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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    To do that, you need the direct url to the image. In imgur, right click on the image and select "Copy image address" (or something similar, depending on your browser).

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Friend

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    Now I see the button. Has it been there all along? (if so, I'm even more...compromised than I thought).

    But you're right--just tried it & there are my images. Thanks!
     

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  3. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

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    Its easy.
     

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  4. Clemmaster

    Clemmaster Friend

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    Get a VESA arm for your monitor that clamps on the back edge of your desk. This will free up space below the monitor, between the speakers for a DAC :D
     
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  5. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Friend

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    That's a great suggestion. You can't see it in the 2 pix I posted, but to the left of the desktop shown (speakers + monitor + keyboard) is an "L" coming off the main desk. On that L is a 2nd computer system w/keyboard, monitor, mouse, etc. On the L, I was able to set up a VISA arm clamped to back of the desk, and thus shed the over-large base the monitor came with.
    • FYI, there's a different DAC+amp set up on the L for headphone-only listening (I have a lot of audio going on here!).

    But on the system shown in the picture, there is no edge at the back of the desk to clamp anything to (there's metal back-wall to the entire desk). That's a real drag. Thought about somehow removing that metal wall, but it's integral to the design & stability of the whole thing.

    Still, it a great suggestion...
     
  6. treboR

    treboR Friend

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    Would anyone be interested in reading impressions from a HE-6 (4-Scew) and Convert-2 setup? I totally missed the hypetrain on the DAC, so I'm not sure if anyone here would care. I want to hook it up to my speakers but I'd like to spend some time with the headphones.

    Besides I feel I would be totally useless to 99% of friends and contributors here:
    • I don't have the ears for classical and most jazz.
    • I'm not a fan of a lot of the music your average audiophile is into.
    • I'm not a trained musician. I've never played an instrument.
    • My understanding of music theory is nil.
    • I've never stepped foot in a recording studio.
    • I don't have much exposure to DACs.
    • I'm not someone who will spend $300 on a MSFL CD (which I guess is hypocritical after spending $2k on this thing).
    • I have limited exposure to headphones, speakers, amps, etc.
    • I don't own vinyl or a turntable.
    • I'm too much of a basshead.
    • I have a rudimentary understanding on music fundamentals (bass, midrange, treble, etc.) and measurement graphs (hope to deepen this over time).
    • I'm mostly unfamiliar with the usual audiophile jargon or descriptions (which might be a positive).
    • I don't spend any time in audiophile online communities except for this place.
    In short: I think this would make me a very poor reference for a DAC at this price point. If there's some interest, I'd write up an effort post but it won't be until a few weeks so I can do some critical listening, collect my thoughts, etc.

    I don't know, I hesitate cause it might be a waste of time if what I say is worthless and I have no authority on anything audio related.

    Apologies for the stream of diarrhea that is to follow.

    I've read that Convert-2 Review thread front to back a bunch, and if I do review, I'd like to minimize as much as possible any influence from previous reviews (like that talk of a "U"-shaped soundstage) and hype. The reason is I don't want my own perceptions to be already formed by what someone else hears before I get to hear the gear myself. This isn't about not trusting ears, it's just when you read reviews on gear, you go into it with certain expectations and you tune your ears in a way that tries to match them, instead of letting the chips fall where they may. Pure 100% "objectivity" is impossible, however I would like to review this DAC as honestly as I can. I am not afraid to admit I wasted $2k on something I don't like or thought it sucks. I have no desire to justify my purchases. However I might quote a few posts here to kickoff further discussions.

    The other thing is I have the music taste of a 13 year old girl. I am a diehard pop fanatic. Love too many pop artists, songs, albums that would be a total embarrassment to Dire Straits audiophiles. I consider pop in a very broad sense: hip-hop, rock, teeny-bopper pop, bubblegum, electronic, funk, dance, R&B, soul etc. I'm the embodiment of a Billboard Hot 100 chart or the perfect soulless consumer UMG markets to.

