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Cheap DACs with 192kHz sampling rate

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

So I am looking around at all sorts of amplifiers and DACs and noticed that there are a few cheap DACs that can go up to 192kHz:

Orei DA21x
Fiio D03K
Muse PCM2704

Then I found a bunch of highly regarded, more expensive DACs:

NuForce uDAC-3
Schiit Modi
Fiio E10K

Why are the more expensive DACs (~$75-100) only capable of 96kHZ while the cheaper (~$30) DACs can go up to 192kHz?

Any help would greatly be appreciated because I am confused on this one.

post #2 of 13
Because they might sound better.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Even at a lower sampling rate?

post #4 of 13
Focus less on sampling rate, and more on power supplies and audio output stage and you'll save much grief.

Do you really want a dac that costs about the same as a download, really?
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhoneLover94 View Post
 

Even at a lower sampling rate?


The sampling rate quoted is that of the sampling rate of the actual music track. So a 96kHz audio file will be decoded properly on a 96kHz and 192kHz DAC. A 192kHz audio track will only be decoded properly on the 192kHz DAC. But the 96kHz audio file won't get converted to 192kHz, which is what I suspect that you think the 192kHz DAC spec can do.

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 

Yeah I understand the sampling rate of the music. I am saying that the cheaper, lower quality ones can decode up to 192kHz but the more expensive ones can only to up to 96kHz.

post #7 of 13

First of, I am pretty sure Muse PCM2704 can't do 192kHz simply because the DAC chip doesn't support it on a hardware level.

 

Now back to the question of bitrate - let take car as an example: say if we are talking of similar sport car, then the general idea is that when the car engine has bigger cc, the car should have more power and run faster. However, if we are not talking about just sport car but any regular motor vehicle, then that assumption will not hold true, as bus and truck has huge engine but they can't run very fast. Similar idea applies to DAC as well - just because some can support high bitrate doesn't in anyway indicates that it is better. There are other more important parameters to consider, such as THD and SNR. It is these parameters that determines how good a DAC will sound, not the bitrate.

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhoneLover94 View Post
 

Yeah I understand the sampling rate of the music. I am saying that the cheaper, lower quality ones can decode up to 192kHz but the more expensive ones can only to up to 96kHz.

The prices of DACs is not based on what sampling rate that can decode.

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baxide View Post
 

The prices of DACs is not based on what sampling rate that can decode.

That's not the point I was trying to make. I am trying to say that generally you would think there would be a correlation between quality, price, and performance. As the price and quality goes up, you would expect the performance to go up as well. As another guy pointed out, just the simple fact that it can decode to a higher sampling rate does not necessarily mean that it is a better DAC, so the performance of the more expensive ones is still an increase compared to the cheaper ones. However, I am still a little confused because I would assume that the actual components required to decode up to that rate (192kHz) would simply be more expensive and such a cheap device would not be able to have those components in them. I guess this isn't necessarily the case, but then I would wonder why the more expensive models wouldn't be able to decode up to 192kHz when the actual components needed couldn't be very expensive. 

Maybe it's a more complex problem than I am making it out to be and can't be answered as simply. It would be cool if any manufacturers would chime in on how a ~$100 DAC can be produced that doesn't have the components required to decode up to 192kHz. It doesn't matter much to me anymore because I bought the new Aune T1 MK2 and it can decode up to 192kHz. 

Thanks for all the information and thoughts; it cleared up my understanding a little.

post #10 of 13

The actual expensive part of a DAC chip is how to keep the SNR really high. This means keeping the noise as low as possible. Oversampling is actually relatively easy to do in comparison. The whole point of oversampling is so that you can push the sampling noise as high into inaudible frequency as possible, which in turn gives you lower noise in the audible band (among other benefits). But if the audio band doesn't actually have that great a SNR, then the little noise that comes from sampling noise won't really matter a lot.

 

p/s: pretty much sure that T1 MK2 can't decode 192kHz. Due to the limitation of its USB receiver (SA0927), it can only do 24/96 max. Even though the DAC (POCM1793) itself can do 24/192, it will be bottleneck by the USB receiver. This is an example where it doesn't really matter how good the DAC you use, the implementation is still the key.

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 

Ah. That makes sense then.

And with the MK2, it is advertised as such because they upgraded some internals of it. I guess we'll see. For some reason, I can't find a ton of info/reviews yet on the MK2.

post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Baxide View Post


The sampling rate quoted is that of the sampling rate of the actual music track. So a 96kHz audio file will be decoded properly on a 96kHz and 192kHz DAC. A 192kHz audio track will only be decoded properly on the 192kHz DAC. But the 96kHz audio file won't get converted to 192kHz, which is what I suspect that you think the 192kHz DAC spec can do.

A 96khz sampling rate can resolve music frequencies up to 48khz (need two digital sample points to recreate an analogue wave) humans can hear up to ~22khz, so instead of catering to bats with their sampling rates, the more expensive low end DACs try and focus more on SNR and not imparting any extra noise on to the analogue signal.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

I got my Aune T1 MK2 today. It sounds amazing and is still breaking in. As for the question over whether it will resolve up to 192kHz or not, in the settings I can only get it up to 96kHz. So either I have something wrong or Aune is falsely advertising. Either way it is still very nice.

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