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Hydrogenaudio Forum => Polls => Topic started by: Neb9 on 2017-03-19 08:05:58

Poll
Question: https://surveynuts.com/surveys/take?id=129486&c=2506331033FTLT
Option 1: . votes: 4
Option 2: . votes: 3
Title: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Neb9 on 2017-03-19 08:05:58
https://surveynuts.com/surveys/take?id=129486&c=2506331033FTLT
Only respond if you perceive/believe there is a difference

All questions are optional. If you identify/use Hydrogenaudio the most out Headfi, r/audiophile, r/headphones, Computer Audiophile, respond here. Otherwise, please respond there. This survey is referring to DACs which are functioning and are of a somewhat reasonable design, eg functioning as intended (working, no oscillations, reasonably flat frequency response, not ultra-high distortion). This survey is anonymous and is for academic purposes.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-19 11:11:52
Despite the fact that the post initiating this topic/(broken) poll solicits responses that may solely be predicated on belief, any and all replies failing to meet the requirements stated in the forum's terms for participation will be binned and the posting privileges of the authors of the offending posts will be curtailed.

8. All members that put forth a statement concerning subjective sound quality, must -- to the best of their ability -- provide objective support for their claims.  Acceptable means of support are double blind listening tests (ABX or ABC/HR) demonstrating that the member can discern a difference perceptually, together with a test sample to allow others to reproduce their findings.  Graphs, non-blind listening tests, waveform difference comparisons, and so on, are not acceptable means of providing support. (https://hydrogenaud.io/index.php/topic,3974.html)

Hydrogenaudio is supposed to be an objectively minded community that relies on double-blind testing and relevant methods of comparison in discussion about sound quality. The usual "audiophile" speak of non-audio related terms which are completely subjective and open to redefinition on a whim, are useless for any sort of progression in discussion.

This rule is the very core of Hydrogenaudio, so it is very important that you follow it.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-19 11:17:39
Furthermore, a lack of acknowledgement by this topic's author will result in closure of the discussion. The acknowledgement shall be stated publicly in this discussion and within a reasonable amount of time.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-19 12:08:55
How can any reasonable poll about DAC sound not have "orgasmic" (or was that "organic") as a descriptor???
Must be a joke.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: saratoga on 2017-03-19 15:29:36
Those questions seem aimed at relatively inexperienced enthusiasts with their emphasis on the DAC itself. In my experience the DAC itself matters much less than the analog electronics it is integrated into.

Regardless I voted for the period option.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Thad E Ginathom on 2017-03-19 17:51:37
The sound of a dedicated DAC might depend on just how dedicated it actually is.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Neb9 on 2017-03-20 08:01:31
People who think that there is an audible difference between DACs is the only demographic which I am interested in for this poll.
For example: If I want to know what specifically republicans think of trump, I am not going to ask democrats "what do you think of trump". Vice versa. It's not going to be helpful in answering the question.
This is not a poll aimed at people interested in audio on the whole, just to people who believe there is a difference. Also, If I were trying to get an answer as to if there is a difference or not, asking random people on the internet is certainly not the way to go about it. As you all know there are far far better and objective ways of determining that.

I am fully aware that looking at measurements there should be no difference between any reasonably designed (and they don't deliberately have high distortion) DAC assuming it not on a complete shoe string budget , eg a whole dedicated DAC for a few dollars, or it being severely affected by some kind of interference, eg cables wrapped around a high very powered transformer. Also, I am aware in ABX tests DACs do not fare well, as the measurements say they should.

As part of what I am doing I will conduct an ABX test (a proper ABX, not just a blind test) with several people between DACs. Most of them are around ~$100 but it ranges from $17.5 (OREI Digital to Analog Audio Converter) to $2800 (Auralic Vega, was $3500). Not that it should make any difference in the ABX: but Looking thorough the last 110+ DACs (complied a list of their distortion, but not the other measurements yet) measured by Stereophile (past then, the measurement equipment is bad and this is going back to ~2005 from memory) the Auralic Vega is overall the best measuring DAC with the exception of $36000 dCS Rossini.


Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Soap on 2017-03-20 10:46:46
It's ok guys, I got this.

Just submitted 12 random (or maybe not???) poll replies, using the Head-fi and reddit polls.

Greasemonkey (and a set of proxys) to the rescue!

Will automate to do more @ random times.

Neb90 on reddit

Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Neb9 on 2017-03-20 11:22:31
It's ok guys, I got this.

Just submitted 12 random (or maybe not???) poll replies, using the Head-fi and reddit polls.

Greasemonkey (and a set of proxys) to the rescue!

Will automate to do more @ random times.

Neb90 on reddit



Don't really get the joke?
I am genuinely looking for said peoples opinions, doing as you said would not be helpful.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: dhromed on 2017-03-20 13:14:21
What are you trying to test with the data?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: KozmoNaut on 2017-03-20 13:21:41
What are you trying to test with the data?

Probably the sheer gullibility of audiophiles.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: dhromed on 2017-03-20 13:25:41
If a significant portion of users believe DAC problems are caused by X or Y, then you can focus on that in production(-marketing), and make a lot of money.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-20 14:49:06
If that is the case then we're looking at a TOS #14 violation and the link to his external poll (if not the entire discussion) goes poof.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: dhromed on 2017-03-20 15:35:38
I was just hypothesising cynically, I didn't mean to question Neb9's scientific intentions without any evidence.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Neb9 on 2017-03-21 00:36:09
If that is the case then we're looking at a TOS #14 violation and the link to his external poll (if not the entire discussion) goes poof.

"This survey is anonymous and is for academic purposes."

If it were for marketing purposes why on earth would I perform said ABX test and post the results?

The purpose of this survey is as I stated is for academic purposes. What I want it for is to research how any measurements/design aspects could relate to the believed differences in sound. It is also to try help people in the ABX to differentiate DACs. This may sound somewhat pointless though it is in part an aspect of the assessment criteria (for myself). Regardless, the ABX is most certainly of worth.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: apastuszak on 2017-03-21 01:08:27
This survey belongs on head-fi or some other placebophile forum.  I don't believe that anyone on HA is actually going to believe there is much of a difference, if any in a DAC.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Neb9 on 2017-03-21 02:05:17
This survey belongs on head-fi or some other placebophile forum.  I don't believe that anyone on HA is actually going to believe there is much of a difference, if any in a DAC.

So far I have 13 responses from here. I'm not sure how seriously people answered it but the average % for the for each option is ~20%. The first question results looks similar to that of r/audiophile except everything is a slightly lower %.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: KozmoNaut on 2017-03-21 08:51:29
This survey belongs on head-fi or some other placebophile forum.  I don't believe that anyone on HA is actually going to believe there is much of a difference, if any in a DAC.

So far I have 13 responses from here. I'm not sure how seriously people answered it but the average % for the for each option is ~20%. The first question results looks similar to that of r/audiophile except everything is a slightly lower %.

A number of those responses are from me. Don't take them seriously.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-21 10:48:19
Why do you have the need to be so hostile and harm the guy's research? Sometimes I don't understand this place.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: StephenPG on 2017-03-21 11:06:37
Case,

The guy cherry picking the people that respond to the 'poll' should have been a clue...
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: KozmoNaut on 2017-03-21 11:22:00
Why do you have the need to be so hostile and harm the guy's research? Sometimes I don't understand this place.

It's nothing personal, I do that with all online polls.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-21 11:41:04
He has different polls for different targets so he can see how crazy people are at respective places. I don't visit the other sites but so far I think this place looks quite insane.

