DAC difference
Nov 27, 2021 at 2:07 PM Post #421 of 577

hakunamakaka

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A DAC is in the end just a chip. How it affects the sound depends on how it is used, how clean the input is and how the output gets transported to an amp.

Some folks truly believe that all you need is a transparent chip and circuit design doesn't matter
 
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Nov 27, 2021 at 2:56 PM Post #422 of 577

castleofargh

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You can't trust people. They believe the silliest things. Once I even believed that evidence was needed before making claims. :crying_cat_face:
 
Nov 27, 2021 at 6:09 PM Post #424 of 577

hakunamakaka

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challenges in measuring DAC domain --> https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342583119_Research_trends_and_challenges_on_DAC_testing
specs provided in DAC won't tell you the whole story. Even the use of different digital interface/source can improve performance of your dac, because circuit design is actually more important than the chip itself. You can have newest, best measured chip underperform against well design 20 year old dac.

Google is a powerfull tool and anyone really interested can find all the scientific information they need. There are lots of info if your really look for it--> https://www.analog.com/media/en/training-seminars/design-handbooks/Basic-Linear-Design/Chapter6.pdf

There are even books on how different circuit designs, filtering impacts the sound quality of a DAC. I've found across different articles that NOS dac's by tech are actually superior to DS, but the problem is that they are so difficult to implement properly.
 
Nov 27, 2021 at 7:12 PM Post #425 of 577

castleofargh

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I've found across different articles that NOS dac's by tech are actually superior to DS, but the problem is that they are so difficult to implement properly.
New saying: If ifs and buts were perfect resistors and perfect filters, NOS DACs would be superior to DS.
 
Nov 28, 2021 at 2:47 AM Post #426 of 577

bigshot

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Some folks truly believe that all you need is a transparent chip and circuit design doesn't matter

Raising the signal to line level isn't rocket science. There's been lots of transparency in that area for many years.
 
Nov 28, 2021 at 2:52 AM Post #427 of 577

bigshot

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In the absence of well-defined specs, to which manufacturers will feel to oblige (and they rather do their best to be distinct and special, understandably), I can only see "transparency" useful as a purely hypothetical concept.

Well, whatever you think, if it says on the data sheet that a DAC can do 16/44.1 (or 24/96 or whatever) it is transparent by definition. The spec the DAC follows is the spec for those digital audio formats. Otherwise, the DAC is producing sound out of spec.
 
Nov 28, 2021 at 2:57 AM Post #428 of 577

bigshot

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I’m perfectly aware of that, you didn’t read all his post.

He repeated what I've said many many times, and you don't listen. Either you're arguing for the sake of arguing. or when I write words they mean something completely different to you in your own head. There's a lot of that going around. How come no one shared these drugs with me?
 
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Nov 28, 2021 at 4:31 AM Post #429 of 577

PhonoPhi

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Well, whatever you think, if it says on the data sheet that a DAC can do 16/44.1 (or 24/96 or whatever) it is transparent by definition. The spec the DAC follows is the spec for those digital audio formats. Otherwise, the DAC is producing sound out of spec.
OK.
Let me try one more time.

What "definition" exactly?
How can we apply it?
That would be science - making useful predictions based on the acquired knowledge.
That can be reasonably done for cables - first with their resistance, but then with the relation to the properties of transducers and sources. That what brought me to DACs, again, USB DACs to be precise.

At the same time, sure - we can apply the definition that the effect of alcoholic beverages is based on their alcohol content, and would not it be perfectly correct in many senses?
Then, in pure vodka we would believe and could gleefully wonder - why scotch affictionados bother with the different flavours, wasting their money, call them trolls, as well as "debunk their myths" with the dogmatism of the inquisition.
Finally, imagine if someone is practicing those "pure alcohol" dogmas in a scotch forum. With the utmost tolerance of the community those "pure alcohol believers" can be placed in a special section of the forum and... regarded as such.
 
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Nov 28, 2021 at 4:33 AM Post #430 of 577

bigshot

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Google red book audio. It’s hard for me to explain if you don’t even know the basics of digital audio. But I think you do know. You’re just resorting to semantics because you have no other way to support your position.
 
