The regular readers of my audio blog probably have read the thread: “How to record FM broadcasts” at:
As you know I turned into to do it digitally and I do like it quite a lot. A couple months ago I knew literally nothing about digital. Today, I know as much but I have a surprisingly wonderfully performing recoding system. (look at “My Playback”, digital section, for further info) This is a totally different subject but there are a lot of very specific and very certain benefits to play music from wave files (...and perhaps I should describe them in a different thread).
So, during my search for a recording AD processor I came across the Lavry AD122 and the success with it made me to think about the DA 924 DAC. I was not on the DAC market. For quite a while I use a DAC that form my perspective is a unique and that very much corrupted my views about the digital to analog converters. Still, my reference DAC was 44.1/20 but I wanted to do 88.2/20-24. So, I bought the Lavry Gold DA-924 since I had a very goof experiences with it’s Sound approximately 5 years ago. Read the “How to record FM broadcasts” article and you might see how I was trying to figure what Lavry could do in context of my objectives...
Of course, of course of course … having two virtually interchangeable DACs I did ask myself which is better and is since both of the DACs have multiple digsital inputs I was wondering if I can pick one, the best one, and to use it for both purposes: playing CD and to play my FM recording system. This thread will my elaboration on this thought .... Do not anticipate an easy swallowable answer: both DACs are surprisingly resilient in thier contestability and both do well in the specific environments and in the specific applications. Read on and you understand what I mean, thought be advised that the data will flow “gradually” as I'll dive deeper into the Bidat vs. Lavry “battle”.
I very few words about the contestants.
Bidat is a creation of Ed Meitner from beginning of 90s. At that time Meitner ran Musatex Company that kind of were responsible for Bidat, thought the production I think they outsourced. I think when Meitner designed Bidat his himself did not know how wonderful it sounded. Sure engendering-wise Ed Meitner is a world-class specialist but how much is has to do with Sound? Anyhow, the original commercial production was kind of off the wall and the commercial Bidat sounded although very nice but it was not the Bidat that I would apreciate. Over the course of the years there was a number of standard upgrade discovered for Bidat, this some “upgrades" were juts the removing to needless elements of design that severely degrated Sound. Some upgrades did not work (the idiotic BG upgrades and the switching PS) another did… but in the end, if the objective of the Bidat owner were not the Moronic audio hype spared by folk at the audio web sites but the actual Sound then working with Ed Meitner and then with John Wright (who took over the Musatex) it was possible to end up with a most musical DAC ever. In interestingly that Bidat does not stay any criticism from a perspective of a casual “Angry Engineer ”. Ed and John never expanded why Bidat sounds in the wat it sounds. Theoretically Bidat holeds 5 Meitner’s patents but Ed and John assured me that the sound of Bidat has nothing to do with the patents but it has only to do with “how the things are done in the given case”.
A few more word. I wouldn’t like to sound like a typical audio Moron who worships any next thing that he own and I have no specific reasons to like or do not like Bidat. Over the course of the years, owning a few of Bidats, I was completely intentionally and VERY enthusiastically familiarized myself with anything available in D/A word: I have in my listening room many other DACs, or I very eagerly took my Bidat to many others listening rooms. My respect and appreciation of Bidat was juts building and browing while I was exposing it to other DACs. I can very confidently assure you that whoever DAC an average Audio person has seen out there in one or other ways was the subject of my attention or interest in my past. The only DAC that I never heard (but would like to) was the Pacific Microsonics. All the rest 16-20Bit DACs that I am familiar with the Bidat destroyed from musical perspective... I made over a dozen people thgat I liked to buy Bidats and it was always a fun to see thier first reaction to THAT version of the “digital sound”. Also, I have to confess that I was a person who 2 years ago decided to mock the Audio Morons and I posted on my site an announcement that I’m selling one of my Bidat for $7700
As the result, within a 2-3 month the prices on the used market for Bidat when from firm $900 to $3500. I sincerely feel, that despise that the 16-20Bits is kind of become not popular among the audio people, but considering the “performance index”, the proporly tuned Bidat should cost today $8K-$9K. You do not like to pay $8K for Bidat? Very well! Pay $15K for EmmLab, dCS or Wadia and have a fraction of the Bidat’s performance…
Lavry DA-924 is designed by Dan Lavry. I know little about him. He live at some kind of Seattle island, plays accordion and at the pro-audio forums he exposes himself as heavy-core designer with insultingly objectivistic but somehow reasonable judgments:
I bought a used DA-924 and it sounded very-very nice in the mode that should sound… worst and it sounded quite badly in it’s default “lowest jitter” operation mode. After exploring the unit I, to my surprise, did not detect any high precision .001% resistors upon wish this DAC should be made (S102 would be fun) but rather the flimsy trimmers. So, I desisted that it was mostly likely got discalibrated and sent the DAC to Lavry Engineering for tuneing up and to perform some very minor changes that I would like to have. A week and a few hundred dollars later the unit arrived back and since then the DAC is up and running. The DA-924 is multibit DAC and uses the Lavry’s own approach to deal with problems of digital conversion. My technical consultants, all of them, unanimously informed me that what Lavry does is conceptually light years ahead to what was done in Bidat that that Lavry’s multibit should wipe out my Bidat.
Well… they were not too wrong -the measurements-wise Bidat do not stay close to Lavry.
Below is a 16bit 1000Hz wave at minus 70Db after Bidat. In fact it should be looked at minus 60Db ,as at minus 70Db the details of the wave are completely hidden behind the noise.
Below is the Lavry’s DAC at the same 16bit, minus 70Db ... it is very much tolerable as you can see:
Here is below, the Lavry’s DAC at minus 90Db 16bit. I think that the image depicts the relative nose/distortion between the DACs quite illustratively… Do not forger that there is 20dB difference between this and the first image....
Ok, how it all manifest itself in Sound?
This is much more complicated question. I would love to say that "Lavry masseurs better but Bidat sounds better" but it would not be correct. I would not also say that Bidat lost the battle against Lavry. It would be more complicated then that… as they do better or worth under the different conditions… I will be posting my further comments into this thread… Stand by….
To be continue,
Romy The Cat
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche