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Am I listening to Hi-Fi yet? - Page 3

post #31 of 44
1. Sennheiser CX-300: not even close to Hi-Fi, while they are decent at their price point, they are not hifi, the transducer (headphones or speakers) play the largest role in sound reproduction, up to 90% IMHO, taht's where you should spend the most money.
2. Amplifier: The iPod Classic is actually quite good, a lot of third party boutique headphone amplifiers (at any price) actually measure worse than the iPod Classic or the last gen iPhones.
3. Source: The iPod classic is also quite good here to, a lot of boutique gear is actually more expensive but worse than the iPod.
4. The mixing and the mastering of your music is a lot more important than the format, without killer samples (which are quite rare in real music), I know very very few audiophiles able to distinguish between MP3 V0, > 220 kbps AAC or Vorbis and the original file. Anything superior to 16/44 is likely to be a waste of disk space, the difference between 16/44 is likely to be a different mastering or simply expectation bias.

Since you are a newcomer, welcome to Head-Fi and be careful of not succumbing to sanke oil based on bad physics and FOTMs.

(Flavor of the month: a new product that is backed up by publicity and enthusiasm but not real performance).
post #32 of 44



if i could listen to most of your gear, i would gladly die as a happy man....ph34r.gif

Originally Posted by googleli View Post

As good as headphones get in terms of accuracy, transparency and tonality, nothing beats the realism of speakers IMO. And we all know how much speaker systems, snake oil or not, can cost.


Edited by G3n0c|d3 - 9/7/11 at 6:19am
post #33 of 44


Being 'top tier universals' sort of suggests that they're the best universals... 

I have had 2 customs, unfortunately my inner ear seems to change more than most, so after 2 and a bit years I couldn't use them comfortably anymore. I sold them to 2 of my friends so they could get them re-shelled in the UK, as they wanted some and didn't want to pay for getting them abroad (i'm in the UK). So no i don't own any right now but I have.

Seems like a needless attack on some advice to another headfier, i just pointed out the logic that the 'top' universals by definition cannot be 'topped' by other universals.

post #34 of 44

Nope, not an attack but maybe just a little frustration on my part from reading countless other posts. Nothing personal. Just a little misunderstanding that's all. Anyway, all's good for now. Happy listening smily_headphones1.gif

post #35 of 44
Thread Starter 

It's great to see some discussion here - I reckon what I've got sounds pretty **** good at the moment.  What I am starting to notice is the difference in quality of the various CDs - some of them sound flat and lifeless while others jump right out of an invisible soundstage and smack me in the face!  Did I mention I'm spinning vinyl into my Dt990s?  Thats even more variable!  Like a 2nd hand Queen pressing from 1976 sounding better than the brand new repressing!


As far as the law of diminishing returns goes, do you guys thing it is worth buying a portable amp/dac thingy to go with my ipod and 300s, or should I just wait until the buds die (probably a couple of years) and buy some IE8(0)s?

post #36 of 44

For iPods, a DAC section is useless since the internal DAC is unbypassable unless you have the Fostex HP-P1 or the CLAS, which is overkill considering the price. Amp isn't really something I'd recommend for sensitive IEMs since the iPod is perfectly capable of handling them. Whether you upgrade or not is really dependant your wallet 

post #37 of 44

I have both the CLAS and the Fostex HP-P1. They certainly sound better than the stock DAC, and as far as my custom IEMs (UE18 Pro and Westone ES5) are concerned, the effect of the DAC seems to be more profound than just adding an external amp. The Fostex has an amp already so there is no point not using it. A bit too loud for the ES5 though.


post #38 of 44

I have to second what was said above about being careful of snake oil.

I would also be really careful with a portable rig..

I know that everyone is different, but honestly.. I don't expect any mp3 player/earphone set up to be the same quality as my Senns setting beside my desktop.

I love my Senns and thinking someone is behind me while creeping the zone in Stalker Cal of Pripyat.

When it comes to a portable solution I personally stick to my smartphone.. be really careful you don't end up putting more into a mobile solution than it is really worth.

Some people don't mind carrying the extra around..  On the other hand.. to at least, it just doesn't seem worth it a lot of the time. Sorta like people who get a 17" gaming laptop when what they really should get is a cheap netbook + desktop for about the same price.. Because after a few months of class, you don't feel like carrying that extra 15 pounds around anymore..

Even if it isn't 15 pounds.. knowing they are going to recieve rougher treatment than what sits on my desk makes me less likely to spend money on portable solutions. If I can't go running with it.. is it really portable? I mean you never know if your going to be late for a buss and have to haul while carrying an amp/ipod/expensive set of headphones..

post #39 of 44

if you are on a budget, don't worry about the amp. Go to ClieOS' list (inearmatters) or joker's thread here. Set your budget, find the a couple of alternatives that has a good value rating in your budget. Then read about their sound signature and other details. then decide.


