IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

3 Pages V  < 1 2 3 >  
Reply to this topicStart new topic
How does the Sansa clip+ compare to audiophile sound cards?
saratoga
post Dec 14 2010, 17:41
Post #26





Group: Members
Posts: 4863
Joined: 2-September 02
Member No.: 3264



QUOTE (odigg @ Dec 14 2010, 11:30) *
QUOTE (saratoga @ Dec 14 2010, 11:23) *
IMO talking about how loud music sounds over headphones without replaygain is pretty useless, so hopefully thats what people are talking about.


Why?


Because if you play music with an unknown gain then you don't know if it sounded loud because it was loud or because the amp was powerful. You're basically just twisting the volume dial some random direction dictated by the mastering. Thats not very useful.

QUOTE (odigg @ Dec 14 2010, 11:30) *
There are plenty of music playback devices (e.g. cell phones) that do not support replaygain.


1) This is a thread about the Clip+, which does support replaygain.
2) All cell phones support replaygain via wavgain
3) If you have a cell phone and *choose* not to use replaygain, then its even MORE important to know how much voltage your headphones will need since you'll require even more gain from your device's headphone amp

To put this another way, if someone tells you "X wasn't loud enough after I applied a random volume adjustment" your question should be "can you test again, this time with the volume at max and tell how loud it was"? smile.gif
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
odigg
post Dec 14 2010, 17:51
Post #27





Group: Members
Posts: 629
Joined: 25-July 08
From: USA
Member No.: 56264



QUOTE (saratoga @ Dec 14 2010, 11:41) *
Because if you play music with an unknown gain then you don't know if it sounded loud because it was loud or because the amp was powerful. You're basically just twisting the volume dial some random direction dictated by the mastering. Thats not very useful.


Ah - I misunderstood what you meant in your last post. I agree with you.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Northpack
post Dec 14 2010, 18:18
Post #28





Group: Members
Posts: 455
Joined: 16-December 01
Member No.: 664



I just wanted to add that these days there's really no reason NOT to use rockbock on your Clip+. It installs easily with the rockbox installer and you get:

- a full blown parametric equalizer
- a quite sophisticated crossfeed (can't live without it)
- much improved battery live, especially when decoding FLAC
- support for a multitude of audio formats
- pitch-perfect playback @ 44.1kHz
- variable playback speed, bookmarks (for all kind of tracks)
- doom wink.gif

The only downside is that because USB support doesn't work yet, file transfers have to be done with the original firmware. But that's not much of an issue because rockbox automatically starts the OF when the device is connected with a PC.

This post has been edited by Northpack: Dec 14 2010, 18:19
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
pawelq
post Dec 14 2010, 20:06
Post #29





Group: Members
Posts: 541
Joined: 20-December 05
From: Springfield, VA
Member No.: 26522



QUOTE (Redark @ Dec 14 2010, 11:20) *
Suppose a classical recording with a gain of -15db. Wouldn't applying +25db of gain leave it with the same perceived loudness as that of a heavily compressed mastering, with +10db, while not necessarily ruining the dynamics? The gain could be applied either in a hard fashion, through software like mp3gain, or simply through the addition of replaygain info in the tags, as the clip+ apparently supports this.



I am not sure what do you mean. The problem with classical music is that it tends to have enormous dynamic range. In the same piece you can have music almost reach 0 dBfs at some instances, and remain at -55dBfs at other instances. Unless you apply compression (or adjuest volume while you listen, which is manual compression), you need to set the volume so the -55dB parts are audible - and the 0 dB parts get really loud then. If you apply +25 dB gain, then these 0 dB partds will get heavily distorted.


--------------------
Ceterum censeo, there should be an "%is_stop_after_current%".
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
odigg
post Dec 15 2010, 16:46
Post #30





Group: Members
Posts: 629
Joined: 25-July 08
From: USA
Member No.: 56264



I'm curious - why are you so intent on plugging an HD650 directly into a Clip? Why not just buy a portable amp?

