1 (edited by willnapier 2020-02-04 17:05:32)

Topic: Headphone DAC superior to those in UFX II? How much would that cost?

Hi, title says it: I'm interested in how much I would need to pay for a DAC (using cost as a rough proxy for quality) in order to make it worth having one in addition to the RME Fireface UFX II I use to record my piano?

By my very rough estimates, if the UFX has 4 high-quality DACs and costs £1600, then assuming they are a significant contributor to overall cost, each DAC could be 'worth' no more than £400. I'm sure it is more complex than this, but would this mean that if I paid £500 for a dedicated DAC (for high-res music listening on a good system), I would be getting DAC conversion of better quality?

Comments appreciated.

Re: Headphone DAC superior to those in UFX II? How much would that cost?

willnapier wrote:

Hiwould this mean that if I paid £500 for a dedicated DAC (for high-res music listening on a good system), I would be getting DAC conversion of better quality?

Comments appreciated.

No!
Dacs are so good that all improvement is only on paper. Headphone amps only if yours has a real problem driving specific phones.
Better headphones, yes. Better piano...yes, better room yes, better microphones maybe yes, better AD and DA no.
Better cables NOOO ;-)
Cheers!

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
HDSP9652+ADI-8AE  2X HDSP9632
Cubase pro10

Re: Headphone DAC superior to those in UFX II? How much would that cost?

Haha, thanks vinark.

Happy with the room and Piano. Interesting about the headphones.
So are you saying that, assuming other sonically relevant functions are done elsewhere, any differences between a £500 and a £5000 HiFi DAC that are claimed by the listener are not due to any objective change in sound quality?

4 (edited by ramses 2020-02-04 19:23:21)

Re: Headphone DAC superior to those in UFX II? How much would that cost?

I made different experiences when testing several phones on ADI-2 Pro.
https://www.tonstudio-forum.de/blog/ind … ADI-2-Pro/

I tested different models from Audeze (LCD-2, LCD-3, LCD-X) and others. Finally I bought the LCD-3 Alcantara model.

I tested with high quality audio material. The sound is better when listening through ADI-2 Pro compared to phones outputs of UFX+ and Octamic XTC. Those phones outputs are already very nice for recording interfaces, but there is a difference in quality when using ADI-2 Pro / DAC.

A friend of mine from Forum is also excited about the difference that he achieves by using an ADI-2 Pro compared to his former equipment. He combined it with a HDSPe MADI FX.

Maybe give it a try and look whether you also can get an improvement for your equipment and ears.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, Win10 Pro 1909, Cubase, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS BE/R BE, RayDAT, ARC USB

5 (edited by vinark 2020-02-04 21:14:30)

Re: Headphone DAC superior to those in UFX II? How much would that cost?

willnapier wrote:

Haha, thanks vinark.

Happy with the room and Piano. Interesting about the headphones.
So are you saying that, assuming other sonically relevant functions are done elsewhere, any differences between a £500 and a £5000 HiFi DAC that are claimed by the listener are not due to any objective change in sound quality?

Exactly
There was a blind amp test and result was that they, the panel,  did not have any preference but if forced to choose there was a very small bias towards the cheapest amp (most distortion lol).
Expectation bias is impossible to prevent except with absolute blind listening.
But of course what ever makes you happy is nice!

Vincent, Amsterdam
https://soundcloud.com/thesecretworld
HDSP9652+ADI-8AE  2X HDSP9632
Cubase pro10

Re: Headphone DAC superior to those in UFX II? How much would that cost?

I tested different models from Audeze (LCD-2, LCD-3, LCD-X) and others. Finally I bought the LCD-3 Alcantara model.

I have hypothesis why Adi2 pro headamp may be better for Audeze, but for high impedance dynamic phones like HD800 or DT1990 I don’t see any theoretical reasons why there might be audible difference with UFX+.
About Audezes: I remember that magnetic-planar phones usually needs more current, and LCD-X for example has impedance only 20ohms, but UFX+ has output impedance 2ohms, and octamix has 10 ohms, so damping factor for low-impedance headphones will be low in comparison with Adi2 pro, and UFX+ has much higher THD with low-impedance load, I think because it can’t generate so much current.
Maybe MC will explain technical reasons why you heard audible difference with Adi2 on high impedance dynamic phones too, it’s interesting.

7 (edited by ramses 2020-02-04 23:24:54)

Re: Headphone DAC superior to those in UFX II? How much would that cost?

Its not only with phones, also with my near field monitors Geithain RL906.

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, Win10 Pro 1909, Cubase, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS BE/R BE, RayDAT, ARC USB