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Old 03-20-2017   #1
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Default Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

So, I'm just wondering how everyone feels about the quality of one brand to another. Is there one brand that has the best quality? Does one manufacturer use superior DACs to all the others?

Seems most of the top models use a 24-bit DAC, but I've not seen any specs on them. Anyone know who uses what and if one is superior to another.

I know that Sony currently has the RSX-GS9 with a 32-bit DAC identified as the ESS DAC chip (ES9018S), but what about other manufacturers.
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Old 03-20-2017   #2
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

You might as well ask for opinions on which type of aluminium manufacturers use when they are bottling their carbonated beverages. Perhaps at some point in the distant past there was a difference significant enough to notice, but the technology today is plenty mature enough that it makes no difference. See the recent high-end head unit shootout thread and all the conflicting discussions there as evidence. Despite all this, I bet a dollar there will be a deluge of people chiming in here with their anecdotal "evidence" about why one manufacturer's DAC is better, especially because they remember every detail of the sound their vintage radio made "back in the day".

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Old 03-21-2017   #3
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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Originally Posted by Jazzi View Post
You might as well ask for opinions on which type of aluminium manufacturers use when they are bottling their carbonated beverages. Perhaps at some point in the distant past there was a difference significant enough to notice, but the technology today is plenty mature enough that it makes no difference. See the recent high-end head unit shootout thread and all the conflicting discussions there as evidence. Despite all this, I bet a dollar there will be a deluge of people chiming in here with their anecdotal "evidence" about why one manufacturer's DAC is better, especially because they remember every detail of the sound their vintage radio made "back in the day".


Why did the $1000 Sony beat a much more expensive CD player?

Let's not forget only 16bit files were used in that test..... which coincidentally is the lowest format the Sony plays apart from MP3....

I wonder how vast the divide would have been if a DSD or 24/192 track was used on the Sony....


Maybe it was the 32bit DAC?


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Old 03-21-2017   #4
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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Originally Posted by Elektra View Post
Why did the $1000 Sony beat a much more expensive CD player?
How did you arrive at this conclusion?

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Old 03-21-2017   #5
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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How did you arrive at this conclusion?


I didn't .... the OP did


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Old 03-21-2017   #6
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

Are we talking about the same thing? It seems to me that the OP in this thread, Weigel21, is asking if there are any DACs out there that are better than others. Then you seemed to hint that "the Sony" beat other more expensive head units. Are you saying the Sony C90 beat the Sony GS9 in the high-end head unit shootout thread thing, and that we should infer that the 32bit DAC was to blame because it was not playing native DSD files? I'm not sure what conclusion you're trying to make, or how it influences the question that Weigel21 is asking here?

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Old 03-21-2017   #7
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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Originally Posted by Jazzi View Post
How did you arrive at this conclusion?
bcuz audiophile

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Old 03-21-2017   #8
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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Originally Posted by Jazzi View Post
Are we talking about the same thing? It seems to me that the OP in this thread, Weigel21, is asking if there are any DACs out there that are better than others. Then you seemed to hint that "the Sony" beat other more expensive head units. Are you saying the Sony C90 beat the Sony GS9 in the high-end head unit shootout thread thing, and that we should infer that the 32bit DAC was to blame because it was not playing native DSD files? I'm not sure what conclusion you're trying to make, or how it influences the question that Weigel21 is asking here?


Sorry - the High end shoot thread - Steve chose the Sony and McIntosh - I believe he places the Sony in front of the McIntosh - small difference...

But again Sony won (according to Steve) with one hand behind its back....

Others may have chosen differently but those people were listening off cheap headphones and a laptop... so that part was a bit flawed but was effective to a point...

I believe the final analysis of what Steve listened to in real time to be the most accurate and without outside obscurity and limitations...I.e. Cheap headphones etc...




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Old 03-21-2017   #9
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

still a subjective review, no matter whos reviewing it. one person might say its better than the bunch, but what about the next 15 people? are they all going to think the same?

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Old 03-21-2017   #10
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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still a subjective review, no matter whos reviewing it. one person might say its better than the bunch, but what about the next 15 people? are they all going to think the same?


