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  1. #1
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    What is a D/A (Digital Audio) Convertor?

    Someone suggested that I get this D/A convertor but it's way out of my price range. What exactly does it do? www.benchmarkmedia.com/dac1 Do you connect a CD player to this or what? Does it improve CD sound?

  2. #2
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    Someone suggested that I get this D/A convertor but it's way out of my price range. What exactly does it do? www.benchmarkmedia.com/dac1 Do you connect a CD player to this or what? Does it improve CD sound?
    Yes, better DAC do improve the sound of CD. What a digital to analog converter does is to convert digital zero's and ones to a electrical analog signal. The more accurate the process, the better the sound will be.
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    I'm still confused. If DVD & CD players already have DAC's (IE, my HK DVD player is 192 kHz/24-bit D/A converter) why would this improve the sound?

  4. #4
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    As a decidated unit, it will have superior quality and processiing than any receiver, CD/DVD player can have. But yeah, they're pricey.

  5. #5
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    I'm still confused. If DVD & CD players already have DAC's (IE, my HK DVD player is 192 kHz/24-bit D/A converter) why would this improve the sound?
    Not all dac's are created equal. Burr Brown, Crystal, Wolfson, etc. sound different from one another. Not only that, but different dac's from the same manufacturers sound different. For example some lower end dac's downconvert dsd (sacd) signals to pcm during the d/a conversion, thereby adversely affecting the final signal.

    An outboard dac may or may not improve your sound. In theory, stand-alone dac's, much like separate amps & pre-amps, are able focus on being the best possible amp, the best possible pre, and in this case the best possible dac at the given price point without regard to other considerations. Don't forget, DVD players have to worry about video processing as well as audio. Corners will be cut. Again, this is the theory and doesn't always hold true. Only your ears can tell you whether or not something is worth the expenditure.

  6. #6
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    I don't mean to sound like a d!ck, Ed, but your questions about transport and DAC shed some light on your insistence regarding being able to hear differences between optical cables. If you didn't understand the role of transport and DAC, there was some wholesale miscomunication going on between you and everyone else regarding cables.

    A CD player is two things: A transport and a DAC. The transport spins the disk and uses the laser to read the digital information (binary code, i.e. 1 and 0, on and off). The DAC is just a fancy light switch. It takes the incoming on/off signals and converts that information into an analougue audio signal. Out it goes to your reciever through RCA cables. If you use an opitcal cable to connect from the CD player to the receiver, you are bypassing the players DACs in favor of those in the reciever.

    High end CD players are often two separate chassis: a transport and a separate DAC.

    To expand on what Topspeed said: while not all DACs are created equal, many people (and I'm one of them) believe all transports are created equal. Because of the nature of the digital info, the transport is either telling the DAC on/off, or it is not. The operation or failure of a transport will not be heard as a lack of warmth, deeper bass, smooth midrange or any other mumbojumbo. The failure of a transport will be heard as a loud repeated clicking noise or no sound at all.

    If you go out and drop a $1000 on a CD and conect it to reciever with an optical cable, you are asking it to to nothing more than a $29 Apex DVD player can do.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Irrelevant question if you connect your CD/DVD player to the receiver using a digital optical or coaxial cable, since the digital connection would go through the receiver's DAC and bypass any external DAC that you might use.

    Also an irrelevant question if you use the bass management on your receiver, since that will involve a redundant AD/DA conversion step, effectively negating whatever advantage an external DAC might offer up.
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  8. #8
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    For the Millionth Time You People Are Wrong & Oversimplifying Things

    At least I can admit when I don't know what something is. I'm responding once again to something that had nothing to do with what I was asking. If you connect a $29 DVD player & a $1,000 DVD player to the same receiver digitally playing the same CD or DVD, there will be differences in sound. An analogy is, if a beautiful woman gives birth to a daughter & a not so good looking woman gives birth to a daughter, the daughter of the beautiful looking woman will in almost all cases be better looking even though they both produced the same eggs to have kids. The 0's & 1's read differently from the better set. Deal with it.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    At least I can admit when I don't know what something is. I'm responding once again to something that had nothing to do with what I was asking. If you connect a $29 DVD player & a $1,000 DVD player to the same receiver digitally playing the same CD or DVD, there will be differences in sound. An analogy is, if a beautiful woman gives birth to a daughter & a not so good looking woman gives birth to a daughter, the daughter of the beautiful looking woman will in almost all cases be better looking even though they both produced the same eggs to have kids. The 0's & 1's read differently from the better set. Deal with it.
    Well, if we're all wrong and oversimplifying things, then why bother asking us these questions? Seems like these queries that you keep making about DACs, transports, optical cables, etc. are all variations on the same theme, in that you're focusing all of your attention and energy on the digital front end, where the audible variations are the smallest.

    And all the while, you neglect the far more significant back end chain that's anchored by the room acoustics and the speakers. For whatever an outboard DAC will cost you, putting an equivalent amount into a speaker upgrade and/or room treatments will make a far bigger difference than swapping out transports, cabling, or DACs will. That's pretty much the bottom line if your goal is maximum sound quality improvement for the money.

    I mean, if you're so convinced that a $29 DVD player will sound inferior to a $1,000 DVD player (and keep in mind that a lot of higher end DVD players use IDENTICAL transports as those found on entry level players), even when they're using the same optical connection, then why don't you compare for yourself the difference between a transport upgrade versus a speaker or acoustical upgrade?

