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High end audiophile converters
Old 8th September 2012
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
AtomicMidi's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
High end audiophile converters

Ok so there are lots of very specialized AD/DA solutions out there geared towards studio use, but what about all those "audiophile" converters out there, it seems that every year the quality/price ratio is more and more favourable, which is not true for audio-centric solutions.

Has anyone tried using AD conversion from the "audiophile" world?
What are the pros/cons?
Old 8th September 2012
  #2
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AtomicMidi ➑️
Ok so there are lots of very specialized AD/DA solutions out there geared towards studio use, but what about all those "audiophile" converters out there, it seems that every year the quality/price ratio is more and more favourable, which is not true for audio-centric solutions.

Has anyone tried using AD conversion from the "audiophile" world?
What are the pros/cons?
I have used "Audiophile" For conversion in a Pro-Audio setting many times.

I am not quite clear on a part of your post - When you state that "[e]very year the quality/price ratio seems more favourable..." - Are you suggesting that is becoming so in th Pro-Audio world as opposed to the Audiophile world? That's how I read it.
Old 8th September 2012 | Show parent
  #3
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aTelecine-Lex ➑️
I have used "Audiophile" For conversion in a Pro-Audio setting many times.

I am not quite clear on a part of your post - When you state that "[e]very year the quality/price ratio seems more favourable..." - Are you suggesting that is becoming so in th Pro-Audio world as opposed to the Audiophile world? That's how I read it.
I think he' s saying that he wants to buy a cheaper converter from the home stereo market rather than pay the big bucks for studio converters, and he's looking for a recommendation.
Old 8th September 2012
  #4
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🎧 10 years
That stuff scares me. You don't ever really know what you're getting into, it almost seems as if the "audiophile" folks just price stuff based on marketing....

At least with pro audio gear you can more easily gauge the quality of what you're looking into.
Old 9th September 2012
  #5
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I didn't know there were any "audiophile" A-D converters..... there are a sh*tload of D-A converters though!
Old 9th September 2012
  #6
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Converters are homogenous. The converters on my cell phone are remarkably close to the best converters I have ever heard. I realize audiophiles are obsessive about anything in the signal path like cables, but as we all know a cable or converter is not going to make the difference between a good music and bad music.
Old 9th September 2012 | Show parent
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unfiltered420 ➑️
Converters are homogenous. The converters on my cell phone are remarkably close to the best converters I have ever heard. I realize audiophiles are obsessive about anything in the signal path like cables, but as we all know a cable or converter is not going to make the difference between a good music and bad music.
phones use great opamps
Old 9th September 2012
  #8
tkr
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
It depends on your definition of highend and audiophile.....
Many audiophiles are now buying dacs from companies that operate in the studiomarket- think Lavry, Weiss, DAD, dCS and EMMLabs.
The audiophile versions are more or less the same as the studio versions, but in a more expensive casing.
yours
Old 9th September 2012
  #9
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TC Custom Audio's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
For d/a, buy the mcm box http://www.mcmelectronics.com/produc...-7510-/50-7774
Thanks to JW for that tip!
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➑️
You have to buy it before you can find out what's in it. Sort of like Congress.
Gearslutz being the unstable environment it is, it defo needs more politics mixed in! heh
Old 10th September 2012
  #11
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🎧 10 years
Having read about the subject a bit more I am starting to see that the trends ARE going towards audiophiles buying pro-audio stuff, but there is also some backlash too.
Apparently Mytecs and other expensive boxes are very clean sounding but take away some of that colour that audiophiles love, some of the "sweetness" of the tone.
One mans poison is another mans medicine?
Old 10th September 2012
  #12
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🎧 5 years
I thought it was spelt audiofools.
Old 10th September 2012
  #13
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🎧 15 years
Generally alot of these high end hifi listeners will buy studio DAC's, the Benchmark DAC1, and Lavry DA10 were very popular early on in the hifi DAC scene especially when there wasn't really any hifi manufacturers making standalone DAC's and everyone was noticing the improvement in sound from their very expensive, over priced CD players.

In more recent years more and more hifi companies starting jumping on the converter bandwagon, to the point where now there are so many consumer DAC's out their that its just getting ridiculous.

Generally though the decent hifi DAC's are more expensive than the studio equivalents; Naim Audio, Chord, Cyrus, and DCS to name a few.

Old 10th September 2012
  #14
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The home audiophile market is, and has been, far beyond that which is used by nearly all studios. What we call top-tier is mediocre in their highest circles. Budgets are unlimited for some of those guys so there are no holds barred in design and production.

