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

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Additional note on the Bob Katz article:

 

His theory is that the improvement in subjective sonics is the result of masking: that the additional H2 distortion is masking more objectionable distortion products from other components.  This is an interesting topic which I would love to learn more about, perhaps in another thread, and may be what @CG was referring to earlier in this thread which he referred to as distortion cancelling.

But I would suggest that we now can have electronics which have no audible distortion at all, so there is no distortion which needs to be masked anymore.  


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1 hour ago, CG said:

If you go to your favorite search engine and type in "distortion cancellation mechanism series amplifiers" you'll get "About 3,140,000 results".  

 I feel cheated. I only got "About 2,730,000 results  (0.45 seconds) "

 

 For anyone interested in learning more about many of the amplifier distortion mechanisms, a good reference is

Audio Power Amplifier Design Handbook 5th ed - D. Self (Focal, 2009) where he details 11 Different types of Distortion

 

The distortion mechanisms
Distortion 1: Input stage distortion
Distortion 2: VAS
Distortion 3: Output stage distortion
Distortion 4: VAS-loading distortion
Distortion 5: Rail-decoupling distortion
Distortion 6: Induction distortion
Distortion 7: NFB take-off distortion
Distortion 8: Capacitor distortion
Distortion 9: Magnetic distortion
Distortion 10: Input current distortion
Distortion 11: Premature overload protection

 

(VAS  = Voltage Amplification Stage)


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 26-12-2019

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16 hours ago, sandyk said:

 For anyone interested in learning more about many of the amplifier distortion mechanisms, a good reference is

Audio Power Amplifier Design Handbook 5th ed - D. Self (Focal, 2009) where he details 11 Different types of Distortion

 

He also had nice series of articles on these topics on the Electronics & Wireless World magazine back in the days.

 

My current amplifiers are actually designed by him (pre- and power)...

 


Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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So... as I was typing this, we just experienced yet another earthquake aftershock here in Salt Lake City.  The house shook pretty good!  I think we are at something like 350+ aftershocks now.  Ok, worldwide pandemics (check), earthquakes (check)....   What next?! 🤕

 

Of course, others in more earthquake prone areas of the world would laugh at a 5.7 quake!:)

 


Home: Melco N1A/2 | EtherRegen+Farad | UltraRendu | Denafrips Gaia | Denafrips Terminator | Jeff Rowland Coherence II Series 2 pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-202 amp | Raidho XT-1 | Revel Performa3 B112 subwoofers  | Sablon cabling

 

Desktop: IsoRegen | Eitr | Chord Qutest  | Aesthetix Calypso pre | Blue Circle Audio BC-28 amp | Scansonic MK-5 | Elac S10 sub

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6 hours ago, Miska said:

 

He also had nice series of articles on these topics on the Electronics & Wireless World magazine back in the days.

 

My current amplifiers are actually designed by him (pre- and power)…

 

 Hi Miska

Yes, I have seen some of his earlier articles.

 Both my >15W/Ch Class A and Class A Preamp embody his principles, as well as very low noise (4uV) separate regulation for the P.A. front ends and being completely DC coupled with a monoblock type construction, although in the same metal rack case, and separate regulated power for each channel of the P.A. (2 x 21-0-21V windings on the same screened toroidal transformer) and individual external toroidal transformers for both channels of the Preamp. All of the main power is in a separate 2U rack case with the Preamp fed 2 x 18-0-18VAC, and the P.A. fed 2 x regulated + and - 20V

 

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 26-12-2019

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On 3/26/2020 at 5:50 AM, barrows said:

Certainly all generalized statements are done so for the purpose of communication,

 

Most certainly they are not (tongue in cheek) 😲 This is one of my better generalizations.😉

 

On 3/26/2020 at 5:50 AM, barrows said:

 

 when I, or anyone, generalizes, I accept that there may be a very small percentage of exceptions to that generalization, and I expect that a reader would just assume this,

 

One should never assume.  This is one of my better generalizations.😉

 

On 3/26/2020 at 5:50 AM, barrows said:

as without the ability to generalize it is virtually impossible to have a discussion at all (in fact without the ability to generalize we would be forever pointing out the caveats and never actually getting anywhere).

