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December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison - Page 61  

post #901 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by yfei View Post
 

 

(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.""

I'd agree with most of that - other than to say that whenever a conversion occurs (even if one is converting to a "better" format - let's say an 8 track crappy tape to DXD) there will always be a loss - which you have acknowledged.  It is probably not a huge loss, as you state, but it will be there.  Converting a DSD to DXD will suffer some loss (which - I think - is a part of why DXD is "superior" - it is the original format for many new recordings as DSD is not generally used for mixing purposes - blame Sony ... I certainly do).

 

It is interesting to look at a company which does record in DXD to garner their opinions on DXD versus (converted) DSD:

 

http://www.2l.no/   (click on "about" if this doesn't take you to the right page)

 

This is largely irrelevant for most of our recordings, but it is still interesting as it may provide a hint of what the future will bring (hopefully for ALL music, not just recordings of Nordic Nose Flutes) !

post #902 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Alrighty there humans, here's the scoop on the Yulong vs. Metrum.

 

With the sharp filter on the Yulong, and the volume knocked down 1.5dB on the DAC (I decided to do it there instead of in JRiver... I somehow just trust Yulong to do less, if any, damage), there is an audible, and I believe significant, difference between the Yulong and the Metrum playing FLAC files.  It is the same difference I heard between the Metrum and the other Indistinguishables -- the Metrum has more mid-range energy, more sustain, sounds warmer, more fluid, and brighter at the same time.  Those who prefer faster, flatter sound will likely prefer the Yulong in this setting.  Those pining for a more analog/vinyl sound will probably prefer the Metrum.

 

I then changed the Yulong filter to slow, re-set the Yulong volume level to -1.0dB, (which yields a close-but-not-perfect match... grumble) and guess what???... The Yulong now sounds almost identical to the Metrum.  The Metrum still has a tiny bit more energy than the Yulong in part of the mid-range, but most of the time, and in most of the spectrum, the two are now pretty much indistinguishable, or at least close enough that the difference is not meaningful in regular listening (as opposed to what I've been doing for 3 weeks, which is NOT normal, even for an abnormal person like me). 

 

The difference can be heard in the volume of some voices, particularly female voices: the Metrum seems just a tiny bit louder, which might actually be the 0.1-0.2dB difference in volume that I can't match out with 0.5dB steps.  Or it could be in the equalization profile of the two.  But I think it is volume, not grain, or etch, or any other quality measure.  The quality of the voices sounds the same to me.  Consonants like "s"s and "t"s sound the same, just sometimes a tiny bit louder with the Metrum (I did the slight delay setup in JRiver again, where I could listen to a word (or other sound) with the Yulong, switch, and immediately hear the same word (sound) on the Metrum).  Instruments all sound the same on both DACs to me playing FLAC files.

 

In my view, any difference that I can only hear sometimes in certain parts of certain songs while doing level-matched A/B tests is not meaningful, even if it is primarily in voices, which are very important to me.  Again, I believe there is a material/meaningful difference between the filters, but each of them aligns the Yulong with one of the major groupings of DACs in this test -- the sharp filter puts it in the Indistinguishables group, and the slow filter puts it with the Metrum.  In effect, you get two DACs for the price of one, with two different headphone amps thrown in as well, since the filters really have a large impact on the headphone amp's sound.  Given that (depending on Grant/Shenzen's sale price of the moment) the Yulong with upgraded power cord is ~$300-400 cheaper than the Metrum, which is a DAC only, that makes it a bargain. 

 

And then throw in the real kicker.  Ohhhhhh that DSD sound... The Metrum can't touch it.  The other DSD DACs might be able to, but they are all significantly more expensive.  The Chordette is $1800, $500-600 more than the Yulong, and is only a DAC.  The Benchmark is great, and I have really taken advantage of its pre-amp capabilities over the past couple of days, but it is $2,000, and I don't need a pre-amp that badly.  (Note:  the Yulong is not a real pre-amp to me -- no analog inputs, no analog volume control). 

 

If I decide I really need a pre-amp, I'll have Brunk or Potterma build me one of those LED ones... I bet I could bargain one of them down to less than the $700-800 price difference between the Yulong and the Benchmark.  If not, I'll just do a pre-amp comparison test next year...

 

(NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

post #903 of 1331
Thread Starter 

Final note for the night.  I will plug the Ciunas in tomorrow and test it for a bit, to see how it compares with the Yulong.  I might re-test the Chordette with DSD again too.  I will spend a bit of time with the Emo too, primarily testing it's HP output (if I can find my mini-TRS adapter).  Then I think I'm done with testing, at least for now.

post #904 of 1331

How about a Gary Pre-amp Comparison in 2014 :D

 

As for DSD, I've been thinking about the Schiit Loki running into the Ciunas.  It's not a technology I'm too familiar with and I can't determine whether it is coming to more prominence or out the door.    

