Gaz38

How do DACs differ?

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Gaz38 said:

Screenshot_20200308_200850.jpg

....metal box, gold sockets, a PSU and basic leads - for the price of a large box of crunchy nut cornflakes. We live in a funny world.

Owners of multi-hundred pound exotic DACs would bet serious money that they could identify this in a blind test.....wouldn't they?

EDIT:    USB powered, so no PSU supplied....cheapskates.

Edited by Gray
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Super Wammer
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Gray said:

EDIT:    USB powered, so no PSU supplied....cheapskates

I’d think that sending an empty matchbox from the other side of the world would cost as much, and these type of products certainly reset one’s expectations of product costings.  

Mind you, I’ve seen a few Chi-fi products overheating in YouTube videos, so I’d never be confident plugging in something like that. 

Edited by Nopiano

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Super Dealer

I saw a hugely expensive hand made UK valve amp go up in smoke at a show in England.

Keith

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14 hours ago, bandit pilot said:

Seem to remember Goldmund doing exactly the same. Brand loyalty and marketing has a lot to answer for.

Yes that was it, Goldmund Eidos,  pioneer blu Ray player in a fancy box for $16k

Got great reviews too, I can't help but to wonder how the same reviewer would rate the same player with its original plastic box and £200 price tag? 

Owners waxed lyrical about it too, emporers new clothes syndrome perhaps? 

So if a fancy box and big price tag can fool professional reviewers and discerning owners for CD players couldn't the same be true of a DAC? 

"The clarity isn’t just about detail either; it’s about musical purpose too. Comparing the differences between CD and SACD versions of the same recording, the superiority of the high definition format is obvious, be it the Pixies’ Doolittle and the texture and tactile quality of the bass, the way the system sorts out and layers the dense mix, adding clarity and focus without dismantling the driving rhythms and edgy feel, or Reiner’s reading of the New World, the SACD adding transparency, acoustic space, separation and dynamic range. Difference between performances are just as apparent, so that comparing Piatigorsky and Starker in the Dvorak Cello has rarely created a more dramatic contrast, while ushering Queyras into the equation underlines both his lack of power and lyrical sweep in the opening movement, but his poise and total mastery of the second."

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Ha, ha, yeah, interesting.

When I got some non-bluetooth headphones last year, I had no headphone output and also wanted to be able to roam, so I bought a bluetooth tx/rx box that can accept analog outputs from my amp in tx mode, and also a Fiio bluetooth receiver that has a 3.5mm headphone socket. These two boxes are ADC'ing and DAC'ing the signal between them, the latter also acting as headphone amp. They are each powered by their own LiPo batteries and I think together cost around ~£100-ish, or may be a bit more.

I have to say the sound quality, to my ears, is superb. The only occasional glitch is if I roam too far from the tx box and the bluetooth drops out. The best bit is they both support the Sony LDAC protocol, which maximises the limited bluetooth bit rate.

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20 hours ago, PuritéAudio said:

It’s more expensive, and may have a case milled from a billet of solid aluminium, but in terms of SQ nothing.

Keith

I've been staring at this post for the last 15 minutes and still can't believe what I'm reading.

And just to add to the sense of unreality, a "Super Dealer" too!

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Super Wammer

I have a DAC in a very fancy box , sadly i have no idea what is inside or what the architecture of the circuit is . The maker does no answer any enquries I send and his Distributor just does not know .

It is a very heavy little beast and sounds excellent so at this moment I will leave things alone and just enjoy the music . If you are interested in listening to it The Flash (Keith) will hopefully using it in his room in Kegworth drop in have a listen . If you feel so inclined then come and see me in Room 217 and tell me what you think of it , good or bad does not matter just interested . Please though no questions on the technical side as i just do not have the answers .

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Super Dealer
15 minutes ago, HugoZ said:

I've been staring at this post for the last 15 minutes and still can't believe what I'm reading.

And just to add to the sense of unreality, a "Super Dealer" too!

