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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by Osho
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Does a DAC change the sound? Isn’t a DAC by definition a device that shouldn’t affect the sound?.


DACs definitely change the sound. I do not know about this specific 'ifi hip dac' - but in general, DACs of different quality can have huge impact on the sound one hears. For example, Lynx Aurora DACs are known for their excellent converters and are used in many recording studios. Converter quality impacts both ADC and DAC paths.

Osho

a DAC for $9 can sound equal to a DAC for thousands.


Do you have any data to support this?

Osho


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Originally Posted by Osho
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by Osho
Originally Posted by CyberGene
Does a DAC change the sound? Isn’t a DAC by definition a device that shouldn’t affect the sound?.


DACs definitely change the sound. I do not know about this specific 'ifi hip dac' - but in general, DACs of different quality can have huge impact on the sound one hears. For example, Lynx Aurora DACs are known for their excellent converters and are used in many recording studios. Converter quality impacts both ADC and DAC paths.

Osho

a DAC for $9 can sound equal to a DAC for thousands.


Do you have any data to support this?

Osho

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A few years ago I went testing several different workstations. High end Fantom & Motif as well as their less expensive counterparts. The MOX8 is what I ended up getting based soley on price. Because even comparing the same preset with the same sample sets the more expensive one sounded better in both my headphones and the monitor speakers. The fact is the reason they sounded better was the quality of the components. The DACs more specifically. It was noticeable, the Yamaha rep who was there specifically sited the digital to audio converters as being the main reason. Now you have sample sizes to throw in the mix but at that time ALL of these boards had the same samples within the manufacturers product line.


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The question is whether you could hear the difference in a blind test. Our imagination works pretty well when it knows something is more expensive hence “better”. One day I was testing between various headphones at home. At some point I probably thought I was wearing my “favorites” and kept listening and enjoying how great they are. Then it turned out I was mistaken and was actually listening to my “least” favorite ones. I felt embarrassed. This wasn’t even a blind test, I was just tired and didn’t see what was on my head.

Last edited by CyberGene; 03/05/20 02:54 PM.

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I can't answer that but the fact that I walked out with the cheaper board was it wasn't worth the difference in price to me. When you think about it, the things that effect the sound to your ears are sample size, accuracy of the DACs and the transducer (headphones , speakers). And a quality DAC doesn't necessarily need to be an audiophile high end one. But any glaring deficiencies in any of the these would be audible. As for headphones right now my ears aren't as efficient as most headphones. But I have several sets, a couple Sennheiser, a couple Shure , a cheap Sony set ($39) and some blue tooth brand from china I got at '5 below'. The only set that I never use are the Sennheiser wireless (RF) and the cheapo bluetooth. Both of them have issues. The Senn drops out if I turn my head and the $5 set while the bluetooth works well and battery life is good they just sound dull, especially at the low and high end. The $39 Sony is becoming my go to because they are extremely comfortable for me and my ears don't really hear the differences from the other much more expensive Sennheiser & Shure sets.

Last edited by Kbeaumont; 03/05/20 03:19 PM.

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Originally Posted by CyberGene
The question is whether you could hear the difference in a blind test. Our imagination works pretty well when it knows something is more expensive hence “better”. One day I was testing between various headphones at home. At some point I probably thought I was wearing my “favorites” and kept listening and enjoying how great they are. Then it turned out I was mistaken and was actually listening to my “least” favorite ones. I felt embarrassed. This wasn’t even a blind test, I was just tired and didn’t see what was on my head.


My philosophy has been to use a lot of money to insure that there is a clear audible difference when upgrading components. I'm not recommending this strategy for anybody else, but it has worked for me, lol.

I don't upgrade my stereo components that often but when I do, I make the needle move. I went from a little 60w Class A amplifier to a 90w Class A beast, and my wife even heard the difference when I swapped back to the old one from the newer one at one point, and she doesn't care about this stuff at all, and can't tell which amp is plugged in. When I went to a modern 160w Class A behemoth, my lifetime amp, the needle was moved, by a lot. There was no comparing it to the 90w Class A amp from 1975.

I applied the same strategy when upgrading from small bookshelf speakers to my high end monitors, and yeah, the sound quality is much better.

Switching to a dedicated DAC, an R2R ladder DAC from Aqua, the Formula, from the onboard DAC on my Accuphase CD player also yielded an improvement in sound quality.

