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Old 21st January 2015, 3:09 PM   #1
Snufkin Thread Starter
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Default DACs and amps really aren't that difficult to understand...

Here's some simple info for those that appear confused:

First up: DAC stands for Digital to Analogue Converter. It converts digital audio (00101011010) into analogue sound. Everything you have that plays some form of digital music has a DAC in it.
Phones, CD players, HT receivers, DVD and Blu-Ray players etc have DACs in them.

It's the quality and implementation of the DAC that matters.
You will notice a difference if you go from a poor quality DAC to a good quality one, but the difference between a good quality DAC and a great quality one isn't as big as the difference between a poor quality DAC and a good quality one vs the $ you will pay.


Second: Amps amplify the analogue signal by adding power. Everything you can plug headphones or speakers into and get an audible signal has some kind of amp in it.
Your phone, media player, soundcard etc have amps in them.

It's the quality and implementation of the amp that matters.
You will notice a difference if you go from a poor quality amp to a good quality one, but the difference between a good quality amp and a great quality one isn't as big as the difference between a poor quality amp and a good quality one vs the $ you will pay.
Some headphones, or speakers, will require more power than others. This doesn't make them better, it just makes them more demanding.

It's all about bottlenecks.

Here is a typical simple audio chain:
Production quality -> format (digital files, CD etc) -> DAC (not present in an analogue setup) -> amp -> speakers/headphones.

Whichever of these steps offers the lowest quality will determine the quality of the end result.
You cannot put back quality that has been taken away somewhere in the chain.

In closing 24/192 is dumb.

Last edited by Snufkin; 21st January 2015 at 3:25 PM.
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Old 21st January 2015, 3:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snufkin View Post
You cannot put back quality that has been taken away somewhere in the chain.

Many have made a dollar selling the opposite of this

Great post snuffy. I assume you're sick of the same questions over and over
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Old 21st January 2015, 3:19 PM   #3
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Many have made a dollar selling the opposite of this
Yeah, it's not something I subscribe to.
This page has some good reading

Quote:
Great post snuffy. I assume you're sick of the same questions over and over
The question is fine it's just the confusion about DACs and amps like they are mysical, difficult to understand things which they really aren't.
Get yourself a decent DAC and/or amp to begin with and it's something you won't have to worry about for a really long time.
Manufacturers are coming out with higher numbers to try and justify the new tech they keep churning out and people will always get sucked in because higher numberzz!!!1
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Old 21st January 2015, 3:28 PM   #4
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Part two of the xiph article where monty does the actual ADC >DAC on top end gear is a good watch too

Sounds like you need a holiday mate these crazy numbers keep you and me in a job

edit - its the first link at the top of the article you linked
watched these a while back, monty is a bloody champ
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Old 21st January 2015, 3:35 PM   #5
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I could make a lot more money if I was into the more questionable side of things, like super expensive power or USB cables...
The margin on stuff like that is GREAT!
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Old 21st January 2015, 7:20 PM   #6
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You should add to that that most cables and everything made by monster (coax, power, speaker, data or otherwise) are full of shit.

Gold plated, Neon Filled, Blessed by the Pope himself Heliax LDF4-50-A 0.25m S/PDIF Cable SON.
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Old 21st January 2015, 8:00 PM   #7
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Don't forget directional cables.
What about speaker cable risers....
I would rofl but it's pretty sad how some companies prey on the uninformed.

Edit: I should also say gullible. As for the fools, well they deserve it.
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Old 21st January 2015, 8:56 PM   #8
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I hope this wasn't inspired by my thread.

And while we're on the subject of voodoo power cables, here's probably the best Tumblr blog you'll ever read. If you don't believe me and are too lazy to click, the most recent article is on how storage mediums affect how music sounds.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wathifi
Harris thought the Hitachi sounded very ethereal, almost out of phase, and rated it lowest; the Seagate was sharper with a more thumpy bass, slightly brighter with a slight tendency to sibilance. Both lacked much drive in presenting the Madonna track, and were certainly ‘mushy’ […]


If the Kingston SSD stood apart from the disk drives for its mostly good yet quite alien character, drive four made itself known for entirely the wrong reasons. This Corsair drive (another SSD) conspicuously highlighted vocal sibilants, and had a hard, relentless quality that was impossible to miss.
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Old 21st January 2015, 9:44 PM   #9
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Read head-fi: good way to increase your blood pressure. So much rubbish/hypetrains.

