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post #1 of 515 Old 02-27-2015, 04:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Which DAC is better?

Hi Folks,

Just bought a NAD D 3020 along with Martin-Logan Motion XL16 bookshelf speakers.

I am currently using an older Sony DVP-NS72HP DVD player as my source for playing CDs.

The DVD player is connected to the D 3020 via Digital optical, thus using the NAD's DAC. Everything sounds excellent, very clean and natural; however:

Question- If I upgrade the CD source to a NAD C 516BEE and connect it to the D 3020 via analog RCA, thus using the C 516 DAC, will I get an even better sound?

In other words, Which unit has the better DAC and/or which connection method is better if there is no difference in the quality of the DACs ?

Thanks, in advance, for member help
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post #2 of 515 Old 02-27-2015, 10:19 AM
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DAC's don't have a sound. If you want another DAC I would recommend you want it for some other reason.
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post #3 of 515 Old 02-27-2015, 10:59 AM
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Question- If I upgrade the CD source to a NAD C 516BEE and connect it to the D 3020 via analog RCA, thus using the C 516 DAC, will I get an even better sound?
No.

Quote:
In other words, Which unit has the better DAC and/or which connection method is better if there is no difference in the quality of the DACs ?
It really doesn't matter which DAC you use. Therefore, it really doesn't matter which connection method you use.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #4 of 515 Old 02-27-2015, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post
No.


It really doesn't matter which DAC you use. Therefore, it really doesn't matter which connection method you use.
Based on your response regarding DACs and connection options, is there any benefit to upgrading (from old Sony DVD player using optical digital) to a new dedicated CD player (such as NAD C 516BEE) which, I assume, would send the exact same digital signal to D 3020?

Of course, this assumes the Sony continues to operate correctly vs. a new unit. Example, any other benefit, either mechanical or sonic?

Thanks
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post #5 of 515 Old 02-27-2015, 01:40 PM
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Based on your response regarding DACs and connection options, is there any benefit to upgrading (from old Sony DVD player using optical digital) to a new dedicated CD player (such as NAD C 516BEE) which, I assume, would send the exact same digital signal to D 3020?
Not, as you say, if the Sony is functioning properly. If you really want to improve your sound, "upgrading" DACs is not the way to do it.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #6 of 515 Old 02-27-2015, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Not, as you say, if the Sony is functioning properly. If you really want to improve your sound, "upgrading" DACs is not the way to do it.
Thanks mcnarus,

If DAC is not the best route to better sound, do you think a more powerful amp than the D 3020's 30 watts is needed?

I did forget to mention that I bought a small sub to go with the M/L XL16s, the M/L Dynamo 300 which really adds clean foundation to the 16's lower end.

As info, as to my music taste, I primarily listen to Jazz, light classical, big band, male and female vocals, standards and show tunes, most of whom are via CD collection over many years. As an aside- Telarc (sadly no longer in operation) has always give me wonderful sound and performances under their label.

My current setup sounds quite good- clean and dynamic.

I just want to max my opportunities, as I am still within the return/exchange period at Crutchfield for the D3020 and the M/L speakers.

Anything you or others can add would be appreciated.
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post #7 of 515 Old 02-28-2015, 06:31 AM
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The soun quality of an audio system is in the speakers and room acoustics. That is where to go if you want improved sound quality.
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post #8 of 515 Old 02-28-2015, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by RandyML View Post
Anything you or others can add would be appreciated.

What path you use to get the CD signal to the power amp makes very little to no difference.


Speaker placement and listening position placement in a given room can make a big difference.


For example click on the 'logarithmic 20hz to 20khz' button and tell me if any parts get louder or quieter..??? www.audiocheck.net/testtones_sinesweep20-20k.php


How much acoustic symmetry does your room placements give you? i.e. Are both speakers the same distance from their respective side and back walls? Or is one speaker stuck in a corner with the other speaker down the middle of the wall length in free open space? (a very common mistake I see around here)
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post #9 of 515 Old 02-28-2015, 03:17 PM
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I like Wolfson DACs, and AKM DACs even more, but ESS Sabre Premier 32 DACs are sweet too. ...AKM for good resolution/articulation and bass impact.
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post #10 of 515 Old 02-28-2015, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by NorthSky View Post
I like Wolfson DACs, and AKM DACs even more, but ESS Sabre Premier 32 DACs are sweet too. ...AKM for good resolution/articulation and bass impact.

