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post #46 of 1258
Where does the Bifrost uber with Gen 2 usb fit into the list? I've seen you mention it before and it always seemed to be in a good light given the price.
post #47 of 1258
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 

 

I think it's rather interesting Schiit used to Schiit on how Schiity USB was on their webpages. They seemed to have backtracked. At least I can't seem to find those statements anymore.


I remember that. It was a secondary feature to them. I tend to stick with coax connections anyway, the consensus is more schiit can go wrong with USB. Audio chains are already delicate enough, would rather be worrying about amps/headphones than my source.

post #48 of 1258

next 2 dacs that I would like to own are the lumin player and the auralic vega.

 

Gapless is now supported by jriver on the PWD bridge i believe. Not just elyric

post #49 of 1258
Quote:
Originally Posted by schneller View Post
 

First negative review of the TEAC UD-501 I have read. Every other source I have read on it says that it is an amazing DAC, besting DACs twice its price.

 

Looking at your more positive reviews, I wonder how the Schiit compares to the X-Sabre? We're only talking about a $150 difference in price. I guess if you need DSD/DXD the decision is obvious.


   I have had a teac ud-501 dac since may and it sounds just wonderful in my set up. But I do have to say that after the unit breaks in there were definitely some settings with regards to the filters and upsampling depending on what type of input was used that make a noticeable difference in how this dac sounds. I myself prefer the dac without any pcm filtering at all. I can hear the effect of passing signal through the filtering and I much prefer listening with no filtering at all. It just sounds much better without the filtering. Next when using the usb input I prefer listening with no upsampling engaged. Things sound much clearer and better. Again I can hear the effect of passing the signal through the  additional circuitry.

  I do prefer listening to cds with the dac upsmapling engaged. Things sound more spacious and more resolving with the upsampling in place. But with the usb inpit things sound much better without the upsampling engaged.

  I suspect based on the comments about this dac that the listening was done with upsampling and digital filtering in place.

  Based on the largely positive comments about this dac and my own experience with it that something seems amiss with the evaluation of the teac ud-501 dac.


Edited by buson160man - 12/6/13 at 8:15pm
post #50 of 1258
Quote:
Originally Posted by stainless824 View Post

next 2 dacs that I would like to own are the lumin player and the auralic vega.

Gapless is now supported by jriver on the PWD bridge i believe. Not just elyric

Come on, it's Sabre, can't be good. wink.gif
post #51 of 1258

Actually a number of guys over there have been wanting to test a Vega for a while now-I'm sure they'd be more than anxious to test yours. ;)

 

-Daniel

post #52 of 1258

Purrin, from memory, approximately where would you rank my DAC? I know the comparison was super brief but your ears are damn good.

post #53 of 1258

I remember posting a thread here quoting a post from the Chinese headphone forums. A member had an email from ESS with them admitting to some bug or something in their chip which could not be fixed. It gave the 9018 massive distortion spikes from what I remembered reading. Though I'd still like to hear a 9018 DAC , since everyone praises it for the immense details it spews out.

 

What would be the best DAC below $2000 you heard using USB in? It seems all the built in USB converters are crap.

post #54 of 1258
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ohhgourami View Post
 

Purrin, from memory, approximately where would you rank my DAC? I know the comparison was super brief but your ears are damn good.

 

I hesitate to rank your DAC (Audio-gd NFB-7.32) because I only heard it once, it was at a meet, it wasn't comparative with at least three to four other DACs, and I've haven't heard it on the speaker setup, and no one here has lived with it for a week. (Although one of my ninjas has heard it.) That's the key here with the rankings. Every single DAC was at least compared with three others, with one to three other evaluators present. Again, this was as part of a series of DAC-offs. The rankings were a synthesis of the results.

 

My take is that your DAC sounded a like lot an X-Sabre, but improved. Better resolution, dynamics, microdynamics, and gradations of volume (in these areas it's equal to the top tiers). It's notable weaknesses were the following: the lack of bass pitch differentiation and bass texture; the SABREsque quality of the uppermost octave / air region - it wasn't glaring or strident or anything like that; and a lack of continuity / liquid-ness of rendered sounds - particularly notable with vocals. I also felt your DAC, even without the OR5, had good performance. The M7 via USB is severely crippled. You never had a chance to hear the M7 via USB because I won't install the USB drivers.

 

As you know the differences among the classifications is really small. We are talking about DACs, not headphones.


Edited by purrin - 12/7/13 at 1:11pm
post #55 of 1258
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stainless824 View Post
 

next 2 dacs that I would like to own are the lumin player and the auralic vega.

 

Gapless is now supported by jriver on the PWD bridge i believe. Not just elyric

 

I believe someone is sending my ninjas and I a Vega. The whispers we have been hearing is that the Vega is hyper-detailed and bright, but in a very well done way. We are hopeful, but downplaying our expectations after our experience with the Invicta. I was hoping I would be throwing the PWD2 out the window from the things I was reading about the Invicta.


Edited by purrin - 12/7/13 at 1:11pm
post #56 of 1258

Purrin did you hear the AMR DP777 ?

post #57 of 1258
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post
 
 
 

 

I have discovered (not that long ago) that most USB implementations suck. I only wish I had known (I should have known) sooner as I'm sure many of the DACs listed here could have benefited from a proper USB/SPDIF converter. It's frustrating because there are so many combinations to try out. And I can't but help think some of the DACs didn't get a fair shake - that they would have radically improved, especially if their built-in USB converters sucked.

