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Discussion Starter #621 (Edited)
You're saying a subjective, anecdotal account is more "true" than a computer-controlled test?

Sounds like someone is trying to justify an expensive purchase.
The funny thing is even one of their "DACs matter" gurus, Amir/ASR, doesn't even claim he can hear any difference listening to music through competent* quality DACs in controlled tests!

* i.e., not the clunkers on the lower end of his 4-color ranking chart.
 
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Discussion Starter #622 (Edited)
The headphone jacks of these things are pretty complex:

NEW similar link (but more forum friendly) showing an X-ray view :


Don't break it because they'd be a nightmare to re-solder. Litz wires are not "consumer /hobbyist" friendly. . . .Thankfully since this DAC is dirt cheap you just throw it away and buy a new one if it breaks.

There are lots of on-line complaints about their durability but it may just be because there are zillions of them out there. [It is the most common outboard DAC in the world, I'd say.] The first one I got in 2012 [release of the iPhone 5] is still going strong and shows no signs of breaking but I'm not a daily use kinda guy.
 

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***Late to the thread but very familiar with the "Z" factor. So what's the moral of the story? The two cent, Cliff's Notes, one paragraph under three sentences conclusion? Not much difference in DAC's? Not discernible by three blind men as verified, 100% truthfulness, with multiple blind tests conducted?
 

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Discussion Starter #625
^ 403 Forbidden
Sorry. Some of the links are from Chinese lauguage sources and don't work so I've added a NEW one showing an x-ray image of it instead.
 

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Discussion Starter #626
***Late to the thread but very familiar with the "Z" factor. So what's the moral of the story? The two cent, Cliff's Notes, one paragraph under three sentences conclusion? Not much difference in DAC's? Not discernible by three blind men as verified, 100% truthfulness, with multiple blind tests conducted?
Your (I assume) inability to hear a distinction between File A and B in the test may just be that your gear isn't up to the task and doesn't provide adequate resolving powers. Re-taking the test but on a better system might be in order.

If I'm mistaken please post your score sheet to show us.
 

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Your (I assume) inability to hear a distinction between File A and B in the test may just be that your gear isn't up to the task and doesn't provide adequate resolving powers. Re-taking the test but on a better system might be in order.

If I'm mistaken please post your score sheet to show us.
***I didn’t take the test. I was curious as to the general conclusion as I’m sure there is one.
 

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Discussion Starter #628 (Edited)
***Late to the thread but very familiar with the "Z" factor. So what's the moral of the story? The two cent, Cliff's Notes, one paragraph under three sentences conclusion? Not much difference in DAC's? Not discernible by three blind men as verified, 100% truthfulness, with multiple blind tests conducted?
***I didn’t take the test.
Since you seem to have neither taken the test nor bothered to read the thread about what this test tests, you don't strike me as being in a good position to discuss it. I'd suggest doing one, or ideally both.
 

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Discussion Starter #629 (Edited)
Here's another cheap one I just bought to check out. I've had it in my watch list for a couple of months and the price just fell almost in half so I decided to go for it. There are a few variations you can click on there. One's currently even a buck or so cheaper but I wanted the full size headphone jack, with an included adapter for 3.5mm plugs I believe.

I suspect it is 44kHz and 48kHz sampling rates only, but that's OK by me since I can't hear >22kHz because I'm what's called a "homo sapien".

As best as I can tell this is a true, plug and play USB DAC. The optical Toslink and coax are converted outputs not inputs. The optical can be useful if trying to connect to an audio system but you get annoying ground loop noise. The fiber optic cable (not included) does not conduct electricity so no ground loop can occur! Using this technology can really be important in some scenarios and comes in handy in a pinch.
 

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Interesting thread Zillch. I think this proves what I've been saying for a long time now, DACs are very often quite good, even the less expensive ones can get the job done. I've heard lots of DACs over the years, in CD players, DVD players, AVRs, integrated amps etc. I've owned external DACs too, Cambridge, Emotiva's DC-1, XDA-1 & 2, and currently have an XDA-2 I'm not using. The reason? Behringer's UCA222 $30 DAC does just what the other DACs do, and cost much less.

