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I'm deaf, I can't hear the difference b/w a $5 and $70,000 power cord. But I think we went off track on the already offtopic discussion that wasn't mostly about the D90.

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Silly me! just noticed this thread headed Topping D90 with 14 pages of comments, so I thought excellent, this will be a good read with lots of comparisons of the new D90 to other DACS in various price

Two user reviews in a couple of weeks appear to have killed the thread, usually this is where things really ramp up.   proof that most people in the thread would rather speculate and try to

That's not true. That's also not true. Measurements give a good guide to what gear will sound bad. If a DAC measures well it will not have a unique "sound". It will simply provide acc

16 minutes ago, rocky500 said:

Must just be different systems, personal preference.

I do not really enjoy the Topping D50 dac I have but love listening to my Holo Spring Dac.

I was hoping after reading early SSZ comments about his experience I could sell my Holo Dac and bought the D50. Quite a bit of money I could save.

 

Not the case for me as the Holo is so much better the the D50. I just can not connect to the music like I can with the Holo.

With the topping I find I am listening to system and want to change settings, amps etc as something is not right, while the Holo, I forget about the system and just thoroughly enjoy my music. 

This is where I'm at. I don't enjoy the music as much though the D90...but then I'm thinking, do I simply take issue with hearing the music more as it is on the disc, as opposed it being massaged for audiophile ears.

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Nothing ever much surprises me now when it comes to Hi-fi and what expensive bit of gear should sound great and doesn't and what cheapo bit of gear that should sound ordinary ends up sounding excellent.

 

From my experiences, which I admit are limited compared to many on here, in nearly every case from what I have found what new bit of gear sounds good with what other bit of gear comes down to synergy. Just bolting what is considered to be top end gear together is no assurance of a grade A sounding system, especially once the effect of the room is taken into allowance.

 

If a $100 DAC sounds better than a $3k DAC in Zingmores system, then lucky him, however my guess is there more than likely is some other component in the system that was holding back his $3k DAC in the first place.

 

Do measurements mean anything to me? Nope not really, I have little to no idea of what I'm looking at and to be frank I have little interest in finding out, again because I would rather use the system of trial and error to see how each component interacts with the rest of the system, anyway that works for me and I'm happy with doing it that way. If others would rather bolt a system together based on recommendations based on someone else's measurements without doing back to back testing for themselves then go for it.

However this whole graph and measurement thing fell in a screaming heap for me when George, who is a graph and measurements guy quoted from  graphs extensively for a number of years both here on other forums around the globe, that he said proved the PrimaLuna amp I and many others owned had all these major distortion problems which made them sound harsh blah blah blah, even though many owners said they never experienced what he was talking about, then only to later find out when someone did some research that he was quoting graphs to back up his arguments that were from a different older low end model amp all together. Imagine how many newbies or people who couldn't try before they buy who were considering buying one of those PL amps were turned off by that misinformation?

 

So for me personally I'm happy to start off with subjective reviews from punters about new gear and then if what I read sparks interest and its within my finance zone then I will find out for myself how a component actually sounds when introduced in to my system. So I'm looking forward to reading about more first hand experience with the D90.

 

cheers,

Terry

 

 

Edited by TerryO
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41 minutes ago, lordcloud said:

This is where I'm at. I don't enjoy the music as much though the D90...but then I'm thinking, do I simply take issue with hearing the music more as it is on the disc, as opposed it being massaged for audiophile ears.

Going back to what I said earlier - if you look at how music is recorded and mixed to disc, you'll see it bears zero resemblance to an ensemble performing the music in the flesh. The recreation of live music, instruments, and vocalists, in your listening room is nothing but artifice. That's not a bad thing in the end, as I don't want to recreate hearing multiple microphones of close mic'ed instruments, fake left to right and depth imaging added, tonal balance adjustment to taste, and fake echo, in a virtually soundproof room.

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1 hour ago, lordcloud said:

I'm interested in your opinion.

