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DAC Upgrade Advice

crisppacket

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Owner of the Loxjie D50 (AK4499EQ).
I really like the sound signature and detail it but it does have quite a narrow soundstage.
I read similar comments about the RME-ADI which also uses the AK4499EQ.
Do all the AKM DACs have a narrow soundstage?

Looking to upgrade to a similar priced and sounding DAC with balanced outputs, but with a wider soundstage and better instrument separation.

I also own an Arcam CD23T which has a RING Dac - the wider soundstage is very noticeable on this.

Current setup is Loxjie D50>>Arcam C49>>ArcamP49>>Sonus Faber 2.5 Venere

I would appreciate any suggestions on a potential upgrade.
Thanks
 

JustJones

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Chazz6

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Are your standard for a wide sound stage and mine similar? I'm happy with the RME ADI FS-2.

And RME must think it provides plenty of separation, because it has a Crossfeed option to reduce separation. The motivation for it concerns headphones. From the user manual:

While headphones open the sound stage and make everything easier to hear and to locate by spreading the narrow sound field of stereo speakers to the left/right extreme, some people would like to have a listening situation that is more comparable to a standard speaker setup. The ADI-2 DAC includes Crossfeed to address this wish. Crossfeed reduces the artificial surround ambience that some productions have to make them sound better on speakers, but which sounds unnatural on a headphone
 

Todd k

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Really? I made sure way back when I joined to understand the vibe here before I posted. This person should already know the answer to this question if he had spent anytime here sampling the wares. Hopefully he will delve into the vast reservoir of knowledge of this site and be enlightened.
 

staticV3

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I too have never head one of my DACs produce a narrow or wide soundstage. They all sound identical once properly level-matched.

@crisppacket perhaps you're attributing a characteristic of your playback system to the DAC by accident? Speaker and headphones can have good or bad soundstage. Not DACs.
 

b7676

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Properly utilizing the Direct DSD mode is the thing to try with the AKM chips.
HQplayer is mentioned often for upconverting if you've not much native DSD content to try.
 
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crisppacket

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I use jRiver - I don't use EQ or anything other than the defaults.
I listen to 16bit and 24bit FLAC files.

As for all DACs sounding the same - I often see people mentioning ESS DACs sounding different to the warmer sounding AKM DACS.
I'm not claiming it is true but it is a widely voiced opinion.

All I can say is I notice a wider soundstage when listening to CDs.
 

Doodski

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I use jRiver - I don't use EQ or anything other than the defaults.
I listen to 16bit and 24bit FLAC files.

As for all DACs sounding the same - I often see people mentioning ESS DACs sounding different to the warmer sounding AKM DACS.
I'm not claiming it is true but it is a widely voiced opinion.

All I can say is I notice a wider soundstage when listening to CDs.
It's most likely the recording that you are listening to and hearing wider imaging if you are hearing anything at all. I doubt you can hear imaging differences from your DAC versus the CD if you have the exact same source file.
 

Chrispy

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I use jRiver - I don't use EQ or anything other than the defaults.
I listen to 16bit and 24bit FLAC files.

As for all DACs sounding the same - I often see people mentioning ESS DACs sounding different to the warmer sounding AKM DACS.
I'm not claiming it is true but it is a widely voiced opinion.

All I can say is I notice a wider soundstage when listening to CDs.
So you haven't experienced such but place your trust in some anonymous internet guys? Wider soundstage from what influence particularly?
 
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crisppacket

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So you haven't experienced such but place your trust in some anonymous internet guys? Wider soundstage from what influence particularly?
It was an observation. I didn't say I trust anyone. If you read it I said I'm not claiming it is true.
 

Chrispy

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It was an observation. I didn't say I trust anyone. If you read it I said I'm not claiming it is true.
Why do you even propose that it is something worthy of discussion? Have you reviewed a lot of content on this site? Do you do much research?
 

JSmith

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Looking to upgrade to a similar priced and sounding DAC with balanced outputs, but with a wider soundstage and better instrument separation.
Sorry, but this makes no sense... your DAC already has balanced output and measures as good as it gets;

index.php


With respect, what you're reading elsewhere about ESS vs AKM "sounds" is simply subjective rubbish. By all means get a new DAC if you want something that looks different or has other features you may want, but don't think it's going to change anything or be an upgrade in sound quality.


JSmith
 

Purité Audio

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Speakers and their interaction with the room to really objectively ‘upgrade’.
Keith
 

BDWoody

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Why do you even propose that it is something worthy of discussion? Have you reviewed a lot of content on this site? Do you do much research?

No need to be quite so harsh...

Maybe save that kind of response for those who are clearly here in bad faith.

We should welcome people with sincere questions, as maybe they will actually learn. Do you want him running to SBAF?
 

JeremyFife

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My, non technical, way of thinking about this: a DAC "reads" the digital instructions and converts those instructions to analogue. Above a certain level of engineering performance, you simply cannot read instructions any better or convert them any better - this is a measurable electrical process. Your DAC is fine.

That leaves you with two things that might affect soundstage or sound in general;
#1 the initial instructions ... i.e. the recording you are playing, a specific version may have been recorded or mastered differently which 'may' affect the sound
#2 Speaker / Room interactions ... there can be a big impact here ... this is the place to look (to measure and add treat or EQ)

I'd like to just buy a new box and get better sound, but it really just doesn't work like that.
Slight caveat .. if you are driving your DAC or amps into clipping then that won't help and you will get distortion artefacts. That's pretty unlikely though
 
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