High-end DAC really necessary?

Is a high-end DAC really necessary?


Scott: Good reply. And, you’d be right !


Andy: Now you’re being condescending. Give your academia-styled “demonstrate claims” … “legitimate testing” a rest.


Whatever, petey.

The chronic problem with so many self proclaimed audiophiles is that they will neither put up nor shut up. They will not or cannot back up with accepted testing protocols their oft grandiose claims. And they will not acquiesce when their methods and conclusions are pointed out as being flawed.




I ordered a Mytek Liberty DAC; haven’t received it yet. My idea was that it would provide an alternative to the anonymous DAC built into my Onkyo TX-8050, and perhaps some future-proofing as well. But now I’m thinking I won’t be able to hear the difference, and could have instead bought more CDs with that cash. Oh, well.

Let’s see what you think after you’ve given it a listen.

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I don’t think ‘benefit’ is the right word. Who wants their hearing assaulted with a mass of ultrasonic crap that shouldn’t be there in the first place?


Under blind-testing conditions, of course…

There is some truth in that in some cases. Look at this piece of Schiit:

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Watch out. The last time that someone posted those measurements here a few of the Schiit fans lost their proverbial shit.



Not surprising really. There is another thread on there where a Mytek DAC doesn’t exactly come up smelling of roses.
At the end of the day you ‘pays yer money and takes yer choice’.

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The ASR line seems to be that you don’t have to pay that much money for low distortion and linearity!

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Nothing comes out smelling like roses unless Amir wants it to…

I’m developing a hazy theory about high-end hi-fi. Perhaps it’s a bit like fine art. Many people can’t figure out why one painting is better than another. And they can’t see why one is worth $20,000 and another only $1000.

And these audio components are really works of art, not works of science. They’re not about tech, and perfect reproduction. Some components lean heavily on exquisite implementation, using things like film capacitors instead of commonplace electrolytics, or silver solder or gold power fuses. Others get their peculiar flavors from specific hand-crafted distortion, to create pleasing sound from otherwise perhaps cold recordings. After all, recording venues are either pointedly featureless or possessed of their own unique built-in distortions. So who’s to say the sound recorded in them can’t be improved?

Whether you prefer this DAC or that DAC, or a tube amp versus a class D transistor jobbie, will depend on how well you can perceive differences, and on what set of artistic flourishes you prefer to have in the reproduction chain. And widely appealing components will command high prices, just as paintings by successful painters do.


Are you suggesting that all audio forums fabricate results or only the ones that aren’t sponsored by manufacturers? Small point, but important, particularly when you disparage forum members.

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You’re absolutely correct. I’ve just completed a series of blind AB tests with my dog. I think it is reasonable to say that a dog wouldn’t know or understand when I switched source.

Anyway, my dog reliably identified MQA … started howling and left the room. Yet was content to stay with me when I played Red Book. :laughing:


Let’s consider a definition of high fidelity (hi-fi) for a moment.

High fidelity (often shortened to hi - fi or hifi ) is a term used by listeners, audiophiles and home audio enthusiasts to refer to high - quality reproduction of sound. … Ideally, high - fidelity equipment has inaudible noise and distortion, and a flat (neutral, uncolored) frequency response within the human hearing range. – Wikipedia

If we accept this as reasonable for the time being, it would suggest that psychology (and the depth of our pockets) play a more significant role than the science. If entry-level hi-fi fully meets the definition how can high-end improve upon this? Yes, noise and distortion may be reduced, but that should make no difference since it’s already outside the human hearing range.

So, we buy into brands and those flavours of technology that make sense to us and give us the greatest enjoyment from our hard-earned cash. Unfortunately, for some this becomes addiction, and an exercise in chasing rainbows.

Disclosure: My next fix could be a new pair of floor standing speakers. To be completely honest, top of my list is a wood veneer finish. :slightly_smiling_face: However, I am more concerned that I may loose the sweet spot I already have if I change something so fundamental to listening. So for now, rationale wins over that commentator inside my head!

It would seem that our pets make for more reliable judges of top-end (a.k.a. expensive) Hi-Fi than we do. I note that this reviewer’s cat clearly appreciated the difference that a $22,000 interconnect cable made. Personally, even if I could afford it, I’d probably suck my teeth and say “thanks, but no thanks”.


I’d pass on the cable and ditch the cat! :smile:

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D*mn – now you’ve made me read it.

Never imagined I would come across a cable that resembles my grandmother’s sofa.

As for the cat – it appears to posses the rare quality of being able to focus on a choir singing in German:

Speaking of detail, one strange thing happened to me and my dear cat Charlie Brown. The two of us love listening to Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem under Gardiner, especially his second record. While we concentrated on the choir in the “Selig sind, die das Leid tragen” movement, the harp suddenly showed up in the middle of our living room. Unbidden, both of us turned our heads toward the sound. That was new.

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