At 11:10 15/07/2012, you wrote:
>Having just made an attempt at comparing the Duet Receiver (SBR) and the
>Touch (SBT) with and without external DACs (Theta DS3Pro, Audiolab MDAC
>with and without EDO), with matched volume levels, here are my
>- The SBR analog outs are not as good as the SBT's. The difference is
>not night and days but can be reliably detected in blind testing ("lack
>of air, less musical, reduced soundstage")
>- With some 88.2/24 bit tracks (or with some higher sample rates), the
>downconversion performed for the SBR can result in some hiss (This is
>repeatable, but doesn't happen with all such tracks)
>- The analog outs of the SBT are actually very good and very close to
>what the MDAC on Toslink can deliver. There is a difference on some
>tracks, but in my limited testing, it's not that easy to say which is
>which, and which is better.
That is the impression that my less vigorous listening gave me.
Although i do not know if the line level output is lower on the SBT than my
Musical fidelity xdac (16bit 44khz) which may influence my opinion.
Interesting to read that your m-dac is close to the SBT.
I am looking at the Rega rdac ATM but maybe something less expensive
with more digital inputs would be a wiser purchase.
Running MorphOS v2.6 (Nov 2010) on PowerPC Mac Mini, Moderator of
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Thread: Replace Duet with Touch?
2012-07-15, 05:35 #11
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- Mar 2012
Replace Duet with Touch?
2012-07-15, 14:25 #12
- Join Date
- Apr 2011
The SBT analog outputs have a slight metallic sound. the external DAC's rendition is more nuanced/less aggressive and is overall more pleasant/musical/natural. The difference is easy to spot on voices (even streamed talk radio!). Increasing volume above my normal listening level accentuates the difference.
The above statements are based on a comparison with my tube preamp driving the power amp. If I remove it and use the DAC to drive directly my amp, there is a very noticeable improvement ("A veil being lifted"), which makes the music significantly more enjoyable (more depth, presence/feeling that the musicians are in the room, etc.)
This doesn't make the SBT standalone a bad solution, and I could live happily with it, had I not heard heard the improvement the MDAC gives, especially as a substitute for my preamp.
For what it's worth I used two SBTs in this testing (a 24 hours old one with no mods for analog and optical out, a separate one with USB/EDO), the MDAC runs firmware 0.99 + OTXD filter (default setting, + 7db attenuation) and was connected via balanced interconnects to an Audio Research LS15 + Rotel RB1080 + Totem Mani-2s. Given what I heard, I presume that the LS15 is a relatively weak link in this chain, and that with a better preamp, the differences between the SBR, SBT and SBT+DAC would have been stronger
I can't yet say which of the USB or toslink connection to my DAC is better (one thing at a time), or which MDAC settings works best.
Last edited by eiffel; 2012-07-16 at 01:36. Reason: Added information about bypassing preamp