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I'd guess that the variability you hear is in the DAC design, and the optimization for specific sample rates. Chances are it's better at some frequencies than others, and that's the improvement you're hearing.

Much like some SACD's have a different mix on the CD layer than on the SACD layer. There is a difference but it's not the sample rate (if done well) or bit depth.

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Except I believe that's done on purpose for marketting reasons.

So do I! As I said in the DAC64 case. We switched sample rates and bit depths and the sound changed then did the same with my DAC3 and couldn't hear any difference. As I said the owner then sold it and it fell off my list of dacs to consider.

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Grawk, you may well be right, I still prefer my DAC/transport doing plain RBCD than any "high definition" digital format I've listened to. In any case it's a good thing that inexpensively recorded and reproduced 24/88 files can sound that close to analog. You need some serious money and effort to get that from RBCD.

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I didn't say worse I said different, the highs were higher after the sample rate switch if I remember right. If you're charging someone to have 24/96 it's always better if you can hear a clear difference which you can if they change the filter.

Call it optimized or whatever you want. It shouldn't be there.

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True enough I didn't discuss noise shaping to prevent the harmoinc rounding but as Grawk pointed out it's on the inaudible LSB.
Now I'm confused -- you did truncation, or you did dithering? After thinking about my earlier argument, I realize it really didn't matter whether or not you truncated or rounded -- rounding is just truncating + 0.5. I disagree that it's inaudible -- why would they bother with dithering if it's inaudible?

Alright, so here's my attempt at explaining in concise form why one should use dithering instead of truncation:

The difference between the original analog signal and the unfiltered digital one is a good representation of the quantization error. If you picture this signal, you'll immediately intuitively see that it has frequency components that are not functions of any frequency in the music, but are functions of the sampling rate. If there is any regularity to this at all (and we're dealing with computers and other silicon-based lifeforms here, so there is), you'll also realize that these components could easily divide down into the audible frequency range. So one has to force a randomness to it, and the science of this forced randomization is called dithering.

You're a scientist -- you should perform Torpedo's experiment of recording the same exact analog source through a variety of different bit depths and sampling rates. I actually have the facilities (Alesis Masterlink 9600), I might have to set it up at the next meet. I'll also see if I can create dithered down and truncated versions of the same material and see if people can hear the difference between the three (originally recorded at 16/44.1, dithered down to 16/44.1, and truncated to 16/44.1...or something like that -- I might do 48 just because of grawk's point about sampling rate conversion, which is a legitimate one).

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Grawk, you may well be right, I still prefer my DAC/transport doing plain RBCD than any "high definition" digital format I've listened to. In any case it's a good thing that inexpensively recorded and reproduced 24/88 files can sound that close to analog. You need some serious money and effort to get that from RBCD.

I think that's because the flaws in most cds are on the disc in the form of poor recordings, and in the nature of the cd medium, and are being overcome through electronics on good cd players...

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You're a scientist -- you should perform Torpedo's experiment of recording the same exact analog source through a variety of different bit depths and sampling rates. I actually have the facilities (Alesis Masterlink 9600), I might have to set it up at the next meet. I'll also see if I can create dithered down and truncated versions of the same material and see if people can hear the difference between the three (originally recorded at 16/44.1, dithered down to 16/44.1, and truncated to 16/44.1...or something like that -- I might do 48 just because of grawk's point about sampling rate conversion, which is a legitimate one).

Dusty I have done it. I took a digital track and set re-sampling and bit depths all over the range (44.1-96/ 16-14) and I or the other person couldn't hear any difference. This was using the SRC sinc interpolator (which is a brick wall filter btw).

The reason you add dither is to make sure that the noise floor stays wide banded as you point out. I had oversimplified.

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I think that's because the flaws in most cds are on the disc in the form of poor recordings, and in the nature of the cd medium, and are being overcome through electronics on good cd players...

I concur. People have finally started to take the data and rebuffer/reclock/resample it so you aren't dependent on the disc. That's the way it should be :)

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Dusty I have done it. I took a digital track and set re-sampling and bit depths all over the range (44.1-96/ 16-14) and couldn't hear any difference. This was using the SRC sinc interpolator (which is a brick wall filter btw).

The reason you add dither is to make sure that the noise floor stays wide banded as you point out. I had oversimplified.

And what system were you using to listen? I mean that the system capabilities are very important to notice those differences. I'm sure we hadn't noticed them on most phones, and we needed a speaker setup to really be sure they existed.

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And what system were you using to listen? I mean that the system capabilities are very important to notice those differences. I'm sure we hadn't noticed them on most phones, and we needed a speaker setup to really be sure they existed.

Are you saying that speakers present more information than headphones? I'll have to heartily disagree.

