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Serious question-How do you deal with people thinking a DAC has a SOUND SIGNATURE?

Xulonn

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Even if that would be the case, all it takes is one person that believes they can hear a difference and actually proves they can do it in a proper double-blind. For some reason we don't seem to see that happening....
There many male egos in this world that cannot tolerate having their "beliefs" challenged. And the percentage of such egos among audiophiles seems to be higher than in the general population.

I am amused by the presence and adamant defensive posturing of the subjectivist posters in this thread, a discussion that was started in order to understand how to deal with people spouting easily disprovable (via science and controlled testing ) "beliefs".

I find it fascinating that even some people who have a strong background in science can so easily ignore reality to deny evidence-supported findings that have repeatedly been confirmed. In audio I see strong instances of denial similar as with AGW/CC (Anthropogenic Global Warming and the rapid global Climate Changes that it is causing).

However, with AGW/CC there is an existential threat to our modern technological civilization. Such is not the case with audio, where ego-bruising and loss of pride is the only danger.

Deniers 001.jpg
 

TomB19

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The same is true for opamps and the last meter of power cable.
In the 1980s, there was a noticeable difference in SQ between various opamps with a few being dramatic.

I haven't compared OpAmps in 40 years but I expect the differences in recent designs have narrowed to something infinitesimal from an audio perspective.

I like to run good quality power cables because I like the way they look. I couldn't be bothered to compare SQ of power cables but I do enjoy seeing a cable with meaty wire and substantial connectors.

I'm also fussy about speaker wire. Sure, I could use lamp cord but I make a point of running 14ga wire with silicone jacket. It lays flat on the floor without trying to contort into a specific shape. That makes me happy.

What someone else wants me to run is entirely irrelevant. If someone needs to ignore or attack me due to my approach and/or beliefs, it is very likely that person is enjoying life a lot less than I do. If you need other people to think the way you do, you're not going to have a happy life.

This site is home to quite a bit of hostility and aggression. When someone believes or enjoys something that differs from our own ideas, there is no need to attack.

Music is freedom, gentlemen. :)
 

RayDunzl

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Having just spent Saturday afternoon roaming rooms at the Florida Audio Expo...

My unsupported opinion, upon hearing "differences" in every room visited:

I heard differences in speakers, not differences in DACs.

Doesn't matter which room or which gear, never thought "That's a geat DAC!", or "That's a great turntable!", or "That's a great preamp!", or "That's a great amp!"

It was always the speakers to which my Brain gave the blame or accolades.

Same thing last year. Barely noticed electronics - unless it looked weird or particularly ostentatious - or cables, except the million-dollar web in the VonSchweikert room, because they were soooo long (max maybe 40 feet) and soooo 'spensive.

Always always noticed speakers.
 
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BDWoody

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Music is freedom, gentlemen. :)
Not having to allocate limited financial resources towards the crap-pile of nothingburger products with absolutely provably false claims, is also freedom.
 

BDWoody

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Having just spent Saturday afternoon roaming rooms at the Florida Audio Expo...

My unsupported opinion, upon hearing "differences" in every room visited:

I heard differences in speakers, not differences in DACs.

Doesn't matter which room or which gear, never thought "That's a geat DAC!", or "That's a great turntable!", or "That's a great preamp!", or "That's a great amp!"

It was always the speakers to which the Brain gave the blame or accolades.
How was the show? Anything blow that wig off?
 

RayDunzl

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How was the show? Anything blow that wig off?
It's like going to a Car Show. You see things you might want, but won't get.

The RBH speakers, playing a Sheffield Drum solo in a little room, sounded right. Audio Buddy noted "they didn't overwhelm the room" audibly, though they only had a few inches between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling, and were overwhelming visually.

The biggish Magico in the Big room with the Big amps sounded good. The little ones in a little room did not leave any particular impression.

The Magnepan room surprised me with the ratio of good sound to price. Audio Buddy professes desire.

Most setups sounded pretty good, good enough to not be disappointing if taken to a typical home, and listened to in a moderate manner, and their physical characteristics matched your desires.

The only objectionable display was the Spendor, sounded thin and honky, but we agreed afterwards it was probably the recording being played.