 

And then there's the question of the effectiveness of USB/SPDIF converters. For example. I suspect the AP1 (at least without the PP PS supply) doesn't do anything. It sounded worse than the PWD2's built-in USB and Amos / Currawong said it sounded the same as his AGD M7's USB (which I felt sucked balls). The AP1 ain't cheap. It's even more expensive with the PP. At this price point, even if it did work, it's not viable for any DAC less than $2K. I would have liked to find out if the PP did anything, but the owner of the AP1 was already pissed that it didn't do jack and said "F that."

 

In terms of input differences with Gungnir - in order of goodness.

 

  1. USB Gen 2
  2. Coax from my PC (which sound better than the PWD2 USB implementation, which is already not bad) 
  3. ...gap...
  4. USB Gen 1

 

I don't have my OR5 right now, it's on loan, but I will report back on it. The thing with the OR5 is that it's not worth it for the Gungnir. The OR5 as I have it configured is ~$1500. The Gungnir is $750. But cost aside, the Gungnir won't scale with the OR5 like the M7 or PWD2. The fact that the M7 or PWD2 will take i2s provides even another level of advantage. The USB Gen 2 option is $100, optimally scales with the Gungnir's inherent capabilities, and better matches the Gungnir's particularities. By this I mean the USB Gen 2 provides more clarity, really brings out the sweetness of the AKM chip, restores the soft sounds which were either dropped or compressed upward, adds more low level information. From memory, the OR5 only did a little bit to address the last three shortcomings. The OR5 mostly did what it does best: blacken the background, tighten up the sounds, making things more precise sounding, provide more clarity, etc. However, I'm not 100% sure at this point and will require more listening / testing. We are not talking about huge differences.

 

 

Well, it could mean "Super". Really depends upon personal preferences.

 

 

I have not tried the Short Block yet but I am in the process of making my own. I know that simply cutting the +5V on the USB line to the OR5 incrementally improved soundstage. The next steps would be to put a choke on the ground and a common mode choke on the D+ and D- lines.

The AP1 is admittedly expensive for what it does. With that you are definitely paying for features vs the AP2. The PP battery supply helps it tremendously but it is overpriced vs just using a 5V linear supply with a dual headed USB cable or using a USB power conditioner like the ifi iUSB Power. 

 

A good asynchronous USB implementation should be better than any SPDIF converter. I think a lot of the benefit of some converters is just having another stage of isolation between the electrically noisy computer and the DAC board. It's no accident the better implementations of USB like Ayre, AMR, reportedly the newer Schiit and W4S all go through great pains to keep the USB receiver on a separate board and isolated from the rest of the DAC. I have heard the Berkeley Alpha USB (which is probably the consensus top converter) with several very nice DACs and there is not a single one that did not improve with the Alpha.

 

I have noticed substantial differences in playback between different computers and if other devices are plugged into the USB ports other than just the DAC/converter. Laptops are probably the worst offenders for having noisy USB ports and multiple devices taking turns on the bus. Playback from different computers could have a very big affect on the sound.

post #58 of 1258
Quote:
Originally Posted by KmanChu View Post
 

The AP1 is admittedly expensive for what it does. With that you are definitely paying for features vs the AP2. The PP battery supply helps it tremendously but it is overpriced vs just using a 5V linear supply with a dual headed USB cable or using a USB power conditioner like the ifi iUSB Power. 

 

A good asynchronous USB implementation should be better than any SPDIF converter. I think a lot of the benefit of some converters is just having another stage of isolation between the electrically noisy computer and the DAC board. It's no accident the better implementations of USB like Ayre, AMR, reportedly the newer Schiit and W4S all go through great pains to keep the USB receiver on a separate board and isolated from the rest of the DAC. I have heard the Berkeley Alpha USB (which is probably the consensus top converter) with several very nice DACs and there is not a single one that did not improve with the Alpha.

 

I have noticed substantial differences in playback between different computers and if other devices are plugged into the USB ports other than just the DAC/converter. Laptops are probably the worst offenders for having noisy USB ports and multiple devices taking turns on the bus. Playback from different computers could have a very big affect on the sound.

Great post, I can add that all these DDC and USB isolators (iUSB Power, Aqvox) do add some jitter on their own. Guess because of all those extra USB connectors, cables. For instance I had much more dropouts on Vega in EXACT clock mode (very sensitive to incoming jitter setting) with iUSB Power than w/o one in line, ditched it and all the problems are gone. So yes, having great USB implementation on board is much better.

post #59 of 1258
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by KmanChu View Post

 

I have noticed substantial differences in playback between different computers and if other devices are plugged into the USB ports other than just the DAC/converter. Laptops are probably the worst offenders for having noisy USB ports and multiple devices taking turns on the bus. Playback from different computers could have a very big affect on the sound.

 

Definitely. Different PCs, laptops do sound different. The ODAC sounds like absolute garbage from the Sony VAIO laptop, but is surprisingly decent from the PC. I've heard different playback software on Macs sound different. Supposedly foobar and JRiver sound different, but I haven't tried that myself. Others have reported good results with JPlay or Fidelizer. I haven't heard a difference, but I do "harden" my PCs by disabling all unnecessary Windows services, processes, programs, firewalls, auto-updates, setting USB port bandwidth, isolating mouse/keyboard on certain USB hubs, etc. I don't know if all these do anything, but I'm sure it doesn't hurt. I just don't like the idea of so much crapware, most of it from Microsoft, running on my PCs.

post #60 of 1258

Great writeup! Thank you for doing this!

 

I will get the vali closer to christmas and I am looking to upgrade the dac after christmas holidays.

The ones I have been looking at are:

 

-Concero

-Gungnir

-Violectric V800

-X-Sabre

 

Looks like the gungnir is a top contender, especially with the new usb. However the comments from Maxvla makes me nervous it will be to "upfront" and I won't be able to relax or casual listen with it (which I like to do time to time).

 

Decisions decisions...


Edited by BleaK - 12/7/13 at 11:38am
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