Why do people say the Benchmark DAC1 is "fatiguing"?
Oct 15, 2006 at 3:00 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 21

mshan

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From readings these forums and googling for the Lavry DA10, I've come across numerous coments that the Benchmark DAC1 is fatiguing?

I've never heard the Benchmark, but from what I've read I don't get the impression that this dac is bright or coarse (slightly gritty or grainy, especially in the treble?)

Is there something fundamental about the way this dac does it digital to analog converrsion that makes it fatiguing to the ear?

Or is this fatiguing nature just a manifestation of poor system matching? (my headphones are Sennheiser HD650, so I don't think this would be a problem).
 
Oct 15, 2006 at 5:16 AM Post #2 of 21

jpelg

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The Benchmark DAC1 has undergone more than several subtle, under the hood, design revisions since it's first release. So take earlier reviews with a grain of salt.

Don't know about the Lavry.
 
Oct 15, 2006 at 11:43 AM Post #3 of 21

Garbz

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take everything always with a grain of salt. Go out and have a listen for yourself. Think if you really want to part with that much money without a money back guarantee or a testdrive. I for one do not care if that limits my choices in audio gear. There's plenty here to choose from and I'd rather be happy with what I have rather than rely on someone who I have no idea what their musical tastes are.
 
Oct 15, 2006 at 2:55 PM Post #4 of 21

anubisgrau

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in a rather neutral system (ML electronics, ATC passive speakers, quad CDP-II as transport), DAC-1 produced a sound that was on a verge of being too agressive, too bright and too forward for my taste.

but on the other hand it was shockingly detailed and transparent.

i believe it is a device that needs careful matching and i would be curious to hear it in a darker, more valve-sound system. although i am not sure if it is a device for lovers of analogue, organic sound. i would (and i did) look somewhere else.
 
Oct 15, 2006 at 3:00 PM Post #5 of 21

GoRedwings19

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Quote:

Originally Posted by anubisgrau
in a rather neutral system (ML electronics, ATC passive speakers, quad CDP-II as transport), DAC-1 produced a sound that was on a verge of being too agressive, too bright and too forward for my taste.

but on the other hand it was shockingly detailed and transparent.

i believe it is a device that needs careful matching and i would be curious to hear it in a darker, more valve-sound system. although i am not sure if it is a device for lovers of analogue, organic sound. i would (and i did) look somewhere else.




I am not suprised you found the dac 1 too agressive or too bright. I find the ML elctronics on the darker side of neutral and laid back in presentation. And given that the listener placement is more placed towards mid hall to rear posidition then the dac 1 may have certainly given you the impression that the dac 1 was too forward for your tastes.
 
Oct 15, 2006 at 4:53 PM Post #6 of 21

Wodgy

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The DAC1 has a particular sound that isn't necessarily apparent on a first listen. There's a hint of leanness and a particular presentation of the upper midrange that some people hear and some people don't. I find it fairly easy to hear. Obviously at its level of performance the DAC1 does much more right than wrong, but the DAC1's particular sound signature is a little fatiguing.
 
Oct 15, 2006 at 5:12 PM Post #7 of 21

gsansite

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Solution, Valhalla power cords!
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Oct 15, 2006 at 5:26 PM Post #8 of 21

mshan

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Would you say this "fatiguing" nature is a resolution of tonal balance (and which presumably can be completely eliminated with careful system matching) or some sort of subtle digital distortion that is inherently amusical and leads to listener fatigue over an extended listening session (if so, how long can one listen without the fatigue developing)?
 
Oct 16, 2006 at 1:01 AM Post #9 of 21

Garbz

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I don't find distortion fatiguing at all. I could listen to my old vinyl setup with the screwed needle for hours without issue. People have said it's bright, bright music casuses fatigue.
 
Oct 16, 2006 at 1:09 AM Post #10 of 21

HumanMedia

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Garbz
I don't find distortion fatiguing at all. I could listen to my old vinyl setup with the screwed needle for hours without issue. People have said it's bright, bright music casuses fatigue.




Hmmm I wouldnt go that far. Distortion where we arent sensitive to it can even sound good (tubes, vinyl), however distortion we we are sensitive to it (say 1-5khz) will almost always sound bad. Brightness which isnt meant to be there, is distortion.
 
Oct 16, 2006 at 1:13 AM Post #11 of 21

applebook

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Everything that's written needs to be taken into context. Some systems are bright or cold by nature because of cables, cans/speakers, and amps that lean toward brightness, but on my system (currently running cheap cables and stock K1000 cable), the DAC1 does sound a bit lean and bright just like Wodgy said. However, with something like the HD650 or the OII and a warmer amp, the sound is not bright at all to me ears.

The sound of the DAC is clearly not for everyone, so those who are particularly sensitive to HFs or simply prefer a warmer, fuller presentation may not like the DAC.
 
Oct 16, 2006 at 1:15 AM Post #12 of 21

mshan

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If the fatigue everybody hears is simple a result of a lean tonal balance, combined with less than synergistic headphones (I've got Sennheiser HD650, so I don't think that's a problem), then that's good to hear.
smily_headphones1.gif


I was worried about some subtle, amusical digital distortion that quickly induces listener fatigue and makes you want to take the headphones off to rest your ears.

Likewise the subtle, solid state grit / graininess described by others?
 
Oct 16, 2006 at 1:19 AM Post #13 of 21

applebook

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Unless someone can prove with measurement that the DAC1 in fact does distort, then it may or may not. Your ears should ultimately decide, unless it's against overwhelming scientific proof --in which case, I'd clean my ears
biggrin.gif


Anyway, what some people consider to be the DAC1's biggest weakness, I deem to be its strongest. The HF extension is as high and as clear as I've ever heard from any source, but any HF distortion that's in the recording seems to be amplified moreso than by other systems.
 
Oct 16, 2006 at 1:24 AM Post #14 of 21

mshan

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I found this interesting commentary while googling for the Lavry DA10:

"After listening through the DA10 and then back to the DAC1, the DAC1 began to reveal what could be described as a "grainy" sound. And I found this to be most evident in the high-end. Compared with the DA10, the DAC1 could also be described as "colored" by some - even if small amount of - distortion. After using the DAC1 and then switching to the DA10 - everything just clears up. With the DAC1 instruments and sounds seemed less separated, whereas with the DA10 - instruments and sounds are presented in their own respective space."
http://studioforums.com/eve/forums/a...6611090261/p/2

Sounds like the DA10 is a better sounding DAC, though the differences are subtle. Too bad I hate the aesthetics of the Lavry and it balanced only outputs.

frown.gif
 
Oct 16, 2006 at 2:05 AM Post #15 of 21

applebook

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I don't agree with that opinion.

If you read what a few Zhalou proponents have said, you might be led to believe that the Lavry is a terribly designed, awful sounding DAC, but that's just an opinion based ignorance.

The bottom line is that these are just opinions. Always be wary of people who make fanatical claims or ascribe motives to those who disagree, though.
 

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