Ive been thinking about what makes the greatest difference in improving audio quality and spl (at the same time - usually theres a tradeoff there) and id like some input and this will be messy but to me it seems as though everything depends on everything in the chain, you know the chain is not stronger than its weakest link, but ive found that since it`s created from the bottom up according to the recipe that is the song i.e. sample rates and bit depth, with the help of current being tensed at a given voltage level then being released in a certain pattern of frequency according to the recipe of the song (and ofc resistance of speakers and wattage power handling of components), you can have great speakers great amplifiers great time alignment great crossoving equilization but if you start off hitting the golf ball just 2mm off, and that's just 2mm!, you end up to the wayside in the bounds instead of on the nice green as the ball progresses from the start so because of that I think the most critical piece in audio is the dac? So ive gotten myself a twinset of ESSs reference level portable dac (SABRE9018Q2C) that according to themselves perform in an "unprecedented way" which I wouldn't disagree with, it has a dynamic range of 121db and - 115db thd+n for a tiny portable "soc"/system on a chip! From my perspective having 32bit depth which this one has in addition to dsd 512 capability, doesn't necessarily mean better quality but it means often less noise because theres more means to arrange the current into the recipe of the song vs it finding away through and into the mix ending up as noise and avoiding that trap naturally lends itself to greater signal to noise ratio giving it greater power of the actual signal by way of consentrating more of the current into the recipe that is the song instead of it ending up as noise and 32 bit means there are 2^32=4,3 billion different voltage levels between 0 and 4,8 volts to have as voltage/as "tension" as the floodgates of current is opened so that the pulsations of signal at frequencies can happen at different levels of resolution. so greater resolution or richness of detail and less noise.
So I wanted this kind of performance and I wanted it on the go because I thought that because of the breakthroughs in nanotechnology I should be able to expect great performance in portable vs. big, less efficient, stationary devices that requires a more gross power supply, I wanted it portable which I found here https://amzn.to/2HPLiLb Im very pleased with it and I haven't found anything on the www that can match this performance/price relativity, but im always looking for the next edge and ive seen sonys Walkman (dac/dap) but those have ridiculous prices, so im wondering about the next step and by the way this one has both a 3.5mm unbalanced output and 2.5mm balanced and get power and is fed via its usb-c port so its future proof and versatile in terms of if you want to use it for headphones (it with the twin SABRE9018Q2C dacs also amp before output) home audio, pc mac, in the car etc. What more could you ask that's my question id like some feedback, if nothing else I could highly recommend that dac 💪
What's wrong with your "sound quality"?
Ive been thinking about what makes the greatest difference in improving audio quality and spl (at the same time - usually theres a tradeoff there) Big good-quality speakers and big amplifiers...
It's not necessarily a trade-off. A good pair of speakers usually goes louder than cheap speakers as well as having better sound quality. If your headphones aren't going loud enough you may need a headphone amp or possibly different headphones. Most headphones can go dangerously loud before they distort, but your headphone amp may distort.
Most DACs & soundcards are better than human hearing so you shouldn't have an issue there.
Humans do pattern recognition not frequency recognition so I totally get why you would say that most DACs & soundcards are better than human hearing absolutely but I know theres better "sound quality" to be had and you may have to be almost a geek audiophile to appreciate anything beyond that like sonys 2000$$ walkmans which is ridiculous prices because most people just settle for what their patterned way of thinking is theire happy with their spotify on their nokia 7 plus and the headphones that came with it or maybe an active set of headphones or passive with an amp but im interested in whats possible that’s why I linked this Dac that is not sonys flagships level but the price/performance is really next level from my perspective and then im wondering how to go from there with it and you mention good quality speakers and big amplifiers but still the metaphor I gave stands because what happens when its 2mm off from the beginning and you bring big amplifiers like you say wont that magnify the noise and distortion that the dac couldn’t sort out in the first place? and I get this may be beyond what most and maybe even you settle for in terms of human hearing being a certain way like you say i.e. pattern recognition vs frequency recognition like I say, I don’t know what philosophy you might have but I think I have an idea, and when I say "2mm off" as a metaphor I mean the current that the dac doesn’t sort and arrange into the quality of pulsations by the dacs clock according to the recipe that is the audio youre playing and the current that the dac does capture and form but the part of that that gets lost/squandered in the processing by the quality of the electrical components, capacitors inductors resistors transistors, clock, input interface, amplification before the output stage etc. i.e. quantization error that directly affects the signal to noise ratio im talking about
And I told this on steve meades youtube, you know the guy with the insane 30,000 watts sUV car audio system with four 18" woofers that does earthquakes, because he had gotten himself the sony rsx gs9 but then he used the optical out to a rockoford fosgate 3.sixty processor!!! He didn’t even utilize the out of this world dac that is in that 1500$$ headunit!! He just completely overlooked it so he has what youre talking about big good quality speakers and big amplifiers and also great processing (time alignment, crossovers equilization) by the 3.sixty and of course in terms of pure power and spl its ridiculous and also in quality its ????, because im still not so impressed with the sq that’s my thing because why would he completely miss/overlook the dac capability of the gs9??? Could someone point out the exact metrics that accounts for the greatest difference that can be made and the answer is its signal to noise ratio and thd+n period. Amplifying a signal is easy but doing it without any noise any quantization error any distortion any degradations in quality of the current that’s supposed to model the audio according to its recipe is another thing. Why is there a market for 2000$ daps/dacs. And that’s not something im buying id rather know what makes those incredible metrics and ill buy what I linked in first post cause that one cost only 70 and it performs way better relative to its price than anything else ive heard with my own ears. The rsx gs9 has the ess`s "reference level" sabre es9018s dac which has 8 channels (compare that to stereo) and dynamic range of 135db with -120db thd-n which with more factors makes it the highest performing in the industry. It also costs thereafter too. The linked dac above is a twinset of ess`s sabre9018q2c reference level portable dac which connects to the phone on the go via usb c or to pc mac or car amp or headunit whatever and then has both a balanced 2.5mm and a regular 3.5jack/headphone jack, and has a dynamic range of 121db and 115db thd+n for portable! That’s being achieved I believe partly because of the breakthroughs in nanotechnology. It outperforms many dacs dedicated for home theater and this one is portable. That’s the sabre9018q2c dac of soc/system on a chip. I guess I would like some feedback on some of this stuff I just splashed here if nothing else I can take it with me, like how does a dac/dap and the chain of the whole audio setup achieve the highest s/n ratio and the lowest thd endogenously not spl yet for that part of the matter and then simultaneously achieve high spl without compromise in sq