Is something wrong with me?


I can hear different RCA cables but not different DACs what’s up with that?

I’ve never believed you can hear different cables so never spent money on anything “audiophile”. But, I’ve now had 2 experiences that make me question myself. The first was about 20 years ago when I was buying amps for my car audio system. I’d haggled with the salesman for like 3 hours and finally he said “x is the lowest I can go. But if you buy them I’ll throw in this RCA for free”. I gave up and said fine. It was a very expensive top of the line RCA at the time. I threw it in and immediately noticed an improvement in the soundstage, detail, “air” of the system. Chalked it up to the stars had aligned just right and I was in a particularly good mood or something of the sort. A month ago it happened again. I was gifted a pair of expensive Audioquest RCAs. And BAM! There it is again.

On the other hand, I can swap around 4 different DACs (2 multibit, 2 S/D) and hear zero difference.

I just don’t get it.

What speakers and amps are you using?

The car audio system back in the day…I don’t even remember.

Currently I have my HP rig which is an iMac or a NAD CD player -> Shiit Modi MB or Bifrost MB -> Crack 1.1 or Liquid Spark -> HD600s or ATH-40x.

My stereo system is Mac mini or NAD CD or Marantz CD -> Modi MB or Bifrost MB -> Freya S -> NAD amplification -> Linn speakers.

So I have…well it’s actually 5 DACs. The two Schiit multibit converters, the two CD player onboard Sigma Delta DACs and, a DAC on a Marantz AVR that I use from time to time.

Do you hear a difference with the headphone system?

I would suspect that you would be able to pick out dac’s if you are able to pick out the differences between cables

I could see the car audio one as they could have been shielded better or maintain a strong signal. What rca cables are you using right now? There could be an impedance change between the cables that could mess with the input impedance and change the sound

I can hear the difference in cables on both the HP system and stereo. The DACs I can’t tell apart on either.

I’m now using Audioquest cables since I heard how much of a difference it made. Not the uber expensive fancy shmancy ones - it’s a bit of a mix of the lower priced ones.

eh, then I guess you be you. I can more easily pick out a dac then a cable, especially if they were under 3 feet. How long are these cables, and do you have multiple pairs of different cables or only the normal pair and the high end

Cables are all 3 foot. Updated them all to lower end Audioquest + the one expensive one I have.

Can you tell me what you hear different with the DACs? Is it detail? Tone? Soundstage? Something else?

Typically once you reach the higher end dac’s, the apparent detail is similar, but higher end dac’s imo more accurately represent the sense of space (soundstage, imaging, spatial ques). That is the main difference from what I hear. Another thing is the timbre of the dac, of how realistic does it actually sound besides the detail of the noise. This one is harder to pick up on.

Well even the lower end aq cables are more then sufficient and I would suspect that the high end cable is altering the frequency response on purpose by adding resistance and filtering to get a specific sound. That could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you ask, but I would bet that the actual material of the cable isn’t playing a role.

Right on. Thx.

And some gibberish to satisfy the 20 char minimum…:face_with_symbols_over_mouth: