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o2so

Streamers with no DAC: worth it?

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2 hours ago, o2so said:

this looks more like what I was after, thanks!

 

John covers many of the potential technical mechanisms involved. Showing all of this at the analogue output of a DAC (measurements) is much more difficult.

 

But if you send those 3 links to the designer/s of your own DAC/s, there is a high chance they will agree with everything John is saying there, in terms of potential technical mechanisms at play. Unless they say their DACs are immune to all the issues discussed.

 

It may be worth asking them (the designer/s of your DAC/s) for their thoughts.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Bunno77 said:

Have you looked at the teddy pardo psu for your ndx? 

I did try the Naim XPS DR and to be honest did not like the end result so didn’t go down the psu route again. Although I have experience with an external PSU and the benefits it brings.

That may change in the future 

 Neo

Edited by Neo

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Posted (edited)

Definitely not what OP really wanted, but slightly relevant. I’m a firm believer in one piece of equipment for one task. A jack of all trades cannot perform to the level of an expert in the specific trade IMHO

Edited by awayward

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4 hours ago, Bunno77 said:

Jitter, timing/clocking, noise, leakage, functionality 

Yes. The beauty of digital though is that these things (leaving out functionality for a moment) only matter at the time and location of D/A conversion. Unlike with an analog signal, it doesn't matter whether the bits have travelled far, over slow, fast, optical or radio links, have been stored to disk or buffered in RAM – as long as they don't get lost in transit (in which case they will usually be resent) they will always be as fresh and authentic as when they were conceived. Jitter, timing, noise, etc. are not properties of the digital bit stream, they are properties of the environment in which the DAC operates.

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58 minutes ago, Steffen said:

 

 

Yes. The beauty of digital though is that these things (leaving out functionality for a moment) only matter at the time and location of D/A conversion. Unlike with an analog signal, it doesn't matter whether the bits have travelled far, over slow, fast, optical or radio links, have been stored to disk or buffered in RAM – as long as they don't get lost in transit (in which case they will usually be resent) they will always be as fresh and authentic as when they were conceived. Jitter, timing, noise, etc. are not properties of the digital bit stream, they are properties of the environment in which the DAC operates.

I could be wrong but I don't believe that to be entirely true as in Sean's links above

 

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, Bunno77 said:

I could be wrong but I don't believe that to be entirely true as in Sean's links above

 

Assuming bit perfect transfer to the DAC input/s, the potential technical mechanisms that John discusses all play out at D-to-A conversion, so @Steffen has that right.

 

The ground plane noise John talks about is of interest in the D-to-A stage.

 

For example, I'm listening to Tidal now and not concerned with ground plane noise in the Tidal servers overseas. As long as the FLAC bits are getting to my DAC input bit perfectly.

 

But the interesting stuff John discusses, beyond just 'bits are bits'  (potentially) comes into play in my DAC.

 

I recommend a careful read of all 3 parts, if anyone is interested.

Edited by rand129678
Typo

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48 minutes ago, rand129678 said:

Assuming bit perfect transfer to the DAC input/s, the potential technical mechanisms that John discusses all play out at D-to-A conversion, so @Steffen has that right.

 

The ground plane noise John talks about is of interest in the D-to-A stage.

 

For example, I'm listening to Tidal now and not concerned with ground plane noise in the Tidal servers overseas. As long as the FLAC bits are getting to my DAC input bit perfectly.

 

But the interesting stuff John discusses, beyond just 'bits are bits'  (potentially) comes into play in my DAC.

 

I recommend a careful read of all 3 parts, if anyone is interested.

haha I didn't look but have read them in the past. I remember seeing measurements of jitter and timing errors somewhere and assumed it was there. I am sorry

 

 

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Bunno77 said:

I am sorry

Ha. Absolutely no need to apologise for anything at all. This is all just fun and friendly discussion. Nothing too serious at all.

Edited by rand129678
Typo

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, rand129678 said:

Ha. Absolutely no need to apologise for anything at all. This is all just fun and friendly discussion. Nothing too serious at all.

haha I shouldn't talk rubbish. I don't save all the info or find the info I have read before to back it up either.

 

I remember a distributor talking about toslink too and how the digital conversion can go wrong there. It is all interesting but most of it is easy to hear the difference. Has been with a lot of the gear I have used 

Edited by Bunno77
.

