DAC difference
Nov 29, 2021 at 7:44 AM Post #451 of 577

PhonoPhi

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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.
OK. I will repeat.

ESS chips has filters, e.g.ES9018, ES90318 and many others, especially "high end")
Here is the brief description:
https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/printthread.php?t=337829
Note that there are no "off" option, so what would be "transparent"?
Can anyone tell based on their knowledge of the redbook?
AKM 409* series have filters, as well as their "trademark" velvet sound (that I personally did not like, and their factory was burned, so we can concentrate on ESS)

Even worst (IMHO), MQA "decoding" is now embedded in the newer chips, e.g. ES9219.

Where are "my theories" here?

(My theories are that the sound is further "cooked" by product developers, but let's concentrate on the facts above.)

How the DAC chips above would not be different from "$2 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. See my examples above.
2. Do you have any evidence that MQA is "transparent"?
What is you view on MQA technology and the reasons for its adoption?
 
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Nov 29, 2021 at 8:54 AM Post #452 of 577

gregorio

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1. See my examples above.
Ah, I see. Unfortunately, you seem not to know some of the basics of digital audio, the “specs” as you called them previously, that I stated were published in 1948. Let me answer and explain this question:
Note that there are no "off" option, so what would be "transparent"?
Answer: Everything below the filter’s transition band.

More importantly though, what would be transparent without a filter?
Answer: Pretty much nothing!

You see, a filter is a requirement of digital audio, as specified by Shannon. It’s typically called a reconstruction (or anti-imaging) filter and without it you cannot achieve accurate reconstruction. The reason why filterless NOS DACs are an exception to the rule of audible transparency is because they don’t have a reconstruction filter!

With the exception of those extremely rare and very silly filterless DACs, all DACs, from the cheapest consumer to the most expensive pro-audio have a filter. In the chip example given, it includes a standard, optimal filter, that you’ll find in even the cheaper chips but also the option of switching to some slightly different filters. However, the measured differences are so small, it’s highly doubtful there are any real world conditions under which those differences could be audible.
Can anyone tell based on their knowledge of the redbook?
Partly yes. Red Book has a sampling rate of 44.1kHz per second, which according to the rules/specs of digital audio means you can’t have any audio frequencies above 22,050Hz. As human hearing at best only extends to 20kHz, that allows a transition band of 2,050Hz for the filter to operate, that’s outside the range of human hearing. However, red book does not require a filter to actually operate in that band, there’s nothing stopping you from starting earlier or later, using a smaller transition band. The vast majority do though because there are disadvantages.
2. Do you have any evidence that MQA is "transparent"?

[3] What is you view on MQA technology and the reasons for its adoption?
2. I did a quick test in a studio that could encode MQA and heard no difference but it was not fully controlled and comes under the heading of anecdotal rather than reliable evidence. Looking at the patent application though, there’s no apparent reason why it should perform any less (or more) transparently than say MP3 320 or AAC 256.

3. This was covered several years ago here on SS. In brief, as it’s off topic, it’s a money grab with no audible or other benefits over existing (free) lossy formats. Plus, I take particular exception to their marketing BS and strategy.

G
 
Nov 29, 2021 at 9:23 AM Post #453 of 577

hakunamakaka

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Noise has no effect on the transport of digital audio data, unless it’s so severe the digital data is corrupted beyond repair.



G

I hear background noise with apple dongle, buzzing sound intensifies very audibly when 4g activates on phone. Even nearly inaudible hiss can get annoying when amplified resulting in congested staging and peaky treble.

https://www.analog.com/media/en/training-seminars/design-handbooks/Basic-Linear-Design/Chapter6.pdf
There are numerous threads on head-fi, but if design handbooks won't make you to believe then there is no reason to point you there.

Either way whatever floats your boat, some folks will simply go for slightly colored DAC and different presentation. When you get pass the idea that there is no such thing as an artist intended it gets very easy to enjoy the music the way your ears prefer.
 
Nov 29, 2021 at 12:05 PM Post #454 of 577

VNandor

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All amplifiers like the S-Master design can be highly accurate—in some respects they can even be too accurate. Phase linearity is an issue with analog amplifiers and a contributor to analog sound. When you connect a real-world amplifier to a real-world headphone, the interaction causes significant departure from phase linearity at frequencies below 30 or 50 Hz. Sony studies show a typical deviation from linear phase of about +90 degrees.
Where on earth did you read this? Any sane implementation of an analog amplifier wouldn't cause such a phase shift, theoretical, or real world. I think you read a lot of information and often times not from the best sources and then you spew it back here but (I'll give the benefit of the doubt of whoever wrote that hit peace you read about phase linearity of analog audio amplifiers) taken out of context and without any real understanding of it.

