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post #381 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post

But the entire point is that the argument that whether devices sound different or not. The answer is yes. Should they theoretically sound different past a certain price point?

Or past a certain level of quality.

"Audiophiles" can and do waste their money on expensive audiophile designs, but they're deluded if they think they're buying "better" sound. They're buying distortion and altered frequency response, which is truly a shame once you consider the "pursuit of fidelity" view. It harks back to the "pursuit of realism" concept that you brought up earlier -- a pursuit of futility.

I suppose my definition of "good" is something that's well-designed and no-nonsense. No capacitance issues, no tubes, inaudible distortion levels and measurements that are good enough to be better than what I can hear. It's probably cheaper than much of the stuff that does put that garbage into the signal, anyway.
Edited by friend'scatdied - 12/21/11 at 4:23pm
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post #382 of 5049
but however the pursuit of realism can be a legit thing if it's based on solid science. There is a growing trend now of 'objective audio' which is a good thing. However it still doesn't change the mindset of some electrical engineers. 120 ohm output impedance in a receiver in this day and age? unforgivable but it still happens.

49 ohm output impedance in the Samsung Galaxy S2? WHY!?!?!?
post #383 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by friend'scatdied View Post

All of the tests you've described don't properly follow the scientific method and they do not constitute evidence. You are offering merely anecdote. Here's an article that explains why your "testing" isn't really valid testing: http://www.digido.com/level-practices-part-2-includes-the-k-system.html (You can't trust your ears to match levels)
Also your blurb about THX demonstrates that you are quite susceptible to marketing.
Once again, there's no scientific proof of demonstrable difference between items in the chain outside of the transducers in the modern day. There is a wealth of proof however demonstrating that modern DACs and amps sound the same.
Your preference of the Grados are rational since transducers do measure differently and these measurements are audible.
Also, don't feel bad: you're with the majority here that subscribe to the audiophile propaganda.

I agree, you are absolutely and 100% correct that my testing is neither scientific nor does it constitute any evidence beyond the anecdotal, and despite what many people in the high-end audio arena tend to think, the plural of "anecdote" is not "fact".
I myself am a man of science... I am working on two Master's Degrees: Biochemical Engineering and Psychopharmacology, so I am VERY well aware of the scientific method and how often and how badly it is abused. That said, I do not believe that I ever presented my position as "scientific evidence", merely as anecdote. I do not possess the necessary tens (hundreds?) of thousands of dollars worth of audio testing equipment that would be required to differentiate one pair of headphones from another, and neither does 99.99995% of the population. There is indeed equipment out there that can pick up on the slightest tonal/aural/whatever difference, and be able to present it as a numerical figure with applicable values, as well as chart graphs and all other fancy science-y stuff. They do a fantastic job, and sound engineering would be a dead industry without it.
However, you can take a million graphs showing every possible variable, show it to someone as "proof" that (for example) Senheiser headphones are superior to Grado headphones. You can do this after educating them on all of the subtleties of the audio equipment world, from the basic principles up to modern digital sound theory, but those million graphs and data points showing a "1.3% higher stability from 8215-10231hz resulting from slightly higher conductivity of the main wiring, resulting in more consistent diaphragm movement and thus superior sound", and the person might still tell you that the Senheiser headphones don't sound NEARLY as good as the Grado headphones.
Why?
Because, as with many sciences (from psychology to medicine to sociology to anthropology to chemistry to etc, etc, etc), HUMANS ARE EACH A SEPARATE VARIABLE! What sounds like the PERFECT pair of headphones to one person, may sound like garbage to the next. Hearing is done by the brain; the ears just send the "code" to be deciphered. As every person who has ever lived has had a brain that is distinct to them (from everyone else) in a near-infinite amount of ways (aside from the basic structural and functional aspects), there is not, nor will there ever be, a "perfect" set of speakers or headphones. For speakers, room dynamics do indeed play a HUGE role in the speakers' ultimate sound fidelity... yet compared to the role that is played by the differences between two people, it is almost infinitesimally small. (Remember, I said "compared to"; room acoustics/dynamics DO play a big role).

