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Is it a fad, or is there something to it?

tvrgeek

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I am still intrigued by R2R and NOS. But sure convinced ( thank you Amirm) not to spring for a Bifrost. Doing a bit of a market survey and I find the vast majority have tubes in them. I assume the output buffer. Don't think they would be a very good IV stage. Now, a well done tube is a very linear device, but this still has the smell of a fad selling two buzz words for one. An excuse to double the price? Not quite like the fad for balanced lines everywhere. They do have their use, but I would bet 99% of them sold to consumers are because the salesman/slick page said so. Not because of long runs, ground loops, or high ambient RF. How much do I want to spend to get a -135 dB noise floor over a -130 dB? I would say my old dog cares, but poor guy is deaf.
 

Killingbeans

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Just a fad if you ask me. I was sucked into it myself a few years back, but managed to come back to my senses.
 

levimax

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The burden of proof is on the fans of old obsolete technology to prove it is better so I say fad. I am not sure why the audio hobby is so obsessed with old technology... no one is talking about old televisions being better. My guess is that since audio reproduction has been a solved problem since the early 1960's this allows many differnt technologies to coexist each with its own mythology.
 

billyjoebob

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The burden of proof is on the fans of old obsolete technology to prove it is better so I say fad. I am not sure why the audio hobby is so obsessed with old technology... no one is talking about old televisions being better. My guess is that since audio reproduction has been a solved problem since the early 1960's this allows many differnt technologies to coexist each with its own mythology.
Agreed.
I love my 1960's cd player.
 

kchap

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Currently a fad but you could never rule out the possibility that some technological breakthrough will make manufacture of precision R2R DACs cheaper than OS DACs.
 

restorer-john

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I am still intrigued by R2R and NOS.

There's nothing wrong with R2R and NOS, as long as your NOS has proper LPF filters. The 'filterless' NOS crowd need their collective heads read.

Buy a first or second generation CD player and have a listen, see what you think. Or something from 1984/5 with the PCM-56Ps in it. Practically everybody at the low/medium end used that ubiquitous IC. Yamaha even used it in a bit shifting (18bit) HiBit converter for a few years.
 

L0rdGwyn

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I enjoy my DIY NOS DAC, which includes tubes, not the last word in measured performance but a very pleasing listen IMO. A grounded grid tube can actually make an effective I/V stage, although that isn't a common approach in the commercial market, tubes are most often used an output buffer / gain stage to reach line level after the I/V conversion.
 

voodooless

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There's nothing wrong with R2R and NOS, as long as your NOS has proper LPF filters. The 'filterless' NOS crowd need their collective heads read.
An analog filter won’t fix what went wrong before it. A Nos DAC assumes the sample value is the average of the whole sample. This is however statistically almost never the case. So the value is basically always wrong te begin with. This error cannot be fixed. Borrowed this:
1641110035208.png
That amplitude modulation can’t be fixed after the fact.

Now you can improve on this, but then you’ll need to start over from the sampling and actually capture the average sample value to begin with. If you then playback that, it will be more accurate. One can simulate this digitally as well: properly oversample and filter, and then just downsample again by averaging the appropriate number of samples. Then play though NOS DAC. Obviously playing the already upsampled version would be better anyway, but that’s probably not retro enough :facepalm:

As for the tube stuff… why care? If you’re going down the R2R, NOS rabbit hole, why object to tubes?
 

Bleib

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The burden of proof is on the fans of old obsolete technology to prove it is better so I say fad. I am not sure why the audio hobby is so obsessed with old technology... no one is talking about old televisions being better. My guess is that since audio reproduction has been a solved problem since the early 1960's this allows many differnt technologies to coexist each with its own mythology.
This does happen though, a good quality CRT is great in motion and with contrast over lots of LCDs. Most modern LCDs have only 1:1000 contrast ratio which is really poor. OK, we do have OLED but not at monitor sizes.
 

JJB70

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I am not going to claim there are no audible differences between DACs, because if you listen for differences it is possible to discern differences. However, I would say that these differences are so subtle as to be of no consequence unless you are unlucky enough to get a spectacularly badly implemented or broken sample, certainly trivial compared to differences in speakers and or headphones or badly matched amplifier and transducers. I am with Restorer John in that the audio DAC was pretty much spot on in terms of audible performance from its earliest days. My view is that if people have to put their brains into over drive and use tricks to focus on specific sounds in critical listening tracks to identify differences between audio gear (which is what everyone I know does to pick DACs apart) then it says even when audible differences exist they're irrelevant.
 

Mart68

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I am still intrigued by R2R and NOS. But sure convinced ( thank you Amirm) not to spring for a Bifrost. Doing a bit of a market survey and I find the vast majority have tubes in them. I assume the output buffer. Don't think they would be a very good IV stage. Now, a well done tube is a very linear device, but this still has the smell of a fad selling two buzz words for one. An excuse to double the price? Not quite like the fad for balanced lines everywhere. They do have their use, but I would bet 99% of them sold to consumers are because the salesman/slick page said so. Not because of long runs, ground loops, or high ambient RF. How much do I want to spend to get a -135 dB noise floor over a -130 dB? I would say my old dog cares, but poor guy is deaf.
people often find that their digital source sounds harsh or hard and tubes are perceived to sound soft and warm. So they buy a tube DAC thinking it will solve that problem. It doesn't of course since the problem is elsewhere but often the placebo effect is enough - for a while anyway.

R-2R is perceived as sounding less 'artificial' or 'digital' than Delta-Sigma. I don't know why other than some guru has said so and the seed is then planted.

NOS - I have no idea what those people are smoking but I don't want any of it.
 
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