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post #151 of 406


What would a sighted, subjective, non-level-matched, and otherwise uncontrolled observation tell us? Nothing.

Also, what does it matter that someone disagrees? 

 

Basically, I remain unimpressed and do not see any evidence being offered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acix View Post


 

I'll be the last one here on headfi to justified expensive headphones ring /equipment...but after 4-5 years of searching the best amp to match for my 702's I've got to the same result and conclusion as I start with. Some of as that have the chance to hear this ring can claim that they prefer more bass, or blabla,bla...but I guess nobody will argue about the K-702 and Phonitor combo in terms sound of resolution and transparency.

 

EDIT: Without getting into TMI maybe you should check this combo for yourself a report back... smile.gif



This is actually interesting! 

I've read some differing opinions on phase shift, from "absolute phase does not matter" to "we need to stop everything to fix this" - I tend to subscribe to the former school of thought, although I don't think it's nearly that cut and dry. Mostly because I agree with what you're saying about bandwidth.

 

The "point source" argument for speakers gets a bit more interesting - even a single driver will have phase shift (hence "absolute phase does not matter, because it can never be recreated" - remember that recording microphones don't have absolute phase either!), and I've never seen anything substantial on 'stats and phase (I assume they should behave linearly enough though; they're more or less universally championed by their designers as "linear and perfect" (this is more or less lifted from STAX, Koss, MartinLogan, Quad, etc marketing - it all sort of blurs together)). So I'm curious, is basically my point. See here: http://sound.westhost.com/amp-sound.htm Again, I'm getting a lot of the same "wonky exotic audiophile gear" as the problem child, and modern and competent devices as being comparable/interchangeable. 0.5 dB of shift is not a problem imho, but I'm sure some people see that on a spec and have a heart attack (again, there's more deviation from the output device!). 

 

Noise is a bit more contentious - a lot of people like Bryston (I don't know hardly anything about Arcam), and the noise floor is always one of the first arguments made. Where I have an issue is when you're talking about a noise floor that's either too low to be audible, too low to be audible with conventional transducers, too low to be audible due to environmental noise, or too low to not be stepped on by the signal. In other words, we all dream about high bandwidth and low noise devices that reject more noise than a mom on Friday night, but that doesn't mean it would absolutely help us. And just because we can recognize this device to exist, at least in theory, doesn't mean the expensive machines are that. Finally, listening tests do not agree that more expensive or more fancy/overbuilt/better designed/etc amplifiers are inherently superior to to cheap ones; that's a commercial fallacy. Granted, all of those tests are done with loudspeakers, but it's not like we're jumping off the deep end into another realm when talking headphones. It's like uh, I have a fan in my listening room (which cannot be removed), and I always hear that fan; that fan is environmental noise above any device's noise floor - if it occurs in the same frequency range, it will mask it. Period. So who cares below that? Same for white noise on recordings - it will mask any white noise from the amplifier, decoder, whatever. Can't do a thing about it. Even if I killed the fan, my listening area is not a "quiet room" - the noise floor is not down there at 0 dB. Even if it was, now find me a recording that has a super duper low noise floor (say, 90 dB down). Now find me a few more, and make them something I want to listen to. I know, it's a bit glib and pragmatic, but it's to the point. 

 

Sure, there's always going to be junk out there, but unless the thing is bleeding out noise or clipping, there's bigger fish to fry. 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post



Years ago I read a scientific paper stating that the human ear can detect phase shift as low as +/- 15  degrees.  Bandwitdth and phase shift are tied together.  If you want less than +/- 15 degrees of phase shift from an audio amp then you want a very wide bandwidth amplifier.

It wasn't my research, I am only paraphrasing it.  If I get a spare moment, I might try and track this paper, or a similar paper, down on the web.

Apparently one of the advantages of a properly designed eletrostatic loudspeaker is the reduction in phase shift from the speaker as it is a one way speaker, i.e. no separate woofer and tweeter with crossover components.

 

When I am referring to noise I am partially referring to noise that sees to be buried within the signal that the amp amy or may not add.  Supposedly this is one of the secrets of the Bryston and Arcam sound, they have done a lot to reduce various sources of noise but neither company does much to properly explain what they are doing.  One reason might be that it would take a 50 page scientific paper to explain it all.   How do you explain radiated and conducted noise immunity and emissions to a layman?

