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  »  New  Antelope: might be an interesting DAC out there...  Antelope gnu?...  Didital Things  Forum     1  13315  06-17-2011
07-03-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
de charlus
Posts 94
Joined on 06-11-2013

Post #: 1
Post ID: 19621
Reply to: 19621
DAC Recommendations
fiogf49gjkf0d
I am putting together a system from the ground up, and while I am almost certain that I will be getting the CEC TLOX transport, I am at a loss as where to start in terms of auditioning DACS, it having been quite some time since last bought anything digital. I have received recommendations of Orpheus, Weiss, Audio Aero and several others, most of which cannot be auditioned locally. For me to travel significant distances to listen to something that will most likely be badly set up, in a questionable system/environment, I'd prefer a better plaudit than "sounded good at CES" or somesuch. So, if anyone on this site is having good experiences with a unit presently available - absurd sampling rates are not required, just as organic a sound as possible - I'd very much like to hear about it.

Regards

de Charlus
07-04-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
KLegind
Posts 32
Joined on 04-03-2008

Post #: 2
Post ID: 19622
Reply to: 19621
DACs - digital
fiogf49gjkf0d
I can't really recommend anything but a method.

I suggest you approach companies or sellers and get them to agree with a home trial . This is simply the best approach since you actually get to live with the thing, rather than settle for some half baked A-B comparison at a shop where you can be manipulated by the salesperson.

Be prepared to put down a certain amount of money as security for the seller. This shows that you are a serious customer and make sure to talk to them on the phone to get a feel for what kind of product and service they are providing. If the seller is obnoxious, overbearing or unwilling to listen to you, simply walk away.

Maybe if you have an acquaintance with whom you share an 'audio language' you can get some recommendations, but in any event, be prepared to spend money on stuff that will disappoint you in the end.

cheers
Kris
07-04-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 19624
Reply to: 19622
DAC problems...
fiogf49gjkf0d

Well, I think the in this inquiry would be the use of CEC TLOX transport. If you do putting together a system from the ground up then it is arguable if it makes sense to commit yourself with CEC TLOX. This transport is from the last century and it plays pretty much last century media. If I would be in your shoe I would question myself if I want to lack myself in 16Bit, disk only format… and CEC will not play all disk BTW…

It is a bit confusing as it sound like I am advocating some kind of e-streaming player with absurd sampling rates. I do not and I have criticized the sampling rates devotee more than others. Still, it would be nice to have a digital CD player to be able to play more or less universal files, stream from network and internet, play the SACD, DVD, Blue Rays and whatever else is out there. I think if I were looking for a new transport today then I would be looking for more or less universal transport.  How to find an universal transport that would be playing as good as TLOX was able to play CD? Well, this is $40.000.000 question... of somebody find then let me know.

Regarding DAC I think it would be all depends of what transport you end up. There are ton of DACs out there and more or less good DACs are not so expensive as they were years back. Each week we have a new “revolutionary” DAC arrive to market and each week I see another audio person go over himself by discovering a new DAC. This week it was Italian TwoGoodEars with his new DDAC. That all might be true.

Anyhow, there are a few things you need to take under consideration. If you end up with TLOX then be advised that it is VERY hard-reading transport and it outputs so much “sounds” that they can easy overwhelm. I have seen it with hard-reading DAC and it was not pretty. For most part with TLOX you would need a very soft-sounding DAC with some “prominence” in upper bass and lover midrange. You might be able to adjust it by you acoustic system if you do not have any other souses then this digital DAC. I said “for most part” because some disks are different and it very possible that with one disk you won’t be able to see the difference between the DACs and with another disks it will be day and night. I have seen it many times.

If you do not go for TLOX and go more or less universal frond end then you might want to have a more or less universal DAC with all possible connection, rates and options. The advantage of to be stream and download from your transport is not because it have higher rate but the fact that that you can suppress the CD layer. Even if you have a raw 16/44 file it will be much better then the same file got converted onto CD format. What I am saying 16/44 file on DATA CDR is much better than the same file in audio CDR. Now, where to get the raw 16/44 files is the question…

If you have an analog setup then I find it is very useful to have a good LP and a good CD of  the same music. Playing them together you will e able to get repeatable quantitative difference between your analog and the new DACs. I never was able to much a sound of good LP with my CD. I do feel that even high rate does not address the problem as the “mechanical” contact is more advanced. Listed 78s for a change and try to match that! It is absolutely imposable with any digital to approach what 78s does.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
07-05-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
decoud
United Kingdom
Posts 241
Joined on 03-01-2008

