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To DAC or not to DAC - Page 2

post #31 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvppsu View Post

Beyond that there are differences in tonality and resolution.

Do differences in tonality show up in the measurements, though?
post #32 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvppsu View Post

I agree, the difference between many DACs goes far beyond what can be attributed to volume. As Balthazar2k4 observed, the biggest differences can usually be heard in the quality of the stereo imaging. Beyond that there are differences in tonality and resolution. My system using the PS Audio Perfectwave DAC has a rock solid stereo image no matter what volume I play at. The same cannot be said when I switch to the other DACs in the system. Anyone sitting in the room would hear the difference regardless of volume. It is very obvious.
You can't say that until you had a chance to let the bass play out in full during comparison. Why don't you try it. It's an eye opener!!! eek.gif
post #33 of 181
What's it mean if my OPPO 105 sounds better than the OPPO 103 I owned, through RCA outputs. Shouldn't those DACs sound the same?

Did I just imagine the difference in SQ,
that darn placebo affect?
post #34 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd68 View Post

What's it mean if my OPPO 105 sounds better than the OPPO 103 I owned, through RCA outputs. Shouldn't those DACs sound the same?
Did I just imagine the difference in SQ,
that darn placebo affect?
OPPO 105 sounds better than the OPPO 105, even from the same unit. Just have someone set the volume at different levels before you listen and see it for yourself.
post #35 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by diomania View Post

OPPO 105 sounds better than the OPPO 105, even from the same unit. Just have someone set the volume at different levels before you listen and see it for yourself.

What do you mean, the OPPO volume out level to preamp,or the decibel output of my system? If you mean the decibel output, I mostly listen at similar volume levels when listening to music.
Edited by Todd68 - 1/8/13 at 11:08pm
post #36 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd68 View Post

What do you mean, the OPPO volume out level to preamp,or the decibel output of my system? If you mean the decibel output, I mostly listen at similar volume levels when listening to music.
Listening volume.

As Balthazar2k4 observed, when comparing DACs at different volume levels, you will hear difference.
post #37 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by diomania View Post

Listening volume.
As Balthazar2k4 observed, when comparing DACs at different volume levels, you will hear difference.

I agree, more volume will sound louder and visa-versa. But why does my 105 play may familiar recordings with a better clarity, at all
listening levels? Treble is clearer ie. symbols sound more realistic, voices "s's" are smoother or more natural. Note:I only have two channel and no equalization like Audessy, but bass is more prominent and detailed to my ears, the 103 was a little leaner.

Individual instruments and vocals are easier to hear or pick out, with better detail or resolution. I can't say for sure about dynamics, I think both models are very close regarding dynamics.


Anyway, the same individuals at this forum are on some sort of campaign trying to discredit people who claim they hear differences from amps and players etc. for some reason? The differences would be small in the grand scheme of things, and probably a lot of my friends and family wouldn't notice the differences I noticed. For one, they don't spend any time listening to the same recordings on my system and most could care less about it and have no interest in high fidelity sound.

I think differences in gear sound are overstated mostly, but to say you only need to match the output levels or volume to make the gear sound the same is wrong, IMO. But I think a better sounding source or DAC will sound better louder than one of worse SQ.

No proven facts, DBT or measuring with mics is needed. The sound differences of these two components for example, I could hear it.

Now paying the extra money for these small increases in SQ, that is up
to the individual wether or not it is worth it.

If you guys really want your heads spinning, check out the claims from modding these units! Modding includes changes to analog amplification, power supply upgrades, parts quality upgrades.
Edited by Todd68 - 1/9/13 at 11:20am
post #38 of 181
Quote:
I agree, more volume will sound louder and visa-versa.
Not necessarily. If the difference is less than a dB, their volumes will likely sound the same. But their sonic character may still sound different, because our ears will detect more of the highs and lows in the marginally louder presentation.
post #39 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd68 View Post