Didn't really visit a lot of rooms this time, so there was quite a bit missed.

Didn't feel like I need to upgrade the Musical Labmotorium here at Neverland East upon return. Maybe someday.

Surely no need to replace DAC, since we didn't notice any. Actually I did notice one, MSB, because it had a big sign that said MSB, and I've heard of MSB, sounded like all the others, though.
 

Wes

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Most of us here don't believe in Audio-Umami, and when it's suggested as the missing answer...but only if we are of the lucky enlightened few...you don't expect a response?
that's just because no one has found the taste buds for it in our ears
 

TomB19

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Not having to allocate limited financial resources towards the crap-pile of nothingburger products with absolutely provably false claims, is also freedom.
I completely agree, but that is not what we are talking about. This thread is about how to respond to someone with whom we disagree.

My contention is, there is no need to respond unless it could lead to some value for someone. Disagreements rarely end in aquienlsence but sometimes a volatile discussion can shed light on a subject.
 

TomB19

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Slight change in topic that is not meant with any sort of disrespect.

Has anyone gone to an audio show with a high value system that was able to demonstrate the power of objectively designed system?

It's been years since I've been to a show and I've only ever seen manufacturers pushing high end equipment.

I'm talking about a system with lamp cord wire, Amazon basics interconnects, untra-cheap dac, etc. It would be an interesting experiment to pit that against the systems with expensive power cables.

Throw some body pillows into the corners of the room and prop some rugs up on the walls with simple construction lumber frames.

You know .. gorilla style.

It probably wouldn't be welcome at a show because the shows I've seen were about moving product.
 

suttondesign

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It's like going to a Car Show. You see things you might want, but won't get.
I love car shows, but i dont like most of the cars i look at. i can usually narrow it down to 2. finally, after years of trying to get around the absolute perfection of the VW GTI in favor of the quite good but rubbery Outback, my brain informed me that it could no longer tolerate my refusal to buy the objectively perfect little machine that is the GTI.
 

raistlin65

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I completely agree, but that is not what we are talking about. This thread is about how to respond to someone with whom we disagree.

My contention is, there is no need to respond unless it could lead to some value for someone. Disagreements rarely end in aquienlsence but sometimes a volatile discussion can shed light on a subject.
I agree. I frequently try to help people out on reddit who are looking for DAC and headphone amp purchases. I happily provide some information and some explanation to someone new to the hobby trying to learn.

But when the audiophiles show up who try to pick a fight (probably because they don't like how objectivist views make them insecure about their purchases), I usually tell them that the subject has been debated for a dozen years or more on the Internet, and they can find someone else to argue with. There is little sense in debating someone who is firmly entrenched against what audio science tells us.
 
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majingotan

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Has anyone gone to an audio show with a high value system that was able to demonstrate the power of objectively designed system?
I have been to one of those CanJams last year and hopefully I can visit CanJam SoCal again this year. There's a DAC 3 HGC/HPA4/Focal Stellia setup (a fairly high end objectively designed system IMO), and yes that system sounded very revealing without the hint of coloration except for Stellia's tuning (a gentle boost in mid bass). There are also Focal Stellias connected to SPL Phonitor amp (borderline decent 100 dB THD+N spec) that is also fed by DAC 3 HGC and my ears felt both amps sound exactly the same. The iFi booth there has the xDSD and Focal Stellia but that sounded lacking in power and drive compared to the objectively designed DAC 3 HGC/HPA4 combo. Never listen to subjectivists claiming that "something that measures perfect but still sounds like ass".
 

Asylum Seeker

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If you can hear it, it's no good for it to be good if must be transparent.
 

Ratatoskr

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Why do you feel you need to "deal with anyone" who does not accept your philosophy? This is not Scientology just enjoy music and resist the urge to convert anyone to your personal viewpoint.
 

Julf

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Why do you feel you need to "deal with anyone" who does not accept your philosophy? This is not Scientology just enjoy music and resist the urge to convert anyone to your personal viewpoint.
Personal viewpoint is one thing, false information is another. How do you feel about people who insist 2 + 2 = 5, and insist on telling everyone?
 

