Understanding DAC - Page 8 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #211 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 12:14 PM
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The perfect DAC is not the one transparent to the listener (you can't prove that with DBT, by the way) but the one transparent to the source.
A perfect DAC, like my iphone's, is one that when inserted into the signal path causes no perceptible difference to the music compared to the direct source. The DAC is said to be "transparent".
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post #212 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 12:21 PM
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A perfect DAC, like my iphone's, is one that when inserted into the signal path causes no perceptible difference to the music compared to the direct source. The DAC is said to be "transparent".
You can't prove that, so the only possibility is staying transparent to the source. I don't think it is expensive today anyway and there is no reason to do otherwise. Amplifiers are probably already there too, need to check.

Its pretty much the same as lossy vs lossless formats ended. MP3 at higher bitrate is very hard to distinguish in ABX test, but because storage is so cheap who cares?
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post #213 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 12:58 PM
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You can't prove that
I can prove that anyone reading this, such as yourself, is incapable of hearing a difference in a double blind Foobar ABX test I post, listening through whatever gear they want (and can get their hands on).

In addition to the degradation my iphone's DAC imposes on the digital file (the song), there are additional possible stages of degradation which may occur (and if they are not also transparent then they should make the listener's task of trying to hear a distinction, of any kind, between song file A and file B even easier):

- the cheap, analog RCA wire coming out of my phone's DAC, going to my cheap ADC
- the cheap, outboard ADC used to convert the analog sound back into digital
- the cheap USB cable which the now digital signal travels through to my laptop
- the recording process in my laptop to place that incoming digital music stream onto my hard drive as the new file.

The test of Tiefenbrun shows how to test the transparency of a DAC [and all the peripheral devices/wires in the chain] using an originally analog source ["Disc" means vinyl LP]:


My test is similar however since my test instead uses a digital master source the positions of the DAC [labelled "D/A" in the above diagram] and the ADC [labelled "A/D"] are flipped. Also instead of using a hardware A/B/X switch box the free software version, Foobar ABX, is used since we are now comparing a master digital file to a recording of that master source file after it has gone through a chain of (possible) degradation.

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post #214 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 01:01 PM
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... but because storage is so cheap who cares?
Then why not convert to WAV and enjoy transparency?



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post #215 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 01:41 PM
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What's noise floor in your gear in volts?
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post #216 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 01:45 PM
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What's noise floor in your gear in volts?
What's the noise floor in your room?
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post #217 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 01:50 PM
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What's noise floor in your gear in volts?
Which gear specifically?



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post #218 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 01:52 PM
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What's noise floor in your gear in volts?
What's the noise floor in your room?
I never measured that (never paid attention during measurement of speakers) , but it's going to be high, it's apartment in a city after all.
But not high enough to not hear hiss from some combos of dacs/amps/speakers.
Especially close.
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post #219 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 01:54 PM
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What's noise floor in your gear in volts?
I don't know. Ask the makers of my cellphone, Apple.

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post #220 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 02:49 PM
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I never measured that (never paid attention during measurement of speakers) , but it's going to be high, it's apartment in a city after all.
But not high enough to not hear hiss from some combos of dacs/amps/speakers.
Especially close.
Other than my all tube phono stage, I don't hear hiss any in spite of the noise floor in my downstairs listening room with everything off, of around 15db. The difference I hear, if any, is how the music sounds. Such is my earlier example of piano with certain recordings with my DFR versus my Modi 3. I can probably live with a little hiss, but I couldn't live with what the DFR did to piano on a few records that I otherwise liked.
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post #221 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 03:09 PM
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the noise floor in my downstairs listening room with everything off, of around 15db.
Dang, you are very lucky to have been blessed with such a quiet room, not to mention an SPL meter that records such a low value. What kind is it?
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post #222 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 03:20 PM
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Dang, you are very lucky to have been blessed with such a quiet room, not to mention an SPL meter that records such a low value. What kind is it?
Something my dad used at what was Curtis Wright > North American Aviation > Rockwell > Boeing. He was a MSEE. I don't know exactly what he used it for, but once he passed, I got it. I've posted before what it was, but no longer remember until I dig it out again. Nothing else I had would measure below 20 or 30db.

