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Old 15-09-2014, 11:23 PM   #16
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I can understand if they skim cost on the exterior casing of the hugo. However the input jacks look horribly cheap and fragile, like your S$20 usb soundcard you find at challenger. Even my PC motherboard onboard soundcard's jack looks more well made/durable. This is totally unacceptable in a S$2k priced product, even for S$200 product. All they need to do is increase the price by S$100-$200 to use abit better jacks, I also won't mind.

Consider a <S$200 soundcard from Asus has better jacks:
It's like $490 spent on tokgong components & left $10 spent on IO jacks
As long as sound is tokgong can liao
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Old 16-09-2014, 12:08 AM   #17
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Hmmm ultimately how the DAC sounds like and performs boil down to the design of the circuitry and other components

Take a look at iBasso D10 and Headamp Pico...both use the same (or at least same family) of chips yet they don't share similar signatures nor sound quality
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Old 16-09-2014, 12:23 AM   #18
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Hmmm ultimately how the DAC sounds like and performs boil down to the design of the circuitry and other components

Take a look at iBasso D10 and Headamp Pico...both use the same (or at least same family) of chips yet they don't share similar signatures nor sound quality
The difference between Ibasso and headamp pico is more due to the output capacitors:

picoamp


ibasso dzero


which the situation is even more complex for DACs:

There's so many factors that affect the final sound:

1)Power Supply: Noise Filter/Rejection, Stability, Transient Response Time
2)USB/Input receiver implementation, Jitter Rejection
3)Master clock
4)DAC Chip
5)Brickwall/Analog/Digital Filtering
6)Output Circuitry topology/Opamps/capacitors.

video on same topic:


Audio Jitter is machiam like the hand reaction of the conductor of a symphony. If the violin comes a few picosecond later, it won't sound right to the discerning classical music lover.

Last edited by dqwong; 16-09-2014 at 01:42 AM..
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Old 16-09-2014, 07:55 AM   #19
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Audio Jitter is machiam like the hand reaction of the conductor of a symphony. If the violin comes a few picosecond later, it won't sound right to the discerning classical music lover.
I don't think that's what jitter sounds like (you can play with a Audiophilleo usb/spdif converter which mimics jitter), though improving jitter does help with timing. Extending or shorter decay is usually caused by something else, IMO.

If jitter were the biggest issue, chord's qbd76hd would have been closest to perfect with its buffer.

Since you like quotes, this is one from Charles Hansen - "The end result will depend on how well your external DAC rejects jitter. Unfortunately there is no such thing as an S/PDIF DAC that completely rejects jitter, except for the Chord. It has a big buffer and it takes 4 seconds after you hit play before you hear music. "
Computer Audio Asylum

The reality is that it isn't the best still, and even with the buffer, you can improve the sound by improving the transport. I kept it for several years before moving on after upgrading it twice.



Not really sure where this discussion is going. I'll just say it's good to know and understand the theory, but listening is still the best determinant because there are too many unknowns in audio that are discernible at the moment, unfortunately. More expensive or better spec doesn't mean better sounding. And in a complete hifi system, there are probably equally or more important components to look at, such as transport, usb power and pre-amp. IMO.

Remember back in the day when async usb was supposed to solve our computer audio issues, and yet now actually we are finding computer audio is far more sensitive than one could have imagined?

We have to remember music is something emotional and personal. It isn't a game to see what is faster/more accurate. Just like how the best ingredients doesn't translate to the most satisfying food.. sometimes a really nice chicken rice beats everything.

I have to question if when you listen to live music, can you really hear all those micro details of the violin? Personally even with unamplified performance for a crowd of 10, seated just steps away, I can't hear as much as from my hifi system... is it important to be able to hear that much to enjoy? Not saying that it's not good to pursue that as a hobby, but that other elements of the music can be more important that we should never forget about.

Often for people in this hobby, I always see comments that they have higher performance after upgrading, but music is not enjoyable for some other reason (which may spur on more upgrading). To me, that's someone who went off the path.. because music should ALWAYS be enjoyable as a core criteria.
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Last edited by Questor; 16-09-2014 at 08:05 AM..
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Old 16-09-2014, 11:28 AM   #20
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There's still alot of mystery behind jitter like why or how it happens.

Athough now we have come to a point where there's an atomic clock for audio purposes:

10M Rubidium atomic clock | Antelope Audio Blog

Things will keep changing for the better or worse.

We went from Vinyl to Tapes to CDs to SACD to Mp3 to AAC to DSD128/256/512

I agree that audio is like food. Some may like the sound from their television speakers more than the sound that's coming out from a 20k home theater.

Just like any other hobbies like photography or cars, there's no such thing as a perfect camera or a perfect car.

We as humans is always thinking of ways to build/buy a better mousetrap.

