Another review of the DS DAC

For the non-educated (as myself: what are the alternative to output transformers?

The DS Jr used op-amps instead. That’s one of the reasons why it doesn’t sound quite as transparent as the Sr.

I guess I need one of these now…:crazy_face::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::rofl:


I use the Qutest in my headphone system with a Questyle 600i / Focal Utopia phones and Woo WA22 / Stax 009 phones. I really enjoy its performance with both headphones.

But…as I reported in another thread some time ago, I compared the Qutest head-to-head against my DS DAC in my main music room speaker system. Again the Qutest sounded good but could not produce the emotional connection and enjoyment the DS DAC provided. End of story for me.

1 Like

Could Amir possibly be the guy who’s comments Paul deleted from one of his YouTube videos?



I don’t have the time to point out all of the issues in the article, but it’s clear that he has no interest in giving enough info to reproduce his results (is it really that hard to look at the version screen and see the name of the release? And if that’s not obvious, why not report everything he sees there.)

Anyway he (and JA to a smaller extent) don’t seem to realize that thier tests don’t give the results they expect in the presence of the noise: or at least they don’t seem to realize that just because they can’t see below the noise floor that it could be that the DAC is some where closer to good than to completely broken. The true result is that their tests are often unrevealing in the presence of noise. The need more revealing test to draw many of the stated conclusions. For example there’s a big difference between noise floor and resolution, I find it a little ironic that JA reported problems near 20 bits at the same time as he said the resolution was 18 bits. (Those problems were fixed and measured by JA again later.) Also instead of poking fun at JA, why didn’t the author try to understand why JA measures what he measures and why the author’s results are different in some cases. Tho I don’t agree with all of JA’s interpretations of his results, at least he’s trying to measure things that correlate to good sound and to understand what’s going on when they don’t. JA measures things like THD and IM with signals that aren’t full scale: the amplitudes of the various frequencies of what we listen to are never full scale. I have no interest in trying to reproduce the author’s measurements, the ones in Stereophile are much closer to real, even if I also disagree with some of JA’s interpretations.


An ASR bad review. Ohhh, nooooooo …


He’s posted some technical replies:

Really, who gives a crap? I couldn’t be happier with my DSD Sr. Period.


Well it may not interest you and others and that’s fine.

Nobody is interested in a “pissing contest” but it’s one Engineer asking technical queries to another…

I don’t think Ted finds the questions ‘too hard’…

I would enjoy a respectful, information packed discussion.


One of the problems with these types of reviews is equating an analog noise floor with digital bit depth as if they are perfectly interchangeable. For instance, I’ve often heard people refer to studio 2" 24 track tape as “12 bit” or “14 bit” because it has a 60-70db dynamic range above the noise. Yet the reality is that even using 24 bit conversion and excellent pro equipment, tape to digital transfers actually loose detail in a very audible way. If tape is 14 bit, why can’t the best converters in the world get it right with 24 bit? In studio work I would often run a 24 bit 96khz mix through an analogue stereo compressor with 80db or less dynamic range and it still sounded great with no apparent loss of resolution. But run it through a 16 bit digital recorder with less noise, and there is an immediate loss of detail.

In my first post I did make some pretty sharp critiques of the DSS performance, but I also think that a chipless 11.2mhz DSD output through passive analogue filters, where the noise is coming from the analogue section and not the digital bit depth, it is going to be more equivalent in some ways with an analogue device than a conventional PCM digital one.

Edit: I also think this is born out from a listening perspective with a comparison between the DS and more typical PCM DACs. Where the PCM DACs articulate very high level sounds incisively and clearly, the low level ambience and details fall back into obscurity (in spite of low noise). On the DS, the low level details resolve extremely well (in spite of the noise floor), while the loud sounds are the ones that tend to get rounded. It’s almost like the two design types are resolving sounds in opposite ways, and so don’t seem exactly equivalent in how they measure.


I’m just going to leave mine out for the Garbageman to take…:crazy_face:

1 Like

Dude relax… [wobblewobble] gave his opinion that is not outrageous. Just because we don’t like what someone said, we don’t need to attack…just relax

1 Like

Huh? What in the world are you talking about?

I stated “I would enjoy a respectful, information packed discussion.” Would this not be a good thing?

Would you prefer disrespectful, factually devoid rants? :slight_smile:

It sounded like you were lecturing [wobblewobble] on civility for suggesting Mr. Smith was skating a question. If this is not what happened then I apologize, but it looked that way.

In todays society, whenever someone doesn’t like what someone else says, there is an immediate civility/morality lecture.

Again, if I misread then accept my apology.


Just to clarify, if it appeared that I was suggesting @tedsmith was skating technical discussion, this is 100% not the case.

Ted may not be at his computer at the moment. He might be sleeping. There are different time zones involved. He might have a busy week ahead of him.

If Ted replies next week or next month, that is fine for me…

I don’t assume that silence means he is skating the question…

My only point is that I hope Ted does (whenever he has time) read the technical replies to his post, at some point and adds further technical clarification…

1 Like

Got it. I suppose Elk read it the way you intended it and his coment was not what I had assumed.

I must have used my “jump to conclusion mat”.


1 Like

A creative interpretation.

The two posts above mine were addressing whether a discussion/the review was of interest (@RonP states no; @wobblewobble, yes). My post after wobblewobble’s noting I would “enjoy a respectful, information packed discussion,” if anything, supports wobblewobble.

The humorous aspect is you engaged in exactly the behavior you indicate you dislike by delivering your own “immediate civility/morality lecture.” (Actually more of a scolding than a lecture.) Ironic, yes? :grin:

Anyway, to clear up any misunderstanding, I would enjoy further thoughtful discussion of the review and the claimed measurements of horrible performance. I am interested in whether the reviewer’s conclusions are valid and, if not, how they are flawed. Others may not find this interesting. For political correctness I explicitly add: There is nothing wrong with this. :wink: