Life after Yggdrasil: Watering the Ash

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Torq, Mar 1, 2017.

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  1. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Life after Yggdrasil: Watering the Ash (aka: “Here we go again …”)

    Almost a year ago now I started a thread on Head-Fi called “Life after Yggdrasil?”, which some of you may have seen before. While that specific exploration has run its course (you can read the thread itself, and a little about the history of it, if you’re interested), and this year will have more of a vinyl focus for me, I wanted to resurrect that thread/process, in spirit at least, here.

    This post is the introduction and “management” post, read on below for more details, but this is the jumping off point for:
    Why ressurect this?
    • I do still audition DACs, and there are some potentially interesting things afoot in that realm that will be worth staying abreast of.
    • I spend the vast majority of my audio-centric online-time here now, and often find it useful to refer to that old thread, so doing the new one here makes more sense.
    • I want to update/refresh some of the original content.
    • It’ll be a lot more fun doing it here - for me at least.
    Why update the content?

    For one thing, since my last “impressions-post” there I’ve gotten to spend more time with some of the DACs I originally evaluated, including having bought some of them (and even kept them for a while) and want to update my impressions – some have changed and in a few cases quite markedly.

    Even for those units that I’ve not spent more time with, I intend to update my commentary to be more in line with what I really wanted to say, but had to be more, shall we say, “diplomatic” about. Without the same kind of vendor-sensitivities here, I can be a bit more direct with my thoughts, analogies and descriptions. And that updated style of commentary will be maintained for any new impressions I post.

    Newer impressions, and those for which I care to go back through my detailed notes, may get graphed, plotted, illustrated and otherwise embellished. To the extent it is possible, I may put up a summary chart, along the lines of “Marvey’s DAC Chart of Awesomeness” … we’ll see.

    Also, where possible, and relevant (since some were more complete than others) I will add more specific listening notes for updated content. New auditions will be more along the lines of some of the "reviews" and "comparisons" I've posted recently so should have that sort of thing from the get-go.

    What’s else is different this time?

    The major difference for this cycle is that I’m not in need of another DAC and I’m not trying to find something to “beat” Yggdrasil. Now, Yggdrasil will still be the main point of comparison both for continuity and as a well-known reference; however, I will include direct comparisons against other DACs for any units I audition going forward.

    Another big difference is that I’m going to be much less restrictive about what I audition. I had some very specific desires, preferences and biases in the original thread – since I was looking at buying something purely for me. For better or worse, with no personal-purchase-intent here that opens things up for making essentially any DAC a candidate for inclusion and any impressions or evaluations will be broader and hopefully more useful to others.

    How’s this going to work?

    This first post will act as the introduction and primary index for everything else that’s relevant to what I’m doing here. It’ll link to a post that indexes all completed auditions/impressions and provides links to them, another that catalogs currently requested DACs, one that maintains my audition playlist (for reference), and probably one for the “historical” stuff.

    Things will probably shuffle about a bit as I see how things work, so expect to see edits here as things get going.

    What’s going to be auditioned?

    This is where you come in ... anyone can suggest a DAC for inclusion, though some voices will carry more weight in this (and it should go without saying that “Friends” and “Contributors” will trump Randos).
    • This does not mean anything requested will automatically a) make it on to the list or b) make it to being auditioned if it does, but it does mean I'll be less instantly-dismissive of stuff I don't personally have an interest in. Well, maybe.
    • Some units I’ll be able to audition easily enough (friends, family, dealers) that including them won’t be a problem – it’ll just be time and logistics in getting those done.
    • Others may be facilitated through the various loaner programs SBAF runs. However, I will not personally be advocating for any specific DACs to go on the loaner programs (I would only do that for something I’ve already heard that I think other’s might enjoy).
    • Anything over-enthusiastically and/or repeatedly requested by apparent shills may well be ridiculed heavily and then left off the list in perpetuity ("I Don't Care" - "We hurt the ones we love the most").
    • The only sure-fire ways to get something on the list and auditioned will be for you to arrange getting hold of one and putting it in my hands OR contributing the unit to the SBAF "gear lending library".
    For historical reasons, people continually requesting stuff that’s either already been requested and is on the list or has been rejected for some reason, will be called out for being twats. And they’ll learn to read, use the search function or my “dislike” button will get a workout.