This raises an interesting dilemma. Should a new digital amplifier incorporate this phase shift or leave the sound in its original state?
It doesn't raise any dilemma because this shouldn't happen to an amplifier in the first place.
 
Nov 29, 2021 at 1:05 PM Post #455 of 577

bigshot

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ESS chips has filters, e.g.ES9018, ES90318 and many others, especially "high end")
Here is the brief description:
https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/printthread.php?t=337829
Note that there are no "off" option, so what would be "transparent"?

I have an Oppo HA-1 with the Sabre chip. It sounds exactly like all my other equipment. Filters are designed to make the output correct. The only time you would end up with something else is if you use the wrong filter in the wrong situation. User error.

2. Do you have any evidence that MQA is "transparent"?
What is you view on MQA technology and the reasons for its adoption?

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/37291-mqa-blind-test-summary-summary-comments/

At the proper data rate, lossy is audibly transparent; so it isn't surprising that it was difficult to discern a clear difference here.
 
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Nov 29, 2021 at 1:11 PM Post #456 of 577

bigshot

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I think you read a lot of information and often times not from the best sources and then you spew it back here

To be fair, that is par for the course in most internet forums. People throw out information (good or bad) blended with opinions (mostly bad) and armchair experts memorize and repeat it as "common knowledge". Pretty soon, common knowledge becomes gospel. I see stuff like that all the time in discussion of LP playback. Stairstep theories and super audible frequencies in vinyl records are totally bogus, but people repeat it all the time and insist it's true because "everyone else says it". There's no standard of accuracy in audiophile forums and stuff like this goes on without comment all the time. Sound Science is a little different, and that is why we are boxed up in a single forum and not allowed to roam free in the rest of Head Fi.

What puzzles me is why people who want to spout nonsense get so attached to this forum. It's like they want to be corrected and proved wrong constantly.
 
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Nov 29, 2021 at 1:17 PM Post #457 of 577

bigshot

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I hear background noise with apple dongle, buzzing sound intensifies very audibly when 4g activates on phone.

The problem is with your phone, not the dongle. You should take it in to an Apple Store and show them the problem. They can fix your phone for you.

some folks will simply go for slightly colored DAC and different presentation.

It's fine if people want to do that, but I'm pretty sure they would have a very difficult time finding a colored DAC. Are you talking about obsolete NOS DACs? That was corrected in 1985. Do you know of any current models that have been shown to be performing out of spec in measurements? Every DAC I see is rated well within the threshold of transparency.
 
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Nov 29, 2021 at 2:34 PM Post #458 of 577

PhonoPhi

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I have an Oppo HA-1 with the Sabre chip. It sounds exactly like all my other equipment. Filters are designed to make the output correct. The only time you would end up with something else is if you use the wrong filter in the wrong situation. User error.



https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/37291-mqa-blind-test-summary-summary-comments/

At the proper data rate, lossy is audibly transparent; so it isn't surprising that it was difficult to discern a clear difference here.
OK.
We can perfectly agree about MQA.

If everything is "transparent", why there are different filters there - some of them are definitely audibly different, at least in the end of the signal processing chain.

I came to this forum asking specific questions: how to apply the concept of "transparency" to select best/better DACs.
(I do find the concept of "transparency" useful, at least as a reference point)

So far other than being acutely aware of my limited knowledge/understanding, what could I learn?

Sadly, it reminded me my recent dialogue on Head- Fi about cables, where a person instead of explaining his absurdous number, started to call me stupid for not being able to read "Appendix B" of his reference, since "everything was there"; it happened that he did not have a single clue about his "calculations", but he happily continued to preach his wisdom, posting a table of synergy of cables and IEMs.

I am not sure whether it is really important, but I have not done much other than science (natural science) for the last... many years. I've seen a lot...
The ability to explain is precious (to conclude my ramblings).
 
Nov 29, 2021 at 2:47 PM Post #459 of 577

hakunamakaka

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The problem is with your phone, not the dongle. You should take it in to an Apple Store and show them the problem. They can fix your phone for you.



