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Source insensitivity as opposed to "perfect" immunity


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Similar convos were popping up here and there in the past, while THE most popular thread on our site (2.3 million views and counting) here should be all about relentless + bottomless + endless pursuit of achieving better SQ by means of upstream optimizations

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/page/494/?tab=comments#comment-905758

On 12/13/2018 at 8:37 PM, greenleo said:

I believe it's the degree of insensitivity rather than perfect immunity.  For top systems, everything matters.

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/30376-a-novel-way-to-massively-improve-the-sq-of-computer-audio-streaming/page/501/?tab=comments#comment-909703

On 12/27/2018 at 4:47 AM, Music Enthusiast said:

If manufacturers started making DAC's good enough for all of these tweaks to be ineffective, would that upset you guys? 

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/57534-sgm-taiko-extreme/page/2/?tab=comments#comment-1003275

On 12/4/2019 at 2:56 PM, Nenon said:

I was trying to say that many manufacturers make claims that upstream devices don't make a difference, but I have never heard a DAC yet that is completely immune to upstream devices (never heard any MSB DACs, or the DCS DAC Rajiv reviewed, in my system, though). I have heard the opposite many times - changing upstream devices makes a bigger difference that changing DACs.

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/57997-article-audiophile-style-products-of-the-decade/page/3/?tab=comments#comment-1015776

On 12/21/2019 at 8:48 AM, hopkins said:

For the coming decade I believe we will see "source immunity" and "format immunity" meaning DACs capable of offering similar quality for Redbook and high res.

 

https://www.whatsbestforum.com/threads/taiko-audio-sgm-extreme-the-crème-de-la-crème.27433/page-260#post-687843

Quote

Some DAC manufacturers make their products more "immune" to sources than others. But there is no such thing as complete immunity to the source.

 


 

https://www.ecdesigns.nl/en/blog/rd-powerdac

TCiCNwX.jpg

 

Apparently they might have achieved the "seemingly impossible" or something?

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/blogs/entry/812-ecdesigns-powerdac-r-preview/

MB29svF.png

 

Pretty much the same deal in terms of the PSU

 

Quote

I also tested the PowerDAC-R using a Farad 5-volt power supply and could find no difference in sound quality – this was not the case with the previous DA96ETF DAC. The PowerDAC requires only 200mA of power at 5v. The small linear power supply provided by ECDesigns has a “reservoir capacitance” of 18800uF. The low bandwidth data communication inside the DAC also contributes to power supply “immunity”.

 

And the price is right *IF* they're delivering what they promised

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/24966-ecdesigns/page/73/?tab=comments#comment-1126901

11 hours ago, hopkins said:

It should be available within a few months, and will be priced between 1100 and 1200€ excluding VAT. Shipment outside the EU will be possible.

 

https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/digital-line-level/79452-building-ultimate-nos-dac-using-tda1541a-778.html#post6495019

Quote

The S/PDIF DAPI receiver does -not- recover the S/PDIF clocks for D/A converter timing like most other S/PDIF receivers. It uses an -independent-, local low jitter clock for D/A converter timing. So S/PDIF jitter is no longer relevant.
Low Toslink bandwidth and very low DAPI parallel interface bandwidth effectively attenuate S/PDIF -noise-
So we are now free to choose whatever S/PDIF Toslink source we want without worrying about S/PDIF signal quality or S/PDIF input switch related degrading.

 



What's your take on this kinda topic? Does it REALLY sound like the "Holy Grail" or more like Fairy Tale to you?

 

I guess that the proof is in the pudding IMHO.

 

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Certainly this - The S/PDIF DAPI receiver does -not- recover the S/PDIF clocks for D/A converter timing like most other S/PDIF receivers. It uses an -independent-, local low jitter clock for D/A converter timing. So S/PDIF jitter is no longer relevant. - sounds like a Fairy Tale to me.

 

I can believe that because its software-based it recovers the clock in a different way from hardware-based S/PDIF receivers. What I can't believe is that 'S/PDIF jitter is no longer relevant' - there is no other way to get the timing information to recover the clock other than from the S/PDIF stream.

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The unfortunate problem is that it turns out to be very, very difficult to get a system into a zone where what is happening in the digital areas of the circuitry doesn't impact the audible presentation. And this in fact gets worse, the closer one gets to 100% accuracy of the chain, in the electronics. Subjectively, this can mean a winner, or a loser, as far as listening satisfaction goes - it's that finely balanced, on the "razor's edge".

