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DDRC-24 Signal Chain Sound Quality differences 4 years 8 months ago #40295

  • humo
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I'm wondering why I am hearing such a difference in sound quality between the different connections to my DDRC-24. In order of perceived clarity and dynamic range (1 being best):

1. Macbook Pro > USB > DDRC-24 > Amp > Speakers
2. Macbook Pro > Airplay > Airport Express 2014 > Amp > Speakers
3. Macbook Pro > Airplay > Airport Express 2014 > RCA > DDRC-24 > Amp > Speakers
4. Macbook Pro > Airplay > Airport Express 2014 > Toslink > DDRC-24 > Amp > Speakers

This is before any room correction, eq, etc. On familiar tracks, I'm noticing chains 3 and 4 are missing a lot of little sonic details/micro-dynamics and it has some edginess in the treble. I understand that analog connections would have to be turned to digital and back through the minidsp but that doesn't explain the toslink connection sounding the worst.

What gives?

Other info:

  • The 2014 airport was tested by Ken Rockwell to have a very good DAC and accurate pass-through via toslink.
  • Airplay is supposed to support 16bit / 44.1kHz at 120 mbps
  • No matter what format the audio originally coded, your Mac or iOS gadget will turn it into a lossless audio stream. Only so-called “Hi-Res” Audio formats used by pros and audiophiles with higher resolution (e.g. 24 Bit / 192kHz) will be down-sampled to 16 Bit / 44.1kHz.— source
  • Files are 16bit / 44.1kHz CD rips stored as ALAC and played through iTunes

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Last edit: by humo.

DDRC-24 Signal Chain Sound Quality differences 4 years 7 months ago #40743

  • devteam
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Unfortunately we can't confirm on what could be the issue here with your airplay setup. 16bit/44.1k isn't the best resolution out there as you already suggested in your comments.. :-)

Also note that sometimes a perceived change in dynamic range could be linked to the gain structure (i.e. using RCA of DDRC-24, you won't have the same level as the USB audio and you need to catch up for it in your gain structure else it's making you feel that you are loosing clarity... Just our 2cts based on A/B testing experience.

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