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14 posts

Geek


# 218061 24-Jul-2017 12:06
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Hi, I'm doing a research project on DAC/Servers, it would be great if you could help out by letting me know ...
Thinking about someone with a set up similar to yours
-What DAC's would you recommended/ What makes a good DAC (features, materials, functions)? 
-How much are you willing to spend on the DAC?

 

 


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Mr Snotty
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  # 1828326 24-Jul-2017 12:50
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Yes - @NZtechfreak strikes me of being one of the prominent ones around here. There is a thread (The headphones thread! [Sorry about your wallet]) that talks about headphones / DAC's which is worth a good read.





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  # 1828376 24-Jul-2017 13:37
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What is the rest of the setup? What are you looking to achieve? Headphone/Speaker/both/something else?

 

Double blind tests have shown that the difference between "decent" and "high end" DACs can be utterly inaudible - even if maybe they measure different and my own experience would bear that out so far.

 

I have been well happy with my Cambridge Audio DAC Magic Plus and unless it was to improve connectivity or features, I couldn't see myself in a position where spending any more would be worth it...and in fact I could have probably spent less and not noticed any material difference! Ditto my two portable DACPort Devices which I use for my headphones.

 

I have been unable to discern any value in Hi Res audio other than inflated file sizes - even though the DACMagic does go to 192khz/24bit, so I wouldn't worry about that either.

 

Buy a DAC from a reputable brand with the connectivity and features that you want at a sensible price and spend the rest on your speakers and/or headphones.

 

There are some exceptions/caveats to the above in some specific circumstances, but for the most part it bears out IMVHO.

 

 

 

 





.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1828383 24-Jul-2017 13:44
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To add - there is no substitute for listening to stuff yourself though and do consider that we don't just experience music with our ears! If having certain gear/specs/features or knowing that your kit measures a certain way pleases you, then that knowledge can certainly have a marked effect on the overall listening experience which no one can refute.





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Geek


  # 1831707 26-Jul-2017 16:02
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How did you go about purchasing products like this? Do you do research online?  Where do you do your research/get recommendations? Do you like to trial pre purchase?  Do you buy online or prefer to buy in stores?

 

 


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  # 1831721 26-Jul-2017 16:34
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I do not understand what you are after.

 

Are you wanting to research to buy DAC/Server for your own use OR a generic research project?

 

For your own use, it would help greatly if you tell us your budget, requirements and the rest of the components.

 

I find that nothing beat an audition of the gears that you are interested in either at the shop or at someone's house/setups.

 

If you are in Wellington, feel free to get in touch as I have access to a few DACs for a listen/comparison.

 

 




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Geek


  # 1831722 26-Jul-2017 16:37
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Hi,

 

Its a research project for a local innovator more than research for myself to buy...appreciate all your help!


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  # 1831738 26-Jul-2017 16:54
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If you're doing market research here as a company rep then it would pay to contact the mods to get a company tag to ID your posts.


 
 
 
 


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  # 1831747 26-Jul-2017 17:23
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Everything from A to B effects sound.

 

Including the frequency response of your own hearing.

 

Human hearing is not a flat frequency response so EQ is just as important in setting up a decent sound the way the original recording artist intended. Unless you have their ears or can plot their frequency repsonse, you'll never hear what they do.

 

You can spend a lot of money on fancy consumer style DAC's or spend less sometimes on commercial broadcast/studio grade DAC's.

 

The biggest thing I find to look out for apart from noise and distortion etc... is the units ability to playback the sample rate natively you want to play. Or the quality of it's sample rate converters if it can't.

 

If you plan on listening more to CD music than 192KHz 24-bit files, then a DAC designed for 192 is not going to sound as nice as a DAC built for 176.4KHz or 88.2KHz (because 44.1KHz can be divided by that easily without having to run it through further sample rate conversion on the fly which introduces new noise or dither!!! yuck).

 

The reason, most DAC's in general have a fixed native sample rate based on a crystal in them. Then multiples of that crystals frequency are used to playback audio as native to the original sample rate as possible. If it can't come up with a multiple, it has to sample rate convert, and some DAC's can loose it in this area.

 

You want one that has two crystals. One that is based on audio sampling multiples of 48KHz and one for 44.1KHz. Usually it'll be a lower multiple though such as 12KHz and 11.025KHz respectively. This info though, will usually be omitted from any spec shet and requires a look at the quartz crystal(s) on the circuit board.

 

Most people are to focused on the price and other tech specs like distortion and noise, which is fair enough these are important, but often overlook the real detail such as sample rate conversion quality if it doesn't line up with the units native sample rate support.

 

I can hear the difference in computer sound cards (most consumer cards and on-board audio) with a crystal designed for 48KHz, playing 44.1KHz audio with poor sample rate conversion compared with playing it on the very rear 44.1KHz native supported sound card. This is why my machines have AudioScience cards in them. Id rather a noisier card with 44.1KHz hardware sampling support than a quiet 48KHz card with poor sample rate conversion for 44.1KHz files.

 

But this is coming from someone who uses external word-clocks to sync cards correctly if using analogue in the middle anywhere :o)

 

 


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  # 1831754 26-Jul-2017 17:59
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If you're doing market research, I buy whatever is cheapest that's 99% of something that costs a mortgage.





Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.




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Geek


  # 1834332 31-Jul-2017 14:03
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Thanks everyone for your feedback, it's been really helpful. I've contacted a mod about getting a tag, sorry for not doing that first.

 

The local entrepreneur I'm working with is working on something, is it ok to get your thoughts on what he has in mind?

 

He's developing a combination between a DAC, digital signal processor and server. The idea is that it can search for downloadable high quality music, you purchase the music and it is stored on it's own server. This means you don't need a computer to store files on and the playback is extremely high quality as you don't have the quality losses you would have through a PC. The product doesn't stream, but stores music you download through an app. The app helps you search for the highest quality music options available through reputable music services. What do you guys think about this idea?


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  # 1834346 31-Jul-2017 14:28
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Is this the type of thing you are talking about? Pono (its a critical article from Gizmodo). 

 

Its basically a music player + music store with "High resolution" music.





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  # 1834360 31-Jul-2017 14:54
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@GillJ:

 

Thanks everyone for your feedback, it's been really helpful. I've contacted a mod about getting a tag, sorry for not doing that first.

 

The local entrepreneur I'm working with is working on something, is it ok to get your thoughts on what he has in mind?

 

He's developing a combination between a DAC, digital signal processor and server. The idea is that it can search for downloadable high quality music, you purchase the music and it is stored on it's own server. This means you don't need a computer to store files on and the playback is extremely high quality as you don't have the quality losses you would have through a PC. The product doesn't stream, but stores music you download through an app. The app helps you search for the highest quality music options available through reputable music services. What do you guys think about this idea?

 

 

 

 

Are you saying that for purchasing music, this appliance/device/app will trawl through a variety of existing digital music services to show you the highest quality files at the best price for a given request and then allow you to buy directly through the app (not the reseller) and download/install it to dedicated storage/server which is accessed through a proprietary software library/manager?

 

If the appliance/app doesn't stream, how do you then play the music through your HiFi/Headphones/Other Output?

 

Is the server "on premise" or a Cloud/hosted IAAS type device?

 

Can you upload your existing library to it as well or does it only play what you have purchased through the app?

 

Are the purchases DRM free and yours to keep regardless of what device you use in future?

 

What "quality losses through a PC" are you talking about and what makes this "higher quality" other than presumably being lossless rips?

 

 

 

...not sure I quite get it?





.



14 posts

Geek


  # 1834389 31-Jul-2017 15:27
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@jarledb:

 

Is this the type of thing you are talking about? Pono (its a critical article from Gizmodo). 

 

Its basically a music player + music store with "High resolution" music.

 

 

 

 

He's not planning on developing anything portable, it would be part of a home set up. The idea is for one device to download a file and convert it from digital to analog. You can then play it through your speakers or headphones.




14 posts

Geek


  # 1834404 31-Jul-2017 16:08
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@Item:

 

@GillJ:

 

Thanks everyone for your feedback, it's been really helpful. I've contacted a mod about getting a tag, sorry for not doing that first.

 

The local entrepreneur I'm working with is working on something, is it ok to get your thoughts on what he has in mind?

 

He's developing a combination between a DAC, digital signal processor and server. The idea is that it can search for downloadable high quality music, you purchase the music and it is stored on it's own server. This means you don't need a computer to store files on and the playback is extremely high quality as you don't have the quality losses you would have through a PC. The product doesn't stream, but stores music you download through an app. The app helps you search for the highest quality music options available through reputable music services. What do you guys think about this idea?

 

 

 

 

Are you saying that for purchasing music, this appliance/device/app will trawl through a variety of existing digital music services to show you the highest quality files at the best price for a given request and then allow you to buy directly through the app (not the reseller) and download/install it to dedicated storage/server which is accessed through a proprietary software library/manager?

 

If the appliance/app doesn't stream, how do you then play the music through your HiFi/Headphones/Other Output?

 

Is the server "on premise" or a Cloud/hosted IAAS type device?

 

Can you upload your existing library to it as well or does it only play what you have purchased through the app?

 

Are the purchases DRM free and yours to keep regardless of what device you use in future?

 

What "quality losses through a PC" are you talking about and what makes this "higher quality" other than presumably being lossless rips?

 

 

 

...not sure I quite get it?

 

 

It is still in development, but as I understand it the app will link the device to existing high resolution music stores where you can download high resolution files which are then stored on the device, more or less in the same way you would store it on your PC. 

 

Sorry, by streaming, I mean that the device wouldn't be able to stream music directly, for example it wouldn't be able to stream music from Spotify. You would have to download the file and then the device could play this through your chosen output, headphones, speakers etc.

 

You would be able to upload your existing library, and as far as I am aware you would be able to play files that are not in a lossless format. However, in regards to playing music downloaded on this device on other devices, I believe files would have to be converted into a different format unless the chosen device supports high resolution files.

 

The digital processor within the device allows it to play high resolution audio files which are not supported on home computers, so there is no loss of digital data. The file is as it was when it was recorded. 

 

I hope this answers your questions.


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