    A few albums I'd like to use would be the following (all CD's ripped in iTunes in ALAC format):

    - The 2001 Special Editions of Michael Jackson's catalog have the volume boosted just enough while maintaining excellent dynamics. They are my preferred remasters.The 25th anniversary remaster of "Thriller" sounds like it was victim of the loudness war; too loud and compressed.
    - Massive Attack "Mezzanine" is the new 2019 remaster. The original release is great except there is a tiny bit of loudness compression. This is fixed on the import and there's more nuance in the layering, sounds I don't hear on the '98 release.
    - Fleetwood Mac "Rumors" is the 2004 remaster. I prefer it over the 1987(?) original release. It's not bad, but the remaster hits a little harder and polishes it just right.
    - Iggy Pop's "Raw Power" - I like both versions but I prefer Iggy's 1997 remix. This album should have been originally mixed this loudly, it just works so good here. It's like the brickwalling Owen Morris did on Oasis "Definitely Maybe" to make those guitars sound so massive. Only time the loudness war crap is a positive.
    - The Clash "London Calling" is from the "Sound System" boxset. A tiny bit better in resolution than the 2001 release
    - The Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" is the 2017 stereo remix. I love the mono but I think Giles Martin has done an incredible job remixing it. It sounds gorgeous and sweeping. I don't agree with how he positioned Ringo's drums on "Day In The Life" but that's the only fly in the ointment.
    - Jimi Hendrix' "Electric Ladyland" sadly does not have a good CD pressing that I'm aware of. I have the 1997 and 2010 and 2018 pressings. The 2010/2018 releases are much louder than the '97 but sounds somewhat crushed. When I want to rock out at loud volumes, I'll play the 2010, otherwise I'll stick to the '97 for other listening.
    -Funakdelic's "Maggot Brain" and "And Your Ass Can Follow" 2003 remasters are pretty good.

    - The other albums would be the regular CD releases: "Design of a Decade" by Janet Jackson, "Immaculate Collection" by Madonna, "Marshall Mathers LP" by Eminem, "Fat Of The Land" by The Prodigy, "Halfway Between the Gutter and the Stars" by Fatboy Slim, "Kid A" and "OK Computer" by Radiohead, "Homework" and "Random Access Memories" by Daft Punk, "Sweetener" by Ariana Grande, "Emotion" by Carly Rae Jepsen, "Tigerlily" by Natalie Merchant, "The Blueprint" Jay-Z, "Ride the Lightning" by Metallica, "Invasion of Privacy" by Cardi B, and a few others.

    Picked these for a variety of reasons, I'm familiar with them and they are good enough where I can pick out differences. Some better than others.

    Just wanted to gauge if there would be any interest in a large post where I can try to be helpful to others while also including my own opinions in.

    My rig is as follows: PC-> Schiit Pyst USB cable -> Wyrd -> Schiit Pyst USB cable -> Convert-2 (-14dbfs setting, 44.1k manual, Master Clock enabled, volume trim bypassed) -> 2ft. Belden 1800F Balanced Audio Cable x2 -> Goldpoint SA1X-47 -> 2ft. Belden 1800F Balanced Audio Cable x2 -> Schiit Vidar x2 monoblocks -> HiFIMAN HE-6 (4s-screw) w/ YFS 'Super30' Copper Litz cable

    I'll post a picture of the gear when I get a chance (not to flex, as I hate that, but "pics or it didn't happen").

    P.S.