But will it lift veils?
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post #11 of 515 Old 03-01-2015, 12:01 AM
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If you don't put a blanket on top of your loudspeakers I don't see why not.
...It all depends of the implementation and their fine tuning "sound" by the people who build them machines with them DACs inside.
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post #12 of 515 Old 03-01-2015, 12:22 AM
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Lets go one further if I may. You can buy a piece of electronic twice the same and they will sound both different. ...Just a small tolerance factor in some parts can alter the overall sound from the same model DAC or CD player. ...A power amplifier or preamplifier the same. ...Cars too.

The value of the crossover parts in loudspeakers can have a considerable difference between the two from the same pair; by as much as couple decibels.
Tolerance differs from one manufacturer to another; the parts they use, their origin, the time the batches were made, etc., etc., etc.

Some parts are hand-made, hand-picked, others are not. ...Humans aren't perfect, and machines made by humans cannot. ...The material content to make the parts can vary in micron composition and in chemical/heat reaction. Every small particles of imperfection can infiltrate the precise mathematical value and alter its overall tolerance.

Can the human ear discern those varied tolerance values? ...It may or it may not, but they do exist nonetheless. ...And some ears are better than others.

Sure, we can call all these very small complexities and imperfections having no importance in the sound's differentiation, but would that be a fair call of true implication?
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post #13 of 515 Old 03-01-2015, 08:39 AM
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Just a small tolerance factor in some parts can alter the overall sound from the same model DAC or CD player. ...A power amplifier or preamplifier the same.
What you want to say is "sound pressure level" also known as SPL.
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Can the human ear discern those varied tolerance values? ...It may or it may not, but they do exist nonetheless.
IOW, you are not sure and you've never partaken any level matched DBT of DAC or CD player ...a power amplifier or preamplifier. Got it.
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post #14 of 515 Old 03-01-2015, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post
But will it lift veils?
A few months ago, I replaced my Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Plus with an Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Supreme. The upgrade IMO was money well spent, and so my conclusion is still YES, it most certainly CAN lift veils, BUT a severe case of audio deafness (pun intended) might be at the heart of what's keeping certain people from reaching this same conclusion.
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post #15 of 515 Old 03-01-2015, 10:38 AM
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BUT a severe case of audio deafness (pun intended) might be at the heart of what's keeping certain people from reaching this same conclusion.
Expectation bias and or unmatched volume level are more likely the cause of reaching that conclusion.
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post #16 of 515 Old 03-01-2015, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by NorthSky View Post

Sure, we can call all these very small complexities and imperfections having no importance in the sound's differentiation, but would that be a fair call of true implication?

Probably not as fair a call as indistinguishable in a bias controlled comparison.
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post #17 of 515 Old 03-01-2015, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by RandyML View Post
Thanks mcnarus,

If DAC is not the best route to better sound, do you think a more powerful amp than the D 3020's 30 watts is needed?

I did forget to mention that I bought a small sub to go with the M/L XL16s, the M/L Dynamo 300 which really adds clean foundation to the 16's lower end.

As info, as to my music taste, I primarily listen to Jazz, light classical, big band, male and female vocals, standards and show tunes, most of whom are via CD collection over many years. As an aside- Telarc (sadly no longer in operation) has always give me wonderful sound and performances under their label.

My current setup sounds quite good- clean and dynamic.

I just want to max my opportunities, as I am still within the return/exchange period at Crutchfield for the D3020 and the M/L speakers.

Anything you or others can add would be appreciated.
I would add to some of the good responses that the quality of the recorded music you are playing matters too.

As to the amp power, that would depend on speaker sensitivity, your preference for playback levels, and room size.
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post #18 of 515 Old 03-01-2015, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I would add to some of the good responses that the quality of the recorded music you are playing matters too.

As to the amp power, that would depend on speaker sensitivity, your preference for playback levels, and room size.
Thanks CharlesJ.

Your post was actually helpful.

The last several posts, prior to yours, were in some sort of "Geek Speak" I did not understand a word they said.

I just wanted to know- how to improve my set-up and/or gear not a "theory of acoustics"

My actual output, I think, is about 45 to 50 watts RMS into 5 or 6 ohms. The speaker sensitivity is 92 db.

