T+A HiFi - DAC 200 - Official Discussion Thread
Dec 20, 2023 at 5:52 PM Post #391 of 494
Interesting. In regard HQP and DAC200…

For vocals I find poly-sinc-ext2 and ASDM7EC super to convert to DSD256 to be the best for Redbook - it is extremely vivid and revealing with so much reverb and microphone detail - incredibly intimate - I never imagined Eva Cassidy or Melody Gardot could sound even more “you are there”. I have not yet found a favourite for hi-res files so far (Nx upsampling) principally because I only have a few 100 albums whereas over 6400 redbooks albums in my library and I don’t prioritize hi-res over Redbook at all (I prefer to hear what I like rather than listen to something pristinely recorded that I don’t - so Chesky is NOT my thing).

I do not listen with headphones. I find the balance to be slightly emphasized in the prescence region but it sounds utterly realistic in timbre, space and transients without the slightest hint of harshness.

Even CD loudness tracks like U2 Walk On sound impressive but the distortion/compression on the vocals is more noticeable.

Right now I struggle with hi/res 88 KHz version of Toto greatest hits - I have concluded the recording is bad (loudness war victim). Hi resolution 176KHZ SRV - Tim Pan Alley sounds great. Just not quite concluded my search for an optimal upsampling setting for hi-res material.

That you listen with headphones may be a factor - I do find the Burr Brown PCM NOS output to be delightfully smooth and just all around makes everything sound great.

Thanks for sharing
I also liked EC-super and poly-sinc-ext2 but preferred ECv3 and Sinc-M if paired with a tube amp or class A amp to balance out the “precision”
 
Dec 20, 2023 at 7:26 PM Post #393 of 494
For vocals I find poly-sinc-ext2 and ASDM7EC super to convert to DSD256 to be the best for Redbook...

I use the same settings for DSD. DSD is fantastic, but PCM is just so buttery smooth I find myself drawn to it for anything vocal-centric. Both Eva Cassidy and Melody Gardot are favourites of mine and perfect examples of where I usually prefer PCM over DSD. It is a real pity that Eva passed away early in her career. A great talent cut short 😥

I should have mentioned that I often listen on headphones while working for long sessions (I am a trader and work from home through the night in my part of the world). DSD can become distracting/fatiguing for me in those circumstances while PCM with its delightful smoothness is something I can enjoy for 12 hours straight. For shorter sessions where I am not working and can focus more on the music DSD would be more of an option.

I am very pleased that the DAC 200 gives us both options and both are outstanding in their own ways.
 
Dec 27, 2023 at 8:58 PM Post #394 of 494
I use the same settings for DSD. DSD is fantastic, but PCM is just so buttery smooth I find myself drawn to it for anything vocal-centric. Both Eva Cassidy and Melody Gardot are favourites of mine and perfect examples of where I usually prefer PCM over DSD. It is a real pity that Eva passed away early in her career. A great talent cut short 😥

I should have mentioned that I often listen on headphones while working for long sessions (I am a trader and work from home through the night in my part of the world). DSD can become distracting/fatiguing for me in those circumstances while PCM with its delightful smoothness is something I can enjoy for 12 hours straight. For shorter sessions where I am not working and can focus more on the music DSD would be more of an option.

I am very pleased that the DAC 200 gives us both options and both are outstanding in their own ways.
I feel like the pcm version of the dac 200 is very underated. It is actually splendid beautiful sound. I think part of the perception of soundstage can come from treble tonality. The dac 200 seems to have a very natural tone especially with bez2 filter.

The ability to articulate the treble with incredible timbre without rounding the treble can give the perception of a more intimate sound. I think dacs that have slightly rounded treble region can give the illusion of a bigger sounstage but it is simply because higher pitch tones drop off more quickly. With the dac 200 we get all of the treble but with a beautiful natural vocal range on pcm. World class dsd dac for detail with a very natural pcm range that contains all the detail. To me it seems some equipment that rolls off the treble really can trick the listener into hearing a deeper sounstage becausesome notes will sound farther away. Another way to hear a bigger soundstage is through bass. I notice with the abyss the soundstage seems a bit bigger without a full seal of the cups.

At the point of the dac 200 it really comes down to preference. For anyone who vastly prefers dsd with dac 200 you are getting incredible detail but that is only a portion of the dac. Pcm is highly underated on this dac and many do prefer it even over Bartok and holo may.
 
Dec 28, 2023 at 5:47 AM Post #397 of 494
PCM with the BEZ2 filter for the win 😊
If you use a Tube Amp afterwards I even prefer Bezier over Bezier/IIr

T+As PCM implementation is magnificent, even if it gets overshadowed by the DSD Hype
 
Dec 28, 2023 at 6:07 AM Post #398 of 494
If you use a Tube Amp afterwards I even prefer Bezier over Bezier/IIr

T+As PCM implementation is magnificent, even if it gets overshadowed by the DSD Hype
I love both. My preference tends to go with genre - anything vocal-centric and PCM is usually my preference. For classical / instrumental / jazz I mostly use DSD. Having both options in one box is fantastic.

Totally agree that DSD should not be overshadowing PCM. I would say "different" rather than "better". Does take a few weeks of use before PCM really shines though - I wonder if that might be a factor in the PCM vs DSD debate? DSD does not seem require anything like the amount of time PCM does to max out. That was my experience anyway, YMMV.
 
