Non Oversampling DACs versus High Rez Hype

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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How could you tell the Scarlatti's noise floor when redbook CD was playing through it? Or are you talking differences you can only hear on hi-res?
The DCS playing same CD as thru Zanden...and the DCS was incredibly black in between notes. incredibly. My Zanden must be over 5 yrs old now, and Zanden has said it could use an upgrade. Probably right.
 

jkeny

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jkeny

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How does that work then? Sounds to me like something for nothing, i.e. marketing :eek:
I don't know but I heard the Scarlatti stack playing CD & yes there is a blackness to the sound. Maybe the patent application would help to answer your questions? "The patent pending (GB0817141.5) Paganini Upsampler or digital-to-digital converter (DDC)" I presume it's the same upsampler as used in the Scarlatti but I may be wrong?

Edit: Link to patent here http://www.ipo.gov.uk/p-find-publication-getPDF.pdf?PatentNo=GB2463663&DocType=A&JournalNumber=6305
 
Last edited:

LL21

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All i know is what i perceived...a blackness the likes of which i have not heard before, with the exception of the Stahl-Tek.
 

jkeny

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All i know is what i perceived...a blackness the likes of which i have not heard before, with the exception of the Stahl-Tek.
I agree CD played through the dCs stack sounded very close to high-res playback!
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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I agree CD played through the dCs stack sounded very close to high-res playback!
i have not spent a lot of time with hi-res playback...but i am inclined to agree that it felt incredibly clean, detailed, black...very, very special in that one particular area.
 

DonH50

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Jun 23, 2010
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Increasing the sampling rate and filtering the higher (out of band) quantization noise will improve the SNR of any DAC, delta-sigma or whatever. You essentially "spread" the quantization noise energy over a wider bandwidth, then throw some of it away. You do not need to shape the noise (i.e. delta-sigma converters) although noise shaping does provide greater SNR benefit.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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Here's some reading material loosely related to my last comment about time-domain measurements, rather than frequency-domain. Those who'd like to learn more, feast your eyes... http://www.temporalcoherence.nl/index.php?pagina=artikelen&lang=en
Thanks, Opus. Was taking a break and decided to read this article (many of the other interesting ones were in Dutch unfortunately). http://www.temporalcoherence.nl/docs/HighReso.pdf This was, for a non-techie like me, interesting to read.

Two interesting takeaways for me:

1. there appear to be scientific reasons why he feels people are not crazy when they prefer analogue over digital (16/44.1). For example, it appears there can be corruption above 20khz (where he provides examples that human hearing is sensitive to what is going on up above this range)...where moving coil cartridges apparently go above 20khz without this particular kind of 'distortion' from digital filtering/processing.

2. he also is totally focused on the superiority of SACD...but interestingly the many reasons he points out why analogue is often perceived as superior/preferable to CD...are the same areas where the high-industry seems to finding better and better ways of drawing more out of the original CD format. (for example, i have read of certain designers pushing the filtering higher up the frequency range...which ties back to what this author was reporting about human hearing being sensitive to things going on above 20khz.)

some of the areas he talks about...i think...are areas where i often read (i think i read...since i am no techie and may misunderstand some articles)...that NOS designers are focusing their products.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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So i anticipate meeting with Yamada San and Eric Pheils of Zanden Audio in Japan in September. Very excited! In addition to just meeting with them, i anticipate speaking with them about NOS today in light of hi-res, their thoughts on noise floor, detail/decay where the latest production methods have seriously improved these aspects...and [of course!] upgrades and transport.
 

MarinJim

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Feb 2, 2011
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In the case of the Zanden v DCS, i think they are different enough that yes, many people could distinguish them. They are both wonderful, but there is a distinct delivery-style that they each have. I think it would be harder to distinguish DCS, Wadia S7i blind without care. Though the DCS Scarlatti's noise floor is spectacular and might possibly give it away.
The Great Northern Sound Company Statement S7i takes it to a much higher level including "blackness", decay, dynamics and goosebump resolution. Of course, the quality of the recording is also important.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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The Great Northern Sound Company Statement S7i takes it to a much higher level including "blackness", decay, dynamics and goosebump resolution. Of course, the quality of the recording is also important.
Yes...i have heard exactly that from a number of people...would love to hear someday. They are no longer doing mods, correct?
 

