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post #341 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by nleksan View Post


I have the Grado HF-2 and I personally think they sound great out of my iPhone 4S and Sansa Clip Zip. While the HF-2 aren't particularly sensitive, their impedance is reasonably low and they operate at sufficient volume levels out of either device. Of course they require a higher on-device volume setting than my JH13 Pros do, but still the setting is nowhere near the max.

Additionally, while on-board sound can leave something to be desired a sufficient sound card like a Xonar Essence or Creative X-Fi Titanium HD should do the job just fine provided they meet volume level requirements.

I don't get how a headphone amplifier could conceivably "correct" the purported deficiencies of lossy formats. Differences outside of volume level are due to output impedance or distortion and poor circuit design (e.g. a tube).
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post #342 of 5049
I do 70% movie and 30% gaming. What kind of headphone do you recommend for sub-$100 budget? I have Xonar D1 as my sound card.
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post #343 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by friend'scatdied View Post

I have the Grado HF-2 and I personally think they sound great out of my iPhone 4S and Sansa Clip Zip. While the HF-2 aren't particularly sensitive, their impedance is reasonably low and they operate at sufficient volume levels out of either device. Of course they require a higher on-device volume setting than my JH13 Pros do, but still the setting is nowhere near the max.
Additionally, while on-board sound can leave something to be desired a sufficient sound card like a Xonar Essence or Creative X-Fi Titanium HD should do the job just fine provided they meet volume level requirements.
I don't get how a headphone amplifier could conceivably "correct" the purported deficiencies of lossy formats. Differences outside of volume level are due to output impedance or distortion and poor circuit design (e.g. a tube).

Everything I've said is assuming that when using headphones with, say, a computer, that you're already using a high-quality sound card... There would be no point to having $400 cans and onboard audio...

The amplifier works as a crossover/equalizer of sorts... Certain frequencies are easier to transmit than others, and an amplifier essentially makes sure they're all getting sent the same rate. That's an extreme simplification, but I'm at work right now so it's hard to type out much more...


I don't however disagree that for many people, all of this is overkill... but for real "audiophiles", it's just the tip of the iceberg... If you're happy with $50 Sony MDR-xxx cans, then no need to go spending more money... But if you want more, every little bit counts. FWIW, I thought spending $4k on a McIntosh amplifier for my home theater's 11.3ch setup was gonna be a waste but HOLY GOD it changed the sound completely... it now sounds REAL, not like "surround sound"... Headphones and speakers are different, but not THAT much so...
   
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post #344 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by nleksan View Post

Everything I've said is assuming that when using headphones with, say, a computer, that you're already using a high-quality sound card... There would be no point to having $400 cans and onboard audio...
The amplifier works as a crossover/equalizer of sorts... Certain frequencies are easier to transmit than others, and an amplifier essentially makes sure they're all getting sent the same rate. That's an extreme simplification, but I'm at work right now so it's hard to type out much more...
I don't however disagree that for many people, all of this is overkill... but for real "audiophiles", it's just the tip of the iceberg... If you're happy with $50 Sony MDR-xxx cans, then no need to go spending more money... But if you want more, every little bit counts. FWIW, I thought spending $4k on a McIntosh amplifier for my home theater's 11.3ch setup was gonna be a waste but HOLY GOD it changed the sound completely... it now sounds REAL, not like "surround sound"... Headphones and speakers are different, but not THAT much so...

That's not a simplified understanding of amplifiers.. that's just plain wrong. An amplifier is blatantly different from an equalizer (the term crossover shouldn't even apply here since we're talking about single-diaphragm-per-channel headphones, and not speakers or multiple-driver IEMs) and to use an amplifier as such is a dangerous practice against the integrity of the original signal. If you want an equalizer, you get an equalizer (be it software or hardware). An amplifier should not be employed for this role.

