Upsampling is the only way to get the absolute most from the CD format, provided the rest of your system is up to the challenge. There are several others, like dCS, Bel Canto, Perpetual Technologies, Muse, and MSB. But I feel that it would take a very expensive linestage coupled with one of those upsamplers, to equal the performance of my Resolution Audio CD50 when driving the power amp directly.
Hi Kies & Carl; I don't believe the Muse model 296 is an upsampling DAC, although I do think it uses over sampling technology, (but I don't exactly know the difference between over sampling and up-sampling). I've looked into this a bit as I have a Muse Model Two DAC and am considering upgrade to the 296.
I was just looking at the Soundstage photos of CES. Looks like the Boulder 1012 DAC/Preamp will be something to watch out for (claims to achieve 144 dB noise rejection, true 24 bit performance). It costs $15,000, though. Ok, the Muse does not upsample internally. Upsamplers by themselves are called "digital-to-digital converters". All the ones I mentioned (except the Muse and dCS) do this in the same chassis as the DAC itself. I beleive the Perpetual Technologies model 3 is the least costly of all these, and they (and also Bel Canto) offer in-home auditions, factory direct. The Bel Canto only upsamples to 96 kHz, instead of 192, though. But the Bel Canto is perhaps likely to be the best one for the money...that's only a guess.
Sonic Frontiers has just announced their 24/96 upgrade to both their SFD2 Mark II and the P-3 DACs. My SFD2 upgrade will cost $1300, but I will still have to purchase the $700 outboard D2D-1. So for $2K I'm ready for the next upgrade which will be the DVD-Audio capable machine probably available by the end of the year. (See the May Stereophile page 62 for the ad/announcement.
You may want to hold off on getting excited about upsampling. I just finished an audition of the Perp P1-A in my system, using alternatively an EVS Millenium DAC, the Muse 296, and Lexicon DC-1 processor. In all cases, I found the sound was BETTER when driving the DAC directly from a transport, than when inserting the P1-A in-between and doing resolution enhancement to 24/96 (for the EVS and Muse), and 20/48 (for the Lexicon). The upsampling seems to rob the music of its dynamics, and the bass gets DRAMATICALLY softer and flabbier. I found this shortcoming to be most pronounced, perhaps surprisingly, by the best DAC; the Muse 296. Using the P1-A, I strongly preferred the Sony SCD-1 alone to the P1-A/Muse combo. When taking out the P1-A and driving the Muse directly with a transport, OTOH, I preferred the Muse over the Sony alone perhaps in a 60/40 ratio. In short, my one person's impression is that upsampling is definitely not a panacea, it is not lightning in a bottle, but in some systems to some tastes, it may offer a slightly different presentation that is marginally preferable.
upsampling IS the SAME thing as oversampling(been around since 1984) just a new way of "marketing" new DAC's.And oversmapling is pretty much essential for the 16/44.1 format(almost every cd player I know of does this).My opinion, do one of three things:#1 - sit out the initial stages of the DVD-A/SACD war and check out how much software is available before choosing sides;#2 - buy a good/great(new or used) cd player(1 box)now while prices are falling on them;#3 - if you have to pick a side now, go for the SACD - they are awesome CD players, and you've hedged your bet for the future! I really don't know much, and I want to know more!!!!
MONK: Upsampling is not the same as oversampling. You need to learn more, and come back later. To Dekuip: Scull preferred the dCS upsampling of a CD to an SACD playing in the SCD-1. Perhaps the Perpetual isn't a good performer, but when properly executed, upsampling only increases dynamic and tonal resolution of the Red Book format.
The level of confusion on this subject (up/down/over/under - sampling) has risen to a point that has caught my attention. I intend to write on this matter in the near future. This article will appear on the Muse Electronics website ( www.museelectronics.com )within the next week.
...Thankyou Kevin Halverson of Muse Electronics. I will be looking forward to your cyber article re: clearing up the confusion about over sampling, up-sampling etc. To Audiogon members intersested in digital (music): Kevin H. is one of the top digital designers in the country, and I highly recommend checking out his up-coming post regarding this subject.
He said it would appear on his website, and not a post here (not that this matters). Anyway, I'm sure Mr. Halverson would agree that Jeff Kalt of Resolution Audio is his peer as a designer.
