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General Category => Technical discussion => Topic started by: bhobba on July 21, 2011, 08:54:00 PM



Title: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on July 21, 2011, 08:54:00 PM
Hi Guys

This is about the John Kenny DAC I recently got:
https://sites.google.com/site/hifacemods/home/hiface-dac

I have posted it elsewhere but thought guys here may be interested in it.  Of particular relevance is the comparison and audition was done with the Truth.  I am firmly convinced it was one of the reasons we could so clearly hear the differences in the DAQC's

I got the DAC and have now popped it into my system - playing Celine Dion live through it right now. But when I picked it up from my acquaintance I had it shipped to he wasn't there, however some others I know were, and we had a chance to compare it to the Tranquility, Tranquility SE, and my Level 2 PDX with the JK Hiface input. This is the best Saber implementation I have heard - it blows away my WFS to my ears. The others there have heard the WFS and also agree - in fact none of them like the WFS but didn't mind this DAC. No upper mid-range/lower treble glare or sibilance issues. The SABER detail is there - in fact no other DAC is better at that - and also seems to also have the Saber trademark propulsive bass. However the sound is rather dry - not necessarily cold - dry is the word I would use. Some people describe the WFS's treble as being squeaky clean - too clean - like out of a freezer - I don't agree with that but that's what they say. This DAC to my ears is not like that - it is clean all right - but still it's not what I would call sweet - dry is the best word I can think of. If your tastes are for a more musical sweeter sounding DAC then other DAC's may suit you better. However there is no free lunch and in this price bracket you suffer in other areas such as bass control and detail retrieval. This dry quality is similar to the sound I heard in ME amps many years ago. The Tranquility was sweeter sounding (not as dry) but the bass was not as good and detail retrieval just a smidgen less. In fact this is the Tranquility's signature and why its such a tough nut to crack - its a NOS DAC with a NOS DAC's sweetness but detail retrieval of a non nos DAC - in fact close to Saber DAC's. Overall I would give it a tie - which is a very good showing since the Tranquility at about $1k and in my experience the leader in DAC's up to $1K (its on special at the moment for that price). The is the first DAC that I would judge its equal in that price bracket (just different) and the fact it is cheaper is a very fine achievement. I will also lay on the table my musical preferences - I prefer the sweeter presentation of the Tranquility since the music I mostly listen to such as Diana Krall doesn't have much bass for that aspect to shine. The Tranquility SE and PDX were clearly better - much more fluid, liquid, sweeter and well more musical. The SE is nearly 3 times the price and the PDX 7 times the price so that is what you would expect. I and some others thought this would be a game changer in its price bracket - I am willing to say that.

My new ordering of the upper echelon DAC's I have heard are JK Saber DAC, Tranquility, Tranquility SE, PDX, Killer. The fact it makes that elite company for that price is a fine achievement. I also want to add while these are the top echelon DAC's I have heard please be clear - they are not scary close - the JK Saber compared to the PDX or Killer is a joke - no comparison really. When we switched on the PDX after hearing the JK you simply would not want to go back. The reason I mention it is some reviews like the 6 Moons review of the Burson make claims like it was scary close to the best out there at any price - bollocks. However I have my own personal line above which I call DAC's upper ecelon - hardly any DAC's I know cross it and these are the DAC I have heard that do. For example the Rega DAC is a nice sounding DAC but it does not make the grade to my ears and many other DAC's do not as well.

Bottom line here is if you can afford the cost of a Tranquility SE (about 1.8k on special), the PDX (about 2.4K-4K) or Killer (about 2.5-6K) then get those - you will reap the benefits. But if that is a bit too much dosh then avail yourself of John Kenny's money back guarantee and the offer of a free trial of the Tranquility and decide which suits your tastes better. Also take them down to your local Hi Fi store and see if they have anything that comes close for the price - my bet is they won't - but to be sure check it out for yourself.

Thanks
Bill


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: sonic on July 22, 2011, 08:39:38 AM
we had a chance to compare it to the Tranquility, Tranquility SE, and my Level 2 PDX with the JK Hiface input.
Did you listen to all of them at equal volume level? 


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on July 22, 2011, 05:11:53 PM
Did you listen to all of them at equal volume level?  

Yes - as much as possible.  It was not a blind test or anything like that with matched volume levels determined by an oscilloscope or anything like that.  They are actually hard to set up and in my experience not particularly valuable since the differences are usually obvious anyway.  I have done and participated in such blind tests in the past and it really didn't change anything for stuff this obvious.

Thanks
Bill


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: jmudrick on July 22, 2011, 06:01:24 PM
Nice report, thanks. I just pulled the trigger on John's mk3 transport to use with my Audio-GD Ref 5. Seems he is doing some great work.


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: sonic on July 23, 2011, 07:39:50 AM
Yes - as much as possible.  It was not a blind test or anything like that with matched volume levels determined by an oscilloscope or anything like that.  They are actually hard to set up and in my experience not particularly valuable since the differences are usually obvious anyway.  I have done and participated in such blind tests in the past and it really didn't change anything for stuff this obvious.
If they are not matched to within 0.1 db tolerance, it skews the result by causing audible difference.  The way to match is to use voltmeter at the speaker terminal.  I've participated and read about others who have done it that way and the results are almost always indistinguishable unless the DAC was defective or made to sound different (not transparent) which isn't a good DAC to use.


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: DowdyLama on July 23, 2011, 09:10:53 AM
I'd swear that I thought this was the John Kerry DAC when I first started reading...
 :)

Jim


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: Henry on July 23, 2011, 05:21:15 PM
I'd swear that I thought this was the John Kerry DAC when I first started reading...
 :)

Jim

I had one of those in '04.  It was way over decorated and not very transparent.   ;D


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on July 23, 2011, 05:51:51 PM
If they are not matched to within 0.1 db tolerance, it skews the result by causing audible difference.  The way to match is to use voltmeter at the speaker terminal.  I've participated and read about others who have done it that way and the results are almost always indistinguishable unless the DAC was defective or made to sound different (not transparent) which isn't a good DAC to use.

I too have participated in blind tests level matched and I have found it is easy to tell differences.  Hell I can even tell the difference in output capacitors blind - Duelund VSF copper capacitors blow anything else I have heard away.  I participated in a blind comparison of two DAC's where the only difference was Solen Tin Foil and Duelund capacitors and it was night and day.  The interesting thing the guys who harp on about level matching have yet to address is in tests that are not level matched the piece of equipment that is louder should vary randomly and if that was skewing results the same equipment should not always come out on top - yet in my experience it does.

Db Audiolabs the maker of the Tranquility DAC use double blind level matched tests on a number of reference systems to design their DACs and cables.  They readily hear easily discernible differences in component and topology changes - even differences in USB cables are easily heard.

My theory, and this is borne out by my experience, is those that can't detect differences do not have a system that is revealing enough.  Check out for example:  
http://www.digitalaudioreview.net.au/index.php/news-blog-and-showcase/system-showcase/item/247-pete-ingleburn-nsw
'I used to be a 110% skeptic until a friend showed me the difference between speaker cables on his high-end system, and I became a believer!
I'm not absolutely convinced that my own system is good enough to reveal these differences, but I plan on upgrading my cables in future and seeing what I can (or can't) here. I'm using Morrow Audio interconnects at the moment, and will upgrade my speaker and digital cables soon.'

Up until a year ago I had not heard differences in cables.  I would not call those that heard differences deluded or suggest they would change their minds if subjected to a double blind test or anything like that.  To my mind such a reaction is very disrespectful and inconsiderate.  However when I upgraded my equipment to much more high end stuff I asked for a cable demo done blind.  It was easy to hear differences - night and day differences in fact.  I even had the trick tried on me of saying - changing cables now when they did not change them and did not fall for it - no difference was heard.  And it is not a golden ear thing - my sister who was with me at the time easily heard it as well.

