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Interesting "Best" DACs no matter the cost thread


Psilonaught
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4 hours ago, tuga said:

Or maybe ask my neurologist wife?

Ask her what ? Do  I suffer from Tinnitus ? Is it created by my brain ? Answers on a postcard please to all those people that have better answers and more knowledge of my body and state of mind than me . Ahh thats the problem no one does .

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26 minutes ago, Nopiano said:

Not wanting to pick out your particular comment…but surely ‘vinyl’ or LP replay isn’t the standard, but the master tape?   Sure, that was analogue until the late 1970 - early 1980s, after which it became relatively rare as digital taping began to dominate.  

The only exception I’d perhaps make is for direct cut records, which arguably are better even than analogue tapes, but of course they are no use for 99.9999% of releases.  

Reel to reel tape replay has all but disappeared from the home, and LPs have incredibly outlived what anyone could have imagined their lifespan would be.  An LP from the late 1950s can have the quietest surfaces and wonderfully luminous sound even today, while the master tape it was cut from has turned to goo or dust!

I am as nostalgic as the next person for the LP glory years, but it was all we had (alongside FM radio), and never approached the master tapes. That surely is what we are seeking to achieve? 

Yes that's it. And good of you to join in, this is always open to debate.

Digital perhaps gets closer to the original recorded sound, especially in modern recording than any other format ever will perhaps.

The attraction with vinyl is as you point out it was the only medium once alongside FM but it seemed to have its own charm as well. Especially people who had good quality TTs to use it with. This along with perhaps some nostalgia attached to it and possibly an easier on the ear appeal of straight a analogue signal gave it its appeal, and still continues to in a world now dominated by digital, and the infinite amount of digital conversion that is.

If I'm not wrong as well, its a format which unlike digital even with it's positives doesn't have as much of a limiting bandwidth, where CD  stops at its digital limits of 16/44.1k, if I'm not wrong vinyl doesn't have that same bottleneck. I think the fact vinyl can be more pleasing may be even down to its not having to go through the sometimes cold and clinical digital to analogue conversion bit. And maybe the fact that many cartridges cut off well before 20khz as well, which may give it a smoother overall effect to vinyl. Although many still cover the full -20-20+khz frequency, there is still something that sounds vibrant about vinyl in comparison to digital if directly comparing the two, even to the cheapest TTs to best DACs out there.

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42 minutes ago, Nopiano said:

Not wanting to pick out your particular comment…but surely ‘vinyl’ or LP replay isn’t the standard, but the master tape?   Sure, that was analogue until the late 1970 - early 1980s, after which it became relatively rare as digital taping began to dominate.  

The only exception I’d perhaps make is for direct cut records, which arguably are better even than analogue tapes, but of course they are no use for 99.9999% of releases.  

Reel to reel tape replay has all but disappeared from the home, and LPs have incredibly outlived what anyone could have imagined their lifespan would be.  An LP from the late 1950s can have the quietest surfaces and wonderfully luminous sound even today, while the master tape it was cut from has turned to goo or dust!

I am as nostalgic as the next person for the LP glory years, but it was all we had (alongside FM radio), and never approached the master tapes. That surely is what we are seeking to achieve? 

Great post and agree with everything apart from the final sentence. Only a fool is trying to emulate the master tape. I am just looking for a pleasurable musical experience that is meaningful to me. And there are varying other goals that people have on here. 
 

Edited by DomT
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6 minutes ago, eddie-baby said:

If I'm not wrong as well, its a format which unlike digital even with it's positives doesn't have as much of a limiting bandwidth, where CD  stops at its digital limits of 16/44.1k,

Yes, I believe intrinsically there’s no bandwidth limitation with records, though the RIAA equalisation (in its various incarnations) inevitably shapes the sound.  That’s an analogue thing, as with the master tapes (also equalised in their own unique ways).  Sadly, microphones rarely have a exceptional range, but the principle here is that there are no brick wall filters or other processing. 

You may recall that CD4 quadrophonic LPs had a very high carrier frequency that cartridges could track. But more basic ‘pickups’ pretty much stop after their HF resonance point, rather like many tweeters, I suppose.  Going back to direct cut LPs, they always seemed to have an unlimited bandwidth, subjectively.  

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3 hours ago, eddie-baby said:

Agreed.

Most people with a laptop are capable of DDD recording these days anyway, does it mean its a Tracy Chapman or Zoolook, I think not :)

Simplistically yes but achieving a great DDD recording is another matter. 

