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DAC suggestion - Page 2

post #31 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg121986 View Post

This is the methodology that I employ as well. In my decades of experience when reviewing audio equipment (pseudo-professionally, of course) I've found that Fox News and MSNBC are the only reliable sources for controlling bias. When a double-blind, inverted-conservative study is required, I look no further.
Just wire this up. It's only 8-bit, you don't need to waste your money on those overpriced 16 and 24 bit contraptions. This 8-bit DAC is superior because it's more efficient. Fewer bits means that it's easier for the device to do its job and it doesn't have to work as hard. You won't be able to hear the difference anyway. They're all the same and bits are bits!
rolleyes.gifrolleyes.gifrolleyes.gifrolleyes.gifrolleyes.gifrolleyes.gifwink.gif

So you and Peter Belt were conjoined at birth but separated quickly thereafter? ;-)
post #32 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

So you and Peter Belt were conjoined at birth but separated quickly thereafter? ;-)

He got all the brains. frown.gif
post #33 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevensctt View Post

I would tilt my head for level matching, time sync listening on my watch and alternately switched between Fox News and MSNBC to control bias.

Ha ha!

Thanks!

B.
post #34 of 214
My suggestions would be the Eastern Electric DAC Plus or the Metrum Octave.
post #35 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboFC3S View Post

My suggestions would be the Eastern Electric DAC Plus or the Metrum Octave.

Why?
post #36 of 214
I have been using an Arcam rDac with an Onkyo A10 that powers Paradigm Signature 20 v.2's for my 2 channel system. I listen to FLAC audio from my macbook pro via USB, into the Onkyo. I couldn't be happier with the clean, crisp sound from the rDac. For less than $500 (which was my budget as well) you really couldn't go wrong.
If you want a great dac for a decent price, rDac would make a good choice. They used to be available on audiogon, but lately they have been a bit harder to find...
Good Luck
post #37 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Why?

Please don't start with your "did you do a level matched, AB/X double blind test blah blah blah" reply. I've had plenty of gear in and out of here. 1/2 my life is building speakers, the other 1/2 is voicing them. I know how to listen, and trust my ears completely because I've worked very hard training my ears.

I like those two DAC's because I've heard a ton of DAC's under $1000, and those two stood out above the rest. The OP asked for suggestions inside a budget, I gave them.
post #38 of 214
You can work for a lifetime playing music, building speakers, designing home theaters... doesn't matter. You will never be free of your biases.
post #39 of 214
Once in a while we witness a poster who thinks he is a superhuman. Wonder what drives them to such level of self promotion...
post #40 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by diomania View Post

Once in a while we witness a poster who thinks he is a superhuman. Wonder what drives them to such level of self promotion...

Product Marketing?
post #41 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigus View Post

You can work for a lifetime playing music, building speakers, designing home theaters... doesn't matter. You will never be free of your biases.

Quote:
Originally Posted by diomania View Post

Once in a while we witness a poster who thinks he is a superhuman. Wonder what drives them to such level of self promotion...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post

Product Marketing?

Do any of you guys have a dedicated 2-channel listening setup? I'm guessing not ... so why post in the 2-channel section? Have any of you owned a DAC other than the one inside your AVR? Again, I'm guessing not.

Subjective opinions is, when you get down to it, the only thing that matters in any hobby/passion pertaining a human sense. And as has been shown thousands of times with hearing, taste, etc ... our senses can be trained.
post #42 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboFC3S View Post

Do any of you guys have a dedicated 2-channel listening setup? I'm guessing not ... so why post in the 2-channel section? Have any of you owned a DAC other than the one inside your AVR? Again, I'm guessing not.
Subjective opinions is, when you get down to it, the only thing that matters in any hobby/passion pertaining a human sense. And as has been shown thousands of times with hearing, taste, etc ... our senses can be trained.

Wrong on both accusations. I have a two channel setup (though focused around headphones) and Wyred4Sound DAC2 in that rig.

All humans are impacted by bias. Sensory training is a completely separate issue and while it can improve subjective analysis, it doesn't eliminate bias from the equation. The problem with individual subjective opinions (beyond the bias discussion) is the inevitability of outside factors, most predominately the room, influencing the analysis to the point where it is only viable for the reviewer. When taken in a large sample set, subjective reviews begin to have some value if there is consistency in the results.
post #43 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboFC3S View Post

Do any of you guys have a dedicated 2-channel listening setup? I'm guessing not ...

You get to be wrong! I don't have anything with more than 2.1 channels. Once upon a time I had a 3.1 system with a electrical summer to create the center channel. I have a system with an AVR at its core, but its running as a pure 2-channel (2.1) thing.
Quote:
so why post in the 2-channel section?