Fact is, while some things DO have a "best way" or "better way", such as how we can all agree that (under most circumstances) a liquid-cooled computer will perform better than an air-cooled computer consisting of the same parts, as the former will cool much better allowing for it to be pushed much harder. However, what CPU or what graphics cards or motherboard or RAM is used, that is individual... So it is with sound equipment... We can all agree that a multi-diaphragm (say, 7) tower will likely produce much more accurate sound than will a bookshelf speaker with only 2 diaphragms (which is why Bose is, literally, crappier than a $400 home theater in-a-box system, yet costs 6-15x as much but only uses PAPER diaphragms!). However, the difference between WHICH 7-speaker tower will sound better is much more complex and the individual will have preferences, physiological differences in their auditory system and brain, etc.

Bottom line: With Sound, there IS NO "ONE SIZE FITS ALL".
I hope you can agree with that....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riou View Post

Is spending thousands of dollars on headphone amps a waste of money considering they output less power than amps for loud speakers? Is the pursuit of audiophilia a never ending rabbit hole?

You're asking this on a site where people regularly pour liquid nitrogen onto their CPU's/GPU's in pursuit of the highest "number"... Just wanted to point that out wink.gif
   
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post #384 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by nleksan View Post

However, you can take a million graphs showing every possible variable, show it to someone as "proof" that (for example) Senheiser headphones are superior to Grado headphones.

Fact is, while some things DO have a "best way" or "better way", such as how we can all agree that (under most circumstances) a liquid-cooled computer will perform better than an air-cooled computer consisting of the same parts, as the former will cool much better allowing for it to be pushed much harder. However, what CPU or what graphics cards or motherboard or RAM is used, that is individual... So it is with sound equipment... We can all agree that a multi-diaphragm (say, 7) tower will likely produce much more accurate sound than will a bookshelf speaker with only 2 diaphragms (which is why Bose is, literally, crappier than a $400 home theater in-a-box system, yet costs 6-15x as much but only uses PAPER diaphragms!). However, the difference between WHICH 7-speaker tower will sound better is much more complex and the individual will have preferences, physiological differences in their auditory system and brain, etc.
Bottom line: With Sound, there IS NO "ONE SIZE FITS ALL".
I hope you can agree with that....
You're asking this on a site where people regularly pour liquid nitrogen onto their CPU's/GPU's in pursuit of the highest "number"... Just wanted to point that out wink.gif

But that example isn't valid since no headphone (or transducer) measures nearly perfectly and again there's the variable of HRTF that you and Mr. kiwi brought up. HRTF doesn't really come into the equation at the signal level (i.e. amplifiers and DACs). It is well-known that headphones and speakers sound inescapably different. It is also well-known that DACs and amplifiers shouldn't.

I haven't at any point argued or even suggested that headphones and speakers could/would/should sound the same or even better than one another.

Just as we can benchmark computer systems, we can measure the performance at the signal level with a great degree of confidence and meaningfulness. We can measure DACs and amplifiers to perfection (once again, as far as our ears are concerned) but we can't really do the same for transducers.
Edited by friend'scatdied - 12/22/11 at 11:35am
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post #385 of 5049
Hey,

I was just curious. I am looking to purchase the Audio Technica ATH-AD700, and I currently have the Fatal1ty Creative SB X-Fi sound card and was wondering after reading this thread if I should upgrade to the Xonar DX or the Xonar DG.

I currently am unsure if I even should change my graphics card, or if I do which one I should change to. My main purpose is for competitive FPS Gaming. I play a lot of Counter-Strike Source, and am looking into playing competitive Dota 2. My primary focus by far is for the FPS Gaming > MOBA.

If you guys have any suggestions, please let me know =)

~ CHRiSTPH
post #386 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by CHRiSTPH View Post

Hey,
I was just curious. I am looking to purchase the Audio Technica ATH-AD700, and I currently have the Fatal1ty Creative SB X-Fi sound card and was wondering after reading this thread if I should upgrade to the Xonar DX or the Xonar DG.
I currently am unsure if I even should change my graphics card, or if I do which one I should change to. My main purpose is for competitive FPS Gaming. I play a lot of Counter-Strike Source, and am looking into playing competitive Dota 2. My primary focus by far is for the FPS Gaming > MOBA.
If you guys have any suggestions, please let me know =)
~ CHRiSTPH

Very nice choice in headphones! I think you will enjoy them very much! I personally am a huge fan of "open ear" designs, as I feel it allows for "quicker" and more "accurate" sound, as well as reducing listening fatigue.