Thanks
Bill


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: sonic on July 24, 2011, 08:34:24 AM
I too have participated in blind tests level matched and I have found it is easy to tell differences.  Hell I can even tell the difference in output capacitors blind - Duelund VSF copper capacitors blow anything else I have heard away.  I participated in a blind comparison of two DAC's where the only difference was Solen Tin Foil and Duelund capacitors and it was night and day.  The interesting thing the guys who harp on about level matching have yet to address is in tests that are not level matched the piece of equipment that is louder should vary randomly and if that was skewing results the same equipment should not always come out on top - yet in my experience it does.

Db Audiolabs the maker of the Tranquility DAC use double blind level matched tests on a number of reference systems to design their DACs and cables.  They readily hear easily discernible differences in component and topology changes - even differences in USB cables are easily heard.

My theory, and this is borne out by my experience, is those that can't detect differences do not have a system that is revealing enough.  Check out for example:  
http://www.digitalaudioreview.net.au/index.php/news-blog-and-showcase/system-showcase/item/247-pete-ingleburn-nsw
'I used to be a 110% skeptic until a friend showed me the difference between speaker cables on his high-end system, and I became a believer!
I'm not absolutely convinced that my own system is good enough to reveal these differences, but I plan on upgrading my cables in future and seeing what I can (or can't) here. I'm using Morrow Audio interconnects at the moment, and will upgrade my speaker and digital cables soon.'

Up until a year ago I had not heard differences in cables.  I would not call those that heard differences deluded or suggest they would change their minds if subjected to a double blind test or anything like that.  To my mind such a reaction is very disrespectful and inconsiderate.  However when I upgraded my equipment to much more high end stuff I asked for a cable demo done blind.  It was easy to hear differences - night and day differences in fact.  I even had the trick tried on me of saying - changing cables now when they did not change them and did not fall for it - no difference was heard.  And it is not a golden ear thing - my sister who was with me at the time easily heard it as well.
As I mentioned already, there can be audible difference ("coloration") between DACs.  If you understand the term hi-fi (high fidelity), you don't want those DACs.  Same it true with cables.  Any one of those making audible difference in DBT against the standard products out there is caused by "coloration" and they are nothing to be praised about.  That is unless one prefers low-fi.  BTW, personal preference is one's own and it's his/her business.  Knowing where it stands in audio fidelity spectrum can tell whether to spend money on it or not.


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on July 24, 2011, 05:59:36 PM
As I mentioned already, there can be audible difference ("coloration") between DACs.  If you understand the term hi-fi (high fidelity), you don't want those DACs.  Same it true with cables.  Any one of those making audible difference in DBT against the standard products out there is caused by "coloration" and they are nothing to be praised about.  That is unless one prefers low-fi.  BTW, personal preference is one's own and it's his/her business.  Knowing where it stands in audio fidelity spectrum can tell whether to spend money on it or not.

I understand the term Hi Fidelity quite well - I have only been immersed it it for nearly 40 years and in the last year even more so since I am formally retired.  All pieces of audio equipment colour sound - even those 'standard products' you mention - whatever they are.  You reason why you considerer them the standard against how things are judged should be very enlightening.  My standard, and the standard of those that joined me for that comparison, is how close it is to real life.  I have bad arthritis so going to live events is not really practical for me these days although I do it whenever I can.  But some of the people that joined me for that comparison go at least once a week to practice sessions of the local philharmonic.  It is the reproduction of those instruments as close as possible to what is heard live that is our standard.  For example reproducing a piano correctly is very difficult.  A standard track we use to judge that is Dianna Krall Live In Paris - Track 11 - Case Of You.  This also has a number of coughs that are hard to get correct by which I mean sounding like real coughs.  On the better equipment you can hear the foot pedals in the piano - on lesser equipment you can not.  For example an acquaintance from down in Melbourne who owned a PDX wanted to upgrade his PDX to the version that had Duelunds so came up to the makers factory on the Gold Coast.  Because I was friendly with the guy I joined him for the listening session.  We played the track 11 - his eyes went wide - he heard the coughs distinctly where before that were muffled.  We switched back to the version without Duelunds - they were muffled and indistinct.  I also want to add since then a modified M2Tech USB to I2S has been added to that DAC.  With that input, even without Duelunds, we can hear the coughs distinctly and even the foot pedals on the Piano.  A Wadia used as transport did not allow you to hear any of that stuff.  Indeed the piano had noticeable TIM through the Wadia that was absent via the USB.  

This is how the equipment was judged - now please detail how you judge equipment?  I hope not by measurement because that will only give you part of the story - for example it will not show up the differences in the sound of capacitors - they measure the same (well mostly anyway - the better capacitors have very low DCR - an acquaintance recently measured some Duelund VCF Copper capacitors and the DCR was very low indeed) - why they sound different is a bit of a mystery - the low DCR only partly explains it - it is thought to do with micro-phonics - but people are not 100% sure.

Now reading between the lines I think one of those standard products you refer to is the Benchmark DAC.  I, and others I know, have heard it and to be blunt it is a joke - cold, analytical, un-involving, bright, harsh, and strident.  Now if, as I suspect, this is one of your standard DAC's why do you think it is a standard against which other DAC's should be judged?  Is it because guys like Peter Aczel, whose views I think you have been influenced by, go right off over it based on measurements?

Thanks
Bill


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: sonic on July 25, 2011, 08:48:21 AM
All pieces of audio equipment colour sound - even those 'standard products' you mention - whatever they are.
They do measure different but the audibility of those small differences is practically non-existent when level matched and time synced DBT was performed.  Current crop of DACs are all capable of high performance at even low price.  Except for small percentage of esoteric design in the market, they are all as transparent as our ears can detect.  It's been demonstrated time and time again.

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You reason why you considerer them the standard against how things are judged should be very enlightening.  

My standard, and the standard of those that joined me for that comparison, is how close it is to real life.  I have bad arthritis so going to live events is not really practical for me these days although I do it whenever I can.  But some of the people that joined me for that comparison go at least once a week to practice sessions of the local philharmonic.  It is the reproduction of those instruments as close as possible to what is heard live that is our standard.  For example reproducing a piano correctly is very difficult.
It may be so with inadequate speaker and room acoustics.  But the recording / mastering of it isn't.

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A standard track we use to judge that is Dianna Krall Live In Paris - Track 11 - Case Of You.  This also has a number of coughs that are hard to get correct by which I mean sounding like real coughs.  On the better equipment you can hear the foot pedals in the piano - on lesser equipment you can not.  For example an acquaintance from down in Melbourne who owned a PDX wanted to upgrade his PDX to the version that had Duelunds so came up to the makers factory on the Gold Coast.  Because I was friendly with the guy I joined him for the listening session.  We played the track 11 - his eyes went wide - he heard the coughs distinctly where before that were muffled.  We switched back to the version without Duelunds - they were muffled and indistinct.  I also want to add since then a modified M2Tech USB to I2S has been added to that DAC.  With that input, even without Duelunds, we can hear the coughs distinctly and even the foot pedals on the Piano.  A Wadia used as transport did not allow you to hear any of that stuff.  Indeed the piano had noticeable TIM through the Wadia that was absent via the USB.
It doesn't sound like the comparison was level matched and time synced DBT.

