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T1, am I going bonkers?

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 

Okay, I've been working with this problem before, but I seem to keep ending here; so I as you, if you have an explaination to my trouble. The "problem" is that for some reason I can barely hear the difference between the following two "rigs" no matter what I, for the life of me, I can't hear any mentionworthy differences. I know that nothing is wrong with neither my hearing nor the rigs:

Rig 1:

Macbook > optical out > Cambridge DacMagic > RSA SR-71b (single end out) or Fiio E11 > Beyer T1

 

Rig 2:

iPod classic, 6th gen (almost full volume) > Beyer T1

 

The music used were the same files, all ranging from MP3 to highest resolution wave/alac files possible. I tried listening to various types of metal, classical and world music. 

I know that the SE out of the SR-71b is not fantastic, but I'd think Rig1 would just completely kick Rig2 out of the park, but in reality I had to concentrate to spot any differences - and a lot of was probably nothing anyway...

 

This is weirding me out....I simply dont get it.

 

I mean, I can clearly hear the difference between my headphones, wether cheap or expensive, detail, warmth, and just generally wether its a good can, so its not like i cant tell the difference between good and bad audio quality etc. But...What the...

 

Any thoughts?

post #2 of 50

I've heard stories of the Ipod Classic having a pretty incredible Wolfson DAC, but I'm not sure which Gen. I want to think it's an earlier gen than 6... perhaps that would explain your dilemma but someone with more ipod experience would have to crosscheck me on that.

post #3 of 50

Here is what comes to mind... the DacMagic is nothing more than an expensive soundcard; opamp matched and it sounds identical to my $22 Chaintech av710. Does the SR-71b or E11 power a 600Ohm headphone? Have you tried more of a resolving neutral phone to see if you can hear a difference?

post #4 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Graphicism View Post

Here is what comes to mind... the DacMagic is nothing more than an expensive soundcard; opamp matched and it sounds identical to my $22 Chaintech av710. Does the SR-71b or E11 power a 600Ohm headphone? Have you tried more of a resolving neutral phone to see if you can hear a difference?


Well, I figured the DacMagic isn't amazing but I would expect it to be better than what in an iPod...

 

As for powering the T1, they are both at less than half volume, and the SR-71b should be ideal for the T1 since it both has a lot of power (2,5w) and also very high voltage. 

I don't really know of a more neutral and resolving headphone, but i can try a headphone with very low Ohm like my D7000 with it.

 

Tried it, with no real result...

 

 

post #5 of 50

You're going bonkers. Maybe you just can't hear the differences :/ it's a simple to say, hard to accept concept.

post #6 of 50

 

 It's a worry mate - if you cannot pick the difference in signature between a 'clear as a bell' SR71B unbalanced

 and Fiio E11 - warm, bordering on muddy then that's all good but if I was you - I'd give up on this hobby or see

 your local GP to have the ear wax removed.

 

 I'm not trying to diss here, just been honest and trying to save you some dollars before you buy a HD800

 and find yourself unable to tell that apart running off an iPod or a $5000 rig.

post #7 of 50

Congratulations, you might be well on your way to objectivism. I wouldn't be really surprised if you don't hear a difference, so long as the iPod has enough volume for your peaks and isn't clipping them. High impedance loads perform better than low impedance loads on most amps, so the differences between amps will appear smaller (since even an iPod could arguably become transparent).

 

I think the smart thing to do is spend almost all of your budget on headphones, then get the cheapest objectively good DAC and amp you can that's enough to drive them. Though I wouldn't rely on the iPod if I were you, because volume can become an issue with certain tracks or when you just want to crank it.

post #8 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gwarmi View Post

 

 It's a worry mate - if you cannot pick the difference in signature between a 'clear as a bell' SR71B unbalanced

 and Fiio E11 - warm, bordering on muddy then that's all good but if I was you - I'd give up on this hobby or see

 your local GP to have the ear wax removed.

 

 I'm not trying to diss here, just been honest and trying to save you some dollars before you buy a HD800

 and find yourself unable to tell that apart running off an iPod or a $5000 rig.


Did you even read the OP? As I stated, I can easily tell the difference between different headphones, and their quality, resolution etc. And i know for a fact that absolutely nothing is wrong with my hearing. And I can of course tell a "bad" source/amp from a good one, but the iPod is not that bad per say. At least I've heard worse.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post

Congratulations, you might be well on your way to objectivism. I wouldn't be really surprised if you don't hear a difference, so long as the iPod has enough volume for your peaks and isn't clipping them. High impedance loads perform better than low impedance loads on most amps, so the differences between amps will appear smaller (since even an iPod could arguably become transparent).

 

I think the smart thing to do is spend almost all of your budget on headphones, then get the cheapest objectively good DAC and amp you can that's enough to drive them. Though I wouldn't rely on the iPod if I were you, because volume can become an issue with certain tracks or when you just want to crank it.


Heh, well that may be. I've tried a lot of different amps, and I gotta say, so far, as long as you use amps of somewhat equal quality, the difference isn't that big amongst SS amps like these. Normally the biggest difference I find is just a matter of sound signature rather than actual sound quality, and thats kind of what I experience here once again - I would just love to have the same experience buying a new amp for once, as I get when I buy a new headphone - that it actually makes a great difference. I mean switching from a T1 to a D7000 or a HF2 makes a hell of a lot more of a difference than swapping between different SS amps (at least the ones I've tried so far). So I keep selling and buying amps to find one that make that big of a difference, because I mean, 650$ for something that primarily just give louder volume is kinda a waste of money imo.