I don't see harm in not collecting "there is no difference" results. Those won't help with the eventual listening test.

I participated in his poll since it listed difference in noise floor as an option. Noise can be audible in otherwise good sound devices when nothing is playing.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-21 12:08:28
This survey is referring to DACs which are functioning and are of a somewhat reasonable design, eg functioning as intended (working, no oscillations, reasonably flat frequency response, not ultra-high distortion).

Noise can be audible in otherwise good sound devices when nothing is playing.
No.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-21 12:48:32
Plug headphones into a soundcard that doesn't mute its output when it's unused and you hear noise. If output gets muted play a 24 bit file that has noise in last bit. I hear noise from all sound cards and phones but then I don't have a $30.000 DAC to test with. Are you suggesting all my sound sources are improper?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-21 12:58:45
I'm suggesting you figure out a functioning "DAC" does not output audible noise.
(and need not cost $30k or other reductio ad absurdum)
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-21 13:13:11
Please name me a working DAC I can try that doesn't have audible noise. Not just DAC chip that alone does nothing. A full product that is usable as is.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-21 13:18:29
Please name me a working DAC I can try that doesn't have audible noise. Not just DAC chip that alone does nothing. A full product that is usable as is.
Yamaha RX-A800 and BD-A1010

You believe audible noise is an integral part of a functioning DAC?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-21 13:42:45
Both models seem to be discontinued. I found the RX-A800 from amazon.com, but it's US model which seems to only work on 120 V power grid.
Can you name something newer I can purchase for testing purposes?

Quote
You believe audible noise is an integral part of a functioning DAC?
I have quite a collection of soundcards and phones and gadgets and they all produce noise. RMAA measurements are flawless only with digital outputs. So yes. I will be very interested to get my hands on a device that doesn't output noise.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Thad E Ginathom on 2017-03-21 13:48:25
These days, HF hearing loss means that many a hiss, or even squeak, might escape me, but it wasn't always like that and I have, for many years, claimed that the only piece of hifi gear with "noise" that I am prepared to have in the house is a turntable. And I am not a big spender. You could take that hypothetical 30K dac and buy 10-15 systems that I have ever had.

Of course, if that is a Continental-European dot in your 30.000 (thirty point zero) dollars, you could try one of the little HiFiMeDIY DACs. You might be surprised. Unless, of course, your headphones are faulty.

I consider that my RME card of about fifteen years ago was not noisy. Even being inside that un-audiophile environment of the Pc cabinet. I don't think that my current Juli@ card is noisy either, but my ears are just not good enough to assert that. My curiosity is stimulated, though. I'll see if it passes the ears of a young, relatively-high-spending, audiophile, whose visit is due. Not a scientific measurement, I know, but better than my hearing.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-21 14:03:59
ajinfla, I just checked the specs of that Yamaha RX-A800 and the manufacturer promises SNR of 100dB. Are you sure it doesn't output noise? For example my X-Fi Titanium HD measures 116 dB SNR in RMAA and in a silent room it can be heard.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-21 14:36:23
Plug headphones into a soundcard that doesn't mute its output when it's unused and you hear noise.

For example my X-Fi Titanium HD measures 116 dB SNR in RMAA and in a silent room it can be heard.

??
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: krabapple on 2017-03-21 15:16:44
He has different polls for different targets so he can see how crazy people are at respective places. I don't visit the other sites but so far I think this place looks quite insane.

I don't see harm in not collecting "there is no difference" results. Those won't help with the eventual listening test.

You're missing something.

Look at his poll again.  See the part where it says , right at the top


(only respond if you perceive/believe there is a difference)

'there is no difference' is not an option


Quote
I participated in his poll since it listed difference in noise floor as an option. Noise can be audible in otherwise good sound devices when nothing is playing.

Lots of things 'can be audible' under extreme circumstances.   Cranking the volume during 'silence', for example.   That doesn't mean the noise matters *at all* during normal volume playback.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-21 15:53:44
Plug headphones into a soundcard that doesn't mute its output when it's unused and you hear noise.

For example my X-Fi Titanium HD measures 116 dB SNR in RMAA and in a silent room it can be heard.

??
Not all headphones isolate you perfectly from the outside world. With open headphones having silent surroundings help with hearing.

You're missing something.
[...]
'there is no difference' is not an option
I'm not missing that. He has no use for the option so it's not included.

Lots of things 'can be audible' under extreme circumstances.  Cranking the volume during 'silence', for example.  That doesn't mean the noise matters *at all* during normal volume playback.
The poll doesn't ask if something matters or is relevant or even that you have to play music. It just asks if something is audible.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-21 17:32:08
Not all headphones isolate you perfectly from the outside world.
So you are adding caveats.
You didn't answer the question, is audible noise inherent with DAC design?

Regarding the X-Fi Titanium HD:
1) It doesn't measure 116db SNR
2)  It doesn't measure 116db SNR in your system.
3) You can hear noise with 116db SNR

One of those choices seems highly unlikely.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-21 17:33:40
It just asks if something is audible.
How did you isolate the noise you say you heard, to the DAC?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: KozmoNaut on 2017-03-21 17:47:50
Given Creative's track record, I would be highly suspicious of any published specs on their products.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: krabapple on 2017-03-21 17:51:13
The poll doesn't ask if something matters or is relevant or even that you have to play music. It just asks if something is audible.

Meaning, *ever* audible, under *any* conceivable condition?

::)

It's up to the OP now to say whether such pedantry is what he's interested in. 
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-21 18:54:15
You didn't answer the question, is audible noise inherent with DAC design?
Should be known to you that you can't beat thermodynamics.

Regarding the X-Fi Titanium HD:
1) It doesn't measure 116db SNR
2)  It doesn't measure 116db SNR in your system.
3) You can hear noise with 116db SNR

One of those choices seems highly unlikely.

The measurement was done in my machine. Here's a link: link (http://www.saunalahti.fi/~cse/RMAA/Sound%20Blaster%20X-Fi%20Titanium%20HD%20(MS%20drivers).html).
You can hear noise if nothing is covering it. Try turning volume up in any of your devices.

How did you isolate the noise you say you heard, to the DAC?
What do you mean? Headphones won't make sounds on their own. Plug headphones to the output and listen.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-22 12:39:50
Should be known to you that you can't beat thermodynamics.
No, that isn't known to me why all DACs make audible noise, because of "thermodynamics"....according to you.
So for all our benefit, please explain why audible noise is inherent to DACs, because "you can't beat thermodynamics".
TIA

You can hear noise if nothing is covering it.
Yes, that's your claim. Along with it being caused by your DAC, thus all DACs have audible noise and is a relevant question in the poll. Yet you provide no evidence other than "I said so" and "thermodynamics".

Try turning volume up in any of your devices.
I have. No audible noise from speakers.

What do you mean?
It means you haven't expanded on your system and how you isolated the noise to the DAC.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-22 13:24:27
No, that isn't known to me why all DACs make audible noise, because of "thermodynamics"....according to you.
So for all our benefit, please explain why audible noise is inherent to DACs, because "you can't beat thermodynamics".
Because all analog systems have a noise floor and with sensitive enough equipment/silent enough surroundings/enough amplification it can be heard.

Yes, that's your claim. Along with it being caused by your DAC, thus all DACs have audible noise and is a relevant question in the poll. Yet you provide no evidence other than "I said so" and "thermodynamics".
What do you suggest is causing the noise? Do NwAvGuy's measurements (http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/09/noise-dynamic-range.html) help you prove that analog electronics generate unintentional noise?

