I am currently feeding my lossless iTunes library through the optical channel into a Marantz DAC94 [a classic over-engineered old-school DAC utilising the almost mythical TDA1541s], which is then passed on into an active Linn System [ikemi / Kairn / 2xLK140 / Ninka].
I have had the opportunity of hearing several of the newer UK DACs with their multifarious upsampling techniques. I have not appreciated the new sound.
I am going to draw an analogy and i would be interested in what people have to say.
1. Is upsampling the audio equivalent of video upscaling?
2. Is Upscaling just visual trickey? An illusion that consistently fails to convince us?
1080p televsions are all the rage right now, but [in the UK at least] DVDs are not actually created/formatted to output at 1080p, but rather at either 720p or lower.
Watching a movie at its original [ie formatted resolution] means you see the original image. Keep your plasma at 720p or 576i [depending on the format of the DVD] and you get a clearly defined picture. When you upscale the image you may get "more" on the screen but it's not real is it? it's the upscaler playing digital tricks. it's a computer programme and/or an algorythm trying to "fill in the gaps" of a series of moving images.
And these predictions are often wrong. this, to me, is most apparent on close ups of human faces. upscaling just fails to accurately predict the range of movement of a human face. the movement is just too infinite and random. it's as if, at any moment, the blur and "add ins' of upscaling make the face look like its about to morph into something else. we see pinpoint accuracy in the parts of the face that aren't moving and strange blurs in the bits that are [most noticeably the lines of the forehead.] i often feel like i am watching an early 90s science fiction movie: human faces are forever on the edge of mutating into terminators...
personally i would rather watch and listen to what's actually there: not some digital predictive illusion of continuity. if there's a rock slide i want to see the rocks sliding, not a computer approximation that decides its actually a waterfall.
and i think that modern upscaling DACs may do something similar.
just a thought...