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The problem with the choice of DAC

Shoaibexpert

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#41
I play streams via Tidal and when I upgraded from Dragonfly Red to the SMSL SU-8, I have this feeling that the music is being played a tiny bit faster....its like the timing is different on both DACs. Is there a measurement for that in the reviews and which one would you say is playing at the right play speed.. That is if there's a difference.. Could be just placebo. Thanks
 

Krunok

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#42
I play streams via Tidal and when I upgraded from Dragonfly Red to the SMSL SU-8, I have this feeling that the music is being played a tiny bit faster....its like the timing is different on both DACs. Is there a measurement for that in the reviews and which one would you say is playing at the right play speed.. That is if there's a difference.. Could be just placebo. Thanks
It's certainly a placebo.
 
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#43
I play streams via Tidal and when I upgraded from Dragonfly Red to the SMSL SU-8, I have this feeling that the music is being played a tiny bit faster....its like the timing is different on both DACs. Is there a measurement for that in the reviews and which one would you say is playing at the right play speed.. That is if there's a difference.. Could be just placebo. Thanks
I think it’s placebo. My entire life I’ve never encountered a digital audio box that messes with speed or timing. Even my flawed Xduoo X3 which plays 44.1kHz at 48kHz or my misconfigured Rockbox iPods (which also played 44.1 at 48kHz) sounded fine to my ear and everyone else.
 

Krunok

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#44
I think it’s placebo. My entire life I’ve never encountered a digital audio box that messes with speed or timing. Even my flawed Xduoo X3 which plays 44.1kHz at 48kHz or my misconfigured Rockbox iPods (which also played 44.1 at 48kHz) sounded fine to my ear and everyone else.
DAC chip would have to have fluctuating clock for something like that to be possible.
 

Shoaibexpert

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#45
DAC chip would have to have fluctuating clock for something like that to be possible.
Thanks. Another problem I'm facing with the SMSL SU-8 is that at high volumes the sub bass seems to show a lot of distortion. Can't hear that on the same song on my Dragonfly Red at same volume. I thought the SMSL was a superior DAC. I see that lowering the DAC's Internal volume helps but that should not happen right? I mean Amirs readings basically classed tho DAC as near perfect at high volumes...
 

Shoaibexpert

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#46
I think it’s placebo. My entire life I’ve never encountered a digital audio box that messes with speed or timing. Even my flawed Xduoo X3 which plays 44.1kHz at 48kHz or my misconfigured Rockbox iPods (which also played 44.1 at 48kHz) sounded fine to my ear and everyone else.
Thanks. Another problem I'm facing with the SMSL SU-8 is that at high volumes the sub bass seems to show a lot of distortion. Can't hear that on the same song on my Dragonfly Red at same volume. I thought the SMSL was a superior DAC. I see that lowering the DAC's Internal volume helps but that should not happen right? I mean Amirs readings basically classed tho DAC as near perfect at high volumes...
 

Krunok

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#47
Thanks. Another problem I'm facing with the SMSL SU-8 is that at high volumes the sub bass seems to show a lot of distortion. Can't hear that on the same song on my Dragonfly Red at same volume. I thought the SMSL was a superior DAC. I see that lowering the DAC's Internal volume helps but that should not happen right? I mean Amirs readings basically classed tho DAC as near perfect at high volumes...
No, that shouldn't happen. Are you sure DAC is the problem and not amp or speakers/headphones?
 

Shoaibexpert

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#48
No, that shouldn't happen. Are you sure DAC is the problem and not amp or speakers/headphones?
Yup! I plugged in my Dragonfly Red on the same song and it was way clearer! But with SMSL SU-8, I can easily hear bass bleeding into the mids and vocals clearly distorting the sound. I updated the SW and reset the Firmware as well...but i still get it and it's a far heavy DAC to be sent back to SMSL for investigation without incurring some serious $$$ on shipping costs.
 

Veri

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#49
Yup! I plugged in my Dragonfly Red on the same song and it was way clearer! But with SMSL SU-8, I can easily hear bass bleeding into the mids and vocals clearly distorting the sound. I updated the SW and reset the Firmware as well...but i still get it and it's a far heavy DAC to be sent back to SMSL for investigation without incurring some serious $$$ on shipping costs.
There is no tube 'sound flavor' on or anything? Everything default? Such extreme audible differences are odd honestly.
 

