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Soncoz SGD1 vs PS Audio DirectStream Dac

Ajp

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#1
I realize I should have posted this as a separate thread vs attached to the review.

Ok, so I have spent the last few hours with a buddy running ABX tests of the Soncoz SGD1 vs the PS Audio DSD. Before we get into results, @amirm I really wonder whether you got a DSD that just had a bad transformer. I just have never experienced what you measured and this test showed that as well.

First my system aside from DACs:

Martin Logan Impression 11a speakers
Jeff Rowland Capri S2 Preamp
Primaluna Evo 300 amp
The analog portion of the system doesn't really matter for this test

So we gave both units identical power cords, identical cables, RCA and then XLR and Roon. The only difference between the two was that I used them the way I would have to use them if I ran them full time. The DSD used it's Bridge II and the Soncoz was connected via usb to my computer with its drivers installed.

To set up the test, we had a third person connect both DACs to my preamp via RCA cables. We didn't know which one was on which input, we only knew the two input numbers we were using. He renamed the two devices in Roon as well to match the inputs, this turned out to not work well because we couldn't change the icons for the devices so our 3rd person had to manage the music for us. When jumping from one input to another on the preamp there was no way to know which DAC we were using. We used a phone DB meter to level match the internal volumes of both DACs before our #3 went to work so that the switching resulted in the same volume level for both RCA and XLR.

We had a preselected group of songs we were both very familiar with. We compared them in two different ways. The first time, we started the songs at the same time on both roon endpoints so that they played in sync and went back and forth recording which we preferred. We also reran the tests across the songs starting one DAC 30 seconds after the other. We listened for 30 seconds on the first and then listened to the same 30 seconds on the other DAC, rinse repeat. We then had our 3rd person switch to matching XLR cables and redid this all. We found that our results were almost identical going both ways on RCA, so for the XLR tests, we only tested going 30 seconds apart.

So the results of this as we were testing were pretty shocking. Throughout the listening, we were both blown away by the fact that one of them did not leap ahead of the other, which we assumed would happen consider one is $7,000 and the other is $500. But throughout the RCA test, they were shockingly similar. Similar bottom end, similar top, similar extension, similar sound stage. When we moved to XLR, the similarities were there, but we were able to pick out differences a lot more and the scores showed this.

RCA: PS Audio / Soncoz
Me - 11/9
Buddy - 9/11

XLR: PS Audio / Soncoz
Me - 13/7
Buddy - 11/9

Total 44/36

Takeaways

The PS Audio DAC won, but the fact that it was only the preferred option 55% of the time against a DAC that literally costs less than the Bridge II upgrade inside of it was pathetic. @amirm I still definitely didn't hear the issues your test showed, and neither did my buddy. I wonder if you would be interested in taking my unit and running tests again.

The Soncoz SGD1 is a SHOCKINGLY good DAC, the testing results were spot on. Considering it costs less than $500, it's hard to see why it would be worth it to spend more unless you need very specific connection like IIS which it doesn't have, and it is certainly not worth it to consider the PS Audio DSD over it.
 

bunkbail

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#2
Before we get into results, @amirm I really wonder whether you got a DSD that just had a bad transformer
No it doesn't, the unit amir tested had much lower distortion than spec'd. It just designed to be measured that way.
 

waynel

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#5
It's likely that the PS audio XLR output was slightly higher.
 

Jimbob54

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#6
Leaving aside any issues raised above regarding methodology and let's assume for the minute by luck or design you got the levels close enough , I think it lends weight to 2 central arguments

1. Spending $000 on DACs and anything before the conversion is going to gain you zero to not a lot at all

2. It has to be a really poorly engineered and measuring dac to make you react strongly against it unless sighted.

I kinda wished you had put one of the £100 - £200 "budget" stars in the mix too
 
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Ajp

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Thread Starter #10
Levels properly matched I'd be astounded if anyone could tell the difference between these two .

Iv a TAD DAC and this Soncoz DAC , I know what will happen if I took the Soncoz into my hifi room lol
Well it was certainly hard for me to tell the difference with the phone db meter so I would tend to agree.
 

Thomas savage

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#11
Well it was certainly hard for me to tell the difference with the phone db meter so I would tend to agree.
That's all the information you need to gather , you can leave room for mistakes but still know there's something fishy when people talk about these night and day differences between DACs.
 
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Ajp

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Thread Starter #12
That's all the information you need to gather , you can leave room for mistakes but still know there's something fishy when people talk about these night and day differences between DACs.
Agreed. I previously had a PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell Dac. When I turned on the Directstream for the first time, THAT was a night and day difference. I ran a similar test and that one was 100% for the Directstream Dac. I now realize it says more for how bad the stellar dac was than how great DSD is.
 

dfuller

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#13
Well if you want to send me a professional DB meter I would happy take it...
Easier to do so with a volt meter. Run a sine through at some given dBFS level, measure the voltage at the output relative to ground. Match accordingly.
 
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Ajp

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Thread Starter #14
Easier to do so with a volt meter. Run a sine through at some given dBFS level, measure the voltage at the output relative to ground. Match accordingly.
I have a multimeter, but I don't think it's really worth it at this point to redo the test. The final conclusion won't change.
 
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