But, yes, it's tricky business, and some people swap gear constantly and can't hear much of a difference or they convince themselves that there is more of a difference than there is.

All of us only have so much time and money, so we can't go on forever trying to find the best of anything, although some guy on Audiogon has reviewed 34-36 amps in the last year! LOL. He has probably spent $250k on amplifiers.
(https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/my-long-list-of-amplifiers-and-my-personal-review-of-each)

Last edited by LarryK; 03/05/20 03:29 PM.
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Originally Posted by Kbeaumont
A few years ago I went testing several different workstations. High end Fantom & Motif as well as their less expensive counterparts. The MOX8 is what I ended up getting based soley on price. Because even comparing the same preset with the same sample sets the more expensive one sounded better in both my headphones and the monitor speakers.
lol

I did the Yamaha Montage and MOXF8 comparison several times at different stores. Both headphones and monitors. The Montage sounded much better in every case.

Part of that might be the better keyboard on the Montage; someone mentioned the action "factor" recently on a different thread.

Part of that might be better engineering and parts in a professional workstation.

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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by OscarRamsey
Shame it only has a digital input - I can see myself getting one if it can double up as a headphone amplifier too.

You know... one device that permanently stays in my headphone pouch just for my headphones. smile


Well, it does have an amplifier but there are no analog inputs. Does your travel kit include a device with analog output?

I had a little analog amplifier from Ray Samuels and I used it a lot when working in an office. Somebody sitting next to me asked me what to was one day, lol. Most people aren’t comfortable chaining together conponents from their phones. Here is Ray Samuels’s website:

http://raysamuelsaudio.com/index.html

Maybe he has something you could use.

What I need is a nice thick rubber loop to keep the phone and the DAC together.


Well... I like my CDs, so something that would work with my portable CD player as well as my phone would be fab. I'd like to use it with my piano too - there are enough people on here using headphone amps whom sing their praises.

Perhaps a one-stop solution is a lot to ask, but it's worth exploring.

RE comments on DACs - do bear in mind that Larry's gadget also contains an amplifier, which may well be better than anything native to an iphone/mac. The sound quality will ultimately be a sum of its components (which includes the amp, which I don't believe has been discussed at length?).

PS I use hair bands successfully when I'm cycle touring - straps my phone (which sits in a shock/water resistant case) to the handlebars nicely. smile

Last edited by OscarRamsey; 03/05/20 06:11 PM.

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Nice one LarryK. I'm glad you like your new DAC.

Do all DAC's sound the same ? Absolutely no way.

Is the hifi industry full of smoke and mirrors ? Absolutely yes..

Can a good cheap DAC outperform a bad expensive one. Yes, probably, but that's not the same as saying there's no difference between them.

The domestic hifi industry must be the biggest purveyor of snake oil that the world has ever seen, and will avoid double blind testing like the plague (oops sorry), but that doesn't mean that all products sound or perform the same.

For instance if you walk into a professional audio environment they won't be using $9 eBay dacs and cables from the local dollar store. Equally, they won't use $5,000 per meter cables that the manufacturers claim are made from some exotic silver alloy hand made by an Elven master blacksmith under the light of a full moon (or similar nonsense, like OFC copper, orientated strands etc etc).

They'll use well engineered & trusted products.

There is a cult blogger (from before that phrase was even 'a thing'), called NWAVGUY who's a qualified electrical engineer and did lengthy reviews, including detailed measurements about 10 years ago before he suddenly totally disappeared from the scene. (The IEEE even did a feature on what happened to him !)

He argued that price wasn't a valid measure of quality in audio (I agree) and reviewed a lot of budget DACs and noted differences between them. Funny to note though, that his own DAC seemed to be a Benchmark DAC that retailed for around $1,000 at the time. As far as I'm concerned, this falls into the 'well engineered and respected ' category without going into silly money territory.


Here's his blog.
http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/search?q=dac

And here's Sound on Sound's review of the Benchmark DAC 1.
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/benchmark-dac1


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My best blind test was accidentally tricking my electrician into thinking I was playing the cello in the living room when he was working in the kitchen. I don’t play the cello. I guess most classical music geeks would have recognized Casals’s playing but the electrician didn’t, and he thought I was playing, lol. He told me so later in the day. Why he didn’t realize I had fired up my system using the 20amp dedicated lines that he had installed the previous day, I’ll never know.

