Can You Beat Simple?

I am trying to upgrade my digital source, but ultimately I find that the simple solutions work best. For example, I installed a DAC with asynchronous USB and fancy upscaling technology. I added an aftermarket power supply, RCA cables and USB cable. It sounds fantastic, actually. It does almost everything better than my CD player it replaced, except for one thing: musicality. It’s very fun to listen to and you can hear details like no other, but when I try to sit and relax and just enjoy the music without over-analyzing it, my cheapo CD player (an old portable one actually) with upgraded power supply is more relaxing, musical, and most importantly, emotional. What’s going on here? Why doesn’t modern technology take the cake in this situation? Are we heading down the wrong path with all this fancy technology including upsampling, asynchronous data transfers, ultra-high bit rates, etc? Does anyone ever stop to ask the question: Can your solution best a cheap portable CD player that should have went extinct with the dinosaurs?



It appears you may have stumbled upon one of those ‘accurate’ sounding DAC’s that are everything but musical :-)

+1 You have identified a common theme. It seems whenever an audio component is described as lean/clean/hyper detailed, it’s referred to as “accurate.” If it were truly accurate the music reproduction would be unfailingly and undeniably musically enticing and emotionally engaging. Real instruments have harmonic color, body, richness,vividness and full bodied tone. They are not thin, dry, sterile and analytical. This is not accurate this is inaccurate/synthetic.


I took me a while to get used to Benchmark's sound, but now I would never go back.

Could it be you've been conditioned?

Maybe it’s a me thing. Maybe my mind needs time to adapt and/or my system needs more burn-in time. 

Maybe it’s a me thing. Maybe my mind needs time to adapt and/or my system needs more burn-in time.

Maybe, but it’d sure be helpful if you could share the rest of your equipment along with cables and power conditioning. If you chased specs as per ASR it’s not surprising you find your sound over analytical or clinical sounding. Not everything is captured in measurements, and certainly not personal tastes and/or system synergy. The more info you share the better feedback you’ll get here. FWIW.