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Question about ESS DAC "resample"...

PenguinMusic

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Hi,

In his recent review of the Topping D70s DAC, amirm wrote :

"Since AKM DAC chips don't have a resampler like ESS DACs do, performance suffers a bit with synchronous digital inputs like Coax and Toslink"

Just would like to have a simple explanation about the "resampling" thing in ESS DAC's and the absence of that in AKM DAC's.

Does that mean that ESS "manipulate" the sound that it is fed with to make it "sound better" ?
I thought if you "upsample" or "downsample" or "resample" stuff, then you necessarily add/substract information from original signal... Thus the sound cannot be as it is meant to be.

Or, as this refers to "synchronous digital inputs" does that mean that the input signal coming in 44.1 is resampled to 48khz because that is what the DAC accepts (or the other way round) ?

But I admit total lack of knowledge here... and total lack of scientific background :-(
So if someone can care to try to explain in really simple words...

And if that question should be posted somewhere else, I'll gladly do so.

Regards... and merry christmas :)
 

Veri

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The resampling refers to Asynchronous Sample Rate Conversion or ASRC in short. Yes, it does manipulate the data as in it can no longer be bit-perfect, but it's 2020, sample rate conversion is accurate enough to not have any audible impact whatsoever. So any concerns about the signal not being the 'original' are really not warranted.
Manufacturers like Schiit who claim their mega combo burrito filter "do not touch the original samples" are really just taking advantage of the (unwarranted) suspicion that input data being manipulated is inherently bad. It's not. As long as the algorithms used are of high enough fidelity there is no concern.
 

ZolaIII

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I think he ment input to 32 bit precision conversion on ESS (which smoothes the things up a bit) not sure of course for that you will have to ask him (Amir). Anyway this is more of a driver - interface bug than a future as I have ESS DAC which dose that on default with some drivers but luckily not with proper one on Windows. Anyway you can do same with newer AKM's thing is ESS only whose first with it (Sabre32 family) while others jumped in later.
 

Vincent Kars

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Emotiva once published a J-Test using a 44.1 kHz test signal with ASRC enabled and disabled.

Emotiva1.jpg


Jitter spectrum at 44.1k with ASRC disabled

Emotiva2.jpg


Jitter spectrum at 44.1k with ASRC enabled

They used their XDA-2 DAC that comes with a Analog Devices AD1896 asynchronous sample rate converter.
It reduces input jitter.
 
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PenguinMusic

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Hi,
So the sound won't be be "bit perfect" in any modern DAC but the common thing is that won't be audible.
Is that correct ?

Well, that is disappointing.

I know that it will probably not be audible.
But I am always inconfortable (not rational I know) knowing the sound that I hear is not the one I should get.

I don't want any up/re/downsampling. Can I have that on a device that money can buy (decently) ?

Regards.
 

RayDunzl

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So the sound won't be be "bit perfect" in any modern DAC but the common thing is that won't be audible.


The are no bits in the output sound.
 

Veri

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Hi,
So the sound won't be be "bit perfect" in any modern DAC but the common thing is that won't be audible.
Is that correct ?
At least for the ESS dacs, yes.

Hi,
I don't want any up/re/downsampling. Can I have that on a device that money can buy (decently) ?

Regards.
Just buy anything non-ESS Sabre if you are truly worried about it. As mentioned though, there is no reason that there would by any audible effect :)
 
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PenguinMusic

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Just buy anything non-ESS Sabre if you are truly worried about it. As mentioned though, there is no reason that there would by any audible effect :)

Hi,

OK. AKM is the way then :) Too bad I just got a new ESS 9038 based DAC (not Pro, the Q2M I think it's called).

Regards.
 

Veri

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Too bad I just got a new ESS 9038 based DAC (not Pro, the Q2M I think it's called).
If you mean the Gustard X16, it's one of the best measured ones on this site. Please don't dismiss it because of the whole bit-perfect thing ;)
 
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PenguinMusic

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If you mean the Gustard X16, it's one of the best measured ones on this site. Please don't dismiss it because of the whole bit-perfect thing ;)

The X16 has 9038 Q2M ? I thought it had 9068AS... But may be wrong.
 
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PenguinMusic

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Oh boy, I thought you wrote 9068. It's quite early morning here :D my bad.
No problem...

