Jump to content

HarbethRob

Non upsampling DAC experience

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

I had an unexpected revelation recently.

 

I have been on the hunt for the best DAC I can find (or afford anyway) for some time. Over the last year I had settled into listening to the Benchmark DAC and also a Luxman D 06 both upsampling DACS with very high resolution and detail.

 

On a whim I pulled out my Lavry DAC 10 which I had not heard for some years. It is a non upsampling DAC and I was very surprised at how different it is in tonality. Definitely more rolled off in the upper range and more mellow.  More mid range depth and intensity. Certainly less resolving than  either the Benchmark or the Luxman but the over all tonality is really rather lovely. Completely delicious on piano for example. I wonder if this is typical of non upsampling DACS?

 

Anyway, I am certainly keen to keep it there for a while.

 

Cheers,

 

Rob

Edited by HarbethRob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Metrum Acoustics Octave an old DAC but still lovely today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, HarbethRob said:

It is a non upsampling DAC and I was very surprised at how different it is in tonality.

It seems that it or your other DACs don't have a flat frequency response.  It would be interesting to plot the frequency responses of your various DACs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beware of making such an assumption based on one implementation. With two different pieces of hardware that upsampled and didn't, your conclusions would have been exactly the opposite. The difference between the sound of components is almost never about technology, but about implementation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ittaku,

 

Ha ha you are almost certainly right. At the most trivial level I guess the most I can say is that the Lavry DA 10 is a fine DAC and that I prefer it for extended listening to either the DAC 1 or the Luxman.

 

R

Edited by HarbethRob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Man what a great observation about piano sound - it's a holy grail to get any hifi system to approximate a live solo piano, and I gleaned something useful from your thread thanks.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Thanks Marten,

 

Actually, I do think it is has something to do with the characteristics of non upsampling DACS! There is an etched intensity to upsampling DACS which is immediately appealing and I guess helps to sell gear. But how long can you live with it? I still love my Benchmark DAC which is a phenomenal DAC again particularly for piano.

 

In case you are interested, my audio chain is CD transport (Musical fidelity) - Lavry D10 - Holton Three Zero Zero power amp - Harbeth Super HL5. This produces a very richlush  tonality, completely non fatiguing and makes it a real pleasure to listen to digital (I am a bit of an analogue fan). Also the quality of the mastering on the CD is of course  tremendously important. I am building up my BIS label SACD piano recordings. Absolutely magnificent recordings of Piano. The owner of BIS is a very nice man named Rober Von Bahr who clearly cares about sound. I have heard that they record their SACD in 24 bit 44.1 kHz - no one could tell the difference from that and 24 bit 96 kHz.

 

Cheers

 

rob

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have to agree with @HarbethRob about the BIS label excellent recordings worth chasing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The best PCM recordings I've heard have been the Prof K. Johnson's "Reference Recording"  done 24/96 and with HDCD

Mind blowingly good with a 24bit dac that's R2R Multibit and has HDCD. But average with Delta Sigma based dacs.

https://referencerecordings.com/

 

Cheers George 

Edited by georgehifi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/9/2018 at 8:53 PM, HarbethRob said:

I had an unexpected revelation recently.

 

I have been on the hunt for the best DAC I can find (or afford anyway) for some time. Over the last year I had settled into listening to the Benchmark DAC and also a Luxman D 06 both upsampling DACS with very high resolution and detail.

 

On a whim I pulled out my Lavry DAC 10 which I had not heard for some years. It is a non upsampling DAC and I was very surprised at how different it is in tonality. Definitely more rolled off in the upper range and more mellow.  More mid range depth and intensity. Certainly less resolving than  either the Benchmark or the Luxman but the over all tonality is really rather lovely. Completely delicious on piano for example. I wonder if this is typical of non upsampling DACS?

 

Anyway, I am certainly keen to keep it there for a while.

 

Cheers,

 

Rob

Rob ,

 

The Lavry DA10 is an upsampling DAC. I can't remembre what DAC chip they use but but is most certainly a Delta Sigma chip.

 

cheers

 

T

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi

 

Can you please verify this with a source? Several reviews of the the DA 10 and D11 assert that it is a not an upsampling DAC. 

 

Cheers

 

Rob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, georgehifi said:

The best PCM recordings I've heard have been the Prof K. Johnson's "Reference Recording"  done 24/96 and with HDCD

Mind blowingly good with a 24bit dac that's R2R Multibit and has HDCD. But average with Delta Sigma based dacs.

https://referencerecordings.com/

 

Cheers George 

Reference Recordings used Pacific Microsonics Model Two HDCD AD (DA) converters

of which Prof KJ was the primary designer. Years ago I had the opportunity to listen to one at a friends

mastering studio. They are not made anymore but still command pretty decent money on the 2nd hand market.

