Which DAC am I hearing?

May 23, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

12 comments on “Which DAC am I hearing?”

  1. I might have missed something, but I don’t think the questioner said whether they were using a digital or analog connection between the CD player and the amplifier.

      1. In that case, the answer is straightforward. If Gaz has a stereo analogue (RCA or XLR) connection between CD player and amplifier then he or she is listening to the DAC in the CD player. If it’s a digital connection, then obviously listening to the DAC in the amplifier.

        1. It is obvious if it was stated. It was not obviously stated in the letter that was read. So I am guessing either Paul left out part of the letter or Paul assumed which way it was hooked up. I feel a very important detail was obviously left out.

          So since I obviously did not get the information, I obviously don’t know which way it is hooked up and I obviously do not know why Paul gave an answer to having it hooked up with the digital output.

        1. If he’s an Aussie, he obviously doesn’t know his DAC from a diggerydoo. (Emoji of choice) Is Gaz the one and only Gaz, as in Garry “can’t run out a tortoise” Garry? What a joyous moment that was to be in Leeds.

  2. What the writer should be doing is running the analog out of his CD player to his integrated amp’s CD in, and a digital cable from his CD player to the DAC in his amp and then switch back and forth and see which one he likes. There should be some audible difference if one listens carefully.

  3. When someone says there is an audible difference does that person know if it’s better, worse, or both sound good? I need to know more than it sounds slightly different like what it is that actually sounds different. To one person that difference could be better to another it could be worse to another they might say either is fine and not worth arguing over.

    1. It is a personal choice, not an argument. If one doesn’t make the comparison one will not know. He could own a PS Audio DAC that is known to be very good, but he could prefer the poorer quality DAC regardless of the measurements . The differences will be smaller than say for two pair of competing speakers, but one has every right to choose what he likes and not follow measurements.

      Some may run an optical cable to their HT receiver to recover MC playback. This was done ever before 1999 for 5.1 systems. Many didn’t even bother with a sub woofer. One could play CDs by way of analog and then try two channel optical. Make a choice.

      The owner gets to always pick what they prefer, but since he has two options he might want to try both and choose to use what he likes.

      1. Do PS Audio DACs measure well? The DirectStream DAC specification shows THD = 0.03%, which is equivalent to -70.5 dB signal to noise ratio, or about 12 bits of linearity. No doubt this DAC sounds wonderful, but I’m not sure that the measured performance is that impressive.

  4. Confused!How is he connected to the amp? If RCA, then isn’t that already converted by the internal CD DAC? All the amp does is amplify.

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