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post #121 of 406


Yikes... that's quite a jump from the e10 to the phonitor.eek.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

Those are all, of course, in a vastly different price scale than ANY that have been discussed as pertaining to the OP's request. The least expensive of them, is the Bottlehead Smack (output coupled), at roughly $550. 



 

post #122 of 406


What's ironic is that the Phonitor has almost the same output impedance as the E9;

http://en.goldenears.net/index.php?mid=KB_Columns&document_srl=1389 (I doubt 10.1 vs 10.3 really makes any difference that you could even measure...); although it's output specs are a bit worse than the E9 - SPL states it's output at 30 ohms at 360 mW (into 1k); 1700mW into 600ohms (into 1k) - the E9 is around 1W into 30ohms (based on TI data and whatnot; same 1k very likely). 

 

So in other words, if output impedance and damping are what really "matters" here - these two are in the same boat; the E9 just has more power behind it. Just an observation...

Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post


Yikes... that's quite a jump from the e10 to the phonitor.eek.gif



 



 

post #123 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Regarding the E9 and reliability; Amazon does sell it, and they're generally great for returns/replacements within their window. IME most failures happen in that first month anyways (and I've had no issues with my E9, for whatever that's worth - had it for a while). Just to chime in from the other side; again, if the Schiit has relays and that DC thing was a fluke, I've got no complaints on reliability there - if $250 vs $120 is what you gotta do for peace of mind, that's really not that bad! Especially if their CS is good and they honor their warranty (I have no idea if they do or don't, and have no reason to believe they don't, if they were willing to fix a production flaw for early units; that's leaning me towards "yeah this is a good warranty") - I only bring this up because some warranties are a joke (in other words, do your homework; for all I know Fiio doesn't honor their warranties, or whatever else - if it's something you feel you'll be using, read up on it). 


Absolutely +1 on Amazon selling Fiio.  I probably wouldn't have bought Fiio by reputation if it weren't sold by Amazon, but I bought it, haven't had any trouble with any of it (knock wood!)

 

As for Schiit, yes, all the current stuff has the relays (I say current because I have a sneaking suspicion one or both of the up-coming levels of products won't, by design, to appease the audiophile customers that will be willing to spend probably $1000+ on it.  Fair enough if that's what customers at that price point want.) While I don't have any warranty experience with them myself yet, and I haven't actually heard many reports of folks needing warranty service on them yet (which is always good, the best warranty is the one you never need!) My CS experience with them, personally has been great (most emails are returned within minutes to a few hours), and all reports in the related threads here from those who have needed service have resulted in extreme praise for the level of service.  So from a service perspective there's certainly value there.  I agree with you about most warranties.  For most products I ignore the warranty entirely and have no plans of using it even if the item fails.  The half-broken refurb you get back from most companies as your "replacement" or the shoddy repair (after spending $30 sending it back and waiting a month for turn-around nullifies any value to most warranties to me.)   This is one of the few that I'd consider a real warranty in the old sense of the word. 

 

True story: LaCIE, famed for selling professional graphics design related computer equipment, sells a monitor for somewhere around $3000 for professional graphics.  It's a wide gamut, large, color calibration supported monitor for when real color matters.   It's just a re-badged NEC that runs for $1300.  Same exact hardware.  The absolute only difference other than the name is the warranty and the fact that they unpack every single one and test it for dead pixels before repacking and shipping it.   For some, $1700 for that is insanity.  For others its essential.  Everyone's needs create different value.  Another monitor company sells extended warranties.  It's 1-year out of the box.  The 4 year extended cost about $400.  For actual warranty policies, it seems clear that long warranties do drive up the cost by surprising margins at times, partially from profit padding, and partially from loss mitigation.  

