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Battle Of The Flagships (58 Headphones Compared) - Page 59

post #871 of 5123
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

 

 

uumm...  If this were true all my amps should sound the same - correct???  All my amps are powerful enough and properly working..  Powerful enough for what anyway??  Are all my amps neutral?  I don't think so, although I could be wrong.  At the moment I have in house 3 balanced headphone amps with one more on the way.  

 

All have a different sound. I would label them like this from neutral to some what colored.  All balanced, working properly and powerful enough  GSX v2 (incoming), CK²III, βeta-22, M^3.  However, some may say they're all neutral.

 

One amp specifically (M^3) I'm currently working with a builder to find a good sound sig that I like by changing opamps.  So all powerful and properly working amps does not always yield the same results. 

 

All an amp is supposed to do is to strenghten the signal to be loud enough for you... This is how it should be. If your amp is suitable enough in volts, current, impedance, gain resistors and IS in reality neutral (and stable in all its specs), the result MUST be audibly the same. Otherwise, something is wrong in the design (or the designer didn't want it to be neutral and clear).


Edited by MHOE - 11/14/12 at 3:16pm
post #872 of 5123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MHOE View Post

 

All an amp is supposed to do is to strenghten the signal to be loud enough for you... This is how it should be. If your amp is suitable enough in volts, current, impedance, gain resistors and IS in reality neutral (and stable in all its specs), the result MUST be audibly the same. Otherwise, something is wrong in the design (or the designer didn't want it to be neutral and clear).

 

MHOE man are you serious.  

 

Please explain why some amps are warm, some amps are bright, some amps are transparent, some amps sound muddy?

post #873 of 5123
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

 

MHOE man are you serious.  

 

Please explain why some amps are warm, some amps are bright, some amps are transparent, some amps sound muddy?

 

I don't know all the amps in the world but the most possible case with warmness/brightness is that the manufacturer just designed them to sound this way. For example simple Fiio E11 has emphasis on bass even though you are not using bass switch on it. Fiio E9 is for sure more neutral but lacks transparency. Xonar Essence ST is behaving strange with higher gain settings, being too much distorted... Tube amps are also the case with their harmonic distortion.

 

Another thing is suitability... Low impedance phones require a lot of current which not every amplifier is able to deliver. Also, amps' outputs are very often of higher impedance than ideal which can cause muddiness in bass and higher level of overal distortion with some phones.

 

Also, if you do not use ideal gain resistors for every particular headphone, you are loosing transparency and adding distortion. An ideal gain for one pair of headphones is the one where you get loud enough + little more on full volume. Good amp needs to be audibly transparent even when turning the volume knob towards the max.

 

Stability also plays role... Majority of amps could have good measurements but are starting to perform worse in special conditions (for example with low impedance phones as mentioned before). Also, they are phones which have stable impedance across the frequency spectrum, and there are ones with more diverse graphs (see Sennheisers). This can of course cause problems... Amps powered by batteries are also going to perform weaker in certain categories.

 

I am sure enough I didn't mentioned all the options that can happen... But the simple outcome from all of this would be that you should only use transparent, neutral and stable performing amp to achieve the best results (read working as it should).


Edited by MHOE - 11/14/12 at 3:44pm
post #874 of 5123
Thread Starter 

I think MHOE is meaning to say simply that in his opinion, a well built amp functions simply as a device that enables a headphone to be heard at a desired volume.  I take away from his comments that he's saying that a well-built amp (for him) functions as a somewhat invisible component in the setup.  

 

If I am correct to assume this is what he means, I understand where he is coming from and there are some who share this take.  I personally do not share this view, and I personally feel that an amp this invisible can only exist in theory.  I also think some (the majority) of headphones do not benefit from this degree of near-invisibility.  However, if my understanding of MHOE's comments is sort of what he meant, I do not dispute his view, except to say that's its one perspective in which to value the build quality of an amp, but not the only perspective (and I don't believe he suggests it as the only perspective - at least not intentionally). 


Edited by DavidMahler - 11/14/12 at 3:45pm
post #875 of 5123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MHOE View Post

You should only use transparent, neutral and stable performing amp only to achieve the best results.

 

Not necessarily true I don't want all my amps the same way.  I don't really enjoy my HD800s on a neutral, transparent, resolving amp.  I like a little color while being a little forgiving as well with those.

post #876 of 5123
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

I think MHOE is meaning to say simply that in his opinion, a well built amp functions simply as a device that enables a headphone to be heard at a desired volume.  I take away from his comments that he's saying that a well-built amp (for him) functions as a somewhat invisible component in the setup.  

 

If I am correct to assume this is what he means, I understand where he is coming from and there are some who share this take.  I personally do not share this view, and I personally feel that an amp this invisible can only exist in theory.  I also think some (the majority) of headphones do not benefit from this degree of near-invisibility.  However, if my understanding of MHOE's comments is sort of what he meant, I do not dispute his view, except to say that's its one perspective in which to value the build quality of an amp, but not the only perspective (and I don't believe he suggests it as the only perspective - at least not intentionally). 

 

Yes, my opinion is based on my approach to achieve the truest-to-the-source sound... I am not saying it is wrong to use tube amps or more distorted amp if it sounds nice to you. The same goes with headphones and pretty much everything.

 

The important thing is to know what you want and go for it... But you have to develop this idea yourself, and do not rely only on opinions of the other people here.


Edited by MHOE - 11/14/12 at 3:55pm
post #877 of 5123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

 

Not necessarily true I don't want all my amps the same way.  I don't really enjoy my HD800s on a neutral, transparent, resolving amp.  I like a little color while being a little forgiving as well with those.

