External vs internal DAC question

lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Yep, these dac stories about "differences" reminds me of this guy:
differences.jpg
 
jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
I think you will certainly get an improvement with an external DAC, and for streaming you should go with a multibit style DAC, see this article, and I would do the Modi Multibit if I were you no doubt....


I tried the DAC in my network streaming player, then I tried the DAC in my integrated amp, then I moved to some various external DACs and clear differences to me not hype
The multibit DAC's typically represent a design that doesn't meet the definition of fidelity. BUT they do measure with more noise but that noise may be the pleasing sort of distortion.

With that out of the way you can use Foobar 2000 and get the distort plug in and play around with that to see if you like the euphonic distortion components it introduces.

I don't see paying for the privilege of a fixed distortion profile that multi-bit represents when I can potentially get a plug in designed for it. Same goes for R2R DAC's.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
LOL this Derek Underwood dude recommends Audioquest. Does he do cable reviews, too?
 
jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
Hello, I recently got a basic Hi-Fi setup of: Emotiva Integrated Amp and Bluesound 2i streamer

I understand both have a internal DAC, but would a external DAC like SMSL SU-9 give notable improvement to a relatively non critical ear?
Would $1000s need to be invested before any real difference could be heard?

I guess what I am asking is, is it worth to get an external DAC when both the Emotiva and streamer have a "good" DACs built in

Please advise, thanks!!
-Modi
After a certain point you aren't chasing fidelity, you are buying features. I just sold my Emotiva DC-1 after 6 years of faithful service, and made $129 in the process!, and I now own the very SMSL SU-9 you are looking at.

My wants were:

1. A clean measuring, linear DAC
2. Bluetooth integrated and the SMSL SU9 supports BT APTX HD (24 bit / 48Khz) for the wife
3. An easier to read display
4. Supported my my Raspberry Pi3b+ running Ropieee turning it into a DNLA renderer.

The nice things that it comes with:

1. Support for up to 32/768 PCM
2. Support for up to DSD512
3. A bunch of reconstruction filter options


The remote works well. All in all I'm very happy with the purchase and I think this DAC and other well measuring ones like it, represent a solved problem and we are firmly into the commodity phase of DACs (I think we hit this point 10 years ago though).
 
jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
LOL this Derek Underwood dude recommends Audioquest. Does he do cable reviews, too?
I don't mind his point of view, I just wish he knew why he has that point of view. It's beneficial when making recommendations that it's more than just an opinion. Everyone has one of those. I like to give some data along with it where I can.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
I don't mind his point of view, I just wish he knew why he has that point of view. It's beneficial when making recommendations that it's more than just an opinion. Everyone has one of those. I like to give some data along with it where I can.
Looked thru his little collection of "reviews" which do have some information about usability, he exhibits little reason to follow his "recommendations". He only apparently has opinions to work with, tho.

 
jinjuku

jinjuku

Moderator
Looked thru his little collection of "reviews" which do have some information about usability, he exhibits little reason to follow his "recommendations". He only apparently has opinions to work with, tho.
Everyone gets a vote I guess. I can just present my P.O.V and let the best of ideas win.
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
Everyone gets a vote I guess. I can just present my P.O.V and let the best of ideas win.
Do you have a view on any multi-channel stand alone DAC, let's say to decode multi-channel Ultra Blu-ray movies and music.
 
K

Kleinst

Full Audioholic
This is funny because kind of something I'm dealing with right now. As part of a purchase I made I got included a Cambridge Audio Azur Dacmagic that I was considering flipping but might save. I have set up a small office 2 channel system and running an Apple TV signal through the DACMAGIC and also directly into the receiver via digial optical. I've noticed that for some content, specifically talk/sports radio, I prefer the Dacmagic signal better as it's cleaner and seemingly less distortion. For music, I can't tell a huge difference but the AVR might sound better. Maybe it's the slight distortion that actually sounds good strangely for music. Anyways, I was going down the path that they sounded the same. But i can clearly tell a difference on dialog that I prefer on the external DAC. Now as that is in direct mode, it's possible that it's really EQ that the AVR is doing that is creating a different sound I don't like and with a little adjustment of bass/treble levels, I could get to the exact same place with both. Very possible.

But seeing as the Dacmagic is effectively paid for and has some use, I'm leaning towards keeping it in action and using it for content where I think it benefits.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
This is funny because kind of something I'm dealing with right now. As part of a purchase I made I got included a Cambridge Audio Azur Dacmagic that I was considering flipping but might save. I have set up a small office 2 channel system and running an Apple TV signal through the DACMAGIC and also directly into the receiver via digial optical. I've noticed that for some content, specifically talk/sports radio, I prefer the Dacmagic signal better as it's cleaner and seemingly less distortion. For music, I can't tell a huge difference but the AVR might sound better. Maybe it's the slight distortion that actually sounds good strangely for music. Anyways, I was going down the path that they sounded the same. But i can clearly tell a difference on dialog that I prefer on the external DAC. Now as that is in direct mode, it's possible that it's really EQ that the AVR is doing that is creating a different sound I don't like and with a little adjustment of bass/treble levels, I could get to the exact same place with both. Very possible.

But seeing as the Dacmagic is effectively paid for and has some use, I'm leaning towards keeping it in action and using it for content where I think it benefits.
You have the same speakers/room in each system?
 
K

Kleinst

Full Audioholic
Yes, it's going into the same AVR and the same speakers. Just using a different input for one signal to the other so it's easy to switch back and forth (Video 1 - from the digital optical pass through on the dac, Other input from the RCAs outs from the DAC.)

I was hoping the DAC would be a WOW difference but it wasn't with music. Was surprised to find a difference with the sports radio. There is more clarity in the words and less echo. Again, could be the way that the 2 channel is eq'd on the AVR and most likely is. But still, it's useful for me in that instance so keeping it for now.





You have the same speakers/room in each system?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Yes, it's going into the same AVR and the same speakers. Just using a different input for one signal to the other so it's easy to switch back and forth (Video 1 - from the digital optical pass through on the dac, Other input from the RCAs outs from the DAC.)

I was hoping the DAC would be a WOW difference but it wasn't with music. Was surprised to find a difference with the sports radio. There is more clarity in the words and less echo. Again, could be the way that the 2 channel is eq'd on the AVR and most likely is. But still, it's useful for me in that instance so keeping it for now.
Yeah it could easily be other than the "dac" part of the equation....
 
S

sterling shoote

Audioholic Field Marshall
No direct experience but the OKTO Research DAC8 Pro seems to be a favorite for the M.CH crowd.
Reading about this multi-channel DAC, I think I'll hang onto my OPPO-205 for 5.1 pleasures via a 20 year old multi-channel analog preamplifier.
 

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