used to know someone who would say amplifiers are wires with gain! if only science had any relation to sound. on topic, used to have a paid of rega ela's a while back, but not heard anything from rega i the last 5 yrs sound great. sorry.
but 'dacs' as a box between usb and amplifier / headphone just aren't one sound!
e.g. my cdp compared to many a budget dac is like watching an opera with the lights on and being in the room vs lights off in 2d for the budget dac.
budget dacs often sound nice to listen to the individual parts and song but rarely project an immense room in front and around you.
It's hard to choose though given budget constraints. spend big huge on source and cheaper speakers / amp - gives you 3d there experience but instruments sound a bit fake/voices annoying or tiring.
amp+speakers aaa++ and budget dac, less involving 3d wise but what you hear is very analytical.
so given a budget and some gear already ....??? hard to comment.
As for my next dac, i have NFI. not heard anything really good, in fact almost so far to say, hifi shops struggle in general to impress at all sq wise. so forums and chinese internet info seems the only option.
hifimediy usb dac (100hrs+ run in!), Jungson JA-88D, Jungson Impression MK2, Vincent LS-310, Usher S520, Pink Triangle, Denon, Marantz, Modded Behringer, TDL, Harman Kardon!, Yamaha.
SUPERLUX 668B, 681 MK1 with parametric EQ (Electri-Q)
I may have found the issue.....
My Yamaha CDS300 uses a 24bit/192 BurrBrown DAC. However, when I conect the digital out from the cd player to the rega dac, the rega dac only shows it as a 44khz input and thats a massive difference. So is the reason why i cant hear any appreciable difference between the cd player and the Rega dac is because the cd player's digital out does not provide a 24/192 output??
i was playing about on the mac and changing the output from 16bit 44.1 to 24/96 and i noticed a big difference so this would probably make sense. can anyone please advise if this is common on CD players?
HIFI= Yamaha CDS300 CDP ----> Rega DAC-----> Yamaha AS500 Amp-----> B&W 684
Airport Express ------> Rega DAC-----etc..
Yamaha RX-673 ------> Q Acoustics 2050i
CD standard is 16 bit 44.1KHz. The DAC is dealing with it as it should. If you hear no difference then there probably is none. The DAC will only be helpful with hires sources from your Mac.
Hi-Fi: Krell KAV-300cd, Michell TecnoDec/RB250/Grado Prestige Black1, KAV-300i amp, Transparent balanced interconnects and bi-wire to Sonus faber Concerto grand piano speakers, Nakamichi ZX-7 cassette deck, Logitech Squeezebox Touch, Hitachi FT-5500 and Sony S570ES tuners, BCD Engineering stand, RA Powerlink, Chord powerchord, Grado SR60i cans.
AV: Sony Bravia KDL-32EX503 telly, BDP-S370 player with QED HDMI. Currently unused: Denon AVR-1705, DVD-1710, KEF KHT1005.2
There are no sound differences or real terms playback benefits between 44.1KHz/16 bit and higher resolutions, so it is no surprise that you hear no difference. CD quality is 44.1KHz/16bit and the DAC will just be converting this resolution.
The analogue output stages are responsible for any sound differences that might be evident, but even then these are quite small as you have discovered.
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
thanks for the replies. But when the cds300 manual and marketting stuff says that its got a 24/192 Burrbrown Dac in is, I assume that means the resolution of what it reads off the disk- 192,000 analysis of information per second with each one being 24bit big, then it outputs this to the analogue part of the cd player.
what i dnt get is why is the cd player digital out getting the info off the disk at a higher res? even though cd's may be recorded at 16/48, it would still be possible to read them at a higher resolution otherwise why would manufacturers put in a high res dac? thats what I was meaning. i want to get the cd players digital out at a higher res.
i was playing about with the macbook pro, and changing the output from 16/48khz to 24/96khz and it was a huge difference! could not believe that i would even be able to hear it. i heard more of a difference with that, than the Yamaha cd player DAC vs the Rega dac- so thats impressive.
