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DSD DAC


Dusty Chalk
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The upcoming Ayre QB-9 DSD DAC seems like it might be interesting.  Charles seems to know a thing or two about digital filtering.  Any experience here with Ayre stuff, I think you have or had some Al?

I think Ayre can upgrade the original QB-9 to DSD version right? If so, might as well buy a used QB-9 for around 1.8K just see if you will like the original sonics...then send it in for an upgrade.

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Yes, I think the upgrade is $500 so used unit upgraded to DSD would be a good route.  It costs a bit more if you do not have the Hi-Res option installed.  Comparing the two, old and new QB-9 would probably not work since the DAC chip is new??

 

Here is some info on the QB-9 DSD:

 

I think the first units will ship next week, and the US retail price is going up $500, from $2750 to $3250. We were going to keep the price down by using less expensive master clock modules (one each for multiples of 44 and 48 kHz), but in the end decided to go for the gusto and just put in all the improvements that we made to the DX-5. The DX-5-DSD will still sound a "bit" better as the analog circuitry and the power supply are more sophisticated. The changes to the QB-9-DSD include:

1) Changing the DAC chip from the Burr-Brown DSD1792A to the ES9016S.

2) Replacing the audio master clocks with low-phase-noise modules running at twice the frequency of the previous ones, which allow the ESS DAC chip to perform at a higher level.

3) Changes to the analog audio circuitry and its power supply that improve the audio performance.

4) Addition of an AC line powered supply for the USB circuitry. This provides for uniformly superior performance, regardless of the quality of the USB Vbus power supplied by the computer.

5) The ability of the USB Audio input to accept and decode native DSD files from computer sources.

The updates will take a long time. We can only do five or ten a week and there are thousands of QB-9's out there. You'll just have to be patient...

Thanks,
Charles Hansen
Ayre Acoustics, inc.

 

The original location of this info is in a thread that is hilarious.  Some dipsticks argue with Charles about DSD, happens later in the thread.  I can't believe how much Charles responded and the incredible amount of information he provided.

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f6-dac-digital-analog-conversion/ayre-wants-%241-5k-dsded-qb-9-a-15650/

Edited by blubliss
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The original location of this info is in a thread that is hilarious.  Some dipsticks argue with Charles about DSD, happens later in the thread.  I can't believe how much Charles responded and the incredible amount of information he provided.

 

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f6-dac-digital-analog-conversion/ayre-wants-%241-5k-dsded-qb-9-a-15650/

 

Ah yes, computeraudiophile! That site definitely a bit more on the eccentric side of audio.

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That's some very interesting history Charles brings up, I'd seen bits and pieces but this connects a lot of dots.  That's actually the second thing I've seen on involving Sony today that's kind of blown my mind, the first being this.

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Heh.

You sent a PM, but your inbox is full and I can't reply. Here is your answer.

"Originally Posted by wisnon

Love the info you are putting out there, even if I dont agree totally.

You clearly know your stuff and as such are entitled to your learned view.

Dont allow anyone to get under your skin...just keep doing your thing and keep your customers happy.

The way I see it, it like back in the cassette days. We all wanted Dolby, DTS, metal tape compatibility, Chrome compatibility, etc...we just wanted a deck that could play EVERYTHING....no matter what was considered 'best'.

A pity you didnt do DSD128...cover all the commercial bases, unless it cost a lot to do so. Then you can still say you prefer PCM but offer all alternatives. Just like inputs/outputs...XLR, SPDIF coax, Toslink, USB are all options commonly offered even if only one of them sound best."

Hello Wisnon,

Thanks for the message. I didn't realize you had sent it as the default setting are NOT to notify me. Weird...

Anyway, thanks for the kind words. If I get cranky, please don't take it personally. I was in an accident and paralyzed and have to take a lot of pain meds and sometimes it affects what I write -- especially when I do so "off the cuff" -- then it comes off the wrong way, like a personal attack, which is almost NEVER what I mean.

Your example of a cassette is a good one, and it is an example of the type of complexity that I would like to avoid. I still have a really nice Sony 3 head, 3 motor cassette deck -- just one notch below a Nakamichi. Sometimes I look at that thing and wonder how often the AVERAGE user ever got ANYTHING right.

I used to work at a stereo shop and what set us apart was our service department. The owner had been the chief tech at a shop for close to twenty years. So when he started his own shop, his USP (unique selling proposition) was that when you bought a piece of equipment from him, it was GUARANTEED to meet the specs.

