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Testing audiophile claims and myths - Page 152

post #2266 of 3037
Quote:
Can you post some recordings of a short (< 30 seconds) sample from both, as well as the original sample itself ?

 

How would I go about doing that?

post #2267 of 3037
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mezzo View Post
 

How would I go about doing that?

 

You record the analog output of your DAC with whatever suitable hardware you have for that purpose, and post the results. It should show the recessed mids and other effects, assuming that they exist. The most likely explanation is that either at least one of the digital outputs is not bit perfect, or it is indeed expectation bias. Since you heard a difference between optical and coaxial S/PDIF, there could be some kind of grounding problem, but that should not normally produce the effects you described.

post #2268 of 3037
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mezzo View Post
 

I have an odd situation. I am using 2 "different" sources for music playback , both only using digital COAX out to a digital pre.
Source 1 - tower PC running logitech media server to a Squeezebox , using the digital out of the squeezebox, The file coming out the COAX is bit perfect
Source 2 - Dell workstation , using foobar/Jriver/Plex/Media monkey etc as a player , Fed into a Behringer FCA1616 usb interface and using its COAX digital out to another input in the digital pre.

 

Both digital outputs use the same cable , both machines have their own external HD's housing the music.

The issue is that there is a distinct and noticeable difference between the 2 sources.... I cue up the same rip on one source as the other , play em synchronised and AB them .. there is no level matching required.


The SBT compared to the FCA is less detailed , mids are more recessed and bass is deeper and lacks the slam of the FCA.
NOt sure why this is the case , unless the FCA is doing some mangling , but on checking the output of both sources in a DAW , they are identical!!!

I have tried firewire with the same results as USB on the dell/FCA source , and tried different players and servers...all of them set NOT to upsample etc.


I have also noticed a difference when I compared the Squeezebox Touch's Coax vs Toslink output. In fact my friend noticed the difference in sound as well. I A/Bed the 2 to him and he instantly noticed.

 

Odd ..... It seems no convolution in DSP (like usb to SPDIF or optical convertors) is not inconsequential .. despite those protesting that they are.
Definitely not expectation bias / placebo effect etc....

 

Behringer FCA1616 usb interface

 

 

When I compared my Blue Circle Thingee USB interface to my HiFace USB interface there was a noticeable difference in the bass, mids and treble of the sound.  The second thing was that the respective volumes of the two interfaces were not the same. 

 

(It's not important to go into it in this thread, but there are numerous threads about the use of attenuators to tame the over spec output of the HiFace.)

post #2269 of 3037

about cables the source of conflicts is that with the given conditions there is an audible difference in sound between 2 cables.

the 2 points where in fact people disagree are in my opinion:

-is that difference an improvement?

-wouldn't it be much more simple and cost effective to buy beforehand products that are actually made for each other (impedance matching and what not), instead of wondering what cable is better in an electrically bad situation?

 

 

because in my experience, when there are no trouble with matching gear, cables strangely lose much of their impact on sound.

but when your gear is badly designed or if you decide to plug 150ohm OUT into 4ohm IN, then chances are that some components will not work at nominal conditions and challenge stability. then even a cable might add to the mess.

post #2270 of 3037
Quote:
Originally Posted by castleofargh View Post
 

about cables the source of conflicts is that with the given conditions there is an audible difference in sound between 2 cables.

Digital cables, nope.

Speaker cables with appropriate AWG .. nope.

Interconnects .. nope.

Headphone cables .. well, usually nope but there are some exceptions. Some stock cables are incredibly thin and/or have "high" (~1 ohm) resistance. Changing that to a "normal" cable for 5 bucks will fix that.

 

(There may be exceptions - there always are - with BROKEN cables but broken products should never be included.)

 

Quote:

the 2 points where in fact people disagree are in my opinion:

-is that difference an improvement?

The imagined differences are usually perceived as an improvement (for example see Post-purchase rationalization). Biases also make them blind to realize that the real differences are usually completely inaudible.

 

 

Quote:
-wouldn't it be much more simple and cost effective to buy beforehand products that are actually made for each other (impedance matching and what not), instead of wondering what cable is better in an electrically bad situation?

