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A video from Paul McGowan, CEO of PS Audio, a maker of expensive home audio gear. I own their DirectStream DAC for my home stereo (expensive!!).

In this vid, he compares the Focusrite Scarlet, a "pro" piece of gear, an "interface" with a DAC, ADC, and other features, for around $100 to expensive audiophile gear. He notes that the specs for both are about the same.

Let the flames rise!!

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I'll note that with mainboards you can have the same Realtek ALC1200 chip in a $60 mainboard and a $300 mainboard, but you wouldn't expect them to sound the same. The specs might be the identical, but the rest matters, too...
Or the ALC1220 can be found in mainboards anywhere from $80 to $800...

Will the ALC1220 on a $80 board sound better with my DT 990 Pro than the ALC1200 on a $300 board? The specs say yes because the ALC1220 is made with driving high-impedance headphones in mind.

Here's an article on the difference between the two: https://www.igorslab.de/en/realtek-...eally-different-from-the-larger-alc1220/


Would I be able to tell the difference in practice? Probably not.

Last edited by steamrick; 01/17/22 12:09 PM.

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Speaking of expensive, I bought an Aqua Formula R2R DAC for a great price from a guy out in California who has way more money than I have and has upgraded to components far more expensive and rare. It is a food chain.

https://www.aquahifi.com/formula.html

You can all tell me that I'm a fool but I listen to the thing all day long, streaming losslessly from Tidal and Qobuz under Roon. Life is good.

I'm just happy to see that two channel audio is still alive because I kind of hate headphones and Bluetooth speakers, although I have a couple ELAC Discovery Z3 speakers for streaming in various rooms and they sound pretty good. They were designed by Alex Jones, speaker designer for TAD and Pioneer, if I recall correctly..

Last edited by LarryK; 01/17/22 12:12 PM.
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Comparing Scarlet, so one of the most basic ans cheapest music interface to PS Audio DAC is quite silly. He should compare to to some Antelope Audio or similar stuff. If you want good measurements you have to check ASR forum. I do not condemn audiophile stuff, but pro stuff can be also very expensive and sort or ripoff like Kii Three monitors using 20$ midrange and 20$ bass driver, and Seas DXT tweeter costing 4 times the midrange lol.

I will also add, that one of the best classical music recordings made for Naive have been recorded and mixed on Sonus Faber monitors. All majors sound like cheap stuff compared to Naive recordings.

Mamy mastering studios have Pass Labs amplifiers.

Last edited by maucycy; 01/17/22 12:52 PM.
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I don't know if I agree with Paul's statements. Can different outward chassis and boxes make the inward DAC chip sound better? Isn't the DAC chip that's doing the converting at the end of the day?

Again, I hold two statements to be my measuring rod:

1. If this tool is good enough for the pros to record, then it's also good for me to have music reproduction at home.

2. If the thing only plays music in some hi-res quality and costing thousands of dollars, then it is overpriced.

You can only have so much improvement in sound quality, as the DAC chip is what's doing the job. The outward chassis and all this are just protecting the electronics inside. As long as it's doing its job, we should be fine.

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Originally Posted by maucycy
Comparing Scarlet, so one of the most basic ans cheapest music interface to PS Audio DAC is quite silly. He should compare to to some Antelope Audio or similar stuff. If you want good measurements you have to check ASR forum. I do not condemn audiophile stuff, but pro stuff can be also very expensive and sort or ripoff like Kii Three monitors using 20$ midrange and 20$ bass driver, and Seas DXT tweeter costing 4 times the midrange lol.

I will also add, that one of the best classical music recordings made for Naive have been recorded and mixed on Sonus Faber monitors. All majors sound like cheap stuff compared to Naive recordings.

Mamy mastering studios have Pass Labs amplifiers.

I run a massive Class A amplifier and I have not found anything that sounds as smooth. No transistor switching means no switching distortion. It's by Gryphon, if you want to know. I tried Class D and hated it. I ran A/B for a while and that was ok.

My speakers are also by Gryphon, a sealed design called the Cantata. The cones were all handmade, not bought off the shelf, with massive magnets and a very solid spider. From what I read, there is no magical power number which a speaker driver can tolerate or blow up, it depends on the heat dissipation in the speaker assembly, the extrusion of the cone and the quality of the surround, the strength of the spider, on and on.