Try turning volume up in any of your devices.
I have. No audible noise from speakers.
Plug super sensitive headphones in there if you don't believe in noise floors.

What do you mean?
It means you haven't expanded on your system and how you isolated the noise to the DAC.
Would it be sufficient proof to you if one turns on for example O2 DAC outside any computer, plugs headphones to it, and puts volume loud enough for hissing to be audible?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-22 14:03:23
Because all analog systems have a noise floor and with sensitive enough equipment/silent enough surroundings/enough amplification it can be heard.
Evidence please.

What do you suggest is causing the noise?
I have no idea. It could be the output stage of what you are calling the DAC. Or from upstream. Did you actually read the article you linked? Regardless, how you extrapolated this to inherent to (all) DACs due to "thermodynamics", is specious. I know what Johnson noise is. I know the meaning of the word "audible" also.

Do NwAvGuy's measurements (http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/09/noise-dynamic-range.html) help you prove that analog electronics generate unintentional noise?.
I read it and it's preaching to choir. It doesn't help your case (no pun intended) whatsoever. Nowhere does it say all analog electronics produce audible noise. In fact, the opposite.

Plug super sensitive headphones in there if you don't believe in noise floors.
I didn't claim to not believe in noise floors.
You claim there is audible noise in all analog systems. Because of "thermodynamics". The evidence for that forthcoming?

Would it be sufficient proof to you if one turns on for example O2 DAC outside any computer, plugs headphones to it, and puts volume loud enough for hissing to be audible?
No.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-22 14:37:30
Because all analog systems have a noise floor and with sensitive enough equipment/silent enough surroundings/enough amplification it can be heard.
Evidence please.
Everyone else on the internet knows that no DAC is perfect and one is lucky to achieve 21 bit real world performance. The rest of the signal is noise. Do you not understand that any noise can be made audible by raising its level?

Do NwAvGuy's measurements (http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/09/noise-dynamic-range.html) help you prove that analog electronics generate unintentional noise?.
I read it and it's preaching to choir. It doesn't help your case (no pun intended) whatsoever. Nowhere does it say all analog electronics produce audible noise. In fact, the opposite.
It says the noise is inaudible with the assumed level restrictions put for playback.

Plug super sensitive headphones in there if you don't believe in noise floors.
I didn't claim to not believe in noise floors.
You claim there is audible noise in all analog systems. Because of "thermodynamics". The evidence for that forthcoming?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_(electronics) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_(electronics))
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-22 14:49:28
Everyone else on the internet knows...
Ok, so you have no evidence.

It says the noise is inaudible
In certain cases under certain circumstances and audible in others, in direct contradiction to your claim of all audible.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_(electronics) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_(electronics))
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/audible (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/audible)
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-22 14:54:32
This has gone on for far too long. You can't seriously be this dense.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-22 15:12:21
It's what happens when you just make shit up as you go along.
Eventually someone asks for evidence and it all unravels.

You're doing a good job with Foobar. Stick with it, don't venture too far outside your expertise.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-22 15:37:10
I have provided you with links that prove that all electronics have noise, thermal noise being one of the causes. Humans have great hearing and can detect very quiet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_threshold_of_hearing) sounds on their own. If the noise is not audible on its own with the listener's speakers or headphones then an amplifier (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amplifier) can make it audible.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-22 15:49:27
I have provided you with links that prove that all electronics have noise, thermal noise being one of the causes. Humans have great hearing and can detect very quiet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_threshold_of_hearing) sounds on their own.
Right. Neither being evidence for your claim of all electronics have audible noise.
Here you go: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/correlation (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/correlation)

If the noise is not audible on its own with the listener's speakers or headphones then an amplifier (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amplifier) can make it audible.
Right. Glad we set you straight with the ifs and cans (again no pun intended).

And now back to our DAC poll, where obviously "noise" should be left out, given the poor correlation to causation, by audiophiles.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: eric.w on 2017-03-22 18:01:29
I have the same problem with some sensitive earphones (Etymotic hf5); all of the laptops / tablets / phones I have connected them to have an audible noise floor. My other headphones (Sennheiser HD600, Denon D2000) don't have this issue, and I can play them as loud or louder and not hear any noise floor.

My understanding of this is, if you want to use highly sensitive headphones and not hear a noise floor, you need to use headphone amps with a low absolute noise level (in Volts) at the headphone jack. The DAC's SNR doesn't enter in to the equation afaik. See also: http://nwavguy.blogspot.ca/2011/09/noise-dynamic-range.html
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: pelmazo on 2017-03-22 20:59:01
Everyone else on the internet knows that no DAC is perfect and one is lucky to achieve 21 bit real world performance. The rest of the signal is noise. Do you not understand that any noise can be made audible by raising its level?
Do I understand correctly that you call DAC noise audible when you can turn up the volume enough to make it audible?

If that's so, then noise audibility is merely a matter of choosing a suitable amplification factor.

If your concept of DAC perfection is that it doesn't generate any noise at all, then you are theoretically right, but I would question your sincerity.

More reasonable people associate the concept of inaudible noise on the precodition of ordinary listening conditions. In other words, you're expected to have set up your system such that you would listen to music with the same settings. Cranking up the volume just to hear the noise floor would be utter nonsense.

Quote
It says the noise is inaudible with the assumed level restrictions put for playback.
See? Would you call this unappropriate?

Quote
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_(electronics) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_(electronics))
This only shows that there is noise in electronic systems. It doesn't answer the question whether and when it becomes audible.

You don't get what ajinfla is saying. Are you sure it is not you who is being dense?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-23 06:58:39
Do I understand correctly that you call DAC noise audible when you can turn up the volume enough to make it audible?
I have to because ajinfla doesn't accept noise floor as a potential issue otherwise. Personally I prefer to use a DAC that is indeed inaudible with the listening levels I use in my listening conditions over a DAC that has audible hissing.

Also noise audibility depends on your hearing, background noise and how well your headphones isolate.

In an anechoic chamber where surrounding noise level is at -9.4 dBA a DAC would require super high SNR not to have audible hissing with normal listening levels.

Quote
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_(electronics) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noise_(electronics))
This only shows that there is noise in electronic systems. It doesn't answer the question whether and when it becomes audible.

You don't get what ajinfla is saying. Are you sure it is not you who is being dense?
ajinfla didn't allow me to choose a DAC based on its noise audibility. I called him dense because he argues that proper DACs make no audible noise under any condition.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-23 12:22:44
I have to because ajinfla doesn't accept noise floor as a potential issue otherwise. Personally I prefer to use a DAC that is indeed inaudible with the listening levels I use in my listening conditions over a DAC that has audible hissing.

all analog systems have a noise floor and with sensitive enough equipment/silent enough surroundings/enough amplification it can be heard.
Oh, so now a DAC can be chosen that has inaudible noise levels? Hmmm, that's exactly what I said. You claim no such thing exists due to "thermodynamics".
Back to your self test, that I'm not clear how it's measuring the analog headphone output section, what does this line mean?
Peak level, dB FS   -84.0   -83.9
Sorry, I'm a bit dense, so please explain.