A 9V CMOY is fairly inexpensive on ebay and will be able to drive the HD650 to headache inducing volumes. I've even heard reports that the 3V PA2V2 has enough voltage output to drive the HD600/HD650 to loud volumes without distortion.

This post has been edited by odigg: Dec 15 2010, 16:49
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Redark
post Dec 15 2010, 18:10
Post #31





Group: Members
Posts: 10
Joined: 10-December 10
Member No.: 86414



Since I'm looking for a source for home listening only, I'd want an amp with a AC connection. Most portable amps I know don't even allow you to this without altering their circuit. I don't have the equipment to do that, and I wouldn't trust DIY (like the CMOY) unless I was the one doing it. There's also a distrust in portable amps which I could only overcome with extensive measurements, but these are usually unavailable (I had the same distrust of portable players). If you search in these very forums you'll find people saying stuff like "it's ok for a portable" or "the headphone jack of the Ipod is pretty decent". Comments like these seem to indicate a belief, and a pretty reasonable belief, that if you're walking around with earbuds in noisy enviroments you don't really need a high sound quality. But I'm considering using the clip+ as my home source, instead of the quiet pc which I was planning to build.

The cheapest amp, from a trusted company, which I could find was the Total Airhead (on sale for U$89, it's still a portable though). Add the AC adaptor for U$ 17, totalling U$106. The clip+ bought here in Brazil will cost me U$75 (4gb, couldn't find the 2gb model). But the amp will have to be imported and for every dollar imported I'll pay roughly U$1.2 in cumullated import fees and taxes, plus ~U$50 in shipping for such light items. Total: U$252. My estimates for a quiet pc, bought locally, in which an amp wouldn't be necessary, were around U$700 (without display and acessories) . I think with the added cost for the amp I'd be better off investing on the pc

And this is the cheapest amp I could find (that can be shipped here and is from a company I can trust). Their cheapest desktop amp is at U$349, for other companies I've seen some around U$150. With the Airhead I might be getting strange things like, from the manufacturers website: "Delivers greatly improved bass control and impact, and more articulate high frequencies." To me, that sounds like intentionally introduced distortion or coloring. i wouldn't want either.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that I'm not only cheap, but I absolutelly loathe the thought of feeding the Great Leaviathan.

This post has been edited by Redark: Dec 15 2010, 18:12
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Martel
post Dec 15 2010, 19:10
Post #32





Group: Members
Posts: 553
Joined: 31-May 04
From: Czech Rep.
Member No.: 14430



Why not just buy a commodity Hi-Fi stereo amplifier with headphone jack and connect the Clip through a jack-to-chinch cable? You could attach speakers to it later, if you wanted. Do you have any reason to think that a dedicated headphone amp will be better than a standard headhone amp IC inside a stereo amplifier?


--------------------
IE4 Rockbox Clip+ AAC@192; HD 668B/HD 518 Xonar DX FB2k FLAC;
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Redark
post Dec 15 2010, 20:05
Post #33





Group: Members
Posts: 10
Joined: 10-December 10
Member No.: 86414



First a correction: the total with the amp I mentioned would go to U$358, not U$252.

QUOTE (Martel @ Dec 15 2010, 19:10) *
Why not just buy a commodity Hi-Fi stereo amplifier with headphone jack and connect the Clip through a jack-to-chinch cable? You could attach speakers to it later, if you wanted. Do you have any reason to think that a dedicated headphone amp will be better than a standard headhone amp IC inside a stereo amplifier?


Wouldn't a full stereo amplifier always cost more than a dedicated headphone amp of the same level? I can't use speakers due to considerations for family members and neighbours.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
odigg
post Dec 15 2010, 20:18
Post #34





Group: Members
Posts: 629
Joined: 25-July 08
From: USA
Member No.: 56264



QUOTE (Redark @ Dec 15 2010, 12:10) *
There's also a distrust in portable amps which I could only overcome with extensive measurements, but these are usually unavailable (I had the same distrust of portable players). If you search in these very forums you'll find people saying stuff like "it's ok for a portable" or "the headphone jack of the Ipod is pretty decent". Comments like these seem to indicate a belief, and a pretty reasonable belief, that if you're walking around with earbuds in noisy enviroments you don't really need a high sound quality. But I'm considering using the clip+ as my home source, instead of the quiet pc which I was planning to build.