The biggest difference that I can see between the XONAR cards and the FATAL1TY SB X-FI card is that the former is a 24bit 192khz card while the latter is 24bit 96khz. That means that the Xonar does have a wider range of sound that it can produce, but more than 70% of that range is outside of the range of human hearing. However, while I am not sure in these specific cases, those specifications MAY mean that the sound card can support input formats UP TO THAT LEVEL, meaning the Xonar will give you full DVD/Blu-Ray quality audio, while the card you have will give you "Super CD"/DVD quality audio. Will it be noticeable to you, through headphones, while playing CS:S? I would bet it is NOT noticeable, but ya never know.

My advice: those are nice headphones, and while I don't know their impedance level off the top of my head, I would still invest in a decent (>$150) headphone amplifier that can be used inline between your sound-card and your headphones, in order to be able to FULLY drive the 'cans and get the best sound out of them as you can. The sound card you have already has a low signal:noise, at about 122:1, so the sound quality will likely be very good. The headphone amplifier will make sure that you are not straining any part of your system in order to achieve the volume you want (if your computer is outputting at, say, 60%, and your headphone amp is at 25%, you could turn the amp up to 40% and get much better results than turning the computer up higher; it's the original source that will produce the most distortion, so I always keep my PC volume at 50-60%, while my amplifier is around 35%, and that is when I want it loud; normally, the PC is 50% and amplifier is maybe 20% max).

Hope that helps! Enjoy those headphones!
   
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CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
2x MCP35X + Heatsinks/80x15mm Fan XSPC EX420 Alphacool NeXXos UT60 240 6x Bgears Blasters 140mm 1800rpm Fans 
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4x Koolance 120x25mm 2600rpm Fans Comp/Rotary Fittings (BP/XSPC/Monsoon) Primoflex Pro LRT - White (1/2x3/4) Windows 7 Professional 64bit  
MonitorMonitorMonitorMonitor
Dell P2210Hb 21.5" 1920x1080p Viewsonic VA2012WB 20.1" LCD 1680x1050 Dell U3014 Eizo 27" 1440p 10bit RGB-LED Backlit AH-IPS Panel 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
55" LG HDTV (their top 2014 model) Ducky Mechanical (Browns) NZXT HALE90 850W + 8 blown-up AX1200/i's NZXT Switch 810 (White) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
R.A.T.3 + MX510 My Desk GRADO RS1i Headphones Grado PS1000 Headphones 
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Heatkiller GTX680 "Hole Edition" Block + Backplate XSPC Single-Bay Res (Single 5.25 bay) EK Multioption Res X2 - Advanced 150 DD "Fill-Port Res" + Fill-Port Fitting (Red) 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
2x MCP35X + Heatsinks/80x15mm Fan XSPC EX420 Alphacool NeXXos UT60 240 6x Bgears Blasters 140mm 1800rpm Fans 
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MonitorMonitorMonitorMonitor
Dell P2210Hb 21.5" 1920x1080p Viewsonic VA2012WB 20.1" LCD 1680x1050 Dell U3014 Eizo 27" 1440p 10bit RGB-LED Backlit AH-IPS Panel 
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55" LG HDTV (their top 2014 model) Ducky Mechanical (Browns) NZXT HALE90 850W + 8 blown-up AX1200/i's NZXT Switch 810 (White) 
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R.A.T.3 + MX510 My Desk GRADO RS1i Headphones Grado PS1000 Headphones 
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post #387 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by CHRiSTPH View Post

Hey,
I was just curious. I am looking to purchase the Audio Technica ATH-AD700, and I currently have the Fatal1ty Creative SB X-Fi sound card and was wondering after reading this thread if I should upgrade to the Xonar DX or the Xonar DG.
I currently am unsure if I even should change my graphics card, or if I do which one I should change to. My main purpose is for competitive FPS Gaming. I play a lot of Counter-Strike Source, and am looking into playing competitive Dota 2. My primary focus by far is for the FPS Gaming > MOBA.
If you guys have any suggestions, please let me know =)
~ CHRiSTPH