In an anechoic chamber where surrounding noise level is at -9.4 dBA a DAC would require super high SNR not to have audible hissing with normal listening levels.
Wow, you listen in an anechoic chamber? Would you mind sharing some pics and details? Would you admit this might be rather atypical for DAC listeners?

ajinfla didn't allow me to choose a DAC based on its noise audibility. I called him dense because he argues that proper DACs make no audible noise under any condition.
Nope, not what I said. The uninformed can always create pathological situations of their own doing, then blame the hardware in ignorance. It is entirely possible to have inaudible noise to human ears in an audio system. Unless one is "dense".

all analog systems have a noise floor and with sensitive enough equipment/silent enough surroundings/enough amplification it can be heard.
Humans have great hearing and can detect very quiet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_threshold_of_hearing) sounds on their own.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ath-byage.png)
Forgive me here, I'm a bit dense. Case, please explain how these audibility thresholds you linked were established, given that all analog systems have an audible noise floor. TIA.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-23 16:10:47
Oh, so now a DAC can be chosen that has inaudible noise levels? Hmmm, that's exactly what I said. You claim no such thing exists due to "thermodynamics".
I don't know anymore if you are trolling or what's going on.

I do not deny and have never denied that the noise can be inaudible with normal listening levels. That is the whole point of getting a new soundcard or DAC over one's existing solution. Many motherboard integrated sound devices for example do not offer such luxury.

Back to your self test, that I'm not clear how it's measuring the analog headphone output section, what does this line mean?
Peak level, dB FS -84.0  -83.9
Sorry, I'm a bit dense, so please explain.
Happy to. The noise test also outputs a sine wave and reports its peak. Here's a sample output:
(https://i.imgur.com/4B2lFUh.png)

In an anechoic chamber where surrounding noise level is at -9.4 dBA a DAC would require super high SNR not to have audible hissing with normal listening levels.
Wow, you listen in an anechoic chamber? Would you mind sharing some pics and details? Would you admit this might be rather atypical for DAC listeners?
No I do not and even though I'm not a native English speaker, you should still understand that I was mentioning an example scenario that puts higher requirements for a sound device. An 8-bit DAC from the 80's could be sufficient for modern music in a moving car but you wouldn't want to use one home.

ajinfla didn't allow me to choose a DAC based on its noise audibility. I called him dense because he argues that proper DACs make no audible noise under any condition.
Nope, not what I said.

What does this mean then:
This survey is referring to DACs which are functioning and are of a somewhat reasonable design, eg functioning as intended (working, no oscillations, reasonably flat frequency response, not ultra-high distortion).

Noise can be audible in otherwise good sound devices when nothing is playing.
No.

The uninformed can always create pathological situations of their own doing, then blame the hardware in ignorance. It is entirely possible to have inaudible noise to human ears in an audio system. Unless one is "dense".
Of course it's possible. I have enjoyed nice hissless sound cards and DACs for many years. I also well remember the days when it was impossible.

all analog systems have a noise floor and with sensitive enough equipment/silent enough surroundings/enough amplification it can be heard.
Humans have great hearing and can detect very quiet (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absolute_threshold_of_hearing) sounds on their own.
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ath-byage.png)
Forgive me here, I'm a bit dense. Case, please explain how these audibility thresholds you linked were established, given that all analog systems have an audible noise floor. TIA.
Denseness/trolling causes you to intentionally misunderstand things. All analog devices have audible noise floor in some circumstances. In other circumstances it's not audible.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-23 17:39:53
I do not deny and have never denied that the noise can be inaudible with normal listening levels. That is the whole point of getting a new soundcard or DAC over one's existing solution.
Even though the very nwavguy article you linked explained it may not come from the DAC, but upstream or downstream (or user incompetence)? So you always presume audible noise = DAC.
Well now I see why you thought it relevant in this poll, as would others who hear any "noise" remotely associated with their "DAC".

Happy to. The noise test also outputs a sine wave and reports its peak. Here's a sample output:
Sorry, still unclear about that. What is the SNR at maximum gain as you prefer?

No I do not and even though I'm not a native English speaker, you should still understand that I was mentioning an example scenario that puts higher requirements for a sound device. An 8-bit DAC from the 80's could be sufficient for modern music in a moving car but you wouldn't want to use one home.
Yes, I know what Reductio Absurdum is and why it is needed in arguments.
So I'm guessing you don't listen to anything as low as 16bit music (silence?) given quantization noise as well?

What does this mean then:
Noise can be audible in otherwise good sound devices when nothing is playing.
No.
This (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pathological) (3)

I have enjoyed nice hissless sound cards and DACs for many years.
Great. As do many others.
End of story.

Now maybe you can ask poll author to revise choice to "makes noise" in pathological scenarios, high sensitivity headphones, maximum gain during silence, unawareness of upstream or downstream issues, etc, etc.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-23 23:00:46
It's up to the OP now to say whether such pedantry is what he's interested in.
That would seem rather hopeless since he also tosses around the concept of audibility in a willy nilly fashion...
Only respond if you perceive/believe there is a difference
People who think that there is an audible difference between DACs is the only demographic which I am interested in for this poll.
[...]
This is not a poll aimed at people interested in audio on the whole, just to people who believe there is a difference.
Quote
Also, If I were trying to get an answer as to if there is a difference or not, asking random people on the internet is certainly not the way to go about it.
Yet, that's exactly what he's doing.
Quote
As you all know there are far far better and objective ways of determining that.
We all know?!? I wouldn't be so sure of that.
Quote
I am fully aware that looking at measurements there should be no difference between any reasonably designed (and they don't deliberately have high distortion) [...] Also, I am aware in ABX tests DACs do not fare well, as the measurements say they should.
At least someone here begs to differ.
Quote
As part of what I am doing I will conduct an ABX test (a proper ABX, not just a blind test) with several people between DACs.
I'm not holding my breath.

Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: pelmazo on 2017-03-24 06:58:24
I do not deny and have never denied that the noise can be inaudible with normal listening levels. That is the whole point of getting a new soundcard or DAC over one's existing solution. Many motherboard integrated sound devices for example do not offer such luxury.

[...]

No I do not and even though I'm not a native English speaker, you should still understand that I was mentioning an example scenario that puts higher requirements for a sound device. An 8-bit DAC from the 80's could be sufficient for modern music in a moving car but you wouldn't want to use one home.

[...]
All analog devices have audible noise floor in some circumstances. In other circumstances it's not audible.

Digital devices also have noise as long as they're dithered properly, so they're equivalent to analog in this regard.

So what are the circumstances when it becomes audible? This is hardly a new question. The sensitivity of human hearing has been under investigation for generations, and we have some hard data available that allows us to talk numbers.

Example: If you have a DAC whose noise floor is at, say, -94dBFS, and your average playback level is around -14dBFS (this is material-dependent, of course), which you play with an amplifier gain that results in 86dB(SPL) at your ears, would you consider this a typical use case? If not, what would your definition of a typical use case be?

If you accept it, you will have a noise floor at 6dB(SPL), assuming the noise from other sources (for example the amplifier) is negligible. You're not suggesting that you hear this in a normal environment, even with closed headphones, are you?

Now, noise floor at -94dBFS is a very modest example of a DAC. It is the type of performance you can expect from chips costing less than a dollar, consuming a few milliwatts. It is the type of chip you find nearly everywhere these days. At somewhat greater expense and power consumption, chips delivering this kind of performance were commonplace more than 25 years ago.

If you do hear hiss from such DACs, I suggest it may be because of something else than the actual DAC. The noise may come from elsewhere, perhaps the amplifier, or perhaps it may be due to interference. Or you are working with an inappropriate gain structure that doesn't make good use of the DACs capabilities. None of this would be the DACs fault, and basing a rating on it would be unfair.

