Topping and SMSL with ASR Punking Us on DACs?

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by purr1n, Oct 23, 2022.

  1. Riotvan

    Riotvan Snoofer in the Woofer

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    Appreciate the well thought out reply, but i was kind of just meming. ASR/Amir usually gets very little of my attention.
     
  2. dericchan1

    dericchan1 Acquaintance

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    To Thor. Just out of curiosity, what dac are you currently using in your system? Is it some proprietary dac you built for yourself, maybe some of your former ifi designs? (Don’t tell me it turns out you are using a Topping dac lol )

    cheers

    Deric
     
  3. Beefy

    Beefy Friend

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    I think it is important to note that 'we' as broader community have, in many ways, directly enabled Amir and his followers.

    Decades of snake oil, FOTM-chasing, flowery language, vastly overstating minor sonic differences, and outright fraud really turn people away from the subjectivist viewpoint. It has created such a large vacuum where people are happy to be told that something is the 'best' because of clear objective criteria.

    Of course, it's all just two ends of the same horseshoe, where the truth happily resides somewhere in the middle.
     
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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2023
  4. Thorsten Loesch

    Thorsten Loesch MOT: Studio RaumklanG, Studio Cocktail

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    I had to leave Hong Kong in the middle of Covid with just a suitcase and ended up in a not very developed but very friendly country in south east asia in the middle of lockdown. I was not able to take a lot of things with me.

    So I had a topping D10S for a while in the living room system. It was very cheap and is not terrible. Amp was a Breeze Audio TPA3255 Stereo unit, also not terrible. Wouldn't recommend them though, unless you are on a very limited budget and the choice is as limited as it was on the local version of aliexpress. They are now inactive on the shelf.

    I recently bought a second hand 1989 Made In Japan Marantz PM-75, which among other things incorporates a DAC that is in essence the same as the CD/DA-12, with TDA-1541A Single Crown DAC Chip. The Amp itself is no slouch either, non-switching Class AB (often called Class A). The whole "integrated Amp" sounds great, even though t is still completely original unrestored.

    The whole Amp is 16kG for around 120W/Channel. It drives a speaker system I designed while locked down, for fun, with a pro-audio 10" Bass Mid and a pro audio "bullet" horn tweeter, 98wB/2.83V/1m sensitive, good directivity control. They run with a pair of big commercial chinese 12" Subwoofers, a bit modified (more work to be done).

    My Office desk system uses a Zen Signature Stack with Zen DAC & Zen CAN, with "Supercapacitor buffered" power supplies. I wrote about these power supplies on Head-fi, not sure if a link would be acceptable. But searching for me there should bring up something.

    Headphones are the latest Diana (a B grade unit kindly donated to me - I could not afford one on my own dime) and Fostex T-50RP MKII heavily modified with the Blue Monkey Flyer Mods and some extra (including a full rewire).

    Portable I use iFi xDSD and a set of prototype IEM's (16mm dynamic driver, dual BA with MF/HF, medical grade stainless steel case with DLC coating).

    I also have an iDSD micro Black Label around, which is mostly used on the testbench, where I have rather more limited test gear than at iFi, no AP2 for example.

    Thor
     
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  5. Thorsten Loesch

    Thorsten Loesch MOT: Studio RaumklanG, Studio Cocktail

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    Yes, it is pushback against the more extreme things of "High End" and not the least the totally silly pricing levels and products.

    The hardcore objectivist viewpoint never went away, it just faded out sight for a bit. I have always argued that neither the Angel (or Demon) Thesis nor the Demon (or Angel - which is which depends on viewpoints) give us a complete picture, but we need SYNTHESIS so we can reconcile subjective differences that are not all imaginary and objective test results and get to somewhere where measurements tell us something about sound quality.

    As someone who has been pushing this middle point for decades, I can tell you that where you end up in no way represents the lucky horseshoe, it more resembles being dressed in rainbow colours and being dropped in the no-man's land at the Somme 107 years ago.

    Neither subjectivists nore objectivists appreciate you or agree with your position, instead they let fly with all they got. Meanwhile while you cry for your mama curled up into feral ball you got the consolation that you are right and they are not...

    Thor
     
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  6. Lyander

    Lyander Official SBAF Equitable Empathizer

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    Indeed, but this just means there's seldom a shortage of entertainment to be had engaging with others, limited only by interest and energy. I recently have been active in a microphones community because I'm learning a lot on that front and enjoying every bit of it, but now and again I'll find someone that does this to a microphone they claim to already like the tone of and just bemoan the state of comprehension and... nervosa? What even.

    I think the main issue is that people seeking middle paths, no matter the field or pursuit, expend nearly twice as much effort and significantly more time even than anyone on either extreme. People who have actual lives outside of this niche can seldom be arsed to care.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2023
  7. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    Totally unnecessary because Amir wasn't ashamed of making it public that he once managed thousands of people as a M$ VP. He's stopped because people started to point out that managing thousands of people to using / interpreting APx555 results has as much to do as Chewbacca to the OJ Simpson case. To his credit, I haven't seen screw ups or hatchet jobs from him lately.

    @ultrabike did point out articles Amir wrote on behalf of the Topping / SMSL conglomerate. They were erased from the interwebs shortly after @ultrabike pointed them out.
     
  8. Thorsten Loesch

    Thorsten Loesch MOT: Studio RaumklanG, Studio Cocktail

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    That's not it. He made some money there, but the big bundle came from somewhere else...

    Thor
     
  9. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Do people do that?

    Do people think that?

