IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

2 Pages V   1 2 >  
Reply to this topicStart new topic
Headphone amps, external power supplies: what difference do they make?, was: "First post here, Hi."
1096bimu
post Dec 7 2012, 00:35
Post #1





Group: Members
Posts: 2
Joined: 6-December 12
Member No.: 105013



Ever since I was told that it is possible to tell 320kbps CBR from loseless, I've had some interest in hi-fi, and that was a few years ago. Today, I use an ASUS Xonar Essance sound card and an AKG Q701 headphone. I am pretty confident that it sounds better than all the cheaper alternatives I've had before, and I am quite proud of my own ability to eliminate biases without blind testing (because of lack of equipment). However, 320kbps MP3 is still transparent to me. The absolute best I can do is tell 128kbps, and it is extremely difficult as I have to go through the samples multiple times to try and spot one or two obvious distortions, and tell from that. If I couldn't find any than they sound identical to me. I have read through many of the FAQs, compilation of test results and older posts so I know this isn't uncommon and isn't what I am worried about. I keep everything loseless even though I can't tell the difference because I don't have that many music, only a few gigs which isn't a problem for today's mobile devices (exported selected few from CD images).

The biggest problem is I keep running into this claim that headphone amps are supposed to make ginormous differences, especially with the AKG Q701. Some people say there is more difference with the K701 but aren't they identical except the colors? Of course nobody could show any blind test results and they are nothing more than testimonies. I am not a hard core audiophile I don't have any audiophile friends so it's not possible so it is not possible for me to try out stand alone amps. It just seems to me that many of these audiophiles believe in some kind of mystical superiority of external boxes. You gotta have an external DAC, and an external amp and you have to connect them together. I mean today they are just intergraded circuits why do they have to be external? The Xonar Essance says "Headphone amp card" and it does have an amplifier chip as well as those small ones that you can swap out and everything, so What's the difference?
In fact, I tried the Q701 on my cell phone, iPad, on-board intergraded audio, and even an iPod shuffle. They sound slightly worse I would say, the difference is quite subtle when compared to the Xonar. And I could not tell any difference between my phone, iPad and iPod shuffle.

I've also heard that you have to use an external power supply (it has a port that plugs into the computer power supply) for the Xonar to "bring out its full potential". Again, what's the difference? are computer power supplies not stabilized? I guess I also count as an overclocker so I know how voltages in the computer are set to two or three digits after the decimal, it is really sensitive stuff. I mean maybe the computer with its variable power requirement will destabilize the power source, but I don't listen to music while playing games or anything, I leave the computer idle for that. Also being a fairly high-end spec, the -12V power supply has a capacity of 650W (for 12V alone) , isn't that enough head room for small fluctuations?

Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
DVDdoug
post Dec 7 2012, 03:05
Post #2





Group: Members
Posts: 2625
Joined: 24-August 07
From: Silicon Valley
Member No.: 46454



QUOTE
The biggest problem is I keep running into this claim that headphone amps are supposed to make ginormous differences, especially with the AKG Q701. Some people say there is more difference with the K701 but aren't they identical except the colors? Of course nobody could show any blind test results and they are nothing more than testimonies. I am not a hard core audiophile I don't have any audiophile friends so it's not possible so it is not possible for me to try out stand alone amps. It just seems to me that many of these audiophiles believe in some kind of mystical superiority of external boxes.
Sometimes a headphone amp can make a difference. But, there is a TON on nonsense in the audiophile community and in audiophile marketing.

The parts to build a good headphone amp (or put one on a soundcard or motherboard) are not expensive. But, when you manufacture & distribute specialty items in small quanties, the costs go up. A nice cabinet also adds to the cost. So, an nice headphone amp could legitimately sell for a couple-hundred dollars, even if it doesn't sound any better than your average-good soundcard (or cheaper headphone amp). Plus, audiophiles are generally more-attracted to higher-price items. wink.gif

Basically, there are 3 kinds of potential defects or differences in sound reproduction:
Noise, distortion, and frequency response variations. So, if you read something like, "This amp has weak bass", or "This soundcard is noisy", that's engineering & scientific terminology and I'd tend to trust it. But, when someone says, "This headphone has more detail", I don't know what that really means, and I'm not sure anybody knows what it means in scientific terms or specifications.

