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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 58  

post #856 of 6360

of course a true balanced system assuming they have good op-amps should be best. for instance I feel spdif is better than aes/ebu. this is not the case with se vs. balanced analog connections. even without long lengths. balanced does not even need to be shielded. the very design should have a lower noise floor. unless your balanced equipment sucks. good stuff like mark levinson fully exploits the balanced connection. in fact companies like ml suggest if at all possible not to use se. of course some cheap stuff like Cambridge audio just connects the balanced to the se internally.

post #857 of 6360
Thread Starter 

The PWD2 SE out is actually one leg of its balanced out. At least the balanced out of the PWD2 is all discrete. Also, kudos to Schiit for an all discrete true balanced solution on their Gungnir. Whether you like the sound of the Gungnir or not, one has to appreciate the engineering effort behind that, especially at that price point.

post #858 of 6360

serious equipment at least offers true balanced. I take it you did all of this in se. no wonder the teac was a pos. the balanced if nothing else on it is far superior to it's se. in fact I think much equipment will perform better balanced. some will not. unfortunately the teac is running se to a very high end headphone amp. get this, I hardly listen to my phones anymore anyways. at that my last favorite was the ps1k. that might explain a lot about me. I have the he90,sr009 etc but prefer the ps1k. which many people think is a pos. so I think we have much different taste. to exemplify more I like johnny walker blue better than 25 year macallan. am I an idiot, perhaps. I like what I like. you can't fault me for doing what I like. now this is a big ymmv because I am not so average. purrin may be much more mainstream than I. in fact overall I would take his advice before mine. the things I do do not suit everyone. I am not stupid I just have odd tastes. of course people got gear I talked about and liked it as well. for all I know those people are coming from an ipod. in that case any dac is an upgrade. if they know there stuff and chose as I did then well they may have niche taste as well. I personally would have put the teac in the for others category. notwithstanding I assume you tested it with se. in that case compared to say a pwd mkii I can see where you get pos. I still would not go that far myself. this is all fine. I don't honestly mind at all. I have no bone to pick with that decision of yours. seriously.

post #859 of 6360

By "true balanced," do you guys mean dual mono or bridged output stages?  Balanced is a much bastardized term  (thanks headroom and rsa!) that only really refers to cabling and connectors.  As discussed in the somewhat infamous argument between amb and benchmark engineer (http://www.amb.org/forum/benchmark-engineer-on-balanced-v-unbalanced-headphone-amps-t326.html), there are some major downsides to bridged or differential designs due to increased noise, distortion and impedance.  On the flip side, you get moar power and higher slew rate.

 

Unless you are struggling to power an inefficient transducer, the best "balanced" designs, in so far as the above considerations (and assuming you think CMR actually matters in your setup),are those used by bottlehead and DNA.  As described by DNA:

 

Quote:
 I am frequently asked why the balanced output version does not include balanced inputs. This is because balanced inputs are not necessary to provide balanced headphone drive. Being a single ended amplifier, all it needs for input is a single ended (unbalanced) signal. The Sonett operates single ended triode with transformer loading the plate of the 6H30 amplification tube. The secondary windings on the output transformers are center tapped (and grounded for safety), thereby providing a true, differential, balanced output. Thus, you get balanced drive without the complexity from additional balanced input circuitry or input transformers. Again, the simpler - the better.

 

Translation - a 2 channel amp provides a "true balanced" output via clever engineering and appropriate use of output transformers.  I still don't understand why balanced is at all desirable for consumer dacs unless your dac and amp are no where near one another.

post #860 of 6360
Thread Starter 

This has nothing to do with Headroom or RSA "balanced" / bridged amps. We are talking about differential signaling, e.g. 2x3-pin line level XLR patch cables in pro/studio environments where long lengths are used, etc.

 

Whether the equipment is used in a studio or home environment was really not the topic of discussion. The issue being discussed was with the common practice of DAC manufacturers offering a balanced output option by taking shortcuts: 1) splitting the standard SE output with a cheap opamp splitter going into another two opamps for the differential drive; or 2) using a different set of op-amps (usually lessor quality, but higher output current than the SE opamp) for the balanced outputs.