But yes, the loudest noise in the geezer neighborhood is someone's defibrillator going off. I'm in a very quiet area with houses on both sides with one neighbor has three other houses so gone much of the time and the one on my south side, they're 85 and 87 so not out and about much anymore. I have woods behind me so nothing from there. My listening room is in the center of my basement so with HVAC and both frigs off, it gets pretty quiet. I have to measure with me out of there and look at the min recorded. Just me being in there raises it to about 18db.
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post #223 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 03:32 PM
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Something my dad used at what was Curtis Wright > North American Aviation > Rockwell > Boeing. He was a MSEE. I don't know exactly what he used it for, but once he passed, I got it. I've posted before what it was, but no longer remember until I dig it out again. Nothing else I had would measure below 20 or 30db.

But yes, the loudest noise in the geezer neighborhood is someone's defibrillator going off. I'm in a very quiet area with houses on both sides with one neighbor has three other houses so gone much of the time and the one on my south side, they're 85 and 87 so not out and about much anymore. I have woods behind me so nothing from there. My listening room is in the center of my basement so with HVAC and both frigs off, it gets pretty quiet. I have to measure with me out of there and look at the min recorded. Just me being in there raises it to about 18db.

Once you can get the room down to the single digits you can hear your own heart beat and the blood squirting through the veins/arteries, even if you hold your breath so as to cease the sound of breathing.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".
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post #224 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 04:21 PM
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Other than my all tube phono stage, I don't hear hiss any in spite of the noise floor in my downstairs listening room with everything off, of around 15db. The difference I hear, if any, is how the music sounds. Such is my earlier example of piano with certain recordings with my DFR versus my Modi 3. I can probably live with a little hiss, but I couldn't live with what the DFR did to piano on a few records that I otherwise liked.
Another example is the Marantz DAC that made me wince on close-miked trumpets and violins whereas a Teac DAC played the same recordings beautifully. A tonality difference was obvious as well; the Marantz was very much on the warm side--too warm for me--but the Teac was neutral. Never had an easier time deciding which component to keep and which to return to the dealer.
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post #225 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 04:38 PM
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Once you can get the room down to the single digits you can hear your own heart beat and the blood squirting through the veins/arteries, even if you hold your breath so as to cease the sound of breathing.
Not quite there yet, but its enough so that I don't like listening with anyone else due to noises ….. not that noise though. No one dares do that in my room.
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post #226 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 09:27 PM
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Other than my all tube phono stage, I don't hear hiss any in spite of the noise floor in my downstairs listening room with everything off, of around 15db. The difference I hear, if any, is how the music sounds. Such is my earlier example of piano with certain recordings with my DFR versus my Modi 3. I can probably live with a little hiss, but I couldn't live with what the DFR did to piano on a few records that I otherwise liked.
What is a DFR? I've searched for a DFR DAC and can't find it.
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post #227 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 09:37 PM
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DFR I assume is Dragon Fly Red, made by this company better known for cables, not DACs.

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post #228 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 10:03 PM
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What is a DFR? I've searched for a DFR DAC and can't find it.
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DFR I assume is Dragon Fly Red, made by this company better known for cables, not DACs.
Yes, DFR is Dragonfly Red made by Audioquest, a company I don't hold in real high regard.

Handy little device that's MQA compatible for what that's worth.

https://www.audioquest.com/dacs/dragonfly/dragonfly-red

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Am I blind or this has only out for headphones (that you can use as line-out I guess?).
All measurements I can find are quite horrible. Need to check method they used, but not surprising if it so.

MQA is another proprietary format that tries to lock you in into some licensing/DRM madness?

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post #230 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 10:31 PM
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Yes you use it as a line out too.

