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DAC and Amplifier - Headphones.
SonicBooom!
post Mar 9 2013, 03:20
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At the end of the day, you will just have to hear it and decide in your own. Reviews can be a good thing since it can give you some insights, but you can't possibly decide on some guy's perspective. And if you can, do ABX. So you don't have to purchase a bank-breaking equipment when actually, you can't hear a difference between a 16/44.1 and a "hirez" 24/192 recording. Nonetheless, good luck!


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saratoga
post Mar 9 2013, 05:16
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QUOTE (SonicBooom! @ Mar 8 2013, 21:20) *
At the end of the day, you will just have to hear it and decide in your own.


For an amp? Unless you choose terribly or are purposefully going for something with distortion like a tube amp, they're all basically going to be transparent. Just get something with a enough voltage/current for what you need and it'll be fine.
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SonicBooom!
post Mar 10 2013, 03:34
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QUOTE (saratoga @ Mar 9 2013, 12:16) *
For an amp? Unless you choose terribly or are purposefully going for something with distortion like a tube amp, they're all basically going to be transparent. Just get something with a enough voltage/current for what you need and it'll be fine.

It was in the context of "sound signatures" because some amps can sound different from another, only testing them is one way to know if it suits the tastes of that person.


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saratoga
post Mar 10 2013, 05:54
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QUOTE (SonicBooom! @ Mar 9 2013, 21:34) *
It was in the context of "sound signatures" because some amps can sound different from another,


Generally speaking, the kinds of quality, high performance amps being discussed in this thread have no "sound signature" at all. You can build amps that do, but that is not whats being discussed here.
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Mach-X
post Mar 10 2013, 06:25
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What Saratoga said...the headphones have FAR more chance of having a "sound signature" than any modern day solid state amp.
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extrabigmehdi
post Mar 10 2013, 14:11
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QUOTE (saratoga @ Mar 10 2013, 04:54) *
Generally speaking, the kinds of quality, high performance amps being discussed in this thread have no "sound signature" at all.

What a great and concise statement. Unfortunately, in this statement still some ambiguity remains.
By "high performance amp", you could be talking either of a theoretical one, or one that is too expensive.

It is my understanding that in an audio chain, the headphone is the weakest link for sound quality, and that at the current state of technology , completly transparent sources (i.e dac + amp) are achieved, and that you don't need to spend insane amount of money to get one (I'm not sure of what is exactly the minimum).

Unfortunately there is very widespread misconception of what is a transparent source.

I've been following recently some threads related to the hd800, at head-fi, and I hope you won't mind if I quote here three hair-pulling snippets of discussion.

Snippet n°1:
QUOTE
One head-fier saying:
I think the law of diminishing returns applies to upstream gear to a much greater degree than it does to headphones. That's my point in a nutshell.

And an other head-fier answering:
I agree with you on the diminished returns with newer DACs. I find that after about the $1000 ish range things start to plateau pretty quickly.

Snippet n°2:
QUOTE
The HD800's are not hard to drive, power wise, but they are sure are finicky and picky when it comes to amplification, you need to mate them with the perfect companion amp

Snippet n°3
QUOTE
The HD800 are actually very hard to drive, quite possibly the most difficult dynamic headphones in current production. It's all down to the quirks of the ring radiator [driver] and the rather large difference is impedance over the frequency range. [...] it takes a very well designed amp to make them behave.


My understanding:
Either people need colorations/ distortions in their source in order to enjoy the hd800,
or the myth of the perfect matching amp is used to silence people that just don't enjoy the hd800.
I skip the incentive to just spend more money.


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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Mar 10 2013, 16:42
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QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Mar 10 2013, 09:11) *
My understanding:
Either people need colorations/ distortions in their source in order to enjoy the hd800,
or the myth of the perfect matching amp is used to silence people that just don't enjoy the hd800.
I skip the incentive to just spend more money.


I think the real problem is the price. Given that you can obtain pretty good headphones for a tiny fraction, the HD 600s must be awesome. They are no doubt very good but they have a lot of price to live up to!
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saratoga
post Mar 10 2013, 21:51
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QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Mar 10 2013, 08:11) *
QUOTE (saratoga @ Mar 10 2013, 04:54) *
Generally speaking, the kinds of quality, high performance amps being discussed in this thread have no "sound signature" at all.

What a great and concise statement. Unfortunately, in this statement still some ambiguity remains.
By "high performance amp", you could be talking either of a theoretical one, or one that is too expensive.


Nonsense. Building a good transistor amp is not expensive. Fiio charges, what, 20 USD for an amp thats probably better then 99% of products out there. You can of course get better, but its still not all that expensive, certainly not when compared to quality headphones.


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zerowalker
post Mar 12 2013, 05:18
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I have been wondering a thing i have noticed with my Headphones : HD 280 Pro.

If i play loud, the word S sound very, overexerted(if thatīs the word).
But if i lower the volume, it sounds more in tune with the rest of whatīs played.

Well itīs pretty much all treble that getīs ruined if i play to loud (to loud depends on the sound itself).

I wonder, does this have anything to do with the soundcard not being able to produce enough power to the headphone?
Or is it just that the Headphones arenīt able to produce stable treble at higher volumes?

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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Mar 12 2013, 13:34
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QUOTE (zerowalker @ Mar 12 2013, 00:18) *
I have been wondering a thing i have noticed with my Headphones : HD 280 Pro.

If i play loud, the word S sound very, overexerted(if thatīs the word).
But if i lower the volume, it sounds more in tune with the rest of whatīs played.

Well itīs pretty much all treble that getīs ruined if i play to loud (to loud depends on the sound itself).

