DACs

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by three_paws, Jul 11, 2021.

  1. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Yea, I dunno. I definitely have had similar experiences, so I hear what you're saying. But I've been able to explain them (or at least have tried to explain them) by figuring out what I was doing (comparisons, different tracks, etc) that might have impacted my perception. I mean, there is no way to explain the subjective aspects of it, but that's why I keep harping on scientific evidence (or its absence, to be precise), since that would be objective.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2021
    h1pst3r88 likes this.
  2. h1pst3r88

    h1pst3r88 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, USA
    I just don't think there's any way to get objectivity in this particular slice of our collective interest.

    For example, as a 30 year musician I have good ears. However, I have hundreds of hours under headphones -- tracking, performing, and monitoring. It's not at all uncommon for me to spend 4 straight hours under cans working on something on my git.
    I have also 100s of gigs with amps and IEMs just doing the stuff of gigs. Good fun, but do I hear what virgin-eared youth hear?

    My current setup of a Line Magnetic SET amp or a Cayin 6L6-based push-pull amp with my Audio-GD r2r DAC and Omega tower speakers (with built in subs) makes absolutely sublime musical reproduction in my 18x14x9.5 room -- to me. My Black Ice DAC makes most of the lusciousness of the Audio-GD, but not quite equal -- to me.

    When my 17 and 18yo sons listened to Drake's latest the other day on the aforementioned system, both of them who 100% live under Apple airpods asked if I could setup speakers in their rooms so it "sounded like this".

    That gives me faith that I still have ears ;-)
     
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  3. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I agree that perception will always be subjective. I think it's not just different for each person, but it changes for each of us over time (sometimes years, sometimes minutes). But I think the impact of warm up, if it's real, ought to be objectively quantifiable. So, the science nerd in me thinks that unless we can provide evidence that for some reason DACs/audio gear benefit from warm up in a way that no other electronics do, the better explanation is that it's psychology rather than physics. Occam's razor.
     
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  4. Drew769

    Drew769 Buyer of s*** I never knew I lacked

    Location:
    NJ
    I’m not sure that actual scientists (as opposed to internet audiophiles) cannot quantify or scientifically qualify what people hear as their equipment changing after being used for a period of time. Even if they can’t, though, if the listener can hear it, that’s what matters. We are, after all, trusting our ears already in the decision to buy all of this equipment in the first place. If you don’t trust your ears and what they are telling you, then maybe it’s the wrong hobby?

    Many audio engineers that I trust - Richard Vandersteen, Ed Meitner, Dan Wright, Mark O’Brien, Grant Lenahan - all are kind of pragmatic, scientific, no nonsense kind of guys. They all believe in break in/burn in. In some cases it’s physical break in, such as speaker cones. In most equipment, though, it’s the dielectric effect. Vandersteen and Meitner both seem to be believers in the dielectric needing to stabilize, Vandersteen’s work in this area, in fact, is part of the AQ DBS system. Meitner is quoted as saying that his equipment needs 250 hours for the boards and other components of his DACs to reach “dielectric equilibrium.”

    As for me and my ears, I am much more likely to bias towards NOT hearing a change and being ticked off for wasting money. That has happened before. In the case of my DAC, I had bought my EMM Labs in V1 form, and it was well used and sounding fabulous. After a comprehensive upgrade to V2 status, I was expecting great things but was severely underwhelmed at first. 150 hours later, though, and the great sound was returning. I ran the system all day basically and listened in every 25 hours or so. Changes started around 50 hours in and continued improving from there.
     
  5. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Well, I agree scientists probably can't quantify our perception (unless maybe they're monitoring neural activity), but if there's a physical basis for a change in performance, it would presumably be detectable, no? I've yet to see anything like that. It seems that the main two reasons people have for believing in break in are (a) they seem to experience it and (b) some other people who have an audio engineering background believe it. But no one, including those people, can offer any scientific explanation. So, it can just as easily (if not more probably) be a shared psychology. For me the clincher is that no other gear exhibits this phenomenon, and no one seems to know why audio equipment would be different. So, I'm just not persuaded. Also, my skepticism is fueled by the fact that the last two pieces I bought--amp and DAC-- have sounded the same to me straight out of the box. I definitely have a more nuanced understanding of their sonic signatures, but I don't think the sound itself is different--I think it's just my take on them that's changed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2021
  6. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Oops, sorry, just saw that I misread what you said about scientists. I saw studies about neural rections to music done at Northwestern--really cool stuff. But I'm not sure that the readings are nuanced enough to detect small changes in perception. So I think the study of subject experience of music, at least at that level of detail, is probaby not available, at least right now.
     
  7. Nice Marmot

    Nice Marmot Nothin’ feels right but doin’ wrong anymore

    Location:
    Tryon NC
    Tonight I hooked up what this thread helped me decide to try. With my Rotel RC 1580, AB-1552, and PSB Imagine T‘s I’m running a new (refurbed) AudioLab 6000CDT and Topping D50sS. My first impression is there’s more detail than I’ve ever heard before… way more. I’m expecting a bit more of a break in period as I am 3 cds into my first listenings. It seems, so far though, that I kept the Rotel warmth I was used to with the AudioLab (the most popular descriptor of the 6000CDT is warm) but the detail from the D50S is just so much more (it was described this way in reviews… It’s why I blended them together, kind of like a recipe for sound I just had to hear - warm and detailed).