Rather than distrusting portable amps, you should distrust the claims about their inferiority. A headphone amp is an incredibly simple device. The CMOY is a classic example of how easy it is to make headphone amp that measures well and can drive a wide range of headphones.

If you want RMAA measurements for portable gear there are plenty here.

http://rmaa.elektrokrishna.com/

AMB Labs also has some DIY amps (e.g. Mini) that perform very well - http://www.amb.org/audio/

QUOTE
I think with the added cost for the amp I'd be better off investing on the pc


A number of sound cards do not have the voltage output to power high impedance headphones to loud volumes with all types of music. You'd need to buy something that is specifically built to power a wide range of headphones. These sound cards perform well, but they are $200.

QUOTE
Since I'm looking for a source for home listening only, I'd want an amp with a AC connection.


Do you have any pro-audio stores where you live? Pro Audio manufacturers have a wide range of low cost headphone amplifiers and DAC/Headphone amp combos. Most, if not all, of them are AC powered.

This post has been edited by odigg: Dec 15 2010, 20:19
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
2Bdecided
post Dec 15 2010, 20:23
Post #35


ReplayGain developer


Group: Developer
Posts: 5060
Joined: 5-November 01
From: Yorkshire, UK
Member No.: 409



QUOTE (saratoga @ Dec 14 2010, 16:41) *
3) If you have a cell phone and *choose* not to use replaygain, then its even MORE important to know how much voltage your headphones will need since you'll require even more gain from your device's headphone amp
I don't know what music you listen to, or what target level you use for WavGain/mp3Gain (or similarly what pre-amp setting you use for ReplayGain), but in general, on average, ReplayGain makes most tracks quieter. So using ReplayGain = needing more amplification = more likely to run into problems with a weak amplifier with more tracks.

You can, of course, increase the target level or increase the pre-amp setting to compensate, but that has its own issues.

Cheers,
David.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
2Bdecided
post Dec 15 2010, 20:31
Post #36


ReplayGain developer


Group: Developer
Posts: 5060
Joined: 5-November 01
From: Yorkshire, UK
Member No.: 409



QUOTE (Redark @ Dec 15 2010, 19:05) *
Wouldn't a full stereo amplifier always cost more than a dedicated headphone amp of the same level? I can't use speakers due to considerations for family members and neighbours.
I'd buy used, but maybe the market isn't great where you are.

One problem is that, while it's quite easy to find a "good enough" stereo amp to drive speakers, some quite decent amps have really lousy headphone outputs. If you can't check first, you could easily end up with something that's useless for you.


Just a thought: I wouldn't use my Sansa Clip as my only home listening device (though I do use it at home very often) because it doesn't contain my full collection, can't receive streaming audio of various kinds (Spotify, iPlayer, etc etc etc), and even if it did contain all my music and every piece of streaming audio in the world, a 1" display is no way to navigate all that: for that, I want a PC monitor (IMO - YMMV!).

No problem quality-wise though.

No one has mentioned the sampling rate error - the original Clip with original firmware plays 0.15% too fast. That's undetectable for most people, but some folks with perfect pitch claimed to detect it. Not sure what the Clip+ and/or rockboxed firmware does.

Cheers,
David.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
odigg
post Dec 15 2010, 20:45
Post #37





Group: Members
Posts: 629
Joined: 25-July 08
From: USA
Member No.: 56264



QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Dec 15 2010, 14:31) *
One problem is that, while it's quite easy to find a "good enough" stereo amp to drive speakers, some quite decent amps have really lousy headphone outputs. If you can't check first, you could easily end up with something that's useless for you.


