is a DAC worth buying if you have a presonus audiobox usb or a scarlett 2i4? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 07-03-2013, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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as the title says, i wonder if buying an external dac will improve my listening quality in comparison to the audiobox usb or scarlett 2i4.
i have a pair of sennheiser 598 and i don 't know if i' m fully exploiting their potential.
has any of you any experience or opinion on this matter?
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post #2 of 32 Old 07-03-2013, 08:05 AM
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No, an external DAC is never worth buying, unless you literally have no other device in your system that can convert digital to analog.

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

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post #3 of 32 Old 07-04-2013, 01:32 AM - Thread Starter
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i hope you are right even though i read otherwise.
for example they say integrated audio card dac for some reason is not very good.
and even the fact that there are vey expensive external dacs makes me wonder wheter what you say is true.
thanks anyway
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post #4 of 32 Old 07-04-2013, 01:02 PM
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Hi Nonesthic,
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Originally Posted by nonesthic View Post

i hope you are right even though i read otherwise.
What you are reading is either biased, outdated or an attempt at marketing.
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for example they say integrated audio card dac for some reason is not very good.
That may have been true for many low-cost products ten years ago, but with the available silicon today, no DAC should be less than top-notch, whether integrated, external or an add-on card.
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and even the fact that there are very expensive external dacs makes me wonder whether what you say is true.
What he says is true. The reason that there are very expensive DACs is because, for many reasons, there are people willing to pay for them. But they don't necessarily sound any better. There are also very expensive jewelry - and there are many audio products that are marketed like jewelry.
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post #5 of 32 Old 07-04-2013, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
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so you're saying that the whole audiophile market and many forums are full of people that are having allucinations?
that the people who buy dacs today are getting no benefit from it?
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post #6 of 32 Old 07-04-2013, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by nonesthic View Post

so you're saying that the whole audiophile market and many forums are full of people that are having allucinations?
that the people who buy dacs today are getting no benefit from it?

Within the "audiophile" market, it goes well beyond just DAC's. biggrin.gif
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post #7 of 32 Old 07-04-2013, 02:39 PM
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Hi Nonesthic,
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Originally Posted by nonesthic View Post

so you're saying that the whole audiophile market and many forums are full of people that are having allucinations?
that the people who buy dacs today are getting no benefit from it?
No, there are many reasons to buy an expensive DAC. It's just that sound quality is not one of them.
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post #8 of 32 Old 07-05-2013, 12:55 AM - Thread Starter
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if im not too demanding, would you like to tell me the benefits of an external dac?
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post #9 of 32 Old 07-05-2013, 12:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

No, an external DAC is never worth buying, unless you literally have no other device in your system that can convert digital to analog.

^^^^THIS
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post #10 of 32 Old 07-05-2013, 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by nonesthic View Post

if im not too demanding, would you like to tell me the benefits of an external dac?

They fill a role for people that had more traditional CD player and two channel preamps. That was usually an all analog system as they used the analog out from the CD player. Now those people are moving to having their CD collection ripped on to their computers. Using an external USB DAC was a good way to feed the audio to their two channel preamps that couldn't take a digital signal directly.

However now more preamps, and of course AVRs, can take the digital signal directly from the computer without the need of an external DAC in between. For example I use HDMI on the video card of my PC to my AVR. It offers greater flexibility and more control with things like additional channels. i.e I can output my 2ch music as 2.1 and use the bass management in my media player (JRiver) which has adjustable crossover slopes which the AVR does not offer.

But of course the DAC market is already well established and many people prefer to stick to that older way of doing things... just as some people still prefer to stay with vinyl.
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post #11 of 32 Old 07-05-2013, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by nonesthic View Post

so you're saying that the whole audiophile market and many forums are full of people that are having allucinations?

No, they have been confused by false claims and erroneous perceptions based on poorly conducted listening evaluations.

The sound quality of DACs in good music players and AVRs cannot be distinguished from good stand-alone DACs by ears, once the listening evaluations are level-matched, time synched, and bias-controlled. Many people have tried to do this including myself and it is tiring and frustrating. OTOH, if you do your typical casual listening evaluation you can hear whatever you want to hear.
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that the people who buy dacs today are getting no benefit from it?

