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

Mnyb

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Whatever the difference is , if it can be made audible? The effort to do so shows the proportions off these differences, hardly night and day ?
 
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Echoes

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I think maybe ABCDX is too much to ask for first time.

Do simple ABX to start. For example, start with the most expensive vs the cheapest, if you haven't already done that.

If hd650 bass clarity and bass extension is anything like the 560s, I would say it is not a good choice to hear minor differences.
Maybe try some online blind tests first to see if you can do well with the headphones?

For example, sound level tests like the one at:

Do distortion tests as described in this thread:

Let us know how you do.
I performed the using the Topping D90 + Topping A90 + HD650. USB output from my old Macbook pro, if it does matter. The room I performed the test was far from ideal, kitchen machine running, HVAC on etc.. After tiring hour of sine waves, results are:


Audiocheck I post the test that I have passed with 9/10

Level series: 0.5 dB
Frequency: 15k
Smallest difference in pitch: 5c
Dynamic range of environment: -60 dB

Klippel full range speaker playing two-tone 70Hz 800 Hz -45 dB.

I feel they are not terrible. Once I reach the thresholds I start to sweat a bit.
 

Pdxwayne

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I performed the using the Topping D90 + Topping A90 + HD650. USB output from my old Macbook pro, if it does matter. The room I performed the test was far from ideal, kitchen machine running, HVAC on etc.. After tiring hour of sine waves, results are:


Audiocheck I post the test that I have passed with 9/10

Level series: 0.5 dB
Frequency: 15k
Smallest difference in pitch: 5c
Dynamic range of environment: -60 dB

Klippel full range speaker playing two-tone 70Hz 800 Hz -45 dB.

I feel they are not terrible. Once I reach the thresholds I start to sweat a bit.
I think you did great! Happy to have one more member who is willing to check his/her hearing sensitivity!

If you have more free time, I am very curious if you can sense different clues (when using different combination of DAC and Amp) when doing online timing tests (5ms, 2ms, 1ms) from the same site that provides sound level tests.

My own findings about different clues are here:

Thanks!
 

Grooved

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@Echoes, one tip for you.

If you already have a good ADC, simply capture the playback for each chain into your computer.

Then, use @pkane 's deltawave app to do null comparisons between captured files. App available for free at https://deltaw.org/.

Look at the "pk metric tab". If you see something that is between 0 to -50db, then you may have a section of the song on which you can focus to listen for a difference.

So instead of listening for 2 minutes straight each time, you listen to a short section only to keep your short term memory more intact.

@Echoes I would add something : if you want the best tracks for you to do this test, as it seems to be hard to hear any difference, start by doing a test to find the tracks where you can easily hear difference.
Take AAC and FLAC versions of some tracks, and once you find the ones where you hear something, use these tracks to do your test with the different DACs
 
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Echoes

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I think you did great! Happy to have one more member who is willing to check his/her hearing sensitivity!

If you have more free time, I am very curious if you can sense different clues (when using different combination of DAC and Amp) when doing online timing tests (5ms, 2ms, 1ms) from the same site that provides sound level tests.

My own findings about different clues are here:

Thanks!
5ms 7/10 was the best I could do.
 

Pdxwayne

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5ms 7/10 was the best I could do.
Still using Topping chain? Same results using your other 3 test chains?

Don't let 5ms results stop you from doing 2ms and 1ms. About 30% of my timing thread participants can pass 1ms due to obvious tonality change.

Thanks for trying!
 

Kevbaz

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I’ve compared a Hidizs s8/9, Chord Mojo and RME ADI 2 DAC and I couldn’t hear any difference, I didn’t do ABX I just switched between two at a time Using same headphones. If there was any difference it wasn’t day/night.
Kev
 

Soniclife

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Perhaps somebody could provide the listening track suggestions to further remove bias?
My suggestion for this is to spend an evening using the test setup, but sighted and not level matched, bounce around your record collection, and swap backwards and forwards between 2 (I agree more than 2 is just making it harder) DACs. In other words do a sighted uncontrolled test similar to what you have probably done lots of time, and make notes of tracks you are convinced sound different. Have fun with it, mainly listen to music, don't worry about the failing grade you will give yourself when you mark your homework later.
 

