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DAC's without/without XLR (Read 3642 times)
Fireblade
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Re: DAC's without/without XLR
Reply #15 - 04/26/13 at 02:56:44
 
I believe all our apparently contradictory conclusions and appraisals of either physical DACs' listening experiences or mental digestion of the different DAC literature discussions, are valid.

I also believe all conversion chips are pretty much very competent these days, but what we hear has more to do with a DAC's inherent power supply management, output stage design and execution, and the stemming synergies within a particular existing setup.

Depending on one's own sound perception patterns and preferences, personal expectations and a DAC's interaction with other components, a particular DAC could well be 'better' sounding than most others.

Also, technology is rapidly evolving in this field, and what recently was deemed as one of the best, soon becomes obsolete. In this merry-go-round, the best DAC is the one that offers best bang for the buck according to our own theoretical preconceptions, trust in others' opinions and how close the DAC's sound matches our subjective sound expectations.

In the end, it is sort of fun to have the illusion of 'choosing' the 'better' DAC for the moment, regardless of the absolute (and unidentifiable) sound value of our choices. It's all part of the game.
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AiDee
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Re: DAC's without/without XLR
Reply #16 - 04/26/13 at 03:01:24
 
Donnie, I agree with you! I was just trying to help out Dom with some information.

I don't know whether what I have sounds good or not. And it doesn't concern me. The DAC comparison I referred to was because some head-fiers asked me to do it, was all  :). And I learned something interesting about how to listen. DACs, it turns out, are subtle.

Yet, really, DACs are the least of life's problems. Sometimes nice to be in the position to have them as a worry though  ;)

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Palomino
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Re: DAC's without/without XLR
Reply #17 - 04/26/13 at 14:21:25
 
I think the secret is being able to switch gears  - if you enjoy the technical pursuit that is.

I enjoy the reading, tweaking, building, & buying and I am in the trap to a certain degree, but at night I am content to just listen and enjoy.

You still have me interested in the Beresford DAC, Aidee.  My first DAC was a Beresford 7510.  I thought it was pretty good till I heard the Bifrost.  I'd like to try the Bushmaster with a 12v battery.  Worth a try at such a low price.
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Mac Mini with Adirvana, Onkyo ND-S1 Digital Transport (modified) with linear power supply, iPod Classic, Beresford Bushmaster MKII (on 12V Battery), Signal Cable Digital Coax, Decware ICs, SE34I.32, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, PS Audio Power Cords, DIY Speakers
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SteveC
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Re: DAC's without/without XLR
Reply #18 - 04/26/13 at 18:24:24
 
Agree with everything everyone has said.  "they are subtle differences"  "life's short, enjoy the music" "beauty is in the ear of the listener" and  "love the one you're with".

I've only had 4 dacs ever.   MHDT Havana.  ZDAC.  BiFrost.  and some cheap toy usb powered dac.  

Havana vs. ZDAC at home (torii3+HDTs).   ZDAC was very clear and clean vs. Havana in a very obvious way.    people write that Havana is colored yet very musical.  I say ZDAC is very music and accurate.  I preferred this.   That's in my home system.

Brought Havana to work with the se84ckc +trapeziums.  was fine, but I wanted something better and heard about this Schiit Bifrost and the founders experience in the audio industry.  I later heard from a guy at Decfest about his experience with older Theta gear.  Those high opinions and that one of the theta guys is behind Schiit, and the bang for the buck made me go for the Bifrost.  again, clarity beat colored musicality.  (anyone want to buy a very musical Havana?).

So I have bang for the buck dac's right now.  I'm saving my tokens for a "real" dac in the future and currently believe my choice will be the future schiit dac. (because of the companies heritage and great value based on the Bifrost and Gungnir examples).

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will
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Re: DAC's without/without XLR
Reply #19 - 04/26/13 at 20:55:04
 
I think it all depends on everything else, each part in the system effecting the whole of the sound. So if one or more parts negate the sound transmission in any way, then we can hear less of the other part's potential, and/or differences by comparison. This can easily make DAC's differences less apparent. Alternately, a transparent and revealing system might show notable distinctions between the same DACs.

From my explorations there is no question that wire and how it is configured has a lot of variation that can be notable in the sound. Even different oxygen free copper of the same wire specs can change the final voice. Then look at makers like Steve who tend to use a lot of silver wire...different again....and different electrolytic coatings on the same wire effect the sound. And this is only the wire.

Then there are the bigger choices. Caps are huge in my experience, at least for the deep refinement of organic yet musical and revealing music. You could take any of the DACs mentioned here and change the output caps, and you would have a different sounding DAC. My used Tranquility DAC came with V-caps as a special order. I kept hearing something inauthentic in the presentation and kept up with Eric and DbAudioLabs about it. Finally I said it sounded like possibly caps to me, so I looked inside finding out this unit had V-caps. He said he would have to hear it to see if he thought changing the caps might help so I sent it back. He did not like the sound either, put in the caps they had carefully voiced the DAC with, and put in their latest outputs.

