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1 hour ago, o2so said:

This is not my argument, sorry if I was not clear. My argument is that the more transparent a component is, the better it measures. This is logic when you consider how distortion measurements are undertaken. A signal is inputted in the system, and what comes out of the system in response to that input is measured. The extent to which input and output differ is the system distortion.  

You've polished up your argument, but it's still the Theory Of Fallibility i.e.😀 Distortion is relative to transparency.

 

 

Edited by was_a

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2 hours ago, Ozcall said:

So! we are back in the 1970's again where measurements are the only thing that need to be assessed when purchasing audio equipment :)

Who said this?

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1 hour ago, was_a said:

You've polished up your argument, but it's still the Theory Of Fallibility i.e.😀 Distortion is relative to transparency.

 

 

Not quite sure I am following you. My understanding is that distortion is defined pretty much as the opposite of transparency. So if you measure distortion, you measure transparency. If you think I am incorrect please explain why. 

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I'm taking issue with your definition of transparency. I really don't know how to make myself clearer (no pun intended...!).

 

To describe a DAC as being 'transparent' because it has low distortion measurements is simplistic. 

 

 

 

Edited by was_a

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2 minutes ago, was_a said:

I'm taking issue with your definition of transparency. 

Oh that's it then. To me transparency is what goes in, comes out unaltered. If you have a different definition then this has been a pointless dialogue 

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Unaltered! You'd best listen to the master-tape before making such declarations! 

 

I mean, seriously, you think it's easy for a DAC to produce an analogue signal that's transparent to the source?

 

You live in dreamland. Why do you think most audiophiles try many DACs until they're reasonably pleased with the sound quality?

 

If only it were as simple as your idea, but it's just not the case.

 

 

 

 

Edited by was_a

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6 minutes ago, was_a said:

Unaltered! You'd best listen to the master-tape before making such declarations! 

 

I mean, seriously, you think it's easy for a DAC to produce an analogue signal that's transparent to the source?

 

You live in dreamland. Why do you think most audiophiles try many DACs until they're reasonably pleased with the sound quality?

 

If only it were as simple as your idea, but it's just not the case.

 

 

 

 

Not transparent to what was happening in the studio during the recording session. Transparent to what was recorded. Transparent to what enters the DAC, whatever that is. 

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I'm sorry, but I don't understand. The replay chain is complex, but the digital track, or audio file, is as close to the master as the studio engineer can make it. 

 

A good DAC will reproduce the sound that was on the master as transparently as possible. 

 

If you know a recording well and have heard it reproduced in high-quality systems - particularly an analogue one - then that becomes a good reference for a domestic DAC's performance.

 

I must add that the transport - disc spinner or server/streamer - plays a vital role in this. Simply talking about a DAC in isolation is only a partial picture.

 

This is why I take issue with forums blindly following measurements in the belief that this is a good indicator of sound quality.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by was_a

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5 minutes ago, was_a said:

I'm sorry, but I don't understand. The replay chain is complex, but the digital track, or audio file, is as close to the master as the studio engineer can make it. 

 

A good DAC will reproduce the sound that was on the master as transparently as possible. 

 

If you know a recording well and have heard it reproduced in high-quality systems - particularly an analogue one - then that becomes a good reference for a domestic DAC's performance.

 

I must add that the transport - disc spinner or server/streamer - plays a vital role in this. Simply talking about a DAC in isolation is only a partial picture.

 

This is why I take issue with forums blindly following measurements in the belief that this is a good indicator of sound quality.

 

 

 

 

 

To me a transparent component does not introduce artifacts of its own. This can be measured but you seem to think it cannot, or not entirely.  Which I guess is where all sub vs obj debates end up. 

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14 hours ago, was_a said:

 

I mean, seriously, you think it's easy for a DAC to produce an analogue signal that's transparent to the source?

 

Of course it's not easy but it's certainly not hard nowadays. Many manufacturers have achieved audibly transparent DAC designs in the last few years using solid engineering principles. These DACs measure well. The Topping D90 is such a DAC.

 

Modern DACs are measurably the most transparent components in our systems. They are far more transparent (not contributing a "sound" to the audio chain) than amplifiers, speakers, analog sources and our rooms.

 

I get the impression you are confusing what sounds good to you with what is transparent. There's nothing wrong with that from a personal perspective but it's hardly a reproducible result that can guide a person who is considering buying a new DAC. 

 

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Guest Muon N'

Detail used to be on the top of my list, that ultimate transparency, that was until I arrived and found I was missing for me more important aspects of the music, for me transparent is fine but without great tonaity and layering of individual notes with a weight and realism to the music I have failed to get what I enjoy in the music.

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38 minutes ago, Muon N' said:

Detail used to be on the top of my list, that ultimate transparency, that was until I arrived and found I was missing for me more important aspects of the music, for me transparent is fine but without great tonaity and layering of individual notes with a weight and realism to the music I have failed to get what I enjoy in the music.

My take is that if the features you mention are not in the recording, they cannot be generated by the audio chain. So, in my humble opinion, your best take to achieve what you want is to have a system as transparent to the recording as possible, good recordings, and a measured/corrected speaker/room interaction.

 

I will reiterate that "transparent" to me does not mean "detailed" or "clinical". It means lack of coloration. You can then modify the sound signature to your taste using speakers/ room treatment/ DSP, if you like. At least that way one has more control on the final results.

Edited by o2so

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2 hours ago, a.dent said:

Of course it's not easy but it's certainly not hard nowadays. Many manufacturers have achieved audibly transparent DAC designs in the last few years using solid engineering principles. These DACs measure well. The Topping D90 is such a DAC.

