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No wish to start another forum outbreak but ?

Paul55

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The record groove is a physical manifestation of the waveform of the recorded sound.

So for example if you looked at that 600 Hz sound on an oscilloscope, you'd see a sinusoidal waveform that's identical to the record groove. Now check a cd or digital medium and you will find - oh yes zeros and ones. Something had to convert that analogue signal to a digital one and then convert it back. Also the musician and record producer Dave Grusin believes the only way to get the best from digitial is to record as live ass possible on two tracks for stereo. His reasoning is each track is a sample of what is recorded, the more tracks the more samples and when mixed down to two tracks it is a sample of a sample.

All I do know is when you listen to a Grusin record you wish that all records were as well produced and soundwise was their equal
Consider an an analogue tape machine then. That's more like Class D than an actual analogue. To see the flaw in your digital viewpoint requires following some maths, but the results are really quite neat.

No idea about Dave Grusin, but I like records. I'm just pragmatic about the inaudibility of inserting an ADC/DAC.
 
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Radioham

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Quad apparently never did. listening tests as they didn’t see the point.
I beg to differ, as they employed a Blind Guy part time who sole purpose was to listen to new designs. He also worked as a piano tuner. I know Peter walker preferred to use his inverted audio method to compare amplifiers and if there was no output from the amplifier under test then it must be as good as the reference one.
 

StingRay

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All I do know is when you listen to a Grusin record you wish that all records were as well produced and soundwise was their equal
Are you sure? That would suck the life out of most music. Actually I don't wish that on any of my records. I can see why people say his music is slick and sterile.
Thats the problem with most audiophile music, its so boring.
 
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Nativebon

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We never going to agree to everyone's else's choices so what's the point of rubbishing others choices. Don't get why we don't get this by now. :unsure:
 
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rabski

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Most of the technical guff about DACs is completley misplaced.

The main difference at the listener's ears between DACs is nothing to do with its digital specification, but is down to the output stage - many CDPs and most cheap dacs use a 10p op amp. A more expensive one might use a 50p or (in rare cases) a £2 one.

Pretty much exclusively, the best DACs and all in one disk spinners use a discrete output stage (valve or FET - and not used simply as a buffer) and some pretty sophisticated power supplies - the Audio Note DACs, the Lampis, other DACs at that level. The Audio Note DACs use an 18-bit AD1865 chip, capable of 96/24 maximum, and the best of them sound better than any 32bit DAC I've ever come across.

There's a substantial body of evidence out there that identifies significant down-sides to hi-res, quite enough (if you subscribe to the reasoning) to cast the whole hi-res project into doubt. Digital specs are probably still worth spending time on (up to a point) but they really mean sod-all in comparison to the difference made by an output stage.

And good mastering is, in turn, more important than any of that.
I agree with a great deal of this.

The 'analogue vs digital' debate is mostly ill-founded and based on myths and half truths. In real life, a great many 'analogue' recordings have either been completely or partly digital at some stage in the path from performer onwards, and in most cases it makes zero difference. Some of the best LPs in my collection were recorded and mastered in the digital domain, and are none the worse for it. But then some others were purely analogue. I have poor recordings produced in both ways as well.

A good oversampling DAC with an excellent output stage will invariably sound better than the best NOS DAC with a crappy output stage. I have to say though, that to my ears, the very best DACs are NOS with excellent output stages. I don't put my own build alongside the very best, but it's not too scruffy. It would actually have been far easier to build with a straightforward oversampling chip than implement (properly) an AD1865, but I did it because I still consider it offers the most realistic presentation I have heard. It's not analogue sounding or digital sounding, as neither of those things has a 'sound'.
 

Juancho

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I agree with a great deal of It would actually have been far easier to build with a straightforward oversampling chip than implement (properly) an AD1865, but I did it because I still consider it offers the most realistic presentation I have heard. It's not analogue sounding or digital sounding, as neither of those things has a 'sound'.
I really don't think that's true. If you're talking about implementing an over-sampling chip with built in filters then it's about equal. You need power supplies and active or passive I/v conversion in both cases. If you're talking about custom FPGA style filters it's impossible without massive technical back up.
 

rabski

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I really don't think that's true. If you're talking about implementing an over-sampling chip with built in filters then it's about equal. You need power supplies and active or passive I/v conversion in both cases. If you're talking about custom FPGA style filters it's impossible without massive technical back up.
I use the reasonably 'standard' CS8414, 74HC04, AD1865, so to keep it really clean, that's four, separate regulated 5v, and a further +/- 5v. I use passive IV with transformers and RC for a low-pass filter. A valve output stage with a further regulated supply for the filaments plus valve rectified HT. That's one HT centre tap winding, one centre tap low voltage, and six more windings. That's a lot of transformer(s).

