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post #1 of 22 Old 08-08-2013, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,

I don't spend much time in these parts of the forums, so sorry if this is the wrong place or have been asked a million times smile.gif

I am looking to add a new DAC to my system and am considering the following DAC I dont mind taking a chance if there is no reason not to, however if there is good reasons not to then please let me know.

I don't know that much about circuit designs etc but I would love to know about any weaknesses/strengths of this DAC
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post #2 of 22 Old 08-08-2013, 09:44 AM
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There is no reason at all to buy it. The DAC you are replacing will perform just as well.
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post #3 of 22 Old 08-10-2013, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmm in confused, are you saying the dac is sh.. and will not improve in any setup, if so why? Or are you saying all dacs are the same?
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post #4 of 22 Old 08-10-2013, 10:54 AM
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He is confused, there a a bunch like him here...
That link shows pictures of a decent DAC. Part of it's performance though is related to the firmware code for the Async USB. Personally I avoid any kind of USB connections, because the ones that I did hear sounded worse than the SPDIF connections to the same device, but the XMOS based converters have a good reputation. I don't have experience with that specific DAC though.
Ask the seller if it accepts returns. In this way you can hear it in your system and decide if makes a difference or not. You would loose the shipping back to China.

BTW, in UK there are manufacturers that, at the similar price level, might be a better choice. And usually you can "borrow" their DACs for listening.
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post #5 of 22 Old 08-10-2013, 12:25 PM
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Or are you saying all dacs are the same?
They're not the same, but they are almost all similar enough that humans cannot tell them apart by sound alone. Those who claim they can have never tried. (They always use their eyes, not their ears!)
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post #6 of 22 Old 08-11-2013, 05:54 AM
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Originally Posted by ACappo View Post

Hmm in confused, are you saying the dac is sh.. and will not improve in any setup, if so why? Or are you saying all dacs are the same?

All DACs are not the same. They just don't have a sound. They all produce the same results sonically. Sonic67 doesn't know that because he has never engaged in a bias controlled listening test so he allows his ears to fool him. Don't waste your money on a DAC. The way to improve sound in an audio system is with speakers and room acoustics.
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post #7 of 22 Old 08-11-2013, 06:36 AM
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He is confused, there a a bunch like him here...

Hmmm.
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That link shows pictures of a decent DAC. Part of it's performance though is related to the firmware code for the Async USB.

AFAIK there are no known instances of anybody who has shown that Asynch DACs provide an audible advantage, even in the worst real world environment.

The audible thresholds for the jitter that asynch DACs are alleged to help are complex and controversial.
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Personally I avoid any kind of USB connections, because the ones that I did hear sounded worse than the SPDIF connections to the same device, but the XMOS based converters have a good reputation. I don't have experience with that specific DAC though.

Since the writer seems to have a problem with doing good listening tests, it is unclear whether he has actually heard any of the differences that he seems to be making claims about.
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post #8 of 22 Old 08-11-2013, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by ACappo View Post

Hmm in confused, are you saying the dac is sh.. and will not improve in any setup, if so why? Or are you saying all dacs are the same?

This has already been said, but I’ll add my own 2 cents' worth. It's not that that they are all the same, it's that the differences between them are way beyond the threshold of human audibility.  Once their specification exceeds our ability to hear differences between them, there is no purpose in going 'better'. These days, DACs are 'commodity items' that cost a few dollars. Even those that cost a few dollars and which are routinely found in even less expensive AVRs, BD players etc will have a flat response from 15Hz to 40,000Hz and a dynamic range of 100dB or more. Given that these parameters are beyond what we can hear when listening for differences, they will all, to all intents and purposes, sound identical to each other. Indeed, in blind listening tests, this has been proven time and again.

 

So the bottom line is that the DAC you already have is as good as the one you might be thinking of buying. DACs and their alleged differences have become a new 'audiophile' holy grail it seems. Those who purport to hear the differences between HDMI cables are the same people who purport to hear differences between DACs. But if they ever get involved in a properly conducted ABX test, they can suddenly no longer identify DAC A from DAC B. 

 

My advice would be to spend your money in areas where there is a genuinely audible difference - mainly speakers and subs, not forgetting the most important component in the system: the room. A surprisingly small investment in acoustic room treatments will being huge audible benefits - real, not imaginary.



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post #9 of 22 Old 08-11-2013, 09:36 AM
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It is a difference between the manufacturers claims and reality. When you have time, open one of those cheap DVD players that you like to "push". Their analog stage contains parts that will have severe issues with anything over 10kHz, based on the datasheets of those parts... I just replaced a pair of OpAmps in one of those, just for my curiosity - they where 4558 chips - a dual version of 741 - with SR of 1V/us and GBW of only 3Mhz. I guess you have no clue what that is though...