But it pays off. The best sound I've been able to achieve from my studios pales in comparison to what my home system can produce. Why not use that for recording? Good question. No A/D, obviously, but the amps, loudspeakers, converters, etc. could migrate. Mastering guys use this stuff. I've seen $200K monitoring systems in some ME's studios, and that's just the start. Studios don't invest that type of cash in monitoring, most anyway.
Old 10th September 2012
  #15
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🎧 15 years
re: converters

As usual, I'm bass-ackwards. Been an audio hobbyist for decades, now an amateur helper in the studio for a couple years. Have had lots of exotic home audio converters (cryo-treated conductors hand-wrapped in silk spun by yoga-practicing silkworms on alternate rainy Tuesdays while listening to a Shaded Dog 1S Reiner/CSO Resphigi Pines of Rome yada yada) but I really think the converters in the Metric Halo ULN2 I have at home sound at least as good as anything I've had, and maybe better. I've thought of selling it, as I'm not using its rather nice mic pre's, but it just sounds so good, it's gonna stay.

WW
Old 10th September 2012
  #16
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo ➑️
The home audiophile market is, and has been, far beyond that which is used by nearly all studios. What we call top-tier is mediocre in their highest circles. Budgets are unlimited for some of those guys so there are no holds barred in design and production.
I agree with your assessment here. My father is a quite over the top hi-end "Audiophile". He maintains two separate high-end systems: One is a complete "theater" room - The other is a fully treated listening room.

Frankly, I'd be embarrassed to say how much be spends on audio equipment.

Fortunately for me, he updates or upgrades his components very often, and I have inherited many ridiculous pieces this way.

There really is not much comparison to "studio" or "pro" grade equipment when contrasted with very high-end audio components.

If you look, or better still listen to something like the Krell "Master Reference" series amplifiers paired to a complimentary set of speakers and consider the specs the build quality - and more importantly the sound... It's hard to contrast with what is in everyday use at professional studios.

Although, with regard to DA conversion I'd say for the most part the line is beginning to blur between "pro" grade and "Audiophile" grade.

As suggested earlier, most of the Audiophile grade DA equipment is quite similar but packaged to suit it's particular market. One could probably find a better deal buying a "pro" grade DA then a equally matched Audiophile component.

Best,
Alexa
Old 10th September 2012
  #17
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aTelecine-Lex ➑️
I agree with your assessment here. My father is a quite over the top hi-end "Audiophile". He maintains two separate high-end systems: One is a complete "theater" room - The other is a fully treated listening room.

Frankly, I'd be embarrassed to say how much be spends on audio equipment.

Fortunately for me, he updates or upgrades his components very often, and I have inherited many ridiculous pieces this way.

There really is not much comparison to "studio" or "pro" grade equipment when contrasted with very high-end audio components.

If you look, or better still listen to something like the Krell "Master Reference" series amplifiers paired to a complimentary set of speakers and consider the specs the build quality - and more importantly the sound... It's hard to contrast with what is in everyday use at professional studios.

Although, with regard to DA conversion I'd say for the most part the line is beginning to blur between "pro" grade and "Audiophile" grade.

As suggested earlier, most of the Audiophile grade DA equipment is quite similar but packaged to suit it's particular market. One could probably find a better deal buying a "pro" grade DA then a equally matched Audiophile component.

Best,
Alexa
I need a dad like that!
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #18
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🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➑️
I need a dad like that!
Me too!
Could you ask him if he is willing to adopt?
I've only just turned 40.
Old 10th September 2012
  #19
Deleted f838904
Guest
The audiophile world is interesting.
People pay massive amounts of money for things that are hyped with marketing but not backed up by actual testing etc.

On that note...
This guy has designed a cheap portable DAC specifically to show Audiophiles that expensive doesn't actually mean 'best quality'.
He has been kicked off of some audiophile forums for insisting that products should be honestly tested and subjective bias should be removed from the equation.

Otherwise people end up paying huge amounts of money just because some reviewer or advert said everything 'sounded warmer' or something.

NwAvGuy

His blog tracks his design process for the DAC he built and his thoughts in general on how testing gear should work and how the audiophile market works.

Pretty interesting reading in some places.
Old 10th September 2012
  #20
Gear Addict
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I think studio guys/gals can learn from audiophiles and vice versa. Yes, the best sounding systems I have heard were home hi end audio systems (+1 for Krell!), even beating some of the high end mastering rooms I've been in. Sure, there's some overpriced stuff in both camps (probably more so in the audiophile world) but generally you get what you pay for when dealing with reputable companies.
Old 10th September 2012
  #21
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A few years ago I was lucky enough to work with perhaps the highest regarded speaker designer in our country. And I got a sneak peak into the world of audiophiles, which is simply amazing to say the least.
There is NO length that they will not go to to get the highest fidelity sound possible.
I feel alot of them would be astonished that the importance of high end monitoring isn't a priority in general here.

It doesn't take a lot of digging on the net to find a very strong audiophile community, and it also doesn't take long to work out that these people know what they are talking about.

