New DAC ?

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rustydoglim

New DAC ?
« on: 30 Dec 2017, 09:03 am »
Seems to be that D/A converter for audio has reached its peak.  Sure, there are other DSP stuff that can be added to a "DAC" product, but I am referring to the conversion part.
We have tried ESS9038  (prototype with IDA-32 but decided not to use it) and 9028 (used in CDP-9).
It seems that 9018 sounded more pleasing than the newer DACs.  Perhaps we haven't figured out how to tame it.
If you are pursing better sound quality, I think your focus should now be on speaker and amp, assuming you have a very good DAC.  Upgrading DAC-9 or DAC-10 has diminishing return. 
We can add more I/O (put it in a 17" wide case) and tweaks, but they are just minor enhancements.

Therefore if and when we introduce new DAC, we will be looking at adding new features such as Omnia module.


mresseguie

Re: New DAC ?
« Reply #1 on: 30 Dec 2017, 10:07 am »
Jason,

I'm just brainstorming, but...

Have you looked into using boutique caps (Jupiter Cu, Mundorf Silver/Gold oil, etc)?

Have you looked into modding the DAC-10 with a tube?

Have you considered separating the transformer by placing it in its own enclosure?

Have you considered replacing the internal wiring with silver/Deuland/Neotech wire?

Would any of the above improve the sound?

Thanks,

Michael

JLM

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Re: New DAC ?
« Reply #2 on: 30 Dec 2017, 11:02 am »
Appreciate very much your value perspective of the current SOTA of DAC's.

I for one would value images of the back of your units and of the remotes. 

Reviewers have mentioned how tight the back of some NuPrime gear is to fit connectors in.  They've also noted how slow the 0.5 dB volume increments make adjustment, that the small increments are pointless, and that some of the controls feel cheap.  I had an Emotiva DC-1 that also did 0.5 dB increments but the hefty remote was touchy (had to press hard but when it engaged it raced up and down).

And what is it with cheap remotes on higher end audio gear?  My $29 DVD has a much nicer remote than my $1200 DSPeaker DAC/preamp/DSP.  I'm aware of economy of scale in manufacturing but can't you find a generic remote or (hesitate to mention it because of the hassle) offer a smart phone app.?

And why doesn't the HPA-9 not come with a remote?  And what is the point of putting the mm/mc switch inside the unit?  Do you really want customers going inside your products?

It amazes me that a company can tackle all sorts of technical challenges yet stumble over these seemingly simple/obvious issues.

kaka89

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Re: New DAC ?
« Reply #3 on: 30 Dec 2017, 03:49 pm »
Reviewers have mentioned how tight the back of some NuPrime gear is to fit connectors in.  They've also noted how slow the 0.5 dB volume increments make adjustment, that the small increments are pointless, and that some of the controls feel cheap.  I had an Emotiva DC-1 that also did 0.5 dB increments but the hefty remote was touchy (had to press hard but when it engaged it raced up and down).

And what is it with cheap remotes on higher end audio gear?  My $29 DVD has a much nicer remote than my $1200 DSPeaker DAC/preamp/DSP.  I'm aware of economy of scale in manufacturing but can't you find a generic remote or (hesitate to mention it because of the hassle) offer a smart phone app.?

And why doesn't the HPA-9 not come with a remote?  And what is the point of putting the mm/mc switch inside the unit?  Do you really want customers going inside your products?

It amazes me that a company can tackle all sorts of technical challenges yet stumble over these seemingly simple/obvious issues.

I live in a small apartment and only allow me to listen music in small volume, and I found the 0.5db very handy because I always listen at between level 10 to 20. One of the best feature I love about my DAC-9.

Agree on the remote part.

DSP or any room perfect / frequency correction feature would be a huge feature for any DAC. They belongs together.

Samac

Re: New DAC ?
« Reply #4 on: 30 Dec 2017, 05:52 pm »
My IDA-16 has the 99 0.5db increments volume control and it is fantastic. It is one of the best volume controls I have used. :thumb:

My Arcam A19 integrated also has a 99 step 0.5db incremental volume control and it is outstanding as well. :green:

Cheers,

Scott

Wind Chaser

Re: New DAC ?
« Reply #5 on: 30 Dec 2017, 07:18 pm »
Seems to be that D/A converter for audio has reached its peak...

If you are pursing better sound quality, I think your focus should now be on speaker and amp, assuming you have a very good DAC.

It's become quite apparent that speakers are the weakest link in the audio chain. Very decent electronics can be had for a small fraction of what very decent speakers cost, and even then those speakers are still going to be the weakest link.

