SBAF DAC Talk II

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

  1. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    Obviously, now you must go directly to 3 Yggdrasils :D
     
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  2. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    Something to be decided -- what I'll use for the two bass channels (mid/tweet are a passive crossover because it would be too expensive to get good stuff). I just need something with good bass, which I'm hoping will make things a lot easier (and cheaper). Maybe not even that, since I suspect that much of what we hear as bass characteristics actually happens higher up. It just has to take SPDIF or AES/EBU so I can sync it, and do 192/24. In the meantime, I'll experiment with some combination of the Gungnir, the e28 (which has two channels of SPDIF), and the E22
     
  3. murray

    murray Friend

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    Consider that different DACs may have different time delays through their respective filters.
     
  4. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    In terms of terminology, I'm not sure it is possible to have too much plankton. I'd say maybe too much macro-detail or too much transient overshoot. For an analogy, going from 720p to 1080p should not cause eyes to hurt unless the 1080p picture is unnaturally sharpened.

    The Yggdrasil A2 does have more plankton than the Gungnir A2, but the Yggdrasil is also brighter on the top end.
     
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  5. skem

    skem Friend

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    Also, digitus from reconstruction filters might seem like “plankton” in some sense of the word. I describe it as nervous energy.
     
  6. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    Yep, I've considered that. I can adjust the offset easily enough -- I'm more concerned that latency changes as sampling rate does, and I'm not sure that they all change by the same amount. The Benchmark, for example, the only DAC for which I've seen numbers, varies from 1.36 ms at 44.1 to .47 ms at 192:

    1.36 ms at 44.1 kHz
    1.27 ms at 48 kHz
    0.90 ms at 88.2 kHz
    0.82 ms at 96 kHz
    0.51 ms at 176.4 kHz
    0.47 ms at 192 kHz

    That said, the XO to the Yggdrasil would be at 200 Hz so I assume I can tolerate a bit of slop. My fallback, if worst comes to worst, would be to oversample in HQPlayer and feed the DAC's at 192.

    I wonder too if the other Schiit MB's would vary by the same relative amount since AFAIK their implementation of the closed form filter is the same? I can put the Yggdrasil and Gungnir on the scope and see if that's the case.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
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  7. Josh358

    Josh358 Almost "Made"

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    I'm sure you're right. Here's what KeithL of Emotiva had to say about it:

    'The signal passing through a DAC is often altered in many subtle but significant ways... many of which involve timing.
    However, most of those alterations are somewhat complex to measure, and VERY complex to interpret. If you look at the analog output of several different DACs with a variety of input test signals, you will see significant differences.

    'Many manufacturers and magazine reviewers publish certain of these characteristics - like "impulse response" - and those measurements are in fact different for Sabre DACs than for most others. Unfortunately, even when looking directly at the images of those signal characteristics, it isn't always obvious what a given difference represents in terms of SOUND.

    'What is happening is that Sabre DACs have certain differences from most other DACs in terms of how they handle some sorts of impulse signals. Because we're talking about subtle differences, and because no current DAC is perfect in this context, it may be difficult to suggest which ones are "more correct". (Most of us here at Emotiva agree that the DACs we've chosen to use produce an output that we perceive as being more accurate to the original than Sabre DACs.) However, if you compare oscilloscope images of certain test signals, the differences themselves are relatively easy to see. And there are certain commonalities in how they are perceived by the majority of human listeners.

    'When comparing a Sabre DAC to "an average DAC" from any of several other brands (with similar basic specs).....
    - Some listeners fail to notice any significant difference
    - Most listeners who notice a difference and LIKE Sabre DACs describe them as sounding "more detailed" or "more revealing"
    - Most listeners who notice a difference and DISLIKE Sabre DACs describe them as sounding "etched" or "grainy" or "bright" or even "overly detailed".'

    http://emotivalounge.proboards.com/post/930897

    Except that ESS admits that the overshoot isn't right, and says they do it because it sounds good.

    On the other hand, Yggdrasil strikes me as being detailed without being in any way unnaturally etched. Subjectively, the highs seem just right, on my system, anyway.

    I have the sense that the brightness of the Yggdrasil isn't unnatural, while the Gungnir sounds somewhat maple syrupy or romanticized. But perhaps that's my system, inasmuch as Magnepan's ribbons tend to be on the bright side.

