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 Forum index » Advanced Topics » Hardware
a linux-friendly DAC for listening to high-fidelity music
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labbe5

Joined: 13 Nov 2013
Posts: 2158
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sun 16 Apr 2017, 15:01    Post subject:  a linux-friendly DAC for listening to high-fidelity music  

https://opensource.com/article/17/4/fun-new-gadget

The author is a music fan and a linux user. Inspired by his love of music, he bought a linux-friendly DAC to listen to his digital music library.
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greengeek


Joined: 20 Jul 2010
Posts: 5713
Location: Republic of Novo Zelande

PostPosted: Tue 18 Apr 2017, 02:09    Post subject:  

Ha, somewhat ironic that his favourite piece of audio equipment is called Schiit Audio. Smile
Thanks for the link.
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chris20

Joined: 25 Apr 2017
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue 25 Apr 2017, 13:44    Post subject:  

My son has a somewhat older Fiio (not in the house to check the model number), but I've never really carefully listened to any of their products, so all I can talk about are the features, not the sound. Said that, it seems to me the Q1 is serving a different market than the Fulla.

First of all, it contains a battery, so it can be used together with a phone or tablet to listen and to augment the power. The Fulla contains an auxiliary power INPUT which can be fed by a cell or tablet charger, in case its signal source is not capable of providing enough power. Given that, the Q1 sounds like a good idea for those long flights where the phone's battery might not last, whereas if one were to use a Fulla for that, they would need to be able to access a USB charging port at their seat.

Second, the Fulla has both fixed and variable line-level outputs as well as the headphone out; so given a set of powered speakers or a power amplifier, its variable line out can drive those; and given an integrated amp or receiver or pre-amp, its fixed level out can drive those.

Third, the Q1 has a "bass boost" switch, if that's useful.

Aside from that, the Fulla uses a pretty high-end DAC chipset, the AKM4390, which is seen in lots of pricier gear, and provides about 2X the power into 32 ohms.

And not insignificantly, the Fiio is 2/3 the price of the Fulla.
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gychang


Joined: 29 Nov 2008
Posts: 382
Location: San Diego, CA

PostPosted: Thu 18 Apr 2019, 23:23    Post subject:  

very interested...., anyone running a "reasonably" priced dac (~$30 range) and using puppy??

which model dac and ear bud phone work well (plan to use it on thinkpad x220).

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musher0

Joined: 04 Jan 2009
Posts: 14860
Location: Gatineau (Qc), Canada

PostPosted: Thu 18 Apr 2019, 23:51    Post subject:  

labbe5.

What do you mean by DAC?

I'm really confused.
It's probably not a Divisional Ammunition Column, and
not the Directorate of Artistic Cretinism.

A Digital Audio Cassette, maybe, but cassettes went
out of the market 30 years ago.

Thanks for being verbose, someone?

BFN. (That's "Bye For Now", not "Be Fooled Nevertheless.") Wink

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s243a

Joined: 02 Sep 2014
Posts: 2617

PostPosted: Fri 19 Apr 2019, 00:46    Post subject:  

musher0 wrote:
labbe5.

What do you mean by DAC?

I'm really confused.
It's probably not a Divisional Ammunition Column, and
not the Directorate of Artistic Cretinism.

A Digital Audio Cassette, maybe, but cassettes went
out of the market 30 years ago.

Thanks for being verbose, someone?

BFN. (That's "Bye For Now", not "Be Fooled Nevertheless.") Wink


I'm guessing that you actually know what it means but anyway:
https://www.crutchfield.ca/S-d4wJZ6OlE1h/learn/choosing-a-digital-to-analog-converter.html
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musher0

Joined: 04 Jan 2009
Posts: 14860
Location: Gatineau (Qc), Canada

PostPosted: Fri 19 Apr 2019, 03:22    Post subject:  

Thanks much, s243a.

I wasn't tugging on people's pants all that much. I had a hunch it could
be "Digital to Analog Converter", but I was not sure, really.

Mostly, I was wondering why? What's the use of these gadgets? All
computers have plugs for earphones/speakers and an audio card, plus
all Puppies come with a music player.

And look at the price of those "DACs" -- woohie! That's a lot to pay for
supposedly better sound. I bet ripping your musical CDs in ogg at quality
10 -- or in any audio format at maximum quality -- will do a better job.
(And keep that $300 to $1200 in your pocket.)

If you've chosen low "tin can" quality in your CD ripper when ripping your
CDs, there is nothing those "DACs" can do to restore the lost musical
quality.

While it's true that most frequencies below 18 Hz and over 22 KHz are lost
to humans as frequencies, the part of the brain devoted to hearing
interprets the add'l Hzs as depth of sound, richness of timbre of the
instrument, etc.

The ear itself can hear below 18 Hz and over 22 KHz, but the brain
somehow can't decode it as frequencies. Do a search on "cochlea", the
"resonance ribbon" in your ear, in the Internet, and you'll see that it does
react to those lower and higher frequencies. Don't take the word of a
former musician about it, look it up!