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This is how the equipment was judged - now please detail how you judge equipment?  
I'll get to that later.
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I hope not by measurement because that will only give you part of the story - for example it will not show up the differences in the sound of capacitors - they measure the same (well mostly anyway - the better capacitors have very low DCR - an acquaintance recently measured some Duelund VCF Copper capacitors and the DCR was very low indeed) - why they sound different is a bit of a mystery - the low DCR only partly explains it - it is thought to do with micro-phonics - but people are not 100% sure.
Current sound measurement technology can measure everything we can hear and beyond.  I'll take it back if you can present an example or two of the sound human can hear but can't be measured with devices currently available.  I don't mean something people think they hear (perception) rising out of placebo effect.  

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Now reading between the lines I think one of those standard products you refer to is the Benchmark DAC.  I, and others I know, have heard it and to be blunt it is a joke - cold, analytical, un-involving, bright, harsh, and strident.
I suspect that this result was not obtained through level matched time synced DBT.  Was it?

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Now if, as I suspect, this is one of your standard DAC's why do you think it is a standard against which other DAC's should be judged?
There are many CD/DVD/Blu-ray players around $100 that can be considered standard DAC and there are many cables available at places like monoprice or bluejeans cables that can be considered standard cables.


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on July 25, 2011, 06:12:40 PM
They do measure different but the audibility of those small differences is practically non-existent when level matched and time synced DBT was performed.  Current crop of DACs are all capable of high performance at even low price.  Except for small percentage of esoteric design in the market, they are all as transparent as our ears can detect.  It's been demonstrated time and time again.

That is simply wrong.  The audibility of even minor changes such as output capacitor is HUGE.  No 0.1 db level matching is required - and it is unimportant anyway because random variation between listening tests averages it out.

It may be so with inadequate speaker and room acoustics.  But the recording / mastering of it isn't.

For your information these comparisons were done on ML Reference speakers (ML1 or ML3) which are ultra accurate, and ultra revealing.  Since this is Ed's forum and he sells his fine horn speakers I am loath to mention other speakers but feel in this case I must.  The ML's are in a totally different price bracket so really they are not the type of speaker you would normally compare against ED's speakers.  For example ML3's are a two way with stuff like $3.5k (and that's wholesale price) of Duelund capacitors alone and the cabinet is lined with steel.  The closest speaker people in the US market would be familiar with is the Sason:
http://www.stereomojo.com/SasonReview.htm

Except with the Duelunds, which are only available as an option with the Sason's, it is likely to be even better.  I mention this so it is understood the stuff we are hearing this on easily shows up audible differences - even minute ones - it is that revealing.  A friend and I easily heard differences for example between Ed's Truth and direct connection to an amp - it was a night and day difference.  And we varied the volume around so each was higher and lower with exactly the same result - the volume level made zero difference to what was heard.

The comparisons were done at a place where a lot of room treatments were done - not at my home where I have not done any due to practical problems of my situation.

Current sound measurement technology can measure everything we can hear and beyond.  I'll take it back if you can present an example or two of the sound human can hear but can't be measured with devices currently available.  I don't mean something people think they hear (perception) rising out of placebo effect.

It can not for example measure the audible effects of capacitor differences.  Another thing it can not measure is the audible effect of a lot of global negative feedback.  Doing that can give you spectacular distortion measurements but when you listen to it, it sounds like the life has been sucked out of the music - which is why high quality manufacturers do not do it even though it will measure better.

I suspect that this result was not obtained through level matched time synced DBT.  Was it?

Again, as I have pointed out, this level matching issue is a furfy.  It is taken into account by the averaging out of the results of a number of tests.  No that particular test was not done blind or double blind.  I have however participated in such tests and the results are exactly the same - the better DAC's were judged better and in exactly the same order as when it was not done blind.  Because of that, and the difficulty in setting up such tests, it is not something I usually do because, to be blunt, in my experience it is a waste of time.

There are many CD/DVD/Blu-ray players around $100 that can be considered standard DAC and there are many cables available at places like monoprice or bluejeans cables that can be considered standard cables.

If that is your standard then I can assure you, even in the blind tests I have done, they are soundly and easily beaten by a big margin.  I suspect you are far too influenced by guys like Peter Aczel who claim double blind tests show you can not tell the difference between any competently designed piece of gear.  Well I, and others I know, have done double blind tests level matched that tell a different story.  For example check out:
http://www.customanalogue.com/jlti_el34_shootout.htm

And as I have pointed out Db Audiolabs do it all the time and can easily and readily hear difference not only between DAC's but between the same DAC with a small change in circuit topology or output capacitor.  I conjecture the reason Perter Aczel types can't hear differences is the equipment they use is simply not revealing enough. On highly revealing equipment double blind tests level matched easily show up differences.  I have done it, DB Audio Labs do it all the time, and the claim double blind level matched tests show that all competently designed equipment sound the same is simply wrong.  I will only be too happy to demonstrate this to you, or anyone else for that matter, if they can make it up to the Gold Cost/Brisbane area here in Australia.

Thanks
Bill


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: sonic on July 25, 2011, 09:12:28 PM
That is simply wrong.
What is simply wrong?  Non-existent when level matched and time synced DBT was performed, current crop of DACs are all capable of high performance at even low price, small percentage of esoteric design or it's been demonstrated time and time again?

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The audibility of even minor changes such as output capacitor is HUGE.
It would be if you change the value of capacitance which alters the frequency response or output voltage depending on which capacitor you change.  Former would compromise transparancy and latter would require volume adjustment to compare with others.

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No 0.1 db level matching is required - and it is unimportant anyway because random variation between listening tests averages it out.
0.1 db evel matching in DBT is absolutely required in order to obtain meaningful result.  If not, it skews the result.  You should look up the standards established through years of study and experiments by the industry experts.  http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=5549
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For your information these comparisons were done on ML Reference speakers (ML1 or ML3) which are ultra accurate, and ultra revealing.
I wasn't talking about the speakers you used.  I'm talking about reproducing a piano correctly not being difficult for recording and or mastering part of it.  It isn't difficult in signal domain (at least not anymore these days).
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It can not for example measure the audible effects of capacitor differences.
Of course it can measure what you hear.  After all, it the air molecules vibrating.  Even a basic RTA can do the job.
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Another thing it can not measure is the audible effect of a lot of global negative feedback.
Haven't you seen FFT program showing harmonics signatures?
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Again, as I have pointed out, this level matching issue is a furfy.  It is taken into account by the averaging out of the results of a number of tests.
It doesn't matter how many trials you perform and average things out, if each trial is not level matched, the results are useless in gathering objective data.  If you want volume difference between DACs, that's fine.  You don't have to shell out $$ to do that.  Just use the volume control knob.
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No that particular test was not done blind or double blind.  I have however participated in such tests and the results are exactly the same - the better DAC's were judged better and in exactly the same order as when it was not done blind.  Because of that, and the difficulty in setting up such tests, it is not something I usually do because, to be blunt, in my experience it is a waste of time.
Your claims are contradicted by others who have conducted level matched DBT.  
http://home.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx_cd.htm
http://66.196.80.202/babelfish/translate_url_content?.intl=us&lp=es_en&trurl=http%3a%2f%2fwww.matrixhifi.com%2fcontenedor_dac1.htm
http://66.196.80.202/babelfish/translate_url_content?.intl=us&lp=es_en&trurl=http%3a%2f%2fwww.matrixhifi.com%2fcontenedor_pcm.htm
http://66.196.80.202/babelfish/translate_url_content?lp=es_en&trurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.matrixhifi.com%2Fmolingordo5_pc_dac1_beh.htm&.intl=us
http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/03/dac-listening-challenge-results.html
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in my experience it is a waste of time.
Level unmatched comparison is a waste of time if you are trying to draw any knid of meaningful result in sound quality.
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If that is your standard then I can assure you, even in the blind tests I have done, they are soundly and easily beaten by a big margin.
Based on your non-objective comparison result?
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Well I, and others I know, have done double blind tests level matched that tell a different story.
It wasn't matched to 0.1db tolerance, was it?
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For example check out:
http://www.customanalogue.com/jlti_el34_shootout.htm
The link shows amplifier shoot out, not DBT.  Plus, they used SPL meter attempting to match level.  It isn't precise enough to achieve 0.1db tolerance.
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I conjecture the reason Perter Aczel types can't hear differences is the equipment they use is simply not revealing enough.
Try a proper level matched and time synced DBT in a revealing system of your choice and see what happens.  I'm saying this because your replies so far suggests that you haven't done it.
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and the claim double blind level matched tests show that all competently designed equipment sound the same is simply wrong.
That is your claim and you are free to do so.  But do you have any evidence to back it up?  When I say evidence, I don't mean one's opinion or flawed tests.


