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kernow

Is a good DAC a waste just for Spotify?

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Why should having different opinions 'crush the fun out of this forum' What is 'fun' about making statements that aren't backed up by verifiable facts? I might as well say that carpet grippers make the sound better. Just as valid, it's my opinion, which is seemingly sacrosanct and 'fun'.

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It's not a 'fact' that 16/44.1 khz digital audio is 'perfect' as the Nyquist frequency of 22 khz is too close to the audio band meaning that any anti-aliasing filter will involve compromises and will have effect in the audio band. It isn't possible to debate that because it's maths.

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My Yamaha DVD S-2700 was the one at the bakeoff. I'd actually taken it to see if an external dac would make a difference. I'd say all in the room could hear lowered distortion and increased resolution. This is different to what could be effected by the manipulation of tone controls. In any case, my perception was that tonal balance was unchanged, just a great deal more was coming through, as if accessing a recording a generation nearer the master. Further improvement - not difference, improvement - was again heard by all when the Wyred 4 Sound re clocker was used. If measurements would say these two results were identical, then frankly measurements are measuring the wrong thing. But as neither S A nor his scope was present, forming any judgement on what we heard, in absentia, seems inappropriate.

I'm not a box swapper, and money is only very reluctantly prised from my hot little hand, nevertheless I subsequently went out and bought a dac and the re clocker. I count it as money very well spent. Enough said.

my advice to the original poster would be to try it, and also if possible try the little Wyred 4 Sound remedy, as the improvement wrought is not subtle.

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I've pretty much got rid of iTunes and my lossless cd rips, and I'm pretty impressed with how Spotify sounds with a chromecast audio into my cdp2. I can't help but feel a 2k DAC is a waste though what with all this 24bit/384 support when I'm only playing 256kbit through it. Perhaps an all in one streaming box or a cdp with digital inputs would be better?

I can't see myself buying any more CDs really though - I only have about 250, can't see myself selling them either though.

Not sure which way to go really, my main format is vinyl but Spotify is just so convenient.

I notice you have an Airport Express as a digital source. I'm using one myself at the moment on a temporary basis. It's fine for background music, but to me it sounds as it always has in every incarnation, a bit grey and grainy. My CD transport demolishes it in no uncertain terms (via the same DAC).

Down Serge.

Interested to see earlier today though that iFi Audio are about to launch a version of their iPurifier gizmo for cleaning up SPDif/optical connections, Airport Express friendly via a 'combo' input.

http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2016/05/ifi-audios-spdif-ipurifier-debuts-at-fujiya-avic-spring-2016/

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I'd say yes. But you'd get a bigger improvement going to tidal and streaming native 16/44 via the bubbleupnp app

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

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What I meant was yes, in my experience even a modest DAC can improve on the sound from Chromecast on low bitrate sources..

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk

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Ah I have a chromecast audio now, got rid of the airport. Maybe that would still be the weak link in the chain even fed to an off board DAC though.

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Ah I have a chromecast audio now, got rid of the airport. Maybe that would still be the weak link in the chain even fed to an off board DAC though.

Should still be applicable. Nothing in the iFi device specific to the AE. Might be worth a punt in due course.

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It's not a 'fact' that 16/44.1 khz digital audio is 'perfect' as the Nyquist frequency of 22 khz is too close to the audio band meaning that any anti-aliasing filter will involve compromises and will have effect in the audio band. It isn't possible to debate that because it's maths.

Except that most DACs are oversampling, so the Nyquist frequency is raised by the appropriate amount. The maths is quite clear as to how that works.

S

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Ah I have a chromecast audio now, got rid of the airport. Maybe that would still be the weak link in the chain even fed to an off board DAC though.

Depends on the bit rate and whether the stream originates from a lossless source, or has been data reduced. Just about anything can produce a bit-perfwct rendition of whatever the source is.

S

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The inexpensive devices with toslink outputs are pretty much all on the same level I'd guess. They achieve a certain level and that's your lot. Generally they're inherently noisy bastards. I have a 200 quid glass toslink cable on the AE, in this application it offers little if any real improvement over a 40 quid cable from the same manufacturer. If the iFi device can clean up the output, the more expensive cable might well come into its own, as might a better DAC downstream.

Might be worth a punt in due course.

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Except that most DACs are oversampling, so the Nyquist frequency is raised by the appropriate amount. The maths is quite clear as to how that works.

S

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Depends on the bit rate and whether the stream originates from a lossless source, or has been data reduced. Just about anything can produce a bit-perfwct rendition of whatever the source is.

S

The Elmer Fudd protocol?

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- - - Updated - - -

The Elmer Fudd protocol?

The Wabbit rate is important!

S

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I've noticed the chromecast has a lot more background noise when idle, than the airport actually.

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I think Serge should just go to Currys and buy a Matsui Cd Radio in a box, that will do him fine I think. :)

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Moderator

Measurements are made in a lab. You'd be surprised at how much foo is used in such labs. Mains regeneration and/or conditioning. Special platforms on which you mount said equipment. Climate control to keep temperatures and humidity tightly in check. Even foo in the foundations and structure of buildings to reduced extraneous vibration. A building I worked in used to wobble when a big truck went by! The point is looking at measurements tells you precisely what the manufacturer wants to tell you. And when you are listening to an 800 hertz sine wave or a 20hz to 20Khz sweep they might just be relevant with the above conditions adhered to. Published specifications are probably one of the most vague and imprecise ways of determining how good/different digital equipment is because they publish only that which compares favourably to our old friend vinyl. Still selling the dream of perfect sound forever! I think a move from analogue to digital requires a new way of looking at specifications and we need to familiarise ourselves with the impact the new specs have on what we hear. At the moment specifications compare every single piece of digital equipment with old record players, and not with each other.

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My view, which I know many disagree with, is that an external DAC is wasted with ANY digital source, as whatever's provided with the kit is good enough for transparency.

I accept that if you want to change the sound (note, not improve it, just change it) then an external DAC may do that, but then so will tone controls.

S.

so nothing matters in a DAC other than the chip turning the 1s and 0s into sinewaves? No chip RF rejection, output transformers or not, preamp volume distortion , powersupply noise, casework RF rejection, etc etc?

That's nice to know. I'll flog my Mytek and go and use the £50 USB interface I got free with some software.

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so nothing matters in a DAC other than the chip turning the 1s and 0s into sinewaves? No chip RF rejection, output transformers or not, preamp volume distortion , powersupply noise, casework RF rejection, etc etc?

That's nice to know. I'll flog my Mytek and go and use the £50 USB interface I got free with some software.

What matters is the measured results, and how those relate to limits of audibility. Even a cheap DAC manages transparency, i.e. cannot be heard when in circuit or bypassed, and that's quite good enough for me.

However little it costs.

S

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