 I would not go crazy on my first purchase. But you have to spend at least 50-60 usd to get out of low-fi I guess. 

post #40 of 44

i dont know much, but from the little i have experienced, go with what the people above have said.


in my experience it is good to go from cheaper earphones and gradually move up from one tier to the next so you know what the differences are that you are listening to. All too often my friends have swapped between their ipod earbuds to my triple fi's and said that they sound the same...


By all accounts the CX300 are good for what they are, but yeah, maybe try to listen to some other friend's earphones before you jump into buying a really expensive pair. Also, the sale/trade forums here look great so have a trawl and you might be able to find a great deal.

post #41 of 44
Thread Starter 

Good point Snow_Fox - maybe I should be concentrating more on getting a better sound out of my home rig.  I think I will stick with the CX300s until they die, or until next years tax cheque comes in ;)

post #42 of 44

you can also try to buy LOD + amp for your iPod, for example the inexpensive fiio L3 LOD & fiio E5 or E6 amp... I already tried that with my iphone and the results are quite an achievement for my ears.. cleaner sound in all frequency and more detail + bigger soundstage...

Edited by nfinite - 9/8/11 at 12:06am
post #43 of 44
Originally Posted by johns78c View Post

Good point Snow_Fox - maybe I should be concentrating more on getting a better sound out of my home rig.  I think I will stick with the CX300s until they die, or until next years tax cheque comes in ;)

I know that desktop audio can just as easily sky rocket in price.

however, you can drop like 25$ on a cheap USB creative sound card if you don't mind refurb.


rr.. well price has gone up a little bit since I got mine.

But, that would actually probably give you a decent sound and be a notable step up with foobar2000 using the right drivers. Plus, I love having that handy know to adjust/mute sound as needed.

I've noticed even with lower quality headphones, you can usually squeeze a little bit more out of them.. and you have some wiggle room to improve your headphones over time..I have noticed as others have said.. you notice more and more over time..Although, my standards are slowly, but definitely going up.

I am probably going to run my senns until they are dead, because I *love* them. they are my first "real" step into higher quality.

However, I think home rigs are a bit safer assuming you don't travel a whole lot.. to me it is an entirely different mentality. Sitting at home, I am listening to my music, so I am going to be more likely to notice quality. If the music is fuller sounding I will notice it.. If the set up is decent, I am more likely to notice the quality of the source. I won't say that I am an expert at differentiating file quality.. but,  no matter how much I try to listen to my portable solution.. many times it just ends up being a better alternative to whatever background noise would be there.

Plus, when it comes to ipods, you sort of get "locked" in with hardware.. with your desktop you can always switch out to whatever amp you want, pick your headphones, not worry about how "big"  your headphones are, or to a large degree not worry as much if your bleeding noise and have 5 people annoyed with you.

While I do respect people who really think it is worth it to haul around a portable amp + media player + decent set of headphones. I feel that the effort quickly exceeds the reward for *most* purposes. 

Being totally honest, I have once or twice turned off my headphones when I started really listening at the gym, because I realized the quality was horrible. However, they are  9$ set of cheapo headphones to begin with.. I just think the value of high quality audio is very, very dependent on what your doing. If it adds to my immersion in a game, or lets me feel like I'm standing in the crowd while listening to a good band I find the 179$ I paid for my senns worth every single penny.

the same quality/cost in a portable solution? Just really not worth it when I factor in that all too often while using portable solutions I really don't get to listen to my music no matter how much i want to..  I'm thinking about whatever it is I am doing at the moment, or I have to turn around and run for whatever reason.. So.. why shell out for a portable solution that will end up being used mostly at home anyway?

I might as well use my computer which has a hard drive big enough to handle all the lossless or 320kbps files I want, if it doesn't a new hard drive is 50$ for more space than I need.. I don't have to worry about someone seeing something shiny and trying to take it, Plus I can shut my door, sit alone and tweak settings and stuff all I want.

Edited by Snow_Fox - 9/8/11 at 7:59am
post #44 of 44

I had a portable rig for awhile. My first one was an iBasso D4 strapped to my iPod Touch with a Hifiman LOD. That was far too bulky for my needs, and I hated that I had to change the 9V battery every nine hours (I am aware that I could've switched out the opamps to increase battery life, but I didn't want to get to involved with the D4..), so I ended up selling it. Then I bought a Fiio E7 which I really liked, but the SQ was very much the same to my iPod Touch, so that had to go.


After all of the portable rig stuff, I am perfectly happy listening to IEM straight out of my iPod. I know that there are a lot of people that are going to disagree and say that you need a portable amp to get the best sound out of an IEM, but that isn't always the case. I feel the only IEM that need proper amping are the ones that have a higher resistance than normal, like the RE262.


My recommendation: the EX600. They are portable hi-fi for a very reasonable price. Start with that and see where it takes you. I know my journey will end with the EX1000, no customs for me wink.gif

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