Is burn in real or placebo?
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upstateguy

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See I recently replaced my old non USB benchmark dac1 with an rme adi2 dac and I thoroughly tested both (not blind) with different headphones while volume matching and I could not tell them apart one bit. I have an amp with dual inputs and an input switch which allows me to switch between the two DACs instantly so I found it worthwhile to test things out. I used a USB to SPDIF interface on the DAC1, and USB out on the RME. This is with stock settings on both units, no resampling.

I'm a little less inclined now to believe that DACs sound different. I think if the implementation is sound, they'll sound the same. I'll keep the RME because I'm growing to really like the features and EQ capabilities, but from a sound quality perspective it made no difference.

I did a similar test with cables years ago and now, aside from a couple of expensive pairs I still have, I only buy cheap monoprice cables which to my ears, make no difference in sound.

Headphones I am of the same mind, I've never noticed any of the headphones I own changing, sound wise, after many hours of use. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen as my ear could be adapting, who knows. I recently bought a pair of hd6XXs which supposedly sound dramatically different after hundreds of hours, so we'll see. I made note of my first impressions on it so I have something to reference to in the future.
Can we agree that similar circuit implementations using the same bitrate and sampling techniques like oversampling or upsampling might sound similar but different circuit implementations using using different bitrates and different sampling techniques might not sound the same?

If different circuit implementations didn't sound different, why did Stello include an upsampling switch and say this about it in the DA100 manual?

From the PDF of the DA100 manual:

"UPSAMPLE : You can select either 192kHz/24 Bit upsampling or Bypass. ‘BYPASS’ means the digital output is exactly same as the digital input (up to 96kHz/24 Bit). You should be the judge to decide which mode is better because the musicality and nuance vary depending on the recording status of the sources.
Generally, we recommend 192 upsampling for most of the playback."
 
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post-14848088
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elmoe

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Can we agree that similar circuit implementations using the same bitrate and sampling techniques like oversampling or upsampling might sound similar but different circuit implementations using using different bitrates and different sampling techniques might not sound the same?

If different circuit implementations didn't sound different, why did Stello include an upsampling switch and say this about it in the DA100 manual?

From the PDF of the DA100 manual:

"UPSAMPLE : You can select either 192kHz/24 Bit upsampling or Bypass. ‘BYPASS’ means the digital output is exactly same as the digital input (up to 96kHz/24 Bit). You should be the judge to decide which mode is better because the musicality and nuance vary depending on the recording status of the sources.
Generally, we recommend 192 upsampling for most of the playback."
I can't tell you with any certainty anymore. Before testing the two DACs I did think I heard difference when upsampling, but I never actually tested this, just noticed it when listening to music. I do think that it is possible depending on implementation that upsampling makes an audible difference but until I see proper test results or try for myself, I can't be certain.

As to why certain manufacturers make certain claims, I can't answer that and I can't say whether those claims can or can't be trusted without data or my own testing of said gear.
 
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bigshot

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If you want to know, you apply controls to your comparison tests. It isn't hard and there are people here in this forum who would be happy to help you set up a way of doing that yourself.
 
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elmoe

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If you want to know, you apply controls to your comparison tests. It isn't hard and there are people here in this forum who would be happy to help you set up a way of doing that yourself.
No need, I've read enough on the topic to set that up myself. I feel confident enough to do this without blind testing, as I compared my DACs this way and couldn't tell a difference, there's no need for me to take it further and go blind. Upsampling vs not upsampling is something I just haven't yet tested. I probably will at some point.
 
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upstateguy

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No need, I've read enough on the topic to set that up myself. I feel confident enough to do this without blind testing, as I compared my DACs this way and couldn't tell a difference, there's no need for me to take it further and go blind. Upsampling vs not upsampling is something I just haven't yet tested. I probably will at some point.
It occurs to me that if you don't have a DAC that offers different sampling choices it doesn't matter one little bit. I've had a bunch of DACs and the only one that had a switch was that Stello. My only point was that the prevailing notion in the Subjectivist's Forum, that all DACs sound the same, is not entirely true, by virtue of the one I have with an upsampling switch that changes the sound by changing the implementation.
 
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elmoe

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It occurs to me that if you don't have a DAC that offers different sampling choices it doesn't matter one little bit. I've had a bunch of DACs and the only one that had a switch was that Stello. My only point was that the prevailing notion in the Subjectivist's Forum, that all DACs sound the same, is not entirely true, by virtue of the one I have with an upsampling switch that changes the sound by changing the implementation.
Right. Both my DACs can upsample and I gave it a quick test this evening. I won't say there's any kind of dramatic difference, to be honest I'm not even convinced upsampling "sounds better", but there is an audible difference that I can pick out. I didn't spend enough time with it and will play more tomorrow so my opinion might change, who knows. Maybe for this I might talk the wife into helping me do a controlled test.
 