True... it becomes never ending story...

I have tried my Sony against a F1 unit I preferred the Sony...

But as you say 15 other people may differ in opinion - but whose opinion counts?




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Old 03-21-2017   #11
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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But as you say 15 other people may differ in opinion - but whose opinion counts?
This right here. This all day long, every day. This forever and ever and ever.

Stephen Hawking will travel into outer space before this question is ever answered.

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Old 03-21-2017   #12
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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This right here. This all day long, every day. This forever and ever and ever.



Stephen Hawking will travel into outer space before this question is ever answered.


Exactly my point....


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Old 03-21-2017   #13
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Weigel21 View Post
So, I'm just wondering how everyone feels about the quality of one brand to another. Is there one brand that has the best quality? Does one manufacturer use superior DACs to all the others?

Seems most of the top models use a 24-bit DAC, but I've not seen any specs on them. Anyone know who uses what and if one is superior to another.

I know that Sony currently has the RSX-GS9 with a 32-bit DAC identified as the ESS DAC chip (ES9018S), but what about other manufacturers.
The DAC stage is just one of several in the signal chain from bit to rca. They all contribute their own coloration level (ie distortion/noise). What you're asking is like trying to determine which is the best super car for the track based on the engine it has.

And like Jazzi mentioned, it's not something to consider anymore. It hasn't been for over ten year now even. I've had soundcards from the early 2000's with excellent 24bit DAC chips in them that measure out better than the digital resolution limit of a CD. They're just a standard part now and the only reason you see newer different ones being implemented each year is because they are out there for fields where the increased precision does actually benefit, and well why wouldn't you use a newer one instead of an older one when the price difference is negligible compared to the total price of that source.

I'll bet you if you take two high end source and manage to use the same timing crystal on both. Record their line output with a high resolution recorder, invert the samples of one of the recordings and play them over each other. They would cancel each other out the nothing more than a ticking noise below -90dB. Pretty silent even with headphones on and completely inaudible with music in the -10dB level. I've done the experiment comparing toslink and coax digital outputs through the same DAC and there was no difference. And all where sub $100 budget sources.

"Digital Coax sounds better then Toslink"

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Old 03-21-2017   #14
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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The DAC stage is just one of several in the signal chain from bit to rca. They all contribute their own coloration level (ie distortion/noise). What you're asking is like trying to determine which is the best super car for the track based on the engine it has.



And like Jazzi mentioned, it's not something to consider anymore. It hasn't been for over ten year now even. I've had soundcards from the early 2000's with excellent 24bit DAC chips in them that measure out better than the digital resolution limit of a CD. They're just a standard part now and the only reason you see newer different ones being implemented each year is because they are out there for fields where the increased precision does actually benefit, and well why wouldn't you use a newer one instead of an older one when the price difference is negligible compared to the total price of that source.



I'll bet you if you take two high end source and manage to use the same timing crystal on both. Record their line output with a high resolution recorder, invert the samples of one of the recordings and play them over each other. They would cancel each other out the nothing more than a ticking noise below -90dB. Pretty silent even with headphones on and completely inaudible with music in the -10dB level. I've done the experiment comparing toslink and coax digital outputs through the same DAC and there was no difference. And all where sub $100 budget sources.



"Digital Coax sounds better then Toslink"


You realize Steve spend weeks testing several HUs and everyone listened to recordings and all came up with there own results shows proof enough that different DACs and how they used in a design makes an audible difference...

You saying something completely different...


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Old 03-21-2017   #15
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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Originally Posted by Elektra View Post
You realize Steve spend weeks testing several HUs and everyone listened to recordings and all came up with there own results shows proof enough that different DACs and how they used in a design makes an audible difference...

You saying something completely different...


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Since you brought it up. IMHO, hearing a difference doesn't mean there is a difference. Now if everyone sat there by themselves and did at least 10 double blind ABX session. Recorded there results without discussing it with anyone else, and could identify which head unit was which at a high percentage. Even one person. Then we can talk. And with regards to this thread it certainly doesn't mean it was the DAC chip used. Could have been the USB receiver, output stage, transport, PS, etc.

