Understanding DAC - Page 18 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
Forum Jump: 
 227Likes
Reply
 
Thread Tools
post #511 of 526 Old 06-30-2020, 07:33 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 81
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 55 Post(s)
Liked: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricoflashback View Post
***Long pause between posts. Question: is there a DAC that performs better than others with high-res streaming? (QoBuz is my favorite) How about a combination DAC and streamer to simplify things? This is solely for a two channel, stereo setup with high sensitivity speakers (4 ohm). Eventually, I'll move to a tube amplifier in place of my current SS MartinLogan Forte. Much thanks.
Any half decent modern class 2 asyncronous USB DAC will have jitter compensation by design, so being that any stream will be digital it wont make any audible difference. Jump on ASR and have a look at their DAC or combination DAC/streamer reviews and pick the best performing in your budget. Can't go wrong.

They have a new interactive chart to help you choose:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...ormance_Index/

For what its worth, I own a Topping D50s and a Benchmark DAC3 B. The Benchmark is fed with a Raspberry Pi as a roon endpoint. The D50s is connected to my PC.

Last edited by DubbyMcDubs; 06-30-2020 at 07:37 AM.
DubbyMcDubs is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #512 of 526 Old 06-30-2020, 07:38 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Ricoflashback's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Colorful Colorado
Posts: 3,776
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2095 Post(s)
Liked: 1587
Quote:
Originally Posted by DubbyMcDubs View Post
Any half decent modern USB DAC will have jitter correction by design, so being that any stream will be digital it wont make any audible difference. Jump on ASR and have a look at their DAC or combination DAC/streamer reviews and pick the best performing in your budget. Can't go wrong.

They have a new interactive chart to help you choose:
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/f...ormance_Index/

For what its worth, I own a Topping D50s and a Benchmark DAC3 B. The Benchmark is fed with a Raspberry Pi as a roon endpoint. The D50s is connected to my PC.
***Much thanks to all. Since I won't be using a PC - - any "combo streamer/DAC" that you could recommend or is it best to go with a separate streamer and separate DAC? Also - - I've experienced DTS Play-Fi (marginally acceptable) and BlueOS (much better interface) and believe this is also a major consideration - - convenience of accessing your music and in case of DTS Play-Fi, the gap between songs kills many albums. Especially the Beatles recently released Abbey Road. Waiting for the drums to kick in on "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" via DTS Play-Fi is painful.

Home Theater Setup
SONY 75X900F & 49X900E, Denon X6700H & Emotiva XPA-3, OPPO 103 - 9.1.4 Setup - Speakers - Studio 60's-V.5 (FL/FR), CC-690-V.5 (C), ADP 590-V.5 (SS), MilleniaOne 2.0 (BS) - Velodyne 810 Sub, Cornered Audio (FH/RH), Definitive Technology (Front Wides). Stereo 2 Channel Only - Dali Evidence 470 & MartinLogan Forte Amplifier/Streamer with ARC.
Ricoflashback is offline  
post #513 of 526 Old 06-30-2020, 07:41 AM
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 81
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 55 Post(s)
Liked: 22
Because streaming services and technology are changing over time, I would go for a separate streamer and DAC.
DubbyMcDubs is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #514 of 526 Old 06-30-2020, 08:09 AM
Advanced Member
 
qirex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 750
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 263 Post(s)
Liked: 232
Get an all in one since it's pretty difficult to buy a streamer that doesn't already have a built-in DAC. Plus some high res formats don't work with SPDIF [too much bandwidth] so you'd have to use the onboard DAC for those anyway. You can always add an outboard later for whatever reason and good DACs are only getting cheaper.
qirex is offline  
post #515 of 526 Old 06-30-2020, 08:52 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Ricoflashback's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Colorful Colorado
Posts: 3,776
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2095 Post(s)
Liked: 1587
Quote:
Originally Posted by qirex View Post
Get an all in one since it's pretty difficult to buy a streamer that doesn't already have a built-in DAC. Plus some high res formats don't work with SPDIF [too much bandwidth] so you'd have to use the onboard DAC for those anyway. You can always add an outboard later for whatever reason and good DACs are only getting cheaper.
***Thanks. I'll probably go with separates but one issue I'm finding out is that the software interface is very important to the decision. BluOS is, by far, the easiest and most elegant streaming application that I've used. DTS Play-Fi is really backwards, somewhat slow and the gaps in between songs absolutely kills albums. So, I might be stuck with something like the Bluesound Node 2i and bypass their DAC (via coaxial) for a more improved DAC.

