How much parts selection can impact the sound ? - diyAudio
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Old 27th March 2014, 11:29 AM   #1
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Default How much parts selection can impact the sound ?

Hello,
sorry for the trivial question.
But i wonder how much a very good selection of parts keeping the same circuit can increase the unit performance.
I was reading about a dac where a different choice of caps and resistors was able to give 3D depth to the sound that was missing in the original ummoded unit. I have a soft spot for soundfield depth.
I found this as interesting as minimalist approach for instance.
It could be the case that a very basic design with a good parts selection could give excellent sound, even more than a complex design with generic parts ...
Thanks and regards,
gino
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Old 27th March 2014, 03:09 PM   #2
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ginetto61
It could be the case that a very basic design with a good parts selection could give excellent sound, even more than a complex design with generic parts ...
It depends on whether by 'very basic design' you mean 'competent but simple' or 'incompetent'. Also, does 'complex' mean 'important details attended to' or 'all hobby horses ridden simultaneously' or 'all audiophile buttons pushed'.

Circuits come first. Build layout comes second. Component choice (in proper engineering terms e.g. capacitor dielectric) comes third. Component brand comes a distant fourth.

Actually, there is no need to start a new thread on this. A little searching and reading would give you whatever answer you desire.
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Old 27th March 2014, 04:11 PM   #3
Fsatsil is offline Fsatsil  United States
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Is there a particular DAC you had in mind or do you just mean in general? Id be skeptical that a different cap/resistor choice would be "able to give 3D depth to the sound that was missing in the original unmodded unit". The circuit design is much more important then parts selection.
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Old 27th March 2014, 05:07 PM   #4
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Generally only the parts that are in the signal path will seriously affect the sound quality.

There are obvious gains to be made by carefully designing your PSU and more importantly how you implement the PSU, especially in a mixed digital and audio environment.

If you look at the Pass F5 or JLH 10W or the Hiraga for example, these are some examples of simple designs that have been very well implemented. There are loads of threads already on these designs where guys have experimented with various components throughout the designs.

Last edited by KatieandDad; 27th March 2014 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 27th March 2014, 06:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DF96 View Post
It depends on whether by 'very basic design' you mean 'competent but simple' or 'incompetent'. Also, does 'complex' mean 'important details attended to' or 'all hobby horses ridden simultaneously' or 'all audiophile buttons pushed'.
Circuits come first. Build layout comes second. Component choice (in proper engineering terms e.g. capacitor dielectric) comes third.
Component brand comes a distant fourth

Actually, there is no need to start a new thread on this. A little searching and reading would give you whatever answer you desire.
Thanks a lot for your valuable advice.
Now i got a hierarchy ... i asked because me and a friend were amazed by the changes in sound after replacing a feedback resistor in a preamp.
And I was amazed after changing a electrolytic with a plastic cap in series with a tweeter. Even bad connections or thin wires on a high current path can influence sound.
Maybe there are point in a circuit particularly delicate. In general i know that i have to look at the signal path first.
Thanks a lot,
gino
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Old 27th March 2014, 06:19 PM   #6
DF96 is offline DF96  England
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Quote:
And I was amazed after changing a electrolytic with a plastic cap in series with a tweeter.
Don't make the common mistake of extrapolating from a high power filter component to a low power coupling component. The former are sensitive to component parameters for two reasons (power, filter); the latter are not.

Quote:
Even bad connections or thin wires on a high current path can influence sound.
I would drop the "even".
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Old 27th March 2014, 06:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fsatsil View Post
Is there a particular DAC you had in mind or do you just mean in general?
Hi the 3D is this one ...

Xmos and AK4399 in single board

Quote:
Id be skeptical that a different cap/resistor choice would be "able to give 3D depth to the sound that was missing in the original unmodded unit".
The circuit design is much more important then parts selection
I do not know. I think that high grade parts in strategic positions can make a real difference, the problem is how much.
For instance, resistors are usually very linear and low noise.
And still there are some much better than others.
I am referring to Caddock or Vishay best ones.
If i had to choose an approach i would prefer simpler topologies with more accurate parts selection instead of complex topologies with generic parts.
Yes i would do this way.
Thanks alot
gino
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Old 27th March 2014, 06:22 PM   #8
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Well the power supply is "in the signal path".

There are certainly some components that have now well established differences in parameters and frequency response that have been *measured* and compared.

Caps, resistors are in this list.

So, in theory it is possible that the use of "better" quality components may yield an audible difference in perceived "sound". Better or worse is still highly subjective.

Yes, electrolytics are prime offenders in crossovers.

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Old 27th March 2014, 06:25 PM   #9
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Parts quality, especially in simpler, low/zero loop nfb circuits can be crucial. It can completely make or break the final result, although measurements won't show much.

Parts, which are perhaps more audible than others are coupling and PS caps, cart or dac loading resistors, anode, drain, collector load resistors, gain setting resistors in nfb circuits, chokes, transformers.

Signal path? As long as it includes devices which are in series and shunt to the signal. And of course all PS parts... which includes mains cabling too.
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Old 27th March 2014, 06:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KatieandDad View Post
Generally only the parts that are in the signal path will seriously affect the sound quality.
There are obvious gains to be made by carefully designing your PSU and more importantly how you implement the PSU, especially in a mixed digital and audio environment.
If you look at the Pass F5 or JLH 10W or the Hiraga for example, these are some examples of simple designs that have been very well implemented. There are loads of threads already on these designs where guys have experimented with various components throughout the designs
Thanks a lot for the very valuable advice
I have seen a lot of comparison between capacitors, for PS and signal coupling.
Some like the famous Black Gate are object of cult.
I like the Pass approach very much.
Thanks again,
gino
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