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microstrip

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“Drama”?? What are you talking about? I am only suggesting that you do not mix up cq do not combine things that are totally irrelevant for this thread, nothing more, nothing less. Your ‘unfriendly’ reaction is clear though and I leave it at that.

My apologies if it sounds unfriendly, but what is irrelevant for you perhaps is not for others.
I am always happy to read others opinion and disagreement, but I deeply dislike when members try to moderate threads. WBF has moderators that write in green, if needed.
 

Al M.

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My apologies if it sounds unfriendly, but what is irrelevant for you perhaps is not for others.
I am always happy to read others opinion and disagreement, but I deeply dislike when members try to moderate threads. WBF has moderators that write in green, if needed.

Wholeheartedly agree.
 

Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Yes, implementation is everything. I myself am not making a particular claim about the sound of delta sigma vs R2R -- the designer of Schiit does -- even though I have yet to hear an example that convinces me that he is wrong. That does not mean that such an example doesn’t exist. I am open to evidence.

By the way, I have also heard an R2R DAC that sounds artificial. So it cuts both ways. R2R is not an automatic guarantee either.



Now that's a funny interpretation and rationalization.

Hi AI M,

I am being serious when I said: "To some, ladder DAC sounds better because they interpret higher distortions with certain character as better sounding." Ladder DACs have output non-linear distortion issues due to resistor value deviation and temperature (resistor value depends on temperature). Also, the bit input voltage is switched by electronic keys. These keys also cause voltage error that depends on temperature too.
 

Al M.

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Hi AI M,

I am being serious when I said: "To some, ladder DAC sounds better because they interpret higher distortions with certain character as better sounding." Ladder DACs have output non-linear distortion issues due to resistor value deviation and temperature (resistor value depends on temperature). Also, the bit input voltage is switched by electronic keys. These keys also cause voltage error that depends on temperature too.

Yuen,

Of course you were serious. I just don't buy your interpretation on the listening level.

By bench measurement, vinyl obviously distorts a lot, much more than also a ladder DAC. And still, for decades vinyl sounded more natural than digital according to many, including myself. Now with more recent advances in digital performance I wouldn't say that anymore, even though obviously many still continue to do so.

What is perfect on paper isn't necessarily so in practice. Why do many solid state amps sound somewhat harsh and whitish, even though nominally they distort much less than tube amps? Because very small levels of high-order harmonic distortion, often more prominent in SS amps, can sound particularly nasty to the human ear. It's not just about the absolute level of distortion, but about the distribution of distortion. Conventional engineer measurements do not always tell the whole story, perception by the human ear does. This perception is a kind of measurement too -- and arguably the much more relevant one.

(This example obviously doesn't claim that there are no wonderfully sounding SS amps. There emphatically are.)
 

AndrewChen

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Jul 28, 2018
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Because very small levels of high-order harmonic distortion, often more prominent in SS amps, can sound particularly nasty to the human ear. It's not just about the absolute level of distortion, but about the distribution of distortion. Conventional engineer measurements do not always tell the whole story, perception by the human ear does.

You've just contradicted yourself - we know high-order harmonic distortions are occurring precisely because "conventional" engineering instruments tell us so!

The fact is, today's measurements instruments do reveal pretty much everything thats audible and much more that isn't. We just don't necessarily know how to interpret some of what's measured, and to correlate that to what we hear.
 

Yuen A.

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Jan 4, 2018
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Yuen,

Of course you were serious. I just don't buy your interpretation on the listening level.

By bench measurement, vinyl obviously distorts a lot, much more than also a ladder DAC. And still, for decades vinyl sounded more natural than digital according to many, including myself. Now with more recent advances in digital performance I wouldn't say that anymore, even though obviously many still continue to do so.

What is perfect on paper isn't necessarily so in practice. Why do many solid state amps sound somewhat harsh and whitish, even though nominally they distort much less than tube amps? Because very small levels of high-order harmonic distortion, often more prominent in SS amps, can sound particularly nasty to the human ear. It's not just about the absolute level of distortion, but about the distribution of distortion. Conventional engineer measurements do not always tell the whole story, perception by the human ear does. This perception is a kind of measurement too -- and arguably the much more relevant one.