It's fine if people want to do that, but I'm pretty sure they would have a very difficult time finding a colored DAC. Are you talking about obsolete NOS DACs? That was corrected in 1985. Do you know of any current models that have been shown to be performing out of spec in measurements? Every DAC I see is rated well within the threshold of transparency.


I actually have one

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ng-up4-review-dac-bt-headphone-adapter.23175/

Still audibly better to me than dongle.

Should I bring my girlfriends/friends iphones to an apple store too ? Seems apple is failing a lot with their phone designs than…

The best sound that I get is via optical to my Qutest DAC, dead silent. I can switch to different source with a button press on this DAC, change flavor with filter if I want to. However laptopt via usb brings slightly audible noise, you can hear it if you come close to the speakers. When listening to music this way treble gets a bit hot and staging feels congested

Heard soekris 2541 DAC, which to my ears had more realistic timbre, closer to my TT setup, but I’ve said enough long time ago as I found what simply works in my case.

My hearing is not the best too, if properly done even 128kbps is enough for me. Would struggle to tell a difference in many cases
 
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Nov 29, 2021 at 2:59 PM Post #460 of 577

bigshot

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Yes, if the phone isn’t working properly, take it in. Especially if it’s under warranty. You never know if your kludge might not work any more down the line. If the problem is clearly audible and reproduceable, get them to fix it.

When you say switching to 5G triggers it, that indicates the problem is the phone, not the dongle. Your phone functionality should have nothing to do with the music playback.
 
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Nov 29, 2021 at 3:02 PM Post #461 of 577

bigshot

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If everything is "transparent", why there are different filters there - some of them are definitely audibly different, at least in the end of the signal processing chain.
It’s like a lot of other things. Professional sound engineers need flexibility in the studio, so options are created. High end home audio companies attach that “feature” to their product, even though there’s no need or application for it in a typical home setting. Since DACs generally all do their job well, more features is better. Or at least that’s the theory.
 
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Nov 30, 2021 at 7:05 AM Post #462 of 577

gregorio

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I hear background noise with apple dongle, buzzing sound intensifies very audibly when 4g activates on phone. Even nearly inaudible hiss can get annoying when amplified resulting in congested staging and peaky treble.
That’s bad. What test did you use to determine it was noise/interference on the digital data transfer, rather than noise/interference on the amp or any other part of analogue chain?

As bigshot said, take it/them back to Apple.
That’s a very good example. A DAC with some particularly poor measurements, that could justifiably be described as “terrible”. HOWEVER, it’s only “terrible” in relation to the measurements of other modern DACs! Other DACs would typically have noise/distortion measurements that are 100 or so times below the noise floor of recordings, this DAC, very roughly only about 10 or so times. It’s still inaudible though!! The freq response is also flat up to about 18kHz and about 4dB down at 20kHz, again, not good but also not audible. The dynamic range again isn’t good but is still around 30 or more times greater than almost every commercial music recording.

This “terrible” DAC is still audibly transparent. So, the measurements YOU have quoted demonstrate that you do NOT “actually have” an audibly coloured DAC! Thanks for such a good example.
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?
If you want to start a thread on OP amps, then do so. This thread is about DACs.
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.
You don’t find that at all hypocritical? It will be about the fourth time you’ve been asked to provide some reliable evidence that DACs all produce audibly different variations in tone. But you simply ignore that requirement of Science (and of this forum) and keep repeating the same falsehood.
And of course your joking to saying people want a hugely uneven FR.
But I am NOT saying people want a hugely uneven FR, YOU are! So are you joking? We’re not going to get very far if you don’t know what I or even you yourself are saying!

