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Article: T+A DAC 200 D/A Converter Review


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On 9/2/2022 at 5:39 AM, Miska said:

When you send 705.6/768k there, all digital filters are bypassed and data goes straight to the DAC chips that operate in external filter mode.

 

 

Miska, I just re-read your message to me as well as T&As emails.  You mentioned that due to the chips in use being SDM chips (for PCM) that Hardware Modulators were still in use, and Bernd at T&A sent me this in his nice email back to my questions:  "If the device is already supplied with PCM768, of course no further upsampling takes place, the audio signal is processed as it is without further changes in the converter. However, the digital audio signal always passes through the OVS filters, which cannot be switched off.
You would have to try out what ultimately delivers the best sound results, i.e. have the upsampling done by the source device or alternatively in the T+A device.

Kindest regards

Bernd"

 

Are you both talking about the same thing?

 

edit: I am willing to accept that I am misunderstanding something. I'll learn something if thats the case.

No electron left behind.

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On 9/2/2022 at 1:19 PM, bbosler said:

I'll take a stab at that... diminishing returns kick in very early with today's DACs. Having tried a variety of high end DACs over the past few years I am convinced that spending huge amounts gets you very little.. and most of what you get is small differences, not better, just different. I've had all of the below for extended periods. Maybe I have a tin ear, but IMHO anything above the $2000 Schiit gets you nothing but bragging rights about how much you spent. And there are DACs below that price that perform very, very well. I've had these along with various servers , ethernet switches,  USB  re-clockers, master clocks, and a variety of digital cable... etc.......all long gone ...... Nobody that has dropped $20K + on all this stuff wants to hear it or believe it, ,, but  save your money 

 

  • Chord DAVE with MScaler and external linear supplies
  • DCS Rossini with clock
  • EMM Meiner MA3
  • Denafrips Terminator + with Daiai DDC
  • PS Audio Directstream
  • Schiit Yggdrasil LIM
  • some I can't recall at the moment

 

@bbosler I tend to agree with your DAC comments. I have a Benchmark DAC3B (a little bright but love it), and 2 Musetec 005's for my office and Livingroom. The Benchmark is for the RAAL VM-1a headphone amp.

 

I looked at your A'gon profile and could not see what DAC you currently use. Do you mind sharing that? 

 

BTW - We have similar tastes in amps. I also use Benchmark AHB2 monos for my office KEF LS50 Metas and a KRELL Dou 175XD as my office RAAL SR1a headphone amp. 

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On 9/3/2022 at 10:35 AM, ericuco said:

I really wish that T+A would offer two other versions (PCM only and DSD only) given that each is segregated internally. Yes, I know this is wishful thinking and probably never going to happen due to a number of factors (mfg, testing, marketing, etc).  But it seems that lots of people are in one camp (PCM or DSD) or the other so why have to pay for components you are probably never going to use. The same is true of headphone vs speakers.

What a narrow viewpoint, I would consider a DAC that excludes DSD not worthy of an audition.

AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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2 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

From the manual. 
 

if OVS is set to NOS1 or NOS2, the the filtering would just be 120 kHz or 60 kHz. 
 

just my guess. 

 

0652A282-09C5-4335-90F3-8A4AC3887373.jpeg

 

If thats the case when sent max rate PCM then that would not be bad at all. Of course, the easy solution is to just send it DSD, but what if I felt PCM sounded better when upsampled with HQP? I was just surprised that the device with a built in NAA doesn't have an explicit NOS mode. Perhaps T&A doesn't expect anyone to send it anything other than upsampled DSD when using HQP.

Either way, thanks Chris.

No electron left behind.

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6 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

Miska, I just re-read your message to me as well as T&As emails.  You mentioned that due to the chips in use being SDM chips (for PCM) that Hardware Modulators were still in use

 

From the 16x rate PCM input, rest of oversampling is done by copying the sample N times and then it goes to the modulator.

 

6 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

Are you both talking about the same thing?

 

Maybe, but I don't know for sure.

 

5 hours ago, The Computer Audiophile said:

if OVS is set to NOS1 or NOS2, the the filtering would just be 120 kHz or 60 kHz.

 

These are the analog reconstruction filters that should be always active. It is great that there's a possibility to select between two possibilities.

