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rega dac, cdq, young dac bake off

Discussion in 'audio' started by bottleneck, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. Rosewind

    Rosewind Lost in Translation

    Yes. To test 10 DACs is a task that is vitually impossible. I would be a good idea to split the test into sessions/groups with some time between tests to allow your brains to be reset to zero. Sort of like eating bread between drinking samples of wine at a wine test.

    Adding 5 transports to the mix will not make conclusions clearer, so it may be good to use just one or two transports within each group. Good that just one amp/loudspeaker set will be used.

    Rather than declaring winners, descriptions of what each DAC does to the sound would be very helpful: resolution, tonal balance, sound stage (depth/width) etc. I know that this is difficult to do (from my own sorry experince).

    Good luck and cheers to you all!

    Best wishes,
  2. bottleneck

    bottleneck pfm Member


    reducing transports is fine.

    Lets stick with my squeezebox (for my own reasons, and because a lot of PFM'ers have them).. and the NVA statement dedicated PC.

    I suggest we also stick with red-book 44khz tracks. Turning into a high-def comparison will only further complicate.

    I will speak to Jason (NVA) and make sure he has the appropriate demo tracks loaded on his server.

    NB -will make sure we have a number of tracks, it's good music, and cross-genre.

  3. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Chris Hi, you also need to make sure that Jason's server can accept the drivers needed for the M2Tech and the W4S ( OEM M2Tech ) .
  4. bottleneck

    bottleneck pfm Member


    People coming - aim for 12:00 start.

    Guildford Audio/Audiowarehouse -

    the basic heed is not coming, we will be hearing the brand new Heed - the Obelisk instead, and the MF M1.
  5. Wilky

    Wilky pfm Member

    All appears to OK to me Chris.

    As others have said, bringing other components into the DAC mix will just lead to confusion on the day, but if time allows
    we can perhaps try a few options towards the end of the day.

    I'll be there with the Audiolab 8200CDQ and an open mind.

  6. avole

    avole The wise never post on Internet forums

    What is a HiFi PC? How is it different to a normal one?
    Merely curious.
  7. reverendo

    reverendo pfm Member

    May I suggest to use a "normal" mac or pc which has sw tweaks for audio rather than a dedicated PC which is normally more expensive? I think it would make sense to know how the async usb DACs fair with tweaked "normal" computers which will normally be used that way, I suppose.
    I would also like to suggest using 24/96 files while testing the async usb. After all, that's one of the things that makes this interface so attractive. BTW, the SB Touch also delivers bit-perfect 24/96 as a digital transport.
    just my 2 cents
    best regards
  8. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Fan less , external or at least attention paid to power supplies ,shielding, decent sound card lynx or similar disabling of non essential processes etc etc.
  9. ItemAudio

    ItemAudio Trade: Item Audio

    Squeezbox + computer is good: if it's all about DACs, reducing variables is a good idea. However, what looks like a level playing field could be a handicap system . . . if we impose a 'coaxial for all' policy, it seriously skews the DAC comparison.

    There is often more difference between digital inputs of one DAC than there is between two entirely different DACs. So it's vital that the computer at least is capable of delivering very clean USB / coax / BNC and AES/EBU output so we can hear each converter at its best. For me, that's the objective of the test: you build a system around a DAC, so you need to hear what it's really capable of - and not ask it to play 'left-handed' by feeding it the wrong input.

    Although it seems like a lot of listening to a lot of differently priced DACs, I don't think we're expecting a £400 DAC to compete with a £2K one - compare, yes - not compete! So I wonder whether the thing might naturally divide into three stages - with breaks between:

    Audition 1: 'Best' sub-£500 DAC
    Musical Fidelity M1 vs Rega DAC vs Emotiva XDA1

    Audition 2: 'Best' £700-900 DAC
    Wyred 4 Sound v M2Tech Young v Audiolab 8200 CDQ

    Audition 3: 'Best' £1300-1800 DAC
    Heed Obelisk v Calyx 24/192 v Antelope Zodiac

    It would then be really interesting to compare the best of each 'heat' to see if any of the cheaper converters can fairly be considered giant-killers.
  10. Alan Brown

    Alan Brown Registered LUser

    The TFS (Jason's server) is Windows 7 based and can perform almost all the everyday functions of a home PC, as well doing it's Thang. The drivers won't be an issue.
  11. Purité Audio

    Purité Audio Trade: Purite Audio

    Alan that's cool!
    Re comparisons I am pretty confident the Young wont disgrace itself in the £2k class.
  12. ItemAudio

    ItemAudio Trade: Item Audio

    I'll make sure the 'backup' Stealth Mini transport - tada! - is also stocked with Young, W4S and Calyx drivers and will liaise with Jason to make sure the DACs get what they need . . . including the same handful of files to use in audition. Any suggestions for RedBook and 24-bit tracks that sort the men from the boys?
  13. Paul L

    Paul L coffee lounge for me

    Chris, I look forward to it (another mate would probably make it too although I see that may not be possible, no worries).

    As a digital novice it looks like source files are covered but I can offer a Sumvision Cyclone HD2 2TB if you want to have that with Flac files on it. Perhaps not required.

    I can also have a good roast up and bring about 1kg if it helps. Perhaps much needed.
  14. Paul L

    Paul L coffee lounge for me

    Would that be the squeezebox?...
  15. Papa Lazarou

    Papa Lazarou Hello Daaaaaaave!!!!!

    I agree!
  16. Pete the Feet

    Pete the Feet pfm Member

    Has the playlist been decided upon yet?

    This is all quite exiciting and relevant even though I'm not going.
  17. ItemAudio

    ItemAudio Trade: Item Audio

    Not all dedicated audio computers are expensive . . .

    Modifications made to the computer transport translate to clear improvements even in async USB DACs. The 'transport-immune' DAC is rather like the Loch Ness Monster: great idea, but inconveniently mythological: a fabulous concept in the literal sense!

    I can bring a range of 24/192 and higher bit rate tracks for audition: if a DAC is capable of the higher bit rates, that advantage is an important part of assessing its overall performance. Interestingly, we've also recently acquired one or two identical albums in RedBook, 24/96 and 24/192, which have revised our opinion on this subject somewhat.
  18. Pete the Feet

    Pete the Feet pfm Member

    Is standard cd format not a better option as that is what 99% of digital music is available in? The high res stuff tends to be music that not many people really listen to or is not readly available.
  19. anubisgrau

    anubisgrau pfm Member

    i have a used kidney to offer for these!
  20. ItemAudio

    ItemAudio Trade: Item Audio

    We accept new, warrantied kidneys in part-ex – but not used, I'm afraid.

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