 

because in my experience, when there are no trouble with matching gear, cables strangely lose much of their impact on sound.

but when your gear is badly designed or if you decide to plug 150ohm OUT into 4ohm IN, then chances are that some components will not work at nominal conditions and challenge stability. then even a cable might add to the mess.

You didn't say it explicitly, but I hate the "synergy" between components idea. Now only because you would fix faults in one components with faults in other components, but because it sounds like you cannot get high fidelity gear - gear that is transparent, i.e. does not alter the frequency response, does not introduce loads of distortion, does not add audible noise, ...


Edited by xnor - 12/3/13 at 11:10am
post #2271 of 3037
Quote:
Originally Posted by castleofargh View Post
 

about cables the source of conflicts is that with the given conditions there is an audible difference in sound between 2 cables.

the 2 points where in fact people disagree are in my opinion:

-is that difference an improvement?

-wouldn't it be much more simple and cost effective to buy beforehand products that are actually made for each other (impedance matching and what not), instead of wondering what cable is better in an electrically bad situation?

 

I think there are two points at work here...

 

1) People who think there is a difference between cables because they have never made the effort to find out how cables work and do controlled tests themselves.

 

2) People who have made the effort to understand and verify who know that there is absolutely no audible difference between properly functioning audio cables.

 

"Matching" colored components in the hopes of arriving at a desired sound is an exercise in futility. Each component you buy would mess up what you have with another component. Thankfully, we live in the 21st century where audio equipment is calibrated to be as audibly transparent as humanly possible. You can swap in a different player or amp or cable and it will sound exactly like any other properly designed player, amp or cable.

 

The only thing we aren't able to manufacture to be audibly transparent are headphones and speakers. They are the wild card. So you get flat and clean on everything else, and calibrate the equalization settings of your system to match your headphones or speakers.


Edited by bigshot - 12/3/13 at 11:20am
post #2272 of 3037

yeah sorry when talking about audible differences, I was thinking of my own experience with super variable impedance multi BA driver IEMs, on sources above 3ohm. 

as it is my only real experience of hearing sound differences from cale, I just mentioned that it did exist. sorry for not being clear as to when it existed ^_^.

 

I had an argument on the uselesness of upgrading interconnects maybe a month ago, where as a result I tried a lot of different combos adding impedance adapters to the line out cable ^_^.

and I've had one conclusive change(again better or not?) with the cheapest hifimediy usb dac, that did seem to behave just a little different. it was unexpected for me as it was above the cables in the sound chain, and I was actually trying to test the effects on the amps ^_^. but I blamed it on the hifimediy as everything else ended up the same to my ears with up to 3cables in series and 138ohm added.

post #2273 of 3037
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post
Quote:
-wouldn't it be much more simple and cost effective to buy beforehand products that are actually made for each other (impedance matching and what not), instead of wondering what cable is better in an electrically bad situation?

 

because in my experience, when there are no trouble with matching gear, cables strangely lose much of their impact on sound.

but when your gear is badly designed or if you decide to plug 150ohm OUT into 4ohm IN, then chances are that some components will not work at nominal conditions and challenge stability. then even a cable might add to the mess.

You didn't say it explicitly, but I hate the "synergy" between components idea. Now only because you would fix faults in one components with faults in other components, but because it sounds like you cannot get high fidelity gear - gear that is transparent, i.e. does not alter the frequency response, does not introduce loads of distortion, does not add audible noise, ...

again I was thinking 22ohm ak100 with 16ohm IEMs, or amps with 150ohm output on low impedance phones.

I do kind of trust in supposed synergy, for wrong reasons. just that when 300people tell that this goes well with that, I'm tempted to believe it's a good pair to acquire. no extra belief behind it .

post #2274 of 3037

Granted, if we talk about low-impedance headphones with amps that have a not so low output impedance I'm kinda okay with calling it "synergy" because it's less technical than impedance bridging. ;)

post #2275 of 3037
Quote:
Originally Posted by EthanWiner View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dustandshadow13 View Post

I would like to audition some cables and stuff for myself, and may do so when the opportunity arises
Don't waste your time. Really. If you want to experiment with things that can improve your listening experience, try some acoustical panels. Of course this applies for loudspeakers, not headphones. But I assume you use speakers too?

