Gaz38

How do DACs differ?

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Super Wammer
5 minutes ago, rabski said:

I've owned one (no, not a smaller willy). It is not something I would happily do again, although apparently today's models are capable of being driven more than a few hundred miles without needing major attention.

For avoidance of doubt, I wouldn't touch a Ferrari with yours (it wouldn't reach for a start). Mind you, I wouldn't touch a Fiat with yours either. Actually, I wouldn't touch yours. Nothing personal.

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Super Wammer
2 minutes ago, Gaz38 said:

Actually perhaps it's obvious 

Somebody who just must have a Ferrari badge? 

Maybe? 

Absolutely! Keith has written before about quality engineering and "pride of ownership" in relation to a £10k MolaMola DAC, with sound quality not entering into it. Some people just need to own the "best", even if the best is the average with a "best" badge on the front. Funny old world.

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Moderator

Of course our measurement guys forget the vital part of the whole thing. The person. If you do blind listening tests to test people's sensitivity to different frequency responses,  what THD people can hear and what noise they can detect using A/B level matched tests, then all modern SS DACs easily meet those requirements and therefore they should all sound the same. And they should also sound the same in a relaxed long term listening session. Of course,  most of ASR's measurements are irrelevant as he is measuring incredibly small numbers and well below what any A/B listening test can show. Nearly every SS DAC meets this requirement.

However, they do not sound the same.

I had an RME DAC here and for me it was one of the best sounding sub £2K DACs I have heard. Yet according to the measurements it should not have been any better/worse than my previous refrerences. But it was. I had no allegiance to RME and had not heard of the company before reviewing it. A couple of fellow audio buddies agreed, it sounded better.

If you look at the make-up of a typical DAC (but not all) then they have in effect a preamp on the output. Some have op amp outputs and others have discrete components. Do all preamps sound the same?

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Moderator
12 minutes ago, TheFlash said:

For avoidance of doubt, I wouldn't touch a Ferrari with yours (it wouldn't reach for a start). Mind you, I wouldn't touch a Fiat with yours either. Actually, I wouldn't touch yours. Nothing personal.

Remember government advice. Always wash your hands.....;)

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Moderator
13 minutes ago, TheFlash said:

For avoidance of doubt, I wouldn't touch a Ferrari with yours (it wouldn't reach for a start). Mind you, I wouldn't touch a Fiat with yours either. Actually, I wouldn't touch yours. Nothing personal.

It would obviously be appropriate here for me to express my gratitude, which you may take as read.

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Anyway, I'm going to try and get an early night, as I'd like to spend tomorrow building a DAC for Kegworth.

For the avoidance of any doubt, I should stress that like my current DIY one, it will be non-oversampling. Unlike the current one, it will also have a valve output stage. Hopefully that will make it sound even worse.

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Posted (edited)

I don't think all DACs sound the same but I do think you can now get a decent ( and reliable & safe) one for under £100.

I've always thought that the best upgrade for any digital system is a 15" woofer...

Edited by savvypaul
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Super Wammer
1 minute ago, savvypaul said:

15" woofer..

How would a Chihuahua  help :D

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Super Wammer
2 minutes ago, greybeard said:

How would a Chihuahua  help :D

It would eat a 6" tweeter for breakfast.

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Super Wammer
1 minute ago, TheFlash said:

It would eat a 6" tweeter for breakfast.

Now your just bragging Nigel, a 6" Tweeter!!

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6 minutes ago, rabski said:

Anyway, I'm going to try and get an early night, as I'd like to spend tomorrow building a DAC for Kegworth.

For the avoidance of any doubt, I should stress that like my current DIY one, it will be non-oversampling. Unlike the current one, it will also have a valve output stage. Hopefully that will make it sound even worse.

Of course it will be.....and very musical......you poor deluded fool just interested in music and not charts.

I'll bring you a full set of charts from ASR to Kegworth. They were made with a cheap $25K AP machine. It can resolve noise down to -150db which can only be heard in an A/B test when blindfolds are worn. 

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Am I right in thinking that ASR is the site where they measure hundreds of different bits of kit but never listen to them?

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Just now, Blackmetalboon said:

And your point is?

My point is to ask whether that is the case, or not...

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3 minutes ago, Nearly bewildered said:

I always thought the DAC chip was the important thing..i dont think this anymore..its the entirely design of dac which is the important thing..i.have four dacs and with my eyes closed and my ears open i would know which ones are which..measurements may tell part of the story but your ears hear the whole story.. In my opinion 

Of the five DACs I've owned, three were by the same manufacturer and they all had that 'signature' sound, and all sounded different in subtle ways apart from their top of the range DAC which was a real eye opener. The other two were completely different DAC chips, one was similar topology but the one Ive settled with is a different chip AND topology to all the previous four. Now I think I'm in a position to say that of the four with similar topology it was the actual DAC chip family that sounded very different, the one I'm really happy with seems to combine elements of things I liked in the other DAC chips. However this could be the chip or the topology, and another thing is the option to switch the output from tube to FET. Both of those options sound subtly different and I do use them depending what the source material is. From all the reviews and bumph I could gather at the time, and since, the deciding factor is always, and always will be, your ears.

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