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What is most important factor in digital audio playback quality?

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What is the most important factor in digital audio playback quality?  

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On 6/27/2019 at 8:37 PM, Paul R said:

 

Sure it can. If you were going to be able to replace/upgrade only one component, for the rest of your life, what would it be?  Fortunately, I do not think any of us have to really face a choice like that, but it is a fun thought experiment.

 

For me, it would probably be speakers, if it included the room to house them. :)  

 

 

Ok Paul, what's the point of an 80K Nagra DAC and pawn shop crap speakers and beat to hell receiver using Home Depot speaker wire?


No electron left behind...

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1 hour ago, mansr said:

Prove what? That getting the analogue part right is tricky? By building a poor yet cheap DAC? Makes no sense.

 

Prove that getting the Digital part right too is a " piece of cake" like you keep insisting, although MANY members who post in the .Music Server area of the forum mainly, will strongly disagree with you.


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 18-06-2019

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Alex, getting the digital part 'right' is actually about making sure that the analogue qualities of the signals that represent the digital information don't cause problems. Ultimately, it's always about analogue qualities - whether you choose to call something digital, and something else analogue is a bit of a word game - the circuitry, and the electrons only know about the analogue world, irrespective of how we wish to view it.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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6 hours ago, sandyk said:

 

 Prove it by designing and submitting a relatively inexpensive DAC to Chris for review.  :P

Just a 24/192 DAC would do for starters .

IFi iDSD Nano - like $99? 


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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5 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

 

 

Ok Paul, what's the point of an 80K Nagra DAC and pawn shop crap speakers and beat to hell receiver using Home Depot speaker wire?

 

Not much, but make those speakers one of many different powered or passive speakers, and the equation changes quickly, for me. 


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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1 hour ago, Paul R said:

IFi iDSD Nano - like $99? 

That would be unfair, because he wouldn't have the benefit of quantity prices for components, and not possible with proper metalwork 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 18-06-2019

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10 hours ago, sandyk said:

Prove that getting the Digital part right too is a " piece of cake" like you keep insisting, although MANY members who post in the .Music Server area of the forum mainly, will strongly disagree with you.

If I whip up a DAC quickly, chances are it won't be great. What does that prove?

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7 hours ago, mansr said:

If I whip up a DAC quickly, chances are it won't be great. What does that prove?

 

it would prove you fell for a jibe


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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14 hours ago, Paul R said:

 

Not much, but make those speakers one of many different powered or passive speakers, and the equation changes quickly, for me. 

 

But then you're at two things, not one most important thing...


No electron left behind...

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The expertise of the band, producers and engineers that recorded and mastered the album. 

 

Do y'all listen to components or music?

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10 hours ago, mansr said:

If I whip up a DAC quickly, chances are it won't be great. What does that prove?

 

 Take your time then .:) 

You are the one making the claims about how easy it is to get the Digital area right , which is not what many other members are reporting elsewhere.


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 18-06-2019

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6 minutes ago, sandyk said:

Take your time then .:) 

You are the one making the claims about how easy it is to get the Digital area right , which is not what many other members are reporting elsewhere.

If it doesn't perform well, how will you tell whether the analogue or digital side is (primarily) to blame?

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5 minutes ago, mansr said:

If it doesn't perform well, how will you tell whether the analogue or digital side is (primarily) to blame?

 I am not saying that it is easy, but experienced designers will work that out using their Test Equipment as well as their ears, and the ears of other members of the team in many cases.

 There may be more of a "Black Art" to doing that better than average ? 


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 18-06-2019

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1 hour ago, rn701 said:

The expertise of the band, producers and engineers that recorded and mastered the album. 

 

Do y'all listen to components or music?

 

People will have their preferences, but what I enjoy is the energy and the texture of music making events. Being able to "see" a performer's arm move around as he plays, say, is about as far from being interesting to me as I could conceive as an experience - that aspect is merely a curiosity of the whole.