 

 

generally this is not true 😅 (tongue still in cheek0

 

 

On 3/26/2020 at 5:50 AM, barrows said:

 

As for tubes, only in the last few years have I come to the perspective that tubes are now completely obsolete in the quest for the absolute best possible playback systems.  

 

 

This is not a generalization and IMO does not attempt to state a categorical truth.

 

On 3/26/2020 at 5:50 AM, barrows said:

  And I think that the current fashion of placing audiophiles/music lovers into "camps" like this is destructive, silly, and infantile.

 

.....but apart from being destructive, silly, and infantile people advocating this fashion are good guys, right?

 

</end tongue in cheek>

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What do you guys think about adding sub-woofers in a DAC direct to amp system?

Is it OK to split a 2V RCA output and run a set of cables 1 meter to the amp, and another set to the subs maybe 4 meters each?

 

I get the feeling that most DAC makers generally are expecting the user to use a single set of outputs to a single receiving device.

 

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1 hour ago, motberg said:

What do you guys think about adding sub-woofers in a DAC direct to amp system?

Is it OK to split a 2V RCA output and run a set of cables 1 meter to the amp, and another set to the subs maybe 4 meters each?

 

I get the feeling that most DAC makers generally are expecting the user to use a single set of outputs to a single receiving device.

 

That depends mostly on the DAC output capability and the load it will need to drive, i.e. the input impedance of the power amp and sub crossover. 

 

Initially I tried the above and was not satisfied. The sound was transparent and more detailed but music became boring (poor PRaT). I subsequently learned that the sub crossover I use has an input impedance of 6kΩ, and my power amps are 20kΩ. That's a combined load of 4.6kOhms. My DAC has very low input impedance, just a few ohms, but it could not provide sufficient current for this load. 

 

I found a solution though. I am running my monoblock power amps from the RCA outputs on my DAC/Pre. The DAC's XLR outputs are feeding a passive preamp with 50kΩ input impedance. The passive pre drives the sub crossover via RCA's. Combined load on the DAC is now 14kΩ. I am getting the best sound I've ever had.

 

Brand new, my analog preamp cost three times as much as my DAC/Pre. Nevertheless, I prefer the sound directly from DAC to amps. I ripped all my LP's and sold the preamp. 

 

One other more minor caveat. When I used an RCA splitter in a previous bi-amped system. I could always hear a slight deterioration due to the (high quality) splitter and ended up not using it.


“The best sounding audio product is the one that exhibits the least audible flaws.”

 Dr. Floyd Toole

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On 3/25/2020 at 2:50 PM, barrows said:

tubes are now completely obsolete in the quest for the absolute best possible playback systems.  While I agree in many cases that tubes can improve a system in some instances, in some ways, the recent advances in the best SS circuits have eliminated all advantages tubes may have had int he past.  These advances are only heard in some components though, and it may be that many have not heard the best possible solid state systems.

 

I do not understand your thinking, or maybe it's that your thinking does not lead to a solution for more than an incredibly small number of people.  When you say "the best possible playback systems", I assume you mean that there are no tube amps that compete compete with a pair of $50-100K monoblocks.  If that's what you mean, I will not dispute that, but I do not understand why it is relevant in anything more than the theoretical sense to all but those who are prepared to drop $200K or more on their systems. 

 

But if we drop a zero off the end to get to ~$10K in amps, probably close to the median value of amp budgets among AS readers, we are not discussing "the best possible solid state systems", we are only discussing (hopefully) excellent amps.  In this range, it is easy for many to "improve a system" with tubes, even for those who have heard the best SS in that price ballpark.

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47 minutes ago, barrows said:

I run a sub, but I always prefer to connect sub(s) to the amplifier output via a high level input rather than other connection schemes.

I did that for a while and it sounded decent, but not great. I am now running my subs through a miniDSP 2x4, which allows me to implement a more versatile crossover and DSP with auto filters via REW.

