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hlov

DAC for beginners

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Hi all,

 

A work colleague lend me his DAC: Ultrasound NAOS, pic attached.

 

how does it work? I just plugged into the USB port of my computer, connect the cable to my amp and play Tidal HD but the sound quality was just ok, do I need any special drivers?

 

0F81A3EC-5290-42B7-B4D0-7E2097939428.jpeg

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Now that’s a can of worms!

 

just ok compared to what?

 

Not familiar with dac, google is your best shot but if it’s playing I’m thinking you won’t need anymore drivers.

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8 hours ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

Now that’s a can of worms!

 

just ok compared to what?

 

Not familiar with dac, google is your best shot but if it’s playing I’m thinking you won’t need anymore drivers.

I played my copy of Herbie's Round midnight and then played the same in Tidal HD on the same amp and wasn't impressed at all, that's what I thought that might need some driver or special setting. I'll try to make a video and post it later

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1 hour ago, hlov said:

I played my copy of Herbie's Round midnight and then played the same in Tidal HD on the same amp and wasn't impressed at all, that's what I thought that might need some driver or special setting. I'll try to make a video and post it later

A video is unlikely to help. 

 

There are many variables and it is difficult to advise unless you are more specific with your details.  What did you use as the first source, CD, vinyl, what player, what cabling or was it flac on your PC, phone?  What cables did you connect the DAC with?  Did you check the settings on the DAC?  Did you check the settings on Tidal?   

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1 hour ago, Snoopy8 said:

A video is unlikely to help. 

 

There are many variables and it is difficult to advise unless you are more specific with your details.  What did you use as the first source, CD, vinyl, what player, what cabling or was it flac on your PC, phone?  What cables did you connect the DAC with?  Did you check the settings on the DAC?  Did you check the settings on Tidal?   

Hi mate,

 

First Source was Thorens turntable with Ortofon bronze with no special cables, Oz press of Herbie Hancock Round Midnight

Second source: Surface pro + DAC playing the same album on Tidal HD  Master settings with an unbranded 3.5mm Stereo to Dual RCA Audio Adapter Cable

Same amplifier: Yamaha CA 610

 

Maybe the cable from the DAC to the amp didn't help but I'm not using nothing fancy on my table either and the lp is 1986 CBS Oz press so nothing fancy either

 

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It could be a simple as different mastering. It's very hard to compare across formats for this reason alone.

As an example, I find my old LRB LPs absolutely kill the same albums on Spotify. I have a couple of other LPs and corresponding digital file from the same master....and the difference is negligible.

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Suggest the following:

  • Agree with @Ugly that it could be a mastering difference.  Suggest comparing other recordings.
  • Check that Tidal settings based on this  (I don't use Tidal)
  • Try another usb cable, better still borrow an audiophile usb cable

 

Edited by Snoopy8
Typo

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Thanks guys,

I believe the usb DAC is just ok, Tidal settings are fine, I believe that if I want something that will blow up my mind I'll need to get something better, anyway I made a couple of videos that shows how it plays on my rig

 

 

 

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22 hours ago, hlov said:

 I believe that if I want something that will blow up my mind I'll need to get something better,

Yes, you will. A USB powered DAC isn't likely to blow anyone's mind. A very nice DAC needs very good power supplies.

 

Either the Pioneer N-50k or N-50A is a streamer and USB DAC and they both sound excellent. 

They have no nasty digital artifacts to the sound, no sibilance, and have great clarity across all frequencies and render complex passages without congestion.

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The Ultrasound NAOS seems like it could be a rebrand of the Cyrus soundkey.

You might have better luck with another Dac if you want to run Speakers as it looks to be mainly for headphones.

Some of the current Topping Dacs are getting great reviews.

 

Inside the Cyrus

Clean_Top_view_soundKey-2000x1335.jpg

 

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Only you will know what can or can't blow YOUR mind. I'd just start with a Dragonfly Red. Use that as your baseline and work up from there if necessary.

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