Can be sound of Chromecast Audio improved with external DAC - Page 10 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #271 of 276 Old 06-22-2019, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by openwheelracing View Post
Wow, this thread got big really quick. So I can't seem to find any good recommendations for CCA setup. I am using CCA, Schiit Modi 3 and HiFi Cast as the app interface. So far much happier with Modi 3 than CCA internal DAC. Anyone else have recommendation? How is your setup?
I prefer the sound of DAC built into my old Yamaha receiver (Burr-Brown?) over the sound of CCA's internal DAC. It's good enough so I haven't bothered adding a standalone DAC. If I were to spend money, I'd spend it on better speakers and better amp instead on a DAC.

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post #272 of 276 Old 06-22-2019, 11:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Pete7874 View Post
I prefer the sound of DAC built into my old Yamaha receiver (Burr-Brown?) over the sound of CCA's internal DAC. It's good enough so I haven't bothered adding a standalone DAC. If I were to spend money, I'd spend it on better speakers and better amp instead on a DAC.
Yamaha's have they signature sound implemented in their DAC's. I have as well Yamaha WXA-50 and prefer sound of it over the sound of CCA. Since WXA-50 has aux input I have connected CCA and checked between them and liked more Yamaha. I think that Yamaha implemented some kind of filter to achieve that...

EDIT: Still did not test NAD DAC 2 vs WXA-50... no time!
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post #273 of 276 Old 06-23-2019, 02:31 AM
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It's not fair also to compare Schiiit Modi too more expensive Dacs either.

Schiiit makes very good cheap Dacs... Everybody says this.

But I know several other cheap Dacs that not has the same reputation

And Schiiit is basic isn't it? Some settings. But more expensive Dacs often has more functions, Preamp, headphone etc.
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post #274 of 276 Old 11-15-2019, 11:12 PM
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Hate to resurrect an old thread, but I was doing a search on this very topic and figured I'd add my findings.

Did a test using the following with the Chromecast Audio and KEF LS50 speakers:

- using its analog line out (thus using the built-in AKM DAC) into a Cambridge Audio integrated amp
- using the digital optical out into a Topping D50 (ESS Sabre DAC) and then into the same Cambridge Audio integrated amp
- using the digital optical out into a Yamaha AVR (using its Burr Brown DAC)

It was informal and I didn't do it blind. Tried my best to level match when switching to the AVR, but obviously it wasn't perfect. Try as I may, I couldn't tell the difference among any of them. They all sounded fantastic.

Having said that, I still decided to use it with an external DAC and keep the Topping D50 for no other reason than its outstanding objective measurements:

I love objectively excellent, over-engineered gear even if the differences are inaudible. Just my 2 cents and hopefully it helps someone out who's looking.
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post #275 of 276 Old 12-05-2019, 10:17 AM
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Thank you for doing this test as I have a Sennheiser hd 6xx and Schiit Magni 3 amp ordered and was debating whether to order the Modi 3 dac or just use the chromecast audio's dac. Can you tell me your music source as I plan on streaming Amazon Music HD (mostly 16/44 but there are some 24/96). Thanks.
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post #276 of 276 Old 12-05-2019, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by emcdade View Post
I think that what you're missing, deliberately or otherwise, is that even the DAC's whose goal is to "do no harm/alteration" to the signal such as a Benchmark still has a sonic fingerprint in comparison to other DACs.

First of all, nobody knows what the "absolute sound" that you claim to strive for is. A useless goal IMO but to each their own. Many people associate Benchmark's DAC sound as slightly thin sounding in comparison to others. Is that the absolute sound then?

Secondly, even Benchmark must make the call if they want to use linear vs. minimum phase filters, do they want to upsample all signals to a rate before filtering, what sample rate that is, what type of analog output stage to use, etc. etc. These all impact the sound, as Benchmark freely admits.