I will likely not post again on this forum because, it appears, that many on this forum just like to hear themselves bloviate.
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post #19 of 515 Old 03-01-2015, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by RandyML View Post
Thanks CharlesJ.

Your post was actually helpful.

The last several posts, prior to yours, were in some sort of "Geek Speak" I did not understand a word they said.

I just wanted to know- how to improve my set-up and/or gear not a "theory of acoustics"

My actual output, I think, is about 45 to 50 watts RMS into 5 or 6 ohms. The speaker sensitivity is 92 db.

I will likely not post again on this forum because, it appears, that many on this forum just like to hear themselves bloviate.
Well, you asked a good question that needed a good response.
At 92, it will give you pretty decent levels but be careful how loud you go and if you don't hear an increase you are beyond safe levels as the amp is clipping.

You did get good inputs; room acoustics matters a lot, components, not so much. Bloviate?
Try to stay around read posts if nothing else.
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post #20 of 515 Old 03-01-2015, 06:40 PM
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Expectation bias and or unmatched volume level are more likely the cause of reaching that conclusion.
When you reached this above quoted conclusion of yours, was it because, at the time when you reached it, you were hiding under my couch?
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post #21 of 515 Old 03-01-2015, 07:31 PM
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Probably not as fair a call as indistinguishable in a bias controlled comparison.
We've already had this discussion enough times in the past to know what's fair. If something is indistinguishable by a certain group of people, or even certain groups, in one or several bias controlled comparisons, then what that means is maybe it's because this "something" simply doesn't exist, or maybe it's because all of these socalled "biased controlled comparisons" were in fact so severely flawed that one would factually have more chance of success finding correct answers by merely trusting a random forum member's opinions even if we don't even know whether these opinions are all based on mass delusion. Or maybe it's because the comparisons in question were all next to perfect but the guy who interpreted the results of these comparisons is a shill for some company that thrives on some cheap mass produced mass marketeered (as opposed to marketed) inferior sounding crap piece of technology. Or maybe it's because of a little bit (much) of both.


Now, if I'm allowed to make an unbiased analysis of where this debate is headed... there's two types of objectivists. There's the ones who are for real, and then there's the "other" ones:




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post #22 of 515 Old 03-02-2015, 02:50 AM
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We've already had this discussion enough times in the past to know what's fair. If something is indistinguishable by a certain group of people, or even certain groups, in one or several bias controlled comparisons, then what that means is maybe it's because this "something" simply doesn't exist, or maybe it's because all of these socalled "biased controlled comparisons" were in fact so severely flawed that one would factually have more chance of success finding correct answers by merely trusting a random forum member's opinions even if we don't even know whether these opinions are all based on mass delusion. Or maybe it's because the comparisons in question were all next to perfect but the guy who interpreted the results of these comparisons is a shill for some company that thrives on some cheap mass produced mass marketeered (as opposed to marketed) inferior sounding crap piece of technology. Or maybe it's because of a little bit (much) of both.


Now, if I'm allowed to make an unbiased analysis of where this debate is headed... there's two types of objectivists. There's the ones who are for real, and then there's the "other" ones:





Your argument would have merit if you could find a single instance of someone distinguishing between two players in a properly conducted bias controlled comparison. But you can't. I'd say your argument is incredibly weak and putting up cartoons aimed at me is insulting and pointless particularly when I have the valid side of the argument. I'd be happy to prove my point to you. Bring your players and I'll show you that none of them have a sonic signature. Put your money where your mouth is.
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post #23 of 515 Old 03-02-2015, 07:45 AM
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@nvidio - I think it would be a great idea to take FMW up on his challenge but would suggest a few modifications:

a) the test should be run at your location. FMW has noted (accurately I believe) that different speakers and room acoustics can effect large difference on the sound. Unfortunately that also renders test results at FMW’s location, to be relevant only at his/her location. The goal is to determine ifyourplayers sound different at your speaker/room combination.