    What next?

    Over the next couple of weeks* I’ll be updating various impressions and publishing those here, updating the necessary index posts as I go. Then the new auditions will begin.

    If there are things you think are worth auditioning you can start requesting them in the thread as of now. Ideally, you’re suggesting something you’ve heard yourself, and will include a brief comment or two as to why it’s worth auditioning, but that’s not a requirement and it can be simply that there’s something you’re aware of that’s interesting and hasn’t been brought up elsewhere yet.

    The 2nd and 3rd posts in this thread will be the ones you want to watch most closely if you’re participating actively in this process. And once things are settled down a bit I may restructure things to make the first post a more direct index to actual DACs.

    Updates to come as needed …

    So, as the Ramones so eloquently put it … “Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!” …

    --

    *I’m going to try and get a couple or three done tonight, along with the history and basic content for the main index posts, and then a few more tomorrow, just to set the stage.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
  2. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Auditioned DACs and Links to Impressions

    DACs in this list have been auditioned already - and in some cases I own, or have owned, the DACs in question.

    As the updated impressions are posted the individual DAC names will become links that'll take you to their respective commentary*. Detailed links about the DAC, it's manufacturer, and other salient information will be maintained in the individual impressions posts.

    Indicated prices are based on current street prices. These may indicate sale prices. MSRP is in brackets where it is not known of the found "street" price is permanent or not.

    After each DAC are some simple indicators, which have changed if compared to the original thread:
    • (-) - indicates a DAC didn't measure up to Yggdrasil, in my opinion.
    • (=) - indicates something I think is competitive with Yggdrasil, or makes for an interesting alternative.
    • (+) - something superlative, it might "beat**" Yggdrasil, or may move the state of the art forward in some way.
    • (~) - denotes there was something odd, or unresolved, about the evaluation.
    • (!) - will be applied where something is remarkable, disruptive, or particularly interesting about a given unit.
    • (*) - I own, or owned, this unit for some period of time (possibly still currently).
    • † - Impressions/commentary have been augmented/updated since I wrote the original thread.
    • ("Hands On") is a link to either impressions, or a review, by @Hands
    Details for these indicators will be contained in the per-DAC listening impressions and commentaries. Individual units may carry more than one of these indicators:
    --

    *Until I've completed the backlog of updating and migrating my impressions, some items here will just be place holders ... and they'll switch to being active links as I get the relevant content updated and posted.
    **This is not the goal of this set of evaluations, but Yggdrasil IS the current benchmark DAC here.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
  3. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Requested/Suggested & Pending DAC List

    This is the current list of DACs that have been requested to be added to the audition queue. As items from this list actually get auditioned they'll be removed from this entry and added to the "Auditioned DACs and Links to Impressions" post.

    In the interests of not making yourself look like a total muppet, please make sure that if you're going to request a DAC be evaluated that it is:
    1. Not already covered in the "Auditioned DACs" list.
    2. Not already in this list.
    3. If it IS in this list, but is marked as "rejected", that you're offering to make the unit available yourself*.
    After the "delight" that was some of the repetitive request-nonsense from the original thread, I have an itchy, and under-used, "dislike" finger and won't hesitate to exercise it on those that can't be bothered to read (or just plain can't read) and/or that are too lazy to take a moment to look in these lists and see what's already done.

    *Nagging me to reconsider a DAC that's been nominated, but I've declined, per item 3, above, is also likely to trigger my dislike-reflex. However, if you want to make said unit available yourself then I will generally be open to including it and getting it done quickly.

    Color coding for current DACs on the "Requested with Intent to Audition" list is as follows:
    • Accepted and Pending
    • Rejected
    • Rejected - But may relent if there is sufficient interest/someone (that's not me) can arrange a demo/loan unit
    • Provisionally Accepted (with unknown logistical/acquisition realities - may lead to rejection if not resolvable)
    Unless I'm sure about both if, and how, I can get my hands (or ears) on a particular manufacturer's device, new additions will be classified as "Provisionally Accepted". Once that's figured out they'll switch to "Accepted and Pending". If difficulties arise in getting a demo/audition unit subsequently, items may move back to "Provisionally Accepted" status and if issues continue they'll wind up getting flipped to "Rejected".