 

My philosophy is to build 100% immunity of the analogue side - in the ideal, the crappiest possible digital mechanism is used to extract the data - say, the cheapest CD reader mechanism one can lay one's hands on, a throwaway bit of junk, is used to generate a digital stream, which is rough as guts, in every way possible. And this is where the story starts - the real job is then to clean up that stream, and present to a DAC the data shaped and finessed, as an analogue waveform, so that the converter does the best job it can - no matter how rubbishy the digital waveforms are, in terms of jitter and electrical noise riding on top of the conductors, while still not "losing bits"; it has zero impact on what you hear.

 

Anything else is always a compromise - and the mad world we have now of a million and one "digital tweaks" will keep happening ...  🙂.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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On 4/21/2021 at 12:50 PM, opus101 said:

I can believe that because its software-based it recovers the clock in a different way from hardware-based S/PDIF receivers. What I can't believe is that 'S/PDIF jitter is no longer relevant' - there is no other way to get the timing information to recover the clock other than from the S/PDIF stream.

 

FYI - @tapatrick posted an update here

 

https://audiophilestyle.com/forums/topic/24966-ecdesigns/page/74/?tab=comments#comment-1127942

 

And then we could also do something with software like MinorityClean

 

http://jplay.eu/forum/index.php?/topic/3063-pink-hq-minorityclean/page-79#entry55042

Quote

My DAC can measure and display jitter and with some versions of MC, it clearly showed gradual decrease of jitter with more hours of running.

You can even measure and quantify this phenomena.

 

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On 4/22/2021 at 1:41 AM, fas42 said:

The unfortunate problem is that it turns out to be very, very difficult to get a system into a zone where what is happening in the digital areas of the circuitry doesn't impact the audible presentation. And this in fact gets worse, the closer one gets to 100% accuracy of the chain, in the electronics. Subjectively, this can mean a winner, or a loser, as far as listening satisfaction goes - it's that finely balanced, on the "razor's edge".

 

Hi, 

 

I really don't think you can make these kind of statements without having heard what sound can be obtained from a DAC that is effectively noise-free and jitter-free. In my opinion, its a game changer, there are absolutely no drawbacks, and no going back either. Obviously, I have not heard all DACs either. 

 

I don't want to get into controversial debates about any of this, I just hope some people will be curious enough to try the DAC I reviewed and see for themselves. 

my blog

 

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38 minutes ago, Superdad said:

 

I’m curious enough to try. 9_9
But neither your preview review nor EC Designs website mention price or availability.

Their site seems to imply that the remote will only come with the -S version.

3dB level steps are really rather course, and 1.4V max RMS output may fall short for many amp/speaker combinations.

 

Sorry, I posted the price and availability in the ECDesigns thread (between 1100-1200 excluding VAT - 20% in Europe, availability in a couple months). The remote is available with the -R version as an option. I agree that 3db steps are a little course, 1.4v is for the R version which requires a power amplifier. 10 steps means that if you use the PowerDAC with an external amp that is too powerful you may end up with a very small "useable" range in the volume control. So that's why they recommend, in that case, to use an attenuator. I've tried several setups (with/without external preamp). I don't really plan on using the powerDAC direct to a power amplifier as I would like to have an extra input for my turntable. So preamps may still have benefits, even if you use them at a fixed output, and control the volume with the PowerDAC's remote (if you see what I mean).

 

I really think its best to wait and see when the product is launched what others have to say about it. 

my blog

 

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6 hours ago, hopkins said:

1.4v is for the R version which requires a power amplifier.

Thanks for the info.  Still, for unbalanced outputs, 1.4V is quite low and won’t drive many power amps to sufficient level.  2V RMS is standard “full scale” output for CD players/DACs. 

 

Any idea what they will be charging for their remote and the USB>TOSLINK converter?

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22 minutes ago, Superdad said:

Any idea what they will be charging for their remote and the USB>TOSLINK converter?

 

No idea...but i would assume they'll both be pretty cheap. The usb-toslink is basic -   in line with the idea that the jitter is no longer an issue. I use my NUC's Toslink out. Can't get worse than that 🙂

 

I look forward to reading other people's feeback and tests. 