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Originally Posted by AndyOnThePiano
Nice one LarryK. I'm glad you like your new DAC.

Do all DAC's sound the same ? Absolutely no way.

Is the hifi industry full of smoke and mirrors ? Absolutely yes..

Can a good cheap DAC outperform a bad expensive one. Yes, probably, but that's not the same as saying there's no difference between them.

The domestic hifi industry must be the biggest purveyor of snake oil that the world has ever seen, and will avoid double blind testing like the plague (oops sorry), but that doesn't mean that all products sound or perform the same.

For instance if you walk into a professional audio environment they won't be using $9 eBay dacs and cables from the local dollar store. Equally, they won't use $5,000 per meter cables that the manufacturers claim are made from some exotic silver alloy hand made by an Elven master blacksmith under the light of a full moon (or similar nonsense, like OFC copper, orientated strands etc etc).

They'll use well engineered & trusted products.

There is a cult blogger (from before that phrase was even 'a thing'), called NWAVGUY who's a qualified electrical engineer and did lengthy reviews, including detailed measurements about 10 years ago before he suddenly totally disappeared from the scene. (The IEEE even did a feature on what happened to him !)

He argued that price wasn't a valid measure of quality in audio (I agree) and reviewed a lot of budget DACs and noted differences between them. Funny to note though, that his own DAC seemed to be a Benchmark DAC that retailed for around $1,000 at the time. As far as I'm concerned, this falls into the 'well engineered and respected ' category without going into silly money territory.


Here's his blog.
http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/search?q=dac

And here's Sound on Sound's review of the Benchmark DAC 1.
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/benchmark-dac1



That guy's website is cool. I especially like this line: "GOOD NEWS! I just completed testing the first two ODAC boards from YoYoDyne."

Where is Tyrone? He will get the reference to YoYoDyne, or, at least he should.

The guy who sold me my monster amplifier is an electrical engineer out in Silicon Valley. He goes through the internals of components before he buys them and he talks to the lead engineers at the companies where they're manufactured.

He also buys cables and cuts them open, basically burning money. He also tests them. He upgraded to massive mono block amplifiers, from my paltry 160w Class A stereo amp, and he knows how those amps are built. Why doesn't he build his own? I guess he is making a lot of money working in the industry and doesn't have time to build his own components.

I think it's easy to label everything in the audio industry as snake oil but there are a lot of talented engineers designing audio products and working hard to make them sound good. There is a correlation between price and quality, so I guess I disagree with the EE guy. Is the EE guy only looking at DACs? I've listened to, and owned, cheap speakers and preferred more expensive speakers, with the same going for amplifiers, tuners, CD players, etc. Why didn't I just stick with my Pioneer SX-780 from high school? Didn't that receiver represent the pinnacle in amplifier development? LOL.

Last edited by LarryK; 03/05/20 08:12 PM.
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Originally Posted by CyberGene
Originally Posted by Osho

Do you have any data to support this?

Osho

Lightning Adapter Audio Quality


That is an exception and not really representative of the general market. As the reviewer says:

Quote

Pretty impressive, but you have to realize that Apple has a lot more smart people and the world's nest audio engineers that "audiophile" companies can't afford. Heck, most of today's audiophile and mainstream audio companies can't even afford the laboratory facilities I have. Apple has the resources to make this crazy little adapter state-of-the-art. It's essentially the same circuitry that used to be inside the phone.


If you look at the other DAC reviews from the same reviewer - you will see there are differences in DAC measurements.

Not all DACs sound the same. Not all DACs cost the same. Like anything in audiophile industry, one does not necessarily get a 'better' product when one spends more. But, that doesn't mean there is no differentiation between products.

Osho


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Originally Posted by Osho
[quote=CyberGene]If you look at the other DAC reviews from the same reviewer - you will see there are differences in DAC measurements.

Not all DACs sound the same. Not all DACs cost the same. Like anything in audiophile industry, one does not necessarily get a 'better' product when one spends more. But, that doesn't mean there is no differentiation between products.

YUCK that Apogee groove measures horribly.
DACs should sound the same, if designed competently. You don't need to spend 4 figure cash in order to get audible transparency, you just have to buy the right products.

I'd stick to Amirm's measurements.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...o-dacs-streamers-servers-players-adcs.8/

It's not as easy when it comes to amps though. If you want a lot of clean power, you will have to spend a bit more.


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