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DAC types and their sonic signature

tential

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#61
The only thing I see people reference is impedance, and even that is done poorly.
A headphone can have a low impedance and audiophiles will say "easy to drive!" without checking any other spec.

My coworker thought his Aeon flow mrspeakers headphones were easy to drive due to low impedance, but didn't like how his phone powered them.... Never bothered to check the low sensitivity of planar headphones. Actually, I've never seen an audiophile mention sensitivity. I'm not sure they even understand it.
 

Xulonn

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#62
Forgive my ignorance but if all are meant to sound the same, why the different brands with their hardcore following who will swear blind on "sonic signature" differences.
This is exactly why I started this thread because I was convinced of a change in sound when using different DAC's.
If they're all meant to sound the same then what's the point if it all?

Again, I'm not trying to be clever or funny as I know absolutely nothing compared to you guys.
I'm here to learn and hopefully expand my knowledge of all things audio... :)
You are trying to be logical - and logic is not part of pathological subjective-only audiophilia. :cool: Audio fanboys and their fanatical following of favorite brands, and righteous indignation displayed when anyone challenges their "beliefs" is amusing at times, and tiresome when they try to push it here at our science-based forum.

It has been stated ad nauseum here at ASR that sighted listening results are very, very seldom confirmed by level-matched double blind testing. This fact is based on science - psychoacoustics. The results of controlled ABX listening tests clearly demonstrate that sighted listening results that cannot be confirmed by measurements are bogus and invalid. This has been confirmed over and over again.

I chose a Topping DX7s even though I don not listen to headphones. The price (on MassDrop) was only $370. The DX7s has a bit of heft and substance, output measures well, it has a volume control that works with the line out, and a remote control is available. It looks nice to my eyes, and it tested well here at ASR. I've been using it for a month, I like the way it looks and feels, and my budget stereo system sounds really good. I'm even pleased with the way my favorite jazz internet radio station sounds even though it is only 64kbps CBR AAC encoded. What more could I want?

SIY's excellent reply a couple of posts up covers some of the important and valid "subjective" aspects of choosing DACs. If you listen mostly to loudspeakers, focus on your amplifier, speakers, your room and the very complex interactions of these three things. That's where the real differences show up - and Amir cannot test that for you. I hope to get a calibrated microphone soon, and use REW software with either Daphile or Volumio to start playing with room correction.
 

solderdude

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#63
The only thing I see people reference is impedance, and even that is done poorly.
A headphone can have a low impedance and audiophiles will say "easy to drive!" without checking any other spec.

My coworker thought his Aeon flow mrspeakers headphones were easy to drive due to low impedance, but didn't like how his phone powered them.... Never bothered to check the low sensitivity of planar headphones. Actually, I've never seen an audiophile mention sensitivity. I'm not sure they even understand it.
The AEON flow closed is quite sensitive ... 112dB/V.
The AEON flow open is even 114dB/V
The impedance is a bit on the low side (13 Ohm), depending on the output stage of a phone (when it has output capacitors) there could be an audible roll-off in the lows.

Driven from a phone (1V out) he should be able to reach 85-90dB average.

HERE is a nice list with the efficiency ratings and impedances of many popular headphones. (Only the dB/V values are important, not the dB/mW)
 
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tential

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#64
The AEON flow closed is quite sensitive ... 112dB/V.
The AEON flow open is even 114dB/V
The impedance is a bit on the low side (13 Ohm), depending on the output stage of a phone (when it has output capacitors) there could be an audible roll-off in the lows.

Driven from a phone (1V out) he should be able to reach 85-90dB average.
No
HERE is a nice list with the efficiency ratings and impedances of many popular headphones. (Only the dB/V values are important, not the dB/mW)
The AEON flow closed is quite sensitive ... 112dB/V.
The AEON flow open is even 114dB/V
The impedance is a bit on the low side (13 Ohm), depending on the output stage of a phone (when it has output capacitors) there could be an audible roll-off in the lows.

