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Computer vs Transport discusion and information (Read 10015 times)
mac5u
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #30 - 05/05/11 at 01:13:21
 
Will,

What is stopping you from trying out an asynchronous DAC?  You mentioned something comparably priced to a ZDAC /ZStage.  You can find a Music Hall 25.2 on AudigoN from time-to-time at a price easily lower than the ZDAC/ZStage combo.  I don't own one but heard one in friend's system.  It is async and you have a choice of either solid state or tube output.
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mac5u
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #31 - 05/05/11 at 01:36:22
 
Greg (Pale Rider) mentioned several DACs above that would serve equally well, and most likely better, but all are also at a price point above the MH.  I mentioned the MH as an easy entry / easy exit for you in case it didn't suit your tastes.
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Pale Rider
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #32 - 05/05/11 at 01:46:56
 
Actually, it looks like the 25.2 is easily available for quite a bit less than the ZDAC, and the 25.3, the newer version, is available at Amazon for 595. It may well sound very nice, and it seems to receive nice reviews, but that TI chipset would not be my first choice. And I would be surprised if it had the level of musicality of the ZDAC, asynchronous or not.
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Pale Rider
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #33 - 05/05/11 at 01:51:05
 
Quote:
Greg (Pale Rider) mentioned several DACs above that would serve equally well, and most likely better, but all are also at a price point above the MH.  I mentioned the MH as an easy entry / easy exit for you in case it didn't suit your tastes.


That is a very valid point.
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will
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #34 - 05/05/11 at 03:11:45
 
Mac5U, Sorry, bad English....I really love the ZDAC1, especially with the Zstage, but the Zstage, I strongly suspect I would want with any DAC since it is a great sounding tube stage, but of equal importance a gain stage.

But...... in my previous post, though I meant (in my own pathetic mind) the ZDAC, not the ZDAC/Zstage, as I consider it now, I would be surprised if any 1500 DAC out there could beat this combination. And even if a 1500 DAC sounded better than the ZDAC, the lost functionality of the Zstage is likely a deal breaker for me.

And this brings up another point I was not clear on in my earlier post. I am not dissatisfied, in need, or even suspicious.....more just curious how Steve's design efforts would compare with a well implemented DAC that incorporates async technology.....my guess being that it would stack up very well.

Trouble is, to audition anything good just out of curiosity is not easy. It usually costs a 10-15% restocking fee, and typically needs a long burnin to really hear. So for me, buying a used DAC or a new one makes little sense at this point unless it sounds more compelling than what I have.

I have no doubt that the async is a good tool, but also I have no doubt that it is only part of a very big story. I think what we hear is the bottom line. And which circuits, clocks, chips, wires and all are important.....but most important is that they are optimized for synergy, and with sound (judged by trusted ears) the most important thing, no matter which jitter solutions are used.

Seems to me that every trend that comes along becomes "the truth" in our world, and in the process, we tend to become lax in our creative process, often missing trial and error discoveries due to our ever-shifting myopic focus. Now a lot of the talk is rightly focused on Jitter and noise, along with other things that prove that digital music it is not all 1s and 0s. And the jitter guys say jitter is most important, while the noise guys say noise is.

Luckily though, there are folks with little companies, good ears and good minds trying hard to fulfill their own creative audio desires....like Steve Deckert, Bob Ziegler, Eric Hider @ Db Labs and their ilk, who think inside and outside the box....their experimentation taking them to places they did not expect to go, and ending up with great stuff at reasonable prices. My taste for sure, but I am happy with my ZDAC, just curious.
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« Last Edit: 05/05/11 at 06:14:06 by will »  

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mac5u
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #35 - 05/06/11 at 00:12:07
 
Curiosity is a big part of this hobby, Will.  You have plenty of experience trying different things in your system.  There is always the chance that a new component will fix one thing but maybe break another thing, or said in another way, reveal an unknown weakness in the system.

I won't argue the merits of asynchronous vs. the method that Steve employs.  Brett and Greg seem to have a good handle on the theory and experience to back up their positions.  

Shortly after reading Brett's post on 05/01 at 11:23, I went to the Wavelength website and reviewed information on the Concepts pagehttp://www.usbdacs.com/Concept/Concept.html.  A lot of what he wrote made sense and seemed to parallel the points Brett was making so I finally started to get it.  Namely, clocking problems associated with SPDIF goes away.  

