Measurements: Mid-Fi DAC/Amp Comb Units (Grace, Schiit, iFi, LH, JDS, etc.)

Discussion in 'Portable and Other Gear Measurements' started by purr1n, Nov 1, 2015.

  1. JK47

    JK47 The Beer Houdini

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    It's good to see troubleshooting, rather than immediately getting into a defensive posture over your measurements. That's what I love about this place.
     
  2. mickeyvortex

    mickeyvortex Friend

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    And there is ABSOLUTELY NO NEED TO DEFEND yourself. The measurement dudes are doing a great service to other mortals like myself*. I enjoy the science behind all this and IMHO, life would be so much more boring if everything around us was predictable. So long may it continue....
    I also think hobbyists should stop expecting price to correlate linearly with performance. C'mon folks, linear relationships can also be drawn between cheese consumption and death by getting tangled in bedsheets (http://tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations)!!!
    In the grand scheme of things, these price margins are not that significant, as @purrin so correctly pointed out in his thread titled "How to allocate budget among headphones, amps, and DAC (source)." (link: http://goo.gl/pGqfhQ)
    I think it also helps veterans such as Michael Grace to see how his product performs in a "real-world" setting. I always think of Pharma companies and why 50% of clinical trials fail at the 3rd or worse, 4th phase of testing, even after spending billions of dollars confirming AGAIN AND AGAIN that the drug works in the laboratory.

    *Not to mention keeping my wallet safe and my wife happy!
     
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I think the mystery is solved. I pretty much tried every permutation I could think of. Different computers, soundcards, etc. I even went to the extent of measuring the acoustic output of headphones (which confirmed the spurious signals - see below.)

    Acoustic measurement from HD800 via UMM-6 microphone. 1kHz from Grace m9XX.
    [​IMG]

    Compare to the electrical measurement with resistor load below. Obviously D2 and D3 is distortion from the HD650 driver, but we see the same spuriae, or at least the top tips of them in the acoustic measurement as well.

    Grace m9XX (via USB) 1kHz into 330ohm Resistor Load
    grace pc.png

    So this got me thinking - knowing how portable DAC measurements can be affected by the USB quality of various devices. I decided to try Toslink with the Grace m9XX. Voila mystery solved.

    Grace m9XX (via Toslink) 1kHz into 330ohm Resistor Load
    GRACE PC Toslink.png

    Finally, let's not go full-nwavguy over this.

    In any event, Michael Grace is sending out a replacement, just in case. I would like to reiterate that Michael has been super professional about this. I don't find this very common in the industry, wanting to work to troubleshoot or solve problems. In fact, I think maybe only Jason has exhibited a similar level of cooperation. The majority of manufacturers tend to make lame excuses, argue with me, obi-wan me, go silent, or be afraid because Jude told them I was really a scary person who would treat them unfairly. Grace's professionalism should be something to keep in mind when you guys make a purchasing decision.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015
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  4. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    Nooby question here, is the noise floor really that much higher with the toslink, as compared to the usb, or is that just a normalization type thing?
     
  5. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    Would this be any different if you put a wyrd in the chain?
     
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  6. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Normalization thing. See the top of the 1kHz. The top graph is -20dBr. The bottom us at 0.

    You were reading my mind. Maybe a bit later. JDS The Element in the house.
     
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  7. drfindley

    drfindley Secretly lives in the Analog Room - Friend

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    I was wondering this as well. In fact, it'd be interesting to see how all of these measure with a Wyrd.
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Uploading JDS The Element measurements right now!
    http://www.superbestaudiofriends.or...ts-grace-schiit-ifi-lh-jds-etc.427/#post-9843

    Minions will be displeased. :(
    Schiit and LH Labs measure better!

    Note: Better conditions tonight. No small spike at 60Hz and 240Hz and related harmonics for any of the measurements like two nights ago, including the other gear, so keep that in mind. It's the nature of measurements.

    For reference, the Schiit Uber Stack. Much cleaner tonight. Not going to redo the measurements.
    schiit good night.png
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015
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  9. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    So I suppose there were some compromises with the $330 and head shaking powerful JDS The Element.

    On a positive note, it's not that bad. It's black and it's got a big knob.
     
  10. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The design of the JDS The Element is spectacular. The unit is a big bigger than the Grace. The knob is weighted. A really nice feel. If you swirl your finger around the knob, you can make a nice ringing sound like that of a wine glass. I was going to make a YouTube video of me doing that, but in the end, I figured it might have been to ghey.

    The Element has by far the best design and ergonomics.
     
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  11. spoony

    spoony Spooky

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    It does look sexy, how does it sound?
     
  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I'll be asking folks advice on how to translate certain words.
     
  13. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    Does the Wyrd clean up the The Element like it does the original ODAC on certain mobos?
     
  14. keanex

    keanex Martian Bounty Hunter - Friend

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    I would like to see that video. Please make it happen!
     
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  15. m8o

    m8o Acquaintance

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    Wow, fantastic!

    Seems the original tests were closer to real world, and what we are likely to hear. I certainly want to know about how well a device can do ... but how well it acts off the bench is maybe even better to know!

    Sign me up as another wondering if Wyrd cleans that up; or if that is a function completely in the analog domain; seems likely. But, if not, I could see orders of those going thru the roof. Lol .... was thinking of getting two a few weeks ago unrelated to this. I may want to act now anyway.

    Thanx again for your efforts Purrin!
     
  16. mickeyvortex

    mickeyvortex Friend

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    A bit off topic, sorry, but can anyone tell me why my phone only shows graphs up to the 200 Hz marker?
     
  17. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    When I am on my phone, the full image is not visible until I tap the image. This opens the full image, and you can then scroll it around and resize.
     
  18. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    The cut image thing only happens with my Samsung. All my other phones are fine.
     
  19. kapanak

    kapanak Canucklehead - Friend

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    How many phones do you have? :eek:

    On my HTC One M8, images are cut off as well until I click on them.

    Great job on this thread!! And the measurement one! Looking forward to the impressions conclusion :)
     
  20. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    IMPORTANT UPDATE:

    Michael Grace sent me a new unit. I noted this new unit came with a much beefier USB cable with ferrite beads. The USB cable which was initially provided to me (in a sealed bag inside the box) was small diameter and did not have the ferrite beads. The units being shipped should have the proper cables as per the box I recently received. Here are the measurements for 1kHz:

    m9XX-2.png

    Needless to say, I am going to redo the measurements and make things right for Michael Grace. I'd like to thank Mr. Grace for his endless patience and willingness to try to work through these discrepancies. This is the kind of company that people should support.

    UPDATE 11/14/2015:
    6-70 m97XX.png
    6-17 m97XX.png
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2015

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