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Why does my Dual 704 sounds so magical?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm really confused a bit and I hope some of you with more experience in HiFi than me can help.

 

Following two setups:

 

1) Dual 704 with Shure V15N 3 system and Jico SAS needle -> Kenwood KA-7300 (in phono pre-amp) -> Rogers LS4a/2

 

2) MacBook -> Yulong D100 -> Kenwood KA-7300 (aux) -> Rogers LS4a/2

 

Now I've compared some vinyls I have to the CD counterparts (which are quit good mastered) but that won't be the point here.. In general the difference I will point out further down is there even if I play some great MFSL mastered CDs from system 2.

 

Well, the difference in sound wouldn't be that big except of one thing, I mean the resolution and clarity as also soundstage is quite on par I would say. I definitely hear the bright and (for me) harsh tonality of the Yulong which I don't like. So yes, it really sounds very clinical and digital compared to the vinyls. Someone in an HiFi store told me most "cheap Chinese" DACs have this problem.. I don't know (he tried to sold me a 2000€ DAC). I'm also sure the loudspeakers are limiting further sonically differences between the system as I doubt they are so great (but they are the best I ever owned).

 

Now to my point which is difficult to describe: The vinyls (not all but many) on system 1 just produce sound that seems much more dynamic, it really sounds like the two loudspeakers would be swinging together instead of just playing their own part. I have never heard something like this before (but as I said I'm not experienced). I don't know how to describe it... dynamic? Is that the 3D sound? Stereo-imagination? With the Yulong and just ANYTHING i heard before I can hear great sound and so, but it always is like every side is just playing their part instead of playing together. It is not about soundstage.. With the Yulong I have equal sense of soundstage, the vocals are in the middle. But although their is width and depth it just sounds flat and not so musical as system 1.

 

I'm asking myself which component is responsible for this sound and it must be one of the two (or three?): Either the material (vinyl vs. digital) or the source component (dual 704 vs yulong). Of course I highly suspect the latter case.. (Also, can the pre-amp of the Kennwood be responsible for this?). From memory I recall that before I had the Jico SAS needle this sound was not there, but I didn't really spent much time with it then (bought it used). Unfortunately inside the Kenwood something popped and I need to repair it so I can't test anything right now.

 

Some will maybe say, of course it's the DAC. But somehow I'm not convinced. The difference between the two systems in regard of the "swinging-phenomen" is THAT BIG (it's just like black & white, 0 or 1) I think many would point it out in reviews or comparisons but for me it always seems the differences in the DACs are gradual or just nuances (extends more, wider soundstage..). It really is a complete new experience of music for me.. Then I'm reading threads like this one http://www.head-fi.org/t/709479/multi-review-hifiman-hm901-fiio-x5-sony-zx1-hisound-studio-3rd-anv-iphone-4 and I'm confused even more in regards of a DAC (though this is about DAPs).

 

My concrete questions:

 

1) How many of you are still reading this? :o 

2) Am I right with my suspicion the described lack of dynamics is specific to may DAC?

3) Is there a DAC (or what ever component) that will sound like the Dual (with appropriate good digital source material), that will make my loudspeakers (or even my headphones) swing?

4) Is there something portable that will reproduce this experience for me with digital material? (I would by that rig immediately)

5) Is the Dual just that great and produced in a time where HiFi really mattered and for today standards I would have to spend ten thousands of euros to get that quality (I hope not)?

post #2 of 7

Have you tried leaving the Yulong out of the equation by connecting the line out from the Mac to a line in on the Kenwood?

 

I think it's common knowledge that vinyl systems sound different from digital. The better the Vinyl playback system gets the closer it will sound to digital but it'll never be the same. You seem to prefer the sound of your vinyl system as it is. That's fair enough. I like playing real records too.

 

Insistently a DAC shouldn't have it's own sound. If it does it's a poor product because it ought to be transparent and that's possible to do now for very little money.

 

As a test when I first got my DAC/Interface I played a vinyl record direct to the speakers and also recorded the signal via an ADC then sent it back out again through the DAC component. After setting levels it was possible to switch between both the direct playback and the version having been through ADC and DAC. Neither myself not any of my friends and colleagues I've tried this on can tell the difference by ear.

 

The CD version or download version of the same song on the other hand was easy to tell apart from both the direct and looped vinyl.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

So if I understand you correctly you mean the DAC output should be theoretically the 100% correct reproduction of the record but I may perceive the output of the vinyl system as more pleasant since - not being technically on the same level as digital audio - it adds something to the sound?

 

It sounds very logical to me... but I struggle with that since it isn't the tonality that I like but some kind of dynamics that are just not there with a (at least my) DAC. It sounds like in the speakers there are some parts that just aren't moved by the DAC but by the vinyl system. And it also doesn't sound contradicting... I would like to have a DAC with all the properties my DAC has AND the dynamics my vinyl system is giving me.

 

But when I think about it more, maybe you are right, the vinyl system is adding so much warmth to the sound that the mid bass is "stimulated" and the music appears to have more body and being less dry.. Full bodied sound tends to be perceived more dynamical, not? Could it be?

 

It's funny because I've build the vinyl system because of the romantic feeling to it and it warm lush sound and expected it then to be much inferior to my DAC. But I was shocked after I heard the first vinyls. And as far I know my vinyl system is not that bad (with Jico SAS needle being the best you can get today for the dual 704).

post #4 of 7
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the link, very interesting. I'm impressed how notable the analogue warmth is. Now I will look out for a new portable DAC/amp...

post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by gitf03 View Post

So if I understand you correctly you mean the DAC output should be theoretically the 100% correct reproduction of the record but I may perceive the output of the vinyl system as more pleasant since - not being technically on the same level as digital audio - it adds something to the sound?

It sounds very logical to me... but I struggle with that since it isn't the tonality that I like but some kind of dynamics that are just not there with a (at least my) DAC. It sounds like in the speakers there are some parts that just aren't moved by the DAC but by the vinyl system. And it also doesn't sound contradicting... I would like to have a DAC with all the properties my DAC has AND the dynamics my vinyl system is giving me.

But when I think about it more, maybe you are right, the vinyl system is adding so much warmth to the sound that the mid bass is "stimulated" and the music appears to have more body and being less dry.. Full bodied sound tends to be perceived more dynamical, not? Could it be?

It's funny because I've build the vinyl system because of the romantic feeling to it and it warm lush sound and expected it then to be much inferior to my DAC. But I was shocked after I heard the first vinyls. And as far I know my vinyl system is not that bad (with Jico SAS needle being the best you can get today for the dual 704).

I tune my system for little difference in tonal balance between digital and analog. The biggest differences lie in dynamics, space, depth, a sense of body, clarity of presentation, lack of congestion and the ease and flow of analog. As for the bass and full-bodied sound, well, yea. Even though digital has the capability to reproduce rather astonishing bass, way too often it sounds anemic. Trust your own ears and enjoy your music. Good luck.

Edit: are you familiar with this site? http://dr.loudness-war.info/

Have a look at the dynamic range of commercially available LPs and CDs. Often, the LP is much more dynamic.
Edited by Shaffer - 3/25/14 at 5:51am
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

I know this site, thanks. But it wasn't what I was referring to with the "dynamic sound". That's completely my fault, I'm not able to describe what I mean.

 

I will try to tune my system in this direction... it should be possible to do it with some EQ just to prove my assumptions so I no what to look after.

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