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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. hans030390
    Funny thing is, now I primarily listen to non-oversampling DACs, sometimes the sort that don't measure well even for a NOS DAC (enter objectivist heart attack)! And I'm transitioning to tube amps, it seems. The me from years ago chasing the O2/ODAC would have been disappointed in the now-me-with-garbage-ears. I like to utilize and understand measurements as best as I can, but I follow my ears in the end.
  2. estreeter
    They can get as emotional as they like - until I hear my music with my rig through my ears, its all going to be a bit of a crapshoot. Damning a component with faint praise is vintage Michael Fremer territory and he was notorious for it whenever Atkinson lumped him with the review of a digital component : it pays to know if the reviewer has his heart in it or if he's just looking to pay his rent. 
  3. czy6412
    So what is the place of Neko Audio D100 MKII in the lost of ranking.
  4. purrin
    nwavguy compared his O2 to AMBs mini3. The comparison was not appropriate because of several reasons: 1) the O2 had a larger footprint; hence had real-estate for an extra battery and higher voltage swing; 2) by having a larger footprint, the O2 failed in one of its purported design goals: portability. 
  5. purrin
    I don't know if I have heard the MkII or not. Personally I was not a big fan of of the mk1. I don't like how the Burr-Brown delta-sigma chips sound like and I also believe the DAC chips need a good active stage rather than being coupled with a transformer. It's a warm sounding DAC. The bass is a bit slow, mushy, and syrupy. Lacks resolution. Overall too forgiving of sound for my tastes. The D100 is the opposite of the Mytek. Some friends I know like it.
  6. estreeter
    Yeah - at best its transportable, but I just found the ergonomics on my Epiphany Acoustics O2 so clunky after owning a couple of other portable amps that when the volume knob - not the pot, just the plastic knob - fell off i just threw the amp in the bin. I knew about the gain issue and had EA modify mine for less gain but that whole case just felt clunky - if he had given others the freedom to make their own modified versions under something similar to the Linux model I suspect we might have ended up with something a bit more ergonomic : even the Triad L3 seems like a more friendly form factor, albeit in a longer and heavier case than most portable amps. 
  7. prot
    Oh wow, it's hunting season again for nwavguy & his devices?
    I find that somewhere between lame and disingenuous. Low and retarded personal jabs, lies, funny blabla about the sound of the odac/o2 ... are you enjoyin youself?

    Was/is nw perfect? No. So what?! Of you "critics" who exactly did anything at least remotely comparable for the audio world and the average audio joe? That joe who will prolly never buy a $2000 component and who's constantly screwed by all sorts of snake oil specialists. Who of you took his time and used his tools to warn joe that device x & y are expensive scams? Who of you published a free design for a perfectly usable component? Dont rush with the answers, I'll be here all week.

    Is the odac or the o2 perfect or the best? No. So?!
    Maybe there are $50 amps that sound better as purrin says. Dont know, havent heard all. But I heard >$500 components that sound same or worse. Heck, heard 100000 systems that did sound worse. The o2/odac are indeed a bit harsh and bright sounding for audiophile standards... but most proaudio components I heard have a very similar signature: detailed, crisp, neutral. I'm using an o2 quite often and never heard a false note from it, never felt it robbed my music of anything. And yes it sounds more detailed that pretty much any tubeamp I ever heard...stronger, punchier bass too. And no matter how good they are, all tubes do have coloration. Some more some less but there is no uncolored tube. And I heard hundreds. I do not have the luxury of hearing all those compnents in my home as purrin. But I do travel a lot and visited more highend shops than I can remember. And after hearing hundreds of systems and components from the supermarket kind to the hundreds of thousands monsters I still use a o2 on the road. Why? Cause it's that good. And cause the 10k components sound 5% better tops.. if any. It is actually extremely rare that you hear a component which sounds clearly *better* than most else ... like the stax 009. The rest is just extra features, beautiful cases and different sound colorations. And I'm not gonna pay thousands for something like that.

