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#298327 - 03/24/10 06:20 PM All DACs not equal
Zimm Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/08/08
Posts: 1361
Loc: New Orleans
Surprising to me, but when I changed out my Onkyo desk stereo with Burr-Brown DACS for a cheap little Behringer U-Control, the sound quality improved noticeably. Both output USB signal to same Onkyo TX-SV727 AVR via RCA and on to the same speakers.

But when the Behr is used, the clarity is much better, background all of a sudden sounds quiet, and thus fine details come out - i.e., the old "hey, is that a continuous guitar pluck I had not noticed on that song I hear at least 3 times a week on this system?"

Anyway, I know many will say it is the Pixie Dust I snort, but I fully expected the Behr to sound much worse than the Burr-Brown DACs, if any difference was found. The only factor I can see is that the Onkyo pre-amp outs were at a much lower volume (gain) level. But not sure that would cause the MP3-ish sound it had compared to the Behr.

Just tossing that out for your general amazement.


Edited by Zimm (03/24/10 06:21 PM)
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#298328 - 03/24/10 06:27 PM Re: All DACs not equal [Re: Zimm]
tomtuttle Offline
axiomite

Registered: 06/20/03
Posts: 8268
Loc: Tacoma
Amazing.

Got a line for me?
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#298332 - 03/24/10 07:24 PM Re: All DACs not equal [Re: tomtuttle]
fredk Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7031
Loc: Canada
\:D
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#298333 - 03/24/10 08:10 PM Re: All DACs not equal [Re: Zimm]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3448
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
As you said, it may not be the DAC, but the pre-amp stage which comes after it. Too, the implementation of the DAC could be at fault, along with the relative age of the components. It's the recent Delta-Sigma DACs which are all basically equal to each other. Comparing any one of those to and older MASH, or 16-bit 40x Oversampling, will have differing results.
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Pioneer VSX-1018AH-K, PDP-5020FD, DV-79AVi
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#298338 - 03/24/10 09:44 PM Re: All DACs not equal [Re: Zimm]
JohnK Online   content
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10363
Yeah, Charles; whatever the cause was of the difference you heard, it's a near certainty that it wasn't the DACs. As Alan and others have pointed out, DACs have been a mature technology for quite a few years now and the small measurable differences that still exist have no audible significance. The concept of using the unit with the "better" DACs is badly outdated and Burr-Brown has been just a division of Texas Instruments for about a decade. They continue to make excellent DAC chips, of course, but no longer with any advantages over the several competitors in the industry. In some quarters a mystique still exists for the name "Burr-Brown", but it no longer has a factual basis.
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#298627 - 03/26/10 12:28 PM Re: All DACs not equal [Re: JohnK]
Zimm Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/08/08
Posts: 1361
Loc: New Orleans
 Originally Posted By: JohnK
In some quarters a mystique still exists for the name "Burr-Brown", but it no longer has a factual basis.


I really didn't expect a difference. But the Onkyo is an older unit, so Chris' explanation does seem to fit, as the Behr is new. As for the preamp, I'd think the Onkyo would knock the sox off the little 1x3x5 plastic Behr U-control unit. It is not even powered, beyond the USB. The Onkyo is a nice sounding, well built amplified office stereo.

No facts here, just my opinions, but still surprised.
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#301364 - 04/11/10 11:52 AM Re: All DACs not equal [Re: Zimm]
Zimm Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/08/08
Posts: 1361
Loc: New Orleans
Still being surprised by the DAC in the Behr. Listening to many old songs on the iTunes rotation and much better experience.

two more cents...
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Panny 3000 PJ, 118" Carada, Denon 3300, PS3, Axiom QS8, PSB 5T, B&W sub, levitating speaker wire

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#301367 - 04/11/10 12:38 PM Re: All DACs not equal [Re: Zimm]
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4788
Loc: western canada
 Originally Posted By: Zimm
Still being surprised by the DAC in the Behr. Listening to many old songs on the iTunes rotation and much better experience.

And to continue the arguments of devils' advocate, your evidence that determines it is the DAC and no other component or stage in the unit that is causing a potential difference in sound?
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"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#302885 - 04/22/10 05:08 PM Re: All DACs not equal [Re: chesseroo]
Zimm Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/08/08
Posts: 1361
Loc: New Orleans
None. I should say I'm enjoying the better sound I get from this little box than the bigger more expensive box it replaced. DAC, power, whatever. This is USB powered, but you are right, I lack the evidence to prove my overall belief.

I can live with that.
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#303509 - 04/27/10 03:00 PM Re: All DACs not equal [Re: Zimm]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6740
Loc: PEI, Canada
In short, you are happy. That is all that matters.
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