If you don't hear that it doesn't mean that nobody can.
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post #10 of 22 Old 08-11-2013, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

This has already been said, but I’ll add my own 2 cents' worth. It's not that that they are all the same, it's that the differences between them are way beyond the threshold of human audibility.  Once their specification exceeds our ability to hear differences between them, there is no purpose in going 'better'. These days, DACs are 'commodity items' that cost a few dollars. Even those that cost a few dollars and which are routinely found in even less expensive AVRs, BD players etc will have a flat response from 15Hz to 40,000Hz and a dynamic range of 100dB or more. Given that these parameters are beyond what we can hear when listening for differences, they will all, to all intents and purposes, sound identical to each other. Indeed, in blind listening tests, this has been proven time and again.

So the bottom line is that the DAC you already have is as good as the one you might be thinking of buying. DACs and their alleged differences have become a new 'audiophile' holy grail it seems. Those who purport to hear the differences between HDMI cables are the same people who purport to hear differences between DACs. But if they ever get involved in a properly conducted ABX test, they can suddenly no longer identify DAC A from DAC B. 

My advice would be to spend your money in areas where there is a genuinely audible difference - mainly speakers and subs, not forgetting the most important component in the system: the room. A surprisingly small investment in acoustic room treatments will being huge audible benefits - real, not imaginary.

Good post kbarnes, I agree with much of what you said. But at the same time, someone could intentionally color the sound of a DAC through a unit's output stage, right? Perhaps that may be the case with some DIY designs out there, but I'm sure established companies like Sony and Marantz wouldn't want the design of their digital players to sound different on purpose.
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post #11 of 22 Old 08-12-2013, 04:14 AM
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Originally Posted by ThumbtackJack View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

This has already been said, but I’ll add my own 2 cents' worth. It's not that that they are all the same, it's that the differences between them are way beyond the threshold of human audibility.  Once their specification exceeds our ability to hear differences between them, there is no purpose in going 'better'. These days, DACs are 'commodity items' that cost a few dollars. Even those that cost a few dollars and which are routinely found in even less expensive AVRs, BD players etc will have a flat response from 15Hz to 40,000Hz and a dynamic range of 100dB or more. Given that these parameters are beyond what we can hear when listening for differences, they will all, to all intents and purposes, sound identical to each other. Indeed, in blind listening tests, this has been proven time and again.

So the bottom line is that the DAC you already have is as good as the one you might be thinking of buying. DACs and their alleged differences have become a new 'audiophile' holy grail it seems. Those who purport to hear the differences between HDMI cables are the same people who purport to hear differences between DACs. But if they ever get involved in a properly conducted ABX test, they can suddenly no longer identify DAC A from DAC B. 

My advice would be to spend your money in areas where there is a genuinely audible difference - mainly speakers and subs, not forgetting the most important component in the system: the room. A surprisingly small investment in acoustic room treatments will being huge audible benefits - real, not imaginary.

Good post kbarnes, I agree with much of what you said. But at the same time, someone could intentionally color the sound of a DAC through a unit's output stage, right? Perhaps that may be the case with some DIY designs out there, but I'm sure established companies like Sony and Marantz wouldn't want the design of their digital players to sound different on purpose.

 

I guess any company could engineer any component for increased distortion. But why would they in a world where the main objective is to achieve transparency to the source?

 

Pioneer engineered a 'tube sound' into one of their units recently IIRC. It's easy to do, but it's just distortion at the end of the day.



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post #12 of 22 Old 08-12-2013, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ThumbtackJack View Post

Good post kbarnes, I agree with much of what you said. But at the same time, someone could intentionally color the sound of a DAC through a unit's output stage, right? Perhaps that may be the case with some DIY designs out there, but I'm sure established companies like Sony and Marantz wouldn't want the design of their digital players to sound different on purpose.
It happens all the time. Not even in purpose, just by bad engineering, partially supported by mantras like "whatever you do in the design/manufacturing, it won't affect the sound because humans cannot hear anything".
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post #13 of 22 Old 08-12-2013, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by ThumbtackJack View Post

Good post kbarnes, I agree with much of what you said. But at the same time, someone could intentionally color the sound of a DAC through a unit's output stage, right? Perhaps that may be the case with some DIY designs out there, but I'm sure established companies like Sony and Marantz wouldn't want the design of their digital players to sound different on purpose.
It happens all the time.