    Note: For DACs likely to have difficult logistics (if they have no obvious US dealers it's a good bet it's going to be somewhere between hard and impossible to get without actually buying one) you're encouraged to resolve a path to getting a loaner/demo, or at least identifying an actual person I can talk to about it*, before requesting it here (you can post details with your request).

    Additionally, DACs may have a ("Hands On") link associated with them. This will take you to either impressions, or a review, of that DAC by @Hands.

    And the current nominations for DACs in the category of "someone wants them evaluated" are:
    • Aqua: La Scala II Opto-Logic
    • Aqua: Formula
    • Artistic Fidelity: arfi-dac2
    • Audial: Model S Mk III ("Hands On")
    • Audio Alchemy: DDP-1
    • Audio-GD: NOS1704 ("Hands On")
    • Audio Note: DAC 5
    • Auralic: Altair
    • Benchmark: DAC 3
    • Berkely Audio Design: Alpha DAC Reference Series 2
    • Boulder: 2120 DAC
    • Burl: B2 "Bomber" DAC
    • Chord: Hugo2
    • CH Precision: C1 DAC
    • Crane Song: Solaris
    • Dangerous Music: Convert-2
    • dCS: Debussy
    • dCS: Rossini
    • dCS: Vivaldi
    • DDDAC: 1794
    • Denafrips: Pontus
    • EAR: DAC 4
    • EC Designs: Mosaic UV
    • EMM Labs: DAC2X
    • Emotiva: Stealth DC-1
    • Empirical Audio: Overdrive SE
    • Exogal: Comet
    • K&K Audio: RAKK DAC
    • LampizatOr: <anything>
    • Lavry Engineering: DA924
    • Lavry Engineering: Quintessence
    • LH Labs: Vi DAC
    • Metronome: C8
    • Metrum: Pavane (DAC TWO revision, Level 3)
    • Metrum: Adagio ("Hands On")
    • Metrum: Menuette ("Hands On")
    • Metrum: Musette ("Hands On")
    • Metrum: Quad/Octave/Hex ("Hands On")
    • MHDT: Atlantis ("Hands On")
    • MHDT: Stockholm v2
    • Mojo Audio: Mystique V2
    • Mousai MSD 192
    • MSB: Analog
    • MSB: Diamond DAC V
    • MSB: SELECT DAC
    • MSB: Signature DAC V
    • Mytek: Brooklyn
    • Phasure: NOS 1a
    • PS Audio: Gain Cell DAC
    • Rega: DAC-R
    • RME: ADI-2 Pro
    • Rockna: Wavedream DAC
    • Schiit: Modi MB
    • Schiit: Bifrost MB
    • Schiit: Gungnir MB
    • Sim Audio: 280D
    • Sim Audio: 780D
    • Sonic Frontiers: Processor 3
    • Starting Point Systems: TDA1543 DAC ("Hands On")
    • T+A: DAC 8 DSD
    • Trinity Electronic Design: Trinity DAC
    • Wagner: Audio Lab Series II (~)
    • Weiss: DAC 1 Mk 3
    --

    *I don't do "Facebook" and have no interest in changing that, so if that's the sole means of contact for someone/something it won't be me doing it; however, you're welcome to do it yourself and forward me sensible contact information (email address or phone number) after the fact.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
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  4. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Audition Material and Playlists

    The audition material and playlists I have used, to date, for the DAC evaluations I've already done as part of this process is quite extensive. Each DAC is first evaluated with a couple of "standard" playlists, and that's what I'll start with here. Depending on how that goes I then mix in a variety of albums and major works that I love and never tire of.

    In total, there is about two full days of music involved in the full evaluation I put the major contenders through. Some of this includes my own compositions and productions which, of course, I know how I want to sound (and how they should sound since some of them are purely acoustic using "real" instruments ... including a rather nice concert-grade turn-of-the-century Steinway grand piano).

    I'm going to start this with the first "standard" playlist, which I will endeavor to turn into a properly linked-list (to TIDAL sources at a minimum), although generally I run this as local Red Book (or better) FLAC files. I will add the other playlists and albums in updates in the next few hours/days.