Because I run 2-channel systems. More than that I do a ton of live recording, and the delivered product is 2-channel.
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Have any of you owned a DAC other than the one inside your AVR? Again, I'm guessing not.

Again, you get to be wrong. I own a number of DACs and ADCs and dozens of computer audio interfaces. Besides the AVR my main system has a DAC that runs in parallel with it to drive the wireless digital headphones. In some sense I do an audiophile's comparison between the DACs in the AVR and the stand-alone DAC every day.
Quote:
Subjective opinions is, when you get down to it, the only thing that matters in any hobby/passion pertaining a human sense.

One of the biggest problems in modern society is bridging the gaps between business and science and subjectivity. It is a problem where a great deal of progress has been made.
Quote:
And as has been shown thousands of times with hearing, taste, etc ... our senses can be trained.

One of the best tools for training hearing turns out to be blind testing. There is a lot of of misinformation and misapprehension that is due to people with poorly-trained hearing pontificating about their biases, but mistakenly characterizing them as audible differences among equipment.
post #44 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by diomania View Post

Once in a while we witness a poster who thinks he is a superhuman. Wonder what drives them to such level of self promotion...

Being poorly informed.

Back in the 1950s virtually every audio component was so flawed that they all sounded different.

In the 1960s we started seeing more and more equipment that was good enough so that some of it sounded more or less the same.

As long as we were tied to analog, there were readily audible differences.

By the late 1980s,the better equipment in general tended to sound alike to a large degree.

One ideal amplifier sounds the same as any other ideal amplifier.

As equipment technology has progressed more and more equipment sounds the same.

A lot of people act and talk like they were living in the 1950s. It is to the economic advantage of the audio commercial establishment to perpetuate this once truth that is now largely a myth.
post #45 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboFC3S View Post

Do any of you guys have a dedicated 2-channel listening setup?
I'm guessing not ... so why post in the 2-channel section?
Have any of you owned a DAC other than the one inside your AVR?
Again, I'm guessing not.

-1
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboFC3S View Post

Subjective opinions is, when you get down to it, the only thing that
matters in any hobby/passion pertaining a human sense.

+1
post #46 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboFC3S View Post

Do any of you guys have a dedicated 2-channel listening setup? I'm guessing not ... .

Add me in with the group that has a 2-channel listening setup. In fact all I've ever had is various 2.0 setups.
post #47 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboFC3S 
Subjective opinions is, when you get down to it, the only thing that matters in any hobby/passion pertaining a human sense.

OK, subjective opinion is in the end the final goal. However, your personal subjective opinion is highly influenced by your own experiences, preconceptions, expectations, and other forms of bias. Thus what sounds good to you may have no relevance to someone else.

If using a green pen makes your system sound better, so be it. Recommending it to someone else however may have no sound basis in reality. Your recommendations are vacuous, and no logical argument can be formed that your recommendations hold any more validity than picking gear based on astrology.

Now, if you want to entertain the idea of correlating what one person prefers to what another person prefers, you have entered the realm of measurements and controlled listening. Since you seem avoidant to those ideas, we can only conclude that you are speaking only to your personally biased perceptions and offer nothing of value to others.

You can't have it both ways.
post #48 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigus View Post

OK, subjective opinion is in the end the final goal. However, your personal subjective opinion is highly influenced by your own experiences, preconceptions, expectations, and other forms of bias. Thus what sounds good to you may have no relevance to someone else.
If using a green pen makes your system sound better, so be it. Recommending it to someone else however may have no sound basis in reality. Your recommendations are vacuous, and no logical argument can be formed that your recommendations hold any more validity than picking gear based on astrology.
Now, if you want to entertain the idea of correlating what one person prefers to what another person prefers, you have entered the realm of measurements and controlled listening. Since you seem avoidant to those ideas, we can only conclude that you are speaking only to your personally biased perceptions and offer nothing of value to others.
You can't have it both ways.

Good post, mostly for using vacuous. Nice! In your last paragraph, edit "I" for " we" as in .....we can only conclude.....
post #49 of 214
Quote:
In your last paragraph, edit "I" for " we" as in .....we can only conclude.....
"We" is just fine.

