So as I understand it digital audio is basically the original waveform, but viewed through the lens of PCM, Nyquist theorem, whatever. Given the same sampling rate, encoding method, et cetera a particular analog sound should always produce the same bits provided the volume and what-have-you is identical. That is to say there is a direct relationship between bits and sound they are supposed to store. Shouldn't every DAC therefore produce pretty much the same pattern of oscillating voltages given the same input? Isn't that what they are supposed to do? Obviously there is going to be a little variance in the form of noise and error. If two DACs produce markedly different output given the same input of bits is one or more of them not broken or flawed by design? If you consider the purpose of the device, would it not make sense for them to all sound pretty much the same? I feel like DACs that sound markedly different either have some kind of messed up implementation (like Audio NOS DACs with tubes in them) or some designer has intentionally made them to sound different in order to distinguish their product. Digital audio is supposed to be transmissible, and have the ability to be replicated infinitely. The arrangement of bits is meant to encode specific wave forms. A DAC should be able to render these. There isn't room for interpretation. There is really only one correct answer. So if a DAC is doing its job it should produce the same waves as encoded on the disc with an inaudible amount of noise/error. If a DAC has a particular "sound" then it really isn't doing its job properly, is it?