Over the years I've read this claim a lot. A few years ago (2?) I contacted a lot of amplifier manufacturers and asked them about the circuits used for the headphone amps. I also looked for schematics for a lot of amps.

I found that the large majority of headphone jacks are powered by using resistors connected to the main speaker amp circuit. For some manufactures, they used dedicated headphone amp circuits in there more expensive models. Harmon Kardon was an exception in that they used a opamp-based circuit for a lot of the cheaper models. Reports state these HK headphone circuits are quite noisy.

So what does this all mean? It means that you should *basically* have no audible issues when using high impedance headphones with your speaker amp headphone jack. Since the headphone jack output impedance will be quite a bit higher than zero, the FR of lower impedance headphones will be changed - but that really depends on the headphone.

Pio2001 reported on one of his tests here. You can see the what happens with the HD600, which has a similar impedance curve as the HD650. Note that that the absolute maximum deviation in FR is +-1db.

This post has been edited by odigg: Dec 15 2010, 20:48
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
saratoga
post Dec 15 2010, 21:27
Post #38





Group: Members
Posts: 4863
Joined: 2-September 02
Member No.: 3264



QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Dec 15 2010, 14:23) *
QUOTE (saratoga @ Dec 14 2010, 16:41) *
3) If you have a cell phone and *choose* not to use replaygain, then its even MORE important to know how much voltage your headphones will need since you'll require even more gain from your device's headphone amp
I don't know what music you listen to, or what target level you use for WavGain/mp3Gain (or similarly what pre-amp setting you use for ReplayGain), but in general, on average, ReplayGain makes most tracks quieter. So using ReplayGain = needing more amplification = more likely to run into problems with a weak amplifier with more tracks.


I know, but the example before was classical music that was not peak normalized or compressed, so its not necessarily going to be quieter with replaygain.

QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Dec 15 2010, 14:23) *
You can, of course, increase the target level or increase the pre-amp setting to compensate, but that has its own issues.


FWIW this works pretty well for me, and in rockbox I usually do increase the preamp a couple dB and use the 'prevent clipping' option just to be safe.

Edit:

QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Dec 15 2010, 14:23) *
No one has mentioned the sampling rate error - the original Clip with original firmware plays 0.15% too fast. That's undetectable for most people, but some folks with perfect pitch claimed to detect it. Not sure what the Clip+ and/or rockboxed firmware does.


Rockbox doesn't have a pitch error on any of the Sandisk players, and I think clip+ doesn't have it in the newer sandisk firmware versions.

This post has been edited by saratoga: Dec 15 2010, 21:28
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
DonP
post Dec 15 2010, 23:11
Post #39





Group: Members (Donating)
Posts: 1471
Joined: 11-February 03
From: Vermont
Member No.: 4955



QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Dec 15 2010, 14:31) *
No one has mentioned the sampling rate error - the original Clip with original firmware plays 0.15% too fast. That's undetectable for most people, but some folks with perfect pitch claimed to detect it. Not sure what the Clip+ and/or rockboxed firmware does.


The original Clip (V1) with original firmware is 0.7 percent fast. CLip+ with OF is reported to be about half that, but I haven't measured one myself.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
DonP
post Dec 15 2010, 23:25
Post #40





Group: Members (Donating)
Posts: 1471
Joined: 11-February 03
From: Vermont
Member No.: 4955



QUOTE (odigg @ Dec 15 2010, 14:45) *
QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Dec 15 2010, 14:31) *
One problem is that, while it's quite easy to find a "good enough" stereo amp to drive speakers, some quite decent amps have really lousy headphone outputs. If you can't check first, you could easily end up with something that's useless for you.


Over the years I've read this claim a lot. A few years ago (2?) I contacted a lot of amplifier manufacturers and asked them about the circuits used for the headphone amps. I also looked for schematics for a lot of amps.



