Design vs. Parts

dallasjustice

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Apr 12, 2011
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I recently sold my beloved totaldac in favor a dreaded "chip DAC." I now use a DEQX HDP-4 which uses an IC for conversion. The DEQX, however, offers DSP speaker correction as well as active crossover and delay. I also use the DEQX to integrate a pair of JL Audio F113 subs on front and back walls.

Basically the DEQX works in the time and frequency domains to help the speakers and the room sound their very best. The upgrade in musicality is stunning. This is saying a lot since my totaldac was no slouch. I've also had other very finely made DACs like the playback designs MPD-5, BMC DAC and Empirical Audio top DAC. The DEQX makes everything work better in my system. My speakers sound better, there's way more bass dynamics, speed and tonal correctness. There's a ton more space in my room. One friend commented that my room now sounds like it's 10x bigger than it is.

I have to admit it. I think I've been seduced by the "parts jockeys." Who are these people? I am talking about the folks that enjoy showing their gear with lids off. Check out all those caps! Wow, are those lundahl transformers? How many shunt regulators are on that board? Is that the CC-957 clock?

Okay parts matter. But what matters more? The parts or the design?

I vote for design. I think parts are important. But every component MUST fit into the total system and make every other component/room in the system sound best. No part of a system is an island!

So, are you a parts jockey or a system dude?

Michael.
 

Lee

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Feb 4, 2011
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It also makes you question what is being accomplished by some 'modders' who replace wires and passive components in devices made by quality/experienced designers.

Good point.
 

Phelonious Ponk

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It also makes you question what is being accomplished by some 'modders' who replace wires and passive components in devices made by quality/experienced designers.

The assumption, on the part of those who buy the mods, must be that the original designer spec'd inferior parts for the sake of cost. The expectation of many, I suspect, is that more expensive parts = better sound regardless of design. And of course they hear what they expect.

Tim
 
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esldude

New Member
Superior parts may allow a design to reach its potential. But no parts can let a design exceed its potential. Design is foremost.

Having said that, at least in the past, many economic issues exist with a commercial product. And plenty of good designs were improved by selected superior parts by modders later on. Another area a good design can be limited by the PS powering it. Upgrading the PS can also allow the basic design to reach its potential. But design sets the ultimate potential.
 

wisnon

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Dec 12, 2011
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I recently sold my beloved totaldac in favor a dreaded "chip DAC." I now use a DEQX HDP-4 which uses an IC for conversion. The DEQX, however, offers DSP speaker correction as well as active crossover and delay. I also use the DEQX to integrate a pair of JL Audio F113 subs on front and back walls.

Basically the DEQX works in the time and frequency domains to help the speakers and the room sound their very best. The upgrade in musicality is stunning. This is saying a lot since my totaldac was no slouch. I've also had other very finely made DACs like the playback designs MPD-5, BMC DAC and Empirical Audio top DAC. The DEQX makes everything work better in my system. My speakers sound better, there's way more bass dynamics, speed and tonal correctness. There's a ton more space in my room. One friend commented that my room now sounds like it's 10x bigger than it is.


Michael.

So, why not go tri-amped Emerald Physics with full Spatial Computing setup?
 

dallasjustice

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So, why not go tri-amped Emerald Physics with full Spatial Computing setup?
I only have what I have. I love my speakers. I think they only have one weakness. I know that I've fully resolved their weakness and some remaining room nulls/modes using the active crossover feature in the DEQX to get both jl audio f113 to disappear in the system.

I am doing some speaker correction but only using a very gentle FIR filter Nyal designed. The filter only corrects time and frequency between 1khz and 14khz. The improvement is noticeable but not dramatic. The reason I couldn't correct lower has to do with the fact that I have to measure my speakers inside my home. I would have to take them outside. That would also be the case with the setup you described. I don't have a crane and don't want to drag my Krell amps onto the golf course. Having said that, I don't think DEQX can correct all issue with a speaker. If there's a deficient cabinet design, for example, it can only do so much.

Can outstanding software design make other great hardware in the system work and sound even better? Yes it can.
 
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microstrip

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Design and parts can not be separated. You design for some parts and need some specific parts for your design.

Economics and the preferences of consumers are however some extra variables that must considered. Our preferences can change with time and are oriented by our search - the Duke of Mantua sang "La Donna è mobile", but we should listen to "L' Audiophilo è mobile" instead. :)

"Modders" and gurus have their part in this hobby - we have some dedicated, experienced people but also some butchers with soldering irons - we should not mix them.
 