 

Signalyst - Developer of HQPlayer

Pulse & Fidelity - Software Defined Amplifiers

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 Hello and interesting to read that you have used a recording I can both relate to and which although not exactly being purist simply mic´d, at least can serve as some kind of reference point to how large scale acoustic music tends to sound in a real hall one of the most challenging tasks for any HIFI system to cope with.

I have never been to Disney Hall where DGG recorded this album with the LAPO and Esa Pekka Salonen conducting, but it happened to be the very last recording that DGG released  as an SACD disc. And I  happended to be covering some rehearsals and live  concerts in Stockholm as photographer at that time and heard the same music live and interviewed Esa Pekka about this recording which he quite enthusiastically recommended as an example of how he generally  hears things from his conductor´s podium. 

But I think you may have quoted a few tech fact things wrong about it in your review?

And also possibly  got a couple of technical  facts regarding the T&A wrong?

There is as far as I know no such format as 24/28? The native recording like most of DGG´s recordings in recent times is a native 24/96 pcm recording.

I  have never auditioned the "effect" of converting native pcm to high rate  DSD as HQ Player does ,but thanks to Rajiv aka Austinpop who very kindly PGGB´d it from the cd layer of my SACD copy I also find it quite impressive upscaled to 24/705khz  PCM especially by DGG standards, via my humble Chord Qutest and both via my electrostatic speakers and  via headphones.

I do not strongly  belong in any particular camp : PCM versus DSD but  according to Rob Watts DSD as a  digital format is "fundamentally flawed".

Anyway, if and when  opportunity to audition the T&A arise I will "lend it an ear" .

Cheers Chrille

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9 hours ago, yyz said:

 

I looked at your A'gon profile and could not see what DAC you currently use. Do you mind sharing that? 

 

I use the DACs in my Trinnov AL 16.. 

 

further to my point.. I just got the latest Stereophile with recommended components. Not that I consider them to be THE authority but if you look the digital section you will find

  • 18 digital file players with an A+ rating and 5 more with an A rating
  • 11 digital processors with an A+ rating and 13 more with an A rating

If there are currently 23 file players and 24 DACs rated the "best attainable sound for a component of it's kind"  including a Roon Nucleus+, how much different can they possibly be? There is a $1300 A+ DAC and a $600 DAC rated A along with those for $30K +.. AND that doesn't include all of the equipment that Stereophile hasn't reviewed

 

I think all of this calls into question Stereophile's methodology, motivations,  and ratings structure, but at some point you are buying bragging rights. My contention is that this point comes much earlier than many of us care to admit.

 

see my system at Audiogon  https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/768

 

 

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6 hours ago, Miska said:

From the 16x rate PCM input, rest of oversampling is done by copying the sample N times and then it goes to the modulator.

 

 

Ok, so what is a modulator? What does it do?

 

6 hours ago, Miska said:

These are the analog reconstruction filters that should be always active. It is great that there's a possibility to select between two possibilities.

 

 

Are these just a filter that cuts off anything above a certain frequency?

No electron left behind.

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Brilliant review, may be time to start saving. Question on the HDMI input: Is this compatible w/DDC's that output IIS?

Desktop: HQ Player --> Singxer SU-1 --> Matrix X-Sabre Pro --> McChanson SuperSilver UltimatE

Headphones: Audeze MM-500, Meze Audio Elite, Focal Utopia 2022, Focal Bathys (Wireless)

Portable Gear: Hiby RS6, xDuoo XD05 Bal 2, FiiO BTR7, Creative BT-W5, FiiTii HiFiDots TWS

Nearfield Active Speakers: Audioengine HD3 

Power Conditioning: Furman Elite-15 PFi

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On 9/2/2022 at 12:25 AM, Andrewteee said:

Appreciate the review. Do you know what the differences are between the DAC 200 and HA 200? Other than the headphone connections on the HA200. As far as I can tell researching online, the HA 200 is the DAC 200 plus the additional headphone outputs -- and I might be headphone only, iow not audio outs to an amplifier. 

The complete digital and D/A section are identical. Power supply and analog parts are different.

The DAC200 has a balanced analog preamp built in with a 50 Watt linear analog power supply, the HA 200 has a very powerful class-A headphone amp plus a 100Watt linear power supply. Additionally there are some headpohne specific features in the HA200 like switchable cross-feed, tone control, selectable output impedance etc.

 

So, if the main use case is with headphone, the HA200 will be the right choice, if the device shall be used with a power amp or any balanced audio sink, the DAC200 is the way to go.

