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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 42  

post #616 of 6360

I did not see the original full comment. could someone please copy/paste what exactly is a 30 year pcm cover up? it is funny how all these companies say we don't need a dsd dac until they come out with one.

post #617 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.

Here.

post #618 of 6360

thanks. my pdf reader needed fixing. anyways, I can't say anything about it until I hear it. I can say I do not care for their marketing claims. I think their stance was the pwd mkii did not need dsd. I could be wrong on that. it converts 10x then to 2x? huh? "it can be done with software...." but of course that is no good. I would like a choice if I listen to pcm or dsd and at what rate and word length. furthermore I think the price of ps audios products has outpaced the brand. it is a mid tier brand imo. there Chinese power cords for over a grand. I remember paul commenting they could build them better in china. I think ps audio has become very greedy. a 30 year coverup? I thought they meant a conspiracy. we have been missing what has been sitting on or shelves all this time. maybe they can merge with Shakti. in fact I remember how I laughed when I bought my first ps audio component. they stated in the manual "you need" a ps audio power cord and vibration control for optimum results. they have made very good stuff. I just don't like these claims. even though I do now prefer dsd at the moment. this reminds me of how 10 million Toyotas broke all at once. well, the jury is out I will have to hear the thing. for all I know I eat my words. if it takes out the msb then it is worth the 6 grand indeed. we shall see/hear......

post #619 of 6360
Thread Starter 
 
Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by REXNFX View Post

I just hope there is some truth in PSA's claims as I've always thought PCM sounded broken.

 

Originally Posted by Greed View Post
 

That's funny because most recordings today have been converted to and from PCM at some point. 

 
PCM is broken only in the sense that DSD or most sigma-delta DACs don't do PCM right. PCM on most R2R DACs still sound better to me than DSD from most DSD DACs. Even then, the mastering process has much more of an influence on the final sound quality. I have a significant amount of DSD material which I have converted to PCM (44.1), and vice versa. These are my observations in terms of sound quality:
 
  1. Audio production process (big basket here) before mastering
  2. Mastering
  3. DAC
  4. Container (DSD or PCM), obviously this only applies on DSD capable DACs, and even then I cannot say handling of the DSD container is definitely better on all DSD DACs. And even if it is better, the difference is so tiny as to not make the DAC sound like a better one.

Given that there are software tools which can convert DSD to PCM, even in real-time, I'd rather take the better DAC, be it DSD compatible or not.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by music_man View Post

 

purrin, am I correct that you don't hate dsd as much anymore? you just have to embrace it. it is like when gps came out. for a year I thought maps were still where it was at.

 
I don't hate it. But I still think it needs to die. A third time. The issue I have with it is the current marketing push by hardware manufacturers as the "must have" or ultimate panacea. IMO, it would be unwise for people to automatically disregard (and this does happen) the non-DSD compatible DACs in this list such as the Lavry DA11, NAD51, Emotiva DC-1, Schiit Gungnir, Audio-GD M7, etc. because they cannot play back DSD with a software conversion. I play back DSD all the time on three non-DSD PCM DACs in my home.
 
I'll change my position when the last five, three, even two recordings I buy are available in DSD.
post #620 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
I'll change my position when the last five, three, even two recordings I buy are available in DSD.
 

That last is an especially good point.  There really isn't enough available in DSD to make it worth it for me.  

 

I'll make this promise, though... if Apple starts selling tracks on iTunes in DSD, I'll upgrade.  I don't buy iTunes tracks now, mostly because they're not lossless, but it would be an indicator of the format's success if Apple started using it.  I'd still rather just see them sell lossless redbook or hi-res PCM.

post #621 of 6360
Thread Starter 

This is what Apple did the last time a Sony exec walked into the lobby of One Infinite Loop in Cupertino:

 

post #622 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

This is what Apple did the last time a Sony exec walked into the lobby of One Infinite Loop in Cupertino:

 

 

LoL.  I didn't hear about that.  Can you provide a link?

post #623 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

I did try the USB with the latest firmware - go through the thread to find it.

 

I use a custom made short CAT6.

