Schiit DAC

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by FieldEffect, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. Music Alchemist
    I did direct volume-matched rapid A/B comparisons of entry-level (under $100) to much higher-end (three to four figure) DACs I owned via the Schiit SYS. You may be surprised how little the differences were. In many cases, there was no audible difference! Fulla 2 vs 2Qute...UCA202 vs Mojo...etc. This was comparing the DACs with speakers. When I compared DAC/amps driving headphones, the differences were larger. (Primarily because of the different amps.)

    To anyone comparing DACs: Don't judge them through casual listening alone. I thought the differences were larger than they actually were due to not testing properly via the method above.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  2. bixby
    I have never been able to judge anything via rapid switching. Moving from one piece of music to another is just too hard for me to judge. I find, for me, that a well know piece played for a minute or two paying attention to tonal, vocal cues and spatial cues usually works. You know kind of how some folks can pick out a vintage Martin guitar vs a Gibson. I can't.

    And then in all the crazy dac stuff you have to factor in the ultimate resolution of the entire system. I know with my desktop setup [speakers] would not be as resolving as my main speaker system. So putting a crazy expensive dac in the desktop setup would not present much difference vs an under $400 dac for example.

    On the big rig, YUP easy to hear! :crown:
     
  3. Music Alchemist
    What I meant is playing the same section of a song repeatedly, switching between the DACs. A minute or two is still fast enough to count as rapid switching in my book. (Though it's better to limit the sections to ten or twenty seconds.)
     
  4. amirm
    That is normal (not being able to detect small differences) and typical of majority of listeners when it comes to small difference. WIth training though, and knowledge of what you are testing (so that you can focus on the most critical segments), you indeed find small differences in quick AB switching. In the same test though, lengthening the segment will most definitely reduce your sensitivity immensely. See details of a published test on sensitivity of ABX/quick testing here.

    And here is some personal data on finding very small differences that others would not even attempt to find using quick switching:

    MP3 vs CD:

    foo_abx 1.3.4 report
    foobar2000 v1.3.2
    2014/07/19 19:45:33

    File A: C:\Users\Amir\Music\Arnys Filter Test\keys jangling 16 44.wav
    File B: C:\Users\Amir\Music\Arnys Filter Test\keys jangling 16 44_01.mp3

    19:45:33 : Test started.
    19:46:21 : 01/01 50.0%
    19:46:35 : 02/02 25.0%
    19:46:49 : 02/03 50.0%
    19:47:03 : 03/04 31.3%
    19:47:13 : 04/05 18.8%
    19:47:27 : 05/06 10.9%
    19:47:38 : 06/07 6.3%
    19:47:46 : 07/08 3.5%
    19:48:01 : 08/09 2.0%
    19:48:19 : 09/10 1.1%
    19:48:31 : 10/11 0.6%
    19:48:45 : 11/12 0.3%
    19:48:58 : 12/13 0.2%
    19:49:11 : 13/14 0.1%
    19:49:28 : 14/15 0.0%
    19:49:52 : 15/16 0.0%
    19:49:56 : Test finished.

    ----------
    Total: 15/16 (0.0%)

    As you see ,I could tell 15 out of 16 times which is which, which results in 100% confidence in the results. I can tell you that if I tried the test as you mention, I would most likely fail.

    Faster switching enables you to use your short-term memory which is far more accurate than your long-term memory.
     
    Ted Presley likes this.
  5. Music Alchemist
    Countless others have done such tests. (And most have failed.) I'd recommend posting your results in this thread and clarifying the bit rate of the MP3 and whether you converted it yourself.

    https://www.head-fi.org/threads/set...e-guide-to-ripping-tagging-transcoding.655879
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  6. amirm
    Countless people are not me :). I am a trained listener and managed the signal processing group (among many others) at Microsoft. You can read more about me here: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/a-bit-about-your-host.1906/

    Thanks for the note on bit rate. I assumed it was part of file name but it is not. That test was at 320 kbps which is hardest level for MP3. Of course I did the encoding.

    Here is another 320 kbps vs CD from a test on AVS Forum: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/91-au...-high-resolution-audio-test-ready-set-go.html

    foo_abx 1.3.4 report
    foobar2000 v1.3.2
    2014/07/31 15:18:41

    File A: C:\Users\Amir\Music\AIX AVS Test files\On_The_Street_Where_You_Live_A2.mp3
    File B: C:\Users\Amir\Music\AIX AVS Test files\On_The_Street_Where_You_Live_A2.wav