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Nov 28, 2021 at 6:55 AM Post #431 of 577

hakunamakaka

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Raising the signal to line level isn't rocket science. There's been lots of transparency in that area for many years.

wow....mind-blowing...Give us an article than that all DAC's which are able to reproduce 16/44.1 sounds the same no matter of filtering/source/interface/circuit topology being used. Some self preached Bob's post on forum won't do

People are too caught up with a limited set of measurements, over and over again this measures perfectly pass the filtering and is inaudible. Engineers goes in length explaining why certain topology is being. When it's inaudible they could simply rip off people with basic of the shelf ESS Sabre design stacked with useless electronics in a big shiny box, yet some randos on forums knows better
 
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Nov 28, 2021 at 8:58 AM Post #432 of 577

oakparkmusicguy

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My thoughts as a classical musician, music teacher, and audio nerd…
@PhonoPhi - *I think* you’re overthinking things. My setup is headphone focused but I can get every detail from classical music I want. Headphones made the biggest difference by far. By far! My 6XX, 4XX, and Aeons give me every detail I could want. I can hear the musicians breathing before their entrance. Plenty of bow-to-string sound. The pizzicatos in Tchaik 4 had more than enough auditory information.
Or from a different point of view… If these details matter so much are you particular about what brand of strings the player is using? Pirastro Obligatos sound much different than D’Addario Helicores. Tone is very important…but… I‘ve seen colleagues say that it’s the MAIN ingredient. But I’ve never heard any of them say, “Wow their playing is sublime! If only they used a different string. Or a softer rosin.” Hey or why not different bow hair? When I get mine re-haired I’m always asked what type / lineage. A few years ago I was on a quest for the ‘perfect’ string. Bass strings aren’t cheap and I spent 4 figures buying strings. They most certainly felt different - as they should with different material and construction types. And as the player they sounded different to me while playing. But when I recorded them to compare, the tone was not the primary differentiator. I doubt anyone could tell me which one I was using.

As far as the other points. Tube compressors in studios are very popular. As are their digital emulators. Beside volume, compressors affect the attack and decay of notes (well I guess that is volume) which can create a different sound. But that is actively and by choice affecting the sound. Again, I’ve never heard someone say, “I wish they used a tube compressor instead of the solid state one for the recording”.

DACs and tube amps… After reading so much about AB testing and such here in SS I decided the past few weeks compare things. It was NOT scientific or a blind test. I matched levels the best I could and did have a switch so I could change sources instantly.

I used two Vali’s to compare tubes. I compared those amps to a no-name portable $20 solid state amp and a more powerful yet still inexpensive ($60) portable solid state amp. (still need to compare them with my Magni 3+).
Results for the amps - so little difference I was seriously disappointed. Was there a difference? Maybe. Perhaps. Probably. Or not. I think I got a noticeable difference with the cheapest amp and maybe one or tubes out of 15. And just because there was a slight difference, no way will I say “like night and day”. I definitely like my Vali’s better with their features and power and I like playing with gear so changing tubes is fun even if it doesn’t really matter. I’m pretty sure I got a slightly different treble response on some of the tubes vs. the cheap solid state. But they all serve a different purpose in different setups. Ok maybe that’s not totally true. All my amps serve to amplify but depending on portability or leaving one at work, it’s nice to have options.

DACs… I compared my Schiit Modi to a $30 DAC from Amazon. The $30 DAC is cheaply made (go figure) and doesn’t have the features I need. I used optical to compare both and once they were level matched the results once again were disappointing. Not that that cheap one will replace my Modi but I have no need to upgrade it. I also have an RHA, Schiit Fulla 2 and Fulla 3. I didn’t compare every DAC to every DAC because there didn’t seem to be a need. I’ve used the RHA and Fullas a lot and the RHA seems to sound different, BUT, it has bass, treble, and gain controls which may affect things somewhere. I won’t buy another $30 DAC but I don’t think I’ll spend more than $150 for my next one. Whenever that may be.
If / when I buy another desktop headphone amp it will probably be a JDS just because of the different features.

So I guess it all boils down to ‘perhaps, maybe, sort of… does it matter?” Some characteristics of gear may have an audible signature but is it really worth it it? Perhaps. I’m also disappointed that I’m all set for headphones. I really enjoy reading headphone stuff here and planning my next purchase. I almost feel lost not having some gear to research.