Krunok

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#50
Yup! I plugged in my Dragonfly Red on the same song and it was way clearer! But with SMSL SU-8, I can easily hear bass bleeding into the mids and vocals clearly distorting the sound. I updated the SW and reset the Firmware as well...but i still get it and it's a far heavy DAC to be sent back to SMSL for investigation without incurring some serious $$$ on shipping costs.
Try playing single tone LF sine waves, not songs - that way it would be much easier for you to be sure if you're hearing a problem or not.
 

Shoaibexpert

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#51
There is no tube 'sound flavor' on or anything? Everything default? Such extreme audible differences are odd honestly.
Thanks. Nope. All default, I fact I even reset the firmware which is v1.6. Anyways I'll keep listening to see if it's an isolated problem. @Veri what volume settings are recommended when using such devices with Tidal? I mean should I always set the Windows and Tidal volume to 100% and adjust DAC volume or should I set the DAC volume to 100% and adjust the Tidal / windows volume - to avoid any and all distortion? btw I'm using the DAC RCAs with the Massdrop Edition XX and Magni 3 as amp (untill my THX AAA 789 ships). Thanks
 

Krunok

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#53
I'll try that but I'm new so don't know what to hear in the sine waves
Don't worry, you will easilly recognise when single tone would not be clean, and you have your Dragonfly for comparison. Music can be deceiving as other tones are masking bass, that is why you should use single tone test files.
 

Veri

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#54
Thanks. Nope. All default, I fact I even reset the firmware which is v1.6. Anyways I'll keep listening to see if it's an isolated problem. @Veri what volume settings are recommended when using such devices with Tidal? I mean should I always set the Windows and Tidal volume to 100% and adjust DAC volume or should I set the DAC volume to 100% and adjust the Tidal / windows volume - to avoid any and all distortion? btw I'm using the DAC RCAs with the Massdrop Edition XX and Magni 3 as amp (untill my THX AAA 789 ships). Thanks
Windows on 100 preferably. As for dac/amp, its best to manage volume with amp and keep dac maxed unless you have channel imbalances at low levels with more sensitive headphones in which case you can play around with digital volume.

It's all a case of what works best in your particular set-up.
 

Krunok

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#55
As for dac/amp, its best to manage volume with amp and keep dac maxed unless you have channel imbalances at low levels with more sensitive headphones in which case you can play around with digital volume.
Is that really so? Most of the amps don't have volume control and most of the modern DACs provide excellent digital volume control.
My D10 controls my Rotel amp, which, as most other power amps doesn't have volume control, without any issues. And I see no reason why wouldn't it..
 

Veri

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#56
Is that really so? Most of the amps don't have volume control and most of the modern DACs provide excellent digital volume control.
My D10 controls my Rotel amp, which, as most other power amps doesn't have volume control, without any issues. And I see no reason why wouldn't it..
But he has a magni3 :D with a knob. He's not asking about power amp advice
 

Ron Texas

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#57
FWIW, I have been hearing a very stressed sound in female vocals when they hit loud notes on LS50 speakers. When I swapped the D30 for a Grace M9XX which I had in the bedroom for Headphone use, the speakers sounded better. The Grace measures better, especially for linearity. It also has a lower output. Perhaps something went wrong with the D30. It won't be the first time something around here broke.

As for sighted tests, they are not as reliable as blind tests, but they are not completely unreliable. I probably had a prejudice in favor of the Grace because it cost a lot more. However, the D30 lacks a headphone amp. If I took the Grace out of the bedroom that left me with a problem to solve. Yesterday, I ordered a Topping DX3 pro, after spending hours reading through that god awful long thread.
 

Shoaibexpert

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#59
Don't worry, you will easilly recognise when single tone would not be clean, and you have your Dragonfly for comparison. Music can be deceiving as other tones are masking bass, that is why you should use single tone test files.
Thanks. Any advice where to get these test files and what frequenies to test (given I feel it's the sub bass that's the problem) and at what volume to test these on?
 
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