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December 2013 Mid-Level DAC Comparison - Page 62  

post #916 of 1331

Is that thing using a TI AD/DA chip or something? That's my guess atleast...

post #917 of 1331
Gary--Maybe I missed it in the thread, but do you have matched FLAC files from the same master recordings as your DSD files? Are you saying you've got DSD versions that sound better than the matching FLACs, or that you've got some DSD recordings that sound great?
post #918 of 1331
Excellent work, Gary! So, I did bet on the right horse after all smily_headphones1.gif

Pre-amp shootout 2014!!! Yeah , baby! Boy have brunk and I got suggestions for you!

Seriously, though, I think a LDR passive pre would be right on the money!
post #919 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post

Is that thing using a TI AD/DA chip or something? That's my guess atleast...

I don't know... The smaller PCM-M10's 96/24-capable sigma-delta DAC is Sony proprietary.

I strongly suspect that you're right, though, as Sony's new PHA-2 DAC/amp uses the DSD-capable PCM1795, so it might also be in the Sony PCM-D100.

Mike
post #920 of 1331

post #921 of 1331

Any news on the gungnir and/or Lynx Hilo. No change that you'll be able to review these ?

post #922 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by 250lbs View Post
 

Any news on the gungnir and/or Lynx Hilo. No change that you'll be able to review these ?


The Gungnir is one of the "indistinguishables"--essentially sounding the same as the main group of DACs--that is to say, very good. Not sure if the Lynx Hilo is inbound or it's not going to make it for the comparison.

post #923 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by brunk View Post

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.
Gary said the emotiva was in the group with the indistinguishable sound. To me this is the correct sound. And to me sound is the most important feature. And price is the most precisely measurable feature. So can't I be right by $1 for 3 days, since the emotiva is on sale for $499 until Sunday...
post #924 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

 

 

The bold above is also what I heard in the HEX and why the PWD2 is now sold.  I love me some female vocals, Diana Krall, Patricia Barber, Rachelle Ferrell and so on.  For me it came down to the HEX and the AMR for this reason and the ability to get as close to vinyl as I can afford.

post #925 of 1331

That's a DAC I've been tempted by before I got the Buffalo. I would seriously look into getting it to see which one is better if it had balanced outs. I have a feeling that dac in my Stax setup would sound good. 

post #926 of 1331

Thanks for your efforts Gary - much appreciated.

 

This was an interesting exercise but in my case inconclusive. The DAC that appears to be the winner here is a DAC that I have just recently sold. Objectively the DA8 is an excellent DAC and this comparison makes me question my subjectively based decision to sell it.

 

I would like to be able to listen to it again just to see if I was right the first time around. However, one thing I've learned, is that you usually end up hearing he same things the tenth and twentieth time you listened as you did the first and second times.

 

Case in point - I have a box full of tubes, opamps and cables that I sometimes resurrect just to see if I might like them better than the ones that have been in my system since I first compared them. Each time I try this I keep coming back to the same ones and the others are returned to collect dust.

 

The only thing I can see which might have swayed my decision would have been DSD. As I don't own any DSD files I never did get around to fully appreciating the DA8's capabilities.

 

The good thing about this comparison is that it made me realize that buying another DAC in the < $1000 range would most likely end up in another cycle of spending, anticipation, disappointment, selling.

 

Now for me the big question that remains and that probably won't be answered in this thread is: How much do you need to spend to truly move up to the next level AND/OR how low can you go without dropping to the next level?

post #927 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary in MD View Post
 

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. 

Wow, that's really interesting finding.

For me with Headamp GS-1 connected driving HD800/T1, it was a pretty significant jump in quality, with preamp it's all wooled, muddied, and less dynamic. :confused: 

In fact I accidentally left it engaged once and after 10 minutes of fiddling with external headamp volume, player settings, still couldn't figure out what the heck is wrong and why it sounds like that, until I glanced at DA8 display. Doh!


Edited by Andrew_WOT - 1/2/14 at 8:19am
post #928 of 1331
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post
 

 

 

The bold above is also what I heard in the HEX and why the PWD2 is now sold.  I love me some female vocals, Diana Krall, Patricia Barber, Rachelle Ferrell and so on.  For me it came down to the HEX and the AMR for this reason and the ability to get as close to vinyl as I can afford.

I've heard a lot of good things about the AMR...who did you buy it from?

post #929 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcullinan View Post

Gary,
Great reviews. Was the jitter reducer on or off during your testing (Yulong DA8). Thanks!


I checked with it on and off.  No difference in my system.

post #930 of 1331
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barry S View Post

Gary--Maybe I missed it in the thread, but do you have matched FLAC files from the same master recordings as your DSD files? Are you saying you've got DSD versions that sound better than the matching FLACs, or that you've got some DSD recordings that sound great?


Barry:

 

I don't have matched DSD and FLAC files... yet.  (Given the price, I bought just one or the other).  I have DSD recordings that sound better than any of the FLAC recordings I have.  If I have time today or tomorrow I might buy a DSD version of one of the FLAC albums I already have to give it a try... in the pursuit of science, of course...

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