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Jeff_G
2014-10-05, 15:30
I have a Squeezebox 3 and I'm trying it out with a DAC.
I've connected the SB3 and the DAC with an optical cable. Interconnect cable from the DAC to the amp and another interconnect cable from the SB3 to the amp so I can switch inputs on the amp to compare it.
I can't hear any difference at all.
The DAC is Audiolab M-Dac which is connected to bi-amped Roksan K2.
Is there something wrong with the set up?

Stan

garym
2014-10-05, 15:35
I have a Squeezebox 3 and I'm trying it out with a DAC.
I've connected the SB3 and the DAC with an optical cable. Interconnect cable from the DAC to the amp and another interconnect cable from the SB3 to the amp so I can switch inputs on the amp to compare it.
I can't hear any difference at all.
The DAC is Audiolab M-Dac which is connected to bi-amped Roksan K2.
Is there something wrong with the set up?

Stan

no. nothing wrong. With most modern DACs, cheap to very expensive, the likelihood of hearing a difference between those and the internal DAC on an SB3 is very, very low. Don't fall down the rabbit hole of thinking that DACs can provide some sort of night and day, "lifting the veil" experience you might expect if you are reading too many audiophool websites. ;)

p.s. And at least you're recognizing that there is no difference without even a double blind test. Many "convince" themselves that they hear something different (always better by the way!) with their new DAC. When subjected to a double blind test, these differences often fall apart.

Jeff_G
2014-10-05, 15:48
Thanks for the honest answer!
It looks like the DACs are going back to the shop.
I got two out, the Audiolab and Arcam. The Arcam doesn't have a pre-amp and when I switch inputs it is a little louder than the SB3 and that made me think it sounded better.
The Audiolab has a pre-amp, hence I can adjust the volume to be at exactly the same level as the SB3. When I switch the inputs, I really cannot hear any difference at all!

garym
2014-10-05, 15:51
Thanks for the honest answer!
It looks like the DACs are going back to the shop.
I got two out, the Audiolab and Arcam. The Arcam doesn't have a pre-amp and when I switch inputs it is a little louder than the SB3 and that made me think it sounded better.
The Audiolab has a pre-amp, hence I can adjust the volume to be at exactly the same level as the SB3. When I switch the inputs, I really cannot hear any difference at all!

yep, no difference is the expected outcome! As you note, be very careful when comparing and volume. even "undetectable" differences in volume have been shown to cause the "louder" audio to be preferred in blind testing of different sources.

p.s. Note from my sig that I have a Benchmark DAC I, so I might sound like a hypocrite. I've had it for years, and really needed it pre-squeezeboxes when I was simply feeding audio from a noisy, cheap soundcard (that converted everything to 16.1/48) laptop. In that case, switching to S/PDIF output via the DAC made things better. I didn't really need the Benchmark DAC to get the improvement, but, why not. I use it now, because I have it and I like the balanced analog outputs. But I don't hear a difference between it and the internal TOUCH DAC.

Jeff_G
2014-10-05, 16:06
I guess it all depends on the set up.
I brought in Stream Magic 6 and Roksan K2 to test them out.
When I connected the SM6 to my very old NAD amp, yes, I could hear the difference. But when I then tried the SB3 with the Roksan, it was even better, so I kept the K2.
When I tried the SM6 and K2 together, I didn't hear any improvement over the SB3.