My speaker cabinets are a work of art. They're of monocoque construction, all one piece, and each weighs 80kgs/175lbs. These speakers have served me well for many years and I drive them hard at times. They're of D'Appolito design with two 5" inch drivers around a silk tweeter. Small speaker cones react more quickly to musical transients because less mass has to be moved. They also work better in small rooms because they produce less much bass energy. Large drives can cause bass overhang.

Anyway, this is just my modest system. I don't have the time or money to try every component under the sun but I have experimented some, always buying used to save money.

Last edited by LarryK; 01/17/22 01:25 PM.
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Small speaker cones react more quickly to musical transients because less mass has to be moved. They also work better in small rooms because they produce less much bass energy.
I agree with you completely. I've heard people say that 5-inch drivers is the magic number. As long as my speakers can make a double bass sound like a double bass, namely dig deep down there, I'm ok. smile

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Originally Posted by David Lai
Originally Posted by LarryK
Small speaker cones react more quickly to musical transients because less mass has to be moved. They also work better in small rooms because they produce much less bass energy.
I agree with you completely. I've heard people say that 5-inch drivers is the magic number. As long as my speakers can make a double bass sound like a double bass, namely dig deep down there, I'm ok. smile


Interesting, I didn't know the industry had arrived at a magic number like that but I'll take it.

Speakers in a sealed enclosure exhibit what is called room gain. They boost amplification as the frequency goes down. I believe the number is 12dB per octave. So, you can use this principle to design speakers to fit small rooms. My speakers have a little Q controller with different settings to roll off bass energy to compensate for small rooms.

I listen to a lot of Charlie Haden and I think he sounds good. Of course, it is always a bit difficult to hear an acoustic double bass. People seem to have gone bass crazy. I want tight, clean bass. I don't want boomy bass.

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Each speaker get room gain. Its not property of a speaker, but of a placement in room and it's acoustics.

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Originally Posted by maucycy
Each speaker get room gain. Its not property of a speaker, but of a placement in room and it's acoustics.

I don't think it is true for ported speakers.

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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by maucycy
Each speaker get room gain. Its not property of a speaker, but of a placement in room and it's acoustics.

I don't think it is true for ported speakers.

It is as well, as it is always a question how much baffle step compensation should be used in order to make it right but not to go too far creating bassy response from room gain.

Placement from the walls is crucial in room gain

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Originally Posted by maucycy
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by maucycy
Each speaker get room gain. Its not property of a speaker, but of a placement in room and it's acoustics.

I don't think it is true for ported speakers.

It is as well, as it is always a question how much baffle step compensation should be used in order to make it right but not to go too far creating bassy response from room gain.

Placement from the walls is crucial in room gain

Funny you mention placement from walls. My speaker manufacturer has recommended this placement:

[Linked Image]

and I have achieved it but it took many protracted battles with my wife, who wanted to push the speakers back into the corners. I stood my ground and I got my placement.

I do have to keep an eyes out for people who are about to walk into a speaker but we hardly have any visitors, so it’s not a problem. We have learned to walk around them.

I think sealed speakers are more accurate than ported but that you can get more sound with less amplification by using a ported speaker in a large room. Anyway, I have a small room and a sealed speaker.

I’m not a speaker designer so I don’t know much about baffle step compensation. I don’t have any baffle steps, lol.

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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by maucycy
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by maucycy
Each speaker get room gain. Its not property of a speaker, but of a placement in room and it's acoustics.

I don't think it is true for ported speakers.

It is as well, as it is always a question how much baffle step compensation should be used in order to make it right but not to go too far creating bassy response from room gain.

Placement from the walls is crucial in room gain

Funny you mention placement from walls. My speaker manufacturer has recommended this placement:



and I have achieved it but it took many protracted battles with my wife, who wanted to push the speakers back into the corners. I stood my ground and I got my placement.

I do have to keep an eyes out for people who are about to walk into a speaker but we hardly have any visitors, so it’s not a problem. We have learned to walk around them.

I think sealed speakers are more accurate than ported but that you can get more sound with less amplification by using a ported speaker in a large room. Anyway, I have a small room and a sealed speaker.