Post #: 4
Post ID: 19627
Reply to: 19624
Degrees of freedom
fiogf49gjkf0d
I know there has been controversial discussion of this here, but anything upstream of a DAC, i.e. anything digital can have only one metric of quality: jitter (assuming bit perfection, which these days is assured). Unlike anything in the analogue domain, which no reductive measure can capture synoptically, a digital channel cannot be better--physically cannot--except by reducing jitter, provided adequate isolation of any coincident analogue noise from the source (such as can be achieved by say optical decoupling). So the hunt for the ideal digital source should be a mechanical one, so to speak. But from the DAC on, included, all bets are off.  
07-05-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 5
Post ID: 19628
Reply to: 19627
Where the quality on digital source lives?
fiogf49gjkf0d
 decoud wrote:
I know there has been controversial discussion of this here, but anything upstream of a DAC, i.e. anything digital can have only one metric of quality: jitter (assuming bit perfection, which these days is assured). Unlike anything in the analogue domain, which no reductive measure can capture synoptically, a digital channel cannot be better--physically cannot--except by reducing jitter, provided adequate isolation of any coincident analogue noise from the source (such as can be achieved by say optical decoupling). So the hunt for the ideal digital source should be a mechanical one, so to speak. But from the DAC on, included, all bets are off.  

I think to attribute anything to “mechanical” logic of digital transport is a bit simplistic, as well as to attribute everything to jitter.  A digital transport has plenty of own logic errors correction, disk navigation, servo logic and many other function and only God knows what impact what. Sine the best ever 16 bit CD transports (TLO, Foresail. etc) have no servo and made like mechanical TT we presume that it is the key but it very much not might be the case. The same with DACs. We presume that what DAC does is what is responsible for its sound. The DAC that I use with TLO has 5 very interesting innovations that never were used before, in fact it has US patents for all of them.  The finny parts that according to the DAC designer the sound that DAC produces has absolutely nothing to do with those patents and innovations. So, go figure where we deal with marketing talking points and where we deal with the actual impactful functionality.
 


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
07-05-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
de charlus
Posts 94
Joined on 06-11-2013

Post #: 6
Post ID: 19629
Reply to: 19628
TLOX etc
fiogf49gjkf0d
Guys,

The purpose of the exercise is to get the best possible results from my existing collection of Red Book CDs - I have them, so I may as well use them, purchased en masse as they were during the rather overstated "demise" of vinyl - whilst providing high quality conversion for hi-res computer files, since if things cannot be found on vinyl, this appears to be where audio is going, whether I like it or not. This is what comes of not consulting me upon these issues. I am not presently, and do not plan to be, taking an much of an interest in SACD and other non-Red Book discs since the results I have thus far come across have been less than inspiring. I will buy a universal player, but not an exotic one - an upper-end Oppo or something like that will probably suffice - in case certain recordings I cannot live without appear only on these mediums and not on basic CD. Running through a quality DAC, I imagine that such a set-up will be adequate, if not optimum. So, since I plan to be running a TLOX or something similar, a universal player and computer audio through the DAC, it seems justifiable to get a good one. It's also justifiable to me to obtain a high-quality Red Book CD transport, since I have thousands of Cds, but listen to few regularly; recent experiences have led me to believe that there is much more to be mined from within those grooves, and I'd really like to feel that I'm finally being vindicated for buying the things. I did buy reputedly good quality Cds, but since I was rather lackadaisical about putting a digital system together back then, I didn't furnish myself with the capacity for getting the best from them.

Regards

de Charlus
07-05-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 7
Post ID: 19635
Reply to: 19629
The DAC is out there….
fiogf49gjkf0d
I understand the rational to get TL0, even though I would not do it as now if I start fresh. The perspective that I am trying to bring is kind of DAC related, If you get TLO and would go for “ultimate” DAC for that transport  then you might discover that you tend to like older, almost vintage DACs that were made at the times (beginning of 90s) when high-resolution did not hit big public.  However, you also might like to have some kind of OPPO-like universal player and perhaps play from a computer and that vintage DAC will not be a good possessor for the contemporary sources. So, you than might end up with 2 DACs and you might not like it. I have 3 DACs and I would love to have one universal DAC that would be used for all of my digital. I have an excuse that each of my DACs does better for specific application but this is a lame excuse and I would like to have one smart DAC. I am sure that it is out there and sometime I would like to find it but I do not want to invest other months of life to search it.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
07-06-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
RennieB
Posts 4
Joined on 03-15-2010

Post #: 8
Post ID: 19636
Reply to: 19635
The best DAC not a DAC?
fiogf49gjkf0d
perfectly able to understand you play a different ballpark but what if a good DAC is not such a thing.
I orderd a Vicol shigaclone to be build in the Behringer Ultra Curve, with a spdif tube buffer to a Behringer Ultra match for upsamplingand a tube analog out taken straight from the chip. 
thank you Lampizator... 

