PDA

View Full Version : Will an outboard dac be an improvment over my Anthem AVM20



Kenr
2005-10-22, 11:03
I have my SB2 hooked up into the coax digital input in my AVM20. The sound is fine but not nearly as good as my CAL Aria CD player. I was wondering if I would hear any improvement if I switch to an outboard dac. I like the sound of tubes so I have been thinking of buying a Scott Nixon dac. What do you think?

Thanks
Ken

jhwilliams
2005-10-23, 03:57
I have my SB2 hooked up into the coax digital input in my AVM20. The sound is fine but not nearly as good as my CAL Aria CD player. I was wondering if I would hear any improvement if I switch to an outboard dac. I like the sound of tubes so I have been thinking of buying a Scott Nixon dac. What do you think?

Thanks
Ken

What kind of music are you playing? FLAC/MP3/etc? Are you ripping using Exact Audio Copy (EAC)?

I don't particularly know those devices - what kind of sound are you looking for?

Kenr
2005-10-23, 08:38
What kind of music are you playing? FLAC/MP3/etc? Are you ripping using Exact Audio Copy (EAC)?

I don't particularly know those devices - what kind of sound are you looking for?
Flac and lossless wma. I mostly rip with windows media player.

PhilNYC
2005-10-23, 11:15
I have my SB2 hooked up into the coax digital input in my AVM20. The sound is fine but not nearly as good as my CAL Aria CD player. I was wondering if I would hear any improvement if I switch to an outboard dac. I like the sound of tubes so I have been thinking of buying a Scott Nixon dac. What do you think?

Thanks
Ken

What are you hearing that the CAL player is doing better than the SB2?

I just replaced the stock power supply with a relatively inexpensive linear power supply (for $20), and I found very good improvement in the sound (I'm using my SB2 via digital out to an outboard DAC). Prior to the upgrade, I found a little bit of sibilance in the sound, especially on female vocals. With the power supply upgrade, the sibilance is completely gone...

Kenr
2005-10-24, 15:14
What are you hearing that the CAL player is doing better than the SB2?

I just replaced the stock power supply with a relatively inexpensive linear power supply (for $20), and I found very good improvement in the sound (I'm using my SB2 via digital out to an outboard DAC). Prior to the upgrade, I found a little bit of sibilance in the sound, especially on female vocals. With the power supply upgrade, the sibilance is completely gone...

To me the SB2 is a litlle coarse sounding in the upper ranges, maybe sibilance is a good way to describe it. One the other hand the CAL gives silky presentation and is very involving.

What power supply did you buy?

PhilNYC
2005-10-24, 20:03
To me the SB2 is a litlle coarse sounding in the upper ranges, maybe sibilance is a good way to describe it. One the other hand the CAL gives silky presentation and is very involving.

What power supply did you buy?

I bought one by Elpac (5v, 1.5amp) off an electronics surplus website. Unfortunately, it appears they are out of stock on the one I bought. I'll dig around and see if I can come up with another one...there's a lot of discussion about what people are finding on audiocircle.com.

Kenr
2005-11-03, 12:08
I bought one by Elpac (5v, 1.5amp) off an electronics surplus website. Unfortunately, it appears they are out of stock on the one I bought. I'll dig around and see if I can come up with another one...there's a lot of discussion about what people are finding on audiocircle.com.
I ordered the Elpac and it came yesterday. I will let you know how it works out, now waiting for my SB3.

jhwilliams
2005-11-03, 20:49
Flac and lossless wma. I mostly rip with windows media player.

I'd try an experiment with Exact Audio Copy (ripping to FLAC) and see if that helps in regards to the comparison with your CD player.

It should produce a better bitstream compared to WMP. This might make a difference.

mkozlows
2005-11-03, 21:24
The CAL has tubes, right? If so, then it's clearly worse (in the measurable fidelity sense) than both the Anthem and the SB2; but if you like the tube thing, then get a tube DAC.

Kenr
2005-11-03, 23:17
I'd try an experiment with Exact Audio Copy (ripping to FLAC) and see if that helps in regards to the comparison with your CD player.

It should produce a better bitstream compared to WMP. This might make a difference.
I'm puzzled, isn't flac the same if I used Exac or converted WMA lossless to flac

Kenr
2005-11-03, 23:20
The CAL has tubes, right? If so, then it's clearly worse (in the measurable fidelity sense) than both the Anthem and the SB2; but if you like the tube thing, then get a tube DAC.

Yes the CAL is tubed. Some of the best electronics are tubed and they are usually preferred for guitar amps. Some of us grew up with analogue and the dacís sound different a little on the stark and bright side. A tube dac to me sounds a little more true to the real sound of music. I guess itís my preference. My goal is to replace my cd player with a SB and I don't think the sound of the stock SB is up to the better quality redbook cd players. No real critisim is intended The SB2 sells for $179 and obviously has been compromised to meet a price point and it can't compare to the higher end cd players.

pfarrell
2005-11-04, 07:29
On Thu, 2005-11-03 at 22:20 -0800, Kenr wrote:
> Yes the CAL is tubed. Some of the best electronics are tubed and they
> are usually preferred for guitar amps.

Guitar amps are about musical distortion. They are not supposed to be
accurate reproducers of the input. Tube guitar amps are the best because
the distortion they cause sounds "right" to guitarists.

There is a strong subset of audiophiles that prefer the sound of
sound of tubed equipment, and some of them are very expensive.
One can't use the word "best" in this concept without
recognizing that the whole topic is subjective.

If it sounds good, it is good.

--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

jhwilliams
2005-11-04, 15:03
I'm puzzled, isn't flac the same if I used Exac or converted WMA lossless to flac

Well, it's debatable if it's audible, but it's the ripping process that makes the difference.

EAC will produce a better rip (less errors) than iTunes or WMP - it uses a lot more features of your drive (and is a lot slower). However, this won't make a whole track sound better...

Kenr
2005-11-04, 19:46
Well, it's debatable if it's audible, but it's the ripping process that makes the difference.

EAC will produce a better rip (less errors) than iTunes or WMP - it uses a lot more features of your drive (and is a lot slower). However, this won't make a whole track sound better...

I will try EAC to see if it makes a difference.
thanks

dwc
2005-11-04, 20:56
Guitar amps are about musical distortion. They are not supposed to be accurate reproducers of the input. Tube guitar amps are the best because the distortion they cause sounds "right" to guitarists.


When tubes distort they produce even order harmonics. Even order harmonics are pleasing to the ear.

When solid state amps distort they produce odd order harmonics, which are not pleasing to the ear.

Thus, even though a tube amp may have more THD than a comparable transistor amp, that small amount of odd-order distortion that the transistor amp -does- produce may make it sound in fact worse.

(there is a whole lot more to this)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tube_sound

Cheers,
-Dan

Kenr
2005-11-07, 17:57
I just bought a California Audio Labs Alpha Dac. I figured I liked my CAL Aria so much that the Alpha might be the way to go, if not I can resell it for my cost. I also bought a Elpac PS at present I can't tell the difference but I haven't tried to critically compare.

Kenr
2005-11-11, 15:11
Just my luck, the Alpha came yeterday but the transformer broke during shipping. Well.. back to the old drawing board
Ken