Nowadays it is not so important but in the old days there were only three sources -- LP, FM, and cassette. Well FM and cassette will ONLY meet the specs if they are "aligned" properly. To do a proper alignment on either one took about an hour for a good tech. When they build them at the factory there is no way in the world that they had time to make all the dozens of adjustments required to get them to meet the spec.

But at our store, we would open up the box, take out the unit and fine tune every single setting in there to get it to work at the highest possible level. The factory would just measure the voltage at a test point and set that to some "average" that would get the performance in the ballpark, but there was too much variation in the individual parts to get it to actually meet the spec.

The closest thing we have to that today is with a video display. If you ever read a home theater magazine, they will talk about "calibrating" the display, and that is the same thing. The magazines have to do it as otherwise you would NEVER know how good the design really is. BUT if YOU don't have YOUR set calibrated also (typically $300 to $500), you won't get the proper results either.

If you are buying a $8000 projector, you would be stupid not to have your display calibrated. But how many people that buy $800 "flatscreens" at Costco are going to calibrate it? ZERO....

Back to cassettes. I was looking at my deck the other day and there are so damned many switches and knobs and dials, that I doubt that more than 0.2% of the people using them ever got the most out of them. Even if it had been calibrated, it had to be for a specific brand and model of tape. And if they ever changed (improved) the formulation, you had to have it re-calibrated.

People these days don't have the time or the patience for all of that nonsense. Even with something as simple-minded as a USB DAC, how many people do you think really go out and get a good aftermarket player and go through ALL of the settings to get the best sound quality possible.

So the LAST thing we need is MORE formats and MORE variations and MORE choices. If we go down that road, then MAYBE 0.2% of the people will know enough and get better sound. But the other 99.8% are going to get WORSE sound because it's too much brain damage for them to understand it and know how to use it properly.

The reason that we don't do DSD-128 is because it requires that the USB receiver be capable of doing 8 Fs sample rates. We use the XMOS and they make it in two speed grades. Most of our QB-9's have the faster processor, because it is only about $1 more and it is easier to find. But not all of them that faster processor. Who would have ever thought four years ago that any sane person would WANT 384/24??? So to do DSD-128, we would have to get the unit back, make sure it has the high speed grade part, change the firmware, test it, burn it in, re-test it, box it and ship it. If it DOESN'T have the high speed-grade part, we have to remove the old one, throw it away and replace it with the new one. That is about $10 for the part, but about $50 in labor. With all of the other stuff thrown in, we would have to charge AT LEAST $300 retail (the dealer wants some mark-up too).

Now how stupid would someone have to be to pay $300 to play 7 files? It's not like DSD-128 is EVER going to catch on. Even DSD-64 is a SUPER small, niche market product that only appeals to the 1% of computer audio users that think DSD is better than PCM of the 1% of audiophiles that use computer audio of the 0.1% of the general population that are audiophiles.

Trust me, the little companies like Channel Classics and Blue Coast and whoever is making that stuff will all be out of business in five years -- if that long. Look at how many companies have even been successful making STANDARD audiophile grade stuff -- Mobile Fidelity went out of business (twice). Classic Records went out of business and they made LP's and CD's and 96/24 DVD-V discs and 192/24 DVD-A discs.

So if you think that these new little companies that make formats that are literally 100 times smaller in audience than what MoFi or Classic can appeal to are going to survive, you are smoking crack cocaine. It ain't gonna happen.

The best hope for high res succeeding down the road is Pono. All the labels are actually interested in this for a lot of reasons. But what it will be is 192/24 PCM. And 20 years from now, you are going to have a REALLY hard time finding ANY equipment that will play back SACD's. Computer programs are a lot easier to make than hardware (which is why we are having this ridiculous proliferation of formats at all), but when I see guys like Miska seriously propose that he is going to start a new format using 9-bit delta-sigma modulation, I KNOW that guy is so far removed from reality that he will be lucky to be in business at all in two years if he doesn't wake up -- and fast!

The ONLY way that we as audiophiles are going to get what we want is to STANDARDIZE on ONE format. Then there is a slim hope of a prayer of a dream that we can create a critical mass so that the REAL record companies will give us some product that they can make money on.

They can't make money if we act like a bunch of spoiled little brats and say, "I don't LIKE that format. That format isn't as good as MY format. Nyah, nyah."