Well for graphic cards it depends on how much you want to spend, i recently bought a Sapphire Radeon 6870 and it runs every game i can throw at it with max settings(BF3, Skyrim, Crysis 2, Saints row the third, Dirt 3 just to name a few) in css i get a constant 299fps are you going to be playing other games? the average fps is around 40-50 and max is 60 on more demanding games, only downside to this card is if you want to overclock it past stock speeds you wont get very far on stock voltage and the display driver will crash in-game.
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post #388 of 5049
I appreciate the reply, I realized I really should have proof read my post before posting...

I meant to ask if I should upgrade my sound card, not my graphics card. My machine is pretty new, minus the sound card, i've had that for a few years.
post #389 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by nleksan View Post

Very nice choice in headphones! I think you will enjoy them very much! I personally am a huge fan of "open ear" designs, as I feel it allows for "quicker" and more "accurate" sound, as well as reducing listening fatigue.
The biggest difference that I can see between the XONAR cards and the FATAL1TY SB X-FI card is that the former is a 24bit 192khz card while the latter is 24bit 96khz. That means that the Xonar does have a wider range of sound that it can produce, but more than 70% of that range is outside of the range of human hearing. However, while I am not sure in these specific cases, those specifications MAY mean that the sound card can support input formats UP TO THAT LEVEL, meaning the Xonar will give you full DVD/Blu-Ray quality audio, while the card you have will give you "Super CD"/DVD quality audio. Will it be noticeable to you, through headphones, while playing CS:S? I would bet it is NOT noticeable, but ya never know.
My advice: those are nice headphones, and while I don't know their impedance level off the top of my head, I would still invest in a decent (>$150) headphone amplifier that can be used inline between your sound-card and your headphones, in order to be able to FULLY drive the 'cans and get the best sound out of them as you can. The sound card you have already has a low signal:noise, at about 122:1, so the sound quality will likely be very good. The headphone amplifier will make sure that you are not straining any part of your system in order to achieve the volume you want (if your computer is outputting at, say, 60%, and your headphone amp is at 25%, you could turn the amp up to 40% and get much better results than turning the computer up higher; it's the original source that will produce the most distortion, so I always keep my PC volume at 50-60%, while my amplifier is around 35%, and that is when I want it loud; normally, the PC is 50% and amplifier is maybe 20% max).
Hope that helps! Enjoy those headphones!

Thank you very much nleksan,

All of your help was extremely appreciated!!
post #390 of 5049
Quote:
Originally Posted by CHRiSTPH View Post

I appreciate the reply, I realized I really should have proof read my post before posting...
I meant to ask if I should upgrade my sound card, not my graphics card. My machine is pretty new, minus the sound card, i've had that for a few years.

For gaming id say your better off with the X-fi card since thats what those were made for, I have the Asus Xonar DG it sounds decent for both gaming and music definitely an upgrade over on-board sound, and with its built in headphone amp your really cant beat it for its price (30 bucks), i dont know how much better or worse it would sound for gaming compared to your x-fi card though.
First Rig
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4790k Asus Z97-A EVGA GTX 780  G Skill Sniper 8GB set 
Hard DriveCoolingCoolingOS
1TB WD Caviar Black Hyper 212+ push/pull 5 Case Fans Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit 
MonitorPowerCaseMouse
Dell 23" Widescreen LED OCZ 750 Fully Modular Cooler Master HAF 912 Logitech G500 
AudioAudio
Beyerdynamic DT770`s (80ohm) Asus Xonar DG Sound Card 
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First Rig
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4790k Asus Z97-A EVGA GTX 780  G Skill Sniper 8GB set 
Hard DriveCoolingCoolingOS
1TB WD Caviar Black Hyper 212+ push/pull 5 Case Fans Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit 
MonitorPowerCaseMouse
Dell 23" Widescreen LED OCZ 750 Fully Modular Cooler Master HAF 912 Logitech G500 
AudioAudio
Beyerdynamic DT770`s (80ohm) Asus Xonar DG Sound Card 
  hide details  
Reply
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