The sound quality benefits are often illusions. They do get bragging rights and pride of ownership.
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post #12 of 32 Old 07-05-2013, 05:41 AM
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I am a scientific guy...so never believed the crap about an external DAC till the day I have one. Use your ears to judge.

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post #13 of 32 Old 07-05-2013, 07:29 AM
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I am a scientific guy...so never believed the crap about an external DAC till the day I have one. Use your ears to judge.

Usually "use your ears to judge" means do a sighted evaluation with no controls. Is that what you mean?
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post #14 of 32 Old 07-05-2013, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by nonesthic View Post

would you like to tell me the benefits of an external dac?

Bragging rights. biggrin.gif

And maybe pretty lights.

As Arny and others explained, the DAC portion of modern consumer level sound cards and other audio devices are sufficiently transparent that they don't degrade fidelity by an audible amount.

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post #15 of 32 Old 07-05-2013, 04:50 PM - Thread Starter
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you guys look like you know what you're talking about.
even if you're just contradicting what i read otherwise i decided to believe you but get a E-mu 0404 that is supposed to have a killer DAC.
thanks a lot
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post #16 of 32 Old 07-08-2013, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by nonesthic View Post

you guys look like you know what you're talking about.
even if you're just contradicting what i read otherwise i decided to believe you but get a E-mu 0404 that is supposed to have a killer DAC.
thanks a lot

The 0404 is vast overkill for listening to music, but doesn't cost a lot compared to high end stuff that underperforms it. Typical of pro audio equipment that is the functional equivalent of high end audio gear (amps, dacs, etc.)
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post #17 of 32 Old 11-16-2013, 11:40 AM
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No, they have been confused by false claims and erroneous perceptions based on poorly conducted listening evaluations.

The sound quality of DACs in good music players and AVRs cannot be distinguished from good stand-alone DACs by ears, once the listening evaluations are level-matched, time synched, and bias-controlled. Many people have tried to do this including myself and it is tiring and frustrating. OTOH, if you do your typical casual listening evaluation you can hear whatever you want to hear.
The sound quality benefits are often illusions. They do get bragging rights and pride of ownership.

Sorry for reviving older topics but I want you to know that I created an account just so I could reply to this.
You clearly have NO clue what u are talking about "The sound quality of DACs in good music players and AVRs cannot be distinguished from good stand-alone DACs by ears" are you crazy?
You either have no ears or speakers / amplifier / source that are not up for the job. I am a hifi fanatic and can tell you blind wen any AVR is hooked up to a good external dac or if it is using his internal.
And besides that you must realize that saying that thousands of hifi reviewers and fanatics are just fooled when it comes to DACS is utterly insane.
I do not consider myself the biggest hifi expert or something but what you are saying is just wrong my friend.

 

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post #18 of 32 Old 11-16-2013, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

No, there are many reasons to buy an expensive DAC. It's just that sound quality is not one of them.

I completely agree with this. Buying something for more than "just" sound quality is not necessarily a bad thing. Nothing wrong with a "pretty" DAC for your living room. I purchased a DAC/integrated amp solely based on the aesthetics.
Once I realized that sound quality is pretty much the same from modern quality companies, I felt "free" to get something aesthetically pleasing since I knew the sound quality would be as good as anything else.
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And besides that you must realize that saying that thousands of hifi reviewers and fanatics are just fooled when it comes to DACS is utterly insane.

I've listened to/read a lot of interviews of these hifi experts, and for some reason they all seem to think the idea of "blind" comparisons are not a good way to judge an amp/speaker, etc. As soon as I hear that, I just stop reading. also, being able to tell something sounds "different' is not the same as telling which one is "better" You can get used to your McIntosh and be able to tell if you are listening to another amp or not. That doesn't mean it's qualitatively better.