I wouldn't look at FPGA, because it's way outside my pay grade. However, some forums/websites would suggest a PCM1794 measures better and therefore sounds better than 'my' DAC. You could throw together a 1974 and a pair of decent opamps with a helluva lot fewer psu rail requirements, though you'd need an extra bit for SPDIF to I2S.

Of course, to do OS properly with something like an ESS would have substantially more power requirements. It's not like-for-like. One day I'd like to try a ladder design, but then one day I'd like to try a great many things :)
 
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Juancho

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My version of the ESS 9038pro DAC uses exactly the same psus for the digital side-input board(s) and dac-and the same psus for its valve output stage as I use for my AD1865 /1862 versions. As others have been, you'd probably be surprised how close they sound (but overall preference goes to the NOS designs). But of course you could build either more simply-opamp output stage, i/v conversion-or more complexly-Salas shunts for DAC input board etc
 
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rabski

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Mt version of the ESS 9038pro DAC uses exactly the same psus for the digital side-input board(s) and dac-and the same psus for its valve output stage as I use for my AD1865 /1862 versions. As others have been, you'd probably be surprised how close they sound (but overall preference goes to the NOS designs).
I probably wouldn't be that surprised. As Tom noted earlier, and as I've always thought, the output stage is the 'sound', or at least the majority of it. To my ears there is nevertheless still something more 'right' about the NOS sound, but the devil is in the detail.

A ladder design, as I said, is on the radar but it will have to wait. Possibly forever ;)
 

Sotosound

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Okay the WTF and some other threads have become locked because they were becoming cyclical with no possible chance of a sensible outcome . I freely admit to not being much use when shown most forms of measurement and often need someone to explain in simple terms what they are and what they mean . I am interested but still just do not find any correlation between the sound produced and the measurement I see . Before anyone gets wound up about this this is my failure and not a comment on the measurements I just find it very hard to put the two together and see one as the consequence of the other. (in other words I am thick but I am trying to big myself these days so going easy on myself) .

However while reading a review on here i cam across this and just thought well if really experienced and technically savvy people can hear an issue but not know why and only find the correct measurement later then there is a very good reason while all design should include listening as a vital part of product design . Measurements are good things but they are neither complete or in some cases true indicators of what we hear .

Clearly, you are proud of the great measurements of the DAC but how important is listening in your assessment process of the design and execution of the ADI-2 DAC?
Very important, as that is what we later do with it - listen to music! In fact, in all the years of RME we several times ran into audible problems that were not found with measurements before. Of course, once you know there is a problem you will find the respective measurement later on that allows you to identify and quantify the issue. Meanwhile, the number of available/performed measurements fills a complete book alone, so chances are low that a fully measured/examined unit shows unexpected behaviour. Then again, some things you have to try and not rely on complicated measurement setups. How long is the mute time needed when switching from PCM to DSD? How fast can we switch sample rates within PCM? What are the best default settings to make Bass and Treble sound really good?

"No wish to start another forum outbreak but ?"

Are you sure about this?
 
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bencat

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Yes

Oh and just to keep up my reputation I have destroyed yet another amplifier . In a similar way I never intended to but it still happened .
 
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rabski

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Yes

Oh and just to keep up my reputation I have destroyed yet another amplifier . In a similar way I never intended to but it still happened .
Oh s**t Andrew. Which one?
 

bencat

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NVA A60 but closing credit for another owner really , Paul at NVA has made the repair and all paid for . Collect next week (probably Tuesday) . Then the fun part I currently have my NVA A30 in place driving the Quads and it is draw droppingly good. Now some times a single amp and speakers just work so when I get the A60 back I am going to have a fun afternoon hopefully with a friend listening to both and whichever is best stays .

