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Jon Iverson (Stereophile) Dac differences description


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Anybody ever see this? DAC difference discussion starts approx 27:00 and goes until approx 37:00. He does a nice job of putting DAC differences into perspective, IMO. I like the analogies: country of origin of cocoa in milkshake, tiny door ding in new car...

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I am not sure what to make of this. With the same DAC, I have changed the fuse, interconnects, power cords. I have also placed it on a wooden shelf, and on an acrylic shelf. All of these "small" changes changed the sound.

 

But there are no, or only very small differences between different DACs?! According to his explanation (Iverson's) a Totaldac and an AQ Dragonfly will sound very similar, even the same to most people? With some training they could learn to tell them apart?

 

I would like a friendly debate on this subject between Mr. Iverson, Michael Lavorgna and John Darko!

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Thanks for posting JR - I thought it was an interesting discussion [emoji846]

The dink in the car door was a good analogy, me thought. Although, I'm sure many of think DAC differences more important more critical than a little dent... But I guess I'm not a car-guy? But that idea that differences may not be so obvious from the get-go, but hard to gnome once you home in on it seems familiar.

 

I'd agree with Indydan that most of us would find it easier noticing DAC differences than cocoa origins in milkshakes too...

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Thanks for posting JR - I thought it was an interesting discussion [emoji846]

The dink in the car door was a good analogy, me thought. Although, I'm sure many of think DAC differences more important more critical than a little dent... But I guess I'm not a car-guy? But that idea that differences may not be so obvious from the get-go, but hard to gnome once you home in on it seems familiar.

 

I'd agree with Indydan that most of us would find it easier noticing DAC differences than cocoa origins in milkshakes too...

 

There's a graph somewhere that plots what people know vs how much they realize they don't know. It shows that those with a little knowledge, think they know everything, but those with a vast amount of knowledge, realize there is a LOT they don't know. I feel the same about Audiophilia.

 

I have been of the opinion that differences in DACs are minor, if non-existent. And this interview confirmed that, IMO. I found it very rare to get this seemingly honest feedback from a Stereophile reviewer.

 

After installing extensive room treatments, I was astonished at how much better my system sounds. And I now wonder if it revealing enough to hear some of the small differences that I previously dismissed. Though, having tried several DACs, I know it won't have the same impact as room treatments (at least in my system).

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I also Wonder how Stereophile can justify placing DACs into classes for their recommended components list, if all DACs sound nearly the same. A good number of those DACs were reviewed by Mr. Iverson himself.

 

They have classes A+, A, B, C and D. It sounds like they can discriminate among DACs just fine! To me, this appears contradictory...

 

2016 Recommended Components Digital Processors | Stereophile.com

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I also Wonder how Stereophile can justify placing DACs into classes for their recommended components list, if all DACs sound nearly the same. A good number of those DACs were reviewed by Mr. Iverson himself.

 

They have classes A+, A, B, C and D. It sounds like they can discriminate among DACs just fine! To me, this appears contradictory...

 

I didn't watch the video to see if Iverson was offering his personal view or speaking for the magazine. I can't imagine it was the latter.

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Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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I have bunch of DACs and each have their own sound flavor (listened through Sennheiser HD800 headphones).

 

To me the differences are on a similar level as differences between different hamburgers, beers, wines, whiskeys, etc. Maybe someone thinks such differences are small or almost non-existent, but on what scale!?

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I have been of the opinion that differences in DACs are minor, if non-existent. And this interview confirmed that, IMO. I found it very rare to get this seemingly honest feedback from a Stereophile reviewer.

On this issue he is plainly wrong . Even the Schiit discussed in another thread will sound markedly different to a Phasure NOS DAC , a Bricasti M1,or a Gryphon Kalliope for example, as will your typical Sabre based DAC over a Multibit DAC. You only need a transparent system to hear these obvious differences.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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On this issue he is plainly wrong . Even the Schiit discussed in another thread will sound markedly different to a Phasure NOS DAC , a Bricasti M1,or a Gryphon Kalliope for example, as will your typical Sabre based DAC over a Multibit DAC. You only need a transparent system to hear these obvious differences.

 

If a "transparent system" is required, then that pretty much defines the differences as anything but "obvious"...IMO.

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If a "transparent system" is required, then that pretty much defines the differences as anything but "obvious"...IMO.

 

Then you haven't heard a truly transparent system.

