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

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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.
 
I don't think this can be literally true.  The DAC1 was set, if I recall correctly, to do something called asynchronous sample rate conversion (ASRC) as an anti-jitter measure.  Sample rate conversion (plus the accompanying necessary anti-alias filtering) is mathematically not a bit-perfect process.  Nor, for that matter, is conversion from digital to analog or the reverse.  These processes are also technically "lossy," meaning once the data have been converted, there is no mathematical process for perfectly reconstructing them.
 
So parts from the ADC1 and DAC1 may have been tested, or a testing configuration different than the consumer unit (without ASRC) may have been used, or a test may have been run where the results were audibly indistinguishable from analog input, but I do not think the circumstances as presented - a full ADC and full DAC, each doing sample rate and digital-analog/analog-digital conversion - could mathematically obtain the same data stream as input.
 
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icebear

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I recently stumbled over an interesting interview with Bob Katz. Someone who I guess really knows what he is talking about.
The interview is from 2008 but in principle there has nothing much changed.
I thought it was an interesting read :
 
http://www.monoandstereo.com/2008/02/nterview-with-bob-katz.html
 
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Solude

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I know I said I would post this a while ago but I got busy and it took a back seat!  I've got a bit of time with both the Theta Gen V and the Progeny and listened to them a bit side by side.  The "Theta" sound is certainly engrained in both of the units as the best way for me to describe the Gen V is just that is has a bit "more" of everything the Progeny has.  The bottom end has more impact without being muddy, the mids are a little more liquid and smooth while having slightly better imaging, and the highs have that effortless quality that reminds me a lot of the Yggy.  The Yggy and Gen V really do have a lot in common, but from what I can remember the Yggy is even smoother without any loss of resolution while the Gen V might be a little more aggressive in some regards.  I don't want to comment further on that as I don't own the Yggy but have only listened to it at a half dozen shows or so.
 
The progeny really does continue to impress me though, especially knowing how much less I paid for it than the Gen V.  I'm going to keep it for the time being as I still do use it as I have transplanted it from my listening area to my computer rig.  The main difference between the Gen V and Progeny that I notice when going back and forth is what I like to call "THE MEAT."  By that I just mean that the Gen V has more balls to the sound.  This is probably partially the upgrade in PSU and multiple chips etc. 
 
One thing the progeny does do just as well as the Gen V is portray space, it's uncanny the ability to render live performances and show the size of the arena/space the recording was made in.  The Progeny really is amazing, so just because my general finding that the Gen V is better, doesn't mean the Progeny isn't a fantastic unit.   It's a great bargain too at the sub $400 price you can generally find them at.
 
Maybe I'll go in depth further soon, I'd also be happy to elaborate more if anyone is interested etc etc.
 
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negura

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Nice write-up. Having one Gen V and one V A and compared them side by side with the Yggy many times, the Yggy is indeed having the smooth quality of R2R sound, but it's more aggressive than the Theta imo. The Theta is warmer and nicer sounding, with richer mids and even more bass heft than the Yggy, albeit less resolution and precision across the whole FR. This is using the same USB to Coax interface on both. With its native USB Yggy has even more of its strength areas.
 
To me they both sound as different DACs in their own right. But there are indeed common traits.
 
What I agree with most is what amazing value the old Thetas are. Even compared to the Yggdrasil. That said, it's the cost of the USB interface/cables that detract from that.
 
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wahsmoh

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  I know I said I would post this a while ago but I got busy and it took a back seat!  I've got a bit of time with both the Theta Gen V and the Progeny and listened to them a bit side by side.  The "Theta" sound is certainly engrained in both of the units as the best way for me to describe the Gen V is just that is has a bit "more" of everything the Progeny has.  The bottom end has more impact without being muddy, the mids are a little more liquid and smooth while having slightly better imaging, and the highs have that effortless quality that reminds me a lot of the Yggy.  The Yggy and Gen V really do have a lot in common, but from what I can remember the Yggy is even smoother without any loss of resolution while the Gen V might be a little more aggressive in some regards.  I don't want to comment further on that as I don't own the Yggy but have only listened to it at a half dozen shows or so.
 
The progeny really does continue to impress me though, especially knowing how much less I paid for it than the Gen V.  I'm going to keep it for the time being as I still do use it as I have transplanted it from my listening area to my computer rig.  The main difference between the Gen V and Progeny that I notice when going back and forth is what I like to call "THE MEAT."  By that I just mean that the Gen V has more balls to the sound.  This is probably partially the upgrade in PSU and multiple chips etc. 
 
One thing the progeny does do just as well as the Gen V is portray space, it's uncanny the ability to render live performances and show the size of the arena/space the recording was made in.  The Progeny really is amazing, so just because my general finding that the Gen V is better, doesn't mean the Progeny isn't a fantastic unit.   It's a great bargain too at the sub $400 price you can generally find them at.
 
Maybe I'll go in depth further soon, I'd also be happy to elaborate more if anyone is interested etc etc.