 

What were the things you preferred that made you stick with the Topping? Particularly over the Holo? I'm considering the May if the Topping doesn't work for me.

Again my opinion will not be considered valid because of something like the below comment…...

3 minutes ago, TerryO said:

there more than likely is some other component in the system that was holding back his $3k DAC in the first place.

 

However, notwithstanding that opinions only seem to count when they report night and day differences or use fancy audiophile terms, there was nothing that I preferred about the Topping. That was the point… .there was nothing that I preferred about the other DACs either.. they were pretty much indistinguishable once level matched

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25 minutes ago, TerryO said:

However this whole graph and measurement thing fell in a screaming heap for me when George, who is a graph and measurements guy quoted from  graphs extensively for a number of years both here on other forums around the globe, that he said proved the PrimaLuna amp I and many others owned had all these major distortion problems which made them sound harsh blah blah blah, even though many owners said they never experienced what he was talking about, then only to then find out when someone did some research that he was quoting graphs to back up his arguments that were from a different older low end model amp all together. Imagine how many newbies or people who couldn't try before they buy who were considering buying one of those PL amps were turned off by that misinformation?

In the end, his complaint was that valve amps, and in particular the PL amp he chose to pick on, acted like "tone controls" because of their relatively high output impedance. Given a good valve amp is likely to be less than +/- 1dB over the meaningful audible range with a realistic speaker load, and even a great speaker in a real world room can have frequency response fluctuations of up to 15dB, it's nonsensical to pick on that aspect and then hold it up against a $20k Boulder power amplifier that had a perfectly flat frequency response. Like all other measurements, frequency response can only be of limited use. If it still sounds good despite fluctuations with speaker impedance load frequency response dips and peaks, then it still sounds good! End of story.

Edited by Ittaku
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2 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

Again my opinion will not be considered valid because of something like the below comment…...

 

However, notwithstanding that opinions only seem to count when they report night and day differences or use fancy audiophile terms, there was nothing that I preferred about the Topping. That was the point… .there was nothing that I preferred about the other DACs either.. they were pretty much indistinguishable once level matched

Sorry and no disrespect intended Trev but what you keep saying about DACS making little difference in your system if anything reinforces to me that maybe something in your system is holding it back.

 

cheers,

Terry

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9 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

In the end, his complaint was that valve amps, and in particular the PL amp he chose to pick on, acted like "tone controls" because of their relatively high output impedance. Given a good valve amp is likely to be less than +/- 1dB over the meaningful audible range with a realistic speaker load, and even a great speaker in a real world room can have frequency response fluctuations of up to 15dB, it's nonsensical to pick on that aspect and then hold it up against a $20k Boulder power amplifier that had a perfectly flat frequency response. Like all other measurements, frequency response can only be of limited use. If it still sounds good despite fluctuations with speaker impedance load frequency response dips and peaks, then it still sounds good! End of story.

Sorry Con but what has any of the above to do with quoting repeatedly from the wrong graph to prove ones argument when talking down about a particular amplifier?

 

cheers,

Terry

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1 minute ago, TerryO said:

Sorry Con but what has any of the above to do with quoting repeatedly from the wrong graph to prove ones argument when talking down about a particular amplifier?

That even if he was quoting the right amplifier, it still wouldn't have mattered?

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2 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

That even if he was quoting the right amplifier, it still wouldn't have mattered?

Come on Con George used to comment on just about every PrimaLuna Dialogue Integrated thread on any hifi forum anywhere on the globe using the incorrect graph as proof of why the PrimaLuna wasn't a good bit of gear. When repeatedly asked on these different forums if he had heard one, he said no he didn't have to because he had seen the graph. Only problem with that argument was it was the wrong graph. 

 

Maybe we should leave it there.

