Author Topic: Ultimate Preamp vs DEQX  (Read 1406 times)

Tranquility Bass

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Ultimate Preamp vs DEQX
« on: March 19, 2021, 10:04:07 AM »
Introduction:

Whilst we don't actually have a DEQX in front of us to test and compare with, we can still leverage the test results from a recent Stereophile review of the DEQX Pre-mate  which apparently is the same hardware used in all of their models with some changes to the I/O and software capability otherwise it is the the same old hardware except for the cheaper models which apparently use a switch mode power supply instead of the linear power supply used in the more expensive models. Of course the UP uses a linear power supply in all of its models ;)

For a detailed comparison between DEQX and the Ultimate-Preamplifier please click here to refer to our comparison table



Test Results:


Conclusion:

We can see a pattern emerge here and that in all tests shown below the Ultimate Preamplifier displays superior performance over the DEQX in all cases. Not just a small improvement but a major improvement !

DEQX claim the following from their own website but the measurements from Stereophile review don't really support these claims !

Quote
Audiophile-grade engineering

Every aspect of a DEQX is carefully engineered for optimum audiophile performance. For example: countless design, development, and auditioning iterations were put into the latest A/D convertor circuit and the DAC's I/V (current to voltage) convertor circuits. Over a decade of constant refinement and attention to detail has paid off in superlative performance.

Now add in superb digital coding and algorithms: a −140 dB digital processing noise floor and a precision digital volume control. The end result? A truly transparent component with zero digital artifacts. An "analog" sound for all combinations of input to output: analog to analog, digital to digital, and any combination of the two.

DEQX also claim in one of their reviews of "'first do no harm' transparency" but the measurements from Stereophile compared to our own measurements of the Ultimate Preamp show anything but transparency. Add to this an antiquated DSP platform with very limited FIR capability shows that this product is trying to be all things to everyone but succeeding at none of them.





The home of the Ultimate-Preamplifier and Ultimate-Amplifier ! https://www.analog-precision.com/

Tranquility Bass

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Spectrum of 50Hz sinewave, DC–1kHz, at 0dBFS into 600 ohms
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2021, 12:04:58 AM »
Fig.11 DEQX PreMate, spectrum of 50Hz sinewave, DC–1kHz, at 0dBFS into 600 ohms (left channel blue, right red; linear frequency scale).



Shown below is the output from the UP which shows at least an order of magnitude less noise and distortion compared to the DEQX whilst approaching the bottom limit of what the analyzer is capable of measuring !





The home of the Ultimate-Preamplifier and Ultimate-Amplifier ! https://www.analog-precision.com/

Tranquility Bass

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Re: 16 bit Jitter Test using J-test
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2021, 12:01:16 PM »
Shown below is the J-test Jitter spectrum of the DEQX Pre-mate as reviewed by Stereophile. Noise floor modulation, spurious artifacts and poor jitter performance shows some issues with this design.



By comparison the resulting spectrum from the Ultimate-Preamplifier below is much cleaner even for 16 bit Red-book standard and does not suffer from noise floor degradation like the DEQX does above. We can see that the DEQX above needs a lot of work to match the outstanding performance of the Ultimate Preamplifier even for Red-Book 16 bit playback ;)



For the 24 bit J-test Jitter Spectrum the news is even better for the UP which is bad news for DEQX with vanishing low levels of jitter artifacts from the UP !

The home of the Ultimate-Preamplifier and Ultimate-Amplifier ! https://www.analog-precision.com/

Tranquility Bass

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DAC (19kHz + 20kHz) CCIF IMD test
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2021, 12:07:38 PM »
Fig.12 DEQX PreMate, HF intermodulation spectrum, DC–30kHz, 19+20kHz at 0dBFS into 100k ohms (left channel blue, right red; linear frequency scale).

Note how the noise floor is lifted up and modulated by the two tones whereas this is totally absent in the UP spectrum ! Again the UP wins hands down when it comes to transparency !



The following test results show that the IMD distortion of the Ultimate Preamplifier is exceedingly low and betters the performance of the DEQX Pre-mate by a long margin !

The home of the Ultimate-Preamplifier and Ultimate-Amplifier ! https://www.analog-precision.com/

Tranquility Bass

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Waveform and Spectrum of undithered 1kHz sinewave at –90.31dBFS
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2021, 12:42:29 AM »
Fig.10 DEQX PreMate, waveform of undithered 1kHz sinewave at –90.31dBFS, 24-bit data (left channel blue, right red).
 


Fig.8 DEQX PreMate, filter operating for Bryston Model T, spectrum with noise and spuriae of dithered 1kHz tone at –90dBFS with: 16-bit data (left channel cyan, right magenta), 24-bit data (left blue, right red) (20dB/vertical div.).



Below is the real time capture of the Left and Right Channels of the Ultimate Preamplifier at -90.31dBFS @ 1kHz 24 bit WL. Compared with DEQX above the output of the UP is significantly cleaner !



Below is the FFT Spectrum of the Ultimate Preamplifier output. Compared with the DEQX above the noise floor is much lower on the UP !



The home of the Ultimate-Preamplifier and Ultimate-Amplifier ! https://www.analog-precision.com/

MichaelH

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Re: Ultimate Preamp vs DEQX
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2022, 05:56:35 AM »
Kyron have updated their Gay-ear. With no new offerings from DEQX they must still be using that old klunker from above. I don't know how they can claim what they do about sound quality when the DEQX performs as bad as it does. That sine wave is truly shit. I don't see how Kyron can charge $250k+ when the electronics they are selling with the loudspeaker is as terrible as what the measurements above show.

“There's a sucker born every minute.”
-- P. T. Barnum
Nothing to see here. Move along

Tranquility Bass

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Re: Ultimate Preamp vs DEQX
« Reply #6 on: April 24, 2022, 10:26:52 AM »
Kyron have updated their Gay-ear. With no new offerings from DEQX they must still be using that old klunker from above. I don't know how they can claim what they do about sound quality when the DEQX performs as bad as it does. That sine wave is truly shit. I don't see how Kyron can charge $250k+ when the electronics they are selling with the loudspeaker is as terrible as what the measurements above show.

“There's a sucker born every minute.”
-- P. T. Barnum

Correct me if I am wrong but I believe their latest incarceration is a rehash of the same electronics they used before with some very minor changes. I believe they are still using the old legacy 96kHZ DEQX design with the old outdated Analog-Devices ADSP21065L 66MHz SHARC DSP, same DAC's and ADC's as before so therefore expect to measure the same as shown above from the Stereophile review. From what I can see most of the changes are only cosmetic ! Be-careful with FIR filtering and high-slope linear-phase crossover designs as the off-axis response can suffer if the on-axis response is highly optimized and there are differences in directivity or timing between drivers in the off-axis in which case the ripple in the impulse response of the high and low filters will not properly cancel out and this can produce an objectionable pre and post ringing in the off-axis impulse response even though the on axis response is perfectly ok with no ringing which kind of negates the claim of no "cabinet resonances" !!

cheers
David
The home of the Ultimate-Preamplifier and Ultimate-Amplifier ! https://www.analog-precision.com/

 

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