How good is the ipod's DAC? - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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post #91 of 187 Old 01-19-2009, 06:44 AM
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Originally Posted by krabapple View Post

Ah. Sighted A/B comparison, reporting 'slight' difference. In other words, useless as evidence.



So? That is not good evidence for audible difference.

The thing is and I feel this is a fair question;
Would you had accepted if the review had several products (more than 2), involved less than 5 listeners (but more than 1), involved blind evaluations and then sighted but the listener does not know that the blind is associated to the sighted, and was level matched to 0.1db?
My understanding is that for the discussion this still would not be enough as it does not meet from what I can tell the criteria for some here.

Cheers
DT
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post #92 of 187 Old 01-19-2009, 08:33 AM
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Would you had accepted if the review had several products (more than 2),

The review I think we're talking about did involve at least 5 different components. But that didn't help the poor quality listening evaluations.

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involved less than 5 listeners (but more than 1),

no, doesn't help the level-match, time synch, and bias control issues which are non-negotiable.

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involved blind evaluations and then sighted but the listener does not know that the blind is associated to the sighted, and was level matched to 0.1db?

If someone reliably hears a difference, then I very well might be interested in his impression of the audible difference that we know at least would now know that he heard.

Otherwise, it is very likely that when the differences are as small as they were between these units, the perceptions of differences are no doubt do to the excruciatingly poor experimental controls.

It's what happens when you have journalists trying to pretend that they are doing science, or ignoring that only the proper application of established science will give their writing any relevance to their audience.
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post #93 of 187 Old 01-19-2009, 08:57 AM
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The DAC is not the weak link in these devices. It is clear to see from the FR graphs into varying loads that the capacitor-coupled-output headphone amplifier is the culprit. It's rather amusing that portable headphone amps use a topology that was obsolete by the mid-70's in hi-fi amplifiers. Surely there must exist a headphone amp chip with a modern direct-coupled output for flatter response into differing headphone loads...

Blaming the DAC is barking up the wrong tree.
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post #94 of 187 Old 01-19-2009, 09:33 AM
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The DAC is not the weak link in these devices. It is clear to see from the FR graphs into varying loads that the capacitor-coupled-output headphone amplifier is the culprit.

...If there is a culpret. It takes more than a 6 dB variation in the 1/3 octave around 20 Hz to be audible.

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It's rather amusing that portable headphone amps use a topology that was obsolete by the mid-70's in hi-fi amplifiers.

In general, they don't. You're probably looking at the capacitor-coupled output due to the single-ended supply. There's a lot more to the actual topology of the headphone amp than just that.

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Surely there must exist a headphone amp chip with a modern direct-coupled output for flatter response into differing headphone loads...

There is. Maxim makes it.http://www.maxim-ic.com/view_press_r...release_id/745

Check the date! ;-)

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Blaming the DAC is barking up the wrong tree.

Agreed, but the output capacitor's effects usually aren't that much of a stumbling block.

The main audible problem with most portable players is really very basic - not enough volts output before clipping, or they simply run out of gain. And the reason is concern over the safety for listener's ears using the most efficient possible hearing devices.
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post #95 of 187 Old 01-19-2009, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

....SNIP
If someone reliably hears a difference, then I very well might be interested in his impression of the audible difference that we know at least would now know that he heard.

Otherwise, it is very likely that when the differences are as small as they were between these units, the perceptions of differences are no doubt do to the excruciatingly poor experimental controls.

It's what happens when you have journalists trying to pretend that they are doing science, or ignoring that only the proper application of established science will give their writing any relevance to their audience.

Fair enough, then this may be of some interest - it is not a fully controlled experiment but it is not journalists trying to pretend they are doing science.
Not sure if you can get this publication but Hifi Choice Feb 2009 as their group test involved 6 DACs varying from £130 to £1200.
Although overall I would ignore most of the reviews and measurements in the publication these group tests they do are more interesting.

The group test involves 3 independant listeners (nothing to do with the publication) listening to each of these products both blind and sighted (without knowing what its associated blind was) while also level-matched to 0.1db.
The potential downside is that there is no mention of those setting up leaving room so I cannot comment about tells/etc.
Although with 6 products would the tells be of less use especially as it is blind and sighted combined?
Also not as much detail about the process as you probably would like.