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on July 26, 2011, 12:01:54 AM
That is your claim and you are free to do so.  But do you have any evidence to back it up?  When I say evidence, I don't mean one's opinion or flawed tests.

We are getting nowhere.  I have given my reasons and explained them carefully.  You are the one that has labeled them as opinion and flawed tests.  That is your right to do so and it is my right to say I disagree.  For example I claimed in many tests certain components always seem to come out on top and since random variation in volume differences mean it will not always be such to favor that component it is obviously not a level matching issue.  Yet to you that is not a valid argument - well respectfully I disagree - and I think any reasonable person would see what I am saying.

Your claims are contradicted by others who have conducted level matched DBT.

Having engaged those of your ilk on quite a few occasions this really makes me laugh.  You are aware aren't you of other listening tests that contradict your claims:
http://www.stereophile.com/features/113/index.html

This test was conducted by John Atkinson of Stereophile in response to the infamous David Clarke test. The results overall show a slight bias towards an audible difference, however the important point is certain individual results show that certain individuals clearly could pick a difference. It highlights the importance of looking at individual results. If not for certain individuals, the results could be subject to debate.  The key thing here is experienced audiophiles can pick differences.  In my experience any person once exposed to the proper gear can do it.

'When he called a few months later asking if I'd organize a double-blind test at the AES, I jumped at the opportunity. I worked long and hard, with help from many people in the audio community, to set up a test that would satisfy the measurement freaks, and I believe we did. I took my own test just once (like every other participant) with David Clark in the room, and scored five out of five correct identifications. Not only did I correctly identify "same or different," I volunteered which amp was which and got that right four out of five times as well.'

In my opinon what the person above said goes to heart of claims like you make.  It takes a lot of work to set up double blind tests to the standard people like you want.  But when its done and it gives results at variance then it is ignored or nit-picked like you did with my link.  See the screen in the picture?  That made it a double blind test.  And exactly where is your evidence level matching by a db meter is not accurate enough?  Not that I think its a real issue for reasons explained previously.  And yes I have participated in double blind tests - not a lot due to how hard they are to set up - but I have participated in them.  And like the link to the amp shootout it was easy to hear differences.

It would be if you change the value of capacitance which alters the frequency response or output voltage depending on which capacitor you change.  Former would compromise transparancy and latter would require volume adjustment to compare with others.

I claimed capacitors sound different - in fact they sound HUGELY different.  Obviously I meant exactly the same value.  Now if the same value but a different type/make of capacitor sounds different (eg Duelund VSF Copper capacitors vs Solen Tin Foil), then you can have two pieces of equipment measuring exactly the same sounding different.  Do you agree with that or not?  Until we sort that out I think discussing other stuff is not really worthwhile because we will probably just go around in circles.  So lets just pick one thing and see if some kind of resolution can be had on that.

Thanks
Bill


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: sonic on July 26, 2011, 08:16:10 AM
We are getting nowhere.  I have given my reasons and explained them carefully.  You are the one that has labeled them as opinion and flawed tests.  That is your right to do so and it is my right to say I disagree.  
I've read your explanation carefully and tried to get to the bottom of it.  That's why I asked you series of questions.  We are free to have opinion but what I'm wondering is where it's coming from.  One can base his opinion on his imagination or some anecdotal experience.  What good does that do in searching for proof?  Proof in this case needs to be repeatable and its test procedure reviewed by the experts.  AES paper covers that and there is large body of data gathered over the years that contradicts what you (and some audiophiles) are claiming.

Quote
For example I claimed in many tests certain components always seem to come out on top and since random variation in volume differences mean it will not always be such to favor that component it is obviously not a level matching issue.  Yet to you that is not a valid argument - well respectfully I disagree - and I think any reasonable person would see what I am saying.
Evidence is not something that “seem” certain way.  Confirmation is what's needed with your assessment mentioned here.  Until you try precisely level matched and time synced DBT of DACs (and amps if you like), you are merely guessing at this.

Quote
Having engaged those of your ilk on quite a few occasions this really makes me laugh.  You are aware aren't you of other listening tests that contradict your claims:
http://www.stereophile.com/features/113/index.html

This test was conducted by John Atkinson of Stereophile in response to the infamous David Clarke test. The results overall show a slight bias towards an audible difference, however the important point is certain individual results show that certain individuals clearly could pick a difference. It highlights the importance of looking at individual results. If not for certain individuals, the results could be subject to debate.  The key thing here is experienced audiophiles can pick differences.  In my experience any person once exposed to the proper gear can do it.
Oh, yeah, John Atkinson, the editor of a magazine that profits from selling advertisement spots to high price audio gears including mega-buck cables and sells subscription by reviewing those gears.  He has to be supportive of subjective listening habits otherwise they would go out of business.  Yes, I know who he is and what he does.  You should know better about what he writes.  He may be a nice guy as a person but what he puts out in public domain is geared towards his business, pure and simple.

If you want to shift the focus to amp DBT, here are some results that contradicts what John Atkinson is trying to portray.
http://www.hometheaterfocus.com/receivers/amplifier-sound-quality.aspx

Quote
”scored five out of five correct identifications.”
5 tries is not enough to draw a meaningful result in DBT.  The author wanted to do more but couldn't due to schedule constraints during that event.

Quote
I claimed capacitors sound different - in fact they sound HUGELY different.  Obviously I meant exactly the same value.  Now if the same value but a different type/make of capacitor sounds different (eg Duelund VSF Copper capacitors vs Solen Tin Foil), then you can have two pieces of equipment measuring exactly the same sounding different.  Do you agree with that or not?  Until we sort that out I think discussing other stuff is not really worthwhile because we will probably just go around in circles.  So lets just pick one thing and see if some kind of resolution can be had on that.
I'm trying not to go around circle so I'm going to ask you some questions to clear things up.
1. What type of capacitor are you talking about, passive crossover, active crossover, power supply, coupling capacitor, ...etc?
2. How was the “same value” ensured?  Was it by what's written on the capacitors or was it measured?  If latter, what device was used to measure it?
3. When you say “measuring exactly the same” where was the measurement taken from, at the output terminal of a device that has this capacitor, in front of the speaker driver, at the listening spot, or somewhere else?  And what kind of measurement, frequency response, farad, DC voltage, hum level, pulse measurement or something else?


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: Capt. Z on July 26, 2011, 09:52:38 AM
There are always people that have to be right and they will go to great length to do so.

Bless Their Heart  ::)


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on July 26, 2011, 03:41:33 PM
There are always people that have to be right and they will go to great length to do so.Bless Their Heart  ::)

I have engaged these Peter Aczel types before.  There is no way you can convince them their position is wrong.  The only reason I do it is because often they go unchallenged so some people may think their position is correct.  However rest assured I have no intention of letting this go on too long.  