The gustard seems to be indeed quite a performer :)

But I went for the Aune X8.
Not tested here.
But the Aune X1s was and it got pretty decent results.
So I hope the x8 will be tested some day. And hope it will get results at least as good as x1S.
Which are probably good enough and beyoknd hearing threshold.

And : I like the looks and the fact that it pairs with my other devices (also from Aune).

Go get a breakfast :)
 

Veri

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But the Aune X1s was and it got pretty decent results.
So I hope the x8 will be tested some day. And hope it will get results at least as good as x1S.
Which are probably good enough and beyond hearing threshold.
Aune has in-house measurements of X8:
index.php


Around 105dB SINAD. Distortion at or under -120dB, so perfectly transparent; beyond hearing threshold.
 
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PenguinMusic

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This has nothing to do wit ESS, AKM, etc.
Almost all DAC's up- or over-sample.
The very reason why they measure so good is because of this.

Only if a DAC is NOS, it won't alter the sample rate.

Hi,

Thanks a lot for your answer.

So all DaC do resample ?

And they also upsample ? It seems mine does not at when I look at the signal, if I feed it with 48Khz file, it outpouts 48Khz files and if I feed it witj 88/96 files, it outputs 88/96Khz.

I assume NOS DAC's are not really common.
And I just checked : not really affordable.

Maybe the little AUNE X8 will do :)
After all, I really love what I hear, so...

Regards.
 
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Mnyb

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Hi,

Thanks a lot for your answer.

So all DaC do resample ?

And they also upsample ? It seems mine does not at when I look at the signal, if I feed it with 48Khz file, it outpouts 48Khz files and if I feed it witj 88/96 files, it outputs 88/96Khz.

I assume NOS DAC's are really common.

Regards.

That’s not how they work it probably displays its input rate what a modern delta sigma does internally is something else everything is resampled to really high rate and a few bits then noise shaped , it’s quite complex , google an article on delta sigma and you see . The end result is what matters not how the sausage is done basically all modern chips is capable of sound quality beyond human hearing. So it’s futile to choose based on chip not make or type , implementation is everything .

NOS are not common at all for very good reasons
 

Jimbob54

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Hi,

Thanks a lot for your answer.

So all DaC do resample ?

And they also upsample ? It seems mine does not at when I look at the signal, if I feed it with 48Khz file, it outpouts 48Khz files and if I feed it witj 88/96 files, it outputs 88/96Khz.

I assume NOS DAC's are really common.

Regards.

EDIT- what nonsense I typed here- too early for me

Just intrigued why you worry about the internal workings of the black box which not many of us understand, but then buy a DAC not measured here but whose manufacturer's own stats show as being some 10 to 15 dB off the pace compared to (sometimes not very expensive) class leaders. If I was looking for the "purest" signal possible, I would be working to get DACs , amps and transducers with the lowest SINAD, IMD etc etc possible.

But as @Veri says , difference between your Aune and , say, a 115 dB SINAD DAC should be inaudible.
 
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Vincent Kars

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if I feed it with 48Khz file, it outpouts 48Khz files

Does it?
You send a 48 kHz file and the display of the DAC says it receives a 48 kHz file, not to be mistaken for "output".
Of course the output will never be 48 kHz because the output of a DAC is always analog.

Just an example, my veteran Benchmark DAC 1 has a AKM DAC and internally resamples every thing to 126 kHz.
According to the developers this simply gives the best results.

Please observe that "bit-perfect" is in general not about DAC's but about avoiding the operating system to degrade the sound.

NOS are often based on a Philips TDAxxxx design from the 80's.
Indeed the first generation was NOS and imho sounded horrible.
https://www.bramjacobse.nl/wordpress/?p=2545
 
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PenguinMusic

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Hi,

Thanks a lot for your answers.

So basically : all "common" DAC's do in a way manipulate the sound, but that doesn't really mean that the sound is degraded.

And to answer the question : I took the AUNE X8 because, after reading a lot on another thread, the common consensus was : it a certain threshold is reached, it doesn't really matter and advice was to choose according to aesthetics and features.
As I wrote a little earlier, the Aune x8 matches my aesthetical tastes AND it matches the other devices from same manufacturer.

I though that DAC's would not manipulate sound. I now know this is not the case. I've looked a little at NOS DAC's. Unaffordable and probably not as versatile as OS Dac's... And probably not really audible difference.

Regards.
 
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