Delta Sigma Versus R2R Ladder

caesar

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May 31, 2010
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And , yes, although all the following models are R2R, I would take the entry level TotalDAC or the SW1X DAC over the highest priced MSB - because the cheaper SW1X DAC and TotalDAC are better at communicating emotion
 

morricab

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Apr 25, 2014
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Not all ladder DACs are the same. TotalDAC and Aries Cerat carry much more emotion than MSB, which is an excellent audiophile DAC , delivering the audiophile vocabulary in spades, along with great detail retrieval and with a very musical sonic signature.

But MSB can't match TotalDAC or Aries Cerat for emotional engagement.

Bricasti DAC sounds great on Zu (because of Zu's great, rich tonality), but again, I dont' trust them with their R2R implementation , as they have been a sigma delta company for a long time. I think they just threw the R2R feature in there for audiophiles to play with, just like they have 10 or so different filters for people to drive themselves crazy with.

Also, the MBL reference DAC , which is delta sigma, carries much more emotion than MSB. So , again, can't really generalize.
You can add Ayon DACs, cd players and servers to that list of resolved yet emotional. The current crop are delta sigma and are reportedly very good...I only have experience with the R2R players from the early 2010s (using BB PCM1704 chips). Simply superb.
 

abrich

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Mar 6, 2012
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Dear experts,:)
Could you please help me understand how significant in NOS R2R designs the temperature drift factor is? What products employ the most effective compensation mechanisms?
 

VerdantAudio

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I just went through rather exhaustive testing of about 14 DACs with the bulk being delta sigma split between FPGA and traditional chips along with three R2Rs. Admittedly two of those R2Rs were from the same company, Rockna.

I think generalizations around R2R vs delta sigma are poor. In terms of clarity and accuracy vs. musicality, I would argue that the design and implementation matters far more than DAC type. I have heard bright R2Rs and warm, musical delta sigmas. My advice is worry less about DAC type and focus on the sound you are trying to achieve realizing that in the specified price range you are looking at, there is a significant trade off between detail and soundstage.

In the $5K range, I tested the Chord TT2, Audiobyte Hydravox, Rockna Wavelight, PS Audio DSD and Bricasti M3 and just below this level, the Wyred 4 Sound, 2v2 SE. The Rockna was middling in terms of sound profile as the lone R2R. The Chord and Audiobyte are much more detailed while the Bricasti had a bigger soundstage and I would define it as more musical.
 

Lagonda

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Schiit has, for a few years, been tweaking the output circuit in both the Yggy and Gumby to achieve a particular flavor of sound... A supposedly analog sound, thus the "Analog 2" upgrade offered originally which merely tuned the output stage. Now they've decided to offer up multiple Yggys, each with a different DAC chip in order to obtain improved measurements. They got reamed in Stereophile a few years ago for poor measurements that revealed apparent problems with the digital circuitry at the time. And they have now apparently responded with a pick your poison solution. One DAC, three entirely different converter chip options, one of which they claim now measures quite well. Odd, in my opinion. Certainly unheard of.
Is Lampi not doing the same thing, and adding additional flavoring in the tube selection ? At a much elevated price of course ! ;)
 

morricab

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Is Lampi not doing the same thing, and adding additional flavoring in the tube selection ? At a much elevated price of course ! ;)
Yes...but it’s tubes...
 

Ian B

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Oct 20, 2020
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I think a lot of the enthusiasm about R2R DACs is more to do with the NOS filter design. The R2Rs I have heard that used digital oversampling filters had a nice coherence between the bass and midrange where they seemed perfectly align (DS don't seem like the time is as even across the frequencies). But it's really the NOS settings that make things more raw, direct, and analog. Ironically DSD-based DACs can do a similar thing in theory, and do it better, by reducing the output filter to a simple high bandwidth analog filter. Of course, many manufacturers do complex math onboard to upsample the audio to DSD with elaborate digital filters, which can defeat the point to some degree. But some do succeed at creating a very analog sound with lots of detail and fewer sharp edges.
 
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bonzo75

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Is Lampi not doing the same thing, and adding additional flavoring in the tube selection ? At a much elevated price of course ! ;)

No.
 

Golum

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Jun 7, 2018
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If it matters - I spoke with one of the designers a while ago (name not important and I know them personally a few) and his approach was (and this still kind of rings in my head) - give me whichever DAC you want (R2R, Delta Sigma) and I'll make it sing in a way I want to..
 
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Brucemck2

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May 10, 2010
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…. while the Bricasti had a bigger soundstage and I would define it as more musical.
The Bricasti M3 is a great bang for the buck DAC. You can get it with a nice headphone amp built in fir a nice all in one headphone rig.
 

morricab

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If it matters - I spoke with one of the designers a while ago (name not important and I know them personally a few) and his approach was (and this still kind of rings in my head) - give me whichever DAC you want (R2R, Delta Sigma) and I'll make it sing in a way I want to..
Bet I can guess who said that!
 

tinkerphile

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Nov 27, 2021
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The three DACs I will choose among -- Lampizator Baltic3, Holo May KTE and SW1X DAC II are all R2R, I believe.
Why not (within the three) why not Atlantic TRP instead of Baltic 3? And have you heard the B3 along side SW1X? I'm not going to consider Holo, but I am considering Lampi B3 or Atl TRP, SW1X III basic. The problem (at least for me) is, that I see hardly any information on the Lampi site for the internal electronics. Why so intentionally vague?
 

tinkerphile

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Although the DAC methodology is just one aspect of performance, I believe it to be very important. My preference is for R2R. Also very important is the filtering, where I prefer no digital filter with just a simple analog filter.

Obviously the output stage and power supplies are also critical.

Good luck with your search Ron!
Yes, important, but what about caps and resistors, chokes, etc.? These are huge in the general architecture as well.
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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Why not (within the three) why not Atlantic TRP instead of Baltic 3? And have you heard the B3 along side SW1X? I'm not going to consider Holo, but I am considering Lampi B3 or Atl TRP, SW1X III basic. The problem (at least for me) is, that I see hardly any information on the Lampi site for the internal electronics. Why so intentionally vague?

I don't know anything about Atlantic. I thought Baltic3 was the lower model.
 

DasguteOhr

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Sep 26, 2013
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When you want analog musical sound, search old dacs with ultra analog r2r dac like sonic frontiers sfd 1, stax x1t or audioresearch dac 1
sounds amazing. unnamed (3).jpg
 

morricab

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When you want analog musical sound, search old dacs with ultra analog r2r dac like sonic frontiers sfd 1, stax x1t or audioresearch dac 1
sounds amazing. View attachment 85537
I own 2 DACs with this chipset (Kinergetics Research KCD-55 Ultra and a PS Audio DAC). The Kinergetics actually has 2 of these awesome modules. Both DACs sound very good and organic despite having SS output stages (I am a tube guy so...).
 
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DasguteOhr

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Sep 26, 2013
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No problem tubes Stax1t is with tube output, you need 3 power cords, one for digital, left output stage , right output stage.
if you have a better dac for cd, congratulations i haven't found one yet.
dacx1t-n4h.jpg

Or a Manley reference dac can be used as preamp too, both a world class

2a4ed1fa73810a91f58f8b8710a86ccd07cf181e.jpeg
 
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