The audiophiles are a rare breed indeed.
I heard of a guy, who when he has friends over to demo his system, unplugs his fridge to reduce the risk of low level hum.
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #22
Deleted f838904
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBrightSide ➑️
The audiophiles are a rare breed indeed.
I heard of a guy, who when he has friends over to demo his system, unplugs his fridge to reduce the risk of low level hum.
A few of the people I've met have their listening rooms on their own power circuits isolated from the rest of the houses wiring.

It's true, there is nothing they won't do to get better quality sound.
Old 10th September 2012
  #23
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollowaxis ➑️
A few of the people I've met have their listening rooms on their own power circuits isolated from the rest of the houses wiring.

It's true, there is nothing they won't do to get better quality sound.
My father (as mentioned is an extremist) Indeed, you are correct - both of his listening rooms have independent electricity from each other and the rest of the house - and "floating-floors".

Madness I say... Lol

Best,
Alexa
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #24
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ionian's Avatar
 
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollowaxis ➑️
A few of the people I've met have their listening rooms on their own power circuits isolated from the rest of the houses wiring.

It's true, there is nothing they won't do to get better quality sound.
I actually did that with my studio in my house. I had an electrician come in and bring a whole new power line with it's own circuit breaker box strictly for my studio. Not as extreme as doing it for a listening room, but still important I think overall.

Regards,
Frank
Old 10th September 2012
  #25
Moderator
 
psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBrightSide ➑️
A few years ago I was lucky enough to work with perhaps the highest regarded speaker designer in our country. And I got a sneak peak into the world of audiophiles, which is simply amazing to say the least.
There is NO length that they will not go to to get the highest fidelity sound possible.
I feel alot of them would be astonished that the importance of high end monitoring isn't a priority in general here.

It doesn't take a lot of digging on the net to find a very strong audiophile community, and it also doesn't take long to work out that these people know what they are talking about.

The audiophiles are a rare breed indeed.
I heard of a guy, who when he has friends over to demo his system, unplugs his fridge to reduce the risk of low level hum.
The isolation aspect can be important, both electrically and physically...but if you don't have a problem in the first place, you can't make it better!

What makes me laugh is the amount spent on oxygen free speaker cables etc...when the studios that make the stuff they're listening to often use standard mains cable as speaker cables!
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #26
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elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollowaxis ➑️
The audiophile world is interesting.
People pay massive amounts of money for things that are hyped with marketing but not backed up by actual testing etc.
You're probably referring to cables, and you're right, there's a lot of hype behind uber-expensive cables, but you should do yourself the favor of auditioning a great audiophile system. It's all the testing you'd need. No one would be mad enough to require a test afterwards, it's simply obvious.
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #27
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elambo's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aTelecine-Lex ➑️
If you look, or better still listen to something like the Krell "Master Reference" series amplifiers paired to a complimentary set of speakers and consider the specs the build quality - and more importantly the sound... It's hard to contrast with what is in everyday use at professional studios.
Agreed. I use those amps for my center and surrounds - they're extraordinary. 15 years ago I had a Bryston, which is very popular in studios and considered one of the better options. Although it's a very nice amp it just can't play catch with the Krell or similar. Entirely different leagues. Engaging to a point that you quickly forget you're listening to recorded music. A Louis Armstrong album on vinyl (the name escapes me) can be euphoric. Close your eyes... your ears are fooled 100% into believing all instruments are live. That's not easy to do and there's something amazingly gratifying about crossing that threshold. 99% doesn't offer it. THAT is why people have separate power sources, why they spend six-figures, why their rooms are treated better than most studios. It's a drug, plain and simple.
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #28
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1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey ➑️
What makes me laugh is the amount spent on oxygen free speaker cables etc...when the studios that make the stuff they're listening to often use standard mains cable as speaker cables!
So true. And it's no different with studio vs. mastering. The MEs have equipment far superior to ours. They want to hear absolutely everything. We send them audio recorded via a $70 microphone and they tweak it while listening to $100K+ systems. It's strange, but it works.
Old 10th September 2012
  #29
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Having been an audiophile decades ago, then later a recording engineer for more than a couple of decades, and recently studying psychoacoustics and the effects of perception/bias and how it relates to what we're actually hearing, I know most all of it is just hype, and that many manufacturers capitalize on it. Carry on.
Old 10th September 2012 | Show parent
  #30
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elambo's Avatar
 
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoSueMe ➑️
Having been an audiophile decades ago, then later a recording engineer for more than a couple of decades, and recently studying psychoacoustics and the effects of perception/bias and how it relates to what we're actually hearing, I know most all of it is just hype, and that many manufacturers capitalize on it. Carry on.
There's rampant hype in the audiophile community, no question. I'd hate to be head-of-marketing at one of those companies, a challenging position to hold. Doesn't change the facts stated above. Some people will stare at a logo and swear that they're hearing magic because of the brand/hype - no doubt about it - and others have the ability to ignore these things and judge sound, just the sound. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

Before you lost interest in the hobby, what kind of equipment did you use?
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