 

Quote:

 

Again, I'm not saying there's no differences and that gear doesn't matter on any level - I've never said that. What I am saying is that those differences are generally going to be inaudible, or so minor that you won't even pick them out unless you're doing a direct ABX - like the impedance matching argument; sure with some cases with some loads you will get FR deviation, which you won't know about unless you're measuring it with an audio analyzer or AB'ing with something else (and have controlled for all your other variables). Someone else said it earlier: worry less, listen to more music. That's roughly my philosophy on this whole thing - "good enough is really good enough." 

 

 

 

Actually, I agree with you mostly with many differences only being able to be distinctly picked out by doing a direct ABX.  But I think the one missing element there is harder to quantify, and is one that drives a lot of upgradeitis here.   The "perception" of the things you're missing, you know you're missing "something" but can't put a finger on the distinct problem without ABXing.   This happened to me with my old loudspeaker setup DAC.  I'd often listen to it and it sounded great, but sometimes I'd just not enjoy an album as much as I thought I would, or tired of it fast, etc.  I listened closely and could not identify what was wrong...there seemed to be nothing wrong.  At some point I introduced another DAC into the mix.  It actually had to do with inputs, not SQ.  By chance I found I wasn't tiring of some of those albums as much.  I didn't really link the two together until I realized that I was mostly using the new DAC.   Niether of them was an exceptional piece of hardware, none of it boutique, all pretty average stuff.  After doing a blind ABX on them the distinct differences were apparent while they were not when listening separately.  The one was comparatively rubbish.

 

The moral of the story is, just because you can't identify the differences between two pieces of equipment unless you intentionally ABX them at the same time, it doesn't mean you're still not perceiving those differences through greater or lesser enjoyment of the music over an extended listening session.  In that sense I think the idea of "critical listening" to identify detail in hardware is a flawed logic from the start.  In some cases just "listening to music for a while" is a much better test of how you really enjoy the output from a given setup.  In critical listening you're trying to hear the frequency, the attack, the pacing, the jitter, the whatever.  In just listening your brain just tells you "I like this, I want to do nothing but sit and listen all day, forget food and sleep!" or "I guess it's ok, can I go do something else now? I'm bored with this song, lets change the track!" regular_smile%20.gif

 

post #124 of 406

IEM,

 

I agree with what you're saying. I think most people get ahead of themselves and try to "hear the flaws" before they've even had the equipment though; and that leads to a lot of over-spending and over-buying as a result of over-thinking. On one hand I shouldn't complain; it stimulates the economy. But honestly it strikes me as a bit wasteful on the other. Especially when it goes from "I spent a ton of money and am now reasonably content" to "you have to do the same!"

 

 

post #125 of 406


I will have a beer for each of you tonight!

beerchug.gif
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post


Yes, that was my point actually. The amp itself would probably sound more distorted/colored out of the speaker than out of good headphones. Well, that's just a guess anyway. Point is, that I couldn't hear the 'lushness' of the tubes, though it's quite possible others with more discriminating ears, could.



Thanks!

I thought that was your point.

At one time or another I've had tube pre-amps, power amps, headphone amps aand CD players as well as various SS stuff.

I can hear the colouration of tubes just as easily through speakers as through headphones, but I think it does sound a bit different through speakers than it does through 'phones.

I find the bass thru a tube power amp to be softer, i.e. not as tight as from an SS amp.

I actually sold my last tube power amp because I did not like the sound I got thru my current louspeakers, but the tube amp power sounded fine thru my previous loudpeakers.

I could go on...............but it's really just my experience, YMMV.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by IEMCrazy View Post


I don't think all tubes are "lush", many are in fact very natural (most were designed to be natural!) but I think they tend to be a little less sterile than most SS simply because of their less perfect nature.  The trick with tubes is that they introduce a type of distortion that blends everything together with softer edges, without perceptibly removing the clarity and attack of the tone, either.  Thus why I think it recreates the subtle distortion/attenuation of sound traveling through air over distance and the subtle reflections off objects/walls when used with headphones.  It shouldn't perceptibly distort or alter the sound or reduce resolution, it just presents a more smooth lifelike (after travel) soundwave.  Of course some people to go for lush tubes, which is to say, a biased-midrange with greater edge distortion and high frequency attenuation.

