Grace SDAC (Drop) Upgrade to Topping D50s or D90?
May 17, 2020 at 7:39 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

Bullpride

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I recently finished a Bottlehead Crack Build. I am using the Grace SDAC which is integrated into of the Liquid Carbon X.

Question?
Will I notice a difference going to the D50s? Or do I need to go to something like the D90 to notice?
I will be running Flac through Musicbee on a PC through USB.

I am not married to the idea of a Topping, but realize they are high Value/cost.

Thanks
 
May 17, 2020 at 11:22 PM Post #2 of 10

NA Blur

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The SDAC is already a great DAC having low noise, over 2 volts RMS, and linearity. I see no reason to change it out.

I always recommend the following order when upgrading:

1.) Buy new music
2.) Change headphones
3.) Change amp
4.) Change DAC if the output voltage is below 2v RMS and/or you are experiencing noise issues.
 
May 18, 2020 at 6:33 AM Post #3 of 10

Bullpride

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Excellent, thanks. I am pretty happy with my headphone (Atticus) and I just finished the bottlehead build. I thinking I will concentrate on improving my collection.
 
May 20, 2020 at 9:12 PM Post #6 of 10

aGloveSupreme

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Hey there Bullpride,

I've been studying the varying opinions on DACs a lot myself lately and have seen many stick to the hardline objective stance while others judge dacs purely on subjective measures. I can understand how people would rather let science speak truth.. but I really do think there's more to it than what measurements exist for both DACs as well as other pieces of equipment in the chain. Many of us have experienced the synergies gained from an excellent match of components, like your bottlehead crack and a pair of HD650s and this advantageous impedance match for both pieces is just an example of how the entire system plays on each other and breaking down a system piece by piece doesn't always make sense to me.

There are other such differences that I swear I can hear, like the immediacy of a class A SET amp. Not being fed back on itself I believe really makes the amp more immediate and musical.

Anyways, I digress. I too currently use a Grace SDAC and a bottlehead crack (as well as a bottlehead stereomour) and have been quite enjoying it. But as I read more and more about delta-sigma DACs vs R-2R (or Multibit) designs I started to realize that a delta-sigma DAC measures well, not because it's accurate, but it works more like how a TV can utilize different algorithms to smooth motion between frames or various noise reducing filters. Yes, this will lead to a smoother, more precise image, but it's not natural and I personally really dislike basically all of these "enhancements". So yes, delta-sigma DACs measure better, but it's fake.. it's added areas that are estimations of where the waveform should actually be. It's unnatural.

For that reason, I've decided to take a leap of faith and order a Bifrost 2. If you want, I'll reply with my conclusions when it arrives. Who knows, it's likely that I won't hear a difference at all.
 
May 22, 2020 at 4:38 PM Post #7 of 10

sajunky

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SDAC is a steal for that money, you have received good advice.
Anyways, I digress. I too currently use a Grace SDAC and a bottlehead crack (as well as a bottlehead stereomour) and have been quite enjoying it. But as I read more and more about delta-sigma DACs vs R-2R (or Multibit) designs I started to realize that a delta-sigma DAC measures well, not because it's accurate, but it works more like how a TV can utilize different algorithms to smooth motion between frames or various noise reducing filters. Yes, this will lead to a smoother, more precise image, but it's not natural and I personally really dislike basically all of these "enhancements". So yes, delta-sigma DACs measure better, but it's fake.. it's added areas that are estimations of where the waveform should actually be. It's unnatural.

For that reason, I've decided to take a leap of faith and order a Bifrost 2. If you want, I'll reply with my conclusions when it arrives. Who knows, it's likely that I won't hear a difference at all.
Good move. Using Audio GD R2R11 with HD600, I'm very happy. However DS converters appeal more to those who listen to the loudness war products. For that reason I do recommend $42 option just to test whether you like R2R sound or not. Here is a device that pointed me to a direction. In a case you don't like it, there is a chance you will still use it with a smartphone on the road. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32881225029.html
 
May 22, 2020 at 5:52 PM Post #8 of 10

aGloveSupreme

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SDAC is a steal for that money, you have received good advice.

Good move. Using Audio GD R2R11 with HD600, I'm very happy. However DS converters appeal more to those who listen to the loudness war products. For that reason I do recommend $42 option just to test whether you like R2R sound or not. Here is a device that pointed me to a direction. In a case you don't like it, there is a chance you will still use it with a smartphone on the road. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32881225029.html

Hey thanks a lot for the reco! It's too late for this guy, i've blissfully hopped into the deep end with my Bifrost 2 order which is waiting on some pcb boards apparently.. supply chain issues. No matter since my SDAC sounds so damn good already. But a past me would have jumped at this cheap R-2R to try it out and, as you say, have a nice portable solution if nothing else. Fedex just dropped off my Woo Audio dual headphone stand and i'm in business on a beautiful Friday. Let's roll
 

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