 

cheers,

Terry

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Just now, TerryO said:

Come on Con George used to comment on just about every PrimaLuna Dialogue Integrated thread on any hifi forum anywhere on the globe using the incorrect graph as proof of why the PrimaLuna wasn't a good bit of gear. When repeatedly asked on these different forums if he had heard one, he said no he didn't have to because he had seen the graph. Only problem with that argument was it was the wrong graph

Damn straight.

 

If one lives by the sword then one must be prepared to die by the sword and this is proof positive that when one becomes dogmatic, their credibility soon diminishes.

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26 minutes ago, TerryO said:

Sorry and no disrespect intended Trev but what you keep saying about DACS making little difference in your system if anything reinforces to me that maybe something in your system is holding it back.

 

cheers,

Terry

 

Your attempts to explain away my experience are making you sound like one of those “measurements” types :) :) 
 


 

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Just now, sir sanders zingmore said:

 

Your attempts to explain away my experience are making you sound like one of those “measurements” types :) :) 
 


 

Lol ... hardly more like one of those confused types if anything. ... 😉

 

cheers,

Terry

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1 minute ago, TerryO said:

Lol ... hardly more like one of those confused types if anything. ... 😉

Come on, you build your own electronics don't you? You likely know more about measurements than the rest of us combined.

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51 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

Come on, you build your own electronics don't you? You likely know more about measurements than the rest of us combined.

Con, I wish, I'm a plumber by trade, well at least I used to be in a long past life, what I know about building electronics guarantees that I will remain one of those dreaded subjective types forever. ... 😉

 

cheers,

Terry 

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7 minutes ago, TerryO said:

Con, I wish, I'm a plumber by trade, well at least I used to be in a long past life, what I know about building electronics guarantees that I will remain one of those subjective types forever. ... 😉

Doesn't mean anything. None of my qualifications are related to audio engineering either, but I've done extensive reading and self-education in the area. In the modern world, I don't assume anyone knows, or does not know, something based on their qualifications or trade.

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2 hours ago, TerryO said:

Sorry and no disrespect intended Trev but what you keep saying about DACS making little difference in your system if anything reinforces to me that maybe something in your system is holding it back.

 

cheers,

Terry

 

If I can try and expand on my thoughts on this a little more Sir Sanders.

 

In my system I tend to use tube rolling as a way of altering colouration and SQ like many others try different DACS to achieve the same goal.

 

Anyway the reason I made the above quoted comment in relation to your system is related to an experience I had once, I have around fifteen different pairs of mainly NOS 12au7's that I roll in my PrimaLuna Integrated depending on what genre of music I'm listening to, the difference in tonality and colouration can be quite large depending on what 12au7 tubes I fit to the two centre positions.

 

Another member of this forum has the same amplifier as I and I told him of how fine you can tune these PL amps by changing the two centre 12au7's so he invited me over to try them out on his system. Now I have VA box speakers which are quite detailed in their sound presentation and he had ML Summit electrostatic speakers which are not so detailed and the thing is I tried, from memory, 8 of the most different sounding 12au7's I own in his PL amp and the difference in SQ was nada. No matter what tubes I fitted to his PL amp his system sounded exactly the same, plus we were playing records so there was no other electronics to interfere in the process. 

In the end we decided that the ML's for what ever reason didn't respond to the different sq coming out of his amp, so that is why I thought there may be a chance that something else in your system might be doing the same no matter what DAC you install.

 

Anyway just a thought.

 

cheers,

Terry

* Edit ... actually my bad, his system did sound lightly different when I fitted one pair of NOS 12au7's, with the Tilburgs fitted it actually sounded a little harsher than the rest.

Edited by TerryO
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19 minutes ago, Gieseler Audio said:

Hey guys I know Terry rather well & have been to his place but but I almost fell of my chair when Con mentioned him building stuff.

I don't think he could change a fuse - ha ha

Whats a fuse?

 

cheers,

Terry

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System can be one factor, and another is the listener as much as most of us don't like to consider this, I used to do changes when different friends visited, and everyone of them tended to perceive the changes more or less, sometimes profoundly with some barely noticing any differences.