For me, I‘m finally done (for now) spending 99% of my time chasing the 1% difference. Far better to spend 1% or even 10% of your time getting a huge return. But if it’s time to chase that tiny percentage, I will definitely do some objective-as-possible testing before ordering.

For the past who-knows-how-long, I’ve been trying to find the source of some audio hum. I did everything I could think of - checked for ground loops, took the system down and added component by component, tried different outlets, DACs, amps, tubes, headphones, etc… until I finally said the heck with it and forgot about it since it was just in speakers when watching TV and not audible unless everything was muted. This morning I heard the hum again but all my gear was OFF!! What?!!! Turns out something is wrong with my 25 year old subwoofer power supply which fed audio to the rear speakers. Glad I found out before going through the never ending upgrade process.

I have a friend who enjoys listening to music more than anyone else I know. He uses YouTube and a laptop. I told him “Man you just gotta spend a little on the 58X.” He didn’t bother - he was too busy enjoying his tunes. I don‘t think I’ll ever be like that but it is rather inspiring.

Whether I’m ‘right’, wrong, neither, misinformed, ignorant, all of the above, or something else, I do enjoy these conversations and I enjoy geeking out my gear. Oh and I enjoy getting lost in some music occasionally too.
 
Nov 28, 2021 at 10:45 AM Post #433 of 577

PhonoPhi

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My thoughts as a classical musician, music teacher, and audio nerd…
@PhonoPhi - *I think* you’re overthinking things. My setup is headphone focused but I can get every detail from classical music I want. Headphones made the biggest difference by far. By far! My 6XX, 4XX, and Aeons give me every detail I could want. I can hear the musicians breathing before their entrance. Plenty of bow-to-string sound. The pizzicatos in Tchaik 4 had more than enough auditory information.
Or from a different point of view… If these details matter so much are you particular about what brand of strings the player is using? Pirastro Obligatos sound much different than D’Addario Helicores. Tone is very important…but… I‘ve seen colleagues say that it’s the MAIN ingredient. But I’ve never heard any of them say, “Wow their playing is sublime! If only they used a different string. Or a softer rosin.” Hey or why not different bow hair? When I get mine re-haired I’m always asked what type / lineage. A few years ago I was on a quest for the ‘perfect’ string. Bass strings aren’t cheap and I spent 4 figures buying strings. They most certainly felt different - as they should with different material and construction types. And as the player they sounded different to me while playing. But when I recorded them to compare, the tone was not the primary differentiator. I doubt anyone could tell me which one I was using.

As far as the other points. Tube compressors in studios are very popular. As are their digital emulators. Beside volume, compressors affect the attack and decay of notes (well I guess that is volume) which can create a different sound. But that is actively and by choice affecting the sound. Again, I’ve never heard someone say, “I wish they used a tube compressor instead of the solid state one for the recording”.

DACs and tube amps… After reading so much about AB testing and such here in SS I decided the past few weeks compare things. It was NOT scientific or a blind test. I matched levels the best I could and did have a switch so I could change sources instantly.

I used two Vali’s to compare tubes. I compared those amps to a no-name portable $20 solid state amp and a more powerful yet still inexpensive ($60) portable solid state amp. (still need to compare them with my Magni 3+).
Results for the amps - so little difference I was seriously disappointed. Was there a difference? Maybe. Perhaps. Probably. Or not. I think I got a noticeable difference with the cheapest amp and maybe one or tubes out of 15. And just because there was a slight difference, no way will I say “like night and day”. I definitely like my Vali’s better with their features and power and I like playing with gear so changing tubes is fun even if it doesn’t really matter. I’m pretty sure I got a slightly different treble response on some of the tubes vs. the cheap solid state. But they all serve a different purpose in different setups. Ok maybe that’s not totally true. All my amps serve to amplify but depending on portability or leaving one at work, it’s nice to have options.

