Pictured above is every reviewer's dream piece. A very select few are lucky, lucky to have them. These are typically reserved for large audio corporations who need the best of the best for prototyping the latest product on the drawing board. The most wealthy magazines have one in the office, and maybe even an older spare in someone's home. Maybe someone even invented their own proprietary measurement interface and software and sells it as well as uses it to let their audience in on what is going on underneath the hood of the kit of the day under review.
Surely, Surely such results can't be replicated in the amateur enthusiasts lab? Well, that would be correct. They cannot. There are certain things that just require this level of perfection. Alas, all seems lost. But, wait a moment! NO! It isn't!
For all the things we can't do as well, there are quite a few things that we can do as professional reviewers stuck in amateur labs! Some recent products out of China that take direct advantage of the latest ESS chipset's harmonic distortion cancellation, along with creative minds and somewhat eclectic collections of software can provide results of which any reviewer should be proud!
Now, That day IS coming when I own something like the Audio Precision, although I think I will stick with the new Dscope M1 from Spectral (formerly Prism).
I am hoping within the next year or so to have such a fine state-of-the-art Audio Analyzer in the lab.
In the meantime, I MORE than make do with E1DA products, that are a BOON for budget audio analysis!!
What kind of boon you say???? Well, lets just say MOST average hi-fi equipment, no problem. With the combination of the E1DA COSMOS ADC and APU (Audio Processing Unit), most average equipment is no problem. Which brings me to the problem. The latest two DACs in the lab made by Topping. The E70 and E70V sister DACs, the only difference being one's heart is the ES9028, while the other is the very latest AKM AK4191+AK4499EX split chip DAC. I say 'only difference', but internally, that difference is pretty major.
The big problem for EuphonicReview is how to get accurate measurements on these two DACs. It wasn't easy. Every day was a learning experience, but, finally, right before my publication deadline of February 10, everything clicked into place.
Again, there are lots of measurements that I cannot match-up with an Audio Precision, but, you might be surprised how close in the end some of the most important measurements can come.
I give a big shoutout to Amir at audiosciencereview.com. We are going to stick to the Topping E70 DAC with the ES9028 chipset, because I know he recently reviewed it with his Audio Precision analyzer. Below is a comparison of his results with the AP, and mine with the E1DA Cosmos.
So, less than 500 dollars vs I am guessing 20,000 dollars. Not bad! Did you expect the results from the Cosmos to be so very off the mark? I did. Because the Topping E70 DAC has measurables that push the limits of the Audio Precision. Pushes them hard. And it pushes my lab to the very, very limit. But they are NOT that far off the mark. Impressively in the neighborhood IMO. Anything more, and I don't believe I can provide useful commentary. The highest SINAD DAC I have yet measured happens to be the sister DAC of the E70, the Topping E70V. 'V' as in 'Velvet'. I measured its SINAD with same setup at 121.3db, or 0.000086% THD+N.
At the moment, yes, I am satisfied with the marks I can reach. But I know the day is coming when my marks will fall more and more behind as technology keeps advancing. So eventually an upgrade is in order. But, for NOW, I can say with great confidence I can provide useful measurements in my reviews for anyone considering the product I am evaluating. Most especially when compared INTERNALLY to other products reviewed here at www.euphonicreview.com.