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Discussion Starter #581 (Edited)
I find looking for a DAC, or an amp, with a "sound" to be a strange concept. I worked really hard to research, find, and trial the most neutral speakers I could get within my budget. I don't want any electronics coloring the sound, so they should be as neutral as possible as well. Meaning, flat from 20 - 20. So if flat is the sound, then I would agree yes that is the goal :)
Yup. Luckily for people like you and me, who seek high fidelity [aka high accuracy, faithful to the original signal] the pursuit of DACs which are neutral and completely transparent is shared by all the reference-grade DAC makers like Benchmark, as I've pointed out before:

Benchmark, who make very well-regarded, professional, studio-grade DACs with some of the very best objective measurements out there, puts it well:

"High-Resolution Playback Begins with an External D/A Converter

SONICALLY-NEUTRAL STUDIO MONITORING

Benchmark converters are designed to be sonically neutral. This sonic transparency is absolutely essential in the studio monitoring chain.

Benchmark converters have become a standard fixture in many of the world's finest studios.
Bring the Studio into Your Living Room

When Benchmark's professional converters are used in hi-fi applications, studio-quality sound can be enjoyed in a home environment. Enjoy pure music without any coloration from the electronics. Hear the music exactly the way it was heard in the studio, and exactly the way the artists intended.

Discover the natural, uncolored, analog sound of Benchmark converters.
SIT IN THE PERFORMANCE SPACE

Transparent sound can go beyond replicating the studio experience. Recordings that have been produced with a natural and unprocessed sound can transport you to the performance space. Close your eyes and get ready to be transported!

The experience of "being there" can only happen when the entire audio chain is selected for maximum transparency"
 

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Discussion Starter #582 (Edited)
Yup. Luckily for people like you and me, who seek high fidelity [aka high accuracy, faithful to the original signal] the pursuit of DACs which are neutral and completely transparent is shared by all the reference-grade DAC makers like Benchmark
Also RME, who make some of the most highly rated digital products out there including top flight DACs and the very best ADC that ASR has ever measured in regards to SINAD:

"From the very beginning, unsurpassed performance has been one of the cornerstones of RME‘s product design, and this is even more evident today. . . . All RME devices are designed to preserve music as it was originally intended and audio signals are passed in their entirety, with nothing added or taken away."
 

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Discussion Starter #585 (Edited)
Maybe "PS" in "PS Audio" stands for "pretty shoddy"? :p
 

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It's ok that you have a preference for poor audio quality. It's not really ok that you feel the need to slander and ridicule people on a daily basis for sharing their personal experiences and observations, but that's your choice in life.
ε-(´・`) フ
 

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Discussion Starter #588 (Edited)
It's ok that you have a preference for poor audio quality. It's not really ok that you feel the need to slander and ridicule people on a daily basis for sharing their personal experiences and observations, but that's your choice in life.
ε-(´・`) フ
My choice is relying on evidence based science and I'm allowed to state my opinion of a unit's value as are you and everyone else.
 

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Discussion Starter #589 (Edited)
It's ok that you have a preference for poor audio quality.
Actually, I suspect I have markedly better hearing than you, which I'd assume is why you can't pass this thread's test in the opening post.
 

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My choice is relying on evidence based science and I'm allowed to state my opinion of a unit's value as are you and everyone else.
Actually, I have markedly better hearing than you, which I'd assume is why you can't pass this thread's test in the opening post.

Oo! This should be fun, Ill apologize ahead of time if this offends a bunch of you, cuz im nice like that.

(ง'̀-'́)ง Ding ding!

Evidence based science... lol These are your opinions. You're the ones with confirmation bias. Its not anyones fault but you're own that you cant realise that that chain of low quality rca cables, splitters, drastically effecting at the very least input impedence, of course you're not going to hear a difference between a phone or a ds chip with a low quality analog output and a switching supply, vs something thats well designed, not to mention the audio chain as a whole and it wouldnt suprise me if a couple boobs on toms cant tell the difference between a realtek 892 and a benchmark dac with the massive high output impedance, ac mains leakage, and high frequency noise from the pcs switching supply, a low strength usb signal(and high phy noise generated by the usb receivers error correction, did you even know that existed? so much for science...), and ac power with high thd and common/traverse mode noise, especially the benchmark being global feedback with a switching supply anyway.

You're so obsessed with your own bias and your opinions that you constantly feel the need to lord it over people. Its sad, and it turns people away from the forum who just want to share and discuss things they enjoy without being contradicted and ridiculed by no nothing know it alls.

Similarly, **** advice from the likes of you would have said just buy a jvc projector, best contrast ever(well ok maybe just from 0-1% average display level) but instead I made my own observations and research and found a truly spectacular video display in the Sim2 Mico40, worlds of objectively superior video performance that's outright denied by people like you. It's the same arguements as DLP vs LCOS contrast as it is here with you minimalist audio snobs. You're wrong, end of story.