Scott, I assume you still have your DFR. Have you tried placing it at the end of a USB extension instead of plugging it straight to the side of your, I assume, laptop?

To me the whole valid point of using outboard DACs is to get them far away from the EMI/RFI garbage emitted by a computer. Gluing them to the side of the laptop pales in comparison to tethering it away a few feet.
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post #231 of 507 Old 08-19-2019, 10:35 PM
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Yes you use it as a line out too.

Scott, I assume you still have your DFR. Have you tried placing it at the end of a USB extension instead of plugging it straight to the side of your, I assume, laptop?

To me the whole valid point of using outboard DACs is to get them far away from the EMI/RFI garbage emitted by a computer. Gluing them to the side of the laptop pales in comparison to tethering it away a few feet.
Nope, I never thought of that. I shall give that a try and compare again.
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I've tried a $250 standalone DAC to replace my Parasound Halo Integrated DAC. In my system, the 250 DAC was unlistenable. I never imagined a DAC can make that much difference. This weekend I will find out how the Benchmark DAC3 sounds. I am very, very curious. My guess is that the sound quality improvement will be pretty noticeble.
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I've tried a $250 standalone DAC to replace my Parasound Halo Integrated DAC. In my system, the 250 DAC was unlistenable. I never imagined a DAC can make that much difference. This weekend I will find out how the Benchmark DAC3 sounds. I am very, very curious. My guess is that the sound quality improvement will be pretty noticeble.
It would be helpful if you were more specific. What brand and model DAC and what were its sonic shortcomings in your system?

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post #234 of 507 Old 08-22-2019, 01:42 PM
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It would be helpful if you were more specific. What brand and model DAC and what were its sonic shortcomings in your system?
It was like covering your TV/computer screen with a layer (or two) of veil. Or taking off your eyeglasses, if you wear a pair, and seeing the world. I dont want to mention make/model as I dont think that's important.

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It was like covering your TV/computer screen with a layer (or two) of veil. Or taking off your eyeglasses, if you wear a pair, and seeing the world. I dont want to mention make/model as I dont think that's important.
Are you serious?
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post #236 of 507 Old 08-22-2019, 03:25 PM
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Are you serious?
That surprised me too. I didn;t even need to A/B test the 2 DACs. I tried linear power supply on that DAC, and left it burn in for over a week but nothing much changed. Again I never thought DAC would make such a difference, and that's why I bother to try the Benchmark DAC3. I guess it all depends on how revealing the system is.

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Quote:
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That surprised me too. I didn;t even need to A/B test the 2 DACs. I tried linear power supply on that DAC, and left it burn in for over a week but nothing much changed. Again I never thought DAC would make such a difference, and that's why I bother to try the Benchmark DAC3. I guess it all depends on how revealing the system is.
Check out the RME ADI-2 DAC. I've had it for over a year/great results also doubles as an excellent headphone amp. You can view the specs on Audio Science Review.
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post #238 of 507 Old 08-22-2019, 05:41 PM
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Check out the RME ADI-2 DAC. I've had it for over a year/great results also doubles as an excellent headphone amp. You can view the specs on Audio Science Review.
Just had a quick look. A VERY interesting unit.

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post #239 of 507 Old 08-22-2019, 05:53 PM
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It was like covering your TV/computer screen with a layer (or two) of veil. Or taking off your eyeglasses, if you wear a pair, and seeing the world. I dont want to mention make/model as I dont think that's important.
Could be important to some of the rest of us.
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post #240 of 507 Old 08-22-2019, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shangri-La View Post
It was like covering your TV/computer screen with a layer (or two) of veil. Or taking off your eyeglasses, if you wear a pair, and seeing the world. I dont want to mention make/model as I dont think that's important.
It does not help anyone by complaining about a product but then not saying what product. We must then wonder which $250 DAC you are talking about. We have learned nothing useful from your experience because the DAC remains a mystery. But you are willing to name the next product you will audition (a Benchmark DAC3). I don't get it.
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