    For now, it'll just be a dumb "Track - Artist (Album) list, in order of actual playback:
    • St. Louis Gal - Cécile McLorin Salvant (Woman Child)
    • Red or Dead - Randi Tytingvåg (Red)
    • Perfect Sense Pt. 1 - Roger Waters (Amused to Death)
    • Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen - Sam Cooke (Night Beat)
    • Just a Little Lovin' - Shelby Lynne (Just A Little Lovin')
    • Beautiful Love - Shirley Horn (You Won't Forget Me)
    • Don't Give Up on Me - Solomon Burke (Don't Give UP On Me)
    • School - Supertramp (Crime of the Century)
    • Wild Horses - Tim Ries (The Rolling Stones Project)
    • Appalachia Waltz (version for Solo Cello) - Yo-Yo Ma (Solo)
    • La Grange - ZZ Top (Tres Hombres)
    • Along This Road: Kono Michi (Yv) - Ottmar Liebert (One Guitar)
    • Wish You Were Here - Pink Floyd (Wish You Were Here)
    • When I Fall In Love - Nat King Cole (Love is the Thing)
    • The Very Thought of You - Nat King Cole (The Very Thought of You)
    • Baby I'm A Fool - Melody Gardot (My One And Only Thrill)
    • The Trawlerman's Song - Mark Knopfler (One Take Radio Sessions)
    • Into the Mystic - Marc Cohn (Listening Booth: 1970)
    • Isn't She Lovely - Livingston Taylor (Ink)
    • Show Me the Place - Leonard Cohen (Old Ideas)
    • Words of Wonder - Keith Richards (Main Offender)
    • Every Morning - Keb' Mo' (Keb' Mo')
    • California - Joni Mitchell (Blue)
    • Woodstock - Joni Mitchell (Ladies of the Canyon)
    • Learning How to Love You - John Hiatt (Bring the Family)
    • Night and Day - Joe Pass (Virtuoso)
    • There Is No Greater Love - Ron Carter/George Coleman/Jimy Cobb/Mike Stern (4 Generations of Miles)
    • Hey Joe - Jimi Hendrix (Experience Hendrix)
    • One True Thing (Acoustic) - Jewel (Sweet and Wild)
    • Sweet Baby James - James Taylor (Sweet Baby James)
    • Inaudible Melodies - Jack Johnson (Brushfire Fairytales)
    • Better Together - Jack Johnson (In Between Dreams)
    • Maybe Not Tonight - Glen Hansard (Rhythm and Repose)
    • You Turned to Me - Elvis Costello (North)
    • Son of a Preacher Man - Dusty Springfield (Dusty in Memphis)
    • The End - The Doors (The Doors)
    • Almost Blue - Diana Krall (The Girl in the Other Room)
    • A Case of You - Diana Krall (Live in Paris)
    • Bruch: Scottish Fantasy, Op.46 "Adagio cantabile" - David Oistrakh & LSO - Decca Sound: The Analogue Years 1954-1968
    • Shining Moon - Cowboy Junkies (Whites Off Earth Now)
    • Mining for Gold - Cowboy Junkies (The Trinity Session)
    • Alone Together - Chet Baker (Chet)
    • True Love Ways - Buddy Holly (Buddy Holly Lives)
    • Gift from the North Country - Bob Dylan (The Freewheeling' Bob Dylan)
    • Crystalline - Björk (Biophilia)
    • There's More to Life Than This (Live at the Milk Bar Toilets) - Björk (Debut)
    • Sing Sang Sung - Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band (Swingin' for the Fences)
    • World Without End - A.A. Bondy (American Hearts)
    • Walk On The Wild Side - Lou Reed (Transfomer)
    • Titled - Christine and the Queens (Tilted)
    • Twist In My Sobriety - Tanita Tikaram (Ancient Heart)
    • Leather - Tori Amos (Little Earthquakes)
    • Talkin' Bout a Revolution - Tracy Chapman (Tracy Chapman)
    • Novocaine - Amber Rubarth (Sessions from the 17th Ward)
    • Cold, Cold Heart - Norah Jones (Come Away With Me)
    • Video Games - Lana Del Rey (Born to Die)
    • Brasilia - Robert Len (Fragile)
    • Ellis Island - Mary Black (Looking Back)
    • Semi-Charmed Life - Third Eye Blind (Third Eye Blind)
    • White Foxes - Susanne Sundfør (White Foxes)
    • Sonnentanz - Klangkarussel/Will Heard (Sonnentanz)
    • Love on Top - Beyoncé (4)
    • Spectrum (Say My Name) [Calvin Harris remix] - Florence+ the Machine (Spectrum - Say My Name)
    • Sweet Disposition - The Temper Trap (Conditions)
    • Samson - Regina Spektor (Begin to Hope)
    • Wasting My Young Years - London Grammar (If You Wait)
    • Jealous - Labrinth (Jealous)
    • Hazey - Glass Animals (ZABA)
    • Partition - Beyoncé (Partition)
    • The Rat - Infected Mushroom (Army of Mushrooms)
    • Chameleon - Trentemøller (The Poker Flat B-Sides, Chapter Three)
    • Rise - Overwerk (Conquer)
    • Control - Overwerk (Conquer)
    • You Want It Darker - Leonard Cohen (You Want It Darker)
    • Don't Lose Your Steam - Gregory Porter (Take Me To The Alley)
    In addition the that initial playlist (there are others, which I'll get to posting at some point), I use the following albums and classical works as standard references (for various things, but especially for involvement, emotive engagement/fire/passion):
    Until otherwise stated (or this caveat is removed) the above albums/classical works list is entirely incomplete ... I'm just going to pick away at it until it's done.

