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peppy

DAC / Other Devices Blind Testing

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Posted (edited)

Was discussing on a WTB RME DAC thread about how people are saying new Schiit Modius is equal to or better than RME on DAC performance solely, not as a machine. As a machine RME wins all the time , is also 5 times the price of Schiit, so no surprises there.


Did a blind test with my mate of the gear him & me have. Here’s the subjective result (for you) , definitive for me.

 

Tested DACs:

  • Chord Hugo2
  • RME ADI 2 DAC V2
  • Audio-GD D27.38 (the DAC inside is a D77 DAC)

 

Tested using :

  • Auralic Taurus MK2 Amplifier
  • Sennheiser HD800s

 

Both me & my mate like different sound signatures. (he likes detailed but slight warmth, I like detailed, neutral).

 

Our perception when going into the testing v/s when we were done, was very different.

 

The result for our testing was:

 

TEST 1-

  1. RME DAC v2 v/s AGD D27.38 DAC

 

1st - Surprisingly AGD DAC  !!! 😮

2nd  - RME DAC 😱

 

 

TEST 2 -

  • RME DAC vs Hugo2 DAC

RME Winner 🤩

 

TEST 3 -

  • Hugo 2 DAC vs AGD27.38 DAC

AGD DAC Winner Again ! 🤐

 

TEST 4 -

  • RME vs Hugo 2 as all in one machine.

Hugo2 wins due to the better Amp & overall more punchy and enjoyable listening 🤫 (not considered features of RME)

 

 TEST 5 - Audio GD D27.38 vs Chord Hugo2 - All in one Machine

  • AGD D27.38 vs Hugo 2 as all in one machine.

Audio GD D27.38 wins due to the better overall sound signature, more detailed than Hugo and enjoyable listening 🤫. Predominantly as AGD Amp is very good. Its the Master -19 amp in the machine. (May be unfair as Audio GD D27.38 is a fully balanced dual dac setup with discrete balanced amp -- but nonetheless similar price range)

 

 

 

 

Have anyone of you tried such testing ? Keen to know your thoughts, findings, opinions. Any interesting learning or enlightened you came out of it ???

A True Blind Testing where the other person does not know what your are playing.

 

 

 

Edited by peppy

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Posted (edited)

I'm confused by the mixing of variables within single tests. For example If I read correctly, test one sometimes includes a Taurus (what is a Taurus BTW?) and sometimes doesn't.

 

And test 4: what does "based on audio quality only" mean?

 

EDIt: I've blind tested DACs many times and my results seem to annoy lots of people on SNA 

Edited by sir sanders zingmore

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

...test one sometimes includes a Taurus (what is a Taurus BTW?) and sometimes doesn't.

Obviously it's a star sign.

This week the Sun will be in Uranus and you'll hear more acutely than the lesser star signs.

Make the most of this heightened awareness by doing some DAC testing.

Later this week you may meet a dark and mysterious USB cable.

Edited by pwstereo
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Just now, pwstereo said:

Obviiously it's a star sign.

This week the Sun will be in Uranus and you'll hear more acutely than the lesser star signs.

Make the most of this heightened awareness by doing some DAC testing.

Later this week you may meet a dark and mysterious USB cable.

now that's just a load of bull …….. :)

 

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30 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

I'm confused by the mixing of variables within single tests. For example If I read correctly, test one sometimes includes a Taurus (what is a Taurus BTW?) and sometimes doesn't.

 

And test 4: what does "based on audio quality only" mean?

 

EDIt: I've blind tested DACs many times and my results seem to annoy lots of people on SNA 

Let me edit the post. Should make it clear. Taurus is Auralic Taurus Amp.

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12 minutes ago, peppy said:

Let me edit the post. Should make it clear. Taurus is Auralic Taurus Amp.

Ok, 

So in test 1: are you comparing DACS or amps? It's not clear as you don't use the same amp all the way and what happened to the Hugo?

In test 2 you seem to be comparing DACs (as you have the same amp) but you leave out the AudioGD

In test 3: same as test two but you leave out the RME?

 

And by this point I'm just confused …shrug...

 

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Just now, sir sanders zingmore said:

Ok, 

So in test 1: are you comparing DACS or amps? It's not clear as you don't use the same amp all the way and what happened to the Hugo?

In test 2 you seem to be comparing DACs (as you have the same amp) but you leave out the AudioGD

In test 3: same as test two but you leave out the RME?

 

And by this point I'm just confused …shrug...

 

I had a 2 way switcher so first 3 tests are all for 3 dacs against each other.

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Hi,

 

I think you don't have a fair test in your investigation, and though it was probably fun, you don't have anything upon which to draw a valid conclusion.

 

I'm not wanting to be rude, but you need to sort out the protocol before you communicate about it.

 

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Just now, dr_carl said:

Hi,

 

I think you don't have a fair test in your investigation, and though it was probably fun, you don't have anything upon which to draw a valid conclusion.

 

I'm not wanting to be rude, but you need to sort out the protocol before you communicate about it.

 

Unsure why do you say it is not fair ?

Dont worry about 'rude'...people behind the keyboards feel more comfortable being themselves.

