Thoughts on a bunch of DACs (and why delta-sigma kinda sucks, just to get you to think about stuff)
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purrin

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this?

GUSTARD DAC-X12 ES9018 XMOS 32Bit / 384KHz DSD DOP Decoder with USB

http://www.amazon.com/GUSTARD-DAC-X12-ES9018-384KHz-Decoder/dp/B00RCUC94Q/
 

Thanks. I'll do some research on it. Any others for comparision purposes?
 
Here are non-Sabre alternatives:
 
Emotiva XDA Gen2 - AD1955 $299
Bifrost Uber (no USB) - AKM $419
Mousai MSD192 - Wolfson $430
Modi2 Uber - AKM $159
 
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post-11394558
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prot

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  Seriously, anyone who can't hear difference between ESS Sabre(any model) and Realtek AL1150 should just stay at Hydrogen forums and deregister from Head-fi.
 
Was it really necessary to be that rude ?!
 
I posted those MB-sound reports more as a question.  Were those measurements and tests right? I do not know ... but I have no reason to doubt any of those people.  The AL1150 chip is quite a step-up and was measured by many people around 105DB SNR.  For example here.  Asus even claims 115DB for some of their top range boards.  And those are pretty well built audio solutions: well isolated, audiophile caps, replaceable opamps, etc.  Why is it so hard to believe that some of those actually sound better than most middle-low range dacs/amps who measure in the 85-100DB range? Say the ODAC or similar (which btw is an ESS DAC) ... or another ESS thingie like this.  A simple SNR measurement is of course not the whole story but one cannot just dismiss a 10+DB difference.
 
Besides, where exactly is your test that proves the opposite?  What MBs and DACs did the all-knowing evillamer actually try?  Or we should all just trust evillamer&co because they say so !?
 
P.S.
sorry for the slightly offtopic and annoyed msg ...  I just dont think that such insulting and unsuported statements help anyone.
 
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post-11394589
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Benfica1

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Here are non-Sabre alternatives:
 
Emotiva XDA Gen2 - AD1955 $299
Bifrost Uber (no USB) - AKM $419
Mousai MSD192 - Wolfson $430
Modi2 Uber - AKM $159
 

Thank you very much. I'll take a look at these.
 
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Sorrodje

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Here are non-Sabre alternatives:
 
Emotiva XDA Gen2 - AD1955 $299
Bifrost Uber (no USB) - AKM $419
Mousai MSD192 - Wolfson $430
Modi2 Uber - AKM $159
 
Beresford Caiman mkII deserves interest too : 320$ . Analog sound, a bit leaner but more resolving than a Metrum Octave well ranked in the #1 post.  Crappy HO but very good as standalone dac.
 
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AustinValentine

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Here are non-Sabre alternatives:
 
Mousai MSD192 - Wolfson $430
 
 
The Mousai is also on Massdrop right now. If it hits lowest drop (and it probably will, 2 days left), it's only $299. Exceptional performance for the dollar. 
 
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hans030390

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HemiSam

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Beresford Caiman mkII deserves interest too : 320$ . Analog sound, a bit leaner but more resolving than a Metrum Octave well ranked in the #1 post.  Crappy HO but very good as standalone dac.
 
Hear hear.  It's a good DAC, especially for the price point.  I'm not a big fan of it's amp section, but it'll work in a pinch if someone needs a single solution.
 
HS
 
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Benfica1

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Thanks for all the suggestions. Looks like it's down to these 3:
1) bitfrost uber (no usb)
2) beresford caiman mkii
3) mousai msd192 dac

The AMB is a DIY and don't trust myself to pull it off.

What worries me about the mousai is that a couple of posts on massdrop mentioned that it wouldn't power on and I'm not sure about support and service for this unit. That leaves the beresford and the bitfrost. The schiit customer service and support that I've experienced is first class and that goes a long way. Decisions,decisions.
 
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hans030390

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The AMB is a DIY and don't trust myself to pull it off.
 
Buy one used, then. I've seen some floating around currently for $250 or less with an included power supply (though you can run it off USB power). Based on memory, I prefer it over the Mousai. The Mousai is good but generally a bit greyer, less lively, and more polite across the board than the Gamma2. At least IMO.
 
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 DON'T reply If someone makes an off-topic, rude or otherwise inappropriate comment, or a post appears to be trolling or spam. Report it by clicking on the red flag and filling in the box explaining what the problem is and let the moderators take care of it. If something is inappropriate or rude, what is the point of giving it more attention by replying to it and/or quoting it?!? If nobody replies to or comments on a trolling or abusive post 100% of the time the person goes away!
 
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evillamer

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  Ideally we could have Multibit DAC's that measure well also - but nobody seems willing (or able) to make them.  Well, unless the measurements for the Totaldac are honest.
 