None of my headphones are quite $50, nor is my DAC/amplifier, nor my speakers. I believe that many of the non-headphone/speaker-related differences people "hear" are all in their head (differences between amps, differences between well-encoded compressed audio and lossless, differences between cables especially, et al). I also believe that these real "audiophiles" you speak of are just victims of charlatanry.


(Also, headphones and speakers are definitely worlds apart -- for one thing you have to deal with room acoustics in the latter case, which can often have as much of an impact on sound as the speakers themselves.)
Edited by friend'scatdied - 12/20/11 at 11:01am
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post #345 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumpet-205 View Post

I do 70% movie and 30% gaming. What kind of headphone do you recommend for sub-$100 budget? I have Xonar D1 as my sound card.
Depends how much bass you want and what type of gaming you do. If you like a lot of bass and aren't really that hardcore of an FPS gamer the Ultrasone 580s are a good choice. If you want more sound stage for FPS gaming, good bass, but not as powerful as the Ultrasones the Samson SR850 is a good choice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by friend'scatdied View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by nleksan View Post

Everything I've said is assuming that when using headphones with, say, a computer, that you're already using a high-quality sound card... There would be no point to having $400 cans and onboard audio...
The amplifier works as a crossover/equalizer of sorts... Certain frequencies are easier to transmit than others, and an amplifier essentially makes sure they're all getting sent the same rate. That's an extreme simplification, but I'm at work right now so it's hard to type out much more...
I don't however disagree that for many people, all of this is overkill... but for real "audiophiles", it's just the tip of the iceberg... If you're happy with $50 Sony MDR-xxx cans, then no need to go spending more money... But if you want more, every little bit counts. FWIW, I thought spending $4k on a McIntosh amplifier for my home theater's 11.3ch setup was gonna be a waste but HOLY GOD it changed the sound completely... it now sounds REAL, not like "surround sound"... Headphones and speakers are different, but not THAT much so...

That's not a simplified understanding of amplifiers.. that's just plain wrong. An amplifier is blatantly different from an equalizer (the term crossover shouldn't even apply here since we're talking about single-diaphragm-per-channel headphones, and not speakers or multiple-driver IEMs) and to use an amplifier as such is a dangerous practice against the integrity of the original signal. If you want an equalizer, you get an equalizer (be it software or hardware). An amplifier should not be employed for this role.

None of my headphones are quite $50, nor is my DAC/amplifier, nor my speakers. I believe that many of the non-headphone/speaker-related differences people "hear" are all in their head (differences between amps, differences between well-encoded compressed audio and lossless, differences between cables especially, et al). I also believe that these real "audiophiles" you speak of are just victims of charlatanry.


(Also, headphones and speakers are definitely worlds apart -- for one thing you have to deal with room acoustics in the latter case, which can often have as much of an impact on sound as the speakers themselves.)

I'm pretty sure he just didn't explain himself in the best of ways. From how I understood him, the amplifier acts like an equalizer in the fact that, depending on the headphone and it's needs, it will power the diaphragm and give it enough energy to move appropriately. This will result in more controlled bass, less recessed mids and sometimes less harsh highs. In effect, "equalizing" the sound of music/the headphones.

The amplifier doesn't "color" music and Solid State Amps won't degrade fidelity like a tube amp, but it will allow the headphones to perform as they should. Without an amplifer, headphones that require amplification won't be able to exercise their diaphragms appropriately and the sound will be "poorer" than they would be sufficiently amped. That's not to say that not using an amp MAKES them sound poorer, but rather using an amp MAKES them sound the way they should.
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post #346 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simca View Post

This will result in more controlled bass, less recessed mids and sometimes less harsh highs. In effect, "equalizing" the sound of music/the headphones.
The amplifier doesn't "color" music and Solid State Amps won't degrade fidelity like a tube amp, but it will allow the headphones to perform as they should. Without an amplifer, headphones that require amplification won't be able to exercise their diaphragms appropriately and the sound will be "poorer" than they would be sufficiently amped. That's not to say that not using an amp MAKES them sound poorer, but rather using an amp MAKES them sound the way they should.