The hype around the Schiit stuff as well annoys the crap out of me. I'm all for his message and what the company stands for, and he's pretty transparent about the way he runs the business, mistakes they've made and learnings, but the whole made in america thing is dumb for anyone not in the US. It's all well and good, but the value for money thing gets destroyed as soon as you try to take into account shipping and currency conversion fees. Even their base level $100 models suddenly become $250AUD here, which is just silly.
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Old 22nd January 2015, 12:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trackhappy View Post
I hope this wasn't inspired by my thread.
haha no, it's been on my mind a while

Quote:
And while we're on the subject of voodoo power cables, here's probably the best Tumblr blog you'll ever read. If you don't believe me and are too lazy to click, the most recent article is on how storage mediums affect how music sounds.
See this is what I'm talking about.
Someone claims they can hear a difference (they can't) then other people figure "what's the harm?" - a fool and his money is easily parted.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Modafroman View Post
Read head-fi: good way to increase your blood pressure. So much rubbish/hypetrains.

The hype around the Schiit stuff as well annoys the crap out of me. I'm all for his message and what the company stands for, and he's pretty transparent about the way he runs the business, mistakes they've made and learnings, but the whole made in america thing is dumb for anyone not in the US. It's all well and good, but the value for money thing gets destroyed as soon as you try to take into account shipping and currency conversion fees. Even their base level $100 models suddenly become $250AUD here, which is just silly.
heh - I could write a lot about that situation, but I won't
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Old 22nd January 2015, 1:50 PM   #11
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Just get a baller like Jan Meier to give you a CHEAPER international price than a local price. (But that's because of VAT...)
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Old 22nd January 2015, 1:54 PM   #12
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The hype around the Schiit stuff as well annoys the crap out of me. I'm all for his message and what the company stands for, and he's pretty transparent about the way he runs the business, mistakes they've made and learnings, but the whole made in america thing is dumb for anyone not in the US. It's all well and good, but the value for money thing gets destroyed as soon as you try to take into account shipping and currency conversion fees. Even their base level $100 models suddenly become $250AUD here, which is just silly.
I almost thought that brand name was a joke. "Buy yourself a pair of schiit headphones :P" but then I went to the website, Everything looks pretty standard bar the AUD upmark you mentioned but the SYS annoys me. USD$49 for 6xRCA connectors, 1 Switch and 1 Pot? That's ridiculous. I'm glad that they tell you that's all it is but it's still stupidly expensive for what it is.
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Old 9th February 2015, 3:10 PM   #13
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In closing 24/192 is dumb.


and if you really want to add snake oil to the fire, you should listen at 88.2 as its easier to upsample 44.1 to 88.2
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Old 9th February 2015, 10:27 PM   #14
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In closing 24/192 is dumb.
Actually, for studio recording/mastering it has it's uses (a stupidly high dynamic range can be handy when tracks haven't been normalized) - but, yes for normal consumer use (when normalization has been done) it the high bit depth has no sensible function.
Source: Principles of Digital Audio, by Ken Puhlmann. I highly recommend it. It's a trenchant read, but I learned much from it. It's the sort of book one has to revisit regularly, though, digesting a bit more each time...

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Old 16th February 2015, 10:30 PM   #15
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Quote:
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*snip*
In closing 24/192 is dumb.
Great post snufkin, and good link to that 24/192 article, I was not aware of that.

I acquired a 24/192 copy of 'Hotel California' by the Eagles, and was at a HiFi event at an audiophiles house. I was quite excited to play the file and see if there was a huge difference between the 50k system and the 3k system I had at home.

Interestingly enough the tweeters on this system clipped out extremely heavily with the track, which did not occur on my home system. Previously I was of the opinion this artefact was due to a shitty mastering issue that my system was incapable of resolving due to the high frequency.

Now you've got me wondering if it was a part of the digital conversion process...
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