Driven from a phone (1V out) he should be able to reach 85-90dB average.

HERE is a nice list with the efficiency ratings and impedances of many popular headphones. (Only the dB/V values are important, not the dB/mW)
I've never seen those voltage numbers posted only the db/mW on the mrspeakers site. That's 94 db/mW. Using the less important but more widely available figure, it's lower than other headphones and iems even more so. For him it's the sensitive Andros vs Aeons.
I do need a better grasp on voltage though.
 

Sparky

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#65
You are trying to be logical - and logic is not part of pathological subjective-only audiophilia. :cool: Audio fanboys and their fanatical following of favorite brands, and righteous indignation displayed when anyone challenges their "beliefs" is amusing at times, and tiresome when they try to push it here at our science-based forum.

It has been stated ad nauseum here at ASR that sighted listening results are very, very seldom confirmed by level-matched double blind testing. This fact is based on science - psychoacoustics. The results of controlled ABX listening tests clearly demonstrate that sighted listening results that cannot be confirmed by measurements are bogus and invalid. This has been confirmed over and over again.

I chose a Topping DX7s even though I don not listen to headphones. The price (on MassDrop) was only $370. The DX7s has a bit of heft and substance, output measures well, it has a volume control that works with the line out, and a remote control is available. It looks nice to my eyes, and it tested well here at ASR. I've been using it for a month, I like the way it looks and feels, and my budget stereo system sounds really good. I'm even pleased with the way my favorite jazz internet radio station sounds even though it is only 64kbps CBR AAC encoded. What more could I want?

SIY's excellent reply a couple of posts up covers some of the important and valid "subjective" aspects of choosing DACs. If you listen mostly to loudspeakers, focus on your amplifier, speakers, your room and the very complex interactions of these three things. That's where the real differences show up - and Amir cannot test that for you. I hope to get a calibrated microphone soon, and use REW software with either Daphile or Volumio to start playing with room correction.
I'm glad I can be logical about it though as it keeps me in a "focused" state of mind.
To be honest, I always think logically and analyse most things so I don't really know how else to be.. :facepalm:

I too find the fan boys hilarious sometimes and, on other forums I frequent, have witnessed full blown arguments which has led to people being banned just because one person dares suggest that one amp or cable isn't all its cracked up to be...

Agree with the double blind tests and with the psychoacoustic comment too. BOSE proves that psychoacoustic trickery wins with their ridiculous products that are "tuned" to the specific frequencies proven by science to excite the human brain into thinking they're hearing excellent quality.
Those in the "know" avoid these products because they know it is just clever DSP programmed into crappy speakers in crappy enclosures.

I too, almost went for the Topping but was drawn in to the RME ADI-2 for its functionality, ease of use, looks and of course, its DAC chip.
Not to mention the support the manufacturer provides for the product. :cool:

I don't listen on headphones. I use a 2 channel system with subs for movies and just full range for music.
Want the DAC for my music only and to integrate into my streaming device.
I use DIRAC for room correction which is awesome and I only EQ below 500hz.
Any issues I have with room nulls/modes are all in the low end and DIRAC sorts them out nicely.

Obviously I will lose DIRAC for music but would rather not use it anyway. The parametric EQ on the RME will allow me to tame the low end anyway if needs be.
 
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tential

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#67
I'm glad I can be logical about it though as it keeps me in a "focused" state of mind.
To be honest, I always think logically and analyse most things so I don't really know how else to be.. :facepalm:

I too find the fan boys hilarious sometimes and, on other forums I frequent, have witnessed full blown arguments which has led to people being banned just because one person dares suggest that one amp or cable isn't all its cracked up to be...

Agree with the double blind tests and with the psychoacoustic comment too. BOSE proves that psychoacoustic trickery wins with their ridiculous products that are "tuned" to the specific frequencies proven by science to excite the human brain into thinking they're hearing excellent quality.
Those in the "know" avoid these products because they know it is just clever DSP programmed into crappy speakers in crappy enclosures.