You prefer your dealers to lie to you?

Keith

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Posted (edited)

I like Paul's comments here. So much of the high end has been taken up by products that offer no sonic improvement but do provide the manufacturer with huge margins because they have invested in the aesthetic appeal of the product. I am not critical of this: we are a niche market and makers have to mitigate falling purchase levels with higher margins. I see nothing wrong with calling it out, where it is true.

Edited by oldius

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1 hour ago, PuritéAudio said:

You prefer your dealers to lie to you?

Keith

It's kind of what we're used to. Makes a refreshing change to hear it from the horses mouth.

It won't stop people buying high end because different levels of disposable income will always be the case and there is always going to be a pride of ownership aspect too.

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22 hours ago, Gaz38 said:

Can anyone explain why Keith is wrong, you all seem to disagree but nobody has explained why yet🤔

Because we've compared pieces of equipment by extensively listening to actual music rather than just looking at graphs.

The "all well measuring DACs sound the same" argument is at the top of my list of reasons why I can't take anything Keith says seriously I'm afraid, even if he is offering helpful advice on occasion.

A personal example is when I compared the Chord Hugo TT to the Luxman DA-06. Both are technically very competent and "measure very well" but with volume matched A/B comparison they were clearly different in presentation, it wasn't subtle. Did I blind test? No. There was absolutely no need. My sister, a non audiophile, was roped into the cable swapping and her comments mirrored my own without any prompting. 

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Warszawa said:

Because we've compared pieces of equipment by extensively listening to actual music rather than just looking at graphs.

The "all well measuring DACs sound the same" argument is at the top of my list of reasons why I can't take anything Keith says seriously I'm afraid, even if he is offering helpful advice on occasion.

A personal example is when I compared the Chord Hugo TT to the Luxman DA-06. Both are technically very competent and "measure very well" but with volume matched A/B comparison they were clearly different in presentation, it wasn't subtle. Did I blind test? No. There was absolutely no need. My sister, a non audiophile, was roped into the cable swapping and her comments mirrored my own without any prompting. 

It is a great point. I did a DAC bake off once, with DACs ranging from a tenner to £4k.  Apart from the tenner model, it was surprising how little difference there was in absolute quality between £200 and £4k. Yes, there were different flavours of presentation but level matching completely took away the gaps that appeared at first glance. I remember the MDAC having a much higher output than the others but it became an also ran when matched, despite the effusive reviews.

Bottom line - measurements tell you everything you need to know, apart from which sound you prefer.

Edited by oldius

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17 minutes ago, Warszawa said:

Because we've compared pieces of equipment by extensively listening to actual music rather than just looking at graphs.

The "all well measuring DACs sound the same" argument is at the top of my list of reasons why I can't take anything Keith says seriously I'm afraid, even if he is offering helpful advice on occasion.

A personal example is when I compared the Chord Hugo TT to the Luxman DA-06. Both are technically very competent and "measure very well" but with volume matched A/B comparison they were clearly different in presentation, it wasn't subtle. Did I blind test? No. There was absolutely no need. My sister, a non audiophile, was roped into the cable swapping and her comments mirrored my own without any prompting. 

I'm playing devil's advocate a bit here

I'm sure the reviewers and owners of the $16K CDP that was actually a $300 bluray player listened extensively too, maybe it was expectation bias (something I absolutely believe in) or perhaps a more rigid case can really make that much difference? 

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5 minutes ago, oldius said:

It is a great point. I did a DAC bake off once, with DACs ranging from a tenner to £4k.  Apart from the tenner model, it was surprising how little difference there was in absolute quality between £200 and £4k. Yes, there were different flavours of presentation but level matching completely took away the gaps that appeared at first glance. I remember the MDAC having a much higher output than the others but it became an also ran when matched, despite the effusive reviews.

Bottom line - measurements tell you everything you need to know, apart from which sound you prefer.

The bit in bold sums hifi up perfectly. 

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