Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › Man vs. DAC
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Man vs. DAC

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Maybe the question is not whether you can tell the difference between 256 and 320 and lossless but whether your DAC can?
post #2 of 13

What are you asking here?

 

Once the audio files are decoded back into the raw audio data, you would be able to see that the raw audio data for those different encodes are different (except for contrived examples). So the information sent to the DAC would be different. In the sense that the audio input data is different, yes, the DAC can tell. And hence it outputs a different signal for each of the different files.

 

As for the nature and extent of those differences, that depends on the source material and more.

post #3 of 13

:rolleyes:

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post
 

What are you asking here?

.

Thanks for taking up the question.  I will elaborate. I have read several times on the forum that only a small percentage of people can tell the difference between 320k and lossless.  I'm wondering if whether one can or cannot tell the difference is really dependent upon the DAC they use, maybe even to a large degree.  One DAC may render these small digital differences in a way that is quite audible while another might in a way that is inaudible. On the one hand, this obviously seems like it should be the case but most of the time someone will state whether they can tell the difference or not without attributing any of this ability to their equipment.

 

I have not listened to a great variety of equipment so my opinion here is largely speculative. I'm interested in what others might think.


Edited by CharlesC - 1/1/14 at 5:14am
post #5 of 13
as said above the real dac section will only read one kind of file, it doesn't deal with mp3 so they have to be converted first.
where you might have main differences it's in the way the processor will decode the mp3.

but that is not the mp3's fault if you follow my point. and it's not how good does the source have to be to hear some differences, it's how bad does the source has to deal with mp3 for a difference to be very obvious? just saying but if I was doing some hirez dap/dac, surely I would mess up the mp3 process to justify my hirez fonction. so people could listen to both and say "hey that's good stuff I hear a big difference!".


my guess is that young ears and headphones with extended trebles will show more real differences than super duper dacs.
post #6 of 13

Clearly no, since you can hear differences at 256 kbit MP3 even with low-end Realtek onboard audio (that's DAC and built-in amp) but it depends on the track and encoder used.

 

I have the impression that people don't seem to realize that better headphones with smoother frequency response will result in higher MP3 quality as well, since artifacts can be more easily hidden. The encoder tries to mask the artifacts it creates, but if you use something like a Grado with treble peaks the stuff that should be masked could suddenly stand out like a sore thumb.

post #7 of 13

I can't successfully ABX between LAME 44.1KHz MP3 @ 320kbps CBR and lossless with any of my equipment. And I don't envy the people who (claim?) they can. 

 

I CAN successfully ABX a 128kbps MP3 and a 320kbps MP3, but even at this point have to try

 

Resonessence Concero HD (or clock/opamp modded Xonar STX) -> O2 -> SE846 or HD600 -> 20 something year old ears. almost $2k of equipment.


Edited by tninety - 1/1/14 at 5:12pm
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by tninety View Post

 

I can't say that I can notice any differences either there - but I just stick with lossless these days because, hey, I lived a substantial part of my tech life using magnetic discs (I know, crazy idea right?), so with storage being as cheap as it is, why not?

 

I haven't done a 128kbps test in a long, long time - again, not really something I'm interested in going back to, but maybe on a lazy day I'll see what sort of differences can be noticed.

post #9 of 13

with an entery level headphones dac and an amp, the diffrence is very noticble, very.

 

I talk about hd598, modi and fiio e-11

i don't think it is even a mattar of disscussion

post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by alalouf View Post
 

with an entery level headphones dac and an amp, the diffrence is very noticble, very.

 

I talk about hd598, modi and fiio e-11

i don't think it is even a mattar of disscussion


It isn't because those are two completely different products. One is a pure DAC not suitable to drive headphones, while the other is a headphone amp with DAC.

 

Even if you compared both with an additional amp, there are so many variables which you probably didn't account for that your comparison is probably invalid anyway.

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlesC View Post
 

Thanks for taking up the question.  I will elaborate. I have read several times on the forum that only a small percentage of people can tell the difference between 320k and lossless.  I'm wondering if whether one can or cannot tell the difference is really dependent upon the DAC they use, maybe even to a large degree.  One DAC may render these small digital differences in a way that is quite audible while another might in a way that is inaudible. On the one hand, this obviously seems like it should be the case but most of the time someone will state whether they can tell the difference or not without attributing any of this ability to their equipment.

 

I have not listened to a great variety of equipment so my opinion here is largely speculative. I'm interested in what others might think.


Many people who can't hear the difference between 320kbps and FLAC are using very high end gear. I can't hear the difference and I have a Concero, which is a pretty nice DAC. There are people with even better DACs who can't hear the difference either. 

Lower bitrate MP3 vs lossless is a different story. 

 

post #12 of 13

I use AAC, not MP3, so it may be a bit different. But for me, the ability to distinguish between bit rates below 192 or so involves a particular frequency band at around 4 or 5kHz. There is some sort of shrill ringing whistle of distortion that accompanies certain sounds. Before I balanced the response of my system, it had a bump up through the treble range and it accentuated the artifacting. Low bit rate stuff on YouTube videos drove me nuts. But at AAC 256 and above all artifacts disappear and it is the same as lossless. I've done A/B line level matched comparisons to verify that for myself.

 

I seriously doubt a DAC would reveal a difference because most DACs are audibly transparent.


Edited by bigshot - 1/8/14 at 5:23pm
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you for all the input.  This isn't a purely academic issue for me.  There are very few players available for Windows RT. Xbox Music is one of the few that are and is the one I am most comfortable with.  It supports 320kbps MP3 but not FLAC.  I'll sleep better now.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Science
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › Man vs. DAC