If you are hearing noise in your headphones, you'll probably benefit from an external DAC & headphone amp (or from a better soundcard).


Otherwise, here's why a headphone amp can sometimes be an improvement:
Impedance - Headphone impedance varies over the frequency spectrum, that's perfectly normal and acceptable and the impedance curve is different with every headphone. Bit if the souce impedance of your soundcard (or headphone amp) is high (say, close to the headphone impedance), the variations in headphone-impedance interact with the soundcard's impedance and you get variations in frequency response (not acceptable). I think it's usually a bump in the bass or mid-bass, but like I said every headpone is different. Technically, these frequency variations degrade the audio reproduction and it's not performing as designed or as specified. But, the frequency variations (such as an increase in bass) could actually heard as an improvement.

With high impedance headphones (i.e. 600 Ohms) this isn't an issue, and you won't get different frequency response from different soundcards or headphone amps (assuming no actual defects).

Most headphone amplifiers should have low impedance, so this shouldn't be an issue. It might not be an issue with most soundcards either, but a "line output" could be higher impedance.

What complicates this is that the output impedance specs are not always clear... The specs for the headphone amp might say "32 Ohms", but that's usually the (minimum) recomended headphone impedance, not the internal impedance of the headphone amp itself, which is hopefully much lower. (The goal is not to "match" the impedance. With headphone amps & power amps, the amp shoud have much lower internal output-impedance than the actual load.)

Voltage - If you are not getting enough volume without distortion, a headphone amp will generally help because they are usually designed for higher-voltage output than an average sooundcard.

Voltage is also related to impedance... A higher impedance headphone (i.e. 600 Ohm) requires more voltage to get the same power (milliwatts) and loudness as a lower impedance headphone.

QUOTE
I've also heard that you have to use an external power supply (it has a port that plugs into the computer power supply) for the Xonar to "bring out its full potential".
This could be a voltage issue. I don't remember if there is +/- 12V on the PCI bus. I would assume so because they used to have +/-12V RS-232 ports on I/O cards, but I don't know for sure.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Dec 7 2012, 03:20
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
1096bimu
post Dec 7 2012, 05:19
Post #3





Group: Members
Posts: 2
Joined: 6-December 12
Member No.: 105013



QUOTE
This could be a voltage issue. I don't remember if there is +/- 12V on the PCI bus. I would assume so because they used to have +/-12V RS-232 ports on I/O cards, but I don't know for sure.

There is power on the PCI bus of course, but this card has an extra 4-pin 12v power port that uses the same power as hard drives/ DVD-roms and video cards, which plugs directly into the power supply instead of using power from the mother board.

QUOTE
Voltage - If you are not getting enough volume without distortion, a headphone amp will generally help

I don't have this problem with the sound card, it can go extremely loud. But for things like mobile devices and on-board audio I usually need max volume.

QUOTE
If you are hearing noise in your headphones, you'll probably benefit from an external DAC & headphone amp (or from a better soundcard).

no chance I'm hearing any noise from this one. rolleyes.gif

QUOTE
What complicates this is that the output impedance specs are not always clear... The specs for the headphone amp might say "32 Ohms", but that's usually the (minimum) recomended headphone impedance, not the internal impedance of the headphone amp itself, which is hopefully much lower. (The goal is not to "match" the impedance. With headphone amps & power amps, the amp shoud have much lower internal output-impedance than the actual load.)

This one I think has an independence of 10 ohms. and it is advertised to support headphones up to 600ohms.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Nessuno
post Dec 7 2012, 09:04
Post #4





Group: Members
Posts: 423
Joined: 16-December 10
From: Palermo
Member No.: 86562



QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Dec 7 2012, 03:05) *
But, when someone says, "This headphone has more detail", I don't know what that really means, and I'm not sure anybody knows what it means in scientific terms or specifications.

Better impulse response, maybe? wink.gif


--------------------
... I live by long distance.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Arnold B. Kruege...
post Dec 7 2012, 14:40
Post #5





Group: Members
Posts: 3923
Joined: 29-October 08
From: USA, 48236
Member No.: 61311



QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Dec 6 2012, 21:05) *
QUOTE
I've also heard that you have to use an external power supply (it has a port that plugs into the computer power supply) for the Xonar to "bring out its full potential".

