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Audible Differences in DAC's?
sawdin
post Jan 9 2013, 19:41
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When he announced the release of the ODAC, NwAvGuy posted the the following on his blog:
QUOTE
NO SNAKE OIL REQUIRED: Many audiophiles want to believe more elaborate or exotic DACs offer higher fidelity. The ODAC demonstrates you do NOT need any of these for 100% transparent performance:

Asynchronous USB
UAC2 (USB Audio Class 2) Support
Asynchronous Sample Rate Conversion (ASRC),
Minimum Phase Filtering (no pre-ringing)
Non-oversampling NOS DAC chips
Dual DAC chips
Balanced Outputs
Vacuum Tube Stages
Elaborate and/or High Current Power Supplies


Is his position accurate/defensible?

If there was a well-designed DB/ABX test of the ODAC and sub $500/$1000 DAC's (e.g., Audioquest Dragonfly, iFi Micro iDAC, Audioengine D1, Emotiva XDA-2, etc.) that are are Asynchronous, USB Audio Class 2, etc. etc., do you think there would be 'audible/discernible' differences?

The reason that I am asking is that I am curious as to the whether there really is much of an audible difference between various sub $500 or $1,000 DAC's, and I haven't come across any DB tests of DAC's. I have read many subjective reviews that claim differences are quite noticeable. Of course, there are major differences in terms of the types and number of inputs and outputs that a DAC may have, whether they include a headphone amp, how portable they are, etc.

I am not trying to start a fight/flame war, I am just curious as to what the 'prevailing wisdom is' on this site. If you think there are differences in sub $500/$1000 DAC's, what do you believe are the relevant factors (e.g., USB vs Toslink/Coax)? I know that 'speakers' make a difference, but am unsure about how much, if any, difference there is between DAC's. Again, just trying to become an informed consumer (and save $), not trying to start fights.

TIA

PS...I should note that I appreciate people like NwAvGuy and others who try to provide quality products, diy options, etc., at reasonable prices.
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greynol
post Jan 9 2013, 20:26
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$500 is far too much for a transparent DAC. You are not going to see any DBT results justifying this figure as a minimum price point from a sound quality perspective in today's dollars, ever.

This post has been edited by greynol: Jan 9 2013, 20:26


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Your eyes cannot hear.
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sawdin
post Jan 9 2013, 20:31
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QUOTE (greynol @ Jan 9 2013, 14:26) *
$500 is far too much for a transparent DAC. You are not going to see any DBT results justifying this figure as a minimum price point from a sound quality perspective in today's dollars, ever.


Okay, what do you believe is a reasonable price point and what DAC's at that price point do what they are supposed to do w/out adding noise/distortion. Not challenging your statement, just curious. Thanks.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jan 10 2013, 00:47
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QUOTE (sawdin @ Jan 9 2013, 14:31) *
Okay, what do you believe is a reasonable price point and what DAC's at that price point do what they are supposed to do w/out adding noise/distortion. Not challenging your statement, just curious.


Every DAC ever made or that will be ever made can be counted on to add noise and distortion.

However, that is not the relevant question.

The relevant question is what does it take in the way of DACs to be sonically transparent or free of audible noise and distortion as actually used to listen to music, etc..

The fact of the matter is that the DACs in a Sansa Clip+ are sonically transparent, and they are components of a Computer SOC (System on a Chip) that sells for $10 or less.

The answer to your question is < $1. For example there are 8 channel 24/192 DACs that have 105 dB dynamic range and are used on the outputs of the DSPs in AVRs. Less than $3. Each DAC costs about 3/8 of a dollar or $0.375.
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Posts in this topic
- sawdin   Audible Differences in DAC's?   Jan 9 2013, 19:41
- - pdq   I'm curious why you felt the need to limit the...   Jan 9 2013, 19:55
|- - sawdin   QUOTE (pdq @ Jan 9 2013, 13:55) I'm c...   Jan 9 2013, 20:14
- - greynol   $500 is far too much for a transparent DAC. ...   Jan 9 2013, 20:26
|- - sawdin   QUOTE (greynol @ Jan 9 2013, 14:26) ...   Jan 9 2013, 20:31
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (sawdin @ Jan 9 2013, 14:31) Okay, ...   Jan 10 2013, 00:47
|- - sawdin   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jan 9 2013, 18...   Jan 11 2013, 16:41
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (sawdin @ Jan 11 2013, 10:41) How a...   Jan 14 2013, 14:52
- - DVDdoug   Most sub-$100 CD players or portable music pl...   Jan 9 2013, 20:29
- - greynol   I don't feel challenged, rather it is I who is...   Jan 9 2013, 20:42
- - Speedskater   Unfortunately the NwAvGuy has lost interest in the...   Jan 9 2013, 20:51
|- - sawdin   QUOTE (Speedskater @ Jan 9 2013, 14:51) U...   Jan 9 2013, 21:11
- - ktf   You can try for yourself, download this: http://dl...   Jan 9 2013, 22:56
|- - arve   QUOTE (ktf @ Jan 9 2013, 22:56) You can t...   Feb 4 2013, 20:40
|- - mzil   At extremely elevated levels (which with normal le...   Feb 4 2013, 21:28
|- - arve   QUOTE (mzil @ Feb 4 2013, 21:28) At extre...   Feb 4 2013, 22:01
- - skamp   QUOTE (sawdin @ Jan 9 2013, 20:31) Okay, ...   Jan 9 2013, 23:37
- - sawdin   Thanks to all who have replied. Very informative,...   Jan 10 2013, 01:47
- - Mach-X   Haha skamp exactly why I love my zunehd! Its s...   Jan 14 2013, 06:27
- - Mach-X   btw Arnold, the folks at Zanden would disagree wit...   Jan 15 2013, 03:58
|- - probedb   QUOTE (Mach-X @ Jan 15 2013, 02:58) ...   Jan 15 2013, 09:05
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (probedb @ Jan 15 2013, 03:05) QUOT...   Jan 16 2013, 14:43
- - pdq   You did notice that he said that two of the files ...   Feb 4 2013, 22:23
|- - arve   QUOTE (pdq @ Feb 4 2013, 22:23) You did n...   Feb 4 2013, 22:50
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (pdq @ Feb 4 2013, 16:23) You did n...   Feb 6 2013, 03:48
- - Mach-X   My question here is, if the sansa clip+ provides l...   Feb 6 2013, 10:10
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (Mach-X @ Feb 6 2013, 04:10) M...   Feb 6 2013, 11:09
- - skamp   Sure, the ODAC is overkill, but that's not a b...   Feb 6 2013, 11:45
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (skamp @ Feb 6 2013, 05:45) Sure, t...   Feb 24 2013, 11:58
|- - mzil   QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Feb 24 2013, 05...   Feb 24 2013, 22:10
|- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (mzil @ Feb 24 2013, 16:10) QUOTE (...   Feb 25 2013, 15:51
- - DonP   Of course the big limitation of clip is that whil...   Feb 24 2013, 14:32
- - Arnold B. Krueger   QUOTE (DonP @ Feb 24 2013, 08:32) Of cour...   Feb 24 2013, 20:11


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