 

What would be interesting would be to try other cheap converters like the M2Tech (the OR5 is based on that one, but heavily tweaked with a bunch of boutique parts, separate clock boards, power regulators, etc.) to see if there's an improvement over the stock USB.


Hi putin, great profile photo, nice to have you on this forum  :)

 

But back to the latest firmware. Did you try the USB with the latest firmware and the Short Block?

 

The Short Block is a big surprise to me. In my setup, it has improved the SQ much more than the latest firmware. And I am not sure about the Offramp 5 now because everything sounds really amazing.


Edited by seaice - 2/28/14 at 12:00pm
post #624 of 6360

I'm new to the thread, so I am probably asking a decidedly old question…. or two… or three... ;)

 

In your ranking, it's no secret you dislike the ESS Sabre chip.  Why is that?  In relation to the Invicta, you say the "SABRE treble is still there in the form of stridency…"  Can you expound on that a bit in particular.  I've read great things about ESS Sabre chips, and have been mulling the purchase of such a DAC.  But I also suffer from tinnitus which I believe is aggravated by too much high end, or sound described as "fatiguing," so I'm very interested in the source of your misgivings.

 

I also see in the recent comments that you also dislike DSD to some degree.  Is there a connection between your negative feelings about DSD and those about the ESS Sabre chip?

 

Thanks for the comparison.  Most of the DACs are out of my price range, but I find comparison threads to be some of the most helpful (and interesting!) on here.

 

-Pie

post #625 of 6360
With your affliction, DO not get a sabre dac.

I'd recommend a Metrum Octave, with its rolled off top.
post #626 of 6360
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eating Pie View Post
 

I'm new to the thread, so I am probably asking a decidedly old question…. or two… or three... ;)

 

In your ranking, it's no secret you dislike the ESS Sabre chip.  Why is that?  In relation to the Invicta, you say the "SABRE treble is still there in the form of stridency…"  Can you expound on that a bit in particular.  I've read great things about ESS Sabre chips, and have been mulling the purchase of such a DAC.  But I also suffer from tinnitus which I believe is aggravated by too much high end, or sound described as "fatiguing," so I'm very interested in the source of your misgivings.

 

I also see in the recent comments that you also dislike DSD to some degree.  Is there a connection between your negative feelings about DSD and those about the ESS Sabre chip?

 

SABRE based DACs do have a tendency toward a brighter sound, having more glare, grain, rasp, etch, etc. for than any other chip I have heard. It's not necessarily the brightness (you put all these DACs on a bench, and they more or less measure flat), but rather the fatigue over longer listening sessions, and the unnatural grain, rasp, etc. which I don't hear on vinyl or R2R DACs.

 

There certainly is a connection between the SABRE and DSD. Every other new DAC seems to be based on SABRE. And as a result, (the SABRE chip handles DSD with ease without additional design work compared to other chips) DSD's "awesomeness" gets pushed. The sad consequence is that few newer audiophiles get exposure to DACs with smoother sounding more liquid presentations. It seems like 90% of new DACs is a SABRE. I can't count how many requests I get to review X DAC, and I'm thinking "Oh no, not another Chinese SABRE DAC with --->DSD compatibility<--- again." Some people like the SABRE sound. That's fine. But I'd like to see more choice. I think it's great companies like Emotiva and Schiit use the AKM chips.


The bigger reason why I'm against DSD it because it's a fricking distraction.

 

On a purely technical level, the DSD format is clearly inferior to hires PCM past 25kHz-100kHz because of the ultrasonic noise (which must be filtered - so there goes one element of "hires"). DSD does have more effective bit-depth than PCM in the audio-range, but PCM's 24 bits / 144db should way more than enough considering most audio gears' noise floors are worse. We don't need DSD's theoretical 200db of dynamic range because analog recording and playback equipment aren't good enough (remembering that microphones and transducers are analog devices.)

 

On a practical level, there isn't enough material being released. An no, I don't want to listen to yet another speshal DSD recording of Mahler Symphony #1 from the San Francisco Symphony from Michael Tilson Thomas (although they are pretty awesome) or yet another chick with limited vocal range + guitar (boring) or dude in baseball cap and flannel shirt + guitar (not awesome) recording from Cookie Marceno of Blue Coast Records or some other specialty audiophile recording studio. For those who do, DSD is a great idea. And even then I'd rather convert the DSD to PCM and use a non-SABRE DAC for playback.