This could be a voltage issue. I don't remember if there is +/- 12V on the PCI bus. I would assume so because they used to have +/-12V RS-232 ports on I/O cards, but I don't know for sure.


Doesn't matter. there are such things as DC->DC Converters that change 5 volts into whatever up into the KV range. 5 V -> 12 V is a common requirement for which off-the-shelf solutions exist.

If memory serves the early PCI Soundblaster consumer boxed versions had this feature because they were rated for more output voltage than 5 volts can get you to. The OEM versions were rated for the typical 1 vrms which a 5 volt supply can give you.

I just looked at the specs for the ISA and PCI bus connectors and they both have +12 and -12 pins. I suspect that people might want to avoid them because the 12 volt lines in a PC are loaded by motors and servos and aren't all that well regulated.

In a traditional PC power supply there is one transfomer with separate windings for each voltage output, but only the 5 volt lines are actually regulated. The rest are along for the ride. For example, if there is a big 5 volt load, the 12 volt output will rise maybe half a volt.

This post has been edited by Arnold B. Krueger: Dec 7 2012, 14:49
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Arnold B. Kruege...
post Dec 7 2012, 14:44
Post #6





Group: Members
Posts: 3923
Joined: 29-October 08
From: USA, 48236
Member No.: 61311



QUOTE (Nessuno @ Dec 7 2012, 03:04) *
QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Dec 7 2012, 03:05) *
But, when someone says, "This headphone has more detail", I don't know what that really means, and I'm not sure anybody knows what it means in scientific terms or specifications.

Better impulse response, maybe? wink.gif


Yeah, joke.

IME a lot of nonlinear distortion or significantly rolled-off highs (linear distortion) can do a nice job of removing that obnoxious detail stuff. ;-)

Thing is, very little reasonably good stuff has enough of either kind of distortion to cause a serious problem. If it happens, it probably happens in the transducer, not the electronics.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
arward72
post Dec 10 2012, 21:48
Post #7





Group: Members
Posts: 5
Joined: 10-December 12
Member No.: 105100



http://www.stereophile.com/computeraudio/a...ards/index.html

and the follow up review by a different pair of ears -

http://www.stereophile.com/content/asus-xo...-september-2010


These reviews contain a staggering amount of easily digestable information and will answer most of your queires.


As for closed versus open backed headphones the simple answer is :

Closed headphones provide insulation from the surrounding areas ambient noise much like earplugs and cannot be heard by others even when those people are quite

close, this makes them ideal for djs live mixing at a club in noisey enviroments or say you live near a busy highway or the neighbors have dog that barks constantly.

The downside of Closed back headphones is that they sacrifice the sense of an open soundstage and can sometimes it seems as if the sound isn't coming from either side

of you head but from inside the middle of your skull.

They do however provide tighter low end bass than open backed headphones which is good for modern music but can suffer from slightly bright treble.

Open backed headphones provide no insulation from the surrounding areas ambient noise and thus can be heard quite clearly by others from a distance they do however

provide a much more open soundstage and are more suited to places such as the home or recording studios where fidelity is paramount for monitoring / mixing.

The downside of open backed headphones is they tend to lack the tight bass of closed headphones due to leakage through the ports but as a rule have neutral top end.

Midrange however seems to swing either way with either headphone design.

Be all this as it may, most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference in any aspect of sound quality reproduction other than the soundstage.



Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
arward72
post Dec 10 2012, 23:23
Post #8





Group: Members
Posts: 5
Joined: 10-December 12
Member No.: 105100



The external power connector for the ASUS Xonar is either a 4 pin Molex cable as used on Hard Drives or it is (believe it or not)
the exact same 4 pin plug that powers a 3 1/2 in 1.44Mb floppy diskette drive.
Use of this power connection for the soundcard is absolutely essential.
I have the ASUS Xonar DX myself which uses a floppy connector and i also recently installed an ASUS Xonar Essence STX on a friends PC
which also uses the floppy connection.


http://asia-pacific-india.beyerdynamic.com...ones.html#fo546


I hope the below explains better the difference between headphone types/designs than my previous post.
I remembered where i'd seen the information just minutes after my previous post as always inevitably happens.