http://lampizator.eu/LAMPIZATOR/TRANSPORT/behringer/ultracurve/ultracurve.html
07-06-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
de charlus
Posts 94
Joined on 06-11-2013

Post #: 9
Post ID: 19643
Reply to: 19636
Ultra-incomprehension.
fiogf49gjkf0d
Thank you, Rennie, but that's entirely beyond me. As for Romy's input, I do take your point; it's hard to imagine a single DAC possessing virtues entirely harmonious with all three sources - maybe I should just go for the best universal player attainable, and accept some compromise. It's not as if I'll be doing the majority of my listening through the unit anyway, so buying two or three front-rank - even if somewhat outdated in one or two cases - DACS really can't be justified, even if I did feel like committing my time to so arduous a process. That said, perhaps a system as tube-laden as the one I'm configuring will permit the use of a somewhat analytical-sounding DAC with the TLOX without sounding too clinical; maybe not probable, but perhaps worth trying. I really don't see myself vastly expanding my music collection through new digital media anyway; the resurgence of vinyl continues apace, and by that I mean the growth of used record-stores carrying original, high-quality pressings. If I invest in a good record washing machine to resurrect such dusty lovelies, it might make more sense to forget the high-end Red Book player, get a good universal one with an appropriate DAC, and invest the rest of my "new media" budget on a reel-to-reel player instead - I am told that quality tapes are appearing with increasing regularity.

de Charlus
07-07-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
scooter
Posts 161
Joined on 07-17-2008

Post #: 10
Post ID: 19646
Reply to: 19643
Ultra box
fiogf49gjkf0d
de charlus -

I used a few of these Behringer boxes and the level of features is staggering. However, in my experience with the Ultra box, sound quality was significantly reduced in "bypass" mode, reduced further when employed as a DAC, and reduced further with processing. Note there are also some others who sell "audiophile" mods for these Behringer boxes. I can't comment on the Lampizator mods other than to note his pages are entertaining and that the Ultra looks funny with tubes. 

You might think about some of his "axioms" such as why he believes upsampling and tube output are "best practices." 

I eventually sold the Ultra but for ~200$, it is a very useful toy. Maybe current computer software and a soundcard provide more features but will have a steeper learning curve compared to the plug-and-play of the Behringer. I found both to be extremely useful for expirments and testing. Behringer or s/w is also a nice place to start for thinking about crossovers. But after that, you will want to remove them from your system. 

By the way, getting good sound out of a PC is very difficult; my $300 Sansui tuner sounds much better than any PC source I have ever heard and I have spent a lot of time trying. 
07-07-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Stitch


Behind The Sun
Posts 226
Joined on 01-15-2009

Post #: 11
Post ID: 19647
Reply to: 19621
Search of the best DAC
fiogf49gjkf0d
... is quite a long journey. In the last 15 years we got every month a new, sonic revolution in sonic digital Playback. We got up sampling, HDCD ... SACD, separate units, digital cables, separate master clocks, output stage with tubes and so on and on and on.Based on that marketing I would say, digital playback is now 25x better than live. Minimum.

I had DCS units, CEC units, master clocks .... and listened to endless of those expensive (StahlTek, MSB, Esoteric, new dCS ...) units. In summary I say today: Forget it.
No matter what you do, no matter how much money you spend, when the source (CD) is not done outstanding, you will hear a mediocre reproduction and you won't play that CD anymore. After all those years we get the "information" NOW from our reviewers that the normal Redbook CD is overall the most natural recording :-)
I know a few who go back buying CD's 2. hand made in the 80's, early 90's .... >Y2K it is like rolling a dice, except someone prefers those pure Audiophile Masterings, but when you want a kind of time document, the older ones have something which is hard to find today: Ambience and a illusion of being part of the performance, but most are more or less dead. That is digital, you can't have everything.
Anyway, each his own, but I started looking finally for a one box solution which doesn't make me cry and bought an Emmlabs. It is true from tone (when it is recorded that way), it can reproduce a soundstage properly (when it is done right from mastering) and it is able to separate complicated classic music, not the usual sonic wall of sound where all is equal (I call it the Phil Spector wall of sound).
And I don't listen to SACD's. 


