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https://surveynuts.com/surveys/take?id=129486&c=2506331033FTLT

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    4 (66.7%)
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    2 (33.3%)

Total Members Voted: 6

Topic: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs (Read 9338 times) previous topic - next topic

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  • Case
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #25
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.

  • ajinfla
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #26
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?
  • Last Edit: 21 March, 2017, 09:21:17 AM by ajinfla
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  • Case
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #27
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.
  • Last Edit: 21 March, 2017, 09:45:54 AM by Case

Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #28
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.
The most important audio cables are the ones in the brain

  • Case
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #29
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.

  • ajinfla
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #30
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.

??
Loudspeaker manufacturer

  • krabapple
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #31
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.
  • Last Edit: 21 March, 2017, 11:20:19 AM by krabapple

  • Case
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #32
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.

  • ajinfla
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #33
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.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

  • ajinfla
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #34
It just asks if something is audible.
How did you isolate the noise you say you heard, to the DAC?
Loudspeaker manufacturer

  • KozmoNaut
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #35
Given Creative's track record, I would be highly suspicious of any published specs on their products.

  • krabapple
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #36
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. 
  • Last Edit: 21 March, 2017, 02:09:48 PM by krabapple

  • Case
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #37
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.
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.

  • ajinfla
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #38
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.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

  • Case
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #39
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 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?

  • ajinfla
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #40
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 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.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

  • Case
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #41
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 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)
  • Last Edit: 22 March, 2017, 10:39:15 AM by Case

  • ajinfla
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #42
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)
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/audible
Loudspeaker manufacturer

  • Case
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #43
This has gone on for far too long. You can't seriously be this dense.

  • ajinfla
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #44
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.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

  • Case
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #45
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 sounds on their own. If the noise is not audible on its own with the listener's speakers or headphones then an amplifier can make it audible.

  • ajinfla
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #46
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 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

If the noise is not audible on its own with the listener's speakers or headphones then an 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.
Loudspeaker manufacturer

  • eric.w
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #47
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

  • pelmazo
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #48
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)
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?

  • Case
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Re: (poll) What are the audible differences between dedicated DACs
Reply #49
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)
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.