Neil Young also owned (and used) these converters.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


4 hours ago, HarbethRob said:

Hi

 

Can you please verify this with a source? Several reviews of the the DA 10 and D11 assert that it is a not an upsampling DAC. 

 

Cheers

 

Rob

Rob,

 

I think you may be confusing the DA10/11 with his much more expensive Lavry Gold (DA924) which was a discrete

multibit ladder DAC.

The DA10 uses AD1955 delta sigma dac. There was a lot of conjecture (to say the least) WRT whether he used an ASRC ..

http://www.diyhifi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1027

 

Light reading LoL

 

T

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, zenelectro said:

Pacific Microsonics Model Two

I've had searches out for 10 years for one of these dacs to buy, only seen three for sale and both were over 15k usd too much for me, just hopping one day one comes up cheaper.

 

 

Capture.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, georgehifi said:

I've had searches out for 10 years for one of these dacs to buy, only seen three for sale and both were over 15k usd too much for me, just hopping one day one comes up cheaper.

 

 

Capture.JPG

Yeah, me too.  Ever since I found out about it whilst investigating the technicalities of HDCD some years ago.

It appears that it ain't gunna happen.

 

Also have a small set of Reference Recordings (CDs (and HRX WAVs)) just in case.  Ha ha.  The recordings are pretty damn good even without the Pacific Micro DAC.  Unfortunately not really to my musical taste but interesting to play to see how recording/mixing/mastering could/should be done.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish I had known you guys were after them.

 

Recently Neil Young actually had an on line auction which included everything from Lionel Model Trains (He owns part of the company),

musical instruments and recording gear including at least 2 Pacific Micro Model II HDCD ADDA's.

 

They didn't go for stupid prices either.

 

I remember watching the auction thinking, 'I prolly should buy one of these'... but I'm already building an ADC which should

outperform the Model II. There are plenty of mastering guys that have owned Model II and moved on to other pastures.

 

T

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, zenelectro said:

2 Pacific Micro Model II

Yeah I saw them, but too late they went almost immediately. Well certainly quicker than my searches notified me about them. Do you know what they went for as the sale price was MIA.

 

From what my sources tell me, they are nearly all being shipped to Japan. 

 

Cheers George

Edited by georgehifi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
40 minutes ago, zenelectro said:

There are plenty of mastering guys that have owned Model II and moved on to other pastures.

 

Yeah, for DSD purposes, but for pcm 16/44 hdcd it would be hard to beat.

 

Cheers George

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


It's NOS all the way for me. Phillips or BB Multibit DACs.

 

Having a bit of an OCD as far as audio reproduction is concerned.

I cringe whenever I sense a hint of compression, say from a low bitrate file-based music (I'm looking at you MP3s) or too much trickery taking place on the upstream electronic's side (Oversampling/Upsampling).

 

OS DACs especially the ones with the latest chips from Sabre just do not cut it for me.

It's like they are trying too hard to sound nice and analog-ish etc but failed terribly in doing so.

Wolfson & Cirrus chips are no better, but in certain implementations they are at least a wee bit listenable.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, georgehifi said:

Yeah I saw them, but too late they went almost immediately. Well certainly quicker than my searches notified me about them. Do you know what they went for as the sale price was MIA.

 

From what my sources tell me, they are nearly all being shipped to Japan. 

 

Cheers George

https://www.ebay.com/itm/PACIFIC-MICROSONICS-HDCD-MODEL-1-AD-DA-DAC-Converter-POWER-SUPPLY-Spectral-63K-/112692608785

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
52 minutes ago, kab said:

 

Isn't it funny, the guy that did this comparison, is the Australian distributor of Forrsell!  And it uses the cheaper to produce PCM1794 hybrid multibit/Delta Sigma, which took over from the PCM1704 Multibit which Burr Brown stopped making because of high cost of manufacture with laser trimming of all the R2R resistors inside.  

 

Cheers George 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, georgehifi said:

 

Isn't it funny, the guy that did this comparison, is the Australian distributor of Forrsell!  And it uses the cheaper to produce PCM1794 hybrid multibit/Delta Sigma, which took over from the PCM1704 Multibit which Burr Brown stopped making because of high cost of manufacture with laser trimming of all the R2R resistors inside.  

 

Cheers George 

My thoughts too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


13 hours ago, georgehifi said:

 

Yeah, for DSD purposes, but for pcm 16/44 hdcd it would be hard to beat.

 

Cheers George

No, very few mastering guys are doing DSD.

 

These are all for PCM release. I think there are a few ADC's these days that are in the same ballpark as Model II

and obviously some engineers feel better.

 

T

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×