Author Topic: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?  (Read 2981 times)

Offline itscraig

  • Trade Count: (+33)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,193
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #15 on: February 14, 2018, 11:20:46 AM »
I still dont get it...if a dac didnt resolve detail , why would it only do so on complex music .. it doesnt know what music its playing?
ALL music would be muddled .. even a simple plucking of a double bass would be compromised with loss of detail
I *have*  owned and played with some really cheap dacs ..whether they were crap is debatable

I differ here,
A dac is not always capable of resolving busy detail well. Some dac's get muddy here because they cannot process all the information fast enough. A simple pluck of a string is not the same amount of information being processed, and therefore most dacs should be capable of playing that detail and correctly. often very heavy metal where there is purposeful distortion and other instruments that are not supposed to be distorting are great tests for a dac. Even a vinyl system does not always resolve all the signal the same, it depends on Cart and Phono and, and, and...

Offline 2wice

  • Trade Count: (+4)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,352
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #16 on: February 14, 2018, 01:40:44 PM »
DAC tech is so close now, I listen to the output stages.

Offline fdlsys

  • Vinylist
  • Trader
  • Trade Count: (+82)
  • *****
  • Posts: 7,767
  • Do you like life, sweetheart?
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2018, 01:59:09 PM »
.. even a simple plucking of a double bass would be compromised with loss of detail ...
Plucking on a acoustic bass is anything but, sonically speaking, simple. You won't easily find another instrument that is as rich in harmonics requiring maximum speed to resolve and sound right.
The four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel and vinyl. Dave Barry
Come back when youíve lived a little. Miles Davis

Offline King_Julian_S

  • Trade Count: (+3)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,014
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2018, 05:53:59 PM »
If I have to listen for something itís probably not a system for me.

Iím now totally in this camp ..
if you can sit for a period time and hear particular detail it becomes a flaw in my mind  .. too analytic..be it because of synergy or ďother thingsĒ...
freakin irritating also cause whatever it is will only sound interesting for defined period of time ..


Non audiophile music lover...

Offline King_Julian_S

  • Trade Count: (+3)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,014
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2018, 06:00:59 PM »
Plucking on a acoustic bass is anything but, sonically speaking, simple. You won't easily find another instrument that is as rich in harmonics requiring maximum speed to resolve and sound right.

+1 .. and you ( and I think MarkC) were spot on previously when u told me how something on the opposite end of the scale could affect this .. like very HF air ...
I tested this ( just unscientifically by ear) cause I was not convinced and the super tweeter did a lot to make LF sound so much better ...

( disclaimer .. not trying to contribute to the dac discussion ..
but just trying to mention that even these apparently simple items are many times underestimated in the complexity of what makes the ďwholeĒ sound less hifi and fake)
Non audiophile music lover...

Offline amirm

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • AVForums Member
  • *
  • Posts: 32
    • Audio Science Review
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2018, 10:06:40 PM »
I differ here,
A dac is not always capable of resolving busy detail well. Some dac's get muddy here because they cannot process all the information fast enough. A simple pluck of a string is not the same amount of information being processed, and therefore most dacs should be capable of playing that detail and correctly. often very heavy metal where there is purposeful distortion and other instruments that are not supposed to be distorting are great tests for a dac. Even a vinyl system does not always resolve all the signal the same, it depends on Cart and Phono and, and, and...
There is no intelligence in a DAC.  It performs no analysis of "information" in audio samples.  It doesn't care if you give it a pure sine wave or random noise.  All audio samples go into the same machine with the same predicted effect.

It is your mind that differentiates between those two types of music, not the DAC.

In general digital systems have no problem reproducing loud signals.  It is when the signal gets weak that some DACs have trouble.  To that end, an acoustic guitar pick that decays into background silence makes an excellent test signal.  The heavy metal that is constantly loud, not so much.  When a lot is going perceptual masking also covers low level signals.  That is another reason you don't want to use a busy signal like metal.

In general differences between DACs if they are audible at all, are extremely subtle and is unlikely that people without training can tell them apart.

Offline King_Julian_S

  • Trade Count: (+3)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,014
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2018, 11:12:48 PM »
Where do u guys go for this training
Non audiophile music lover...