(This example obviously doesn't claim that there are no wonderfully sounding SS amps. There emphatically are.)
Hi,

Any kind of distortion, whether euphonic or otherwise, does not contribute to accurate sound.
 

jfrech

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dCS Apex Vivaldi listening thoughts:

1)Been in the system since yesterday
2)Listened at first turn on, then a few hours on, then this morning
3)This dac is my dealers, has been broken in ~3 weeks, just off in transit to my home
4)More clear
5)More focus
6)More organized, or better at unraveling - everything is just in a better place on the soundstage
7)Seems like more resolution, but I wouldn't call it that, you just notice things in a more comprehendable fashion

It's better and will be hard to go back for a few weeks. I think the most important item that is missing from my list is above is it's just more interesting to listen to. It draws you in - in a deeper way than the non Apex Vivaldi.

When the dCS marketing stuff says its more linear, I guess I can get their point. Nothing calls itself out (not that it did before-it's just so more evenhanded everywhere now).

I had already placed my order. Now, I'll be more anxious and maybe not pick up my dealers call to pick up his demo :) later today...
 

Al M.

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You've just contradicted yourself - we know high-order harmonic distortions are occurring precisely because "conventional" engineering instruments tell us so!

The fact is, today's measurements instruments do reveal pretty much everything thats audible and much more that isn't. We just don't necessarily know how to interpret some of what's measured, and to correlate that to what we hear.

Your last sentence in bold confirms why I do *not* contradict myself.

In the beginning engineers were naive and thought harmonic distortion is harmonic distortion. Only later they learned to correlate measurements with human perception and concentrated on the nature of distortions, in this case high-order harmonic distortions.

In a similar manner, it took engineers a long time to figure out why digital jitter is important, and why miniscule levels of it are much more pernicious to the ear than larger levels of analog wow and flutter.

Without guidance by human auditory perception, many -- not all -- measurements are useless.
 

Al M.

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dCS Apex Vivaldi listening thoughts:

1)Been in the system since yesterday
2)Listened at first turn on, then a few hours on, then this morning
3)This dac is my dealers, has been broken in ~3 weeks, just off in transit to my home
4)More clear
5)More focus
6)More organized, or better at unraveling - everything is just in a better place on the soundstage
7)Seems like more resolution, but I wouldn't call it that, you just notice things in a more comprehendable fashion

It's better and will be hard to go back for a few weeks. I think the most important item that is missing from my list is above is it's just more interesting to listen to. It draws you in - in a deeper way than the non Apex Vivaldi.

When the dCS marketing stuff says its more linear, I guess I can get their point. Nothing calls itself out (not that it did before-it's just so more evenhanded everywhere now).

I had already placed my order. Now, I'll be more anxious and maybe not pick up my dealers call to pick up his demo :) later today...

Thanks for those impressions. Is there also greater tonal density to the sound, and perhaps weight, as reported by others?
 

jfrech

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Thanks for those impressions. Is there also greater tonal density to the sound, and perhaps weight, as reported by others?
Somewhat, but I haven't noticed that as top distinquishing feature. However it could be the filter selection I use vs others...or a function that the dac has only been on for ~20 hours. I'll listen more tonight ...
 

microstrip

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(...) By bench measurement, vinyl obviously distorts a lot, much more than also a ladder DAC. And still, for decades vinyl sounded more natural than digital according to many, including myself. Now with more recent advances in digital performance I wouldn't say that anymore, even though obviously many still continue to do so. (...)

IMHO we can't compare vinyl distortions with any other type of distortion. Vinyl distortions are electromechanical, including a time component that does no exist in electronics.

What is perfect on paper isn't necessarily so in practice. Why do many solid state amps sound somewhat harsh and whitish, even though nominally they distort much less than tube amps? Because very small levels of high-order harmonic distortion, often more prominent in SS amps, can sound particularly nasty to the human ear. It's not just about the absolute level of distortion, but about the distribution of distortion. Conventional engineer measurements do not always tell the whole story, perception by the human ear does. This perception is a kind of measurement too -- and arguably the much more relevant one.

(This example obviously doesn't claim that there are no wonderfully sounding SS amps. There emphatically are.)

Static distortion figures are just the tip of the iceberg. Almost all our experimental l knowledge about distortion effects comes from the 60's, at a time typical distortions were one or two orders of magnitude higher that current solid state, and well above noise. Conventional engineering tells a lot more than what we get from Stereophile measurements section, but being non standard data is impossible to debate by non experts. Designers develop proprietary techniques and add on hardware to enhance the capabilities of their Audio Precision analyzers.