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 

And then throw in the real kicker.  Ohhhhhh that DSD sound... The Metrum can't touch it.  The other DSD DACs might be able to, but they are all significantly more expensive.  The Chordette is $1800, $500-600 more than the Yulong, and is only a DAC.  The Benchmark is great, and I have really taken advantage of its pre-amp capabilities over the past couple of days, but it is $2,000, and I don't need a pre-amp that badly.  (Note:  the Yulong is not a real pre-amp to me -- no analog inputs, no analog volume control). 

 

If I decide I really need a pre-amp, I'll have Brunk or Potterma build me one of those LED ones... I bet I could bargain one of them down to less than the $700-800 price difference between the Yulong and the Benchmark.  If not, I'll just do a pre-amp comparison test next year...

 

(NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

post #905 of 1331

Gary, I detected a major sigh of relief that your testing has pretty much come to a close. I really applaud your efforts, and just knew you would come to the same conclusion that I have. Except it took me a couple years, and for you it was just a couple (but brutal) weeks. There is definitely something superior going on with the DSD sound to my ears, and now I am not alone. Woo Hoo! I can certainly build you a nice preamp, your options are virtually limitless, and yes I can make you a 300v preamp if you want some crazy tubes or something lol.

 

Rest easy,

Brunk

:beerchug: 

post #906 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 

I also tried to download the free trial app to run these DACs with my phone.  Total failure:  the phone doesn't recognize any app having been downloaded, but I can see the file if I look for it on the phone via the computer.  I am not willing to risk downloading the ~$10 app.  If their free trial doesn't work, why should I take the chance that the $10 program will?  Or that it won't brick my phone?  I just don't trust this application, and I don't have time to mess with it any further.

 

Sorry androidians, you'll just have to find another way to expand your list of tested DACs.

 

The use case would be, Android tablets have great user interfaces and can access music over the home LAN or on a NAS. Why not marry this to a great desktop DAC. Hear me now, believe me later.

 

Anyway thanks for trying. Maybe I will just have to take the few winning DACs, then email the manufacturers. Anedio seems to have given up on supporting USB OTG, as has Kingwa at Audio-gd. 

 

If there is any good news for Android users, its that Gary is concluding that most DACs sound the same in the dark. I deduce that, rather than all choosing to sound wrong in the exact same way, they all chose to sound right in the exact same way. And at that point you can get a $500 DAC. And then the next test would be, are there sub-$500 DACs that sound as good as the $500 DACs that sound identical to the $1000 DACs.

 

These sub-$500 DACs are often portable, and as such more likely to support USB OTG. For example the ODAC (supports USB OTG, but maybe not quite as good as the DACs in this thread) or the CEntrance DACport LX (though not exactly portable, uses a lot of power, runs hot, and somehow manages to fail to support USB OTG, though it can be made to work using the UAPP app) or Leckerton's 6S or new flagship UHA760.

post #907 of 1331

Great work, Gary - 

 

I would also add that before anyone makes a decision to carefully google Yulong as well as Grant Fidelity's reliability and repair histories - that search may add additional information to your decision you may find relevant......

 

 

Thanks, all - 

post #908 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post
 

In addition, you are essentially "married" to the Loki's I/O, and it uses USB for power too. Ugh...

The Loki has no XLR otput

Add: and the winner is... Who is the winner? :L3000: 


Edited by Esprit - 1/2/14 at 2:48am
post #909 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toe Tag View Post
 

 

The use case would be, Android tablets have great user interfaces and can access music over the home LAN or on a NAS. Why not marry this to a great desktop DAC. Hear me now, believe me later.

 

Anyway thanks for trying. Maybe I will just have to take the few winning DACs, then email the manufacturers. Anedio seems to have given up on supporting USB OTG, as has Kingwa at Audio-gd. 

 

If there is any good news for Android users, its that Gary is concluding that most DACs sound the same in the dark. I deduce that, rather than all choosing to sound wrong in the exact same way, they all chose to sound right in the exact same way. And at that point you can get a $500 DAC. And then the next test would be, are there sub-$500 DACs that sound as good as the $500 DACs that sound identical to the $1000 DACs.

 

These sub-$500 DACs are often portable, and as such more likely to support USB OTG. For example the ODAC (supports USB OTG, but maybe not quite as good as the DACs in this thread) or the CEntrance DACport LX (though not exactly portable, uses a lot of power, runs hot, and somehow manages to fail to support USB OTG, though it can be made to work using the UAPP app) or Leckerton's 6S or new flagship UHA760.

