Hey, Crashem, you crashed me and my computer with that novel!
OK man, take it easy on weakling guys ike myself, there's no way I can address all of your statements, and I don't think they had addressed mine or their intent. An FPGA, from what I understand, can be programmed to outperform a conventional DAC chip for many reasons, one of which is programmability, the other is the large real estate which may affect the electrical behavior. This means better behavior across the board, distortion and noise and especially FR. I am too, a newbie to this field, but a quick study, and not trained to discuss the minutiae of design of either conventional chip topologies or what can be done with FPGAs. I'm lucky if at my age I can get out of bed and recognize who's staring back at me from the mirror.
If it weren't for the Hugo and other Chord products which I noticed for years, mostly for their quirky designs - and yes, original - I would never have taken notice of FPGAs and would have likely gone along with the hype over other chips and the rather outstanding measurements of the SABREs. Although from what I understand, those measurements are taken of features that are favorable to SABRE sales and not measurements that are not. In any event, I would have been satisfied, more or less, even if cognizant of its shortcomings sonically, if a substantially more satisfying (I'll refrain from calling it "better" to suit those who may disagree with my world view about all matters) FPGA design didn't come along.
And Crashem, I invite disagreement because it is possible, although it may be a stretch, that I may have been wrong once in my life. At which point if I may post a post by Paul McGowan, a friend and a competitor to Hugo whose product I have not heard, and would prefer, if avoidable not to comment on because he is a friend:
I just love all the old railroad sayings we use:
- Get it back on track
- Picking up a head of steam
- Our project is off track
- We’re on track
- Running out of steam
- Just the ticket
- Railroaded into something
- Fast track it
- Make the grade
- Don’t get sidetracked
- You’re just blowin’ smoke
- Tunnel vision
But perhaps my favorite is the One Track Mind. How many of us suffer from the one track mind syndrome when it comes to audio?
- I only listen to tubes
- If it can’t be measured it doesn’t exist
- If I can hear it, it must be right
- DSD sounds soft
- Analog is better than digital
We’re all better off when we stop believing we’re living on the wrong side of the tracks when our cherished belief systems are challenged.
Thanks for letting me blow off a little steam.
For the comment you addressed Crashem, the following I excerpt because it is likely true and it applies to both Watts' and MCGowan's products, if not equally, and I make no comparisons of them. I leave making those comparisons to others at this post, as I am clearly very satisfied with the Hugo, albeit with minor criticisms. The excerpt with my highlights:
"You should be clear that only a handful of designers are capable of, have the knowledge and resources for, working with FPGAs. And FPGA's are not perfect, they are perfectible. But at the bottom line, they can be made dramatically superior."
That, Crashem, is my bottom line because that is what I hear and i trust my ears, if not other's opinions.
There is nothing to say that an FPGA's is better or worse than other chips in that respect but what it does offer is flexibility ( FP means Field Programmable) and the ability to produce "customized chips" without having to put a minimum order of millions at the factory.
It's all in the implementation and if you believe that you have a better mousetrap or wish to do something a bit different then off the shelf parts - FPGA's are the way to go.