Dom do not feel sad I am used to this now and find it hugely funny . It is never the same thing that causes the problem but it all adds to my mystique ,or is that the curry ?
 
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THOMO

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Most of the technical guff about DACs is completley misplaced.

The main difference at the listener's ears between DACs is nothing to do with its digital specification, but is down to the output stage - many CDPs and most cheap dacs use a 10p op amp. A more expensive one might use a 50p or (in rare cases) a £2 one.

Pretty much exclusively, the best DACs and all in one disk spinners use a discrete output stage (valve or FET - and not used simply as a buffer) and some pretty sophisticated power supplies - the Audio Note DACs, the Lampis, other DACs at that level. The Audio Note DACs use an 18-bit AD1865 chip, capable of 96/24 maximum, and the best of them sound better than any 32bit DAC I've ever come across.

There's a substantial body of evidence out there that identifies significant down-sides to hi-res, quite enough (if you subscribe to the reasoning) to cast the whole hi-res project into doubt. Digital specs are probably still worth spending time on (up to a point) but they really mean sod-all in comparison to the difference made by an output stage.

And good mastering is, in turn, more important than any of that.
Accuphase use op amps in their CD players and DACs.Along with multiple DAC chips.
They sound really excellent.It seems they just know how to use op amps.
I have two DACs one Accuphase and the other a Krell with a massive fully discreet output stage.One does not sound better than the other just slightly different.
 

rabski

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Accuphase use op amps in their CD players and DACs.Along with multiple DAC chips.
They sound really excellent.It seems they just know how to use op amps.
I have two DACs one Accuphase and the other a Krell with a massive fully discreet output stage.One does not sound better than the other just slightly different.
It's down to which opamps partly, but also down to how and where you use them in a circuit and what you do with their power supply. There is nothing inherently wrong with an opamp.
 
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montesquieu

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It's down to which opamps partly, but also down to how and where you use them in a circuit and what you do with their power supply. There is nothing inherently wrong with an opamp.

Actually I agree with this .. the issue is that all too few companies bother to do it properly, or make the effort to choose an opamp that costs a bit more but is of higher specification. Far easier to big up the digital specs and quietly not bother with the effort of making a really good output stage, in fact in some cases all their skills and focus are on the digital side rather than in more traditional areas where the biggest gains are to be found. For this reason, the majority of really good sounding DACs do, in fact have discrete output stages.
 
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jumpmonkey

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Hasn’t it been shown that you can put vinyl through multiple cycles of ADC > DAC > ADC etc, and it be audibly transparent? I know I’ve heard rips of vinyl that sounded identical to the original. I’ve never seen any evidence that it hasn’t been possible to make an audibly transparent DAC for decades. A hifi manufacturer once told me that unless a designer deliberately colours the output (or they’re incompetent) DACs are transparent, but they put out RFI and an amplifier could be effected by this RFI, and this could explain some DACs sounding different. No idea if that’s true. I do know that my experience has been that DACs tend to sound different until I compare them “blind”, and then they don’t. I put more store by my inability to distinguish them “blind” than I do any review, whether that review includes measurements or not. When I see evidence that anyone, anywhere, can consistently identify them “blind”, I’ll believe they have a “sound”.
 
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DomT

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Hasn’t it been shown that you can put vinyl through multiple cycles of ADC > DAC > ADC etc, and it be audibly transparent? I know I’ve heard rips of vinyl that sounded identical to the original. I’ve never seen any evidence that it hasn’t been possible to make an audibly transparent DAC for decades. A hifi manufacturer once told me that unless a designer deliberately colours the output (or they’re incompetent) DACs are transparent, but they put out RFI and an amplifier could be effected by this RFI, and this could explain some DACs sounding different. No idea if that’s true. I do know that my experience has been that DACs tend to sound different until I compare them “blind”, and then they don’t. I put more store by my inability to distinguish them “blind” than I do any review, whether that review includes measurements or not. When I see evidence that anyone, anywhere, can consistently identify them “blind”, I’ll believe they have a “sound”.
Unfortunately the engineers at Naim don’t know this. Their Unity Nova sounded seriously bad using the analogue inputs that convert to digital and back again. In the pro world there are some videos of people making hundreds of round robin passes on audio interfaces with no loss or minimal loss.
 

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