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[Official] OCN Headphones and Earphones Club - Page 1115

post #11141 of 37781
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaiBear View Post

Anyone have opinions on HiFi Man set of headphones (some are planar magnetic)? I see high praise for these (HE-300, HE-400, HE-6, HE-4, HE-500, HE-5LE) and my audiophile friends recommended them as well.
AKG Q701, Senn HD600, and Beyerdynamic 880s are pretty old (but good) tech, so I'm interested in the newer HiFi Man line. I see very little talk of these on the OCN forums when using search. I'm taking a guess that price is restrictive to most although the HE-300 is around $250.

I have the HE-400's, but had to ship them back because of the defect in the drivers that would cause sound to cut out. Waiting for the 2nd batch to ship out next week now. The sound on them was very good, but they are most definitely not neutral phones. Best way I could describe them is lush, with excellent bass. I haven't gotten a chance to try out any of their other phones, but these have piqued my interest in the world of planars now, which is a dangerously expensive prospect.

Also, I will say this, their customer service, at least what I've experienced, has been very good.
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post #11142 of 37781
For gaming i much prefer Q701 than anything i have use. For music Flac or 320kb mp3 are a must, i'll say flac for much better audio quality. 128kb mp3z will sound like crap
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post #11143 of 37781
also posted in what audio equipment bought today thread

Just got my O2 and Fiio L7 LOD cable, sounds really good, better bass response and everything is clearer. I didnt understand what people meant by the 'veil' until it was gone biggrin.gif
NsZNZ.jpg
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post #11144 of 37781
^^^ congrats the O2 is a great amp.
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post #11145 of 37781
SkoalFineCut,

Yeah, I was reading about the issues with the first batch of HE-400s. Did you purchase from Head-Direct? (I assume that's the only place right now to get them). By any chance do you know when they will hit Amazon?

Draygonn, rdrdrdrd:

Noob question - Is the O2 generally considered better than the E9, E10, E11 (although E10 is DAC/AMP combo)?
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post #11146 of 37781
So I finally upgraded from my Razer Lycosa to a TKL mech keyboard, which forced me to stop using the audio ports of my Lycosa. I've actually never used my HD555s directly on the audio ports of my motherboard and now that I have, they sound much better! I'm not sure if it's just me, but dialogue and background noise seem so much more "fuller" (if that's even a word) and clearer.

Did using the audio port extensions on my Lycosa really dumb down the sound signals or is this just some placebo effect? wth.gif I'd like to know what you guys think.
    
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post #11147 of 37781
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaiBear View Post

Noob question - Is the O2 generally considered better than the E9, E10, E11 (although E10 is DAC/AMP combo)?

In terms of audio performance, the designer of the O2 has benchmarked all four devices in question with the usual THD, IMD, noise, etc. measurements into headphones-level impedances. See for yourself:
http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/11/fiio-e11-amp.html
http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2012/01/fiio-e10-dac.html
http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/05/fiio-e9-headphone-amp.html
http://nwavguy.blogspot.com/2011/07/o2-headphone-amp.html

There's a table near the top of the E11 article, if you don't want all the details.

I think there is some argument to be made that the benchmarks used could maybe be biased to make the O2 look relatively good. Less cynically, you could say that he believes that the best performance on these types of benchmarks will result in the most transparent, clean sound quality (which is what electrical theory, psychoacoustics research in the area, etc. indicate), so therefore the O2 was designed to do well for those benchmarks. But also note that the benchmarks chosen are pretty standard in the industry. IMD CCIF, SMPTE, etc. are nothing new.

Most people's listening impressions--mostly sighted and thus biased so not particularly trustworthy--seem to indicate that the O2 sounds better. It has more power than the E10 and E11 of course, and lower noise than the others.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kokin View Post

So I finally upgraded from my Razer Lycosa to a TKL mech keyboard, which forced me to stop using the audio ports of my Lycosa. I've actually never used my HD555s directly on the audio ports of my motherboard and now that I have, they sound much better! I'm not sure if it's just me, but dialogue and background noise seem so much more "fuller" (if that's even a word) and clearer.
Did using the audio port extensions on my Lycosa really dumb down the sound signals or is this just some placebo effect? wth.gif I'd like to know what you guys think.

It could easily be placebo, but it could easily be legitimate as well.

