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How important is hiss?

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
How important is the presence of hiss to you? At some level, while I feel like it's a "lesser" metric by which to judge an amp/source, etc., it really affects my enjoyment of quieter passages of music, which I encounter a lot of the dynamics of chamber and solo classical music and small combo and solo jazz. In some sense, hiss simply should not be present in any amplifier, with any earphone sensitivity. I don't think it's too much to ask.

Please post your setup and when you do and don't hear hiss.
post #2 of 41
I don't like hiss and won't put up with it. If the parts are made correctly then it is the power supply or implementation and that must be correctly as this will often increase the overall sound quality as well.
post #3 of 41
iBasso D10 w/AD743 opamp -> IE8's.

I can't stand the hiss with the AD743. The hiss really ruins the quiet passages in a song. It also masks the small details. Even though the AD743 sounds great, I end up swapping it out because the hiss is intolerable.
post #4 of 41
It depends on the cause of the hiss, though I hate both. I think that goes back to many years of having cassettes as my main medium. Though I had an excellent Yamaha KX390 cassette deck with play trim and various dolby filters to reduce the problem.

I get occasional background hiss from certain recordings. I was told at a high end demo once, that the cause was the background sound from music that was originally recorded on tape. Master tape hiss he called it. I can kind of tolerate that.

If you mean electronic hiss, I get virtually none and use a mains filter to help get the background as quiet as possible.
post #5 of 41
Generally I hear hiss in older recordings and it is fatiguing.
post #6 of 41
Thread Starter 
So the hiss in older recordings is one thing. I'll deal with that, since it's better to listen to a bad recording of excellent music than not hear the music at all.
post #7 of 41
Me too.

I love the 1933 recordings of Beethoven's string quartets done by the Busch Quartet. The hiss is really there and the thin two dimensional squeaking of the violins palpable like Mickey mouse agonising in a trap.

Even that can't dissuade from the phenomenal playing!

Didn't any of you ever listen to cassette tapes? Dolby B and C weren't all they were cracked up to be...hiss all around
post #8 of 41
Most portable players have too much hiss for sensitive iems like the westone um2 and other low impedance/high sensitivity earphones.

Many amps have a very low noise floor which is a great thing for iem use.

It's unfortunate that amps are needed for some earphones. In my opinion, all iems should be over 100 ohms or be designed with low sensitivity to make amplifiers optional.
post #9 of 41
When I put my IEM into my ears (The IEM is NOT connected to any amp or anything ) I hear some air inside or vacuum hollow sound, that is enough to irritate me.

I will not accept hiss from the amplifier.
Most desktop, laptop, DAP does not hiss, even the cheap ones.
post #10 of 41
I have yet to hear a source (other than my old MD portables) which doesn't hiss with my most sensitive of earphones. Amps are the same. It does affect my enjoyment of the music, but not so much that I am annoyed overmuch. A few sources hiss too much for me to enjoy: Meizu M6, AMP3, Fireye I.

But my current setup: iPod touch: LOD: ALO Rx hisses, but not enough to put a stopper on the music. At least in hissing, it drives the iems properly, unlike the aforementioned AMP3 which otherwise, is pretty nice.
post #11 of 41
There aren't enough options on the poll.
Although not completely black, I find that hiss becomes inaudible (i.e. < 0 dB) with ER4P (and even moreso with ER4S eidit: woops bad english. I mean I can turn it to higher levels with the S without hiss on blank tracks) when listening at 1 tick up from mute (which is loud enough for me).
post #12 of 41
The Tomahawk has a very clean output and does not hiss with the UM2 (which I believe is one of the most sensitive earphones around).

The player that has the least amount of hiss is the ipod classic, though that hardly matters because the volume doesn't go low enough. The lowest tick is too loud with the UM2.
post #13 of 41
If the tape hiss is removed from a remaster there is more taken out than just the hiss. The best remasters of old analog leave the hiss.

The main set up I use has vinyl surface noise, phono preamp hum, tube amp hiss only at super high volume. All and all it is the nature of the music replay process. Maybe not so much on some systems but if you like the sound of everything else it is such a small part of the whole. I have a friend who is going blacker and blacker removing motor vibration from vinyl replay. In his rig the removal of surface noise it getting the musical experience better and better, maybe as much as 35% as we hear deeper and deeper into the music. So maybe I am missing the point to the importance of hum. Could hum in some areas get us farther from the source? It sure does in vinyl.
post #14 of 41
If hiss is enough to be heard at all while music is playing it affects my enjoyment for sure.
post #15 of 41
I don't get hiss, but I sometimes get hum when my portable stuff crosses power cords and such. I just move things apart in that case; it's quite annoying.
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