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Why pick on cables ? - Page 26  

post #376 of 403
Well I want thank bigshot jaddie skamp and all the rest of you guys for opening my eyes within this sound science forum. I was always dubious about cable claims beforehand but never have I seen this subject tackled in such a no nonsense style.
It seems the more deeper I dig into this forum the closer I am getting to the truth. I read somewhere that 90% of a modern digital sound can be attributed to the headphones or the loudspeakers and the room they're being played in.
Would anyone agree or disagree with this?
I seeem to be struggling to record any meaningful blind tests for the kit I have using my rega phono adc its sort of making a swirling sound . So the closest I have got to objective listening is to listen to my cd player direct through the headphone out on my amp using my hd800s. At the same time I switched between the coaxial from my audiolab mdac into the same amp. There is a delay whilst doing this and I can see what's being played. The differences are minimal but always in favour of the audiolab.
I also tried the headphone out on my laptop and switched between my hrt music streamer pro the audiolab the beresford bushmaster and the young all of which were connecting to my graham slee novo headphone amp. Again, there wasn't too much difference. But again, is it possible that I was hearing better sound reproduction through the novo? It seemed like it to me.
The only thing apart from a headache this has given me is the knowledge that however and whatever I connect my hd800s to the music sounds just great.
post #377 of 403
Quote:
Originally Posted by Takeanidea View Post

... I read somewhere that 90% of a modern digital sound can be attributed to the headphones or the loudspeakers and the room they're being played in.
Would anyone agree or disagree with this?

100% of your sound can be attributed to headphones and speakers because before them it's electricity, not sound smily_headphones1.gif.  But I know what you're saying...the sound quality. Speakers and the room, or headphones have the largest impact on quality, but it's hard to put a figure on it. Since we hear intensity logarithmically, I'd put more like 99% on the transducer and acoustic environment, and 1% on everything else, which is about a 40dB difference, unless the electronics are broken or really strange. EQ not included.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Takeanidea View Post

I seeem to be struggling to record any meaningful blind tests for the kit I have using my rega phono adc its sort of making a swirling sound . So the closest I have got to objective listening is to listen to my cd player direct through the headphone out on my amp using my hd800s. At the same time I switched between the coaxial from my audiolab mdac into the same amp. There is a delay whilst doing this and I can see what's being played. The differences are minimal but always in favour of the audiolab.
I also tried the headphone out on my laptop and switched between my hrt music streamer pro the audiolab the beresford bushmaster and the young all of which were connecting to my graham slee novo headphone amp. Again, there wasn't too much difference. But again, is it possible that I was hearing better sound reproduction through the novo? It seemed like it to me.
The only thing apart from a headache this has given me is the knowledge that however and whatever I connect my hd800s to the music sounds just great.

You can't do blind testing that way.  You need almost no delay between the choices, and there has to be the blind element: you can't know what you're listening to.  Knowing spins the test results.  Delay between choices significantly reduces your ability to discern differences. 100ms has an impact, so seconds taken to switch cables or connect headphones to another device is way too much.

 

Glad you're searching for audio truth. Hang in there.

post #378 of 403
If the truth is that 99% relates to the speaker and room and 1% for the digital kit then I've skewed my buying by a huge margin....
I reckon I've spent £2600 on hardware and about £2000 on headphones and speakers. Yikes!!!!
Do you ever get that sinking feeling???
post #379 of 403

I think it's a little pointless to say that certain equipment is equal to a certain percentage of sound quality difference. I mean take anything out of the chain and you don't get any sound.

 

You can try to say what the ratio should be price wise, but as far as DACs go they really stay the same after a certain point regardless of how good the end of the chain is. Amps, this will also vary depending on the type of headphone or speaker you have. So you can't really do that either.

post #380 of 403
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

I think it's a little pointless to say that certain equipment is equal to a certain percentage of sound quality difference. I mean take anything out of the chain and you don't get any sound.

 

You can try to say what the ratio should be price wise, but as far as DACs go they really stay the same after a certain point regardless of how good the end of the chain is. Amps, this will also vary depending on the type of headphone or speaker you have. So you can't really do that either.

Here's the logic: If a device changes the original signal more than any other device in the chain, then it's the one responsible for most of the sound quality.  Transducers and their acoustic environment alter the original so much there's simply no comparison to the electronics which change the original by some tiny fraction of a percent.  Transducers add distortion, but more importantly they alter frequency response, often by more than 20dB.  By comparison, electronics may change frequency response at the extremes by .1dB.  