And we know who we are. smile.gif
post #50 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigus View Post

OK, subjective opinion is in the end the final goal. However, your personal subjective opinion is highly influenced by your own experiences, preconceptions, expectations, and other forms of bias. Thus what sounds good to you may have no relevance to someone else.
If using a green pen makes your system sound better, so be it. Recommending it to someone else however may have no sound basis in reality. Your recommendations are vacuous, and no logical argument can be formed that your recommendations hold any more validity than picking gear based on astrology.
Now, if you want to entertain the idea of correlating what one person prefers to what another person prefers, you have entered the realm of measurements and controlled listening. Since you seem avoidant to those ideas, we can only conclude that you are speaking only to your personally biased perceptions and offer nothing of value to others.
You can't have it both ways.

You do realize I've taken more measurements than probably all but a handful of people on this forum. Exhaustive measurements are part of my job. But once you take enough measurements, AND do enough listening, you realize measurements only get you in the ballpark. It's pretty easy to build 2 speakers that measure similarly enough that you would mistake them for the same design, but that sound very different. Same with electonics, no we can't sit and say "that sounds like 120db s/n" or "that seems like .005% distortion instead of .001%", but just because we can take some measurements that show very similar performance, don't mistake that for the entire picture.

I know the cool thing for an Objectivist to do is to make out that the Subjectivists are a bunch fools with no concept of the science involved, wasting our money based on group think and desire to impress. And yes, those people are out there ... but I most certainly am not one of them. The knowledge that measurements don't paint the full picture of how our brain interprets sound doesn't mean I have no basis in reality. In fact I'd say the inverse is more likely true, that those who think it does are the ones blissfully ignorant.

I'm sure the answer is always bias - I hear a difference because I wanted to or something along those lines. I know better however, and you can believe me or not. Difference is I (and the vase majority of people who let their ears decide) don't attempt to belittle those in the other camp. I was one of you, convinced that amps, dacs, etc of similar measuring sound the same. But I wasn't so hard-headed as to not realize my mistake. I'd much rather have some $300 pro sound amp make me happy and pocket the difference, but what's learned cannot be unlearned. But I always keep an open mind. Recently a good friend who's ears I trust urged me to buy some power cord that he swore would make a nice improvement. I was sceptical as I've never heard a difference from a power cord, but I bit anyway. I tried it out and didn't hear any difference, so had my wife do the cord swapping so I could blind test and still hear no difference. Just yesterday I and my co-worked did a blind test between 2 amps and wrote our thoughts on paper so as not to influence each other. Funny how our impressions were almost point for point identical.

The predictable disrespect that comes from the Objectivist camp really wears over time. There's no reason for it, and it serves nobody any good. You don't have all the answers, nobody does. Science can't explain it all either. Acting as though you do have all the answers is a mistake that you'll most likely learn in time. In the meantime is it too much to ask to tone down the rhetoric?
Edited by TurboFC3S - 7/30/12 at 10:41pm
post #51 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboFC3S View Post

I was one of you, convinced that amps, dacs, etc of similar measuring sound the same. But I wasn't so hard-headed as to not realize my mistake. I'd much rather have some $300 pro sound amp make me happy and pocket the difference, but what's learned cannot be unlearned.
I used to be one of you, the current you that is. I used to believe in cable swap, amp swap, disc player swap and etc. Then one day I ran into someone who demonstrated a proper objective listening comparison which I was the listener. It was a learning experience. Now it cannot be unlearned. You may just need to run into someone like that.
Quote:
In the meantime is it too much to ask to tone down the rhetoric?
Are you complaining?
post #52 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboFC3S View Post

You do realize I've taken more measurements than probably all but a handful of people on this forum. Exhaustive measurements are part of my job. But once you take enough measurements, AND do enough listening, you realize measurements only get you in the ballpark. It's pretty easy to build 2 speakers that measure similarly enough that you would mistake them for the same design, but that sound very different. Same with electonics, no we can't sit and say "that sounds like 120db s/n" or "that seems like .005% distortion instead of .001%", but just because we can take some measurements that show very similar performance, don't mistake that for the entire picture.

I also used to be one of you, the current you that is. I used to believe in cable swap, amp swap, disc player swap and etc. Then one day someone taunted me into developing a proper objective listening comparison method. I was the both the developer and the listener. So I invented ABX. It was a learning experience. Now it cannot be unlearned. You may just need to learn the same lessons.

First just a few, then dozens, eventually hundreds and now thousands of people have done their own ABX tests. Subsequently, some of them and others have used one of the other similar bias controlled testing methodologies such as ABC/hr. They are now foundational to documents from relevant international standards committees. They are literally required parts of relevant papers in scholarly journals.
Quote:
I know the cool thing for an Objectivist to do is to make out that the Subjectivists are a bunch fools with no concept of the science involved, wasting our money based on group think and desire to impress.