Lastly, I do not buy components to "color" my sound a certain way. I did buy components that produced the synergy that was pleasing to my ear in my own room. And after testing many DACs I can say with certainty that they do sound quite different. I would say that most are fairly similar in tonality with some slight differences at the frequency extremes, but the most striking differences are usually in the creation of soundstage presentation (forward vs. back) and the overall space and air that they produce.
I read these things, and I can't help but think to myself, "self, what produces the creation of soundstage -- how does one perceive a thing as "having more air" or "being more forward" -- what must be mangled in an audio signal to ruin such a thing?" As I answer these questions, I think, "and...what about a DAC could mess that up?" And, between those two things, I start to think you're either full of it, or bound to the same rules of expectation bias as the rest of us.

I mean, if I were in a room, playing a saxophone in front of you, how could I make it sound like I, "moved forward". I mean, I could...actually, physically, walk forward. So, let's say I do -- what changes:

Level -- I'm closer, my sax will (probably) sound louder. The frequencies played by my saxophone (in relation to other frequencies present in the room) (probably) goes up (probably because who knows, I could end up in a location where all my reflections are absorbed and you don't hear them and the overall level that your ears integrate into signal over time goes down).

Timing -- sound gets there a little bit sooner. What effects timing? Phase? Delay? It'd have to be group-delay or some frequency-range specific phase anomaly just impacting my sax frequencies to impact nothing else, though....

Reflections -- my sax isn't hitting the same places in the room so combined response may be different (but, speakers don't walk, so...this is preset).

What else...?

Now, what about a DAC (or amp, or AVR, or, etc...) could impact those things (for only my saxophone in the signal and nothing else)? And, if the WHOLE STAGE moved forward...well...that's a bit easier to analyze because the WHOLE SIGNAL was probably modified equally (and, in this case, I'd give the prize to level since it's a common issue that people don't properly level match).

People just really need to think a little about how our bloody HEARING works! If you hear a difference it can be explained -- level, HF rolloff, phase (timing)...something must change. It's on you to tell us what you think could cause that change (propose a hypothesis) and then maybe we can try to prove the device made that change!

Barring that, I'd suggest realizing that we actually know quite a bit about how human hearing works. We have also scientifically tested thresholds of audibility for things like, e.g., THD. Moreover, most devices these days have measurable differences in these categories that are below these thresholds! It wasn't always the case, especially not for budget gear, and is still not the case for speakers...but...we keep trying, lol. Y'all keep on believing it untrue, though....
Originally Posted by _tk View Post
If the two files are 100% identical, it would support his theory of "all DAC's sound the same" (well, at least the ones that were tested). If they are not, then it would suggest that the DAC's are doing something different and that there may be a difference in how they sound.

Just because he cannot hear it doesn't mean that others cannot.
I post this because many times in this thread I see you whining about zilch "not posting the checksums"; it is as if you'd expect the only way he could prove two DACs are the same (not even sound the same, I really mean are identical) is to produce a file having the same checksum. It's simply not true, and to think so, shows exactly how much you know about digital sampling (read not much).

I will "prove" this to you by way of an analogy / thought experiment --

Let's say you had a super high-end digital camera. You put it in the blackest room in the world. You put them on a tripod (not that it matters, it's the blackest room ever, there's "nothing" to photograph) and you set the exposure time just high enough to see some noise in the image. If you snapped that camera all day long, how long do you think it'd take before two raw images (straight from the sensor data, no manipulation -- e.g., closer to PCM than say JPG would be) produced the same checksum?

Now, an ADC has "sensors" to sample the audio data, too. And there is noise in that domain, too. And, if the PCM it outputs has sufficient resolution, and the signal input to it doesn't overcome the noise-floor, where do you think that noise goes?

Fortunately, those who know anything know that while 100% bit-identical (i.e., same checksum -- which, by the way, doesn't actually guarantee the bits are the same; see birthday paradox / problem) obviously guarantees the two files are identical (and thus must sound identical), the converse (< 100% bit-identical must sound different) is not true.
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