Kind Regards
Stitch
07-07-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
rowuk


Germany
Posts 226
Joined on 07-05-2012

Post #: 12
Post ID: 19648
Reply to: 19643
The road to exquisite playback is fraught with IEDs
fiogf49gjkf0d
I think that picking a DAC is like picking speakers - regardless of the price, we don't know what we have until we get there. I do not think that it is possible to compare digital and analog playback forms. With a turntable we have as many choices (good and bad) as with multi channel horn speakers - the arm is resonant, the belt drive is resonant, the cartridge is resonant, there are serious changes in quality based on ambient teperature and humidity,, With tape we have a "fragile" playback system with bleedthrough, wow and flutter, head phase anomalies and noise. With digital we have ultimate speed stability and a more or less reproduceable playback that in fact cannot cover up the warts. This places some major requirements on the quality of the original recordings.
Perhaps some interesting facts: Prior to digital, many top microphones had serious resonances between 20khz-30khz. They caused real HAVOC with the first digital recordings - no one was expecting so much energy that could get aliased back to the passband. Tape head gap was a brick wall filter that prevented this stuff from getting into the reproduction chain. With radio we have a 19khz pilot tone filter. So except for direct to disc or digital to vinyl recordings, all analog sources pretty much have no source information above 20khz.
I have had very, very good sonic results with Focusrite ADC/DAC Saffire Pro Firewire adapters. They just seem to get the analog stages right. Much more so than many others that I have tried (M-Audio, Behringer, Apogee, Wadia, Musical Fidelity, Acqvox).
What does the Focusrite do? Well, it is a long story. What I notice is that I listen to the whole track instead of zapping to the next spectacular passage. I think the company name applies Focus-Rite. The image is clear, in focus but not to soft or too etched. Depth/width presentation is wonderful. No facet really sticks out. They have decent headphone amplifiers built in so much of my listening (AKG 701 headphones with compressed ear pads) does not even need any further hardware.
Playback with computer hardware is a journey in itself and like with speakers there is much desinformation on the web. If you are lucky, there may be other people in your general area with advanced taste in music reproduction. There is nothing like an afternoon/weekend comparing two pieces of equipment with another set of ears that you trust!


Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
07-07-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
de charlus
Posts 94
Joined on 06-11-2013

Post #: 13
Post ID: 19649
Reply to: 19648
Emmlabs etc
fiogf49gjkf0d
Thanks guys. It's interesting to hear such perspectives, especially upon computer audio; to go by the "audiophile press", high-res computer files are the best thing since that proverbial sliced bread - just like DVDAudio, HDCD, SACD etc were - so much so that the fact that I have yet to hear anything very impressive from any of my acquaintance's systems, I blamed mostly on the systems, rather than the medium, so little did what I was hearing accord with what I was reading. Nonetheless, I suppose that it is necessary to have the medium since this is the direction that things are going, and since I need a DAC anyway, it will require little additional expense.
Rowuk, do you use the Focusrite unit in combination with a DAC, or in place of? It's not clear to me from their site precisely what is what.
I'm glad to hear a recommendation for Emmlabs, since not only can I audition these locally, but I can take them home and do so in the context of my own system. Do you use a transport+DAC, or an integrated unit? If the latter, can one run other sources through the DAC?
Yes, it is interesting to find that earlier pressings of CDs seem to have something that later ones do not; in my mind it has always been a troubled medium, but just as CD failed in any substantial fashion to improve upon vinyl, so the latest and greatest discs fail to improve on Redbook CD. One should, I suppose, simply absorb the lesson that it's wise to allow time for the "warts and all" of every inordinately lauded new technology to present themselves before committing to them wholesale. It's almost laughable that after all this time, it is vinyl and reel-to-reel that we find at the apogee of music reproduction, everything else coming a very distant second.

de Charlus
07-08-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 14
Post ID: 19651
Reply to: 19649
Some comments and fantasies.
fiogf49gjkf0d

It is astonishing: what “scooter” wrote in his “Ultra box” post above is what I would write myself.

Anyhow, Charlus when you wrote about “single DAC possessing virtues entirely harmonious with all three sources” then I very much understand what you mean but it is hardly achievable. The problem is that with digital each new source sound different. When you have a DAW and will be playing files from server you will see that any playing software that you will be using will hugely change sound. It knows it is contra-intuitive and it shall not be but it is what it is. So, my feeling is that a person just pretty much selects what s/he feels is comfortable and then builds around that result. So, I do feel that an ultimate DAC for all sources is a wet-dream unicorn but we need to redefine what would be “ultimate” in this case. I think the “ultimate” would be the one that give great result for one souse and acceptable for the rest sources.

The reasonable question would be to ask: why do not have a DAC that would be able to operate with multiple sources and to have custom configuration for each of the source? Now we are taking!!! Some companies did it BTW but they were not so great DACS. I am not informed about a good DAC that would have configurable filtration and perhaps differently configured out stages for each source. I would not even mind the analog EQ for each source, not the physical EQ but the hypothetical IQ.

Stitch, narrative is very interesting.  I never had new Meitner’s DACs. I hear it countless time and each time it was very bad sound but it was always was in context of other brainless people sound and I do not know if the ugly teeth-twisting sound I got was coming from the Meitner’s DAC of it was because the people who used it were idiots. A few years back I was thinking to get the Emmlab to try but at that time Meitner dot associated with Jonathan Thin, I think they appointed him as some kind of marketing director. That character is unspeakable idiot and if a company bring him aboard then to me it is an indication that the building where the company is located need to be blown up with a rocket-propelled grenade. I never paid attention to Emmlab ever since.