    One thing that I don't think can be explained by the difference is that the Yggdrasil seems to localize instruments laterally, while with the Gungnir, it was hard to pinpoint their location. But my impression was that the Gungnir had more depth -- though I'm not certain of that since I haven't AB'd them on the same track. It certainly had more depth than the e38 Mk II.
     
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  8. RobS

    RobS The Friend formerly known as treboR

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    I posted this question over at HF but I think this might be better asked here as folks here have more experience with various DACs. I couldn't find a general questions thread, so I hope this is appropriate to ask here.

    This sorta relates to the Bifrost 2, but why are there DAC chips that have 18-bits when standard Redbook is only 16-bit. Why do those 2 extra bits matter? Or even with the Yggdrasil at 21-bits?

    All of my music is in 16-bit and for serious listening I use CDs. This is why I wanted a Bifrost originally because a) I'm only running single ended and b) I don't see any reason to get a DAC that retains all the samples higher than 16-bit

    Sorry I'm not an engineer or an expert at understanding tech specs of DACs, but this is something I've wondered about.
     
  9. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Every DAC has some level of errors, inconsistencies, and limitations. A 16-bit DAC may only be truly accurate to 14 or 15 bits.

    The same is true of 18-bit DACs, for example, but you may be able to net real 16 or 17 bit performance in that case.

    So, not only could you consider it as some level of overhead, a safety measure, but also opens up the possibility for actual performance beyond 16/44. I think some folks have been able to successfully hear upwards of 18 bits. Not sure how much music gets anywhere near that, though.
     
  10. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    The challenge with discreet ladders is sourcing all of those parts with matching tolerances. Mike Moffat wrote:
    https://www.head-fi.org/threads/what-a-long-strange-trip-its-been-robert-hunter.784471/page-572#post-14334167

    Now I shall address the discrete vs. monolithic (integrated circuit) DAC. Why do I use monolithics? Quite simple; it is because I can provide a much higher value scalable multibit solution than I can with discrete DACs. Now DACs have two critical sections – the digital section which routes the proper bits to the proper switches – the switches which switch the appropriate resistor in the network. There is also an electronic section which interfaces the switched resistor to the outside world which has little effect on the accuracy of the DAC if properly designed for the network. The tolerance of the resistor and its value shift with temperature are critical to the parts per million in a 20 bit system. Here are some advantages of monolithic DACs. The ladder/R2R resistors are properly designed/trimmed for their bit width, providing greater accuracy than some random purchase of resistors and switches in discrete DACs. Only in a monolith are all resistors are on the same die so their temperature variations track, resistor to resistor. This all contributes to the value metric favoring monolithic DACs mentioned above.

    Does this say it is difficult/impossible to build a proper discrete DAC? No, it is more like making sure all of your 20 bit DACs in production are just that; in Singapore, Alaska in winter, or Key West. There could be nothing worse than making production quantity 20 bit DACs until you realize some are 12,15, or 21. It is more like building a highly tolerance precise, labor intensive, parts matching, temperature controlled DAC which would be difficult to exactly duplicate, sample to sample. Am I ever going to build it? Who knows? I have thought about it since the 1980s. If I were to do so, I would not use either one’s (sign magnitude) or two’s compliment. I would use an old coding designed to be used on polar co-ordinates which I feel would be the absolute best to decode music. I would put it in a temperature controlled oven and agonize over how to solve the switch variation problem. It is a bucket list item for me. I know I could make two the same. But two thousand? Probably not. Maybe I could learn.
    Edit: Didn't notice I was replying to a very old post. This may be a repeat.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Bits doesn't really matter other than getting better AP-555 results (noise, shape of -110db sine wave, etc.) when all things are done right.

    The best response is because it's good marketing. People know 24 > 16. So it must be better, nevermind most recordings are 16-bit.

    I mean, let's ask the question why people chase bad sounding 24-bit HD masters from HDTracks instead of better sounding ones from the original 16-bit CD.

    People are dumb. This audio hobby is neurotic. It's like the mens' version of womens' skincare and cosmetics. Dangle hope and fear of missing out through smart marketing, and you can get people to buy a lot of shit that they don't need. Simple numbers are easy for people to grasp.

    Shit wrapped in brocade.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  12. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar was: dingleberry; now: chill + interesting

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    Yeah the numbers just don’t mean anything at all if they approach the red book standards, which they have since the late 80s and early 90s. The differences between digital gear doesn’t correlate with the differences in such simple numbers. My current desktop box, MOTU Ultralight AVB w/ ES9016, fixes what I didn’t like about the treble of my previous Dangerous Source. The numbers have nothing to do with because dacs with worse numbers than the Source didn’t have the sound of the source.

