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DAC filters. Are my ears broken?

Discussion in 'audio' started by HarryB, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. HarryB

    HarryB pfm Member

    I usually have a Mytek Brooklyn on duty in my main system but decided to swap it over today for my Cambridge Audio 851D.

    I don't think the CA is as smooth or detailed as the Mytek but it has filters to tailor the sound. These are Linear, Minimum Phase and Steep.

    So I selected an album I know very well and with the aid of the remote control began shifting through the filters.

    My conclusion? No discernible difference.

    Are my ears broken or is this filter thing just marketing bullshit?
  2. HarryB

    HarryB pfm Member

    Oops. This should be in audio. Apologies.
  3. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

    What lay between your ears and your DAC ?
  4. HarryB

    HarryB pfm Member

    About four yards of carpet plus some big Class A power amps and an even bigger pair of speakers.
  5. Marchbanks

    Marchbanks Golly, do I ever have a lot of soul!

    I have a Rega DAC and can’t hear any difference between the filters.

    I suspect the latter but at my age I also know that my ears are broken. I think you would need to be under 40 to hear a difference if there really is one. Or at least not to have spent your teenage years at rock concerts and come away with your ears ringing.
    HarryB likes this.
  6. sq225917

    sq225917 situation engineer

    Same here, only NOS sounds different enough to worry about
    HarryB likes this.
  7. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I’ve got a couple of CA players knocking about and I prefer the minimum phase. Just sounds smoother and more organic to my ears. The differences are subtle, but there. Don’t over-squint it, play each for a while, the one you feel more at ease with is the best!
  8. legzr1

    legzr1 Member

    I’ve been on this planet for five decades, abused my ears with music,concerts, motorcycling and heavy industry.

    I use an 851N streamer with the same DACs,chips and analogue set-up as the 851D.

    Part of my safety-critical job entails regular medicals including full hearing check in one of those sealed cubicles.
    I scored 1B - grade 1 hearing in both ears with a tiny loss at 2K-5K in one ear. Even got a graph to take home with me.

    My point?

    Buggered if I can hear any useful difference using any of the three filters.
    HarryB likes this.
  9. tricky1

    tricky1 Member

    My azure dacmagic has the same filters and with most music, the minimum phase sounds the most natural to my ears. The steep filter just doesn't sound right if I toggle through.
  10. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    As I remember it the Linear one sounds nice and punchy, the Minimum Phase natural and more organic/spacious and the Steep just wrong and not a place I’d want to stay long.
  11. timola

    timola pfm Member

    I used to think that, but after a few month with one filter in place you really getting used to it, and then if you switch filters the difference is more obvious.
  12. S-Man

    S-Man Kinkless Tetrode Admirer

    There are various filters available in Moode. I cannot hear any difference between any of them. I can however, hear differences between power supplies and regulators that ought to be totally insignificant.
  13. timola

    timola pfm Member

    Maybe it's time to try different kettle leads....only joking!
  14. radamel

    radamel Music Fiend

    When I had an Audiolab 8200 CD different filters did sound different to me.

    I even tried it blind once! :)

    My favourite was Optimal Transient XD.
  15. legzr1

    legzr1 Member

    I’ll give it a go.

    I used to have a Pioneer N50 and the filters on that could be heard (from not bad to wtf?) but I’m not sure if the DAC and filter used in the CA 851X differs as much.
  16. S-Man

    S-Man Kinkless Tetrode Admirer

    Been there, done that. Settled on a home made "hydra" using standard mains cable.
    Once in a while I retry my hydra using Belden screened cable and another using rubber insulated tinned copper wire. They all sound different to me, but the basic one sounds the best.

    It's all a bit daft really, I doubt the cables cause any differences that are measurable, but DAC filters do make a measurable difference to the output. I must be a proper audiophile if I can hear immeasurable differences but not the measurable ones :)
  17. awkwardbydesign

    awkwardbydesign Officially Awesome

    Been watching Bones again?
  18. misterdog

    misterdog Not the canine kind

    Ah the filter, carpet filter cancellation effect..
    HarryB likes this.
  19. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    Medical hearing tests ignore above 10 kHz, the only region where a filter should make the slightest difference
  20. Space is the Place

    Space is the Place pfm Member

    I have all the incarnations of the newer Dacmagic, i had the 851D for a while and thought the Dacmagic and Dacmagic Plus were much more convincing sounding! (both have Linear supplies and are used balanced btw).

    I wanted the 851D to be better, i tried it in all configurations and while it had plenty of detail it just found it uninteresting to listen too, the 851D is a very different sounding Dac that the others IMO.

    I'm with Tony his findings on the filters of the original Dacmagic, steep sounds a little muddled too when the music gets complex. I've tried a lot of Dacs and i still haven't found one that i like better than the original Dacmagic Azur, i've given up looking now.


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