Another argument in favor of ripping at high quality is a practical one:
you'll be glad your initial rip was at high quality if ever you need to
convert from this audio format to that audio format. (E.g. when you
make a copy of your ogg song in mp3 for a friend.)

Say you initially ripped your CD in ogg, quality 10, you would have to
make multiple downgrading conversions before the song or musical
piece ends up playing in low "tin can" quality (i.e. ogg, quality 3).

Just a thought. BFN.

~~~~~~~~~
PS 1. A notable exception is flac audio, which is a lossless format.

PS 2. Sorry for having been so wordy...

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s243a

Joined: 02 Sep 2014
Posts: 2617

PostPosted: Fri 19 Apr 2019, 05:01    Post subject:  

musher0 wrote:

The ear itself can hear below 18 Hz and over 22 KHz, but the brain
somehow can't decode it as frequencies. Do a search on "cochlea", the
"resonance ribbon" in your ear, in the Internet, and you'll see that it does
react to those lower and higher frequencies. Don't take the word of a
former musician about it, look it up!


I don't have the money to buy top of the line audio equipment but my gut says that your computer speakers don't have zero distortion over this band between 18 Hz to 22 kHz. I'm sure this is especially true if you are using tiny speakers (e.g. earbuds) or using your equipment above a certain volume.

Regarding the recording quality you might be right but I don't know. What I do think though is that most sounds systems that people have don't have a clear base sound. It might go boom boom boom but much of the clarity of the sound might be distorted.

Where people might have good sound systems is in home theater systems because it is much more apparent when listening to a movie that your low frequencies are getting distorted than when you are listening to some song that goes boom boom boom.
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musher0

Joined: 04 Jan 2009
Posts: 14860
Location: Gatineau (Qc), Canada

PostPosted: Fri 19 Apr 2019, 06:43    Post subject:  

Hi s243a.

You say: boom, boom, boom... Smile

I don't know if you're a musician, but for the record, the lowest note on a
regular 4-string bass guitar is an E at 41.2 Hz. Please see here, the table
at the bottom of the page.

Somebody with normal hearing should be able to hear that note distinctly,
because it's about a fifth above humans' lower limit of hearing. (The
lowest A on a piano pretty much corresponds to the lowest note a human
can hear.) Then one should be able to go on a piano or pick up his own
bass guitar, and play that same low E.

If the person hears "boom, boom, boom" instead of a low note, it could be
because the CD has been ripped with a low quality setting. Low quality
ripping seriously trims the lower and higher frequencies of a recording.

BFN.

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olddog

Joined: 21 Dec 2016
Posts: 64
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu 26 Sep 2019, 04:40    Post subject:  

I have only just seen this.

Although most computers can output sound, the quality is constrained by the quality of the components used to create an analogue signal from digital.

Those of us who have spent money on good amplifiers and loudspeakers like to ensure that what is being fed into them is of the highest quality - hence the need for a DAC if the music is held on the computer.

But an expensive DAC is a waste of money if your digital music is itself of low quality. So the first step is to rip your CDs using the best software available and the highest quality settings.

It is generally considered that the best music-ripping software is EAC, Exact Audio Copy, which is sadly only available for Windows. And the best file format, for lossless copies, is FLAC, although Apple enthusiasts may prefer to use ALAC.

DACs have a huge price range, but the Behringer UCA202 is cheap and pretty good for the price. I used to have one, and was happy, but when it died I spent a bit more and got an ODAC. This is a legendary piece of kit designed by a mysterious character who announced it then disappeared.

The story of the ODAC is interesting for various reasons, not least the way in which a lot of Hi-Fi myths were challenged and debunked.

https://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/02/behringer-uca202-review.html

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musher0

Joined: 04 Jan 2009
Posts: 14860
Location: Gatineau (Qc), Canada

PostPosted: Thu 26 Sep 2019, 17:41    Post subject:  

olddog wrote:
I have only just seen this.

(...)

But an expensive DAC is a waste of money if your digital music is itself of low quality. So the first step is to rip your CDs using the best software available and the highest quality settings.

(...)


Hello olddog.

Confirmation comforts the heart! Smile

BFN.

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rufwoof


Joined: 24 Feb 2014
Posts: 3719

PostPosted: Tue 01 Oct 2019, 21:10    Post subject:  

s243a wrote:
What I do think though is that most sounds systems that people have don't have a clear base sound. It might go boom boom boom but much of the clarity of the sound might be distorted.

Got a Xmas pressie of a Sony Base Boost headphones last December, and they're great (look like the attached, but mine are wired and I think around £80). VLC is also very good for the filtering fine tuning that you can do (often have to turn down the bass some. Tend to use Audacity to sometimes strip out the audio from a video (or just applied to audio tracks alone) more often to amplify tracks (perhaps with some clipping) so that my collection are all levelled to around similar levels. Use Openshot to re-insert/replace the sound track back into videos. Those three pretty much meet all my needs.
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