What makes a good dac or transport?

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Comments

  • Rich,

    That is quite an answer. Any chance you could explain it simpler? Voltage or current regulated? I have been a fan of DIYAudio for some time now and have a garage sale degree in power supply and DAC design. Haha

    with all respect, all the technical talk aside. How does it sound?
  • SCompRacerSCompRacer Posts: 7,149
    The Twisted Pear power supplies I am using are adjustable for voltage and mA. I think the Placid HD BP (bi polar) will do up to 16 volts 350mA on the + and – rail. The Placid HD will do up to 6v+ 500mA. They are low noise with excellent line and load regulation.

    It’s hard for me to comment on DAC’s without mentioning the engineering end. Skip down to "To answer your question” if you want to avoid it…lol

    Digital is real complicated and one must really dig in if you really want to attempt a proper understanding of it. If you don’t, just listen and buy what works in your system, what you like. Try and avoid the suck word for what you don’t like as YMMV.

    For instance, let’s say we have a poorly implemented DAC that allows ultrasonic images in the baseband audio frequencies out the analog output. Pre amps and amps may not be able to handle these ultrasonic artifacts and generate audible non-linear distortion. Manufacturers can’t predict what equipment will be used so they implement sharp digital filters followed by slow roll off analog filters with cutoffs far above the audio band at the expense of best sound quality. Type of filtering trickles down to how time domain responsive your speakers are. Once again, does all your gear get along and play well.

    I believe digital will never be anything but a best approximation of what was recorded. I subscribe to the theory that the digital data on the CD is already irreparably time smeared. Over and upsampling with filtering is responsible for major improvements in sound quality.

    The absolute truth is different DAC chips require different implementations to perform their best. For instance, the ESS Sabre can be implemented as voltage or current output. Current output is generally recognized as where the ESS Sabre shines. But you add complexity and cost with current output as you must use an I/V stage to convert current back to voltage output. This means you can’t put a voltage output only DAC chip into a current output configuration for an apples to apples comparison. The ESS Sabre in voltage output configuration may not sound as good as the chip that is optimized for voltage output.

    My DAC is mostly all Twisted Pear parts. There are two I/V stages available from them. An IVY III which is high quality op amp based and the Legato 3.1 which has discrete balanced output with high quality op amp SE (RCA single ended) and headphone out. Some think the IVY III is like a sharpened pencil versus the Legato where the point is worn and leaves broader strokes, or mellower, more musical.

    To answer your question, the sound quality of my DAC starts with a dead quiet background. It is highly dynamic and detailed, highly nuanced without harshness or glare. There is no added attenuation of certain frequencies, or digital flares. Bass is full and deep. Vocals are full and rounded. Sound stage is wide and deep. There is a texture. Note decay is amazing. Closest to analog as I have ever gotten, yet go figure my analog turntable sounds better.

    Twisted Pear site. They have a forum there and in the manufacturers section at diyaudio.

    http://www.twistedpearaudio.com/landing.aspx
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