New DAC Is Amazing

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Rattlin' Bones, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. Henry J

    Henry J If you get confused, listen to the music play

    Location:
    Asbury Park, NJ
    Since R2R DAC's are the old school method, wouldn't they be favored by those who grew up with digital?
     
  2. Archimago

    Archimago Forum Resident

    Well, I kinda grew up with both vinyl and digital. So I guess there's no preference then ;-).

    Look at the linearity of the 1-bit vs. R2R multibit. Easier for 1-bit to do and R2R catching up nicely over the last few years (hence the renewed interest I think). Finding correlations with sound quality there I think is better. In audiophilia (as in life IMO), it's too easy to just look at extremes. I don't think it matters much whether a device is 1-bit or R2R that's important for the final sound quality.

    Both capable of excellent performance; just different ways to get the same thing done.
     
    tfunk182 and kiddo4 like this.
  3. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I don't use anything formal or special. Not running a lab down there, just listening to some different devices on familiar recordings.
     
  4. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    That used to be my method but came to the realization that our ears/brain really play tricks on us when it comes to volume levels, especially with DACs since their differences are often in the subtleties. Does make comparisons a PITA though.
     
    C.Ludwig and toddrhodes like this.
  5. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I don't disagree. How do you do it? It's an area that I've always found interesting but just kinda only cared enough to read about, not to actually implement :)
     
  6. Helom

    Helom Forum member

    Location:
    U.S.
    These days, for convenience, I do the best I can with a good quality, handheld db meter and test tone. My rooms are probably quiet enough for this method to produce reliable results within 0.5db. I think ideally, one would do it by measuring the output voltage at the preamp jacks using a high sensitivity voltage meter. That way ambient noise is removed from the equation. Seems to me our ears are sensitive to changes
    within a couple 10ths of a db, at midrange frequencies anyhow, so I think even a good db meter can lead to erroneous results.

    But probably similar to you, I do sometimes go with whatever DACs makes me feel better from an purely subjective standpoint. That’s basically how I concluded I prefer the Denafrips sound over Topping.

    I do plan to perform a level-matched comparison between my Denafrips and Questyle DACs in the near future.
     
    toddrhodes likes this.
  7. saturdayboy

    saturdayboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    A higher signal to noise ratio is measurable
     
  8. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    One way I do comparisons when I don't want to, or can't, level match the comparison is to lower the volume to zero when switching each DAC or amp. Then turn the volume up to what is the right listening level that song with that gear. With all gear there is a right listening level that the gear prefers. A listening level that you will gravitate to if you owned the gear and listened to it regularly.

    This sort of comparison isn't scientific. And isn't reliable for quick comparisons. But if you do it over and over for days while comparing the gear you'll come to realize which sounds better and learn what listening level it prefers. And make a decision based on that. I find this method reflects actual use and what listening level I actually will use the gear at.

    I do have a SPL meter and can level match based on test tones. I can do comparisons that way too.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2021
    punkmusick, C.Ludwig and toddrhodes like this.
  9. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    Another issue with level matched comparisons of DACs is that to actually do it requires more than just a SPL meter. You also need a high quality switch box and a high quality passive attenuator. The passive attenuator is to lower the volume of the louder DAC to match the volume of the quieter DAC. That's gear that costs money. The quality stuff isn't cheap. And if you want to test balanced gear you need to splurge for balanced versions of a switch box and passive attenuator.

    There are other ways to level match and compare DACs. For example using digital volume adjustments when using computer as source. JRiver Media Center can do that. Set up a zone for each DAC and volume match the zones using the digital volume. But then you introduce differences due to digital volume and one DAC no longer getting a bit perfect signal. And this won't work if you're comparing pure DSD.
     
  10. WDeranged

    WDeranged Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Everything is measurable. I doubt there is a human alive who can hear beyond a -90db noise floor.
     
  11. saturdayboy

    saturdayboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    Really, since when was everything measurable?
     
  12. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    If everything is measurable then you're measuring the wrong things.
     
