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DAC ABX shootout - unable to distinguish between 10$ and 15k$

Grooved

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Please help me on that.
What I did is take a ripped cd, .flac format, but 30 seconds of it using audacity and exported to VAW. What exactly should I be comparing to what?
You just click on Reference in Deltawave and load this wav file, ripped from your CD.
Then you click on Compare and load the file you recroded in test with the Cosmos ADC (even if they don't have the perfect same length, Deltawave will manage that)
And you click on Match and wait for the results. Select PK Metric under that (above the graph), and make a capture of the graph + bottom results
Actually you can compare files that weren't locked by the clock. That is one of the big benefits of Deltawave.
That's what I thought, and I have to admit I may not have checked it enough, but from the loopback tests I've done, I always got better results with one audio interface only or two synced devices than with two devices without sync.
I will try it again with Tone2 Pro and Cosmos ADC without sync, both have great speac so it should be high (I will try later with sync as I'm modding the Cosmos to add SPDIF output but it's not ready, I got sound but with distorsion, and now I changed a bit and I can sync another device with SPDIF sync but have no audio on that)
 

Blumlein 88

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You just click on Reference in Deltawave and load this wav file, ripped from your CD.
Then you click on Compare and load the file you recroded in test with the Cosmos ADC (even if they don't have the perfect same length, Deltawave will manage that)
And you click on Match and wait for the results. Select PK Metric under that (above the graph), and make a capture of the graph + bottom results

That's what I thought, and I have to admit I may not have checked it enough, but from the loopback tests I've done, I always got better results with one audio interface only or two synced devices than with two devices without sync.
I will try it again with Tone2 Pro and Cosmos ADC without sync, both have great speac so it should be high (I will try later with sync as I'm modding the Cosmos to add SPDIF output but it's not ready, I got sound but with distorsion, and now I changed a bit and I can sync another device with SPDIF sync but have no audio on that)
Yes having synched devices is better, but D-wave does a pretty good job with aligning unlocked devices too.
 
OP
E

Echoes

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Level matching is simple. Get a multimeter that reads AC voltage. Send a 1 khz sine wave through, and measure at the speaker terminals if using speakers, or at the output jack if using headphones. Match voltage to within 1.12% or certainly get it to better than 2%. I suggest a 1 khz signal at -20 db. A scope is not the easiest way to do this. If your matching was 115 mv vs 155 mv that is about 2.6 db difference and will easily be heard as different. Matching is desired to within .1 db to not corrupt results. Again this is less than 2% difference between the two values. So between 153 and 157 mv would be a good enough match for 155 mv.
Hello,

Thanks. To point out, listening tests was peformed with matches levels, 115 mV. Problem arrose with level matching with tube amps later on. I have contacted bottlehead and they suggested to load the headphone output when measuring - which I did not do beforehand. will test that later.

Edit: loading tube amp output with headphones stabilises the drift. There is also a large drop in Voltage when loaded, so I made a foolish mistake volume matching it while measuring the output voltage without no load. Rookie..
 
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Majestyk

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Yet none of your claims are backed by science, just your personal opinion. Setup a controlled abx shootout and present your findings and then the science can begin.
The OP's claim wasn't backed by science, either.
 
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Majestyk

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Who claims differences don't exist, ? A lot of folks on this sight. Why they read reviews if they don't; believe any differences I do not understand.

Exactly! What I don't get is why does Amir recommend certain DAC's but doesn't recommend others? If they all sound the same then why is he discouraging people from buying certain DAC's? Otherwise he is implying that a DAC with high distortion doesn't sound as good. Therefor he admits that DAC's do sound different.
 

JayGilb

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The OP's claim wasn't backed by science, either.
A properly conducted and controlled test is the backbone of science. While OP's shootout wasn't conducted in a lab at an university, it was an attempt at a controlled set of tests to try and eliminate confirmation bias.
 

voodooless

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If they all sound the same then why is he discouraging people from buying certain DAC's?
Because he does so based on objective performance. Just as you could ranks cars by top speed. That doesn’t mean the fastest car is the most practical for most people.
Otherwise he is implying that a DAC with high distortion doesn't sound as good. Therefor he admits that DAC's do sound different.
That’s an implication you made up in your mind in an attempt to further your own agenda.
 

charleski

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Get a multimeter that reads AC voltage. Send a 1 khz sine wave through
I'd suggest using a lower frequency, something like 400Hz should be fine. For most multimeters that measure RMS AC voltage 1kHz is about the top of their range and beyond that they drift to a simple peak-to-peak reading. Even relatively expensive Flukes only spec their RMS up to 1kHz (typically 1% or 2% up to 500Hz then half that accuracy to 1kHz).
 

