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Confessions of a failing audiophile - Page 2

post #16 of 168

I can relate.  I got into head-fi a few years ago and through recommendations purchased a pair of k701s.  At the time I was listening to some $30 Sennheiser cans.  I bought a Dac and a headphone amp.  Got everything set up and started listening.  That sinking feeling immediately kicked in.  This is what 700-800 dollars bought me?

 

It wasn't until i started getting immersed into what I was listening that I started to hear the differences between one source and another.  Sometimes it's easy to say things sound nearly as good as others.  Like I'll sit in my car listening to my crappy speakers and think wow the 701s aren't much better sounding than this.  Then I get home and put them on and hear how clean and layered everything sounds.  But yea, for the price I was expecting a concert in my ears and that isn't always the case...

post #17 of 168

I think it relates to the type of music and the quality of the recording. With classical music there are tons of details and complex textures that cannot be handled by any headphones or just any equipment. I guess that's the reason I was forced to become an audiophile. With low quality headphones or earbuds I can tell the difference immediatley. 

post #18 of 168

I think peoples expectations can be too high when they spend alot of money.  When I upgraded from £20 headphones to £90 headphones the improvement was massive. They were about 4 times as expensive but they sounded amazing and were easily four times as good.

 

When I upgraded from £90 headphones to £270 headphones they were three times as expensive but were they three times a good? No not even close. They were better though, but only about 20% better at most.  That's not what I call good value for money but it is still worth it in my opinion.

 

When you go from lo-fi to mid-fi the improvements can be huge. But when you go from mid-fi to hi-fi the improvements are small and incremental so you should keep your expectations realistic or you will only end up getting disappointed


Edited by steve1979 - 6/11/11 at 3:41pm
post #19 of 168

thing is i expected spending a serious amount of money on headphones would get me a pair of headphones that sound good with everything. my description of a good pair of headphones is one that can be used without an amp, plays every bitrate from 128kbps or more well, basically i was expecting a be all end all headphone. and i assure you all that is not what i got. if anything i feel the more money i spend the worse it sounds. people tell me this is because of the source or the files while i tell you right now that this hobby seems like a big rip off. i never had any complaints when i had $30 skullcandy iems. they were clear and where easier to listen to then what i have now. problem is when you get the right song and source my headphones sound amazing but you shouldn't need that. headphones to me will always be something used for on the go not home use. at home i am content with speakers. so i guess i can say i am a failing audiophile. my next purchase will either be grado sr60is so i have some more experience with headpones or i will get a fiio e7 but personally i think i should get the former. fiio e7 just seems like a rip off to me. but i might choose the fiio if i decide to i have a few days to come to a final decision.

post #20 of 168

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor View Post

my description of a good pair of headphones is one that can be used without an amp, plays every bitrate from 128kbps or more well, basically i was expecting a be all end all headphone. and i assure you all that is not what i got. if anything i feel the more money i spend the worse it sounds. people tell me this is because of the source or the files while i tell you right now that this hobby seems like a big rip off.

I think most people go through this same thing. You buy a better (more expensive, better technology, great reviews, etc.) component and then you start finding all sort of warts in your previously glorious music, which sometimes can turn your (previously) favourite pastime into something more akin to a chore.

You have to realize that, generally speaking, better components simply resolve more of what's fed into them. Along with revealing more of the warts, you should also be hearing things like singers taking a breath of air before belting out a loud note, or a musician's finger brushing a string before plucking it. Once you become aware of the wealth of information that's buried in better recordings, it might be worth it to you to seek out better quality recordings (i.e., 320kHz instead of 128kHz).

But, either way, don't let the technology get in the way of your love of music.

post #21 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by dynhm6 View Post

 

I think most people go through this same thing. You buy a better (more expensive, better technology, great reviews, etc.) component and then you start finding all sort of warts in your previously glorious music, which sometimes can turn your (previously) favourite pastime into something more akin to a chore.

You have to realize that, generally speaking, better components simply resolve more of what's fed into them. Along with revealing more of the warts, you should also be hearing things like singers taking a breath of air before belting out a loud note, or a musician's finger brushing a string before plucking it. Once you become aware of the wealth of information that's buried in better recordings, it might be worth it to you to seek out better quality recordings (i.e., 320kHz instead of 128kHz).

But, either way, don't let the technology get in the way of your love of music.

most of my music is 192kbps or more.
 

 

post #22 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor View Post
most of my music is 192kbps or more.

 


Do you listen to alot of electronic and electronically processed music (as opposed to acoustic)?

 

post #23 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by dynhm6 View Post




Do you listen to alot of electronic and electronically processed music (as opposed to acoustic)?

 


heavy metal makes up 90% of my music.

 

post #24 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor View Post


heavy metal makes up 90% of my music.

 


Unfortunately, alot of heavy metal's recorded with copious amounts of compression and limiting, which leaves recordings sounding kinda flat and two-dimensional. And if they've also been converted to mp3 format using a low-end converter (or the "fast" option in a good converter), that only makes things worse. If you have the original CD or LP of a couple of your favourite songs that aren't sounding good through your headphones, you might try re-converting them to 320kHz and be sure to use the "High Quality" (as opposed to "Fast") recording option. That may help a bit.

 

post #25 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by dynhm6 View Post




Unfortunately, alot of heavy metal's recorded with copious amounts of compression and limiting, which leaves recordings sounding kinda flat and two-dimensional. And if they've also been converted to mp3 format using a low-end converter (or the "fast" option in a good converter), that only makes things worse. If you have the original CD or LP of a couple of your favourite songs that aren't sounding good through your headphones, you might try re-converting them to 320kHz and be sure to use the "High Quality" (as opposed to "Fast") recording option. That may help a bit.