I'd really like a simple streamer with a great interface like BluOS with no DAC. But I wanted a pony when I was younger, too. (Didn't get that, either.)

Home Theater Setup
SONY 75X900F & 49X900E, Denon X6700H & Emotiva XPA-3, OPPO 103 - 9.1.4 Setup - Speakers - Studio 60's-V.5 (FL/FR), CC-690-V.5 (C), ADP 590-V.5 (SS), MilleniaOne 2.0 (BS) - Velodyne 810 Sub, Cornered Audio (FH/RH), Definitive Technology (Front Wides). Stereo 2 Channel Only - Dali Evidence 470 & MartinLogan Forte Amplifier/Streamer with ARC.
Ricoflashback is offline  
post #516 of 526 Old 06-30-2020, 09:42 AM
Advanced Member
 
qirex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 750
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 263 Post(s)
Liked: 232
Coax does not handle audio resolution above 24 bit.
qirex is offline  
post #517 of 526 Old 06-30-2020, 09:51 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Ricoflashback's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Colorful Colorado
Posts: 3,776
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2095 Post(s)
Liked: 1587
Quote:
Originally Posted by qirex View Post
Coax does not handle audio resolution above 24 bit.
***Coax from Bluesound Node 2i (bypass their DAC) to separate DAC. Only using the Bluesound for the streaming interface. All processing through a separate DAC (RCA output L/R to amplifier.)

Home Theater Setup
SONY 75X900F & 49X900E, Denon X6700H & Emotiva XPA-3, OPPO 103 - 9.1.4 Setup - Speakers - Studio 60's-V.5 (FL/FR), CC-690-V.5 (C), ADP 590-V.5 (SS), MilleniaOne 2.0 (BS) - Velodyne 810 Sub, Cornered Audio (FH/RH), Definitive Technology (Front Wides). Stereo 2 Channel Only - Dali Evidence 470 & MartinLogan Forte Amplifier/Streamer with ARC.
Ricoflashback is offline  
post #518 of 526 Old 06-30-2020, 10:04 AM
Advanced Member
 
qirex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 750
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 263 Post(s)
Liked: 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricoflashback View Post
***Coax from Bluesound Node 2i (bypass their DAC) to separate DAC. Only using the Bluesound for the streaming interface. All processing through a separate DAC (RCA output L/R to amplifier.)
You specifically mentioned wanting to listen to high resolution and coax simply doesn't support it above 24 bit resolution/96kHz. I imagine the Node is smart enough to downsample anything above that [or MQA, DSD, etc.] so it will play music but you won't be getting a high resolution signal above that point.

I don't personally believe in the superiority of high res so this is academic for me but if your goal is to get the music to your DAC in its original format you won't get it with the system you're describing.
CruelInventions and GIEGAR like this.
qirex is offline  
post #519 of 526 Old 06-30-2020, 10:41 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Ricoflashback's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Colorful Colorado
Posts: 3,776
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2095 Post(s)
Liked: 1587
Quote:
Originally Posted by qirex View Post
You specifically mentioned wanting to listen to high resolution and coax simply doesn't support it above 24 bit resolution/96kHz. I imagine the Node is smart enough to downsample anything above that [or MQA, DSD, etc.] so it will play music but you won't be getting a high resolution signal above that point.

