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December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison - Page 60  

post #886 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

Send one my way and I'll review/inspect for you. Heck, I'll even throw in a full spectrum analysis of the Loki vs. DA8 playing back DSD. :D 


Just might take you on the offer-- especially if I can't make it back to Gary's before (and if) the DA8 leaves.

post #887 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry S View Post
 


Just might take you on the offer-- especially if I can't make it back to Gary's before (and if) the DA8 leaves.

Sounds like a plan then :wink_face:

post #888 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry S View Post
 


It's all armchair speculation without a direct comparison. Maybe the Loki is no better than the JRiver at DSD decoding, but it's equally likely it sounds the same as the DA-8 DSD decoding. Has anyone done a level-matched fast-switched comparison of the two?

I agree.  That same site says the best way to use Loki is with a player that encodes PCM as DSD, and that it sounds as good as blah blah blah... you know what?  screw it.  I accept Gary's findings.  It's all the same. :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoupRKnowva View Post


That's not even close to the same thing though. Basically every delta sigma chip out there is multibit at this point. I'm not sure anyone still uses actual 1 bit modulators now. The Sabre inside the DA8 is doing the same thing. And just because it's being converted to multibit doesn't mean it's being converted to PCM.

He meant that it wasn't being converted to PCM before being sent down the USB cable to the dac.

Yeah, so what we're talking about is the difference between doing it in software and doing it in hardware.  If the Loki and DA8 are still converting the data to a non-native format, then what's the point to DSD in the first place?  And why does it sound different?  And why does converting it to PCM myself with foobar make it sound worse?  

 

I don't know.  I just don't know.  I'm distraught.

post #889 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by cizx View Post
 

Actually, it is.

 

from http://www.audiostream.com/content/schiit-audio-loki-dsd-dedicated-dac:

"The AKM4396 is a multi-bit delta-sigma DAC capable of handling PCM so your DSD data gets converted somewhere in that chip to multi-bit data."

 

If DSD is internally converted to PCM, information will get lost.  Doesn't matter the conversion is by hardware or software (JRiver).  Unless the software or chip converts DSD to 24bit 352kHz PCM.    Looks like AKM4396 can only do 24bit 192k.

192k PCM doesn't sound as good as DSD,  see this review of redbook vs 24bit 192k vs DSD 64x and 128x.

http://www.audiostream.com/content/dsd-v-pcm-file-comparison-16441-2496-24192-64x-dsd-128x-dsd

 

ESS 9018 chip (used in Yulong DA8) directly plays DSD, no DSD to PCM conversion step.   Same for the CS4398 chip used in Hilo, direct playback.

 

Have to say that Yulong DA8 is technically more advanced, using state-of-the-art solutions as of 2013:   The ESS 9018 chip can handle DSD 128x,  and DXD (which is 24bit 352k PCM,  it is a format used in mastering studios to edit DSD recordings).  It's USB solution is better than XMOS.   


Edited by yfei - 1/1/14 at 8:53pm
post #890 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by yfei View Post
 

  The USB solution is better than XMOS.   

That's good to know, because the XMOS in the PureDAC really made me angry.

post #891 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 


Mike:

 

I would do that if I could find the button.  Yeah, I'm an idiot, but I can't find any button on the front that disables the volume control/headphone jack.  I haven't looked on the back, but why would they put it there?

Push/Press the volume knob, and it will disable itself, going into "pure DAC" mode.

/\

LOL, and it's Sharp and Slow, not Fast and Slow filters.

Phase being negative out of the box is also wrong.

Make sure to use the latest drivers too http://www.audio-sz.com/Files/others/JR%20iver%20New%20asio.zip

Surprised you have found it with amp engaged "indistinguishable", as it's pretty lame sounding comparing to pure DAC to half decent amp.


Edited by Andrew_WOT - 1/1/14 at 7:42pm
post #892 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew_WOT View Post
 

/\

LOL, and it's Sharp and Slow, not Fast and Slow filters.

Phase being negative out of the box is also wrong.

Make sure to use the latest drivers too http://www.audio-sz.com/Files/others/JR%20iver%20New%20asio.zip

+1 and in addition, put two small slivers of electrical tape over pins 1 & 4 to minimize noise interference from the PC.

post #893 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew_WOT View Post
 

/\

LOL, and it's Sharp and Slow, not Fast and Slow filters.

Phase being negative out of the box is also wrong.

Make sure to use the latest drivers too http://www.audio-sz.com/Files/others/JR%20iver%20New%20asio.zip

Surprised you have found it with amp engaged "indistinguishable", as it's pretty lame sounding comparing to pure DAC to half decent amp.


Sharp, fast... whatever.  To me it is the green one vs. the yellow one, since I can't read the word from where I'm sitting.  It's on the bottom shelf of the stereo cabinet to my left, so I just reach down and push the button repeatedly without looking.  That's actually better, since if I can't actually see the word I have to rely on my ears to tell the difference.