Essentially the audio ports on something like a USB keyboard are handled by a low-cost internal "sound card" (more like just a single chip probably) inside. They're not going to aim for the best sound quality for something like that, since that would cost more money to implement. It's an afterthought. So this chip in the keyboard is responsible for the D/A and headphone amplification, both of which are analog processes that are nontrivial to do very well. A worse solution is going to do a worse job, meaning potentially audibly worse sound quality in various ways.

The ports on the motherboard are handled by a Realtek ALC889 chip, which is high end as far as onboard audio chips go. However, the implementation is also not a high concern for motherboard manufacturers, so you're not realistically going to get performance anywhere near the very respectable figures on the spec sheet (in reality, much worse). There's a lot of electrical noise and stray electromagnetic interference on a motherboard, both of which are not conducive for best sound quality.

It's possible that the ALC889 is doing things differently or otherwise, the motherboard overall has a better sound implementation so the D/A and headphone amplification are clearly superior. That could be what you're hearing.

It's also somewhat likely that the output impedance for the keyboard jack output and the motherboard output are different. This would cause the effective frequency response to change between the two outputs, among other effects, since the HD 555 has very widely ranging impedance over frequency (like 50 ohms to 250 ohms, depending on the frequency). This is due to the source output impedance forming a voltage divider with the headphones. Such frequency response shifts can easily change the perception of the sound too.
Edited by mikeaj - 2/8/12 at 11:55pm
post #11148 of 37781
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

It could easily be placebo, but it could easily be legitimate as well.
Essentially the audio ports on something like a USB keyboard are handled by a low-cost internal "sound card" (more like just a single chip probably) inside. They're not going to aim for the best sound quality for something like that, since that would cost more money to implement. It's an afterthought. So this chip in the keyboard is responsible for the D/A and headphone amplification, both of which are analog processes that are nontrivial to do very well. A worse solution is going to do a worse job, meaning potentially audibly worse sound quality in various ways.
The ports on the motherboard are handled by a Realtek ALC889 chip, which is high end as far as onboard audio chips go. However, the implementation is also not a high concern for motherboard manufacturers, so you're not realistically going to get performance anywhere near the very respectable figures on the spec sheet (in reality, much worse). There's a lot of electrical noise and stray electromagnetic interference on a motherboard, both of which are not conducive for best sound quality.
It's possible that the ALC889 is doing things differently or otherwise, the motherboard overall has a better sound implementation so the D/A and headphone amplification are clearly superior. That could be what you're hearing.
It's also somewhat likely that the output impedance for the keyboard jack output and the motherboard output are different. This would cause the effective frequency response to change between the two outputs, among other effects, since the HD 555 has very widely ranging impedance over frequency (like 50 ohms to 250 ohms, depending on the frequency). This is due to the source output impedance forming a voltage divider with the headphones. Such frequency response shifts can easily change the perception of the sound too.

Oh my, that was a lot to take in. Really great stuff to learn about and it does make a lot of sense. +rep for taking the time. thumb.gif
    
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post #11149 of 37781
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kokin View Post

So I finally upgraded from my Razer Lycosa to a TKL mech keyboard, which forced me to stop using the audio ports of my Lycosa. I've actually never used my HD555s directly on the audio ports of my motherboard and now that I have, they sound much better! I'm not sure if it's just me, but dialogue and background noise seem so much more "fuller" (if that's even a word) and clearer.
Did using the audio port extensions on my Lycosa really dumb down the sound signals or is this just some placebo effect? wth.gif I'd like to know what you guys think.

You should try a dedicated sound card and see the difference in that too thumb.gif
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post #11150 of 37781
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChaiBear View Post

SkoalFineCut,
Yeah, I was reading about the issues with the first batch of HE-400s. Did you purchase from Head-Direct? (I assume that's the only place right now to get them). By any chance do you know when they will hit Amazon?
Draygonn, rdrdrdrd:
Noob question - Is the O2 generally considered better than the E9, E10, E11 (although E10 is DAC/AMP combo)?

Yeah, I pre-ordered them from head-direct and was one of the 'lucky' ones to get the first batch. No idea when they'll be on amazon/other retailers though. The second batch won't ship til late February anyway.

Also, Fang put up a post offering an upgrade for the people that got defective units. $150 to step up to the HE-500. I'll have to think on that offer now.
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