few if any systems have asynchronous optical, though it was popular many years ago.  So you need very good adaptive clocking schemes, which can work fine but are rarely implemented at the top level.

 

And optical carries plenty of noise, which must be dealt with in various ways.  The demodulation of the optical signal into electrical generates plenty of noise unless a simple comparator is used, but those have more jitter than smarter receivers.  But both of those generate electrical noise--there is no free lunch.  The big advantage of optical is the nearly perfect avoidance of a varying reference level.

 

 

As above, to use it you generate electrical noise, though you are able to redefine your ground at the receiver.  And if you do not have bidirectional clocks (toslink certainly doesn't) or a fully synchronous receiver (which doesn't reclock) you will have some small timing drift between channels, though it often doesn't matter except when processing effects.

 

All the same, I would like to know just how good the clocking of a completely synchronous graded multimode or single mode fiber optic system could be using a great output clock like a Grimm, Mutec, or Antelope and excellent receiving circuitry.  You would need to run the signal with minimum processing on the receiving end, I think this is how I^2S interfaces work.

 



Why does Optical carry plenty of noise?
How is this noise created?
post #508 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post
 
Why does Optical carry plenty of noise?
How is this noise created?

 

From what I've read, Optical normally will have higher jitter than Coaxial.     

http://wiki.slimdevices.com/index.php/Coaxial_vs._optical

I don't know the detailed technical reason.    I can only elaborate, it may due to Optical will add additional step of converting electrical signal to light signal, and this process may introduce imprecise timing of the light being turned on/off.

 

And one more thing adds to the complexity:  clock.   Some CD players and PC sound cards can output clock in additional to digital out (AES or SPIDF).   And some DAC can take the external clock.      I see reports that Hilo sounds the best when using clock from external high quality CD transport.   Or using clock from Lynx AES 16 sound card,  in this mode it will sound >   Lynx AES 16's AES output only, but using internal clock   >  Hilo's internal USB interface.

post #509 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Tonight's report will be brief, since not much happened today, except I bought a whole bunch of high-resolution music from HD Tracks and Acoustic Sounds (Super HiRez).  All I can say (other than the fact that HD Tracks' website is 1990s slow, but managed to drain my bank account quick enough) is that I can certainly hear the difference between Hotel California at 192/24 vs. 44.1/16.  For those that can't, well, I'm sorry for you.

 

Tonight is the last night I will be burning in the first set of new DACs.  Tomorrow morning or early afternoon I will take the Benchmark, Yulong and Chordette out, and put the Dangerous Source, PWD and Concero in, make sure everything is running, then start testing, first by checking to see if there is any difference with/without the switch, then just listening and taking notes on whichever one volunteers itself.  It won't be the Dangerous Source, as that one will be in the "burn-in-paddock" feeding the ESP-950s for the next 4 days or so.  But it could be any of the others.  If it's the NAD, I'll try to get the USB working right before doing any testing.  But the chances are that I won't want to screw with that the first day (I want to get some testing done already), so some other DAC is likely first up. 

post #510 of 1331

Hope you get the usb issue sorted Gary. I don't want to influence your findings but on my system there is an audible difference between the M51's usb (integer mode from MBP) and optical inputs.

 

Not sure what the issue could be for you. The M51's been set and forget for me from day 1. I've never had a Windows system connected to it though. 

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