somebodyelse

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If I understand the result correctly, did it show that most attempts couldn't tell a difference, but one out of 72 could? That a difference was heard by someone with very good hearing???
It shows that although most attempts were easily explained by chance, one attempt in 72 got all 16 trials right. Determining whether the person in question has exceptional hearing, identified a 'tell' that others could learn, was cheating, it was just a fluke, or something else requires further investigation. Getting 16/16 by chance in 72 attempts is still pretty unlikely.
 

billyjoebob

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Hello All,

First of all, thank you for the forum contributors who are sharing their knowledge here. I started reading ASR two month ago and just can't get enough of it.
I am sharing my experience with my first ABX testing. Last Friday me, together with a friend performed a double blind test on this systems:

1) Chord Dave + Upscaller from Chord2Go+2U - headphone output
2) Topping D90 + A90 from a laptop
3) Chord Mojo headphone output from Iphone.
4) Apple lightning 3.5mm adapter, output from Iphone.

Volume matching was performed with a dedicated microphone, nothing fancy, but still more reliable that our ears as proven below.
Switching between sources was done though a 4 position 3 pole rotary switch box, unbalanced 6.3mm cables.
Headphones used were the Seinheiser HD650, standard.
Switching was done randomly by my wife, who, with her scientific background, was happy to assist on this.

Result.. We could not tell the difference reliably between the systems. Which is.. proving either that we are both deaf or audio fools. We are repeating the test this Friday, I will post update if I can still type though my tears. Silly enough I can 100% reliably say which one is better when I see what system is connected.
Pardon my ignorance, but I have to ask. And I can't see where you answered this.
Was a cell phone the only source?
I cannot see any other way to use an apple dongle.
And if so, how could it possibly be implemented in a more "traditional" stero set up.
I think I am starting to realize that the majority of users on this forum are more cell/pc based users??
 

TheBatsEar

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Was a cell phone the only source?
I cannot see any other way to use an apple dongle.
You can connect it to any Linux PC/Laptop or RPi and use your regular streaming or playing software. Looks like a regular sound card to the system. I suspect the same is true for Windows/Mac.

Although you may need an inexpensive adapter like this:
1645628615391.png
 

Grooved

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At this moment, I think there are some points needing to be cleared because for example, the OP did the delay test that @Pdxwayne was talking about, and he "only" had 7/10 on the 5ms test, so I suspect a hearing or system problem, I hope for him it's the latest, or just that they didn't choose the best tracks for their test.

Knowing that I did easily 10/10 at 1ms on the worst speakers system I have, and while having my hearing a bit "muffled" since some months ago after getting vaccinated (but I don't want to start anything on that subject), I'd say it's impossible for them to do a good test if their system is only able to provide them a 7/10 result at 5ms.

7/10 at 5ms has very few chances of being a hearing problem, it's not knowing what to hear, or a system problem.

I also tried two of my headphones, and one is easy up to 2ms but harder at 1ms, but with the other one I tried (my cheapest one), it was very hard at 5ms already, and I would not trust this one for any test for sure unless it was due to not using EQ on them (I always used EQ on headphones and did not in this delay test)

Anyway, optimizing the test doesn't guarantee that they will hear a difference, there may be no audible difference
 
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Echoes

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Pardon my ignorance, but I have to ask. And I can't see where you answered this.
Was a cell phone the only source?
I cannot see any other way to use an apple dongle.
And if so, how could it possibly be implemented in a more "traditional" stero set up.
I think I am starting to realize that the majority of users on this forum are more cell/pc based users??
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?
 

sonitus mirus

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At this moment, I think there are some points needing to be cleared because for example, the OP did the delay test that @Pdxwayne was talking about, and he "only" had 7/10 on the 5ms test, so I suspect a hearing or system problem, I hope for him it's the latest, or just that they didn't choose the best tracks for their test.

Knowing that I did easily 10/10 at 1ms on the worst speakers system I have, and while having my hearing a bit "muffled" since some months ago after getting vaccinated (but I don't want to start anything on that subject), I'd say it's impossible for them to do a good test if their system is only able to provide them a 7/10 result at 5ms.

