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Rega DAC filters

Discussion in 'audio' started by topk, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. topk

    topk Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to share my experience with Rega DAC (non R version, used on USB port) filters. There are 5 of them, differences are subtle and somewhat speaker/system dependent. YMMV.

    1) the most extended from top to bottom, the most transparent and neutral. Midrange is a bit recessed for my tastes (very neutral), and can sound a touch bright. Tone overall is a touch brighter. I can easily understand why it is the default/preferred filter.
    2) truncated on both top and bottom ends. Treble is rolled off. Midrange is forward and sounds darker. Non aggressive sound, can tame a bright system at the expense of frequency extremes. Sounds a bit lofi comparatively, but with a forward, lusher midrange
    3) sounds just odd to me, I do not use
    4) slight upper midrange lift and stronger bass
    5) somewhat V shaped
  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    FWIW I mainly ended up between 2 and 5, 2 being the most easy-going and analogue-like, 5 having real clarity, depth and extension, but being rather too bright with a lot of material to my ears. 4 has its moments too. They are weird things; on a quick flick through it is hard to tell a difference, but longer term strengths and irritations show themselves clearly.
  3. topk

    topk Well-Known Member

    Thank you for your input. I fully agree with you. It takes time to really "metabolize" what the differences are. But once they are identified, they are very obvious.

    I could simply not live with setting 1), and I tried with different speakers and amps. I find it too bright for my tastes, and the medium range to be too "high pitched" if that makes sense.

    I could only live with setting 2 (the most analog sounding and darker sounding in the medium range, the most emotional with voices and an overall darker tone (in a good way) - and that is the one I use right now or setting 4 (but that is due to my particular system). Setting 5 is impressive at first but gets tiring for my tastes.

    I actually enjoy the Rega DAC for having these options available which are very significant to my ears. I would not like the Rega DAC if setting 1 was the only option for example.
  4. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    Does Rega give any descriptions of what each filter is doing? Curious as to what 3) might be, and which makes it sound odd to you.
  5. paul darwin

    paul darwin Trade: Rega Research

    Please find below the various filter setting on the Rega Dac R (well you did ask !!)

    Filter settings 1–3
    (low sample rates 32/44.1/48K)
    1. Linear phase half-band filter
    2. Minimum phase half-band filter
    3. Minimum phase apodising filter

    Filter settings 1–3
    (medium & high sample rates 88.2/96 & 176.4/192K)
    1. Linear phase soft-knee filter
    2. Minimum phase brickwall filter
    3. Linear phase apodising filter

  6. Sue Pertwee-Tyr

    Sue Pertwee-Tyr Well, I can dream, can’t I?

    Thanks Paul, knew I could rely on you!

    Interestingly, I'd have assumed a minimum/linear phase filter would make for the sort of sound I'd prefer, so I'm interested in what makes it sound 'odd' for some. I don't have access to one of these DACs, so have no personal experience.
  7. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The older Rega DAC had five settings:

    1 Linear phase half-band filter
    2 Minimum phase soft-knee filter
    3 Minimum phase half-band filter
    4 Linear phase apodising filter
    5 Minimum phase apodising filter

    Slightly different ones for high-res, but I didn't listen to those as I haven't got any!

    PS The thing that amazes me is I had a preference, and I really did, as my hearing only goes up to around 12khz. Whatever is happening certainly effects things well below 20kHz. I guess it is worth noting I have large vintage Tannoys and their treble horn, whilst a wonderful thing IMHO, will find anything they don't like and let you know about it. One problem with digital is so much mastering (in the rock/pop genres at least) really is terrible, so something like Rega's filter 5, which is nicely clean, extended and open with well recorded and mastered jazz or classical can be an ear-bleeder with anything brick-walled. It is not the fault of the kit at all! Some mastering engineers really do need a good slap.
  8. topk

    topk Well-Known Member

    I would need to spend more time on setting 3 (on the earlier Rega DAC model) to tell you what makes it odd. I usually have to skip it right away because in my various systems/rooms, the "tone" just did not sound right to me. I would say setting 2 usually has the best tone for vocals but is less "hifi sounding" than other filters, if that makes sense.

    Interestingly, I just noticed from the above that setting 2 is not available on the Rega Dac R...
  9. topk

    topk Well-Known Member

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