 

DSP filters and corrections brought the sound to a level not achievable with a traditional subwoofer crossover and amp. I am not aware of any way to implement DSP using high level sub inputs.


“The best sounding audio product is the one that exhibits the least audible flaws.”

 Dr. Floyd Toole

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7 minutes ago, audiobomber said:

I am now running my subs through a miniDSP 2x4, which allows me to implement a more versatile crossover and DSP with auto filters via REW

Bonjour, Audiobomber.
Short question about miniDSP, do I assume correctly, that the signal for your Subs and your speakers will run through ADC-DAC conversion at 24/96 during the DSP? Please feel free to correct me about my assumption
I do have a 2x4miniDSP somewhere in the closet and may start testing during the confinement  period...
Cheers, DT

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@PeterG,  By no means am I suggesting that one needs to spend 5 figures (or higher) to get excellent sound from a solid state amplifier.  In fact, with the current advent of class D amplifiers which outperform almost anything else available, one can spend a few thousand dollars and get amplification with absolutely fantastic sound quality.  I really do not know how you came to the conclusion that I was advocating for $50-$100 K mono blocks?  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Actually, when it comes to tube amplifiers, i would suggest the cost is very high for any decent sounding tube amps with enough power to drive real world, average sensitivity loudspeakers (ARC reference series, or VTL).


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30 minutes ago, audiobomber said:

I did that for a while and it sounded decent, but not great. I am now running my subs through a miniDSP 2x4, which allows me to implement a more versatile crossover and DSP with auto filters via REW.

 

DSP filters and corrections brought the sound to a level not achievable with a traditional subwoofer crossover and amp. I am not aware of any way to implement DSP using high level sub inputs.

Sure, if one wants to use separate DSP then one is going to need a more complex system to incorporate that.  But this approach is an exception to the norm.  By no means am I saying that using DSP is not an advantage n some situations (and especially, rooms), but it is often not necessary, and overly complex.

I have integrated sub(s) into quite a few systems, in quite a few different rooms, without any need for additional DSP versus what is available in the subs themselves, but I accept that in some situations (rooms) this may not be possible.


ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO/ESS 9038--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC cables, Iconoclast XLR, Iconoclast speaker, cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                               Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                       

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1 minute ago, DuckToller said:

Bonjour, Audiobomber.
Short question about miniDSP, do I assume correctly, that the signal for your Subs and your speakers will run through ADC-DAC conversion at 24/96 during the DSP? Please feel free to correct me about my assumption
I do have a 2x4miniDSP somewhere in the closet and may start testing during the confinement  period...
Cheers, DT

I do not run my monitors through the miniDSP, they run full range. The monitors are sealed, with a Q of 0.7 and roll off naturally, second-order Butterworth. The subs roll in at  80HzBW2, with Auto EQ and room correction via REW. 

PS My miniDSP 2x4 is the base model, ADC-DAC conversion at 24/48.


“The best sounding audio product is the one that exhibits the least audible flaws.”

 Dr. Floyd Toole

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3 minutes ago, PeterG said:

Your use of the phrase "absolute best" is what suggested monoblocks.  I agree that cost is high for tubes and low for Class D, but you kind of get what you pay for.

No one needs to spend 5 figures on amplifiers to get absolute best sound quality.  Now loudspeakers, that is a different story!


ROON: DSD 256-Sonore opticalModule-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO/ESS 9038--DIY Purifi Amplifier-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, DIY AC cables, Iconoclast XLR, Iconoclast speaker, cables, Synergistic Orange Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.                                                               Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

                                                       

SONORE computer audio

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8 hours ago, DuckToller said:

Bonjour, Audiobomber.
Short question about miniDSP, do I assume correctly, that the signal for your Subs and your speakers will run through ADC-DAC conversion at 24/96 during the DSP? Please feel free to correct me about my assumption
I do have a 2x4miniDSP somewhere in the closet and may start testing during the confinement  period...
Cheers, DT

I am also using the MiniDSP for subs... subs only, monitors running full range... the miniDSP 2x4 HD version was an audible upgrade from the prior model in my system.

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