For the record:

Bel Canto DAC3 (measured noise floor below 110 dB)

Headamp GS-X

HD650s,SA5000s,D5000s and Edition 9s. (I think we were mostly using the last 2 when he was over but I've done it by myself with the others)

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Are you saying that speakers present more information than headphones? I'll have to heartily disagree.

In what way do headphones present more information than speakers?

Maybe more micro detail, but imaging, spacial cues, depth of soundstage and "realism" are all created much better on good speakers IMO. In my experience source differences are much more apparent on great speakers than even the best headphones as well.

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Not really more, but some parts of the information, specially the space related ones such as stage depth, performers layering, etc, in which vinyl is quite superior in general terms to digital, are much better portrayed on a well setup speakers system than by most phones. Maybe if you had had the chance to use the K1000 or R10 you'd have noticed some differences. Or not, the more I learn about audio the more convinced I am that everyone has his own ears and his own way to listen.

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In what way do headphones present more information than speakers?

Maybe more micro detail, but imaging, spacial cues, depth of soundstage and "realism" are all created much better on good speakers IMO. In my experience source differences are much more apparent on great speakers than even the best headphones as well.

Spacial positioning/sound stage is different for headphones I fully agree. That said I believe that there is nothing like them for judging the differences between two mixes (unless we're talking sound stage). I don't know how many times I've suddenly learned a track that I loved and thought was wonderfully recorded is utter crap once I listened to it on phones. Luckily in most cases I can still enjoy the music though. Anyway that's not the point I was trying to get across so I will drop it now.

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Not really more, but some parts of the information, specially the space related ones such as stage depth, performers layering, etc, in which vinyl is quite superior in general terms to digital, are much better portrayed on a well setup speakers system than by most phones. Maybe if you had had the chance to use the K1000 or R10 you'd have noticed some differences. Or not, the more I learn about audio the more convinced I am that everyone has his own ears and his own way to listen.

LOL. It always takes more money to hear what people want you to hear. That's my favorite part of this hobby.

I will never ever own either of those and it's not a matter of money in either case. I have measured R10s and while they are fun (lovely even for classical) they are not detailed or transparent. K1000s just don't really fit me well thought I did enjoy them out of a 16gain balanced beta22 using my DAC3 as a source. Scratch that I may buy k1000s sometime.

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Not really more, but some parts of the information, specially the space related ones such as stage depth, performers layering, etc, in which vinyl is quite superior in general terms to digital, are much better portrayed on a well setup speakers system than by most phones. Maybe if you had had the chance to use the K1000 or R10 you'd have noticed some differences. Or not, the more I learn about audio the more convinced I am that everyone has his own ears and his own way to listen.

It's in the mix my friend it's in the mix. Hence the popularity of needle drops. If digital is responsible for the issues with how it sounds then why do many people (including you) love the digital representation of the analog recording that was made after playback? Digital just gives you back what it's given (if it does it right).

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Where just that then explain to me how we found the 24/88 recording more similar to the vinyl than the 16/44. Of course it's on the mix, but also the way you record onto digital and how you convert back into analog make a difference. Only good transfers from vinyl into CD can sound as good as the vinyl.

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Where just that then explain to me how we found the 24/88 recording more similar to the vinyl than the 16/44. Of course it's on the mix, but also the way you record onto digital and how you convert back into analog make a difference. Only good transfers from vinyl into CD can sound as good as the vinyl.

At least we're in agreement that it's the mix/playback mechanism, not that vinyl is superior.

As far as your sample rate conundrum I can offer no advice as it does not at all match my experience. Maybe the digital or analog filter is different between the two sample rates in the DAC. I'm can only guess. If the sample rate conversion and bit depth truncation is done well then there should be no audible difference.

I have a few masters that were done at 88.2 and 96 and I can't find a difference with them when I down sample either.

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I couldn't tell the difference between 24/96 and 24/88 either, but in between 24/88 and 20/96 it was slightly noticeable favoring 24/88. However I must admit that at that point we were really tired of comparing samples :palm:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Analog attenuators add noise (from resistors) and varying impedance. Neither approach is without it's pitfalls.

There is more to the Sabre32 than just improved specs. Customizable FIR filters, lots more flexibility in configuration, better HW defaults, auto-detection of the source type (s/pdif, I2s, DSD), etc. Basically it's better performance and all the features/fixes that were missing from the Sabre8.

(Sorry for being on-topic :) )

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Analog attenuators add noise (from resistors) and varying impedance. Neither approach is without it's pitfalls.

There is more to the Sabre32 than just improved specs. Customizable FIR filters, lots more flexibility in configuration, better HW defaults, auto-detection of the source type (s/pdif, I2s, DSD), etc. Basically it's better performance and all the features/fixes that were missing from the Sabre8.

(Sorry for being on-topic :) )

Oh dear, Brian is here. :)

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