SBAF DAC Talk II

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Maxx134, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. Maxx134

    Maxx134 no one will touch his boy parts without $$$

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    The era of expense and value is changing.
    A true resisitor ladder Dac can be had for as low as $349 with the controversial massdrop Airist Audio R2R dac .

    An R2R discreet ladder can also be made more detailed with more steps than any R2R Dac chip.
     
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  2. Kernel Kurtz

    Kernel Kurtz Friend

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    That's debatable. It's not like you can keep just adding detail forever. Reminds me of a quote from Schiit Happened;

    * There’s a famous napkin-scribble by a famous analog
    designer floating around out there on the internet
    somewhere, regarding the noise and precision of analog
    circuitry necessary for different digital resolutions. I can’t
    find it at the moment, but it went something like this:

    14 bit to 15 bit: standard parts and layout
    16 bit to 17 bit: attention to power supply noise, premium
    parts, careful layout
    18 bit to 19 bit: extreme measures taken with low-noise
    parts, multi-layer boards, and exceptionally fine layout
    20 bit to 21 bit: God’s domain
     
  3. bengo

    bengo Friend

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    Are you sure? Discrete resistors are larger, so I'd assume the opposite.
     
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  4. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    You keep saying that, but as the owner of two good discrete R2R DACs (Holo Spring KTE 3 and Soekris dac1541) as well as of the Yggdrasil A2, I don't hear it. When it gets to well-recorded, complex multi-instrument music, the Yggdrasil A2 is still ahead. I enjoy the Holo Spring in NOS mode for its bold "primary colors" feel, and the dac1541 for its liquid renditions of the ECM jazz/minimalist classical that I enjoy for work, but when I want to be there in the performance, it's the Yggdrasil A2. When my Yggdrasil was at Schiit being upgraded to A2, I was listening to the dac1541 through my speaker system for a couple of weeks. Lovely, no doubt, but a bit "detached" relative to even the Yggdrasil A1. These are all relatively small differences, and who knows how much they are due to the actual D2A circuitry vs the downstream analog circuitry, power supplies, residual electrical noise from different digital interconnects, ... But wearing my technical hat, I've never read a convincing argument that discrete resistor arrays can be made as accurate as Yggdrasil's instrumentation chips. Other things being equal, sign-magnitude designs make the handling of low-order code bits simpler, but other things are not equal, especially the thermal (in)balance of a large discrete resistor array. IOW, there's no magic bullet here, just tradeoffs that so far are still balancing out in Yggdrasil's favor.
     
  5. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    Those discrete resistor arrays can be made be really big (thermal equilibration be damned ;) PS: I know, I know, this one has a separate compensation ladder FWIW)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2018
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  6. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I'm surprised some boutique dac makers haven't put controlled heating elements into their components yet. I can think of at least one or two in the pro audio side of things who make a big deal out of it, and the tech has been around a while too (so crystal clocks aren't the same thing as resistors, but the buzzwords are all the same). Heck, use a vacuum tube as your heating element for poops and giggles. No one really understands thermodynamics anyways.
     
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  7. earnmyturns

    earnmyturns Smartest friend

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    I think there's such a thing for much $$$, although I couldn't find it with a few obvious searches. OTOH, I found a rather informative design note from Analog Devices on the part used in the Yggdrasil:

    http://www.analog.com/en/analog-dia...ac-and-accurate-precision-voltage-source.html
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Think of it as different sonic aspects. I would agree that Yggdrasil has a bit of veil to it. Yggdrasil A2 much less so, but it's still there. It also depends up no the outputs. The SE out is most "greyish" sounding from the Schiit higher end DACs. Holo DAC might meet the DM Source in terms of lack of veil. I'd put PS Audio PWD and DSD up there too for clarity. Even DAVE. Part of it is tonal balance. Warmer DACs with emphasis in the upper bass or lower mids may exhibit a muddier or cloudier presentation. It's EQ 101. In that sense, the newer Gungnir Multibit, which is now has a neutral presentation actually presents with less veil than Yggdrasil A2 depending upon circumstance. The way I evaluate veil is a bit differently using synergistic headphones in terms of tonal balance to determine if the "veil" can be remedied with a different FR or is inherent to the design / pervasive to all downstream gear.

    Now in terms of other aspects such as fluidity / lack of digititus, soundstage depth, imaging, microdetail and microdynamics, Psalmanazar wouldn't know the difference. His amp is mediocre, he uses headphones, and he listens to obscure metal and maybe a few test tracks from the 80s when he's doing his two minute evaluations in unfamiliar surroundings. I'm sure all he wants is for his DAC to sound hard hitting and clear.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
  9. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    I've been calling this the "brute force" approach as of late. Charging through with a sense of dynamics, speed, and clarity at the expense of wiping out background information, nuances, etc. It's like turning the contrast and sharpness up on your TV to the point where you wash everything out but fool yourself into thinking it looks good because it "pops."
     
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  10. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Yes, like drummers who can smash 163 things in a second with super precision, but have no soul. In time... Neil Peart is a better drummer now in 2018 because he started to develop soul. I hated him during the early 80s and didn't know why pimple faced high school kids thought he was God. Real drummers are the guys who play with the likes of Keith Jarret.
     
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  11. frenchbat

    frenchbat BritishBat's arch enemy - Friend

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    Maybe sbaf should get that dac for a loaner. Let people hear it.
     
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  12. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I would, but locking in community funds to step up to DS Convert 2 and Crane Song Solaris (on order). There is one other pro DAC I want to try, forgot the name, has green lettering. These things are expensive.

    I agree that the ~$1000 DAC market seems underserved by us, but a few DACs around that price range seem to have gone through a FOTM phase (hype followed by selling). I'm kind of sitting and waiting to see where things go.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
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  13. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Burl B2? (green face, white lettering)
     
  14. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Yeah, the Burl. I'm super curious about the Convert 2 because of the AD1955 which I know is a very capable chip. I think the Bricasti I heard uses the same. The marketing materials from DM say they got some guru to work on the analog stage, so maybe the Convert 2 might not have some the digital weirdness / dual personality of the Bricasti. The CS Solaris is interesting because they supposed implemented a custom filter and do some sort of upsampling that is idea for the AKM chips. Burl seems to take a different approach, more analog sound, but measures with a lot of harmonics for a modern DAC, enough to make Amir puke, so this might be interesting.
     
  15. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    As long as you guys are playing with these pro dacs, the Forssell mdac-2a and Antelope Pure2 are in the same ballpark and might be worth keeping an eye out for them.
     
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  16. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Hmmm, lots of MADA-2s for sale used. New price on these were stiff.
     
  17. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    I could loan my DM Source for a limited tour (10 peeps max), if it puts me on the top of the list for the Convert 2 or Solaris :D
     
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  18. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    What are y'all using for sources for your DACs? Still going straight USB or what? @Psalmanazar's review of the Source made me think USB was still the go-to source, but maybe that was just a side note for those that need to use it for any reason. I'm trying to determine what the need is for the brute force, high contrast DACs.
     
  19. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    I can't guarantee you your request, but I say why not put it to the test via loaner. I'd be happy to give it a shot.
     
  20. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

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    Did you listen to the DSD with the latest redcloud revision or was it the older firmware?
     

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