    Note that for my own compositions/recordings/productions, I do not generally share those with anyone. They're something I do for me, for my own raw pleasure, self-indulgence and personal expression. Since these factor fairly highly in some of my specific evaluations, especially where I making references to the reproduction of piano and for imaging comparisons, I may decide to make those available here*.

    --

    *Don't hold your breath, and if I do it'll be a first for me. It will also be on-request only and with a strict "do not share further" requirement.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2017
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  5. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    A Brief History of “Life after Yggdrasil?”

    In April of 2016, about six months after acquiring my Yggdrasil, and about eight months into my renewed-interest in headphone-centric audio, I started a thread on Head-Fi called “Life after Yggdrasil?” This was a somewhat naïve solicitation for “suggestions for DACs to audition that I might enjoy more than Yggdrasil” or that would, at least, be a good pairing to add to a second system that needed a DAC.

    The bolded part there is important … I wasn’t looking to undertake an objective comparison of a multitude of DACs when I started. I was simply after something for me, and me alone. This fact was completely lost on most of the participants in that thread.

    It is worth noting that I was not, in any way, dissatisfied with what I was hearing with Yggdrasil, indeed even today I am extremely happy with it, but I needed another DAC and my interest was piqued and it made sense to look at other options before just buying another Yggdrasil:

    I already have one Yggdrasil in my office listening rig, paired with a Ragnarok. So far it is the best DAC I’ve had the pleasure of listening to, even compared to much more expensive gear – including my Linn Akurate DSM. Having just bought a Woo WA5 LE for my main music room, I am needing another dedicated DAC to feed that, I find myself wondering what else I should seek to audition. Originally, I just figured on buying a 2ndYggdrasil, and absent finding something better that's still the plan … it’s a bloody marvelous device, but before I spend the money I thought it worth asking what else I should be considering.

    Also, despite the Yggdrasil being as good as it is, it might be interesting to have something else as well “just because”.

    That post/thread evolved, mostly by accident combined with organic growth, into a somewhat large-scale set of higher-end DAC auditions and subsequent postings on my impressions. There was, of course, lots of discussion around those impressions … by no means all of it positive. In fact a lot the negativity stemmed from my initially-stated preferences, biases, requirements and statements about what I did/did not care about:

    I’d prefer R2R (or some other discrete, unique/custom or FPGA-based implementation), though that’s not a hard requirement. I have no need for DSD – nothing against it, but my music collection is all lossless PCM.

    This total failure to dissociate their needs from mine inevitably led to a number of issues, and those, combined with some other factors, which I’ll talk about here, led to me getting very burned out on the entire process. Common factors in this can be boiled down into the following categories:

    Butt-Hurt Bobbinas:

    There were times in the original cycle that, upon not lavishing some special-snowflake’s favorite DAC with unbridled love and gushing praise, that people got rather upset. You’d have thought I’d called them ugly … and stupid … and implied that they smelled bad and/or were illegitimate.

