This is my last post on Headfi. I will lurk occasionally (very occasionally) but I have no need to post further, as the site has lost its appeal to me. The demographic has shifted and the college students hating on beats and seeing $1,000 as an expensive hobby doesn’t represent a demographic I relate to.
I have learned a bit (or should I say, I have formed a few subjective opinions over the years) and I thought it appropriate to share my thoughts on my last post; for what they are worth.
- Headphones make by far the biggest difference to the end result of listening to the recording, so if you want “improvement” – change your headphones (not your source, DAC, amp or cables)
- That also means spend the majority of what you can afford on the headphones. However, diminishing returns means that the majority of $1,000 headphones will only be marginally better than the $300-$500 headphones (excluding all other variables including sound signature preference), but if you have the disposable income, go for it.
- You need an amp with sufficient power to drive the least efficient headphone you own (or will own in the foreseeable future) and beyond that go with one with the input/output connections you need and features that are important to you. And the cosmetics you like, low distortion, black background,-basically “wire with gain”. Beyond that the Richard Clark $10,000 challenge is worth a read.
- Garbage in = Garbage out is true of the recording itself, regardless of bit rate/loss less file quality. Poor recordings will be limited no matter what you are listening through/with. Digital source will not make an audible difference, provided that sources are not damaged or broken and are functioning as they should. 1s and 0s will always behave the same, excluding filters and other sound colorations. Electronics are only colorations, so spend as little as possible to get the functions, aesthetics and connections you want and trust digital information is the same from all adequate modern sources. Take a CD, rip it to a hard drive (loss less), burn it to another CD, rip it to 10 different external drives and look at the data. The exact same bit sequence will be on every one of those drives just the same as the original CD. How does a DAC “change the sound (improve it)” if the data is exactly the same? It doesn’t, unless it adds something else (coloration, distortion, etc.)?
- Cables-There has never been a controlled blind (D blind) test that anyone has been able to pass; draw your own conclusions from that. To the people that “hear a difference,” watch the Matrix and decide whether you would select the red or the blue pill. Swap your cables to improve weight, flexibility, micro-phonics, aesthetics, termination type, but audible sound improvement?-Swallow the blue pill and alter your perceptions in the science of Psycho-acoustics, if you choose to.
- And finally- “Headphones Vs. Speakers.”
Listening via headphones is a totally different experience to speakers. A car will never be the same journey as a motorbike either; they are just different. Horses for courses.
And to those that disagree with my subjective opinions; I say to each their own. Just don’t expect a response from me (as if you could care).
CDP/DAC (it doesn’t matter which one) Powerful, black background (V2000) Amp
T1 and LCD2 (both superb)