The easy question - "Junior Head-Fi'er" is based on your postcount, and nothing else. I don't remember all the levels, I want to say Supremus is 1500+ posts though, there's other levels between Junior and so on. It's not meant to be an insult (and I wouldn't worry too much about it, it isn't a value judgment passed on you).
Regarding the first point - tube vs SS is a bit of a contentious debate. Ultimately both technologies have the capacity to be low distortion and high quality (ignore that tubes have a lifecycle measured in thousands of hours, relative to tens or hundreds of thousands of hours for SS), but there are a number of "audiophile" designs that throwback probably 50 or 60 years of progress, and that's where you get all sorts of coloration (some of these amplifiers, and no I'm not pointing fingers at any specific target, are not even linear 20-20k, some can't even do 100-15k, it's just bad engineering at work). Based on that, I have no real issue with tube or SS, and have never read a solid explanation in defense (or opposition) of tube rolling. Personally I don't use tubed gear, because I don't like replacing components (and yes I realize, 5000-10000 hours is a huge amount of time) and (and this is entirely a personal thing) I don't want to worry about burning something on the tube and/or the heat generated in my listening area becoming a problem.
So regarding the "sound" argument - any two amplifiers that can deliver the same output abilities, regardless of anything else, will be "equals" - there's also a level of "good enough" where you aren't going to hear any of the (very measurable and sometimes very expensive) performance improvements. For example, if you find some moho-monster that'll do 15,000 mW into any load from 8 ohms to 800 ohms, that can swing some insane voltage, that never current limits, and runs in pure class A with no distortion (we're basically talking about "God in a box" here), and you have something like an iPod, and a pair of cans that are >100 dB/mW sensitive and low impedance (lets pick on the Beats Pro because they're common and fit this description), they'll drive just as well from either amplifier. They won't sound any better on the more expensive amplifier, the only claim to fame it will have is being able to blow them apart (your ears will go first). It doesn't matter if the thing is tubed or solid-state or whatever.
So with tubes, if you find an "exotic" design that is inherently non-linear, yeah, you'll hear about that. But if you've got a properly designed component, aside from level mis-match (in other words, not all amplifiers/preamplifiers have identical internal gain, and this can mean some products are "louder" than others (yes there's a link coming)), they should be equally transparent if they're well qualified. An example of such a tubed device would be a Little Dot or any of the "hybrid" amplifiers (like the models from Musical Fidelity and Music Hall).
Basically - good sound does not need to cost a fortune, and in many cases the "expensive tweaks" will usually leave no better for the wear, and suck up money that you could've otherwise spent on things that matter at the end of the day. With headphones there's a lot less "stuff" to really need to buy (there's no acoustic environment to address), and it doesn't surprise me the amount of things that have come in to fill that void.
Originally Posted by Dj Mark
Glad and sad, that you didnt give me time to look in to this as I was looking forward to it but probably you have saved me a lot of time as you mentioned so i can spend more time on more essential things. I am still wondering 1 thing wich is about tube amps. say that all SS amps for example with enough power to drive my DT990's 600ohm version will give me the same result no matter the price and name of the product, what about if I used a tube amp and changed the tubes for different ones to find a different result in sound or color or separation or something anyway? possibly then the tubes work as a sort of filter? and if what is true about tube amps that they smooth the sound a bit compared to SS amps wouldn't that mean that they actually reduce the separation and true quality of what was actually produced when the track was made?
Question 2: I am quite new to writing in forums for many reason, as i think you find a lot of miss leading info in them and everyone just says their bias opinion in most cases.
So a question I have not yet resolved is why under my name it writes Junior Head fi'er and other peoples write something else? what does that depend on? my equipment? my time spent in the forum? My time enrolled in the forum? I dont like it writing junior head fi'er as i have been a DJ for many years and I also produce music (house) and have been involved in the music industry for a few years, It just irritates me.
It's in our nature. Even people who spend years studying this stuff, and credentialed psychologists or psychiatrists, and are professionally trained in evaluation and testing methodology - they are still subject to these kinds of biases. The really tricky thing is, it isn't as simple as "oh you're making it up, you really aren't hearing anything better!" - in reality, from the perspective of the person making the claim, their perception is telling them it really IS better. So then the question is: is that psychological improvement worth it? Personally I don't think it is, but that's mostly because the price on tweaks and other items has gone through the roof in the last ten years (honestly, I remember the Patrick82 threads about Virtual Dynamics, and it "stood out" - but now you've got probably a half dozen companies set-up to sell the same product, in some cases at even higher prices, or making even more ridiculous claims, and people don't even bat an eye).