Granted, the complexity of actual soundcard hardware and the associated software may make it difficult to even determine what the gain structure is, let alone control it purposefully. But if you want to make relevant statements that can be replicated by others, you will have to be explicit about it. If you hear hiss in a normal environment, something is wrong, or at least not adjusted optimally.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Chibisteven on 2017-03-24 07:44:21
On the subject of normal listening levels.   :P

I can't tell the difference between these.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: StephenPG on 2017-03-24 09:23:07
Arghhhhhhhhhhhh my f'ing ears!
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-24 10:38:29
Digital devices also have noise as long as they're dithered properly, so they're equivalent to analog in this regard.
There is no point in dithering digital silence.

So what are the circumstances when it becomes audible? This is hardly a new question. The sensitivity of human hearing has been under investigation for generations, and we have some hard data available that allows us to talk numbers.

Example: If you have a DAC whose noise floor is at, say, -94dBFS, and your average playback level is around -14dBFS (this is material-dependent, of course), which you play with an amplifier gain that results in 86dB(SPL) at your ears, would you consider this a typical use case? If not, what would your definition of a typical use case be?
None of this matters. The question was about audible differences between DACs without specifying the circumstances. SNR is the one and only difference that separates them. Just amplify enough to hear the hiss and compare.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-24 11:16:53
Actually I made a mistake. The poll has bass/mid/treble option too and a DAC with too high output impedance combined with low impedance headphones has audible bass issues. That option should have been ticked too.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: pelmazo on 2017-03-24 11:56:30
There is no point in dithering digital silence.
Turning dithering off when the digital signal is silent is a well-known cheating method for faking better SNR numbers.

Quote
None of this matters. The question was about audible differences between DACs without specifying the circumstances. SNR is the one and only difference that separates them. Just amplify enough to hear the hiss and compare.
So the question boils down to whether DACs can differ in their SNR? Gee, what a terribly interesting question that is! It is on a par with the question whether DACs can differ in their price.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-24 12:09:58
None of this matters. The question was about audible differences between DACs without specifying the circumstances. SNR is the one and only difference that separates them. Just amplify enough to hear the hiss and compare.
Wrong, because you (and all the likely poll takers) have zero clue whether its actually the DAC. You have provided zero evidence to support that.
Of course, in a poll as worthless as this one, your false assumption/correlation is par for the course.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-24 12:18:22
I sure hope Case doesn't use anything so lowly as noisy/limited 16 bit files in his quiet room too, which he didn't answer
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-24 12:20:15
If you have two standalone volume calibrated DACs, for example the two Yamaha models you mentioned, next to each other connected to an amplifier that amplifies the signal by 100 dB and you listen to the hum and switch the source between the devices, how is it possible to not know the potential difference comes from the DACs and not some mystery source?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-24 12:49:04
If you have two standalone volume calibrated DACs, for example the two Yamaha models you mentioned, next to each other connected to an amplifier that amplifies the signal by 100 dB and you listen to the hum and switch the source between the devices, how is it possible to not know the potential difference comes from the DACs and not some mystery source?
That has nothing to do with your computer setup.
The fact remains that audible noise from any functional DAC doing DAC functions would be an aberration. Bin it.
..and worse yet, don't have believers taking polls, determine whether their (mostly computer based) DAC is "noisy".
Hopefully you are familiar with the GIGO concept.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-24 12:53:35
The poll has nothing to do with my computer setup. It's about possible audible differences between DACs.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-24 13:15:32
I participated in his poll since it listed difference in noise floor as an option. Noise can be audible in otherwise good sound devices when nothing is playing.

The poll has nothing to do with my computer setup. It's about possible audible differences between DACs.
...noise which you continue to presume, without evidence, is from DAC and isolated to DAC only (contradicted by your own links!).
Like I said, GIGO. But probably just fine for the poll.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-24 14:23:48
Actually I made a mistake. The poll has bass/mid/treble option too and a DAC with too high output impedance combined with low impedance headphones has audible bass issues. That option should have been ticked too.
Dedicated DACs include DAC/headphone amplifier combos and sound cards (too, I presume). I never knew.  Like sound cards, AVRs switch inputs, so they should be allowed to fall under the same umbrella.

This has become so haphazard that I'm beginning to welcome random answers just to dither all this dissonance.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-24 17:17:51
The measurement was done in my machine. Here's a link: link (http://www.saunalahti.fi/~cse/RMAA/Sound%20Blaster%20X-Fi%20Titanium%20HD%20(MS%20drivers).html).
Loopback test?  How do you know your measurements aren't actually characterizing the ADC performance of the device?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-24 17:24:18
potential difference
Potential?  I hope you aren't talking about audibility, otherwise you're off in the weeds counting angels dancing on the head of the pin.

Headphones, in a "-9.4 dBA" anechoic chamber listening to levels that would exceed the threshold of pain for any commercially available content (ignoring the noise floor in the recording, LOL). Why should anyone take you seriously?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-24 17:31:30
You too seem to have realized there are plenty of scenarios where DAC differences can be audible. No other reason to attack me after the initial scepticism towards the poll.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-24 17:36:22
You too seem to have realized there are plenty of scenarios where DAC differences can be audible.
You and this poll show no such thing.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-24 17:42:18
You too seem to have realized there are plenty of scenarios where DAC differences can be audible.
None of which have anything to do with proper functionality (another stipulation of the poll you've conveniently ignored).

No other reason to attack me after the initial scepticism towards the poll.
I'm attacking your arguments/logic.  I forget, is there a category of logical fallacies to which playing the victim belongs?

I'm also questioning your methods and measurements.  Is that not OK, either?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-24 17:50:27
It's about possible audible differences between DACs.
Possible?  You are (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Spaghetti_Monster) off in the weeds counting angels dancing on the head of the pin.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-24 18:07:34
Attaching less than ideal ADC to the measurement chain only makes the results worse. And what do the measurements have to do with the matter anyway?

You and ajinfla are now acting like the audiophiles trying to counter credit any piece of hardware because it's not expensive / good enough.

Are you worried that I post ABX logs showing ability to hear difference between noise levels so you pre-emptively attack random device so it doesn't count as a proper DAC?

Using equipment loud is not against proper functionality. The test doesn't say you have to play music nor does it state playback level is limited to some arbitrary values. It simply asks if there are audible differences.

Do you really think several dBs of volume difference in significantly amplified background hiss is not audible?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-24 18:34:54
Attaching less than ideal ADC to the measurement chain only makes the results worse. And what do the measurements have to do with the matter anyway?
So you are sure that the ADC used for the measurements meets or exceeds the performance of the DAC, or like with the DAC amplifier combo you have no idea which is the source of the (presumed) shortcoming?

Quote
You and ajinfla are now acting like the audiophiles trying to counter credit any piece of hardware because it's not expensive / good enough
I would say that your acting like a clown is no less accurate of an observation.  But fine, ignore aj and me; Pelmazo also has you sussed.

Quote
Are you worried that I post ABX logs showing ability to hear difference between noise levels so you pre-emptively attack random device so it doesn't count as a proper DAC?
For you It would be a start in abiding by the rules of this community rather than passing off graphs and anecdotes as demonstrative evidence for audible differences.

Quote
Using equipment loud is not against proper functionality.
At the levels you are advocating, I beg to differ.

