Audio jitter output to DAC

Discussion in 'Highly Technical' started by Carsten, Jan 5, 2013.

  1. Carsten

    Carsten Junior Member

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    I used to think: Audio jitter in my Windows PC does not matter because the data are send by USB cable to an external DAC (digital to analog converter).

    But. I can hear it. I have done experiments with a software called ProLasso, putting Windows services on certain CPU kernels: I can hear differences.

    If low jitter: I hear thousands of more details and feel a much better rythm.

    This helps:
    - Disabling as many drivers as possible (dvd drive, network, graphics card).
    - Disabling DEP (data execution prevention).
    - Avoid as many services as possible.
    - Disable logging in Windows.
    - Disable BIOS functions that prevent totally absolutely top speed.
    (Cooling is a problem!)

    I could continue. However. An OS is what I need to remove? Then what about my HD TV, radio, gaming? What is the solution? That type of knowhow is a secret in the music industry?
     
  2. Mark R

    Mark R Diamond Member

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    I find this difficult to believe.

    Any USB DAC will necessarily re-clock the data based on an internal timebase. Any effect due to instability in the data input clock should be negligible.

    Jitter is a well known issue in the music industry. Reduction comes from using a high-quality timebase in audio equipment with a very low short-epoch Allen deviation. This may mean using TCXOs rather than uncompensated oscillators, or even OCXOs.
     
  3. cantholdanymore

    cantholdanymore Senior member

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    Try using a media player that supports WASAPI in windows environment.
     
  4. leon2006

    leon2006 Junior Member

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    Mute un-use inputs on windows. Even openning browsers enable an audion input. All audio sources are mixed to the audio amp use by the OS. Its one of the common sources noises.
     
  5. RampantAndroid

    RampantAndroid Diamond Member

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    Disabling DEP...logging...disabling graphics card?

    What next, "tweaks" and "$85,000 cables"?

    Sorry, jitter can be a problem, but I doubt you have it. And maybe I'm wrong here, but this just sounds like the guy who was making "tweaks" out of playdough who had his thread locked a month or two ago.
     
  6. wirednuts

    wirednuts Diamond Member

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    does the op have a cordless phone? the 2.4ghz frequency is right in the vocal range and most cables soak up these signals causing jitter in the audio.





    not. ;)
     
  7. RampantAndroid

    RampantAndroid Diamond Member

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    Vocals at 2.4Ghz? I...cannot....fathom....what? D:

    :p
     
  8. videogames101

    videogames101 Diamond Member

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    just no

    but unquestionably ASIO is the way to go if you weren't trolling
     
  9. RampantAndroid

    RampantAndroid Diamond Member

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    Well, also...what DACs do a good sample rate over USB? None I know of. Mine can only do something like 16bit/48k - the default allowed by Windows. Why the hell would you use USB if you can avoid it?
     
  10. StrangerGuy

    StrangerGuy Diamond Member

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    I can hear the fluctuations of the quantum laws of nature influence the sound. What you mean it's complete bullshit? You just have shit ears then.

    Also, I have a $1 million pure musical HDD to sell.
     
  11. RampantAndroid

    RampantAndroid Diamond Member

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    LOL. How big is the hard drive, I might be interested. Lemme just check if I can get a loan. And sell all my belongings. D:
     
  12. sxr7171

    sxr7171 Diamond Member

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    I used to be like you. I spent all kinds of money to upgrade and what not. Then I googled "Ethan Winer AES". Just watch the video. Thank me later.

    The audiophile business is like the jewellery business but for men.
     
  13. RampantAndroid

    RampantAndroid Diamond Member

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    I looked up the video. They're talking about people who tape crap to their equipment. That's not audiophile. That's audiof***** - there are real advantages to better equipment like a good DAC...not so much so to "LOWER JITTER" and "I TAPED SOME ESD PAPER INTO MY AMP!"
     
  14. polarmystery

    polarmystery Diamond Member

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    marked for later
     
  15. StrangerGuy

    StrangerGuy Diamond Member

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    I work in a lab where we test water samples for metals. If whatever quackery the audiophile religion puts out like AC power conditioners you think the manufacturers of analytical instruments that can detect metals to single digit parts-per-billion levels would be the first to use them if they truly mattered yet they don't.
     
