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Multibit R2R vs Delta Sigma again


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Here is a good read sent to me by Audionutz who is also a believer in multibit, on why the highly respected Lyn Olson likes the sound of Multibit R2R over the sound of the new crop of Delta Sigma, Hyper Stream dacs. And the reasons why it does.

 

http://positive-feedback.com/Issue65/dac.htm

 

 

Cheers George

  

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Hi Guys

 

I reckon its a bit old hat - things have moved on IMHO with DAC's like the NAD M51 and Chord QuteHD appearing - what are they? - neither as far as I can see.  The Chord bested my beloved PCM1704 based PDX which admittedly had some tubes that I thought weren't that good and it was a lot closer with the usual tubes - but the fact of the matter is its in the same league.  The NAD is very good but not quite as good as the Chord IMHO.

 

To me the writing is on the wall - DAC's are moving at a breathtaking pace and technologies will appear and disappear over the coming years that leave Multibit, ladder or whatever in the dust.  Finally we will end up with some kind of perfected digital technology way ahead of what we currently have.

 

Thanks

Bill

Edited by bhobba
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To me the writing is on the wall - DAC's are moving at a breathtaking pace and technologies will appear and disappear over the coming years that leave Multibit, ladder or whatever in the dust.

Thanks

Bill

No their not they have been bogged down with Delta Sigma and it's derivatives for almost the last 10 years now. They tried to get the best of Bitstream and Multibit together in one cheap chip, but you can still heard that boring Bitstream sound coming through, not as bad as pure Bitsteam was, but it has it's same signature (sweet, detailed) , but no rhythm and drive and dynamics to give the music life as Lyn Olson has tried to explain in the first post link.

Texas Instrument still manufacture and distribute the PCM1704 R2R Multibit chip, they costs $75each and you need two for stereo. Todays Delta Sigma can be bough at a 10th of that price, and they're stereo. Too many of the highest of high end cdp's or dac's manufacturers are still using Multibit, even obsolete ones, like the TDA1541 in the flagship ARM CD77 for conversion duties, are they mad not to use Delta Sigma or do they know something most don't?

 

Cheers George

Edited by georgehifi
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No their not they have been bogged down with Delta Sigma and it's derivatives for almost the last 10 years now. 

 

George can you detail to me how the DAC technology of the M51 is delta sigma?

 

Ditto with the Pulse DAC and WTF filter technology of the Chord.  Its not implemented on a chip but rather their own proprietary technology in a programmable gate array.

 

Thanks

Bill

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There is so little difference between the various types it is not worth bothering with.If they are well implemented they will all sound acceptable.They might sound slightly different but not any better.

My old Sony 715 CD player which uses a Pulse DAC  sounds every bit as good in its own way as a range of modern DACs using both delta sigma and multi bit DACs I have tried.In my experience the cabling you use gives more difference in sound that the DACs themselves.

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George can you detail to me how the DAC technology of the M51 is delta sigma?Would'nt have a clue Bill, never said it was.

 

Ditto with the Pulse DAC and WTF filter technology of the Chord.  Its not implemented on a chip but rather their own proprietary technology in a programmable gate array.Ditto to this as well, maybe techspurt or zenelectro can let you know what they are Cheers George  

Thanks

Bill

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There is so little difference between the various types it is not worth bothering with.If they are well implemented they will all sound acceptable.They might sound slightly different but not any better.

My old Sony 715 CD player which uses a Pulse DAC  sounds every bit as good in its own way as a range of modern DACs using both delta sigma and multi bit DACs I have tried.In my experience the cabling you use gives more difference in sound that the DACs themselves.

 

Your experience is very different to mine.

I havent yet heard a deltasigma based DAC that got me interested. All the DAC's Ive enjoyed have life, jump, great imaging and are based on multibit chips. I think George and plenty of other very experienced users hear the same thing.

Vive la différence

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These arguments get tiresome. There are good and bad implementations of every technology in audio.

 

It appears the writer of the referenced article doesn't understand noise shaping and how it works, so I don't really see how he is qualified to make broad conclusions about the inherent sound of DS technology.

 

If he likes the sound of  multibit  R2R that is great, he should enjoy it. Others prefer the sound of a well implemented ESS chip. 

 

I've seen learned papers explaining why hi-res audio makes no sense, and other engineers writing papers about why only hi-res audio makes sense.

 

I don't see why the fact that we have multiple technologies always has to be reduced to "the technology I prefer the sound of is the only one that really works properly and sounds like it should - everyone else is listening to the wrong technology and couldn't possibly like what they are hearing". 

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the implementation surrounding the dac chip plays more of a sonic difference then the dac chip itself. 

 

from my exp. playing with a few diff dac builds (mainly diy based stuff though), quite happy to put money down that if the writer of the article was to compare the following implementations of a Delta-Sigma DAC and a MultiBit R2R DAC , he would not come to the same conclusions he has written.

 

JUNDAC TWO (dual BB PCM1704K chips)

jundac2-09big.jpg

 

Twisted Pear Buffalo DAC (ESS 9018) with tube output stage with tube rectification

dmd854.jpg

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the implementation surrounding the dac chip plays more of a sonic difference then the dac chip itself. 

