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Testing audiophile claims and myths - Page 118

post #1756 of 3264
Quote:
Originally Posted by autumnholy View Post

I was rather puzzled by the idea of using an external DAC/Amp combo thru Line out USB dock from the iPod.

Well, for some brands (preferred unnamed), some people claimed that the DAC section of the external DAC/Amp improves the overall sound like it's night and day, while some users experienced frustration over their experience of not experiencing anything significant from the DAC/Amp since iPod-> Dac/Amp itself costs much more higher than iPod->LOD->External Amp.

 

Honestly, any idea if DAC itself matters much? I mean, things like the DAC in Fiio E17, is it much more different (sound quality wise) than something like in the $500 above region? Or the DAC in $500 above Portable Player is much better than something cheaper like the ones offered by Sansa?

 

The DAC is where it all starts.  Of course it's important.

 

The issue is about how much different one DAC is compared to another.  The idea behind external DACs for an iPod is that the external DAC "must" be much better than what the iPod uses internally, better than what Sansa is able to achieve for ~$30.  However, if you look at measured frequency response, distortion, noise, jitter, etc., it turns out that many of these cheap devices do D/A pretty well these days, relative to the imperfections of headphones used and relative to what humans hear.  That seems to hold up in what few fair listening tests are run.  That said, it's possible for DACs, expensive or not, to be different in sound quality (either intentionally or not).

 

If you don't hear any noise or have other problems, I wouldn't worry about it or what others think.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post

So can we say with confidence that we can measure what we can hear?

 

We can do a pretty good job measuring and quantifying what we hear, but mapping out what we perceive is a different matter.

 

Any difference in sound that can be discerned should be significant enough to be (easily) measurably different with our current instrumentation.

post #1757 of 3264

What do you mean when you say "mapping out what we perceive"?

post #1758 of 3264
Quote:
Any difference in sound that can be discerned should be significant enough to be (easily) measurably different with our current instrumentation.

 

 

Like audiometric testing?

post #1759 of 3264
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yahzi View Post

So can we say with confidence that we can measure what we can hear?

We can measure far more than what we can hear, which is why some people dismiss measurements - they do not understand them.

 

I've seen reviewers dismiss measurements because device B sounded "better" but had a couple of dB higher THD, which was extremely low to begin with. I've seen people complain about a measured roll-off of ~0.5 dB at 5 Hz, or that -80 dB crosstalk is not enough etc.

 

These people do not seem to know how well these devices perform, what the measurements mean, and that not every measured difference (in some cases even if it is big) causes an audible difference.


Edited by xnor - 12/24/12 at 4:10pm
post #1760 of 3264

+1 to this.

 

I especially love the folks who rave about the "ultra wide" stereo images they get off of their turntables, the ones that use phono cartridges with about -25 db stereo separation.

 

Somehow, -25 db gives them "beyond the walls!!!" stereo imaging, but -110 db noise or distortion in the digital realm gives them "fuzzy imaging" and "veils" over the music.  
 

post #1761 of 3264
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlindInOneEar View Post

+1 to this.

 

I especially love the folks who rave about the "ultra wide" stereo images they get off of their turntables, the ones that use phono cartridges with about -25 db stereo separation.

 

 

Don't start on vinyl! Do you not know it has magical properties!

post #1762 of 3264

And there's nuts like Fremer: a few years ago he wrote a glowing review about a vinyl reissue of The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. A few days later he was informed that it was cut from digital tape, so he took down his review and replaced it with one that complained that the album sounds too digital.

He added stuff like "pale, thin and flat" and "flat, dimensionless, tinny, textureless and emotionally stunted" ...

 

I guess he didn't know that the Internet doesn't forget.

post #1763 of 3264

In terms of construction and design, I have to assume cables (interconnects, speaker cable) are the easiest to make. I just can't see cable vendors losing sleepless nights over the conceptual design of a cable ... and then putting those design elements into practice .. and it taking THAT long. I mean seriously. Unless I'm wrong about cable design and it actually takes weeks to build a cable.

 

The reason I'm asking is that in one of our cable threads there is a guy claiming a cable vendor has taken a decade to design and build a tonearm cable. How on earth could it take anyone a decade to build a cable? What inherent complexity is involved in building cable interconnects and speaker cable?


Edited by Yahzi - 12/29/12 at 8:32am
post #1764 of 3264

Let me ask you boffins a question. Would I be out of line if I said that a tonearm cable is less complex to design and build than a common toaster? Seriously ...

post #1765 of 3264
The tonearm itself has more of an impact on the sound than the cable running through it. The run from cartridge to output jack is very short.
post #1766 of 3264

Right, but would I be correct in saying that the tonearm cable is less complex to design than a toaster? It might sound like a ridiculously absurd question, but please answer that. Thanks. ; - )

post #1767 of 3264
Yes
post #1768 of 3264

Have you ever heard anything as ridiculous as taking a decade to build a tonearm cable? Actually technically it still hasn't been built, as the designer is not satisfied with the performance. So technically over a decade. I seriously wish there was a facepalm emoticon here.

post #1769 of 3264

I've heard much more ridiculous things in this audiophile world. 

post #1770 of 3264
To me, the most absurd concept is that frequencies beyond the range of human hearing impact sound quality in music.
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