On the forum I usually post to, SNA, they have a rule, you can't discuss double blind tests in the sections where you discuss various pieces of equipment like DAC's - that is confined to what they call the great debate section.  And reading some of those great debate threads is a very interesting experience.  I thought at first it was just to prevent these long threads that basically go nowhere in the area to discuss how stuff sounds - where each side simply retreats to their entrenched position.  But actually it is not that - the reason they gave is in participating in a thread where you are discussing the perceived differences in DAC's, Amps etc you are starting from the assumption such actually exists.  If you genuinely believe they all sound the same as proven by DBT's why do you want to discuss it to begin with?  After thinking about it I believe they have a point.

Thanks
Bill


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on July 26, 2011, 04:07:55 PM
I'm trying not to go around circle so I'm going to ask you some questions to clear things up.
1. What type of capacitor are you talking about, passive crossover, active crossover, power supply, coupling capacitor, ...etc?
2. How was the “same value” ensured?  Was it by what's written on the capacitors or was it measured?  If latter, what device was used to measure it?
3. When you say “measuring exactly the same” where was the measurement taken from, at the output terminal of a device that has this capacitor, in front of the speaker driver, at the listening spot, or somewhere else?  And what kind of measurement, frequency response, farad, DC voltage, hum level, pulse measurement or something else?

The capacitors vary in type and I have heard them in two places - in passive crossovers and the output capacitor of a DAC.  The comparison was in two pieces of equipment where the only difference is in capacitor type eg in one DAC you have Solen Tin Foil and another DAC Duelund VCF Copper.  Everything was electrically the same - well as much as it could be anyway since of course all components have a tolerance.  

The same value was ensured by selecting it with that value.  However I know exactly what your issue will be - they will have different values due to tolerances.  Again my response is these comparisons have been done many times by many people and invariably one capacitor is preferred over the other.

By measuring exactly the same I mean when measured using the standard measuring equipment.  For example in the speakers I am familiar with the manufacturer creates each speaker with a tuning bay that he uses to match the speakers by measuring the frequency response.  Again I know what your issue will be - you need to subject it to a wide range of tests to determine measuring exactly the same.  My response is the capacitors themselves measure exactly the same ie Solen and Duelund measure exactly the same using any of the usual methods of measuring a capacitor - the only difference is in the DCR.

But really relevant to this thread is the fact it is easy to hear differences in DAC's where the only difference is the different output capacitor.  For example Db Audiolabs have done many double blind tests to determine the best output capacitor to use in their Tranquillity DAC's and the differences are usaully easy to hear.  This refutes the idea all DAC's sound the same.  And this has been done many times with different DAC's to ensure it is not component tolerances that is the cause.

Thanks
Bill  


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: sonic on July 26, 2011, 04:23:26 PM
I have engaged these Peter Aczel types before.  There is no way you can convince them their position is wrong.  The only reason I do it is because often they go unchallenged so some people may think their position is correct.  However rest assured I have no intention of letting this go on too long.
I've heard his name but never read what Peter Aczel wrote.  My replies are based on DBT standard established by the industry experts.  If you have issues with such test procedures, then your issue is with those experts, not me.  "Don't shoot the messenger."  

Bill, using the established industry standards, I challenged you because your belief is based on comparison method that doesn't even do precise level matching.  Also, you cannot underestimate the influence of placebo effect.  It works in subconscious level, you can't control it on your own no matter how hard you try.  That's why the proper DBT has to make sure it is controlled by the setup itself.  If not, you loose the objectivity in the result, meaning that it failed its objective.

Now, if you just said you chose DAC "x" over "y" out of your personal preference, I don't see whey that needs to be challenged in any way but that's not what you did.


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on July 26, 2011, 04:46:12 PM
I've heard his name but never read what Peter Aczel wrote.  My replies are based on DBT standard established by the industry experts.  If you have issues with such test procedures, then your issue is with those experts, not me.  "Don't shoot the messenger."  Bill, using the established industry standards, I challenged you because your belief is based on comparison method that doesn't even do precise level matching.  Also, you cannot underestimate the influence of placebo effect.  It works in subconscious level, you can't control it on your own no matter how hard you try.  That's why the proper DBT has to make sure it is controlled by the setup itself.  If not, you loose the objectivity in the result, meaning that it failed its objective. Now, if you just said you chose DAC "x" over "y" out of your personal preference, I don't see whey that needs to be challenged in any way but that's not what you did.

Sonic, with all due respect, what I posted is fairly typical of what people post about audible differences in equipment from listening tests.  In a thread to discuss such things you are starting from the assumption audible differences do exist and one way to get a handle on them is to have a listening test.  If you believe all DAC's etc sound the same as proven by DBT's why even bother discussing it - simply get the cheapest piece of equipment that is competently engineered and be done with it.  Why you want to challenge people who believe differently is beyond me.  Most people are fully aware of the claims all competently designed pieces of equipment with the exception of speakers sound the same - I know I certainly am.  All you are going to do is rerun that debate which has been done over and over again.  In the end all that will happen is each side will say something like I don't agree with you.

And that's where I will leave it - I don't agree with you.  I enjoy checking out various pieces of equipment to see how they compare and reporting on those differences without the use of DBT's etc that IMHO are usually a waste of time.  Sometimes they are interesting and fun but the work involved in setting them up is a real pain.

Thanks
Bill


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: sonic on July 26, 2011, 05:00:52 PM
The capacitors vary in type and I have heard them in two places - in passive crossovers and the output capacitor of a DAC.  The comparison was in two pieces of equipment where the only difference is in capacitor type eg in one DAC you have Solen Tin Foil and another DAC Duelund VCF Copper.  Everything was electrically the same - well as much as it could be anyway since of course all components have a tolerance.  
So, this comparison was two DACs, each with different output caps.  Was the voltage at the output terminals of both units compared to see if they put out same voltage when playing a tone? 

BTW, wouldn't it have been a better comparison if both caps were wired with a toggle switch so that it can be compared through one DAC?

Quote
The same value was ensured by selecting it with that value.  However I know exactly what your issue will be - they will have different values due to tolerances.  Again my response is these comparisons have been done many times by many people and invariably one capacitor is preferred over the other.
Yes, the tolerance variation can change the frequency response if it's for crossover.  Regardless of how many times it's been done or who's done it, the capacitor will do what it dose based on their actual value. 

Quote
By measuring exactly the same I mean when measured using the standard measuring equipment.  For example in the speakers I am familiar with the manufacturer creates each speaker with a tuning bay that he uses to match the speakers by measuring the frequency response.  Again I know what your issue will be - you need to subject it to a wide range of tests to determine measuring exactly the same.  My response is the capacitors themselves measure exactly the same ie Solen and Duelund measure exactly the same using any of the usual methods of measuring a capacitor - the only difference is in the DCR.
One easy way to see if the crossover cap's values are comparably matched for auditioning is to see the frequency response.  If they are identical between the two, then you can listen and judge.  If not, the audible difference is caused by the crossover slope they cause.  If you don't believe me, try two crossover caps with same brand and labeled value but let their varying tolerance play out in sound.  Just try it.

Quote
But really relevant to this thread is the fact it is easy to hear differences in DAC's where the only difference is the different output capacitor.  For example Db Audiolabs have done many double blind tests to determine the best output capacitor to use in their Tranquillity DAC's and the differences are usaully easy to hear.  This refutes the idea all DAC's sound the same.  And this has been done many times with different DAC's to ensure it is not component tolerances that is the cause.
Not all DACs sound the same.  As I mentioned before, there are some that are made to sound different.  If you prefer those, by all means, go ahead.  What's considered transparent performance is the consistent output level throughout audio band and those are available at mere $100 these days.
One is frequency resoponse of $6500 disc player and the other is $149.