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Toslink and even coax transport-to-DAC links can be riddled with issues, because they often feed the bit stream – in real-time! – straight into the DAC, so things like timing jitter, pulse width and edge rise times come to bear in full force. This is because D/A conversion is an entirely analog process, with the analog quantity being the time between pulse edges. The data stream, that was impervious to considerations like this, suddenly becomes an analog signal upon hitting the DAC.

 

The only way to control this is for the DAC to store a sufficient number of words (16 bits, 24 bits or whatever it operates on) ahead of time in its own buffer, and fetch them from there for conversion to the beat of its own clock signal. This will diminish any timing and edge rise issues that the bit stream may have suffered during transmission to the DAC. Oh, and as the cited articles mention, it needs its own pristine power supply, away from the nasties of any digital circuitry, because in order to synthesise analog output voltages it must rely on a stable reference voltage.

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18 hours ago, awayward said:

Definitely not what OP really wanted, but slightly relevant. I’m a firm believer in one piece of equipment for one task. A jack of all trades cannot perform to the level of an expert in the specific trade IMHO

I had 6 in the chain: streamer + PSU, USB regen + PSU, DAC + PSU. Could have gotten even more e.g. dedicated network switch, external clocks etc.  The complexity & expense of the setup drove me to simplify. 

 

Hence my earlier statement that, in hindsight, I should have gotten a high end all in one....

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Posted (edited)
On 15/08/2019 at 2:00 PM, o2so said:

I would like to know if, how and why expensive streamers that do NOT incorporate a DAC can improve (or even affect in any way) sound quality.

 

A post by one of the better DAC designers on the planet (see 3rd party measurements of his Dave and Qutest DACs for example).

 

This is very much in line with the John Swenson links I shared earlier. It all comes back to ground plane noise potentially affecting the analogue electronics, as Rob mentions.

 

image.thumb.png.4ede0ca2385531b37077848f1e5f8c26.png

Edited by rand129678

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2 hours ago, rand129678 said:

 

A post by one of the better DAC designers on the planet (see 3rd party measurements of his Dave and Qutest DACs for example).

 

This is very much in line with the John Swenson links I shared earlier. It all comes back to ground plane noise potentially affecting the analogue electronics, as Rob mentions.

 

image.thumb.png.4ede0ca2385531b37077848f1e5f8c26.png

Interesting however this looks like it refers to DAC, not digital streamers

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, o2so said:

Interesting however this looks like it refers to DAC, not digital streamers

 

The very opening words are "the reasons why sources and digital interconnects sound different". And then he gives his nutshell explanation.

 

Streamers are sources.

 

You do have to read through all this stuff very carefully, to see how it all links together (if you're interested in this stuff).

 

Especially John Swenson's 3 part interview I linked. I think I had to read over it 3 times and I'm sure if I read it again now I'd pick up something I missed previous times.

 

So it's all linked and comes back to the ground plane noise John Swenson discusses.

 

As I mentioned in a previous post, when I'm listening to Tidal I don't care about ground plane noise in their overseas servers. But streamers (sources) are typically electrically coupled to your DAC... Unless you have a streamer with optical output.

 

Edited by rand129678
Added more info

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1 hour ago, rand129678 said:

 

The very opening words are "the reasons why sources and digital interconnects sound different". And then he gives his nutshell explanation.

 

Streamers are sources.

 

You do have to read through all this stuff very carefully, to see how it all links together (if you're interested in this stuff).

 

Especially John Swenson's 3 part interview I linked. I think I had to read over it 3 times and I'm sure if I read it again now I'd pick up something I missed previous times.

 

So it's all linked and comes back to the ground plane noise John Swenson discusses.

 

As I mentioned in a previous post, when I'm listening to Tidal I don't care about ground plane noise in their overseas servers. But streamers (sources) are typically electrically coupled to your DAC... Unless you have a streamer with optical output.

 

apologies, I missed it

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On 15/08/2019 at 2:00 PM, o2so said:

So how can something expensive be more perfect than bit perfect?

"Bit perfect" is sufficient for digital to digital communication.

 

For digital to analogue conversion .... the entire digital signal waveform  (not just whether it is 01010111 in the right order)  becomes critical.

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