 

We as the system owner do usually tend to notice more as we are intimate with the sound of it.

 

Lots of variables in this crazy hobby.

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2 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

So we’ve had both of the classic cliches: “system not resolving enough” and “hearing not good enough”.

You guys are on a roll

You missed your classic one

They all sound the same. :)

 

Edited by rocky500
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1 minute ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

So we’ve had both of the classic cliches: “system not resolving enough” and “hearing not good enough”.

You guys are on a roll

C'mon Trev. It wouldn't be an SNA thread without cliches, off topic posts, tangential discussion and sub V ob .:sorcerer:

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Ordered a D90 yesterday. I suspect it wont be sent until March 1st even though I ordered a non MQA one.

 

Probably wont review it since they all sound the same 😎 haha, sorry just had to after reading the prior pages.

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1 hour ago, Gieseler Audio said:

Hey guys I know Terry rather well & have been to his place but but I almost fell of my chair when Con mentioned him building stuff.

I don't think he could change a fuse - ha ha

Haha my bad. I must be confusing him with someone else.

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19 hours ago, lordcloud said:

It's not the volume levels. I didn't match the volumes exactly, but it's definitely not there volume levels. The two DACs sound different.

 

I was incredibly excited to get the D90, as my goal is to move away from tubes and towards a more accurate, revealing sound. I don't think the Pagoda is incredibly inaccurate, however the sound will inevitably change as the tubes age, and I don't use readily available tubes in the first place.

 

I want to love the D90, and I expected to. But based on the first few days I'm not so sure. 

I would use it for a 2-3 weeks and not compare again till then. Either it will burn in, or your head/perception will burn in (or both) and it will sound better to you. Then compare and see if your reaction is the same. 

When we get something new and compare we listen intently, and that very act changes our perception- our brains interpret sound differently in that scenario.  Get used to the DAC and then do a more relaxed comparison, and see what you think then. I'm betting the differences between the DACs will seem much smaller. 

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1 hour ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

So we’ve had both of the classic cliches: “system not resolving enough” and “hearing not good enough”.

You guys are on a roll

So you believe neither of those things true?

 

Edit: I'll add that neither are how you put it, It's not hearing, it's perception...what the brain does with the information gathered via hearing.

And not resolving is not how I would put it, but this is a very prickly one to define but differences can be masked in a sense by some components IMO.

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6 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

Apparently my opinion counts for nothing because I'm in the "measurement brigade" (boo hiss) but I have gone from "very good" DACs to the D10.

I compared the D10 to a Resonnessence Invicta DAC and a Holo Springs top of the line DAC. Both are considered to be excellent implementations of their very different design philosophy (Invicta is made by the people who designed the sabre DAC and the Holo is a R2R DAC).

 

The Invicta and the Holo have been replaced by the D10

 

I've also heard (not in my system) the D10 against an upgraded Meitner DAC and a Chord Hugo. 

Sorry for going off topic here

I think it might be something along the lines of how are brains have been wired when listening to music over many years.

You might find connection to the music with a cheap dac and a Class D amp when someone else might find it sounds off to them.

 

I think you posted a while back listening between a very good Tube amp and class D amp and different Dacs, you did not hear a difference or it was so small it did not matter to you. While others it possibly would be quite big or at least make them want to listen to one and not the other for enjoyment.

For me it has been the small differences that has enable my system to fall into place, where now I finally can just sit back and listen and enjoy the music without thinking of changing something.

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14 minutes ago, muon* said:

So you believe neither of those things true?

It’s not really relevant. 
People are regularly pilloried on SNA when they have an opinion on a piece of equipment they haven’t heard. 
And then when someone offers their opinion on something they have heard it’s only valid if it confirms the consensus. Otherwise it’s because of <insert cliche here>

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Not relevant? it was to the discussion, not really different to how you were offering suggestions why one member heard a difference between the D90 and another DAC, I see little differences in relevance between the two lines of thought in the context of the discussion.