 

I don't think not hearing "lushness" means you didn't hear tube sound, most tubes would be more subtle than that.  You'd have to ABX the differences, or determine if one or the other is more fatiguing.   And not all SS is as sterile as others.  Some designs will allow a bit more "tube-like" presentation by design.  But usually that's more expensive to do!   But in the end it comes down to what you want out of your sound.  For some the more sterile/accurate SS would be strongly preferable to adding any intentional distortion.  I just think that's more viable on speakers than on headphones.

 

 

Thanks, I agree with what you are saying. It's a good description of what I hear.

However,
Tubes really puzzle me.

What you say basically makes sense.

Here is where it gets very weird.

I have a La Figaro 336C. It used 6SN7 and 6AS7 tubes.   I can change to sound a bit by swapping in different 6SN7s. They are all new (i.e. never used even though some are 40 years old) so we can say they DO NOT sound different because some are older and weaker from years of use.

So it makes no sense that they should sound different. If they are all 6SN7s then they should have the same characteristics, same gain, same capacitance, etc. etc.  So they should sound the same!  But they don't! So I guess they are not all true 6SN7 tubes.

 

BTW,  one of the many reasons why a tube amp will sound different is because tube amps are usually much simpler than SS amps.

Yes I know the tube amp needs an additional power supply for the heater filaments and the power amps normally require output transformers.

But you can build a very decent sounding stereo pre-amp equipped with phono stage using only eight triodes.

The equivalant SS pre-amp would less approximately 32 transistors or more. Or four Op Amps which contain 30-40 transistors each.

Actually a tube is basically just as linear as a JFET or MOSFET.


 

 

post #126 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

IEM,

 

I agree with what you're saying. I think most people get ahead of themselves and try to "hear the flaws" before they've even had the equipment though; and that leads to a lot of over-spending and over-buying as a result of over-thinking. On one hand I shouldn't complain; it stimulates the economy. But honestly it strikes me as a bit wasteful on the other. Especially when it goes from "I spent a ton of money and am now reasonably content" to "you have to do the same!"

 

 


I definitely agree with that! It's one thing to spend the money to achieve a specific result that you know what you're trying to achieve, or to try to escape a specific flaw in your sound you currently know you have; flaws that find you and ruin your enjoyment of your music (My Headroom Micro + HD650 comes to mind evil_smiley.gif.  IMO even the little E11 is a better sounding match)   It's another thing to try to seek flaws and then try to fix them buy buying new things without actually understanding what you're fixing.   And while it's ok to recommend to someone combinations you like or dislike or suggest why doing the upgrade now to level x so you won't have to upgrade again is sensible, the "you need a $xxxx piece of hardware for your ABC-123 to reach their potential, but they're really only mid-fi, you need YZ-987's if you want hi-fi" really points people in a bad direction....at least much too early in the game...

 

On the other hand I'd much rather people that insist on putting their money into audio upgrades put that money into upgrading things that are much more likely to improve their sound appreciably like amps & DACs than the snake oil cables their headphone dealer is probably trying to sell them wink.gif

 

post #127 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


What's ironic is that the Phonitor has almost the same output impedance as the E9;

http://en.goldenears.net/index.php?mid=KB_Columns&document_srl=1389 (I doubt 10.1 vs 10.3 really makes any difference that you could even measure...); although it's output specs are a bit worse than the E9 - SPL states it's output at 30 ohms at 360 mW (into 1k); 1700mW into 600ohms (into 1k) - the E9 is around 1W into 30ohms (based on TI data and whatnot; same 1k very likely). 

 

So in other words, if output impedance and damping are what really "matters" here - these two are in the same boat; the E9 just has more power behind it. Just an observation...