Supply and demand, people sell them because people will buy them. Same as speaker cable, diamonds, iphones, whatever.
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post #19 of 32 Old 11-16-2013, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Engelen View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

No, they have been confused by false claims and erroneous perceptions based on poorly conducted listening evaluations.


The sound quality of DACs in good music players and AVRs cannot be distinguished from good stand-alone DACs by ears, once the listening evaluations are level-matched, time synched, and bias-controlled. Many people have tried to do this including myself and it is tiring and frustrating. OTOH, if you do your typical casual listening evaluation you can hear whatever you want to hear.

The sound quality benefits are often illusions. They do get bragging rights and pride of ownership.
. . . You clearly have NO clue what u are talking about . . .
Now that's funny - You sure can tell the newbies.
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post #20 of 32 Old 11-16-2013, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Bo Engelen View Post

Sorry for reviving older topics but I want you to know that I created an account just so I could reply to this.

You clearly have NO clue what u are talking about "The sound quality of DACs in good music players and AVRs cannot be distinguished from good stand-alone DACs by ears" are you crazy?

You either have no ears or speakers / amplifier / source that are not up for the job. I am a hifi fanatic and can tell you blind wen any AVR is hooked up to a good external dac or if it is using his internal.

And besides that you must realize that saying that thousands of hifi reviewers and fanatics are just fooled when it comes to DACS is utterly insane.

I do not consider myself the biggest hifi expert or something but what you are saying is just wrong my friend.


 

Care to put some money on it? Make it enough to be worthwhile and I'll give you a chance to prove it and make some money - or lose some money. You say you can tel DAC's apart blind. Remember you're dealing with people here who have already done blind comparisons.
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post #21 of 32 Old 11-16-2013, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Bo Engelen View Post
Sorry for reviving older topics but I want you to know that I created an account just so I could reply to this.

You clearly have NO clue what u are talking about "The sound quality of DACs in good music players and AVRs cannot be distinguished from good stand-alone DACs by ears" are you crazy?
You either have no ears or speakers / amplifier / source that are not up for the job. I am a hifi fanatic and can tell you blind wen any AVR is hooked up to a good external dac or if it is using his internal.
And besides that you must realize that saying that thousands of hifi reviewers and fanatics are just fooled when it comes to DACS is utterly insane.
I do not consider myself the biggest hifi expert or something but what you are saying is just wrong my friend.

 

That's one awesome troll, dude!

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post #22 of 32 Old 11-16-2013, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonesthic 
so you're saying that the whole audiophile market and many forums are full of people that are having allucinations?
that the people who buy dacs today are getting no benefit from it?

Yes and yes. You're just now figuring this out? The "audiophile" community will tell you anything; it's a flat-earther society. They lie to themselves, and they'll lie to you.

Or let's look at it another way. The performance of audio electronics comes down to three metrics: frequency response, distortion and noise. If you hear a difference, it'll be attributable to at least one of those three. So ... have you ever (anywhere) seen measurements that indicate that a DAC (any DAC) significantly alters frequency response, distortion or noise?
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post #23 of 32 Old 11-16-2013, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Engelen View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

No, they have been confused by false claims and erroneous perceptions based on poorly conducted listening evaluations.


The sound quality of DACs in good music players and AVRs cannot be distinguished from good stand-alone DACs by ears, once the listening evaluations are level-matched, time synched, and bias-controlled. Many people have tried to do this including myself and it is tiring and frustrating. OTOH, if you do your typical casual listening evaluation you can hear whatever you want to hear.

The sound quality benefits are often illusions. They do get bragging rights and pride of ownership.
Sorry for reviving older topics but I want you to know that I created an account just so I could reply to this.

You clearly have NO clue what u are talking about "The sound quality of DACs in good music players and AVRs cannot be distinguished from good stand-alone DACs by ears" are you crazy?

You either have no ears or speakers / amplifier / source that are not up for the job. I am a hifi fanatic and can tell you blind wen any AVR is hooked up to a good external dac or if it is using his internal.

And besides that you must realize that saying that thousands of hifi reviewers and fanatics are just fooled when it comes to DACS is utterly insane.