--Ethan

 

 

just to rebound on this

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5D5ab_tSjg&t=23m20s

post #2276 of 3037
Quote:
Originally Posted by Copperears View Post

Well, and it's just my opinion, I feel audio neurosis is driven by the need to do _something_ with the music, other than just passively consume it.

The logical next step would be therefore to produce it; and for the same price of some of this audio jewelry, there's a lot more tweaking fun to be had in trying to do so. smily_headphones1.gif

OTOH just spending money feels like doing something, but with the least possible effort. I would hope to encourage a more satisfying alternative! smily_headphones1.gif with a lot more satisfaction to be gained per dollar spent.

But again, that's just my opinion.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
I think, to be fair, it is a natural impulse to want to get the best out of our gear.
Unfortunately this is a scenario that charlatans and even well meaning cable believers/ manufacturers exploit.
Headphones at mid to high price points are inevitably a compromise. If someone is told that a cable can ameliorate these deficiencies then spending £100 on a cable can sound like a sensible alternative to several hundred for a better set of 'phones. Even though that purchase would be on much firmer ground.
post #2277 of 3037

Perhaps someone knowledgeable can help explain something to me.

 

I had a listen to an Arcam amp and a Yamaha amp at home. The Arcam amp A22 sounded very laid back and kind of "meh". I found that the volume seemed softer than the Yamaha using the volume knob. It just lacked drive and energy. The Yamaha (AS300) sounded louder at a given position, more lively and energetic. Now forgive me for using these subjective terms.

 

I've been told that different amps have different gain structures, so the volume pot could have a lower or higher input sensitivity. I assume this could explain my observations. So I want you guys to please help me determine if the Arcam has a lower gain structure or input sensitivity compared to the Yamaha :

 

Here are the Yamaha specs :

 

http://www.arcam.co.uk/_ugc/file/a22p25e_manual.pdf

 

Arcam specs:

 

http://download.yamaha.com/search/download

 

Could any kind person please find out if the spec on the Arcam could be causing this vs the Yamaha? I believe all audio related matters can be explained, but I would feel so much better knowing the specifications on the one amp was indeed the cause for the louder sound.

post #2278 of 3037

Could someone technical please help me out. Between these two integrated amps Yamaha AS300 and Arcam A22, I've found that subjectively the one amp (the Yamaha) at a low volume on the knob sounds louder, more energetic, livelier etc. The Arcam sounds softer and just plain anemic at a similar position on the volume knob. The Arcam has  a higher output power.


Now I don't believe in amps sounding different, but I suspect the gain structure on both amps are completely different and could explain my observations. Hence I need your help as I don't know what specifications would cause this difference.

 

Here are the specs for the Arcam :http://www.arcam.co.uk/_ugc/file/a22p25e_manual.pdf

Here are the specs for the Yamaha :http://download.yamaha.com/search/download


Could someone please tell me if the Arcam has a lower gain structure or input sensitivity or something over the Yamaha that explains the difference in volume over the volume knob? It would help me understand what is going on and I'll sleep better as well.


Edited by Yahzi - 1/30/14 at 1:32pm
post #2279 of 3037

The position on the volume knob isn't at all related on different amps. What you are hearing is just one at a slightly lower volume than the other because the volume pot is calibrated differently. Turn the other one up and it will sound the other way around. Odds are, both amps sound the same. Which one has better features?

post #2280 of 3037

So the two amps have different gain structures? If I'm understanding this correctly, the supplied power on one amp with a given gain structure could be reached over a wider range on the volume pot compared to another. So a higher gain structure means the supplied power is probably over a more narrow range on the volume pot.

 

This is all very interesting to me. So even though the amp is less powerful, it sounds more powerful given a higher gain. I assumed there would be something in the spec sheets of both amps that could perhaps shed light on this.

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