(http://www.stereophile.com/images/archivesart/507OPPFIG01.jpg)

(http://www.stereophile.com/images/archivesart/806CLAFIG1.jpg)


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: sonic on July 26, 2011, 05:21:35 PM
Sonic, with all due respect, what I posted is fairly typical of what people post about audible differences in equipment from listening tests.  In a thread to discuss such things you are starting from the assumption audible differences do exist and one way to get a handle on them is to have a listening test.  If you believe all DAC's etc sound the same as proven by DBT's why even bother discussing it - simply get the cheapest piece of equipment that is competently engineered and be done with it.  Why you want to challenge people who believe differently is beyond me.  Most people are fully aware of the claims all competently designed pieces of equipment with the exception of speakers sound the same - I know I certainly am.  All you are going to do is rerun that debate which has been done over and over again.  In the end all that will happen is each side will say something like I don't agree with you.

And that's where I will leave it - I don't agree with you.  I enjoy checking out various pieces of equipment to see how they compare and reporting on those differences without the use of DBT's etc that IMHO are usually a waste of time.  Sometimes they are interesting and fun but the work involved in setting them up is a real pain.
Bill, please reread the last sentence of my post that you were replying to.

their position is wrong.

That is simply wrong.



Again, as I have pointed out, this level matching issue is a furfy. 


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on July 30, 2011, 03:38:46 AM
Hi Guys

A guy (Gary) has just left with the JK Saber and will do a write up comparing it to his Audio GD Ref 5 on SNA.  But we did a bit of a listening session for a few hours between the JK, WFS DAC 2 and Tranquility SE.  My PDX is having a bit of work done on it right now so could not be included.

Ok we confirmed the order of the DAC's as (worse to best) WFS, JK Saber and Tranquility SE.  But Gary preferred the JK to the Tranquility even though he thought the Tranquility was the better DAC, as I did.  The reason was, as everyone who has heard the Tranquility SE has noted, it has a very beguiling, liquid, fluid and mercury like mid-range that was recognized as better than the other DAC's, but was not to his taste - evidently the musical thing which the Tranquility definitely does is not his preference.

Gary was surprised with the WFS - glare in the upper mid-range lower treble with some sibilance issues and quite cold.  This was because many people on the internet were saying how good it was - but really in this comparison it was not up to the other DAC's - in fact after a while it became un-listenable because you easily locked onto its deficiencies after listening to the DAC's.  One thing in favor of the WFS was it had the most tunefull bass but I thought the JK bass was both lower and better.  This however is the Tranquility's achilles heel - the bass is a little one note and flabby which on bass heavy material was noticeable.

The track that we locked onto that really showed the differences was Duffy Rockferry - the first track Rockferry - which has the reputation of being hard to reproduce properly due to her Welch wavering voice.  Through the Tranquility - sublime.  Its mid-range loves this type of stuff.  We tried it both via Itunes and Audirvana - Audirvana was quite noticeably better and via that the Tranquility really was awesome.  We tried the JK both direct and via the Truth.  Through the Truth it was a bit thin and un-involving - direct to the amp was a lot better - greater detail, imaging - all sorts of stuff was better.   But the mid-range was not as magical as the Tranquility - still very nice though - but a bit dry - but Gary did not mind that.  At $700.00 with no pre amp required incredible value.  Afraid the WFS was not in the hunt - it made Duffy's voice sound glarey, cold and sibilancy - most definitely not what you would want to listen to after the other DAC's.

On the basis of this comparison I must say don't even bother with the WFS - the JK is better and cheaper.  The Tranquility SE is clearly better (and it should be at three times the price) but like Gary it may not be to your taste.

Thanks
Bill


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: sonic on July 30, 2011, 07:30:42 AM
Hi Guys

A guy (Gary) has just left with the JK Saber and will do a write up comparing it to his Audio GD Ref 5 on SNA.  But we did a bit of a listening session for a few hours between the JK, WFS DAC 2 and Tranquility SE.  My PDX is having a bit of work done on it right now so could not be included.

Ok we confirmed the order of the DAC's as (worse to best) WFS, JK Saber and Tranquility SE.  But Gary preferred the JK to the Tranquility even though he thought the Tranquility was the better DAC, as I did.  The reason was, as everyone who has heard the Tranquility SE has noted, it has a very beguiling, liquid, fluid and mercury like mid-range that was recognized as better than the other DAC's, but was not to his taste - evidently the musical thing which the Tranquility definitely does is not his preference.

Gary was surprised with the WFS - glare in the upper mid-range lower treble with some sibilance issues and quite cold.  This was because many people on the internet were saying how good it was - but really in this comparison it was not up to the other DAC's - in fact after a while it became un-listenable because you easily locked onto its deficiencies after listening to the DAC's.  One thing in favor of the WFS was it had the most tunefull bass but I thought the JK bass was both lower and better.  This however is the Tranquility's achilles heel - the bass is a little one note and flabby which on bass heavy material was noticeable.

The track that we locked onto that really showed the differences was Duffy Rockferry - the first track Rockferry - which has the reputation of being hard to reproduce properly due to her Welch wavering voice.  Through the Tranquility - sublime.  Its mid-range loves this type of stuff.  We tried it both via Itunes and Audirvana - Audirvana was quite noticeably better and via that the Tranquility really was awesome.  We tried the JK both direct and via the Truth.  Through the Truth it was a bit thin and un-involving - direct to the amp was a lot better - greater detail, imaging - all sorts of stuff was better.   But the mid-range was not as magical as the Tranquility - still very nice though - but a bit dry - but Gary did not mind that.  At $700.00 with no pre amp required incredible value.  Afraid the WFS was not in the hunt - it made Duffy's voice sound glarey, cold and sibilancy - most definitely not what you would want to listen to after the other DAC's.

On the basis of this comparison I must say don't even bother with the WFS - the JK is better and cheaper.  The Tranquility SE is clearly better (and it should be at three times the price) but like Gary it may not be to your taste.

Thanks
Bill
Bill, let me bring up something that hasn't been mentioned here.  Did you know that in a typical listening room, the sound you hear can change just by moving or turning your head slightly?  It's true.  You don't even have to switch components to hear the difference.  Try it if you don't believe me.  It's called room mode.  The way to minimize or eliminate this discrepancy is to switch between components instantly (A/B switcher) while playing the source time synced which also helps to compensate our short aural memory span.


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: steve f on July 31, 2011, 10:10:15 PM
I can hear all kinds of audiophile descriptive effects if I want to hear them.  Or maybe there's a full moon, and too much to drink.  Seriously, unless you set up objective comparisons, you aren't really sure what is going on. Too many variables do cloud judgment, but hey, this is just a hobby.  If you buy some piece of equipment, and you like it, good for you. If you understand the science involved, even better.

BTW Peter Aczel is a well spoken reviewer and respected by the professional community. You can and should read him online.

Steve


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on August 01, 2011, 01:04:08 AM
I can hear all kinds of audiophile descriptive effects if I want to hear them.  Or maybe there's a full moon, and too much to drink.  Seriously, unless you set up objective comparisons, you aren't really sure what is going on. Too many variables do cloud judgment, but hey, this is just a hobby.  If you buy some piece of equipment, and you like it, good for you. If you understand the science involved, even better. BTW Peter Aczel is a well spoken reviewer and respected by the professional community. You can and should read him online.

Sure - which is why I usually have a number of people at my comparisons and to eliminate the head movement issue they change position during the audition. Having an honors degree in applied math including a significant amount of mathematical statistics the science of that is no mystery.  Nothing against Peter Aczel - just don't agree with his view all amps and DAC's sound the same as proved by DBT's.  Having attended a couple of those myself, and knowing others that have such as the guys at Db Audio Labs who do it all the time, I know significant audible differences exist.