DACs… I compared my Schiit Modi to a $30 DAC from Amazon. The $30 DAC is cheaply made (go figure) and doesn’t have the features I need. I used optical to compare both and once they were level matched the results once again were disappointing. Not that that cheap one will replace my Modi but I have no need to upgrade it. I also have an RHA, Schiit Fulla 2 and Fulla 3. I didn’t compare every DAC to every DAC because there didn’t seem to be a need. I’ve used the RHA and Fullas a lot and the RHA seems to sound different, BUT, it has bass, treble, and gain controls which may affect things somewhere. I won’t buy another $30 DAC but I don’t think I’ll spend more than $150 for my next one. Whenever that may be.
If / when I buy another desktop headphone amp it will probably be a JDS just because of the different features.

So I guess it all boils down to ‘perhaps, maybe, sort of… does it matter?” Some characteristics of gear may have an audible signature but is it really worth it it? Perhaps. I’m also disappointed that I’m all set for headphones. I really enjoy reading headphone stuff here and planning my next purchase. I almost feel lost not having some gear to research.

For me, I‘m finally done (for now) spending 99% of my time chasing the 1% difference. Far better to spend 1% or even 10% of your time getting a huge return. But if it’s time to chase that tiny percentage, I will definitely do some objective-as-possible testing before ordering.

For the past who-knows-how-long, I’ve been trying to find the source of some audio hum. I did everything I could think of - checked for ground loops, took the system down and added component by component, tried different outlets, DACs, amps, tubes, headphones, etc… until I finally said the heck with it and forgot about it since it was just in speakers when watching TV and not audible unless everything was muted. This morning I heard the hum again but all my gear was OFF!! What?!!! Turns out something is wrong with my 25 year old subwoofer power supply which fed audio to the rear speakers. Glad I found out before going through the never ending upgrade process.

I have a friend who enjoys listening to music more than anyone else I know. He uses YouTube and a laptop. I told him “Man you just gotta spend a little on the 58X.” He didn’t bother - he was too busy enjoying his tunes. I don‘t think I’ll ever be like that but it is rather inspiring.

Whether I’m ‘right’, wrong, neither, misinformed, ignorant, all of the above, or something else, I do enjoy these conversations and I enjoy geeking out my gear. Oh and I enjoy getting lost in some music occasionally too.
Great to read so detailed response (I already started to think that referring to a red book, the Book and lamenting about personal limitations would be about it here...)

"Overthinking" can be so me, true, but here I just wish to start doing it. USB DACs are meant to sound different, starting with the most "advanced" DAC chips themselves having filter presets (with no "off"(!)).
I would love to have some clues how to measure it and to understand how it can be applied.

Again, my simple goal in my simple listening setup can be formuluted as to hear strings, string, and string quartets in particularly, as engagingly as possible when recordings make it possible. With all due respect to a theoretically useful concept of transparency.

Then, I wish we would have more common transducers. I gave up on headphones. Based on my personal preferences and limitations, I found IEMs simpler, portable and again more engaging.

Sure, the spatial resolution is largely lost with IEMs, but then the spectral resolution is so much gained and, again, that is my listening preference.

It would be hard to convince me that in a perfectly setup room with the speakers few meters away, one can hear strings instruments as if "up close", the setup is not meant to achieve it, the resolution is literally lost in the air; many headphones aim to emulate speakers.

For the recordings, those done to imitate concert halls, with the piano for instance recorded far away effectively becoming a mono source, feel so much less engaging compared to when piano is recorded up close with multiple mics.

So I would like to understand what exactly makes the engagement and especially the perceived resolution (it is definitely not as simple as enhancing treble, it is more subtle manipulation of overtones and perhaps sampling).

Now, I could not help to digress into strings - how much difference they can make. (I am not any musically capable person, just served as a "technician" out of the needs for my children instruments). Our main violin does not go well with pirastro strings, vision solo or jargar superior are the best. I think I will be able to distinguish those E and A strings by their sound and an overall effect on violin sound for some E strings. I could not find a perfect set for our viola, so I can relate to the difficulties of the lower strings (and string prices). Though those tungsten-wound strings are amazing, that is where the metal is really functional, compared to semi-gimmick of platinum-plated E strings.. I stop here not to go grossly off-topic.
 