    Jazzabana, rodentdog and saturdayboy like this.
  13. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I took a major step down (in price) to a Bifrost 2.

    Frankly, I can't justify having DAC's of the caliber of May and even Venus II, when I don't listen any more often than I do to something a bit more midrange-tier.

    And, frankly, I'm enjoying the hell out of this thing. It's still early but it's just fun to hear. It's less about "what it can do" and more about "what it sounds like." Sounds fun. Sounds engaging, and I'm loving it.

    Will it be my forever DAC? No. I like to hear different stuff, just the way I roll. But I absolutely think this thing is the bee's knees for the $600 I have in it. Truly enjoyable, and that's across all the genres I've tried so far. But I think it excels at studio recordings, as opposed to being scary-realistic on acoustic pieces like the higher dollar NOS DACs can be (with assist from HQ Player, I might add). And I'm not using HQ Player with Bifrost. Not yet anyway - wanted to hear it au naturale first.
     
  14. Huck

    Huck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I have been looking to upgrade my sound lately and maybe a new DAC can help.
    I have been on the fence about the Denafrips AresII,but not sure if it would do it for me...now I see the El DAC II,which won't break the bank too much.
    I have two systems I could use this El DAC in since it has a small footprint...my upstairs computer headphone set-up...computer >USB>Benchmark DAC1 USB>Shure SRH1840 phones.
    Downstairs system OPPO BDP-95 >Parasound P6 pre-amp>Yamaha powered speakers,RCF sub.
    Would I hear a difference for the better if I bypassed the DACS in the Oppo,P6 in my speaker system,also if I bypassed the DAC in the Benchmark headphone system,going with the EL DAC II?.Thanks,Huck
     
  15. Huck

    Huck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I just bought one JDS Labs EL DAC II and hope it trounces the DAC in either my Copland CDA822 CD player or the Oppo BDP-95 Blu-ray.
    I was looking at the Denafrips AresII and the PontusII,but they both seemed too much for want I want to do,just play CD's..no streamng.Huck
     
    Rick58 likes this.
  16. Huck

    Huck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Does the EL DAC II need some kind of burn-in period?...I ask because I just bought one and I can't really describe the sound,just different...I dunno?!
    I am using it with my CD player as a transport,no streaming.Thanks,Huck
     
  17. rodentdog

    rodentdog Forum Resident

    @Huck. Leave it on for a few days and come back to it.
     
  18. Huck

    Huck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Thanks..Huck
     
  19. mcdmdmd

    mcdmdmd New Member

    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    If I put a hybrid SACD/CD into the BDP-103, will it play the SACD side?
    Does it give me a choice?
     
  20. mcdmdmd

    mcdmdmd New Member

    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    Another question: I do not want to use a TV to set-up or use the OPPO 103 for music. I just want to use it as an SACD transport. Is that reasonable?
     
  21. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    You might want to get a small monitor to connect to it anyway. Something you can use with an HDMI connection. They do make some dinky ones these days, that you could still use as a fold-down screen when needed.
     
  22. mcdmdmd

    mcdmdmd New Member

    Location:
    Norfolk, VA
    I have decided to get this one:

    Arcam - CDS50 - SACD/CD Player

    Two reasons: It is a bit cheaper than the others I was looking at and it offers streaming, which I don't use but my kids would appreciate
     
    adamos likes this.
  23. adamos

    adamos Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southeastern PA
    I’d suggest skimming this thread if you haven’t already; I like Arcam but some people have apparently had some issues with that one:

    Arcam CDS50 CD / SACD Player And Streamer
     
  24. Huck

    Huck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I am using a OPPO BDP-95 as a transport and I have the co-ax output going to the El DAC via RCA digital co-ax,but now the Oppo won't play Hybrid SACD...is this normal with this RCA co-ax cable hook-up.?.what about toslink,would that work?.Thanks,Huck
     
  25. Huck

    Huck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I should have said that the Oppo 95 reads and plays the Hybrid,but no volume output....menu set as PCM.
    It used to play all Hybrids before hooking up the DAC?! Huck
     

Share This Page

molar-endocrine