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Is big better? (A data into DAC musing)

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So I’m continuing to dig into this rabbit hole….

so, and I might be wrong, but what I think might be happening is that the computer receives the digital file say it’s 16-bit 44-48kHz and if the computer is just set to “pass through / detault” then it will feed it to the dac as is, the dac will then replay it in its native resolution.

but if you enable Audio MIDI Setup it “force feeds” the DAC which then employs its own XMOS clock to upsample, now obviously it’s not possible to create a better sound from the original data but the higher sample rates will enable better application of the DAC’s digital filters adjusting the cut off and phase. It would be interesting to see some actual plotted graphs of this using the review data common to this site to see if my thinking is correct and if it actually improves or lessens the performance of a couple of reviewed DAC’s in “forced feed” compared to “native feed”. Could anyone oblige my curiosity?
 

Vincent Kars

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the dac will then replay it in its native resolution.
No
Almost all DAC's do up- or oversampling. Only a true NOS (Non OverSampling) don't.

it “force feeds” the DAC which then employs its own XMOS clock
It is a bit unclear to me what it is supposed to do but it looks like re-clocking the input instead of applying ASRC to reduce input jitter.
 
OP
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No
Almost all DAC's do up- or oversampling. Only a true NOS (Non OverSampling) don't.


It is a bit unclear to me what it is supposed to do but it looks like re-clocking the input instead of applying ASRC to reduce input jitter.

in the case of the Aune S8 I think you’re quite right, it does forsake ASRC in favour of reclocking, their marketing blurb makes a point of that (posted for convenience)

“For sake of listening joy, for sake ASRC
Thanks to the digital processing technology from Titans Audio Lab, the S8 can completely discard the ASRC inside the DAC chip and present music more vividly. Authentic femtosecond clock reproduction: the S8 adopted the testing standard AABT (Aune Audio Band Test) that exceeds AES-12id- 2006 (r201 7). Strict standard brings natural and musical sound.

Authentic femtosecond oscillators, makes USB distinguished
USB has basically been a minor role for traditional DACs. The S8 specifically enhanced the USB design: adopted the solution of the combination of XMOS and FPGA, in which XMOS does USB data analysis and FPGA does audio data synthesis. Moreover, the customized Thesycon driver enables the S8 to support music files up to 32bit 768k and DSD512. Plus the two high-performance authentic femtosecond clocks, this time, USB has become a reason why you want to buy a DAC, too.”

Amirm’s review of the S8 does show its very efficient at reducing jitter ( https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/aune-s8-balanced-dac-review.11475/ ) I’m assuming that the review would have been with the ”software transport” feeding the DAC rather than the “forced’ method implemented when using the OSX Audio MIDI setup, I’d love to see if there is any variation to the results compared to the native feed / forced feed settings, especially in the filter application.

it might be that it’s possible to get the maximum performance across all file types this way?
 

Vincent Kars

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to get the maximum performance across all file types this way
I don't see any relation with file type (WAV, FLAC, etc) if that is what you mean.
Likewise with properties as bit depth or sample rate.
 
OP
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I don't see any relation with file type (WAV, FLAC, etc) if that is what you mean.
Likewise with properties as bit depth or sample rate.

I mean if there’s any difference in performance when a test file of different bit depth/sample rate when played through the DAC at its “native” rate vs the output when the DAC is “forced” to upsample to its maximum rate (32/768) and any variance between filters
 

JohnYang1997

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in the case of the Aune S8 I think you’re quite right, it does forsake ASRC in favour of reclocking, their marketing blurb makes a point of that (posted for convenience)

“For sake of listening joy, for sake ASRC
Thanks to the digital processing technology from Titans Audio Lab, the S8 can completely discard the ASRC inside the DAC chip and present music more vividly. Authentic femtosecond clock reproduction: the S8 adopted the testing standard AABT (Aune Audio Band Test) that exceeds AES-12id- 2006 (r201 7). Strict standard brings natural and musical sound.

Authentic femtosecond oscillators, makes USB distinguished
USB has basically been a minor role for traditional DACs. The S8 specifically enhanced the USB design: adopted the solution of the combination of XMOS and FPGA, in which XMOS does USB data analysis and FPGA does audio data synthesis. Moreover, the customized Thesycon driver enables the S8 to support music files up to 32bit 768k and DSD512. Plus the two high-performance authentic femtosecond clocks, this time, USB has become a reason why you want to buy a DAC, too.”

