Topic: Why is the sound from this Dac so much more powerful than my old Dac?

Beginner question... the sound from this Dac (even using the same cables, let alone when I upgraded to XLR) is WAY more powerful than from my old Dac (Musical Fidelity V90).

Right now I have my Dac around -8-10db and the sound is still almost overpowering ... it's not a negative thing, but I'm very surprised at the difference... it's like you added additional wattage to my speakers. Just curious as to why.

2 (edited by ramses 2019-01-19 19:31:19)

Re: Why is the sound from this Dac so much more powerful than my old Dac?

Your old DAC is a much cheaper product using consumer level outputss (RCA),  which have per definition a much lower output level (consumer level vs studio level).

The claims on the webpage about this product are interesting wink

https://www.musicalfidelity.com/v90-dac

"[...]The V90-DAC has a balance of measurements: distortion, noise, linearity, bandwidth, and phase, which in their totality are not significantly bettered by any product at any price.

If you hunt around, you may find the occasional DAC that claims to have slightly better performance than the V90-DAC in one area or another, but in totality will not exceed it. There are plenty of competitors shouting about their new, wonderful version of the emperor’s new clothes, but they offer little or nothing in real performance to back up their claims. Just lots of talk about subjective this or that, but all of it is just a matter of opinion.  [...]"

BR
Ramses
X10SRi-F, Win7 Prof, Cubase 9.5, UFX+, Octamic XTC, ADI-2 Pro FS BE/DAC, RayDAT, ARC USB

Re: Why is the sound from this Dac so much more powerful than my old Dac?

The V90 has an output voltage of 2.2 Vrms which is 9.1 dBu. Source: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/foru … -dac.3787/

The ADI-2 has a variable output level going up to 19 dBu on the balanced (XLR) output and 13 dBu on the unbalanced (RCA) output.

Small differences in level (below 0.5 dB) can cause perceived differences without the perception of a greater level.

Thus, you are likely listening to the ADI-2 at a different and most likely higher level than the V90.

Set the volume of the ADI-2 to -4 dBr on the unbalanced output for a level matched comparison (within 0.1 dB).

If the input sensitivity of your downstream gear is the same on the balanced input as on the unbalanced input, volume at -10 dBr on the balanced output would also match the level between the V90 and ADI-2 (within 0.1 dB).

Re: Why is the sound from this Dac so much more powerful than my old Dac?

All true. Now, even when I was using RCA with the RME the sound is WAY more powerful even at say, -5+ dB... and with XLR, at -10+ dB. Anyway, it's a pretty impressive difference.

Re: Why is the sound from this Dac so much more powerful than my old Dac?

Are all the ADI's DSP enhancements (B/T, Loudness, PEQ) turned off?

Does -5+ dB mean lower than -5 dB, e.g. -6 dB, or higher, e.g. -4 dB?

How much time was there between you listening to the different DACs?

Also, if you know which device is being used for playback, expectation bias can severely distort your perception.

Re: Why is the sound from this Dac so much more powerful than my old Dac?

Yes, I have Auto Ref enabled but even when I didn't my observations were the same. By -5+dB I'm just referring to the volume setting on the RME... as in, even with the volume turned down significantly, the sound is still much more powerful.

The listening time difference was basically zero. I noticed it right away after switching the V90 for the RME, using the same cables, speakers, etc.

It's definitely not expectation bias.

Re: Why is the sound from this Dac so much more powerful than my old Dac?

I didn't ask whether you have AutoRef turned on.

I asked whether B/T, Loudness and/or the PEQ were enabled.

Even the short time it takes to change the cables can be enough to distort your perception.

What did you expect of the different DACs?