Darko: DAVE v. DS Sr

Yea…I was wondering if he had Snowmass installed. I think to get the most out of the DS…sound quality wise… he should do a comparison with the DMP used as the source. Would still be less money than the Dave alone and would give a good indication of what the PS combo is capable of.

Not a „deep“ cmparison, but what can usually be read…big reason to go for the DS imo, regardless of the price difference. Interesting that the DS compared to many other DAC‘s is seen as Paul would probably see an euphoric sounding record player compared to the DS :wink:

I think Darko’s comments are spot on, if not a bit sparse. My friend has a Dave and the DS DAC with Snowmass compares very well with the more expensive DAC. Different flavors of good but not radically different unless you compare sound quality “units” per dollar… :smiling_imp:

However, my friend just received the Chord M Scaler which will work with any DAC but upsamples to 700something kHz when used with the Dave’s dual BNC inputs only. Oh my God, look out analog. Of course it’ll set you back $17,000.00 for the pair which is out of my spousal approved price range.

„Those coming from vinyl might prefer for the DirectStream’s sometimes softer transient attack.“

This quote from the review and the same from many digital/vinyl comparisons makes me think…who ever really noticed transient attack in live music? IMO if present, too prominent transient attack is one of the weakest, most unnatural sounding aspects of digital together with too prominent detail retrieval. It’s also one of the most loved aspects of digital lovers and lobbyists. Fortunately the DS doesn’t suffer from this.

I am one who actively notices transient attacks in live acoustic music. Good musicians manipulate transients for expression, and there are so many characteristic transient sounds: the chiff of a tracker organ, the sound of a bow’s rosin as it initially pulls and releases a violin’s string, the slightly sharp initial attack of a trumpet. And so much more.

Inaccurate transient reproduction has absolutely nothing to do with digital as digital. “[T]oo prominent detail retrieval” is simply bad audio.

I agree, I just think the problem is, that through close miking, with imo less good digital you often have the grade of transient attack within the overall sound field of an orchestra, which you usually only hear in live music as a player or with your ear 2 inches besides a violin or trumpet. And even as a player imo transient attack is not of that artificial kind as it often is if it’s too prominent from a high end source.

And I have to admit, when I connect my vinyl deck to the solid state phono amp instead of the tube, transient attack is definitely not weaker than from the DS.

Transients as I describe are readily heard by the audience. But this assumes live unamplified instruments.

Close mic’ing is something used in pop music (rock drum set, jazz vocals, etc.), followed by significant compression. Most love the sound, “It is like she is singing just to me.” Transients tend to get lost in these recordings as they are subtle and lost in this process.

I think in classical music e.g. Deutsche Grammophone also uses close mic’ing…and a String quartet from a stereo sounds very different (more prominent transients) from a string quartet heard in a normal large concert room. Just due to the distance.

But if you count the transients of the DS as right, I’m with you…it’s just that many see the more prominent transients of many other DAC‘s as better, which I don’t. And for sure, every DAC designer sees his as right…and they all are no generally bad/wrong DAC‘s.

I almost always play my guitar amplified, hardly ever use a pick, prefer the attack provided by the flesh of my picking fingers which I can vary greatly by how I pick and with what part of my finger.
And if I need to use a pick, I have three different models which have different sounds/personalities that I can choose based on the type of music.
It’s a lot about transient attack.

Deutsche Grammophone uses spot miking, not close miking.

Close miking is placing the microphone less than a foot away, typically much less, with bass boosting due to proximity effect.

This depends on the recording and where you choose to sit during concerts. I attend many concerts where I am within 10’ to 15’ of the performers, not coincidentally often the perfect place to put the main stereo pair of microphones. It is chamber music, you should be up close.


I also agree with you Ron, maybe I was not clear enough. Sure transient attack plays a big role for instruments, imo it just doesn’t jump on you in an artificial way as it does from a lot of digital gear.

By the way I think I cnfused close mic‘ing with multimic‘ing used e.g. by Deutsche Grammophone.

Anyway what a musician hears is different from what the audience hears. And if some noise, or whatever gear still suffers most of, adds to a closer than audience distance mic‘ed recording, it seems to get artificial.

That’s special, but I’d also try it if I could!

Probably we like the same „amount of transients“, because if you’d like more, you would have bought another DAC, as the typical digital amount of transients is above it in my experience…or simply worse :wink:

I do not find that different DACs reproduce a different amount of transients. I suspect what you are hearing is something other than the amount of transient information, for example jitter which can make a DAC sound brittle.

Yes, to be honest, this was also what I suspected so far. What made me think, that the reason in fact is not mainly this, but actually really a matter of different transient response is the fact that so many reviewers of DAC’s, which all are in a quality range to quite equally suppress Jitter to a certain extent, claim, that those DAC’s differ in transient response reaching from a more natural kind to rather exaggerated behavior, depending on one’s perception. I think it’s not really in question, that DAC‘s differ there as well as vinyl setups.

For me and you the DS with Snowmass is just right and we tend to claim, that anything different in transient response, may it be more or less, is either exaggerated or jitter or not the right amount in the other direction. But imo this point of view, that the always current digital (or analog) technology or one’s own current DAC is exactly right in transient response or anything else compared to the live event, is shortsighted. It’s simply contradicted just by the fact, that the sound/performance of equipment constantly changed/changes more or less… also in this regard.

DACs certainly sound different, for many reasons.

I am continued intrigued by the range of reactions when Ted releases new firmware for the DACs. While it is always better and more accurate in a technical sense, there are always some who assert the latest firmware is soft, lacks energy, needs more bite.

yes, possibly too many are still used to how digital used to sound and maybe some compensated this with taming cabling etc. that makes the actually better sound too calm.

But there will also be many who simply like pronounced detail and transients…I just think that’s usually no striking criteria of live sound.

But I love e.g. string quartets for their immediate, detailed sound…and that’s exactly where it has to be right…too little transients and it’s boring, too much and it’s artificial sounding.

I’m not sure the term “transient” is being used to mean the same thing by everybody in this discussion…

Most of the time in DAC discussion it refers to sudden large spikes in a waveform. Things like the leading edge of a huge drum hit, a close-mic’d rimshot, the sharp edge of a slapped bass guitar. In amplifiers you’d talk about slew rate and instantaneous current.

Elk, it sounds like you’re referring to something more like detailed, short-lived sounds, especially ones with the majority of their energy in high frequencies. This is the sort of thing that I’d be discussing in terms of a system’s resolution as opposed to transient handling. Am I reading you right?

Rob Watts’ upsampling focuses on getting those sudden high-impact noises to sound a certain way. They call it “Watts Time Alignment” or WTA. I suspect they’re not following the standard rules for digital audio processing and are introducing high frequency (as in, above Nyquist) energy to suppress pre-ringing.

Yes, musical transients. The attack of a note. Quoting my earlier post:

“. . . transient attacks in live acoustic music. Good musicians manipulate transients for expression, and there are so many characteristic transient sounds: the chiff of a tracker organ, the sound of a bow’s rosin as it initially pulls and releases a violin’s string, the slightly sharp initial attack of a trumpet.”

High-energy transients, such as the examples you gave such as the leading edge of a rim-shot, are also transients.

Some are subtle, some not. :slight_smile:

Yeah so I think in the context of what Darko wrote, as with most audiophile equipment conversations I’ve seen, it’s only the high level ones that are being referred to. It’s a particular ability to deliver that sudden intense burst of energy.

Reproducing low-level musical transients requires a component or system to be highly resolving and low-noise. A very different electronic/acoustic skill set.

My interpretation was e.g. if you hear a guitar recording like „Friday night in SF“ or Flamenco and the transients of the strings hit with the finger nails either are too soft, just right and natural sounding or dominating the tone too much but possibly a nice effect for some.

And referring to your comment regarding high frequencies: I think overly pronounced transients are recognized quite long time as positive in lower regions, but very quickly as artificial in higher regions.