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Serious Question: How can DAC's have a SOUND SIGNATURE if they measure as transparent? Are that many confused?

D

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its good advice, but there should not be a big shift in sound unless something is not hooked up correctly or the Topping unit is defective. Personally, I would not have made this “upgrade”. But based on specs I suppose the Topping might be better and maybe audibly better?
I'm voting for defective. I never expected a dramatic difference. Frankly, I have my doubts that miniscule distortion vs super-miniscule distortion, or that noise 30 db below ambient vs only 20 db below ambient is audible at all. I was simply willing to gamble that "upgrading" from the Modi to the E50 might make some subtle improvement. If I heard no difference, I probably would've just left the Topping in assuming the improvements were beyond my hearing. After all, if a couple hundred dollars can make even a subtle improvement on a few thousand dollars, why not. I'll probably try again but with a different brand, just in case the E50 really is that bad.
 

pinger

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The only components that have audible differences (not sure about turntables) are speakers. Thats it
 

signalpath

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Just for fun, here's that same DO300 at +2dB (red) with -120dBFS generated signal (blue). Units are volts at the output of the DAC:

View attachment 363826
Yes, that looks nearly identical to our own -105dBFS plots. Nice work. And this is the best looking -105dBFS sine wave we've seen. Every other DAC we've tested is worse, often far worse, or just pure noise. Thanks for the link to your test s/w. I think it's time to move on from the AP2722 and develop a higher resolution visualization path. You've been an inspiration. Back to the OP thread, is this level of distortion/noise audible in the quiet passages? I think it is, not as distortion or noise, but as a subtle alteration of image, space, and atmospherics. That's our experience.
 

raif71

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Yeah, overall the Modi's fine, just a little soft in general and in bass transients when compared to vinyl. I was just hoping to find something to make those small improvements. Listening to the Topping is like looking at a television at Best Buy where they have it turned up to "flame mode".
Torch.jpg
 
D

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Additionally, if you look at my initial question, it was simply "is it defective" or is something else going on? A simple "it's probably defective" would have been just fine. Instead, I got a bunch of silliness about psychological effects and testing protocols. I was hoping to see if anyone in this group had experienced anything similar I could learn from, or just move on. The difference between these two DACs is greater than the difference between most speakers I've heard. If any of you needs a strict protocol to hear the difference between speakers, my sympathies.
 

SIY

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Back to the OP thread, is this level of distortion/noise audible in the quiet passages?
If you twiddle the volume control WAY up (and get ready to twiddle it down quickly or the speaker cones will be in your lap.

These are really low noise floors, much lower than rooms.
 

raif71

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I am well aware of the pixie dust factor. I never expect decent electronics to make much difference. But, as I've stated many times previously, there is nothing subtle about this. Additionally, I've given my system specs (nothing special but beats a tablet) and the fact that is non-subtle, and in the midrange, not some sub or infrasonic fairy dust. The substitution of DACs changes the system from fairly decent to something I'd walk away from at Walmart. Additionally, I've never made any golden-ears claim. Actually, I'm well into the old-ears range so they're probably more like lead, but they're the same ears I use on both DACs, from the same listening position. My only conclusion is that I got a defective one.

As far as not trusting what you hear. If you trust measurements over what you hear, that's pretty much in the same realm as folks who claim they hear major improvements from "breaking-in" $10K speaker cables, just the opposite side of the coin.

I have nothing more to add.
Bye.
dun worry, I hear ya
 

JustJones

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Topping might be defective or the modi might be defective or neither one or both could be defective.
Hope that helps
 
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gvl

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Additionally, if you look at my initial question, it was simply "is it defective" or is something else going on?

You were suggested to perform some simple tests to eliminate subjective bias and/or check whether objectively the outputs of both DACs are significantly different. You said no to both. How do you expect us to know if your DAC is defective or something else is going on?
 

JustJones

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You were suggested to perform some simple tests to eliminate subjective bias and/or check whether objectively the outputs of both DACs are significantly different. You said no to both. How do you expect us to know if your DAC is defective?
We're suppose to say, it's probably defective without bothering about stupid tests and stuff.
But to use an analogy, if I was having a sharp pain in my chest and the doctor asked me to describe the pain on a scale of 1 to 10 and I said 6 the doctor's suppose to say its heartburn without testing.
 

gvl

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We're suppose to say, it's probably defective without bothering about stupid tests and stuff.
But to use an analogy, if I was having a sharp pain in my chest and the doctor asked me to describe the pain on a scale of 1 to 10 and I said 6 the doctor's suppose to say its heartburn without testing.