7/10 at 5ms has very few chances of being a hearing problem, it's not knowing what to hear, or a system problem.

I also tried two of my headphones, and one is easy up to 2ms but harder at 1ms, but with the other one I tried (my cheapest one), it was very hard at 5ms already, and I would not trust this one for any test for sure unless it was due to not using EQ on them (I always used EQ on headphones and did not in this delay test)

I don't have a lot of faith in that online 2-way timing test. It seems like something else is going on that makes this test very simple over some setups. I was able to pass this test on my first attempt at 1ms after working my way up from 50ms using only my Dell Latitude work laptop with the built-in speakers and Window's default drivers at 40% volume level.

1ms_test.jpg


Maybe the lower delays simply cannot be properly reproduced with some equipment and this manifests as a clearly audible difference not exclusively related to only the timing differences?
 
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Echoes

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I don't have a lot of faith in that online 2-way timing test. It seems like something else is going on that makes this test very simple over some setups. I was able to pass this test on my first attempt at 1ms after working my way up from 50ms using only my Dell Latitude work laptop with the built-in speakers and Window's default drivers at 40% volume level.

View attachment 188679

Maybe the lower delays simply cannot be properly reproduced with some equipment and this manifests as a clearly audible difference not exclusively related to only the timing differences?
Well I tried to perform some more testing.. Laptop speakers 1ms/2ms/5ms 10/10.
But 5ms is the one I can hear. Others are for me were plain different sounds, not a differentiable delay.
So really agree with your opinion that there might be something more to it.
 
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Echoes

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Still using Topping chain? Same results using your other 3 test chains?

Don't let 5ms results stop you from doing 2ms and 1ms. About 30% of my timing thread participants can pass 1ms due to obvious tonality change.

Thanks for trying!
That was done using the Topping. I've also tried apple dongle with similar results. Will try on Chord Dave and Chord Mojo later this week, however I don't expect miracles. Could identify 1ms delay sound though MacBook speakers.
 

Pdxwayne

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That was done using the Topping. I've also tried apple dongle with similar results. Will try on Chord Dave and Chord Mojo later this week, however I don't expect miracles. Could identify 1ms delay sound though MacBook speakers.
I kind of wonder if the difference is due to single driver of your headphones vs multi speakers of your MacBook.

I did a quick search about Macbook:
......
Both the 14-inch MacBook Pro and 16-inch MacBook Pro feature a six-speaker sound system with 80% more bass. The speakers include two, larger tweeters and four force-canceling woofers that Apple says can go half an octave (or "so la ti do") deeper than before.Oct 18, 2021
.......

@Grooved also mentioned using stereo speakers was very easy.

In that case, it seems to indicate you might have better luck hearing a difference between your test chains using stereo speakers instead of headphones....
 

Soniclife

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I don't have a lot of faith in that online 2-way timing test. It seems like something else is going on that makes this test very simple over some setups. I was able to pass this test on my first attempt at 1ms after working my way up from 50ms using only my Dell Latitude work laptop with the built-in speakers and Window's default drivers at 40% volume level.

View attachment 188679

Maybe the lower delays simply cannot be properly reproduced with some equipment and this manifests as a clearly audible difference not exclusively related to only the timing differences?
I agree something seems of with this test, just tried it using my phone with it's built in rubbish speaker, at 1ms it wasn't really a challenge, it sounded tonally very different, 1ms was more different then 5ms.
 

sonitus mirus

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I agree something seems of with this test, just tried it using my phone with it's built in rubbish speaker, at 1ms it wasn't really a challenge, it sounded tonally very different, 1ms was more different then 5ms.
That particular test was designed for home-theater speakers, so it might simply be a matter of these small, built-in laptop or phone speakers not being able to adequately handle the range of a kick drum and high hat with a necessary degree of accuracy for this to work as intended.
 

billyjoebob

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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?
I can't say that the use of an iPhone or iPad having a downside, I am more concerned (for me) with the source of the music files themselves.
I am not a streaming person and do NOT have my pc hooked into my stereo. All digital files (FLAC) are played via a pi4.
I know its probably me, but I cannot fathom an apple dongle sounding the same as any Chord or Topping DAC.
So my mind goes right to the source files as the likely culprit.
 
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