Is ASR right

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newlash09

newlash09
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Long story short. I bought a minidsp SHD, which ASR gave a good measurement of. He apparently found some poor power implementation induced jitter causing a noise floor of 112db or something, which he brushed under the carpet, saying that it was below the audible spectrum of human hearing. And this was followed by many members in his forum, claiming that minidsp SHD was a state of the art dac, and one did'nt need spend any more looking for a better a dac.

So I plug in the minidsp for a listen. The thing just sucked. So switched off my poweramps, and kept playing music through it for 48 hrs straight, just incase it was a case of burn in.

So I get back and play it. And the typical ESS Sabre chip sound greets me. And I don't like ESS sound, as I find it lean ( I personally prefer the AKM and Phillips crowned TDA chips sound, amd never heard a Burr brown or AD so can't comment. But I loved the Phillips crowned TDA chips  ). And when the manufacturer skimps on the analogue output stage of a ESS chip, I find it suffering from digitalisis.  Which is a harsh edge to the ending notes in the treble. Which the minidsp SHD had, but that is okay I thought, it is just the chip's trade mark sound, that lot of others like. So it is just my personal taste.And no need for forum members to agree or disagree with my personal tastes in musical presentation. 

So I carry on...and below are the differences I find between my 9 year old esoteric dac and the minidsp SHD :

1. First thing I noticed on hitting play, was a much reduced sound stage. It was like all the musicians were cramped into a smaller space.

2.  Second thing, was a increased noise floor. The silent passages were not as silent as before. There was a certain underlying grain in the back ground.

3. Next the tone of instruments was different. I don't know which is right among the two, as I don't have exposure to live sound. So I will let this pass :D

4. Now comes the main thing for me...I spin gergio by moroder from the "Random acess memories" album, and when the drumming gets complex. It sounds like a cacophony on the minidsp shd. There is no instrumental separation. Everything is one mess coming from the center of the speakers, and the cymbal hits are just shreiking. And it is impossible to follow individual instruments. Whereas the esoteric layers the same crazy notes into organised and easily followable sound. 

 So I had this conversation with a friend, who visited me today evening with his falcon speakers and a sugden 21 amp to try in my room and with my dac.   And first thing he said was, that Amir runs a 1khz sweep for all his measurements. And Topping is coming up with a dac that measures the best at this 1khz. And a lot of people could make a dac that measures better than the most acclaimed dacs at 1 kHz. But could completely suck when it comes to listening. And Amir himself doesn't post any listening impressions, claiming he is busy. As actual listening would completely unravel the measurement vs listening differences, and many dacs he posts as the greatest, could fall on their face. And that would completely collapse the site and following he built, based on measurements. 

So is my friend right or Amir. My listening impressions strongly go to the listening side.

And please let's not drag stereophonic measurements of speakers, and keep this restricted to measurement of a dac's prowess by running a 1 kHz sine wave or anything else that Amir does, claiming to be the true measure of a dac.

P.S: And sirs, let's please keep this civil :D

 
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StingRay

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You have to go by the measurements then you won’t hear any difference, if you don’t believe in the measurements, then you will hear all sorts of things. 😜

 
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newlash09

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You have to go by the measurements then you won’t hear any difference, if you don’t believe in the measurements, then you will hear all sorts of things. 😜
Haha... the problem is iam hearing too many things...but all on the negative side :D

 

newlash09

newlash09
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Can you return it for a refund
Havent considered that yet sir :) ..as I got it as a dsp unit to run dirac and room correction in my system, and I haven't tried either of those functionalities just like Amir, before he hailed it to be a great dac :D  

 
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newlash09

newlash09
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Long story even shorter.... You can't trust measurements on their own, you have to listen. 
Exactly my point sir :)

But there are enough folks out there who buy by amir's recommendations, and iam struggling to find, how one can measure sound staging, tonality and instrument separation, without having a listen .

 

woodys69

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Not sure how you can give feedback and judgement, if not used as intended?

 

DomT

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Measurements only tell you so much. I still think that we are not measuring all that’s needed or possible. Stereophile at least measure and listen. But if you don’t like it you don’t like it. Don’t worry about it. There is nothing right or wrong in this hobby. 

 

DomT

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Not sure how you can give feedback and judgement, if not used as intended?
But he is using as intended according to the manufacturer website. A user is not obliged to use all functions at once. 

 
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newlash09

newlash09
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Can you just do the DSP on the MiniDSP, but not use its own DAC and send the bits to your main DAC?
Yes sir...this is Exactly what iam considering at the moment. But my TT will still have to go through it for the ADC to DAC conversion for correction. And iam not keen anymore, as I  don't like the ESS implementation inside the minidsp. I guess I will add more treatment next year to tame my remaining niggling bass issues.

 

rdale

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Yes sir...this is Exactly what iam considering at the moment. But my TT will still have to go through it for the ADC to DAC conversion for correction. And iam not keen anymore, as I  don't like the ESS implementation inside the minidsp. I guess I will add more treatment next year to tame my remaining niggling bass issues.
Yes, I’d personally rather improve the bass traps than do DSP on analog sources. Is the high density rock wool in the bass traps you made performing as expected?

 
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newlash09

newlash09
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Yes, I’d personally rather improve the bass traps than do DSP on analog sources. Is the high density rock wool in the bass traps you made performing as expected?
Yes sir :) they made a huge difference. And I will be adding more in my next vacation again. All specifically high density material again :)

one thing I've noticed as I measured along the way sir...is that room induced peaks and nodes don't cancel much with physical treatment. I still have them. But the reverb times at those frequencies have reduced so much, that they don't boom and  don't drown other frequencies. So that has been encouraging enough for me to add more high density bass absorption :)

 
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uzzy

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When it comes to digital anything i do not trust anyone's opinions and have to use my own ears.

When CD came out it took me over 5 years to find a cd player that did not give me a headache.

There have been some cd players/dacs that were impressive (DCS and others) but were beyond my budget and it was sort of laughable to spend that kind of money and still not be able to surpass the reproduction on vinyl on AAD ADD material and to not be significantly better on DDD (albeit the lack of ticks and pops and a more durable medium).

When it comes to playing with the spectrum for room correction in the digital domain then there are just too many variables for me to go down that route (perhaps I am just too old and long in the tooth - well for those teeth left).

I am sorry your purchase has not tickled your earbuds in a nice way and all I can say is the rule of uzzy is - do not buy something without letting your ears decide UNLESS you are buying at a price that you can move it on with little or no loss if the ears do not like it.

Just listening to the Stereo Remix of Sgt Pepper on my system, no digital, no room correction and it sounding bloody marvelous 

 
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