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

Discussion in 'Dedicated Source Components' started by purrin, Dec 5, 2013.
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  1. jexby
    now awaiting for the blow by blow teardown of the "just published" 
     Absolute Sound 2015 Editor's Choice:  DACS Under $1000
    article.
     
    [​IMG]
     
  2. kugino Contributor
    cool. which model did you get?
     
  3. 7ryder

    It gets more difficult, an ADS/1 just came up for sale on Audiogon $1700USD
     
  4. estreeter
     
    Cant see anything here that makes my heart race, but have at it DAC fans. Not sure I agree with TAS that the ~$800 Rotel is at 'box-store prices', but I'm willing to bet that each of the manufacturers represented here has an ad in the current edition of TAS : that's business, but it's painfully obvious business. 
     
    http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/2015-editors-choice-dacs-under-1000/
     
  5. estreeter
    @purrin, apologies for this detour into the murky depths of history but you seem to have a pretty good understanding of what went down in the 90s viz-a-viz chipsets, specifically:
     
    Sonic Frontiers SFD-1mk2  SE+ upgrades (AES3 via OR5 + Wyrd)
    UltraAnalog module based DAC. Warmer, bassier. Slightly rolled in last octave. Slightly muddy and dirty sounding compared to above because of tube output stage.* However bass still manages good pitch differentiation. Better soundstage than almost anything below only truly beaten by the Gen V's soundstage. Incredible microdynamics and very good plankton. Despite its slight deficiencies, I'd take it over anything below.
     
    I believe the chip in that DAC was the D20400A, augmented by some HDCD technology from none other than Spectral's Keith Johnson. Wadia bought out UltraAnalog but interestingly, Wadia dont seem to have actually used any of the UltraAnalog chips for their 'reference' CDPs and DACs, relying instead on various iterations in the PCM170* line from TI - the gossips have it that Wadia buried the UA technology simply to stop competitors having access to it. 
     
    Whatever transpired with UltraAnalog, Spectral released the SDR-2000 Pro at around the same time as your SFD-1mk2 - they still have the product page for it and it's like a time capsule, particularly given their predictions for HDCD. Specs-wise, it seems very similar to the Sonic Frontiers DAC, but the most interesting part of the Spectral blurb for me is their complete rejection of the changes they could see happening around them at the time. Op-amps / ICs / cheap mass market parts in expensive casework - I guess we've seen most of the same rhetoric from various designers over the years, but it's clear that Spectral dont just release a new model every year to keep up with the Joneses and they dont hand out review units like candy to the audio press. If they do seem to have some Kool-Aid onboard, it's in the Naim / Linn style insistence that you need to hear an all-Spectral system to understand just how good their gear is, but for a company like that to survive for so long with almost no print reviews is outstanding. Not sure how much longer you'll maintain an interest in vintage DACs now that you seem to have found your 'unicorn', but if Redbook is the raison d'etre for the R2R ladder DACs, it would be fantastic to be able to hear your thoughts on the SDR-2000. 
     
    (Apologies for the length of this rant, but many of us vividly recall where we were in 1995 and it's sad to think that the industry took a sharp left when it would seem that wasnt in the best interests of their customers)
     
  6. djcarpentier

    Found a m22a with balanced outputs. Mint shape. Feeding it via spdif from my asus xonar stx sound card. Was thinking of picking up the DIP classic as well for jitter improvement, but the stx is so much newer it should have better jitter rejection. Should have it on hand in less than a week.
     
  7. mikek200
    Not that I would question Purrin,is this a typo.."24-48 hours warm up time,minimum".".One week for best results.?"
     
  8. drez
    It's common opinion that digital component clocks take time to settle - and to be honest this hobby has involved a lot of my own personal observations which violate my understanding of physics.
     
  9. jogfi2002
    So you think there's something cannot be explained by physics in this hobby?
     
  10. drez
     
    Nope, just that my own prior understanding of science has failed to explain my own observations.  
     
    Maybe someone else with better understanding of electronics will have less surprises, but possibly just as many.
     
    (Not saying science cannot measure stuff, just that prior knowledge can fail to predict things)
     
    Articnoise likes this.
  11. kugino Contributor

    cool...i'm looking around for a 22c b/c i want the preamp...i have a cheapo gustard usb converter i'll use into the monarchy if/when i find one. interested to hear your impressions when you receive it. 
     
  12. coli
    Science is wrong.
     
  13. kugino Contributor

    good reading for those interested in science, theories, philosophy of science, etc. dr. cartwright is badass...
     
    http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/0198247044.001.0001/acprof-9780198247043
     
  14. coli
    Heh, yeah, and here's a great quote I've been saving:
     
    "Some people props up science to religion-like worship, to the degree that they won't believe something they see with their own eyes, because it wasn't published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. There's a bigger picture reality than what mainstream western science is presenting."
     
  15. estreeter
     
    Definitely If it all came down to measurements, why would any of us want anything more than the O2/ODAC combo ? Unfortunately, I dont have the background in behavioural psychology or philosophy to explain the difference between the way the world works and the way we perceive it. I actually like the way purrin describes he favorite vanilla ice-cream and I like the impressions he has posted of the Yggy, but the physics of both confectionary, my olfactory senses and boutique audio remain the same : its my perception that matters. Technically, I live in a country which is under martial law but I believe I'm free to come and go as I choose - again, perception. Stock markets - and by extension the world economy - rely on it, politicians spend a lot of time cultivating it and I'd like to think scientists are prepared to dismiss it n their search for whatever is really happening in the universe. I'm happy for the planet to be curved, considerably less so for the ground beneath this building to exhibit any noticeable curvature  :wink:
     
    In a world dominated by science, this would have been demolished many years ago. Fortunately the human mind isnt a PCB - yet. 
     
    The_Leaning_Tower_of_Pisa_SB.jpg
     
    Yoga likes this.
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