Uh, it ain't $30 no more, I just looked on Amazon and it's now $91 Whoa! Maybe Behringer has been reading this thread?
 
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Discussion Starter #631
Uh, it ain't $30 no more, I just looked on Amazon and it's now $91 Whoa! Maybe Behringer has been reading this thread?
I noticed that too. The ADC I used to create File B in this test was $79 for years, now I see it for $149 !

Maybe they realized people make decisions about quality based on price more so than actual performance.
 

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Discussion Starter #632 (Edited)
Here are my test results of the Motu M4 XLR input's loopback (DAC to ADC) test using a starquad shielded balanced patch cord. Unlike the line inputs on the back the signal is forced to travel through a non-defeatable mic preamp unnecessarily for strong line level signals like the one I'm using here. [Mics have a very weak electrical signal hence they require a lot of boost.] Compared to the previous line input results I posted earlier in the thread, the A-weighted noise level, -113.4dBA, shows slightly better performance (usually the problem with passing through a mic preamp is added noise but this one seems exceptionally clean) but the THD is slightly worse, .00130 %.
3032880
 

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That's too much work, would rather shop for a second ES dac. Thanks for a thought provoking thread, truly wanted to believe they all sound the same, though it could be something other than dac chip that provides obvious perceived differences.
like your eyes and your brain
 

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like your eyes and your brain
While good practice for one to question both, again swapped dacs with same perceived result. ES dac with warm amp, inefficient speakers and relatively dead room is preferable to AK's. I typically don't hear dog whistles either.
 

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Discussion Starter #635 (Edited)
While good practice for one to question both, again swapped dacs with same perceived result.
Tom: "I took two bites of the $55 cake, not one, and it tasted better than the $15 cake both times."

Tester: "Actually, the two are exactly the same cake."

Tom: ". . . Well. . .well. . . then your test is obviously flawed because I could taste the difference!"
 

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Discussion Starter #637 (Edited)
ES and AK dacs cost approximately the same.
And you had read about them before you tried them so you were preconditioned to think there was some reason to compare them.

And please don't use the old "But I ended up prefering the one I wasn't supposed to" line, because that just means you might have been suffering from "sticking up for the underdog syndrome".
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I'm reminded of the constant tropes:
"Everyone hears differently. . . always trust your ears, they never lie. . .the ear has far greater perception skills than any silly test instrument . . . don't let them tell you what you hear." Boy this endless loop just never stops.
 
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And you had read about them before you tried them so you were preconditioned to think there was some difference.

And please don't use the old "But I ended up prefering the one I wasn't supposed to" line, because that just means you might have been suffering from "sticking up for the underdog syndrome".
Wrong again; I had no knowledge of differences, if any, between dacs, and presumed they sounded the same. Get over it.
 

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Discussion Starter #639
Wrong again; I had no knowledge of differences, if any, between dacs, and presumed they sounded the same. Get over it.
I see. You thought there was no difference between DACs . . . so you decided to conduct an experiment [I presume by buying them or asking a dealer to set it up] to see if you could hear a difference. Got it.
 

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So here's a thought, and I have no idea if it's true it's just a thought. But the process of A-->D is one where you sample to make a digital representation of an analog signal. The D contains far less data than the A. The DAC's job is to recreate the A out of the limited data present in the D.

So what if the DACs create slightly different A from the D but not so different that the A --> D will be different. The result might be:

D1 --> A1 --> D2 <-- apple dac
D1 --> A2 --> D2 <-- some other dac.
Note it's theoretically possible for A1 and A2 to be different while D2 is the same. It's also possible for D1 == D2 in this case while still having A1 != A2. Whether or not we could hear those differences is something else I suppose.

I am not saying this is the case, only suggesting that perhaps the test method is flawed if it relies on the above comparisons.

I apologize if this was already brought up and debunked earlier, this is a long thread.
 
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