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DAC measurement wars

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firearm12

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2014
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411
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Location
noida
Wondering what you guys think of dac measurement wars going on on ASR forum. The guy measures dacs and their distiortion figures. Two most popular and badly affected companies are schiit and audiogd, both of which highly regarded and considered good. He has placed Google pixel 2 and schiit yggdrassil with almost same distortion. Does measurements dictate an audio hardware quality or to what extent can measurement affect quality. What do you guys think, should we ever bother with measurements?

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/master-sinad-distortion-comparison-graph-for-dacs.4814/
 
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bornfi

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Sep 9, 2015
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Personally, as an owner of Yggdrasil, I do not care (or should I say I am confused :)) because I have tried Yggdrasil side-by-side with Bricasti M1 SE, Prism Sound Callia, Violectric V800 and Playback Design's Merlot.

I keep reading on internet here and there and though I may have any evidence recorded but as of today it appears that this guy has something personal with either Schiit or one of its founders. It is hard to ignore that fact that Mike Moffat is a respected veteran in the field of digital.

So, if I take all possible arguments, facts etc..that I can collect from internet, I have less inclination towards this (Amir) guy.
 

raghupb

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Sep 11, 2015
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Bengaluru
Wondering what you guys think of dac measurement wars going on on ASR forum. The guy measures dacs and their distiortion figures. Two most popular and badly affected companies are schiit and audiogd, both of which highly regarded and considered good. He has placed Google pixel 2 and schiit yggdrassil with almost same distortion. Does measurements dictate an audio hardware quality or to what extent can measurement affect quality. What do you guys think, should we ever bother with measurements?

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/master-sinad-distortion-comparison-graph-for-dacs.4814/
Measurements, measurements, measurements .... Ah the bane of audio industry.
I think I am an objectivitist; being an engineer and all.
But recreating sound is not only about measurements. It is how your target audience receives it.
Some ears are discerning, some are not. To this I say measurements really don't apply.
One can surely make out a bad sounding rig/room as a whole, but one cannot decide X is better then Y based only on measurements.
When listening to music one does not have an "acid trip hallucination" of SNR/THD numbers or rejection ratio or frequency spectrum.
The trip is something else.

OEMs put out some boring designs and some innovative ones. Each have their place in the market.
Today DAC measurements are what used to be Amp measurements yesterday. The same wars are applied and reapplied to newer technology.

It's like comparing 14K, 18K, 22K, 24K gold. They are all yellow (most of the time, some white and pink) and they are all gold.
Each having a price to performance point.
These measurement wars take the issue to the ludicrous sometimes. Like we know it's ~24K gold, but what's the difference.
"Let me see whether it is 99.999 or 99.999999 purity"

So to FMs (specially newcomers) who are reading this, please trust your own ears and wallet.
Use equipment to enjoy music, not the other way around.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

firearm12

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Sep 24, 2014
Messages
411
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63
Location
noida
So to FMs (specially newcomers) who are reading this, please trust your own ears and wallet.
Use equipment to enjoy music, not the other way around.

Cheers,
Raghu
I have owned schiit and audiogd products and have loved their sound ever. Now going by his charts, it's horrifying being told that all I have been listening to is called distortion in technical terms. On the contrary, I never quite got along with chord qutest which he places right on top. Glad I never looked at his charts before I started on audio otherwise I would have never bought these products.
 

drkrack

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Joined
Aug 29, 2016
Messages
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Location
Hyderabad
I have owned schiit and audiogd products and have loved their sound ever. Now going by his charts, it's horrifying being told that all I have been listening to is called distortion in technical terms. On the contrary, I never quite got along with chord qutest which he places right on top. Glad I never looked at his charts before I started on audio otherwise I would have never bought these products.
This is one of the review of Hugo 2 which has the same DAC as Qutest which has been praised superlatively in many reviews. I personally don't like the chord sound signature, but I'd never rank it below schiit bifrost Multibit. This review clearly illustrates "one man's music is other man's noise"...
https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2018/4/24/17273218/chord-hugo-2-review-dac-headphone-amplifier

My Smsl Su-8 is superior to Yaggy in this testing, whereas "Yaggy Junior" aka Gungnir Multibit hits it outside the park everyday at my setup even while playing regular MP3s. So the Moral of the story here for end users is,

in Audiophile world "Not Everything that Matters can be tested & Not everything that can be tested, Matters..."
 

Kannan

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Joined
Jan 13, 2008
Messages
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Location
Chennai
First of all SINAD is no thumb rule for measuring the noise floor, also there are lots of variables involved in measuring SINAD. It wll vary with the audio resolution. The thread gives no details about what equipment was used in the measurement or how was it measured?
Also when I compare the SINAD with the company published specs of THD, IMD and SNR, there is no correlation, so I presume the graph above is a manufactured one or most of the companies including the likes of Schiit, Parasound etc are lying about their specs.

Some examples:
Schiit Yagg: THD less than 0.005%, SNR: 119 A-weighted at full output....the graph places the SINAD way low
Parasound ZDAC V2: THD less than 0.009%, SNR: 110 A-weighted at full output....the graph places the SINAD way low
Chromecast Audio: No details from google, but the chip it used has the following THD: 0.002%, SNR: 105 (but the actual noise factor will be higher due to the 5 volt smps power, so LPS or battery bank is better with the CCA).

I guess the above graph is mostly incorrect presentation, unless the poster comes with full details of what bandwidth signal was used and what analyser was employed.
 

firearm12

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 24, 2014
Messages
411
Points
63
Location
noida
First of all SINAD is no thumb rule for measuring the noise floor, also there are lots of variables involved in measuring SINAD. It wll vary with the audio resolution. The thread gives no details about what equipment was used in the measurement or how was it measured?
Also when I compare the SINAD with the company published specs of THD, IMD and SNR, there is no correlation, so I presume the graph above is a manufactured one or most of the companies including the likes of Schiit, Parasound etc are lying about their specs.

Some examples:
Schiit Yagg: THD less than 0.005%, SNR: 119 A-weighted at full output....the graph places the SINAD way low
Parasound ZDAC V2: THD less than 0.009%, SNR: 110 A-weighted at full output....the graph places the SINAD way low
Chromecast Audio: No details from google, but the chip it used has the following THD: 0.002%, SNR: 105 (but the actual noise factor will be higher due to the 5 volt smps power, so LPS or battery bank is better with the CCA).

I guess the above graph is mostly incorrect presentation, unless the poster comes with full details of what bandwidth signal was used and what analyser was employed.
He has provided his detailed measurements in individual threads on that forum for various dacs. He uses latest APx555 that is considered state of the art. The affect of his measurements are such that audiogd has recently come up with a product called audiogd AS1 (pun for audioscience) just to prove their DACs can measure well.

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/master-index-for-audio-hardware-reviews.2079/
 
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