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How to maximize sound quality?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hey all, after years of listening of listening to music with 30+ pairs of crappy headphones (iPod headphones, Skullcandys, etc.) and a couple IEMs (Shure E3C, Brainwavz M2), I decided to take a huge step forward and make a huge investment into audio equipment.

 

Here's what I have purchased this last week.

 

Ultimate Ears Triple-Fi 10 w/ Chris_Himself Silver Ray IEM cable (being built)

Grado SR225i w/ Chris_Himself Headphone Cable (being built)

Sony Walkman Z

Fiio E6

 

Everything sounds great right now but I still feel like I am not using my equipment to it's potential. With such nice headphones/IEMs and a pretty good source, I feel as if I cheaped out on my amp. 

 

Will an amp be something that would be worth investing in? I know both my TF10's and SR225s do not need much to drive but will they still benefit from being amped? 

 

If so, what would you recommend in the <$200, and how much improvement will I notice?

 

Also, will a LOD benefit my Walkman Z or is the A/D conversion in it already good enough?

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by lawlz View Post

Hey all, after years of listening of listening to music with 30+ pairs of crappy headphones (iPod headphones, Skullcandys, etc.) and a couple IEMs (Shure E3C, Brainwavz M2), I decided to take a huge step forward and make a huge investment into audio equipment.

 

Here's what I have purchased this last week.

 

Ultimate Ears Triple-Fi 10 w/ Chris_Himself Silver Ray IEM cable (being built)

Grado SR225i w/ Chris_Himself Headphone Cable (being built)

Sony Walkman Z

Fiio E6

 

Everything sounds great right now but I still feel like I am not using my equipment to it's potential. With such nice headphones/IEMs and a pretty good source, I feel as if I cheaped out on my amp. 

 

Will an amp be something that would be worth investing in? I know both my TF10's and SR225s do not need much to drive but will they still benefit from being amped? 

 

If so, what would you recommend in the <$200, and how much improvement will I notice?

 

Also, will a LOD benefit my Walkman Z or is the A/D conversion in it already good enough?

 

Thanks!

How much a headphone or earbud or IEM gains from amping depends on itself.LOOK for people in other threads that sound like they know what they are talking about and mean and look for if they recommend an amp for it! Brooko in a recent thread said that the Shure 535's don't absolutely need an external amp as it doesn't gain too much past the iphone 4 in his opinion, that's a good example of what you should go by for one.

 

So basically look up people(that seem like they know what they mean) that say it gains or benefits form amping! It varies from each headphone or iem.

 

There is a LOD for Sony's but not sure if it will work on the Walkman Z or if the Walkman Z itself has Line out capabilities. Does it?

 

I'll forward you some starting video's. I won't be posting them here as it would seem like self promotion.

 

And as always,

 

"Welcome to Head-Fi! Sorry about your wallet!"

 

beerchug.gif

post #3 of 13
Please pm me the vid
post #4 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodeity View Post

Please pm me the vid

Done. Please tell me what you think of them

post #5 of 13

How to maximize sound quality:

  1. Do not learn about its science.
  2. Believe in the supernatural, cables and that you're always, always impervious and immune to bias, every time.
  3. Spend like a millionaire billionaire, and always spend more for the journey.
  4. ???
  5. Lose your mind and succumb to insanity because this is becoming ridiculous.

 

/cynical

post #6 of 13

I forgot to add, well yeah, as you said to maximize sound quality, getting all those crazy cables will do that theoretically, but it's hard for a regular person to hear the difference. I think you mean get the most out of your gear without overpaying by being self educated, if so, the video's should help.

If your equipment is under $500, you don't have to worry about upgrading your cables, if your cables are broken, unless it's analog(pay a bit more for these, like $10-$20) buy the regular kind. Watch the coaxil, optical, usb vidoe if you are interested.

post #7 of 13

IMO, the actual "weak" link in the Player->Amp->IEM chain is the IEM.  5 different players might sound nearly the same using the same IEM.  The opposite is not true, of course -- most IEM's have their own peculiar sound signature.

 

IMO, the next "weak" link is the ear/brain of the listener!  Many people can't hear any difference between $10 and $150 earphones.  But if you can, find what you really like and be satisfied.  Often times, "better" is a matter of very small degrees of audio improvement at a very high cost.

 

Until I bought the Etymotic ER-4P, I was never quite satisfied with many earphones I tried (some for reasons other than just sound quality).  Now that I've had the ER-4P for several years, I enjoy listening just as much to the $12 Philips SHE3580 earphone because it is so good sounding to me!  Different than the ER-4P, but almost as good as the ER-4P in terms of pure enjoyment of music.

post #8 of 13

I agree completely with Kmhaynes, find headphones with the sound signature you really really like, that was the most important thing to me.

I have my Ultrasone pro 900s and I wouldn't sell them for 10,000$ lol, I can't handle a day without them they are perfect for me, they literally made me their bitch, I do not want to even look @ any other headphones lol. 

 

Now in regards to the Sony Z, I have tried it with LoD and it is AMAZING, a must if you will use an amp, I used it with Fiio E11. 

Also on the Sony Z I am not sure what kind of a player you use but the stock one really shines with LoD and its fancy effects. Poweramp for me was not a good combo. 

 

Audio file itself is a big deal too, uncompressed music has a lot of detail to it vs a 320 mp3 but not everyone can hear it or cares about it. Try an uncompressed wav file from beatport or something & compare it to same file in MP3. If you can hear the difference it will click right away. 

post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by kmhaynes View Post

IMO, the actual "weak" link in the Player->Amp->IEM chain is the IEM.  5 different players might sound nearly the same using the same IEM.  The opposite is not true, of course -- most IEM's have their own peculiar sound signature.

 

IMO, the next "weak" link is the ear/brain of the listener!  Many people can't hear any difference between $10 and $150 earphones.  But if you can, find what you really like and be satisfied.  Often times, "better" is a matter of very small degrees of audio improvement at a very high cost.

 

Good point there.

post #10 of 13
Also make sure your music files are of high quality bitrates. There's a big difference between 256kbps and 320kbps to a well tuned ear. Even go FLAC if you can. One of the major things I look at recently is how well the music file quality is. If you've spent decent money as I have, often the easiest things are overlooked.

Makes a HUGE difference to the audio experience!
Edited by H20Fidelity - 7/19/12 at 3:56am
post #11 of 13

Can someone please explain the difference between a 16 bit and 24 bit sample size and a 44.1kHz and 48.0kHz Sample Rate?

post #12 of 13

When I first read the thread title, I thought you have almost infinite budget. Just wanted to comment looking into speakers LOL

 

I agree with kmhaynes' point about the chain. You shouldn't opt to change the cables since the change in sound is minimal

 

16bit vs 24bit and 44.1kHz and 48kHz  won't make much a difference depending on your gears

post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 

I added a couple things to my gear list and couldn't be happier.

 

New additions:

Earsonics SM3 V2's

Westone UM3X

Fiio LOD for Sony Walkman Z

Fiio E17

 

I never really heard any sort of difference from my older headphones/IEMs (Brainwavz M2, Shure E3c, etc.) even with my TF10's and Fiio E6. I was starting to give up on my journey of experiencing an "eargasm" or hearing what audiophiles hear but this has changed ever since I listened to the SM3's. They just sound so amazing! I can definitely hear the differences between these and my TF10s. I don't know enough about this hobby to tell what is what "trebles, mids, etc." but I am glad that my ears can appreciate the massive difference in quality.

 

Very happy!

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