DAC difference
Nov 28, 2021 at 12:36 PM Post #439 of 577

PhonoPhi

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I’m happy to record different E strings for you at work this week. I could start with a gold vs steel. I don’t think I have any wound E’s but I know I have at least 4 different kinds.
:) if you take your time for it- you mentioned Helicores and then some Eva Pirazzi against good Thomastic (I loved Jargar Superior but our great teacher clearly showed that the A-E transition is not great for young players to my dismay)
Recorded up close.

I will be happy to be fooled.
On my mp3 tests, courtesy of bigshot, I did not do well, but learned a lot. Still return to these tests - really helpful.

In many cases, E strings change the overall tension greatly, and then affect all the strings as well; it may be less pronounced on different setups.

Then the player skills to make something like Helicore and plain Dominant E sound similar would be equivalent of making a simple Goldbrokat sound great without whistling like Heifetz - hopefully worth of seting a test.
 
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Nov 28, 2021 at 1:53 PM Post #440 of 577

ExTubeGamer

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It's almost philosophically. A DAC receives Input, converts it and then outputs a signal. What if the input is imperfect? What if both input and output a subjected to electromagnetic interference?

The whole picture matters. A DAC is a microchip. A box that contains audio hardware is more then that.
 
Nov 28, 2021 at 2:23 PM Post #441 of 577

gregorio

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It's almost philosophically. A DAC receives Input, converts it and then outputs a signal. What if the input is imperfect?
A DAC just converts the digital data it receives into an analogue signal, that's it. It doesn't even know what that digital audio data represents, let alone whether it's perfect or not. Any half decent DAC will output exactly (within the limits of audibility) the input data, regardless of whether it's a symphony orchestra or a bug being squished, or whether it's a great recording of an orchestra or the worst imaginable.
What if both input and output a subjected to electromagnetic interference?
Any competent DAC will isolate itself from the environmental interference in which it is designed to operate. So, you might have a problem if you tried to use a home consumer DAC in a magnet factory but not in a home, unless of course it's incompetently designed.
The whole picture matters. A DAC is a microchip. A box that contains audio hardware is more then that.
Yes of course. With an audio reproduction system, it obviously matters greatly what it is that we're trying to reproduce. Speakers/HPs also matter, because unlike even cheap DACs, they cannot output exactly the input signal.

G
 
Nov 28, 2021 at 2:44 PM Post #442 of 577

PhonoPhi

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A DAC just converts the digital data it receives into an analogue signal, that's it. It doesn't even know what that digital audio data represents, let alone whether it's perfect or not. Any half decent DAC will output exactly (within the limits of audibility) the input data, regardless of whether it's a symphony orchestra or a bug being squished, or whether it's a great recording of an orchestra or the worst imaginable.

Any competent DAC will isolate itself from the environmental interference in which it is designed to operate. So, you might have a problem if you tried to use a home consumer DAC in a magnet factory but not in a home, unless of course it's incompetently designed.

Yes of course. With an audio reproduction system, it obviously matters greatly what it is that we're trying to reproduce. Speakers/HPs also matter, because unlike even cheap DACs, they cannot output exactly the input signal.

G
Any engineer that develop DAC chips now knows that they need sales and being distinct from those $2 DACs. The "transparency" won't sell, as simple and as Darwinistic as this, despite all good red books.
Hence those MQA encoders in DAC chips :frowning2:
 
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Nov 28, 2021 at 4:41 PM Post #443 of 577

Redcarmoose

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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
Really, this looks like a home studio to you? This is one of the premier studios is New York. I also listed Capital Records in LA which uses tubes and a Studio One in London.

The thing is this equipment is newly acquired, the studio is newly built, and he uses the tubes all the time. Check 12.22 if it’s questionable.



Finally you admitted to different amp (line out) sections sounding different; that is one difference you purchases a different DAC for. It's simple........manufacturers “tune” the line out section to offer a distinct personality to their DAC, that’s why people buy them.

Though after three attempts you’ve never stated that each op amp have a different sound? You must be avoiding this question.

Avoiding the question just like you avoided the second studio YouTube video and ignored it because it didn’t serve your narrative.

https://www.abbeyroad.com/studio-one
https://www.capitolstudios.com/


If you listen carefully he uses tubes (all the time) in three stages until the DA converter.
You can bring a horse to water........................................
 
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Nov 28, 2021 at 7:24 PM Post #444 of 577

Redcarmoose

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A DAC just converts the digital data it receives into an analogue signal, that's it. It doesn't even know what that digital audio data represents, let alone whether it's perfect or not. Any half decent DAC will output exactly (within the limits of audibility) the input data, regardless of whether it's a symphony orchestra or a bug being squished, or whether it's a great recording of an orchestra or the worst imaginable.

Any competent DAC will isolate itself from the environmental interference in which it is designed to operate. So, you might have a problem if you tried to use a home consumer DAC in a magnet factory but not in a home, unless of course it's incompetently designed.

Yes of course. With an audio reproduction system, it obviously matters greatly what it is that we're trying to reproduce. Speakers/HPs also matter, because unlike even cheap DACs, they cannot output exactly the input signal.