This mentality is pervasive throughout these AV forums. But guess what, to your dismay, technology will continue to advance, and our understanding will advance, and some of us thoroughly appreciate and enjoy those advancements and discoveries, and you'll be sitting there listening to an iphone5 smacking your lips with your circle jerk of yes men going "best... sound... ever..."


Look, you have a preference for lifeless sterile audio that sounds nothing like reality. Instead of your crappy little test, how about you try something truly challenging and not just sound taste like running death metal or a busy surround sound mix through a real time binaural renderer using measured room impulse responses like the Smyth Realiser, Out of Your Head, or Impulcifer. Using crap equipment the music will be unlistenable, and the virtual surround will sound at best like a neat effect. But using specific equipment reveals a level of quality that makes the audio sound like listening to actual loudspeakers over heasphones, remarkable and astounding. And not even expensive equipment, just science based choices.


A usb hub chip before the usb receiver to regenerate the signal, reducing error correction, reducing phy noise generated by the error correction. Science!

Using a usb to spdif board to send optical to the dac for galvanic isolation, especially useful if a pc is your source, and in the case of optical, jitter is measurably higher so a cheap tcxo at at the usb chip and the dac chip makes a big difference. Science!

A low interwinding capacitance isolation transformer(topaz line noise suppressor) to knock common/traverse mode noise. Reduces 6kv spikes to 6mv. Allows for filterless power distribution after the transformer. Electrically connected components form noise generating ac mains current leakage loops, a couple components, a dozen loops. This noise is raised by higher impedance, individual outlet filtering(even just mov surge suppression) will raise the impedance between components, using filterless power distribution after the topaz reduces impedance, reducing that form of noise. Science!

Low inductance quadrapole ac/dc cabling for digital components, varied current draw like from digital components causes a noise generating voltage to develop across the inductance of the cable, low inductance cable, low noise. Science!

And keeping non feedback amplifiers in current domain until an i/v conversion at the output used as volume control provides a flat frequency response, low distortion, and low snr, without the awful sound of feedback loops. Science!

Powering them all by low output impedance, low ac mains leakage, low noise linear power supplies instead of dirt cheap high output impedance, high ac mains leakage, high noise switching supplies. Science!

Its not about a dac chip, its about the digital input, the analog output, and the external sources of noise.

You say you have the right to post, but just like the minimalists on headfi or the kek ridden fascism that is asr, its not much different then accosting people in public over their skin color or clothing. Every post that doesnt conform to your opinions is an affront. You lack an understanding of the technology and you lash out at people with different idealogy. Believe me when I say I wish that the simplest cheapest thing sounded fine, but they dont. Not by a long shot. And look, I know I'm not going to convince you of anything. But I also know that alot of people who are discouraged from participating by posts like yours read posts like this and are at least reassured that theres at least one person who will acknoledge their experiences and observations. Because you dont offer healthy discussion. You only offer confirmation bias to people with similar narrow minded viewpoints like your own.
 
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Discussion Starter #592 (Edited)
Its not anyones fault but you're own that you cant realise that that chain of low quality rca cables, splitters, drastically effecting at the very least input impedence, of course you're not going to hear a difference between a phone or a ds chip with a low quality analog output and a switching supply, vs something thats well designed, not to mention the audio chain as a whole . . . a low strength usb signal(and high phy noise generated by the usb receivers error correction, did you even know that existed?
Looks like I called it: I suspect he took the test, tried his best, but couldn't hear any difference. Obviously if I'm wrong he'd post his score sheet.

He also seems to errantly think that the bit-accurate rip of the CD, reference "File A" (aka "tr0430sec.wav), is possibly "mangled" due to passing through "a chain of low quality rca cables, splitters, drastically effecting at the very least input impedence, etc.", but in truth it never does. Arguably those things could theoretically alter the sound of "File B" (the $7.99 DAC), absolutely true, but if that were indeed happening at an audible level it would be to the advantage of a person trying to demonstrate they can hear any difference between File A (the reference) and File B (the recording having passed through the $7.99 DAC) because it only occurs to one of them, "File B". This test fundamentally determines: "Is there any audible difference between File A and File B?" and File A has no "mangling". It is bit perfect. Only if a difference is detected do we need to concern ourselves with what part of the chain causes it.

Of the nine or so people who have bravely taken the test so far none could detect any difference whatsoever. EVERYTHING in the longer chain used to make File B, including the $7.99 DAC, RCA wire, A-to-D, USB cable back to my hard drive to store the file, etc. appears to be audibly "perfect" or transparent:

Or if just using the letters A for analog and D for digital:

File A is: D ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------>digital input on audio playback system of the listener's choice.