The differences between closed and open headphones are:
1) the strong ambient noise attenuation with closed headphones (and vice versa: the “outside world” cannot hear what is playing on the headphones) and
2) the better spatial sound with open headphones. In principle, semi-open headphones are a mix of both and attempt to combine the respective advantages of each type.

Open, semi-open or closed? What is the difference?

As already explained in the in-ear headphones topic, the bass response is very good with in-ear headphones, since the space between the diaphragm and eardrum is “closed”, so to speak. In principle, these are closed systems. However, the conclusion that closed headphones have the best bass response is not completely correct, because the system works in a manner that is completely different from that of in-ear headphones. This is a topic that is not easy to explain and would make this article too long.

The biggest differences between closed and open headphones are: 1) the strong ambient noise attenuation with closed headphones (and vice versa: the outside world cannot hear what is playing on the headphones) and 2) the better spatial sound with open headphones. In principle, semi-open headphones are a mix of both and attempt to combine the respective advantages of each type. If we look at the issue from a mechanical standpoint, we recognize that open headphones have an advantage in comparison to those that are closed: the air volume that is closed off between the diaphragm and the headphone shell attenuates the vibration of the diaphragm. With open headphones, there is pressure compensation through the shell, which has a positive influence on the impulse fidelity, among other effects. The greater attenuation of the diaphragm also decreases the risk of uncontrolled vibrations.

The choice of headphones on the basis of how they sound depends on what we want to listen to, of course. For classical and jazz music, which have less of a bass component, but for which very high impulse fidelity is of particular importance, open headphones are the perfect choice. For pop and rock music, semi-open or closed headphones are the preferred choice.

In the end, which operating principle is suitable depends on the application (where do we want to use the headphones?). If the headphones are to be used in a quiet environment (in a music studio for mixing or listening to music, for example) you can freely choose headphones according to type and personal taste. If the headphones are to be used by a musician for monitoring purposes during a recording, headphones should be selected that attenuate ambient noise very well and that in turn shield sound from escaping into the environment, so that the sound produced by the headphones is not picked up by the microphone.

This post has been edited by arward72: Dec 11 2012, 00:02
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Arnold B. Kruege...
post Dec 11 2012, 01:03
Post #9





Group: Members
Posts: 3923
Joined: 29-October 08
From: USA, 48236
Member No.: 61311



QUOTE (arward72 @ Dec 10 2012, 15:48) *
http://www.stereophile.com/computeraudio/a...ards/index.html

and the follow up review by a different pair of ears -

http://www.stereophile.com/content/asus-xo...-september-2010


These reviews contain a staggering amount of easily digestable information and will answer most of your queires.


One little problem - it is all based on sighted evaluations which are perforce, false of it you want to be more generous - speculative.


QUOTE
As for closed versus open backed headphones the simple answer is :

Closed headphones provide insulation from the surrounding areas ambient noise much like earplugs and cannot be heard by others even when those people are quite
close, this makes them ideal for djs live mixing at a club in noisey enviroments or say you live near a busy highway or the neighbors have dog that barks constantly.


On balance we have to mention what open back headphones have difficulty providing, and that is low bass. Putting the ears and the headphone driver into a sealed compartment maximizes the transmission of sound at low frequencies that have poor directionality.

QUOTE
The downside of Closed back headphones is that they sacrifice the sense of an open soundstage and can sometimes it seems as if the sound isn't coming from either side
of you head but from inside the middle of your skull.


As stated this is an excluded middle argument. Real world headphones are neither perfectly isolating nor perfectly open to outside sounds. All headphones exist on some kind of sliding scale. While open space provides a certain level of sound transmission, it is not always that different from what is obtained from various kinds of real world enclosures.

QUOTE
They do however provide tighter low end bass than open backed headphones which is good for modern music but can suffer from slightly bright treble.


Bright treble is usually due to reflections within the earpiece and within the inner portions of the pinnae and ear canal. Whether the phones are open or closed need have a fixed bearing on this issue. In practice there seems to be no general trend in treble response based on whether the headphones are open or closed.