Again however I am taken back to the position SNA takes - if you believe all amps and DAC's basically sound the same why even bother participating in discussions about audible differences?

Thanks
Bill


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: Ed Schilling on August 01, 2011, 06:56:55 AM
Well, I can't stand it anymore. Since we all know I am a simpleton, I'll try and make this simple.

It is simply silly to think two different amps, DACs, etc. sound the same. It is impossible on so many levels. Here are some things to consider.....harmonic distortion both even an odd, TIM, slew rate, freq. response, dynamic range, noise levels and so on would have to be identical for two different amps to sound the same.

As for a DAC, well, I reckon if they measure exactly the same in every known measurement they might sound the same. What are the chance that happens. Hell, even if the same chip is used the implementation of it would maybe cause big differences in sound. Then considering there are things we probably hear that we have not figured out how to measure.....................

The last thing is, Jesus Christ, how many of us have not heard audible differences every single time we change anything? See how simple it is to reason out? And there are many more reasons but those were so simple to come up with.


So there you go, a simpletons', simple opinion. And I'm sticking with it :)

Ed
ps....this is so simple to figure out I wanted to see how simply I could explain it and how many times I could use the word "simple" to do it. :)



Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on August 01, 2011, 07:17:22 AM
It is simply silly to think two different amps, DACs, etc. sound the same. It is impossible on so many levels. Here are some things to consider.....harmonic distortion both even an odd, TIM, slew rate, freq. response, dynamic range, noise levels and so on would have to be identical for two different amps to sound the same.

Abso-friggen-lutely.  And in fact the DBT's the nay-sayers claim disprove it in fact do the opposite whenever done with people that have a modicum of experience.

Thanks
Bill


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: sonic on August 01, 2011, 09:14:37 AM
Sure - which is why I usually have a number of people at my comparisons and to eliminate the head movement issue they change position during the audition.
Do you know what "slight" means in numbers when talking about head movement?  It can even be 1/4 inch or couple degrees.  People do this naturally without even being aware.  Unless the listeners you are referring to used some sort of harness, it's impossible to remain still like a machine (which we are not).

Quote
just don't agree with his view all amps and DAC's sound the same as proved by DBT's.
Is this because you have opposing objective data extracted through same process?

Quote
Having attended a couple of those myself, and knowing others that have such as the guys at Db Audio Labs who do it all the time, I know significant audible differences exist.
I asked about the ones you attended in regards to volume level matching but your answer wasn't clear so I'll ask again, how closely was the volume matched?  Also, was it time synced so that the switching can be done instantaneously to avoid human aural memory fade?

Quote
if you believe all amps and DAC's basically sound the same
Where did you come up with such idea?


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: sonic on August 01, 2011, 09:29:49 AM
It is simply silly to think two different amps, DACs, etc. sound the same.
Agree.  I personally haven't said that.

Quote
Here are some things to consider.....harmonic distortion both even an odd, TIM, slew rate, freq. response, dynamic range, noise levels and so on would have to be identical for two different amps to sound the same.
Good points.

Quote
As for a DAC, well, I reckon if they measure exactly the same in every known measurement they might sound the same. What are the chance that happens. Hell, even if the same chip is used the implementation of it would maybe cause big differences in sound.
Just about every components (i.e. DAC) measures different but many of the differences are well beyond the perceivable capacity of human hearing.  Today's DAC designs are to the point where the measured differences are smaller than it was 20 years ago. For example, variance in frequency response less than 0.5 db at the highest octave is not perceivable to us.  If it's in mid range, that changes depending on the volume level (ref. Fletcher Munson graph).  Another example, jitter level, again, DACs measure different but they are all well within perceivable capacity of human hearing.  I'll mention again, there are exceptions such as DACs with tube buffer and SET amp.

(http://sonictransfer.com/media/images/fletcher_munson.png)


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: steve f on August 01, 2011, 10:49:39 AM
Actually most of us are in reasonable agreement.  Components can sound different.  Nobody said otherwise. But why is often the question.  
I recently read some work by Linkwitz, who is a hell of a lot smarter than I am, which indicated with his speaker design, that some very subtle differences in voicing as small as 0.1 DB made a difference in perceived sound.  
I once participated in a double blind test in which the only differences between a pair of cables under review was the color of the plastic shielding over the wires.  Some people, me included, did not notice any difference.  Others heard all kinds of differences.  For all I know, they hear voices in their heads too.  
I'm just saying that careful measurements are necessary.  When pretty much identical models are compared, good or bad, they should sound pretty much the same.  I expect each speaker of a pair to sound identical.  If they don't, somebody isn't doing their job of QC.
Nobody on this forum is "simple" Ed.  I do like to poke fun at Audiophilia though.  I love reading Stereofool & Absolute Sludge. At least I enjoy the pretty pictures in their ads.

Steve

PS: Aczel never said that all amps sound the same.


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: Ed Schilling on August 01, 2011, 12:08:36 PM
Steve, I was not implying anyone here was "simple" I was implying it is a simple concept that components sound different and strict tests are not needed to prove it, simply thinking a little is all that is needed.

There is no way  stuff sounds identical to other stuff unless they are identical. I think we hear this all the time.

Ed


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: steve f on August 01, 2011, 03:34:39 PM
What I was trying to say was that although components can and often do sound different, I think it's cool to try and figure out why. Otherwise it's difficult to advance the art. There are more opportunities to peddle snake oil in audio than just about anywhere else.  Why?  What is so unique about audio that any unsubstantiated piece of c&#* can develop a following?  I really don't see that anywhere else.

Steve


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: Pit Hinder on August 01, 2011, 04:38:21 PM
 ::) Steve, gerroffit. You or I just don´t have enough money to get into the real bullshitters´ crosshair scopes.

Ask Ed to sell you 3 ft of speaker cable for $1500 and the answer will be "whatcha been smoking?", ask someone else and you´ll pay 2000.

   Pit


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on August 01, 2011, 04:57:34 PM
I asked about the ones you attended in regards to volume level matching but your answer wasn't clear so I'll ask again, how closely was the volume matched?  Also, was it time synced so that the switching can be done instantaneously to avoid human aural memory fade?

As I have stated time and time again I do not agree that close level matching is an issue.  It is you that keeps harping on it because you wish to bring the discussion to what you believe and based on the standard you consider correct - I will not be drawn into it.  I will state my view as I have many times - random variation in volume levels means sometimes people will hear it lower or higher and average out audible differences caused by that.

You know as well as I do setting up DBT's to the standard you are talking about is a very time consuming and expensive process just as the person in the link I gave alluded to.  He went and did it anyway.  He not only picked differences but named the amp 4 out of 5 times.  Then to be told it was not valid because it was statistically not significant garnered the obvious reaction - which was - go to hell.  Picking if there was a difference 5 out of five times could be argued as not statistically significant but to actually pick the amp - well that is something else again and IMHO can not be argued away statistically.

I have more than enough evidence to convince me the differences I hear are real.  You don't agree with that evidence - fine.  We have a disagreement - such occur all the time.  However I will not be drawn into a discussion based on your terms that the only proper way to discuss differences is via DBT's to the standard you think appropriate especially when setting up those tests is so difficult.  And I doubt you will convince anyone in a similar position to do it either.  I think you know this which begs the question - why challenge people on those terms?  It will obviously only end one way - namely rehash issues that have been done to death.  Which is why this will be my last comment on the issue with you.

Thanks
Bill  


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on August 01, 2011, 05:31:05 PM
PS: Aczel never said that all amps sound the same.

