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Stello DAC100 Signature on XP SP3 iTunes & Foobar comparision


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Hello to all, my first post to this very interesting site!

 

The site is a great resource for a new source for audio, and if it wasn't for Chris' straightforward outlook on an evolving topic, I would not be here. I studied many posts and equipment reviews and long and short of it decided there was something missing with the standard optical SPDIF output on my notebook. Lack of detail mainly, little in the way of dynamics, were the most annoying, so after reading the Stello 100 review here, OK, lets go get one!

I bought the signature version due to the balanced audio outputs for my amp to come, other than that, the DA100 would have been fine.

 

Immediately when the DA100 was on, the veil lifted, the detail I was expecting as back, firm bass extension, this was with iTunes. After much tripping over Foobar2000's name on the forums, I did a head to head comparison between the two using Apple lossless files in my collection V8.1. I ignored the library functions for now and concentrated on audio quality only. All enhancements were off.

 

Foobar2000 uses its own Apple lossless converter and differences I've noticed are:

a) The Foobar conversion sounds brighter rather than detailed.

b) Deep Bass on Foobar is lower amplitude and not as strong and defined as Tunes

 

The DAC100 doesn't support ASIO drivers, so I had to use kmixer's designs and follow Benchmark's guide to Windows XP audio and set QuickTime Audio from the same author.

 

With iTunes having a lot easier library management, iTunes won the day over with Audio Quality as well. I was hoping iTunes would win cause I like the remote capability on my iPhone 3G.

 

For those newbies like me, here's the list of settings for XP that are essential.

 

- Switch off Sounds in Control Panel

- Set the latency in QuickTime player to 1.000ms (lowest value) that I could be bothered with

- Remove ASIO4All if you have it cause the DAC100's don't support it, and it's really messy to setup anyway (buffer hiccups)

- I tried to unmap the USB audio device, but the Audio quality really went downhill when this was off. Having the map off muted Foobar2000's output.

- To check the status of Kmixer, go to Accessories/system Tools/system information, then expand system Environment, then expand software, Kmixer is shown whether it's Running or stopped in the list

 

Equipment

- Asus W2J Notebook XP SP3 Realtek HD Audio

- Stello DAC100 Signature DAC

- Sony STR DA5400ES AV receiver (this amp decoded the Toslink Audio)

- Accuphase E205 Integrated amp for the front speakers

- KEF reference three speakers

- Yamaha YST1500 Sub Woofer

- Sennheiser 595

 

Cheers to all and happy listening!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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