 

*shrug*

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Well I think you've handled it all with great humour and class, Trevor - even if I do wonder what it is you're hearing when listening to the Topping D10. From memory you have an excellent system around it. And like the D30, the D10 is great for the price. And I have a friend with a great sounding system downstream of a similarly modest DAC - the Benchmark DAC-1. It really sounds excellent, with better tonality and synergy than many mega-buck systems I've heard.

 

I guess my criticism of you anointing a D10 over $3K DACs etc is a reaction against ASR's ardent promotion of the D10 as a wunderbahr DAC and a wunderkind USB-SPDIF converter. This recommendation is based solely on noise and distortion measurements. I find ASR irresponsible because many new or inexperienced hi-fi-ers will be drawn in by this. 

 

Apropos of this thread: a tenfold jump in price from a D10 to a D90 implies a pretty significant jump in sound quality. I remain sceptical. 

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2 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

Please don’t put words in my mouth. If you read what I said you’ll see that I was suggesting that differences were possible but it makes sense to eliminate those caused by volume difference.

 

Ok, leave it there and I was not puting words in your mouth and you know it.

 

Bye.

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45 minutes ago, was_a said:

 

 

I guess my criticism of you anointing a D10 over $3K DACs etc is a reaction against ASR's ardent promotion of the D10 as a wunderbahr DAC and a wunderkind USB-SPDIF converter. This recommendation is based solely on noise and distortion measurements. I find ASR irresponsible because many new or inexperienced hi-fi-ers will be drawn in by this. 

 

Apropos of this thread: a tenfold jump in price from a D10 to a D90 implies a pretty significant jump in sound quality. I remain sceptical. 

I’m not overly keen on ASR but I think it definitely serves a purpose for those getting into Hifi, they can find items like the D10 that perform well above what the price tag suggests. They can then spend money on things that I believe make more difference like speakers.

The D90 is still fairly reasonably priced in the scheme of things. Do you think a 3k dac with better power supplies is going to sound 3 times better?

I personally don’t think it would, yes It might sound better but I think those differences would be fairly subtle.

 

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3 hours ago, firedog said:

I would use it for a 2-3 weeks and not compare again till then. Either it will burn in, or your head/perception will burn in (or both) and it will sound better to you. Then compare and see if your reaction is the same. 

When we get something new and compare we listen intently, and that very act changes our perception- our brains interpret sound differently in that scenario.  Get used to the DAC and then do a more relaxed comparison, and see what you think then. I'm betting the differences between the DACs will seem much smaller. 

We can acclimate to almost anything. That's the opposite of what I want to do though. I'm not really interested in being ok with something that doesn't sound as good because I've gotten used to the sound. I'm wanting to stick with what is actually a more transparent (to the best of my knowledge) DAC.

 

I'm hoping burn in plays a role and the D90 just sounds better after a week or so. 

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I agree with firedog that it takes time and a relaxed listening scenario to get a proper handle on a DAC. But I disagree that the differences between DACs will seem much smaller... They'll seem larger, I believe. I also don't believe our ears 'acclimatise' to source components, despite what the 'It's Placebo' or 'Burn-in Don't Exist' folks tell us. Average sound is average sound and if anything, a so-so DAC will become more annoying or fatiguing over time. Such epiphanies have occasionally come to me during 'non-listening' sessions with background music, when subliminally I realised the sound wasn't good.

 

Ultimately to assess a DAC we need good references for comparison, preferably in situ and from different price-points. Of course, many of us have long experience in assessing components and will have built up a broad range of memories to draw on as well. This goes hand in hand with assessing a DAC's specs and recognising the effects on sound quality.

 

And DACs need to be auditioned with a wide variety of musical genres, particularly acoustic music. I don't know how often I read reviews with reference albums that are all studio-produced / eq-d!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by was_a
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