Quote
The test doesn't say you have to play music nor does it state playback level is limited to some arbitrary values.
The test doesn't say you should light yourself on fire either.  But seriously, threshold of pain at peak levels is now arbitrary?

Quote
Do you really think several dBs of volume difference in significantly amplified background hiss is not audible?
Not when I use a DAC for the intended purpose of listening to content; unless we're also including 20 year old sound cards, which you will no doubt stoop to in order to continue this entirely pointless charade of irrelevancy.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-24 18:43:03
The point of the Sound Blaster SNR ratio was not to show a shortcoming. It was just a single example of a DAC that has higher SNR than the ajinfla-recommended Yamaha, yet it still has a noise floor that is very possible to make audible.

I don't have to exceed threshold of pain if I play silence or a very silent signal heavily amplified. You can play it quiet as a whisper and still hear it.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-24 18:51:30
Testing at a volume level which exceeds the
threshold of pain
for
Quote
peak levels
...is a quite silly method to determine the relative sound quality between DACs for the purpose of listening to content.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: pelmazo on 2017-03-24 18:52:19
Are you worried that I post ABX logs showing ability to hear difference between noise levels so you pre-emptively attack random device so it doesn't count as a proper DAC?
I am under the impression that it is you who's thrashing about randomly here.

Quote
Using equipment loud is not against proper functionality. The test doesn't say you have to play music nor does it state playback level is limited to some arbitrary values. It simply asks if there are audible differences.
Can we get a few trivialities out of the way once and for all, please?
  • If you crank up the volume enough, background noise will become audible.
  • If devices have differing background noise levels, you can tell them apart if you crank up the volume enough.
  • You need to go through some extra verification steps to establish which device in a chain is the worst noise contributor.
  • You can compromise the apparent SNR of a device quite easily by working with a poor gain structure.
Now, can you please refrain from suggesting that ajinfla or anybody else here doesn't know this perfectly well? I.e. refrain from nonsense like this:
Quote
Do you really think several dBs of volume difference in significantly amplified background hiss is not audible?
Of course this can be made audible by enough amplification. We all know this!

You need neither polls nor measurements to establish such a triviality. If the poll were about that, it would be an obvious idiocy.

The only halfway sensible question would be whether the difference is audible under realistic listening conditions. I have a concept of realistic listening conditions, but perhaps you haven't. There are typical sound levels associated with this, and typical levels of background noise coming from the surroundings. It's not about anechoic chambers, and it is not about listening to music at painful levels. You're free to come forward with your definition of a realistic listening environment, and based on that we can discuss which levels of background noise are likely to be audible, and which aren't.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-24 18:59:12
There you go Case, an appeal to intellectual honesty.

Sorry for piling-on in what may be viewed as a less than constructive way, Pelmazo.

What is the sound of a resistor terminated at one end?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-24 19:17:00
And what do the measurements have to do with the matter anyway?

The point of the Sound Blaster SNR ratio was not to show a shortcoming. It was just a single example of a DAC that has higher SNR than the ajinfla-recommended Yamaha, yet it still has a noise floor that is very possible to make audible.
Wow, you need to make up your mind. Are your measurements valid or not? Are they measuring the SNR at max output at the headphone jack? Where is your evidence of this....and this being audible. as you claim??
The Yamahas have "spec'd" SNRs lower than your purported number, which you haven't shown. There were zero measurements of the Yamaha in this thread. You're really grasping here.

I don't have to exceed threshold of pain if I play silence or a very silent signal heavily amplified. You can play it quiet as a whisper and still hear it.
So you claim. Using 16bit files?

You and ajinfla are now acting like the audiophiles trying to counter credit any piece of hardware because it's not expensive / good enough.
Projection (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Projection)

Are you worried that I post ABX logs showing ability to hear difference between noise levels
No, since you have shown zero correlation to DACs as the source.

Using equipment loud is not against proper functionality. The test doesn't say you have to play music nor does it state playback level is limited to some arbitrary values. It simply asks if there are audible differences.

Do you really think several dBs of volume difference in significantly amplified background hiss is not audible?
What does that have to do with DACs??

So how many bits do you require for music?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-24 19:27:05
You and ajinfla are now acting like the audiophiles trying to counter credit any piece of hardware because it's not expensive / good enough.
Projection (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Projection)
I hear noise from all sound cards and phones but then I don't have a $30.000 DAC to test with.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-24 21:07:04
Of course this can be made audible by enough amplification. We all know this!
Except greynol and ajinfla who are arguing against this.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-25 00:19:31
Except greynol and ajinfla who are arguing against this.
Nope, just your purported "DAC noise".
Now when you claim to hear this "DAC noise", what >16 bit files are you listening to?
Are the polled believers hearing this same noise as you? Using the same "DAC noise" finding method?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: splice on 2017-03-25 00:45:32
Case, I do wonder why you prefer to listen to the noise produced by DACs instead of what is generally considered to be music. I know that musical tastes differ, but this seems extreme.
You won't win the argument by saying that if you amplify the DAC output enough, you'll always hear noise. That's a "well, duh". What matters is if you hear the noise while listening to music - and the final answer to that is if you do, you're "doing it wrong."
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-25 00:51:26
There you go Case, an appeal to intellectual honesty.
Except greynol and ajinfla who are arguing against this.
Which you apparently can't manage to muster.

This has gone on for far too long. You can't seriously be this dense. (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Projection)
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Soap on 2017-03-25 01:50:15
Of course this can be made audible by enough amplification. We all know this!
Except greynol and ajinfla who are arguing against this.


I don't see that at all.  You might want to reconsider your view of the conversation.  I'm 100% with pelmazo , you've built an argument upon a narrow band of pedantic trivialities and are (supposedly) shocked nobody else is in agreement.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-25 07:05:46
Now when you claim to hear this "DAC noise", what >16 bit files are you listening to?
Attached is a sample file you can test your DACs with.

Case, I do wonder why you prefer to listen to the noise produced by DACs instead of what is generally considered to be music. I know that musical tastes differ, but this seems extreme.
You won't win the argument by saying that if you amplify the DAC output enough, you'll always hear noise. That's a "well, duh". What matters is if you hear the noise while listening to music - and the final answer to that is if you do, you're "doing it wrong."
The question was simple: what audible differences do DACs have. People who examine lossy codec artifacts for example do amplify sound to hear quiet parts better and no one complains. It's only now suddenly a problem when someone disagrees with your initial ridicule of the poll author.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: pelmazo on 2017-03-25 09:49:55
The question was simple: what audible differences do DACs have. People who examine lossy codec artifacts for example do amplify sound to hear quiet parts better and no one complains.
It is absolutely ok to turn up the volume when trying to listen to the background noise. DAC designers may well do that in order to determine if there's something in the noise they didn't expect. It can be a troubleshooting technique that complements measurements. Pretty similar to codec artifacts, indeed.

But are you seriously suggesting that this is what the poll is, or should be, about? Let me repeat: That would be obvious nonsense. You don't need a poll for that, and doing a poll on it could only reveal either the uninformedness of the participants, or otherwise facts that nobody seriously disputes anyway.

Quote
It's only now suddenly a problem when someone disagrees with your initial ridicule of the poll author.
No, you just refuse to admit that you dug yourself into a hole.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-25 10:15:01
I'm not in any hole. Only people in some kind of a hole are the ones who have dragged this argument for pages upon pages hoping to somehow turn facts around.

The nonsense options in the poll are the audiophilery instrument separation / soundstage differences. It also contained options for real differences like this noise floor issue and the impedance affected frequency response choise. We don't know the motivation of the poll author but my answer is honest and truthful.