 

 

 



 

post #152 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post



Sure, there's always going to be junk out there, but unless the thing is bleeding out noise or clipping, there's bigger fish to fry. 
In your opinion. "Bleeding out noise" for you is likely very different than it is for other people. I have a quiet listening area, nice cans, and a low tolerance for amp noise.
post #153 of 406


You still aren't in an isolation room (and you don't know how loud or quiet my listening area actually is - for all you know it's quieter than your "quiet room"), and your cans are still producing more distortion and more "junk" than any of your other components. You can state your tolerances as you like, but human sensation is human sensation - you are not superhuman. Just to illustrate a point, your Denon's are putting out between .1 and 10% THD depending on frequency and level - that's more distortion than any component you're likely to be able to purchase anywhere. They also, unless your devices really suck, are less linear than anything you're likely to be able to buy (in terms of phase, FR, etc) - they introduce more distortion and deviation than anything else in the chain. That's all headphones, speakers, etc. See my point?  

And I know, you're thinking - "oh he just went back to THD and FR" - but that's what noise and phase distortion and so on will influence. I'm not worried about "underlying" specs if their products are so clean that it's not perceptible. 

 

And yes, it is my opinion - I think it's silly to spend a fortune for some spec that never makes a difference (in other words, why pay for inaudible nonsense). I think we mostly agree on this, at least I'd like to think that people could agree on that. 

 

Of course, it's easier to just dismiss me (and by extension any knowledge I may have) as "inferior" and go along with whatever you were doing. I do understand that as well. 

 

When I say "bleeding out noise" I mean directly audible noise - that's very rare with properly grounded and properly used equipment, at any price point. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post


In your opinion. "Bleeding out noise" for you is likely very different than it is for other people. I have a quiet listening area, nice cans, and a low tolerance for amp noise.


 


Edited by obobskivich - 3/17/12 at 12:53pm
post #154 of 406

Well I'm a newbie in regards to headphones, but I can share my experience with my home theater receiver / amp.  When I upgraded my receiver the difference was outstanding.  I went from a cheapy HTIB onkyo receiver to a Pioneer 1120k.  I don't know the terminology to explain but I can say this it even made my cheap towers sound amazing.  I could hear detail in songs I had never heard before.  Even in stereo mode it was hard to believe it was playing from 2 channels.  I kept checking to see if the center channel was on but it wasn't.  

 

Later I upgraded to some Polk Rti12 towers.  I decided to replace my 4 channel amp (Harmon Kardon) for a notoriously warm Adcom amp.  Zero difference whatsoever.  Maybe I lack the ears necessary to hear the difference but one thing is for certain, it wasn't 1/100 of the difference of upgrading the receiver.   

 

I have no idea why upgrading the receiver made such a huge difference but changing amps made zero difference.  Anyone care to help me understand?  Maybe DAC quality is more critical than amp quality?

 

btw, I just bought some Q701's and I'm about to buy a headphone amp.  I was leaning towards the asgard until reading this thread.  I love the sound of the Q701's when connected to my receiver and I was hoping that when I get a headphone dac/amp it would improve the soundstage and overall sound quality.          


Edited by yakapo - 3/17/12 at 1:05pm
post #155 of 406

A more detailed answer will have to wait for another day, (don't have much time!) but I was not talking about absolute phase.

 

More about The Electrostatic Thing:  generally speaking Electrostats have an order of magnitude less distortion than moving coil loudspeakers (i.e. garden variety, regular, everyday lodseakers and 'phones) because they are directly driven.   I'm way off topic, aren't I?

post #156 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post



You still aren't in an isolation room (and you don't know how loud or quiet my listening area actually is - for all you know it's quieter than your "quiet room"), and your cans are still producing more distortion and more "junk" than any of your other components. You can state your tolerances as you like, but human sensation is human sensation - you are not superhuman. Just to illustrate a point, your Denon's are putting out between .1 and 10% THD depending on frequency and level - that's more distortion than any component you're likely to be able to purchase anywhere. They also, unless your devices really suck, are less linear than anything you're likely to be able to buy (in terms of phase, FR, etc) - they introduce more distortion and deviation than anything else in the chain. That's all headphones, speakers, etc. See my point?  
And I know, you're thinking - "oh he just went back to THD and FR" - but that's what noise and phase distortion and so on will influence. I'm not worried about "underlying" specs if their products are so clean that it's not perceptible. 

And yes, it is my opinion - I think it's silly to spend a fortune for some spec that never makes a difference (in other words, why pay for inaudible nonsense). I think we mostly agree on this, at least I'd like to think that people could agree on that. 

Of course, it's easier to just dismiss me (and by extension any knowledge I may have) as "inferior" and go along with whatever you were doing. I do understand that as well. 

When I say "bleeding out noise" I mean directly audible noise - that's very rare with properly grounded and properly used equipment, at any price point. 

Yeah, yeah. I can hook up the E9 and I hear low level noise through my D7000s, it's faint but there. I can't hear that noise with the EF-5 or my M2A. I said this before, I suppose you ignored it.