 

 

What about the electronic components and the circuit design they don't count?

post #128 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post


I have a La Figaro 336C. It used 6SN7 and 6AS7 tubes.   I can change to sound a bit by swapping in different 6SN7s. They are all new (i.e. never used even though some are 40 years old) so we can say they DO NOT sound different because some are older and weaker from years of use.

So it makes no sense that they should sound different. If they are all 6SN7s then they should have the same characteristics, same gain, same capacitance, etc. etc.  So they should sound the same!  But they don't! So I guess they are not all true 6SN7 tubes.

 

Two 6SN7's may have the same on-paper specifications but that doesn't really make them all identical.   Going by the paper spec ignores factors such as manufacturing process, manufacturing tolerance to be allowed as "in spec" batch deviations, different factory lines with different toolings and tolerances, different vacuum densities per batch/glass/factory (there's no such thing as a perfect vacuum outside space, and even that's debatable), different materials used internally in different factories or time periods, contamination of the components, plate spacings, anion coating differences, etc.  Also, different materials in use and different ages may decay in different ways when sitting on a shelf for half a century.

 

Ideally multiple tubes from the same line from the same year would sound identical despite manufacturing deviations within spec tolerance.  But consider, especially with NOS tubes, the large variances of years, and the fact that more popular ones were made in several factories, often in several countries, over many years, and there's definitely enough room for significant differences enough to not really be the same tube.

 

That's the exact sort of thing that may make people hate tubes tongue_smile.gif

post #129 of 406

Yes, that's what I'm wondering myself. Can a 'cheap' ss amp like the E9 give you almost identical audio quality to a much more expensive ss amp? Do the components and design make for a noticeable improvement in sound quality.....or not? If not, then obviously the E9 or O2 is sufficient to drive the 70X, and anything more costly is a waste of money. There must be some subtle improvements in some aspect(s) of the sound as you go up towards the $1000 range....or not?? What say you obobskivich?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Acix View Post

 

What about the electronic components and the circuit design they don't count?


 

 

post #130 of 406

I listen to my Q701 through my computer connected to a fiio E10. It is loud enough for pop music. However for classical it doesn't go as loud as I'd like.

edit: nvm that was on low-gain. on high-gain it goes pretty loud


Edited by semmio - 3/18/12 at 2:46am
post #131 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by semmio View Post

I listen to my Q701 through my computer connected to a fiio E10. It is loud enough for pop music. However for classical it doesn't go as loud as I'd like.



There's more to audio quality than loudness however.....or no one would ever need to consider spending more than $100.

post #132 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post



There's more to audio quality than loudness however.....or no one would ever need to consider spending more than $100.


Sorry for not being clear, but that is actually my point. If the E10 can barely drive the Q701 to a good volume, it probably isn't driving the Q701 to its full potential

post #133 of 406

They do and they don't; if you're talking about THD and going from "low" to "super low" (where both are inaudible) or something like that, it doesn't matter. The point is, it DOES NOT MATTER what is inside the box, or how much it costs, what matters is the output - if they're giving you the same signal (in terms of how it's perceived), then no it's just overbuying. Given that 300mW to 1000mW is like 7 dB (which is nothing), I'm guessing that no - in this case it does not matter (aside from the SPL having things like crossfade on it). 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acix View Post

 

What about the electronic components and the circuit design they don't count?



 

Like what? You can't just throw something like that out there and then not quantify it. And sure, people will TOTALLY spend more than $100 - that's a bunk argument. The fact that there's a sucker a minute who will dump money into badge engineering or let a good conman swindle them does not mean it's justified (I'm not speaking about any particular hardware here, mind you). Again, cost tells us nothing, and without some sort of grounded, quantified value that we can judge, we can't just throw our hands up and say "no there are differences" - if they exist, what are they? 

