Different Dacs, Different Sound?
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Astell & Kern uses several different Dacs in its various players,e.g. Sabre 9038 and akm Dacs. Does that result in these players having a markedly different sound?
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ElectronicVices
2294
May 14, 2019
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The chip used matters less than the implementation as the entire design can impact the levels of noise, crosstalk, distortion. Set a budget, define the features you need, then start comparing models with objective reviews and subjective impressions
May 14, 2019
Evshrug
1756
May 15, 2019
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Agreed, I’ve conversely observed several makers use the same DAC chip but end up with markedly different final sound. I also agree on objective and subjective reviews! Graphs and stuff can give us a baseline idea of character, but we currently don’t have the science to completely describe the character of all the attributes of a headphone, so you need the subjective observations to let you know if some details are masked, impact is soft/punchy/too much, soundstage and imaging are good, etc.
May 15, 2019
ElectronicVices
2294
May 16, 2019
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As usual we share similar views... agree on the specifications/measurements giving you a rough idea. They can also be used to identify problem thresholds but I would never choose one piece of kit over another solely based on a couple of dbs better Signal to Noise, distortion, etc... Unless that minimal difference pushed one of the devices into "area of concern" territory. Over 60% of a certain websites SINAD numbers are completely inaudible so the ranking is pointless and misleading IMO.
May 16, 2019