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RE: Comparing DAC's


I would suggest that comparisons first and foremost need to be level matched. Not hard to do, but few people do it.

I remember one comparison "shootout" where the "winner" was a pretty poor chinese made unit using the cheapest TI made DAC chip going. All DAC's showed a preference expressed with almost 100% confidence relating to level. The higher the level, the higher the DAC scored. Listening was done with the same volume setting for all DAC's.

The second thing is to remember that rapid "A/B-ing" and "King of the Hill" shootouts, even if level matched, tend to emphasise easily audible differences, including giving a tendency for all the most experienced listeners to prefer "overly spaced/spiced/sugared" presentations, which become annoying/fatiguing/boring in the long run.

Meanwhile long term listening tends to reveal differences relating to listening fatigue and emotional connection with the music but tend to gloss over differences in tonality or 3D imaging.

A third thing is that both system, environment and listener(s) need to be up to the task. If I had a solid nite down the pub yesterday, I will not even try to listen critically, same goes for climate extremes etc. And some systems while sounding mighty pleasing, tend to gloss over differences in sound quality upstream, while others overemphasise tiny differences, but fail to satisfy long term.

So the truth is surely out there and probably somewhere between the lunatic fringe and the stolid middle.

Personally I'd say if I cannot hear a difference in quick AB nor feel more drawn into the music by one or or the other product in long term listening, there may still be a difference to others - but non that I care about.

If the piece in question makes me fatigued so I just want to stop listening, or it makes me bored enough to prefer to head over to the Pub or switch over to TV, well, then the device/system is failing fundamentally at it's job, no matter how spectacular or pleasing it sound in an A/B KOH situation.

Ciao T

At 20 bits, you are on the verge of dynamic range covering fly-farts-at-20-feet to untolerable pain. Really, what more could we need?

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  • RE: Comparing DAC's - Thorsten 00:30:41 07/04/17 (0)


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