• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

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

Joined
Nov 15, 2019
Messages
61
Likes
77
Location
NW Chicago Suburbs
I start by explaining how a DAC actually works and what sections it consists of. The chip that converts 1’s and 0’s to a low voltage waveform has no sound signature but the sound can be affected by source jitter (if not cleaned up), a noisy power supply, the digital filtering applied, or variations in how the low voltage signal from the chip is amplified to line level signals (op amp). A DAC does a bit more than just the conversion of data to wave forms.
 

A800

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 22, 2019
Messages
664
Likes
385
I tell them "You are right".
Maybe I will probably recommend a ESS Sabre also.
 

Asylum Seeker

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
305
Likes
169
Location
Guatemala
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.
Because no man is an island. We are social beings who live inter-dependently. Bad ideas, bad 'facts' affect us all. That's why.
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2020
Messages
91
Likes
58
I start by explaining how a DAC actually works and what sections it consists of. The chip that converts 1’s and 0’s to a low voltage waveform has no sound signature but the sound can be affected by source jitter (if not cleaned up), a noisy power supply, the digital filtering applied, or variations in how the low voltage signal from the chip is amplified to line level signals (op amp). A DAC does a bit more than just the conversion of data to waveforms.
Everyone forgets that post the Digital section there is an analog section and all vendors do not use the same analog components for every DAC built on the planet. Even here there is variance in components. Power supply add another layer of fun. I recently had to update 1961 Binson Echo Rec 47uf + 47 uF 350v electrolytic filter capacitors so I could have clean power.

Honestly, even on Digital IC side which has an analog in it, you would not want to know what we all have to do with wafer sorting around performance and quality, I build CPU and GPUs for living. Last part I worked on was 7 nm
 

TomB19

Active Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2019
Messages
106
Likes
76
Excellent points, my infinitesimal friend.

Not only that, there are variables in downstream equipment. Specifically, amplifier input impedance.

I've noticed one of my amps has a bit more solid bass with the D30 than a Khadas tone board. Another amp I've been testing sounds the same when I swap DACs. I suspect the first amp has lower input impedance. If I only had one amp, I would undoubtedly think the DACs have slightly different sound signatures.
 

Wombat

Major Contributor
Joined
Nov 5, 2017
Messages
5,791
Likes
4,493
Location
Australia
Explain simply and nicely. If that is rejected, apply the 'their problem or mine' test and walk away. It is just not worth much time or effort.
 
Joined
Jan 11, 2020
Messages
91
Likes
58
This thread is funny when you think about. yes, there will be subtle measured difference otherwise Amir would not be measuring for artifacts that also can be heard. I have seen way too many decapitated Pink Panthers in the review I hope worst offender do not sound like Topping D90 or the current other premium solution
 

Asylum Seeker

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
Messages
305
Likes
169
Location
Guatemala
I will be sure to correct you, the next time you are wrong.

Nothing personal. It will be best for everyone here.
Please do. That's why I am here. Because I want to be disabused of my faulty thinking and 'facts'. I want to be kept honest.
 

TomB19

Active Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2019
Messages
106
Likes
76
Please do. That's why I am here. Because I want to be disabused of my faulty thinking and 'facts'. I want to be kept honest.
I was being fecetious.

Not many people are sufficiently objective as to change their point of view when confronted. This is particularly so with old people, like myself.
 

A800

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 22, 2019
Messages
664
Likes
385
Some amplifiers have sound signature, do they? I think I have heard differences.
Of course they have.
Some people deny it though.
Don't worry.
You are right.
 
Joined
Jan 7, 2020
Messages
32
Likes
14
Wow. I clicked "What's New" and this was top, but 33 pages already? Gotta admit I only read a few of those.

I theorise most audiophiles who believe in these differences are actually part of a subset of people who like certain types of distortion. I find they gravitate towards what Amir uncovers as poorly measuring devices with plenty of distortion of one flavour or another. You can find Torq's ramblings and fanclub over at Super Audio Best Friends for the Schiit Yggdrasil DAC sounding better than nearly everything out there (apparently). Then there's the huge following for multi-bit DACs and shunning of D-S. I don't think it's that audiophiles are dumb or wilfully ignorant. In fact, most know about blind tests and level matching these days, (and I know many who know the science of how DACs work, understand sinc filters and may even have EE degrees) they just can't be bothered because science feels like 'work' and they just want to listen for enjoyment, rather than spend exorbitant amounts of time running objective tests. However, I do think most of them seem to gravitate to the poorer measuring units that sell at high prices. I believe there is some sort of cache around the status symbolism of something likely euphonic that cliques of them are drawn to, and, then talk about ad nauseum online creating an echo chamber of hype.
 

SIY

Technical Expert
Technical Expert
Joined
Apr 6, 2018
Messages
4,449
Likes
8,737
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Some amplifiers have sound signature, do they? I think I have heard differences.
Most don’t. The few that do tend to be really really cheap or really really expensive.
 

Spocko

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Sep 27, 2019
Messages
307
Likes
411
Location
Southern California
Of course they have.
Some people deny it though.
Don't worry.
You are right.
Maybe it's unclear what people are denying when they say amplifiers don't have a sound signature. All amplifiers regardless of their topology (Class A, B, D , G, etc) will sound identical if they seek the same objective: absolute neutrality, transparency with zero distortion. Consequently, even when tube amplifiers are designed with this in mind, they suddenly sound like solid state amplifiers. However, many amplifier designers disagree with this absolute objective - Nelson Pass specifically voices his amplifiers to sound "musical" a la 2nd order distortion, much to the pleasure and praise of his fans - nothing wrong with that at all, by the way. But if most amplifier manufacturers don't want to take the time to voice their amplifiers and just go for complete neutrality, then they'll all sound a like.
 

stevenswall

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 10, 2019
Messages
316
Likes
176
Location
Orem, UT
Some people will go down the rabbit hole and try to understand if you simply tell them digital audio is more similar to a vector image format than a raster image format. If they look into it, they'll figure it out and that far more can be quantified with audio than can't, and most of their subjective preferences can be measured or spoofed.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2019
Messages
61
Likes
77
Location
NW Chicago Suburbs
Wow. I clicked "What's New" and this was top, but 33 pages already? Gotta admit I only read a few of those.
I
It’s an old thread, it just got bumped again.
 

A800

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Joined
Dec 22, 2019
Messages
664
Likes
385
Maybe it's unclear what people are denying when they say amplifiers don't have a sound signature. All amplifiers regardless of their topology (Class A, B, D , G, etc) will sound identical if they seek the same objective: absolute neutrality, transparency with zero distortion. Consequently, even when tube amplifiers are designed with this in mind, they suddenly sound like solid state amplifiers. However, many amplifier designers disagree with this absolute objective - Nelson Pass specifically voices his amplifiers to sound "musical" a la 2nd order distortion, much to the pleasure and praise of his fans - nothing wrong with that at all, by the way. But if most amplifier manufacturers don't want to take the time to voice their amplifiers and just go for complete neutrality, then they'll all sound a like.
Maybe in theory.
In practice it's just not possible.
 
Top Bottom