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DSD DAC


Dusty Chalk
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I was looking at this "review" of the NAD M51 vs DAC2.  He claims that the DAC2 sounds awful via laptop/usb but sounds great via squeezebox touch/usb.  Is this even possible or is this guy just an idiot?  I am hoping he is an idiot since I was planning to use the DAC2 via mbp/usb. 

 

http://scamperingseattle.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/dac2-nadm51/

 

 

"USB straight out of my laptop (no matter which port) sounds like dreck with the Benchmark. Congested, 2-dimensional, sibilant, shrill; a smorgasboard of grating digititus.

SPDIF out of the Squeezebox Touch (with Triode’s EDO plugin) into the DAC2 sounds great, completely ameliorating (2) – it sounds like a different DAC.

Asynchronous USB into the DAC2 from the Touch also works using EDO! It sounds as good as if not better than SPDIF."

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I wish the reviewer would've tested with a different laptop/computer to isolate the usb output from the laptop being a factor. I don't have experience with either of those DACs but I've seen that sometimes there are odd interactions with usb output.

 

As a side note, the use of "a smorgasboard of grating digititus." automatically causes me to take the review with a bit of salt imo :P

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I did try the DAC2 on the weekend using USB input from my MacBook Air. I think someone used to a NOS DAC would feel it sounded "digital". It definitely wasn't as good as when I had the Calyx fed by the Audiophilleo, but then the Audiophilleo is excellent. I forgot to try DSD stupidly though. 

 

I really wanted to try the QuteHD as well, but for whatever reason the USB input didn't show up. Given its wall-wart power supply, a good PSU + an Audio-gd USB32 digital interface might make it a great DAC bargain. I have no idea if DSD is worth bothering with or not though. I want to grab a bunch of DSD-native DACs and experiment, but I have trouble believing that investing in improving a system in other ways wouldn't be better first.

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Don't know about that usb thing but I can relate to his description of the Nad sound. Is extremely detailed, great highs but never bright, great low extension and overall smooth sound.

Compared to the Qute HD the vocals don't have the same impressive natural fullness though.

 

All this from stock usb.

Edited by Spychedelic Whale
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What is the output stage design on the DAC 2?

 

I could only find this pic. I guessed opamps of some kind and it seems I was right. I can't make out what the opamps are though. Pic from here: http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/benchmark-announces-dac2-hgc.298822/page-4

 

8146315086_b967576226_c.jpg

 

The QuteHD is in at a local store, so I'm going to drop by and see if I can't give it a run. I put a 480 GB SSD in the Air along with my iTunes library. Now I just have to find a DSD file of something that I already have in PCM. I'll have to see if I can't remember to take the Audiophilleo with me as well.

 

I was reading, however, that it is possible to run DSD through nothing more than a low pass filter and analogue sound will come out. No need for a proper DAC at all.

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I was reading, however, that it is possible to run DSD through nothing more than a low pass filter and analogue sound will come out. No need for a proper DAC at all.

 

I have to agree with Dusty on the WAT, you'll get analogue sound if you do that....noise that's gone through a low pass filter :P

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WAT.

 

 

I have to agree with Dusty on the WAT, you'll get analogue sound if you do that....noise that's gone through a low pass filter  :P

 

No shit! I think you'd need a low pass filter and MERLIN to turn a digital signal into analog without a DAC.

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It's one bit digital stream. All the dac is doing is making sure that you get the requisite current delivery and low pass filtering (which is equivalent to a convolution in time).

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse_density_modulation

 

After I posted, I looked it up and you and curra are right. Who would've thought that a simple low-pass filter is enough to get analog out...

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