| Romy the Cat wrote:|
|Oxric, I have no idea what your “literature” was all about. If the Item’s company does not name thier read-only DAWs as “transport” it would be no conversation at all. For sure the analog PS for PS that they do is very interesting thing and very much unknown thing but they have no guts of apparent expertise to make any claims about sonic benefits of it. They use a feedback of some kind of idiot-reviewer and some kind of reference. Pay attention that the feedback was not about sound of DAW but how it compares to some kind of CD transport – how much more idiotic it could be, particularly know that this machine is NOT a transport. Anyhow, I do not make any claims about their DAWs and perhaps Item is not a technical or sonic brain of the company. It might be a good machine and you need to buy it right, after renew your subscription to Hi-Fi Review.|
For future reference, in case anyone else is as confused as I am about the content of this thread; from the horse's mouth: the Item DAT1 could just about be considered a 'DAW' (the SPDIF version records analog, and you can run editing and mixing suites on it). However, it is a CD converter (it rips CDs to AIFF, WAV, FLAC, etc files). It is a CD player. Above all - it is a universal digital file player and streamer with onboard storage.
a) That makes it a 'transport' as you understand it,
b) All reviewers are idiots,
c) Linear supplies are generally better than switching supplies
d) File-based transports are generally better than optical drive transports,
e) The DAT1 performs better or worse than Device X . . .
. . . I have no further comment to make about such controversial or subjective matters, and I don't want to be seen to be promoting our machine: only to set the record straight about what it is and does.
Whether or not ripping a CD or engaging in other forms of digital > digital conversion modifies it systematically and characteristically is a separate conversation altogether.
As far as we're concerned, it's a rather short one, although it resurfaces occasionally on various forums in different guises. Any mathematical transformation of data involves a degree of necessary interpolation or filtering that can, to some extent, (generously) be considered 'lossy'. Any conversion from D>A or A>D plunges into a complex world of quantisation pain. However, although (as Romy points out) the throughput involves several layers of housekeeping error correction when ripping CDs, converting PCM data involves no transformation beyond modification of header data. No quantisation or approximation - just a copy, a backup: moved from A to B like any common or garden file transfer. It's not voodoo elf powder: it's just data.
Nailing this shut absolutely, though, is the fact that we can easily perform bit-for bit comparison of the CD contents with the file with 100% accuracy. There's no room to hide: individual bit errors stick out like sore thumbs. To imply that the resultant, perfect clone somehow 'sounds different' implies a systemic alteration to the file that simply isn't possible to ascribe to the data itself. It is possible (inevitable, actually) that each OS handles uncompressed file formats (WAV, AIFF) differently that could - just about, in theory - affect the file transport behaviour in real time, but it's a long shot.
It remains highly controversial whether the effect of on-the-fly decompression of lossless formats such as ALAC and FLAC create audible artefacts (in certain systems, it does appear to), but - again - a mechanism for the idea that 'my CD lost something in translation' has never been proposed, and currently seems untenable. We really can't blame the data. Which means that, providing the header and metadata are correctly formatted, any bit-perfect RIP made on any drive with any software is precisely and absolutely as good as any other, and is fully the equal of the CD.
Having said that, there is some wriggle room for two identical rips to perform differently because of their different positions on the drive and possible fragmentation, resulting in a different pattern of interrupts and EM noise created by different patterns of drive read access. But again, many find this stretches the limits of plausibility.
The problem is that you can never made a level playing field comparison between a CD and its ripped clone, because the hardware is so instrumental in the performance of the transport.