As this is a UK publication the listeners are from this side of the ocean, so you would not know them but hopefully they would respond to contact.
The people were:
Ben Beaumont (Audio Partnership)
Steve Reichert (Armour Home Electronics)
Ed Selley (Yamaha)

The 6 products are:
£130 Beresford TC-7510
£200 Cambridge Audio DacMagic
£300 Heed Dactilus
£690 Apogee Mini-Dac
£763 Lavry Engineering DA-10
£1200 Cyrus DAC-X

In summary the listeners agreed strongly that differences between these DACs were relatively tricky to spot and pinpoint.
However they were consistent in their views between blind and sighted, which is made interesting because the Cambridge Audio DacMagic came up tops in both even though they knew how cheap the product is.
The Lavry was also well noted but left them feeling it was good but lacking in some areas (they are mentioned in the review but I feel it is using journo talk to convey those differences).
Cyrus was not in same league for the listeners as the CA, Apogee, and Lavry but did some things well (better than say the Apogee or Lavry).

In summary they said the Apogee and Lavry provide a slightly different take on what is presented to the DACMagic that was the best, while the Apogee and Lavry were better than all the rest.

So this is not scientific, but could be interesting because the review was multiple products done both blind and sighted and level matched to 0.1db.

Now if there are differences, it probably is not down to specific measurements on Jitter/distortion/etc unless someone feels values at -60db and -80db are critical.
What it probably does come down to is the use of the filters, the supporting DAC architecture-board, and the implementation of the main chip/s.

I think some of the arguments are that members are coming from different views of what the DAC is; some may see it only as the chip, while others see it more like the chip and all the circuitry-architecture that goes with it before and after, which is very noticable if you look inside a standalone DAC product.
Just IMO.

However I hope the article is of interest and you can get further information on it.
Cheers
DT
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post #96 of 187 Old 01-19-2009, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post


In summary the listeners agreed strongly that differences between these DACs were relatively tricky to spot and pinpoint.

Uh-huh....


Quote:


However I hope the article is of interest and you can get further information on it.
Cheers
DT


The article might be of interest -- can you provide a a link to it? It might be of interest if they actually present statistics for the results. Because what you report is very vague.
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post #97 of 187 Old 01-19-2009, 12:11 PM
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Bear in mind Krab that it is a group review that is done differently to the rest of the magazine's reviews (which all have the usual journo orientated only focus), and not an article that is making any claims - well apart from what the listeners preferred.

I do not believe the review is online so will need someone to do contacting (whether magazine or those 3 individuals), and the best to do that if looking to get a response is probably Arny due to his background.
Bear in mind the rest of the magazine is the very usual audio publishing type - I prefer a couple of other UK publications when it is looking at products individually with measurements.
It does have a good point though like more of the UK publications in that they show the inside of products and mentions what is there.
http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/page/hif...february_issue

And yes the information is vague as it is mostly taken up with comments on each product, not like a whole page defining the complete testing process and stats (remember they were doing review comments so not sure what stats you can gleam from it) as each page has a cost association to print/use.
So definitely needs someone to contact them if after greater information beyond the already known blind and sighted with level matched to 0.1db.

Cheers
DT
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post #98 of 187 Old 01-19-2009, 01:26 PM
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I haven't seen the HiFi Choice article, but I believe their process involves a panel ranking or scoring different units while blind. So no statistics involved at all. Of course, it's quite possible for psychoacoustic bias to play a role even in blind comparisons like this. The mere knowledge that two units are different is enough to make you think they sound different. That's why the ABX test is set up the way it is.

This, by the way, reveals a basic misunderstanding:
Quote:


Now if there are differences, it probably is not down to specific measurements on Jitter/distortion/etc unless someone feels values at -60db and -80db are critical.
What it probably does come down to is the use of the filters, the supporting DAC architecture-board, and the implementation of the main chip/s.

Differences in sound are always down to differences in sound. "Filters, architecture, implementation" might be the cause of those differences, but if there are such differences then there must be some measurable amount of distortion sufficient to explain an audible difference. Ain't no other way.

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

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post #99 of 187 Old 01-19-2009, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post


Now if there are differences, it probably is not down to specific measurements on Jitter/distortion/etc unless someone feels values at -60db and -80db are critical.
DT

IME jitter and noise are a serious concern when only 80 dB down, and a potential problem when it is only 60 dB down.
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post #100 of 187 Old 01-19-2009, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

I haven't seen the HiFi Choice article, but I believe their process involves a panel ranking or scoring different units while blind. So no statistics involved at all. Of course, it's quite possible for psychoacoustic bias to play a role even in blind comparisons like this. The mere knowledge that two units are different is enough to make you think they sound different. That's why the ABX test is set up the way it is.