 

my main problem isn't the recordings it's my onboard conexant soundcard. i will order a fiio e7 later this week.
 

 

post #26 of 168
Most part of the time I feel better when I just enjoy the music instead of "analyze" the music. Sometimes I go listen with attention to the details and I start skipping my music because I'm not satisfied with what I'm hearing, listen in that way makes me lost the interest at the moment(only sometimes).

When I bought the ck100 I felt it was superior to the se530, but not to the ck10, but their sound signature are better to me.

And every hifi gear are hyped.
post #27 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by dynhm6 View Post




Unfortunately, alot of heavy metal's recorded with copious amounts of compression and limiting, which leaves recordings sounding kinda flat and two-dimensional. And if they've also been converted to mp3 format using a low-end converter (or the "fast" option in a good converter), that only makes things worse. If you have the original CD or LP of a couple of your favourite songs that aren't sounding good through your headphones, you might try re-converting them to 320kHz and be sure to use the "High Quality" (as opposed to "Fast") recording option. That may help a bit.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor View Post



my main problem isn't the recordings it's my onboard conexant soundcard. i will order a fiio e7 later this week.
 

 


I'm not sure what equipment you're currently using but like he said dynhm6 said earlier, better headphones or IEM's resolve information fed into them better. I completely agree with him on the heavy metal recordings, especially older ones being very flat, and a lower quality file will only exacerbate the situation. Then, anything you have that is recorded or mastered better will unfortunately make those worse recordings and files sound even worse. It's all relative.

 

If I may use an example:

 

You live in New York City and drive a Toyota Camry, and its a fine car, gets you where you need to go, smooths over the countless potholes, you're comfortable with it. You then decide to get a BMW M3, a sport tuned sedan with much more power and stiffer suspension to better handle driving inputs and better communicate road feel to you. Now you drive to work over those same roads and, by the time you get there, your ass feels like you just got deemed the pretty guy in prison. Every little bump and blemish in the road is now your worst enemy. You blame BMW for the car, New York for the roads, and yourself for your stupid choice that you are now stuck with for most likely some time and will probably lose money on if you can back out of your decision.
You were fine in the Camry, now you're disappointed that you can't really enjoy your new car because every 10 feet, you feel like you hit a tiny wall.

 

 

Even after I got mid tier IEM's, I realized that 192kbps is the bare minimum not to be disappointed, and now that I've moved up, I can tell that even with 256kbps, I'm missing something. Anything below 192kbps just sounds very veiled and I often skip those songs now unfortunately. It becomes a constant state of upgrading but it really is rewarding in the long run when a smile just comes across your face as you listen to a song as you've never heard it before.

 

"A chain is only as strong as its weakest link."

Maybe your problem is the soundcard, but don't be disappointed when you upgrade and then your music is still not how you expect to hear it, because then you'll have a new weakest link.

 

Expectations can be a big problem in life, and I'm not sure where you got yours, but the part about making even 128kbps files sound great seems pretty unfounded to me.

 

post #28 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor View Post
my main problem isn't the recordings it's my onboard conexant soundcard. i will order a fiio e7 later this week.

 

 


I'm sorry. I (mistakenly) took your description of "a good pair of headphones is one that can be used without an amp, plays every bitrate from 128kbps or more well" to mean that you were running directly from an mp3 player into your headphones. Still, if you're dissatisfied with only certain songs, then the problem's likely related to the way those songs (or recordings) were made. An accurate set of electronics, by definition, shouldn't add or remove anything from the original sound. In fact, the more accurate your electronics, the worse a bad recording should sound. But you probably already knew that..

 


Edited by dynhm6 - 6/11/11 at 6:42pm
post #29 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by dynhm6 View Post




I'm sorry. I (mistakenly) took your description of "a good pair of headphones is one that can be used without an amp, plays every bitrate from 128kbps or more well" to mean that you were running directly from an mp3 player into your headphones. Still, if you're dissatisfied with only certain songs, then the problem's likely related to the way those songs (or recordings) were made. An accurate set of electronics, by definition, shouldn't add or remove anything from the original sound. In fact, the more accurate your electronics, the worse a bad recording should sound. But you probably already knew that..

 


you tell me.
 does this sound harsh to you (disregard youtube quality)?

 

 

the chorus sounds harsh to me while the rest of the song seems to flow better. so is it my gear or the song?

 

post #30 of 168
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcasey25raptor View Post

you tell me.
does this sound harsh to you (disregard youtube quality)?

 

the chorus sounds harsh to me while the rest of the song seems to flow better. so is it my gear or the song?

 

 

Yes, the chorus sounds harsh relative to the rest of the song, which is likely due to the producer (or recording engineer) having overdriven the recording amplifiers to give the recording a more edgy sound - a common practice in pop music.

A couple of general comments: First, I wouldn't use Youtube videos to judge your equipment by. Instead, use a CD, LP, lossless WAV, AAC or (verified) 320kHz .mp3.

Second, again, heavy metal tends to be recorded to....well, let's just say less than audiophile standards. Sadly, there's little you can do about that other than to just enjoy the music the way it is.

Third, there're basically two fields of thought in audio: 1) the so-called straight-wire-with-gain approach, which, in absolute terms, means that your audio equipment neither adds nor detracts from the sound the producer/artist heard in the recording studio when they made the recording. In this case, the goal is to hear what's in the recording, warts and all; or 2) the tailor-the-sound-to-your-liking approach that says you have to find equipment that, together, produces a sound that, while perhaps not 100% accurate, allows you to modify (the adherents of the first approach would say distort) the original sound to tailor it to your liking. This latter approach is the reason why most audio systems have frequency response and other controls that allow you to modify the sound.

 

The bottom line is that unless you want to broaden your musical tastes, I would just enjoy the music and stop worrying about the warts it contains.

 

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