From Wavelength:  [The asynchronous DAC, in this case, the Cosecant Brett mentioned earlier] tells the computer it can do 16, 24, 32 bit audio at various sampling rates up to 192K.  Since the USB receiver only has to handle these frequencies, the clocking to the separate DAC IC has almost no jitter. SPDIF actually has to be synched to the exact frequency of the transport (i.e. if the transport is working at say 44.0896K instead of 44.1K the dac has to sync to that frequency).

Therefore there is no interface jitter like you see in SPDIF. So using USB we have a zero error protocol to link the computer to the DAC and very low jitter.

What Steve does to minimize this issue, I am not sure but from what I understand, using other than an asynchronous DAC, the computer controls the audio transfer rate, and the USB device has to follow along updating the Master Clock.  In your Mac Mini, you mention you have turned off all but the most essential processes so that helps a lot.

With gas going up as much as it is, I am re-thinking my plans to drive to Decfest this year.  I really want to do it, though, and it seems a great way to overcome some of the issues of auditioning equipment. Using this example here, it would be easy to listen to an asynchronous DAC against the ZDAC /ZStage.   Whether the difference would be discernible, and if so, whether it would be as discernible in your own room with your own equipment is another matter but it does provide a starting point to consider if a home audition is a worthwhile exercise.
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will
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #36 - 05/06/11 at 06:03:54
 
Thanks Mac5u,    Yes, there is little doubt async technology is a good thing. I guess I currently judge my stuff by its ability to completely engage me in the music, and if it does that without async, thats good with me.

When my system is tuned nicely, my mind shifts around from amazement, to gratitude, to disappearing into the beauty and back.... I have never experienced this with any other system, and by the sounds of other's reports on their systems, this appears to be a relatively rare thing. So I am very happy with the technology I have. Curious still, and always on the lookout for refinements, but in a good place. This is by no means saying that async is not a good thing.
Wink

This discussion has peaked my interest, no doubt, I just reckon no one thing is enough to make a good DAC. I might explore trying a async interface one day. Who knows.

If I recall correctly you have had the home audition jitters too Huh, wanting to hear some Decware gear before diving in. If this is still the case....I hope you can get the gas money to go to Illinois. I can't imagine you would regret it.
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« Last Edit: 05/06/11 at 06:05:15 by will »  

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Donnie
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #37 - 05/17/11 at 00:25:42
 
How do I error check the music files in my computer? Is there a online service for this? How do I know if my files are intact and compleat?
I've got nothing but time to kill until my ZDAC gets back, I might as well put it to good use.
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will
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #38 - 05/17/11 at 15:51:57
 
Donnie, I have only used error correction with Mac software from CD to files. There is definitely good Windows software for the job, but, I don't know it. Seems to me there is some talk of Windows extraction and playback software in the long ZDAC thread if you want to wade through it. Seems like if you could check out the specific software, then you could find out if file to file error correction was possible.

http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1269827547

Also, have you checked out...

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/forum     and
http://www.computeraudiophile.com/faq

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Donnie
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #39 - 05/18/11 at 01:06:15
 
Thanks Will,
I'm digging into this. Who knows where I will end up at. If no one hears from me in a few days you will know that I have went off of the deep end.
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Lon
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and informatio
Reply #40 - 05/18/11 at 01:35:04
 
But wait. . . isn't THIS the deep end?

Cheesy
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« Last Edit: 05/18/11 at 01:35:36 by Lon »  

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Donnie
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #41 - 05/18/11 at 02:05:20
 
Lon,
You are right, my first post was about me dropping off into the deep end here. I guess that now I am dropping off into the "Double Secret" deep end.
I have learned so much in the last few months around here. Many would have thought that I was some kind of wacked out weirdo who wanted to play computer files through a tube amp. Now I see that there are quite a few others that have put MUCH more effort into it than I.
I guess that I am going to hang around here for quite a while. I want to see where this story ends.
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Pale Rider
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #42 - 05/18/11 at 05:17:07
 
There's a deep end?
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will
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Re: Computer vs Transport discusion and information
Reply #43 - 05/18/11 at 05:37:03
 
Wink
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