I don't personally believe in the superiority of high res so this is academic for me but if your goal is to get the music to your DAC in its original format you won't get it with the system you're describing.
***Much thanks for your post. I consider "high res" to be anything over 16 bit/44.1 kHz. That would include 24 bit/192 kHz. But I think you're right - - you can't get 32 bit/768 kHz through "COAX," and correct me if I'm wrong, but only through a USB connection. I'm not sure if I could hear the difference between that and 24/192.

I do know the Bluesound Node 2i handles MQA - - (When streaming MQA content there are 3 unfolds which must occur to receive fully rendered 192khz/24-bit MQA. The first of these unfolds is handled by the BluOS app and will output up to 96khz/24-bit audio. The next 2 unfolds are handled by the internal DAC of the Node to provide 192khz/24-bit audio. If you have an MQA certified DAC connected to your Node 2i, you can enable this MQA External DAC option to have MQA content pass through the Node 2i untouched and allow your external DAC to handle all 3 of these unfolds.)

Lastly - I do hear a difference between 16/44.1 and 24/192. Hopefully, it's not my ears playing tricks on me. I suppose a triple blind test would confirm but that doesn't sound like any fun. I've really enjoyed my HiBy R5 "High Res" streamer with QoBuz. Hence my goal to replicate this in a two channel system with a tube amplifier. For what it's worth, I did have the Bluesound Node 2i for a test drive and it didn't sound that great on my HT setup. That could be a separate problem with my AVR but the only think I really liked about the Node 2i was the BluOS interface. Top notch. Thanks again for your insight.

Home Theater Setup
SONY 75X900F & 49X900E, Denon X6700H & Emotiva XPA-3, OPPO 103 - 9.1.4 Setup - Speakers - Studio 60's-V.5 (FL/FR), CC-690-V.5 (C), ADP 590-V.5 (SS), MilleniaOne 2.0 (BS) - Velodyne 810 Sub, Cornered Audio (FH/RH), Definitive Technology (Front Wides). Stereo 2 Channel Only - Dali Evidence 470 & MartinLogan Forte Amplifier/Streamer with ARC.
Ricoflashback is offline  
post #520 of 526 Old 06-30-2020, 10:49 AM
Advanced Member
 
qirex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 750
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 263 Post(s)
Liked: 232
In my opinion if you're using a tube amp the noise floor of it will be far higher than any benefit you'll get from an upgraded separate DAC over what's in the Node. Again, my opinion.

I agree that the user interface is the most important part of streaming, it's why I've stuck with Sonos through all their crap, it's the easiest to use for my system and the way I listen. If you use pretty much any "smart" product and you actually like it instead of constantly fighting with its quirks and arbitrary restrictions it's probably worth a purchase.
qirex is offline  
post #521 of 526 Old 06-30-2020, 11:50 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Ricoflashback's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Colorful Colorado
Posts: 3,776
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2095 Post(s)
Liked: 1587
Quote:
Originally Posted by qirex View Post
In my opinion if you're using a tube amp the noise floor of it will be far higher than any benefit you'll get from an upgraded separate DAC over what's in the Node. Again, my opinion.

I agree that the user interface is the most important part of streaming, it's why I've stuck with Sonos through all their crap, it's the easiest to use for my system and the way I listen. If you use pretty much any "smart" product and you actually like it instead of constantly fighting with its quirks and arbitrary restrictions it's probably worth a purchase.
***I value your opinion highly. Sounds like any old DAC will do with a tube amplifier. I forgot about the noise floor with tube amplifiers. It's been a while. So - - it will probably get down to the interface I want to use.

