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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 411

post #6151 of 6154
Quote:
As for what role expectations play in what we hear, and what degree marketing influences what companies sell, I'll just leave you with one comment about Schiit's products....
If they didn't want the knowledge that it's an R2R DAC to influence your opinion of Yggdrasil, then they wouldn't tell you it was an R2R DAC.

Again:

I don't think Schitt is purposely selling/marketing r2r because It is rare or unique. They can always slap on 2 or 4 chips of akm4495 and call it their top of the line dac(sigmadrasil?). And they probably can sell at the same price as the Yggdrasil and make even more profits with lower bill of materials. Not to mention they can market it as a dsd dac as well as oppose to the 24/192 Yggdrasil

Look at the situation now. Schitt is facing supply chain issue with the 20bit dac chip. Why take this difficult approach when you can just order massive quantities of sigma delta dacs? Surely Schitt can still put their closed form filter on top of sigmadrasil and make it their unique selling point. With the current Yggdrasil backorder and Schitt not collecting any money from customers until shipping means Schitt is technically losing potential revenue(had they used sigma delta design, they would have already collected profits)
Edited by evillamer - Yesterday at 12:04 pm
post #6152 of 6154
Quote:
Originally Posted by evillamer View Post

Last I checked the pcm1704uk is still listed as NRND and not EOL/obsolete/end of production.

http://www.ti.com/product/pricebuy.tsp?genericPartNumber=PCM1704

 

I believe at one point in the past it was officially EOL and was "pulled back" to NRND. I could be wrong on that detail - it could be that TI had announced that they were going to move the part to EOL soon, but were convinced not to do so. I do know that fans have been mourning their imminent demise for quite some time, and some companies that do still produce products that use them have been complaining for some time that they "have become not only expensive but difficult to get".

 

Either way, if I was considering using them in a product, I wouldn't like to count on being able to get 1000 of them tomorrow.... or on being able to get any of them six months from now. Which means that, for a product with any significant development budget, and any significantly large hoped-for market, they would be off the list. (Since the "official replacement part" is NOT R2R, that means that, once they do disappear, there will essentially be NO direct replacement for it in products that "require a real R2R chip", and so those products will have to be totally redesigned to use a different one.) 

post #6153 of 6154
Laws of supply and demand at work here.

Even if one day Ti pulls the plug on pcm1704. There is still plenty of other r2r dacs in the marketplace that will sprout out to fill the demand gap. Example:

https://hifiduino.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/r2r-for-the-rest-of-us/

the thing is there is money to be made here, maybe it's not worthwhile for mega corps like ti but for small scale firms, maybe it can be profitable to produce r2r dac.

Or maybe one day ess or akm(or in my wildest dream, chord) comes out with a sigma delta dac that exceeds anything r2r can output.
Edited by evillamer - Yesterday at 12:56 pm
post #6154 of 6154
Quote:
Originally Posted by evillamer View Post

Laws of supply and demand at work here.

Even if one day Ti pulls the plug on pcm1704. There is still plenty of other r2r dacs in the marketplace that will sprout out to fill the demand gap. Example:

https://hifiduino.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/r2r-for-the-rest-of-us/

the thing is there is money to be made here, maybe it's not worthwhile for mega corps like ti but for small scale firms, maybe it can be profitable to produce r2r dac.

Or maybe one day ess or akm(or in my wildest dream, chord) comes out with a sigma delta dac that exceeds anything r2r can output.

 

Very interesting - and looks to be very well thought out.

 

Your final sentence suggests that we may be on the same page here after all...... assuming that we can actually determine what performance differences account for the differences people seem to be hearing, there's no reason to assume that we won't be able to "tweak" current D-S DACs to match them...... or that some new type of DAC altogether may not turn out to deliver the best of both.

 

This is why I would very much like to see this discussion evolve from "R2R DACs sound great, D-S DACs do not, so you should buy an R2R DAC" to something more like "all of the DACs I currently like seem to be R2R DACs, so let's find out what's really different about them as compared to all the D-S DACs I don't like, and figure out how to combine the benefits of both". Perhaps there really is something that R2R DACs do well and D-S DACs simply cannot, or perhaps there's just something that D-S DACs currently do badly because the very smart engineers who designed them didn't consider them to be part of their design, or maybe, just like tubes, they simply sound "a bit different" and some people happen to like that difference.

 

From an engineering perspective, D-S DACs perform very well in most ways, and the ways in which they are less than perfect are such that we wouldn't expect them to be audible. (For example, some D-S DAC designs are known to deliver a noise floor that is not perfectly smooth under some conditions, and this is a flaw. However, this does occur, we're talking about modulation in a noise floor that's down 130 dB, so it shouldn't be audible.) Either we're not measuring something that in fact turns out to be important, or some of the assumptions we've been making about the performance measurements we have aren't right, or there's something else entirely going on (perhaps the R2R DACs that people like actually share some sort of euphonic coloration).

 

ESS has a history of designing DACs specifically for use in high-end audio products, and of being willing to consider both specifications and "listening tests" when "fine tuning" their DACs, which suggests to me that it would probably be more likely that they would be willing to expend a bit more effort to develop a specific "audiophile friendly" new DAC chip than for someone like TI to do so.... but I could well be wrong there.

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