From my own experience in regards to finding a sub-$500 DAC good as the $1k DACs is a definite "no". You might find a few that get close, but they will have atleast an order of magnitude more noise, and an order of magnitude less features. However, things have been rapidly changing and I can imagine myself adjusting this statement in a couple years. However, better DACs will come out, and continue to push the envelope to the nth degree. You simply can't have that in a sub-$500 DAC - Economics 101.

post #910 of 1331

"You might find a few that get close, but they will have at least an order of magnitude more noise, and an order of magnitude less features."

 

Nonsense, as we've all seen...... 

post #911 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post
 

"You might find a few that get close, but they will have at least an order of magnitude more noise, and an order of magnitude less features."

 

Nonsense, as we've all seen...... 

*Looks around*

 

Nope sorry, I don't see any sub-$500 DACs that rival ~1mV or less ripple, XLR out, preamp, integrated headphone amp, DSD-capable, filter options etc. 

post #912 of 1331
Gary,
Great reviews. Was the jitter reducer on or off during your testing (Yulong DA8). Thanks!
post #913 of 1331

My bad - I agree.

 

I was thinking you said sub $1,000, in which case Gary's benchmark DS and Emo fit the bill!

 

My apologies, need more coffee.....!

post #914 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by boatheelmusic View Post
 

My bad - I agree.

 

I was thinking you said sub $1,000, in which case Gary's benchmark DS and Emo fit the bill!

 

My apologies, need more coffee.....!

Hehe, It's all good. I certainly understand the coffee part! :tongue_smile:

post #915 of 1331

Gary's very credible reaction to DSD has me all the more interested in the Sony PCM-D100 - for both portable and desktop use - as a player, not as a recorder.  

 

No more PC or laptop!  And it comes with a remote control - soon to be released in the U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quoting the Specifications tab at http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/product-PCMD100/

 
General Specifications Detail:
Audio Formats Supported

Record: DSD, WAV and MP3

 

Playback: DSD, WAV, FLAC, MP3, WMA (Non DRM), AAC-LC (Non-DRM)

Built-in Mic Electret condenser microphones. Max input level: 128 dB SPL. Frequency response 20 Hz to 20 kHz
Mic Input (Stereo Mini Jack) Input impedance: 22 k ohm, Rated input level: 2.5 mV; Minimum input level: 0.7 mV
Line Input (Analog) (Stereo Mini Jack) Input impedance: 22k ohm; Minimum input level: 450mV; Rated input level: 2.0V
Line Input (Optical) Optical Digiital Input: Input level: -27 dBm to -14 dBm; Emission wavelength: 660 nm
Line Output (Analog)   [To my amp of choice!] Output impedance: 220 ohms;Output level: 1.7V; Load impedance 22k ohms
Line Output (Optical) Output level: -21dBm to -15 dBm
Headphone Output      [No thanks!] Stereo Mini Jack; Maximum output: 25 mW + 25 mW or more; Load impedance: 16 ohms
Frequency Response 20Hz - 50kHz (Line In) @ DSD2.8 / 20Hz - 45kHz (Line In) @ LPCM 192kHz/24bit
Sampling Frequency DSD 2.8MHz, LPCM 192kHz/176.4kHz/96kHz/88.2kHz/48kHz/44.1kHz
Quantization 16-bit LPCM, 24-bit LPCM PCM and 1-bit DSD
S/N Ratio DSD 98dB or greater; LPCM 24 bit 96dB or greater
Total Harmonic Distortion (Line Input to Line Output) DSD: 0.008% or below (1kHz, 22kHz LPF)
LPCM: 0.006% or below (1kHz, 22kHz LPF)
Wow and Flutter Below measurable limit (less than +/-0.001%W.Peak)
USB High-speed USB,mass storage class
Power Consumption 0.75w
Power Requirements Four AA size Alkaline batteries (supplied). Four AA NiMH Rechargable batteries (optional)
DC Input Jack 6V
Battery Life 25 hrs @44.1kHz/16 bit; 18 hrs @192kHz/24bit or 12 hrs @ DSD2.8
Memory Stick Slot Accepts SD, SD-HC,SD-XC, Memory Stick Pro Duo and Memory Stick Pro-HG
Dimensions "2 7/8" x 6 1/8" x 1 1/4" (w x h x d) not including projecting parts and controls"
Weight 13.9 oz (including batteries)

 

Pre-order for $799 at B&H Photo or Adorama

 

Mike

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