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What component's do you believe make a difference? - Page 2

post #16 of 122
I'd say about 95% of it is recording quality and your headphones or speakers. If you're running speakers, then the room is important.

4% is the amp. You need an amp that can fully drive your headphones or speakers. While not contributing to sound quality, I think it is important to have an amp with great build quality. Cheap ones just aren't worth the trouble.

Digital sources are pretty much the same, however, build quality is important.

Everything else is simply fashion.
post #17 of 122
Make No Difference:

Power Cables
The wire used in Headphone/IC Cables (within reason);
FLAC vs. CD;
LAME MP3 (VBR or 320CBR) vs CD/FLAC;
“Burn in” for solid state components.

Make A Minor Difference:

Which specific DAC is used (based on limited experience – D10, AUNE and DACMagic all made no difference with the same amp/phones. Have put this in “minor” because I know these are all relatively budget options);
Amps with efficient headphones;
“Burn in” for dynamic headphones (some headphones need a bit of burn in but the changes are minor and take much less time than many claim).

Make a Large Difference

Source (the difference between a dap>amp and a computer>dac>amp set up is immense);
File quality (next to no difference between lossless, CDs, LAME VBR or 320CBR but a as you get lower than this the differences get more and more obvious. Anything below 200kbps CBR is not music anymore AFAIC);
Amp with demanding phones;
Headphones.
post #18 of 122
Makes absolutely no dfference to me:

FLAC vs. CD
Different transports with the same dac.
Power cables, that's absolute nonsense.
Digital cables.
Analog cables.

Makes a slight dfference to me:

320Kbps vs Flac
24/96 vs 16/44.1
Different DACs beyond decent quality, the difference with an integrated soundcard is evident.

Makes a noticeable dfference to me:

Phono preamps & cartridges, analog sources in general.
ASIO drivers on windows.
Amps, especially with some phone combinations.
192 vs Flac


Makes a large difference to me:

Recording quality
Phones
post #19 of 122
The recording isn't a component of the audio setup. The recording is the test signal.
.
post #20 of 122
I think everything listed has the possibility of making a difference, under certain circumstances some become more important than others or are very unlikely to apply like power cable for an mp3 player. There's some things I think are silly though, like why do people spend money on vibration control when you can just put sandbags on everything or use cushions, I don't know much about micro-vibrations but I am quite sure blankets absorb vibration better than solid blocks. $1000+ cables are a waste since you might as well just hump two pieces of equipment together and directly solder a connection with some solid copper, silver or gold, and make a nice box for everything that's impenetrable by x-rays. You'll save money and have a theoretically better connection. But on the other hand I also think well-constructed $1-10/foot cables are possibly worth the money if you're using stock cables that are particularly thin, long, and unshielded.

And I find the improvement from a power cable is more noticeable if you're using a power conditioner in front of it. But this is probably very circumstantial, depending on such variables as how clean your electricity is, how much power your gear draws, and how good the psu is.

If there's a difference between flac and wav it's probably because the software is bugged or, very unlikely, the processor is so ghetto it is injecting jitter while decoding flac.
post #21 of 122
generally agree with what has been said.

however add placebo effect to anything (e.g. i believe this ..... makes a difference) and it will move up two or three places,

so perhaps placebo should be included somewhere in the list, not sure where though
post #22 of 122
Also, the pursuit of very low jitter absolutely makes no difference. Don't get me wrong, jitter should be controlled and low, but as long as its under 1ns or so, you're fine.

AES > jitter salesman.
post #23 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by gevorg View Post
Also, the pursuit of very low jitter absolutely makes no difference. Don't get me wrong, jitter should be controlled and low, but as long as its under 1ns or so, you're fine.
Don't know if/how much and/or how exactly jitter affects the sound, but transports make a difference to me.
.
post #24 of 122
Hmm the component which makes the biggest difference is ME. If I'm tired, I can't hear much detail and everything is fatiguing after a while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
I'd say about 95% of it is recording quality and your headphones or speakers. If you're running speakers, then the room is important.

4% is the amp. You need an amp that can fully drive your headphones or speakers. While not contributing to sound quality, I think it is important to have an amp with great build quality. Cheap ones just aren't worth the trouble.

Digital sources are pretty much the same, however, build quality is important.

Everything else is simply fashion.
I think my views closely match Uncle Erik's ASSUMING the amp you have is always able to drive the headphone. If not, the formula becomes a bit amp dependant.
post #25 of 122
From most important to least:

Your ears
Your room
Speakers/Headphones
Source/DAC
Amp & Preamp
Cables

I leave out recording quality and format because I don't consider them components.

Bill
post #26 of 122
Makes No Difference:

- Power Cables
- Digital Cables

Makes Very Little Difference:

- Analog Cables
- FLAC vs. 320Kbps MP3 vs. CD
- 24/96 vs. 16/44.1

Analog cables tend to make very little difference in general unless you're replacing absolute garbage. I can hear literally no difference between FLAC and 320Kbps MP3s except on extremely high quality recordings of extremely complex passages of songs, and even then it's a very slight difference. FLAC vs. CD I can tell a difference at times in that CD will sound less digital, but it depends on the source.

Makes a Noticeable Difference:

- DAC/Source
- Amp

Source makes quite a big difference in general until you hit the diminishing returns mark that for me is around $1500. Amps also make a big difference up until they are able to adequately power the speakers/headphones in question. After you're running them through an amp that has enough power to drive them properly, I notice very little change between amps.

Makes an Enormous Difference:

- Headphones
- Quality of Recording
post #27 of 122
Some say source first, but I take it to the extreme and believe that one should start with the cleanest power possible when assembling a state of the art assault on perfection. Decouple the power from the grid and the use of oversize and shielded power cables. The best source in the world will not have its potential realised with unclean power.
post #28 of 122
I think what makes the most difference is the headphone, there is no way in dropping 1000s of $ in amps and cables if the headphone is sheit then still be sheit but amplified.
I don't believe in cables, and myths.

I think the user should start searching for the headphone they like the most and start from there, then stop where they find the optimal sound because there is no best sound or best in this hobby since is a qualifying matter so everything is subject to judgement.
post #29 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenstuffs View Post
I don't believe in cables, and myths.
I don't believe in beliefs. It's about personal experiences.

BTW, I just ordered something from Norman, OK, that may go against your grain...
.
post #30 of 122
Interesting discussion. For me the biggest improvement after the recording and headphones is the processing applied to the signal. By this I mean a processor that can make your recording 'binaural' instead of stereo. I've only just discovered this and also just posted a new thread about it:

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f133/m...s-what-476522/
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