I’m not a speaker designer so I don’t know much about baffle step compensation. I don’t have any baffle steps, lol.

Baffle step is woofer loss when it is achieving low bass so roughly it stars slowly at 100Hz and gets to -6dB from it's flat line approximately around 30-70H for lets call it standard midwoofer. Therefore if you want to listen to your woofer with bass you have to compensate that 6dB bass loss, which can be achieved by several ways (front width manipulation, crossover design, angled cabinet, usualy anything between 3-7 degress).

Yes closed sound more accurate because it reponds faster (shorter group delay). But it falls down slower than BR enclosure, so if you have specialized driverd for closed enclosuer it's not always evident that br will give you better bass. But br has twice steep fall, but is all usually takes place 45Hz or lower so unless you have big room or are basshead it really doen't matter too much. For very deep bass you always will need subwoofer or 2x8 inch woffeer to get f3 at 35Hz.

Spekaer building, while it principles seem to be very easy, is really very hard art.

Look at Dynaudio and Focal - two extremes and deaf people will tell you also that Focal sounds great lol.

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Originally Posted by LarryK
Interesting, I didn't know the industry had arrived at a magic number like that but I'll take it.
Sorry for my wording, but I've read in some reviews that it is highly recommended with 5-inch drivers, ETC. I don't know, as the only pair of speakers I've used so far is a pair of KRK's. They have a 5-inch woofer. I've also heard the Yamaha HS5s, but I think KRK has a deeper bass.

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Originally Posted by maucycy
Look at Dynaudio and Focal - two extremes and deaf people will tell you also that Focal sounds great lol.
I hope that when all this pandemic thing is over, I can go to a store and listen to a pair of Focals. I've long heard of their greatness online, but have yet to experience it.

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Originally Posted by maucycy
Baffle step is woofer loss when it is achieving low bass so roughly it stars slowly at 100Hz and gets to -6dB from it's flat line approximately around 30-70H for lets call it standard midwoofer. Therefore if you want to listen to your woofer with bass you have to compensate that 6dB bass loss, which can be achieved by several ways (front width manipulation, crossover design, angled cabinet, usualy anything between 3-7 degress).

Yes closed sound more accurate because it reponds faster (shorter group delay). But it falls down slower than BR enclosure, so if you have specialized driverd for closed enclosuer it's not always evident that br will give you better bass. But br has twice steep fall, but is all usually takes place 45Hz or lower so unless you have big room or are basshead it really doen't matter too much. For very deep bass you always will need subwoofer or 2x8 inch woffeer to get f3 at 35Hz.

Spekaer building, while it principles seem to be very easy, is really very hard art.

Look at Dynaudio and Focal - two extremes and deaf people will tell you also that Focal sounds great lol.


Thanks for that explanation. Speaker building is a hard art. The Gryphon Cantata came out of design work by Steen Duelund:

https://duelundaudio.com/about-steen-aa-duelund/

with the stated goal that: "All drivers must be in phase at all times at all frequencies."

Easily said and difficult to achieve, I think.

To be honest, headphones interest me very little and I never listen to them these days. I have a house and no close neighbors to annoy so I can listen to my stereo with my speakers all the time.

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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by maucycy
Baffle step is woofer loss when it is achieving low bass so roughly it stars slowly at 100Hz and gets to -6dB from it's flat line approximately around 30-70H for lets call it standard midwoofer. Therefore if you want to listen to your woofer with bass you have to compensate that 6dB bass loss, which can be achieved by several ways (front width manipulation, crossover design, angled cabinet, usualy anything between 3-7 degress).

Yes closed sound more accurate because it reponds faster (shorter group delay). But it falls down slower than BR enclosure, so if you have specialized driverd for closed enclosuer it's not always evident that br will give you better bass. But br has twice steep fall, but is all usually takes place 45Hz or lower so unless you have big room or are basshead it really doen't matter too much. For very deep bass you always will need subwoofer or 2x8 inch woffeer to get f3 at 35Hz.

Spekaer building, while it principles seem to be very easy, is really very hard art.

Look at Dynaudio and Focal - two extremes and deaf people will tell you also that Focal sounds great lol.