If the poll was for example about use of a DAC in scientific research about human hearing limits, would you still think my noise floor answer is nonsense?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Thad E Ginathom on 2017-03-25 10:47:31
But are you seriously suggesting that this is what the poll is, or should be, about? Let me repeat: That would be obvious nonsense.

It's his pole. He's targeting believers, so it is of a religious nature: what is the point of arguing the cold logic of it all?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: pelmazo on 2017-03-25 11:05:21
I'm not in any hole. Only people in some kind of a hole are the ones who have dragged this argument for pages upon pages hoping to somehow turn facts around.
That's your view on it; I haven't seen anyone turning around facts, certainly not obvious ones. You are trying to make it look as if greynol and/or ajinfla had asserted that there are no noise floor differences between DACs. I think one has to be quite malicious to interpret their writing in this way. They have (unsuccessfully so far) tried to get you to think about the relevance of this for the audibility question in any practical sense.

Quote
The nonsense options in the poll are the audiophilery instrument separation / soundstage differences. It also contained options for real differences like this noise floor issue and the impedance affected frequency response choise. We don't know the motivation of the poll author but my answer is honest and truthful.
Well, so is everybody else's, as far as I can tell. Obviously, honesty doesn't necessarily imply open-mindedness.

Quote
If the poll was for example about use of a DAC in scientific research about human hearing limits, would you still think my noise floor answer is nonsense?
You're trying to find a context in which your position makes sense? Well, look further. Scientific research on the limits of human hearing has been done successfully with equipment that was much inferior to today's equipment, particularly regarding noise. It means that as a scientific experimenter, you have to be aware of the limitations of your equipment, and design the test setup in a way that reduces the influence of these limitations to the point where it doesn't significantly impact your test result. That's the bread and butter of all scientific work.

In the case you are mentioning, if you chose to employ a DAC in testing the limits of human hearing, you could fairly easily devise a test setup that would make do comfortably with a DAC of only 8 bit resolution. If you don't immediately see how, then you should perhaps not rush to present scientific arguments.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: pelmazo on 2017-03-25 11:06:31
It's his pole. He's targeting believers, so it is of a religious nature: what is the point of arguing the cold logic of it all?
Case isn't the poll opener, is he? Or what do you mean, exactly?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-25 11:20:01
Attached is a sample file you can test your DACs with.
I'm not interested in samples files or "testing" my DACs with your concocted pathological scenario.
Your evasion of the simple question provides the answer: you don't use noisy 16 bit files, because with 16 bits, if you crank the bejeebs out of the volume...noise. Ooops. Now 16 bits is no good. "Noisy". Easy to identify from "better" 24 bit.

The question was simple: what audible differences do DACs have. People who examine lossy codec artifacts for example do amplify sound to hear quiet parts better and no one complains. It's only now suddenly a problem when someone disagrees with your initial ridicule of the poll author.
The next question you evade is how you isolate noise to DAC, not upstream or downstream. Where does the poll ask believers whether they use the specious Case-DAC-noise detection/isolation method?

If I listened to your files on my A800 AVR and did something idiotic like max the gain during silent parts with my 100db sensitivity speakers, any noise heard is "DAC noise"?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2017-03-25 11:50:39
Plug headphones into a soundcard that doesn't mute its output when it's unused and you hear noise. If output gets muted play a 24 bit file that has noise in last bit. I hear noise from all sound cards and phones but then I don't have a $30.000 DAC to test with. Are you suggesting all my sound sources are improper?
In a word, yes.  One reason is that I have a number of computer systems that are totally quiet when they are not playing and AFAIK lack muting.  The comment about hearing a noisy LSB in a 24 bit file is particularly telling. In a proper 24 bit system the LSB is about 140 db down. If you properly set the max FSB level to something uncomfortably loud but not damaging for normal or even reasonably damaged hearing, 140 dB down is still dozens of dB's below audibility. Besides without liquid nitrogen baths or other heroic cooling, audio gear capable of such exceptional performance can't exist.

Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2017-03-25 11:55:14
But are you seriously suggesting that this is what the poll is, or should be, about? Let me repeat: That would be obvious nonsense.

It's his pole. He's targeting believers, so it is of a religious nature: what is the point of arguing the cold logic of it all?
The point is that he's asking people to break their agreement with the TOS. It is a trick to turn us into liars.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2017-03-25 12:05:08
The point of the Sound Blaster SNR ratio was not to show a shortcoming. It was just a single example of a DAC that has higher SNR than the ajinfla-recommended Yamaha, yet it still has a noise floor that is very possible to make audible.

It is true that one can hear the noise floor of just about any active component by setting up a flawed system with improper gain staging. Introducing grounding problems can also accomplish that, if listening to equipment behaving badly is your goal.

Quote
I don't have to exceed threshold of pain if I play silence or a very silent signal heavily amplified. You can play it quiet as a whisper and still hear it.

Sounds like you have a gain staging problem.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2017-03-25 12:09:45
Of course this can be made audible by enough amplification. We all know this!
Except greynol and ajinfla who are arguing against this.

You may be wrongheaded enough to believe this, but I think I know these gentlemen better than that.

What they are arguing against is blaming setup mistakes on good equipment.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-25 12:16:34
You are arguing that DACs can be used in a way that their limitations are not an issue. That's ok. The question wasn't that but if DACs can have audible differences.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2017-03-25 12:17:08
Now when you claim to hear this "DAC noise", what >16 bit files are you listening to?
Attached is a sample file you can test your DACs with.

Case, I do wonder why you prefer to listen to the noise produced by DACs instead of what is generally considered to be music. I know that musical tastes differ, but this seems extreme.
You won't win the argument by saying that if you amplify the DAC output enough, you'll always hear noise. That's a "well, duh". What matters is if you hear the noise while listening to music - and the final answer to that is if you do, you're "doing it wrong."
The question was simple: what audible differences do DACs have. People who examine lossy codec artifacts for example do amplify sound to hear quiet parts better and no one complains. It's only now suddenly a problem when someone disagrees with your initial ridicule of the poll author.


I get it now. You have conflated normal listening for the sake of the music with diagnostic listening for reasons of technical diagnosis. Friendly advice:  Don't do that!
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2017-03-25 12:23:32
You are arguing that DACs can be used in a way that their limitations are not an issue. That's ok. The question wasn't that but if DACs can have audible differences.

More friendly advice: Everything in the real world has limits.

You get no points for finding that out. You do get points for achieving the goal of blameless performance with reasonable cost in terms of time and material.

Now that we have settled that little misunderstanding, please let me add that it is how reasonable or unreasonable the usage has to be for the gear to be audibly blameless that is of the essence.

Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-25 12:26:54
The next question you evade is how you isolate noise to DAC, not upstream or downstream.
I didn't think this needs to be spelled out. You keep everything the same except DAC and observe the difference.

I get it now. You have conflated normal listening for the sake of the music with diagnostic listening for reasons of technical diagnosis. Friendly advice:  Don't do that!
The question didn't mention music or what it was about. Every counter argument the opposition has makes that assumption.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2017-03-25 12:34:02
The next question you evade is how you isolate noise to DAC, not upstream or downstream.
I didn't think this needs to be spelled out. You keep everything the same except DAC and observe the difference.

I get it now. You have conflated normal listening for the sake of the music with diagnostic listening for reasons of technical diagnosis. Friendly advice:  Don't do that!
The question didn't mention music or what it was about. Every counter argument the opposition has makes that assumption.