I bought an Adcom AV preamp in 1994 that had a very noticeable hiss on the headphone output. I think it was the first preamp they made with a lot of digital circuitry in it (DSP based pro-logic.) When I complained they send a shielding kit to my dealer and had a local tech install it. Problem solved.

The point being that the headphone output *is* something of an afterthought. They figured they had a good circuit, but it wasn't good near digital circuits, and they must not have tested it in the final design.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
2Bdecided
post Dec 16 2010, 11:49
Post #41


ReplayGain developer


Group: Developer
Posts: 5060
Joined: 5-November 01
From: Yorkshire, UK
Member No.: 409



My Audiolab 8000 amp has a reasonable sounding headphone output (a bit too noisy IMO), but while the speaker outputs are protected with relays which mute when the amp is powered on or off, the headphone output has no such protection and sends a headphone destroying "pop" through headphones when you switch the amp off!


I don't use the Rockbox firmware, but something in the back of my mind is reminding of some disadvantage to running the Clip without the pitch error - reduce battery life? I don't know - I might have dreamt it.

Cheers,
David.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Porcus
post Dec 16 2010, 12:14
Post #42





Group: Members
Posts: 1842
Joined: 30-November 06
Member No.: 38207



Re the original benchmark: A good soundcard.

I've had all sorts of hissing from (internal) sound cards, and an explanation was stated in this reply to me:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=690732

I don't know the details here, but I'd guess that offboard sound is safer.


--------------------
One day in the Year of the Fox came a time remembered well
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Porcus
post Dec 16 2010, 12:22
Post #43





Group: Members
Posts: 1842
Joined: 30-November 06
Member No.: 38207



Re headphone out:

Grado headphones used to be shipped with a diagram for building a headphone out from three resistors per channel (#1 and 3 in series with the signal, #2 from the connection 1--3 to ground), connected to speaker level.

Surprised not to find this simple construction for chickens**t money on eBay (but then, what would be the search words?)



--------------------
One day in the Year of the Fox came a time remembered well
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
googlebot
post Dec 16 2010, 13:02
Post #44





Group: Members
Posts: 698
Joined: 6-March 10
Member No.: 78779



QUOTE (Porcus @ Dec 16 2010, 12:14) *
Re the original benchmark: A good soundcard.

I've had all sorts of hissing from (internal) sound cards, and an explanation was stated in this reply to me:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=690732

I don't know the details here, but I'd guess that offboard sound is safer.


Graphic cards haven't shared the same bus with sound cards for ages (PCI vs. AGP), and PCI-Express uses serial point-to-point connections. A Xonar D2 measured a SNR of -115.8 dB (idle) vs. -115.1 dB while running the FurMark GPU benchmark, where the GPU burns more than 100 watts alone, on my Intel mainboard.

An external solution can help in cases where PCI buses have very dirty power rails or incorrect bus implementations, but I think the majority of internal solutions works just fine.

This post has been edited by googlebot: Dec 16 2010, 13:08
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Porcus
post Dec 16 2010, 13:22
Post #45





Group: Members
Posts: 1842
Joined: 30-November 06
Member No.: 38207



OK, then it is something else that is the explanation; but I still experience the problem (noise when scrolling), in my one-year-old Dell (desktop). So: is your result due to a better soundcard, or due to lack of everythingelse-related problems?


--------------------
One day in the Year of the Fox came a time remembered well
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
googlebot
post Dec 16 2010, 14:08
Post #46





Group: Members
Posts: 698
Joined: 6-March 10
Member No.: 78779



I suspect that the number of separate power rails in your notebook is low and that the sound codec's supply hasn't been a high priority objective. So it shares its rail with a lot of other components and gets a much dirtier mix than what the manufacturer's standard recommendation for decoupling capacitors had been meant for.

Sound cards aiming at >100 dB signal-to-noise ratios usually filter input power sufficiently to reach that goal even on dirty power. For properly designed and sufficiently powered mainboards that shouldn't be an issue anyway.

