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Someone say something about DACs that is so interesting


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Yes, let's talk about rigged testing and if ABX works or not. That would be great :). Who has strong opinions on ABX? Let it all out.

 

And hey - keep it clean :) We audiophiles should be more refined and sophisticated than politicians. Let's set a great example for good discourse!

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I get it lightminer.

 

I will also make a suggestion about DACs. The USB receiver chip, the one in my DAC is an XMOS, and most DAC chips are noisy. I stuck a WA Quantum chip (the semiconductor chip model) on each of the 3 chips.

 

These things really work! The gains in transparency are surprising. Also, every instrument and singer is better delineated. The separation between performers is much better. This delineation and separation of instruments and voices was the biggest effect of the chips. The sound is less muddled. It is like turning a lens on a camera and putting an image that was 90% in focus, to 100%. BIG difference.

 

Another thing that surprised me, was that the chips added a bit of rhythmic snap. I have a Naim 5i integrated amp with the Rega DAC R. So, pace, speed, rhythm and timing (the famous PRAT) was not a weak point of my system. Despite that, the chips gave my system a little more snap and rhythm. All of these benefits came with no loss of speed or dynamics, or dulling of the sound. No tradeoffs!

 

So yes, the chips significantly improved my Rega DAC R. I hesitated posting the results, because I noticed there is a posse of naysayers who attack and mock tweaks such as these. I don't suffer fools...

 

I decided the only way to truly know, was to try them. That way, if I did not like their effect, I could at least talk from experience. Well, they work great!

 

Try them, or don't. If your DAC has Delta sigma DAC chips (the ones in my DAC are Wolfson), I believe you will like them. :-)

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If you spend $500 on a DAC with basic good engineering, and using conventional filters you have a fully transparent DAC. No higher audible fidelity is possible. If you doubt it, ABX the issue and prove it to yourself. Transparent $500 DACs seem like something worth celebrating if you ask me.

 

Sing the praises or listen to those who do.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Build a Wall around the DAC to keep out RFI

 

and... I hear Canada has very clean power

 

We were told on our TV news tonight that the Canadian Immigration website crashed ! (Not joking either.)

 

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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Indydan - I've had enough physics in college to have a basic understanding of Quantum Physics, so when people start talking about it in products or even in spirituality or philosophy I usually start glazing over. But tonight. Tonight I will read all about the WA Quantum chip. Maybe for hours. I know people who are pretty good with this audio stuff who say the Bybee Quantum rails work pretty well too.

 

Master - I definitely think there is something there. I was thinking earlier how to put something together like that.

 

Elsdude - well maybe let's say 500 and then a 300 power supply and another 400 for a really top class output section, then I think I could agree it may be there. You can take most DACs and improve the output section and get some gains there (see Oppo 105 mods). There are people looking to do something like that connected to the whole HQ player thing. I'm very curious to see how that turns out.

 

Here, I have a very bad one: We all had a big dac test at my house but now that everything is networked we are pretty sure after reviewing firmware and network logs that the Russians hacked in and made the winning dac sound better.

 

Ralf - the Canadian website for immigration crashed under load tonight. For real. (Edit:Sandy beat me here in timing. I do like Vancouver.)

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If you spend $500 on a DAC with basic good engineering, and using conventional filters you have a fully transparent DAC. No higher audible fidelity is possible. If you doubt it, ABX the issue and prove it to yourself. Transparent $500 DACs seem like something worth celebrating if you ask me.

 

Sing the praises or listen to those who do.

 

For sake of argument, let's concede your point. There is still the quality/type of the analog output section of the DAC which will make a difference in how it sounds.

 

Beyond that, to my ears, different DAC technologies do seem to have some difference in how they sound, even if all are somehow "transparent". (Although I'm not sure I agree that any competent DAC is 100% transparent. They are all very close, but not perfect, as far as I can tell.) Some DACs seem to sound "warmer" others "cleaner" etc.

 

I have compared DACs and been able to tell them apart, at least for the ones I tried it with.

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Hey, on a slightly serious note, I apologize in advance if this is too sappy for some, I will make one comment. Over the generations music has always been something that's has brought people from all races, nations, and walks of life together. There are so many origins and influences in music from diverse places music is one of the few things in the world that truly transcends race, religion, country, gender, everything. The whole world is truly one people and we can see that simple truth so clearly in this hobby, so that is something we can all be proud of, that we celebrate this essential unity in the beauty of music.

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For sake of argument, let's concede your point. There is still the quality/type of the analog output section of the DAC which will make a difference in how it sounds.

 

Beyond that, to my ears, different DAC technologies do seem to have some difference in how they sound, even if all are somehow "transparent". (Although I'm not sure I agree that any competent DAC is 100% transparent. They are all very close, but not perfect, as far as I can tell.) Some DACs seem to sound "warmer" others "cleaner" etc.

 

I have compared DACs and been able to tell them apart, at least for the ones I tried it with.

 

Didn't say all DACs sound the same. Said a good, well engineered $500 one is transparent. It will include a transparent analog output and the necessary power supply. You might make it sound different, but you can't make it more transparent.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Didn't say all DACs sound the same. Said a good, well engineered $500 one is transparent. It will include a transparent analog output and the necessary power supply. You might make it sound different, but you can't make it more transparent.

 

For 500 total, when you talk about the transparent analogue output section, you mean the output section will be made of see-through parts?

