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Denon DNP-720AE. Worth having?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Sorry if I should actually be posting this in the media streaming thread, but I just had a question about this and, I suppose, the other Network Audio players from Marantz, Pioneer.

Basically, is there a point to buying this (you can still get these at Crutchfield) when you can just buy an Apple Airport Express for about 1/3rd the price? Wondering if there is any advantage to buying one of these "dedicated" music streamers vs. a simple device from Apple that can be had at a fraction of the price.
post #2 of 22
The DAC in the Airport Express is a lower quality one than the one in Denon, Marantz or Pioneer.
If that would make a difference to you depends of your setup, what kind of music files you have and your ear/brain capabilities.
post #3 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

The DAC in the Airport Express is a lower quality one than the one in Denon, Marantz or Pioneer.

Got any reliable evidence of that, or is this just another baseless pronouncement from "on high"?

How about the results of a good listening test showing just a difference, let alone an advantage?
post #4 of 22
Do you have a contrary reliable evidence or is just another baseless pronouncement from "on high"?

Since the Airport Express truncates everything to 16bit / 44.1kHz and has as DAC the POS PCM2705, versus the others that can render 24 bit 192kHz, I think there is no argument here.
Unless Earth is flat.
Edited by SoNic67 - 8/7/13 at 1:31pm
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

Do you have a contrary reliable evidence or is just another baseless pronouncement from "on high"?

Since the Airport Express truncates everything to 16bit / 44.1kHz and has as DAC the POS PCM2705, versus the others that can render 24 bit 192kHz, I think there is no argument here.
Unless Earth is flat.

There is in fact no scientific evidence that data formats > 16/44 make an audible difference, let alone an improvement.

Of course I have contrary reliable evidence!

I cite the following peer-reviewed paper, published in a well-known, relevant and authoritative scientific journal based on proper DBTs, as my authority:

Audibility of a CD-Standard A/DA/A Loop Inserted into High-Resolution Audio Playback
Authors: Meyer, E. Brad; Moran, David R.
Affiliation: Boston Audio Society, Lincoln, MA, USA
JAES Volume 55 Issue 9 pp. 775-779; September 2007

Please read it yourself at:

http://www.drewdaniels.com/audible.pdf

More details here:

http://www.bostonaudiosociety.org/explanation.htm
post #6 of 22
You use a system that has at best 12 bit resolution (amplifiers, speakers) to decide if 16 bit sounds better than 24 bit. Great.
What was THD+N of the chain? Speakers have at best 0.1%. That's -60dB. That's less than 11 bit resolution.

Another issue:
In my experience there are some marginal/poor sources (I own them), less dynamic and bandwidth than CD theoretical limits:
Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon SACD
Steely Dan, Gaucho, SACD
Alan Parsons, I, Robot DVD-A

Another issue: Did you ever try to use a true multibit DAC when you play PCM? With headphones?
Edited by SoNic67 - 8/7/13 at 5:44pm
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Did you ever try to use a true multibit DAC when you play PCM? With headphones?
Did you—controlling for levels and psychoacoustic bias, of course? If you haven't, then you can't claim that your results would be any different than the published results.

Put up or shut up.
post #8 of 22
Did YOU even heard one of those multibit DAC's?

As for the main issue of actual resolution of the system used, I see that you swept it under the rug... You just play like "scientists", but you don't even bother to do any relevant measurements, like the actual THD+N and BW of the audio chain that is used for your "tests". A good amplifier+speaker combo pushing 100dB can have up to 1-3% distortions (40dB, 7bit). That's ridiculous to think that you can "ABX test" a 16 bit source when you have a lower resolving system.
Edited by SoNic67 - 8/8/13 at 5:59am
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by e_honda View Post

Sorry if I should actually be posting this in the media streaming thread, but I just had a question about this and, I suppose, the other Network Audio players from Marantz, Pioneer.

Basically, is there a point to buying this (you can still get these at Crutchfield) when you can just buy an Apple Airport Express for about 1/3rd the price? Wondering if there is any advantage to buying one of these "dedicated" music streamers vs. a simple device from Apple that can be had at a fraction of the price.
I don't see any point in buying old technology for this type of component. My own opinion is that the streaming product industry is at a crossroads. There are some state of the art products that are either expensive or unreliable and a lot of old technology packaged to appeal. Personally, I do my local area network streaming with a pair of old Logitech Squeeze boxes. For on line streaming I just use a network enabled blu-ray player. I've tried a couple of on line streaming products and didn't care for either one so I've decided to wait for the industry to mature a little. One popular option, of course, is the Roku. At least it is cheap so you can pick one up and not feel bad when the next generation boxes get better. Sony has a box that is close to there but it uses Google TV which gets a bad rap. My advice. Wait. Stream music from Spotify or other such service. Record it to your computer if you like. Be patient.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

Did YOU even heard one of those multibit DAC's?

As for the main issue of actual resolution of the system used, I see that you swept it under the rug... You just play like "scientists", but you don't even bother to do any relevant measurements, like the actual THD+N and BW of the audio chain that is used for your "tests". A good amplifier+speaker combo pushing 100dB can have up to 1-3% distortions (40dB, 7bit). That's ridiculous to think that you can "ABX test" a 16 bit source when you have a lower resolving system.

What are the distortion levels for your headphones? Got any data to share. I'm genuinely curious.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

Did YOU even heard one of those multibit DAC's?

As for the main issue of actual resolution of the system used, I see that you swept it under the rug... You just play like "scientists", but you don't even bother to do any relevant measurements, like the actual THD+N and BW of the audio chain that is used for your "tests". A good amplifier+speaker combo pushing 100dB can have up to 1-3% distortions (40dB, 7bit). That's ridiculous to think that you can "ABX test" a 16 bit source when you have a lower resolving system.