Again, I don't agree here. It goes against the basic principles of sound quality. Unless the amplifier is introducing unwarranted distortion or altering the frequency response, these kinds of results are not possible.

Let me tell you the number one reason most people perceive the type of differences you mention (e.g. "controlled" bass, tamed highs, et alia). It's one mostly psychological fallacy with a dash of placebo.

It's volume. I can't fault audiophools too much for it -- volume-matching is quite a pain in the butt between two different devices without appropriate equipment and measuring tools. Nonetheless, virtually all comparisons that we read about are played by ear (so to speak) without matching the volume levels at the output, rendering the comparisons invalid and meaningless.

Barring volume mismatch, differences in perceived audio quality are completely attributable to the noise level, frequency response, distortion and in some cases the output impedance of the compared devices and how it interacts with the given load. With modern-day well-designed equipment (which can be had for as little as $100-150), the first three should be imperceptibly different to the human ear.
Edited by friend'scatdied - 12/20/11 at 1:28pm
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post #347 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simca View Post

Depends how much bass you want and what type of gaming you do. If you like a lot of bass and aren't really that hardcore of an FPS gamer the Ultrasone 580s are a good choice. If you want more sound stage for FPS gaming, good bass, but not as powerful as the Ultrasones the Samson SR850 is a good choice.

Ultrasone 580 is out of my budget, and I am not a FPS gamer. So Samson SR850? Or is there any other suggestion?
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post #348 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simca View Post

Depends how much bass you want and what type of gaming you do. If you like a lot of bass and aren't really that hardcore of an FPS gamer the Ultrasone 580s are a good choice. If you want more sound stage for FPS gaming, good bass, but not as powerful as the Ultrasones the Samson SR850 is a good choice.
I'm pretty sure he just didn't explain himself in the best of ways. From how I understood him, the amplifier acts like an equalizer in the fact that, depending on the headphone and it's needs, it will power the diaphragm and give it enough energy to move appropriately. This will result in more controlled bass, less recessed mids and sometimes less harsh highs. In effect, "equalizing" the sound of music/the headphones.
The amplifier doesn't "color" music and Solid State Amps won't degrade fidelity like a tube amp, but it will allow the headphones to perform as they should. Without an amplifer, headphones that require amplification won't be able to exercise their diaphragms appropriately and the sound will be "poorer" than they would be sufficiently amped. That's not to say that not using an amp MAKES them sound poorer, but rather using an amp MAKES them sound the way they should.

Yes, thank you! That is exactly what I was trying to say... It "ACTS LIKE" an equalizer, because it "equalizes" the way the (in Grado's case, TWO diaphragms) are able to respond to the input, making everything sound more "even". That's what I was getting at with the car analogy, but I guess it didn't work :/


Other Poster:
I agree that Home Theaters are different from headphones, and yes there certainly is much more to take into consideration, but I have done quite a bit with home theaters AND with headphones, so I was only using the former to make a point regarding the latter.

Furthermore, I can tell you from first hand experience that you can go out and buy a set of $4,500 Focal Component Speakers for your car, but if they're only running off of the factory head unit, they won't sound much different, if at all. Install a decent, mid-to-high end head-unit, and you'll notice a difference. Install the head unit AND an amplifier, and that's when they will really shine.
With PC's and Headphones, the sound card acts like the head unit, the amp acts like, well, the amplifier, and the headphones take the place of the Focal Components. Sure, there is a LOT MORE technical stuff below those layers, but if you already know that technical mumbo-jumbo, then you don't need to repeat it wink.gif
   
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post #349 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by friend'scatdied View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simca View Post

This will result in more controlled bass, less recessed mids and sometimes less harsh highs. In effect, "equalizing" the sound of music/the headphones.
The amplifier doesn't "color" music and Solid State Amps won't degrade fidelity like a tube amp, but it will allow the headphones to perform as they should. Without an amplifer, headphones that require amplification won't be able to exercise their diaphragms appropriately and the sound will be "poorer" than they would be sufficiently amped. That's not to say that not using an amp MAKES them sound poorer, but rather using an amp MAKES them sound the way they should.