At one time in my life I read guys like Peter Aczel extensively.  Saying all amps, dacs etc basically sound the same is obviously a slight simplification of his, and guys like him, position which is better summed up as all competently designed pieces of equipment sound the same if used within their design constraints.  For example check out:
http://theaudiocritic.com/plog/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=22&blogId=1
'As I have said, and written, innumerable times, any two amplifiers with high input impedance, low output impedance, flat frequency response, and sufficiently low distortion and noise will sound exactly the same at matched levels if not clipped.'

And relevant to this discussion of the JK Saber check out:
http://theaudiocritic.com/plog/index.php?op=ViewArticle&articleId=40&blogId=1
The old regulars know exactly my position regarding the stupidity of ascribing a “character” to the sound of an utterly neutral signal path. Oohing and aahing over the vast improvement in soundstaging, front-to-back depth, bass delineation, or treble sweetness obtainable with this or that electronic component may sell high-end magazines but is totally unscientific and delusional. What the Benchmark DAC1 HDR adds to or subtracts from its input signal is borderline unmeasurable, so the sonic character of its output is obviously the sonic character of its input. It’s as simple as that. It has no sound of its own. Furthermore, its measurements could be 20 or 30 dB worse and it would still sound the same. I have convinced myself of that over and over again in double-blind listening comparisons of all sorts of electronic components at matched levels. The 100% purity of the DAC1 HDR is of benefit mainly in professional systems, where the integrity of the equipment chain needs to be verified and guaranteed. To audiophiles it’s a somewhat abstract luxury—but not an excessively costly one.

The comparisons I did with the JK DAC when compared to the other DAC's, and tons of other DAC comparisons I have been privileged to participate in, really makes me shake my head reading stuff like that.  The differences are night and day and picked by everyone that participated in them.  As mentioned quite a few times I know that DB Audiolabls use DBT's extensively in designing their Tranquillity DAC and pick even changes in output capacitor.  In fact thats how they choose the one they use.  They at one time used Mundorf Supreme but found others that sound significantly better and confirmed it using DBT's just to be sure.

I have a friend that visits me every now and then from Toowoomba.  Even before he knows what DAC I have in the system just by listening outside my room he knows if I have my PDX DAC in the system.  And when I don't he really is not that interested in listening to stuff because it doesn't sound quite right to him otherwise.  He will join me in comparisons but actually sitting down and enjoying music with me without that DAC simply does not do it for him.  He refers to the maker of the DAC as a pusher for hooking him on the sound.

As I said previously nothing against Peter Aczel, but I do not agree with him on these issues.

Thanks
Bill


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: steve f on August 01, 2011, 09:14:13 PM
Bill,  I'm with you more or less.  I can usually tell differences between most equipment.  And I can set up a DBT that anyone can pass using, for example, a good dual differential solid state amp, or a well designed OTL amp, and a really sloppy SET. No contest there.  I am all for trying to learn more about how we listen.  Perfectly flat response may not be the answer.  New research indicates that is probable. 

I'm a big fan of value in audio.  If someone comes up with an affordable well made product, hooray.  The biggest differences in any audio system are the recordings used, and then the speakers.  When people tell me that wooden pucks etc help,  I quickly retreat.

Pit,  Funny you should mention a fancy speaker cable by Ed no less.  He once sent me a pair of flat wire cables that he concocted.  And he gave them to me.  He obviously has the high end audio business model all wrong.  The typical manufacturer wouldn't charge $2000, more like $4500. Advertisements, dealer markups, distributor fees and complimentary pairs to magazines.  They don't want paupers for clients.  Ed has some goofy idea that his people are friends & family.  He got that part down better than anybody.

Steve



Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: Ed Schilling on August 01, 2011, 11:04:31 PM
Steve, I did not come up with those wires! Bob Pace did and turned me onto them. I did not mean to take credit for the idea!
Ed


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: bhobba on August 02, 2011, 01:42:17 AM
Hi Steve

I'm with you more or less.  I can usually tell differences between most equipment.  And I can set up a DBT that anyone can pass using, for example, a good dual differential solid state amp, or a well designed OTL amp, and a really sloppy SET. No contest there.  I am all for trying to learn more about how we listen.  Perfectly flat response may not be the answer.  New research indicates that is probable. I'm a big fan of value in audio.  If someone comes up with an affordable well made product, hooray.  The biggest differences in any audio system are the recordings used, and then the speakers.  When people tell me that wooden pucks etc help,  I quickly retreat.

Virtually everyone I know is similar.  Very few are like sonic or Peter Aczel - bless em.

Pit,  Funny you should mention a fancy speaker cable by Ed no less.  He once sent me a pair of flat wire cables that he concocted.  And he gave them to me.  He obviously has the high end audio business model all wrong.  The typical manufacturer wouldn't charge $2000, more like $4500. Advertisements, dealer markups, distributor fees and complimentary pairs to magazines.  They don't want paupers for clients.  Ed has some goofy idea that his people are friends & family.  He got that part down better than anybody.

Guys like ED produce a superior product at a much cheaper price.  I only really buy that type of stuff these days.

Thanks
Bill


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: sonic on August 02, 2011, 08:39:37 AM
based on the standard you consider correct
No, it's what the industry experts (Floyd Toole, Tom Nousaine, Ethan Winer, Arnold Krueger, Sean Olive & more) consider correct.  Please show me if you know of experts who contradict them in this subject.

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random variation in volume levels means sometimes people will hear it lower or higher and average out audible differences caused by that.
What is this (which you have not revealed the details on), some kind of wannabe equivalent to proper DBT?

Quote
You know as well as I do setting up DBT's to the standard you are talking about is a very time consuming and expensive process
Is that your opinion?  And how did you come up with it when you don't seem to have ever done the proper DBT to begin with?

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obvious reaction - which was - go to hell.
What did you expect when trying to use anecdotal evidence as a "rule"?  That's not scientific.

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I have more than enough evidence to convince me the differences I hear are real.
It may well be real and I already told you that based on large body of scientific evidence, the likely cause of the difference you heard is from volume difference and or placebo effect.

Quote
However I will not be drawn into a discussion based on your terms that the only proper way to discuss differences is via DBT's to the standard you think appropriate especially when setting up those tests is so difficult.
It may be difficult to you but it really isn't once you understand the basics in audio and electrical engineering.  You haven't really compared apple to apple.  You can't counter objective data with subjective data.   ::)

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why challenge people on those terms?  It will obviously only end one way - namely rehash issues that have been done to death.  Which is why this will be my last comment on the issue with you.
This is so called ostrich move, putting the head in the ground.  You are turning your back on the science that created the equipments you enjoy. 


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: Capt. Z on August 02, 2011, 12:17:41 PM
How much longer is this nonsense going on??????? ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::) ::)


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: Pit Hinder on August 02, 2011, 12:41:45 PM
Probably as long as other stupid religious wars.


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: sonic on August 03, 2011, 04:51:44 PM
Bill and other subjective camp, here is informative video on what we hear.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYTlN6wjcvQ


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: steve f on August 03, 2011, 05:22:22 PM
Very good.  At this point though, this very hijacked thread, although valuable, needs to have its own subject line. 

Steve


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: Cheerwino on August 03, 2011, 05:46:04 PM
Yes Steve, but if we wanted to have meticulously moderated and vetted threads we'd still be on AC.

Might I suggest, and now for something completely different:
http://youtu.be/nxNyoAMqRXQ


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: Pit Hinder on August 03, 2011, 06:44:48 PM
 :'(  Gaahh! Looks like I should have been there.
This year´s hornfest I presume.


Title: Re: John Kenny DAC
Post by: steve f on August 04, 2011, 08:37:05 AM
 ;D ;D ;D