 

And whose drivers are those, for what purpose?  I'll install them if I know what I'm installing, otherwise, no thanks.  I'm already having issues with JRiver crashing every hour or so and blue-screening my computer several times in the past several days.

 

It is interesting that nowhere in the instruction manual does it say how to engage the volume lockout.  I should have guessed pushing the volume knob itself, but it has been a very long 3 weeks.

 

Now I need to listen for a while...

post #894 of 1331

No, you need to rest for a while :beerchug:

post #895 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Actually, now that I actually hear some differences, it's fun and interesting again... or for the first time really.  So now I want to listen.

post #896 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by yfei View Post
 

 

If DSD is internally converted to PCM, information will get lost.  Doesn't matter the conversion is by hardware or software (JRiver).  Unless the software or chip converts DSD to 32bit 384kHz PCM.    Looks like AKM4396 can only do 24bit 192k.

192k PCM doesn't sound as good as DSD,  see this review of redbook vs 24bit 192k vs DSD 64x and 128x.

http://www.audiostream.com/content/dsd-v-pcm-file-comparison-16441-2496-24192-64x-dsd-128x-dsd

 

ESS 9018 chip (used in Yulong DA8) directly plays DSD, no DSD to PCM conversion step.   Same for the CS4398 chip used in Hilo, direct playback.

 

Have to say that Yulong DA8 is technically more advanced, using state-of-the-art solutions as of 2013:   The ESS 9018 chip can handle DSD 128x,  and DXD (which is 32bit 384k PCM,  it is a format used in mastering studios to edit DSD recordings).  It's USB solution is better than XMOS.   

Why would DSD converted to 32bit 384kHz PCM (whether by software or chip) not lose information, whereas all other DSD to PCM conversions do ?

post #897 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaHamster View Post
 

Why would DSD converted to 32bit 384kHz PCM (whether by software or chip) not lose information, whereas all other DSD to PCM conversions do ?

 

(my mistake, DXD is  352.8kHz 24bit, not 384k)

 

DSD to 352.8kHz PCM (DXD) maybe is not fully 'lossless', but it should be good enough.    Because studios actually first convert recorded DSD to DXD,  do editing on DXD,  then convert back to DSD and sell it to consumers (via SACD).   because DSD format is not editing friendly, while DXD (PCM) is.   So the final DSD file we get shouldn't contain more information than DXD.   Unless the DSD was not edited / mastered by the studio, e.g. directly converted from analog tape, and the mastering was done on the analog tape.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_eXtreme_Definition

 

 

Found an article saying DXD actually is better than DSD.  well, i am not sure:

http://www.realhd-audio.com/?p=461

"DXD is the recommended recording format “when setting up systems for the absolute highest sound quality”. It turns out that DSD AD conversion is just not up to the task because of the lack of tools and the high noise levels that are generated. So what the Sony and Phillips folks are actually saying is that HD PCM at 352.8 or 384 kHz and 24 or 32-bit word is the “best” system for capturing audio.""


Edited by yfei - 1/1/14 at 8:55pm
post #898 of 1331
Thread Starter 

And speaking of no difference, there is no significant difference between the Yulong playing FLAC files, sharp filter, volume disabled, vs. the DM Source. 

 

I tried to find any difference just listening to the Yulong with the volume/amp enabled and disabled, but heard absolutely none going from enabled to disabled.  Going from disabled to enabled there's a break as a relay fires, and the volume briefly gets louder before settling down.  That sequence is enough to completely invalidate any attempt to compare the two modes going that way (they might as well have had somebody rip the headphones off of my head and scream "HEY YOU JUST ENGAGED THE VOLUME CONTROL" in my ear.  By the time I could recover, any memory of what I heard before the switch was lost.  But going the other way, when there is no break in the sound, no change in the volume, I heard no difference.

 

In effect, I don't think there is any audible difference between the Yulong and the Indistinguishables with the sharp filter engaged, whether or not the volume control is turned on.  I don't think turning the volume control on or off changes the sound in any significant measure as long as the volume is zeroed to start with. 

post #899 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Next result:  Sending everything to the Yulong in DSD (not 2x or 4x, ) offers no advantage.  I heard absolutely no difference between the Yulong and the DM Source on FLAC files sent to the Yulong as DSD vs. PCM sent to the DM Source.  FYI the filter was still set to sharp. 

 

Then playing a DSD file... yeah baby, there's the real thing!  So JRiver translating from PCM to DSD doesn't help the sound on the Yulong, and its translating DSD to PCM for the DM Source is nowhere near as good as the Yulong playing the DSD file. 

post #900 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Okay folks, my next step is to swap out the DM Source for the Metrum feeding the Benchmark.  I will start by comparing the sharp filter to the Metrum, then reset the levels and compare the slow filter.  I'll try some DSD with both.  After that, I'm calling it a night.  This has been a breakthrough day so far... finally at least one significant difference that I can actually base a decision on. 

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