    And like I mentioned in my earlier post, if you use your receiver to handle the bass management (i.e. you have your speakers set to SMALL and redirect the bass through the subwoofer output), then an external DAC is a completely foolish waste of money because the bass management on your receiver is handled entirely in the digital domain. This means that if you use a subwoofer, then whatever improved sound you get in the analog output from an external DAC will have to go through a redundant AD/DA conversion using the receiver's internal digital circuitry. An external DAC makes sense only if you use full range speakers or pair the system with a high quality analog crossover, and your speaker setup has neither, so it therefore needs to use the receiver's bass management.
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  10. #10
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    Ed, you seem to have got more idea about the topic. There may be difference between $29 DVD player and $1000 one in dealing with 0s and 1s, but definitely not as the difference of the price. We always think about "Bang for the buck". If money is not a problem, more than half of the message in the forum will be meaningless. And I also believe the diffenence is very minor and that is why digital technology is invented for and VCR and cassette tapes are replaced.

  11. #11
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    All I can comment on & Woochiver is misinterpreting my remarks which were directed to another post not his, is, its been my personal experience that, when I switch certain equipment like cd player, receivers, DVD players, cables & yes speakers too, I can detect
    improvements/faults in sound quality though the basic set ups & connections are the same & based on that, I'm always trying to experiment more, as long as the difference is financially worth my while & I can afford it. Albeit my experiments are based on trial & error based on truly superlative reviews on eqipment by at least 5 independent people. Once in while, I pick up some interesting things that I wasn't aware of on this site like power conditioners, speaker location, etc. Other times I pick up nothing useful which is fine but I hate it when certain people try to sound like they are the absolute be all of all knowledge & dismiss things outright simply because it does not fit in their beliefs & they're upset at me because I call them out on this.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    At least I can admit when I don't know what something is. The 0's & 1's read differently from the better set. Deal with it.
    I love it when someone who knows nothing posts that he is fully aware that he knows nothing so he wants more information about it....then when 5 knowledgeable people answer the question with accurate information with information the poster didn't want to hear, the poster gets all pissed off and calls everyone an idiot.

    If you didn't want to hear the answer, why did you ask the question?

    And how can binary 1's and 0's be read differently? I'm waiting on your scientific answer on this one..and your usual "because I said so...my $300 DVD player just HAS to read binary better than a $29 player because it cost $300" answer ain't gonna cut it.

    Explain.

  13. #13
    Mutant from table 9
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    At least I can admit when I don't know what something is. I'm responding once again to something that had nothing to do with what I was asking. If you connect a $29 DVD player & a $1,000 DVD player to the same receiver digitally playing the same CD or DVD, there will be differences in sound. An analogy is, if a beautiful woman gives birth to a daughter & a not so good looking woman gives birth to a daughter, the daughter of the beautiful looking woman will in almost all cases be better looking even though they both produced the same eggs to have kids. The 0's & 1's read differently from the better set. Deal with it.

    Wow, if I had any doubt before its cleared up now. Your just a troll, aren't you? Trip, trap, trip, trap. Good luck with all that, Ed.

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    They're interpreted differently , Mr. legend in his own mind. Like when 2 people play the same musical notes on a guitar but one presses down the same notes differently the sound is different. Another example is the sound of the same pattern being played by a drum machine & that of real drums.
    Last edited by EdwardGein; 03-31-2006 at 09:00 PM.

  15. #15
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    The last two examples (playing piano and drums) have nothing to do with the topic of who is reading and transfering 0s 1s better. Neither does previous example of 2 women giving birth.

  16. #16
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlumpBuster
    Wow, if I had any doubt before its cleared up now. Your just a troll, aren't you? Trip, trap, trip, trap. Good luck with all that, Ed.
    He's not a troll,he's just trying to figure out this insane hobby and some get it faster and some are hard headed. Hell,i've learned alot from the replys..
    Last edited by shokhead; 04-01-2006 at 09:54 AM.
    Look & Listen

  17. #17
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    Minye please do not respond to my posts as I do not consider you to be very knowledgeable.

  18. #18
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    This I gotta hear.

    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    Another example is the sound of the same pattern being played by a drum machine & that of real drums.
    Please explain how you are comparing a digital, computerized drum machine with an acoustic drum kit played by a human and how this relates to reading binary codes.

  19. #19
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    Well, I would like to say my last words in regarding your posts(in the future). I wonder how come you have posted so many messages in this forum and exchanged ideas with others for so much, you are still in such level of audio knowledge. Although I am not as self-confident as you are, I believe everyone here has an idea about who is more knowledgeable and who is too ignorant to accept new ideas.

    I am pretty newby compared with N.Abs , Topspeed and other serior guys here, but I had learned a lot from them. Only you have the idea that one who is not knowledgeable should not post his message.

  20. #20
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    They're interpreted differently , Mr. legend in his own mind. Like when 2 people play the same musical notes on a guitar but one presses down the same notes differently the sound is different. Another example is the sound of the same pattern being played by a drum machine & that of real drums.
    You can't interpret a digital signal, 1s or 0s differently. If you did it would no longer be a binary system because you'd be having other potential responses. It simply goes against the concept of what digital or a binary data set means.

  21. #21
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    Minye please do not respond to my posts as I do not consider you to be very knowledgeable.
    If that's the requirement then I guess you won't be replying to your own posts anymore. Thanks.

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