In short nos is better. You will have to take a few careful listening sessions to perceive the undenying ease and naturalness of nos. If you value a "wow factor" of "engineered enhancement" then you will prefer up/oversampling. I have heard, and own both and admit that up/oversampling has some qualities that are possibly easy to find instantly appealing. The absolute naturalness of nos though is my preference. Hope this helps.
It is in my opinion a matter of taste. NOS DACs sound natural and fluid with very good ambience retrieval and microdynamics. They have smaller soundstage though. Up- and oversampling DACs sound bold, powerful in the bass and have wide soundstage. They have generally better macrodynamics in comparison to the NOS DACs.
IMHO they both have strengths and weakness. You must hear them both in your system and decide for yourself what will be better in that particular system. I've heard bad upsampling and good.
That being said I have one of the nuttiest combinations. I use a NOS DAC(no digital or analog filters) fed by a Upsampling processor. I find it a good compromise between both.You get the space and depth of upsampling with the naturalness and organic qualities of NOS. Like I said nutty but it sure sounds great!!!
I had a lovely modified upsampling Electrocompaniet ECD-1 at home for audition several weeks. Basically the best digital playback I've heard. Adding the upsampling to my NOS DAC brought it to a whisper of what I got from this better than $3500 Dac. Which is said to compete with Dacs several times its price.
So keep an open mind and experiment ..you never know what you'll stumble upon. :-)
I think it also depends on what you'll be listening to. I had the opportunity compare the Lite Dac-AH to their own solid-state oversampling Dac (the Dac-38). The conclusion I came to is that the Dac-Ah did some things better (I don't think I've ever heard a Dac that does acoustic guitar and percussion quite as well as the Dac-Ah; it's very "holographic" when it's on) and the Dac-38 did some things better (vocals were more "liquid", it's significantly more forgiving of poorly recorded material, 2-channel DVD-Audio stuff was unbelievable).
Now, that's purely anecdotal; like everything in high-end audio, I'm sure both designs can sound great if implemented well, and like Gmood said, it probably depends on your system's strenghts and weaknesses as well.
Ditto Bob! And if I may add, what is often not realized is the fact that most of the available DAC chips literally crash with higher sample rates. So this is the "problem" with oversampling / upsampling.
thanks for all of your opinions, i have tried a DAC couple years ago but it wasn't sounds like i expected. i only see a slightly different on it and I sold it right after. I am not sure if i should try different brand of the DAC or go for NOS. Any suggestions for NOS at around US12-1300?
I also agree with dazzdax. I might add that soundstage focus is rather muddy with NOS(it was harder to localize instruments within the soundstage) and the bass slightly muddy or loose in comparison. The supposed organic quality of NOS was very subtle at best. After direct A/B comparison in my system,I opted for an upsampling DAC.
In the end I think it is a matter of implementation. One method is not automatically better than the other.....it is how the techonology is used (i.e., it is the whole package, input to output).
My personal preference is for NOS implementations. I am currently using the Altmann Attraction DAC. In your price range Audio Mirror, Red Wine Audio, and Scott Nixon, I beleive, all make NOS DAC's. Good luck,
There's something to be said for both non-oversampling and for up-sampling. A good design provides the benefits of both, but only if it is fed with a good signal from the transport and digital interconnect. Even if it is not fed from the purest signal, a good DAC re-clock's the incoming signal so as to minimize some of those problems. Doing all of this with good quality parts really doesn't cost all that much. Sean >
I prefer the sound of NOS designs because they sound more natural to me. I'm an amateur classical guitarist and dabbled in playing the piano and sax when I was younger. Vocals, piano, guitar, sax in particular sounds more like the real thing on NOS filterless design. However, NOS does tend to dampen the HF. OS designs have more "sparkle" and more spacious sound, but they don't have the body and truthfulness of instrumental timbre of a good NOS filterless design. But I haven't heard the ultra expensive stuff from Esoteric, Burmester, etc. in a familiar setup.