- Jan 20, 2022
I said if sinad is below audibility, you can't have audible differences between dacs.
You seem to think that is not true:
quote: In both cases, at normal listening levels, you will not be able to hear noise or distortion from either DAC in your scenario. That *doesn't mean* they'll sound identical. Frequency response, jitter, channel separation, and other factors will still affect how the DAC sounds.
You seem to think you can have linearity issues and still have inaudible sinad.
But is not lack of linearity going to reflected in sinad? Is not rolled off high frequencies distorting the signal? does sinad not measure this distortion?
I'm not sure why you think that a high-frequency rolloff is going to reflect in SINAD. Rolling off HF prematurely isn't going to increase noise or distortion - if anything, it's going to lower them.
Imagine a slightly-unhinged engineer who decides to take a similar design to the Topping D30, but who says "hey, everyone who uses this is going to be using it for lossy streaming, so instead of a roll-off between 20 and 24kHz, I'm going to insert a brick wall filter at 13kHz". So frequency response is flat up to around 12kHz and then drops off sharply, and everything about 13kHz is completely attenuated.
This isn't going to result in more noise, or more distortion. In fact, because you've cut everything about 13kHz, you're getting literally zero distortion in the top octave (because you've got zero signal to distort).
Our hypothetical DAC should post equivalent SINAD to the Topping D30, but is going to sound worse when playing uncompressed audio to anyone who isn't suffering from high-frequency hearing loss.
 Regarding your comments about -112dB distortion being "not good enough" you should re-read the review. Amir said the distortion numbers were not competitive with inexpensive DACs. The point is not that this player will sound bad, the point is that a $7,500 piece of equipment should never be outperformed by a $99 one. Here is the conclusion, again:
"The Marantz SA-10 measured performance is good enough to not embarrass the brand. But it is not remotely optimized enough to compete with DACs at 5 to 10% of its cost. Of course those DACs don't play physical discs so if you have a good sized library of SACDs, the SA-10 remains an option. But at such high cost? Very hard to justify based on my measurements."
IMO, if this player were $1,500, given its build quality and versatility, it would be worth considering. Performance is solid - in most respects (with the exception of some issues with high-frequency filtering) it's going to give you better performance than your ears are capable of detecting. But it doesn't do anything to justify its $7,500 price tag. I think a more interesting question would be "what if the Marantz had posted better numbers than a $99 Topping?" In that case, I still think it would not be justifying its $7,500 price tag, because such differences would almost certainly be inaudible.
Regarding your comment about jewelry: (most) Audio equipment depreciates in value rapidly. Anyone who buys a $7,500 SACD player with the intention of selling it twenty years down the line for more than s/he paid for it is in for a shock.