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Is the Source Criminally Underrated ? - Page 2

post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by telecaster View Post

In my experience PS3 sounds pretty mid HIFI. Not clean with a slight harshness that is characteristic. Bass are there, trebles are extended but there something quite not magical with PS3, sound is OK at most. Not involving like high end digital sources. In my humble experience that is what I found about PS3.

That is playing PCM optical output.
 

If that is the best that 'mid fi' can aspire to, I might as well punch my own ticket right now ...

 

I guess it depends on what you consider a high-end digital source. For some, that would be the DX100 - for others, nothing less than the dCS stack. There is an even more hardcore group who would tell you that such a thing just doesnt exist, but I wont go there. 

 

 http://www.head-fi.org/t/607176/are-bel-canto-and-emotiva-considered-high-end-peachtree-audio

post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thommohawk View Post

 

Here's how I have it hooked up, and if anyone has similar equipment it'd be great if you would try this and let me know what you think, but I have mine hooked up like this:

 

PS3 (with lossless files)

3.5mm cable out to the line in port of the laptop (set to listen/record the line in port on windows side)

Fiio E7 plugged in to the Fiio E9

Fiio E9 plugged in to the laptop via USB

Headphones plugged in to the Fiio E9

 

And that's it.

 

I get dual audio streams 1 from PS3 and 1 from laptop.

 

Laptop audio sounds same old average regardless of what else is hooked up or not. It's not bad but it's just not brilliant either. And I use Foobar with lossless files and wasapi etc.

PS3 though to me sounds miles better. A lot more immersive, like the band or artist is actually playing in the same room as you.

 

Anyone with a Fiio E7/E9, laptop and PS3 do try it. See what you think. Because the difference for me between playing music on my PS3 compared to laptop software using the same hardware is night and day.

 

If I got this right - the PS3's DAC decodes the signal, then you encode it again in the laptop's soundcard, then the digital audio goes out via USB into the E7/E9. Which basically means that you've used the PS3's DAC, so whatever you were sending out the USB is bound to sound different, instead of the E7 alone decoding it directly. But whether the PS3 is better or it colored the sound and you just lost a little bit encoding it again is a bit harder to determine.

That's kind of like when people hook up their iPod via its analog out into the car stereo, and the processor they use gets an input signal through the high-level (speaker) output of the factory-installed integrated stereo, encoding it in 32bit, then processing for time alignment (think Crossfeed), crossover, EQ, etc, then decoding it again through another 32bit chip. Some purists don't like this because it degrades the signal in one or both ways - too many DAC-ADC-DAC processes, and/or that the initial DAC process (iPod, factory stereo) sucks to begin with, while others think it sounds "better" than a great mid-fi (Pioneer P80, etc)/audiophile (Pioneer P90, Denon, etc) receiver which might not have as many tuning options. So in the end - do whatever sounds best and convenient for you.

post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

 

Just to add, I think DACs reach the point of diminishing returns much quicker, at a much cheaper cost than the rest of your equipment.

So criminally underrated? Not really.


True only to the point of the ability of your transducers to resolve such diminishing returns.  Listening to differences between DACs (or any component for that matter) on SR-009's is a completely different exercise than on DT 990s.  Likewise, plugging in to a highly resolving 2 channel system will bring many additional facets into play as well.  The higher resolution in the overall system, the more sensitive it is to differences between substituted components.

post #19 of 22

If you wanna make this argument, even the SR-009 falls short here. The distortion products, noise floors, and so on of competently designed DACs are all much lower than what even the SR-009 can aspire to. Now of course, the SR-009 does better than say, the Edition 10, at low distortion output, but it's still orders of magnitude greater than the DtoA (and should be orders of magnitude worse than the amplifier as well). 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smeckles View Post


True only to the point of the ability of your transducers to resolve such diminishing returns.  Listening to differences between DACs (or any component for that matter) on SR-009's is a completely different exercise than on DT 990s.  Likewise, plugging in to a highly resolving 2 channel system will bring many additional facets into play as well.  The higher resolution in the overall system, the more sensitive it is to differences between substituted components.

post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post

 

If I got this right - the PS3's DAC decodes the signal, then you encode it again in the laptop's soundcard, then the digital audio goes out via USB into the E7/E9. Which basically means that you've used the PS3's DAC, so whatever you were sending out the USB is bound to sound different, instead of the E7 alone decoding it directly. But whether the PS3 is better or it colored the sound and you just lost a little bit encoding it again is a bit harder to determine.

