Results: Soothe My Soul / Depeche Mode
The second single released from the album Delta Machine, Soothe My Soul is a rich track with deep drums and intense vocals. We listened to the Red Book 16/44.1 version, although a 24-bit release is available.
Test results (Listener A)
|Run||Actual Device||Guess device||Correct / Incorrect|
|1||JDS Labs O2+ODAC||Asus Xonar Essence STX (uncertain)||Not Correct|
|2||Realtek ALC889*||Realtek ALC889 (very certain)||Correct*|
|3||JDS Labs O2+ODAC||JDS Labs O2+ODAC (uncertain)||Correct|
|4||Benchmark DAC2 HGC||JDS Labs O2+ODAC (uncertain)||Not Correct|
|5||Realtek ALC889*||Realtek ALC889 (very certain)||Correct*|
|6||Asus Xonar Essence STX||Benchmark DAC2 HGC (uncertain)||Not Correct|
|7||Benchmark DAC2 HGC||Asus Xonar Essence STX (uncertain)||Not Correct|
|8||Asus Xonar Essence STX||Benchmark DAC2 HGC (uncertain)||Not Correct|
Listener A's comments:
This was an interesting second test. I can now clearly distinguish the Realtek ALC889 and detect it immediately with certainty. I was highly uncertain of the others. Note my double error in runs six and eight. Twice I mistook Asus' sound card for the DAC2. That's because, subjectively, those were the devices that sounded the best to me. They should be the most expensive, right? It turns out that I show a patter of personal preference for the Xonar Essence STX. It doesn't sound as "reference" as the others, but it seems to be what I favor. The bottom line, either way, is that (excluding the ALC889) I got almost all of the others wrong.
*: Tests of the Realtek ALC889 codec marked with an asterisk had a volume level calibration issue that was corrected later. We kept the results in for the sake of transparency, although they should not be considered representative of an actual ability to distinguish the ALC889 from the other devices being tested.