Actually, its uncool to make fun of people regardless of their thinking as long as it is thinking. However, it is very common for people who call themselves subjectivists to make out people who disagree with them and are simply trying to take the higher road to be narrow-minded Objectivists as you seem to have done. Fact is that reliance on properly done subjective tests is consistent with being a subjectivist. That is why it is called "Subjective Testing" I would think that any good subjectivist would be insulted by the suggestion that reliability should not be one of their goals.
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The knowledge that measurements don't paint the full picture of how our brain interprets sound doesn't mean I have no basis in reality. In fact I'd say the inverse is more likely true, that those who think it does are the ones blissfully ignorant.

But you are mistating the discussion at hand. I would be very happy to accept evidence that was either developed on the test bench or in the listening room (or both) in a reasonable way. Instead, people listen to different music, presented at different SPLs, and often in different rooms on different days and then make sweeping pronouncements.
Quote:
I'm sure the answer is always bias - I hear a difference because I wanted to or something along those lines. I know better however, and you can believe me or not.

Again your words castrate the arguments against your viewpoint. Is that the high road? The kind of bias you have mentioned is far from a complete discussion of the relevant biases that one sees all over this thread, all over this forum. I listed them above. For extra fun, why not deal with the real arguments, not the ones you made up for easy debating?
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Difference is I (and the vase majority of people who let their ears decide) don't attempt to belittle those in the other camp.

If this post I am responding to was anything but belittling, I would be a happy camper. It started out with name-calling. Then it picked just one of a boatload of sources of bias and pretty much just dismissed it.

Of course the listening tests that people throw around here like Frisbees find audible differences. No level matching! Listen to different musical selections! Listen on different days! Listen in different rooms! No bias controls at all.

Quote:
I was one of you, convinced that amps, dacs, etc of similar measuring sound the same.

Again your post understates and trivializes the opposing view. Electronics doesn't have to measure the same or even similar. All it has to do is meet certain now easily obtained minimal standards.
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I'd much rather have some $300 pro sound amp make me happy and pocket the difference

Actually, I'll put up a $229 AVR up against anything for 3, 5, 10, 20 times the price, that at least measures as well.
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but what's learned cannot be unlearned.

If that is true, then once you learn a falsehood, you can never be disabused of it. I would hope that at least a few around here would be more flexible and broad minded than that.
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But I always keep an open mind.

Not according to what you just said!
Quote:
Recently a good friend who's ears I trust urged me to buy some power cord that he swore would make a nice improvement. I was sceptical as I've never heard a difference from a power cord, but I bit anyway. I tried it out and didn't hear any difference, so had my wife do the cord swapping so I could blind test and still hear no difference. Just yesterday I and my co-worked did a blind test between 2 amps and wrote our thoughts on paper so as not to influence each other. Funny how our impressions were almost point for point identical.

Group think.

Let me explain what proper listening test methodologies do to group think. They instantly remove positive bias, everybody knows that. It is interesting to see how negative bias gets removed. There are always one or more people who want to be heroes and hear what others have not heard. This can drive some people to distant, and occasionally productive ends.
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The predictable disrespect that comes from the Objectivist camp really wears over time.

That people trivialize the opposition as this post has, and then try to play the disrespect card is an interesting slice of life.
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There's no reason for it, and it serves nobody any good.

+1.
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You don't have all the answers, nobody does.

But one side has more answers that have stood up to formal review.
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Science can't explain it all either.

Not this week. But there is little to gain from disrespecting what Science has found to be true and useful.
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Acting as though you do have all the answers is a mistake that you'll most likely learn in time.

It appears that someone thinks they have all the answers, and it isn't me! ;-)
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In the meantime is it too much to ask to tone down the rhetoric?

Indeed.
Edited by arnyk - 7/31/12 at 4:34am
post #53 of 214
Whenever I see somebody do the 47 inline quote thing I just roll my eyes ... seriously who has time for that? Honestly, you win. I really don't care that much.

I'll post whatever I feel like. If somebody asks for subjective opinions, I'll post them. So get over it.
post #54 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboFC3S View Post

Whenever I see somebody do the 47 inline quote thing I just roll my eyes ... seriously who has time for that? Honestly, you win. I really don't care that much.
I'll post whatever I feel like. If somebody asks for subjective opinions, I'll post them. So get over it.
You are free to post what you want. Keep in mind that this is a discussion site. If you don't want to engage in AV discussion, I'm sure there are other domains just for that.
post #55 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboFC3S View Post

Whenever I see somebody do the 47 inline quote thing I just roll my eyes ...

Take it as one big long rolleyes, with explanations. ;-)
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seriously who has time for that?