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For 500 total, when you talk about the transparent analogue output section, you mean the output section will be made of a clear substance?

 

Nope, I mean what I wrote. Do you really believe the output stage is some humongous undertaking with extreme resources required? A few op-amps, resistors etc. Good design. It doesn't need to have tremendous power. It is only a line level signal feeding a high impedance a couple or three volts.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Tubes are see-through, much more transparent than op-amps and resistors.

 

The glass envelopes are transparent. The active internals are anything but see through. Not to mention some of the parts glow.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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That is true, maybe that is where the 2nd order harmonic distortions come from.

 

On a serious note, this is the closest real version people are working on that may do what you say. And as a part one can add as simple or complex output section one wants, power supply, etc.

 

Signalyst

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/254935-signalyst-dsc1.html

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That is true, maybe that is where the 2nd order harmonic distortions come from.

 

On a serious note, this is the closest real version people are working on that may do what you say. And as a part one can add as simple or complex output section one wants, power supply, etc.

 

Signalyst

Signalyst DSC1 - diyAudio

 

This is a real version you can buy. ($499) It isn't the only one.

 

Stealth DC-1 Reference-Quality Differential DAC | Emotiva

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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[Duplicate

 

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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Do you REALLY believe that Dennis ? That suggests that the problem is ABX.

The Bricasti M1 DAC that retails in Au. for around Au$11,800 sounds way better than most DACs under $2K.

BUT my own DIY DAC built around a Silicon Chip magazine design but with separate transformers for both digital and Analogue sections, as well as numerous shunt regulators and a 3.3V Paul Hynes voltage regulator for the input PCB, recently crapped all over it . My friend did the setting up with his Bricasti and my DAC to my Preamp using Coax SPDIF from an Oppo 103 as a transport. We were playing similar CD-Rs to those I sent you. My friend then talked about trying different opamps etc. in his Bricasti, and biasing them into Class A operation.

It was only after he left, and I was putting everything back together again that I realised my DAC had no coax input cable. It was going via HDMI from the Oppo 103 to the 40" Samsung TV and back via Toslink to my DAC.

You really have a problem if you believe that all half decent DACs sound the same !

 

Alex

 

Not all DACs sound the same. Many do. Transparent ones do.

 

Why is my claim more outrageous than you saying your unit over HDMI, thru a Samsung TV and back over a Toslink to your DAC was somehow better than an $11k AUS device?

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Not all DACs sound the same. Many do. Transparent ones do.

 

Why is my claim more outrageous than you saying your unit over HDMI, thru a Samsung TV and back over a Toslink to your DAC was somehow better than an $11k AUS device?

 

In my case the owner of the Bricasti M1, who is also an experienced DIY person and Engineer, agreed with me ! The majority of commercial DACs are compromised by needing to meet budgetary limitations. Mine also had the advantage of being progressively upgraded over a period of several years, mainly based around feedback from other DIY friends, as well as quite a bit of input and confirmation by members of another forum (U.K. based) who also built the original design from short form kits, then confirmed each of my modifications by trying similar to mine.

No, I can't take all of the credit, because it was a community effort.

BTW, a C.A. member from Spain also has a similar version to mine, but has also added a USB input based around a DIY Audio design.

 

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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There are a few sub 1-k DAC's that could be given the 'output stage/power supply' treatment. Three I can think of right away are the ConceroHD, Aries Mini and maybe the latest Beresford. I have less experience with, but others would probably add, the price appropriate Schitt model. But my take on this still ends up at 1200 - 1500.

 

I'd love to see any of those three moded for output by Modwright or similar and there are well known great linear off the shelf PS's that can easily be added.

 

I do think the output stage is critical, and can make a gigantic difference. So I can get very close to agreeing, but not quite all the way down to 500. 1300-1500 or so.

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Didn't say all DACs sound the same. Said a good, well engineered $500 one is transparent. It will include a transparent analog output and the necessary power supply. You might make it sound different, but you can't make it more transparent.

 

Okay, then you have to tell me what you mean by transparent. I understand it to mean that the DAC perfectly produces the analog output from a digital source; i.e., adds no character of its own to the sound. If that's so, then they do all sound the same and you can't tell them apart with an ABX test.

 

How do 2 DACs sound different if they are both "transparent"?

Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>QuietPC Low Noise Server>Roon (Audiolense DRC)>Stack Audio Link II>Kii Control>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.

Secondary Listening: Server with Audiolense RC>RPi4 or analog>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)+Schiit Freya>Kii Three .

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup.
Living Room/Kitchen: RPi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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Oh, you've gone and done it now! ;)

 

Okay, then you have to tell me what you mean by transparent. I understand it to mean that the DAC perfectly produces the analog output from a digital source; i.e., adds no character of its own to the sound. If that's so, then they do all sound the same and you can't tell them apart with an ABX test.

 

How do 2 DACs sound different if they are both "transparent"?

Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

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If you spend $500 on a DAC with basic good engineering, and using conventional filters you have a fully transparent DAC. No higher audible fidelity is possible. If you doubt it, ABX the issue and prove it to yourself. Transparent $500 DACs seem like something worth celebrating if you ask me.

 

Sing the praises or listen to those who do.

 

Since I crave bridging divides after the past year plus, I will say that I agree it will be very difficult to tell the difference between DACs with an ABX test. Unless... (I'm keeping the punch line there to myself, at least for a while).

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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