Amirm’s review of the S8 does show its very efficient at reducing jitter ( https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/aune-s8-balanced-dac-review.11475/ ) I’m assuming that the review would have been with the ”software transport” feeding the DAC rather than the “forced’ method implemented when using the OSX Audio MIDI setup, I’d love to see if there is any variation to the results compared to the native feed / forced feed settings, especially in the filter application.

it might be that it’s possible to get the maximum performance across all file types this way?
https://www.l7audiolab.com/f/measurements-of-aune-s8-super-pll-dac/
I wouldn't mind if this is inappropriate. It's literally a joke.

EIDT: Wolf posted on ASR as well. https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/measurements-of-aune-s8-dac.10486/
 
OP
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for those that can only read English here’s Wolfs data: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/measurements-of-aune-s8-dac.10486/

I must point out that I’m only referring to the Aune S8 because that what I have here and as such it’s the only DAC I‘m able to explore this with, if you fancy discussing the virtues, pros & cons of the S8 or any other DAC please feel free to contribute to the above linked post where that discussion is. Let’s try and stay on topic please?

my question is relating to this:

“Is there’s any difference in performance when a test file of different bit depth/sample rate when played through any DAC at its “native” rate vs the output when the DAC is “forced” to upsample to its maximum rate (32/768) and any variance between filters”
 

Jimbob54

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careful, along that path there are snakes!

well, snake oils anyway! :D
No, exactly the opposite. Measure what comes out of the box. Why do consumers need to care what happens in it?As you highlighted in the OP, you (nor I) understand what the aune blurb means. What we both understand is that it outputs less than state of the art audio. Even when new.
 
OP
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No, exactly the opposite. Measure what comes out of the box. Why do consumers need to care what happens in it?As you highlighted in the OP, you (nor I) understand what the aune blurb means. What we both understand is that it outputs less than state of the art audio. Even when new.

*ugh* look as I stated this is not a discussion about the merits of the Aune S8 or your feelings towards it, as for the “less than state of the art” nonsense you clearly haven’t actually read both the ASR reviews of it correctly, seen where it sits on the ASR list of top DAC’s or actually heard one. I’m not an equipment fanboi and quite honestly I consider this odd brand fandom quite out of place.

I’m trying to establish, and I’ll repeat it again just in case you missed it again:

“Is there’s any difference in performance when a test file of different bit depth/sample rate when played through *any* DAC at its “native” rate vs the output when the DAC is “forced” to upsample to its maximum rate (32/768) and any variance between filters”

not if you have a preference for one brand or another, I don’t, I’m just interested in finding out if you can get greater results running ***ANY MANUFACTURERS*** D.A.C. In “forced” or “native” feed.
 

Jimbob54

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*ugh* look as I stated this is not a discussion about the merits of the Aune S8 or your feelings towards it, as for the “less than state of the art” nonsense you clearly haven’t actually read both the ASR reviews of it correctly, seen where it sits on the ASR list of top DAC’s or actually heard one. I’m not an equipment fanboi and quite honestly I consider this odd brand fandom quite out of place.

I’m trying to establish, and I’ll repeat it again just in case you missed it again:

“Is there’s any difference in performance when a test file of different bit depth/sample rate when played through *any* DAC at its “native” rate vs the output when the DAC is “forced” to upsample to its maximum rate (32/768) and any variance between filters”

not if you have a preference for one brand or another, I don’t, I’m just interested in finding out if you can get greater results running ***ANY MANUFACTURERS*** D.A.C. In “forced” or “native” feed.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/what-is-the-point-of-upsampling.7329/
 

Jimbob54

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*ugh* look as I stated this is not a discussion about the merits of the Aune S8 or your feelings towards it, as for the “less than state of the art” nonsense you clearly haven’t actually read both the ASR reviews of it correctly, seen where it sits on the ASR list of top DAC’s or actually heard one. I’m not an equipment fanboi and quite honestly I consider this odd brand fandom quite out of place.