I am still struggling to grapple with how something have be more resolving yet have less resolution, retrieve more ambient detail yet have higher noise floor.  Well, not counting  dynamic compression, but I doubt this is happening.  My problem is probably not hearing any of these old school DAC's or Yggy - trying to understand hifi from preconceptions ends up with some of the recent additions to this thread.
 
 
I have however come across one phenomenon where a slower sound can be more coherent and resolving.  I have a headphone cable which while less focussed and precisely enunciated, makes music more coherent, the tone comes through, more of the timbre also, especially in the bass which gains a lot of growl and meat.  Treble too is easier to discern timbres, and has less glare.  The soundstage though is not so great, so it can't completely reproduce what I expect these Multibit DAC's to sound like according to my imagination. 
 
How bad do the delta sigma artefacts sound though?  How loud would they need to be?  If Sabre are to be trusted - the none PPS noise is all below say -123dB.  Are we really hearing this noise at -123dB or are we hearing some other noise coming through, thanks to the extremely low noise floor and distortion?  For example I recently played some music through a HDD, before transferring to an SSD.  Much more glare and digital hash on the HDD.
 
Yes my timing to discuss such tweaks is not excellent considering our recent visitors.
 
As a part-time (armchair?) designer of DIY multibit DACs myself, which measurements are the ones that matter to you?
 
I agree that the retrieval of ambient detail whilst having a higher overall noise floor is something of a puzzle, but its been something I've perceived too in my DAC experiments. How I look at it is that there's dynamic noise from a DAC which broadly tracks the program content (noise modulation in other words) and because this noise is strongly correlated with the signal, our brain interprets it as signal. Thus it doesn't end up being perceived as ambience when the signals are decoded in our brain.
 
On S-D artefacts they tend to be rather impulsive so relying on an FFT to gauge their level is misleading because the FFT time window is normally measured in seconds nowadays (64k and up FFTs are common) whereas for our ear/brain to register something it can be much shorter duration. I suspect we'll need wavelet analysis to get to grips with what happens in S-D modulators on short time-scales.
 
Found this AES article which examines the idle tone(unwanted noise?) of the sigma delta modulator.
http://www.eecs.qmul.ac.uk/~josh/documents/PerezReiss-AES122.pdf
 
 
 Idle tones are an unwanted phenomenon, which is mainly associated with the appearance of partials in the SDM output spectrum that were not in the original input signal. It remains one of the less understood SDM behaviors. When idle tone are in the audible range of the spectrum and their magnitude is bigger than the audible human threshold they can become audible.
 
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post-11397012
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drez

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Seems a likely candidate for sd hash.
 
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conquerator2

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I should get the X12 this week :D
 
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(temporary) final thoughts about Metrum Octave mkI vs TotalDAC A1 comparison.
 
Those last days, I borrowed the Octave I sold to a friend and a HD800 to a neighbour. Mine is not back home yet.
 
I bought and received the totaldacA1 last week and I needed to compare the two DAC in order to be able to make my choice and keep the totalDAC or return it within the 14 days trial period. I read 6 moons and Srajan Aeben concluded that the Octave and the totalDAC sounded almost the same. that's why i wanted to be sure before any decision.
 
To be honest, I must precise that I think all dacs sound almost the same... but all the game in the "almost" :wink: . so I agree with 6 moons, the metrum and the totaldac A1 sounds almost the same. But I think the totaldac is significantly better enough to keep it.  If I had to give you only one reason, I would say that there's some tracks I listened many many times before and in which i never noticed background noise and hum. with the totaldac I noticed the hums and noise for the first time. when I switched back to the Octave , I noticed it obviously but, in my mind, the fact i noticed them for the first time say something about the resolving capabilities of the totalDAC.
 
Don't get me wrong, I've always thought that the Metrum was not resolving enough. It's really a great dac with a very specific tone but technically speaking its a bit weak. The consequencies on my listening enjoyment have always been subtle though. I owned the Octave during one year and two feelings never left me : First of all, Classical was not perfectly rendered. I miss some excitement/bite/dynamics. The second point is that I've never achieved to "forget" the dac. It seems i always heard the metrum coloration : thick , bodied and slightly unrefined. Extremely enjoyable for Electronic musics but less for acoustics and/or classical. Purrin found that the Octave a liquid sound. I think myself it's maybe more liquid than some other dacs but far from the last word in this field.
 
The totaldac is IMO a clear step up. The bass slam is better, the dacs hits faster and harder and I feel like I can hear more harmonic richness in the mids. Textures are maybe better rendered. It resolves better too. I compared it the PCM1704uk dacs before. The totaldac offers this kind of lushness/euphonia/liquid sound but IMO it's faster and offer more slam and precision.
 
The totalDAC A1 stays at home  and I'm saving money for the Yggy while I'll watch Yggy threads and read impressions. :wink:
 
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