    People who say there is no difference or that the difference is merely a lower noisefloor, eg Amir, NWAVGUY, Hydrogenaudio autists, High school kids on reddit, and their various Acolytes, are deaf retards and basically don’t get to have an opinion because they say you’re not an allowed to have an opinion and want to burn you at the stake for pointing out that there is a difference. They’re full of pseudoscience and It’s like a colorblind guy telling you grass and blood are the same color. The only way to get them to shut up is to disengage or gag them with a dirty gym sock.

    I heard three different interfaces with the same da chip recently (presonus Quantum, rme babyface pro, and Focusrite clarett) and all of them sound different in ways the numbers don’t back up. None of them are cut down evaluation boards shoved Into a project box Chinese fleabay style. Which one anyone will like the sound of best is a toss up and which one anyone would end up buying is mostly due to sound and functionality. There is no “one performs better because it’s numbers have a bigger dick” Even if some of them are totally way more lofi than the others.

    All the Schiit stuff using the same chips has sounded different too. Same with all AD1955 boxes and Apogee Sabre boxes.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  13. Maxx134

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

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    That was true. Look at today's R2R dacs solving the issues.
    R2R resistor ladder dacs are becoming popular for a reason. They just sound better. I realize this is a general statement .
     
  14. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Friend

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    Yes, it is a general statement--and one that I've found to be true, at least IMS. I would take any decent R2R DAC over pretty much any delta-sigma DAC. And I would take NOS over either most of the time. If the objective is natural transients, realistic tonality & sense of the recording space, the choice is pretty clear, at least to me.
     
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  15. iFi audio

    iFi audio MOT iFi Audio

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    Yet they can sound so good :cool:
     
  16. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    What did you think of the Babyface Pro? There's a used one on sale local to me and I've been considering it.
     
  17. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

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    I don't think it's a very good deal for audiophiles, if you don't need the feature set.
     
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  18. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar was: dingleberry; now: chill + interesting

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    It sucks. As a portable usb recording interface you can plug into anything and it just works? It’s good. Sound quality? Not up there but it’s better than the Presonus Quantum and entry level stuff. The Quantum has faster rtl and is easier to use though. Presonus grain, lofi saturation, and closed in sound versus the RME veil, softness, and total lack of warmth in the midrange but the RME sounds like it extends way further. I would take the RME over it because it’s cheaper.

    The MOTU ESS Sabre Ultralites and the Apogee Elements sound way better. There is no comparison even with the Apogee color. The Focusrite Claret line is better too but the drivers are wonky. The Claret 2 pre is 400 bucks so it is an okay deal for audiophiles and people who don’t need low rtl for listening to backing tracks or amp sims or headphone mixes on cans. For recording, definitely spring the extra 200 for MOTU or Apogee. Or if you want better sound too. The higher channel count Clarets and the thunderbolt ones are in a weird place price wise. The red stuff is way overpriced for the sound you get but is Dante and actually works. Focusrite has been cost reducing for a while and I’d rather go MOTU and Apogee made in the USA than line the pockets of guys milking late 80s and early 90s designs for all their worth. They took the Lundahls out of the red and isa pres man and don’t even make the red compressor anymore. It’s more made in China generic interface with bad driver junk but at least the clarets sound okay and won’t fry themselves unlike the awful Audient and Arturia garbage. At least they’re not tying to sell mediocre plugins for 150 bucks a pop like UAD. Now that stuff is an awful buy.
     
  19. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    @Hrodulf @Psalmanazar
    I currently have a Prism Lyra which I like, but I have driver issues on my laptop (it blue screens when I try to turn on or come back from sleep if it's plugged in; this doesn't happen on my desktop or old laptop). I am sorta looking for a replacement interface; bonus if it's portable (ie: I can toss it in my bag, hence Babyface-sized-ish). But I'm not sure if that sort of thing exists that would satisfy and I should just get a cheaper interface for the bag and live with the Prism for now until I figure out what to replace it with.
     
  20. Hrodulf

    Hrodulf Prohibited from acting as an MOT until year 2050

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    What's your usecase like? The babyface is fine as a workhorse, but if you make music then it'll be up to you to make magic.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
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