Offline itscraig

  • Trade Count: (+33)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,193
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2018, 11:29:27 PM »
I have perhaps used an incorrect terminology in calling it processing, so here is a link to a better explanation

https://www.audioadvice.com/content/2016/11/22/what-is-a-dac/

and again read the end of my post, every bit of equipment makes a difference, even in analogue systems.
I listen for the love of music, and if along the way I can get my system to resolve sound better, or better suited to my ears, then I would be a fool not to try or listen for it.
you can enjoy music off a most basic playback device, or a high end system. you can tweak music to make it more pleasurable to your ears. whatever gets you to listen to music is great, Opinions will always differ, that is why we are individuals. (I'm not) love the quote from life of Brian.

Offline King_Julian_S

  • Trade Count: (+3)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,014
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2018, 11:44:40 PM »
Anyway .. Iím pretty sure not all dacs sound the same .. else a lot of people will have to explain ...

Anyway you are right we are individuals ..
just needed to point out that listening to music is very different to listening to a system .. when I listen to system I continuously want to upgrade and yet I know there will never ever be satisfaction .. itís something you canít buy yourself out of no matter how hard U try one will always be found wanting


Non audiophile music lover...

Offline amirm

  • Trade Count: (0)
  • AVForums Member
  • *
  • Posts: 32
    • Audio Science Review
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #24 on: February 15, 2018, 07:42:37 AM »
Where do u guys go for this training
Are you sure you want to get trained??? ;) :D  Sometimes it is better to not hear distortions.

Offline itscraig

  • Trade Count: (+33)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,193
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #25 on: February 15, 2018, 07:43:59 AM »
I think that it is true that you will always chase if you are listening to the system.
My system has evolved over time but mainly stays the same.
I absolutely love listening to it. I do from time to time throw different components in to listen. And then it is to the system. I however get a bigger kick out of finding new music that I have not listened to before.

I am of the opinion that you can do both listen to music and the system.

Offline Wolla

  • Trade Count: (+67)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 760
  • The wife is always right!
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #26 on: February 15, 2018, 08:16:51 AM »
I think that it is true that you will always chase if you are listening to the system.
My system has evolved over time but mainly stays the same.
I absolutely love listening to it. I do from time to time throw different components in to listen. And then it is to the system. I however get a bigger kick out of finding new music that I have not listened to before.

I am of the opinion that you can do both listen to music and the system.
+1
St Helena Bay
DIY OB Boombox (TPA3116D2 amps)
PC: Acer Notebook > HK GLA55
HP: Philips Fidelio X2
Casual: Apple HiFi, Music pillow, Denon Heos 7 & DOSS SoundBox XL

Offline King_Julian_S

  • Trade Count: (+3)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,014
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #27 on: February 15, 2018, 10:57:22 AM »
Are you sure you want to get trained??? ;) :D  Sometimes it is better to not hear distortions.
Non audiophile music lover...

Offline King_Julian_S

  • Trade Count: (+3)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,014
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #28 on: February 15, 2018, 11:06:35 AM »
I think that it is true that you will always chase if you are listening to the system.
My system has evolved over time but mainly stays the same.
I absolutely love listening to it. I do from time to time throw different components in to listen. And then it is to the system. I however get a bigger kick out
of finding new music that I have not listened to before.

I am of the opinion that you can do both listen to music and the system.
+1 I have simply changed to make sure I donít end up using more time listening to the system .. caught myself doing that some time ago and had I consciously make a call to stop 🛑... works for me
Non audiophile music lover...

Offline Moog

  • Trade Count: (+1)
  • AVForums Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 716
Re: So what do you actually listen for in a DAC?
« Reply #29 on: February 15, 2018, 05:50:10 PM »
Good topic and I need to learn more because I have been neglecting this area. I like detail, good timbre and separation of instruments. I listen to the Schiit uberfrost. Any upgrade suggestions without breaking the bank?. For digital playback I like to listenning to classical and female jazz vocals.
I was impressed by Hendrix. His attitude was brilliant. Even the way he walked was amazing -

Richie Hugh Blackmore