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Nov 28, 2021 at 10:49 AM Post #434 of 577

gregorio

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Nowadays, it seems the claims are made first, and then the evidence is found - and there you can trust people to always find some evidence...
That's not what we tend to see in this forum. What we see here are nonsense claims which contradict proven and/or well established science, that are virtually always based on some false marketing or on assumptions derived from it AND you can trust these people to never find some reliable evidence, because there isn't any! They'll either simply ignore the request for reliable evidence, repeat the most unreliable evidence (marketing or anecdotes) or quote actual, real evidence that's inapplicable/out of context. Here's an example:
[1] In the absence of well-defined specs, to which manufacturers will feel to oblige (and they rather do their best to be distinct and special, understandably), [2] I can only see "transparency" useful as a purely hypothetical concept.

[3] If, for instance, I found some USB DAC more vivid (clear, etc) than a simple Apple one - [3a] and it is as clear as scotch vs. vodka - [3b] how would I find even better one (for me) based on specs?
1. What absence of well defined specs? The "specs" were proven and published in 1948 by Claude Shannon and could hardly be more well demonstrated because the entire digital age is based on them, not just digital audio.

2. You can "see" what you want to see of course, but this is the sound science forum. What one person or even a community "sees", knows or understands is irrelevant. What's relevant is the reliable evidence and the proven/demonstrated facts. We have a relatively simple test that easily and perfectly measures "transparency". The Null Test "compares" two audio signals, for example the input and output signals of a piece or chain of equipment, and results in a difference file; an audio signal comprised of ONLY the difference between the two signals. If this difference file contains nothing, then we have proven that the tested signals are identical and the difference is obviously therefore perfectly transparent. If we have a difference file that does contain something but it peaks below the threshold of audibility, then the difference is audibly transparent and if the difference file peaks above the threshold of audibility then it may (or may not) be audibly transparent. This is NOT a purely "hypothetical concept", it's not even just a theoretical concept, it a practical objective test that's been around for 80 or so years, that's used daily by countless engineers.