MarinJim

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Yes...i have heard exactly that from a number of people...would love to hear someday. They are no longer doing mods, correct?
That is correct. Steve Huntly is now with Resolution Audio to get them bigger market share. But, my warranty is still intact.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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Years ago I listened to and reviewed the AN DAC 3 for TAS. It was one of the few DACs of that era that I could listen to. Don't know if it was the NOS or not, but it was definitely listenable. I had wanted to review the 4 after it came out but the piece never materialized :(
Interesting. I am pretty sure the Audio Note DACs are all non-oversampling...including the latest Audio Note Fifth Element which was just announced a few weeks ago.
 

LL21

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Dec 26, 2010
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So i anticipate meeting with Yamada San and Eric Pheils of Zanden Audio in Japan in September. Very excited! In addition to just meeting with them, i anticipate speaking with them about NOS today in light of hi-res, their thoughts on noise floor, detail/decay where the latest production methods have seriously improved these aspects...and [of course!] upgrades and transport.
So ended up visiting the hospital in Japan instead of Zanden! (nothing major, just one of those things.) Just a bummer as i never got to go and speak with Yamada San and Eric Pheils about their views on the latest digital. I remain attached to my Zanden so far, but continue to investigate...

...the more i read about Light Harmonics, Total DAC, Ypsilon, Audio Note's latest all-out effort (called the Fifth Element)...the more i see similarities here in terms of the sound they produce...and interestingly, similarities to the original architecture of the Zanden.
 
So ended up visiting the hospital in Japan instead of Zanden! (nothing major, just one of those things.) Just a bummer as i never got to go and speak with Yamada San and Eric Pheils about their views on the latest digital. I remain attached to my Zanden so far, but continue to investigate...

...the more i read about Light Harmonics, Total DAC, Ypsilon, Audio Note's latest all-out effort (called the Fifth Element)...the more i see similarities here in terms of the sound they produce...and interestingly, similarities to the original architecture of the Zanden.
This thread seems dead? Anyway here is my input.

I am not saying DS or FPGA or DSD engines are not good, they can sound magical. But having heard some of the better modern DACs recently, and prior to my current Audio Note DAC 5 Special have owned Naim, Meridian, Linn, I am firmly and possibly reluctantly in the NOS old school camp. That is NOS, no filtering, tubed power supply and tubed output. I love the technology of MSB, CH Precision but it doesn't sound right to me - too cold and detail over emphasised. I get bored and get my old aversion / feeling of being detached to a digital sound.

The advances in Modern DAC keep coming, and many are heroic but I wonder how many are based on listening. I just don't get the whole Esoteric thing, they don't sound real, but are a technical tour de force it is true.

Before my DAC 5, I built some of the Audio Note DAC kits, the 3.1 and the 4.1. The 4.1 ended up being quite heavily modded but sounded great, a real giant killer. It is so old tech, the digital board in the 4.1 and 5 are dated back to 2000. But are so simple, shunt power supply, single AD1865 chip, I/V transformers, simple line stage, output transformers. Interestingly the Zanden is a similar design.

The DAC 5 Special is a nice DAC, very analogue. It creeps up on you, not amazing in your face kind of presentation. But I listen for hours and it just sounds so damb good. Is it coloured, or transparent? Dunno, maybe not as an MSB but transparent can be problematic if done incorrectly. It can promote those amazing recordings to another level, but render real world stuff to the track flicking and volume reducing thing. It is a crying shame all recording aren't equal as regards quality in the first place. Interestingly some of the earlier stuff sounds better than later dynamically compressed and badly mixed stuff. If you open up ripped AIFFs in a sound program it is amazing how many hit the 0db ceiling, no excuse for that kind of work IMO.