  16. RampantAndroid

    RampantAndroid Diamond Member

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    I have advocated a power conditioner once. One time. Why? For equipment without proper filtering and bad AC. And even if power conditioners make a difference in audio equipment, I'd HOPE that your lab equipment already has a proper power supply. You're comparing apples to pears grown on the planet xerguplat.

    I'm not advocating people buy the weird stuff. I'm arguing that building a DAC with one opamp over another or different capacitors however is a real MEASURABLE difference.
     
  17. DominionSeraph

    DominionSeraph Diamond Member

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  18. sxr7171

    sxr7171 Diamond Member

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    You missed the point there. The point is that the human brain cannot detect the differences between a well constructed $500 DAC and a $5000 DAC that may have measurable differences. But your brain and what it interprets is a whole other ball game. Most of these jitter numbers that you pay thousands of dollars for are inaudible. I have the metric halo LIO 8 and it's state of the art. But hey a Cambridge Audio $500 DacMagic sounds just fine. There are now $200 DACs that have jitter numbers well below the threshold of audibility.

    These audiophiles make you believe in this and that spec and tell you your brain can discern this and that and the "emotional impact" is different etc. it's just suggestive psychology at its best. If you understand that your brain has a certain ability to resolve and that it smoothes out these "problems" then you can get the same "emotional impact" from a well designed $200 DAC.

    What is far more important is your speaker performance and room interactions. Room treatments yield audible benefits. These crazy expensive DACs do not.

    And give me a break in a world where we have communication technology that requires accuracy *well beyond* what a 20-20 kHz audio signal requires and is present in $2 DSPs you cannot argue that you need specialized multi thousand dollar equipment for audio. There are actual consequences in high GHz applications that aerospace and communications applications require if there are errors. And if these processors cost a few dollars there isn't a reason why you need to spend thousands on simple 20-20khz stuff.

    The only reason you're not enjoying your music is because you fell for the story that what you have is not good enough. Just like a placebo pill can yield positive therapeutic results this belief that your setup isn't 5ps precise and that isn't good enough is causing you to think your music sounds bad. Your subjective assessment of the sound is solely due to your beliefs engendered by the audio marketing machine. What your brain discerns is no different between a well designed $200 DAC and a gold plated, thermally corrected crystal oscillator driven $12,000 DAC. It's just that you believe the extra hoopla provides you with better sound and you *believe* it sounds better.
     
    #18 sxr7171, Feb 10, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  19. sxr7171

    sxr7171 Diamond Member

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    Ok fair enough. I think I missed your point. Well yes there are differences in opamps. There will always be differences in the analog section. But if you try to argue that you need to have exotic expensive tech in the digital section I think by now you know that's a losing argument.

    But even though there are slight differences in analog sections you have to wonder if it makes sense to invest a lot of money and time into those small differences when your conversion from electrical energy to acoustic energy at the speaker is accompanied by differences that are 10s to 100s of times greater in magnitude. And from there the interactions between that acoustic energy source and the room boundaries is also 100s of times greater in magnitude than the difference between 2 capacitors in the analog stage.

    Yes you can make that headphone argument but no matter how good those setups are they always sound like music in your head. Accurate sure, but never as enjoyable as a speaker setup. Even a small near field studio monitor setup sounds more satisfying. And such a setup minimizes the effect of room boundaries.

    The difference of moving your head half an inch in the sound field is greater than the type and design of the analog stage. Just try it out. It is immediately apparent. So if such little physical things make an easily discernible difference why allocate limited resources towards things that require intense concentration to discern? And how sure can you be that you held your head in exactly the same position for A and B and whether the amount of concentration required to hold your head still isn't influencing your perception of the sound? Was it easier to hold your head still for the first sample or the second? Did that influence your subjective appreciation of the sound? Were you even able to enjoy the music while listening intently for minor differences in opamps? Choosing a good comfortable listening chair yields more reward.

