post #11 of 11
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

That's what I was discussing the the first response. A better audio device may do a better job with D/A and amplification, and this could improve the sound quality some. IMHO words like "full potential" are not very helpful descriptions though, and they're mostly repeated by audiophiles that buy an expensive new piece of equipment and expect to hear that it has brought out more of the potential, whatever that means.
A sound card in particular may have some kind of DSP options that can be turned on or off, to significantly process the sound before it gets sent out, like for some kind of virtual surround. Some devices use Dolby Headphone (I'm not terribly a fan, but some people find it helps a lot of gaming); Creative devices have their own proprietary CMSS-3D, which I'm not particularly a fan of either. Again, many people find it helpful though. This is on top of the fact that the sound card may have better hardware capable of better D/A and amplification.
How so? If what you're hearing is mostly a fuller bass (centered around 90 Hz or so) and maybe a little more treble extension, then that can be explained by the Yamaha having higher output impedance. (There definitely are other differences, but I'd expect those others to be much more subtle.) This is typical for the headphone out on a lot of receivers. If you wanted you could build a 3.5mm M/F extension cable with a resistor in the L and R channels to essentially add extra output impedance to any source. Plug this into the source and the headphones in this cable, and you get a higher-Z output. However, unless you listen quietly, you're not going to be able to add much of a resistance without decreasing the volume by too much, since an iPod is not that overly powerful for an HD 280.

The bass does sound better, but not because it sounds fuller. There is a better, and cleaner, balance of frequencies with the receiver. The bass sounds better because it doesn't overwhelm the treble like the iPod tends to do. I also don't have to change the playback EQ on the ipod to make certain songs sound better when I use the receiver. The receiver is just more capable of reproducing linear acoustics, even at lower volumes. Me saying it sounds "way better" is probably an overstatement, since I strive for the best sounds possible. I probably spent more time tweaking my Paradigm setup than I did listening to it mellowsmiley.gif