I don't think you're inferior, I just believe you're too biased too see anyone else's views and too inflexible to care.
post #157 of 406

Regarding the differences, it's hard to say - there's A LOT that goes along with changing receivers (they have become extremely complicated devices; they're a lot more than amplifiers). It could be anything from room EQ to internally defined house curves to internal gain structure to being properly set-up to who even knows. Very tough to say without seeing the system first-hand. The actual "amplifier" bit and "DAC" bit though, probably not the "ah ha!" we're looking for. 

 

Regarding the Q701 - a new amplifier won't change their soundstage, positioning, any of that - it will also not be a tone control for them. It will either drive them well or it won't. The 1120k probably does a very good job, so any amplifier you get will probably just replicate that; they'll still be Q701s - dumping a ton of money into a fancy box does not make them "better" or "worse" than Q701s. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by yakapo View Post

Well I'm a newbie in regards to headphones, but I can share my experience with my home theater receiver / amp.  When I upgraded my receiver the difference was outstanding.  I went from a cheapy HTIB onkyo receiver to a Pioneer 1120k.  I don't know the terminology to explain but I can say this it even made my cheap towers sound amazing.  I could hear detail in songs I had never heard before.  Even in stereo mode it was hard to believe it was playing from 2 channels.  I kept checking to see if the center channel was on but it wasn't.  

 

Later I upgraded to some Polk Rti12 towers.  I decided to replace my 4 channel amp (Harmon Kardon) for a notoriously warm Adcom amp.  Zero difference whatsoever.  Maybe I lack the ears necessary to hear the difference but one thing is for certain, it wasn't 1/100 of the difference of upgrading the receiver.   

 

I have no idea why upgrading the receiver made such a huge difference but changing amps made zero difference.  Anyone care to help me understand?  Maybe DAC quality is more critical than amp quality?

 

btw, I just bought some Q701's and I'm about to buy a headphone amp.  I was leaning towards the asgard until reading this thread.  I love the sound of the Q701's when connected to my receiver and I was hoping that when I get a headphone dac/amp it would improve the soundstage and overall sound quality.          



Hey man, we haven't started talking about Star Trek yet - I'd say we're still on topic! 

 

I know they have less distortion, but it's still orders of magnitude higher than the device behind them (but lower than their interaction with the universe). 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

A more detailed answer will have to wait for another day, (don't have much time!) but I was not talking about absolute phase.

 

More about The Electrostatic Thing:  generally speaking Electrostats have an order of magnitude less distortion than moving coil loudspeakers (i.e. garden variety, regular, everyday lodseakers and 'phones) because they are directly driven.   I'm way off topic, aren't I?



 

post #158 of 406

I actually acknowledged your woes with the E9, and mentioned it as a potential reason to avoid Fiio for future users, as you mentioned having not one, but three faulty products in a row! (which is awful). 

 

Regarding "seeing someone else's views" - yeah, I've heard you; you think parts quality is a function of price, and that it dictates some as-yet-unmetered "quality" variable, and that spending more nets a higher "quality" (I don't have a word for it, this isn't scare-quotes) device. I disagree, and that's based on both my own experience (I've had none of your experiences with the E9, and get no hissing noise), and data that I've read/studied/whatever (which you seem to reject because you've had personally bad experiences). So now we're at an impasse, and are supposed to hate each other and decry one another's viewpoints while drawing battle lines, right?

 

Honestly, I'm not trying to minimize your experiences; I've actually said a few times "working properly and competently designed" are criteria - your experience would indicate "bleeding out noise" or "grounding issues" in my book. It doesn't characterize all devices at a given price point though (or even speak to a price/quality equation), nor does it characterize all people's experiences - you just got unlucky with a single product from a single manufacturer at a single point in time. 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post


Yeah, yeah. I can hook up the E9 and I hear low level noise through my D7000s, it's faint but there. I can't hear that noise with the EF-5 or my M2A. I said this before, I suppose you ignored it.
I don't think you're inferior, I just believe you're too biased too see anyone else's views and too inflexible to care.


 

post #159 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


What would a sighted, subjective, non-level-matched, and otherwise uncontrolled observation tell us? Nothing.

Also, what does it matter that someone disagrees? 

 

Basically, I remain unimpressed and do not see any evidence being offered.

 

As I said... the best evidence for you will be to try it for yourself, and to get your first hand impression as a knowledge and not just as info on a company manual . wink.gif

post #160 of 406

Sorry, that doesn't work. It also strikes me as a cop-out answer. 