 

The grim reality is, if you spend your money on great headphones and plug them into an iPod, you've arrived at better than 99% of the final total sound quality. Changing amps and DACs results in changes so small as to be indistinguishable from the imaginary, whereas changing headphones results in changes in SQ that are clearly heard by anyone.  The same is true of speakers, and acoustics.  

post #381 of 403
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

Here's the logic: If a device changes the original signal more than any other device in the chain, then it's the one responsible for most of the sound quality.  Transducers and their acoustic environment alter the original so much there's simply no comparison to the electronics which change the original by some tiny fraction of a percent.  Transducers add distortion, but more importantly they alter frequency response, often by more than 20dB.  By comparison, electronics may change frequency response at the extremes by .1dB.  

 

The grim reality is, if you spend your money on great headphones and plug them into an iPod, you've arrived at better than 99% of the final total sound quality. Changing amps and DACs results in changes so small as to be indistinguishable from the imaginary, whereas changing headphones results in changes in SQ that are clearly heard by anyone.  The same is true of speakers, and acoustics.  

Electronics can change the frequency response however much they want. Although that's generally not their goal. Saying .1dB as an extreme is wrong though, for example my soundcard has about a .5dB bass rolloff and it's a high end soundcard. Not that your point still doesn't stand while talking in a general sense, as even the real extremes of DAC/Amp changes have nothing on that which you see in headphone's.

 

As far as amps go, there are a large amount of headphones that simply won't work well off an iPod, if at all. Power requirements differ. Even with my relatively efficient HE-400's an iPod isn't enough, way too quiet.

 

I suppose I'm just nit-picking though. I agree with the overall point but I just don't think you can throw a percentage on something like that when there are so many exceptions, and it could give people the wrong idea when thinking how much they need to spend on something to achieve good audio quality. It's not that uncommon to have terrible front-panel sound on a computer, for example, and me changing from my front panel to a soundcard I would attribute a very high percentage SQ change as it removes a good deal of static and also removes a high pitched ringing noise. And even in comparison to my non-front panel onboard sound adding an amplifier to it provides what I consider a great increase to sound quality due to the fact that my enjoyment of music increases that much more with the volume the amp can provide.

post #382 of 403
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

Electronics can change the frequency response however much they want. Although that's generally not their goal. Saying .1dB as an extreme is wrong though, for example my soundcard has about a .5dB bass rolloff and it's a high end soundcard. Not that your point still doesn't stand while talking in a general sense, as even the real extremes of DAC/Amp changes have nothing on that which you see in headphone's.

 

As far as amps go, there are a large amount of headphones that simply won't work well off an iPod, if at all. Power requirements differ. Even with my relatively efficient HE-400's an iPod isn't enough, way too quiet.

 

I suppose I'm just nit-picking though. I agree with the overall point but I just don't think you can throw a percentage on something like that when there are so many exceptions, and it could give people the wrong idea when thinking how much they need to spend on something to achieve good audio quality. It's not that uncommon to have terrible front-panel sound on a computer, for example, and me changing from my front panel to a soundcard I would attribute a very high percentage SQ change as it removes a good deal of static and also removes a high pitched ringing noise. And even in comparison to my non-front panel onboard sound adding an amplifier to it provides what I consider a great increase to sound quality due to the fact that my enjoyment of music increases that much more with the volume the amp can provide.

You are nit picking.  A .5dB response change at the extreme ends of the audio band is inaudible.  Headphone compatibility with iPods is a minor issue compared to the difference in SQ in headphones.  

 

I stick by my statements, nits not withstanding.  Your points are correct, just not nearly as significant. 

post #383 of 403

In short, assigning percentages to how much each component contributes to the sound.

Listening to a Sony Z series and a Sansa Clip with a pair of IEMs, the differences can easily be as big as the differences between two sets of IEMs.

But at the same time it is easy to find two competently made players that are indistinguishable from each other.

I'd say that at it's best the name and price tag on each component up the chain makes no differences at all.

post #384 of 403
Quote:
Originally Posted by limpidglitch View Post

In short, assigning percentages to how much each component contributes to the sound.

Listening to a Sony Z series and a Sansa Clip with a pair of IEMs, the differences can easily be as big as the differences between two sets of IEMs.

But at the same time it is easy to find two competently made players that are indistinguishable from each other.

I'd say that at it's best the name and price tag on each component up the chain makes no differences at all.

You're familiar with the statistical "bell curve".  There are extremes with low values and a huge broad peak in the middle.  You can always find exceptions at the extremes if you look hard enough, but the average, the bulk, lies right smack in the middle. 

