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

Angsty

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False, false and false.
Jitter audibility may have been researched in the 1970's but you don't find many references to it in consumer audio until much later. The concerns about jitter audibility certainly were not widespread at the introduction of media like compact discs. Like most technology issues, there is an adoption curve before the idea becomes mainstream and widely embraced.

Perhaps the 1990s don't seem like ancient history to you, but you are probably taking qualm with the statement that it is a "relatively new" science. It is newer than analog audio.
 

SIY

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Jitter audibility may have been researched in the 1970's but you don't find many references to it in consumer audio until much later.
If you mean pop publications like Stereophile picking it up as a mantra and abusing the term, perhaps. If you mean a serious issue with demonstrated audibility in engineered products, not really. Several groups in Japan and the US researched the audibility limits in the '80s and '90s and they were ridiculously higher than what was seen in engineered products. That didn't prevent the term from being commonly used in the FUD sense.
 

Robin L

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Having been using digital gear, at times as a recording engineer [recordist is a more accurate term, as I'm no engineer], my subjective sense is that in the eighties and nineties there were plenty of DACs and ADCs with audible signatures. I'm pretty sure that it would not be hard to measure the parameters that would indicate why the ADC in a Panasonic 3700 was not as transparent as the one in a t.c. electronics M 2000.

As of 2020, things have changed. What Amirm repeatedly points out is that there is a limit of audibility of distortions and that many DACs at various price points are capable of producing a signal without audible artifacts. That is not the same as saying that all DACs sound alike, but it does note that there are real limits on what we can hear, and that there is gear that exceeds our ability to hear those differences. Yes, use a tube buffer, the sound will be different. But the specs will also be different. There is a limit to the artifacts we can hear from amplifiers, some clear that hurdle as well. Get into transducers, it's a different ball game. All the same, when it comes to electronics and digital devices, it is possible to have an audibly transparent device.
 

raif71

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I was out two nights ago with a buddy of mine who's in town for a few days. I picked him up at the hotel, drove over to a brewpub, and I couldn't get him off the topic of my car's dirt level. He insisted that we go to a carwash. I pointed out that the dirt was likely the only thing holding it together.

It really bothered him. I don't get it, I use the car outside, and it's a transportation conveyance. What's the point?
I think this would make a great Seinfeld episode. :)
 
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I used a high-quality one-bit DAC with a transparent sound signature in the 1970s and 1980s. It was the On/Off power switch on my analog amplifier. It was marked with the two bit states O/I. In the O state, it was silent. In the I state, it played beautiful music without changing the coloration of the amp.
 

rebbiputzmaker

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I was out two nights ago with a buddy of mine who's in town for a few days. I picked him up at the hotel, drove over to a brewpub, and I couldn't get him off the topic of my car's dirt level. He insisted that we go to a carwash. I pointed out that the dirt was likely the only thing holding it together.

It really bothered him. I don't get it, I use the car outside, and it's a transportation conveyance. What's the point?
Where you are living are there any restrictions on bars etc due to COVID-19? Are people social distancing?
 

Sal1950

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I was out two nights ago with a buddy of mine who's in town for a few days. I picked him up at the hotel, drove over to a brewpub, and I couldn't get him off the topic of my car's dirt level. He insisted that we go to a carwash. I pointed out that the dirt was likely the only thing holding it together.
It really bothered him. I don't get it, I use the car outside, and it's a transportation conveyance. What's the point?
I think if you owned something that really excited you to drive and own you'd take more interest in it. Most cars/trucks are just as you state "conveyance", but many are something a little special. They draw looks and admiring comments and you want to keep it looking it's best.
Drive around in a new C8 Corvette for a while and see what I mean. LOL
 

solderdude

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Do we all agree that if we can hear differences between dacs we'd at least LIKE to be able to measure those differences?
we all should verify under correct conditions the heard differences really exist or have a look at measurements to see if issues reach audible limits.

Does anyone disagree that we should be striving to quantify anything we can hear and make it measurable and repeatable, and hopefully less expensive to produce so we can all enjoy the best possible sound at a reasonable price?
It already is. There are even ways to compare DACs by using music.
ASR has already shown that it is very possible to enjoy best possible sound at a reasonable price, even for cheaps. It has also shown that in the high price echelon gems and total crap can be found.

Also, do we all agree that sometimes our perception of what we hear can be strongly affected by our other senses and what we've been told about a situation?
Most will certainly agree. There are quite a lot of people, however, that think just because they know bias exist they are immune to it. Funnily enough these are usually the goldeneared people with the expensive gear that does have enough resolutions to be able to make minute differences audible.