Someone who long ago took the time to develop ABX while others were just doing the same old, same old, sighted evaluation thing.
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Honestly, you win. I really don't care that much.

The quality shows.
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I'll post whatever I feel like.

And somebody said you can't????
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If somebody asks for subjective opinions, I'll post them.

Yet again "subjective opinons" gets confused with "opinions based on egregiously-flawed listening evaluations.
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So get over it.

I wish you would! ;-)
post #56 of 214
This time last year I was testing DACs. The base setup was Kudos Cardea C30 speakers, McIntosh MC501 monoblocks, McIntosh C2300 tube pre-amp. We compared a Schiit Bifrost, Bryston BDA-1, and MSB Platinum DAC IV. I sat in the listening chair for each DAC as the DACs were switched by the system's owner (my buddy's father) as he hid behind another chair. He swapped the optical input from one DAC to the other and changed the RCA interconnects as needed. We played the same songs and the volume was left the same on the pre-amp, as each DAC is supposed to output 2V RMS. My buddy also participated as a listener.

He and I came to the same conclusion of these DACs. We wrote our opinions on a sheet of paper and then shared the responses. Our preferences were in this order, with perceptions similar to what I've written below. I can't quote verbatim because it was awhile ago and we don't have the paper anymore, but I recall the experience quite vividly in my bias stricken brain. rolleyes.gif

1. MSB Platinum DAC IV This was the winner. It had a very wide sound stage, a lot of detail and depth, no harshness on the top end, and what we perceived to be a neutral sound.
2. Schiit Bifrost We both actually had a hard time telling this one apart from the MSB. However, we were able to conclude that this had less detail and depth than the MSB, and it was also less neutral with a slight increase in mid-range. There was a major difference between this DAC and the Bryston and we preferred this DAC to the Bryston.
3. Bryston BDA-1 This was by far the loser. It sounded very harsh with a lot of sibilance on the treble. The sound stage was good and there was a lot of detail, but we didn't feel like the soundstage or detail was better than the Schiit, and certainly not better than the MSB. We concluded that the Bryston did not sound good to our ears for these reasons.

This is how I typically conduct a test on equipment when possible. It was fairly easy to do this because we could easily go between source and RCA connections behind the chair. For other tests, like MSB Stereo 202 amp, McIntosh MC601 monoblocks, VTL MB-450 and some other large things we have tested we obviously could not do a "blind" test with such ease.

In the case of the DACs we each were able to come to the same conclusions as to their sound signature. We did not write the same paragraph for each DAC through some sort of extrasensory perception, but our perceived definitions of each "buzz-word" that we used to define what we heard was the same. Or, did we just excuse ourselves for being different and allow ourselves to believe that our conclusions were the same? I guess I can't say.
post #57 of 214
Quote:
You do realize I've taken more measurements than probably all but a handful of people on this forum. Exhaustive measurements are part of my job. But once you take enough measurements, AND do enough listening, you realize measurements only get you in the ballpark. It's pretty easy to build 2 speakers that measure similarly enough that you would mistake them for the same design, but that sound very different. Same with electonics, no we can't sit and say "that sounds like 120db s/n" or "that seems like .005% distortion instead of .001%", but just because we can take some measurements that show very similar performance, don't mistake that for the entire picture.

I know the cool thing for an Objectivist to do is to make out that the Subjectivists are a bunch fools with no concept of the science involved, wasting our money based on group think and desire to impress. And yes, those people are out there ... but I most certainly am not one of them. The knowledge that measurements don't paint the full picture of how our brain interprets sound doesn't mean I have no basis in reality. In fact I'd say the inverse is more likely true, that those who think it does are the ones blissfully ignorant.
IOW, you know how to use a thermometer, but you think you can tell the temperature better just by sticking your finger in the air.
post #58 of 214
Hi greg,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg121986 View Post

. . . We played the same songs and the volume was left the same on the pre-amp, as each DAC is supposed to output 2V RMS. My buddy also participated as a listener.

He and I came to the same conclusion of these DACs.

This is how the testing should be done - almost - but no cigar.

A key ingredient was lacking, which could have favored the chosen DAC. The output was supposed to be 2v rms, but they can't all three have the exactly the same output. All else being equal, if the gain on the winner was slightly higher, it would sound better. This is one technique that designers use to try to sound better on the showroom floor.

I will steal a little of Arny's thunder: The outputs should have been level-matched with a voltmeter at the speakers.
post #59 of 214
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

IOW, you know how to use a thermometer, but you think you can tell the temperature better just by sticking your finger in the air.

LOL - Can I use that as my sig? smile.gif
post #60 of 214
Be my guest.
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