I think the point about I2S is to move all the conversion from USB or S/PDIF to a dedicated, high-quality device. The result, if better, is because of the external device being better than what is in the DAC, not specifically because it is I2S being used for the connection as I understand things.
Schiit Happened: The Story of the World's Most Improbable Start-Up - Page 102
Head-Fi's Best Sellers
Ha, ha. This bit's good. If you actually succeed in keeping your next major product under wraps prior to release, I will buy you a beer. I feel confident in making this offer, based on historical precedent. You're proud of your work. It's hard for us not to talk about things we're proud of. The only things you succeeded in releasing without pre announcing, AFAICT, were PYST cables and the SYS, possibly your most boring products, not counting wall-warts. (Oh, and I just fact-checked myself - possibly the WYRD - I don't know if you pre-announced that, but it still doesn't qualify as a major product).
Wrong. Add Magni, Modi, Loki, Vali, Asgard 2, Lyr 2, Valhalla 2, Wyrd to the list.
Well, I am now less confident about that beer. But we shall see ☺ And it'll be beer from Alberta, which has its own fine micro breweries. I stand by my "major product" disclaimer, btw. Magni and Modi were major products in a way that Wyrd is not, even though they're all the same price - just sayin'.
(P.S. I apologize to SYS. My current pre-"amp" is a passive volume control, the venerable and flexible Adcom SLC-505. With 7 inputs and two sets of tape loops it's pretty much the older brother to SYS.)
Edited by valiant66 - 7/3/14 at 8:50pm
Halleluja, brother! The elephant in the room in one simple sentence.
The downfall of modern music is not that Redbook is a bad standard, it's that recording engineers compress the living sch…, umm, crap out of the music in the final mix down and mastering. The beauty of most of the hi-res formats is not their bandwidth (I mean, really - can you hear anything over 20k?), it's that since they're so expensive to implement the music is treated honestly and we get to hear it more as was intended. For which I am grateful. And yes, recording studios generally do use hi-res formats to record, so they can control the noise - after all multi-tracking also means multi-noising. But their end game is Redbook.
Pushing the noise floor down through oversampling, or away through noise-shaping, is a fine goal, but the reality is the noise floor of planet earth seems to be around 35 db. Right now in my living room with no music, traffic and a fan on it's hovering at around 48 db, according to my trusty RadioShack SPL meter. The difference between the Redbook noise floor spec of -96 db and DSD at, say -110 or lower, is irrelevant in the real-world situation of playing music outside of an anechoic chamber.
Even with noise-blocking IEMs the sounds of your own body fluids rushing around are louder than the noise floor of a well-recorded CD.
I enjoy my purchases from HDtracks.com, but I also enjoy my CDs from Amazon and yard sales. I'm in it for the music, not the sound, and to quote jacal01, I find it
(If this starts a flame war, blame it on the excellent Mt. Begbie Tall Timber Ale from Revelstoke, BC, that I am enjoying…)
- 26 Posts. Joined 10/2009
- Location: New Mexico, USA
- Select All Posts By This User
Very companionably put, and not at all flame-y. But you and your brewsky definitely started taking us down that extraneous-to-Schitt trail and I see flickering fires up ahead....
Home Owners Associations! Chairs! Red Book SQ manifestoes! This thread sometimes struggles to pay attention.
Listening to some Miles Davis via the Opti-Modi and Magni as I type this and dream dreamy on-topic dreams.
The problem is that there are some people who claim that DACs don't make any difference, you'd be fine with an onboard chip and anything better is maybe for feature wise, never for sound quality.
What makes them believe that is the same thing people are being taught as we speak - MP3 and FLAC don't make a difference, 320kbps is lossless. A tube amp is as good as any other amp, if it sounds different than a solid state amp that means it distorts the sound and it's not clean! AWAY WITH IT! :P
and many other audio "myths" that have been "debunked" by people like NwAvGuy, someone who made the O2+ODAC is claiming things against his own products... why?!
Blind Tests contribute to the feeling that it makes no difference but it has been tested and written about that blind tests are flawed, and people who use these tests in the simplest of forms are just as fools as people who believe that everything makes a change.
