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Cheap DAC chips

AdamG

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Aggressive and insulting behavior will not be tolerated here. Unnecessary and inappropriate posts deleted and a Warning issued. Any further violations will result in privileges revocation.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
 

Sokel

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You tell me?



You've really latched onto that term, "galvanically isolated".



You can get 5 ES9038Q2M chips for $82.80 retail. I'm not sure where you're paying $100 a chip but you're getting ripped off.

I can't tell if it's a language barrier issue or that you really have no idea what you're talking about or a combination of both, but very rarely have I seen someone use so many words to actually say so little.
Yep,you can get a DAC chip for 5$.
But nice ones like the 9039PRO for example costs from 70$ (if you get lots) to 95$ (if you get one).
And some like ROHM costs more.

Isolation from PC problems is not only a nice solution to the user,it's peace of mind for us in forums too,there's not a single week without someone reporting (usually in a new thread! ) the same o-same o CPU/GPU/fan noise passing right through it's high SINAD DAC - X3xx XMOS to the speakers.

At the end of the day you get what you pay for.
 
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AnalogSteph

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Yep,you can get a DAC chip for 5$.
But nice ones like the 9039PRO for example costs from 70$ (if you get lots) to 95$ (if you get one).
And some like ROHM costs more.
That being said, chips with that kind of pricing have always been the exception. Chip crisis and inflation must have driven up prices even further. I remember when a flagship DAC was maybe 12 to 20 bucks, like an AD1955 or PCM1794A still is. Mind you, you can't expect an 8-channel DAC that's about as good as they come to be cheap. (ES9038Q2M / ES9039Q2M may be a better comparison point.) The AK4499EX / AK4191 combo isn't exactly a bargain either.

These prices post chip crisis are silly at times. Basically the ADC + DAC on an Asus Xonar D1 - CS5361 and CS4398 - are now worth more than the entire card used (at least around here where they generally haven't been selling for more than 20€ in years and at times a fair bit less, and back in the day they were like 55-ish new).
 

Sokel

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That being said, chips with that kind of pricing have always been the exception. Chip crisis and inflation must have driven up prices even further. I remember when a flagship DAC was maybe 12 to 20 bucks, like an AD1955 or PCM1794A still is. Mind you, you can't expect an 8-channel DAC that's about as good as they come to be cheap. (ES9038Q2M / ES9039Q2M may be a better comparison point.) The AK4499EX / AK4191 combo isn't exactly a bargain either.

These prices post chip crisis are silly at times. Basically the ADC + DAC on an Asus Xonar D1 - CS5361 and CS4398 - are now worth more than the entire card used (at least around here where they generally haven't been selling for more than 20€ in years and at times a fair bit less, and back in the day they were like 55-ish new).
ESS flagships was always a bit expensive if I remember correct from the days of 9018,even the stereo version.

(PCM1704 is bitting hard now IF you manage to find some new original ones but that's another story).
 
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AnalogSteph

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(PCM1704 is bitting hard now IF you manage to find some new original ones but that's another story).
Ah, the last of the multibit dinosaurs. These were marked NRND in 2006 and discontinued in 2015 while remaining somewhat popular in certain circles, so it's hardly surprising if they're getting a bit scarce. If memory serves they used to cost like $20 a pop, plus the separate digital filter... a few months after they were released, the AK4393 came out, and the rest is history.
 

solid12345

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Personally, I've never heard any difference with any DAC, starting with the DAC in my 1st CD player. ...I also don't have golden ears and I've never bothered doing any careful listening tests because I've never heard anything wrong, unless it was the music itself.

This is why I find this hobby and the war between measurement guys and audiophiles fascinating and how two people can experience something wildly different. For the life of me I cannot tell the difference between 192khz and 44khz with thousands of dollars of equipment but I can pull out two $200 dongles to compare in the space of seconds and immediately detect one has better bass, this one is more neutral, this one is brighter, this one is more dynamic etc. So much so I’m now converted to believing there is more difference in the dacs than the amps themselves and my purchase history reflects that. But people would call me nuts just as I think it’s nuts to detect any audible difference only a bat can hear!
 

SIY

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I can pull out two $200 dongles to compare in the space of seconds and immediately detect one has better bass, this one is more neutral, this one is brighter, this one is more dynamic etc. So much so I’m now converted to believing there is more difference in the dacs than the amps themselves and my purchase history reflects that.
Did you use any basic controls in these comparisons? Level match, ears-only (no peeking)?
 

solid12345

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Did you use any basic controls in these comparisons? Level match, ears-only (no peeking)?

Never done a peeking test, no, but a good test Iike ears-only is Blade Runner 2049’s opening track which opens with a large boom and a solid stream of sub-bass. It’s an easy 5-10 second test and it will sound different to me immediately on multiple devices, some more rumbly, others more gentle, there’s even a faint flutter that is more audible in some than the others. Bear in mind I’m not one of those guys who tries to justify expensive purchases either because I just got a chord qutest I paid ALOT of money for and it actually hurts my ears to listen to for an extended period of time compared to a cheap $250 Cayin R2R dongle which is smoother and less fatiguing. I’m not one who believes more expensive equals better, just….different.
 

Purité Audio

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Previously perceived differences often disappear under unsighted/level matched comparison, I would try comparing without knowing which you are listening to.
Keith
 

solid12345

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Previously perceived differences often disappear under unsighted/level matched comparison, I would try comparing without knowing which you are listening

Logically speaking then, shouldn’t poorly measured DACs sound the same as a highly rated one?
 

BDWoody

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Logically speaking then, shouldn’t poorly measured DACs sound the same as a highly rated one?

Generally speaking, and despite endless anecdotal claims to the contrary, they do. They have to be either very noisy, or have very high distortion before they are going to have audible differences other than in unrealistic scenarios (extreme gain riding, etc).

This is assuming it is a controlled test. Without controls, people tend to 'hear' all kinds of things.

The problem is that people overestimate their ability to counter the very natural human biases we all have that help get us through every day, and don't bother with some basic controls that makes it an 'ears only' test.
 

Purité Audio

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Logically speaking then, shouldn’t poorly measured DACs sound the same as a highly rated one?
A dac to sound different has to add audible distortion, the more interesting question therefore is how much distortion do you have to add before it becomes audible.
Keith
 
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