Thanks for that explanation. Speaker building is a hard art. The Gryphon Cantata came out of design work by Steen Duelund:

https://duelundaudio.com/about-steen-aa-duelund/

with the stated goal that: "All drivers must be in phase at all times at all frequencies."

Easily said and difficult to achieve, I think.

To be honest, headphones interest me very little and I never listen to them these days. I have a house and no close neighbors to annoy so I can listen to my stereo with my speakers all the time.

I have to say - I envy you to have so spectacular soundystem at home. Yes, whatever Gryphon makes is state of the art, I once was trying to buy Callisto 2200, but I couldn't find one used for sale for 6 month so skipped the topic. Listened to their speakers at Audio Show. Jawdropping.

I had some audiophile stuff in the past, have few audiophile friends, but when they start to talk about mains in walls and fuses I'm out lol.

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Originally Posted by maucycy
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by maucycy
Baffle step is woofer loss when it is achieving low bass so roughly it stars slowly at 100Hz and gets to -6dB from it's flat line approximately around 30-70H for lets call it standard midwoofer. Therefore if you want to listen to your woofer with bass you have to compensate that 6dB bass loss, which can be achieved by several ways (front width manipulation, crossover design, angled cabinet, usualy anything between 3-7 degress).

Yes closed sound more accurate because it reponds faster (shorter group delay). But it falls down slower than BR enclosure, so if you have specialized driverd for closed enclosuer it's not always evident that br will give you better bass. But br has twice steep fall, but is all usually takes place 45Hz or lower so unless you have big room or are basshead it really doen't matter too much. For very deep bass you always will need subwoofer or 2x8 inch woffeer to get f3 at 35Hz.

Spekaer building, while it principles seem to be very easy, is really very hard art.

Look at Dynaudio and Focal - two extremes and deaf people will tell you also that Focal sounds great lol.


Thanks for that explanation. Speaker building is a hard art. The Gryphon Cantata came out of design work by Steen Duelund:

https://duelundaudio.com/about-steen-aa-duelund/

with the stated goal that: "All drivers must be in phase at all times at all frequencies."

Easily said and difficult to achieve, I think.

To be honest, headphones interest me very little and I never listen to them these days. I have a house and no close neighbors to annoy so I can listen to my stereo with my speakers all the time.

I have to say - I envy you to have so spectacular soundystem at home. Yes, whatever Gryphon makes is state of the art, I once was trying to buy Callisto 2200, but I couldn't find one used for sale for 6 month so skipped the topic. Listened to their speakers at Audio Show. Jawdropping.

I had some audiophile stuff in the past, have few audiophile friends, but when they start to talk about mains in walls and fuses I'm out lol.

It’s been a twenty year journey of selling and buying gear, and, although I know it might sound like an extravagant system, I’ve always bought used gear from people who were building systems that were many times the cost and scale of what I was building.

The guy who sold me the speakers was turning his three car garage into a listening room and so the speakers were too small. For me and my small rooms, the speakers were perfect.

The guy who sold me the Class A stereo amp was moving to massive Class A mono blocks, one for each channel, of course, with crazy thick wiring. The guy is a brilliant engineer and is building the system of his dreams. But, besides putting in a dedicated 20A line for the system, I have not gone bonkers on fuses and mains, although I put in a Niagara 5000 power conditioner for all of the equipment and had a surge protector put on the main panel.

The guy who sold me the amp hooked me with one of his friends who was selling a high quality DAC at a good price so he could buy much higher on the DAC food chain.

I still have all my sources, including an Accuphase CD player, a Michell turntable, as well as a Day-Sequerra FM HD receiver which I bought from a radio station after selling my beloved McIntosh MR-78, when I just couldn’t pull in analog signals in NYC. I regret that. Maybe I should buy one again and see how it does now that I’m no longer in New York.

Through it all, there is the joy of listening to music every day. With lossless streaming services, I now have access to more music than I ever dreamed I would have access to.

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Sorry, but this review is BS.
Focusrite Scarlet is a "pro" piece of gear, not a PRO piece.
This is like saying that Civic Si is a racing car. Well, there were folks who races on it, but this is still a performance street car for poor. Not trying to offend Si owners, Si 2000 was my first car, and I still own it.

Last edited by VladK; 01/17/22 08:49 PM.

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