    @Psalmanazar should be called out. Why do you not have the Convert-2 yet? WTF are you doing with your life? For someone who shits on so many DACs except the Source and prefers AD1955 implementations I'm shocked. Its like the guys at Dangerous designed the Convert-2 with your unforgiving approval and exacting specifications in mind. I feel a tad guilty I have this thing knowing full well you'd get much more out of it than I will. I'm a guy who wants a DAC that'll put balls on the Backstreet Boys and clearly see Ariana Grande's glistening pink lip gloss before she gives me an aural blowjob. I have no doubt if you saw my music library you would succumb to the deepest pits of despair and summon demons from Hell to annihilate my soul. So crowbar the safe in your mother's basement to pawn her antique jewelry or go deliver pizzas in rich neighborhoods for big tips or sacrifice children at the altar of Moloch in an underground black metal concert for cash (I'm not a metalhead but if there ain't some kind of satanic rituals going on during a show I have to seriously question the authenticity of dudes screaming about death, torment and Hell). Do whatever you gotta do to acquire this box. Can't take you seriously otherwise. Now back to listening to Mandy Moore's self-titled third album...
     
  7. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Non Voting Friend

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
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    Dangerous only make great converters and niche devices with only certain functions. They don't make a general interface. I sold off everything budget I had and the Source. Dangerous simply doesn't make a product that fits my needs.

    It's impossible to aggregate audio interfaces on Windows with ASIO and a pain in the ass on OSX. Switcing them around is so dumb and tedious. After hearing some stuff, I narrowed it down to SPL, Lynx, Apogee, and MOTU because RME wasn't going to cut it soundwise for me.
    Lynx is boring and grainy.
    Apogee sounds great and all but had nerfed treble and is Mac only. I will never buy another Mac due to numerous issues with the last Macbook pro I had and Apple breaking my old Apogee shit.
    For Apple:
    …………………./´¯/)
    ………………..,/¯../
    ………………./…./
    …………./´¯/’…’/´¯¯`·¸
    ………./’/…/…./……./¨¯\
    ……..(‘(…´…´…. ¯~/’…’)
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    …………..\………….\
    SPL sounded sick but don't write their own drivers and the Crimson has no possibilities for expansion so I wouldn't be able to use it for eveyrthing but recording 1 guitar with two mics and maybe an external mic pre or two. I would be just be back with the same problems as before.
    MOTU had Apogee level detail with a more normal tone and the best drivers so I'm all in on that now and can easily hook up more interfaces with very good pres and great converters to each other with only an ethernet cable. The Sabre treble issues are solved for me, the same as the on the Apogee Elements and supposedly the newest Symphony card.

    That Apogee and MOTU can make better sounding products with the 9016S chip than the Chinese oems going "let's muntz the eval boards" with the 9038 shows that it's all skill.

    Oh and Iggy's Raw Power remix on lp is sick without the clipping on CD. I don't know if it got remastered on CD but it was one the only LP I kept for a long time. I still prefer the nasty Iggy version of the album. Bowie mix sounds like rough tracks or a demo cassette. Iggy mix sounds like the proto hardcore it should and the cd master he did to make it sound like a beat up old record really does sound like some worn down 80s punk or metal lp you'd dig up at a used record store.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2019
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  8. obsiCO

    obsiCO Thai Fish Experiment Gone Wrong

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    Your bullet points have just described me basically, well, maybe except the basshead one. :D

    Still, I think it'll be an interesting read exactly because of the lack of experience: how a top-shelf DAC sounds to relatively untrained ears and with music for 13-yo for a change (hey, your words not mine) instead of just jazz or Daft Punk or classical or music from 50 years ago all the time. Your impressions are as valid as those from others on here, as long as you have a point of reference and preferences so we know where you come from (which you have already immaculately done so above). Hell, if no one reads it, at least I will!

    Also, sick P.S.
     
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  9. treboR

    treboR Friend

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    LOL Psal I'm just giving you shit.

    And dude are you ever going to get clear with the rest of us with what exact setup you have currently? The only information I've gathered from your posts is you listen to music from an iPhone or a CD player with now the PortaPros.

    I wonder if you deliberately obfuscate this because it prevents someone like purr1n from calling your bluff, which he's done in the past. Or unless you're cycling through various cheap audio interfaces until you settle with one.

    I just can't make heads or tails of what you consider to be "hi-fi" and "lo-fi". I need a frame of reference here, so I can put your opinions on various gear in the appropriate context. Cause what you consider "hi-fi" someone else might think is "lo-fi" and vice versa. Not that you give a shit or anything.