3. AFAIK, you can't find "some USB DAC more vivid than a simple Apple one" because all the Apple ones I've seen are audibly transparent, so it doesn't get any more clear or vivid than that.
3a. That's either a placebo effect or there is something other than DA Conversion being applied, say compression for example.
3b. If it's placebo, then a good place for you to start would be with a DAC that costs a lot more and/or has a very good reputation in the audiophile community. But that might not cause the placebo effect you desire because no one knows your particular balance of biases or exactly how they'll affect your perception. If it's something other than the DA Conversion, then you need to look at features/specs for say compressors or whatever other sort of processing is causing the audible difference.
For instance, if we record a violin up close with all the delicate bowing details - attack and release - would it be "transparent" or, OK, acceptable to bigshot, who optimized his listening preferences to the reproduction of far-field large-hall recordings.
It would not be perfectly transparent, it might not even be entirely audibly transparent but that has nothing to do with the ADC or DAC process and everything to do with the choice of microphone, it's orientation and position. Again, mic's have to obey the laws of physical motion (of their diaphragm, and coil in the case of dynamic mics).
Actually, most, if not all, of my sound reproduction quest is centered around being able to reproduce (or at least imitate) violin (and chamber music in general) up close. (I am fortunate to have violin/viola players in a house, so that is my reference sound).
That is not the quest of commercially recorded music. "Up close" there are various mechanical extraneous noises; finger slides, bow scratches, the rustle of the musician's clothes, their breathing, etc., none of which will be heard or are intended to be heard by an audience at any reasonable listening distance, plus, there would be a relative reduction of the room/performance space acoustics. Given a hypothetically perfect mic, 16/44 would still be able to capture everything that you would hear, even "up close".
Because the change of tubes affect the signal in a way that can’t be approached all the way by computers or SS amps.
That's already been refuted, why just repeat false facts that have ALREADY been refuted?
They are not actually objectively worse.....(though at times they test that way) hence still in use the the worlds top studios.
Yes they ARE "actually objectively worse" AND they ALWAYS measure that way. They are rarely in used in the worlds top studios and when they are, it is precisely because they are actually objectively worse (but subjectively better).
If they could replace them with a SS compressor or replace $9 thousand dollar tube microphones with SS they would.
They would and they have! All of the world's top commercial studios have and use plug-in compressors, they also have SS compressors and will get out their tube compressors if requested. Their $9k tube mics have also been replaced by quieter, more accurate mics, but again, can be requested. There are of course exceptions, some very good specialised commercial studios, those specialising in old rock genres or "country" for example, which maintain almost entirely analogue recording and mixing chains and typically have quite a lot of vintage gear but they're very rare these days. Plus of course there are countless home studios which are specialised for whatever the home user desires.
All any person using a tube for the line out of a DAC section or a tube compressor, or guitar effects unit is trying to do is find a tone. A tone is just simply a color of response.
Yes but a response is either coloured or it's transparent. If it's coloured then it is NOT "an even, correct and complete tone". Of course, the last thing an electric guitarist is after is "an even, correct and complete tone", the sound of an electric guitar is defined by multiple layers of various types of distortion. Of course, once all that distortion has been finely tuned according to the subjective choices of the guitarist then we want an "even, correct and complete" reproduction of those finely tuned subjective choices.
[1] I have already shown that TUBES are still in use. [2] I simply chose 2 of the worlds top studios and listed their equipment list. [3] They would change out the tube gear for SS gear if it was better or able to be emulated by software, but it can’t. Yes, SS gear is more stable and reliable.
1. Yes they are still in use but relatively rarely.
2. Most/All of the world's top studios have some tube gear in their inventory. They'll have a lot of stuff in their equipment list that they've collected over the years. Some of it was the best available at the time but has since been superseded and some of it was truly terrible even in it's own time but was purchased precisely because it was so terrible.
3. Again, they have changed out the tube gear for SS or software but they need to cater to a wide range of clients, old rockers and others looking for a bit of nostalgia for example.
[1] “Is there a difference in DACs” That’s the simple question and I’m showing there are many many different sounding DACs. [2] That it’s the amplifiers next to the DAC chip for the line out that make them different. [3] But somehow we have members in Sound Science that believe every amplifier in the world sounds exactly the same?
1. Yes, there is a difference in DACs but NO, you are NOT showing there are many many different sounding DACS, you are claiming that but "showing" no reliable evidence whatsoever! Filter-less NOS DACS introduce noise and distortion well above the threshold of audibility and can be differentiated in controlled tests but there are NOT many, many of them, probably fewer than 0.001% of DACs! And again, a faulty by design DAC
2. Then that's the amplifier and not the DAC.
3. Which members, I haven't seen a single one! The vast majority of amplifiers sound the same (given the correct load of course) but there are some rare, esoteric exceptions and I've not seen any member of SS dispute that.
[1] That if there is a slight gross departure from (what ever) flat is that it’s broken. [2] What I’m saying is there are all types of correct responses from an amp in the line level area.
1. Correct, an audible departure from a linear/flat response is effectively broken, with both amps and DACs. It's been possible for decades to make amps and DACs that are audibly transparent and at a relatively low price. So, if a DAC or amp manufacturer fails to achieve that relatively easy to achieve benchmark, then it's effectively broken/faulty.
2. We know what you're saying but it's false. Even your explanation of it has been self-contradictory, let alone the fact that it contradicts the science. Amplification is the act of increasing the power of a signal ... that's it, nothing more and nothing less! Therefore, by definition, there is only ONE correct output response: The same output signal as the input signal but with more power. So, there CANNOT be "all types of correct responses", there's either the correct response or something different to the correct response, which by definition is incorrect.
[1] This is just part of what makes them different. [2] I’m not even beginning to argue that different DAC brand chips make a difference. [3] Also the methodology in use to get the information to the DAC affects the end sound.

Is it USB to the DAC?
Is it Toslink RCA to the DAC?
Is it Toslink Optical to the DAC?


All that affects the sound. The way the digital signal gets to the DAC affects timing. We have noise and timing issues with USB, which are placated to a point with optical, or bypassing a computer all together and using USB file players before the DAC.
1. Again, all amps and DACs are different, that's unavoidable with analogue circuitry, what is relatively easily avoidable is those differences being above the threshold of audibility.
2. Again, wise move!
3. No, in the vast majority of cases it does not affect the sound because the differences are below the noise floor of the speakers/HPs. I have seen measurements of particularly poorly designed DACs that could affect the sound with extremely low noise floor HPs/Speakers but it would still be around the threshold of audibility and there's no excuse for such poor design when even very cheap DACs can avoid it.
[1] Absolutely not......brand new 2021 studios use extensive racks of brand new tube gear simply because they get a sound/tone out of it that you can’t get with SS, or computers. I’ll post some videos of newly built studios with brand new tube gear for ya, I just need to find the video. [2] Now you can say that they do it to impress customers maybe, but they choose to use it all the time. [3] So who knows, maybe they are trying to degrade there 2 million dollar sound? Lol