I believe if anyone asked Jeff Kalt of Resolution the same question as to his opinion of Kevin Halverson at Muse, you would get a similar response. I believe it is already known they have worked together on a number of projects of mutual interest over several years or more. The April 99 Recommended Component issue bears this out in a very informative interview with Halverson titled "Musing on 24/96. This same issue has a extensive review of the Muse Model Eight Transport & 296 DVD/CD Processor as well. This particular issue talks of the Universal I2S Interface, originally designed by Muses' Kevin Halverson, and its undergoing extensive further development to meet the needs of DVD-based Audio was itself a joint effort with Jeff Kalt. You can see both by going to: www.museelectronics.com. AS for the so called War of DVD-AUDIO & SACD it has for some time now been quite obvious as to the reason for Sony & Phillips promotion of the CD based SACD format. You only need to take into account the fact that the HIGHLY valued income to Sony from CD royalties are at an end, and the continuation of a format based on CD is essential to alleviate this loss. Muddy the waters, stir up controversy, confuse the consumer, whatever it takes to advance their interest and self serving goals seems to be the battle plan. What they have decided to do to the consumer is a D__ shame. The technology exists for both formats to co-exist but they absolutely seem to be opposed to it. There is no need for doing what they are. It hurts the industry as well as the average individual and for NO other purpose than to benefit themselves. Based on past experience can you possibly think they would hesitate to do otherwise? I know I can't.
Don, I'm in total agreement with you!
dkuipers or any other of you may shed some light on my problem in regards to all this i have a lexicon dc-1 it is 20/48 dacs.i run a adcom 700 as a transport and want better play back .how do i go at it.the lexicon has a a/d to d/a that can not be bypassed (serves me right for wanting a home theater) so if i put a levinson or a wadia half of my investment dies at the hand of the pre.if i go with a transport i stay at 20/48 that is why i was attracted to your discusion.the way i see it i will have to run the cd direct to the amplifier and then get a stereo pre latter when the sacd comes our way and have 2 systems having to go to the process of changing cables every time i want to see a movie.thank you for your help
OK, I'll wade into this as I now have my Sonic Frontiers (SF) D2D-1 installed as well as the 24/96 filter chip for my SF DAC 3.0 (which has 24/96 processing capability ONCE you replace the HDCD filter chip). Both have been broken in with about 50-60 hours of time. First off the DAC 3.0 is an exceptional DAC. The only reason I got it was because I was getting the D2D-1 and wanted to see (hear actually)what upsampling of the resolution and frequency REALLY does. I had the DAC 3.0 for almost 2 weeks before I decided to hook it up to my Muse 5 and compare it to my Muse 2+. Even though I was using the BNC connection, a 3 dollar Radio Shack BNC-BNC, 75 ohm cable, and the DAC 3.0 was stone cold and brand new, it was fully the equal, and in some ways superior to my Muse 5/2+ combo using the 13W3 interface. Interesting Observation No.1 : The difference between 16/44.1 and upsampled 24/96 was not subtle. EVERYTHING improved, imaging, dynamics, transparency, depth....everything. What really got my attention was the bottom end. Much tighter and dynamic. Interesting Observation No.2 : Using my Pioneer DVD-05's digital output, I compared upsampled 16/44.1 versions of the soundtrack Glory & Muddy Water's Folk Singer (Mo-Fi version)to the 24/96 versions. Again the differences were not too subtle and tracked with those while comparing straight and upsampled 16 bit stuff. But the upsampled stuff still sounded REALLY good. Kinda like the difference between really good DVD video and HDTV. The HDTV can look REAL and noticably better when compare to good DVD but, taken on its own DVD is also REALLY good. Interesting Observation No.3 : The better the 16/44.1 disc, the better the upsampled result. For example, the difference between the upsampled 16/44.1 version of the Glory disc and the 24/96 verion were noticably greater and less subtle than between those of the Muddy Waters disc. This has been my experience. I,ve also made other comparisons (HDCD vs upsampled 16/44.1 for example)if anyone is interested. Jeff
Hi 1953; Thanks for the very interesting upsampling report. It's not clear to me whether you have the Parts Connection DAC 3.0 or the Sonic Frontiers Processor 3-- would you please clarify that? Thanks, Craig
... I should have said Parts Connection Assemblage DAC 3.0-- sorry. Craig
Oops. You are right. I should have said the Parts Connection Assemblage DAC 3.0 not to be confused with the Processor 3. A couple more observations : 1. I consistantly prefered upsampling on HDCD discs to HDCD decoding...sorry Pacific Microsonics. 2. The 13W3 interfaces on my Muse 5/2+ and 8/296 combos are not compatible with those on the DAC 3.0 But the cables ARE. The Muse cable is $200 while the Parts connection cable is $50 and I could not hear a difference....sorry Muse.