    15:18:41 : Test started.
    15:19:18 : 01/01 50.0%
    15:19:30 : 01/02 75.0%
    15:19:44 : 01/03 87.5%
    15:20:35 : 02/04 68.8%
    15:20:46 : 02/05 81.3%
    15:21:39 : 03/06 65.6%
    15:21:47 : 04/07 50.0%
    15:21:54 : 04/08 63.7%
    15:22:06 : 05/09 50.0%
    15:22:19 : 06/10 37.7%
    15:22:31 : 07/11 27.4%
    15:22:44 : 08/12 19.4%
    15:22:51 : 09/13 13.3%
    15:22:58 : 10/14 9.0%
    15:23:06 : 11/15 5.9%
    15:23:14 : 12/16 3.8%
    15:23:23 : 13/17 2.5%
    15:23:33 : 14/18 1.5%
    15:23:42 : 15/19 1.0%
    15:23:54 : 16/20 0.6%
    15:24:06 : 17/21 0.4%
    15:24:15 : 18/22 0.2%
    15:24:23 : 19/23 0.1%
    15:24:34 : 20/24 0.1%
    15:24:43 : 21/25 0.0%
    15:24:52 : 22/26 0.0%
    15:24:57 : Test finished.

    ----------
    Total: 22/26 (0.0%)

    From same tests, this time testing high-resolution audio against resample to 44.1/16:

    foo_abx 1.3.4 report
    foobar2000 v1.3.2
    2014/07/11 06:18:47

    File A: C:\Users\Amir\Music\AIX AVS Test files\Mosaic_A2.wav
    File B: C:\Users\Amir\Music\AIX AVS Test files\Mosaic_B2.wav

    06:18:47 : Test started.
    06:19:38 : 00/01 100.0%
    06:20:15 : 00/02 100.0%
    06:20:47 : 01/03 87.5%
    06:21:01 : 01/04 93.8%
    06:21:20 : 02/05 81.3%
    06:21:32 : 03/06 65.6%
    06:21:48 : 04/07 50.0%
    06:22:01 : 04/08 63.7%
    06:22:15 : 05/09 50.0%
    06:22:24 : 05/10 62.3%
    06:23:15 : 06/11 50.0%
    06:23:27 : 07/12 38.7%
    06:23:36 : 08/13 29.1%
    06:23:49 : 09/14 21.2%
    06:24:02 : 10/15 15.1%
    06:24:10 : 11/16 10.5%
    06:24:20 : 12/17 7.2%
    06:24:27 : 13/18 4.8%
    06:24:35 : 14/19 3.2%
    06:24:40 : 15/20 2.1%
    06:24:46 : 16/21 1.3%
    06:24:56 : 17/22 0.8%
    06:25:04 : 18/23 0.5%
    06:25:13 : 19/24 0.3%
    06:25:25 : 20/25 0.2%
    06:25:32 : 21/26 0.1%
    06:25:38 : 22/27 0.1%
    06:25:45 : 23/28 0.0%
    06:25:51 : 24/29 0.0%
    06:25:58 : 25/30 0.0%
    06:26:24 : Test finished.

    ----------
    Total: 25/30 (0.0%)

    So again, high confidence results. I think the files are still there if you want to try to take the test yourself.

    Here is another test that Archimago put up, again on high-res vs not:

    foo_abx 1.3.4 report
    foobar2000 v1.3.2
    2014/08/02 13:52:46

    File A: C:\Users\Amir\Music\Archimago\24-bit Audio Test (Hi-Res 24-96, FLAC, 2014)\01 - Sample A - Bozza - La Voie Triomphale.flac
    File B: C:\Users\Amir\Music\Archimago\24-bit Audio Test (Hi-Res 24-96, FLAC, 2014)\02 - Sample B - Bozza - La Voie Triomphale.flac

    13:52:46 : Test started.
    13:54:02 : 01/01 50.0%
    13:54:11 : 01/02 75.0%
    13:54:57 : 02/03 50.0%
    13:55:08 : 03/04 31.3%
    13:55:15 : 04/05 18.8%
    13:55:24 : 05/06 10.9%
    13:55:32 : 06/07 6.3%
    13:55:38 : 07/08 3.5%
    13:55:48 : 08/09 2.0%
    13:56:02 : 09/10 1.1%
    13:56:08 : 10/11 0.6%
    13:56:28 : 11/12 0.3%
    13:56:37 : 12/13 0.2%
    13:56:49 : 13/14 0.1%
    13:56:58 : 14/15 0.0%
    13:57:05 : Test finished.

    ----------
    Total: 14/15 (0.0%)


    To be clear though, you are right that people routinely and almost completely fail to pass such tests. But with skill and quick switching (which was topic of discussion) some of them can be passed. In some instances here what showed the difference was just a second or two of music or even just single note! No way can you remember and focus on such detail when listening to minutes of music.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  7. Music Alchemist
    I'm saying post it there, not here, since we're getting off-topic.
     
  8. amirm
    Post where? The link you provided is to a one page thread from 2004 and has little to do with telling the small differences that could exist between DACs which is what we were discussing. Example of MP3 I provided wasn't to discuss MP3 but rather, efficacy of quick switching in determining small differences.
     
  9. Music Alchemist
    Sorry...somehow the link got messed up. It should work now so try it again.
     
  10. amirm
    Ah, I see now. Will do. :)
     

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