I too, almost went for the Topping but was drawn in to the RME ADI-2 for its functionality, ease of use, looks and of course, its DAC chip.
Not to mention the support the manufacturer provides for the product. :cool:

I don't listen on headphones. I use a 2 channel system with subs for movies and just full range for music.
Want the DAC for my music only and to integrate into my streaming device.
I use DIRAC for room correction which is awesome and I only EQ below 500hz.
Any issues I have with room nulls/modes are all in the low end and DIRAC sorts them out nicely.

Obviously I will lose DIRAC for music but would rather not use it anyway. The parametric EQ on the RME will halo me tame the low end anyway if needs be.
What's wrong with Dirac for music?
My endgame would consist of 2 minidsp 8 channel Dirac enabled boxes.
If you could daisy chain more I'd want more. From all accounts I've heard Dirac does a great job..

Nothing wrong with a little bass boost either!
 

andreasmaaan

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#68
BOSE proves that psychoacoustic trickery wins with their ridiculous products that are "tuned" to the specific frequencies proven by science to excite the human brain into thinking they're hearing excellent quality.
Interesting, could you elaborate / do you have a source that explains in more detail?
 

Sparky

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#69
What's wrong with Dirac for music?
My endgame would consist of 2 minidsp 8 channel Dirac enabled boxes.
If you could daisy chain more I'd want more. From all accounts I've heard Dirac does a great job..

Nothing wrong with a little bass boost either!
I didn't explain myself properly did I. :facepalm:
I absolutely love DIRAC! It was a game changer for me as I was experiencing significant room modes as I only have a small lounge at 5.5 x 4.8 x 2.6 metres.

DIRAC really has sorted that out for me and made my movie watching absolutely perfect.
Now for music, I have never used it for music but I guess, now you mention it, why not?
I'll have a go at using it for music in the future to see if I can glean any benefit from it.
I only use DIRAC for the low end though (500hz and below) as those frequencies are my problem ones.

Nothing wrong with a bit of bass mate! I love drum n bass or bass of any kind but when it's boomy and bloated due to room modes, that's what I don't like. :cool:
 

Sparky

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#70

solderdude

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#71
I've never seen those voltage numbers posted only the db/mW on the mrspeakers site. That's 94 db/mW. Using the less important but more widely available figure, it's lower than other headphones and iems even more so. For him it's the sensitive Andros vs Aeons.
I do need a better grasp on voltage though.
the dB/V values can be calculated from the dB/mW values when the impedance is known.
Audio amplifiers are voltage sources (thus dB/V), not power sources (dB/mW).
When one wants to know how loud something plays at the same volpot setting only the dB/V number is relevant.
Most manufacturers do not even specify it or omit the /V or /mW or just list the max SPL.

Another issue is on how the values are determined, for instance at 1kHz, 500Hz, narrow or wideband noise, A or C weighted.
This will produce numbers that can differ substantially.
Then there is production spread but that is usually small.

Andros vs AEON is a weird comparison. IEM's have a much higher dB/V rating. So much so that small noise levels could be quite audible on these IEM's.
 
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gvl

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#72
I'm back from a casual blind testing of a Topping DX3 Pro vs DX7s, which are based on AKM and ESS DAC parts. Level matched by ear. 4 attempts with 6 samples in each. 2 attempts were mostly a miss, in the other 2 however I got 5 out of 6 right. So there maybe something slightly different in the way they sound that a trained ear better than mine can detect. Both were set on linear sharp roll off filter. Is it a sound signature? Heck no, the differences are very minor even in quick sighted A/B switching, hardly anything that can be claimed to be a characteristic sound of a DAC chip.
 

tential

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#73
Andros vs AEON is a weird comparison. IEM's have a much higher dB/V rating. So much so that small noise levels could be quite audible on these IEM's.
That was the point I was making awhile back. That my audiophile coworker thought both Andros and the Aeon should play loudly because they both have low impedance. Sensitivity is a metric I've actually never seen mentioned in audiophile conversation.
If low impedance, then easy to drive.