1. Hang on, you were talking about the world's top studios but then you give an example of what looks like a home studio.
2. Possibly, if they're using the studio just for themselves or for a tiny niche of clients, for example again, old rockers and others after the "sound" of the '50s/'60s.
3. Firstly, if he paid $2m for that, he's be badly "had"! And secondly, yes, of course, that's the whole point! A top class electric guitarist for example will typically go into a world class $10m studio with $10k or more worth of equipment deliberately chosen to degrade/distort the sound. Didn't you know this?

G
 
Nov 28, 2021 at 11:37 AM Post #435 of 577

PhonoPhi

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That's not what we tend to see in this forum. What we see here are nonsense claims which contradict proven and/or well established science, that are virtually always based on some false marketing or on assumptions derived from it AND you can trust these people to never find some reliable evidence, because there isn't any! They'll either simply ignore the request for reliable evidence, repeat the most unreliable evidence (marketing or anecdotes) or quote actual, real evidence that's inapplicable/out of context. Here's an example:

1. What absence of well defined specs? The "specs" were proven and published in 1948 by Claude Shannon and could hardly be more well demonstrated because the entire digital age is based on them, not just digital audio.

2. You can "see" what you want to see of course, but this is the sound science forum. What one person or even a community "sees", knows or understands is irrelevant. What's relevant is the reliable evidence and the proven/demonstrated facts. We have a relatively simple test that easily and perfectly measures "transparency". The Null Test "compares" two audio signals, for example the input and output signals of a piece or chain of equipment, and results in a difference file; an audio signal comprised of ONLY the difference between the two signals. If this difference file contains nothing, then we have proven that the tested signals are identical and the difference is obviously therefore perfectly transparent. If we have a difference file that does contain something but it peaks below the threshold of audibility, then the difference is audibly transparent and if the difference file peaks above the threshold of audibility then it may (or may not) be audibly transparent. This is NOT a purely "hypothetical concept", it's not even just a theoretical concept, it a practical objective test that's been around for 80 or so years, that's used daily by countless engineers.

3. AFAIK, you can't find "some USB DAC more vivid than a simple Apple one" because all the Apple ones I've seen are audibly transparent, so it doesn't get any more clear or vivid than that.
3a. That's either a placebo effect or there is something other than DA Conversion being applied, say compression for example.
3b. If it's placebo, then a good place for you to start would be with a DAC that costs a lot more and/or has a very good reputation in the audiophile community. But that might not cause the placebo effect you desire because no one knows your particular balance of biases or exactly how they'll affect your perception. If it's something other than the DA Conversion, then you need to look at features/specs for say compressors or whatever other sort of processing is causing the audible difference.

It would not be perfectly transparent, it might not even be entirely audibly transparent but that has nothing to do with the ADC or DAC process and everything to do with the choice of microphone, it's orientation and position. Again, mic's have to obey the laws of physical motion (of their diaphragm, and coil in the case of dynamic mics).

That is not the quest of commercially recorded music. "Up close" there are various mechanical extraneous noises; finger slides, bow scratches, the rustle of the musician's clothes, their breathing, etc., none of which will be heard or are intended to be heard by an audience at any reasonable listening distance, plus, there would be a relative reduction of the room/performance space acoustics. Given a hypothetically perfect mic, 16/44 would still be able to capture everything that you would hear, even "up close".

That's already been refuted, why just repeat false facts that have ALREADY been refuted?

Yes they ARE "actually objectively worse" AND they ALWAYS measure that way. They are rarely in used in the worlds top studios and when they are, it is precisely because they are actually objectively worse (but subjectively better).

They would and they have! All of the world's top commercial studios have and use plug-in compressors, they also have SS compressors and will get out their tube compressors if requested. Their $9k tube mics have also been replaced by quieter, more accurate mics, but again, can be requested. There are of course exceptions, some very good specialised commercial studios, those specialising in old rock genres or "country" for example, which maintain almost entirely analogue recording and mixing chains and typically have quite a lot of vintage gear but they're very rare these days. Plus of course there are countless home studios which are specialised for whatever the home user desires.