    For the record, I agree with a lot of what you say on here, especially the AKM4490 "Velvet Sound" tuning and your dislike of the Schiit Multibit stuff.

    But whenever you say "x" DAC is shit, you're never clear as to what the rest of the chain is (what speakers/headphones, amps, etc. are being used). Or if you have a truly resolving system to easily point out the difference in DACs.

    The Modi 3, while having consistent characteristics with other gear I've hooked up with (high resolution, overly polite mids and attacks, bloomy mid-bass, laid-back/relaxed soundstage, creamier/rounded in the top end), it still sounds different when other components are put together. I know you think synergy is bullshit, but the Modi 3 sounds the most normal with my JBL LSR-30Xs. My loudspeakers accentuate it's flaws more, while the HE-6 takes advantage of the Modi's higher resolution and makes the HD650s so laid back you could snooze while listening to heavy metal.

    But somehow you are able to have such strong opinions on different DACs, which many of them have agreed with my own ears, while you listen from an iPhone, PortaPros, I assume low-cost monitors and audio interfaces. I don't understand how it's possible you could be so accurately succinct in light of that.

    Unless I'm missing something or not in on a joke. Or you are so clairvoyant you can tell how a DAC will sound from a spec sheet. If you're truly this gifted, I would like the winning lottery numbers for this week.

    Lol yeah that's true. I picked it out just because it spices up the rest of the other CDs I have when trying out the DAC. I think the Convert-2's meters will probably stay in the red while the album is being played.
     
  10. msommers

    msommers High on Epipens

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    LULZ Good luck on getting that info.
     
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  11. treboR

    treboR Friend

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    Lol like squeezing blood from a turnip
     
  12. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Non Voting Friend

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
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    95% of my non car use is porta pros or KRK Rokit 5 G4 1m away directly on axis due to the Kevlar dome tweeter. They’re not flat but have some detail and I like that I can replace them on the same day anywhere if I do something retarded. Yes I use the porta pros everywhere. The Porta Pros are that good. My interface is a MOTU with ESS Sabre 9016S on the outputs. I can pick out the difference in DACs down to about 70hz or so with this. Synergy with such a setup with most monitors I’ve tried doesn’t matter that much. The only ones I liked more in the 5-7” and sounds normal (not NS10 like) category were the KRK V6S4 but those hiss because KRK is owned by Gibson and Gibson are fucktards so they will make a great small speaker into an annoying small speaker. Even with the hiss, you’re paying 1k more for more unneeded volume 1m away and less shitty bass that gives you more temptation to push the bass too far because you’re not as physically limited by the monitor. The smaller, upper bass focused Kevlar woofer gives you a bit of separation between kicks and baseline that the polypropylene and old school paper woofers just don’t tend to have anyway. I want to get some bigger, more expensive monitors to get down to about 40hz without really rolling off and with headroom cleanly or 40hz as it would appear on a hifi speaker in the real world but so much of what I have tried in person is good only for the bass or some huge three way that I would never use except for the bass.

    The transducer is 95% of it. Especially in these active monitors that are paired with plate amps to sound good enough at certain volume ranges, even if they’re below reference. If they sound good, they’ll sound at least decent with pretty much all decent stuff, even if it’s lo fi. Your JBL 305 are already better than pretty much all headphones except for bass extension. The MK2 is even better because of the much better tweeter but it still falls apart at higher volumes when I tried it. The low end of active monitors has gotten really good for small speakers. Right now, the real upgrade for midrange quality in nearfields is typically something that costs like 1200-3000 bucks a pair and sounds relatively normal but you’re paying out the wazoo for something that does the same thing in most cases and after that it’s 2000-5000 a pair for something that pretty much sounds like a tricked out NS10 that you’d hate but the technicalities are better. I even prefer the jbl 305 mkii to the 705. It sounds more normal.

