Not a lot of DAC talk on here...

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by The Alchemist, Oct 10, 2015.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. bozoc

    bozoc Rando

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2017
    Likes Received:
    5
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Croatia
    I was reading this review of Henry DAC.
    My interest from this unit comes from the fact that unit's schematics and code are open source! IMHO, that is pretty cool.
    Sound on the other hand remains to be seen...
    And btw, has anyone ever tried this unit? I am seriously considering buying it just to satisfy my curiosity.

    Another thing that stuck with me was this claim from the unit designer:


    "ESS don't make their products available through typical electronic parts distributors. Getting them in low volumes was a big hassle. But what made me choose another chip was the discovery of an internal math bug in the ES9022/9023. A >-1.3dB full-scale square wave played through their chip will generate great amounts of distortion. With modern compressed music, that isn't just a theoretical occurrence. I worked many years with signal conditioning and was able to see what goes on. In technical terms, the internal FIR filter does a 2's complement overflow where a very positive number actually flips around and becomes a very negative number. This occurs before the sigma-delta modulator. A digital limiter or lower gain in the FIR would solve this."


    I do not understand the technicalities of how that works, but it seems like a pretty big oversight from ESS.
    And can it really affect music since he mentioned square wave and "great amounts of distortion", and more importantly has someone else noticed this?
    Maybe someone with intricate technical knowledge could shed some light on this?

     
  2. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,216
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Singapore
    Square waves indicate a lot of ultrasonic content. Most music isn't going to have a lot of ultrasonic content, especially enough to result in squarish waveforms near -1dB.
     
    bozoc likes this.
  3. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

    Staff Member Friend BWC
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    45,047
    Dislikes Received:
    70
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Antarctica
    It would be unlikely to affect real music. A square wave louder than -1.3db for 16-bit data would be a square wave of maximum level at 0db that is jumping between one exact codeword that represents the minimum (-32767) to another codeword that represents the maximum (32676) in one sample.

    This is not going to happen with music. I guess we could in theory see this happen in a brickwalled electroncia recording, but we would probably have much more to worry about than slightly bad math in that case.
     
    lm4der and bozoc like this.
  4. JimL

    JimL Tongues KG's hairy starfish for fun

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2016
    Likes Received:
    190
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Interestingly enough, there is some data about how fast music changes. Way back when, both Nelson Pass and Peter Baxandall looked at this question, and both concluded that the fastest music signal has an equivalent slew rate to a 6 kHz sine wave at full volume. However, in a chapter in the Loudspeaker and Headphone Handbook, Baxandall reported that he had found a music sample that had the equivalent of a 15 kHz sine wave at full volume (close-up recording of drum rim shots, p.154). Given a sampling rate of 44,100 Hz (standard PCM CD rate), this means going from full negative to full positive and back in 3 samples, if I've done the math correctly.
     
  5. bozoc

    bozoc Rando

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2017
    Likes Received:
    5
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Location:
    Croatia
    Interesting, what would that be? Is it only specific chip or all similar chips?
     
  6. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,388
    Dislikes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Seoul, South Korea
    Just curious, but has anyone had experience or heard of this DAC?
    http://www.veridian-utopia.com/index.php/balanced-dac/

    Looks like a balanced tube R2R DAC that uses Analog Devices modules. Not exactly the same ones, but the fact that both Yggdrasil and Gungnir Multibit also use Analog Devices modules crossed my mind. The build sort of reminds me of Lampizators which are also tube R2R DAC's, but the Veridian Utopia appears to be much less expensive (sub-$2K). Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be many reviews on it.

    Maybe it's a POS like AGD S19, or maybe it could be a hidden gem.
     
  7. SineDave

    SineDave Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Likes Received:
    584
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Home Page:
    I don't understand why folks want a tube DAC. The whole point of a DAC is to be 100% transparent, not add "tube character".
     
