Fun & Silliness w/ "Cheap" DAC measurements ...

Discussion in 'Audio Science' started by Torq, Oct 4, 2018.

  1. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Here are the FR plots (10 - 22,050 Hz source signal) for three DACs. The cheapest is usefully less than $100, the most expensive several multiples of that. One is a scarcely available little thing, another is - at least in some circles - vaunted as the bestest-most-perfectest-cannot-be-questioned-DAC-ever and "worthy" of being lauded over units costing >10x it's own asking price.

    Fun with DACs.png

    The vertical axis is zoomed ... total range is 0.6 dB, so it'll exaggerate the plot vs. the "much more convenient for one particular narrative" view covering 5-10 dB (where everything will look almost perfectly flat and is about as much use as a chocolate teapot) ... yes there is a reasonable middle-ground.

    The little bump at ~23 Hz is an ADC artifact.

    Undisclosed, audio-related, "prizes" for correctly identifying:
    • Which products are represented - and specifically which corresponds to a specific plot.
    • Other products/lines that exhibit the same signatures.
    • Why little Donny Osmond has so many teeth.
    And finally, NONE of the devices involved are from Schiit.
     
  2. Elnrik

    Elnrik Super Friendly

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    Because he is a morlock from the 1960's movie The Time Machine?

    I'm going to guess one of those is a Topping D50 or a R2R AudioGD something, as both clearly cannot be bested by anything anywhere ever period.

    /wrists

    I think the orange plot is the grace dac?
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2018
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  3. kixx

    kixx Acquaintance

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    I'm gonna go on a whim and say that the black FR is a odac ... heard one and thought it was quite smooth sounding, with slight rolled off highs. The green FR sorta looks like the e10k ... maybe? The orange one is pretty solid for a cheapo ... but beats me.

    Oh yeah ... i forgot. I googled Donny Osmond. Don't do that ... you'll have nightmares for weeks ... that smile :confused:
     
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  4. geniekid

    geniekid Almost "Made"

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    /* rolls dice */
    Black = ODAC, Green = Topping D50, Orange = SDAC.
     
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  5. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    • Dark (black?) = Airist
    • Green = D30
    • Orange = D50
     
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  6. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Some surprisingly good/interesting guesses so far.

    Not saying more for now ... let a few other people post their thoughts.
     
  7. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    They are all the same DAC, the Sony Playstation 1 with RCA outputs. But you put three different kind of crystals on top of the PS1.
     
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  8. rtaylor76

    rtaylor76 Can't wipe his tag

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    The black one reminds me of my NOS & FL, Muse TDA1543 x 4 DAC. Kind of rolled off highs. Also somewhat rare. I don't they are sold anymore.

    Green looks like the ODAC.

    I am going to say the yellow is the Chord Mojo.

    I probably way off. I am never good at these.
     
  9. spwath

    spwath Pubeless Playboy

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    I may be missing something, but wouldn't those differences not be audible with the scale of less than 0.5 dB? Or is it different because it's not dB (re: 20 uPa), but just arbitrary non scaled?
     
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  10. batriq

    batriq Probably has made you smarter

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    @Torq Would you be able to overlay the Yggy plot for comparison/more fun?
     
  11. skem

    skem Friend

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    Tut, tut....The problem with this game is that FR curves do not tell us critical information about the time domain. The quality of the DAC cannot be discerned from these limited data.

    And @spawth is also correct that the differences here are sub-audible.
     
  12. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    Because one is expensive and not a Yggdrasil, I'm going to guess a flavor of Holo Spring or maybe a Chord Dave is somewhere in the lineup.
    I think the other two are something from Topping and an ODAC.
    I think the orange curve just might be from the cheapest of the bunch.
     
  13. spwath

    spwath Pubeless Playboy

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    Im going to say the orange is the ODAC
     
  14. loki993

    loki993 Almost "Made"

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    Orange - SDAC
    Green something from Topping d30 or d50
    No guess really on the black....

    either way very interested in seeing the results..
     
  15. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    The same thing crossed my mind. But then, such comparisons are often hotly argued , whether what they show is audible or not, right?
     
  16. spwath

    spwath Pubeless Playboy

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    But what is not debated is weather differences of <1 dB (re: 20 uPa) are audible. Which is why you always round dB values to the nearest dB.
     
  17. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Oh... I see!

    According to me, it depends on the weather :D.
     
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  18. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    I feel this is more about seeing if we can correlate the measured FR with the subjective tonal balance.
    I think 0.5db is definitely audible even over a relatively narrow range (say from 700Hz to 2kHz).
    I just tried with a Q 0.3 10kHz filter. At 0.1db it was pretty obvious, at 0.05db it was getting pretty difficult and I'm not sure if I heard a difference at 0.02db. Of course that's not entirely fair since you can sometimes hear the negative effects of the EQ even without a preset applied and I also didn't do a blind test, so could be placebo.
    You could even use a level control to see if a 0.05 or 0.01db difference in level is audible.

    I'll go with what @geniekid said
     
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  19. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Yes, what you're missing is that this is intended to be a bit of fun/silliness ... nothing more - as it says, right in the title.

    I didn't mention audibility.

    The "narrative" I referred to is that one of these DACs was vaunted as being the best thing ever. A statement that was made based on its measurements. You might be able to claim that the DAC represented by the black plot was the best sounding, but you can't reasonably claim it's the best measuring of that trio*.

    Yes, but the real problem is that your statement is completely irrelevant here and you have completely missed the point of the exercise.

    I didn't ask for a qualitative (nor a quantitative) evaluation of these DACs, I asked if people could identity them from a zoomed-in FR plot. And from there if they could correlate that to other DACs. And, of course, what's the deal with the Osmond creature's teeth?
     
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  20. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Not before I get back from RMAF.

    Nothing that expensive. Though one of the units in the plots was compared to similarly expensive units and declared better (based on how it measured).
     

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