Needless to say, I want to stream always now using the higher resolution however my Airport express only supports 16/48 which sucks majorly!
No. You've been told above that CD only has 16 bit 44.1 kHz resolution. That is all the CD player can read off it. You aren't getting a higher resolution off your CD.
Some CD players then upsample that to 24 bit, which arguably makes no difference. Some even claim it makes it sound less natural. The only other benefits of having a 24/92 or higher specced DAC chip are that it is more powerful so is better even when converting lower resolution files and it can be used to convert files that are higher resolution than CD (which, again, some argue that you can't hear the difference anyway).
IIRC, that CD player has an input you can use for iPods. iPods can playback up to 24bit 48khz files. I have a 32 bit DAC in my kit, even though I've never heard of 32 bit music. Increasing the resolution of the Mac's output just means that the Mac is upsampling the files, but really they can't add in anything that wasn't there before, so theoretically you should be hearing no difference/the difference you hear may be completely psychological because you were expecting a higher resolution to sound better. Most people try to get a bit perfect output form their computer - i.e. not have the computer do any processing like upsampling so the DAC receives the digital file as it was originally meant to be.
Observe the signature in its natural habitat.
It sounds like you're still a little fuzzy on what's happening with your CDP's 24/192 DAC and why it outputs 16bit/44.1kHz to your Rega DAC...
Keep in mind that when you connect your CDP digitally to a stand-alone DAC you are bypassing the DAC inside your CDP, therefore no upsampling will occur on the digital signal. When outputing analog signals (to a preamp, powered receiver, or amps with their own volume control) digital data from your CDP is read and then converted to analog by the internal DAC....hence the term "digital to analog" conversion. So it's not marketing hype by Yamaha in stating that the chip is 24bit/192kHz capable.
There are multiple schools of thought on the benefits or detriment of upsampling (won't get into that here), but most literature you'll read that comes with stand-alone DACs will tell you that for optimal results, NOT to use upsamping features on computer sources. The preference is to send the native/original signal to the DAC and have it do the upsampling....Also note, that many of the DACs and their designers that dislike upsampling still employ chips that upsample (for the same purpose), but they take the signal back to native though sample rate conversion to 16bit/44.1kHz.
Others have already touched on many reasons why you may not be hearing much of difference, so I won't rehash (much)...Have you considered that your Yamaha may be a good CDP, but not be a very good digital transport??? It's quite possible that it may be sending on high levels of jitter to the Rega through whatever connection you're using. Maybe try switching from coaxial to optical or vice versa......but at any rate, it sounds like you have discovered why lots of people have decided to migrate from CDPs to computer-based systems and hi-rez files.
As previously stated by others, there are many variables that determine what your system will sound like...so for some to simply say to buy or get rid of a particular piece of gear is NOT giving you the best advice....some gear will accentuate or suppress certain areas of the audio band and ultimately affect the tonality of your system. Keep in mind even a subtle change in speaker placement can make a huge sonic difference. So, the point I'm making is that you may want to experiment some before running off to buy or sell a particular piece of gear....trust YOUR ears more than anybody else's, then decide what YOU want to do based on YOUR listening preferences.
Headphones can sound very different when swapping between. Your brain adjusts!
Or not quite the same but just get an amp with tone and turn up the treble. Funny your brain will adjust and if you set it back to flat it will sound terrible for a while until you adjust again.
So you can get used to a sound (more complicated with entire system chains). As such, you will be biased and give credence to the use your own ears argument above
BUT some people know hifi (hence people read reviews) and others dont. So do you live in a world of where only your opinions and closed mindedness limits your appreciation of the world? Or give other peoples advice a chance Lots of people around though with bad advice who kid themselves though.
So in some ways, hi-fi and most things in life can be objective.
24bit/96 is the sweet spot BTW for numerous reasons but only for futureproofing or specific scenarios.
© 2013 Haymarket Publishing