Dec 28, 2023 at 6:30 AM Post #399 of 494
I love both. My preference tends to go with genre - anything vocal-centric and PCM is usually my preference. For classical / instrumental / jazz I mostly use DSD. Having both options in one box is fantastic.

Totally agree that DSD should not be overshadowing PCM. I would say "different" rather than "better". Does take a few weeks of use before PCM really shines though - I wonder if that might be a factor in the PCM vs DSD debate? DSD does not seem require anything like the amount of time PCM does to max out. That was my experience anyway, YMMV.
I bought my unit used, therefore I have no experience with potential burn in.
 
Dec 28, 2023 at 7:59 AM Post #400 of 494
It took two weeks before my dac200 was up to snuff in DSD. So certainly with DSD it takes some time also. I agree with others in this thread that the dac200 sounds very natural without any digital artefacts (DSD or PCM). Very close to my (much) costlier LP rig (turntable, arm, mc cartridge and pre-pre). I listen with my jecklin float electrostats directly attached to my otl power amps.
 
Dec 28, 2023 at 8:32 AM Post #401 of 494
I find the DAC 200 remarkable - so much detail and yet so natural sounding. I agree with @DonaldM - it is like really good vinyl - finally digital equals and in some areas exceeds vinyl (I was resigned to think that vinyl would always have the edge in some aspects but no longer - DAC200!)

As people have alluded to it - smoothness of the digital filter is crucial. The ripples in filter frequency domain equate to time domain errors (pre and post echoes which is the worst kind of correlated harmonic related noise you can possibly get). Unfortunately the best spec filters with low latency, ALL have equipple right through their passband - this issue affects ALL chip DACs except those that bypass the chip upsampling and even then most FPGA filters have the same problem.

The detrimental damage done by upsampling filters is so severe that this manifests itself as

1) we have a resurgence in vinyl and a new interest in NOS DACs (r2r etc) among critical listeners
2) Most people outside of the tiny minority of critical listeners think a DAC is a DAC is a DAC and they all sound the same.
 
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Jan 3, 2024 at 5:56 AM Post #402 of 494
Throwing my PCM HQ Player settings out there - if anyone has any suggestions to share with HQP PCM settings I would be most appreciative.

I have played about with a bunch of different filter settings and keep coming back to the settings below. I am using the "BEZ 2" OVS setting on the DAC with filter "OFF".

As discussed above, I mostly prefer the musicality of the T+A PCM implementation over the more technical sound of the DSD implementation. Took me a while to really appreciate what T+A have done with the PCM DAC, but I got there. It is superb 😉👍

PCM.jpg
 
Jan 3, 2024 at 10:18 AM Post #403 of 494
Throwing my PCM HQ Player settings out there - if anyone has any suggestions to share with HQP PCM settings I would be most appreciative.

I have played about with a bunch of different filter settings and keep coming back to the settings below. I am using the "BEZ 2" OVS setting on the DAC with filter "OFF".

As discussed above, I mostly prefer the musicality of the T+A PCM implementation over the more technical sound of the DSD implementation. Took me a while to really appreciate what T+A have done with the PCM DAC, but I got there. It is superb 😉👍

PCM.jpg
Use LNS15 dither for 384/768khz rates
 
Jan 16, 2024 at 11:48 PM Post #405 of 494
Wanted to pass along some recent build info with HQPlayer 5 and the T+A 200.

T+A 200 does indeed work very well with HQPlayer 5 (settings attached). The key to smooth DSD1024(+) upsampling is to use a CPU that can comfortably and consistently hit higher clock speeds of at least 5.1 to 5.3 GHz. For this use case, newer 12th, 13th and 14th gen Intel i9 CPUs are probably the best choice, even though passively cooling them could prove troublesome. OTOH, if you would prefer to upsample at more reasonable rates like DSD64-256, or you plan to do a lot of multichannel upsampling, AMD Ryzen CPUs are likely a better fit. Both CPU vendors will almost certainly work for either use case. Just be sure to choose components best suited to your desired outcome. Upsampling to DSD512/1024+ with heavy filters is where you separate the Lamborghinis from the Oscar Mayer Wienermobiles.

Build Info:
1 x Intel i9 14900K (w/integrated graphics, though not required or necessarily optimal for audio builds).
2 x Teamgroup 32GB D5 5600 C32 BLK KIT (2 x 16GB) RAM
1 x Asus Z790-P Prime Motherboard
1 x Trendnet 10 Gigabit SFP+ PCIe Low Power Network Adapter
1 x JCAT USB XE PCIe card
1 x Intel Optane 900P PCIe card (boot)
2 x SK Hinx P31 gold 2TB low power m.2 drives (data)
1 x Custom external water-cooling loop
1 x Custom 2-chassis Unregulated Linear Power Supply (ULPS - built by a certain DIY Builder celebrity on this forum)
1 x Taiko DC-ATX converter
1 x EuphonyOS (best DSD upscaling performance w/HQP5 combined with the least complexity of configuration compared to WIndows Server 2016/2019, Windows 10/11, Windows IoT Ent 2021, AudioLinux, RHEL, Ubuntu Desktop 22.04.3)
1 x HQPlayer 5 (embedded)
1 x Optimized Asus BIOS

The uncomfortable truth I learned from this build is that HQPlayer 5 + DAC 200 can compete with, and even beat, some very high-end DACs I've tried at a fraction of the price.

***sad wallet noises***


HQPlayer5 Embedded Settings.jpg


Edit: screenshot is the embedded version of HQPlayer 5 - not the desktop version. The settings are the exact same. The embedded version just has a different GUI.
 
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