 

from my exp. playing with a few diff dac builds (mainly diy based stuff though), quite happy to put money down that if the writer of the article was to compare the following implementations of a Delta-Sigma DAC and a MultiBit R2R DAC , he would not come to the same conclusions he has written.

 

JUNDAC TWO (dual BB PCM1704K chips)

jundac2-09big.jpg

 

Twisted Pear Buffalo DAC (ESS 9018) with tube output stage with tube rectification

dmd854.jpg

 

+1 totally agree, I proved that myself.  The I/V stage and o/put determineds the final coloration and sound signiture of the SQ of the DAC.

 

I have had the oportunity to listen to a R2R dac, although impressive, I found that it was over done with details that you should not hear if the instrument was played live infront of you.  Natural instruments are not unaturally smooth with exaggerated details that sould not be there,  But, exceptionally impressive!!!

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For me reading that article makes me interested in that Monarchy tube dac :)

I see that its a different model now on Monarchy site so not sure if its still using that 1704.

Anyone here tried that dac? I wonder how it compares to Audio-gd middle range 1704 dac.

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Ha, the Buffalo DAC is actually the first attempt that I made to make the ESS 9018 work... I wish I could hear the Juaneda dac, one of the very interesting designs out there.

Hello Nikola, how did you program the ESS9018, and are there any default settings that you recommend changing?

There is a myriad of configurable/programmable settings on the Sabre chips, that will effect the sound/performance.

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 Hello Nikola, how did you program the ESS9018, and are there any default settings that you recommend changing?There is a myriad of configurable/programmable settings on the Sabre chips, that will effect the sound/performance.

Hi,

At the time I wasn't even aware that registers could be changed, I just assumed that the TPA guys had got the most of the chip, being in touch with Dustin Forman and all... I was more interested in tube rolling but the biggest change came from the Paul Hynes regs-that was a magnificent upgrade.

Many people have tried to make the 9018 sing and one of the truly fascinating stories was that of a Russian guy who is a legend there-Dmitrii Andronnikov a.k.a Lynxaudio. The problem with him is that prefers not to communicate in English, even though he speaks perfect and his designs are described in Russian. He spent almost two years pefrecting registers, supplies and stuff, looks impressive:

http://www.lynxaudio.narod.ru/articles/Lynx_D48.pdf

IMHO this is the best implementation so far, at least from engineering point of view or this is what my knowledgable friends say...

Currently I am building a monster with acko 9012 and Owen's D1 and I am also hoping to have Ian's FIFO board with PCM1704, the plan is to do my own SigmaDelta vs. Multibit taken to the extreme. And reading about the QuteHD I plan to borrow it or even add the QBD to the shoot out , unfortunately that will happen in a month or two... :(

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At the time I wasn't even aware that registers could be changed, I just assumed that the TPA guys had got the most of the chip, being in touch with Dustin Forman and all... I was more interested in tube rolling but the biggest change came from the Paul Hynes regs-that was a magnificent upgrade.
Where can I read about the Paul Hynes regs? Yes, I don't doubt it was a great upgrade. The thing about the programmable settings is, there is no perfect combination for all applications. If there was, they wouldn't be configurable. We need to choose the settings that best fits what we're doing/designing. This is a big part of designing/implementing a Sabre based dac. Need to understand what to change, and why.

Electricians can kid themselves into thinking the Sabres are inferior, if all they are doing is taking the chip and use it with default settings.

IMO, it takes a certain level of competency in computer science, as well as electronics, to get the most out of a dac built around the Sabre. Without the former, better off staying in R2R implementations. I'm not competent in either, so I watch, listen and learn. :)

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Oz,

 

Knock yourself out! 

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?board=170.0  Paul will even answer your PMs!

 

and

 

http://www.paulhynesdesign.com

 

I agree the Sabre is a sort of black box setup, that is why the Invicta needs a good looking at as the maker of that Dac designed the Sabre Chip for ESS. You heard him talking about chaos theory and state variables, etc.

 

The choice is not just Sabre vs Multibit though, as we have powerDacs using direct coupling after conversion to PWD with their own erefernce parameters and we have PGAs like Chord and PBD and finally we have the MSB type of hybrid...

Edited by wis97non
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For me reading that article makes me interested in that Monarchy tube dac :) I see that its a different model now on Monarchy site so not sure if its still using that 1704. Anyone here tried that dac? I wonder how it compares to Audio-gd middle range 1704 dac.

The older one used PCM63 Multibit, and the new one from this uses the last and latest PCM1704K (selected) Multibit Dacs.

http://www.monarchyaudio.com/PDF/NM24_AudioExpress_Review.pdf

 

http://www.monarchyaudio.com/NM24_Main_Frame.htm

 

Price seems very good $1080.00 Factory Direct

Buy a DIP Combo and NM24 and save! $1379.00 for both!

 

I can vouch for CC Poon as I bough a few Dips years ago for customers and they always got sent with no troubles to Au.

 

Cheers George

Edited by georgehifi
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