    In particular, the “ESS/Sabre Defense Force” was quite vocal, as were those that worship at the altar of DSD. Chapter members of the “Brotherhood of the Cardboard Transformer Mount” (aka “Gustards”) were somewhat displeased. But fanboys of many other persuasions had their moments as well.

    A lot of this occurred in the thread itself, but the most “entertaining” stuff was in PM. And the degree of butt-hurt in evidence was almost epic at times.

    It was, I’ll admit, often quite satisfying responding to pages of angry, often incoherent, drivel … typically questioning my ears, my evaluation methodology, my parentage, trying to drive things down the “objective” and/or “blind-testing” path or whining that their DAC needed hundreds of hours of burn-in, with a simple “And?”

    Can’t say I didn’t “get into it” with a few such types. Though mostly this was them being heavily invested in their argument vs. me just randomly quipping things like “I’m sorry you bought a turd, maybe you should have gone for some Schiit instead.”

    At the same time, at least in the main thread, trying to re-iterate that is okay that people like different things and I was only looking for something for me got very old.

    The crowd here is way better at having productive discussions about impressions and reviews, so I’m not concerned about that (and I’m happy to discuss impressions) – but I won’t be surprised if there’s a sudden influx of randos that make their first post a bitch-fest about one of my write-ups*.

    Repeat Offenders: Can’t Read/Won’t Search/Terminally Hard-of-Thinking:

    There were a large number of - let’s call them - “participants”** in the original thread that seemingly never bothered to read the main post and repeatedly submitted requests for the same DACs I’d already rejected over and over again.

    Even among disparate posters, a couple of DACs kept getting brought up disproportionately often, specifically the Audio-GD “Master 7” and the Dangerous Music “Convert-2”, both of which I had no real interest in. It was so common that I was about to put a big section in the main post to the effect of:

    “[0] days elapsed since <name of plonker> has re-requested the Audio-GD Master 7.”

    I don’t think I’d have had to update the counter very often.

    Both of those DACs are fair game this time around, but the practice of failing to check the lists and/or search the thread to see if what you’re suggesting has already been suggested/rejected (or has already been reviewed!) isn’t.

    Another theme was that “Rejected” meant just that. Whining about it didn’t change my mind in the original thread and is even less likely to here. Now, arranging for me to have the DAC in question for a week or so might. Juicy donations to SBAF might too. Not making any promises though.

    In, Out, Shake It All About:

    In a few cases, generally not represented in the thread itself, I was contacted by manufacturers (or their dealers/other representatives) asking if I wanted to/would be willing to include their products, or offering to make them available if they were already in the list.

    Mostly this went quite well and made things easier for me. However, one or two of them became markedly less enthusiastic about making their wares available as things progressed.

    What began as “When can we send you our DAC?!” became “We want to send you a lower-end model …” and then “Okay, you can have the original DAC we offered you, but you have to buy it first and you can return it under our standard return policy.”

    I am not sure if that evolution was down to “lack of faith” in their products as more and more high-profile, very expensive, DACs had their asses handed to them by Yggdrasil, or if it was simply down to them not making it clear up-front that I was not being offered a loaner/demo unit (with, or without a required deposit). Either way, it raised my ire and my suspicions and was, in part, what lead to me to losing interest in continuing the original thread.

    I’m not going to call out those historical “offenders” specifically – after all I didn’t follow-up to determine why their enthusiasm seemed to wane or if it was, indeed, just a miscommunication – we’ll call it good and make it a clean slate. However, going forward any vendor engaging in that sort of hokey-pokey will get called out on it.

    ..

    Anyway, that’s that … now you know where it started, where it went, and what killed my interest in continuing the process. Well, in addition to finding another DAC at least.

    --

    *Any randos sending me pissy-PMs because they don’t like my thoughts on their little baby are likely to find said “Private Message” is suddenly not very “private” at all.
    **Might be a loose-euphemism for "poster-child candidates for retro-active abortion".
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2017
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  6. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Thread history, and first "updated impressions" tomorrow ... I'm beat ... clearly my naps during the day did not yield enough energy for my main evening snooze.
     