The Italian Stefano Bertoncello at his blog was posting the worshiping of German guys about something that they call DDDAC

http://twogoodears.blogspot.com/2013/06/digital-skyrocketing.html

I do not know how to project what they say as they mostly listen just sounds and I have a large detest the music they listen. It might be worth attention or might be not, I do not know.

The last few years the Digital Audio Denmark make very strong ways in pro audio world:

http://www.digitalaudio.dk/

I never heard them and would like to hear but I am not in frustration to make any move. Interesting that most of the guys who follow the “digital revolution” change their DACs each 2-3 years. I have my Bidat from 1999 and even now I have no intention to get rid of it. Well, I would like to have ONE DAC instead of 3, that is for sure, in fact I would like to have one digital machine that would do all souses as A/D and D/A . I do not see why it might not be done. Something like Pacific Microscopic only with friendly interface, multiple inputs, smart internal mixing and routing, the way how Theta Digital use have in this Casablanca preamps years back.  BTW, I am not convinced that such a machine is coming and I would not be surprised if it will be as some kind of PC-based plug-in card. I still keep my eyes and mind open.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
07-08-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Stitch


Behind The Sun
Posts 226
Joined on 01-15-2009

Post #: 15
Post ID: 19652
Reply to: 19651
Loosening hairs ....
fiogf49gjkf0d
 Romy the Cat wrote:

Stitch, narrative is very interesting.  I never had new Meitner’s DACs. I hear it countless time and each time it was very bad sound but it was always was in context of other brainless people sound and I do not know if the ugly teeth-twisting sound I got was coming from the Meitner’s DAC of it was because the people who used it were idiots. A few years back I was thinking to get the Emmlab to try but at that time Meitner dot associated with Jonathan Thin, I think they appointed him as some kind of marketing director. That character is unspeakable idiot and if a company bring him aboard then to me it is an indication that the building where the company is located need to be blown up with a rocket-propelled grenade. I never paid attention to Emmlab ever since.

The Cat

Well, I made an interesting observation by accident. I didn't know those Emmlab unit (later I read that Mr. Terrific [Tin] made the distribution in USA, but later he switched to something else, which is even more ultra terrific...), went into a Demo with total unknown units and was amazed about the quality of digital Playback. It was a good Demo generally...Some time later I listened to it in 2 different, very expensive Systems (Spectral...Magico) and it was horrible, absolutely awful. When I wouldn't had the experience before, I would have deleted it in my memory. Anyway, I THINK, the unit is passive and what you hear is depending on the quality of the connected System / Preamp. Maybe more than other units it will give different results based on that. My main CD's are from 80's /early 90's, some early Mercury Living Presence CD's...and that unit gives me better results than all the stuff I had before.
But digital discussions are endless ... but Meitner didn't walk the path the other 95% did, so it is probably worth a try.


Kind Regards
Stitch
07-08-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 16
Post ID: 19653
Reply to: 19652
DSD stream
fiogf49gjkf0d
 Stitch wrote:
Well, I made an interesting observation by accident. I didn't know those Emmlab unit (later I read that Mr. Terrific [Tin] made the distribution in USA, but later he switched to something else, which is even more ultra terrific...), went into a Demo with total unknown units and was amazed about the quality of digital Playback. It was a good Demo generally...Some time later I listened to it in 2 different, very expensive Systems (Spectral...Magico) and it was horrible, absolutely awful. When I wouldn't had the experience before, I would have deleted it in my memory. Anyway, I THINK, the unit is passive and what you hear is depending on the quality of the connected System / Preamp. Maybe more than other units it will give different results based on that. My main CD's are from 80's /early 90's, some early Mercury Living Presence CD's...and that unit gives me better results than all the stuff I had before.
But digital discussions are endless ... but Meitner didn't walk the path the other 95% did, so it is probably worth a try. 
  
Interesting, I also can recall that each time I have hear demo with Emmlab it was always in context of those “special” TAS-approved playbacks and in context of the “special” TAS-brained people. From I remember by memory Emmlab converts anything into DSD stream and does not allow to play native PCM. I feel that it is not good. I do not know if it was the feature of the units at that time as if was changed as they made a few new models from then. Meitner also has some kind of baby Emmlab unit under different company names. Ironically in the past he was able to make smaller and less expensive unit to sound as good or better then complex and expensive, I do not know if it is the case now.