 

my blog

 

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11 hours ago, hopkins said:

 

Hi, 

 

I really don't think you can make these kind of statements without having heard what sound can be obtained from a DAC that is effectively noise-free and jitter-free. In my opinion, its a game changer, there are absolutely no drawbacks, and no going back either. Obviously, I have not heard all DACs either. 

 

I don't want to get into controversial debates about any of this, I just hope some people will be curious enough to try the DAC I reviewed and see for themselves. 

 

Progress is made ... always. It's just that the audio industry is such a weird, basket case 😆- and it's the 'outsiders' that do the more interesting things.

 

A DAC that is by whatever means made to work correctly does produce "game changing" sound - decades ago they almost didn't exist; these days they are coming off the production line, in quite a few places.

 

Susceptibility to external noise is a major concern, always - so I don't get excited about the new kid on the block until I get feedback as to how robust their SQ performance is, when higher levels of electrical noise are deliberately introduced into the room - an analogue equivalent is a turntable that does great, but no-one can move while listening, because then the cartridge will jump a groove ...

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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Yes, best to wait and see. My review was primarily intended for existing ECD customers, and I don't want to get involved with comparisons to other DACs (even when I have heard them). I'm happy with the sound I get and the simplifications it offers. We'll see in a few months whether others confirm and anything can be learned from what ECD has done. 

my blog

 

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For some reason, hadn't tuned into that review being up ... yes, what happens when enough things are done right - and simplicity is always a smart move - in the 1980's the equivalent was available: a high end CD player with a smart digital volume control, and well executed analogue output stage - which was the first digital component I bought, 🙂. Suitably tweaked, it ticked the boxes for SQ - but why has it taken over 30 years for the industry more generally to get to that place ... ?

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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39 minutes ago, fas42 said:

...when higher levels of electrical noise are deliberately introduced into the room - an analogue equivalent is a turntable that does great, but no-one can move while listening, because then the cartridge will jump a groove ...


Huh?

 

21 minutes ago, fas42 said:

...- in the 1980's the equivalent was available: a high end CD player with a smart digital volume control,...


Double huh?

Listenable digital volume control in the 1980s? x-D

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8 minutes ago, Superdad said:


Huh?

 


Double huh?

Listenable digital volume control in the 1980s? x-D

 

Yep ... the Yamaha CDX-1100 - largely ignored ... required extended warming up to give of its best - a casual listen, from cold, would have evoked the response, "Too analogue!" - back then. Had no trouble being attenuated to any level without artifacts being audible in the sound.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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23 minutes ago, Superdad said:

Oh yes, the ancient and primitive YM3615 digital volume control chip. Truncating resolution by 1 bit every few steps...  9_9

 

Even the laws of physics are no match for Super Frank and his amazing rig-sorting-out-abilities... 

Everything matters... when brewing coffee.

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18 minutes ago, Superdad said:

Oh yes, the ancient and primitive YM3615 digital volume control chip. Truncating resolution by 1 bit every few steps...  9_9

 

And how else do you expect a volume control to work?

 

Surprise, surprise  ... an analogue volume device also loses resolution - if you a use a pot, and then follow it with a variable gain stage; and attenuate strongly with the first part, and boost back to the same output with the second; then the signal to noise gets worse and worse ... there are no free lunches ...

 

What matters is whether the chain works - to the ears ...

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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9 minutes ago, kumakuma said:

 

Even the laws of physics are no match for Super Frank and his amazing rig-sorting-out-abilities... 

 

The laws of physics guarantee that all the rigs using bog standard analogue volume pots sound pretty dismal - the contact noise in these parts always degrades the SQ; once you learn the signature of the damage done by these, then you can always hear it ...

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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1 hour ago, fas42 said:

 

Yep ... the Yamaha CDX-1100 - largely ignored ... required extended warming up to give of its best - a casual listen, from cold, would have evoked the response, "Too analogue!" - back then. Had no trouble being attenuated to any level without artifacts being audible in the sound.

He's right! http://www.hifi-classic.net/review/yamaha-cdx-1100-149.html

ChrisG

Bend, OR

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Yes, it was an impressive beast ... Yamaha did have trouble with their laser tracking back then; and I used a trio of those classic Mod Squad pointy things to improve matters - it always had a weakness with the drawer sled, too; the motor drive band was too flimsy - and I had to work out a substitute band, a couple of times.

Frank

 

http://artofaudioconjuring.blogspot.com/

 

 

Over and out.

.

 

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