Bit-Perfect & Digital to Digital Converters

A really good summary on this topic and worth watching completely as there are many insights:

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Can you tell me if the conclusion is that bits are not bits? That would save me some time.


No you can rest assured :slight_smile:
This is not just another „opinion video“ rather than accompanied with exact measurements underlining the explanations to get a better understanding.

Really worth15min to spend watching it.

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Thanks. I could only stand about 2.5 minutes.

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Oh then you missed the measurement results :wink:

I stopped when he said a gaming PC is a horrible audio device. Unfortunately, it came before measurements. In any case, when someone says “Bits are bits… Right?”, I hear “Earth is round… Right?”


Well you seem to have been irritated by former conversations etc. and very sadly there are people mixing up bit-perfect etc
But this is not the case here.
Just stay away from prejudices and watch a few more minutes - it’s just objective measurements.

And don’t blame him for saying a gaming PC is not a recommended audio playback device - ROON is saying this in their guidelines too :blush:

Summary: he loves the Pi2AES (which you can’t get right now, or maybe never).

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I endured a few more minutes… I think the insight is that if your DAC is bad, in the sense that it lacks galvanic isolation and/or has a bad internal clock (or relies on the S/PDIF bus clock exclusively, without PLL, for D/A conversion), using an external galvanic isolator and/or external clock improves things. I agree with that. I already have a solution for that: a better DAC. You can get an excellent one for a lot less than the $1,000 Denafrips. (BTW, the argument for Denafrips vs. Schiit is that you can reduce jitter from -135 dB to -139 dB. For just about $800 more.)

There’s something else I agree with: USB is better than S/PDIF, since it removes any dependency on the bus clock. I’ve said that a few times on this forum.

Since I now have my Cosmos ADC, I’ll measure my own DACs using my son’s gaming laptop. I suspect they perform better than the Apple dongle.


You don’t like the fact that the video shows that bits are bits but other things that come along with the bits can indeed affect sound quality…

If I were to build a DAC, it would measure really badly even with the cleanest sources and most expensive isolators and reclockers. Just get a good DAC, designed to do what it’s supposed to do: convert just the bits to analog, without all the other things.

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Glad we agree on the key takeaways :+1:

He isn’t in favor of the pricy Denafrips anyway. Though there is a usecase as you mentioned when the DAC isn’t that good (in terms of the areas you outlined) but part of a users amp, then a DDC will improve things.

I agree that if you have a system with an embedded DAC that’s not very good, you can improve it through external means. But that kind of beats the purpose of having an embedded system. You might as well get a dedicated DAC and use you system’s analog inputs. Also, if the DAC does not have I2S input, you can’t really bypass its internal clock. Or, if you want to use Bluetooth or AirPlay with it, you can’t bypass anything. A good DAC, embedded or not, is always the most flexible.

Then, using isolators and re-clockers may give the impression - and may even be marketed that way - that any DAC can be improved upon, so maybe, possibly, bits are not really bits… right?

One last word about the video: the audibility of improvements is brushed away, but that’s what ultimately counts. You can never get to -∞dB in anything, but if you get closer, it must be better… right? One of the graphs, described as having “awful levels of jitter”, shows peaks below -100dB around a 12kHz tone. Anyone can try to listen to a -100dB 12kHz tone by itself and see if they can hear anything.


This is the answer to the spectre of “noise passed over digital”. No need for audiophile switches, re-clockers, etc. Just buy something designed and implemented competently. Oh, and don’t try to shortcut the research by just looking at the price :wink:


Though to be realistic a DAC no matter how powerful / good cannot compensate for all problems which are occuring in the digital domain.

So unfortunately there is no „shortcut“ no matter your setup or streaming workflow, just use a „good DAC“ and everything will be fine.

That is simply untrue, and demonstrably so - at least when it comes to matters of audibility!


But the same can’t be said about DDCs also?


I guess that’s true, if one believes in ghosts. No DAC will alleviate worries about various imaginary terrors. Audiophilic or otherwise.

We consistently underestimate the extent to which our mind influences what we hear. An influence which is not captured by measurements, but which surely forms part of subjective listening reports.


It can do so in the same ways as any DDC device.

Researching and choosing well made products isn’t a shortcut Neither is taking the time to design and build devices properly. Releasing a device that fails to reject “digital noise” does smell of corner cutting though.

And there ain’t no cure for the audiophile nervosa blues…


You watched the video including the measurement?!