This, by the way, reveals a basic misunderstanding:

Differences in sound are always down to differences in sound. "Filters, architecture, implementation" might be the cause of those differences, but if there are such differences then there must be some measurable amount of distortion sufficient to explain an audible difference. Ain't no other way.

Way......... It's called two ears boys. You just can't get enough of this DBT, ABX hoohah can you?
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post #101 of 187 Old 01-20-2009, 05:32 AM
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A raging debate among audiophiles, ROFLMAO!!!! Like a few hundred if that are driving sales

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #102 of 187 Old 01-20-2009, 10:26 AM
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Way......... It's called two ears boys. You just can't get enough of this DBT, ABX hoohah can you?


Got any more homespun wisdom for us, Gomer? Maybe something about the dangers of getting too *scientifical*?
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post #103 of 187 Old 01-20-2009, 10:33 AM
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Way......... It's called two ears boys. You just can't get enough of this DBT, ABX hoohah can you?

Given that DBT and ABX are about just using the ears and more specifically not evaluating equipment based on identity, don't you see how you contradcited yourself?
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post #104 of 187 Old 01-20-2009, 12:33 PM
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Got any more homespun wisdom for us, Gomer? Maybe something about the dangers of getting too *scientifical*?

Gollee Krabby, I'll have ta ask ol' Unca Jedd. He's out back lissenin' to the ol' RCA Victrolar, but I'll tell 'em you all said hey!
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post #105 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 06:06 AM
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Given that DBT and ABX are about just using the ears and more specifically not evaluating equipment based on identity, don't you see how you contradcited yourself?

He probably doesn't. He completely missed the point of genuine audible differences *always* having a quantifiable cause. The diehard subjectivists are in the interesting position of defending belief in effect without a cause... The fantasy that the human auditory system is somehow magically more sensitive than lab equipment (contra decades of psychoacoustic research) persists in that world, sort of like the persistence of the 10,000-year-old earth idea in certain circles.

Todd in Cheesecurdistan
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post #106 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 06:42 AM
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He probably doesn't. He completely missed the point of genuine audible differences *always* having a quantifiable cause. The diehard subjectivists are in the interesting position of defending belief in effect without a cause... The fantasy that the human auditory system is somehow magically more sensitive than lab equipment (contra decades of psychoacoustic research) persists in that world, sort of like the persistence of the 10,000-year-old earth idea in certain circles.

Todd in Cheesecurdistan

Hmm, sounds like they got plenty of Kool-Aid to drink up in Cheesecurdistan too.
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post #107 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 08:23 AM
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Hmm, sounds like they got plenty of Kool-Aid to drink up in Cheesecurdistan too.

You call well-established science 'Kool-Aid' in Mayberry? Funny place.
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post #108 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 08:42 AM
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You call well-established science 'Kool-Aid' in Mayberry? Funny place.

Nope. We call "well-established science" well-established science. But we here in Mayberry know the difference between well-established science and Kool-Aid.
Know what I mean, Vern?
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post #109 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 10:06 AM
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Nope. We call "well-established science" well-established science.

It's scientifically well-established that we can measure things we can't hear, Gomer.

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But we here in Mayberry know the difference between well-established science and Kool-Aid. Know what I mean, Vern?

Gomer, where's your Mayberry 'science'? Stored away in Floyd's medicine cabinet?
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post #110 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 10:31 AM
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It's scientifically well-established that we can measure things we can't hear, Gomer.



Gomer, where's your Mayberry 'science'? Stored away in Floyd's medicine cabinet?

Hoo-hah, Krabby, that's a real knee slapper. Hey Aunt Bee, get a load what ol' Krabby's been up to. Hee-haw.
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post #111 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 01:12 PM
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'Hee haw' -- isn't that the sound a jackass makes?
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post #112 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 02:26 PM
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'Hee haw' -- isn't the the sound a jackass makes?

I don't know. I'm not sure exactly what kind of "sound" a jackass makes. In fact, Krabby, possibly you could perform a DBT with a number of your pals in a controlled listening environment and run some "jackass sound" tests, just to be sure that whatever sound a jackass makes is in fact the sound a jackass is making and not some psychacoustic trick being played on your ears by an anomaly in the testing procedure. Yessirree, I think we've got a new title for you: "Krabby the jackass tester".... Yeah, kind of has a nice ring to it.
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post #113 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by par4 View Post

Way......... It's called two ears boys. You just can't get enough of this DBT, ABX hoohah can you?