It’s really not that difficult to understand: If, as you keep repeating, there are variations in DAC FR that result in tonal characteristics that are actually audible, then the DACs FR has to be hugely uneven. Far more uneven than the example of the “terrible” DAC quoted above!
What they want is what they have; a cornucopia of responses (depending on DAC choice) though every one (to an extent) is the enjoyable.
Yes, they have a cornucopia of responses but with almost no exceptions, the differences are inaudible.
Some more than others but it depends on the listener and what sound they are after.
It doesn’t depend on the sound because in most cases the differences between DACs are so small they can’t be resolved by speakers/HPs. And in those cases where a deficiency can be reproduced, it obviously cannot depend on the listener if it’s inaudible!
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.
Yes, but an amount that’s so small it can’t even be resolved into sound.
Then the line out section allows a mixing and matching of character.
Only if you define “character” as some inaudible property. But then why would anyone want to mix and match inaudible properties?
But it is really not as simple as warm, cold, neutral.
Correct, it’s not that simple, it’s in fact even simpler, there’s just neutral, with some extremely rare exceptions.
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, ….
Bla, bla, bla. There are no DACs with any treble boost let alone a treble boost huge enough to be audible. You don’t need to show us measurements of the many DACs you claim, just one or two would do. Until you do, your claims will continue to be treated as nonsense and/or placebo based on false marketing!
The Studio:
And that he states he uses less computer as the mixing board lets him multitask where the computer is troublesome.
That’s not really true, although it is to some degree personal preference. There have been control surfaces for Pro Tools for many years, that look and act the same as traditional board (but also have far more functionality).
So him using exclusively tubes and him saying they offer him a more open sound, and more range, is just clever marketing?
Effectively yes but it depends on what he means by “open sound” and “range”. However, when he stated they provide more transparency, that is false, because there is nothing more transparent than digital. Certainly there would be an appeal for those using modelled plugins to have a chance to use the actual physical units the plugins are modelled on. Also, plugins generally provide far more flexibility and functionality than the physical units but to replicate the sound of a chain of such physical units with plugins can be very time consuming. So there is a valid argument for having the physical units rather than just the plugins, if you have clients after that vintage sound.

G
 
Nov 30, 2021 at 8:06 AM Post #463 of 577

Redcarmoose

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If you want to start a thread on OP amps, then do so. This thread is about DACs.
https://www.head-fi.org/threads/best-op-amp-for-a-dac-output.284081/

8763757.jpg



Well...............if you look up all the threads on op amps they seem to be looked at by pretty much everyone as sounding different. Some are close (to the same) and some are truly unique sounding. Now yes, we are talking about DACs but it's imposable to get the signal out to line out with out using some form of line out amplification?

Thus, obviously op amps are not always used for DACs, but each style of amplification may sound slightly different? Go to the lists of all the op amps in the Head-Fi thread? Your basically saying all these people are wrong?
 
Nov 30, 2021 at 8:07 AM Post #464 of 577

gregorio

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If everything is "transparent", why there are different filters there - some of them are definitely audibly different, at least in the end of the signal processing chain.
Mostly, for audiophile marketing purposes. There are a few extreme filters out there that are audible. I’ve seen some that roll-off the treble starting around 10kHz, which would be audible under many conditions and even one that was supposed to emulate a NOS DAC, which should be audible under nearly any condition. Also, see my response to Bigshot below.
I came to this forum asking specific questions: how to apply the concept of "transparency" to select best/better DACs.
(I do find the concept of "transparency" useful, at least as a reference point)
“Transparency” is a term normally used to describe an audible characteristic. EG. Not audibly coloured or, fidelity at least equal to the threshold of audibility. Using this meaning of the term, we cannot apply the concept of “transparency” to select a better DAC because virtually all DACs are transparent.
So far other than being acutely aware of my limited knowledge/understanding, what could I learn?
Because that concept can’t be applied, there’s obviously not much that can be leaned beyond that fact. We could change the parameters of your question, say use the term to mean; fidelity beyond audibility but then of course we’re just talking about inaudible specifications.
Professional sound engineers need flexibility in the studio, so options are created.
I’m sure there probably are some pro-audio ADCs or DACs out there with switchable filters but I’ve not seen any and none of the top studios I’ve worked at have them. Furthermore, I can’t think of any practical application for using any anti-alias or reconstruction filter other than the standard most optimal one.

While there are many examples of options that are useful for sound engineers but useless for consumers (except in terms of marketing), this isn’t one of them.

G
 
Nov 30, 2021 at 8:59 AM Post #465 of 577

gregorio

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Now yes, we are talking about DACs but it's imposable to get the signal out to line out with out using some form of line out amplification?
Yes BUT:

1. We are not talking about power amplification, the output levels needed to drive speakers or HPs, just the amplification to line level, which is the input level for a power amp and

2. When we measure the performance of DACs, it’s their analogue line level output that we’re measuring. So these DAC artefacts we’re measuring at vanishingly low (inaudible levels) include the amplification to line level.
Your basically saying all these people are wrong?
I’ve got no problem at all saying “all these people are wrong”. Green marker pens on CDs, digital inter-connects, much of the rest of the audiophile cable market, HRA, flac sounding different to lossless and a host of other myths “all these people” falsely claim. I say “all these people are wrong” when they contradict the reliable evidence and don’t provide any reliable evidence to support their claims.

G
 

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