Steven Stone of The Absolute Sound wrote... "Within their product categories the DAC-10H DAC/preamp and ST-10 basic power amplifier are priced at the lower mid-level, yet they both deliver performance that could be considered exemplary regardless of cost. Unfortunately, that can't be said about anyone's speakers.

However if Nuprime made speakers offering as much performance and value as their electronics, they'd own the speaker market.  :thumb:


Quote
Upgrading DAC-9 or DAC-10 has diminishing return.

You've always been very candid about that, but there are other features that made the DAC-10 more compelling choice for me. And even though it does cost more than the DAC-9, it still a fraction of what some people charge for their DACs.

Wind Chaser

Re: New DAC ?
« Reply #6 on: 30 Dec 2017, 07:40 pm »
I for one would value images of the back of your units and of the remotes.

Reviewers have mentioned how tight the back of some NuPrime gear is to fit connectors in.





I don't know how much room the average person needs, but IMO this isn't a issue.


Quote
They've also noted how slow the 0.5 dB volume increments make adjustment, that the small increments are pointless, and that some of the controls feel cheap.

Those small increments are anything but pointless. Personally I like precision, and it would be very disappointing if Nuprime moved away from that. It seems to me most people who own Nuprime gear find the implementation of the volume control to be one of its most remarkable and cherished features.

As for some of the remotes feeling cheap, that's true, but then those particular components are built to to a price point. That's one of the reason why I chose the DAC-10 over the DAC-9. I'm sure Jason could offer a better remote for those who are willing to pay for it, but most people want the best possible sound quality for the smallest possible dollar, which inevitably leads to some kind of a compromise.

JackD

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Re: New DAC ?
« Reply #7 on: 30 Dec 2017, 08:21 pm »
And the remote codes are in the Harmony database.

left channel

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Re: New DAC ?
« Reply #8 on: 31 Dec 2017, 02:23 am »
I think I prefer the sound of AKM over ESS, or maybe I just don't like the neutral analytical systems being built around ESS DACs lately. There have been bugs in the 9038 series too: "pop" sounds when changing sample rates, and reversed DSD channels. Devs can fix those in firmware of course. But for all of those reasons I just ordered a DAC-9 to go with my new favorite amp, the STA-9. 

Nidri17

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Re: New DAC ?
« Reply #9 on: 1 Jan 2018, 06:13 am »
I think I prefer the sound of AKM over ESS

+1

Jason have your engineers experimented with AK4495 or AK4497?

Wind Chaser

Re: New DAC ?
« Reply #10 on: 1 Jan 2018, 07:35 pm »
I think I prefer the sound of AKM over ESS, or maybe I just don't like the neutral analytical systems being built around ESS DACs lately.

It's not the chip so much as the implementation, at least that's what I've heard more than a few times from various sources.

Furthermore, I would not call the DAC-10 analytical. It is however very transparent, tonally rich and squeaky clean. It allows the music to pass unfiltered.

left channel

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Re: New DAC ?
« Reply #11 on: 1 Jan 2018, 10:12 pm »
Agreed it's probably all or mostly the implementation. But everyone's ears are different. You may also like the STA-6 amp, which I found painful to listen to. To my ears, the STA-9 is the best amp I've ever owned.

On another topic, MQA has been suggested in other threads. My opinions aside, if that feature is considered I suggest implementing it only on the USB input to avoid the additional cost of a S/PDIF MQA module. At this time coaxial and optical MQA decoding can be left to DACs costing $2,000 and up. Of course, CES is right around the corner, so let's see what is announced.

Genez

Re: New DAC ?
« Reply #12 on: 4 Jan 2018, 06:34 am »
...................  HPA 10?   

With NuPrime's excellent tracking volume control.  And, have true balanced ins and outs...  Cost more?  A little bigger?   Of course!

I am now using the HPA 9 as my preamp and headphones.  Sure miss that NuPrime volume control like the HAP100 uses.  The volume with the HPA 9's pot jumps too quickly with the standard pot. And, at lower settings?  Not sure how accurate the channel tracking is.... as with any pot volume control.   

I was attracted to NuPrime/Nuforce originally solely based upon your excellent volume control.   For, I understand the value of accurate volume tracking at lower volume levels that nearfield listening provides.

HPA 10 could be a world class headphone amp and preamp rolled into one.   Let people pick their own DAC since they change the most.

rustydoglim

Re: New DAC ?
« Reply #13 on: 19 Jan 2018, 08:49 pm »
Most people don't understand how small the unit volume is for high-end products.  We can innovate on the hard technical problems (going to release a breakthrough reference amp in Feb), but those seemingly cheap little parts are the one that we have trouble with.
Custom made cost too much, standard parts required large order quantity.