I agree, more volume will sound louder and visa-versa. But why does my 105 play may familiar recordings with a better clarity, at all
listening levels? Treble is clearer ie. symbols sound more realistic, voices "s's" are smoother or more natural. Note:I only have two channel and no equalization like Audessy, but bass is more prominent and detailed to my ears, the 103 was a little leaner.
Individual instruments and vocals are easier to hear or pick out, with better detail or resolution. I can't say for sure about dynamics, I think both models are very close regarding dynamics.
Try the comparison again with matched level, double blind and time synced. See if you can tell the difference then.
Quote:
Anyway, the same individuals at this forum are on some sort of campaign trying to discredit people who claim they hear differences from amps and players etc. for some reason? The differences would be small in the grand scheme of things, and probably a lot of my friends and family wouldn't notice the differences I noticed. For one, they don't spend any time listening to the same recordings on my system and most could care less about it and have no interest in high fidelity sound.
I think differences in gear sound are overstated mostly, but to say you only need to match the output levels or volume to make the gear sound the same is wrong, IMO.
That's your uninformed opinion and you are free to have it despite the explanations already given to you. http://www.avsforum.com/t/1439769/any-suggestions-for-cables/510#post_22784023
Quote:
The sound differences of these two components for example, I could hear it.
As explained to you already, you can hear the sound difference of one component just by changing the volume level.
post #40 of 181
After spending years with my system and familiar recordings I believe there are differences in DACS. opamps, etc. I have a BDP-105 and its made a believer out of me. Instruments are clearer, the system can crank louder, it just sounds more effortless and alive.

So it's money well spent imho. I don't understand the AVS members that insist on chiming in on all these threads with the DBT stuff. What are you trying to accomplish? Would you bust into somebody's wine tasting party and declare all cabernets taste the same? And then insist they all perform a DBT? LOL. I think they might find that a little rude. Any fine appreciation, be it food, wine, art, theater, film, ballet, etc. Its subjective and multiple senses are involved in enjoying it.
post #41 of 181
There are most certainly audible differences in DAC-related products.

Heck, there are even audible differences from one unit to the next when talking about the same product.

Now, before some of you go ballistic, let me explain. smile.gif

A well-known consumer A/V product, whose analog audio outputs I'm, uhm, quite familiar with, was spec'd as follows:
2V rms out, +/-10%, into a 10kOhm load, for a 0dBFS input, measured at 1kHz.
That means we could have product coming off the line and passing QC that measured 1.8V, and another product
measuring 2.2V.

That would almost certainly be "audible," in a good A/B test, would it not?

Or, to the ears of an audiophile, one unit would have a more mellifluous midrange, while the other would have more lugubrious bass.
post #42 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by HaroldKumar View Post

its made a believer out of me.
I used to be a believer too until that one fateful day when I sat through a properly conducted disc player comparison.
Quote:
So it's money well spent imho. I don't understand the AVS members that insist on chiming in on all these threads with the DBT stuff. What are you trying to accomplish?
Try matched level, double blind and time synced comparison of your BDP-105 and others. Until you do, you won't know what you are missing.
Quote:
Would you bust into somebody's wine tasting party and declare all cabernets taste the same? And then insist they all perform a DBT?
Burst into somebody's party as in uninvited party crasher? You really think that's what you see here, on a forum that's open to public?
Quote:
LOL.
rolleyes.gif
Quote:
I think they might find that a little rude. Any fine appreciation, be it food, wine, art, theater, film, ballet, etc. Its subjective and multiple senses are involved in enjoying it.
If people practicing what's allowed by the forum regulation is rude to you, then perhaps there may be a forum or two with different regulation that suits your taste better. In fact there are. One is called Audio Asylum forum where by rule DBT is not allowed to be brought up.
Edited by diomania - 1/9/13 at 2:05pm
post #43 of 181
Quote:
I don't understand the AVS members that insist on chiming in on all these threads with the DBT stuff. What are you trying to accomplish?
I'm trying to help people with limited funds spend those funds wisely, by ignoring the advice of audio know-nothings.
Quote:
Would you bust into somebody's wine tasting party and declare all cabernets taste the same?
No, because they don't.
Quote:
And then insist they all perform a DBT?
Ironically, a DBT would show that they don't all taste the same. (It might also show that the expensive ones don't necessarily taste better.)
Quote:
Any fine appreciation, be it food, wine, art, theater, film, ballet, etc. Its subjective and multiple senses are involved in enjoying it.
And if you want to judge your audio system by licking it, you go right ahead, Sonny.
post #44 of 181
I agree all us "audiophiles" should only visit audiophile forums for certain advise. We all know their side of the story over and over. Just like I avoid certain news channels that are biased I should avoid this section of AVS!

I know I know, science can explain everything, even the placebo affect of better sounding gear.

Happy listening everyone on both sides of the camp!
Edited by Todd68 - 1/9/13 at 2:31pm
post #45 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd68 View Post

I agree all us "audiophiles" should only visit audiophile forums for certain advise. We all know their side of the story over and over. Just like I avoid certain news channels that are biased I should avoid this section of AVS!
I know I know, science can explain everything, even the placebo affect of better sounding gear.
Happy listening everyone on both sides of the camp!

And we all know your side of the story, over and over....

Bottom line. One side presents hard evidence and the other side has REALLY, REALLY strong opinions.

Personally, I'm not much of a faith based audio kind of guy.
post #46 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

There are most certainly audible differences in DAC-related products.