What are the distortion levels for your headphones? Got any data to share. I'm genuinely curious.
post #12 of 22
A pair of cheap ($90) Grado SR60:


Edited by SoNic67 - 8/8/13 at 3:56pm
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

A pair of cheap ($90) Grado SR60:


Thanks. Is that just a graph of distortion levels for a single tone (somewhere a little above 300Hz)? It doesn't look like a complete THD vs frequency sweep, but rather a THD+N plot for one frequency. Also, at what levels? It shows dBr but I don't see what the 'r' reference is.
post #14 of 22
There is nothing in the industry standards like you ask - "complete THD vs frequency sweep". Shown is a 500Hz pure tone at 100dB pressure. Speaker can't do that well, because they need to move much more air to achieve the sound pressure. Also, amplifiers have higher distortions at the required power levels than a headphone amp.
See another one, that costs some $500 - Senn HD650:



More graphs are available on that site:
http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/rating-headphones.php
Edited by SoNic67 - 8/9/13 at 4:35am
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

There is nothing in the industry standards like you ask - "complete THD vs frequency sweep". Shown is a 500Hz pure tone at 100dB pressure.

500 Hz is one of the easiest frequencies for anything to reproduce. The performance of these headphones is likely to be far poorer at the extremes of the audio band.
Quote:
Speaker can't do that well, because they need to move much more air to achieve the sound pressure.

There are in fact farily common loudspeakers that can reproduce 500 Hz with distortion 60 dB down (0.1%).

Note that a DAC with performance in this range would be considered to totally substandard. The DACs in $30 digital players perform 20-40 dB better.
Quote:
Also, amplifiers have higher distortions at the required power levels than a headphone amp.

An equally flawed assertion.

I find it interesting that in an earlier post I pointed out that even mediocre DACs have far less distortion than electroacoustic transducers, and now you provide examples of what I said when I corrected you. Do you even comprehend my responses to you?
post #16 of 22
The speakers that can do -60dB don't cost $90 a pair. Maybe $1000. Also, did you see the -90dB graph below, from a $500 pair of headphones? What's the speaker can do that? Certainly not the ones that you used.

BTW, there are on that site graphs for frequency sweeps - if that's what you are looking for. The 500Hz was chosen to measure THD and all the harmonics - that's a different thing altogether. At end of the band (like 18-20kHz) there will be no harmonics to be measured because the closest one would be at 36-40kHz, pointless to check. But you need some technical background to understand that, that's EE stuff.
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

There is nothing in the industry standards like you ask - "complete THD vs frequency sweep". Shown is a 500Hz pure tone at 100dB pressure. Speaker can't do that well, because they need to move much more air to achieve the sound pressure. Also, amplifiers have higher distortions at the required power levels than a headphone amp.
See another one, that costs some $500 - Senn HD650:



More graphs are available on that site:
http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/rating-headphones.php

What 'industry standards' are you referring to? I'm admittedly not up to speed on headphone parametric testing. But I do know that the NRC routinely tests loudspeaker THD vs. frequency from 50 Hz upwards.

One thing you're overlooking, too, with headphones is that every single time you put them on, they're in a slightly different place relative to your eardrums. Wouldn't that affect the sound as much if not more than these 'audibile' DAC issues you speak of?
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

There is nothing in the industry standards like you ask - "complete THD vs frequency sweep". Shown is a 500Hz pure tone at 100dB pressure. Speaker can't do that well, because they need to move much more air to achieve the sound pressure. Also, amplifiers have higher distortions at the required power levels than a headphone amp.
See another one, that costs some $500 - Senn HD650:



More graphs are available on that site:
http://www.headphone.com/learning-center/rating-headphones.php

They do? Which amps? ALL of them?
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

One thing you're overlooking, too, with headphones is that every single time you put them on, they're in a slightly different place relative to your eardrums. Wouldn't that affect the sound as much if not more than these 'audibile' DAC issues you speak of?
Not if you use full-size headphones that cover completely the ear without too much leakage. Pressure gradient will be identical.
Try a good pair. I used to be against headphones, leaning very much towards nice receivers/speakers and surround sound, but I was used to PC-grade ones (that you can buy at Walmart, Target...). The moment that I put the Grado on my ears I knew there is no "going back". My Denon AVR is still used for movies and some surround auditions, it is not a bad one - spec'ed at 0.05% THD+N, it can decode also DSD files, room calibration with microphone.
Edited by SoNic67 - 8/10/13 at 10:22am
post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoNic67 View Post

Not if you use full-size headphones that cover completely the ear without too much leakage. Pressure gradient will be identical.
Try a good pair. I used to be against headphones, leaning very much towards nice receivers/speakers and surround sound, but I was used to PC-grade ones (that you can buy at Walmart, Target...). The moment that I put the Grado on my ears I knew there is no "going back". My Denon AVR is still used for movies and some surround auditions, it is not a bad one - spec'ed at 0.05% THD+N, it can decode also DSD files, room calibration with microphone.

Hmmm....I have Sennheiser HD595's, and I like them quite a bit, but I do feel that I get a little different sound every time I adjust them. I could be imaging that though. Imagine that! wink.gif
post #21 of 22
Like I said, they need to stay sealed. Grado's are ugly, but they stay put.
BTW: http://www.head-fi.org/t/403963/sennheiser-hd555-and-hd595-internal-comparison-shots
Edited by SoNic67 - 8/10/13 at 6:48pm
post #22 of 22
Hmm, very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Good thing I got my 595's so cheap, otherwise I'd be a little perturbed! smile.gif
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