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  7. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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  8. Garns

    Garns Friend

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    Maybe slightly esoteric DAC suggestion - I have always been curious about the Lavry DA924 and how it stacks up against the new wave of R2R. I have never seen any reliable impressions. Seems like it's discrete ladder, maybe 2x oversampling? And with a built in oven of course :)
     
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  9. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Request for EAR DACute and looking forward to reading about the T+A DAC 8 DSD (presuming you're going to do some DSD 512 oversampling with HQ Player or something similar).

    And just looking forward to reading the results in general!
     
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  10. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    It's interesting that you mention that ... as I built something myself to stand similar duty. :)

    But, for the original evaluations, no, I didn't have such a thing available. Though I did do level-matching. Even though that first run at this was not, at all, intended to be objective at any level. Also, a good number of the original evaluations were done in different locations (many while I was in vacation in Europe) and I had to make do with what gear was available. For THIS pass, I shall endeavor to use my box in these tests to add some level of blind evaluation.

    In the "history" post I'll talk a bit about how the existing evaluations were performed. And in the main post in this thread I'll add a section that talks about how I am going to do future evaluations.
     
  11. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Added ... pending finding out how involved it will be to secure and audition!

    Got a specific link? I can find various EAR units but not one that matches that name closely enough for me to be confident it's the right unit. Let me know, and I'll add it.

    In the past, I haven't. I've done it for my own, experimental, purposes, but not as part of any overall evaluation. DSD evaluation, where I've done it, has been with known native-DSD masters. But I certainly can add that going forward.
     
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  12. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    Looks like the DACute is an older model. The newest one is the DAC 4, so I will amend my request to that: http://www.earyoshino.com/Dac4/

    From what I've read of the T+A, it sounds its best with DSD 512 content, which doesn't exist currently outside of upsampling. I don't think you'd need to do that kind of upsampling for other DACs, but the chipless 512 processing is the T+A's claim to fame, so it seems like it would be worth doing.
     
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  13. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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    @Torq : Great ! My point wasn't to ask you to redo all your work and includes Blind comparison :) . I'm just thinking out loud about the interest of Blind test for such evaluations in the future and i'm seriously considering saving some money for a good ABX box ;)
     
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  14. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Lovely, thanks! That's now on the list (with the same caveat about things changing depending on what it takes to secure an audition).

    I own, and selectively use (though not for my normal listening) HQ-Player so no problem in incorporating that sort of up sampling/conversion.
     
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  15. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    No worries, I think we're on the same page!

    In the event I decide to make my little box available to others (sheet metal is such a pain in the arse, and I hate plastic) I'll let you know. It's something I've been talking about for a while with @landroni ... and there's a better than even chance that I'll make it available to others and at a much more sensible price point!
     
  16. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    Just to get some autismal concerns out of the system and fully aware that you didn't mean to load things like this, blind evaluations still are, by their very nature, subjective. While we do control for one factor, i.e. seeing or not what gear is currently in use, the evaluations themselves rely on subjective impressions and pronouncements by the test subject (e.g. hear diff or not, prefer this over that, etc.), exactly as in sighted evaluations.

    TLDR: "Objective" is all too loaded and simply overused in audiophilia...
     
  17. jelt2359

    jelt2359 Friend

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    I think the more important word is unbiased
     
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  18. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    Well, sure, I could go with less biased, but "unbiased" is a strong word.

    Confounding factors are a bitch in science, and simply controlling for sighting and level-matching won't get you very far. There are other factors that could mess things up, such as priming of test subjects, age, genetic markup or neurological factors (e.g. results won't necessarily be the same if you're listening hungry, after a funeral, or after a child was born). And even THEN, we're still not past the "subjective" bit: even in blind conditions, the investigator relies fully on the subjective perceptions of the test subjects. Would you wager that they can be "unbiased"?

    And that's before we get to what the results of blind evaluations can mean... (Hint: it's only a count.)
     
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  19. sorrodje

    sorrodje Carla Bruni's other lover - Friend

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    @landroni : At least unbiased by a list of usual things (price, brand, look & feel... ) :)
     
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  20. SineDave

    SineDave Friend

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