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What Component (To You) Has The Biggest Impact On The Sound Of A System? - Page 8

post #106 of 131
Biggest impact in SQ or Sound signature[SS].


For SS, its undoubtedly the headphones. SQ, its a much closer thing. I'd go with source[but thats a bit of a cheat], in that it includes several things...
post #107 of 131
I think unless your source is godawful......the amp may be more of a factor than the source. For instance if your comparing a Zune with an iPod (maybe not the preference of audiophiles, but this is just an example)......I think the difference of sound quality will change more based on the amp used rather than the source.
post #108 of 131
Source first.

$5 Dollar headphones out of a Dac1 will sound better than the Grado HP2 out of a
$5 Dollar am radio from the flea market.
post #109 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by adanac061 View Post
Source first.

$5 Dollar headphones out of a Dac1 will sound better than the Grado HP2 out of a
$5 Dollar am radio from the flea market.
Yeah, but not a 5 dollar cd player at the flea market.
post #110 of 131
"Which component of a headphone rig has the biggest impact on sound?"

I have to agree with those who say cans. The approach I'm taking for my decision is a simple one: If you're going to start building an HP rig, begin with the best cans you can afford -- and a good rule of thumb is to go for the gold, the cans that you'd only dream of owning. If it means spending 5 to 10 times what you think you can afford, go for it. Included in this cost must be class A aftermarket HP cables that run from $200-$350. From this base, you can begin to find components -- get the best you can afford, but realize that it'll be a matter of trial and error to find the best combo of amp, DAC, etc. This is where research in Head-Fi will help. Read everything you can about component options and decide on the basis of reviews and feedback from members who have your or similar cans. The journey's tortuous, but that's part of the fun, exploring and discovering in an endless cycle until you find a combo that's magic for you.
post #111 of 131
I have to say that headphones have the biggest effect, followed by source, amp, and, waaaay the hell down there, cables. I choose phones over source because most sources can put out sufficiently good material such that it's more likely your phones will impair the quality. Any DAP can play lossless, any CD player (duh), your computer as well, obviously. Even other sources such as FM/satellite radio are of sufficient quality that you will be able to hear the difference between skullcandy and, well, anything.

My point is, you'd have to be TRYING pretty damn hard before you make any high end cans sound like the $5 pair you found at Best Buy, but the source should almost always be of at least decent quality anyhow. Both source and phones have a huge effect on the overall quality, but it is more likely you will have problems with the phones than the source.
post #112 of 131
I find sources[DAC & Amps too] usually, I say again 'usually', open up a systems potential. While headphones can have the night & day effect by colouring sound.
post #113 of 131
I was going to make a new thread asking in what order I should upgrade, but this thread seems to hit on that very well, maybe.

I have a very basic setup right now, and I'm pretty content with my music as it sounds, but I'm intrigued by the details and interested in hearing more and getting more out of my music. However, I'm also not willing to spend money I don't have, so any upgrades I do will be one at a time. If you were talking to someone who was interested in improved SQ one component at a time, can I take it that the order of your lists is an indicator of the order the upgrades should take?
post #114 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloop View Post
can I take it that the order of your lists is an indicator of the order the upgrades should take?

I would say thats how most of us judged it.

Of course, you should upgrade your weakest link so that is probably the marshmallows.

It would be interesting to go through the thread and count how many put source first and how many put cans first, and who chose what, I mean looking at their experience.

I choose source first, that has the biggest impact on sound. The best cans in the world with a crap source will let you hear the crap sound really well. The best source in the world with crap cans, at least what you can hear is good quality.
post #115 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenkelby View Post
I would say thats how most of us judged it.

Of course, you should upgrade your weakest link so that is probably the marshmallows.

It would be interesting to go through the thread and count how many put source first and how many put cans first, and who chose what, I mean looking at their experience.

I choose source first, that has the biggest impact on sound. The best cans in the world with a crap source will let you hear the crap sound really well. The best source in the world with crap cans, at least what you can hear is good quality.
Actually, the best source in the world would still sound like crap through lousy headphones. Case in point... The stock Proline 650s. They sounded so bad, that it was impossible to judge anything else up the food chain.

That's why I still maintain, one needs to improve the weakest link in one's signal path, and that could be anywhere depending upon the particulars of the components used. Yes, one will typically hear the most profound differences between different transducers, but in any particular case, that may not be the weakest component in the signal path, most in need of an upgrade.

For somebody who has a very high end system, replacing the interconnects may bring about the biggest improvement! Replacing anything else, may actually be a step backwards! It all depends upon what you're working with to start.
post #116 of 131
True, but I of course think of it from my own experience, which was low quality everything to start!

I got some good cans (IEMs, ER-4P) but didn't enjoy them through anything as I didn't have a good source at the time and through the PC I couldn't listen to them, too much noise. Even my cheap mp3 player at the time sounded bad. DT-880 were no better. With my imod and RPX-33, even stock buds give their best.

I guess I think of it from the point of view of someone who has nothing good and wants to build a great system piece by piece. I started with cans but for me I couldn't enjoy good cans until I had a good source, hence, source first.

With a good source I would have enjoyed my old sony buds more than I enjoyed my ER-4 with a poor source.

Thats my story!
post #117 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenkelby View Post
I would say thats how most of us judged it.

Of course, you should upgrade your weakest link so that is probably the marshmallows.

It would be interesting to go through the thread and count how many put source first and how many put cans first, and who chose what, I mean looking at their experience.

I choose source first, that has the biggest impact on sound. The best cans in the world with a crap source will let you hear the crap sound really well. The best source in the world with crap cans, at least what you can hear is good quality.
I upgraded all over the show. Heh.

I got my 595s cos I found them cheap on eBay. Very roughly though, I went with the 'weakest link theory'.


Why is file-type usually omitted? Switching from 128kb/s mp3 to FLAC is a pretty big jump in SQ. Or is it because they're intangible?
post #118 of 131
My experience has been:

1a. Source
1b. Headphones

2a. Amp
2b. Amp+Can Synergy

3a. cables
3b. power cleanliness
post #119 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chri5peed View Post

Why is file-type usually omitted? Switching from 128kb/s mp3 to FLAC is a pretty big jump in SQ. Or is it because they're intangible?
To me thats covered by source.
post #120 of 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dash View Post
My experience has been:

1a. Source
1b. Headphones

2a. Amp
2b. Amp+Can Synergy

3a. cables
3b. power cleanliness
I think this represents a good general order of approach. One might quibble about 1a or 1b, which to address first, but it's sort of a chicken and egg situation. A mediocre source with great headphones will sound better than a great source with mediocre headphones. Great headphones, however, usually require great amplifiers also to sound their best.
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