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Do all DAC's have technical issues

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#1
When reading the reviews and user experience threads on ASR I get the impression that a lot of/all sub $1000 modern-day DAC's have technical issues in one way or another. Be it the X16, the D30Pro, or the M400 (to name but a few). How to interpret these "issues"? Are they inherent to the use "state-of-the-art" technology? Caused by lack of quality control by the manufacturers? And should these issue be taken seriously by "regular" consumers, or are these mostly edge-cases?

If not anything else, reading about all the issues makes it pretty hard to decided on a new DAC. ;-) Even though $500-$1000 may not be a lot in the audiophile world, I do hate to waste that much money on a "flawed" product.
 

threni

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#2
Substitute "consumer product" for "DACs" in your question and see where that gets you.
If you have a question about a specific DAC, ask it. Personally I recommend the Topping E30 and Apple USB 3.5mm dongle, which had a combined cost of under £100, and no issues.
 

abdo123

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#3
Substitute "consumer product" for "DACs" in your question and see where that gets you.
If you have a question about a specific DAC, ask it. Personally I recommend the Topping E30 and Apple USB 3.5mm dongle, which had a combined cost of under £100, and no issues.
wasn’t the E30 blowing up few revisions ago?
 

sergeauckland

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#4
With a few exceptions, such as NOS DACs without filters and/or with tube output stages, I don't see any DAC as having inherent flaws, any more than the limitations of the medium, whether 16 or 24 bit. All DACs, (again with the exception of those deliberately crappy) are comfortably audibly transparent, so the only issues then becomes one of facilities and/or build quality, not sound quality.

If you choose a DAC according to the facilities it provides, then I think you can be comfortable that its audio performance will be adequate for transparency, so no improvement is possible.

S.
 

solderdude

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#5
wasn’t the E30 blowing up few revisions ago?
No. it had an absolute polarity issue... long ago. Have an E30 and has performed problem free.
It was the L30 that could give up the ghost
 

abdo123

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#6
No. it had an absolute polarity issue... long ago. Have an E30 and has performed problem free.
It was the L30 that could give up the ghost
it’s a missed opportunity from Topping not to slightly change the enclosure so people would know for sure they’re not buying old revisions.

otherwise i would never recommend the product again, there is an abundance of both assholes and audio equipment in the world.
 

solderdude

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#7
it’s a missed opportunity from Topping not to slightly change the enclosure so people would know for sure they’re not buying old revisions.
That's what the serial numbers are for.
 

Marc v E

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#9
I have a Topping dx7 pro which works flawlessly. I would definately recommend it and the company. Customer service is very quick and satisfactory ime.

Maybe it looks like many dacs are flawed because of the strict review methodology of this forum? I think it's a very good approach. And that basically not reviewing them by these standards (read: hifi magazines) is flawed.

On the subject of audibility: I thought the difference between my nad dac/pre and topping dx7pro could not be heard, but I was wrong. Many dacs nowadays are transparent, but many preamps are not. Definately worth buying one that is.
 
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Vini darko

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#10
The topping e30 is having issues with spidf connection. Due to akm being out of the game they had to change to a different manufacturer for spidf input processing cirrus logic. So not toppings fault per say but still a issue.
 

threni

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#11
The topping e30 is having issues with spidf connection. Due to akm being out of the game they had to change to a different manufacturer for spidf input processing cirrus logic. So not toppings fault per say but still a issue.
Is that an "issue" in the context of the original question, though? To me, issue = bug/problem. Like the exploding Topping amps. Nearly every piece of software undergoes revisions to fix problems/add features. And it's pretty common for hardware to get tweaks too - hence the revision numbers printed on PCBs. If they can reduce the number of components, or take advantage of cheaper ones for the same functionality, they will. Look at the raspberry Pi - nearly every model has had hardware fixes to address design problems - but you don't get a "Pi Model 4 Version 3". It would just be a confusing mess. You just have to be a sensible consumer and read reviews, don't buy beta hardware/software, and buy from brands who have some reputation to lose by rushing out stuff that's not ready (or accept that the cheap brandless thing you've bought off eBay could be anything from the next new hotness or a dangerous piece of crap).
 

Marc v E

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#14
I didn't hear about issues for the adi-2
It could be so well engineered that it doesn't have any flaws that show up. I suspect the professional customer base is less forgiving than hifi nerds/geeks like me. That is then what you pay for. It could also be just as reliable as a dac costing a fifth of the price that just sells more and therefor has more customer feedback. It's hard to know without polling for numbers.
 

JohnYang1997

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#15
It could be so well engineered that it doesn't have any flaws that show up. I suspect the professional customer base is less forgiving than hifi nerds/geeks like me. That is then what you pay for. It could also be just as reliable as a dac costing a fifth of the price that just sells more and therefor has more customer feedback. It's hard to know without polling for numbers.
Or they use other devices that are better designed. It's very likely that those professional grade gears also have problems with CD players or TVs.
And you are right, cheaper products will get more reports.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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#17
I think that 'having technical issues' has nothing to do with price. Witness the number of high end pieces reviewed in Stereophile where they had a technical issue with an original sample. Some manufacturers have a better grasp of quality control than others, and that has no price bounds.
 

MRC01

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#18
... When reading the reviews and user experience threads on ASR I get the impression that a lot of/all sub $1000 modern-day DAC's have technical issues in one way or another. ... Even though $500-$1000 may not be a lot in the audiophile world, I do hate to waste that much money on a "flawed" product.
Depends on your definition of "technical issues". No DAC has mathematically perfect reconstruction. As powerful as computers and chips are today, mathematically perfect DA construction in real-time requires more processing power than is available even at high consumer prices. So if your definition of "technical issue" is falling short of mathematical perfection, all DACs have technical issues.

However, the engineering of the best measuring DACs seen here at ASR, while short of perfection, use solutions & approximations that get close enough to mathematical perfection that the differences are well below audible thresholds. And their "digital" imperfections are smaller than the inherent noise and distortion of even the best analog circuits through which the signal must always pass on its way to your speakers or headphones. So if your definition of "technical issue" is audible imperfections, or even if inaudible but being the weakest link in the playback chain, then the best DACs reviewed here do not have technical issues.

One valid concern or at least differentiating feature about some of the best measuring DACs reviewed here is how well are they built? Will they stand up to 10+ years of trouble free service? And how well are they supported?
 

Vini darko

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#19
Is that an "issue" in the context of the original question, though? To me, issue = bug/problem. Like the exploding Topping amps. Nearly every piece of software undergoes revisions to fix problems/add features. And it's pretty common for hardware to get tweaks too - hence the revision numbers printed on PCBs. If they can reduce the number of components, or take advantage of cheaper ones for the same functionality, they will. Look at the raspberry Pi - nearly every model has had hardware fixes to address design problems - but you don't get a "Pi Model 4 Version 3". It would just be a confusing mess. You just have to be a sensible consumer and read reviews, don't buy beta hardware/software, and buy from brands who have some reputation to lose by rushing out stuff that's not ready (or accept that the cheap brandless thing you've bought off eBay could be anything from the next new hotness or a dangerous piece of crap).
It's more ofan an issue with the chips . Akm has popping noises , ess has intermodulation hump and cirrus has issues with spidf. These can be overcome with good design of course.
 

SIY

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#20
I have at least 3 or 4 under-$600 DACs on hand. None of them have any technical issues beyond the threshold of audibility.
 
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