    My firsts: Jason Isbell - Southwestern, Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here and Nora Jones - Feels Like Home

    These are very familiar cds and I’m hearing so much more.
     
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  8. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Nice once. Congrats.
     
  9. Tajo1960

    Tajo1960 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Croatia
    Not same.
    Burr-Brown PCM5102A DAC vs DAC ES9010K2M
    Yamaha A-S701 Amplifier review, test
    Yamaha A-S801 vs A-S701 comparison
    It is easily found everywhere on the internet.
    For a short time I had a Yamaha A-S701. My neighbor has the same Yamaha.
    A friend had an A-S801.
     
  10. daglesj

    daglesj Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    Picked up a Topping E30 last week. Nice little box, plenty of oomph into the speakers from the line out.

    6 filters that have no audible difference between them which makes me laugh. Powered it off a USB phone Q standard charger.

    Worth a look for the price.
     
  11. Seeing as DACs are a constantly developing technology what do you believe is the maximum price worth paying for what would be near or at SOTA quality and performance.

    I think that we might want the best performance available today while realizing it might be surpassed in the not to distant future. It’s something like the constantly improving resolution in the TV area although with TV the improvement is very apparent.
     
  12. Bachtoven

    Bachtoven Forum Resident

    Location:
    CA
    My Chord Qutest sounds great—very rich, detailed, and realistic. The only problem is that DSD files are turned into distorted noise with my HP laptop (Yes, I installed the Windows driver), but my MacBook Pro plays them perfectly.
     
  13. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Higher resolution isn't necessarily better, though. I actually find too much detail takes away from the experience, at least for me.
     
    Khorn likes this.
  14. That’s very interesting. In what way do you believe hearing more clearly can impede perceived quality. I do believe some equipment is more musically satisfying than others and I’d always choose those first. Resolution alone doesn’t determine total sound quality in a piece of equipment. There’s a heck of a lot more to it than that.
     
  15. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    To me it's less realistic. IRL detail gets lost. And in recordings some details are meant to be in background/subtle. So I think making everything audible actually means less fidelity.

    I see this with cameras, too-- guys argue to death about sensors, etc. Who cares if you can zoom in. It's not meant to be a microscope...
     
  16. From my experience more resolution equals more fidelity.
    Years ago as a working photographer running around in places like the Middle East my go lens was a 200mm f:2.8 fixed focus lens on my 35mm Nikon body. Not your conventional “standard” lens but it very well suited my particular purpose.

    I find in musical cases more resolution among other things adds immensely to my enjoyment. Too each their own I guess and that’s how it should be.
     
  17. daglesj

    daglesj Forum Resident

    Location:
    Norfolk, UK

    Nah more resolution now means better cropping ability, that's about it. Image quality wise you are good from 12MP upwards. Ask all the folks using the new Sony 12MP 16bit RAW A7S III for stills instead of video. They are rather happy to their surprise.

    Anyway back to DACS...
     
  18. It was strictly film back in my day. I’m here cause in many cases they never knew I was there.
     
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  19. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so

    Still using my PS Audio DirectStream DAC . . . and loving it.
     
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  20. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I still much prefer film. Also, think about it-- have you ever seen a good photo and thought, "that's a good photo bc of the number of pixels"? I def haven't. Too much detail to me sometimes seems overly clinical in cameras and audio gear.
     
  21. It has to be a balance and that can be in your control.
     
  22. h1pst3r88

    h1pst3r88 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, USA
    Also a photog here (Lumix S1R, Sony RX10mkIV, Leica X-Vario, Leica CL) -- the higher resolution, namely my S1R at 46mp gives me the best dynamic range of any digital camera I have ever used. I do equate a similar but not the same experience listening to higher resolution formats.

    However, my old vinyl setup used to sound pretty sweet too, so go figure.
     
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  23. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Right, but I think there's a difference between technical potential and a good photo. To me, a good photo depends on variables other than greyscale. It's nice if that's there and the quality might seem off if it's not, but ultimately that's far less important to me than other aesthetic aspects. I'm not saying there's a right or wrong here, and I definitely think it's a cool technical achievement when a camera or other device pulls out details. But I actually prefer less of it. Maybe I'm just stuck in old school aesthetics: I much prefer vinyl and b&w film
     
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  24. h1pst3r88

    h1pst3r88 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, USA
    Certainly Cartier-Bresson would agree with you. That's the best thing about art... it is defined and redefined constantly; timeless and endlessly evolving at the same time.
     
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  25. three_paws

    three_paws deleted account Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Á propos art and art theory--the camera's ability to reproduce detail mechanically was the very reason why photography was dismissed as anything but art in the 19th century (and even more recently). It's a super interesting topic, at least to me.
     
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