    Most good DACs sound pretty good and most middling DACs sound mediocre on most usable nearfields. The midrange is all important and will be the only clear thing on good sub 1000 dollar monitors, of which there are several. Cheap or smaller speakers and accurate bass do not get along.

    The Modi 3 and Schiit Multibits are just made to sound good. Most stuff is voiced to sound good and Schiit releases a lot of products. Interfaces are often chosen to convert faster or be very responsive too. Even the clean stuff is voiced to sound good.

    Garbage fi is Chifi, most nos dacs, and most 80s consumer CD players, Mytek, trash Sabres, Behringer, Benchmark, Audient

    Lofi would be like better Behringer, Focusrite Scarlet, most android phones, cheapo consumer CD players, and Presonus

    Middling is like better CD players, better Focusrite, RME, higher channel count Steinbergs. These generally sound decent.

    Maybe Dangerous Source and Dbox and maybe the Hilo on the upper end of this? They’re pretty good and perfectly satisfactory but lack something or have a couple annoying things about their sound.

    Really good is like Bricasti, Lavry, SPL, and the current Apogee and MOTU Sabre interfaces. SPL and Apogee have treble softness. Lavry is still my favorite but I bought the most flexible one and it’s also cleaner in the bass than lavry. I’ve never heard the convert 2 btw.

    But this is all personal and often the leap from midfi to really good is just taste. Some people really like the upper end Focusrites, Hilo, and RME and would take them over Lavry or SPL or Apogee. I think those people are boring and love Panera bread and IPAs that taste like pineapple smoothies. The upgrade from Source to MOTU was huge for me in terms of top end openness and midrange depth while the treble is more incisive than Apogee. I’m not looking to upgrade any time soon.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  13. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Non Voting Friend

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
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    Dumping money into small midrangey speakers isn’t worth it ime. I found that out the hard way. Shell out for something that makes you shit your pants. I’m aiming for the biggest upcoming KRK Expose or the Quested V2108 now but my mind is open. I still want to hear the HEDDs, Egglestonworks, and the newest Dynaudio big ass speakers developed with millions of dollars of Chinese car and pa speaker R&D. Hopefully, they spent some of it developing better crossovers lol

    These speaker companies want you to spend 4000 bucks for something whose advertised use is to replace an NS10, a 400 dollar a pair shitty speaker. meanwhile for 2-10k you can get whatever you like that will blow your brains out in any way you like.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  14. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    @Psalmanazar Was it only the SPL Crimson(3?) that you heard? or have you heard the built-in dacs on the phonitors too? The crimson has been on my curiosity list, though finding SPL gear in Canada is expensive.
     
  15. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Non Voting Friend

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
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    Crimson. Same DAC as the Madison. Very good stuff but imported by Focal and about 300-400 dollars overpriced in the USA. Who would buy it over the Apogee Element and MOTU Ultralite here? 300-400 buys some cool mics, speakers, or about 20 cases of beer.

    EDIT: You could also buy a Mexican strat and one of those midi drum kits made to be pretty quiet, plug in any headphones, and have way more fun than spending 1000 dollars on a colored German thing with mediocre drivers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
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  16. LetMeBeFrank

    LetMeBeFrank Won't tell anyone my name is actually Francis

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    You had me at 20 cases of beer. Cheers :drunk:
     
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  17. murphythecat

    murphythecat Friend

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    how do you find the V2108? interesting, didnt knew they xo at 1400hz
    there"s a good deal on ebay right now
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/333086537989
     
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  18. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Non Voting Friend

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
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    Cool but tweeter damage. They're smooth tanks. They didn't hurt my ears with high gain guitars when cranked.
     
  19. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Non Voting Friend

    Slaytanic Cliff Clavin
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  20. gepardcv

    gepardcv Wow, I made it this far without being a friend?

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    Nominating this post for a “best of SBAF” award. That made me laugh several times.
    Quoted for truth. Wish I knew this before going as deep into the headphone game as I did.
     

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