Ratatoskr

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Personal viewpoint is one thing, false information is another. How do you feel about people who insist 2 + 2 = 5, and insist on telling everyone?
I smile, nod and ignore them. I probably would not choose to have that person as a friend. I don't proseletyse.
 

ahofer

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In other forums, I only bring this stuff up when someone asks whether they should buy more expensive amps/cables/DACs or casting aspersions on others for lacking aural abilities. If they are bragging about that they have, and not claiming exclusive supernatural powers, why bother?
 
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NWAVGUY comments on this subject are interesting, bit end-user configuration issues, driveline component miss-match, component selection or component quality issues.

http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/02/gain-and-headphone-ampsdacs.html. He has a number of good articles.

DO AMP/DACS SOUND DIFFERENT? Sometimes amps and headphone DACs do sound different but not to the extent, or as often, as many might think from reading all the subjective reviews and comments. Here are most of the more common reasons:

  • Insufficient Power – When a headphone source runs out of power with typically compressed pop music you’ll typically either hear distortion or it simply won’t be loud enough with the volume all the way up. With more dynamic music, like classical or well-recorded jazz, just the peaks may be clipped so it might not be as obvious there’s a power shortage. Power is a function of voltage and current. And some amps, with a given headphone, run out of current first and some run out of voltage first. See: More Power?
  • Non-Zero Output Impedance – Output impedance is one of the more common audible differences between anything with a headphone jack. As a simple rule of thumb, if the headphones are less than eight times the output impedance, the amp can alter the sound. So if you have the FiiO E9 amp, which has an output impedance of 10 ohms, you can only use headphones that are at least 80 ohms, otherwise, the amp might change the sound. Breaking the “eight times rule” can result in muddy bass and even audible frequency response changes—especially with balanced armature in-ear monitors such as Shures, Etymotics, Ultimate Ears, etc. See the Impedance article for more.
  • Inaccurate Frequency Response – Some amps roll off the bass and/or high frequencies. The bass can be rolled off due to capacitor coupled outputs which are generally used as a cost-saving measure in many portables, laptops, and PCs. And capacitor coupled outputs are usually required in single-ended amps and many tube amps. Other tube amps use an output transformer that also limits the bass response and can also roll off the highs. And some solid-state amps roll off the highs on purpose just so they can sound “different” (some might say “warmer” others might say “dull”).
  • High Distortion – There’s a lot of debate about what qualifies as “high”, but a fair amount of research has been done so there are at least some good clues. Most single-ended, tube, “low feedback (NFB)” or “zero feedback (NFB)” amps have relatively high levels of distortion and it may be easily audible. While some argue this distortion can “sweeten” or otherwise somehow improve the sound, there’s no denying you’re no longer listening to the just your music but you’re also forced to listen to your amp. It’s sort of like having someone softly murmuring in the background along with your music. That’s not my idea of a high-quality amp but to each their own.
  • Noise – There are different kinds of noise. Computer headphone jacks, for example, can have whines, buzzes, clicks, chirps, etc. related to all the digital circuitry in the computer. Some portable gear can have similar noises. Headphone amp noise is usually hiss and/or hum. It’s generally more of a problem with sensitive headphones—especially balanced armature in-ear types. Noise can vary with the volume setting, types of connections, etc. See: Noise & Dynamic Range
  • Insufficient Gain – This usually isn’t an issue with a USB headphone DAC. But with standalone amps, it can be. For a given source the amp might not get loud enough even though, using the right source and the amp has enough maximum output capability. This can be due to insufficient gain. See: All About Gain.
  • Impedance Mismatch – This is a somewhat redundant category as an impedance mismatch will create one or more of the above problems. But it’s worth mentioning many headphone sources are optimize more for low or high impedance headphones but not both. For more see: Headphone Impedance
  • The Snake Oil Effect – Some subjective audiophiles will tell you the above don’t matter as much as simply “trusting your ears” (or often you’re supposed to trust their ears even more). To be blunt, study after study has proven them wrong when you slip whatever they’re listening to under a brown paper bag or bedsheet so they don’t know which is which. Once they don’t know what they’re listening to, the Snake Oil Effect disappears and you’re left with all the parameters above determining the sound quality. If you’re skeptical, you might want to check out Subjective vs Objective Debate.
 
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