    I would just think "There's someone who's likely to get their phone stolen or have it fall into the toilet."

    Don't forget: there's a whole world of laws out here. Legal recourse under what law of what country?
     
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  10. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    And not from his business of selling hifi kit, I guess?
     
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  11. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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    Good point. Would it depend on the jurisdiction within which the forum server is located or the location in which the owner of the server/forum is based?

    Say the answer to both of the questions above was USA. Would the First Amendment apply then?
     
  12. ChaChaRealSmooth

    ChaChaRealSmooth SBAF's Mr. Bean

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    I don't know about anyone else...but if I had this line in my history and the ship sunk as badly as it did, I probably would avoid talking about this as much as possible and die of shame when someone in my family brings it up.
     
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  13. Slade01

    Slade01 Almost "Made"

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    Well, Amir was obviously inspired by this little gem to originally create his street cred - and something his followers fully subscribe to.

     
  14. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    I'm pretty sure those conglomerate(s) just copy pasted articles from his site to theirs, to "prove" their products are "stellar". I wouldn't say that, in itself, means anything. Chi-Fi sites copy pasting other's work or content. Nothing new there...

    Well I don't know.. in the "A70 Pro" review he rated it as "boundary-pushing", stellar performing and now in latest pages a bunch of Taiwanese people registered just to note their unit died within days/weeks. Not a great look... so much for reliability/proper engineering

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2023
  15. Thorsten Loesch

    Thorsten Loesch MOT: Studio RaumklanG, Studio Cocktail

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    One of my issues with Amir is that he makes statements like that. It is well established that in the context of KNOWN and UNDERSTOOD fidelity impairments, e.g. noise, harmonic distortion, intermodulation distortion, transient intermodulation distortion, jitter, noise modulation etc., so any statement about technical quality should reference audibility limits, to the best reliable known data.

    So it was boundary pushing. Anything boundary pushing must blow up a lot. Murphy's law. It is not a problem, actually, if the company stands behind the product and looks after it's customers.

    Of course, if you make chi-fi on super low margins, full the cheapest fake parts and have very limited profit margins, good customer service becomes challenging.

    The issue is that at one point Chi-Fi was 100% copies of older western and japanese designs (that were properly designed and tested for reliability) made cheap and sold with minimal profit margins, or the latest "DAC du heure" from Chipmaker datasheet circuits and thus offered reasonably good products cheap, if with issues on the IP front. Make a lot, sell them cheap, take the cash and run.

    In the days of 10USD IEM's and 20 USD portable headphone amp's and 70 USD DAC du Heure from China this was acceptable. One of the consequences was that many japanese and western companies stopped innovating and just repackaged stuff or shut down. This is not limited to Hifi, other product groups experienced the same.

    So in the end mainland chinese companies were forced to actually develop stuff and innovate, but they simply are not good at it. Worse, due to massive cost rises in china (cost of unskilled labour had tripled between 2006 and 2019, skilled labour was up more) chinese companies are trying to move up the food chain and sell premium priced products - that they naturally have to develop themselves...

    AMR/iFI struggled with this, we tried for several years to implement a structured testing approach for development that chinese engineers could follow, in effect formalising my own "soft skills". The problem is, mainland chinese engineers I have met lack both the skills to identify problems and to solve them. A single westerner in a large department can only do so much before total burnout. I had such a bad physical collapse, I was out for around three month and took well over to fully recover, you constantly swim against the stream and push muck upwards.

    To me, during a test of something I am not looking "does it pass this limit" but does it behave as expected. Chinese Engineers do not know what to expect. So they need a crib-sheet with pass/fail limits. I might just let several "fails" pass (as there are invariably differences between theory in practice, but will spot easily things like marginal stability or find something that "smells fully" (not literally), and will dig until I have found the cause and know idf I need to adjust the design or can just let it pass.

    I never found a mainland chinese engineer capable of working like that. Few of those we had in the chinese team at iFi were even listening to music except on the speakers in their phones or with the cheapest apple earbud copies. So what kind of product can they realistically be expected to develop, once there is nothing left to copy?

    At iFi we never succeeded in implementing something that work and the very experienced project manager from hong kong (used to manage projects for subway stations) quit out of frustration, as the gap to bridge was way too huge.

    So any product that I dod not spend a lot of time testing personally ended up buggy. At least we were usually able to identify them very early and to rapidly solve them.

    Well, a bit of perspective from an "old china hand".

    Thor
     
  16. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    You mean he didn't make big money from being the Zune guy?
     
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  17. bboris77

    bboris77 Friend

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  18. purr1n

    purr1n Desire for betterer is endless.

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    There are. They exist. Probably not if they are green out of the mainland Chinese educational system that emphasizes rote memorization and regurgitation. However, once they get exposure outside of their system, the cream naturally rises to the top. It's just that audio don't pay much. The really good engineers will follow the money, which will be telecom, military, medical, and heck, iPhones.

    In the USA we have our problems too, stateside born engineers are as rare as U-235.
     
  19. dericchan1

    dericchan1 Acquaintance

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    Saw that along with the rack mount amp and thought to myself another piece of so called sota junk!!
     
  20. Thorsten Loesch

    Thorsten Loesch MOT: Studio RaumklanG, Studio Cocktail

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    So does the Coelacanth.

    Or only worked for mainland chinese companies under mainland chinese management.

    Or emigrate to work elsewhere.

    STEM is no longer a destination.... And people even believe that ChatGPT can design circuits and write software, so nobody needs engineers anyway.

    Thor
     

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