I’m trying to establish, and I’ll repeat it again just in case you missed it again:

“Is there’s any difference in performance when a test file of different bit depth/sample rate when played through *any* DAC at its “native” rate vs the output when the DAC is “forced” to upsample to its maximum rate (32/768) and any variance between filters”

not if you have a preference for one brand or another, I don’t, I’m just interested in finding out if you can get greater results running ***ANY MANUFACTURERS*** D.A.C. In “forced” or “native” feed.

or if the 29 pages linked above doesnt help, 11 more here https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...r-stereophile-review-measurements-also.11868/
 
OP
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that was indeed interesting, I especially liked Dom’s post and also the analogy of “pouring a pint into a gallon glass” but from that entire thread (apart from the dull LP vs CD stuff) that it seems that by “forcing” rather than “native” that it might provide the DAC a higher resolution to apply its filters to thus producing a better Analog signal to the amp….
 
OP
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thanks again, some more interesting stuf, apart from the Chord bashing, HQplayer suggestions and the tremendous “hairy arsed engineering“ quote I think I’ve concluded:

Running in “forced“ configuration might enable the filters to work in a higher resolution improving leading edges transience, which is within the realms of human hearing and affects *ehem* “musicality. (This seems to be what the Mscaler and hqplayer focus on, OSX Audio MIDI Setup seems to just set the encoding (which then “forces” the DAC) to upscale to 768k which then affords a greater resolution for the DAC’s filters to opera smoother than in “native”. But like I say, it would be interesting to see if this is ACTUALLY what is happening.

oh and that most of the difference we’re discussing will only be heard by dogs & cats.
 

Jimbob54

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that was indeed interesting, I especially liked Dom’s post and also the analogy of “pouring a pint into a gallon glass” but from that entire thread (apart from the dull LP vs CD stuff) that it seems that by “forcing” rather than “native” that it might provide the DAC a higher resolution to apply its filters to thus producing a better Analog signal to the amp….

Don or Dom (I cant be bothered trolling through it all again to find it)? My main takeaway from both those linked threads was that it really shouldnt matter.

The proof , of course, is in testing the output from the same DAC fed native and upsampled signal. Both in terms of measurements first , then controlled listening should be measurements suggest a possible audible difference.

I would be amazed if in controlled listening tests most users would have a clue

EDIT- crossed posts between our last 2. I think we have broadly the same takeaways
 
OP
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Don or Dom (I cant be bothered trolling through it all again to find it)? My main takeaway from both those linked threads was that it really shouldnt matter.

The proof , of course, is in testing the output from the same DAC fed native and upsampled signal. Both in terms of measurements first , then controlled listening should be measurements suggest a possible audible difference.

I would be amazed if in controlled listening tests most users would have a clue

EDIT- crossed posts between our last 2. I think we have broadly the same takeaways

:D indeed!

I think it’s a worthwhile question though because if it does indeed yield a marginal improvement or ensure that those extra few hundred quid spent are actually being utilised it’s worth assessing properly, it might also go some ways to explain why some folk think “all DAC’s sound the same” because the DAC’s are being fed the same encoding and somewhat lazily just passing the audio through with them carrying out processing at their lowest possible capabilities?
 

audio2design

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Define native rate. Many DACs convert to a multibit sigma Delta output so there is already inherent upsampling, filtering, etc.

Different DACs have different bottlenecks dependent on architecture and implementation. Highest performance could be at a low sample rate or high and even then may depend on the measure used.
 
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Define native rate. Many DACs convert to a multibit sigma Delta output so there is already inherent upsampling, filtering, etc.

Different DACs have different bottlenecks dependent on architecture and implementation. Highest performance could be at a low sample rate or high and even then may depend on the measure used.

by “native” I mean the rate presented by the “software transport”. I’m assuming that (for example) the audio stream is encoded as say 24/192 from Tidal, it’s then either sent to the DAC which converts it at “native” 24/192 or by using OSX Audio MIDI Setup (or the likes of an Mscaler or HQplayer??) can then be “forced” the DAC to process/output to 32/768
 

audio2design

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You see mathematical justification for things like the chord scaler but they just ignore post raw DAC conversion analog filters conveniently. Higher sample rates also means more noise pretty much always at some intermediate point in the conversion. High sample rates are balanced against better or simpler analog filtering so again comes down to specific implementation. Typical best raw DAC performance is near 24/96 or 24/192, but that is typical not a stake in the sand.
 
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