QUOTE
Open backed headphones provide no insulation from the surrounding areas ambient noise and thus can be heard quite clearly by others from a distance they do however


Closed back headphones may or may not provide effective isolation of outside sounds.

QUOTE
provide a much more open soundstage and are more suited to places such as the home or recording studios where fidelity is paramount for monitoring / mixing.


As a recordist with thousands of recordings under his belt, I would say not so much. One of the biggest problems if not the biggest problem with monitoring in general and by any means is leakage of the acoustic field from the performance being recorded into the headphones, and contamination of the electronic sound which is what people want to hear while they are monitoring.

Open ear headphones are pretty useless in the studio unless the required isolation is provided by other, usually architectural or structural means.

QUOTE
The downside of open backed headphones is they tend to lack the tight bass of closed headphones due to leakage through the ports but as a rule have neutral top end.


Not "the downside" but one of many.

QUOTE
Midrange however seems to swing either way with either headphone design.


As does the treble.

QUOTE
Be all this as it may, most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference in any aspect of sound quality reproduction other than the soundstage.


I guess that depends on which people and which headphones.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
CSMR
post Dec 14 2012, 02:06
Post #10





Group: Members
Posts: 758
Joined: 10-May 04
Member No.: 14009



QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Dec 6 2012, 18:05) *
If you are hearing noise in your headphones, you'll probably benefit from an external DAC & headphone amp (or from a better soundcard).

Otherwise, here's why a headphone amp can sometimes be an improvement:
Impedance - Headphone impedance varies over the frequency spectrum, that's perfectly normal and acceptable and the impedance curve is different with every headphone. Bit if the souce impedance of your soundcard (or headphone amp) is high (say, close to the headphone impedance), the variations in headphone-impedance interact with the soundcard's impedance and you get variations in frequency response (not acceptable).

With high impedance headphones (i.e. 600 Ohms) this isn't an issue, and you won't get different frequency response from different soundcards or headphone amps (assuming no actual defects).

Most headphone amplifiers should have low impedance, so this shouldn't be an issue. It might not be an issue with most soundcards either, but a "line output" could be higher impedance.

What complicates this is that the output impedance specs are not always clear... The specs for the headphone amp might say "32 Ohms", but that's usually the (minimum) recomended headphone impedance, not the internal impedance of the headphone amp itself, which is hopefully much lower. (The goal is not to "match" the impedance. With headphone amps & power amps, the amp shoud have much lower internal output-impedance than the actual load.)

Voltage - If you are not getting enough volume without distortion, a headphone amp will generally help because they are usually designed for higher-voltage output than an average sooundcard.

Voltage is also related to impedance... A higher impedance headphone (i.e. 600 Ohm) requires more voltage to get the same power (milliwatts) and loudness as a lower impedance headphone.

Excellent summary!
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
J.Philippe
post Dec 14 2012, 08:36
Post #11





Group: Members
Posts: 10
Joined: 11-October 12
Member No.: 103766



Doesn't the Essence card already have a headphone amp on it, as well as a dedicated power connector?
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
psgarcha92
post May 11 2013, 04:56
Post #12





Group: Members
Posts: 5
Joined: 11-May 13
Member No.: 108067



Ok, so i was going through the forums, looking for power supply designs for Headphone amps, when i came across this thread,

I am really sorry for reviving this old thread, but, through this, i realized something,

DVDdoug, in his reply to the OP, said "But, when someone says, "This headphone has more detail", I don't know what that really means, and I'm not sure anybody knows what it means in scientific terms or specifications".
With all due respect, I want to question this, is it that you don't believe that one headphone can reveal more detail than another? or is it that because there is no scientific way of measuring The detail reproduction/resolution of a speaker, a speaker cannot be more detailed than another. Please don't mind, i do not know of any other way to put up the question.