    I'm also grateful to awguy for exposing some ****ty components and for sharing his designs ... wish we had a lot more like him. And less nitpickers and shady 'critics'
  8. Sorrodje
    Sorry , but it's very debatable.
    I personaly think the debate is bit too hot around the O2. but there's a reason for that.  Nwavguy and his zealots pretend to own the truth : " the O2 is the neutrality, all well designed amps sound the same , only flawed and colored amp sound differently- people who prefer those amps just don't like the real sound blablabla".. that pisses me off more than the Sound of My O2 .
    I don't personaly think the 02 is so bright. More a bit unrefined and dull IMO . this lack of refinement and precision contributes to some roughness in the treble and overall lack of precision.. YMMV.
    Even I didn't design any amp or dac myself , I still have the right to give opinions about what I ear right ? :wink: . I've never laid any egg but I can have an opinion about my fried eggs after all. 
  9. AustinValentine
    Not me personally, but AMB Labs has done far more for the hobby with their DIY open build designs than Voldemort. Period. The same AMB mentioned not three posts above yours. The same AMB who had to kick VD off of their forums for generally being a rude jackass and then preceded to attack in the aforementioned Mini^3 comparison post.
    To quote AMB directly: "As for why VOLDEMORT* was banned from this forum - it's all about his attitude and personal/character insults. That kind of behavior is not tolerated here. It's one thing to carry on a sane technical discussion, but he had way crossed the line."
    There's a reason that he-who-shall-not-be-named has been banned from most well-traffic'ed audio forums - and it's not that he's unveiled some grand conspiracy at the heart of high-end audio. It's that he didn't engage with anyone in good faith. Manufacturers, moderators, other users...it didn't matter. He walked into the hobby with a scope and a claim to gnostic knowledge and used them as an excuse to treat others poorly. If that's someone you want to admire, then that's good for you. But you shouldn't be surprised when communities express their relief at his absence and generally push back at those who imbue him with a legacy that's indexed towards salvation. 
    To my ears, the Schiit Vali is more resolving, shows more microdetail, and is far less grainy. It's $119. 
    So that I'm contributing something in terms of positive content related to this thread: I'll also reiterate that the ODAC is a good DAC though. Wyrd + ODAC is a great combo. Along the same lines, and I think that Purrin has a note on this on the original comparison list, but the Gamma2 is similarly improved by a USB-to-Coax converter. Even a relatively cheap converter like the Gustard U12 (~$150) makes the Gamma2 far more detailed and crisp. Its USB connection is its weak point. While it can helped slightly by a Wyrd, the real improvement comes from going SPDIF with it. 
    *Edit: Redacted to add more Voldemort.
    Argo Duck, Clemmaster and wahsmoh like this.
  10. prot

    Of course it is all debatable. And of course each one of us is entitled to have an opinion. Doesnt have to be a lame personal attack on nwav or his devices though.

    I'm not even the biggest fan of nwav or his odac/o2. I actually like the tubed firefly amp better and would use it if it was lighter and reasonably priced. However, that doesnt mean I will call him incompetent, charlatan or his devices cr*p like some ppl did above. That's uncalled for and lame. Doesnt help anyone either.

    if anyone can recommend an amp or amp/dac combo similar to the O2/odac (price, size, features) please do. Especially curious about tubed devices and/or generally 'rounder' than O2 without being overly colored or veiled.
  11. AustinValentine

  12. wahsmoh
    Okay moving away now from the discussion of Nwavguy's ODAC and O2.
    I just got my Theta DS Pro Progeny v. A shipped to me today. First thing that surprised me was how much it weighed.. very very hefty and unlike most products under $500 you can buy today.
    Now.. onto the sound. Can't do it yet until I get my USB - SPDIF converter shipped to me.. I just ordered a Peachtree T1 USB-Coax because I do not plan on using my soundcard's SPDIF/toslink-out, I'd rather have one USB cable and a converter separating me from my music. Also I heard the toslink input was added as an afterthought back in the 90's compared to the coaxial inputs.
    Here is the back of it
    And part of the front
    These are from Ebay, I have only plugged it in to see if it powers up which it does. I just don't want to listen to it yet if I have to listen through the toslink input because I would rather wait than spoil it
  13. purrin
    Try it with toslink anyways. There's a computer/data buffer/DSP thing in there, so transport does tend to be less critical compared to some other DACs.
  14. purrin
    Try it with toslink anyways. There's a computer/data buffer/DSP thing in there, so transport does tend to be less critical compared to some other DACs.
  15. purrin
    Try it with toslink anyways. There's a computer/data buffer/DSP thing in there, so transport does tend to be less critical compared to some other DACs.
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