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Differences in sound: DAC vs. DAC + Pre-amplifier


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On 6/7/2020 at 7:39 AM, barrows said:

I must admit I am not aware of a Lumin Renderer available here in the US in 2012.  Can you educate me with some of Lumins' history?

i have been using sony blu-ray players to stream dsd since 2013 and i think the Teac NT503 network dac came out in 2014?

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10 hours ago, Summit said:

 

Can you show me evidence (measurements or listing evaluations) to support that Ethernet Renderer is better than SOTA server like Innuos Zenith se, Innuos Statement or Extreme?

 

Technical evidence I don’t know, but one principle I consider to be of great importance is that it’s better to attempt to NOT let the noise “come in” than to clean it up later down streams.

I asked Barrows the same question comparing to the Teac Nt503 about 4 years ago and he couldn't answer and the teac was only about $1k if i remember.   I am not convinced it would sound any better than just streaming to a marantz nd8006....put your money in speakers.

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15 minutes ago, matthias said:

 

The interplay between server and DAC and server, endpoint and DAC is very complex. 

Surely it can not be understood with something like "noise" only.

Reading the Extreme thread on WBF helped me a lot to gain a better understanding.

 

Matt

 

before the dac all that exists is digital music and noise....and the digital music is received perfectly, so nothing left to compensate for besides noise.

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7 minutes ago, craighartley said:

Er, no. It just means you prefer it. 

 

It sounds better to you and so it is better for you.

 

Matt

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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1 hour ago, barrows said:

I really do not want to be promoting specific products here, and have tried to avoid doing so.  But, I would suggest that actual Renderers purpose built for audio, do have a technological (not imaginary) advantage in terms of noise versus general commercial computer gear.  Built for audio products generally have much more room in the BOM to spec more expensive components (like many ultra low noise linear regulators) and more sophisticated layouts, with more isolated sections.  For just a single example of what I mean: how many commercial main boards used as a renderer have a dedicated LT 3045 regulator, just a few mms from the USB output for the USB output power leg?

i agree that long term listening is often better for really evaluating a change, although it can be very difficult.  For me, short term comparisons often lead to "ah ha!" moments, where there "might" be a "difference", but the difference in often a sideways one, and not necessarily an improvement.  We humans seem especially subject to interpreting any change as "exciting" and therefore concluding it is better; long term listening seems to even out these first impressions, especially when a wide variety of music is tssted.  I always try and verify any conclusions based on short term A/B style comparisons with long term listening.

 

Well said. And I agree about what you say about renderers built specially for audio.

Computer audiophile DIYers spend a lot of time and money to remove or mitigate the shortcomings of devices built for general use. In a top down approach, PC's have to be stripped down, network- and other connections to be made noise free, and OS'es tamed. You would expect the bottom up approach of dedicated audio products to give better results. That is not always the case though.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, matthias said:

 

It is easy, if it sounds better it is better.

The technical explanation why it is better sometimes comes much later.

 

Matt

 

Curious, do you have an extreme and or have significant time with one in your system?  Can you share your system details?  Are you involved with the development or sales?

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12 hours ago, Foggie said:

Curious, do you have an extreme and or have significant time with one in your system?  Can you share your system details?  Are you involved with the development or sales?

 

I have not yet an Extreme and have no affiliation with Taiko Audio.

But I like what these guys are doing and the SQ as well.

 

In this discussion about pro and contra endpoint it is not about the Taiko Extreme or Sonore.

It is only that this server makes comparisons a little bit easier.

As Romaz mentioned similar conclusions can be made with HQ diy servers and other endpoints than Sonore.

 

When you follow this thread from post #341 you get my point.

 

Thanks

 

Matt

 

 

"I want to know why the musicians are on stage, not where". (John Farlowe)

 

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21 hours ago, barrows said:

There is no possible technical explanation for why this would be so.  and it is entirely contrary to my, and thousands of others' experience.  No matter what extremes one goes to, a server can never have a s low a noise profile as well designed Renderer connected by optical fiber Ethernet.  The server, by definition, generates a larger noise profile.

I would suggest that the above expressed viewpoint is an outrageous one, not supported by any valid technical theory, and as such would be in opposition to any accepted understanding of how electrical systems, and audio systems actually work.  In order to support such an outrageous claim, I would suggest that a lot more than listening impressions of a few people would be required.

Can you provide any technical theory for this claim?

Can you provide any measurements showing how this approach could possibly make any DAC perform better?

 

I really think you are wading into similar waters by making these blanket statements, especially considering that you self described yourself as not being a high speed electrical engineer. I say this even though I tend to agree and have pursued that path long before most here.

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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1 hour ago, matthias said:

 

I have not yet an Extreme and have no affiliation with Taiko Audio.

But I like what these guys are doing and the SQ as well.

 

In this discussion about pro and contra endpoint it is not about the Taiko Extreme or Sonore.

It is only that this server makes comparisons a little bit easier.

As Romaz mentioned similar conclusions can be made with HQ diy servers and other endpoints than Sonore.

 

When you follow this thread from post #341 you get my point.

 

Thanks

 

Matt

"Exactly,

listening experiences with the Taiko Extreme showed that direct connection of a DAC via USB is superior to Extreme plus HQ endpoint connected to the same DAC.

IMO, there is no evidence at all that the endpoint concept is superior sounding, quite the contrary. 🙂

 

Matt"

 

Sorry to the OP and this is OT, but I'm struggling with what your vested interest are here and on various forums.  You stated you have no experience with this product (taiko), continually quoting what others experience are and agreeing with them, especially with a product 99.9% of people will never use - which by all accounts is a great product. 