A couple of years ago I also had very loud distortions (saw tooth like dropouts) on a mainboard with VIA chipset. It turned out to be flawed chipset drivers, an an update could fix the issue. But in my experience driver related distortion issues have become much rarer since then.

In your case going external was probably the best thing you could do.

This post has been edited by googlebot: Dec 16 2010, 14:11
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Arnold B. Kruege...
post Dec 16 2010, 14:43
Post #47





Group: Members
Posts: 3649
Joined: 29-October 08
From: USA, 48236
Member No.: 61311



QUOTE (googlebot @ Dec 16 2010, 08:08) *
I suspect that the number of separate power rails in your notebook is low and that the sound codec's supply hasn't been a high priority objective. So it shares its rail with a lot of other components and gets a much dirtier mix than what the manufacturer's standard recommendation for decoupling capacitors had been meant for.

Sound cards aiming at >100 dB signal-to-noise ratios usually filter input power sufficiently to reach that goal even on dirty power. For properly designed and sufficiently powered mainboards that shouldn't be an issue anyway.

A couple of years ago I also had very loud distortions (saw tooth like dropouts) on a mainboard with VIA chipset. It turned out to be flawed chipset drivers, an an update could fix the issue. But in my experience driver related distortion issues have become much rarer since then.

In your case going external was probably the best thing you could do.


I'd put my money on grounding problems.

For years even cheap sound cards have had their own regulator chip for the on-board analog power supply.

For example the retail SB Live! cards differed from the OEM versions in that they generated their own analog power from the 5 volt logic bus via a DC-DC converter based on a 555 timer chip. Now, that's a lot of attention to power in a low cost audio interface! But 7805 chips cost next to nothing.

Putting the regulation inside the integrated sound chip is very easily done and is probably commonly done.

Noise due to bad grounding is extremely difficult to design out of a chip. Trying to do so seems like a waste of time since external bad design is the root cause. It can generally be addressed by rerouting land patterns on the system board, which costs next to nothing if you do it when you design the board. If you get a motherboard with noise due to bad design of the on-board grounding, it simply shows lack of attention to detail.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Squeller
post Dec 16 2010, 15:29
Post #48





Group: Members
Posts: 2351
Joined: 28-August 02
Member No.: 3218



In case of classical music, say, orchestral music, I'd apply vlevel.sf.net (available for fb2k for instance) on the audio material to flatten the very high dynamics, which aren't "useful" in a noisy or headphone environment.
With in-ear-speakers, e.g. I don't want to have the full power of the Mahler Sym. 6 hammer smile.gif on my ears.

BTW, ROCKBOX on Clip+, I just installed it: is it normal to have a rather short track change noise when manually changing tracks (Vorbis files)?

This post has been edited by Squeller: Dec 16 2010, 15:35
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
saratoga
post Dec 16 2010, 16:34
Post #49





Group: Members
Posts: 4863
Joined: 2-September 02
Member No.: 3264



QUOTE (Squeller @ Dec 16 2010, 09:29) *
BTW, ROCKBOX on Clip+, I just installed it: is it normal to have a rather short track change noise when manually changing tracks (Vorbis files)?


No, but if you've found a file that breaks Tremor, I'm always interested in hearing it.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Northpack
post Dec 16 2010, 16:47
Post #50





Group: Members
Posts: 455
Joined: 16-December 01
Member No.: 664



QUOTE (Squeller @ Dec 16 2010, 15:29) *
In case of classical music, say, orchestral music, I'd apply vlevel.sf.net (available for fb2k for instance) on the audio material to flatten the very high dynamics, which aren't "useful" in a noisy or headphone environment.

You don't need to do that with rockbox. It has a quite decent compressor DSP.
QUOTE
With in-ear-speakers, e.g. I don't want to have the full power of the Mahler Sym. 6 hammer smile.gif on my ears.

Well, that's part of the epiphany wink.gif
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post

3 Pages V  < 1 2 3 >
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: 29th July 2014 - 04:47