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How much difference in sound quality will you hear between qutest and tone board ?

Calexico

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@Blumlein 88 @amirm
I found a link with blind tests between dacs and they heared differences and could discern wich dac was playing.
https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/dac-blind-test-series.7518/
They both measure bad as r2r technology.
https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/ec-designs-mos16-dac-measurements.7568/
https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/airist-r2-r-dac-measurements.6418/
Maybe that's why they success the test.
But they seems to enjoy the sound better than topping d30.
 
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Veri

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But they seems to enjoy the sound better than topping d30.
The topping D30 was chosen as a hate instrument against ASR/Amir for no real reason. I think they even labelled it so with permanent marker.

That does't help in your listening test LOL. SBAF can't be taken seriously 98% of the time.
 

Blumlein 88

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@Blumlein 88 @amirm
I found a link with blind tests between dacs and they heared differences and could discern wich dac was playing.
https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/dac-blind-test-series.7518/
They both measure bad as r2r technology.
https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/ec-designs-mos16-dac-measurements.7568/
https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/airist-r2-r-dac-measurements.6418/
Maybe that's why they success the test.
But they seems to enjoy the sound better than topping d30.
Well firstly why did they level match with a sound level meter? Claimed match to within .1 db with a sound level meter at 1 khz with a note there was some variation. Such close matching with a sound level meter is suspicious. They should have matched at the speaker terminals. You'll find that kind of matching usually impossible with sound level meters due to environmental noise. So were they really matched? A .2 db or .3 db difference is enough to corrupt the test completely.

Secondly the Airist DAC is rather high in distortion, and the graph shown is for a .0775 volt level. Does it really distort even more when turned on up? You'd expect the distortion test to be at 2 volts or so.

Another concern would be the use of Nanopatch for volume control. It has a low input impedance of 5 kohms. That might strain the output of some DACs and the Airist looks strained in normal operation. The output impedance of the Nanopatch will vary with volume setting between 0 and 5 k ohms. If set near highest volume and connected with a couple meters of cable it could very much alter the upper frequency response levels. In the photo the volumes on the Nanopatchs are set considerably different which means a big output impedance difference. Of course I don't know those are the settings used during the test. Also the outputs went into a switch which then went to the amp so likely a fairly long cable in use.

Finally it was a single blind test from the sound of it.

So several reasons to wonder about the methodology used. The two big ones being the output impedance effect of the Nanopatch, and level matching. One could go ask about these details, but it would do no good.

I'm not even saying they didn't hear a real difference. But a poorly level matched comparison with one DAC appearing to be high distortion and probably with frequency response differences is something you'd expect to sound different.
 

andreasmaaan

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@Blumlein 88 @amirm
I found a link with blind tests between dacs and they heared differences and could discern wich dac was playing.
https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/dac-blind-test-series.7518/
They both measure bad as r2r technology.
https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/ec-designs-mos16-dac-measurements.7568/
https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/airist-r2-r-dac-measurements.6418/
Maybe that's why they success the test.
But they seems to enjoy the sound better than topping d30.
These are two DACs whose measurements suggest it would be possible to hear a difference. Each produces high levels of distortion, and lots of higher order harmonics (the most audible kind of distortion). The levels of distortion in each case are well above scientifically established audibility thresholds.

To put into perspective how badly these DACs perform, they produce more distortion than any laptop soundcard I know of, and indeed more distortion than many speakers (and higher order - i.e. more audible - distortion at that).
 

Blumlein 88

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These are two DACs whose measurements suggest it would be possible to hear a difference. Each produces high levels of distortion, and lots of higher order harmonics (the most audible kind of distortion). The levels of distortion in each case are well above scientifically established audibility thresholds.

To put into perspective how badly these DACs perform, they produce more distortion than any laptop soundcard I know of, and indeed more distortion than many speakers (and higher order - i.e. more audible - distortion at that).
I noticed that. They were so bad I wondered if the measurements were done correctly. Despite the tone of the thread about it, it actually would confirm that blind listening worked with such poor devices. Not that sighted listening is good enough.
 

flipflop

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Well firstly why did they level match with a sound level meter? Claimed match to within .1 db with a sound level meter at 1 khz with a note there was some variation. Such close matching with a sound level meter is suspicious. They should have matched at the speaker terminals. You'll find that kind of matching usually impossible with sound level meters due to environmental noise. So were they really matched? A .2 db or .3 db difference is enough to corrupt the test completely.

Secondly the Airist DAC is rather high in distortion, and the graph shown is for a .0775 volt level. Does it really distort even more when turned on up? You'd expect the distortion test to be at 2 volts or so.