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cool, the conversation isn't full of disrespect and personal attacks. I officially call this going in the right direction. now if at some point you guys could try discussing a topic in the appropriate thread, that would be even better :wink:
 
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elmoe

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cool, the conversation isn't full of disrespect and personal attacks. I officially call this going in the right direction. now if at some point you guys could try discussing a topic in the appropriate thread, that would be even better :wink:
Hey upsampling testing is all part of my DAC burn-in :wink:
 
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upstateguy

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cool, the conversation isn't full of disrespect and personal attacks. I officially call this going in the right direction. now if at some point you guys could try discussing a topic in the appropriate thread, that would be even better :wink:
Hey Castle, how have you been? :beerchug:
 
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Tsukuyomi

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I think burn in is real for headphones + speakers. not for DACs or AMPs.
But thats just me
 
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upstateguy

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Right. Both my DACs can upsample and I gave it a quick test this evening. I won't say there's any kind of dramatic difference, to be honest I'm not even convinced upsampling "sounds better", but there is an audible difference that I can pick out. I didn't spend enough time with it and will play more tomorrow so my opinion might change, who knows. Maybe for this I might talk the wife into helping me do a controlled test.
I agree with your assessment. The difference is subtle but noticeable. With the Stello DAC I was talking bout, the bass is slightly more pronounced in the bypass mode. I don't think we have to assign a judgement call of "better" or "worse". The point we want to make is that different implementations can sound different.

In that realm, I was thinking about the thread on the amp challenge and wondering if a Carver SS amp that was tuned to sound like a tube amp, sounds different than a SS amp that has not been tuned? Did the Carver "tube sounding" SS amps he marketed after the challenge actually sound different from regular SS amps? And after all these years, I'm wondering why the Futterman mono blocks sounded like a Pioneer SX-1500 receiver? What happened to the measurable 2nd order harmonics in tube amps? And why wasn't it noticeable with the Magnepan MG-IIIa speakers?

Btw, you really don't need to involve your wife, use the DiffMaker or record and invert to see if there's anything there, and in that light, one more everything sounds the same anecdote. Many years ago, when I thought I could hear a difference between opamps in an M^3 amp, I recorded the signals from two opamps that were supposed to have very different sound signatures and sent them to Ti Kan who promptly inverted them and sent me back a -45dB difference, which he attributed to "having inverted it by hand".
 
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bigshot

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There are lots of beliefs about home audio, and some of them are even true! But many are misconceptions or outright lies. The way to know things for sure is to be set up to do simple comparison tests yourself. All it takes is a simple switcher and a process for balancing line levels. That can be put together for under $50. Most of the regulars here at Sound Science do informal controlled tests ourselves. We don't do it to lab standards or for publication. We do it for ourselves to know which direction the truth lies in. I'd recommend that anyone interested in improving the sound of their system make an effort to analyze things logically and do some of their own homework, rather than relying on internet "experts". If you make an effort to do that, it isn't hard to discern whose advice is useful, and whose isn't.
 
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Final Audio call this "Ageing" and have a page on its website describing exactly how it, over time, effects the sq of their headphones. In a positive way. interesting reading. So maybe we can keep this tread focussed to the original question. its becoming an ego fest!
 
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post-14852006
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There are lots of beliefs about home audio, and some of them are even true! But many are misconceptions or outright lies. The way to know things for sure is to be set up to do simple comparison tests yourself. All it takes is a simple switcher and a process for balancing line levels. That can be put together for under $50. Most of the regulars here at Sound Science do informal controlled tests ourselves. We don't do it to lab standards or for publication. We do it for ourselves to know which direction the truth lies in. I'd recommend that anyone interested in improving the sound of their system make an effort to analyze things logically and do some of their own homework, rather than relying on internet "experts". If you make an effort to do that, it isn't hard to discern whose advice is useful, and whose isn't.
Hey BigShot, well said. This little ditty should be a sticky. :beerchug:

Btw, can you comment on the amp questions I was thinking about?
 
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bigshot

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The basic purpose of an amp is to take a small line level signal and amplify it to be strong enough to push a transducer enough to produce sound. It really shouldn't add or subtract anything audible from the signal... it should just amplify it. They call an amp that does that "a wire with gain". There are lots and lots of solid state amps that do that perfectly. In fact, in the past 25 years or so, I haven't run across any solid state amps that aren't audibly transparent for the purposes of listening to music in the home. The best tube amps are also capable of that. If an amp succeeds as a "wire with gain", there's no reason why it should sound any different than any other audibly transparent amp.

When you talk about second order harmonics, you're talking about a different purpose altogether. In that case, you are deliberately designing an amp to NOT be audibly transparent. Some specialty amps are designed to add distortion or response imbalances to the signal in an attempt to "sweeten" the sound. For me, adjustments like that are better accomplished by digital signal processing. With a DSP, you can fine tune the coloration exactly the way you want it. With a colored tube amp, you're stuck with whatever signal distortion is hard wired into the design. That's why you see tube amp fans who have six or eight amps that they swap in and out, or they keep churning- buying and reselling amps- to try to find a perfect coloration for them. It's a LOT more efficient and inexpensive to just adjust a dial exactly the way you want it digitally. But there's a certain degree of fetishism to tube amp collecting that has nothing to do with sound quality.

Yes a tube amp can sound just as transparent as a solid state amp, and a solid state amp can sound just as distorted as a tube amp. But I don't know why anyone would go to the added trouble and expense to get a transparent tube amp when solid state ones are cheap and just as clean... and I don't know why anyone would want to buy a tube amp that is distorted with no way to adjust it.
 
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