 

Now the pile on about how basically roon is such a POS and a new taiko alpha product that is superior to everything else - which I presume you have never used?  Not to take away anything from the taiko dev, but the spirit of that discussion is now just sophomoric.

 

It seems to me that one should base their narrative on ones actual experiences and not following the crowd for the sake of it.  There is no solution to claim "winner", its impossible, which seems to be the motive of many for whatever reason.

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, Foggie said:

 There is no solution to claim "winner", its impossible, which seems to be the motive of many for whatever reason.

 

I am investigating both approaches. A "winner"  would be nice if one could be defined.... or at least clear advantages one way or another. I agree, I suspect it will ultimately depend on my subjective listening, my circumstances and particular implementation of each approach.


 

Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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Keep in mind that you have several layers  to the equation:

 

- the computer that converts the music files to a USB or Ethernet data stream

- the conversion of that data stream to a digital audio signal

- the DAC itself

 

In the setup that Barrows recommends, the data stream is handled in a two step process, with heavy lifting on one computer, and then passed on to a second through an optical fiber network. The "renderer" is then connected to USB directly to the DAC. There is nothing really new here. 

 

Since USB isolation is less than perfect, you are still getting noise into the DAC. Barrows believes that you can get that noise down to levels that are not audible...That's purely speculation.

 

There is no theory to back this up, no measurements either and no "listening" can prove it either because by definition you are comparing several setups which are all flawed. 

 

In a system where the DAC is "exposed" through USB input its a very risky proposition to believe that you can achieve any breakthrough  by tinkering with the sources. 

my blog

 

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On 6/23/2020 at 5:23 AM, barrows said:

What a waste of time that was [Extreme server thread on WBF/AS].  Same old nonsense, with no basis in technical reality and no actual facts, just a listening preference.  I asked for a technical explanation of these claims, and support of measurements, i see none here.

 

The problem as I see it, such comments commencing with sweeping subjective generalizations and then demanding proof, leave you open to the same criticism. When researching this topic for my own needs google directed to me to another site describing Sonore fiberoptic network solutions as:

 

Quote

Most of their line is basically just a bunch of very expensive streaming end-points with a lot of constraints.If one is vaguely familiar with networking issues, one knows that most of what they claim could happen just doesn't happen (unless there is a severe hardware/design issue).In some ways, introducing additional shielded cables, transceivers, power supplies could create issues. If one is concerned by shields carrying or creating ground loops, one can always use Cat 5 UTP. Assuming really bad designs bleeding and carrying all kinds of awful "noise", Cat 5 UTP will be immune (or stop working per spec if overwhelmed).Their product descriptions can be translated as "

some bunch of idiots started tweaking, can we sell them something?"

The bold is theirs.

 

There were many more such as

Quote

I'm just going to be blunt about it: many of us here work in Information Technology professionally, and we wouldn't go near this stuff when configuring networks for multi-million and multi-billion dollar companies, as it's totally unnecessary for accurate, trouble free data transmission. We'd stick to reputable off-the-shelf components from well known network component manufacturers.Digital audio is merely data, and there's nothing extraordinary required to transport it.These so-called audiophile networking products are a rip off. Period.

 

So, whose subjective generalizations should we believe ?

 

 

 

Sound Minds Mind Sound

 

 

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It is noise, impacting the system from myriad sources, weaknesses, that is the villain, so often - analogue waveforms transduced into sound waves, that the ear/brain attempts to interpret as being the "real thing", have to be on their best behaviour for our minds to be fooled. IME only fastidious attention to detail yields worthy results - and unfortunately it is far from trivial getting all of this under control. Digital while being interpreted as digital is easy - just follow basic rules and it always works. Once that data enters the analogue domain, all bets are off - how one chooses to implement the analogue area matters ... enormously!

 

In audio it's always "the last thing" that counts - get 99.999% working up to standard ain't good enough; that last 0.001% is going to slug your SQ, in a major way - unless one is prepared to do what's necessary to find and sort that "last thing", then it will be never shine as brightly as it could.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I previously owned a Spectral DMC-30S preamp, which retailed for about $6.5K back in the day.  Bypassing it to run my previous Chord Hugo TT directly into my Spectral amp brought a significant improvement - particularly in the area of transparency.  I mentioned the preamp's price only to indicate that it wasn't a slouch.  Despite that, the simpler path was the better path for sure.  I think Rob Watts' design plays a big part in that as there isn't a separate gain stage - the output voltage is coming directly off the DAC.  Such details will have a lot to do with whether one prefers using a preamp or not. 

 

 

Digital:  Sonore opticalModule > Uptone EtherRegen > Shunyata Sigma Ethernet > Antipodes K30 > Shunyata Omega USB > Chord Hugo TT2 

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

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14 minutes ago, kennyb123 said:

I previously owned a Spectral DMC-30S preamp, which retailed for about $6.5K back in the day.  Bypassing it to run my previous Chord Hugo TT directly into my Spectral amp brought a significant improvement - particularly in the area of transparency.  I mentioned the preamp's price only to indicate that it wasn't a slouch.  Despite that, the simpler path was the better path for sure.  I think Rob Watts' design plays a big part in that as there isn't a separate gain stage - the output voltage is coming directly off the DAC.  Such details will have a lot to do with whether one prefers using a preamp or not. 

 

 

In all fairness, don't forget that your Chord Hugo TT retailed at around 3,000 Quid back in 2015 . Your Spectral DMC-30S was from way back in 2003, and there would have been many advances since then.

 

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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1 hour ago, TAS said:

Has anyone used the Uptone Audio Iso Regen to "condition" their USB-to-DAC signal?  If so, how did it sound?  Thanks in advance.

 

 

 

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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