I do not consider myself the biggest hifi expert or something but what you are saying is just wrong my friend.


 

Ha ha...lol....thanks for the hearty laugh dude.......lmao!

You are right, you are not a hifi "expert". Although you come across as being good at reading reviews....maybe consider yourself a "review expert".

I don't need snobs to tell me how to think, thank you!
LOL!
Why you wouldn't want to join this forum
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post #24 of 32 Old 11-16-2013, 07:08 PM
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I should've recognized that this thread was more than four months old, but it's just amazing when someone writes, "Are you suggesting that the entire audiophile community is wrong?" or "Are you saying the high-end press is wrong?"

I mean, are they kidding? As if a loose collection of delusional hobbyists has any particular authority, let alone credibility. Anyone who asks those questions is either extraordinarily non-analytical, naive or trolling.






.
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post #25 of 32 Old 11-17-2013, 03:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

Hi Nonesthic,
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Originally Posted by nonesthic View Post

so you're saying that the whole audiophile market and many forums are full of people that are having allucinations?
that the people who buy dacs today are getting no benefit from it?
No, there are many reasons to buy an expensive DAC. It's just that sound quality is not one of them.

Right. I'm known to be a bit of an audio skeptic and I own several external DACs and even two their bigger brothers, the surround processor as well as several AVRs. I even have one in my system right now and am listening through as I type.

But as you say, the reason for their existence and use by me is not improved sound quality. over the ones in my AVR(s).
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post #26 of 32 Old 11-17-2013, 10:56 AM
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Care to put some money on it? Make it enough to be worthwhile and I'll give you a chance to prove it and make some money - or lose some money. You say you can tel DAC's apart blind. Remember you're dealing with people here who have already done blind comparisons.

You live in Belgium?

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post #27 of 32 Old 11-17-2013, 02:59 PM
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You live in Belgium?

^You should include flights back and forth as part of the bet. smile.gif

For every new thing I learn, I forget two things I used to know.
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post #28 of 32 Old 11-18-2013, 07:12 AM
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Not necessary. The amount of the bet will more than cover travel expenses. The loser will end up paying them. No, not Belgium. I live in Indiana. Shall we say $5000 and you bring your external DAC for the comparison?
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post #29 of 32 Old 11-18-2013, 08:29 AM
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Not necessary. The amount of the bet will more than cover travel expenses. The loser will end up paying them. No, not Belgium. I live in Indiana. Shall we say $5000 and you bring your external DAC for the comparison?

You wanted to bet, you come to here :)

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post #30 of 32 Old 11-18-2013, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Engelen View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

No, they have been confused by false claims and erroneous perceptions based on poorly conducted listening evaluations.


The sound quality of DACs in good music players and AVRs cannot be distinguished from good stand-alone DACs by ears, once the listening evaluations are level-matched, time synched, and bias-controlled. Many people have tried to do this including myself and it is tiring and frustrating. OTOH, if you do your typical casual listening evaluation you can hear whatever you want to hear.

The sound quality benefits are often illusions. They do get bragging rights and pride of ownership.


Sorry for reviving older topics but I want you to know that I created an account just so I could reply to this.

You clearly have NO clue what u are talking about "The sound quality of DACs in good music players and AVRs cannot be distinguished from good stand-alone DACs by ears" are you crazy?

Yes, I'm a little crazy, and that brain hemorrhage this spring didn't help. ;-)

However, there are enough people who aren't brain damaged that agree with me that you will be hard put to get me too worried.
Quote:
You either have no ears or speakers / amplifier / source that are not up for the job.

What about all of the people who agree with me who do have good ears and speakers?
Quote:
I am a hifi fanatic and can tell you blind wen any AVR is hooked up to a good external dac or if it is using his internal.

That would be interesting to see up front and personal. Where do you live?
Quote:
And besides that you must realize that saying that thousands of hifi reviewers and fanatics are just fooled when it comes to DACS is utterly insane.

Oh I get it, you think that science is up for a vote!
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I do not consider myself the biggest hifi expert or something but what you are saying is just wrong my friend.

Prove it! ;-)
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