Home Theater Setup
SONY 75X900F & 49X900E, Denon X6700H & Emotiva XPA-3, OPPO 103 - 9.1.4 Setup - Speakers - Studio 60's-V.5 (FL/FR), CC-690-V.5 (C), ADP 590-V.5 (SS), MilleniaOne 2.0 (BS) - Velodyne 810 Sub, Cornered Audio (FH/RH), Definitive Technology (Front Wides). Stereo 2 Channel Only - Dali Evidence 470 & MartinLogan Forte Amplifier/Streamer with ARC.
Ricoflashback is offline  
post #522 of 526 Old 06-30-2020, 01:28 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Alex F.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,619
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1052 Post(s)
Liked: 640
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricoflashback View Post
***I value your opinion highly. Sounds like any old DAC will do with a tube amplifier. I forgot about the noise floor with tube amplifiers. It's been a while. So - - it will probably get down to the interface I want to use.
Quite the opposite in our current system or with our previous tube gear. Our Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier is dead quiet. At full gain there is zero hiss with an ear about a quarter inch from a tweeter and no hum. Plus, it is mercilessly revealing with its extraordinary resolution of detail--"any old DAC" will not suffice.

Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.
Alex F. is online now  
post #523 of 526 Old 06-30-2020, 06:07 PM
Advanced Member
 
qirex's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Francisco
Posts: 750
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 263 Post(s)
Liked: 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex F. View Post
Quite the opposite in our current system or with our previous tube gear. Our Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier is dead quiet. At full gain there is zero hiss with an ear about a quarter inch from a tweeter and no hum. Plus, it is mercilessly revealing with its extraordinary resolution of detail--"any old DAC" will not suffice.
I’m sure your amp is great and sounds silent but its noise floor is listed at -82dB (which is really good for a tube amp) and even cheap DACs are usually -100 or even lower. High end DACs are even quieter than that, to no great relevant effect to people who don’t live in anechoic chambers. Lots of people like tube sound but it’s not super important to feed them the most dead quiet possible signal. As far as “resolution and detail” I’m not of the opinion that a properly designed DAC should or commonly will sound different than the recording unless the signal is intentionally processed. An amp with a poorly designed analog stage on the output could sound different I guess but those are pretty rare.
To my ears the speakers, speaker position, room, processing/eq, source and to a lesser degree the amp are all vastly more important to the final sound than a specific DAC model will be.
qirex is offline  
post #524 of 526 Old 06-30-2020, 11:16 PM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Alex F.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,619
Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1052 Post(s)
Liked: 640
Quote:
Originally Posted by qirex View Post
I’m sure your amp is great and sounds silent but its noise floor is listed at -82dB (which is really good for a tube amp) and even cheap DACs are usually -100 or even lower. High end DACs are even quieter than that, to no great relevant effect to people who don’t live in anechoic chambers. Lots of people like tube sound but it’s not super important to feed them the most dead quiet possible signal. As far as “resolution and detail” I’m not of the opinion that a properly designed DAC should or commonly will sound different than the recording unless the signal is intentionally processed. An amp with a poorly designed analog stage on the output could sound different I guess but those are pretty rare.
To my ears the speakers, speaker position, room, processing/eq, source and to a lesser degree the amp are all vastly more important to the final sound than a specific DAC model will be.
Yes, the Cary's rated noise floor is -82 db, which is excellent. But its rating is vague (is it unweighted wideband, A-weighted, etc.?) and not of much use. As I stated, the amp is dead quiet at full gain, which is what matters. But saying that for tube gear "it's not super important to feed them the most dead quiet possible signal" is plain wrong. It is just as important as when I am using my McIntosh and Quad solid-state amplifiers.

Is your amplification somehow even quieter than dead quiet in actual use?

My opinions on DACs are based on listening comparisons in my system. For example, I disliked the overall sonics of a Marantz outboard DAC. It had a warm tonality, expansive soundstaging, and excellent imaging (musicians were spaced widely apart). I did not like its back-row hall perspective. But its big problem was a harsh and edgy upper midrange and lower treble, particularly on close-miked brass instruments. It was fatiguing.

While I still had the Marantz in my home, I purchased the Teac DAC listed below. The Teac proved to be beautifully smooth top to bottom. Unlike the warmth of the Marantz, the Teac is tonally neutral. I returned the Marantz and kept the Teac.