However, I must say I'm a believer, DACs do make a difference, definitely. Knowing what the difference is something you have to experience for yourself, with no blind test.
Well it's actually 3 things - DAC + Amp + Speakers/Headphones
The cables are the most non relevant difference, maybe they do make a difference maybe they don't, but on every occasion you can always make out the difference from the chain above, no matter which cables you're using (Unless the cables are faulty)
In a way, every part of an audio chain makes a difference because without one or the other you just won't have anything :D
I believe Schiit Yggdrasil will sound quite a bit different from Auralic Vega, not necessarily better, but different. Because of different design.
- 11,925 Posts. Joined 10/2009
- Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
- Select All Posts By This User
In my experience... headphone first, then amp, then dac. I find that dacs hit the wall of diminishing returns the hardest, and are also the quickest to obsolesce/lose resale value.
With a speaker setup, budget allocation remains mostly the same, but put aside some money for room/acoustic treatment as appropriate. This is seriously overlooked by most people.
Cables... meh, as long as they're aren't acting like antennas or adding some stupid capacitance/inductance/whatever to the line, anything should be fine. I don't mind spending a couple extra pennies for something with more durability and at least looks better than dollarstore stuff.
wow, that's an incredibly creative rewrite of digital audio history... but not particularly accurate. Here are some readily verifiable facts:
1. 44.1KHz sample rate was chosen well before CDs were invented. This was during the first era of consumer digital recorders, which recorded on videocasettes. That rate turns out to allow you to hold 3 stereo samples per video line, and still give you a little more than 2KHz transition band for antialiasing filters. Redbook adopted 44.1K/16b because sony won the first format war (philips wanted 44.056Khz), and they wanted to leverage all the recordings already made in that format.
2. those devices had a choice of 14 or 16 bits as there were two competing formats, from sony and philips. The philips format was 14bits, which by the way, was still significantly better than any analog tape recorder of the time (in theory).
3. before these recorders, digital audio recorders were already being used professionally. (A popular sample rate back then was 50KHz). Apogee Electronics got their start back then making high quality antialiasing filters for some of these machines.
Most of these used SAR DACs and ADCs, which was really the only way to get >14 bits. There is no way to match resistors closely enough to do R-2R DACs with that resolution,
Regardless, both types suffer from large amounts of differential nonlinearity, well over 1LSB, which is much more audible and objectionable than large amounts of integral nonlinearity.
Digital oversampling filters were introduced not to cut cost (those chips were quite expensive at the time) but to improve the whole process of antialiasing. It allowed the freedom for the analog filters to have much more desirable characteristics, like lower Q (less ringing), better headroom, less critical component matching requirements, etc.
Sigma-delta converters ICs were introduced in the 80's not to cut cost (the first ones, manufactured by dbx, were very expensive) but to improve audio quality. They had superior specs and sound, due mostly to the lack of any measurable differential nonlinearity, and very smoothly shaped integral nonlinearity.
It turned out that, once the theory of sigma delta converters was better understood by the engineering community, the process to manufacture them could be made far cheaper than high-resolution SAR converters. But part of that is just the march of technology, as it's possible to get very good, inexpensive SAR converters these days, based on some of the same technological advances that were driven in part by development of S-D converters.
So, the cost reduction followed the innovation, but wasn't the impetus for it. These advances were done by engineers dedicated to improving the audio experience (even if they didn't always succeed).
The main downside with most current SD converters is they do not have very good accuracy at DC (though there are some around that do), and they have a few mS of latency due to digital filtering which can interfere with industrial uses such as motor control applications where they are in the feedback loop.
Bottom line is, for conversion to/from analog, one needs antialiasing and anti-imaging filters and a sampler/quantizer. Almost from the beginning, the filtering process has been a combination of analog and digital filtering. S-D converters are a result of looking at the theory and coming up with a much more elegant solution, though one that because of the heavy duty math involved, isn't exactly intuitive.
I'm still scratching my head at what bitperfect is supposed to mean in this context. I can't come up with any logical explanation. Analog signals do not have any 'real bits' or 'intrinsic bits' hidden inside them...
It's arguments like this, that made me glad I picked Software Engineering.
By the way, I understand that God likes Tubes.