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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. Priidik
    I never tried to tweak windows for this purpose, as it feels wrong to me, but i have tried others.
    At first i was sceptical too, but linux daemon based os-es with locked cpu parameters and other optimizations do sound better.
    Blacker background and more depth to the sound. This is no placebo for me. The effect is of the same magnitude as difference between two different Sabre based dacs i had to test. It's there. 
    Latelly been using Raspberry Pi2 with Volumio or Archphile, which to date is best computerized source i have heard.
    jsgraha likes this.
  2. jsgraha

    Nevermind then.
  3. Yoga
    Linux, Windows and Mac read static data, which is processed by an external, operating system independent digital to analogue converter
    bfreedma likes this.
  4. bfreedma
    True.  Processing that data is a trivial task that all OS's are fully capable of performing.
  5. maeveth
    +1 for this. I want people to educate people that you really don't need to spend hundreds when $70 bucks and a little know-how you can have bit-perfect playback to whatever DAC your ears prefer.  I use 2 Pi2s right now, one on the hifi setup(for both speakers and cans) and one next to the bed for some late night chill out while reading.
    My Pi2 and my home server(ZFS) is literally the best home-media solution I've ever had.
    The only thing that would really beat it would be a Sonos if it could do bit-perfect 24/192 output via the S/PDIF which it cant but it does have better usability for wife-acceptance factor.
  6. Yoga
    I just ran Prime95 - a system benchmark tool that maxes out (i.e. abuses!) the CPU - while listening to songs.
    I'd like to proffer that people try that themselves with their partner or a friend starting and stoping the 'Torture Test' with you unable to see the screen or hear the CPU/fan kick in.
    If you can hear a difference consistently and correctly, take the audio off your machine and play it through the SMS100. Cheaper and easier than another machine and needs no administration. If you don't hear a difference, don't give your OS another thought (Windows or Mac).
    I'm running a quad core 5Ghz hackintosh and couldn't hear any differences when idle or under extreme load.
    Operating system optimisation used to be handy for (hardcore) gaming, which is demanding on a system, but it's becoming less and less so as CPUs and GPUs evolve. For passing music data across - it's entirely unnecessary. We sent people to the moon with a CPU less powerful than a modern day washing machine. Your machine can handle static bits.
    ciphercomplete, bfreedma and wahsmoh like this.
  7. ciphercomplete

    Im going to be building one soon. Too cheap not to try.
  8. Priidik
    Isn't it more to do with hardware? The optimisation is meant to hold the hardware in check. DC-DC converters see less switching action with steady cpu voltage. There are other hardware that is switched as well, if cpu clock changes, no? I am not computer tech, maybe someone can enlighten me here. 
    Is there even true bit perfect playback in OS X?
    These are the things making any sense to me so far. 
    For some reason Mac and Windows 8 are different sounding, and even basic Ubuntu handily bests both. I think i haven't found right player (real bitperfect) for OSX yet, so far OSX is the worst sounding.
  9. Yoga

    Have you tried Audirvana Plus (v2)? Fantastic sounding!
    Edit: optimisation is predominantly software based; disabling system services and whatnot. 

    I'd love to try a Pi2 also, nice little project.
  10. pldelisle
    My experience is that, with my Asus Xonar Essence STX, sound quality was worse on Linux with proper ALSA driver than on Windows with Asus' driver. It's just my two cents. Saying OSX has the worst audio quality playback is, I think, hasty generalization.

    I'm kind of new to this world but I'm sure there is bitperfect audio player on Mac OS. Mac OS is one of the most used platform for audio production.
  11. maeveth
    No OS has worse or better playback.  ALSA(Linux), Windows, OSX are all Operating Systems.  Your ability playback audio in an unmolested has more to do with the driver implementation and whether or not the software you are using it doing any re-sampling prior to sending it to your hardware device - both can actually do this.
    Assuming your setup to do bit-perfect output to your DAC, on card or external device, you will get the exact same audio performance out of that DAC on any OS.
    ciphercomplete and Yoga like this.
  12. Stillhart
    I did some brief research online and I think a Pi2 is in my future as well.  Does anyone know if there's a Pi-Fi thread yet?  If not, maybe we should start one as this conversation is pretty OT for this thread...
  13. coli
    Linear power supply degrades sound out of the PC for some reason. I also found that switching power supply sounded better.
    You also must try jplay 6.
    What USB card were you using?
  14. wahsmoh

    I agree!! 100%, I tried using a Peachtree T1 USB-Coax converter which uses adaptive USB, not asynchronous USB to connect my Theta DS Pro Progeny which only takes Coax or Toslink.
    I then compared it to the S/PDIF pass-through of my HT Omega Claro Halo soundcard.
    The result, the HT Omega Claro Halo left no digital harshness or crap. The Peachtree T1 hasn't been used since and I am waiting for my Gustard U12 before I give up on USB completely. Honestly the Peachtree T1 added crap to my sound versus giving me a pure unmolested signal. I am getting pure PCM pass-through optical from my HT Omega Claro Halo
  15. Priidik
    Well then, more reason to try linux based system. Most of them hold cpu multiplyer constant, that sort of things. + on the soft side there is nothing but the music daemon.
    Out of dacs i have used with for example Daphile the ones with crappy usb side benefited most.
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