Indeed, DACs do sound different. As they should, because every manufacturer voices their gear to provide the sonics they prefer.

Which specific DAC brands and models have sounded identical in your system?

Certainly the choice of loudspeakers, room acoustics, etc., are all vitally important. But if those aspects are settled and optimized, one tackles everything else, such as the sonic qualities of all the components, including a DAC.

Music room: Cary SLI-80 tube integrated amplifier, McIntosh MA6500 integrated amplifier, Quad 99 preamp, Quad 909 power amp, Acoustic Research AR9 loudspeakers, Yamaha CD-N500 CD player, Teac UD-503 DSD DAC, Phase Linear 8000 II linear-tracking turntable.
Theater room: Panasonic 65S60 plasma television; Yamaha RX-A2020 (preamp section); Adcom GFA-5503 and GFA-5400 amplifiers; Polk LSi25, LSiC, and LSiF/X loudspeaker system; Velodyne FSR-18 servo-subwoofer.

Last edited by Alex F.; 06-30-2020 at 11:19 PM.
Alex F. is online now  
post #525 of 526 Old 07-01-2020, 06:00 AM
Senior Member
 
MTVhike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: North Shore of central Long Island, NY (Stony Brook)
Posts: 490
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 302 Post(s)
Liked: 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricoflashback View Post
.

I do know the Bluesound Node 2i handles MQA - - (When streaming MQA content there are 3 unfolds which must occur to receive fully rendered 192khz/24-bit MQA. The first of these unfolds is handled by the BluOS app and will output up to 96khz/24-bit audio. The next 2 unfolds are handled by the internal DAC of the Node to provide 192khz/24-bit audio. If you have an MQA certified DAC connected to your Node 2i, you can enable this MQA External DAC option to have MQA content pass through the Node 2i untouched and allow your external DAC to handle all 3 of these unfolds.).
I thought that all the BluOS app does is to select your stream; it doesn't do anything with the audio, that's done by the Node or whatever BluOS device you're using. I have a Pulse and a NAD C368. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
MTVhike is offline  
post #526 of 526 Old 07-01-2020, 07:10 AM
AVS Forum Special Member
 
Ricoflashback's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Colorful Colorado
Posts: 3,776
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2095 Post(s)
Liked: 1587
Quote:
Originally Posted by MTVhike View Post
I thought that all the BluOS app does is to select your stream; it doesn't do anything with the audio, that's done by the Node or whatever BluOS device you're using. I have a Pulse and a NAD C368. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
***You're correct. Sorry if my post was confusing. The BluOS is just the application/software to access your streaming provider and/or local storage.

I received some great advice to my questions and it's helped me understand my choices better. Net-net - - all things being equal (and the creek don't rise) - it's doesn't make sense to separate a "DAC" from the streaming device for what I'm trying to do. And the max resolution I can get, streaming wise, is 24-bit/192KHz. While I appreciate the reference to the Cary Tube Amplifier - - it's a little rich for my blood. I'm looking at the Yaqin MC13S at about a fifth of the cost with a SNR of 85 db.

Lastly - - the interface/software application is absolutely critical to my buying decision. And right now - - it's the BluOS by a large margin. Which leaves me with the Bluesound Node 2i in the future for the most economical purchase. Thanks again to all who responded.

Home Theater Setup
SONY 75X900F & 49X900E, Denon X6700H & Emotiva XPA-3, OPPO 103 - 9.1.4 Setup - Speakers - Studio 60's-V.5 (FL/FR), CC-690-V.5 (C), ADP 590-V.5 (SS), MilleniaOne 2.0 (BS) - Velodyne 810 Sub, Cornered Audio (FH/RH), Definitive Technology (Front Wides). Stereo 2 Channel Only - Dali Evidence 470 & MartinLogan Forte Amplifier/Streamer with ARC.
Ricoflashback is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply 2-Channel Audio

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off