  8. bengo

    bengo Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,167
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Divisive Kingdom
    Home Page:
    AD 1865 is a much older (now obsolete) chip, one which is designed for audio, unlike the chips Schiit uses. I think @Hands has heard other NOS DACs based on the same chip, so he might have an idea what to expect.
     
  9. Forza AudioWorks

    Forza AudioWorks MOT: Forza AudioWorks

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2017
    Likes Received:
    451
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Poland
    Is it a good time to say that I use LampizatOr? :headbang:
     
  10. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

    Friend
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2015
    Likes Received:
    1,388
    Dislikes Received:
    12
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Seoul, South Korea
    That's what I thought until I heard Sonic Frontiers' DAC's. The Processor 3 remains the best sounding DAC I've owned to date.
     
  11. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

    Friend
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,216
    Dislikes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Singapore
    There's also Fryggy and Gumbreya.
     
    songmic likes this.
  12. SineDave

    SineDave Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2016
    Likes Received:
    584
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Home Page:
    To be fair, I haven't auditioned many (only a crappy chinese one), so I suppose I need to put my ears where my mouth is, so to speak :)
     
  13. Forza AudioWorks

    Forza AudioWorks MOT: Forza AudioWorks

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2017
    Likes Received:
    451
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Poland
    Well, top tier valve DACs can sound exceptionally transparent. It all depends on the glass used. It's not an issue to make a DHT DAC details oriented soundstage monster with texturing and saturation in check, yet not elevated.
     
  14. bengo

    bengo Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,167
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Divisive Kingdom
    Home Page:
    Rather than clutter up the forum with yet another thread, I thought I would post some (mostly) brief impressions here. This covers every DAC I have auditioned over the last 9 months, good and bad. Mostly I listened for only 1-2 hrs per DAC, so this is just intended as a rough guide. Prices are UK, before any discount. All using my SPL Phonitor and LCD-XC, except where (noted):
    • Questyle CMA600i (£1200) [AK4490] - weirdly uneven frequency response (TH-900)
    • COS D1 (£7000?) [PCM1792] - decent sound and fancy casework, overpriced (TH-900) (more)
    • Simaudio Moon 280D (~£2500+?) [ES9016] - bit bright, typical Sabre false detail, digital/artifical sounding, didn't like much
    • Sugden DAC4 (£1800) [TDA1543] [NOS] - severely rolled off treble, slightly better bass extension vs Modi Multibit, very overpriced (2 day A/B vs Modi Multibit)
    • Benchmark DAC2 (£2100) [ESS9018] - godawful scratchy horrible bright digitus everywhere and no differentiation of instruments/timbre in the treble, unlistenable Sabre crap, worst DAC I have heard by a huge margin
    • McIntosh D100 (~£2000 used) [ES9016S] - decent bass, fairly pleasant/listenable but also quite dull/unengaging, distinctly overpriced. Best of Sabres if you insist.
    • Wyred4sound DAC2v2(SE?) (£2300-3500) [9028/38PRO] - essentially identical to D100 above. There is a cheaper version which I haven't heard.
    • Auris DHP (£1900) [Burr Brown] - laid back/relaxing listen, more musical/engaging/organic/enjoyable than Sabres, actually liked the sound. Built-in headphone amp fine for sensitive cans. Definitely not the most resolving at the price, big/impractical leather covered case (~20-30 min audition)
    • NAD C510, close relative of M51 (£900) [proprietary PWM] - decent bass, notably good on female vocals, only slight sibilance / digitus - much better than Sabres, very good detail. My favourite of all one-bit except maybe DAVE. Volume knob. Possible alternative to Gungnir Multibit if you are in EU and/or don't like Multibit. (2 day A/B vs Yggdrasil) (more)
    • Rega DAC-R (£600) [2xWM8742] - some bass emphasis / warmth, overall pleasant and smooth sound, resolution not really at the level of C510 or most others. OK if you can get the older version (should sound similar but with inferior USB) used and super cheap, like £100 or £150. Otherwise Modi Multibit is a better deal.
    • SOtM sHP-100 (£700) [CS4398] - un-fatiguing but very coloured, gooey tone, not much detail/resolution, far behind all including the Rega. Use your laptop or smartphone instead and spend the money on something else.
    • Lessloss Echo's End (~£5500) [DAM1021] - sounds like R2R but got grating after ~30 mins, really stupidly overpriced, buy Modi Multibit instead (more)
    • Aqua La Voce S2 (£2300) [2xPCM1704] [NOS] - nice, relaxing and musical, but poor bass extension, thick upper bass / lower mids, severe NOS roll-off, very overpriced (more)
    • Aqua La Scala (Mk2?) (£4200) [4xPCM1704] [NOS] - forward / mid emphasized presentation, "thickness" reduced / more tasteful, better extension, stage too flat, mediocre dynamics. Very nice and musical overall, best value of Aqua (more and more)
    • Aqua La Scala Optologic (£5800) [discrete R2R] [NOS] - sweeter / less thick, better stage depth, otherwise similar to 1704 version and still lacks dynamics. Best performance of Aqua but too pricey (more)
    • Chord Hugo 2 (£1800) [proprietary PAM] - good extension and detail / technicalities, exaggerated bass and overall dynamics, hard/tense/fatiguing digitus (worse than Sabre!), rubbish crossfeed. Keep your money and use an iPhone instead (more)
    • Chord DAVE (£8500) [proprietary PAM] - effortless/relaxed, good timbre, no digitus, excellent detail. Expensive but possible Yggdrasil beater, depending on personal taste (short listen only) (more)
    • Metrum Amethyst (£1050) [proprietary R2R] [NOS] - brighter/sharper Pavane (OS like) in DAC mode, lacks some subtlety, warm/soft/rolled-off in combo mode + hum/noise issues, good-to-mediocre value (M-22) (more)
    • Pavane L2 (~£5000) [proprietary R2R] [NOS] - softer/more natural treble even than Yggdrasil, great timbre, best macro- and microdynamic solidity I have heard, 3D headstage. Bit less smooth upper treble extension than Yggdrasil as expected, but close. Expensive but awesome (more)
    May edit and add Modi Multibit, Yggdrasil later.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  15. Forza AudioWorks