JSmith

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If they all sound the same then why is he discouraging people from buying certain DAC's?
That is not the case... however encouragement is shown to purchase a well designed and engineered audio device. Products with average or poor measurements indicate lack of attention to detail. Low noise and distortion is always one goal, I sure you would agree.


JSmith
 

flz

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I think it's sort of like people who buy luxury watches (which are almost all mechanical), accuracy of telling time is not the goal at all. If it was, they would all be buying cheap quartz watches. Some people just appreciate craftsmanship, better measurements, attention to detail, etc even if those things don't lead to any better sound that is audible to their ears.
 

Jimbob54

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Chord 2Go/2U audio player was used as a digital source for Chord Dave and Topping D90 DAC's, Iphone for Chord Mojo and Lighting dongle. Do you see large downsides for using Ipad or Iphone as a source?

Im not sure having different sources for different chains is good enough. It brings with it anything the different source devices and software do before the signal hits the DACs- resampling etc etc . Everything but the DUTs should be the same in each scenario. Sorry.

EDIT- though I realise this situation applied to the first run of tests, not the second streamlined set in post 188 onwards though I am confused at how teh set up in #188 works. One source device (iphone) feeding 2 systems? How ? What is the mechanism for switching systems?
 
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bkdc

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There is still a significant gap between the chifi DACs and the very high priced "big name" DACs and that has to do with front panel control buttons and ergonomics (not of sound reproduction). It would probably only cost a modest amount more to place high quality functional button controls and extra knobs on a top of the line Topping or Gustard instead of relying on difficult button combinations or cheap remote control to navigate deeper menus.

People mention lack of attention to detail regarding poor sound measurements, but what is inaudible is inaudible and we are left with a battle for supremacy which, pardon my French, is mental mast*rb*tion in squeezing out a few extra dB of SINAD. What about actual functional ergonomics and build? I hate those cheap generic remotes and when I'm doing near field monitoring or sitting at my computer with headphones, I have no use for remote controls when I can reach the DAC. Don't get me wrong... I love my Topping and what these companies have done for high quality audio at amazing prices. There is still room for improvement but it's not with SINAD.
 

flz

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There is still a significant gap between the chifi DACs and the very high priced "big name" DACs and that has to do with front panel control buttons and ergonomics (not of sound reproduction). It would probably only cost a modest amount more to place high quality functional button controls and extra knobs on a top of the line Topping or Gustard instead of relying on difficult button combinations or cheap remote control to navigate deeper menus.

People mention lack of attention to detail regarding poor sound measurements, but what is inaudible is inaudible and we are left with a battle for supremacy which, pardon my French, is mental mast*rb*tion in squeezing out a few extra dB of SINAD. What about actual functional ergonomics and build? I hate those cheap generic remotes and when I'm doing near field monitoring or sitting at my computer with headphones, I have no use for remote controls when I can reach the DAC. Don't get me wrong... I love my Topping and what these companies have done for high quality audio at amazing prices. There is still room for improvement but it's not with SINAD.
i personally prefer DACs where everything can be controlled without a remote (even when one is supplied). in case the remote is lost or goes bad before the main unit does. i once experienced battery leakage in a remote which destroyed it. but the main unit remains totally fine and is used to this day, as all controls can be accessed on the unit itself.
 

Mart68

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There is still a significant gap between the chifi DACs and the very high priced "big name" DACs and that has to do with front panel control buttons and ergonomics (not of sound reproduction). It would probably only cost a modest amount more to place high quality functional button controls and extra knobs on a top of the line Topping or Gustard instead of relying on difficult button combinations or cheap remote control to navigate deeper menus.

People mention lack of attention to detail regarding poor sound measurements, but what is inaudible is inaudible and we are left with a battle for supremacy which, pardon my French, is mental mast*rb*tion in squeezing out a few extra dB of SINAD. What about actual functional ergonomics and build? I hate those cheap generic remotes and when I'm doing near field monitoring or sitting at my computer with headphones, I have no use for remote controls when I can reach the DAC. Don't get me wrong... I love my Topping and what these companies have done for high quality audio at amazing prices. There is still room for improvement but it's not with SINAD.
you're right, there should be a button or switch on the front panel for every function. I hate 'menus' with a passion.

I would never use them as only play 16/44.1 and the Topping switches out of standby automatically when I switch the transport on. And I don't mess with the filters as they all sound the same to me. But in principle I agree.

At least Topping get the display colour right - orange. Most manufacturers don't even manage that.
 
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