 

And my knowledge is not "info on a company manual." 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Acix View Post

 

As I said... the best evidence for you will be to try it for yourself, and to get your first hand impression as a knowledge and not just as info on a company manual . wink.gif



 

post #161 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


You still aren't in an isolation room (and you don't know how loud or quiet my listening area actually is - for all you know it's quieter than your "quiet room"), and your cans are still producing more distortion and more "junk" than any of your other components. You can state your tolerances as you like, but human sensation is human sensation - you are not superhuman. Just to illustrate a point, your Denon's are putting out between .1 and 10% THD depending on frequency and level - that's more distortion than any component you're likely to be able to purchase anywhere. They also, unless your devices really suck, are less linear than anything you're likely to be able to buy (in terms of phase, FR, etc) - they introduce more distortion and deviation than anything else in the chain. That's all headphones, speakers, etc. See my point?  

And I know, you're thinking - "oh he just went back to THD and FR" - but that's what noise and phase distortion and so on will influence. I'm not worried about "underlying" specs if their products are so clean that it's not perceptible. 

 

And yes, it is my opinion - I think it's silly to spend a fortune for some spec that never makes a difference (in other words, why pay for inaudible nonsense). I think we mostly agree on this, at least I'd like to think that people could agree on that. 

 

Of course, it's easier to just dismiss me (and by extension any knowledge I may have) as "inferior" and go along with whatever you were doing. I do understand that as well. 

 

When I say "bleeding out noise" I mean directly audible noise - that's very rare with properly grounded and properly used equipment, at any price point. 

 


I've spent way too many years in the power conditioning and power supply field to think that electronic noise, EMI, RFI, etc is a meaningless, useless spec and measurement.There is always a ton of garbage noise conducted down powerlines and radiated via various electronic equipment.  Your amp's power supply does not reject a lot of it, in addition, it probably creates some too.

You could argue that I am biased that way.   That's OK.
 

 

post #162 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

I actually acknowledged your woes with the E9, and mentioned it as a potential reason to avoid Fiio for future users, as you mentioned having not one, but three faulty products in a row! (which is awful). 

Regarding "seeing someone else's views" - yeah, I've heard you; you think parts quality is a function of price, and that it dictates some as-yet-unmetered "quality" variable, and that spending more nets a higher "quality" (I don't have a word for it, this isn't scare-quotes) device. I disagree, and that's based on both my own experience (I've had none of your experiences with the E9, and get no hissing noise), and data that I've read/studied/whatever (which you seem to reject because you've had personally bad experiences). So now we're at an impasse, and are supposed to hate each other and decry one another's viewpoints while drawing battle lines, right?

Honestly, I'm not trying to minimize your experiences; I've actually said a few times "working properly and competently designed" are criteria - your experience would indicate "bleeding out noise" or "grounding issues" in my book. It doesn't characterize all devices at a given price point though (or even speak to a price/quality equation), nor does it characterize all people's experiences - you just got unlucky with a single product from a single manufacturer at a single point in time. 

Now you're jumping to conclusions and making assumptions. I don't believe "parts quality is a function of price", my best headphone amp is a circa mid-80s dual-mono Kenwood, the Basic M2A, which I recently bought at a flea market for $80. It wasn't hugely expensive when it was new, maybe $300. It's silent, "lost in the Abyss" silent. Next is the EF-5, it's very quiet, so is the Matrix CUBE, and my McIntosh SS IA.

On the other side of the coin, there's the E9. It has easily heard background noise, same with my E7, though not quite as loud. There's even a tiny amount with the Little Dot I+, but it's more difficult make out and doesn't annoy me. Interestingly, the noise floor on the LD went down when I swapped the opamp to an OPA2107. Which is a $7 part, the MC33078 that was in it sells for about 25 cents and obviously was used to cut costs, not for its performance... No, quality doesn't equal price, but crappy electronics are generally the ones that cost the least.
post #163 of 406

So,  back to the topic of amps for the 70X ....will this phase shift that's been discussed be audible or not with the two budget amps that were being discussed, the E9 and the O2? Would I likely notice it with the ld mkV or something else in the $300 price range? Can I rest easy knowing that the ld mkV isn't producing audible frequency deviations or phase shift? What about the E9? I'm leaving aside the noise issue since I don't hear any on my set up.

post #164 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post

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


I agree with you completely, I always look for the best in specs, reviews and if posible to also test equipment before i buy it but when im done with that and just have 2 or 3 pieces of equip to chose from to make my final decision I mostly always go for the one that looks better and more bas asscool.gif
 

 

post #165 of 406
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post

Yeah, yeah. I can hook up the E9 and I hear low level noise through my D7000s, it's faint but there.


The E9 works better with higher impedance headphones, which also make the noise less (if at all with 600 Ohm ones) audible. For the D7000 the E11 or E17 would be a better match, and the E11 even cheaper as well.

 

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