Early digital recordings were typically poor because the entire recording process and equipment chain was geared towards analogue. So when digital came along engineers had to rethink entirely how to records bands and it took a few years to iron out. 

And there is digital and digital. These days some engineers don’t like to record in DSD, not because of sound quality, but because the way they record doesn’t easily support this as they are set up for PCM. 

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8 minutes ago, DomT said:

Great post and agree with everything apart from the final sentence. Only a fool is trying to emulate the master tape. I am just looking for a pleasurable musical experience that is meaningful to me. Another there are varying other goals that people have on here. 
 

Fair enough, as I didn’t literally mean that a master tape was the ‘holy grail’, more that it seemed a more logical aim/description than merely LP/vinyl sound. I guess I’m looking for something meaning natural, true, musical or whatever, without calling it ‘analogue’ or ‘vinyl’!  And whatever that is, is what these exalted DACs need to sound like.

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1 minute ago, Nopiano said:

Fair enough, as I didn’t literally mean that a master tape was the ‘holy grail’, more that it seemed a more logical aim/description than merely LP/vinyl sound. I guess I’m looking for something meaning natural, true, musical or whatever, without calling it ‘analogue’ or ‘vinyl’!

That’s ok and I have no idea how to frame it either!  But some seem obsessed with accuracy. It would be easier to pin the tail on the donkey; only it’s a live donkey that’s high on drugs and that has been stung by a huge hornet whilst wearing roller skates!!

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Yes, nothing beats the master obviously, but I think if you wanted to reproduced that as accurately as possible digital would be the nearest we could get, and without degradation. 

And as Dom points out there's digital and digital. Just as there was standard DVD and now there's 4k (or even 8k), things evolve to places that were unimaginable once for producers and engineers. Making music emotional though can be how we enjoy it if that comes off a pure analogue source over ones that's been converted has to be down to just preference.

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5 minutes ago, Nopiano said:

Fair enough, as I didn’t literally mean that a master tape was the ‘holy grail’, more that it seemed a more logical aim/description than merely LP/vinyl sound. I guess I’m looking for something meaning natural, true, musical or whatever, without calling it ‘analogue’ or ‘vinyl’!

Also I am coming round to the opinion that with the right replay chain digital can actually be satisfying. Although I think that in my case some of the happiness of finding new music on Spotify is clouding my judgement of the sound quality. 

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3 minutes ago, DomT said:

Also I am coming round to the opinion that with the right replay chain digital can actually be satisfying. Although I think that in my case some of the happiness of finding new music on Spotify is clouding my judgement of the sound quality. 

Its certainly more of an event putting an LP on than flicking through Spotify or whatever hearing the first track and moving onto the next album. And whatever way you hear it they do sound different.

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9 minutes ago, eddie-baby said:

Its certainly more of an event putting an LP on than flicking through Spotify or whatever hearing the first track and moving onto the next album. And whatever way you hear it they do sound different.

I think that you are right that with LP there is a more physical event and interaction with the music. But I also think that hearing an album for the first time, even if on a streaming service, is an ‘event’.

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To make life interesting I should have a Denafrips Terminator + and a Jays CD3 Mk 2 here soon as they are coming over on a slow boat from China. If it is burnt in by then it would add an interesting dimension. Depends on supply.

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7 hours ago, George 47 said:

To make life interesting I should have a Denafrips Terminator + and a Jays CD3 Mk 2 here soon as they are coming over on a slow boat from China. If it is burnt in by then it would add an interesting dimension. Depends on supply.

Ah, George. That should indeed be interesting and I am particularly interested to see how it sounds compared to the Holo May which only lasted three weeks here.

6 hours ago, eddie-baby said:

So when / where will this DAC Off be? Please don't tell me too far up country :)

I have offered as a venue (Fourlegs Towers Melton Mowbray - easy access from M1 and A1) but that is not cast in stone. 

As to when, I would very much like to hear the Terminator + compared to my DC4 ARC6 Dave as well as what else is on offer so if George is willing to play it rather depends on his slow boat / burn in regime / diary. The only thing I have which would affect dates is that GoldenSound wants to borrow my DC4 ARC6 Dave to do a rematch video against his favoured Holo May but no date is yet agreed.

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got a PS audio Directstream & powerbase, would be interested to see how it fares in this company. I still need to update the firmware (it's had a least two revisions since the article that prompted this thread, so would hope it would leap-frog a few of those above it in the list).

Melton is doable for me depending on dates.

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