With all my detest of the SACD bushtit I know that they sometimes in past reinstated the original 4-bit DSD (instead of 1-bit consumer crap), which shall be fantastic (and I did hear in it 1999 before CACD become available – it was spectacular!). I do not think that the 4-bit DSD is valuable, unless you work in recording industry and can steal some. Nevertheless, I think that since now more or mode downloadable SDS become available I think the concept of “universal” all-trades DAC shall include an ability to input and output at least 1-bit DSD stream. You still not going to have any good music to play on it for the next 500 years but you at least will be “ready”.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
07-08-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Stitch


Behind The Sun
Posts 226
Joined on 01-15-2009

Post #: 17
Post ID: 19654
Reply to: 19653
Change a cow into a racehorse...
fiogf49gjkf0d
I think, all those - endless - discussions about Digital Playback simply miss the target by a mile. When the CD was launched it was "perfect sound forever".
And what kind of discussions we have had in the last 20 years? Always about hardware. 44.1, 48....96...192...384...always Hardware. And it was (and is) completely useless. All the digital people want to change a fat cow into a racehorse. Or let me say it different, a car discussion, you can change the tires, springs, suspension, engine, racing seats, 10 gears, the overall design to make it faster but the fuel available has 50 octane. That's it. With that gasoline you can't change any car into a sportscar. But from optics you can redesign Ford to something "fast looking". Until you start the engine, 50 octane, probably you can lift it to 55 octane. But who cares...
The old story from Arlo Guthrie, Producer of Pink Floyd, is still valid when he wrote about the facts why he went away from Sony (no re-clocking with their laser burners, dead sounding Cd's, a difference like day and night between that and the master tape, different sounding CD Prototypes from even the same burning session and so on and on..) and was looking for a Manufacturer who knows how to do it right "there is no way to improve it, but 1000 ways to make it worse..."
Find something you can live with, there is no more you can do. Anything else is the same discussion day-in-day-out


Kind Regards
Stitch
07-08-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 18
Post ID: 19655
Reply to: 19654
I did not get it.
fiogf49gjkf0d
Stitch, I disagree with you. Any discussions might be endless, not only about digital, if there are no criteria for the purpose of the discussion. In this case we do have a purpose. For instance de Charlus  is looking for a DAC for his transport, I would not mind to find a single DAC that would play ANYTHING. I for instance have learned from you that Emmlab might reportedly to sound not only as some kind of chemotherapy. Perhaps somebody who makes DACs reading all of it would get better idea what people out there want. Of course it is about hardware and I do not know why you feel that it is completely useless and why the conversion of fat cow into a racehorse would be valid. The higher sampling rate then 44K is better and move from 16 bit to let say 20 bit is better. This is not useless.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
07-08-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
de charlus
Posts 94
Joined on 06-11-2013

Post #: 19
Post ID: 19656
Reply to: 19655
Emmlabs etc
fiogf49gjkf0d
Due to this thread, I called the friend upon whose boat I heard the Vox Olympian in order to find out precisely which DCS DAC he was using with his TLOX to get the sound that I found so remarkable. It turns out that whilst the DCS unit was indeed present, he had given up on the thing - finding it too "clinical" in combination with the TLOX - and was running the TLOX into the decidedly old-fashioned Kondo DAC that I mistakenly thought was a power supply for the pre - or power-amps or something. So, I am nowhere nearer to knowing what was going on than before, since the remarkable results could have been the result of the Vox Olympian, the amplification, the transport and/or DAC, or the synergy of the whole thing. It does tend to lend justification to Romy's assertion that the TLOX is best employed with DACS employing more anachronistic topologies than I might consider if buying a DAC to use with hi-res computer files or a new universal player. It would have been nice to compare the Kondo to the DCS in said system, but since I didn't know what was going on at the time, I didn't ask for such a comparison. Furthermore, I cannot home-audition anything Kondo in Toronto - not that I would want to spend that kind of money on a DAC anyway - and cannot shop-audition the TLOX with the Kondo. So, what I have learned/had confirmed, is that the TLOX is most likely best employed with a specie of DAC that I don't want to afford anyway. I am increasingly of the belief that I should go the universal route with a DAC optimized for that unit, and accept some compromise in the playback of Redbook CD, which is compromised in and of itself. Thanks.

de Charlus
07-08-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Stitch


Behind The Sun
Posts 226
Joined on 01-15-2009

Post #: 20
Post ID: 19657
Reply to: 19655
Differences in Mastering
fiogf49gjkf0d
 Romy the Cat wrote:
Any  Of course it is about hardware and I do not know why you feel that it is completely useless and why the conversion of fat cow into a racehorse would be valid. The higher sampling rate then 44K is better and move from 16 bit to let say 20 bit is better. This is not useless.


