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When is a DAC or Amp audibly transparent?

starfly

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At what SINAD and other metrics can we consider a DAC or Amp audibly transparent? I know we want a well engineered device, but at what threshold can you no longer hear a difference (even for very trained ears)?
 

Blumlein 88

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There are other threads discussing this if you search for them.

Flat frequency response of +/- .1 db over the full range and SINAD of 120 db will do it. Probably SINAD of 110 would do it.

With flat frequency response lesser SINADs would be transparent, but you have to break apart SINAD into distortion and noise. For instance flat FR, noise below being heard for a given system and THD of -80 db will likely do the trick. Such a device however would only have a SINAD of -80 db.

Probably why no one has replied to you. It quickly gets into plenty of grays areas.
 

escksu

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There are other threads discussing this if you search for them.

Probably why no one has replied to you. It quickly gets into plenty of grays areas.

Haha, yes. There are so many threads repeating this same topic, gets really tiring.
 

restorer-john

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The term is vague, variable and open to interpretation. "Transparent" to one person may be flawed to another. Audiophiles on ASR seem to think it is bit of a buzzword to throw around- but it isn't. Just don't use the term- be specific instead.

Basically it stemmed from inserting a device in a system where the inclusion or absense of said device was not discernible or apparent.
 
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starfly

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There are other threads discussing this if you search for them.

Flat frequency response of +/- .1 db over the full range and SINAD of 120 db will do it. Probably SINAD of 110 would do it.

With flat frequency response lesser SINADs would be transparent, but you have to break apart SINAD into distortion and noise. For instance flat FR, noise below being heard for a given system and THD of -80 db will likely do the trick. Such a device however would only have a SINAD of -80 db.

Probably why no one has replied to you. It quickly gets into plenty of grays areas.

Sorry for the duplicative thread if this has been asked many times before. I figure it was asked before, but I couldn't quickly find something with the search function.

But essentially, any DAC with a SINAD > 110db should be pretty much excellent, provided it also has a flat FR, and there is no other weirdness in any of the other measurements.
 

Helicopter

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67dB SINAD on my Loxjie P20 sounds surprisingly good to my ears with most music. What you hear is more apparent against silence or a sine wave than actual music. That may have to do with real world microphone performance. Speaking of transducers, good luck finding speakers or headphones that aren't 10-100x as messed up as a good (110dB SINAD for the sake of thread consistency) DAC or amp.
 
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