Phelonious Ponk

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Design and parts can not be separated. You design for some parts and need some specific parts for your design.

Economics and the preferences of consumers are however some extra variables that must considered. Our preferences can change with time and are oriented by our search - the Duke of Mantua sang "La Donna è mobile", but we should listen to "L' Audiophilo è mobile" instead. :)

"Modders" and gurus have their part in this hobby - we have some dedicated, experienced people but also some butchers with soldering irons - we should not mix them.

So your position, then, is that the original parts specified by the designer should not be replaced by more expensive parts? Do you believe a quality design can be improved with upgraded parts?

Tim
 

microstrip

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So your position, then, is that the original parts specified by the designer should not be replaced by more expensive parts? Do you believe a quality design can be improved with upgraded parts?

Tim

Tim,

You can not separate my first sentence from the second one. In my second one I clearly explain why sometimes the parts could be replaced with parts sounding differently. You seem to be obsessed with high price and making everything black and white, where we have a lot of grey. IMHO design includes topology, parts and implementation.

Some expensive parts have strong sound signatures and are preferred by modifiers, as they allow them to model sound quality to their preferences. As I suspect that for you a quality design is just something that measures good according to the famous four standard measurements the second question is easy - in many cases yes!
 

Phelonious Ponk

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Tim,

You can not separate my first sentence from the second one. In my second one I clearly explain why sometimes the parts could be replaced with parts sounding differently. You seem to be obsessed with high price and making everything black and white, where we have a lot of grey. IMHO design includes topology, parts and implementation.

Some expensive parts have strong sound signatures and are preferred by modifiers, as they allow them to model sound quality to their preferences. As I suspect that for you a quality design is just something that measures good according to the famous four standard measurements the second question is easy - in many cases yes!

Sorry, I must have misinterpreted your second sentence...

Design and parts can not be separated. You design for some parts and need some specific parts for your design.

...your second sentence is actually where I got the idea that your position might be firmly against modding. It must have a meaning I didn't get, sorry.

As I suspect that for you a quality design is just something that measures good according to the famous four standard measurements the second question is easy - in many cases yes!

Not quite. I wouldn't even put something that measures high distortion or noise in the audible range in my consideration set, but really, no one can use measurements alone as a criteria for quality. Most components simply aren't measured (or reported, anyway) well enough for that. Yes, even people who believe in objective metrics and have concluded, based on listening experience, that lower noise and distortion sounds better, still have to listen to judge.

Tim
 

microstrip

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Sorry, I must have misinterpreted your second sentence... (...)
Tim

Sorry, I should have written paragraph. I wrote it initially as a single sentence, then split it . I was referring to this one.

Economics and the preferences of consumers are however some extra variables that must considered. Our preferences can change with time and are oriented by our search - the Duke of Mantua sang "La Donna è mobile", but we should listen to "L' Audiophilo è mobile" instead.
 

puroagave

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Sep 30, 2011
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Ask an audiophile about system design versus parts and he will want to talk about design of parts. :D

or worse yet, the designer that says he attained the last 5% of performance by using 3" piece of a certain type of wire between the PCB and the jack. red flags for me, I usually run the other way. contrast that with a designer with substantial cred like Nelson Pass, designing the .8 series of amps he was quoted as saying the individual parts mattered little in relation to the advancement made overhauling the entire circuit topology.
 

audioarcher

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May 7, 2012
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I think both design and good parts are important. Design is more important, because without it you just have an expensive mess.

It is very rare to see a commercial product using the best performing parts because they very expensive. What is frustrating is when you look inside of most super high end products and see ordinary parts. I would like to think you are getting something for your money other than a fancy chassis.
 

Speedskater

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So your position, then, is that the original parts specified by the designer should not be replaced by more expensive parts? Do you believe a quality design can be improved with upgraded parts?

Tim
While this question was not directed at me, the answer is no. A design has a certain synergy with it's parts and randomly replacing parts with other one's just because they cost much more without regard to all the part and circuit parameters will not improve the design.

In the DIY forums we often see poorly chosen boutique parts added to what was competent design.
 

audioarcher

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May 7, 2012
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While this question was not directed at me, the answer is no. A design has a certain synergy with it's parts and randomly replacing parts with other one's just because they cost much more without regard to all the part and circuit parameters will not improve the design.

In the DIY forums we often see poorly chosen boutique parts added to what was competent design.

Although I'm sure you are correct in some cases, how do you know they were poorly chosen unless you heard the end result?
 

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