Buy the identical CD multiple times but each from a different country (mastered in USA / Germany / Netherlands / Great Britain / Australia ....) and normally they all sound different (not always but very often) 


Kind Regards
Stitch
07-08-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 21
Post ID: 19658
Reply to: 19656
It shall be easy.
fiogf49gjkf0d
 de charlus wrote:
Due to this thread, I called the friend upon whose boat I heard the Vox Olympian in order to find out precisely which DCS DAC he was using with his TLOX to get the sound that I found so remarkable. It turns out that whilst the DCS unit was indeed present, he had given up on the thing - finding it too "clinical" in combination with the TLOX - and was running the TLOX into the decidedly old-fashioned Kondo DAC that I mistakenly thought was a power supply for the pre - or power-amps or something. So, I am nowhere nearer to knowing what was going on than before, since the remarkable results could have been the result of the Vox Olympian, the amplification, the transport and/or DAC, or the synergy of the whole thing. It does tend to lend justification to Romy's assertion that the TLOX is best employed with DACS employing more anachronistic topologies than I might consider if buying a DAC to use with hi-res computer files or a new universal player. It would have been nice to compare the Kondo to the DCS in said system, but since I didn't know what was going on at the time, I didn't ask for such a comparison. Furthermore, I cannot home-audition anything Kondo in Toronto - not that I would want to spend that kind of money on a DAC anyway - and cannot shop-audition the TLOX with the Kondo. So, what I have learned/had confirmed, is that the TLOX is most likely best employed with a specie of DAC that I don't want to afford anyway. I am increasingly of the belief that I should go the universal route with a DAC optimized for that unit, and accept some compromise in the playback of Redbook CD, which is compromised in and of itself. Thanks.

Honestly, if I were you I would not be in harry with any transport or DAC selection. You are good 1-2 years away from the time your installation will be running at full throttle. I absolutely assure that during the next 2 years at least 30 new DACs become available and surprisingly the prices for them are dropping rapidly. Even 10 years ago you would be able to see DACs with $10K-$20K price tag. They were peaty much empty boxes with $50 parts inside, genetically designed with oops in output stages. Even if they were discreet then they still cost pennies. Nowadays the prices are dropped and I think a good DAC shall not be more expensive than $1000-$2000. Take a look what Antelope DACs do – the top of the line machine are around $2000.

I am not surprised that DCS were no go DAC. It is very pure sounding machine; it is no surprise that it needs so much industry help to be sold. You might look into some old chip DACs that were surprisingly good and that cost nothing today: like old Parasoaund 2000, old CEC, old Musatech. It is possible that even looking into something like Linx card which has DACs abort would be fine as a temp solution if you will be screaming from PC.

Charlus, I personally feel that it is wrong to witness a great sound at some place and buy the same units presuming that it will assure your better sound. It never works this way.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
07-08-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 22
Post ID: 19659
Reply to: 19657
So what is your solution?
fiogf49gjkf0d
 Stitch wrote:
Buy the identical CD multiple times but each from a different country (mastered in USA / Germany / Netherlands / Great Britain / Australia ....) and normally they all sound different (not always but very often) 

Yes, they all sound different. I agree and even from the same company but “pressed” during different vintages the also sound very different. Does it mean that you need to use a DAC that would further damage sound?


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
07-08-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
de charlus
Posts 94
Joined on 06-11-2013

Post #: 23
Post ID: 19660
Reply to: 19657
Emm Audition
fiogf49gjkf0d
Well, on Friday I will be bringing home the Emm Labs XDS1 Ref Universal Player and the DAC2X to listen to at home. I shall post comments as and when they arise.

de Charlus
07-08-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
de charlus
Posts 94
Joined on 06-11-2013

Post #: 24
Post ID: 19661
Reply to: 19660
DACs and future-proofing
fiogf49gjkf0d
OK, Romy, I take your point. I'm still going to audition the Emm setup - why not, right? - but will not be doing so with the firm intention of buying them there and then. I have never even heard of Antelope, but will check them out and see if they can be found in Toronto.

de Charlus
07-08-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
de charlus
Posts 94
Joined on 06-11-2013

Post #: 25
Post ID: 19662
Reply to: 19661
Antelope
fiogf49gjkf0d
From a technological perspective, these look very interesting. Unfortunately the nearest place i could audition these is Montreal, but it looks to be worth it. Have you heard these, Romy, or are you also impressed with the price/technology ratio?

de Charlus

Antelope Zodiac Gold+ w/ Voltikus


HD Audiophile 384kHz D/A Converter bundle with remote and Voltikus power supply

Antelope Zodiac Gold is an advanced digital audio converter engineered to deliver pristine audio with keenly articulated pitch and a spectacular soundstage. This unique sound is based on Antelope's 64-bit clocking technology used by the world’s top audio engineers. A custom designed USB controller chip streams digital audio at 480 Mbits, supporting sample rates up to 384 kHz with native drivers. As a preamp, the device allows up to 8 input sources with auto-detection of active channels with ease and flexibility to connect to virtually any device. A dual-stage headphone driver architecture unveils every sonic detail, while the relay based volume control assures superb stereo imaging at any listening level. For enhanced user experience your Zodiac comes with aluminum remote control and friendly PC/Mac software panel.