 

Coming back to tests

 

DACs test first 3:

Test 1 - RME vs AGD

Test 2 - RME vs Hugo2

Test 3 - AGD vs Hugo2

 

Test 4 & 5  - All in one machines (coz all 3 are DAC AMPs)

Test 4 - RME vs Hugo2

Test 5 - Hugo2 vs AGD

 

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Posted (edited)

This was in no way scientific. It was a couple of mates with access to some gear, doing some round robin testing.

 

These are my results based on my listening so i'll add some context. Essentially I sat facing away while peppy used a switch to jump between DAC's through the same amp, the Taurus. We tested multiple tracks and did both vocalised a, b, c tests, as well as non-vocalised (I didn't know if it was a, b or c playing). When we looked at the results we saw patterns.

 

The results listed, which admittedly looked cleaner with the actual excel sheet we had, showed that I had a preference toward certain DAC's over others. At least, a preference to how one of the DAC's tested sounded when paired with the Taurus. Another AMP might have things again as I do believe pairings make a difference. 

Edited by elisix_

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I would summarise like this. To my ears, I felt that the fully balanced Audio GD DAC gave the most separation and sounded the cleanest, followed by the non-balanced RME DAC. The Hugo 2 came incredibly close to the RME - if not equal to my ears. That was DAC performance alone. Using built in AMP's, I felt the Hugo 2 came remarkably close to a full desktop stack in sound quality, body and works as a great transportable solution. 

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10 minutes ago, elisix_ said:

another AMP might have things again as I do believe pairings make a difference. 

Can the Audio GD and the Hugo be used as standalone amps? If you, I guess you could have compared pairings too 

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BTW please don't take my comments as being negative. I'm all for blind testing - it's been a real eye-opener for me :)

 

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

Can the Audio GD and the Hugo be used as standalone amps? If you, I guess you could have compared pairings too 

As an amp Hugo2 is very very good (hence we found it t be a better misusing device than RME) but Audio GD D27.38 is better ... not very far off though.

But

Given the size of Hugo2 vs Audio GD , and how Hugo2 competes against a fully balanced dual dac and fully balanced amp setup is quite impressive.

Hugo2 is an exceptional device for sure.

Edited by peppy

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1 minute ago, peppy said:

As an amp Hugo2 is very very good (hence we found it t be a better misusing device than RME) but Audio GD D27.38 is better ... not very far off though.

But

Given the size of Hugo2 vs Audio GD , and how Hugo2 competes against a fully balanced dual dac and fully balanced amp setup is quite impressive.

Hugo2 is an exceptional device for sure.

Are those your opinions after blind testing the amps ?

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Just now, sir sanders zingmore said:

Are those your opinions after blind testing the amps ?

Yes Sir, very much.

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No we tested them as all in one, not amp vs amp with the same DAC, did we?

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

BTW please don't take my comments as being negative. I'm all for blind testing - it's been a real eye-opener for me :)

 

Of course not

  1. I know u have a good rep here :)
  2. I don’t take Internet forum negative comments too seriously all good :)
Edited by peppy

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2 minutes ago, elisix_ said:

No we tested them as all in one, not amp vs amp with the same DAC, did we?

We did , when we kept RME aside as it was not as good as Hugo and then took Hugo DAC to AGD..that’s when we did both of these.

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Maybe do it all again, but with a strict plan to keep inline with the sciences.

 

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2 hours ago, Bengineer said:

Maybe do it all again, but with a strict plan to keep inline with the sciences.

 

If I wear a lab coat, will that add to the legitimacy of my findings? 

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No. Opposite. Then I'll know you make up the data at the end to fit your "findings".

 

Glasses and a pacer will be fine.

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Done.

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Doing real blind testing is extremely hard. Good on you for even trying. It's more than 99% of people would do. Don't worry about these jokers, as you're not trying to publish your results and change the way audio is viewed. Even the best double blind research in audio is instantly discounted by all the pundits out there for "reasons" that aren't real reasons, so nothing is going to change anyone's opinion, but I'm sure you found it instructive for your own purposes.

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44 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

Doing real blind testing is extremely hard. Good on you for even trying. It's more than 99% of people would do. Don't worry about these jokers, as you're not trying to publish your results and change the way audio is viewed. Even the best double blind research in audio is instantly discounted by all the pundits out there for "reasons" that aren't real reasons, so nothing is going to change anyone's opinion, but I'm sure you found it instructive for your own purposes.

 Hey Con

Thanks for the kind words...but these 'jokers' Ben & Jay are my mates, having a bit of banter, :) just pure fun amongst mates...

But good to know there are people like you @Ittaku & @sir sanders zingmore who don't come here just to tell us off.

 

I am here trying to find the best combo (that my budget allows) in terms of DAC+Amp.

 

One DAC that is not discussed here that I have recently purchased in Ares II. Quite possibly I may be have stumbled upon gold , in Denafrips Ares II. Will share the impressions with everyone over the weekend. Once I A-B it again with my mates here.

Happy for inputs, & welcome people who want to help and whom we can help.

 

Thanks Con :)

 

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