• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

How much do DAC measurements matter

Bob from Florida

Active Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
235
Likes
140
I ran a test for grins last night - sighted as I was by myself. My Raspberry pi running Volumio normally connects to a Schiit Modius which outputs via balanced to my Luxman integrated. I ran a second usb cable from the pi to my IFI idsd Signature which outputted via unbalanced to the Luxman. Volumio lets me switch DACs then I just restart the song, switch inputs, match levels - seems to be 7 volume button presses higher for unbalanced. AKM 4493 in the Schiit and a Burr-Brown in the IFI. Once volume matched - no discernible difference. So, in this age of better and better measuring DACS - when does it actually matter. Once you reach that level maybe the real differentiator is features and reliability.
 

b4nt

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 29, 2021
Messages
803
Likes
260
For "Luxman integrated" I found: "0.06% or less (8Ω, 20Hz to 20kHz)".

Other will say this isn't HiFi, don't expect to hear any differences for DACs featuring 0,000... :)
 
OP
B

Bob from Florida

Active Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
235
Likes
140
For "Luxman integrated" I found: "0.06% or less (8Ω, 20Hz to 20kHz)".

Other will say this isn't HiFi, don't expect to hear any differences for DACs featuring 0,000... :)
Full specs of the L-507uxii below. Not quite as good as you quoted. Assuming the specs are true I would think it is hi fi.


Spec
Rated output 110W + 110W (8Ω),
210W + 210W (4Ω)
Input sensitivity/input impedance
PHONO (MM): 2.5mV/47kΩ
PHONO (MC): 0.3mV/100Ω
LINE: 180mV/47kΩ
BAL.LINE: 180mV/55kΩ
MAIN-IN: 1.05V/47kΩ
Output voltage REC OUT: 180mV, PRE-OUT: 1V
Frequency response PHONO: 20Hz to 20kHz (±0.5dB)
LINE: 20Hz to 100kHz (within -3dB)
Total harmonic distortion 0.007% or less (8Ω, 1kHz)
0.08% or less (8Ω, 20Hz to 20kHz)
S/N ratio (IHF-A) PHONO (MM): 91dB or more
PHONO (MC): 75dB or more
LINE: 105dB or more
Volume adjustment New LECUA1000
Amplification circuit ODNF 4.0
Output configuration Bipolar 3-parallel push-pull
Damping factor 260
Max. amount of tone control BASS: ±8dB at 100Hz
TREBLE: ±8dB at 10kHz
Power supply 230V~(50Hz) / 115V~(60Hz)
Power consumption 350W
86W (under no signal), 0.4W (at standby)
External dimensions 440(W) x 178(H) x 454(D) mm
front side knob of 20mm and rear side terminal
of 27mm included in depth
Net weight 25.0kg (main unit)
 

b4nt

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 29, 2021
Messages
803
Likes
260
Full specs of the L-507uxii below. Not quite as good as you quoted. Assuming the specs are true I would think it is hi fi.

0.08% or less (8Ω, 20Hz to 20kHz)

That is even worther. 0.08% for which wattage? :)

Fact is you probably won't notice any difference with a transparent DAC featuring much less distortion than this. You will hear your amp and your speakers, assuming the DAC has no major issue.

0.007% or less (8Ω, 1kHz)

Maybe compare the DACs at low volume.
 

b4nt

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 29, 2021
Messages
803
Likes
260
connects to a Schiit Modius which outputs via balanced to my Luxman integrated. I ran a second usb cable from the pi to my IFI idsd Signature

I had a quick look at your DACs specs. We can assume both are entry range products (mine are also).

Cheap Schiit: 0,0003%
Cheap iFi: 0,003% for line out (box costs more than the Schiit, but you payed also for battery and head set amp)

I dont think this is noticeable if those are the real DACs values. You may use your amp at 10 to 25% of its volume to get less or no distortion from there. But 0,003% shall be unoticeable, this is noise at very weak levels. Speakers should add minimal distortion (additionnal noise), top of this.

I wrote cheap. I do not know what exactly such DACs embbed, and how they will age out. You may perhaps redo same tests in some years, comparing them to a new cheap and good DAC.

I have a 6 years old DAC I hadn't compared so. Recent DAC chips may have a better definition. But 6 years ago, its numbers and measurements (provided by the designers) where already acceptable. The clocking components (for jitter) could be less performant due to age and compared to what is available nowadays.