Neither did my answer in post 99. I anticipated the above attempt to win the debate by means of obfuscation. Let's try to find some truth?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: pelmazo on 2017-03-25 12:38:10
The question wasn't that but if DACs can have audible differences.
With enough creativity and/or bloody-mindedness, you can turn almost anything into an audible difference. On this level, cables also can have audible differences: Just devise a setup that is sensitive to cable capacitance, for example, and voilĂ , you've shown cable sound. I have little tolerance for this kind of bullshit. It is a deliberate attempt to construe an issue where there is none, because it is detached from the normal circumstances of use.

But feel free to carry on with such demonstrations of your ignorance, you've lost credibility already, so nothing left to lose anyway.

Quote
The question didn't mention music or what it was about. Every counter argument the opposition has makes that assumption.
The assumption is entirely reasonable. Not assuming this leads to the kind of nonsense that you are peddling.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-25 13:01:09
Sorry you feel that way. I thought we were after the truth and facts, not clever puns or insults.
I suppose I should be happy that at least someone admists that audible differences can be real, even if they feel strong need to explain why it's unimportant.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-25 13:15:47
Also, all this pointless argument could have been avoided had someone said: "yes, noise can be audible but it doesn't matter for music listening", to which I'd have replied: "true". Instead people did argue that noise is inaudible and now _I_ lost credibility for insisting that their claim is not accurate.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-25 13:18:09
I suppose I should be happy that at least someone admists that audible differences can be real
Yep, with 16bit pathological vs 24bit. Admit it Case, you're a Hi-Rezer at heart.  ;)
Straight from their playbook.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-25 13:21:29
Also, all this pointless argument could have been avoided..
..if the Pollster didn't press your "noise" button. Finally a poll with something that rings relevant, DAC "noise"
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: pelmazo on 2017-03-25 13:45:59
Also, all this pointless argument could have been avoided had someone said: "yes, noise can be audible but it doesn't matter for music listening", to which I'd have replied: "true". Instead people did argue that noise is inaudible and now _I_ lost credibility for insisting that their claim is not accurate.
To use a somewhat exaggerated example: Your stance seems to me like belaboring the (correct) argument that mass is speed dependent (see relativity), when the general topic is car races (where the effect is insignificant). And when people try to get you back to the floor and make you consider the relevance of your point to the topic at hand, you blame everyone else for not agreeing with your theoretically correct argument.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Case on 2017-03-25 14:12:47
Your example isn't only exaggerated but it's not accurate. No one agreed with me one bit but demanded proof of audibility.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: pelmazo on 2017-03-25 14:23:22
You don't get it.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2017-03-25 14:28:15
[quote aut
Quote
hor=Case link=msg=937269 date=1490446869]
Sorry you feel that way. I thought we were after the truth and facts, not clever puns or insults.

Sorry, that card is not available for you to play. I already played it in post 99 and follow-on post 101.

B.y taking the position that no DAC should create audible artifacts, no matter how badly installed, you appear to be running in the opposite direction of useful information, or truth.

I am reminded of a DBT critic that I encountered on another forum who characterized DBTs as tests designed to obfuscate clearly audible artifacts.


Quote
I suppose I should be happy that at least someone admits that audible differences can be real,

And you call that sort of excluded-middle blather tinged with passive aggressive language a step in the direction of "truth and facts"?

Quote
even if they feel strong need to explain why it's unimportant.

Is this how you dismiss reasonable questions about relevance?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2017-03-25 14:29:28
You don't get it.

He appears to be tying himself in knots in his efforts at not seeing what should be obvious.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 2017-03-25 14:30:58
Your example isn't only exaggerated but it's not accurate. No one agreed with me one bit but demanded proof of audibility.

So in your book, asking for reliable evidence of audibility is a bad thing?

I can read this sort of thing over at CA.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Thad E Ginathom on 2017-03-25 16:03:55
It's his pole. He's targeting believers, so it is of a religious nature: what is the point of arguing the cold logic of it all?
Case isn't the poll opener, is he? Or what do you mean, exactly?

Doh! Sorry, yes. It's not his poll. Don't mind me: it must have too early or too late, or not enough tea. Or something

I'll let myself out ...

 :-[  :-[  :-[
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: splice on 2017-03-25 21:43:42
Also, all this pointless argument could have been avoided had someone said: "yes, noise can be audible but it doesn't matter for music listening", to which I'd have replied: "true".

Several people have said that, me included.

Instead people did argue that noise is inaudible and now _I_ lost credibility for insisting that their claim is not accurate.

As has been pointed out several times, sometimes it's better to let it slide rather than insist on being right. 
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Ed Seedhouse on 2017-03-25 22:46:22
Why do you have the need to be so hostile and harm the guy's research? Sometimes I don't understand this place.

You don't do "research" using on line polls.  That should surely be obvious to anyone who has the least idea of how proper polling is done.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-03-26 02:59:40
You don't do "research" using on line polls.
What if it's research into how to troll with online polls?

Anyhow, maybe Case can start a new poll: "What are the audible differences between 16bit and 24bit Hi Rez?"
1) Frequency response
2) "Metallic sound"
3) Noise floor.....
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: krabapple on 2017-03-26 22:19:17
Quote from: Case
Also, all this pointless argument could have been avoided had someone said: "yes, noise can be audible but it doesn't matr for music listening", to which I'd have replied: "true".
.
.
.
Your example isn't only exaggerated but it's not accurate. No one agreed with me one bit but demanded proof of audibility.

Such falsehoods make Baby Jebus cry.

I replied to you with this on March 21:
"Lots of things 'can be audible' under extreme circumstances.   Cranking the volume during 'silence', for example.   That doesn't mean the noise matters *at all* during normal volume playback."

So  , right there  I 1)'admitted' that routinely inaudible noise can be made audible and 2) told you it didn't matter for normal listening


Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-03-27 00:57:12
You can easily substitute "anything but idiotically pathological" for normal.

But then again, how could I dare say such a thing if I thought DACs had no noise floor?
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Neb9 on 2017-04-02 07:01:34
People who think that there is an audible difference between DACs is the only demographic which I am interested in for this poll.
For example: If I want to know what specifically republicans think of trump, I am not going to ask democrats "what do you think of trump". Vice versa. It's not going to be helpful in answering the question.
This is not a poll aimed at people interested in audio on the whole, just to people who believe there is a difference.

What is so hard to understand about this? Do you think I am going to say "based on these results there is an audible difference"??
I want to know which aspects people believe audibly differed from DAC to DAC. Do I believe there is a difference between DACs? That's irrelevant. I want to answer said question. I am not trying to determine if there are audible differences or not between DACS with this poll. Just what the believed differences are.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-04-02 08:26:31
You picked the absolute wrong community for your fishing expedition.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: ajinfla on 2017-04-02 11:38:20
People who think that there is an audible difference between DACs is the only demographic which I am interested in for this troll.
Yep
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Thad E Ginathom on 2017-04-02 19:06:14
He's researching audiophools. Why is his problem. And looking for them here was his mistake. I'm sure there will be plenty of takers elsewhere.

Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: greynol on 2017-04-02 20:02:47
Unfortunately there are audiophools here too.  Luckily most of them confine themselves to the fb2k section.
Title: Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Post by: Thad E Ginathom on 2017-04-02 21:20:28
It's a dangerous world. I'm already a recovering audiophile. Who knows how far I could fall if I went into regression.

Ugly!
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