No, it’s more like getting pissed at your doc if he tells you they can’t diagnose your pain over the phone because you already know it’s heartburn.
 

restorer-john

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No, it’s more like getting pissed at your doc if he tells you they can’t diagnose your pain over the phone because you already know it’s heartburn.

Just hit that ignore button, it really cleans up this thread.
 
D

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Again, if you think a difference as great or greater than that between speakers (think JBL L100 vs Magnepan), has to be tested for to see if there's a difference, I question your reasoning, logic and hearing. Yes, you may prefer one or the other, based on your subjective bias. But, if you need someone to tell you if there actually is a difference, or it's just your bias, you should not spend more than $100 total on your system.

Again, re.: "Something else going on" The test is very straightforward. Same system, same connections (except for power supplies), same ears, same seating and speaker positioning. The only variable is the DAC, and the differences are very non-subtle. How would there be something else going on? You're going to diagnose a problem that circumvents this test online? I don't think so.

And regarding prior comments regarding a DAC is a DAC is a DAC. That's true to a point, but there is also programming/implementation and opamps. And, if they are all virtually identical (something that measurements suggest, at least from a practical standpoint), what's the point in ranking them by measurement in the first place. I use the measurements as a very, very, very, rough guide to what might possibly do a subtly better job of putting the musicians in the room, not because I think I can hear .006% vs .000003% thd (or SINAD whatever you prefer).
 
D

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No, it’s more like getting pissed at your doc if he tells you they can’t diagnose your pain over the phone because you already know it’s heartburn.
Sorry, but you're obviously changing the analogy to try to make a point. Pretty weak.
 
D

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Topping might be defective or the modi might be defective or neither one or both could be defective.
Hope that helps
Since the Modi sounds much closer to actual music (and the vinyl counterparts). I'm trusting the Modi. I'm fully aware that whoever engineered CD recording may have decided to "remaster" it, but at least I've purposely avoided those that openly state they have. I've done roughly 20 or 30, CD to vinyl, comparisons and the Modi is generally fairly/somewhat close, the E50 is never anywhere in the ballpark. Thanks for your reply.
 
D

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Since the Modi sounds much closer to actual music (and the vinyl counterparts). I'm trusting the Modi. I'm fully aware that whoever engineered CD recording may have decided to "remaster" it, but at least I've purposely avoided those that openly state they have. I've done roughly 20 or 30, CD to vinyl, comparisons and the Modi is generally fairly/somewhat close, the E50 is never anywhere in the ballpark. Thanks for your reply.
A correction. On further reflection the number of comparisons is more like 15 to 20. I let the silliness of some of the other responses frustrate me into carelessness.
 

Tio

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I thought about giving additional details up front but didn't want the initial post to get too long winded. So, the rest of my system is:

CD transport: Sony BluRay Player via coax out
DAC: (was and now is again) Schiit Modi+ (briefly) Topping E50
Pre-amp: Topping Pre90
Power-amp: Hypex Nilai Stereo 500
Speakers: Magnepan 1.7i with Rythmik F12SE Subwoofer
The analog side: Yamaha PX-3 turntable with a MicroAcoustics 630MP Electret cartridge into a Schiit Mani2

I was trying to improve on the Modi+ because I always felt it was slightly soft with slightly less tight bass compared to vinyl. Regardless of measurements the Topping was a huge mistake. FWIW: I play both electric and acoustic guitar and my comparisons are based on how my system sounds compared to live music and not other equipment.
If your sony player has RCA / other analog out, you can try to skip the DAC in the chain, then compare it to both the Modi+ and E50.
 
D

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If your sony player has RCA / other analog out, you can try to skip the DAC in the chain, then compare it to both the Modi+ and E50.
Yeah, I would've done that, but BluRay only has HDMI, optical and Coax outs. Thanks for the suggestion though. I actually had an old portable CD player that I tried using via the headphone out to the analog ins, but it was hilariously bad. Probably an impedance mismatch or something, cause it didn't sound as bad on headphones. I'm obviously not an EE.
 

Purité Audio

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I have never really understood the ‘trying to get digital to sound like vinyl’, that’s the last thing I desire.
Keith
 
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