 

Some of the best and most interesting music to listen to has been recorded "badly", as audiophiles love to whinge about, x-D. Well, it's possible to get off that silly treadmill, and sort a system so that the energy and texture of the event that was captured comes through loud and clear. Then, provided the band were half competent, and being able to ignore how much the producers and engineers made a mess of things - you get to be able to enjoy, yes, music - and the components that you are listening through cease to play a significant part.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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10 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

 

But then you're at two things, not one most important thing...

Just changing the speakers for me. :)

 


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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9 hours ago, Paul R said:

Just changing the speakers for me. :)

 

 

So lets say you had your dream speakers... Would you not want to connect them to better equipment?


No electron left behind...

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Honestly, not sure. I really think speakers make the most impact on the quality of sound. Existing equipment can put out awesome sound. 😁

 

Not trying to queer your pitch there. If I had a $79 K-Mart special all in one amp/tuner/ceramic cart turntable thing, my answer would be different of course. 

 

Assuming a totally analog system I was happy with though, adding a good player/DAC might take the top spot.

 

So many folks just add a Sonos to the Mix and call it done. That is not bad, but digital playback can be so much better. 


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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I think we need a new thread that starts out "So let's say you had your dream speakers..." what electronic equipment would be most important: DAC, pre-amp, or amp?

 

assuming they are all boxed items, not a pre-amp that is built in to a DAC...


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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16 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

I think we need a new thread that starts out "So let's say you had your dream speakers..." what electronic equipment would be most important: DAC, pre-amp, or amp?

 

assuming they are all boxed items, not a pre-amp that is built in to a DAC...

 

I think you can do that right in this thread if you wish. Just so long as you tie it to digital music playback in some manner. 

 

There are far too many variables to try and narrow a thread down that far, as the most important component of any system may - almost certainly will - vary with the system. For example what if your "speakers" are a set of headphones? What if your source and player is an iPhone or a Galaxy tablet? 

 

In my system, I think the digital parts would be difficult to improve enough to impress me, and the most important part of the digital playback chain is the DAC. Followed closely in importance by the player. But- that assumes the rest of the system is able to handle the digital playback well. 

 

The questions that opens up are pretty endless - can headphones be enough to make an iPhone sound great as a digital playback system? You can probably guess where it would go from there. 

 

I have a rough and not completely formed idea that there are distinct stages that must be considered. Source, player, DAC, amp, speakers - in that order perhaps? What if streaming is an integral part of your playback system?  Does the network really count? Ethernet cables? Would changing them significantly degrade your pleasure in the playback? 

 

It is hard to think out of the box in this area, as there are so many things everyone "knows." 

 

-Paul 

 


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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44 minutes ago, rvb said:

Most important is at home it must sound precise the same as live.

 

That is an interesting point of view. :) 

 

The normal question posed to that, is what about music that has no live counterpart? Or the live music is so distorted and messed about with by the venue it is not a very good recording? 

 

-Paul 

 


Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Every exercise where the focus is on what is the most important component, is doomed to never yield the best quality possible from the intrinsic capability of the rig components. What is the most important aspect of a plane always delivering its passengers safely to their destination? Is it because it has the latest engines, or the wing geometry has been optimised to the n'th degree - or is it because the pilot had an excellent night's sleep beforehand, and a maintenance person wasn't happy with the fit of a bolt somewhere, and went to some effort to "make it right".

 

Good playback doesn't sound "precisely the same as live"; what it does is generate the same sense of energy, drive and engagement that live music making does with ease - that's where the real 'magic' is ... ^_^.


Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Ahhh, Mankind ... Porsche intellect, Trabant emotions ...

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On 6/30/2019 at 11:42 PM, sandyk said:

 

 Take your time then .:) 

You are the one making the claims about how easy it is to get the Digital area right , which is not what many other members are reporting elsewhere.

And how many of those members actually work in electronic design?

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