To the OP, i have not listened to your particular model, but i have been in the audio hobby for quite some time now. The weakest link in the chain, are actually the phones. Headphones, earphones. I have tried to listen for differences between 320kbps and FLAC files, and found no difference whatsoever. But when i go to 128kbps on my setup, even 192kbps, the difference strikes very very clearly. Its actually hard not to hear the artifacts. I say this because you mentioned that "The absolute best I can do is tell 128kbps, and it is extremely difficult as I have to go through the samples multiple times to try and spot one or two obvious distortions, and tell from that."
Fore me, i have a portable setup and use IEMs, and i do not have to A/B tracks to check for artifacts, i can listen to a track just once and tell if its 128kbps. What the whole point is, i am a firm believer in Headphones being more detailed than others. Headphones having more resolution than another model of the same brand or the other. So maybe, if you want to go the detailed way, you would like to try other headphones or who knows a couple of IEMs (rather than looking at power supply options). Please also note that i am not in any way saying that Power Supplies do not make a difference, but merely that if the Headphones being used are not detailed enough, how are u gonna hear whats missing??

My setup if you are wondering, is Sansa Fuze (Line Out)>Mini^3>RE272s and Ultimate Ears TF10s.
The Mini^3 i use because it has more punch and power, and i like what it does to my TF10s, i.e, Opens them up, widens the Sound Stage.
The RE272s are one of the most detailed IEMs i have heard. Listening to 128kbps songs on them, and u wont be able to un-hear what u are going to hear.

Regards

This post has been edited by psgarcha92: May 11 2013, 04:58
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
saratoga
post May 11 2013, 06:48
Post #13





Group: Members
Posts: 5034
Joined: 2-September 02
Member No.: 3264



^^^Amping a fuze to use with iems makes zero sense. The fuze is already a low impedance out. At best the amp literally does nothing.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
psgarcha92
post May 11 2013, 07:59
Post #14





Group: Members
Posts: 5
Joined: 11-May 13
Member No.: 108067



QUOTE (saratoga @ May 11 2013, 11:18) *
^^^Amping a fuze to use with iems makes zero sense. The fuze is already a low impedance out. At best the amp literally does nothing.


Am gonna say it once again, the Amp opens my IEMs up, widens the sound stage. Adding to it, instrument separation is better through the amp. I like the change in sound signature that the Mini^3 provides over the Default Signature of the Fuze.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
skamp
post May 11 2013, 08:34
Post #15





Group: Developer
Posts: 1450
Joined: 4-May 04
From: France
Member No.: 13875



psgarcha92: this isn't head-fi, you have to abide by certain rules. Specifically, TOS #8.


--------------------
See my profile for measurements, tools and recommendations.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
psgarcha92
post May 11 2013, 08:40
Post #16





Group: Members
Posts: 5
Joined: 11-May 13
Member No.: 108067



QUOTE (skamp @ May 11 2013, 13:04) *
psgarcha92: this isn't head-fi, you have to abide by certain rules. Specifically, TOS #8.


Skamp,
Yes, i got that part just a few moments ago, reading another thread.
I will be taking care of that from now on.
Though, in a totally non-attacking way, how exactly are graphs going to convey Soundstage, instrument separation, and other such stuff?

Regards
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Nessuno
post May 11 2013, 09:20
Post #17





Group: Members
Posts: 423
Joined: 16-December 10
From: Palermo
Member No.: 86562



QUOTE (psgarcha92 @ May 11 2013, 08:59) *
QUOTE (saratoga @ May 11 2013, 11:18) *
^^^Amping a fuze to use with iems makes zero sense. The fuze is already a low impedance out. At best the amp literally does nothing.


Am gonna say it once again, the Amp opens my IEMs up, widens the sound stage. Adding to it, instrument separation is better through the amp. I like the change in sound signature that the Mini^3 provides over the Default Signature of the Fuze.

There is a reason why correct ABX tests must be level matched: you could very likely obtain the same improvements just pushing up a couple bars of volume level on the same Fuze! wink.gif
And in doing so, take care of your ears: with IEMs one could easily reach high and undistorted sound pressures which can cause damage in the long run. I love my Etymotic most of all because of their insulation, as lowering so much the noise floor they allow me to listen at lower average levels without loosing too much on... well... details, soundstage, instrument separation and so on! biggrin.gif

By the way, that's an easy test you can do: start listening at moderate level for a while, get your ears accustomed to it and then pull the volume a little up. Chances are you'll actually perceive the variation as an "opening" instead of simply "increasing".