So, in this age of better and better measuring DACS - when does it actually matter

6 years ago, measurements didn't exist, where rare, we had to read reviews and comments, mainly opinions, then guess. The last DAC I bought was after reading some reviews for measurements, here. Seems not all are exact the same.
 
Last edited:
OP
B

Bob from Florida

Active Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
235
Likes
140
I had a quick look at your DACs specs. We can assume both are entry range products (mine are also).

Cheap Schiit: 0,0003%
Cheap iFi: 0,003% for line out (box costs more than the Schiit, but you payed also for battery and head set amp)

I dont think this is noticeable if those are the real DACs values. You may use your amp at 10 to 25% of its volume to get less or no distortion from there. But 0,003% shall be unoticeable, this is noise at very weak levels. Speakers should add minimal distortion (additionnal noise), top of this.

I wrote cheap. I do not know what exactly such DACs embbed, and how they will age out. You may perhaps redo same tests in some years, comparing them to a new cheap and good DAC.

I have a 6 years old DAC I hadn't compared so. Recent DAC chips may have a better definition. But 6 years ago, its numbers and measurements (provided by the designers) where already acceptable. The clocking components (for jitter) could be less performant due to age and compared to what is available nowadays.



6 years ago, measurements didn't exist, where rare, we had to read reviews and comments, mainly opinions, then guess. The last DAC I bought was after reading some reviews for measurements, here. Seems not all are exact the same.


I think those distortion levels are at full output - not lower levels. I certainly cannot hear those levels. My Quicksilver Silver 88 tube monoblocks are rated <1% at 80 watts and they always sounded clean with efficient speakers.
 

b4nt

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 29, 2021
Messages
803
Likes
260
I think those distortion levels are at full output - not lower levels. I certainly cannot hear those levels. My Quicksilver Silver 88 tube monoblocks are rated <1% at 80 watts and they always sounded clean with efficient speakers.

I assumed so also. So test at 10 to 25% volume, for a clean amp output. But I do not think you will hear any difference between your DACs, as they shall both be precise. You may perhaps notice something evident and audible in 5-10 years comparing to a new DAC, if a clock has aged out.
 
OP
B

Bob from Florida

Active Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2020
Messages
235
Likes
140
I assumed so also. So test at 10 to 25% volume, for a clean amp output. But I do not think you will hear any difference between your DACs, as they shall both be precise. You may perhaps notice something evident and audible in 5-10 years comparing to a new DAC, if a clock has aged out.
My oldest Schiit DAC is an original Bifrost with the 4490 upgrade card. When I purchased the Modi 3 - that is now in my son's system - I thought it was an improvement. Same DAC in both - Bifrost had internal power supply and discrete analog stage, while Modi 3 uses a switcher cell phone supply and op amps. The Modius also uses a switcher cell phone supply with 4493 DAC and balanced op amp and unbalanced op amp outputs. The difference between the Modi 3 and Modius is less significant - as in hard to tell. Whereas the Bifrost was more noticeable if memory serves.
 

b4nt

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 29, 2021
Messages
803
Likes
260
Seems you use up to $99 cheap DACs, with correct DAC chipsets. What such output could depend on 3 or 4 main parameters: output stage, internal power rails noise (regardless if it is powered by 5V swichting external supply), layouts inside, clocks and so. For reclocking/jitter and filtering, Schiit uses its own solutions, this might differ between models?

But 0,003 to 0,0003% shall sound the same. Unless this number is from best measurment of a full set like we can see here, in ASR reviews.
 

b4nt

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 29, 2021
Messages
803
Likes
260
By the way, this is also why I do not go for any expensive DAC. For a €2165 model, I mainly see:

Dimensions (LxHxP) : 216 x 44 x 216 mm
Poids/weight : 2 kg


I have no idea how that one could color the sound. I prefer the cheap and most transparents I could choose after having seen detailed specs and what is on the pcb :)
 

b4nt

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
May 29, 2021
Messages
803
Likes
260
DAC specs. are crucial for street cred

A $99 DAC is throw away hardware (depending of your budget). You may order several, including heavy ones, until one suites your taste...

Or you may have a look at specs and measurments before placing an order.
 
Top Bottom