Listening tests are surely needed to perfect for a preference or select it. If we look at the measurements of some top rated current solid state we find that the signal to noise ratio is just acceptable or even poor. And I am sure that their designers know how to get SOTA signal to ratio figures. Why this choice?
 

microstrip

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(...) 7)Seems like more resolution, but I wouldn't call it that, you just notice things in a more comprehendable fashion (...)

Yes, I also found it in the APEX. You apparently find more information, not because it was not there but because of the way it emerges - for example in Savall very complex scores where very many different ancient instruments are being played you separate them better by the way they are bowed.

It's better and will be hard to go back for a few weeks. (...)

Even worst is being without the Vivaldi DAC for the time of the upgrade. Although I appreciate the Kondo DAC I am missing the Vivaldi a lot ...
 
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Al M.

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Listening tests are surely needed to perfect for a preference or select it. If we look at the measurements of some top rated current solid state we find that the signal to noise ratio is just acceptable or even poor. And I am sure that their designers know how to get SOTA signal to ratio figures. Why this choice?

Well put.

Also, just a look at the adjustable feedback of CH Precision amps is telling. It seems a safe bet that the low feedback settings measure more poorly in conventional terms than the high feedback settings, but most users appear to sonically prefer a low feedback setting, if possible.

Conventional measurements do not tell the whole story.

Of course, a conventional answer might be that to some a low feedback setting sounds better because they interpret higher distortions with a certain character as better sounding. Yet I doubt that the very capable engineers at CH Precision would agree with that interpretation, and they would probably point out that there is more to the issue than that.
 
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jfrech

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Yes, I also found it in the APEX. You apparently find more information, not because it was not there but because of the way it emerges - for example in Savall very complex scores where very many different ancient instruments are being played you separate them better by the way they are bowed.



Even worst is being without the Vivaldi DAC for the time of the upgrade. Although I appreciate the Kondo DAC I am missing the Vivaldi a lot ...

So the Apex is now gone. I left my dac powered up so got a full A-B Apex non Apex in my system, same everything. I stand by all my comments above. Listening to my non apex this am, it's a bit flat/fuzzy looking back.

Micro-well said above regarding finding more info and the upgrade time :(
 

Lee

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So the Apex is now gone. I left my dac powered up so got a full A-B Apex non Apex in my system, same everything. I stand by all my comments above. Listening to my non apex this am, it's a bit flat/fuzzy looking back.

Micro-well said above regarding finding more info and the upgrade time :(
Sending in my Rossini soon for the Apex upgrade. I will report back my findings when returned. At least I am enjoying it and the Master Clock for now. I just added some Shunyata Omega clock cables and they took the sound up nicely. I need a few more days break-in before serious listening again but I am quite happy with digital.
 
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Lee

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By bench measurement, vinyl obviously distorts a lot, much more than also a ladder DAC. And still, for decades vinyl sounded more natural than digital according to many, including myself. Now with more recent advances in digital performance I wouldn't say that anymore, even though obviously many still continue to do so.

Vinyl has distortions but so does digital. Zero crossing distortion, pre/post ringing, jitter, etc.

Ladder DACs have flaws in not being capable of staying linear in the lower bits. A ring DAC doesn't have this problem and that is partly why I believe my Rossini is now, with clock attached, equal in sonics to my vinyl rig. The clock helps with transients due to more accurate decoding. That leads to less ringing...so that's a more organic sound which is like saying, "more analog-like".
 
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Al M.

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Ladder DACs have flaws in not being capable of staying linear in the lower bits.

Depends on the ladder DAC.

A ring DAC doesn't have this problem and that is partly why I believe my Rossini is now, with clock attached, equal in sonics to my vinyl rig.

The Ring DAC concept is very good indeed.
 

acousticsguru

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Feb 17, 2014
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Depends on the ladder DAC.



The Ring DAC concept is very good indeed.
I don't know of any way to build a ladder DAC where the absolute and relative precision of the resistors wouldn't matter. It seems to me as if the concept for the Ring DAC was originally born out of the technical feasibility to overcome what is ultimately a manufacturing problem. Needless to say, laser-etching has been improved etc. (one of my friends is an engineer in chip design, who'll occasionally educate me on the latest developments), but it appears there are technical limitations.

Greetings from Switzerland, David.
 
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