--------------------
... I live by long distance.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
bennetng
post May 11 2013, 09:42
Post #18





Group: Members
Posts: 224
Joined: 22-December 05
Member No.: 26587



QUOTE (Nessuno @ Dec 7 2012, 16:04) *
QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Dec 7 2012, 03:05) *
But, when someone says, "This headphone has more detail", I don't know what that really means, and I'm not sure anybody knows what it means in scientific terms or specifications.

Better impulse response, maybe? wink.gif


Maybe. I'd say transient or attack stage.
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....aded&start=

I do music transcription like these in my Youtube channel
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5B63AD2C38CE0549

That means I need to listen to a song and analyze the instruments/chord/arrangement etc and use MIDI instruments to reproduce the song. Some earphones can reveal the starting point (attack) of a note/chord more clearly so I can identify the correct pitch/chord easier. Some people may think that it is because different earphones have different frequency response but at least I can't imitate earphones' A's response on earphones B using EQ.

In fact there are transient-driven VST effects like Voxengo Transmodder and Waves TransX to enhance or reduce transient (not to confuse with a multiband dynamic processor).

EDIT: I didn't read the discussions thoroughly. I am talking about different earphones, not headphone amps. For headphone amps I have no opinions as I have never compare them carefully.

This post has been edited by bennetng: May 11 2013, 09:53
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
skamp
post May 11 2013, 10:28
Post #19





Group: Developer
Posts: 1450
Joined: 4-May 04
From: France
Member No.: 13875



QUOTE (psgarcha92 @ May 11 2013, 09:40) *
Though, in a totally non-attacking way, how exactly are graphs going to convey Soundstage, instrument separation, and other such stuff?


Graphs and measurements are actually not accepted here as evaluations of (audible) sound quality, either. The only accepted metric is a properly conducted double-blind listening test (ABX).

FWIW, "soundstage", "instrument separation", "detail", "impact", "control", "depth", "realism", "natural", "musicality", "analog sounding", etc… are all audiophile terminology that rarely accurately describes what is actually heard.

This post has been edited by skamp: May 11 2013, 10:30


--------------------
See my profile for measurements, tools and recommendations.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Nessuno
post May 11 2013, 11:00
Post #20





Group: Members
Posts: 423
Joined: 16-December 10
From: Palermo
Member No.: 86562



QUOTE (bennetng @ May 11 2013, 10:42) *
QUOTE (Nessuno @ Dec 7 2012, 16:04) *
QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Dec 7 2012, 03:05) *
But, when someone says, "This headphone has more detail", I don't know what that really means, and I'm not sure anybody knows what it means in scientific terms or specifications.

Better impulse response, maybe? wink.gif


Maybe. I'd say transient or attack stage.
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....aded&start=

I do music transcription like these in my Youtube channel
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5B63AD2C38CE0549

That means I need to listen to a song and analyze the instruments/chord/arrangement etc and use MIDI instruments to reproduce the song. Some earphones can reveal the starting point (attack) of a note/chord more clearly so I can identify the correct pitch/chord easier. Some people may think that it is because different earphones have different frequency response but at least I can't imitate earphones' A's response on earphones B using EQ.

In fact there are transient-driven VST effects like Voxengo Transmodder and Waves TransX to enhance or reduce transient (not to confuse with a multiband dynamic processor).

In basic system theory, impulse and step response are a way to characterize system behavior on time domain, but they are (roughly) the equivalent of frequency response on frequency domain. That's why a put a smiley on my reply: they basically give you the same (or comparable) informations, but could make some time related aspects more evident, like risetime, over/under-shots amplitude, time to zero error after a transient, which are related to signal tracking precision and thus qualitatively I think may be considered as "ability in revealing details".

That said, a pulse or a step contain frequencies that are completely out of audible range and nowhere to be found in musical signals, so it's completely normal to see an audio transducer smoothing and by a lot a square wave or changing a pulse in something resembling a sinc without drawing negative conclusions on sound quality aspects, if it has a flat frequency response in audio band.

Anyway, you can't exactly "imitate" two very differently built transducers (headphones or speakers), not without real feedback at least, just compensate for slightly different FR with EQ, which is a kind of feedforward action, within their respective physical limits of course.