Right now the ONLY high res music you can buy that has a good selection of titles is HD Tracks. And they ONLY sell PCM. DSD is NOT a better sounding format. It was implemented better than DVD-A was a decade ago when Sony wasn't about to go out of business (like they are now). But properly implemented 192/24 sounds better than properly implemented DSD.

And NOBODY is EVER going to go past either 192/24 OR DSD-64. Why? Because it is all turning to downloads and streaming. Hell, we can't even get iTunes to give 44/16 because of the bandwidth required. And you think that they are going to give you DSD-256???? NO FUCKING WAY. Ain't gonna happen.

That's is what is so frustrating about these forums. Obviously there are a bunch of really smart people that know a lot about digital technology. But it's the same old question, over and over again, "How can someone who is so smart be SO FUCKING STUPID???"

People need to grow up and get a clue. 192/24 implemented right sound un-fucking believable. I think it sounds better than vinyl. But the implementation is what needs the work, not the format. The format is not the problem. If we could quit having these "smart" people pulling the market in umpteen different directions, we MIGHT be able to get 192/24 as a commercial reality. Then when people implement it properly, we will have the best sound of all time.

Cheers,

Charlie

Charles Hansen

Dumb Analog Hardware Engineer

Founder and Designer

Ayre Acoustics, Inc.

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And NOBODY is EVER going to go past either 192/24 OR DSD-64. Why? Because it is all turning to downloads and streaming. Hell, we can't even get iTunes to give 44/16 because of the bandwidth required. And you think that they are going to give you DSD-256? ??? NO FUCKING WAY. Ain't gonna happen.
Sorry, I like the guy, but...WRONG!  We didn't used to have the bandwidth for movie downloads, and now we do, so...there.  Bandwidth is growing like everything else.  If you had said because there isn't a market for it, I would have been more inclined to agree, but 24/192 is out there, so ...perhaps not.
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There are very peculiar entrepreneurial practices in Japan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keiretsu. Not saying it is a good or a bad thing, just different cultures.

 

Yes, I suppose its much less odd to people in Japan.  It was kind of doubly shocking - one that the insurance business was such a big part of what they do and the other that Loeb (of the Yahoo restructuring) suggested just dropping electronics from their lineup even though its what makes them Sony in many American consumers' minds.

 

On the Playback Designs IBS IPS-3 topic, they'll be exhibiting it with their MMmicroone speakers at The Show.  They do punch past their price point but I'm not sure they'll be the best exhibit for what the PD can do.  Then again, a lot of bigger speakers sound terrible at shows due to being too big for their room.

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Didn't we have some of these debates recently between the 24/96 and 24/192 PCM points? From hearing tests to Dan Larvy data corruption comments didn't stop files or most DACs sitting at 24/96.

And do we know what Pono actually is yet? Is it simply 24/192 PCM with a new wrapper? 

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Pono is Neil Young's dream, but the following is the entirety of their website, while Wiki has a page with some "information" on it:

 

Hi Friend,

There's an awfully good chance you heard about a revolution we're working on. Something that will significantly improve the way you get to hear and feel your favorite music.

Shocking you say? That perhaps the promise of "Perfect Sound Forever" propagated by the inventors of the Compact Disc was a bust? And that "CD Quality" promoted by the likes of iTunes and the creators of the MP3 was only an inkling of the flawed format they were hoping to emulate?

We're here to say it's incredibly true! Miraculously, there's a wealth of music & soul (or if you must, "data") trapped on millions of recordings made over the last half century, that we're hoping to unleash for the very first time.

Can you imagine? Your own personal time machine, to take you back to the place and time of the original musical event, and let you feel music in ways you've only felt seeing it live? We here at Pono are listening to it now and assure you, IT'S AMAZING!!!!

We ask dear music lover that you root for Pono bringing this very real technology to the world. We're still toiling away on making this happen (yes, there are record labels, artists, publishers and more to finalize with), but we wanted to share our excitement with you.

In the meantime, please follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates.

Rescuing an art form,

The Pono Team

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Pono is Neil Young's dream, but the following is the entirety of their website, while Wiki has a page with some "information" on it:

 

Hi Friend,

 

Rescuing an art form,

The Pono Team

 

I usually sign off "sincerely" or "all the best," but "rescuing an art form" is much more self important apt.  Doctors should start signing off "saving lives" and astronauts should write "going to space, what have you done today."  

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