As I am upgrading my equipment to a higher tier, I am hearing more details in my music that wasn't noticeable before, sometimes it's for the better, sometimes it's for the worse. Too much detail/resolution/accuracy isn't necessary a good thing.

Ignorance is bliss like they say, especially in this hobby where there's no end to "upgrading".

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Old 16-09-2014, 06:21 PM   #21
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As I am upgrading my equipment to a higher tier, I am hearing more details in my music that wasn't noticeable before, sometimes it's for the better, sometimes it's for the worse. Too much detail/resolution/accuracy isn't necessary a good thing.
Mysteries I'm talking about are something far fetched.. something along the lines of why turning on or off my unused power sockets (with nothing attached) in the audio room will affect the sound, even when I'm on a dedicated line (I actually have 3 for my hifi).

I have tried clocks and again, doesn't mean better.. guess what, even what cable you use for the clocking also changes the sound.

As for details - I think more is better. I feel the issue is whether the sound is balanced when you elevate one characteristic.. it's just like you added a bit more salt in your food, you may need to adjust the blend of spices so it doesn't taste too salty.

Similarly, since you mention camera, hobbyists often focus too much on the camera/lens and not enough on how to take a great photograph. What captures life is not just determined by a great camera/lens.. just like in hifi, while a equipment can be really good in the lab or measure well, at anyone else's place, it will sound totally different.

Enjoy.

Last edited by Questor; 16-09-2014 at 06:24 PM..
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Old 17-09-2014, 07:41 AM   #22
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Mysteries I'm talking about are something far fetched.. something along the lines of why turning on or off my unused power sockets (with nothing attached) in the audio room will affect the sound, even when I'm on a dedicated line (I actually have 3 for my hifi).

I have tried clocks and again, doesn't mean better.. guess what, even what cable you use for the clocking also changes the sound.

As for details - I think more is better. I feel the issue is whether the sound is balanced when you elevate one characteristic.. it's just like you added a bit more salt in your food, you may need to adjust the blend of spices so it doesn't taste too salty.

Similarly, since you mention camera, hobbyists often focus too much on the camera/lens and not enough on how to take a great photograph. What captures life is not just determined by a great camera/lens.. just like in hifi, while a equipment can be really good in the lab or measure well, at anyone else's place, it will sound totally different.

Enjoy.
There's so much variables in the audio chain that it's mind bongling to think of all things that affect the final audio output.

So far my best sounding setup(Non-AC Powered) is

Ipad 2 with Accudio Pro(Player with EQ) > Camera Connection Kit > Centrance Dacport(USB Y Spitter with usb power bank) > Headphones.


The problem with good equipment/playback system is that the extra bass, resolution and detail gets fatiguing for the ears/brains to keep up.

Sometimes you just want to relax and listen to some background music and not overly analyze the music.

E.g. if the same song is played on radio, due to the lower SNR/loudness compression of radio transmission, it sounds so much more relaxing to listen to vs the flac version that I have which has too much dynamic range and tend to bombard your auditory system with more loudness changes, sibilance and etc.

It's like viewing an oil painting of scenery(easy to understand) vs a HD video of the scenery on a 4K OLED 80" display(information overkill).

This is especially with the latest ESS DACs(almost all of them), where they tend to sound more aggressive/attacking/revealing/forward with the drums and cymbals.

Last edited by dqwong; 17-09-2014 at 07:54 AM..
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Old 17-09-2014, 09:00 AM   #23
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The problem with good equipment/playback system is that the extra bass, resolution and detail gets fatiguing for the ears/brains to keep up.
I still don't agree with this point.

If you want to feel relaxed, then listen to relaxing music.. you can't expect to listen to heavy metal to relax. If relaxing music is fatiguing, then something is wrong.

If you find watching 4K OLED 80" display is fatiguing, it's partially because it's calibrated wrongly. A well calibrated display should be natural to the eyes.. you can't judge based on some display in a shop which is tweaked to maximise dynamic contrast for 'wow factor'. The other factors are of course how the way the light is transmitted, and that's why I prefer projectors still, but that's a separate discussion.


Back to music - rarely do people complain that real life non-amplified music is fatiguing right?

If you have heard a truly well balanced system, it will sound very natural despite all the high resolution and details. You can then just pick what music fits your mood, and the loudness you want to play at.. just play it lower if it's meant for background.. but having said that, trying to alter the way we listen means that we aren't really listening the way the artiste wanted us to do so.

This balance is achieved not by buying equipment (though matching helps), but by careful arrangement and set up of the whole system.


To give you a funny example - my AK120II's decay and resonance of instruments is affected when I put on some plastic protectors onto the back and sides of the device. While it is a relatively small change, the perception of how we hear the sound is then affected in a way that makes me feel the music is more closed in, slightly more rushed, etc and not natural.

To achieve real balance, we need to pay attention to all the small things.. as another example, I find that FLAC changes the timbre or tone of the sound and is not acceptable to me at all.

