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Dissatisfied with digital audio

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by Urobouros, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. Urobouros

    Urobouros New Member

    Messages:
    10
    I run analog through a Project Debut>iPhono2>Yamaha R-S202>Tannoy Mercury 7.2 speakers at home and enjoy the sound. At work I'm running a Fiios X3>Topping D30>Yamaha R-S202>Polk Audio RTI A3 and it it sounds thin by comparison. The more I read about analog vs digital I'm wondering if the difference I'm hearing is just compression or maybe a product of the space being too small for the speakers. I was considering trying a tube amp but would that add depth or just warmth?
     

     

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  2. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,242
    Rearrange things such that you have both analog and digital feeds into the same system(s). Then compare. Then discuss.
     
    ben_, hoodie, Alobar and 4 others like this.
  3. olson_jr

    olson_jr AK Subscriber Subscriber

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  4. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania snow belt
    I agree with @awillia6 in that you need to A/B compare the digital and analogue sources on the same system in the same room and then do a valid comparison. Although the Topping is highly regarded as an inexpensive DAC, it is still pretty low on the "food chain" in terms of DACs, and different speakers certainly do sound "different"--along with a host of other factors--like room effects, and what quality digital stream you are using. Lots of variables in play here.
     
    ben_, judsonw and GChief like this.
  5. GChief

    GChief Not well known, super member or other silliness Subscriber

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    Location:
    Eastern NC
    I am have been doing this comparison for about a year. Agree with all the ^^^. IMO (and the majority that hear it) my analog playback trumps my digital.

    :beerchug:
     
    Wildcat likes this.
  6. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

    Messages:
    4,512
    Location:
    Ohio
    If you don't like the sound .. change your equipment configurations. For me .. over the years through experimentation, both my Analog & Digital sound good to me (though not the exactly the same). Much could depend on the type of music you listen too. I do prefer the way Classic Rock recordings were mastered during the early years (60's & 70's) .. but that's just my preference or taste. There are some modern recordings that I love (Joe Bonamassa for example) .. their just not all that common.
     

     

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  7. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

    Messages:
    18,646
    Personal preference, anything goes. As the others mentioned, comparison listening would validate your preference or maybe temper it. There are some variables to consider and eliminate as the source of the difference. Same receiver but different speakers and listening space.
     
    Condorsat likes this.
  8. mr_light

    mr_light AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    360
    Location:
    Silver Spring, MD
    Too many independent variables to draw any conclusions.
     
    Ohighway, Route 66 and c.coyle like this.
  9. Mlistens03

    Mlistens03 Active Member

    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    The dark side of the moon
    Polk's RTiA series is bright, that could be the cause of your issue... If the turntable doesn't fix your problem, try a pair of their Signature series or something less bright. :)
     
  10. Urobouros

    Urobouros New Member

    Messages:
    10
    I left my only optical cable for the X3 at the office but am going to A/B tonight. I'm leaning towards the speakers or my ears... :)
     
    ben_ and awillia6 like this.
  11. awillia6

    awillia6 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,242
    As regards the A/Bing:

    1) Is there a difference?
    2) Can you reliably detect the difference?
    3) Can you explain the difference?
    4) Can you eliminate the difference?


    Example:

    1) Yes, A sounds fuller, warmer, and just more satisfying than thin, cold, sterile B does
    2) Yes, every time
    3) Yes, it must be differences in either "software," or the source device, or the cabling to the common pre/pro/amp, common speaker cables, common speakers;
    turns out it WAS the source devices; A outputting a slightly stronger signal than B, resulting in slightly louder sound level from the speakers which, due to Fletcher-Munson, sound "better"
    4) Yes, eliminated the difference by measuring sound levels and adjusting input levels in pre/pro/amp until equal

    Repeat until the meter reads 'No'
     

     

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  12. spark1

    spark1 Super Member

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    1,475
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    Agree that the the digital source needs to be compared to the analog source through the same amplification and speakers.

    Also, keep in mind that you have $1000 in your phono front end (TT, cartridge, phono amp), vs $100 in your digital front end.

    Also, are you using lossless/CD quality files? For a more fair comparison, you should be.

    Digital needs the same attention to quality of recordings and source components that is required of vinyl (if you want to get the best performance).
     
    hoodie and awillia6 like this.
  13. luvvinvinyl

    luvvinvinyl Lily! Staff Member Admin Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,549
    Location:
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    This. Odds are, you have had other vinyl rigs, before you arrived at your current configuration. Each sounded better than the one previous to it. Think back to your first analogue rig, and how it sounded. Compared to now, it was probably a little weak, even though you might have liked it very much, at the time. I'm guessing this is your first digital rig, and it sounds okay. Just 'okay'. The problem is, you have this nice analogue rig against which to compare it, now, and it comes up wanting. Decide how much time and money you want to spend on digital, with the understanding that it can sound great, when you get all the parts optimized. Short of that, you choose your 'stopping point', and live with the decision.
     
  14. cpt_paranoia

    cpt_paranoia Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    807
    You don't mention anything about the quality of the files you are playing.
     
    drew_t likes this.
  15. spark1

    spark1 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,475
    Location:
    The Great Midwest
    Yep...that's why I brought it up.
     
  16. wallacefl

    wallacefl AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    334
    Sources need to be considered ..but I have informally tested The Moody Blues , Question of Balance in LP , pre-recorded R2R ,and CD against each other...and it was really hard for me and my compratiots to tell the difference...though we all loved watching the Tascam 3030 do its job. Note linear drive turntable and Benchmark Dac2 to Bryston 14BSST — Martin Logan CLSZ2.
     

     

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  17. Urobouros

    Urobouros New Member

    Messages:
    10
    My digital source is about 60% CDs ripped to FLAC and about 40% 192kHz/24bit & 96kHz/24bit files. I'm looking to keep the upgrades to under $1K in the short term. The direct comparison will be the key...
     
    awillia6 likes this.
  18. Urobouros

    Urobouros New Member

    Messages:
    10
    I ran Pearl Jam “Ten” (192/24 FLAC) through my home system and it’s definitely better at home. My office is smaller than any listening space at home so I prolly need to rethink my speakers. In the end, when compared with the vinyl version, I preferred the analog more. I think it is partially preference. I don’t know that my DAC is as good as my phono pre though. Does it make any sense to try a preamp with the digital system or is that just adding a link I nether signal chain? The Marantz DAC1 looks pretty sweet on paper but I don’t know where I can listen to one to compare.
     
  19. slow_jazz

    slow_jazz AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Location:
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    try using a tube dac.
     
  20. Silentnet

    Silentnet AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    Do you have room for larger speakers? Cause.... those are tiny. Just sayin'.

    (The thought you'd be considering downsizing speakers due to space constraints confuses me. Unless your office is a 3x3x3 cube.)

    I may be exaggerating, but hopefully my point comes across. "The speakers are too big" isn't the real problem here.
     

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