    All I'm saying is that chasing individual aspects of the sound is not as important as approaching the sound from a holistic perspective. In that sense a phone driving a powered active monitor can sound better than you choosing every single opamp and capacitor. Your choice of speaker is far more important and also making sure the room is treated as best you can treat it.
     
    #19 sxr7171, Feb 10, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013
  20. spikespiegal

    spikespiegal Golden Member

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    With all due respect, the terms 'Well Constructed' along with meaningless price points add too many variables to draw a concise argument from. However, DAC design has improved measurably over the past decade.

    Back in like 1998 I bought a used, Adcom GDA-600 external DAC for a really nice price. Unit had great reviews and was recommended by the more 'grounded' hi-fi buddies of mine who chose components based on tangible performance and not esoteric claims.

    The difference in sound quality between the GDA-600 and a typical $400-500 DVD or CD player with their internal DAC bypassed ranged from somewhat audible to profoundly significant. Yes, you had to be in the sweet spot, but the differences in sound reproduction could be quite jaw dropping with the vastly extended soundstage and layering presented by the Adcom. Quote from a buddy of mine who claimed to have 'tin ears' and knew nothing about audio: "sounds like you just pulled some cardboard boxes from out in front of your speakers - where can I get one of those gizmos?" This being a rather extreme comparison between the GDA-600 -vs- a far newer Toshiba DVD player given Toshiba was hardly known for using the best DAC's at the time.

    Differences between the GDA -vs- lets say a decent Pioneer receiver or CD player (particularly an Elite series) were almost null. Likely because Pioneer was using a Burr Browns in the same class in their better units.

    What was really interesting was that as you moved up the price ladder nothing was able to distance itself from the GDA-600. Even $4,000 external DAC's and transports had little difference audible signature. My conclusion, based on side by side unbiased listening from all kinds of systems and speakers was that a good DAC was certainly worth the trouble, but hyper expensive ones weren't.

    When 24/'96 DACs started becoming mainstream the playing field changed. Suddenly everything in the consumer range started to sound just as good. So, it seems engineering with newer DACs has made up for the problems encountered with the junk used in the Toshiba. I still have the GDA, but pretty much any $100 player sounds just as good. However, I'm not hearing nearly the differences I heard ten years ago in digital conversion, and I've always been convinced that 'jitter control' is a solution in search of a problem because any decent DAC re-clocks anyways.

    Frankly I've found differences in amplifier stage to be a big priority now.
     
  21. sxr7171

    sxr7171 Diamond Member

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    That's kind of my point. There isn't any need to spend $5000 on a DAC today. All of them are beyond audibility. But you may want one like the DAC Magic because the analog stages are designed well. But by no means do you even have to spend $500 for that anymore. In 1998 DACs made a huge difference. And the Adcom you mentioned had a great reputation as did the GCD-600. The Adcom digital products were known for having high quality analog stages.

    So if do care about the analog stage you might want to buy a DAC made by an audio company for arguably a "well designed" analog stage. Again you could get a good one for $150-200 these days. I use the DAC Magic because it has balanced outputs which my studio monitors need.

    I agree amplifier stages are important but I think that speaker and room interactions are several levels of magnitude more important. I used to be a purist type since the marketing machine emphasized that. Now I use a digital amp. Sounds great and costs very little for the power compared to other designs. This ends up saving me a d/a conversion altogether. Apparently it has a filtering stage and that's it.

    I am referring to different systems in the two examples.
     
    #21 sxr7171, Feb 11, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  22. RampantAndroid

    RampantAndroid Diamond Member

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    I suggest you look into what DACs do cost. A USB DAC capable of doing 24/192 is overly expensive and hard to find. And DACs still make a huge difference. In my work machine that has an ASUS P6 board (sandybridge 2600 board) I can hear noise, easily off the onboard DAC.

    As far as the head movement thing and whatnot, you're discounting things like headphones and IEMs, and forgetting that IEMs that are 35 Ohms and 119 dB/1mW exist. You're also forgetting some people do stuff like balanced amps, needing either special DACs or an extra setup to create a balanced signal from an unbalanced signal.

    I wish a $20 pair of headphones and onboard audio was sufficient. But it isn't. And blanket statements don't work.
     
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