 

I might be wrong but I think it's more to do with the actual players on both PS3 and laptop. There are differences with each, slight differences between different music software's on the laptop side, also differences between hooking the PS3 up directly to the Fiio E9 amp via it's line in (sounds harsher on the highs) but the base line difference between PS3 and laptop overall is still there and for me it sounds a lot better through the PS3. 

 

As you say it might be coloured in some way I'm not sure, and for the record my equipment is relatively modest and I've never heard expensive sources or Dac's before. I just see a major difference in my audio quality and/or enjoyment via my hardware when played through games console vs laptop. Laptop just sounds dry and lacking by comparison, either there's something seriously wrong on the computer end or my PS3 knocks it out of the park.

 

So I take it you guys are getting a lot more out of your music when listening on computer ? 

post #21 of 22

my hearing suggests the dac is key too. If one is full on digital. My main system is turntable ----> old receiver pre ------> headphone.   simple   but all my lp's have been made into flac as well, so I need a digital 'source' and a good dac really makes a difference. My headphones 'grado type' are easy to drive and I see no need/benefit for an amp. I've tried several and while they affect the sound, I feel they actually make things less accurate in some ways and I end up preferring no-amp/good dac. A good dac can even make the $15 kossksc75's sound like $400 grados. So, In a way, I almost feel the dac source is as critical as the headphones.

post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thommohawk View Post

 

I might be wrong but I think it's more to do with the actual players on both PS3 and laptop. There are differences with each, slight differences between different music software's on the laptop side, also differences between hooking the PS3 up directly to the Fiio E9 amp via it's line in (sounds harsher on the highs) but the base line difference between PS3 and laptop overall is still there and for me it sounds a lot better through the PS3. 

 

As you say it might be coloured in some way I'm not sure, and for the record my equipment is relatively modest and I've never heard expensive sources or Dac's before. I just see a major difference in my audio quality and/or enjoyment via my hardware when played through games console vs laptop. Laptop just sounds dry and lacking by comparison, either there's something seriously wrong on the computer end or my PS3 knocks it out of the park.

 

So I take it you guys are getting a lot more out of your music when listening on computer ? 

 

Not really. I used to have an HP and another desktop that had a coaxial output, feeding a SuperPro707 and a DAC-AH, and I can't tell the difference between the PC and the Marantz CD80. The 707 sounds thin next to the DAC-AH, but if I used the USB input, it sounds a lot like it. That's because the Superpro could take more voltage out of a better PSU, and when you use the USB, it takes 5V there to power the DAC section and leave the PSU to power just the analog output. In short, given comparable PSUs, they actually sound much closer to each other. Given the DAC-AH was using recycled Philips DAC chips that were used in Marantz CDPlayers from the early 90s, and the 707 was using the same chip used by Marantz in their current players, then basically the analog output circuit and PSU design can account for a lot more than the digital sections, unless there really is a disparity that - for the lack of a better term - "chokes" the digital signal feed.

 

Right now my only sources are a laptop and an iPad2, feeding the USB of my Corda Cantate. I only use the laptop when the iPad is charging, planning to get a portable/battery DAC-Amp for use when I'm out with the laptop. But I'll get a CD player again in the future (like a Meridian 16-bit), but given the frustrations of transport dying on me and I can't find anyone to fix them or the right parts, it's more likely I'll get a wireless DAC instead. That's probbly going to stir up as much debate about source quality given the ones out now also use different wireless protocols, aside from everything else different in the circuits.

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