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R2R DACs .. Comeback?

Snoopy

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I might be wrong and they have been around the whole time but since the denafrips Ares and the musician Pegasus there seems to be a big interest in R2R DACs again.

Will we see R2R DACs from topping and smsl soon?

And are the Schiit "multibit" DACs like the bifrost r2r DACs as well?
 

Leporello

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I might be wrong and they have been around the whole time but since the denafrips Ares and the musician Pegasus there seems to be a big interest in R2R DACs again.
In subjectivist audio circles there is always the flavor of the month, usually based on some outdated technical concept. We now have R2R dacs propagated by magazines, manufacturers and forum shills who try their best to keep them on the agenda. Next year there will be something else.
 
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Snoopy

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In subjectivist audio circles there is always the flavor of the month, usually based on some outdated technical concept. We now have R2R dacs propagated by magazines, manufacturers and forum shills who try their best to keep them on the agenda. Next year there will be something else.

Yeah what really confuses me is if the same guy recommends something from smsl the next month it's topping. Month later it's something made in the U.S. ... Back to something "oldschool" that suddenly sounds more "musical".

Than you have the older guys where you don't know if it's nostalgia. Or if they just want to show off something unaffordable for 95% of the people that are watching.
 

solderdude

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marketting ... that's all it is. Folks is willing to pay for the dream that is enforced by reviews and internet golden eared folks.
 

LTig

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R2R DACs are out, the newer hype are R2R tape decks. Much more expensive to buy, very limited and extremely expensive "software" (prerecorded tapes), very inconvenient to handle, so the perfect audiophile toy ... :p
 

tr1ple6

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The biggest takeaway for me after joining this forum was recognising the difference between the marketing story and objective facts. It's not as easy as most people think as the story usually is based on some engineering claim but it doesn't always translate into solid measurements.
 
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Joachim Herbert

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No, there is not.
 

JJB70

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R2R DACs are out, the newer hype are R2R tape decks. Much more expensive to buy, very limited and extremely expensive "software" (prerecorded tapes), very inconvenient to handle, so the perfect audiophile toy ... :p

Funnily enough I get the the interest in R2R tape, it's a bit like the interest in turntables. People like the tactile feel and physical presence and the scope to tweak and fiddle. And there's something nice about the electro-mechanical engineering. It's not my thing but I can see the attraction.
 

Harmonie

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A simple logical reason I don't think Topping will ever make an R2R dac is ...the cost.
There wouldn't be any valuable return. SMSL made recently some very expensive stuff. Not sure who buys it.

No relation, but reminds me that Topping had in mind to make some amps ... where are they?
 

JJB70

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Remember, there is a small but lucrative niche which actually wants expensive DACs, the more expensive the better up to their upper threshold of affordability. If it's just about SW then dongles and most onboard DACs are fine.
 

tvrgeek

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Actually, I am about to go to an R2R DAC. Still under 1K so no ego bragging snake oil stuff. Yes, even a $100 DS can measure THD and noise better. Only a little more and jitter gets really good. But that is not the whole truth. It is a starting point. Measurements tell you more what is crap that what is cream. For that, you need ears. No ego, ears. And your ears are not the same as mine.

A DS and a R2R have different sets of flaws. Which set are your preference? Back in the early days, I much preferred a Wolfson. Night and day. For me, I think I would rather a Denafrips or Bifrost over a V90. Even a Atom+ measures better and it sounds darn good, just I am more sensitive to the edginess of a DS than the lack of tiny details you can only hear with headphones. I wish I knew if a cheaper by 4 times Modius, as a better implementation of a DS than most, was good enough, but I only want to buy one more. I do know the $100 AKM in my Asgard is not to my liking and neither were the Topping or SMSL so well reviewed herein. Bought, listened, returned.

And there are those for whom an Apple Dongle is more than adequate. Leaves them a lot more money for music. If I had a phone attached to me with ear buds my skin had grown around like implants because I never took them out, maybe it would work for me. But no. I listen to speakers only. Actually I have a old SMSL SAD-01 DAC/chip-amp on my desk for listening to Y-Tubes. It works. Right tool for the job.

And, there will always be the bigger is better. The same people who buy $800 USB cables. Just saw an ad for a $13,000 outlet. I bet someone will buy one. P.T. Barnum is probably laughing in his grave.
 
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escksu

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IMHO, good R2R DACs are extremely expensive. If they use the best bulk foil resistors, those resistors alone would cost them a bomb.....If they use low cost resistors that aren't precise and loose tolerance, then I would say no point. Might as well use exisitng sigma-delta ones.
 

sq225917

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It doesn't matter what the converter topology is, if all measurements are beyond audibility they sound the same. If you want a dac that measures poorly enough to make an audible difference then have at it. Theres no reason why one should prefer any set of measured criteria above another, if preference is what drives you...
 

tvrgeek

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It doesn't matter what the converter topology is, if all measurements are beyond audibility they sound the same. If you want a dac that measures poorly enough to make an audible difference then have at it. Theres no reason why one should prefer any set of measured criteria above another, if preference is what drives you...
Oh how I wish it were true, but it is not. Absolutely not. If so, my Asgard, the Atom and Apple dongle would be the only DACs left on the market. The problem is simple noise jitter and HD are not all we hear. Great starting point, but not the end.