Note also the review of the Schiit DAC by Chris Connaker where he obviously heard very worthwhile differences.

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/content/670-schiit-audio-yggdrasil-multibit-dac-review/

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Then you haven't heard a truly transparent system.

Note also the review of the Schiit DAC by Chris Connaker where he obviously heard very worthwhile differences.

 

You misunderstood what I meant... That's OK. I'm sure others did.

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To me the differences are on a similar level as differences between different hamburgers, beers, wines, whiskeys, etc. Maybe someone thinks such differences are small or almost non-existent, but on what scale!?

 

I completely agree.

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I also Wonder how Stereophile can justify placing DACs into classes for their recommended components list, if all DACs sound nearly the same. A good number of those DACs were reviewed by Mr. Iverson himself.

 

They have classes A+, A, B, C and D. It sounds like they can discriminate among DACs just fine! To me, this appears contradictory...

 

2016 Recommended Components Digital Processors | Stereophile.com

 

I'd agree, there does seem something amiss, here. How do you resolve this? Would you conclude the reviews are skewed towards exaggeration, or that the responses in this interview?

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I'd agree, there does seem something amiss, here. How do you resolve this? Would you conclude the reviews are skewed towards exaggeration, or that the responses in this interview?

 

That reviewers are people just like the rest of us who hear things differently and don't always reach the same conclusions?

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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Would you say it's like the difference between IPA beers? Or between a stout and an IPA? I could agree with the former.

 

Often, the differences between dacs (for my sensibilities) is like the difference between different Pale Ales, for sure, similar in taste and feel on the palette and the residual taste in the mouth and nose.

 

But, they can also be like the difference between Pale Ale and Guinness and their associated pleasures, completely different flavours and presentations.

 

I once helped out at a get together where four high end dacs were blindly tested on the same day in the same high-end system (the room was treated and sounded great) by 20 or so guys (in groups of four) that all got to rank them in order of preference. I knew which was which because I was switching between them, but the differences between these dacs was quite large on my "audio scale" and everyone that I talked to after the event concurred. Interestingly, after that day, three of the participants went to the manufacturer/distributor of the dac they had blindly picked and actually purchased a new dac for their system. What is really interesting though is that they each purchased a different dac!

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Often, the differences between dacs (for my sensibilities) is like the difference between different Pale Ales, for sure, similar in taste and feel on the palette and the residual taste in the mouth and nose.

 

But, they can also be like the difference between Pale Ale and Guinness and their associated pleasures, completely different flavours and presentations.

 

I once helped out at a get together where four high end dacs were blindly tested on the same day in the same high-end system (the room was treated and sounded great) by 20 or so guys (in groups of four) that all got to rank them in order of preference. I knew which was which because I was switching between them, but the differences between these dacs was quite large on my "audio scale" and everyone that I talked to after the event concurred. Interestingly, after that day, three of the participants went to the manufacturer/distributor of the dac they had blindly picked and actually purchased a new dac for their system. What is really interesting though is that they each purchased a different dac!

 

Good story; thanks for sharing. That's encouraging, actually. I'm still hoping to unearth improvements to my system.

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Anthony

Couldn't they afford the same DAC as you ?

 

Regards

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Often, the differences between dacs (for my sensibilities) is like the difference between different Pale Ales, for sure, similar in taste and feel on the palette and the residual taste in the mouth and nose.

 

But, they can also be like the difference between Pale Ale and Guinness and their associated pleasures, completely different flavours and presentations.

 

It's been my experience that there are tiers of performance with DAC - just as there are with beers. Within the same tier, it often does come down to personal preference.

 

The better the DAC, the more things it gets right. DAC #1 may be superb with attributes A and B, and just good at everything else. DAC #2 may be superb with attributes C and D, and just good at everything else. If C and D align with my goals, I'll favor DAC #2 over #1.

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Gustard X26pro DAC 

Amp & Speakers:  Spectral DMA-150mk2 > Aerial 10T

Foundation: Stillpoints Ultra, Shunyata Denali power conditioner, Shunyata Alpha and Delta power cords, Shunyata Alpha interconnect, Shunyata Sigma Ethernet, MIT Matrix HD60 speaker cables, ASC isothermal tube traps, Stillpoints Aperture panels

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Anthony

Couldn't they afford the same DAC as you ?

 

Regards

Alex

 

One of those was sold, but two of the others were also sold...all for similar money. We all like different things it seems!

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