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DAC Frequency Response

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#1
If a DAC has a flat frequency response - woulnd't it be completely transparent? I don't see how DACs could sound any different from each other at all, other than output level, if the frequency response is perfectly flat. What do you guys think?
 

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andreasmaaan

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#2
All forms of noise and distortion become audible beyond certain thresholds.

In the case of most DACs, levels of noise, nonlinear distortion, and phase distortion etc. are likely to be low enough as to not cross these thresholds so, broadly speaking, yes, I think your view is valid.

However, there are clearly a number of DACs on the market which exhibit levels of (in particular) nonlinear distortion such as to suggest that they would likely sound different from a better-performing DAC with an identical frequency response.
 
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Thread Starter #3
So if the DAC had bad distortion measurements etc, I guess it would just not sound as clean? But FR is still accurate. Basically a DAC will not sound warm or cold, or any other audiophile terms.
 

Krunok

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#4
If a DAC has a flat frequency response - woulnd't it be completely transparent? I don't see how DACs could sound any different from each other at all, other than output level, if the frequency response is perfectly flat. What do you guys think?
Generally speaking "transparency" doesn't come (only) from linear frequency response - it comes from absence of various kinds of distortion.
 

amirm

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#5
The most audible thing to anyone is frequency response variations. If that is ruler flat, it means that anything that it does wrong will be very hard to hear.
 
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Thread Starter #6
The most audible thing to anyone is frequency response variations. If that is ruler flat, it means that anything that it does wrong will be very hard to hear.
Thanks Amir, that makes perfect sense.
 

Krunok

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#7
In fact, from the aspect of distortion, non-linear frequency response is called linear distortion. For a DAC to be transparent you would need that other kinds of distortions (non-linear, phase, ..) are also small. Low noise would also come handy. But with most of the modern DACs all this is not really a problem - they are transparent.
 
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Thread Starter #8
I'm thinking about this AK4490 chip with "Velvet Sound". Sure, it looks like it would sound nice. But could it really sound different than any other accurate DAC? I think not.

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Krunok

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#11
When you're selling a parity product, the marketing needs to be creative to establish differentiation.
Even when the only difference is not in what you hear but in a different girl face in the brochure. :D
 
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