Maybe you can't, but I can tell the difference in op-amps, power amps, pre amps and yes DACs. Clearly. I can't explain why as these distortions are orders of magnitude below the speakers, but it is fact.

I suggest specs do not matter much with distortion below .01. but the result you hear. So one DAC may read .0004 and another .004. The sound will not be at all related to these numbers. I am not including excessive even order harmonics in the .1 range that the untrained may find "musical"
 

tvrgeek

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IMHO, good R2R DACs are extremely expensive. If they use the best bulk foil resistors, those resistors alone would cost them a bomb.....If they use low cost resistors that aren't precise and loose tolerance, then I would say no point. Might as well use exisitng sigma-delta ones.
I agree with your premise, but not the conclusion based on my todays understanding.

Schiit used IC based networks from instrumentation where they are better controlled in fab and not subject to the parasitics in board layout. Still expensive. Down side is probably more thermal drift. Upside, maybe the entire array drifts together. Maybe it is compensated for. Or so they claim.

The DACs I have seen using discrete resistors are using .05% ceramic metallic film chip resisters surface mounted. It is up to the designer to select/trim the board layout so the result at the amp input is as intended. I have dealt with board layout issues and this is not easy.

If someone is aware of an affordable D-S DACs that don't have that glare, please let me know. Maybe the Modius, maybe the EL II+.

FWIW, I tried a Topping and an SMSL which had fabulous measurements here and sent both back. I was very disappointed as I had held both companies in higher esteem from previous products I own. I was even more disappointed in their tech support. Dismissive and arrogant.

The Asgard, even being the worst of all the Schiit, sounded better. It is also stable, no funny noises, glitches or wrong settings. It just has an edge to it often described as "glare". If anyone out there has a clue how to measure this objectively, help us all and let us know. I would say it sounds more like the distortion from harmonics exciting tweet breakup which then manifests itself down in the critical 4 to 7K range by IM. Not quite like excessive TIM.
 

escksu

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I agree with your premise, but not the conclusion based on my todays understanding.

Schiit used IC based networks from instrumentation where they are better controlled in fab and not subject to the parasitics in board layout. Still expensive. Down side is probably more thermal drift. Upside, maybe the entire array drifts together. Maybe it is compensated for. Or so they claim.

The DACs I have seen using discrete resistors are using .05% ceramic metallic film chip resisters surface mounted. It is up to the designer to select/trim the board layout so the result at the amp input is as intended. I have dealt with board layout issues and this is not easy.

If someone is aware of an affordable D-S DACs that don't have that glare, please let me know. Maybe the Modius, maybe the EL II+.

FWIW, I tried a Topping and an SMSL which had fabulous measurements here and sent both back. I was very disappointed as I had held both companies in higher esteem from previous products I own. I was even more disappointed in their tech support. Dismissive and arrogant.

The Asgard, even being the worst of all the Schiit, sounded better. It is also stable, no funny noises, glitches or wrong settings. It just has an edge to it often described as "glare". If anyone out there has a clue how to measure this objectively, help us all and let us know. I would say it sounds more like the distortion from harmonics exciting tweet breakup which then manifests itself down in the critical 4 to 7K range by IM. Not quite like excessive TIM.

YEs, the best thin film resistors are also very good (0.05% and 10-25 ppm/K). However, bulk foil can get down to 0.01% and 2-5 ppm/K. I also have to say that 0.05% thin film is very costly compared to 0.1-0.5% ones.

This is about the best resistor one can buy. The famous z-foil resistors. But its ridiculously expensive. 0.005% and 0.2 ppm/K....madness....

 
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Shazb0t

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I agree with your premise, but not the conclusion based on my todays understanding.

Schiit used IC based networks from instrumentation where they are better controlled in fab and not subject to the parasitics in board layout. Still expensive. Down side is probably more thermal drift. Upside, maybe the entire array drifts together. Maybe it is compensated for. Or so they claim.

The DACs I have seen using discrete resistors are using .05% ceramic metallic film chip resisters surface mounted. It is up to the designer to select/trim the board layout so the result at the amp input is as intended. I have dealt with board layout issues and this is not easy.

If someone is aware of an affordable D-S DACs that don't have that glare, please let me know. Maybe the Modius, maybe the EL II+.

FWIW, I tried a Topping and an SMSL which had fabulous measurements here and sent both back. I was very disappointed as I had held both companies in higher esteem from previous products I own. I was even more disappointed in their tech support. Dismissive and arrogant.

The Asgard, even being the worst of all the Schiit, sounded better. It is also stable, no funny noises, glitches or wrong settings. It just has an edge to it often described as "glare". If anyone out there has a clue how to measure this objectively, help us all and let us know. I would say it sounds more like the distortion from harmonics exciting tweet breakup which then manifests itself down in the critical 4 to 7K range by IM. Not quite like excessive TIM.
Uh huh.
 
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