And your reliable evidence for that unsupported assertion is exactly what?
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post #14 of 22 Old 08-12-2013, 09:38 PM
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It's widely believed that Marantz added deliberate coloration on the outputs -- both digital and analog -- of some of their older CD players. IIRC it was verified that the digital outputs were not bit-perfect, but I don't know whether it was ever proven that this was due to deliberate EQing inside the CD player.
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post #15 of 22 Old 08-13-2013, 02:04 AM
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It's widely believed that Marantz added deliberate coloration on the outputs -- both digital and analog -- of some of their older CD players. IIRC it was verified that the digital outputs were not bit-perfect, but I don't know whether it was ever proven that this was due to deliberate EQing inside the CD player.

The obvious first question is where are the DBTs that support the belief that these CD players had colored sound?

Are there any measurements that show noise or distortion with sufficient amplitude to be audible?

Digital outputs can become bit-imperfect with no audible consequences to sound quality. It can be due to minor arithmetic errors or reclocking. The first 2 LSBs in 16 bit data are not audibly significant. They can set to 1's, they can be set to 0's, or they can be scrambled, and nobody hears it with regular recordings. One reason for this is that all regular recordings have enough noise from the room to scramble these bits.
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The obvious first question is where are the DBTs that support the belief that these CD players had colored sound?
Are there any measurements that show noise or distortion with sufficient amplitude to be audible.

I doubt it. And I haven't heard any of these units myself. Just pointing out one example where others claimed that it happened.
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post #17 of 22 Old 08-14-2013, 02:56 AM
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The obvious first question is where are the DBTs that support the belief that these CD players had colored sound?
Are there any measurements that show noise or distortion with sufficient amplitude to be audible.

I doubt it. And I haven't heard any of these units myself. Just pointing out one example where others claimed that it happened.

Since most people base these comments on their casual sighted evaluations, their credibility is highly suspect.
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post #18 of 22 Old 08-16-2013, 03:43 PM
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Likewise for people that use 'un-sighted' evaluations and are biased not to hear any differences. That can be physical bias (hearing impaired) or mental bias.
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post #19 of 22 Old 08-16-2013, 03:54 PM
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Likewise for people that use 'un-sighted' evaluations and are biased not to hear any differences. That can be physical bias (hearing impaired) or mental bias.
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post #20 of 22 Old 08-17-2013, 05:31 AM
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Likewise for people that use 'un-sighted' evaluations and are biased not to hear any differences. That can be physical bias (hearing impaired) or mental bias.

At first cut, our choice is between sighted evaluations which are always highly prone or biased 1to false positive results, and blind evaluations that may or may not be biased. The sighted evaluation is almost certain to develop false results, no?

There is an odd situation here where a test involving an effect that is audible is still egregiously flawed if we obtain positive results due to prejudice as opposed to hearing. In other words if you get the right answer for the wrong reason, you are still wrong, no?

As I explain in another post, there are a number of reasons why even people who are biased towards negative results will still obtain positive results in a blind test when they are actually there to be heard.

Your concerns would seem to be perfectly answered if we find people for our listening panel who are strongly biased towards believing that the effect being tested is clearly audible. Of course this has been done many times, and often during tests that have been highly publicized in the past.
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post #21 of 22 Old 08-17-2013, 07:32 AM
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Well, this thread is certainly leading its' own life. A few months ago my wife bought me a very nice laptop to replace my previous one. I am really enjoying going deeper into playing FLAC files. I have been using dBpoweramp for the past few years and just recently auditioned (& bought) JRiver. I have owned an OPPO BDP-95 since it was 1st introduced, using flash drives to play my digital files through the OPPO. Now my JBL AV1 processor is a bit antiquated as for the new codecs and it lacks HDMI. Neither of these is problem for me, I send video directly to my monitor & I can configure up to (2) 7.1 analog inputs, perfect for the OPPO.
Now I wanted to play more digital files through my system and avoid flash drives. One friend suggested I sell the 95 and buy the 105 for the the extra digital inputs and maybe better video. I thought about that but other than lacking digital inputs I have no problem with the 95. I still needed a way to get my files from my network to play on my system. Another recommendation was to audition a stand alone DAC, I brought a demo Wadia 121 into my system. I will just say that I kept the Wadia and enjoy it everyday. I know there are multitude of other options I could have used, but I love the sound of the Wadia in my system.
Feel free criticize my decision, It's OK, I have no data to graph to support my decision, I just have a smile on my face as I re-visit my music collection.

Steve
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post #22 of 22 Old 08-17-2013, 10:19 AM
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Feel free criticize my decision, It's OK, I have no data to graph to support my decision, I just have a smile on my face as I re-visit my music collection.

No criticism from me. Some people like tubes, some do not. Some like neutral speakers, others like a bit of flavor added. In the end, it's all about what makes you enjoy the music you're hearing. If the Wadia does that over a cheaper DAC, I'd say you made a proper choice. You have to live with it, not us, so be happy!
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