1. If you're receiving a message that you are banned from the Current Events or Politics forums, it's not you specifically: those forums have been hidden for all users. For more info, see here.
    Dismiss Notice

DACs and amps really aren't that difficult to understand...

Discussion in 'PC Audio' started by Snufkin, Jan 21, 2015.

  1. Snufkin

    Snufkin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2001
    Messages:
    6,938
    Location:
    Surrounded by headphones
    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: Jan 21, 2015
  2. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,584
    Location:
    4109

    Many have made a dollar selling the opposite of this :lol:

    Great post snuffy. I assume you're sick of the same questions over and over
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Snufkin

    Snufkin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2001
    Messages:
    6,938
    Location:
    Surrounded by headphones
    Yeah, it's not something I subscribe to.
    This page has some good reading :)

    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
     
  4. MUTMAN

    MUTMAN Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,584
    Location:
    4109
    Part two of the xiph article where monty does the actual ADC >DAC on top end gear is a good watch too :thumbup:

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

    edit - its the first link at the top of the article you linked :)
    watched these a while back, monty is a bloody champ
     
  5. OP
    OP
    Snufkin

    Snufkin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2001
    Messages:
    6,938
    Location:
    Surrounded by headphones
    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!
     
  6. Life_Essence

    Life_Essence Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,495
    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.
     
  7. /invariance\

    /invariance\ Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2012
    Messages:
    1,148
    Location:
    Brisbane
    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  8. trackhappy

    trackhappy Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2009
    Messages:
    2,364
    Location:
    Redbank Plains, QLD, 4301
    I hope this wasn't inspired by my thread. :Paranoid:

    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. :lol:

     
  9. Modafroman

    Modafroman Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2002
    Messages:
    10,057
    Location:
    Brisbane
    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.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Snufkin

    Snufkin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2001
    Messages:
    6,938
    Location:
    Surrounded by headphones
    haha no, it's been on my mind a while :)

    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.


    heh - I could write a lot about that situation, but I won't ;)
     
  11. Comma

    Comma Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2007
    Messages:
    3,682
    Location:
    Perth
    Just get a baller like Jan Meier to give you a CHEAPER international price than a local price. (But that's because of VAT...)
     
  12. Life_Essence

    Life_Essence Member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2010
    Messages:
    1,495
    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.
     
  13. Thraxeh

    Thraxeh Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2003
    Messages:
    4,353
    Location:
    Sydney Australia NSW
    :thumbup:

    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 :lol:
     
  14. callan

    callan Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2001
    Messages:
    5,088
    Location:
    melbourne
    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...

    Callan
     
  15. millsy

    millsy Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Messages:
    13,531
    Location:
    Brisbane
    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...
     
  16. Aratahu

    Aratahu Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2004
    Messages:
    564
    Location:
    Melbourne VIC
    Edit: Never mind...
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
  17. Thraxeh

    Thraxeh Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2003
    Messages:
    4,353
    Location:
    Sydney Australia NSW
  18. OP
    OP
    Snufkin

    Snufkin Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2001
    Messages:
    6,938
    Location:
    Surrounded by headphones
    Great video, very interesting :)
     
  19. Drubbing

    Drubbing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Messages:
    1,720
    Location:
    Perth
    I can. Head fi has largely become a shill shell for manufacturers to be able to exploit member with their sponsorship $$. Some reviews are nothing more than ads, HF being what it is, some prolific members don't like to miss out on the ahead of the attention curve, and write their own flattering BS of favoured makers.

    HF allows and encourages such free marketing. At least, that's what is was looking like when I quit hanging there a couple of years ago. I'm sure it's worse now. I have a rule of thumb; the longer the review, the less I trust it. It will be total BS.
     
  20. Linkin

    Linkin Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2010
    Messages:
    6,395
    Location:
    Sydney
    If the recording was just upsampled from an existing master then there's no point.

    The recording, mixing/mastering and playback should all be in the same format IMHO.

    If I had to pick a standard it would be 24/96 for this day and age
     

Share This Page

Advertisement: