I am curious. Is a Non-Oversampling (NOS) DAC sound better than a DAC that upsamples the original signal? Or, in other words, is it better to maintain the “original signal” and not add mathematical calculated extra bits?
I also understand that a DAC’s implementation makes a huge different in the resulting sound quality and so does the analog section. I am just trying to better understand a NOS DAC vs one that upsamples.
Depends, converting redbook the 2R2 Multibit Holo Spring dac, sounds far better on NOS than it does with OS, and you find that goes for most R2R Multibit dacs that can do it. I'm not into Delta Sigma dacs "trying" to redbook so I won't comment on those.
OP> I am just trying to better understand a NOS DAC vs one that upsamples.
I’m wondering myself how great a part this plays in the final result?
I mean after all, does this really matter somehow?
I believe regardless a dAC be an OS or NOS DAC, there is more to this than the philosophy or approach being lent to the solution.
like the OP alludeed to, as such, EVERYTHING in the dAC build and implementation has to be considered as a ‘WHOLE’, despite the OS or NOS digital side of the affair.
as I understand OS DACs some sonic aberations are attenuated or ameliorated outright via up sampling the rate. the other approach handles things differently, of course.
then to, some dACs deal with sonic issues on the analog side.
doesn't that all by itself sort of make the design argument nonessential?
for eX… lets say you got to hear similarly priced but not exactly, two dACs. one of each design, and in your own rig.
in the end, things were close. very very close. its come down to a coin toss.
the thing then is cost. Right?
one must stay focused on the overall, or end result and not merely at which way they went to achieve it.
it do make for some interesting debates though, from time to time.
if the dAC has the short list of options I desire, I can afford to buy it, and its a decided boost to the sQ in the system, I could care less if they got blind squirrels juggling knives while jogging on a treadmill inside the thing.
well, so long as I don’t have to feed or clean up after them, and they maintain their hygiene.
Upsampling allows mathematical filtering which is more accurate than anything in the analog domain. It also tends to randomize differential non-linearity from physical devices.
Anything built in the real world will suffer from differential non-linearity. This occurs in both time (jitter) or in amplitude. (True whatever your DAC topology)
It is simple physics. Build anything with discrete levels (steps) in time or amplitude then you will have inherent physical limitations in accuracy between adjacent levels (steps). The errors are always there whatever you physically build. So building something with many more than necessary steps (levels) means the errors are far more likely to be smaller, benign, inaudible and random.
It is always better to have a higher bit resolution and higher sample rate than actually needed. This means differential errors are more likely to occur outside the audible range (below the noise floor or at higher than audible frequencies).
Think about it.
What is better?
Errors that are close to or within the audible range (16bit 44.1KHz) or errors that are way outside the audible band and can be filtered out (upsampled or high-resolution)
For these reasons most folks find that mathematical upsampling in Roon or other software can help improve the sound from many DACs. This is because it changes the nature of the physical analog errors that absolutely every DAC suffers from.
Latest DAC Chip design tries to leverage this issue by having a hybrid solution - a mathematical random software selects the actual circuits combined to create the amplitude on every cycle - ensuring that no two adjacent samples ever use the same circuit and thus inherent physical differential non-linearity errors are random.
Random errors are several orders of magnitude better than any noise that correlates to a musical signal.
The most accurate DACs like Benchmark DAC 3 are using this hybrid approach. They are equivalent to a 6 bit R-2R DAC running at a very high sample rate. This approach minimizes BOTH the impact of errors in time (jitter) and signal level (amplitude or bits). This approach measures an order of magnitude better than the very best most expensive R-2R NOS design or the very best 1 bit Delta Sigma or DSD.
If you don’t like the sound of accuracy and prefer a bit of distortion then you are part of a large camp. I like tubes too!!!
The above is just a discussion of pure performance accuracy and does not account for tastes.
I only have one NOS DAC, a MHDT Labs Orchid. I'm listening to Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here with it as I type this and it sounds glorious. Out of the many DACs I have, it's the one I chose for the system I listen to with headphones most office. It's the least "digital" sounding DAC I have, but very detailed and easy to listen to. I don't really care about the technical aspects of it, I just love the way this one sounds.
There are many DACs that appear to be over-engineered and overpriced, but having been through about 7, I don't see how it can be argued that they don't play an important role in the sound of a system, just as a turntable and cartridge do in an analog system.
No it is all about several factors , the dac type and implementation, will have some influence of the sound but also the quality of the Word clocks, thePower supplies , parts quality layout, isolation all contribute to the final outcome. I have had many dacs in my day , pits not allways the most detailed that sounds the best. I had 2 ofSchiits top 2 dacs ,as well as ps audio best , and in my system my Bel Canto Dac was the most musical . In other systems the other dacs are better suited .your amp And cabling too dictate the tonal balance and ultimate musicality. Tradeoffs in everything nothingis perfect, and-everyone has their own likes and dislikes.
You cannot compare different DACs such as one that is NOS and another that does OS. In my DAC, the NOS setting is way more musical, I built it that was for my own preference. The OS has its benefits also on my DAC. The soundstage gets wider, you hear more detail and more clarity. Nothing to me that makes me want to give up the musical (emotional) sound that the NOS provides. But people who have purchased my DAC prefer more details. Kid of like the tube vs. SS camps. As someone else mentioned above, always tradeoffs in this hobby.
You just need to listen to Redbook on a "good" R2R dac/cdp that you switch from NOS to OS while listening on the fly, like you can with the Holo Spring. NOS is far more enjoyable, it has more body to the mids, it seems to extend both the bass and the highs, you can definitely hear the decay (harmonic structure) of piano and cymbals down into silence far better than you can with OS. OS seems to chop it off, a little like Class-D amps also do for me.
the Denafrips Pontus allows you to change from NOS to OS at the touch of a button. I do change the setting occasionally but always find myself going back to NOS whether the music is served or streamed.
NOS is the better way to go.From my experience over the years I learnt the best way to achieve the sound I want is to keep things simple,all kind of sound "manipulation" gear maybe genuinely trying to improve the sound but in the end just making thing worst.