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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. jimvibe

    The soundstage and level of detail will improve if you increase the brightness slightly because you will hear the reverb better and most of so perceived "details" are in treble anyway. That doesn't mean this level of treble was in the original recording though. Increased mid-upper bass will make it sound fuller and richer (for example hd800 + any tube amp), increased compression or worse channel separation will make it punchier. There is nothing bad about this coloration, but it's not transparent. It could have been added at the recording stage.
    The main point that's being dicussed here is whether Delta-Sigma modulation based DACs are inferior or not. I think I propose a very reasonable thing to do — throw a high-end S-D modulation based analog-digital-analog conversion (precisely volume matched) in your favorite signal chain and see if it changes the sound (ABX, double blinded, being honest with yourself, whatever). If S-D cripples the sound it should obviously result in some kind of audible difference. If it's transparent there will be no difference and you will still hear the coloration you like.
  2. frenchbat

    Funny, because the details are there, but the treble is definitely not emphasized compared to the DAC1. As to the test, it's your claim, not mine. I personally don't need it. 
    skeptic and negura like this.
  3. DreamKing
  4. skeptic
    Novel concept: try reading it and find out.  
    negura likes this.
  5. miceblue
    It could be both, but the mastering process would make far more of a difference than any ADC/DAC technology would unless it was severely flawed from the start.

    Apple's Mastered for iTunes tools are actually pretty good in today's era. They let the mastering engineers keep the music at a high sound quality and iTunes distributes those masters as high bitrate AAC files.

    Daft Punk's RAM album for example sounds nearly as good as the master from HD Tracks at a fraction of the price, in which both sound much better and more dynamic than the CD master.
  6. jacal01
    Post padding run amok, obviously.  Why are you adding to the chaos?
  7. bixby
    slightly on the warm side and very good is the hrt music streamer II+ and sounds best if you have a clean source and decent usb cable.  I prefer it to the modi 2 uber in my system.
  8. jimvibe

    Because the title is the thread is very misleading. People tend to believe everything they read and will plop $2k+ thinking they got something vastly superior.
  9. jacal01
    Don't know about 'vastly', but there was enough of a potential differential in my mind to upgrade to the Yggy from yet another R2R DAC, the AGD M7, much less a DS DAC.
    Also, being an audiophile means that  a 'vast' difference is not required to upgrade one's equipment to mythical 'endgame' status.  Subtle differences are more than enough in a lot of cases, and 'endgame' is more defined by personal economics than delivered ideal state musical fidelity.
    Read the whole thread for total context, already, before weighing in with your own opinion, please.
    evillamer, Argo Duck and Ableza like this.
  10. hans030390
    What makes you think the Theta is adding coloration? Do you think the Yggy applies as well? What's not to say it's more true to the source and that the DAC1 is the more colored DAC?
    I've tested enough DACs that measure near perfectly on static measurements (i.e. an objectivist would tell you they'd all be colorless or have inaudible imperfections), yet sound noticeably different in back-to-back tests. Some more detailed than others, some more fleshed-out sounding than others, some more 3D, some with better decay and reverb. I get it, the DAC1 measures great on paper, but so do many other DACs that sound different. The Yggy and even the Theta, both measure excellently (you might be surprised that some TOTL DACs from the mid-90s still measure as, well, TOTL DACs even today). So if they all look colorless per objective criteria in measurements, what explains the sonic differences? And if you think it's just placebo, then why did you get the DAC1 instead of the ODAC?
    Argo Duck and Maxx134 like this.
  11. jimvibe
    If it sounds different from DAC1 then either DAC1 has some coloration or Theta has. I don't know what else to call these differences. Let's say DAC1 is not transparent and Theta is (or both of them are not transparent but different). I propose a very specific test to show that DAC1 is not adding any coloration to the sound and therefore is transparent: run digital-analog-digital conversion on your favorite digital recording with DAC1/ADC1 (maybe even several times - 10x) and ABX that with an original track using Theta or Yggdrasil. Then you can do the same with ADC1/Yggdrasil and compare that too. Unless ADC and DAC cancel each others imperfections somehow (highly unlikely) you will hear the amplified ten-fold difference clearly.
    DAC1 measures better than ODAC and has better "objective" specs than Yggdrasil actually too. I own it for different reasons though. 
  12. BassDigger
    I think that your 'rose-tinted glasses' may be affecting your ears; even the (very) best dacs will do something that changes the sound; they all have their particular sound signature, so are not transparent. All of them.
    Your apparent belief that your DAC1 is the exception, does nothing to boost your credibility. Sorry. [​IMG]
  13. jimvibe

    Of course they do. Even air pressure changes all the time, so every playback is not the same (not even mentioning the more prominent psychological perception changes). The only important question is whether you can hear that difference. Again — I proposed a very specific test. 
  14. Solude
    No need.  Benchmark already ran this test as part of their DAC1/ADC1 development.  They ran the DAC1 into an ADC1 looped over and over 20? times I believe and in the end... absolutely no change to the data.  Meaning yes the DAC1 is literally bit perfect.  Which is not to say that it is pleasant.  Also not to suggest that bit perfect relates to stage focus, smoothness, dynamics or any other none numerical, measured performance.
    frenchbat likes this.
  15. jimvibe

    It's wouldn't be bit perfect at least because some (inaudible) noise would be injected into the recording at every conversion stage. But it would be audibly indistinguishable from the analog source the digital recording was made from. Which in turn means that DAC1/ADC1 didn't detract "stage focus, smoothness, dynamics" from the analog source.
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