High resolution digital is dead. The best DAC's killed it.

Something that came as a surprise to me is how good DAC's have gotten over the past 5-10 years.

Before then, there was a consistent, marked improvement going from Redbook (44.1/16) to 96/24 or higher.

The modern DAC, the best of them, no longer do this. The Redbook playback is so good high resolution is almost not needed. Anyone else notice this?

Showing 2 responses by engineears

I agree 100% My setup is comprised of a Soekris dac1541 (fully balanced R2R ladder DAC) feeding a Mjölnir Audio Pure BiPolar differential headphone amp over an XLR connection. The results with redbook audio are simply astounding and I have friends who subscribe to Tidal for the MQA cursing under their breath! muahahaha!
Sorry for the double-post, but it did occur to me that there is a benefit to DRM-free high resolution lossless audio. Namely, it has the flexibility to allow compensatory equalization made to it (to nullify deficits in any given transducer) without quantization artifacts or undue loss of quality. That’s the entire point of a high res file, you can play “late stage mastering engineer” to overcome your own system’s shortcomings.

* Caveat Emptor: All of this within the obvious limits of your system’s transducers. If your speaker is reluctant over a given frequency range, you can boost it or tamp down the others to some degree, but if there’s a big gaping hole in its reaponse no amount of eq is going to fix that!