 

Modern DACs are measurably the most transparent components in our systems. They are far more transparent (not contributing a "sound" to the audio chain) than amplifiers, speakers, analog sources and our rooms.

 

I get the impression you are confusing what sounds good to you with what is transparent. There's nothing wrong with that from a personal perspective but it's hardly a reproducible result that can guide a person who is considering buying a new DAC. 

 

Going back to the Topping D90, its measured performance is clearly  one of the best ever seen. I am not even sure there would be a point in having such an incredibly measuring DAC when I am not aware of many other audio chain components (amplifier or speaker) that could match a signal to noise and distortion  of 120 db.

At that level there are other factors for me coming into play, such as customer care support and cost.

Edited by o2so

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Guest Muon N'
17 minutes ago, o2so said:

My take is that if the features you mention are not in the recording, they cannot be generated by the audio chain. So, in my humble opinion, your best take to achieve what you want is to have a system as transparent to the recording as possible, good recordings, and a measured/corrected speaker/room interaction.

 

I will reiterate that "transparent" to me does not mean "detailed" or "clinical". It means lack of coloration. You can then modify the sound signature to your taste using speakers/ room treatment/ DSP, if you like. At least that way one has more control on the final results.

Good luck avoiding coloration, It's there with  every part of the chain and circuit, the best you will get is something you might personally perceive as having no coloration.

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1 minute ago, Muon N' said:

Good luck avoiding coloration, It's there with  every part of the chain and circuit, the best you will get is something you might personally perceive as having no coloration.

Well one more reason to opt for components with low distortion, low noise, low output impedance and good linearity (in other words, components that measure well)

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Guest Muon N'
5 minutes ago, o2so said:

Well one more reason to opt for components with low distortion, low noise, low output impedance and good linearity (in other words, components that measure well)

Good on ya' :lol:

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I realise that nothing is going to change the Good Measurements = Transparency believers. They will continue to put their faith in sine wave charts to choose their dream DACs, comforted in the belief that a sterile, thin-sounding dynamically challenged source has no 'colouration'. 

 

I put it to you that the source is the most important part of the chain, because what goes in, comes out, no matter how good the amplification and transducer.

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2 hours ago, was_a said:

I realise that nothing is going to change the Good Measurements = Transparency believers. They will continue to put their faith in sine wave charts to choose their dream DACs, comforted in the belief that a sterile, thin-sounding dynamically challenged source has no 'colouration'. 

 

I put it to you that the source is the most important part of the chain, because what goes in, comes out, no matter how good the amplification and transducer.

If I have to put my faith in something I will certainly choose repeated measurements and several ABX test results over a bunch of   audiophyle myths or uncontrolled subjective listening sessions, knowing how demonstrably biased these can be. But I do not have to put my faith in anything, so I did my ABX tests myself. Matched volume, friend swapping components and all. This is my experience and it is fine for someone else to have a different opinion, as long as it is presented politely. 

Edited by o2so

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Point taken! I apologise if I was impolite. I do think about and learn from most opinions expressed on SNA

 

I think I get...frustrated when important attributes in a DAC are confined to sine wave charts. Because this is misleading, in my opinion, and doesn't serve newcomers to our hobby.

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I actually have one; received it this morning. 
My main dac is a Metrum Pavane which is fantastic but slightly sleepy, also have a Border Patrol and they all perform very good with my headphones(HD800S, SR009S, SR007 and various Audeze) and amps( KGST, KGSS, Woo WA22, HDV820 and Hifiman EF6) but I always wanted a more holographic soundstage and Instrument/vocals layering.

And at the moment the D90 does just that...relaxed sound with effortless  extension up and down, warmish but ultra clear as in good body with faultless resolution.

The holographic aspect is quite stunning with instruments and voices presented around me and deep into the soundstage...as they say like being in the room with the artist.

Not regretting the purchase and possibly going to sell the Pavane.

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@silversurfer I am curious. On Norah Jones - Sunrise the top of her voice can seem like it has an edge on some equipment, can sound a little harsh. Can you try this song and tell us your thoughts? It might even be an issue with the mix, but i guess being able to deal with anything is a good attribute? what other music are you testing it with? Any acoustic?

 

Did you ever have the Topping D50 - how'd is compare to that?

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I mainly listen to singer/songwriter, so it is mostly acoustic...Neil Young, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell etc.

Jones‘ voice on Sunrise seems to have a slight edge, also the piano is loose sounding and I think that’s the recording.

No experience with other Topping products...in my audiophile arrogance I never really cared much for cheaper gear.

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2 hours ago, silversurfer said:

 

No experience with other Topping products...in my audiophile arrogance I never really cared much for cheaper gear.

LOL

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Interestingly in some of their previous DAC headphone combos they had digital outs as well, allowing you to use them as both DACs and USB to SPDIF converters, which is how I use the DX7s that I have (both as a headphone system DAC and an SPDIF converter for my main system.) I'd be interested in a "DX9s" equivalent of the D90 if they brought one out since they're now using some nice low jitter (under 100fs) clocks in them as a replacement for my 7Xs.

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Are there any other thoughts on the D90? Particular vs other well known DAC's like the Directstream and Giesler's range of products.

 

If these units are really better than a Pavane or a Directsteam it's a simple decision and I'll buy one right now.

 

I have skimmed through a few threads on various Forums but subjective opinions or comparisons are few. For the most part the discussion seems to be focused on the how well the DAC measures and the dispute around measurements being meaningful. This is all par for the course on a forum but it's a pain to skim through 20 pages to find out very little as to what this actually sounds like.

Edited by kelossus

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