--------------------
... I live by long distance.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
bennetng
post May 11 2013, 13:51
Post #21





Group: Members
Posts: 224
Joined: 22-December 05
Member No.: 26587



QUOTE (Nessuno @ May 11 2013, 18:00) *
In basic system theory, impulse and step response are a way to characterize system behavior on time domain, but they are (roughly) the equivalent of frequency response on frequency domain. That's why a put a smiley on my reply: they basically give you the same (or comparable) informations, but could make some time related aspects more evident, like risetime, over/under-shots amplitude, time to zero error after a transient, which are related to signal tracking precision and thus qualitatively I think may be considered as "ability in revealing details".

That said, a pulse or a step contain frequencies that are completely out of audible range and nowhere to be found in musical signals, so it's completely normal to see an audio transducer smoothing and by a lot a square wave or changing a pulse in something resembling a sinc without drawing negative conclusions on sound quality aspects, if it has a flat frequency response in audio band.

Anyway, you can't exactly "imitate" two very differently built transducers (headphones or speakers), not without real feedback at least, just compensate for slightly different FR with EQ, which is a kind of feedforward action, within their respective physical limits of course.

I understand your point. In fact I can't ABX SoX resampler's linear vs minimum phase but their visual differences in a single impulse or square wave are huge.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
psgarcha92
post May 11 2013, 19:52
Post #22





Group: Members
Posts: 5
Joined: 11-May 13
Member No.: 108067



Skamp,

How am i supposed to ABX Headphones?
My Reply to the OP was not about the use of an amp, rather Trying out a different set of Headphones/IEMs.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
saratoga
post May 11 2013, 20:51
Post #23





Group: Members
Posts: 5034
Joined: 2-September 02
Member No.: 3264



QUOTE (psgarcha92 @ May 11 2013, 14:52) *
Skamp,

How am i supposed to ABX Headphones?


The problematic claims you made are about amps. Those can be readily abx tested. I don't think anyone here objects to you saying that different pairs of headphones could sound different. Its just silly things like amping devices that won't benefit from it that raise eye brows.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
db1989
post May 12 2013, 02:17
Post #24





Group: Super Moderator
Posts: 5275
Joined: 23-June 06
Member No.: 32180



QUOTE (skamp @ May 11 2013, 08:34) *
psgarcha92: this isn't head-fi, you have to abide by certain rules. Specifically, TOS #8.
The OP would have done well to pay more attention to that, too. For reference to readers, saying you have a lot of faith in your own ability to be unbiased in non-blind tests and have read a lot are not get-out-clauses to render you exempt from the rules that all members are expected to follow.

QUOTE (skamp @ May 11 2013, 10:28) *
Graphs and measurements are actually not accepted here as evaluations of (audible) sound quality, either. The only accepted metric is a properly conducted double-blind listening test (ABX).

FWIW, "soundstage", "instrument separation", "detail", "impact", "control", "depth", "realism", "natural", "musicality", "analog sounding", etc… are all audiophile terminology that rarely accurately describes what is actually heard.
Thanks for doing this so I don’t have to. wink.gif

QUOTE (psgarcha92 @ May 11 2013, 04:56) *
[…] u wont be able to un-hear what u are going to hear.
Is there some reason that you are seemingly unable to type the extra two letters that should be in the word you, despite apparently having no such problem with larger words? TOS #10 is relevant here.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
bennetng
post May 12 2013, 06:17
Post #25





Group: Members
Posts: 224
Joined: 22-December 05
Member No.: 26587



QUOTE (skamp @ May 11 2013, 17:28) *
FWIW, "soundstage", "instrument separation", "detail", "impact", "control", "depth", "realism", "natural", "musicality", "analog sounding", etc… are all audiophile terminology that rarely accurately describes what is actually heard.


Similar to audiophile terms, parameters in audio effects are difficult to understand without actually listening to them as well. Another similarity of them is different effects developers may use different terms to describe the same parameter. We cannot use words to accurately describe sound quality just like we cannot use graphs and numbers to describe sound quality, but at least we can use DBTs to tell one sound is different from another.

Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post

2 Pages V   1 2 >
Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 



RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 20th October 2014 - 05:56