File B is: D --->$7.99 D-to-A--->analog RCA wire---->A-to-D ---->USB wire back to my hard drive--->digital input on audio playback system of the listener's choice.

IF A and B are found to be indistinguishable from each other in a listening test then all those added steps in B are perfect to the ear, i.e. they successfully resolve every single detail/nuance in the music and add no discernible alteration.
 
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Oo! This should be fun, Ill apologize ahead of time if this offends a bunch of you, cuz im nice like that.

(ง'̀-'́)ง Ding ding!

Evidence based science... lol These are your opinions. You're the ones with confirmation bias. Its not anyones fault but you're own that you cant realise that that chain of low quality rca cables, splitters, drastically effecting at the very least input impedence, of course you're not going to hear a difference between a phone or a ds chip with a low quality analog output and a switching supply, vs something thats well designed, not to mention the audio chain as a whole and it wouldnt suprise me if a couple boobs on toms cant tell the difference between a realtek 892 and a benchmark dac with the massive high output impedance, ac mains leakage, and high frequency noise from the pcs switching supply, a low strength usb signal(and high phy noise generated by the usb receivers error correction, did you even know that existed? so much for science...), and ac power with high thd and common/traverse mode noise, especially the benchmark being global feedback with a switching supply anyway.

You're so obsessed with your own bias and your opinions that you constantly feel the need to lord it over people. Its sad, and it turns people away from the forum who just want to share and discuss things they enjoy without being contradicted and ridiculed by no nothing know it alls.

Similarly, **** advice from the likes of you would have said just buy a jvc projector, best contrast ever(well ok maybe just from 0-1% average display level) but instead I made my own observations and research and found a truly spectacular video display in the Sim2 Mico40, worlds of objectively superior video performance that's outright denied by people like you. It's the same arguements as DLP vs LCOS contrast as it is here with you minimalist audio snobs. You're wrong, end of story.

This mentality is pervasive throughout these AV forums. But guess what, to your dismay, technology will continue to advance, and our understanding will advance, and some of us thoroughly appreciate and enjoy those advancements and discoveries, and you'll be sitting there listening to an iphone5 smacking your lips with your circle jerk of yes men going "best... sound... ever..."


Look, you have a preference for lifeless sterile audio that sounds nothing like reality. Instead of your crappy little test, how about you try something truly challenging and not just sound taste like running death metal or a busy surround sound mix through a real time binaural renderer using measured room impulse responses like the Smyth Realiser, Out of Your Head, or Impulcifer. Using crap equipment the music will be unlistenable, and the virtual surround will sound at best like a neat effect. But using specific equipment reveals a level of quality that makes the audio sound like listening to actual loudspeakers over heasphones, remarkable and astounding. And not even expensive equipment, just science based choices.


A usb hub chip before the usb receiver to regenerate the signal, reducing error correction, reducing phy noise generated by the error correction. Science!

Using a usb to spdif board to send optical to the dac for galvanic isolation, especially useful if a pc is your source, and in the case of optical, jitter is measurably higher so a cheap tcxo at at the usb chip and the dac chip makes a big difference. Science!

A low interwinding capacitance isolation transformer(topaz line noise suppressor) to knock common/traverse mode noise. Reduces 6kv spikes to 6mv. Allows for filterless power distribution after the transformer. Electrically connected components form noise generating ac mains current leakage loops, a couple components, a dozen loops. This noise is raised by higher impedance, individual outlet filtering(even just mov surge suppression) will raise the impedance between components, using filterless power distribution after the topaz reduces impedance, reducing that form of noise. Science!

Low inductance quadrapole ac/dc cabling for digital components, varied current draw like from digital components causes a noise generating voltage to develop across the inductance of the cable, low inductance cable, low noise. Science!

And keeping non feedback amplifiers in current domain until an i/v conversion at the output used as volume control provides a flat frequency response, low distortion, and low snr, without the awful sound of feedback loops. Science!

Powering them all by low output impedance, low ac mains leakage, low noise linear power supplies instead of dirt cheap high output impedance, high ac mains leakage, high noise switching supplies. Science!

Its not about a dac chip, its about the digital input, the analog output, and the external sources of noise.

You say you have the right to post, but just like the minimalists on headfi or the kek ridden fascism that is asr, its not much different then accosting people in public over their skin color or clothing. Every post that doesnt conform to your opinions is an affront. You lack an understanding of the technology and you lash out at people with different idealogy. Believe me when I say I wish that the simplest cheapest thing sounded fine, but they dont. Not by a long shot. And look, I know I'm not going to convince you of anything. But I also know that alot of people who are discouraged from participating by posts like yours read posts like this and are at least reassured that theres at least one person who will acknoledge their experiences and observations. Because you dont offer healthy discussion. You only offer confirmation bias to people with similar narrow minded viewpoints like your own.