 

Note: It makes a great difference if you switch between different types of amps, like between a Single ended amp and a balanced one, or a SS and a Tube one. This much is obvious, but just saying it to point out again, that its not like I'm unable to hear changes in sound, its just I'm looking for greater resolution and sound quality rather than a different "coloration" or lack there of (neutrality).

 

The next amp i might try is the Triad Audio L3...Portable amping doesn't really get better than that from what I've read...

 

post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by VictorHalgaard View Post


Well, I figured the DacMagic isn't amazing but I would expect it to be better than what in an iPod...

 

As for powering the T1, they are both at less than half volume, and the SR-71b should be ideal for the T1 since it both has a lot of power (2,5w) and also very high voltage. 

I don't really know of a more neutral and resolving headphone, but i can try a headphone with very low Ohm like my D7000 with it.

 

Tried it, with no real result...

 

 

The truth is the DacMagic is much if any better than the iPod, like I say it's a glorified sound card.

 

As far as a more resolving phone I mean something neutral, not colored like the T1... for instance I can tell the difference between a $800 DLIII and a $100 op-amp DAC with my DT880 but cannot tell the difference with my D7000.

 

Oh and also in regards to hearing a difference between phones and not sources, a change in headphones is sound signature, a change in source is sound quality. My analogy is you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between fresh fish and frozen, but a food connoisseur would. The differences are subtle and you need the most accurate phones to hear them, to the majority they simply don't exist.


Edited by Graphicism - 2/23/12 at 4:06pm
post #10 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Graphicism View Post

 

The truth is the DacMagic is much if any better than the iPod, like I say it's a glorified sound card.

 

As far as a more resolving phone I mean something neutral, not colored like the T1... for instance I can tell the difference between a $800 DLIII and a $100 op-amp DAC with my DT880 but cannot tell the difference with my D7000.

 

Oh and also in regards to hearing a difference between phones and not sources, a change in headphones is sound signature, a change in source is sound quality. My analogy is you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between fresh fish and frozen, but a food connoisseur would. The differences are subtle and you need the most accurate phones to hear them, to the majority they simply don't exist.


You know what you just did? You confirmed what I've been trying to say forever about amps!!! Holy....Someone finally got it xD

And yes, I do agree the T1 is somewhat colored, as it has a warm tint to it compared to the non-tesla line, but thats what i like about it - it has very good resolution though.

 

But anyway, what you said confirmed everything I've experienced with amps and dacs so far: that the differences are there, but they are small, and only going from as you said, a 100$ whatever, to a 800$ whatever (be it a dac or amp [of the same types]) will you experience a huge difference, taking the slow road, upgrading little by little does not make for hugely noticeable differences - though they are there none the less. This is why I've always had a hard time seeing the point in some of the more expensive equipment I've heard (source and amp-wise) because I were comparing it to something only slightly cheaper, making the actual difference so small it might seem pointless to some, unless you're given just the right gear to reveal the small upgrade.

 

So in conclusion I will say I have probably actually heard the differences all along, they have just seemed to insignificant compared to peoples descriptions, that I've thought I were missing something, when in fact I probably wasn't. So most likely I'll just stick to my current concept of just owning the best portable amp I can get, and then focusing on the headphones until the need for change strikes again...

 

Thank you for helping me clearing this up :)

 

post #11 of 50

Yup, most SS amps I've tried don't really differ much from one another. There are some pretty exceptional amps I've tried though, like the V200 and a friend's DIY MOSFET.

post #12 of 50

@VictorHalgaard: part of the reason may be due to the use of optical out from your macbook. Even with fancy/expensive optical cables I found the result rather poor in comparison to a decent USB-spdif feeding the dac.

post #13 of 50

 

 Everybody needs a...

 

 audiophellio.jpg  - Audiophilleo! smile.gif

 

 

post #14 of 50

The 5th Gen iPod and down use the Wolfson DAC. The 6th Gen does not have one. According to NwAvGuy the Wolfson is pretty impressive and outperforms many of the well-known and highly regarded DACs. If you have the 5th gen iPod Classic or earlier (iPhone 3G or earlier) it wouldn't surprise me that the audio out on your iPod is on par with your desktop setup, and if anything it confirms that you aren't biased about expensive equipment and that your ears are right on. I think Gwarmi it nuts to suggest that you should give up your hobby, even if you had bad ears. Ludicrous!   


Edited by t-crisis - 2/23/12 at 9:04pm
post #15 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by t-crisis View Post

The 5th Gen iPod and down use the Wolfson DAC. The 6th Gen does not have one. According to NwAvGuy the Wolfson is pretty impressive and outperforms many of the well-known and highly regarded DACs. If you have the 5th gen iPod Classic or earlier (iPhone 3G or earlier) it wouldn't surprise me that the audio out on your iPod is on par with your desktop setup, and if anything it confirms that you aren't biased about expensive equipment and that your ears are right on. I think Gwarmi it nuts to suggest that you should give up your hobby, even if you had bad ears. Ludicrous!   



 I'm a wacky guy! smile.gif

 

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