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High Gain, Wider soundstage?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I recently purchased the Fiio E10 (thanks to Digital-Pride for recommending the E10), and I'm quite content with its performance so far.

 

To my understanding, low-gain is always preferred over high-gain (if the volume is adequate), and that high-gain introduces distortion due to amplification..

 

It seems like my K240 MKII's have an increased soundstage when using the high-gain setting?

 

Is there logical reasoning behind this, or is it just subjective? rolleyes.gif

post #2 of 8

Been searching for an answer to this myself and found this thread which seems like no one replied to. I noticed similar behavior on the Fiio X5. I tried low gain higher volume and high gain lower volume, and somehow found the high gain low volume gave me better sound stage and more rounded off sound. On low gain, I found the high on X5 to be a bit irritating and edgy, but the problem is gone on high gain. It's actually less fatigue to listen to it now it's on high gain. Don't understand why as I do also read the low gain + high volume suppose to give better results.

post #3 of 8

It's simple really - there will be no real change if you volume match (apart from the noise floor / distortion - and with music playing that should be inaudible).  The likely problem is that although you think you've volume matched closely enough by ear, the probability is that on high gain you're listening slightly louder.  Could be just by a couple of dB - but our human reaction to louder volume is to 'magically' discern - increased clarity, better timbre, wider soundstage. more impact etc.

 

Try this - compare again, but this time up the low gain volume a notch, or drop the high gain volume a notch.  Compare again and see if the perceived wider soundstage has now changed ;)

 

If you can - measure your original settings.  Use an SPL meter, and a constant 1 hHz tone.  I'd be willing to bet they're more than 0.5 dB out. 

post #4 of 8

Thanks for the reply! I heard this theory before too, and already tried it out by intentionally set volume to be quite high (vol=80) on low gain while set the volume a lot lower(60) on high gain. I got the same observation. The highs on low gain/high volume is a bit irritating and fatiguing while high gain (low or high volume) rounded it off. I was using Fiio X5. I just hope this is not just my brain playing trick on me.

 

Also want to add that it feels like the mid and bass have been boosted up a bit while high got tuned back a little without losing too much of the clarity. Almost like a tweaked EQ setting to me. 


Edited by FatPanda - 5/8/14 at 10:00pm
post #5 of 8
The only way to tell for sure is to properly volume match - but in short, yes - it's your brain doing what it does best - adjusting to different situations. Gain won't affect actual soundstage - but it can affect your perception of it.

Simple thing is leave the settings at what you believe sounds best. But recognise that it's likely to be psychoacoustic rather than reality wink.gif
post #6 of 8

yesterday i played with my new fiio E18...

high gain: more forward mids, less clarity

lo gain: vice versa.

 

( same on all my other amps....lolz, just me on my Kiwi SauvignonBlanc  :beerchug:​)

post #7 of 8

Thanks! Even though it could be just my brain playing trick on me, I guess what sounds good or bad would be subjective after all. I'll leave my x5 at high gain to just please my brain :-)

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorspeaker View Post
 

yesterday i played with my new fiio E18...

high gain: more forward mids, less clarity

lo gain: vice versa.

 

( same on all my other amps....lolz, just me on my Kiwi SauvignonBlanc  :beerchug:​)

very similar experience here... and me finding highs being less harsh on high gain could be because of the less clarity as you mentioned.

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