I wonder, does this have anything to do with the soundcard not being able to produce enough power to the headphone?
Or is it just that the Headphones arenīt able to produce stable treble at higher volumes?



It is hard to tell from thousands of miles away. If the headphone amp is clipping, then the sort of thing you are hearing could happen. AFAIK a simple cheap headphone booster amp such as the Fiio E5 can help mitigate problems like this.

Most PC audio interfaces are limited to about 1 volt RMS output, but provide various source impedances that could cause the resulting maximum voltage that the headphones receive to be less.

One volt RMS may be a bit on the lead side with many typical headphones for people who want to listen critically.

This post has been edited by Arnold B. Krueger: Mar 12 2013, 13:35
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zerowalker
post Mar 13 2013, 00:08
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Well, can say that i have gotten the Objective2 Amp now.
And well, it pretty much sounds the same, except if i use very high volume on the Amp, i get hiss (itīs probably the soundcard, as i have very low hiss from it originaly, and the amp will probably boost this).

But then again, my Headphones doesnīt really need an amp from what i have read, but itīs a good thing to have for the future:)

But now i have to get a proper DAC that doesnīt add hiss in the lower frequencies.

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DVDdoug
post Mar 13 2013, 01:41
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QUOTE
I currently use an USB microphone, it works very good, but it got noise from the DAC, so itīs not "Studio" quality, i donīt really think any USB is that though.
I separate USB mics into two general categories. I'd classify this as a "studio-style" microphone. I don't own one, but I'd expect good quality. Of course, you are not going to find many $100 USD mics in a pro studio (except for SM57s). The other category is "gaming"or "communications" microphones, like this, which I would not recommend for music recording.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Mar 13 2013, 01:42
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zerowalker
post Mar 13 2013, 01:57
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Mar 13 2013, 01:41) *
QUOTE
I currently use an USB microphone, it works very good, but it got noise from the DAC, so itīs not "Studio" quality, i donīt really think any USB is that though.
I separate USB mics into two general categories. I'd classify this as a "studio-style" microphone. I don't own one, but I'd expect good quality. Of course, you are not going to find many $100 USD mics in a pro studio (except for SM57s). The other category is "gaming"or "communications" microphones, like this, which I would not recommend for music recording.



Yes, i agree, and itīs that kind of microphone i currently use.
But in the future i want one that isnīt of USB, and uses a Pre-Amp and stuff, more high-end so to say.

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probedb
post Mar 13 2013, 14:33
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QUOTE (zerowalker @ Mar 12 2013, 23:08) *
But now i have to get a proper DAC that doesnīt add hiss in the lower frequencies.


DACs wouldn't do that themselves would they?
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zerowalker
post Mar 13 2013, 14:38
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QUOTE (probedb @ Mar 13 2013, 14:33) *
QUOTE (zerowalker @ Mar 12 2013, 23:08) *
But now i have to get a proper DAC that doesnīt add hiss in the lower frequencies.


DACs wouldn't do that themselves would they?


They donīt;S?

Well i am not knowledgable within this. But i get Hiss, and it must come from the Soundcard, not sure from where.
But i thought it must be the DAC, as after itīs converted to Analogue, the hiss must be added somehow i guess, not sure how it works:S
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pdq
post Mar 13 2013, 14:49
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Isn't "hiss in the higher frequencies" a contradiction? Hiss is high frequency noise, or at least is dominated by high frequencies.
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zerowalker
post Mar 13 2013, 15:27
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QUOTE (pdq @ Mar 13 2013, 14:49) *
Isn't "hiss in the higher frequencies" a contradiction? Hiss is high frequency noise, or at least is dominated by high frequencies.


Well not sure where the hiss is. But what i mean is that the hiss is low, so only low parts of the sound are blended with it.
Thatīs what i meant with Low frequencies.
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greynol
post Mar 13 2013, 15:53
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We're starting to bump up against TOS #8.

Please attempt to support these sound quality claims.


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probedb
post Mar 13 2013, 15:58
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QUOTE (zerowalker @ Mar 13 2013, 13:38) *
QUOTE (probedb @ Mar 13 2013, 14:33) *

DACs wouldn't do that themselves would they?


They donīt;S?

Well i am not knowledgable within this. But i get Hiss, and it must come from the Soundcard, not sure from where.
But i thought it must be the DAC, as after itīs converted to Analogue, the hiss must be added somehow i guess, not sure how it works:S

Why do you think the DAC is adding any hiss in?
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zerowalker
post Mar 13 2013, 16:01
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QUOTE (greynol @ Mar 13 2013, 15:53) *
We're starting to bump up against TOS #8.

Please attempt to support these sound quality claims.


Are you referring to me;S?
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greynol
post Mar 13 2013, 16:07
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Yes.


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zerowalker
post Mar 13 2013, 16:14
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QUOTE (greynol @ Mar 13 2013, 16:07) *
Yes.


What claim have i done?
Not sure what you are referring to.
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xnor
post Mar 13 2013, 16:36
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I guess he's just talking about a high noise floor..
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zerowalker
post Mar 13 2013, 16:37
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QUOTE (xnor @ Mar 13 2013, 16:36) *
I guess he's just talking about a high noise floor..


Thatīs probably the word:)!

And isnīt that improved/removed with higher end DACs?
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Mar 13 2013, 16:47
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QUOTE (zerowalker @ Mar 13 2013, 11:37) *
QUOTE (xnor @ Mar 13 2013, 16:36) *
I guess he's just talking about a high noise floor..


Thatīs probably the word:)!

And isnīt that improved/removed with higher end DACs?


It can be.

Exactly what is your current DAC or sound card?
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