G
So do you have a device with three DAC inputs? Does optical have the same volume level as USB? Does the RCA toslink have exactly the same level as the USB? No.....they are all different volume levels at times. That’s only just the beginning of the differences. So you feel that every transport to a DAC is exactly the same? That a $20 Walmart DVD player is the same as a $10K transport? Really?

A DAC chip only has what it has to work with. There can be a myriad of timing issues, noise.....all which affect the performance of a DAC. So all these guys are completely wasting their money with expensive transports? They should sell their transports and go to Walmart?

Everything put into expensive transports is fake?
 
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Nov 29, 2021 at 6:11 AM Post #445 of 577

bigshot

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Any engineer that develop DAC chips now knows that they need sales and being distinct from those $2 DACs. The "transparency" won't sell, as simple and as Darwinistic as this, despite all good red books.
Hence those MQA encoders in DAC chips :frowning2:
That is a theory. Any examples to back it up?

If I made a high end DAC, the last thing I would want to do is make one with a lower fidelity than a $2 DAC. Instead, I would try to convince people that mine sounded better, even though it sounded exactly the same. I would encourage anecdotal impressions that benefitted my product, and I would publish information showing that my DAC was better than others, even if none of the things I was pointing to were audible. I would let people think that with trained discerning hearing, it *might* be audible.

Try that theory on for size.
 
Nov 29, 2021 at 6:19 AM Post #446 of 577

gregorio

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[1] The "transparency" won't sell, as simple and as Darwinistic as this, despite all good red books.
[2] Hence those MQA encoders in DAC chips
1. Where did you get this? There are only a handful of DAC chip manufacturers in the world, they all make audibly transparent DAC chips and they sell billions of them. AFAIK, they also sell audibly transparent DAC chips with more programming access, for example with switchable reconstruction filters but they always provide a standard, virtually perfect filter.

2. MQA is audibly transparent.

[1] Really, this looks like a home studio to you?
[2] This is one of the premier studios is New York. [3] I also listed Capital Records in LA which uses tubes and a Studio One in London.
1. Yes, your first example does, can’t you tell? How many world class studios have you been to that use a book cabinet instead of proper acoustic treatment? And that’s only one of the give aways!

2. Yes, I’ve ALREADY said that most/all top studios have some tube gear. And, depending on their clientele, they may use it more or less frequently. If you want to go down that road, I believe there are still some top class studios in Nashville that maintain entirely analogue signal paths and regularly use lots of vintage gear. However, these types of studio are exceedingly rare these days.

3. Oh the irony, you’ve chosen to quote one of the world class studios I’ve actually worked in and that I was referencing! But you chose the wrong one, Abbey Road’s studio 3 is the one with the most tube gear. Mind you, you could have done worse and quoted studio 4, the Penthouse studio, which is exclusively new technology. If fact they had the world’s first installation of Neve’s digital desk back in the early ‘90s. However, all of Abbey Road studios, including #3, the most retro as far as equipment is concerned, record digitally with flat/transparent ADCs and DACs, using Pro Tools with an extensive compliment of plug-ins! Being the 1st purpose built recording studio in the world, at one time pretty much all the equipment was tube based and Abbey Road is probably the most anal studio in the world for keeping and maintaining it but even so, most of it is gone or in storage rather than in use. It’s only really the occasional tube compressors/limiters that’re used fairly often but there are SS and software options. Some of the valve mics are used quite often too, with certain genres.

While I’ve not worked at Capitol Records, they’re equipment setup is very similar to Abbey Road: Pro Tools with flat ADCs/DACs with a large compliment of plugins and some vintage gear, although maybe not quite as much as Abbey Road.

AFAIK, there are no pro-audio ADCs/DACs which are anything other than flat/audibly transparent.

[1] Finally you admitted to different amp (line out) sections sounding different; [2] that is one difference you purchases a different DAC for. [3] It simple........manufacturers “tune” the line out section to offer a distinct personality to their DAC, that’s why people buy them.
1. What do you mean “Finally”, I’ve stated that all along. Are you even reading the thread you’re responding to? I’ve ALWAYS said there are some exceptions, some tube amps that are coloured! But these are a tiny minority of amps.

2. No it’s not. Most sane people buy a DAC to do its job as well as possible, not as badly as possible! Again, to convert digital data to an analogue signal. And even YOU stated that people are after an even, correct and complete response. Now you’re saying people buy DACs for a massively uneven, incorrect and incomplete response?!

3. Just repeating a false statement doesn’t suddenly make it true, no matter how many times you repeat it! What would make it true in this forum, is if you show us the objective measurements of all these DACs with all these relatively huge deviations from an audibly flat/linear response. You don’t need to show us the measurements for filterless NOS DACs though, because we’ve already seen them and discussed this very rare type of DAC as being one of the few exceptions.