A sophisticated and powerful DAC, Pre-Amp and Headphone Amp for most refined tastes.

Features
  • Unibody machined aluminum Remote Control
  • Custom USB chip streams audio up to 384kHz
  • Matched to 0.05 dB Relay Volume Attenuator
  • Antelope Oven Clock for supreme stability
  • 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking (AFC)
  • Ultra Linear, Dual Stage Headphone Amps
  • Switchable (120 or 0 Ohm) HP amp impedance
  • De-jittered, re-clocked Digital Audio Outputs
  • 129dB Dynamic Range
  • Accurate level display for Main volume
  • Mono summing function
  • Mute (soft dim & full mute)
  • PC/Mac Software Control Panel
  • Audiophile Double-linear Power Supply option
    Connections
  • 2x Headphone Outputs on 1/4” TRS
  • Trim-able balanced Analog Outputs on XLR
  • Unbalanced Analog Outputs on RCA
  • Balanced Analog Inputs on 1/4” TRS
  • Unbalanced Analog Inputs on RCA
  • AES/EBU Digital Input
  • 2x S/PDIF coaxial Inputs
  • 2x Optical TOSLINK inputs
  • USB on standard B type connector
  • Word Clock Input on BNC
  • De-jittered AES/EBU Output
  • De-jittered 2x S/PDIF Outputs
    Up to 384 kHz Sampling Rate
    Antelope Audio is one of the first to offer 384kHz capability. In doing so, we hope to match and exceed the expectations of even the most critical of ears. Now audiophiles can enjoy the highest bandwidth that a USB 2.0 interface can provide for audio.

    Stepped Relay Volume Attenuator
    When adjusting volumes, it’s imperative that the stereo image remain completely intact. The Zodiac Gold achieves this by incorporating stepped relays that are matched to 0,05 dB to maintain the most accurate stereo balance at all volume levels.

    PC/MAC Software Control Panel
    Computer-based audio sources have become more and more popular in the audiophile community. To enhance the use of the Zodiac with USB, we designed a Software Control Panel that improves the interaction between computer and converter. Antelope’s Intuitive software helps combine great sound with ease of use.

    Remote Control
    The stylish champagne colored Zodiac Gold is matched perfectly to it’s elegant aluminum unibody remote control. This isn’t just another remote control to toss under a coffee table, it’s a beautifully crafted device that will enhance the experience of owning a Zodiac Gold.

    Professional features
    Added flexibility for the professional user makes for a distinctly powerful device: AES Input, fine trimmers on the balanced outputs, mono button, mute select (soft & full), transparent analog inputs, BNC word clock input, 384kHz USB.

    De-Jittered Audio Output
    Digital outputs on AES/EBU and S/PDIF offer all the benefits of Antelope’s 64-bit Acoustically Focused Clocking, so external devices gain significant sonic advantages when connected to Zodiac Gold.

    Source Switching
    With a number of different inputs available, you can monitor many sources such as CD, Laptop, DAW or Mixers and Keyboards. Balanced and unbalanced inputs at both +4db and -10db allows tremendous flexibility, while auto detection of connected devices means source selection is simple and convenient.

    The Antelope Voltikus is a sleek heavy-duty Power Supply Unit (PSU) designed to perfectly match your Zodiac DAC. Carefully tailored to deliver uncompromised power, Voltikus helps Zodiac achieve the punch and sonic richness of deep lows, a full range of mids, and tightly defined highs. This degree of performance is accomplished by incorporating a hefty, custom-wound, electrostatically shielded toroidal transformer followed by a unique concept of three cascaded power regulators. A precision laser-trimmed voltage reference (LT1021) serves as the backbone of this discrete design, achieving the stability impossible with off-the-shelf voltage regulators. Voltikus is a true engineering breakthrough from Antelope's respected team of high-end audio experts.

    Features
  • Audiophile grade PSU perfectly matching Zodiac DACs in aesthetics and performance
  • Unique multi-stage linear regulator topology achieves vastly superior stability
  • Toroidal transformer with custom electrostatic shield suppresses power line disturbances
  • Ground / Lift switch helps eliminate hum and buzz caused by ground loops
  • Wide (90-250V) input voltage range ensures dependable operation under varying line conditions
  • Advanced discrete design dispenses with the need for noisy off-the-shelf voltage regulators
  • Robust sturdy construction with custom machined aluminum front panel
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