Did you ever wish there was a source for measurements, listening impressions, and how the two may converge? And one that was absent of extremist views that tilt so heavily in one direction, it discounts the validity of the other? Well, it looks like there’s a new sheriff in town.
I first became aware of GoldenSound’s videos from his MQA Review, which strikes me as one of the more balanced, informative, and invective-free discussions of MQA to date. As of this very moment, that video has 155K views, by far the most popular on GoldenSound’s channel, which popped onto the scene just 3 months ago.
I’m not going to offer commentary because that’s not my reason for sharing. If you’re interested in an investigation into MQA processing, watch this video. If not, move on.
As regular readers know, I’ve got the Denafrips IRIS USB Digital to Digital Converter (DDC) in-Barn for review. In brief, the IRIS takes a USB input and turns it into I2S over HDMI (LVDS Standard) or RJ45 (LVCMOS Standard), S/PDIF (Coax and Toslink), and AES/EBU. Preliminary listening suggests that the IRIS does a fantastic job of converting the Raspberry Pi 4’s underwhelming USB output into a very good sounding S/PDIF output. More listening time will tell.
Approaching a review of DDC, or just about any product in the digital realm that purports to improve sound quality by removing noise or jitter, is going to be controversial in some circles. Regardless of the real science behind the reasons why noise in mixed signal systems is bad for sound quality, deniers deny. Which puts a funny spin on the flat earther jibe that’s so often whinged at people who hear differences between streamers, USB filters, and so on. And that funny spin is funny because it turns the tables, where the science does more than suggest that noise and jitter deniers are the conspiracy theorists in this little unnecessary hifi drama.
“Electrical noise is the biggest enemy to an audio chain.” GoldenSound
“All of the problems with digital are analog problems.”
“The thing to remember is that digital systems are not immune to degradation due to noise.” Charlie Hansen, Ayre Acoustics [footnote 1]
If you want to learn something about noise, jitter, and sound sound quality, lend GoldenSound’s video, How do DDCs improve audio? (Denafrips Hermes, Pi2AES, Schiit Eitr, ifi Igalvanic), your time. It will be well spent.
1. These quotes are from a 2013 AudioStream article titled, There’s no such thing as digital: A conversation with Charles Hansen, Gordon Rankin, and Steve Silberman