b) the test should definitely be administered by a neutral third party with no stake in the outcome.
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post #24 of 515 Old 03-02-2015, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post
Your argument would have merit if you could find a single instance of someone distinguishing between two players in a properly conducted bias controlled comparison. But you can't. I'd say your argument is incredibly weak and putting up cartoons aimed at me is insulting and pointless particularly when I have the valid side of the argument. I'd be happy to prove my point to you. Bring your players and I'll show you that none of them have a sonic signature. Put your money where your mouth is.
The reason why my argument has merit is because you are not contributing to the thread by parroting the same blanket statements all over again. If you really choose to believe that different DACs can't sound different, then you can either admit that they can't sound different to you or cut the hogwash because nobody has any reliable evidence to support the ridiculous claim that the results of bias controlled listening comparisons aren't typically biased toward "hearing no difference". Every psychoacoustician (that is, every sane psychoacoustician) knows about the fact no such reliable evidence exists. More importantly on top of that, there exist plenty of scientific observations that very clearly indicate the opposite claim is true. Not going to rehash all of them in this thread.

Last edited by nvidio; 03-02-2015 at 09:33 AM.
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post #25 of 515 Old 03-02-2015, 08:22 AM
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More importantly on top of that, there exist plenty of scientific observations that very clearly indicate the opposite claim is true. Not going to rehash all of them in this thread.
Can you please post couple (not all of them) of links to those observations? Thanks in advance.
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post #26 of 515 Old 03-02-2015, 08:40 AM
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@nvidio - I think it would be a great idea to take FMW up on his challenge but would suggest a few modifications:

a) the test should be run at your location. FMW has noted (accurately I believe) that different speakers and room acoustics can effect large difference on the sound. Unfortunately that also renders test results at FMW’s location, to be relevant only at his/her location. The goal is to determine ifyourplayers sound different at your speaker/room combination.

b) the test should definitely be administered by a neutral third party with no stake in the outcome.
The reason why I see very little to no point in doing this is because it is both very time consuming and impractical to do. In order to eliminate all stress factors that will inevitably bias the test, it (the test) should be designed such that the test subject is totally unaware of being in a controlled environment, so not only would that be unethical, but also it would make it very difficult to ask relevant questions about the sound.


While I do realize the obvious fact that all sighted listening comparisons are inevitably subjected to the effects of expectation bias, it is also true that listening to a thing and then another thing without knowing what it is you are listening to comes with its own set of problems. Am I better able to hear what the instruments are? Did it bring me closer to what the artist originally intended? These are questions that very strongly connect us to the reason why we listen to music in the first place. They directly relate to those specific qualities that separate good audio products from mediocre ones. You cannot always find correct answers to these kinds of questions if you are not somehow in control of the parameters. This is also why I listen critically to everything.
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post #27 of 515 Old 03-02-2015, 08:46 AM
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Not, as you say, if the Sony is functioning properly. If you really want to improve your sound, "upgrading" DACs is not the way to do it.
how do things like power supplies (type and quality) , clock accuracy, number of dacs, configuration of dacs, chassis rigidity, etc. effect the sound?

You need to explain why these things do not impact sound because I need to understand why you say all DAC's are the same.

What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.
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post #28 of 515 Old 03-02-2015, 09:00 AM
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you are not contributing to the thread by parroting the same blanket statements all over again.
You see the self proclaimed objectivists doing the same thing I see.You just used the same language as I did which made me laugh. It's so obvious. I just spoke to this in another thread. They parrot one mantra, "everything sounds the same" just as they accuse the dreaded audiophile of doing when they say "it sounds better because it cost more."

What hypocrisy.

I am truly on neither said of the equation. I see major flaws on both sides. I am "desperate" for one side or the other to convince me that they are more correct than the other but they simply can't. They speak in generalities and run from pointed questions.

What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.
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post #29 of 515 Old 03-02-2015, 09:23 AM
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how do things like power supplies (type and quality) , clock accuracy, number of dacs, configuration of dacs, chassis rigidity, etc. effect the sound?

You need to explain why these things do not impact sound because I need to understand why you say all DAC's are the same.
Oh, quit trolling. It's all been explained here many times. If you don't know by now, the only reasonable conclusion is that you don't want to know.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #30 of 515 Old 03-02-2015, 09:32 AM
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Oh, quit trolling. It's all been explained here many times. If you don't know by now, the only reasonable conclusion is that you don't want to know.
This is what I'd like to avoid.

Can you answer or not?

Thanks

What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.
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