Audiophiles are their own cult that don't care about the science/math. Just about what their own MASSIVE community thinks. And in this case this is the audiophile headphone community. It's a clique where you have to regurgitate what everyone else thinks without any proof other.
It's why I couldn't buy another set of speakers, the explanations for why a set was better than b set were horrible. It was moving from the speaker section of avs forum to diy section where I finally learned it wasn't just subjective craziness and that in audio you can make a subpar product and as long as you have a following (schiit....) people will promote it like crazy. Almost bought those products too.... But then I found here since I hate marketing... Be real.
 

andreasmaaan

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#74
Ok thanks, but I didn’t see much new in those links TBH. The part of your earlier post I was interested in was your statement that Bose products “are "tuned" to the specific frequencies proven by science to excite the human brain into thinking they're hearing excellent quality”...?
 

tential

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#75
Ok thanks, but I didn’t see much new in those links TBH. The part of your earlier post I was interested in was your statement that Bose products “are "tuned" to the specific frequencies proven by science to excite the human brain into thinking they're hearing excellent quality”...?
I also thought the common knowledge was that bose just has good marketing and an OK product.
Their lineup appeals visually to consumers as well as good visual incentives for upgrades to higher end lines.
A speaker in a home is a statement piece almost, so looks are often more important, and you just need ok/good sound with your own sonic twist if you like to make sure people know your speaker is the twist they need to get to audio nirvana rather.
You could just make a dull high performance speaker tbat produces the sonic range accurately but then you'd but a small name producer.
 

solderdude

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#76
If blablabla, then easy to drive.
They should say.. easily driven to sufficient levels from a phone.

This is seen everywhere... the 'easy to drive'.
Nearly all headphones are easy to drive.
They just need to get enough voltage.
Even the RAAL is easy to drive ... from the right amplifier.
 

Sparky

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#77
Ok thanks, but I didn’t see much new in those links TBH. The part of your earlier post I was interested in was your statement that Bose products “are "tuned" to the specific frequencies proven by science to excite the human brain into thinking they're hearing excellent quality”...?
That's just my personal take on what is being said that's all.
If you read between the lines, that's essentially what's going on is it not?

BOSE "better sound through research"

Their tagline says it all really. Again, that's my personal opinion.

My father in law had a BOSE sound wave cd player for over 10 years and loved it.
It developed a fault and, with it being out of warranty, decided to take it apart to see if he could fix it (he's like that).
Anyway, he was shocked at what he saw inside.
Basically a small PCB with speaker wire going to the two tiny 2.5 inch drivers with an elaborate series of slats which directed the soundwaves (for want of a better word) which gave the illusion of good sound.

That's my point. An empty box with fancy trickery to fool the brain into thinking you're hearing good sound.

You're really not hearing good sound though are you.

That's my opinion anyway.
 
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#78
I could never tell much difference between dacs on headphones but for me it is very easy to measure the height of a kick drum within the sound field on dacs with loud speakers. I bought the d30 and sent it back the kick drum size lost about 30% height compared to my leema. Also sceptics compare a topping to a rega dac. The rega pumps out huge kick drums.
 
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solderdude

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#79
but for me it is very easy to measure the height of a kick drum within the sound field on dacs with loud speakers
Do you use a ruler for this ?
How many objectively measured height differences were there and how does a DAC alter this aspect ?

Or did you mean: subjectively the d30 did not do it for me.
How does the rega pump out huge kick drums ?
Is there a special circuit in there that analyzes the signal and then takes some action ?
 

Snarfie

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#80
Over and over and over again, those here with technical and science backgrounds, and who believe in logic, science and controlled double blind testing have tried to educate you, but your resistance to accepting reality is extraordinarily high.


 
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