Are you saying that people had advised you to get the JVC but you ended up getting the Sim 2 and loved it?
I went on amazon and searched for that thing and couldn't even find it..... did it just recently come out?
 

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DAC's have been my latest thing and in my experience the difference has been huge between them. These are the setup's I've tried, assume streaming Tidal / Tidal MQA

NAD C368 -> PMC DB1i - my original setup and certainly lacking in terms of volume and fullness, very confused top end volume difficult to tell the different instruments.
Upgrade bug....
Cambridge Audio CXN V2 -> Musical Fidelity M5si -> PMC Twenty5.21i - strange one this, the AMP and speakers are very transparent, the CXN "warm" sounding. Everything sounded dull.
Project S2 Ultra -> Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro (MQA) -> Musical Fidelity M5si -> PMC Twenty5.21i - so clear, hearing things I've never heard before.

So, yeah, DAC's matter in my view massive difference in all three of my setup's...
 

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Discussion Starter #595
DAC's have been my latest thing and in my experience the difference has been huge between them. .
Since you have an ear for this sort of thing would you please kindly read the opening post and perform the test to show us? Thanks.
 

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Man I still need to get some time to do more test runs.
I do want to set this up with different gear to. A buddy of mine had a very high end DAC, wonder if I could talk him into using that.
 

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Discussion Starter #597 (Edited)
Man I still need to get some time to do more test runs.
I do want to set this up with different gear to. A buddy of mine had a very high end DAC, wonder if I could talk him into using that.
Your gear is already quite nice (much more upscale than mine, I might add) but I'd be rather surprised if a different DAC yields different results, personally. If anything I'd actually be more inclined to seek out better transducers to expose the subtle changes: speakers that cost 10's or 100's of thousands of dollars, with precise placement, in a dedicated listening room (maybe visit a high end dealer's showroom bringing along a laptop?) or perhaps high end headphones.

We know for a fact there are measurable differences between the master reference signal (File A, "tr0430sec.wav") and the recorded version after passing through the $7.99 DAC (File B, "tr0430sDACd.wav"), thanks to the subtle differences we see in the two images appearing at the Dropbox download site, shown below in the animated GIF I posted earlier:

[click the image to expand]

The question is why can't any of us hear it?

One possibility I'd tend to favor is the $7.99 DAC is audibly perfect: 100% transparent to the ear. [As well as all the other added devices in the chain used to record File B.]
 

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I really just want to compare with some higher end dacs to see if I can hear anything from that perspective. Its fun doing science. =)
And frankly I want to get a regime of this type of thing so I can audition new gear and take the bias out of the picture in my purchases.
This will help me save money or spend it where I get the most bang for the buck.
 

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Discussion Starter #599 (Edited)
I really just want to compare with some higher end dacs to see if I can hear anything from that perspective. Its fun doing science. =)
And frankly I want to get a regime of this type of thing so I can audition new gear and take the bias out of the picture in my purchases.
This will help me save money or spend it where I get the most bang for the buck.
OK, that's cool.
---

In theory when we listen to audio gear we unfortunately never really hear one device in isolation of all others. When I listen to my $7.99 DAC directly through my system, for example, I'm actually hearing the combination of this chain's sound:

  • The DAC chip itself
  • the headphone amp circuit Apple includes in it
  • the RCA wire to travel out from it
  • my preamp/processor (in my AVR)
  • my power amp stage (in my AVR)
  • my speaker wires
  • my speakers (and sub if I'm using it)
  • my room acoustic's modification of the speakers/sub's sound
The old saying "only as good as the weakest link in the chain" applies so the better the system the closer we come to hearing the sound of the DAC by itself, unencumbered by the added distortions, noise, and colorations added by the other devices in the chain, so I encourage people to listen on the very best system they can.

In this test however when we listen to File B, "tr0430sDACd", we are also unfortunately hearing the added distortions of the recording process I used to record the sound, namely the $79.95 Behringer ADC* unit I used to return the analog sound back into digital, and I suppose then the USB wire to travel back to my laptop's hard drive to record the file.

"File A" however is a bit-perfect clone of the master/reference CD's digital file so it has not been "mangled" in this way.


* P.S. I just ordered a new, even better (and more featureful) ADC made by "Mark of the Unicorn" which has been out of stock since the start of the pandemic. Woo-hoo! Audio production is returning!
 

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After 8 months of listening, this weekend swapped dacs in dedicated two channel system, Aerial Acoustics 7Bs biamped with Sunfire Signature 400x5. SMSL SU-8 dac uses two ES9038Q2M chips and miniDSP SHD one AK4490EQ.

With no other changes, it's obvious to these 60+ year old ears, Su-8 delivers more imaging, soundstage and detail than SHD, opposite of my expectations.
 
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