When switching between different music formats such as standard resolution and MQA I hear a loud switching noise inside my Bartok unit. Is that normal?
Do you mean a loud switching noise or do you just mean that you can hear a relay clicking ( which is normal)?
More of a relay.
Then you are OK. When you change a format l such as from PCM to DSD the DAC has to reconfigure itself and that involves some switching which is what you are hearing.
Thank you Pete!
Which is a bit odd
I thought it was a bit odd as well.
I’ve grown to like the switching noise. Generally means that Roon Radio has taken over and I’m about to hear something new!
Initially I thought it rather unusual for what I consider a computer (or close enough) to make that sort of noise based on the data it’s about to process being different in some way. Photoshop doesn’t click when I swap between a JPG and a RAW file, for example
I realise there’s more to these DACs than that — a physical relay for one, by the sound of it (pun not intended, but it passes muster, so it stays) — but the basic concept of a DAC being “a thing that processes files for me” means that I had my expectations set elsewhere.
My TAD dac also have a switching noise of a relay when the input changes resolution. It is the output that is muted during the dac:s change in resolution so you don’t get any loud poops och clicks that might be passed on to the amp and damage the speakers.
If I press mute on the remote the same relay is engaged.
Yes, I get you . The problem arises from the same acronym being applied to two different devices. One is literally just a processor. It does nothing else but process incoming data. The other is a device that contains a DAC but also houses power supplies, control mechanics or electrical equivalents and an analogue output .
As @octaviars points out the analogue output needs to be muted to avoid digital noises which are produced during the change of formats reaching the rest of the reproduction chain as they may be harmful to tweeters etc.as well as giving the listener a belt to the lugholes .
Of course some DACs ( meaning the full box) do not make a noise when switching formats. That is because many of them only process the incoming data in PCM format so no change at that level actually occurs. The number of DACs processing native DSD is far smaller than the number that " support" DSD but in fact convert all incoming DSD to PCM ( and you will have to read individual products’ specs rather closely to find that out ).
My TAD dac actually does that (mute) even with only PCM being feed on the AES input from the Network Bridge. I know some people find it anoying that the relay clicks in the DAC but I dont mind it.
This is all very interesting to me. I thought I knew how DAC’s worked but I didn’t realize these nuances. Now I know why my Brooklyn DAC+ never popped! A pretty decent off the shelf unit I might add. Thanks again Pete.