 

Let's not bring up the Headroom or RSA definition of "balanced" again. Gives me a headache.


Edited by purrin - 3/21/14 at 3:01pm
post #861 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_man View Post

actually chris j you are correct. duh. I was thinking they twisted both pins to the center on those. I doubt they do that. one pin is indeed the right voltage. of course that does ordinarily not have the benefit of a balanced connection. in this case it will take advantage of the better op-amp. which I said should make a big difference for these particular dacs. like the nad and teac.

I am convinced that Balanced Audio is one of the most misunderstood concepts on Head Fi!

OTOH, hi Rez audio doesn't seem to be too well understood either....tongue.gif
post #862 of 6360

chris you are correct once again. you too purrin. i am just talking about cables. they should have a completely separate output stage if done right. not just bridge off the se. that is not really balanced. i do feel sometimes it sounds better. purrin is correct it really only mattered in 150' cable runs. which is what it was developed for. likewise in our equipment spdif and possibly usb should work better than aes/ebu. just because something was designed for pro use does not mean it is better for hifi. many times to the contrary. it just so happens on the flipside of what purrin said some hifi paid more attention to the balanced section. ie, better op-amps. in the case of the nad and teac i have encountered thus far. honestly i can't believe i am saying this but cheap Chinese crap. i assure you are not finding this on the pwd mkii or d100 for instance. certainly not on the msb. msb paid good attention to all inputs and outputs. does one sound better in a given system? perhaps but they all are great.

 

hi-rez is also very misunderstood. thank you chris. in fact i will go so far to say hi-rez is a complete misnomer. trust me. i record this stuff. i know what has to take place. if it leaves the so called hi-rez domain but once i say it is not hi-rez. try up to 50+ times in a given recording. i do feel converted to dsd/dxd does sound better on cheaper dacs. leveling the playing field with better dacs at pcm. the better dacs on pcm are still better. do not misunderstand me. i never said the teac is as good as the msb at pcm. not even close. it may edge it out in my highly modified unit at dsd. a r2r dac's strong suit was never dsd. btw, who knows you may be listening to a cd i recorded right now. not bragging. just saying i did this for 41 years and tens of thousands of releases. i just mastered them and i assure none of them were what most people think is hi-rez. before you ask contract makes it so i am not at liberty to say what is what. i think i spelled it out enough.

post #863 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_man View Post
 

chris you are correct once again. you too purrin. i am just talking about cables. they should have a completely separate output stage if done right. not just bridge off the se. that is not really balanced. i do feel sometimes it sounds better. purrin is correct it really only mattered in 150' cable runs. which is what it was developed for. likewise in our equipment spdif and possibly usb should work better than aes/ebu. just because something was designed for pro use does not mean it is better for hifi. many times to the contrary. it just so happens on the flipside of what purrin said some hifi paid more attention to the balanced section. ie, better op-amps. in the case of the nad and teac i have encountered thus far. honestly i can't believe i am saying this but cheap Chinese crap. i assure you are not finding this on the pwd mkii or d100 for instance. certainly not on the msb. msb paid good attention to all inputs and outputs. does one sound better in a given system? perhaps but they all are great.

 

hi-rez is also very misunderstood. thank you chris. in fact i will go so far to say hi-rez is a complete misnomer. trust me. i record this stuff. i know what has to take place. if it leaves the so called hi-rez domain but once i say it is not hi-rez. try up to 50+ times in a given recording. i do feel converted to dsd/dxd does sound better on cheaper dacs. leveling the playing field with better dacs at pcm. the better dacs on pcm are still better. do not misunderstand me. i never said the teac is as good as the msb at pcm. not even close. it may edge it out in my highly modified unit at dsd. a r2r dac's strong suit was never dsd. btw, who knows you may be listening to a cd i recorded right now. not bragging. just saying i did this for 41 years and tens of thousands of releases. i just mastered them and i assure none of them were what most people think is hi-rez. before you ask contract makes it so i am not at liberty to say what is what. i think i spelled it out enough.

just wondering what you use in your rig? Headphones and speaker wise

post #864 of 6360
Thread Starter 

I've done simple experiments with the Mjolnir amp where I felt balanced XLR outputs from the DAC (assuming the DAC design didn't gimp the balanced outputs) extracted more low level information than using one of the legs from the balanced XLR.

 

Makes sense if you think about it. Not to different from adding another DAC chip and averaging the output, except in this case, it's even better because the other leg is a complementary signal where certain kinds of noise would be cancelled out.

 

Most, if not all modern DAC chips, have differential outputs.

post #865 of 6360

yeah totally agree purrin. a lot of cheap stuff is just really the se on the balanced.

 

magicabbage, my main system uses Wilson Alexandria and 2 big rels. in a dedicated lede listening room. my bedroom system is on 24/7. those are sonus faber guarneri evolution and little rel. my favorite cans are the grado ps1000. I have he90,sr009 and other better ones but I like the grados best. other equipment is too much stuff to mention. you asked about speakers/headphones. I think you can see where my taste lies. probably much different than purrins and many other peoples. I have had people say the wilsons sound like $500 speakers. I also have the ml clx in that room but not hooked up. I wish it were easy to move 1,200 pound speakers around lol. unfortunately the apogee grand  bit the dust and were replaced with the ml. I think the apogees were the best loudspeakers ever. no known way to repair them at this point. I saw what they are fetching and feel bad.

post #866 of 6360

Hey Purrin, would you mind posting any impressions you have of the Master 7 hdmi i2s interface developed by dacladder? He sent me a snippet of what you'd thought, but I like logging in to read big breakdowns/rants. If you are still evaluating, then keep evaluating away and post when you have the time. 

post #867 of 6360
Thread Starter 

Will do... going to reverse changes and take another listen - just to confirm.

post #868 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post


I am convinced that Balanced Audio is one of the most misunderstood concepts on Head Fi!

OTOH, hi Rez audio doesn't seem to be too well understood either....tongue.gif

Agreed.

post #869 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by music_man View Post
 

yeah totally agree purrin. a lot of cheap stuff is just really the se on the balanced.

 

magicabbage, my main system uses Wilson Alexandria and 2 big rels. in a dedicated lede listening room. my bedroom system is on 24/7. those are sonus faber guarneri evolution and little rel. my favorite cans are the grado ps1000. I have he90,sr009 and other better ones but I like the grados best. other equipment is too much stuff to mention. you asked about speakers/headphones. I think you can see where my taste lies. probably much different than purrins and many other peoples. I have had people say the wilsons sound like $500 speakers. I also have the ml clx in that room but not hooked up. I wish it were easy to move 1,200 pound speakers around lol. unfortunately the apogee grand  bit the dust and were replaced with the ml. I think the apogees were the best loudspeakers ever. no known way to repair them at this point. I saw what they are fetching and feel bad.

I never owned the apogees but heard them several times and they were the best in planners I ever heard and far better than the maggies I had. I used to have Ohm F speakers and they got ruined and cost more to repair them them what I paid for them. I did not like the newer wash drivers and they went to the dump as I have no need for the bases. For dynamic speakers I like the Thiel 3.5 after my Ohm F's and was very happy with them but a power surge took out the equalizer box  and both the dealer and Thiel could not get the equalizer box repaired after Thiel stop selling them and I ended up selling the 3.5. So much for having and paying for dealer and manufacture support at the time. I had the maggies like them at first but miss the quality of the Thiel and I ended up selling them. Currently using using near field monitors at a much lower cost point and now can get about 85% of the SQ of the Thiel speakers I had. I am burnout by the lack of long term support by manufactures on higher end speakers. 

post #870 of 6360
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tuco1965 View Post

Agreed.

Everyone seems to have lost the plot:

Transmit information in balanced format so that it may be received in balanced form to reject any noise it may have picked up on both lines during transmission.
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