    Forza AudioWorks MOT: Forza AudioWorks

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2017
    Likes Received:
    451
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Poland
    Whoa, nice stuff. Harsh, but nice nonetheless. I look forward to what's next.
     
  16. bengo

    bengo Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2017
    Likes Received:
    1,167
    Dislikes Received:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    93
    Location:
    Divisive Kingdom
    Home Page:
    Price is weighted higher than sound quality in my harshness equation for mediocre/nasty gear. I'm also more likely to call out Benchmark (for example) as a big established manufacturer to bring some balance to the Force. I think this is a similar algorithm to @Marvey and many other reviewers on SBAF. Also, it cost me quite a few vacation days, plus some fuel, to listen to all these.
     
    Darren G likes this.
  17. ipm

    ipm Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2016
    Likes Received:
    37
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
    I don't know if this is on topic on this long thread, but ...

    Has anyone here tried a Cambridge Audio Dacmagic Plus? Is it worth looking into?
     
  18. TwoEars

    TwoEars Friend

    Friend
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2016
    Likes Received:
    2,200
    Dislikes Received:
    102
    Trophy Points:
    113
    @ipm

    It's not going to impress anyone who's been around Hi-Fi for a while. It's decent competitor to a computer soundcard and that's about it. Anything similarly priced from schiit is likely going to kill it dead.

    Also - maybe should have been in all purpose thread.
     
    Elnrik likes this.
  19. ipm

    ipm Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2016
    Likes Received:
    37
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
    Thanks. I'll have a look.
     
  20. ipm

    ipm Facebook Friend

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2016
    Likes Received:
    37
    Dislikes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
    Agreed.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page