 

As I said before (maybe not in this thread though) - there are people who like to spend $10, and people who like to spend $100. There will always be someone who insists they need to spend more for whatever reason, or who will buy something more expensive for whatever reason, even if it doesn't contribute to actual performance. Take Ford and Lincoln as an example; the Town Car and Crown Victoria are the same car (motor, tranny, driveline, frame, most of the body components, electronics, etc) - so why does anyone spend the extra $30,000 for the Lincoln? It has nothing to do with it somehow being a better performer, it isn't. It is, however, more exclusive, offers some more exclusive features (like air ride), and comes with prestige; it also costs more, and the extra price does move units (this is documented as economic theory; cf Veblen). 

 

So my point is, the super-duper expensive stuff is usually fluff; you do hit a "wall" and there is no extra "1%" - and just because someone is fine dumping $15,000 into some cables or $90,000 into a CD player or whatever, doesn't mean that device justifies its existence, or even offers any real performance gains. It just happens to cost more, and there's always someone who wants to be able to say "mine's bigger!"


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post



There's more to audio quality than loudness however.....or no one would ever need to consider spending more than $100.



 

post #134 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post
There's more to audio quality than loudness however.....or no one would ever need to consider spending more than $100.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Like what? You can't just throw something like that out there and then not quantify it. And sure, people will TOTALLY spend more than $100 - that's a bunk argument. The fact that there's a sucker a minute who will dump money into badge engineering or let a good conman swindle them does not mean it's justified (I'm not speaking about any particular hardware here, mind you). Again, cost tells us nothing, and without some sort of grounded, quantified value that we can judge, we can't just throw our hands up and say "no there are differences" - if they exist, what are they? 

 

As I said before (maybe not in this thread though) - there are people who like to spend $10, and people who like to spend $100. There will always be someone who insists they need to spend more for whatever reason, or who will buy something more expensive for whatever reason, even if it doesn't contribute to actual performance. Take Ford and Lincoln as an example; the Town Car and Crown Victoria are the same car (motor, tranny, driveline, frame, most of the body components, electronics, etc) - so why does anyone spend the extra $30,000 for the Lincoln? It has nothing to do with it somehow being a better performer, it isn't. It is, however, more exclusive, offers some more exclusive features (like air ride), and comes with prestige; it also costs more, and the extra price does move units (this is documented as economic theory; cf Veblen). 

 

So my point is, the super-duper expensive stuff is usually fluff; you do hit a "wall" and there is no extra "1%" - and just because someone is fine dumping $15,000 into some cables or $90,000 into a CD player or whatever, doesn't mean that device justifies its existence, or even offers any real performance gains. It just happens to cost more, and there's always someone who wants to be able to say "mine's bigger!"

 

That's what I'm asking myself! If a ss amp is simply amplifying and not adding or subtracting anything to the signal, then a $100 will definitely do as well as a $1000 amp. So what's the difference other than the price tag? Is there an extra %1 or 2%....or more.... of something that you get for the extra money? More clarity....resolution....better sound stage, separation, imaging, all those audio terms that people like to throw around.....is there more, or better, with the $1000 amp vs the $100 one?

post #135 of 406
Lower powered amps, which are usually cheaper, are more likely to introduce more noise, especially when you really crank the gain. All of my low end budget amps have higher noise floors than the bigger ones. As I mentioned before, my Little Dot I+ will drive my HE-6s on high gain with the volume all the way up, but there is a noticeable low level hiss when there are silences in the music. That might annoy some people, or it might not, depends on the person. That noise isn't there with my monster Kenwood or my EF-5, but the LD wasn't much over $100, so I don't expect it to perfectly drive the most difficult headphones in the world. Would an O2 do the job with them? No idea, I don't own one. However, I can say with a high degree of certainty that if someone were to look at their needs in a completely unbiased way, they'd likely see that an amp like the EF-5 ($400) is all they really need, no matter what cans they buy.


Edit: Oh, and sometimes people just want to buy a nice amp because it looks awesome. That's a completely acceptable reason, IMO. It's the main reason I want a big honkin' tube amp, they look bad ass. cool.gif
Edited by Magick Man - 3/16/12 at 7:23pm
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