All these also depends on how particular you are and how perceptive are you.. back to food analogy, an amateur will probably only be able to say if the food is good or not, and may be willing to accept more compromise especially if you've not tasted better. Only when you are seasoned, will you know if something is off, and only the veterans will be able to precisely tell you what is wrong - e.g. marinated too long by 10 seconds.

Last edited by Questor; 17-09-2014 at 09:04 AM..
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Old 17-09-2014, 04:33 PM   #24
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I disagree on the issue that Audio GD should be avoided. My own experience with their Compass 2 and the discontinued 'FUN' model left me largely impressed at its SQ. The Compass 2 is an excellent DAC/AMP hybrid which I would highly recommend for a mid range "all in 1" box. Aesthetics wise of course it doesn't look appealing, but Audio GD is a fully discrete system with Qing Hwa designing each model on his own as opposed to just filling in OPamps and hoping listeners can't tell the difference (Dark Star )

Granted, I have not heard his "Diamond Difference output" stage on the master series but he is extremely transparent on his designs and allow them in full view on his website. So as long as anyone with at least an engineering background could "decipher" his products. You don't get that very often.

So what if he produces a billion products a year? As long as it gets better each time, why not? If you purchase a product, obviously its going to depreciate and have an "upgrade" sooner or later.


Then again I'm pretty happy with my Uber'd Bifrost. It's serving well and extremely enjoyable each time. Music is all about listening pleasure, after all, not the technological "my rig is more expensive than yours" chase.
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Last edited by Noirkw; 17-09-2014 at 04:37 PM..
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Old 17-09-2014, 11:28 PM   #25
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Just enjoy the music
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Old 18-09-2014, 02:09 AM   #26
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I think so far the reviews/feedback of the latest audio gd 2013/2014 line has been very favorable on headfi and other review sites.

Well let's just see how the audio gd master 7 will turn out to be. So far my emails have been promptly reply and they are very honest and upfront on their product. The master 7 look pretty similar in chassis layout to esoteric audio where the power supply is separated and each channel has its own pcb.




Last edited by dqwong; 18-09-2014 at 02:14 AM..
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Old 28-09-2014, 12:26 PM   #27
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This is interesting: it takes 24hours for a DAC to reach it's stability(jitter wise).

Cold — At startup, we see at 1Hz, a dBc (decibels relative to the carrier signal) of -73. However, notice the spike from 6Hz to 11Hz. There is a significant rise in phase noise within this range. Also notice how ragged the response is from 1Hz to 100Hz. This volatility will have effects on the DAC chip’s ability to recreate an accurate waveform. Jitter is measured at 3.7pSeconds.
15 Minutes — Here we begin to see a slight drop in noise at 1Hz (-.8dBc), as well as a reduction of the cold-related spike (6Hz to 11Hz). Things appear as though they’re about to begin tracking nicely. Jitter is measured at 1.4pSeconds.

1 Hour — We begin to see the settling process occur. The measured performance takes a significant turn for the worse. At 1Hz, phase noise has risen by 11dBc. However, the good news is that the initial spike from 6 to 11Hz has not returned. But overall, we are seeing a much noisier signal. Additionally, notice that the response is more ragged than it was when tested in the 15-minute range. This will have a very negative impact on the DAC’s ability to output an accurate (and pleasant) musical signal. Jitter has risen significantly to 5.7pSeconds.

24 Hours — At this point and beyond, the DAC appears to have reached a stasis. Notice that the response is now very stable, that there is a smooth line from 1Hz all the way out to 1kHz. At its greatest point, the delta in phase noise has improved by 17.2dBc over the initial cold test. We can now begin to critically listen to this DAC, confident that our findings will be accurate and illuminating. Jitter is dropped and settled at an astonishingly low level of 0.85pSeconds.

Audio-based jitter is most accurately measured from 1Hz to 100Hz range. This is where averaging cannot correct or hide errors as easily as it does at say 1KHz. Ironically, most published jitter measurements are given at this frequency range.

How does a high level of phase noise affect our music? While it’s hard to draw a simple conclusion that will apply to all DACs, it’s absolutely clear that higher levels of phase noise create higher levels of jitter. And higher levels of jitter correlate to poor sound; the more jitter, the worse the sound.

If you’re auditioning a new DAC – whether for personal purchase, store merchandise, or critical review – be patient and give that contestant a day to warm up, so that it can truly strut its stuff.
AudioQuest White Paper: Evaluation of Digital Devices and Proper Warm-Up for Ideal Listening and Measurements | AudioStream
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Old 28-09-2014, 02:29 PM   #28
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So just leave the dac on 24/7
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Old 28-09-2014, 02:33 PM   #29
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Interesting but I already know liao
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Old 30-09-2014, 09:14 AM   #30
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Maybe bypass digital, listen to vinyl will not have such issues haha
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