 

T+A Fellow   (Head of R&D @ T+A 1989-2021)

(*) My postings represent my private and personal opinion and hopefully are helpful to the members of this forum

 

T+A MP200 | T+A DAC200 | T+A A200 | T+A Talis S300 | DAW: Core i7 8700K - Linux 5.4.0 - Roonserver + HQP | NAA on RockPiE (RK3328)

 

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I'm sorry for my delayed reply regarding the questions above, but I was travelling last weekend and had no internet access...

 

Regarding the questions about the NOS mode, Miska has already given some perfect answers. In NOS mode the DSP with the selectable T+A upsampling algorithms (2x FIR, 2x Bezier) as well as the internal upsampling inside the D/A converter chips is bypassed. So the incoming PCM data is directly sent without any internal processing to the SDM section of the converters.

 

The only filter in the complete signal path is the analog reconstruction filter. For this analog filter the user can select a cut-off frequency of 60 or 120 kHz.

 

Regarding the SDV3100HV: The selectable NOS mode was a new feature for T+A introduced with the HA200 & DAC200 models.

But as stated above, if the SDV3100HV is fed with PCM signals of 705.6 or 768 kSps, all internal upsampling is completely bypassed. So for such signals the SDV3100HV operates in NOS mode. Only signals with lower sample rate will be upsampled internally.

I think the NOS feature for lower sample rates could be included in the the next firmware update for the SDV3100HV. Just let me know if there is a demand for this...

 

T+A Fellow   (Head of R&D @ T+A 1989-2021)

(*) My postings represent my private and personal opinion and hopefully are helpful to the members of this forum

 

T+A MP200 | T+A DAC200 | T+A A200 | T+A Talis S300 | DAW: Core i7 8700K - Linux 5.4.0 - Roonserver + HQP | NAA on RockPiE (RK3328)

 

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On 9/2/2022 at 1:19 PM, bbosler said:

I'll take a stab at that... diminishing returns kick in very early with today's DACs. Having tried a variety of high end DACs over the past few years I am convinced that spending huge amounts gets you very little.. and most of what you get is small differences, not better, just different. I've had all of the below for extended periods. Maybe I have a tin ear, but IMHO anything above the $2000 Schiit gets you nothing but bragging rights about how much you spent.

 

I have no reason to question your opinion based on your experience. However, my own experience has been somewhat different. While I don't disagree that the differences in SQ are not huge, I found a noticeable improvement when I replaced my Luxman DA-06 with my current T+A DAC 8 DSD, with HQPlayer upsampling to DSD512. And there are credible reports suggesting that the sound of the DAC 200 is noticeably better than the DAC 8 DSD.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Great review! This review made in interested in T+A. A quick question to anyone who heard this DAC. How good is it compared to more everyday offering such as Yggdrasil LiM when not using HQPlayer? I have Ygg and wondering how much upgrade I can expect when I connect to a source directly. So, if anyone has heard both, I would truly appreciate it.

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On 9/3/2022 at 7:17 PM, ted_b said:

Do you think it might be worth the extra $$ over the Holo May KTE?  Or are we too incremental here? 

 

Ted,

I wonder if the price difference you refer to exists in the real world. As the Holo May KTE is only available directly from the distributor, I would not expect any discounts to be available. Whereas T+A has an extensive dealer network, there may be dealers who are prepared to sell the DAC 200 at a discount which significantly reduces or, perhaps, even eliminates the difference between T+A's M.S.R.P. and the price of the Holo May KTE.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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44 minutes ago, Allan F said:

 

Ted,

I wonder if the price difference you refer to exists in the real world. As the Holo May KTE is only available directly from the distributor, I would not expect any discounts to be available. Whereas T+A has an extensive dealer network, there may be dealers who are prepared to sell the DAC 200 at a discount which significantly reduces or, perhaps, even eliminates the difference between T+A's M.S.R.P. and the price of the Holo May KTE.

Allan,

Good point, so, to make my own point more specific, is it a lateral move from the May KTE to the Dac 200?  There clearly are differences when going up price-wise to the Mola Mola, so I know it's not as much a "knuckle" as bbosler believes...but of course YMMV.  :)

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16 minutes ago, ted_b said:

Good point, so, to make my own point more specific, is it a lateral move from the May KTE to the Dac 200? 

Ted,

An equally good point. My reply was intended for those who might be considering the purchase of either the T+A DAC 200 or the Holo Audio May KTE, and for whom the apparent price difference might be a factor.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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