The fear of placebo having an effect on my hearing when it comes to higher end products is one of the main reasons why I'm trying to stay clear of spending more on the hobby. :(
Going from intel hd audio to the music streamer already wasn't that great of an increase in audio quality, but I felt the purchase was more than justified because it took away all the buzzing the internal amp creates when the computer is active. We'll see how tube rolling turns out.
I took the test with the crappy 2.0 speakers that come stock with the 27 inch iMac, and there was a distinct difference in the way it sounded, and it was considerably more akin to the first pic than the second, although the space on left wasn't quite as great as right. Driver mismatch? Either way I can see how the test is geared for speakers setups now. I wonder why the headphones sound so different.
I think I may have a theory explaining whats going on. The first time I took the test I used my Grado SR60is which are known for having decent detail and forward mids. I just came back and took the test again using a completely different animal (Sony XB 700) for headphones. The XB 700's have recessed mids and rolled off highs with a far wider sound stage then the Grado's and is a far warmer can with real deep slamming bass. Spatially the thumps were just slightly wider spaced apart due to the wider sound stage of the XB 700 but I was still able to pinpoint the drum positioning by far better with the Grado then with the Sony. The interesting thing about the Sony is the three most center thumps sounded slightly more closer together in perportion to it's sound stage then on the Grado but the Sony gave me far more separated thumps on the outer edges I'm guessing that's again due to its sound stage. Even though there was a slightly noticeable difference with the XB700's and I was able to come come closer to the second picture my final judgement still points to me hearing the first picture. My guess is headphones which are known to be neutral,detailed small sound stage and have more forward mids will give you a sound more akin to the first picture while warmer, cans with recessed mids and wide sound stage will start to lean more to the second picture. Where am I going with this huge schpeal? The short of it is what your hear in the sound clip comes down to the drivers in your headphones and how they've been tuned to handle the frequencies. I'm curious what a AKG 702 would sound like using this test. Considering it's known for being treble happy and has a huge sound stage coupled with high detail the results might be interesting.
Of coarse this is just a theory. I could just be blowing smoke out of my butt not knowing what I'm talking about.
Edited by DigitalFreak - 6/17/11 at 9:17pm