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  Topic Review (Newest First)
02-25-14 11:59 PM
wd3
Re: Burr-Brown vs Cirrus Logic vs Analog Devices: What are the differences between these three DACs

As far as DACs are concerned, I believe that most DACs if they are doing their job should sound very close to no difference at all. I'm not sure you will notice too much difference between Burr-Brown, Analog Devices, ESS, Wolfson, and etc. But I do believe the whole circuit design especially with op amp selection can allow manufactures to develop a "house sound." Someone mentioned jitter in this thread. As far as the DACs themselves I don't believe they play a part in jitter, but they need a constant stream of bits clocked in at a particular rate. If they don't get that stream at the correct rate, then you will get bit errors. A lot of times, Asynchronous Sample Rate Conversion (ASRC) is put in front of the DAC. This accomplishes two goals. It helps mitigate jitter problems, and it takes the typical 44.1khz/48khz sample rate to a new higher sample rate to fill in the gaps before it goes through the DAC and ultimately the opamps. Someone also mentioned clocking. Unfortunately, most of our digital transports were not designed too great. Both SPDIF and HDMI don't have audio clocking signals. Clocking in both cases are derived from the signal. In fact, SPDIF long time ago use to have jitter problems, but these days that is very uncommon with the speed of current chipsets and improvements in PLL circuits. Although, COAX would probably have better jitter properties than optical. Most people might point to high bandwidth optical data networks as an example of fast optical communications. Since I use to design data communication networks before I retired, I'm well aware of their capabilities. But it is not the same Gigabit high end optical gear and lasers used in consumer based technologies. You can get a lot more smear of the LEDs turning on and off leading to potential misreads on the receiving end. In addition, HDMI is based solely on DVI technology (video only transport), and audio unfortunately was an afterthought with the audio embedded in between video data. In fact, when using an HDMI transport it is best to use the highest video resolution because it reduces jitter and latency (read: this is because now the audio data arrives faster because the HDMI timing is based on video not audio and the audio is embedded in between the video data). The audio engineering society had a meeting to discuss some of the deficiencies of HDMI audio and jitter in particular. Here is a link to their presentation: http://www.aes-media.org/sections/uk...AES%202011.pdf For critical listening, I typically use SPDIF as my transport, but I have to admit at least on my gear I have not been able to tell much difference between HDMI and SPDIF in audio fidelity. I might just be lucky with my gear selection, but it is something to be aware of. In short, my recommendation would be to not look at DACs exclusively. For higher quality audio, just make sure they are using a high quality layout with high quality components. I have had great success with equipment that uses an ASRC, DAC, OPAMP chain to deliver the digital to analog conversion. I know the DACs get most of the attention, but you really need to evaluate the whole conversion process.
02-23-14 01:08 AM
johnplayerson
Re: Burr-Brown vs Cirrus Logic vs Analog Devices: What are the differences between these three DACs

From what I have read jitter is mainly a problem when sampling at higher rates than the recording was made with, Or upsampling and playing back at higher rates than the recording was made with. If you are playing back at the exact same bit rate and sampling specs, there is no jitter. Hence why some DAC separates have auto sensing that automatically play back at the same rates the recording was made..... to eliminate possible jitter.

As far as DAC S/n it looks like around 120 db is the average expected standard these days. Will we see 150 in the future LOL. My Asus Xonar STX uses the 1792 and this card is awesome.
11-14-09 04:39 AM
Lordoftherings
Re: Burr-Brown vs Cirrus Logic vs Analog Devices: What are the differences between these three DACs

There are so many other variables that affect the audio not only from the Dacs in the analog circuitry,
but in their implementation also, that we can talk about this till the end of times.

Balanced Differential mode, Dual Balanced Dual Differential mode, Capacitors, Resistors, Digital Filters, etc., etc., etc... Dual layer epoxy circuit boards, copper quality, silver, gold, short circuit paths & wiring,...

* And more magic extra tweeking...

** Oh, and what about AKM Dacs too, and ESS Dacs? And of course Wolfson Microelectronics Dacs?

1. Anthem Pre/Pros like to use AKM Dacs in Dual Differential mode.
2. Oppo BDP-83SE Universal Blu-ray Player with ESS Sabre32 Premier Dacs.
3. Pioneer Elites like WM Dacs, in their A/V Receivers and Blu-ray players.
02-13-09 06:59 AM
smorse
Re: Burr-Brown vs Cirrus Logic vs Analog Devices: What are the differences between these three DACs

Quote:
lcaillo wrote: View Post
Are there any measurements that support the notion that jitter is a signifficant problem at all these days?
Jitter is easily (well, not easily, but readily) measurable -- just pick up any issue of stereophile magazine -- it varies even among the modern top-tier compnents they tend to review. It can be measured at home too (at least to the point of being able to determine which of two setups exhibits less jitter). The question is whether the jitter levels that exist in modern receivers is audible. I have only one AVR, so I can't compare directly -- but I have compared various modern digital sources (sony DVD player, squeezebox, etc) and found sound quality to track well with lower jitter levels. I also was able to clearly see that coaxial S/PDIF connections exhibited less jitter than toslink connections.

