Message from discussion A Sound System as Resonant as a Concert Hall
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From: ScottW <Scott...@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: A Sound System as Resonant as a Concert Hall
Date: 14 Sep 2012 21:55:54 GMT
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On Sep 13, 8:01=C2=A0pm, Audio_Empire <audio_emp...@comcast.net> wrote:
> In article <abeo4kFp8r...@mid.individual.net>,
> =C2=A0ScottW <Scott...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> > On Sep 13, 8:30 m, Port119 <lookingg...@comcast.net> wrote:
> > >http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/technology/personaltech/a-sound-syst=
> > > m-as-resonant-a-concert-hall-tool-kit.html?_r=3D1&src=3Ddayp
> > > --------
> > > By ROY FURCHGOTT
> > > Chances are, your sound system isn=C2=B9t very good at math. It would=
> > > a lot better if you could make it a little smarter, and you can.
> > > You see, music travels to the ear as a smooth wave of sound. But
> > > digital music =E2=80=B9 CDs or MP3s on a music player =E2=80=B9 store=
s only bits of
> > > information taken at intervals along those sound waves.
> > > Later, your sound system will play a sophisticated game of
> > > connect-the-dots to turn that choppy data back into a wave. That take=
> > > math. How authentic the playback sounds depends largely on how well
> > > the system turns digital dots back into the original wave.
> > > That de-digitizing is done by a computer chip and software combinatio=
> > > called a digital-to-analog converter (or DAC) =E2=80=B9 and here is a=
> > > secret of the audio industry =E2=80=B9 to keep prices down, manufactu=
> > > often scrimp on that part. That means mediocre math.
> > > But you can upgrade your processor to make your music sound much more
> > > as if it were live, and it doesn=C2=B9t take any soldering. Just plug=
> > > undistinguished box called an outboard DAC between your digital music
> > > player (like an iPod, CD player or computer) and an amplifier. (The
> > > devices use a USB, optical, 30-pin or coaxial cable or RCA connector
> > > cable.) It does better math to make better sound.
> > > ---------------
> > > The article continues, and ends with a comparison of various DACs.
> > > Comments?
> > Whats the range of the cost of DAC chips in manufacturing quantities
> > of 1000?
> > I'm guessing from as little as .25 to maybe $5.
> > Here's an article claiming the price of DAC chips matter.
> > "There are a wide range of DAC chips, ranging from very low-cost to
> > very expensive. At the low end, a DAC chip may be used in a cheap PC
> > soundcard or throw-away MP3 player. At the high end, expensive DAC
> > chips are found inside top-of-the-line CD players, amps, and other
> > devices. For a DAC chip, price does matter.
> > The DacMagic is a standalone device that lets you bypass the built-in
> > DAC chip in a computer or digital streaming device, using top-quality
> > DAC chips (two Wolfson WM8740 24bit DACs in dual differential mode)
> > that upsample the digital stream to provide output that you then
> > connect to an amplifier or amplified speakers. (The DacMagic doesn't
> > amplify the output, so you can't use it directly with headphones or un-
> > amplified speakers.)"
> > I checked the price of the Wolfson chips from Newark....$3.57 ea from
> > 1 to 5000. (no price break for qty).
> > So the idea that DAC manufacturers can save much money by scrimping on
> > the DAC chip is hogwash and has no significant impact on the market
> > price of high end DACs where the markup from BOM cost to retail price
> > is where all the consumer cost is.
> > ScottW
> You are correct about the price of most DAC chips in the quantities that
> manufacturers are likely to buy. But, there are exceptions. The last
> time I checked, a 32-bit SABRE32 DAC Chip from ESS was more than $100/eac=
h in quantities of 1000 or so!
The 9012 (reference stereo Sabre32 is $55 for sample quantity of 2 to
They don't publish qty price but diy groups mention $50 ea.
An evaluation board for $450 would be the way to go.
> That's expensive. You use FOUR of those puppies in the discrete-stereo,
> dual-differential mode, and you're talking more in parts cost than many
> DAC boxes cost retail!
> Of course, the jury's still out on whether or not
> this kind of design "overkill" results in any audible difference or not.
> It does result in a more expensive product, however.
I can't see any value in that waste of silicon at all. It's silly to
think the change from 129 db DNR in 8 channel mode to 135db in mono is
audible. Going dual differential on top of mono is just going beyond