 

Until I get to hear a full DSD-DSD (no PCM in the middle) recording of the Russian Secret Police Choir singing Daft Punk's Get Lucky...


Edited by purrin - 2/28/14 at 2:11pm
post #627 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

 

SABRE based DACs do have a tendency toward a brighter sound, having more glare, grain, rasp, etch, etc. for than any other chip I have heard. It's not necessarily the brightness (you put all these DACs on a bench, and they more or less measure flat), but rather the fatigue over longer listening sessions, and the unnatural grain, rasp, etc. which I don't hear on vinyl or R2R DACs.

 

....

 

The bigger reason why I'm against DSD it because it's a fricking distraction.

 

 

 

To my ears it's a very slight in-coherency or haze to the treble, like it's going through an old guitar Phaser peddle. To be fair not everyone hears it, and it didn't really bother me until I started to use better phones and amps. 

 

Now I am shopping around for a DAC that I might like that isn't sold at a ridiculous audiophile price. 

 

It's hard to see how DSD is even worth more than a passing mention. In my case there are only a handful of DSD recordings that I listen to, and even then it is due to them being very well mastered or the only hi res option for the music. There are no new DSD releases of note anywhere, and the only other available music on DSD at all are SACD rips of early 2000's SACD releases. I would love to rip my SACD collection, but that ship seems to have sailed and it seems to be impossible now to find the older Playstations that can do this. I can't see the current DSD hype lasting much longer.

post #628 of 6360
Don't mean to derail this thread (moreso?) but I'd be interested in your opinion of PSAudios (ted's) belief that DSD produces better sound than PCM/redbook (his words not mine and a bold call for sure). Relevant video here: http://www.psaudio.com/vanilla/discussion/6524/part-2-of-the-directstream-dac-teds-talk-is-now-published

Have you experienced what he describes at the start of the vid before? Also impressions from others at the end of the vid. I've never heard DSD before so I'm keen on your opinion - I guess I could extrapolate it from your past responses re DSD in this thread.

As an EE (who is very ignorant of DSD) I just can't imagine how a PWM voltage waveform can produce a more accurate sound than a voltage waveform which is a version of the original recording... But maybe it just does sound better?

Edit: reworded.
Edited by aive - 2/28/14 at 4:43pm
post #629 of 6360
Feel free to go back a page or two and find out.
post #630 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by aive View Post

Don't mean to derail this thread (moreso?) but I'd be interested in your opinion of PSAudios (ted's) belief that DSD produces better sound than PCM/redbook (his words not mine and a bold call for sure). Relevant video here: http://www.psaudio.com/vanilla/discussion/6524/part-2-of-the-directstream-dac-teds-talk-is-now-published

Have you experienced what he describes at the start of the vid before? Also impressions from others at the end of the vid. I've never heard DSD before so I'm keen on your opinion - I guess I could extrapolate it from your past responses re DSD in this thread.

As an EE (who is very ignorant of DSD) I just can't imagine how a PWM voltage waveform can produce a more accurate sound than a voltage waveform which is a version of the original recording... But maybe it just does sound better?

Edit: reworded.

Granted I haven't heard it, but...

I think PS Audio is in the "don't do what everyone else is doing" camp that Jason writes about in his Schiit Happened thread...http://www.head-fi.org/t/701900/schiit-happened-the-story-of-the-worlds-most-improbable-start-up.

 

In the marketing chapter he writes that if you're going to start a company you shouldn't be doing what everyone else is doing, and as I think more about PSA's offerings, while they are an established company, they seem to be following that path with their new phono converter, the old two box Perfectwave system w/ I2S over HDMI and now the Directstream DAC.  As a small company, they have to do things differently to stand out in the crowd, especially since their products, while not terribly expensive, are more expensive than some of the more popular DACs here on head-fi.  This is also probably why their marketing is so over the top at times.

 

Whether or not their products do sound better, they are taking a different approach than many of their competitors and, with DSD as FOTM, they hope to capitalize on people's belief that DSD is superior to PCM.  

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