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Thoughts on a bunch of DACs (and why delta-sigma kinda sucks, just to get you to think about stuff) - Page 40  

post #586 of 6360
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by musicinmymind View Post
 

Hi purrin

 

I am not sure if you had a chance to try Emo DC-1, if yes how do you rate Emo DC-1 as a DAC.

 

I got them as they have trail period and wanted to check with Emo UPA-200 (power amp). I was particularly interested as they have solid pre-amp with analog volume control, on my setup I am getting zero noise floor. Currently Driving HE-6, HE-400 and even HD-650 with UPA-200 (125W per channel at 8ohm) with any issues, able to max out the volume (only for testing).

 

I am liking DC-1, but wanted to know is there any better DAC out there with preamp as good as DC-1.   

 

Someone I trust compared the Emo to the Gungnir and remarked that they were very close with perhaps the Gungnir being a tad more detailed and dynamic and the DC-1 a bit more polite sounding, but no significant jump. Makes sense. I think both DACs use the same AKM chip.

 

If the DC-1 has a great preamp (I don't know about this), then you should probably stick with it. I know the PWD2 can be used as a preamp, but the volume control is digital and we get degradation (loss of bits) if we reduce volume from 100%.


Edited by purrin - 2/22/14 at 9:57am
post #587 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

 

It's what I've said.

 

Hifi / audiophiles worry way too much about stupid stuff like DSD to PCM to DSD conversions, DSD64 vs. DSD128, etc. which in the end makes little difference compared to recording and mic'ing techniques, mixing, equalization, mastering processes, setting up playback systems which can provide a suitable reference sound. My experience at hifi shows has mostly been WTF?! with a few exceptions here and there.

 

 

people are worrying about formats,tweaks,cables etc. set up what you have right and it will make a big difference. I don't mean if you have a boombox. any stereo worth 8 grand or so can sound good in it's own right. all that other stuff I would not worry about until you were already at the limits of your current system. a format is not going to sound better unless the listening room is up to it. well, it will perhaps sound better but it can sound a lot better. the reason you hear high end turntable systems that sound better is because people tend to set those up right. the truth is if everything is done right plain old 16/44.1 will sound very good. redbook is really no slouch. I see peoples pictures with a 10 grand dac next to their computer on a cart. as well as the recording. there are honestly not a lot of great recordings. a super redbook recording can and will sound great.

 

now for the record, I am using a ogg radio stream upsampled to dsd. in a very good system it makes "okay" sound "pretty good". still not as good as proper redbook. so it has it's place for me. in this case it does sound better than any pcm to me. the thing is the system is right so it is going to make a difference.

 

if you want to know something else about dsd, on the msb pcm sounds better. go figure. all these cheap dsd dacs focused on dsd at any cost(or savings) and are lacking in pcm. if I was going to have one dac I would be looking for the best pcm. even after I modded the teac dsd is still it's strong suit because I did not change the converter.

post #588 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_man View Post

if you want to know something else about dsd, on the msb pcm sounds better. go figure. all these cheap dsd dacs focused on dsd at any cost(or savings) and are lacking in pcm. if I was going to have one dac I would be looking for the best pcm. even after I modded the teac dsd is still it's strong suit because I did not change the converter.

That sounds reasonable.   MSB is R-2R resistor ladder based DAC.   This is perfect for converting PCM to analog.   (But I don't know if R2R is good for DSD or not.)

While most other DACs use Delta-Sigma DAC chip.    From my understanding, Delta-Sigma is good for DSD,  but not good for PCM.    That may explain why Teac DSD sounds better than PCM.


Edited by yfei - 2/22/14 at 11:55pm
post #589 of 6360

My experience with DACs is relatively limited (but quickly growing), but I was given the chance to borrow the Gungnir for a while. purrin's description fit what I heard pretty well.

 

- It's true that the gen 2 USB input is really good! I took some basic measurements, and it slightly outperformed SPDIF performance from the JKSPDIF MK3 (w/ 10dB attenuator). Jitter in particular was almost non-existent. The rest of the measurements overall looked great and mostly maxed out the capabilities of my ADC. In other words, I can verify most claims and specifications listed on Schiit's site. It's (objectively) good Schiit.

