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Does DAC performance = great sound?

Budgeter

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Do you care to elaborate? :D
It's true in a way. Since there are many crappy implementation of DACs out there that introduces noise, distort signal, roll off frequency range etc, sound is heavily changed.
 

Doodski

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It's true in a way. Since there are many crappy implementation of DACs out there that introduces noise, distort signal, roll off frequency range etc, sound is heavily changed.
I have never heard a CD player or a dedicated DAC that sounded horrible or really outstanding. Well... There was one CD player that had a very nice smooth soft sound and great imaging but that is a exception and I think it was colored intentionally. That's the only one I heave heard that stands out. I had the opportunity to setup CD players and DACs on a wall with shelving. Like about 40+ models and then I could compare them easily with headphones. They all sounded pretty much the same and I was a subjective listener/expert at the time. :D
1868127-cefe2c8e-kinergetics-compact-disc-player-kcd40-platinum-series-audiophile.jpg
 

Budgeter

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I have never heard a CD player or a dedicated DAC that sounded horrible or really outstanding. Well... There was one CD player that had a very nice smooth soft sound and great imaging but that is a exception and I think it was colored intentionally. That's the only one I heave heard that stands out. I had the opportunity to setup CD players and DACs on a wall with shelving. Like about 40+ models and then I could compare them easily with headphones. They all sounded pretty much the same and I was a subjective listener/expert at the time. :D
1868127-cefe2c8e-kinergetics-compact-disc-player-kcd40-platinum-series-audiophile.jpg
I don't have experience with CD players. However, many onboard PC audio before 2014 or cheap DAC (e.g. some from ASUS or Creative, below $40) has really high noise floor and distorted sound.
The point is, not all are the same. If they're the same, then there should be no measurement, design and implementation improvement. After a certain threshold, then sure, they're intelligible. I don't condone saying a DAC will give "this and that sound signature". I'm just saying some can be broken.
 

Doodski

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However, many onboard PC audio before 2014
Yeah, you're correct there. I've had a couple of buzzy PCs with increased noise from the mouse movement. It's been awhile though since I have had that issue. The EVGA gaming motherboards and the ASUS ROG MBs I've used for the past years all have been silent and with excellent muting circuitry too.

I am still surprised though at the old SB sound cards of the day. They where the most basic stuff and they still had everybody stoked up about music and games. I think most of the sound issues with PCs stem from the motherboards.
 

magicscreen

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Do you care to elaborate? :D
I have bought a Loxjie D10 for $77 after long hesitation. To my biggest surprise it sounds much-much better than my Marantz integrated DAC and my Sony CD and my Sony DVD player. And yes, I made some blind tests.
I listened low quality devices for two years because I believed this "all DACs sound the same" myth.
 

Doodski

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I have bought a Loxjie D10 for $77 after long hesitation. To my biggest surprise it sounds much-much better than my Marantz integrated DAC and my Sony CD and my Sony DVD player. And yes, I made some blind tests.
I listened low quality devices for two years because I believed this "all DACs sound the same" myth.
That was a great price on the D10. Here and here are new prices. Good to hear you are enjoying it.
 

tonycollinet

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I have bought a Loxjie D10 for $77 after long hesitation. To my biggest surprise it sounds much-much better than my Marantz integrated DAC and my Sony CD and my Sony DVD player. And yes, I made some blind tests.
I listened low quality devices for two years because I believed this "all DACs sound the same" myth.
Once again you are mis reading. No-one says "all DAC's sound the same" What is said is that "All transparent measuring dacs sound the same"

Poorly designed dacs that introduce audible distortions exist, and then obviously can influence sound. Don't buy them.
 

escksu

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Once again you are mis reading. No-one says "all DAC's sound the same" What is said is that "All transparent measuring dacs sound the same"

Poorly designed dacs that introduce audible distortions exist, and then obviously can influence sound. Don't buy them.

What is transparent measuring dac???
 

Killingbeans

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@escksu Those that take the technical performance beyond the point of measurement masturbation:
 

tonycollinet

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What is transparent measuring dac???
Flat frequency response

Inaudible level of distortion. (Distortion products down below around -115db - probably below -90 for most people without bionic ears

Pretty much anything in the green/blue range of the chart - and for most people probably the orange range also. (The DAC I use as at the bottom end of orange and I know I coudn't pick it out from any other better dac in a blind test)

And (probably) 16 bits of dynamic range
 

billyjoebob

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Audio quality is dependent on the playback "system". The DAC is just a very small part of sound quality, relative to your room acoustics and speakers (which IMO together constitute at least 90% of the subjective audio quality). So if your room has terrible acoustics and your speakers are low budget (under $500) then it is money wasted for any hoped for improvements beyond the Topping E30 for $129. Such a system will receive zero improvement from an "above average" DAC. So without sharing with us your entire system, it's difficult to say whether you'd even be able to hear differences among DACs if your speaker is not capable of such resolution.
Well said!
 

billyjoebob

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1) Until ASR documents far more speaker systems' objective performance, I'm not prepared to accept the 'budget' argument regarding speaker performance, and will not pay attention to reputation of manufacturers in the speaker realm. It may very well be that some very expensive speaker systems perform poorly when subjected to the glaring light of objective testing. In fact, I assume that will be the case.

2) Average, above average, these are meaningless descriptions once we can reach audible transparency. The DAC that achieves, say, a SINAD of 112 versus 111 or even 105, is very unlikely to perform better in any meaningful audible sense. I'm not well versed in objective performance numbers for amps, but IMO the same concepts apply. Once we reach general transparency, we're done. From transparency, the listener can apply whichever bias-driven 'flavor' they desire, but I want to pursue objectively-driven transparency.

3) The entire goal, as I see it, is to reduce the audio hobby to the goal of achieving the most transparency for the fewest dollars out of pocket possible. I love the idea of forcing manufacturers to pay attention to performance data over magical audiophool thinking, and making it easier for consumers to find the gems that perform very well for very few dollars.
That is a very subjective reply.
Your definition of "performance" & "budget" is your opinion.
Not a fact.
If you want to build the cheapest system, that's fine.
Everything you said afterwords is all opinion.
 

Killingbeans

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Well, "Your system isn't resolving enough" is an argument that keeps being presented when people point to something as having a high risk of inaudibility. Going by that logic, any audiophile person, owning a room with serious acoustic treatment and a setup composed of big bucks gear from highly respected manufacturers, should find the task of hearing differences in well measuring DACs under controlled conditions to be kids play. I haven't seen any reports of that happening?
 
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