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post #31 of 39 Old 09-26-2013, 12:38 PM
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That's called "preference" which is different from "reference". The latter relates to hi-fi. FYI, the former, your approach, is not what hi-fi is.
Yeah, but...

1) There's nothing wrong with pursuing a sonic preference. After all, it's your system. It should do what you want it to do.

2) Achieving a true reference-quality system/room is far from a trivial exercise, and requires some decent measurement equipment and skill. I would guess that even most AVSers don't get more than partway there. (I sure haven't.) In the end, they too settle for a sound they "like." No shame in that.

But whatever your goal, it's important to understand which parts of your system materially affect the sound you hear, and which do not.

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

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post #32 of 39 Old 09-26-2013, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

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The designs of the boutique brand you encountered was designed/engineered like that on purpose for intentional coloration I'm guessing?

Not necessarily intentional. I think it's more common that they simply don't know what they're doing.

From the blurbs I've read about "NOS DACs", these people know exactly what they are doing and think its the way to go.

It is all about creating a perceived difference. Back that up with sighted evaluations where everything always sounds different and you've got a working sales plan.
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No-noversampling DACs alter the frequency response, for example,

Well, you can still use them with digital filters and get the good frequency response, which was how they were/are used by real engineers.
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but I don't think that's why people make them. People make them because they are under the mistaken impression that oversampling itself causes audible distortion.

Yes, that's the myth. We had someone who was blurbing that scare storey/audiophile myth around here a few weeks back.
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So they trade a non-audible distortion for an audible one. Dumb.

Like I said, there are non-oversampling DACs and the low sample rate digital filters to go with them. They existed back in the day when chips tended to slower and oversampling was not as easy as it is now. I believe one of the major DAC chip houses has a newly designed non-oversampling DAC in his catalog, with the non-oversampling digital filter to go with it.
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Similarly, if you listen to what tube amp makers say about their products, and compare that to what measurements tell us their products actually do, you'll see a real disconnect.

In the end I think that most of the audible difference they actually deliver is due to the amps high source impedance. Same basic pitch, they make loop feedback sound like it escaped from one of the inner rings of hell, and it goes downhill from that.

If you want a high source impedance from your amps, just buy some 2,4,8 ohm power resistors and put them in series with your speaker cables! ;-)
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And let's not forget all the boutique products that, for all their claims, don't actually sound different at all.

I would say that most separates and high end AVRs fit in that category. The funniest story I read recently was about a high end box that was a basically a rebranded mass market product, but had degraded Audyssey. You get to pay more for less, if you don't count the fancy name.
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post #33 of 39 Old 09-26-2013, 12:52 PM
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From the blurbs I've read about "NOS DACs", these people know exactly what they are doing and think its the way to go.

It is all about creating a perceived difference. Back that up with sighted evaluations where everything always sounds different and you've got a working sales plan.
If they're using sighted evaluations, then they don't know what they're doing.
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Well, you can still use them with digital filters and get the good frequency response, which was how they were/are used by real engineers.
And do you think the high-end companies making NOS DACs know this?
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In the end I think that most of the audible difference they actually deliver is due to the amps high source impedance.
Agreed, but that means that "the sound of the amp" is really speaker-dependent. I've never seen an ad for a tube amp that said, "Our amp will alter your system's frequency response, but how and how much will depend on your speakers' impedance curve." Have you? Do you think the average high-end garagista hand-building tube amps really knows this?

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

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post #34 of 39 Old 09-26-2013, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

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From the blurbs I've read about "NOS DACs", these people know exactly what they are doing and think its the way to go.

It is all about creating a perceived difference. Back that up with sighted evaluations where everything always sounds different and you've got a working sales plan.
If they're using sighted evaluations, then they don't know what they're doing.
I
n a way yes.

In a way they probably suspect that their *innovations* would fail a DBT, or they've drunk their own cool aid and think that "you'd have to be deaf..."

Or some of their stuff is so bad that it really does sound different.

People like this stay away from DBTs, because it could be bad for their *fun*. I mean, what about the guy who tried to sell spectacles to the Emperor after he bought his new clothes? ;-)
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Well, you can still use them with digital filters and get the good frequency response, which was how they were/are used by real engineers.
And do you think the high-end companies making NOS DACs know this?

The filters are mentioned on the same manufacturer pages as the DACs. They'd have to be blind to miss them. Besides, some of these geneii think that digital filters also came from one of the inner rings of hell. Ever hear of Ned Ludd as in Luddite?
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In the end I think that most of the audible difference they actually deliver is due to the amps high source impedance.
Agreed, but that means that "the sound of the amp" is really speaker-dependent.

Exactlamente, Mein Herr! ;-)
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I've never seen an ad for a tube amp that said, "Our amp will alter your system's frequency response, but how and how much will depend on your speakers' impedance curve." Have you? Do you think the average high-end garagista hand-building tube amps really knows this?

Again, at some level some of them do. It's a stochastic approach to amplifier building - what the amp sounds like changes randomly every time you hook them up to a new speaker. Suddenly, the audiophile myth about amplifier-speaker matching becomes true! This is a bonanza for a really good salesman who can churn customer systems like butter.
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post #35 of 39 Old 09-26-2013, 01:38 PM
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It is interesting how home theater has changed the concepts of sound quality from the two channel days. In 1985 we wouldn't have chosen a receiver for its room calibration routine and we wouldn't have installed 4 18" woofers in a 5000 ft3 room so we could crank them up. Reference is preference I think and it sure changes over time.
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post #36 of 39 Old 09-26-2013, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ThumbtackJack View Post

Ethan, if you can, elaborate a bit more on your "boutique" vs major manufacturer comment. smile.gif The designs of the boutique brand you encountered was designed/engineered like that on purpose for intentional coloration I'm guessing?

I think it's both intentionally creating crap to sound different, and incompetence. Though as was pointed out, of course not all overpriced stuff is lame. I'm not a market expert, but I do see a lot of ads. It seems to me that much of the boutique stuff is made in a one-person shop by someone with more ambition than knowledge. Loudspeakers are a good example. Every month there's yet another speaker brand, probably started by someone in his basement who built something from plans in a book and decided, "Hey I can start a company!" But I'm careful not to indict small companies - hey, I own a small company! biggrin.gif

This is why my book and YouTube videos focus so strongly on technical specs. Specs don't lie, and when complete they tell you everything you need to know without guessing. Speaking of which, I'm giving a workshop at the AES show in NYC next month on exactly this topic:

Lies, Damn Lies, and Audio Gear Specs

--Ethan

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post #37 of 39 Old 09-26-2013, 02:32 PM
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Does jitter appear in any common systems, like satellite radio? Or does satellite radio just sound bad from compression?


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post #38 of 39 Old 09-26-2013, 04:49 PM
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Jitter is a fact of life in most digital communications systems and many other digital devices, is well understood by engineers, and is easily dealt with by using things like DLLs, PLLs, buffers, etc. It should not affect the end user's experience in a properly engineered product.
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post #39 of 39 Old 09-26-2013, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HopefulFred View Post

Does jitter appear in any common systems, like satellite radio? Or does satellite radio just sound bad from compression?

Colm has it right.

Many forms of digital transmission and storage add immense amounts of jitter. You want to see jitter? Check the output of the pickup head on a optical player! The hardware at the receiving/playing end usually uses buffering and PLLs to reduce it to minimal levels.
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