Heck, there are even audible differences from one unit to the next when talking about the same product.

Now, before some of you go ballistic, let me explain. smile.gif

A well-known consumer A/V product, whose analog audio outputs I'm, uhm, quite familiar with, was spec'd as follows:
2V rms out, +/-10%, into a 10kOhm load, for a 0dBFS input, measured at 1kHz.
That means we could have product coming off the line and passing QC that measured 1.8V, and another product
measuring 2.2V.

That would almost certainly be "audible," in a good A/B test, would it not?

Or, to the ears of an audiophile, one unit would have a more mellifluous midrange, while the other would have more lugubrious bass.

Thanks for the great example of why level matching is such an important part of doing reliable listening tests.

There are other highly believable explanations for many of the strongly held perceptions that equipment sounds different:

(1) Listening tests done with different music or different parts of the same musical selection.
(2) Listening tests done in different systems, in different rooms
(3) Listening tests done days apart, where memory for sound quality fades
(4) Listening tests done in different states of health, head congestion, etc.
(5) Listening tests done while listening in different parts of the same room.

etc.

In every case the perception that SQ is different is totally factual and real, as far as it goes.

However, interfering variables like these make those perceptions meaningless when applied to the actual sound quality of the audio component.
post #47 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Ironically, a DBT would show that they don't all taste the same. (It might also show that the expensive ones don't necessarily taste better.)


tho one persons better might be another's unpalatable...no?
post #48 of 181
I recently added a Music Hall dac25.3 USB DAC to my rig. Bought this because of the tube output stage.
This hooks to my tube amp.
Did not make a big difference but there is a noticeable improvment in SQ.
Might be more noticeable on better equipment than I have. To do it over I would probably
Look at better speakers first.
post #49 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by lefthandluke View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Ironically, a DBT would show that they don't all taste the same. (It might also show that the expensive ones don't necessarily taste better.)


tho one persons better might be another's unpalatable...no?

Post 48 might be taken as an example of that.

Ironically this technical test of a Music Hall DAC shows performance, tube notwitstanding, suggests peroformance that is good enough to pass a DBT comparison with the best all-SS DAC imaginable:

http://www.stereophile.com/content/music-hall-dac252-da-processor-measurements

It would appear that any improved palatability would be completely psychological.
post #50 of 181
Well nice to know my dac is ummm well ok!
Looks nice though......
Arnyk you are a fountain of information!
smile.gif
post #51 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernstmach View Post

Well nice to know my dac is ummm well ok!
Looks nice though......
Arnyk you are a fountain of information!
smile.gif

Do you enjoy the sound of music playing through your stereo?
post #52 of 181
Quote:
Do you enjoy the sound of music playing through your stereo?
The sound is good but I did not hear what I would call a positive improvement by adding the dac.
Perhaps my gear isn't high end enough!

If I had it to do over I would have went for a speaker upgrade
post #53 of 181
From personal experience, I introduced a DAC between my thinkpad and Rotel 2-channel receiver. The differences in sound were subtle, and likely related to the weak amp stage in the laptop's analog out. In some cases a DAC can be of benefit (either because of the DAC itself, or pre-amp quality), but I can easily impagine cases where there is no noticeable difference.
post #54 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

It would appear that any improved palatability would be completely psychological.
Dude, just because YOU don't hear the difference it doesn't mean that it does not exist. I can tell the differences between my DAC's on certain CD's that have the right amount of high frequency spectrum.
Remember? A $1 DAC chip sounds exactly like that - like a $1 DAC chip.

PS: Luckily here you cannot put your fist in mouth of the ones that disagree with you, like you do on the hydrogenaudio form... where an 'heretic' thread like this is just another an opportunity for warnings.
post #55 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

It would appear that any improved palatability would be completely psychological.

Dude, just because YOU don't hear the difference it doesn't mean that it does not exist.

That is very true. Please let me clarify. Just because a certain individual cannot hear a difference is not reliable evidence that the difference does not exist.
Quote:
I can tell the differences between my DAC's on certain CD's that have the right amount of high frequency spectrum.

Again depending on the DAC, this can be true. And, there is no doubt that some music makes differences easier to reliably detect than others.
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Remember? A $1 DAC chip sounds exactly like that - like a $1 DAC chip.

I remember taking apart a very inexpensive (ca. $40) DVD player some years back. The DAC in it was branded by a well-known US source, and its specifications were online. Bench tests showed that within the realm of operation of the DVD player, its DAC was meeting spec and was unhindered by its analog buffers, etc. I did some research as to what production quantities of this DAC cost. As befits a DVD player in this product's price range, the DAC chip cost about $1. The chip was capable of 24/192 sampling and had better than 90 dB dynamic range. In short, it could reasonably be expected to be sonically transparent - that is have no audible degrading effects on the highest quality commercial recordings. In short, it had no sound as such.