Don't we at least WANT to have a way of testing our own ability to actually hear differences between equipment without other sensory factors influencing us? How would we do this? Why again do some of you feel double blind testing is not effective? What would be the ultimate way to test this?
There are good way to do this. Not knowing what one is listening to and level matching as well as statistically relevant attempts is key.
The problem is that such isn't easy to do and requires taking the time and involving someone else.


Or perhaps we should allow all factors in to our experience and seek the perception of good sound over all else.
That's the method 99% of people uses. Using sighted (meaning they know what is being used) and not or poorly level matched comparisons.
The result is always that you pick one that sounds 'best' under the given circumstances or can't hear a difference and picks the one with the cheapest price, nicest looks or more desirable functionality.
It is the easy way but a very flawed way when it comes to truth finding. Usually they do not care and are convinced they found the best one.

Everyone should use the method they prefer, technically speaking one method blocks bias and is more truthful when done correctly.
With both methods there are pitfalls.
 

Julf

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Perhaps the 1990s don't seem like ancient history to you, but you are probably taking qualm with the statement that it is a "relatively new" science. It is newer than analog audio.
Yes, but not by very much. A lot of the basic science of digital audio is from the 1920s and 1930s.
 

mansr

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Jitter audibility may have been researched in the 1970's but you don't find many references to it in consumer audio until much later.
That's because back then the thresholds of audibility were established, and equipment was engineered to have much lower levels. It wasn't until recently that the audio press needed a new bogeyman and for some reason picked jitter.
 

PenguinMusic

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Hum,

I trust my ears only :)
Is that a trap also ?

Jokes apart, I must say that for me, the end choice remains the totally subjective listening test.
Because, after all, what I will listen to and enjoy is music and not a graph on a wall :)

Of course, it can be assumed that superb measures will ensure a magnificent musical experience.

But, what if I listen to a device and like it despite the fact that it measures poorly ?
Am I wrong picking that up instead fo the one offering better measures but that I did not liked when I performed subjective listening tests ?

And I am ready to accept that for my personal usage.
But what I have learnt from this site : super high priced devices sometimes (often ?) offer so poor measures that I don't even trust them and do not really give them a listen anyway :-(

Regards.
 

Julf

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But, what if I listen to a device and like it despite the fact that it measures poorly ?
Am I wrong picking that up instead fo the one offering better measures but that I did not liked when I performed subjective listening tests ?
Of course you are not wrong - as long as you don't make any claims beyond personal preference/perception.
 

BDWoody

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I trust my ears only :)
Is that a trap also ?
So you do a level matched controlled test? That's the only way you can be trusting your ears...if you are doing standard uncontrolled listening comparisons, what your brain is 'hearing' involves a lot more than just your ears.

Without any effort to control for the non ear part of it, you are trusting your unique combination of biases to fill in all the blanks properly, which is problematic at best, and completely misleading at worst.

Why not just do an actual controlled test? Then you can find out what JUST your ears have to say...so to speak...
 

SIY

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I think if you owned something that really excited you to drive and own you'd take more interest in it. Most cars/trucks are just as you state "conveyance", but many are something a little special. They draw looks and admiring comments and you want to keep it looking it's best.
Drive around in a new C8 Corvette for a while and see what I mean. LOL
Driving itself is just unexciting to me, more of a necessary chore than anything else. Now, a teleporter would excite me, but that's because it removes the drudgery. Lots of people love cars, I'm just not one of them. If I had the money to blow on a Corvette, I'd be far more likely to buy an old Cessna 172.

"Looks and admiring comments" aren't my motivation, unless you're talking about good looking women reacting to me taking off my pants.:cool:
 

SIY

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Where you are living are there any restrictions on bars etc due to COVID-19? Are people social distancing?
I prefer the term "Leper Length."

I don't know what the actual restrictions are here, but by and large, no-one is paying much attention to them.
 

VintageFlanker

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Jokes apart, I must say that for me, the end choice remains the totally subjective listening test.
But, what if I listen to a device and like it despite the fact that it measures poorly ?
Am I wrong picking that up instead fo the one offering better measures but that I did not liked when I performed subjective listening tests ?
Assuming the device would measure very poorly (enough to be audibly different = colored):

What you're risking by choosing it, based on only few subjective listening tests (mostly with a selection of your favourite tracks)... is to discover over time that you don't like it that much depending of which music you play with...
I strongly think some "colored" devices can't last long in a system, since it seems to work well with some songs and then terrible with others. That's why I always believe in advocacy for transparency when it comes to electronics/analogue parts of the chain. Finding transparent speakers/room/headphones is much more difficult to accomplish.
 
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