 

- Going up against my Metrum Hex (w/ JKSPDIF, Gungnir on USB), I found the Gungnir to have a very sweet, easy-to-listen-to quality. I found both to be quite dynamic, and, surprisingly enough, I did not find the Hex to sound more laid-back than the Gungnir. They were more laid-back/more aggressive than the other in their own ways. I think this is because I found the Gungnir slightly softer sounding overall, and the Hex did a slightly better job conveying micro-swings, movement, and what I (for some reason) want to call small packets of blackness in between the notes/music. However, the Hex does technically have more of a roll-off in the very upper treble than the Gungnir, hence them being more laid-back than the other in their own ways. Gungnir had a slightly more expansive soundstage, where as the Hex was more compact and intimate. I liked what the compact nature did for vocals (greater focus and a sense of body) and "smaller" music (such as, say, a 5-piece, modern rock band), but the Gungnir is probably better for music that has more of a need for a wider soundstage and more-separated layers. (Listening tests done in 16/44.1 with NO software upsampling on either DAC. The Hex seems to handle 16/44.1 material w/out upsampling better than the Quad, and the Hex inherently has less of a treble roll-off vs. the Quad as well.)

 

- I really like the looks, feel, and finish of the Gungnir. Very sleek, yet simple. The Hex is about as boring as you can get in that regard, but both feel robust and well-built. The Gungnir was also much bigger than I expected!

 

Very nice overall! I would highly recommend the Gungnir or Bifrost w/ upgrades (haven't heard it, basing off Gungnir).


Edited by hans030390 - 2/23/14 at 12:19am
post #590 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by hans030390 View Post
 

My experience with DACs is relatively limited (but quickly growing), but I was given the chance to borrow the Gungnir for a while. purrin's description fit what I heard pretty well.

 

- It's true that the gen 2 USB input is really good! I took some basic measurements, and it slightly outperformed SPDIF performance from the JKSPDIF MK3 (w/ 10dB attenuator). Jitter in particular was almost non-existent. The rest of the measurements overall looked great and mostly maxed out the capabilities of my ADC. In other words, I can verify most claims and specifications listed on Schiit's site. It's (objectively) good Schiit.

 

................

Very nice overall! I would highly recommend the Gungnir or Bifrost w/ upgrades (haven't heard it, basing off Gungnir).

What cable did you use to hook up to the USB ? I'm using a Wireworld Platinum Starlight and the music is just fabulous. I also have a BNC Halide USB/SPDIF and for some reason, the USB is a tad louder than the bridge for the same level of my volume pot (on the Mjolnir).

 

Thanks

post #591 of 6360

I used about the most generic USB cable you could find, and it still slightly outperformed the SPDIF converter (as mentioned, JKSPDIF MK3, battery powered, w/ attenuator using 75ohm BNC connectors and the best digital audio, 75ohm cable I could get from Blue Jeans Cable). Granted, the converter also used that same USB cable, FWIW.

 

I stumbled on this post from Jason:

 

1. The new USB Gen 2 input is really, really good. I'll put it up against any converter under $500, and many over that price. Why? Because even with the best USB-SPDIF converter, you're still dependent on how good the DAC is at SPDIF. Now, Gungnir is VERY, VERY good at SPDIF due to the unique Adapticlock system--it is the only DAC out there that assesses the input center frequency and jitter in order to assign it to the best clock regeneration system. But the USB Gen 2 measures even better. Now, measurements are not everything, but the fact remains: USB can outperform SPDIF, at least in measured performance.

 

2. The Gungnir's USB input doesn't need any conditioning, auxiliary power, cables that cost more than Gungnir itself, plutonium rectifiers, magic faerie dust, rituals involving swinging a dead chicken by the light of the full moon, or any other quantum arcana in order to achieve top performance. Get a good USB 2.0 cable. Connect it. Done.

 

Doesn't seem like the Gungnir is too picky.

post #592 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by hans030390 View Post
 

I used about the most generic USB cable you could find, and it still slightly outperformed the SPDIF converter (as mentioned, JKSPDIF MK3, battery powered, w/ attenuator using 75ohm BNC connectors and the best digital audio, 75ohm cable I could get from Blue Jeans Cable). Granted, the converter also used that same USB cable, FWIW.

 

I stumbled on this post from Jason:

 

1. The new USB Gen 2 input is really, really good. I'll put it up against any converter under $500, and many over that price. Why? Because even with the best USB-SPDIF converter, you're still dependent on how good the DAC is at SPDIF. Now, Gungnir is VERY, VERY good at SPDIF due to the unique Adapticlock system--it is the only DAC out there that assesses the input center frequency and jitter in order to assign it to the best clock regeneration system. But the USB Gen 2 measures even better. Now, measurements are not everything, but the fact remains: USB can outperform SPDIF, at least in measured performance.

