Open for discussion:
Open for discussion:
Too bad the DAC downsamples 5.6MHz and 11.2MHz DSD to 3.1MHz (64fs) on its input. Wish it could handle the DSD signal at its native sampling rate :/
I'm most impressed by the 100MHz 1-bit part! :-O
By what measure?
To me the most transparent DAC I have ever heard is my Playback Designs via DSD.
I know people who recorded the output of a uber tweaked tape machine (someone told me its worth $60K - it one of those from the tape project) playing master tapes through a very transparent system and found it excruciatingly difficult to tell the difference. They did the same thing with a extremely good PCM DAC (called a Killer that tied with a DCS in a shootout) after converting it to 44.1 PCM - it was nearly (but not quite) as close. After hearing it the people involved simply could not be bothered mucking around with Vinyl, master tapes etc - it simply was not worth the effort in their view for such a minuscule difference.
The real limitation is the quality of the source material - not the DAC. The very best modern DAC's sound so close to what they are fed its not really worth worrying about - note - THE VERY BEST. Rubbish promulgated by Peter Aczel etc that basically all DAC's sound the same is just that - rubbish.
Basically if you want to know if the Mola Mola is up to it do the same test with it - no arguing etc etc - easy peasy.
Strange product name.. in korean language, if you pronounced Mola Mola.. it means I don't know, I don't know.
Sorry didn't mean to hijack the thread.
Bill, agreed that the source material is where there is the most room for improvement. But, we play the music we love to listen to, and hope that we can find the 'best" version of it.
Of course, when you convert from an analog source to digital, and then do comparisons of analog vs digital, you are often comparing a degraded source in the first place as tape does not have the same level of resolution as the best digital (although it can sound fantastic).
Best comparison would probably be live music captured to DSD by the Grimm (same designer as Mola Mola) and to tape, then compare the playback vs live. I suspect that if you did this comparison, and compared the DSD capture, played back through the Mola Mola to the tape, the digital would "win", but of course, I have not heard this so I can only have my suspicions. Then compare the live music, but feed it through the playback system via a mic pre to the DSD playback via the Mola Mola, That would be interesting...
Mola Mola is a name for the ocean sunfish, this is a weird looking prehistoric fish...
Bruno Putzeys (listed as co-founder/designer for Mola Mola) is the main guy behind the Hypex/NCore. Looks very interesting now that he's branching out.
Speaking of the 3.1MHz rate, I wonder why they decided to resample CD (44.1) and SACD (64x44.1) sources to (64x48kHz). Wouldn't it be better to keep the signal at n x 44.1kHz sampling rate?
It is appears that Bruno is using an asynchronous re-sampling algorithm, probably to reduce (eliminate) jitter. Typically, I do not like asynchronous sample rate converters, but my experience with them is via the typical ones implemented in hardware (TI 4392, etc) I suspect that Mr. Putzey's approach is likely much better than what is typical. Meitner/EMM do this as well, using their own approach. I am certainly not one to to question what Bruno Putzeys is doing here, and I have not heard it either; I think it would be premature to question his approach with hearing it first. Considering the entire approach used here is proprietary, and he could have implemented any approach he wanted to with the high processing power he is using, I will respect his decisions, unless I hear it and it sounds "bad".
From my (very) limited understanding, I question whether that statement is accurate. Whatever it's named (my continuous problem, PDM just doesn't do it for me) any sampling rate at 32 bits implies to me a magnitude sample, as opposed to one where there is simply an indicator of change from the previous sample (1 bit two level). That means there is an enormous amount of redundant information from one sample to the next, but not more information. I would agree that the information "density" is greater than the same, or higher sampling rate 1 bit two level, but to what end is that an improvement? My answer to that is if you desire to do math operations on the data stream. That's necessary for format conversions, or digital level changes etc., but not for just playing a DSD file.
Hiro is on to something when he suggests that there is down sampling for 5.6MHz and 11.2MHZ sampling rate data. Whether it's important or not, there is decimation filtering going on to filter out the frequencies above the Nyquist frequency of the new 3.1MHz sapling rate (1.55MHz), and the consequent phase contributions.
Guys, I suggest you read Bruno's blog at the Mola Mola website. There are some posts discussing the DAC development. Certainly, Mr Putzeys is not scared of doing some serious serious maths in his approach. I used to believe that ASRCs are inherently evil for sound, but then, my experience was limited to the simple hardware converters from TI. Since then I have heard the ESS 9018 in both its standard mode (with the onboard ASRC active) and in synchronous mode. The ESS is still better to my ears in synchronous mode, with the ASRC not active, but the difference is much smaller than with the TI parts. I can certainly accept, that given enough processing power and a better algorithm, that it could be possible for a no compromise ASRC to exist.
One thing appears clear, the performance of this DAC will not be masked by distortion/noise in its analog stage considering the specs.
Do you have any information on pricing? I can't see anything on Mola Mola's website. Looking at my country's distributor (USA), Mola Mola is not even listed as a brand offering.
The DAC is only going to be offered (at least at first) as an option for the preamp. These are not available yet, and I do not think pricing has been announced. Mola Mola is a high end brand, designed to a no compromise standard, so it will not be all that affordable. But, I do suspect that this will be one of the more affordable DACs of this type (totally proprietary, no off the shelf chips, similar to Playback Designs, EMM/Meitner, MSB, and dCS).
Have you ever heard a master tape through a top quality tape machine? Compared to Vinyl, CD's it leaves them in the dust. If it can reproduce that after digitization with extremely difficult to detect degradation rest assured you are getting a source for all practical purposes is entirely dependent on the quality of your source material.
If the Mola Mola passes that then its as good as any dac made. So far I only know two DAC's that pass it - a Killer and the Playback Designs, although I suspect there are others eg a DCS, but they haven't been subjected to the stringent test.
analog tape limitations tape vs DSD vs PCM The author don't even cosider tape as a high definition medium. Too much restricted frequency responce, low dynamic range, high phase shift, etc. Even 10 year old digital systems far surpass high-end tape machines.
I am very impressed with Bruno's former employer/brainchild (Grimm) and what it has done for the most recent Channel Classics recordings. And his DIY NCore 400's, although slightly anemic in my setup, were devoid of distortion, that's for sure. They have great potential IMHO. Now he takes on a familiar subject, digital processing and DSD. Nice! I am chomping to hear.
Although not done by a direct comparison IMHO the Arion HS-500 with Duelund Cast coupling capacitor annihilates it - but that again that amp, as an all round amp on a wide range of material is easily better than any other amp I have ever heard and that includes the MAC 501's. Only a valve amp I own on some vocal predominate material surpasses it - but that's undoubtedly due to some euphonics.
At about the price of the NC400 I rate the NAKSA 80 and Arion S-250 to my ears as clearly better.
No I haven't heard the higher price version.