Single bit, Delta Sigma DAC


#1

A quote from a high end company:

"In single bit, Delta Sigma DAC, you find yourself trading off resolution and harshness. You just don’t get both. The only way to control harshness is to filter detail."

Do we agree with this statement?


#2

Like in photography - if the photo is already made, the only way to reduce the noise is to blur the details.



But, OTOH, the matrix can be improved, or the temperature lowered, or the lighting changed :wink:


#3

I’d be interested in Ted’s comments here.


#4

me too, @Ted: any thoughts on trading off resolution and harshness with Delta Sigma DACs?


#5

"In single bit, Delta Sigma DAC, you find yourself trading off resolution and harshness. You just don’t get both. The only way to control harshness is to filter detail."



A picture is worth a thousand words. Below are the noise floor plots from three example sigma delta DAC implementations. Note the vertical and horizontal scales and that 96kHz PCM can’t represent any signal at all above 48kHz and similarly the limit is a brickwall 96kHz for a 192kHz PCM signal. It should be clear that a sigma delta DAC can be less “filtered” than either 96kHz or 192kHz PCM in that it has much useful information above their cutoff frequencies while still having much more than redbook’s 16 bit resolution (-96dB) across all of the band.



I suspect the quote is FUD or at least a confusion between a particular sigma delta DAC and what’s possible with sigma delta DACs.

Attached files


#6

The quote is from MSB… www.msbtech.com They are using some sort of Ladder DAC.


#7

The DS DAC clearly has more resolution AND less harshness. These characteristics, at least, are both readily apparent and, thank God, easily described. :slight_smile: Funny, I didn’t think to use these words to describe the sound of the DS. It was just so obvious. Oh, dopey me! :))



EDIT: I guess that I got so distracted by the music that I forgot to mention this so its the DAC’s fault, Ted! There’s the first “flaw.” The music obfuscating the sound of the DAC… nice “flaw.”


#8

@tedsmith, Ted, in the past at least (it seems to me) SACD/DSD playback has been described as “smooth” often to the detriment of detail. I know it has happened as I’ve heard it myself. What is/was it about DSD processing that at least at some point was responsible for this attribute?


#9
@tedsmith, Ted, in the past at least (it seems to me) SACD/DSD playback has been described as "smooth" often to the detriment of detail. I know it has happened as I've heard it myself. What is/was it about DSD processing that at least at some point was responsible for this attribute?


DSD processing isn't the culprit.

I've heard many systems that seem overly smooth on DSD, but I've also heard many systems that seem to be too harsh with PCM. Many of those trigger my tinnitus.
Those "features" tho are system (or DAC) specific. I've never cared for SACD players that were overly polite just like I don't care for PCM systems that are too harsh.

The many DAC chips out there have individual characteristic sounds both for PCM and for DSD: but one shouldn't infer a characteristic sound of PCM or DSD based on them.

Without trying to put words in your mouth and possibly not addressing the core of your question, most of the systems I've heard do soft DSD come from setups that were optimized for PCM, perhaps they even softened the PCM a little on purpose. Many of the systems I've heard that had bad PCM were setup for vinyl or SACD and perhaps they cheeped out on the SACD player to the detriment of PCM or their systems were otherwise optimized for perceived flaws of vinyl or SACDs and threw the baby out with the bathwater.

Two slightly related thoughts:

I've heard more than a few systems that sounded essentially identical in FR, smoothness, soundstage, etc. between PCM and SACD. Those systems to my ear weren't trying to manipulate the sound but instead were just to get out of the sounds way.

It's both a feature and a bug that DSD is simple to convert to analog. It enables a low price point for a good SACD player, but that player isn't likely to do as well on PCM...

#10
tedsmith said: come from setups that were optimized for PCM, perhaps they even softened the PCM a little on purpose. Many of the systems I've heard that had bad PCM were setup for vinyl or SACD

Funny, I posted a few times that one of the thoughts that the DS triggered, for me, a feeling that based on what I was hearing and experiencing, I should take some time to rethink my set up and even possibly some of my analog equipment. THAT was a pretty earth shaking thought!

#11

I am going to compare the MSB DAC against the PS Audio DirectStream. For my wallet, I hope the DS wins…


#12

The MSB employs a very sophisticated proprietary ladder DAC and produces exquisite sound. I also hope the DS can compete. :slight_smile:


#13
I am going to compare the MSB DAC against the PS Audio DirectStream. For my wallet, I hope the DS wins...


Which MSB DAC are you going to try out? The Analog DAC is the only one close to the DS in terms of price, but despite being the cheapest of the MSB series, also seems to be the one of the best.

I think @alrainbow owns an MSB as well.

#14

I am not sure which MSB model I am going to compare against the DirectStream. I think the MSB is the only real competitor of the DirectStream…


#15
I am not sure which MSB model I am going to compare against the DirectStream. I think the MSB is the only real competitor of the DirectStream...

-DCS Vivaldi?
-Playback Design?
-Emmlabs?
-Metronome?
-Light Harmonic?
-Weiss?


#16

Da Vinci :x


#17

dCS Debussy

Grace

Auralic

Bricasti

Ayre


#18

The analog has the so called house sound of MSB. Going from analog to platinum is a leap . Going from there to signature and diamond is incremental but is there if you look for it. Adding the galaxy clock I have supposedly improves complex music . Again I am not saying I changed clocks as I did not . I got it that way.

But when I checked out the others it was not a leap and not worth another 15 k to achieve . Also the info regarding the clock is directly from Vince of msb chief sales rep. He guided me in selection .

In all fairness even the pwdmkii sounds pretty close with the offramp. And the direct stream I am sure will put me very close and if doing again most likely would stop at the direct stream. Diminishing returns comes to mind.



Al