Another concern would be the use of Nanopatch for volume control. It has a low input impedance of 5 kohms. That might strain the output of some DACs and the Airist looks strained in normal operation. The output impedance of the Nanopatch will vary with volume setting between 0 and 5 k ohms. If set near highest volume and connected with a couple meters of cable it could very much alter the upper frequency response levels. In the photo the volumes on the Nanopatchs are set considerably different which means a big output impedance difference. Of course I don't know those are the settings used during the test. Also the outputs went into a switch which then went to the amp so likely a fairly long cable in use.

Finally it was a single blind test from the sound of it.

So several reasons to wonder about the methodology used. The two big ones being the output impedance effect of the Nanopatch, and level matching. One could go ask about these details, but it would do no good.

I'm not even saying they didn't hear a real difference. But a poorly level matched comparison with one DAC appearing to be high distortion and probably with frequency response differences is something you'd expect to sound different.
Let's not forget about statistical significance. Even if we ignore all of the above, there is a 3.1% chance he got the answers right by plain luck. That's not nearly good enough to prove anything conclusively. Reminds me of when he ABXed the Magni against the O2 (back when Changstar was a thing), got 5 out of 6 right, and concluded he could tell the difference. Doesn't seem like his math has improved since then.
 

Calexico

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I noticed that. They were so bad I wondered if the measurements were done correctly. Despite the tone of the thread about it, it actually would confirm that blind listening worked with such poor devices. Not that sighted listening is good enough.
I believe they ve heard better measuring dacs. So why do you think they choose R2R nos for home?
It seems some people still prefer their kind of sound.

I would really like to do blind tests on r2r nos vs r2r oversample vs modern dacs to see if i got preferences. It's hard to know who to trust. I understand asr point of view but also i understand why people choose some r2r as i got a cheap tda1543 dac that can make old analog records really shine in a way the modern dacs cannot.
 

pkane

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I believe they ve heard better measuring dacs. So why do you think they choose R2R nos for home?
It seems some people still prefer their kind of sound.

I would really like to do blind tests on r2r nos vs r2r oversample vs modern dacs to see if i got preferences. It's hard to know who to trust. I understand asr point of view but also i understand why people choose some r2r as i got a cheap tda1543 dac that can make old analog records really shine in a way the modern dacs cannot.
You do realize that people can prefer a sound that is distorted, and that everyone’s preferences are not the same? Just because a DAC may be more accurate and transparent is no guarantee that everyone will like it. Questioning why someone likes a specific poorly performing DAC is like asking why someone likes the taste of broccoli, and the answer is just as irrelevant to my own tastes.
 

amirm

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To your experience you ve always been satisfied with a transparent sounding equipment ?
Only if I play the best recorded material that I like.
 

amirm

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@Blumlein 88 @amirm
I found a link with blind tests between dacs and they heared differences and could discern wich dac was playing.
https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/dac-blind-test-series.7518/
They both measure bad as r2r technology.
https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/ec-designs-mos16-dac-measurements.7568/
https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/airist-r2-r-dac-measurements.6418/
Maybe that's why they success the test.
But they seems to enjoy the sound better than topping d30.
Answering the last bit, that is their bias, being insulted that I recommended the D30 back when they were praising the much worse implemented Schiit DACs.

On the larger point, good for them to do some blind testing. There is not enough trials there for me to trust the results. I like to see 10 trials, passing at least 8 times. I have frequently managed to get a few answers right in blind tests, only to be lost after that.

Here is an examples I have saved:

foo_abx 1.3.4 report
foobar2000 v1.3.2
2014/07/09 17:39:55

File A: C:\Users\Amir\Music\Arny's 30 Hz Jitter File\Arny's new files\no jitter.wav
File B: C:\Users\Amir\Music\Arny's 30 Hz Jitter File\Arny's new files\30 Hz jitter barely noticable level .015.flac

17:39:55 : Test started.
17:40:40 : 00/01 100.0%
17:41:30 : 01/02 75.0%
17:41:41 : 02/03 50.0%
17:41:52 : 03/04 31.3%
17:42:04 : 04/05 18.8%
17:42:19 : 05/06 10.9%
17:42:32 : 06/07 6.3%
17:42:46 : 07/08 3.5%

Looking good up to this point. I am getting 7 out of 8 right with chances of guessing just 3.5%. But then the wheels fall off the wagon indicating I had not at all identified the differences I thought I had:

17:42:58 : 07/09 9.0%
17:43:12 : 07/10 17.2%
17:43:27 : 07/11 27.4%
17:43:42 : 08/12 19.4%
17:43:53 : 08/13 29.1%
17:44:15 : 08/14 39.5%
17:44:46 : 09/15 30.4%
17:45:00 : 10/16 22.7%
17:45:12 : 11/17 16.6%
17:45:30 : 12/18 11.9%
17:45:52 : 12/19 18.0%
17:46:23 : 13/20 13.2%
17:46:28 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 13/20 (13.2%)

This is total failure. This is why I say we can't go by just 4 or 5 trials.

I also worry about subjective remarks after the testing:

1559520715759.png


I have performed countless blind tests of DACs, amps, etc. I can tell you with confidence that the observation #1 (sound stage) never enters the equation. In every case I have heard that, I have traced that to channels being reversed in one unit versus the other. Or the levels not being matched.

In contrast, I hear that as the number 1 difference in sighted evaluation of just about every gear. So my antenna is up, way up that the tester did not hear what he says he has heard.

Only bullets 3 and 5 point to potential difference between the DACs and ability to detect those, requires one being trained which the tester is not. Otherwise, they again read like what subjectivists say in sighted testing.

When the DACs test poorly the main difference I can detect is exaggeration of high frequencies. That this is absent in above, is worrisome. Harmonic distortion naturally increases high frequency energy leading to exaggeration there.

Overall then, most of the characteristics read like imagined differences, not real and what can be explained objectively.

I give him A+ for testing/effort, but C for results being accurate. :)
 

amirm

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Good grief:



Interesting how his ears are not at all able to detect these distortion products. I don't know in whose fidelity book one would think adding all of those components to a 1 kHz tone (and all the tones in your music) brings goodness as far as soundstage, transient response, etc. He needs to work hard to see if he can hear these artifacts in listening tests.
 

Veri

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Good grief:
Interesting how his ears are not at all able to detect these distortion products. I don't know in whose fidelity book one would think adding all of those components to a 1 kHz tone (and all the tones in your music) brings goodness as far as soundstage, transient response, etc. He needs to work hard to see if he can hear these artifacts in listening tests.
They actually praise these -75dB THD and worse distortions. I really don't even.....
"measures quite good for an R2R DAC" is this supposed to be praiseworthy?
 

solderdude

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In their defence... They don't feel distortion levels below -70dB are that audible.
Also I don't think they worry about a few dB roll-off at 20kHz.
They seem to be more focussed on the 'audiophile' qualities that remain illusive in any measurements and rely more on sighted observations and other 'circumstancial evidence'.

I kind of agree that DAC's with a SINAD of >80 are 'transparent enough' and you really don't need 110dB SINAD for a DAC to sound good.
Vinyl and tape seems to prove that point as well.
That said... Such poor performance isn't really needed in this day and age.
Also it certainly does not hurt to buy a better measuring DAC when it comes to wanting highest fidelity.
For that the measurements at ASR are very valuable.

For those that only use their ears (as these seem more trustworthy to them) measurements don't mean anything and everything that measures well automatically seems to sound 'poor', 'sterile' and 'typically digital' to them.

Ears just aren't anywhere near as good as the measurement limits are and are quite forgiving for a number of aspects and less forgiving for others.

I dread to see what the multititone would look like and the SINAD number would show as harmonics add in level and are not just below -75dB.
 

Calexico

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So some people like bad wine like they like bad measuring dacs.
That means something in the badness is pleasant to them. If you respect them they will respect you @amirm
Both of you are right.
You want transparent
They tried both and choose one they like.

Just different minds.

No need to conflict for that.

To my experience i found both solutions to be satisfying.

Although i'm sure i hated the sound of my marrantz cd5001 that's why i begun to try nos nac and then cheap chinese ds dacs.
Althiugh nit perfect Nos dac was far better to me that the cd 5001. I could listen music Without being frustrated
 
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solderdude

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That means something in the badness is pleasant to them.
Not necesarilly, consider the badness is below their hearing capabilities or they just don't care about it.
I would not assert it sounds pleasant to them (well the roll-off may be an aspect)
 

Calexico

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Not necesarilly, consider the badness is below their hearing capabilities or they just don't care about it.
I would not assert it sounds pleasant to them (well the roll-off may be an aspect)
I don't see why they would by expensive dac that doesn't measure good if they don't find the sound pleasant.
 

solderdude

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You may not see a lot of things :p

They test it just to hear/measure how it tests.
A bit like Amir .. but different.
And they set out to 'prove' they can hear differences in 'blind' tests.
 

flipflop

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There is not enough trials there for me to trust the results. I like to see 10 trials, passing at least 8 times.
The chance of getting 5 out of 5 right by random guessing is 3.1% while it's 5.5% for 8/10.
I agree that a higher number of trials is needed, but being that lax on the amount of correct responses doesn't help.
 
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