Oh, I thought you were going to ask about the lines following those...
5 * with coaxial output, can SPIDERS other LING-OUT output DAC using a belt, can SPIDERS amplifiers and powered speakers .
My comments about this dac: (not really what I would have chosen, but ok):
It looks decent enough, like ^ said: the XMOS usb chip is ok, I am using 2 of them too, in Musiland Monitor 01 and 02. You can probably use their drivers of the Monitor 03 for any windows version (learn more
). And they provide a good asyncronous signal. So if you don't like the sound of it's dac output you can always use it as a good usb interface. Even as such the price is ok.
If you can hear any difference in samplingrates over 24/96 you must be a dog or a bat. That would impair your ability to enjoy music somewhat though.
The dac-chip itself is ok, but I warned you about the opamps. It's kind of like driving an AMC Pacer with a Dodge Charger engine. Or a Fiat 500 with a Ferrari motor. It just won't perform as you expected.
Originally Posted by ag8908
links to these good cheap dacs you found?
Look at my post (#7) edit 2, and just look at my profile.
Originally Posted by FraGGleR
And not everything from China is a cheap knock off. Direct access to factories can give some of these small board makers quite an astounding price advantage, not to mention that their response to insane amounts of competition is to reduce margins (instead of shoot for premium markets). I recently traveled there and marveled at how cheaply things can be made and gotten. Little standoffs that would cost me $0.30 a piece from Mouser were available for parts of a penny (granted I would have to buy several hundred...). I will concede, though, it is near impossible to sort through the cheaply or poorly made boards and the good ones, but that is the risk that you take trying to get around paying for branding, R&D, labor, distribution layers, etc. that you get with name brand stuff. Again, not saying stuff from China doesn't come with extra caveats, just don't like to see the sweeping and borderline xenophobic claims that all things Chinese are sh!t that pops up quite a bit (not specifically this thread).
Agree. The Chinese can
make very good products. But they have a very different culture where quality control is a real problem (thanks to communism too). I have bought a lot of stuff in China and I have experience with even a lot more (I have (had) a topic in dutch about Chinese audio that ran for over 7 years). The only bad product I bought was the SMSL 1855+ DAC I told you about in the post ^^^. The others were ok, fine to excellent. The SMSL was the only one that I couldn't modify/repair to achieve greatness.
Originally Posted by Bobby S
Long story short: it is unrealistic to expect a cheap DYI board sold for peanuts to sound similar to a mega-buck DAC from Luxman or whatever company.
Here are some of the technical traits of a high quality DAC:
- extremely low jitter, obtained by employing high precision clocks (expensive!)
- high quality interfacing for SPDIF and/ or USB (asychronous, galvanically isolated etc, again expensive and hard to do)
- high quality power supply, for clean, low-noise power to all components (very expensive)
- high quality discrete analog stage (difficult to design, expensive to implement)
Even for a minimalistic design of such a DAC, the parts alone cost in the hundreds of USD, not to mention the extensive time required for R&D to come up with it in the first place.
Long story short: there are no free lunches.
On the other hand you can get 80-90% of the way there with cheaper solutions, that is true. And for that reason alone the Chinese DACs have become extremely popular in the last decade at least.
I need to be nuanced in this, but in general my findings strongly contradict your opinion.
- many (most?) 'mega-buck' options are made (and even engineered) in China (and I don't really think Luxman is particularly a 'mega-buck' option.)
- I agree with the technical traits of a high quality dac (hardly any need to argue those) but in real life there are instances that can upset the whole order of your universe. And by that I mean the power supply, jitter and galvanic isolation parts. There are exceptions.
- there are minimalistic designs that defy complicated dreadnought sigma-delta dacs. There are more ways to peel a banana. 99% of the worlds human population use the difficult method and only a few use the easy way, that includes chimps. Does that mean thats chimps are smarter than men? 99.9% of dac-chips manufactured worldwide are sigma-delta type does that mean ... (follow the analogy and think). Why are all the new designs sigma-delta types of some sort, using the overkill samplingrate method?
In the last listening session I organized (with three audiophile friends) we compared several dacs with different dac-chips, usb-chips, clocks and powersupply. The easiest to discern was the Sabre 9023 chip on it's own Tenor 7022 usbchip. Its a good dac with integrated opamp. Maybe not a free lunch but definitely a cheap and very tasteful lunch!
My reference is a tubed cirrus logic AK4397. That always performs well. But it doesn't win. It overemphasizes detail. It ads a shimmer and sparkle to highs and ads larger than life details. It sounds very nice and very high-endish. Any 'audiophile' would love this.
The other options were NOS dacs. Very old school but not old.
Just very quick why I ended up loving these NOS dacs: I bought the cheap Muse dac, just out of curiosity. It sounded ok but really nothing special. But it had a certain endearing quality... So I started modifying it. And sold it. I thought; nice experiment. But I really missed it. That certain... dunno what. So I bought a new one and did the same mods and some more. No, not as good as the tube-dac. So I sold it again. And bought a new one. This time I made a radical change that I thought was not possible, not according to spec (Chinese always implement according to the specsheet without thinking why, or listening. Just do as you're told). I made some changes to grounding and wiring. This time I had the full quality of all the nos dacs could muster. That is: 24/96 straight up. It beats the crap out of anything I ever heard in naturalness and musicality.
A few years ago I was strolling in the centre of our town and visited our old 12th century church where there was an acoustic classical performance. Just a small choir, some flutes, violins and a cembalo and a large
acoustic. I sat in the sweet spot in the middle so I could see all the performers. But I had a hard time spotting where the sounds were coming from. There was no larger than life detail. Just real life live music with real breathing people. That was a real recalibration for my ears. I noticed that when playing music at home the NOS dac came much closer to what I heard. Detail are very well discernible but not overemphasized (if you see a transient on a scope you can see why: no pre-ringing like sigma-delta chips do).
Back to the listening: we compared the modded cheap Muse 4x NOS dac (coax input from the Musiland Xmos with a $3 wallwart, no fancy powersupply, no reclocking just straight from the 9001) with the modded Teradak 8x NOS dac (with dedicated powersupply, elaborate reclocking and twice the number of parallel chips) and the difference was minimal. No tonal difference whatsoever, just a bit more sense of ease. The Teradak is better but it is hardly noticable. It costs a lot more though. It is still really cheap compared to most dacs but the Muse is simply incredible. It lacks USB input and it takes more time to mod. But I am not afraid to compare it to whatever expensive dac/cd/sacd player out there.
Maybe there is no free lunch but it comes damn close.Edited by ]eep - 3/11/14 at 8:07am