Regarding the 70x's "special requirements" - it's somewhat insensitive relative to other headphones, it requires around 1 mW to accomplish 90 dB SPL (most headphones require a fraction of that). So even though it has a fairly low impedance (62 ohms), it needs more power than other low impedance ("easy to drive") headphones, like say the Grado SR-125. I think this is what contributes to the mythos around it - it's very easy to look at a nominal impedance rating and assume that's a measure of "hardness to drive" (and I've seen the so-called "Ohms rating" argued as a metric for how "easy" something is to drive); a headphone like the 70x really breaks that idea apart. And it has nothing to do with some magical property within the 70x, they're just insensitive - they need more power to get the same dBSPL as competitive products. This is no problem for many headphone amplifiers (even the "low output" models like the Creek OBH-11, which can still deliver something like 30-40 mW for the 70x; you can scale this up as if it were speakers - you need 1W for 90 dB (which is very common), and a 30-40W amplifier is perfectly acceptable)). Especially if you consider a lot of the TI-based amplifiers (like the Fiio E9 or CIA VHP-1/2) that can put out something like 500-1000 mW into 64 ohms; that's beyond the 70x's maximum rated input power by at least twofold.
It just becomes a (bigger) problem when you're comparing the "volume dial" positions (as if that's a metric of anything) between the 70x and something like a Grado or a lot of Sony headphones, which are usually in that same 30-60 ohm range, but have sensitivity ratings up into the triple digits in some cases. To pick on the Beats Pro again, I think their stated sensitivity is something like 108 dB/mW. They use like a tenth of a mW to get to 90 dB; they get LOUD on anything (and with good reason; they're designed to be friendly to mobile devices, which usually don't have as much power available to them). So without knowing about the 70x's sensitivity (and going with AKG's stated 100 dB SPL sensitivity rating (which is rated into 1V, but they don't tell you that!)), they're now mysterious and complicated - based on just the numbers on the box, they should be "equal" to many other competitive products, but they aren't.
So then you go out and grab a megabuck amplifier, and it magically solves the problem. And this is the trend I've seen repeated time and again, not just with the 70x mind you, but the larger theme of "max out purchases" and then going back and telling everyone that a huge cash outlay is the solution. Sure, buying the most expensive toy in the shop usually gets you a good time, but there's usually cheaper alternatives that are just as fun.
And as all of this goes on over time, the stigma builds, and the 70x are now "hard to drive" (even though headphones that are legitimately troublesome, like the HE-6, are not regarded as somehow "much much worse" - they're all just categorically "hard to drive," which really tells us nothing). Perhaps I'm not entirely spot-on here, or perhaps I'm over-generalizing (I honestly doubt one single person has gone through this entire thing), but that's roughly what makes sense for such a stigma being attached to a product. It doesn't/didn't help the 70x's case that a few years ago, when the K701 was initially released, there were very few affordable options for headphone amplifiers, and the devices that did exist were generally quite expensive and overbuilt (this doesn't make them bad!). So when you've got a tradition of suggesting expensive products, you can get outputs like "oh you must spend at least $350 on an amplifier to drive these" - that doesn't even begin to make sense; how is price a metric of anything? To use an excellent example of a real product, take the Grado RA1 - it's basically a Cmoy, but what separates it from every other Cmoy ever built, is that it costs something like $500 and is the most expensive Cmoy ever issued. Sure, the fancy wooden case plays into it, but you're not selling me on the idea of a relatively small block of mahogany with minimal woodworking being able to command some $400. It's mark-up. And that mark-up pushes the product into a "higher end" status, and makes it appealing to people who just dropped $699 on an RS-1. It works out because it's not like the RA1 does a bad job, especially with the RS-1, but it's excessive.
Now, the "community" (or whatever you want to call it) has not been very impressed with the RA1, and I'm not some magical cleric to know that it's a Cmoy under that box. That doesn't mean the RA1 is somehow alone in the realm of "overpriced tomfoolery" - there's lots of other devices, some of them even more ridiculous.
Originally Posted by lejaz
Good to know....at least it confirms my own experience with cables. 'Cognitive bias'....expectation bias, etc., is unfortunately very poorly understood by most of us....even most reviewers, or so it seems. What about the common belief that the 70X has special requirements as far as amplification....relative to other popular headphones. Is it all BS......the idea that they will only come into their own with a Heed canamp or Lyr or some other fairly expensive....or ridiculously expensive... amp? Always wondered how much truth is in that.