So, happy as a pig in mud with my very old tech DAC. Maybe something will come along to change my direction? I keep waiting....
 

MarinJim

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Feb 2, 2011
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I agree with some of the above. I was a die hard ss dac/cdp guy (Marantz, Great Northern Sound Company Wadia S7i and Burmester 069). I bought the Swiss army knives of source gear in the ModWright Oppo 105. Very nice indeed, so went a step higher and bought the ModWright tubed Elyse DAC. This is the best my system has ever sounded. Organic, full of life and dynamic. Since my very first tube source (highly modded Conrad Johnson Premier 9 DAC) and now Elyse, I really appreciated the sound of well designed tube products, but I still love my ss amp (all 160 lbs of it!).
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
10,876
107
63
This thread seems dead? Anyway here is my input.

I am not saying DS or FPGA or DSD engines are not good, they can sound magical. But having heard some of the better modern DACs recently, and prior to my current Audio Note DAC 5 Special have owned Naim, Meridian, Linn, I am firmly and possibly reluctantly in the NOS old school camp. That is NOS, no filtering, tubed power supply and tubed output. I love the technology of MSB, CH Precision but it doesn't sound right to me - too cold and detail over emphasised. I get bored and get my old aversion / feeling of being detached to a digital sound.

The advances in Modern DAC keep coming, and many are heroic but I wonder how many are based on listening. I just don't get the whole Esoteric thing, they don't sound real, but are a technical tour de force it is true.

Before my DAC 5, I built some of the Audio Note DAC kits, the 3.1 and the 4.1. The 4.1 ended up being quite heavily modded but sounded great, a real giant killer. It is so old tech, the digital board in the 4.1 and 5 are dated back to 2000. But are so simple, shunt power supply, single AD1865 chip, I/V transformers, simple line stage, output transformers. Interestingly the Zanden is a similar design.

The DAC 5 Special is a nice DAC, very analogue. It creeps up on you, not amazing in your face kind of presentation. But I listen for hours and it just sounds so damb good. Is it coloured, or transparent? Dunno, maybe not as an MSB but transparent can be problematic if done incorrectly. It can promote those amazing recordings to another level, but render real world stuff to the track flicking and volume reducing thing. It is a crying shame all recording aren't equal as regards quality in the first place. Interestingly some of the earlier stuff sounds better than later dynamically compressed and badly mixed stuff. If you open up ripped AIFFs in a sound program it is amazing how many hit the 0db ceiling, no excuse for that kind of work IMO.

So, happy as a pig in mud with my very old tech DAC. Maybe something will come along to change my direction? I keep waiting....
Hi Astrostar59,

Many thanks for your post. Fantastic feedback and insight. I have never heard Audio Note DACs before, but know a few people who own them...and like you it seems, they have NEVER sold them, and remain loyal to them.

By he way, I have found with Zanden is that it is incredibly responsive to:
- upgraded tubes (power supply is Mullard 1950/1960s from Brent Jessee), Amperex 7308 replacing the stock JAN Philips
- Isolation: I literally put every single component in the entire system in its own 'isolation sandwich'...HRS shelves or Stillpoints Ultra 5s underneath...and a combination of HRS, Stillpoints and Artesania damping plates (PLUS heavy non-magnetic weight) on top. On top of the Zanden Transport is 12+ kg...on top of the other 3 Zanden boxes are at least 7kg each box. It made a huge difference.
- RFI/EMI shielding of cables: Entreq Wraps do a great job around the power cords, umbilical cables and i2s digital cable
- Upgrades power cables...Zanden makes their own, but i use Purist Audio Dominus and their newer Anniversary Contego cables
- Tube Dampers from Brent Jessee on all the power supply and signal tubes
- I am also told that upgrading the Zanden clock to an upgraded chip can improve things even further

Enjoy your AN DAC 5 Special...by the way, have you ever heard or considered the supposedly world-class, all-out AN DAC 5th Element which Martin Colloms considers to the absolute best digital without any peer?
 

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