I know Steve did this more of as a fun experiment, and it does prove valuable as a subjective reference. Even if there really is no difference objectively, we are all influenced by psychoacoustics. So it has it's place and I'm not criticizing or even trying to critique his efforts. I'm just saying.

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Old 03-21-2017   #16
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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Since you brought it up. IMHO, hearing a difference doesn't mean there is a difference. Now if everyone sat there by themselves and did at least 10 double blind ABX session. Recorded there results without discussing it with anyone else, and could identify which head unit was which at a high percentage. Even one person. Then we can talk. And with regards to this thread it certainly doesn't mean it was the DAC chip used. Could have been the USB receiver, output stage, transport, PS, etc.



I know Steve did this more of as a fun experiment, and it does prove valuable as a subjective reference. Even if there really is no difference objectively, we are all influenced by psychoacoustics. So it has it's place and I'm not criticizing or even trying to critique his efforts. I'm just saying.


Hearing a difference doesn't mean there is a difference?

Ok then...


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Old 03-21-2017   #17
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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Hearing a difference doesn't mean there is a difference?

Ok then...


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Old 03-21-2017   #18
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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Hearing a difference doesn't mean there is a difference?

Ok then...


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Just a little example of why you should not put much faith in your hearing.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-lN8vWm3m0
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ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.

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Old 03-21-2017   #19
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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Google: aural memory.

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Surely switching within 1 min between 2 identically matched sources if you know what you listening for you can identify a difference however small or large...

And to what length are we going to analyze psycho acoustics

Takes the pleasure out of music - i mean you really enjoying the music and you think hmmm it's just psycho acoustics your actually not enjoying it as much as you think...

It's actually crap... stop enjoying it


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Old 03-21-2017   #20
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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Originally Posted by Elektra View Post
Surely switching within 1 min between 2 identically matched sources if you know what you listening for you can identify a difference however small or large...

And to what length are we going to analyze psycho acoustics

Takes the pleasure out of music - i mean you really enjoying the music and you think hmmm it's just psycho acoustics your actually not enjoying it as much as you think...

It's actually crap... stop enjoying it


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Again, just Google (and read up on) aural memory. Here's a hint on what you will learn.. a minute is WAY to long

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Old 03-21-2017   #21
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elektra View Post
Surely switching within 1 min between 2 identically matched sources if you know what you listening for you can identify a difference however small or large...

And to what length are we going to analyze psycho acoustics

Takes the pleasure out of music - i mean you really enjoying the music and you think hmmm it's just psycho acoustics your actually not enjoying it as much as you think...

It's actually crap... stop enjoying it


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The point of posting my doubts isn't to try to sway people from enjoying something that's based off personal bias. It's to inform those that aren't aware that there is another possible reason. To let them choose between the red pill or the blue.

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Old 03-21-2017   #22
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

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Again, just Google (and read up on) aural memory. Here's a hint on what you will learn.. a minute is WAY to long

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What I have learned in my life is your correct listening to one thing and then the next you won't be able to know what your listening no matter how closely you listen

But...

What if you forget about the music and just listen to tones and notes - so you take a piece of paper and pen and write down what bothers you in a specific track..

Like the clarity of a certain note or sibilance or reverberation on a particular part of the track - then switch over and listen to the same parts and compare notes

If the one is different then there is a difference and your psycho acoustic assumption one sounds better is most probably correct as you not relying on music memory but written down facts according to you...

For me that's the best way to evaluate something - because if I get lost in the track it will be impossible to remember what you just heard....

Anyway that's my method...

Others may differ...


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Old 03-21-2017   #23
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

Third and last time.. Google: aural memory

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Old 03-21-2017   #24
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

Maybe 10 Mozarts in a blind test since we each have a unique hearing abilities.

And I don't believe any of us is in that top 1% so to me any blind test with average hearing ability won't work even with 1000 people

There are very very few guys can tune car audio correctly using their ears
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Old 03-21-2017   #25
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Default Re: Quality of one HU manufactuer's DACs to another. (discuss)

K, I think we contributed enough relevant information in this thread for the OP to know what's up. Let's let him decide if he want to hear anymore of it now.

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