Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › Why use high end DAP as only a transport?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Why use high end DAP as only a transport?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

  

 

 

These are three among many of the stacks I've seen in these few years I've been in Head-Fi, and I really cannot resist the temptation to ask why do some people buy expensive high end DAPs just to use as transport and let another DAC process the music. I understand hooking up amps to expensive DAPs, but DACs?

 

What about cheaper DAPs like iPods and FiiO?

 

I'm asking because when we talk about transports, I see those DAPs as only storage for the music. If they're only used for storage, why do you need expensive DAPs to do that?

Do different DAP transports sound different on the same DAC Amp stack?

 

The normal chain as far as I've known is Storage > DAC > Amp. If we put the transport into the chain then does that means its actually Storage > Transport > DAC > Amp?

 

Will this mean different computer setups will sound different to the same DACs too?

Will my computer and your computer sound different if plugged into the same Chordette Qute HD DAC? 

 

**edit: typo


Edited by penmarker - 5/19/14 at 11:40am
post #2 of 10

Why? Because people like shiny, expensive gear that makes them feel like they're doing something different than the average person out there, or that they know more than the average person. They don't like to hear that their gear doesn't perform any better than their neighbor's iPhone for playing music, even when in most cases, an ordinary iPod, iPhone, Clip, or similar inexpensive music player measures just as well as (or better than) their thousand-dollar, barely portable, battery-sucking stack of esoteric electronics. For a portable setup, a mainstream, modern player does just fine by itself, unless your headphones are hard to drive and it doesn't get loud enough. Then, an amp is justifiable. A portable DAC is pretty much never needed.

 

Oh, and to answer your later questions, as long as both computers are set to output the same format/sample rate, full digital volume level (and good playback software), the bitstream going to the DAC should be pretty much exactly identical, and the sound will be identical as well. Even if both computers aren't set to the same volume/format/sample rate, as long as they both have competent internal resampling, it'll still sound identical (even though the actual data going to the dac will be different).


Edited by cjl - 5/25/14 at 10:09am
post #3 of 10
Some professional reviewers (such as this fine gentleman) need to have a portable set up they trust as a basis for comparison.

Some guys live in tiny flats in Tokyo.

So there are reasons but if I have to carry it, I'd rather use only a DAP or a mobile telephone.
post #4 of 10

Not that I'd do this myself, but this isn't exclusive to Head-Fi. Mosey on over to speaker forums and you can see people blowing hundreds of dollars on CDPs then use them as transports; heck, dedicated transports with only digital outputs actually cost more, like this one:

 

 

 

That said some just use really good DACs and treat CDPs as relatively disposable due to the tendency of the transports to break sooner than anything else in an audio system, but of course they at least still go for a heavier unit than a cheap $100 Sony changer for less vibration.* One has to wonder if they're just used to having a TT (kind of like a CD transport, but the cartridge is a lot like having a DAC chip built into your laser head) with a separate phono preamp (essentially the output stage of a DAC, but in this case it's kind of like the DAC itself), or if some think that that's how all set-ups should be, with one specialized box doing one specific task - just read the "Schiit we'd like to see thread" for how many people, not even Schiit themselves, vehemently defend Schiit's previous comments on not combining a DAC and amp in the same box, despite the purpose of the thread as a way to test the waters for new products and people posting such ideas aren't even whining like what you'd see on non-Apple DAP threads.

 

If anything, I'm of the "even if they could, doesn't mean you always should" crowd. If I was already going to pay for and lug around a brick like that it better have a nice DAC and amp in it, and of course I would use a headphone or IEM matched for it for practicality. So yeah let 'em do that, but for people who might be asking if it's necessary at all, I'm one to say, "pick a headphone or IEM that won't need a separate amp from a player like that" (much less a balanced amp that needs a balanced output DAC too).




*I had the $150 SACD from them, and when I opened it up and ran it, the plastic arm holding the spindle and the CD was vibrating while the disc was spinning. I'm not kidding, you can literally see the CD making lateral movements while playing. Cheap POS. I put Blutac on spots on it that looked more like they were left hollowed out to save weight and it stopped vibrating. It read discs faster and more consistently after that.

post #5 of 10

Because most people on this forum don't actually know anything about audio, they just throw money at it to make themselves feel better.

post #6 of 10

If I see people flaunting 3 stack setup like the pics above. I just ignore them. Those pics are becoming notoriously familiar. It seems to be coming from the same person. I bet, he's posting different pics of different combination and all his impressions are too short and monotonous which doesn't make any sense.

 

The guy is either running an audio store or just have a lot of cash to burn. But definitely the last person I'm gonna ask anything related to audio.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

Nope, definitely not from the same person. I quoted them from various posts by different people.

 

Though I do think it's totally fine if someone wants to buy high end DAP as only transports, I'm just genuinely interested whether they do change the sound.

One reviewer with an AK120 stack mentions how his DAC and amp matches well with the DAP, which is only a transport.

post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by headwhacker View Post
 

If I see people flaunting 3 stack setup like the pics above. I just ignore them. Those pics are becoming notoriously familiar. It seems to be coming from the same person. I bet, he's posting different pics of different combination and all his impressions are too short and monotonous which doesn't make any sense.

 

The guy is either running an audio store or just have a lot of cash to burn. But definitely the last person I'm gonna ask anything related to audio.

 

Only 3!?

[No offense to @shigzeo, we're just mucking around here]

DSC_1420.jpg

 

In all seriousness though, I think usable (friendlier but not friendly GUI) DAPs seems to have eating into the multi-stack component space. I don't see people carry stacks around that much unless they happen to still carry "old" setups and haven't converted to DAPs yet.

 

I can see how high end DAPs can used as a transport into other sources and amps but only for temporary (e.g. reviewer testing loaner source/amps), etc. rather than permanent use.

post #9 of 10

One reason is the quality of the amp inside the DAP.  I see an AK240 there which I though had very clean sound out of a reference monitor.  I personally don't see a need for an external amp for it for the SM64, but if the user prefers a different amp, why not?  The hd120 on the right has digital optical out, and needs an external DAC to decode, unless you want to use the internal analog circuit which I thought was quite bad for iems.  

 

Lastly, having a external DAC for AK DAP(on the top left), I cannot explain.:o

post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Science
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › Why use high end DAP as only a transport?