 

2. The Gungnir's USB input doesn't need any conditioning, auxiliary power, cables that cost more than Gungnir itself, plutonium rectifiers, magic faerie dust, rituals involving swinging a dead chicken by the light of the full moon, or any other quantum arcana in order to achieve top performance. Get a good USB 2.0 cable. Connect it. Done.

 

Doesn't seem like the Gungnir is too picky.

Oh Schiit.... I swung the dead chicken on NEW MOON Day :biggrin: 


Edited by kothganesh - 2/23/14 at 1:55am
post #593 of 6360

That's the awesome thing about the Gungnir and USB gen 2 input. Even from my gaming desktop with USB, and when my good-but-basic ADC wasn't being fussy with the Gungnir measurements (not the DAC's fault), I was able to get very clean measurements and almost nothing on JTest (a jitter test). It also sounded really good. ;)

 

So, here we have a great, sweet sounding DAC that does very little wrong and makes very few compromises, has some good options in terms of outputs/inputs/potential modular upgrades, won't give you any trouble, and...doesn't require a bunch of Schiit and specific configurations in the chain (hardware and software) to make it work like it should. At that price, it's awesome.


Edited by hans030390 - 2/23/14 at 2:17am
post #594 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by hans030390 View Post
 

That's the awesome thing about the Gungnir and USB gen 2 input. Even from my gaming desktop with USB, and when my good-but-basic ADC wasn't being fussy with the Gungnir measurements (not the DAC's fault), I was able to get very clean measurements and almost nothing on JTest (a jitter test). It also sounded really good. ;)

 

So, here we have a great, sweet sounding DAC that does very little wrong and makes very few compromises, has some good options in terms of outputs/inputs/potential modular upgrades, won't give you any trouble, and...doesn't require a bunch of Schiit and specific configurations in the chain (hardware and software) to make it work like it should. At that price, it's awesome.

 

Indeed... now we just need that modular analog upgrade :P

post #595 of 6360

I think they called that the Reveel :wink_face:

post #596 of 6360
http://www.psaudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/PS-Audio-DirectStream.pdf

PS Audio's DSD converting DAC. 6k list price. Ships in April.
post #597 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by m2man View Post

http://www.psaudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/PS-Audio-DirectStream.pdf

PS Audio's DSD converting DAC. 6k list price. Ships in April.

I gotta say, that sounds like a lot of marketing dazzle... I'll wait for a whole lot of impressions before upgrading my PWD2.

post #598 of 6360
Thread Starter 

More marketing bull$hit from Paul@PSA I see.

 

EDIT: I'm just naturally skeptical. For all we know, it could sound great, even better than how today's ladder DACs handle PCM. I'll believe it when I hear it. Maybe Paul can send me a free one for evaluation. If it's indeed the bees-knees, I'll be the first to choke on my own vomit and admit I was wrong. (Like how I did with the Abyss.)


Edited by purrin - 2/26/14 at 1:17pm
post #599 of 6360

I usually have more qualms about PS Audio marketing fluff. This time, I am interested though.

 

What if (I know many things can happen with whatifs ;) ), they have a clean way to convert to DSD? The conversion of the stream to analog is notoriously simple / free of artifact, so, don't they stand a chance to have a really good sounding product?

 

It's interesting TotalDAC is doing the same thing but the other way around ;). They can take a DSD stream and massage it in their FGPA so as to feed the R2R DAC (an upgrade to their D1).

 

I am not quite on the DSD bandwagon yet but, certainly, a DAC that won't use the typical Delta/Sigma converter is appealing to me, esp. if it can handle any input signal.

 

Arnaud

post #600 of 6360
Thread Starter 

This is all conjecture, but the part that scares me about DSD / 1-bit / delta-sigma is the ultrasonic noise / quantization error which is produced and the noise shaping techniques used to move this noise outside the audio band. I do seriously wonder if why such DACs, i.e. especially SABRE, sound they way they do because of this. Maybe Paul is on to something with the 10x DSD, the FPGA, and associated custom filters. I mean, quite a few others and I did at least get different results when converting PCM to DSD via JRMC in real-time to DSD DACs.

 

Then I start to think about Mike Moffatt @ Schiit saying stuff about DSD being inherently inaccurate and not suitable to diagnosing diseases (leaving sick people to die) or guiding missiles (killing people which we did not intend to kill.)


Edited by purrin - 2/26/14 at 1:44pm
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