So, as far as "A $1 DAC chip sounds exactly like that - like a $1 DAC chip" this is true, and the sound can be excellent.
Quote:
PS: Luckily here you cannot put your fist in mouth of the ones that disagree with you, like you do on the hydrogen audio form... where an 'heretic' thread like this is just another an opportunity for warnings.

If you've got problems with the moderation over on HA, please document your complaint and PM me.
post #56 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by lespurgeon View Post

From personal experience, I introduced a DAC between my Thinkpad and Rotel 2-channel receiver. The differences in sound were subtle, and likely related to the weak amp stage in the laptop's analog out. In some cases a DAC can be of benefit (either because of the DAC itself, or pre-amp quality), but I can easily imagine cases where there is no noticeable difference.

IME some laptop internal sound facilities seem to have sound quality that lags that of desktops. I've been known to use my USB audio interface with some of my laptops for critical work. I also have an older desktop whose sound facility has obvious audible flaws - the one I'm typing on right now.
post #57 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

If you've got problems with the moderation over on HA, please document your complaint and PM me.
Why, so you can arrange to bump my warn to 100%?

Is hard to explain a blind guy how sweet the sun light is in the morning as compared to the mid-day sun. For him, the measured heat is better in mid day, so it must be better...
post #58 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

If you've got problems with the moderation over on HA, please document your complaint and PM me.
Why, so you can arrange to bump my warn to 100%?

?????????????????
Quote:
Is hard to explain a blind guy how sweet the sun light is in the morning as compared to the mid-day sun. For him, the measured heat is better in mid day, so it must be better...

?????????????????
post #59 of 181
on a totally different note, in my experience if u wanna take the harshness out of your tannoy's some good tube amplification might be for u.

a dac is not going to make or break your system, the only 'obvious' differences are that some dac either excel in detail (read : analytical sound, studio like) and other dac sound more musical (wich in essence means there is actually less detail).

it is actually possible that a dac can give u a different perception of the image, but this is mostly due to a not so compatible output level of the dac, ie the strength of the signal expressed in volt, wich it then sends to your preamp or in some cases directly to your amp.

99 percent of your image is created by good speakerplacement in our room and the correct amps for those speakers, the other 1 percent is the correct input levels between your separates, and the correct resistance in ohm of your cables connecting those separates. If u are not happy with it now, it's probably not a dac or cables that gonna help u out, u need to look at speakersplacements and amps.
post #60 of 181
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvppsu View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Balthazar2k4 View Post

I didn't. The simple fact of the matter is that the differences heard were not attributable to volume. The fact that vocals went from sounding as if they were coming from a left and right speaker to sounding like a focused singer in between them is all I need. The difference was far from subtle.
Everyone has a right to believe what they want and naysayers who spend their time finding reasons to fault others about their hobby should consider a different hobby themselves. If you aren't enjoying it, then don't do it.

I agree, the difference between many DACs goes far beyond what can be attributed to volume.

Most audiophiles compare DACs without matching levels and via plugging and unplugging equipment. That's guaranteed to create a strong impression that everything sounds different, even 2 samples of the same product.

Ever do a time-synched, quick-switched, level-matched, double blind listening test of anything audio? Few audiophiles actually have.
Quote:
As Balthazar2k4 observed, the biggest differences can usually be heard in the quality of the stereo imaging.

That reaction is typical of the kinds of impressions people get when they do casual listening tests. It goes away when the test is done carefully.
Quote:
Beyond that there are differences in tonality and resolution.

Again that reaction is typical of the kinds of impressions people get when they do casual listening tests. It goes away when the test is done carefully.

Everybody I know of who has actually participated in good listening tests involving DACs has had years of experience which they can revisit easily enough, doing casual listening tests. We all know the primrose paths and golden meadows that casual listening tests take you down.
Quote:
My system using the PS Audio Perfectwave DAC has a rock solid stereo image no matter what volume I play at. The same cannot be said when I switch to the other DACs in the system. Anyone sitting in the room would hear the difference regardless of volume. It is very obvious.

Either your room is full of junk or you are skipping down the usual primrose path and into the usual golden meadow. The only thing that is missing is the wife in the kitchen who likes the new magic DAC. ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dinkeldink 

on a totally different note, in my experience if u wanna take the harshness out of your tannoy's some good tube amplification might be for u.

More to the point would be a good equalizer or appropriate room acoustic treatments or even just repositioning your speakers so you aren't looking down their throats.
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