No reservations whatsoever after the new stuff burnt in. The same DAC, but in terms of subtle refinement, it became a very different DAC...much more revealing, organic and engrossing. It made the DAC more or less disappear. But V-Caps are considered by many to be one of the best in the world. I think this points not to the quality of the V-Caps, but to how critical synergistic voicing is in making gear, and to how powerful each part can be in the signal chain.

I can hear subtle but meaningful differences in my system with Isocup placement under the Torii. Or with different feet under my Mac Mini server! IC or power cord rolling can be notable and powerful for ultimate refinement. The Tranquility is particularly responsive to different power cords and ICs indicating to me how revealing the Tranquility is. And all the cords I play with sound good, but there are power cord and IC configurations in the System that really excel. Even minor setting changes in my Music player, Pure Music, can be big. But my sytem/room is very revealing, and I am continually working on the last few percent. I find this a fascinating area that is worth a lot more to the overall sense of the musical experience than 2 percent!!! A LOT more.

So my take is that it all depends on everything else.

A basically well designed and well implemented DACs can all do well, but if the system/room allows it to be heard, even subtle differences can be heard. This is the area where it really counts, and the old adage that source is the most important part becomes bigtime true. If the sound is truncated or negatively colored at the beginning, the rest of the system is hobbled. But also, we can wipe out the gains of a better sounding DAC with cords!

That said, there do seem to be a lot of great sounding DACs at relatively reasonable costs, and the "subjective" part is only natural, our preferences all being individual...but the system/room the DAC is set up within is also HUGE in terms of what we might or might not hear.
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AiDee
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Re: DAC's without/without XLR
Reply #20 - 04/26/13 at 20:57:50
 
Great summary SteveC. I'm awaiting Schiit's statement DAC with interest too, for the same reasons as you - Mike Moffat has real pedigree, and with Jason doing the output implementation...

Definitely terrific points in this thread. Btw Beowulf - I probably sounded like I disagreed with you some? I don't. I think the old snake oil comes out when it's the same old engineering, same old parts/cost and one needs a 'point of difference' to get one's 'new' unit selling Wink

But then you get ultra-careful, spend money only where it counts approaches like the people behind Anedio, or Jan Meier (Stagedac; Daccord).

And even better, out of the box thinking like John Kenny's (eliminate power supply noise with quiet batteries) and whatever it is Stanley Beresford's done with his new dac.

(Of course, we have an example of both these latter approaches with our very own Steve Deckert).

Palomino, can't remember whether I mentioned my Bushmaster broke down  :'( Just bad luck, but also possibly the drawback of manufacturing at low cost. With three other dacs in the house and a busy life, repair has not been a priority and testing has been delayed.

Still, FWIW (just my subjective view!) I rate it at least as good as Meier's approx. $650, very competent Wolfson implementation. I found Bushmaster resolving - unexpectedly good at separating and presenting different instrumental textures - and transparent. Maybe a touch bass-heavy (but high quality, textured, detailed bass), and great fun.

Edit: Will, nice points!
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« Last Edit: 04/26/13 at 21:02:08 by AiDee »  
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Palomino
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Re: DAC's without/without XLR
Reply #21 - 04/26/13 at 21:11:59
 
Yes, you mentioned that it had to go back to Stan.  Thanks for your opinions on the unit.  Right now, I am in need of a phono pre, but that dac experiment may be next.

I could not agree with Will's point more and feel that it is a definte, tangible, value-add of Decware that Steve designs his products with that synergy in mind.
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Mac Mini with Adirvana, Onkyo ND-S1 Digital Transport (modified) with linear power supply, iPod Classic, Beresford Bushmaster MKII (on 12V Battery), Signal Cable Digital Coax, Decware ICs, SE34I.32, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, PS Audio Power Cords, DIY Speakers
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AiDee
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Re: DAC's without/without XLR
Reply #22 - 04/27/13 at 22:53:35
 
Just a heads-up re Bifrost - schiit just released an 'über' upgrade board if you already have the dac or upgrade at purchase option if you don't. Plus $70 either way.

Based on the output stage of the gungnir; might address my issues with bifrost.

Anyways, I intend to find out... Shocked
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Palomino
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Re: DAC's without/without XLR
Reply #23 - 04/28/13 at 12:35:04
 
Thanks for the heads up!

$100 if they do it.  $70 if you do it.

Interesting mod schedule idea.  Wait till they tell you to send it in and they promise quick turnaround.
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« Last Edit: 04/28/13 at 12:44:38 by Palomino »  

Mac Mini with Adirvana, Onkyo ND-S1 Digital Transport (modified) with linear power supply, iPod Classic, Beresford Bushmaster MKII (on 12V Battery), Signal Cable Digital Coax, Decware ICs, SE34I.32, PS Audio Power Plant Premier, PS Audio Power Cords, DIY Speakers
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Dom
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time Rock and Roll!!

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Re: DAC's without/without XLR
Reply #24 - 04/28/13 at 16:07:41
 
Interestingly enough... The uber upgrade brings the THD, IMD, and S/N ratio specs equal to the specs of the Gungnir.

Bifrost.... http://schiit.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=0&products_id=...

Gungnir.... http://schiit.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=0&products_id=...

The Gungnir is going to be my Xmas gift....so depending on the price, features, and specs......I may consider buying their Statement DAC if it's available. Smiley

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