Again, I don't agree here. It goes against the basic principles of sound quality. Unless the amplifier is introducing unwarranted distortion or altering the frequency response, these kinds of results are not possible.

Let me tell you the number one reason most people perceive the type of differences you mention (e.g. "controlled" bass, tamed highs, et alia). It's one mostly psychological fallacy with a dash of placebo.

It's volume. I can't fault audiophools too much for it -- volume-matching is quite a pain in the butt between two different devices without appropriate equipment and measuring tools. Nonetheless, virtually all comparisons that we read about are played by ear (so to speak) without matching the volume levels at the output, rendering the comparisons invalid and meaningless.

Barring volume mismatch, differences in perceived audio quality are completely attributable to the noise level, frequency response, distortion and in some cases the output impedance of the compared devices and how it interacts with the given load. With modern-day well-designed equipment (which can be had for as little as $100-150), the first three should be imperceptibly different to the human ear.

I can't agree with you at all. Listening to music at the SAME volume the differences are noticeable. So you're trying to tell me I'm actually listening to music louder and that's the difference? That's a load of crap. Besides the fact that there are tens of thousands of people that disagree with you, from personal experience, from reading hundreds of reviews from people that have more experience than myself with audio equipment and from hearing from friends that all have personal experience as well with audio equipment including amps, I can't pull myself to give you any credence.

There's a reason many snobby audiophiles spit on products like Fiio amplifiers. Fiio products mostly raise the volume of music as you purport that is all amplifiers should do. There's also a reason headphones like K701s need a stronger amplifier despite low budget amplifiers being able to make the K701s loud.

I'm not going to pretend I understand the science behind amplifiers and and audio because I don't. That's not where my experience and knowledge excels at all. I know enough to understand what people are talking about when they describe sound. I know how ohms play a role in a headphone, IEM or any other type of driver. I can't tell you how current and voltage work exactly. I can't tell you about the engineering and design that goes into an amplifier or DAC. I can't tell you about the circuitry design and how that effects the quality of audio. All I know is what I can hear. From my experience, from reading tons of reviews from others with MORE experience there's something to amplifiers other than just raising the volume. If that's ALL an amplifier did, it would be madness to ever spend more than 100 dollars on an amplifier.
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post #350 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simca View Post

I can't agree with you at all. Listening to music at the SAME volume the differences are noticeable. So you're trying to tell me I'm actually listening to music louder and that's the difference? That's a load of crap. Besides the fact that there are tens of thousands of people that disagree with you, from personal experience, from reading hundreds of reviews from people that have more experience than myself with audio equipment and from hearing from friends that all have personal experience as well with audio equipment including amps, I can't pull myself to give you any credence.
There's a reason many snobby audiophiles spit on products like Fiio amplifiers. Fiio products mostly raise the volume of music as you purport that is all amplifiers should do. There's also a reason headphones like K701s need a stronger amplifier despite low budget amplifiers being able to make the K701s loud.

Yes, I'm telling you that you're listening to the music at a different volume. Unless you're measuring the output volume directly (rather than playing it by ear, as I've said) with precision to the same dB, it's all in your head. How do you know that you're listening to the music at the same volume? Matching the device dials to the same position won't tell you anything -- gain and output volume can be inherently different between the two devices. Software-based volume controls don't cut it either. And of course, ears are the least reliable.

The thousands of people that you mention believe avidly in audiophoolery and snake oil in general, and there is no scientific evidence to back up their claims. There is no proof.

You trust your ears, I'll trust the books. Generally people who trust their ears waste a whole lot of money.

I've rotated through several dozen DACs and headphone amplifiers and I used to believe the same story that you do now. I then realized that I was being sold something, and that what the charlatans told me was untrue.
Edited by friend'scatdied - 12/20/11 at 3:02pm
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