This was your first post in this thread and your other posts contributed even less to the discussion.

I'd be interested in hearing what you have to say regarding the original topic.
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post #114 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 04:09 PM
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I don't know. I'm not sure exactly what kind of "sound" a jackass makes.

Apparently it's 'hee haw', Gomer.

http://thegolfgiftshop.com/tajaheheehaw.html

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In fact, Krabby, possibly you could perform a DBT with a number of your pals in a controlled listening environment and run some "jackass sound" tests, just to be sure that whatever sound a jackass makes is in fact the sound a jackass is making and not some psychacoustic trick being played on your ears by an anomaly in the testing procedure. Yessirree, I think we've got a new title for you: "Krabby the jackass tester".... Yeah, kind of has a nice ring to it.

You've already passed...congratulations, you're a bona-fide jackass.
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post #115 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by David James View Post

This was your first post in this thread and your other posts contributed even less to the discussion.

I'd be interested in hearing what you have to say regarding the original topic.

What difference does it make? As far as I can tell, nobody that's posted on this thread has done any certifiable DBT in a controlled listening environment with an ipod. So I guess this entire thread is now moot, as I know of no way that the scientific geniuses that troll this area can prove one way or another "how good" the ipod's DAC is?
Comprende?
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post #116 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by krabapple View Post

Apparently it's 'hee haw', Gomer.

http://thegolfgiftshop.com/tajaheheehaw.html



You've already passed...congratulations, you're a bona-fide jackass.

Sorry Mr. Head Jackass tester, but I have to call into question the veracity of your findings. Can you prove quantifiably and via exhaustive test sampling that 'hee haw' is in fact the sound a jackass produces? And if so, where are your measurements? Or are we just supposed to take your word for it, oh wise jackass sage?
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post #117 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by par4 View Post

What difference does it make? As far as I can tell, nobody that's posted on this thread has done any certifiable DBT in a controlled listening environment with an ipod. So I guess this entire thread is now moot, as I know of no way that the scientific geniuses that troll this area can prove one way or another "how good" the ipod's DAC is?
Comprende?

Sorry for asking your opinion, I won't make that mistake again.
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post #118 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by par4 View Post

What difference does it make? As far as I can tell, nobody that's posted on this thread has done any certifiable DBT in a controlled listening environment with an ipod.

What *you* know, thankfully is not a yardstick of what's known, Gomer. There's plenty of information on this thread from which to draw reasonable conclusions about ipod sound.

It seems that even after all the time you've spent tilting at objectivist windmills, you still don't have a solid clue as to what lines of evidence come into play in reality-based predictions about audio. Instead of braying, you could try learning. But then you wouldn't be a jackass.
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post #119 of 187 Old 01-21-2009, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by krabapple View Post

What *you* know, thankfully is not a yardstick of what's known, Gomer. There's plenty of information on this thread from which to draw reasonable conclusions about ipod sound.

It seems that even after all the time you've spent tilting at objectivist windmills, you still don't have a solid clue as to what lines of evidence come into play in reality-based predictions about audio. Instead of braying, you could try learning. But then you wouldn't be a jackass.

"Reasonable conclusions about ipod sound"? Hmmm.......
What is a reasonable conclusion about the "ipod sound", Krabby? Enlighten me. In fact, enlighten all the readers of this thread as to what the "ipod sound" is. And prove to all of us scientifically how you have ascertained exactly what the "ipod sound" is. Please describe it for us at length, and be sure to verify all of this with your extensive test results.
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post #120 of 187 Old 01-22-2009, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

Bear in mind Krab that it is a group review that is done differently to the rest of the magazine's reviews (which all have the usual journo orientated only focus), and not an article that is making any claims - well apart from what the listeners preferred.

I do not believe the review is online so will need someone to do contacting......

Why don't you contact them yourself so we can proceed with the discussion. The only thing that is worth asking is did they demonstrate they could identify these DACs apart and how they did that? Was it with ABX and if not how? Just because they sincerely believe they can hear differences between the DACs and then proceed to rank them while wearing blindfolds is neither here or there.

BTW Sorry for asking this but do you understand the whole point of doing ABX?
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