 

With your comparison you've found the edge of the bell curve with the Sony Z, and something right in the middle with the Clip.  Apparently the Sony has a rather under designed output stage, so it has trouble driving low Z headphones.  That proves that the Sony Z is under designed, it does not prove that all electronics have a huge impact on the total SQ.  It's an exception.

 

Most electronics do very little to the total sound quality, most transducers to a lot. You can easily find response measurements of headphones and speakers and electronics that completely support that.  


I would agree that the price tag has little correlation to performance  

post #385 of 403
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

You're familiar with the statistical "bell curve".  There are extremes with low values and a huge broad peak in the middle.  You can always find exceptions at the extremes if you look hard enough, but the average, the bulk, lies right smack in the middle. 

 

With your comparison you've found the edge of the bell curve with the Sony Z, and something right in the middle with the Clip.  Apparently the Sony has a rather under designed output stage, so it has trouble driving low Z headphones.  That proves that the Sony Z is under designed, it does not prove that all electronics have a huge impact on the total SQ.  It's an exception.

 

Most electronics do very little to the total sound quality, most transducers to a lot. You can easily find response measurements of headphones and speakers and electronics that completely support that.  


I would agree that the price tag has little correlation to performance  

 

Nicely put. The real questions are

 

1. Where do you NEED to put money to get an improvement in sound quality rather than just selecting the best components available at that price

 

 

2. How much of an improvement will you hear

post #386 of 403
Quote:
Originally Posted by scuttle View Post

 

Nicely put. The real questions are

 

1. Where do you NEED to put money to get an improvement in sound quality rather than just selecting the best components available at that price

 

 

2. How much of an improvement will you hear


Its kind of similar to how people upgrade their computers. Find out where the latency is, in other words, whats the bottleneck. Improving anything before or after the bottleneck doesn't really help.

 

 

About the improvement, it depends on the whole chain. Once you remove the bottleneck, other components may be able to help in the performance, but then again, it depends on where the next bottleneck is, and how much of a performance gain it can provide.


Edited by proton007 - 2/4/13 at 11:35pm
post #387 of 403
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

You're familiar with the statistical "bell curve".  There are extremes with low values and a huge broad peak in the middle.  You can always find exceptions at the extremes if you look hard enough, but the average, the bulk, lies right smack in the middle. 

 

With your comparison you've found the edge of the bell curve with the Sony Z, and something right in the middle with the Clip.  Apparently the Sony has a rather under designed output stage, so it has trouble driving low Z headphones.  That proves that the Sony Z is under designed, it does not prove that all electronics have a huge impact on the total SQ.  It's an exception.

 

Most electronics do very little to the total sound quality, most transducers to a lot. You can easily find response measurements of headphones and speakers and electronics that completely support that.  


I would agree that the price tag has little correlation to performance  

 

 

Of course, but I'm not interested in the average, that was my whole point. 

As long as an ideal scenario (sonic transparency) is so easy to accomplish, it makes no sense to heed components that are incompetently designed, intentionally or not.

post #388 of 403
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

About the improvement, it depends on the whole chain. Once you remove the bottleneck, other components may be able to help in the performance, but then again, it depends on where the next bottleneck is, and how much of a performance gain it can provide.

 

The bottleneck is almost always in the same place... The response ofthe transducer. The rest of the chain is easy. Almost anything will work equally well as long as tere's enough power to push the transduers.

post #389 of 403
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

As far as amps go, there are a large amount of headphones that simply won't work well off an iPod, if at all. Power requirements differ. Even with my relatively efficient HE-400's an iPod isn't enough, way too quiet.

 

Then why do you call these "relatively efficient"? It's a vague term to begin with ("relative" to what?) but the 400s are claimed to be easily driven with an ipod:

 

http://www.amazon.com/HiFiMAN-HE-400-Planar-Efficiency-Headphones/dp/B007ZG32I4

 

Also, which ipod, and why it should be a reasonable standard? It's easy to google reports of He400's running off tiny Clips with reasonable volume!

post #390 of 403
Quote:
Originally Posted by scuttle View Post

 

Then why do you call these "relatively efficient"? It's a vague term to begin with ("relative" to what?) but the 400s are claimed to be easily driven with an ipod:

 

http://www.amazon.com/HiFiMAN-HE-400-Planar-Efficiency-Headphones/dp/B007ZG32I4

 

Also, which ipod, and why it should be a reasonable standard? It's easy to google reports of He400's running off tiny Clips with reasonable volume!

Relative to other planar headphones.

 

They can be driven by ipods, not easily driven or to loud volume. I've got a Cowon X7 which has a lot more juice than most PMPs and it doesn't have any volume headroom at all for me(on average. Some songs, especially certain live recordings, don't play nearly as loud as I'd want them to be).

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