Also, see if you can find robert harley's excellent explanation of how jitter affects signals in an article of The Absolute Sound -- published sometime over the past 12 months or so I think. In it, he explains how jitter causing the conversion of a signal sample at the wrong time actually is the same as the signal being reproduced at the right time with amplitude errors, which one can easily believe as being audible.
02-12-09 08:22 AM
bobgpsr
Re: Burr-Brown vs Cirrus Logic vs Analog Devices: What are the differences between these three DACs

Quote:
lcaillo wrote: View Post
So are the one chip solutions more stable and reliable in recovering the clock signals than previous designs, or does integrating the process make it more of an issue?
I would think that S/PDIF reception IC's now doing better clock recovery internally, just lets the mid to high end AVR's skip having to implement a bunch of discrete (multiple parts), PLL clock recovery circuity with newer designs.

Cost savings.
02-12-09 08:11 AM
lcaillo
Re: Burr-Brown vs Cirrus Logic vs Analog Devices: What are the differences between these three DACs

So are the one chip solutions more stable and reliable in recovering the clock signals than previous designs, or does integrating the process make it more of an issue?



02-12-09 08:04 AM
bobgpsr
Re: Burr-Brown vs Cirrus Logic vs Analog Devices: What are the differences between these three DACs

The big problem with S/PDIF (whether coax or optical Toslink) is that the clock must be recovered from the information signal. Years ago this was not always done well and audible jitter effects could be heard.

Much discussed over the years. Just do a google search on "spdif clock recovery". Here is one article that was found that way: Digital audio transmission, SPDIF, and Jitter



More recent IC's have addressed this issue. For instance the TI DIR9001 96kHz Digital Audio Receiver:

Quote:
TI wrote:
The industry-leading jitter performance of the DIR9001 makes it an ideal data and clock source for TI's high-performance digital-to-analog converter (DAC) products, such as the PCM1792A, to provide the highest performance DAC output available today.
...the DIR9001 integrates a high-performance phase-lock loop (PLL) to not only improve jitter performance but also remove the need for an external clock source when the sample frequency calculator is not used. Both features reduce the overall system cost by eliminating additional system components that competing digital audio interface receivers typically require.
  • One-Chip Digital Audio Interface Receiver (DIR) Including Low-Jitter Clock-Recovery System
  • Compliant With Digital Audio Interface Standards: IEC60958 (former IEC958), JEITA CPR-1205 (former EIAJ CP-1201, CP-340), AES3, EBU tech3250
  • Clock Recovery and Data Decode From Biphase Input Signal, Generally Called S/PDIF, EIAJ CP-1201, IEC60958, AES/EBU
  • Biphase Input Signal Sampling Frequency (fS) Range: 28 kHz to 108 kHz
  • Low-Jitter Recovered System Clock: 50 ps
  • Jitter Tolerance Compliant With IEC60958-3
02-12-09 07:17 AM
lcaillo
Re: Burr-Brown vs Cirrus Logic vs Analog Devices: What are the differences between these three DACs

My assumption is that most clocks would be very stable and that other components would contribute more to jitter. Without more direct knowledge of how a circuit is designed, however, I have learned from experience that basing an opinion on such assumptions is high unreliable. Are there any measurements that support the notion that jitter is a signifficant problem at all these days?



02-11-09 05:11 PM
smorse
Re: Burr-Brown vs Cirrus Logic vs Analog Devices: What are the differences between these three DACs

I guess I'm not sure exactly what is on-board these VLSI DAC's and what isn't -- i.e., are they monolithic chips which contain on-board crystal oscillators (clocks), or do they require the manufacturer independently implement the clocks -- or can they be made to work either with an on-board clock or an independent clock? My assumption, possibly erroneous, is that the jitter performance would be affected by an onboard clock, by whether there is onboard resampling/upsampling, etc. Does anyone know for sure?
02-11-09 01:19 PM
bobgpsr
Re: Burr-Brown vs Cirrus Logic vs Analog Devices: What are the differences between these three DACs

Quote:
smorse wrote: View Post
i think a more relevant specification, though hardly available in a standardized measurement, would be the jitter rejection of the various DAC implementations. S/N for these probably already exceed the analog noise level of the surrounding circuits, leaving jitter as the more likely differentiator of sound quality.
I would think that the jitter that you talk about is related to the conversion clock edge given to the DAC by circuitry outside of the DAC.

This clock recovery is an important issue for AVR's getting audio from a S/PDIF (incl Toslink) or a HDMI audio input. But outside of the DAC itself, normally a higher quality AVR has special PLL circuity, etc. for digital audio input interfaces to get better conversion clock signal to send to the DAC chip.
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