Thanks Zach. I have been waiting to hear from you and this is what I was sort of expecting with my brief demo of Purrin's Gen V and Yggy at Can Jam. Glad to know that my Progeny can still be king of soundstaging and musicality without spending nearly as much.
 
I plan on owning my Progeny and never selling it. It was a lucky score(@$276 and free shipping) and to think I nearly bought an iFi DSD Micro or a similar puny sized DAC. My next DAC will be the Yggy and if I wasn't flying to Peru this summer for a few weeks I would have already bought one.
 
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Nice write-up. Having one Gen V and one V A and compared them side by side with the Yggy many times, the Yggy is indeed having the smooth quality of R2R sound, but it's more aggressive than the Theta imo. The Theta is warmer and nicer sounding, with richer mids and even more bass heft than the Yggy, albeit less resolution and precision across the whole FR. This is using the same USB to Coax interface on both. With its native USB Yggy has even more of its strength areas.
 
To me they both sound as different DACs in their own right. But there are indeed common traits.
 
What I agree with most is what amazing value the old Thetas are. Even compared to the Yggdrasil. That said, it's the cost of the USB interface/cables that detract from that.

Yeah - I think what I should have said is that the Yggy seems more liquid while having at least as much resolving character if not more.  The way I phrased it made it sound like the Theta had more resolution which is obviously not the case.  I haven't been able to compare the two on the same amp, as I've always had my Theta hooked up to my Decware and the Yggy has always been hooked up to a Rag.  Both incredible set-ups.
 
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+1
 
I really appreciated his thoughtful logical posts.  And I didn't find them too long because he put a lot of content in the length.
 
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  +1
 
I really appreciated his thoughtful logical posts.  And I didn't find them too long because he put a lot of content in the length.

Spot on brother, couldn't agree more. I actually looked forward to those posts as they seemed like a fantastic balance of science and audio lingo/subjectivity.
 
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richard51

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the humility and competence of guy like Keith Emo merits a respectful thanks and our admiration for his generous contribution
 
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Sonic Defender

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@KeithEmo, as per the last number of posts, we all wanted to really acknowledge the excellent contributions you made to this thread. Your posting style and etiquette in conjunction with your understandable explanations were very welcome. Hopefully you make your way back here once and a while. I know there have been many other quality posters in this thread who waded through the acrimony and provided very solid information, but your contributions I feel deserve special notice.
 
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diamondears

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@KeithEmo
, as per the last number of posts, we all wanted to really acknowledge the excellent contributions you made to this thread. Your posting style and etiquette in conjunction with your understandable explanations were very welcome. Hopefully you make your way back here once and a while. I know there have been many other quality posters in this thread who waded through the acrimony and provided very solid information, but your contributions I feel deserve special notice.
Spot on brother, couldn't agree more. I actually looked forward to those posts as they seemed like a fantastic balance of science and audio lingo/subjectivity.

+1. I guess they have to bar the science of it to let the commercial/advertisements go on. Tsk tsk tsk...forums should be an NGO...
 
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Hifi01170

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  @KeithEmo, as per the last number of posts, we all wanted to really acknowledge the excellent contributions you made to this thread. Your posting style and etiquette in conjunction with your understandable explanations were very welcome. Hopefully you make your way back here once and a while. I know there have been many other quality posters in this thread who waded through the acrimony and provided very solid information, but your contributions I feel deserve special notice.
 
Agreed! Can't say it better than Sonic Defender... "Your style and etiquette..." truly appreciated so please keep it coming! 
 
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strreamix

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Anyone have any suggestions for a budget DAC (under 200$) for my setup?
 
LCD-3 (pre-fazor)
Gustard H10 (violectric v200 clone) (puts 2.7 W into 50 ohms)
need dac under 200$ (strict budget) (i know it can perform much better with better dac, but this is the only option i have)
 
will be running lossless files or 320+ from jriver, i dont use anything higher than flac usually.
 
was probably just going to go with modi 2 uber..
 
Thanks
 
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strreamix

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Fellow head-fi'ers keep suggesting the iFi DSD Nano to me.
 
What makes the iFi DSD Nano so highly regarded around here? (I've been suggested it numerous times)
It is that it packs a lot of features in for a small price? Or does the Burr Brown chip really have the SQ of higher tier DACs?
 
I ask this because (and forgive me if I'm misinformed here), but I don't believe I need any of these extra features.
 
I don't need portability (this is for a desktop rig).
I don't want a battery, I'd prefer a wall-wart.
I don't care about DSD or DXM or any of that. I just want to play lossless PCM files.
I don't need an integrated amplifier, brings me worry about double amping or hurting SQ.
 
I don't like anything about the Nano. But if it has the best SQ of all the DAC's in this price range, I would still buy it.
 
And for those in favor of the Nano, what would you say about this? ODAC vs Nano done from someone's review.
The most important thing to me is sub-bass and this shows the Nano with a hard roll off in the sub bass region.
 
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/90236454/iFi%20vs%20Odac%20comparison.pdf
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/90236454/iFi%20iDSD%20Nano%20vs%20ODAC.pdf
 
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