Yes but a response is either coloured or it's transparent. If it's coloured then it is NOT "an even, correct and complete tone". Of course, the last thing an electric guitarist is after is "an even, correct and complete tone", the sound of an electric guitar is defined by multiple layers of various types of distortion. Of course, once all that distortion has been finely tuned according to the subjective choices of the guitarist then we want an "even, correct and complete" reproduction of those finely tuned subjective choices.

1. Yes they are still in use but relatively rarely.
2. Most/All of the world's top studios have some tube gear in their inventory. They'll have a lot of stuff in their equipment list that they've collected over the years. Some of it was the best available at the time but has since been superseded and some of it was truly terrible even in it's own time but was purchased precisely because it was so terrible.
3. Again, they have changed out the tube gear for SS or software but they need to cater to a wide range of clients, old rockers and others looking for a bit of nostalgia for example.

1. Yes, there is a difference in DACs but NO, you are NOT showing there are many many different sounding DACS, you are claiming that but "showing" no reliable evidence whatsoever! Filter-less NOS DACS introduce noise and distortion well above the threshold of audibility and can be differentiated in controlled tests but there are NOT many, many of them, probably fewer than 0.001% of DACs! And again, a faulty by design DAC
2. Then that's the amplifier and not the DAC.
3. Which members, I haven't seen a single one! The vast majority of amplifiers sound the same (given the correct load of course) but there are some rare, esoteric exceptions and I've not seen any member of SS dispute that.

1. Correct, an audible departure from a linear/flat response is effectively broken, with both amps and DACs. It's been possible for decades to make amps and DACs that are audibly transparent and at a relatively low price. So, if a DAC or amp manufacturer fails to achieve that relatively easy to achieve benchmark, then it's effectively broken/faulty.
2. We know what you're saying but it's false. Even your explanation of it has been self-contradictory, let alone the fact that it contradicts the science. Amplification is the act of increasing the power of a signal ... that's it, nothing more and nothing less! Therefore, by definition, there is only ONE correct output response: The same output signal as the input signal but with more power. So, there CANNOT be "all types of correct responses", there's either the correct response or something different to the correct response, which by definition is incorrect.

1. Again, all amps and DACs are different, that's unavoidable with analogue circuitry, what is relatively easily avoidable is those differences being above the threshold of audibility.
2. Again, wise move!
3. No, in the vast majority of cases it does not affect the sound because the differences are below the noise floor of the speakers/HPs. I have seen measurements of particularly poorly designed DACs that could affect the sound with extremely low noise floor HPs/Speakers but it would still be around the threshold of audibility and there's no excuse for such poor design when even very cheap DACs can avoid it.


1. Hang on, you were talking about the world's top studios but then you give an example of what looks like a home studio.
2. Possibly, if they're using the studio just for themselves or for a tiny niche of clients, for example again, old rockers and others after the "sound" of the '50s/'60s.
3. Firstly, if he paid $2m for that, he's be badly "had"! And secondly, yes, of course, that's the whole point! A top class electric guitarist for example will typically go into a world class $10m studio with $10k or more worth of equipment deliberately chosen to degrade/distort the sound. Didn't you know this?

G
I am not denying (or defying) red books, or Shannon, Nyquist, Whittaker, Kotelnikov, et al.
I am asking how to apply this theoretical knowledge.
With respect to this dialog, it feels really regrettable that with so many words, the entropy of your response is very high...

I do appreciate your insight on the violin recordings. Again, I am not arguing that 16/44 may not be sufficient. I do agree that the extraneous noises can be annoying, but the sound can be so distinct, and with more people using IEMs - I am happy to see more of such recordings being produced and hope that it will be an increasing trend.

Now for your response:
"AFAIK, you can't find "some USB DAC more vivid than a simple Apple one" because all the Apple ones I've seen are audibly transparent"

Would it be a highly subjective statement?
Does the red book define "vivid". Did you define "vivid"?
Dogmas have their applicability limits!

Actually, my simple questions can be formulated as to what parameters define the perception of resolution, engagement.
How to gauge it experimentally?
What would be the parameters to measure (and then to adjust to personal preferences)?
 
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