Audio Science Review = Rebuttal and Further Thoughts

@crymeanaudioriver @amir_asr You are sitting there worrying if this or that other useless tweak like a cable makes a sonic difference.

I don’t worry about my equipment unless it fails. I never worry about tweaks or cables. The last time I had to choose a cable was after I purchased my first DAC and transport in 2019.  I auditioned six and chose one, the Synergistic Research Atmosphere X Euphoria. Why would someone with as fulfilling a life as me worry about cables or tweaks and it is in YOUR mind that they are USELESS.

@prof "would it be safe to say you are not an electrical designer or electrical engineer? If so, under what authority do you make the following comment" - concerning creating a high end DAC out of a mediocre DAC.

Well, I have such a DAC, built by a manufacturer of equipment and cables for his and my use. It beat out a $9,000 COS Engineering D1v and $5,000 D2v by a longshot. It is comparable to an $23,000 Meridian Ultradac. Because I tried all the latter three in comparison I say this with some authority, the authority of a recording engineer (me), a manufacturer (friend) and many audiophiles who have heard the same and came to the same conclusion.

Another DAC with excellent design engineer and inferior execution is the Emotiva XDA-2. No new audio board but 7! audiophile quality regulators instead of the computer grade junk inside, similar high end power and filter caps, resistors, etc. to make this into a high end DAC on the very cheap ($400 new plus about the same in added parts).

@russ69 We must be neighbors. I frequented Woodland Hills Audio Center back in the 70s and 80s. I heard several of Arnie’s speakers including a the large Infinity speakers in a home.


I have heard several CD players with DAC chips originating in the 1980s to 2020s. I can’t tell which one is preferable because there is so much more to implementation of the DAC process and machines. JGH article was welcomed by many of my engineering friends who said digital is near or perfect whereas analog will always remain imperfect.

I did not enjoy listening to CDs at all in the 1980s due to the lesser machines I heard them on and a mixture of the quality of the CDs. I know that some of my finest jazz CDs were made/transferred in the late 1980s by the 1990s newer machines. Also, some of the worst pop CDs at the same time (and continue to now due to compression, frequency manipulation such as restricted bass and boosted highs/classical reissues and vice versa/pop, etc). Overall, the average CD in my 7,000 collection maintains a high sound quality whereas maybe 35% of the 28,500 LP collection sounds good to great. So many LPs are earlier recordings and have mastering anomalies and limitations imposed by the producers (like modern pop recordings) for cheaper analog playback (low end record players) regardless of vinyl pressing quality.

JGH did mention that cabling can make a difference back in 1985 in his test.

I think it is marketing folly to provide so many filters and adjustments to the DAC. I I just read a review of the latest Bartok DAC (compared to the Rossini and Vivaldi). They are chock full of filtering and timing adjustments, with more offered as the price and complexity of the DAC goes up. I am extremely satisfied with the Benchmark HDR-1 DAC (as modified but for the digital system). It complies with most of the modern understanding of what a DAC should do and be capable of.

As to Jitter and Digital Ringing, in none of the high end DACs (above $1000) I have encountered or been able to hear those affectations to the sound, in good quality audio systems.  Maybe I did hear them in run of the mill 1980s CD players.   I don't know when I've heard filter and time manipulated DACs.  

I extracted this from Archimago's Musings - However, there is one situation where upsampling makes sense... The same reason Benchmark chose to use ASRC (Asynchronous Sample Rate Conversion) for the DAC1 and DAC2 - jitter reduction. Although by no means high, the sidebands are more pronounced using coaxial and TosLink interfaces. The sideband peaks around the primary signal clearly were reduced with 24/192 upsampling using the TosLink input. As usual, whether anyone can actually hear this difference in properly controlled testing is another matter!  

And this - For years we've been worried about the "dreaded jitter". However, we know that these days, with asynchronous interfaces like USB and ethernet, there's nothing to be concerned of. Sure, we can see jitter anomalies with old S/PDIF, but I doubt anyone should purposely not use the interface for fear of audible issues assuming otherwise decent gear.   

I use SPDIF/Coax digital cabling only.  

Also, I loved the sound of DAT tapes after leaving behind R2R (Tandberg 900 and Technics 1500).  

Hmmmm….. show me YOUR room treatment and I will never argue with you again 

What would that tell you without knowing my in room FR at listening position? ? 


You said the following:

IMO speakers, room treatments and EQ account for about 90% of what you hear. I don't sweat the other stuff. 

Although the EQ part was missing from the original post, you immediately added the EQ part after my reply.

From my experience, people who slap the "room" stuff in your face and dismiss the importance of anything else, tend to have zero room treatments for themselves. That's all.


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