G
 
Nov 29, 2021 at 6:35 AM Post #447 of 577

Redcarmoose

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2. No it’s not. Most sane people buy a DAC to do its job as well as possible, not as badly as possible! Again, to convert digital data to an analogue signal. And even YOU stated that people are after an even, correct and complete response. Now you’re saying people buy DACs for a massively uneven, incorrect and incomplete response?
So......even though this will be the forth time this has been asked.......... you still choose to remain quite as to answer the question about if different styles of Operational Amplifiers (OP amps) have a different sound, depending on the chip you choose?

2) Right they choose a DAC to be a DAC. But.....with-in the realm of DACs there are variations in reproduction....and a good many great. Though they all produce a different (variation) in tone.

So if you say “Yes” that the line out amps of DACs sound different then you are saying there is a difference in DACs, we are saying the exact same thing. Except your saying it’s a tiny minority of amps, and I’m saying that it’s many DACs which contain a slight difference in the line out stage. And of course your joking to saying people want a hugely uneven FR. What they want is what they have; a cornucopia of responses (depending on DAC choice) though every one (to an extent) is the enjoyable. Some more than others but it depends on the listener and what sound they are after.

Due to the front end DAC implementation you can have a sound that’s clear or blurry. Yet only by a very, very small amount. Then the line out section allows a mixing and matching of character.

But it is really not as simple as warm, cold, neutral. As some DAC, line out products will have a tiny boost only in one frequency. Another, possibly another frequency. You will have treble centric DACs which seem to promote detail, but possibly they are not as well rounded and don’t offer the ability to listen to them all day. They can be too much, depending on the other equipment used with them. Then there are the DACs that are laidback almost to a fault to where they borderline on boring, but you can listen to them all day long. But I also notice big variation in soundstage too? Where some are more right to left and others are more “fishbowl” effect. I mean if they use different amp methodology then changes like this are a given......yes?

The Studio:
Ok, yes I see the book cabinet. That’s true as why is it near the drums? Good point. Ok, so this studio uses less computer audio, and I agree from a marketing standpoint that there is so many computer workstations in use in people’s homes that you have to do something to get business. And offering tubes is one thing that separates them from the home recorder. I will give you that.

And that he states he uses less computer as the mixing board lets him multitask where the computer is troublesome.

So him using exclusively tubes and him saying they offer him a more open sound, and more range, is just clever marketing?
 
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Nov 29, 2021 at 6:50 AM Post #448 of 577

bigshot

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Duffers arguing with someone who does it for a living.
 
Nov 29, 2021 at 7:10 AM Post #449 of 577

gregorio

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So do you have a device with three DAC inputs? Does optical have the same volume level as USB? Does the RCA toslink have exactly the same level as the USB? No.....they are all different volume levels at times.
Sometimes you come out with statements so bizarre I can’t decide if you’re being serious. Volume is of course defined by the digital data, the zeros and ones. It doesn’t matter which transfer protocol you use, if the zeros and ones are the same, IE. You’re outputting the same audio to the DAC chip, the volume is the same.

If you are being serious, maybe you’re using the term “volume” in a way I’m not understanding?
That’s only just the beginning of the differences.
Oh dear, you mean you’ve got even more differences that are actually identical?
So you feel that every transport to a DAC is exactly the same? That a $20 Walmart DVD player is the same as a $10K transport? Really?
If it’s able to output the same digital data then of course it’s the same, that’s the whole point of digital audio in the first place! Of course I’d expect a $10k transport to be very different from a $20 Walmart DVD player. I assume the DVD player can only play DVDs and CDs and would expect a $10k transport to support a much more comprehensive variety of audio formats, mp3 and AAC at least. But if they’re both playing a CD, then they’ll sound identical, assuming no additional pre or post processing/effects of course.
A DAC chip only has what it has to work with. There can be a myriad of timing issues, noise.....all which affect the performance of a DAC.
Yes but you don’t seem to realise what a DAC chip has to work with. Namely, a buffered and/or re-clocked digital signal. Therefore timing issues should be at least 100 times below audibility, even with a very cheap DAC!

Noise has no effect on the transport of digital audio data, unless it’s so severe the digital data is corrupted beyond repair.
So all these guys are completely wasting their money with expensive transports? They should sell their transports and go to Walmart?
If they’re only playing CDs/DVDs and outputting to a single amp, then they only need a cheap DVD/CD player. Isn’t that obvious?

G
 
Nov 29, 2021 at 7:20 AM Post #450 of 577

Redcarmoose

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Sometimes you come out with statements so bizarre I can’t decide if you’re being serious. Volume is of course defined by the digital data, the zeros and ones. It doesn’t matter which transfer protocol you use, if the zeros and ones are the same, IE. You’re outputting the same audio to the DAC chip, the volume is the same.

If you are being serious, maybe you’re using the term “volume” in a way I’m not understanding?

G
No, I have a AMP/DAC that has a different volume level output depending on the input. Also quality differences that all of us that have the unit all agree on. USB is the loudest, and RCA toslink is the quietest one. All of us who have ownership of the unit express the same issue. None of us like the toslink RCA, and we prefer USB or optical.

Volume meaning it’s an all in one unit. So output to headphones is different per input methodology.
 

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