I agree,  I think the HD800 benefits from this as well.

post #878 of 5123
Quote:
Originally Posted by preproman View Post

 

Not necessarily true I don't want all my amps the same way.  I don't really enjoy my HD800s on a neutral, transparent, resolving amp.  I like a little color while being a little forgiving as well with those.

 

Best = working as it should (from the theoretical point of view). Please do not think I am telling you what you should want your amps to sound like :-) I enjoy my Fiio E11 even though it's nowhere near O2 in its specs... But only for casual listening, of course.


Edited by MHOE - 11/14/12 at 4:03pm
post #879 of 5123
This review list is beautiful. Quality review in every aspect of the sound, and a lot of details in what and why you placed them in their current places. Even though you have not had enough time with the HD 598s, would you position them anywhere at the 30s or 40s, or strike them hard at one of the worse you have heard? You should also add Beats Pro reviews just to troll the viewers (and hey, even make it #1 :P). Great read, thanks for posting this.
post #880 of 5123
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sycho View Post

This review list is beautiful. Quality review in every aspect of the sound, and a lot of details in what and why you placed them in their current places. Even though you have not had enough time with the HD 598s, would you position them anywhere at the 30s or 40s, or strike them hard at one of the worse you have heard? You should also add Beats Pro reviews just to troll the viewers (and hey, even make it #1 :P). Great read, thanks for posting this.

 

From this measurements, they do not seem to be bad (don't know their pricing): http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/MonsterBeatsPro.pdf

 

For sure not stunning but still I am quite surprised...

post #881 of 5123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sycho View Post

This review list is beautiful. Quality review in every aspect of the sound, and a lot of details in what and why you placed them in their current places. Even though you have not had enough time with the HD 598s, would you position them anywhere at the 30s or 40s, or strike them hard at one of the worse you have heard? You should also add Beats Pro reviews just to troll the viewers (and hey, even make it #1 :P). Great read, thanks for posting this.

I really wouldn't want to assign a number to a headphone which  I don't own and haven't spent a lot of time with.  However,  I think the HD598 is a very good headphone for the price.

 

It would be really funny to include Beats in the review, eh?  I think people outside the audiophile community would anticipate a Beats By Dre headphone as being in the top spot (or top 5).  If the review ever somehow found a wider audience than the Head-fi community, I may in fact include a Beats headphone for reference.  It wouldn't rank particularly well in this list though:)

post #882 of 5123
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMahler View Post

I really wouldn't want to assign a number to a headphone which  I don't own and haven't spent a lot of time with.  However,  I think the HD598 is a very good headphone for the price.

 

It would be really funny to include Beats in the review, eh?  I think people outside the audiophile community would anticipate a Beats By Dre headphone as being in the top spot (or top 5).  If the review ever somehow found a wider audience than the Head-fi community, I may in fact include a Beats headphone for reference.  It wouldn't rank particularly well in this list though:)


lol that would be hillarious.

post #883 of 5123
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MHOE View Post

 

From this measurements, they do not seem to be bad (don't know their pricing): http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/MonsterBeatsPro.pdf

 

For sure not stunning but still I am quite surprised...

I think I'm remembering correctly when I say that for that graph, Tyll measured a pair we had lying around at the Headphones.com office. So my experience with the Beats Pro is based specifically on the model measured in that chart.   I used it frequently as a reference,  when comparing other consumer-oriented headphones.  It truly wasn't bad, but by audiophile standards it doesn't offer the type of presentation that one would typically find compelling.  In its class and for its specific consumer type, I found it to be a decent enough offering - too expensive for the quality of sound - but not bad sounding.... not as bad as I actually thought they would have sounded.

post #884 of 5123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MHOE View Post

 

I don't know all the amps in the world but the most possible case with warmness/brightness is that the manufacturer just designed them to sound this way. For example simple Fiio E11 has emphasis on bass even though you are not using bass switch on it. Fiio E9 is for sure more neutral but lacks transparency. Xonar Essence ST is behaving strange with higher gain settings, being too much distorted... Tube amps are also the case with their harmonic distortion.

 

Another thing is suitability... Low impedance phones require a lot of current which not every amplifier is able to deliver. Also, amps' outputs are very often of higher impedance than ideal which can cause muddiness in bass and higher level of overal distortion with some phones.

 

Also, if you do not use ideal gain resistors for every particular headphone, you are loosing transparency and adding distortion. An ideal gain for one pair of headphones is the one where you get loud enough + little more on full volume. Good amp needs to be audibly transparent even when turning the volume knob towards the max.

 

Stability also plays role... Majority of amps could have good measurements but are starting to perform worse in special conditions (for example with low impedance phones as mentioned before). Also, they are phones which have stable impedance across the frequency spectrum, and there are ones with more diverse graphs (see Sennheisers). This can of course cause problems... Amps powered by batteries are also going to perform weaker in certain categories.

 

I am sure enough I didn't mentioned all the options that can happen... But the simple outcome from all of this would be that you should only use transparent, neutral and stable performing amp to achieve the best results (read working as it should).


Interesting to read. Thank you for writing such an informative post! I'm starting to get into amps a little bit. I've always kind of tried to avoid tube amps because of their "unclean" signal, but in concept, they are extremely neat to me. I would actually like to get my hands on a Bottlehead S.E.X. or Crack some day just because I think tube amps are so awesome.

 

I just purchased an Objective2 amp because I've read that it's supposed to be a very good amp for the price. It certainly sounds very good to me and I'm liking the clean, transparent output it has.

 

 

One question, though I hope not to derail the thread, how does an amp increase the soundstage? The O2 adds very little colouration, if at all, when connected to my Sansa Clip Zip (yeah yeah, double amplification is a concern in this situation), at least to my ears. On the other hand, the soundstage and instrumentation separation seems to be increased, and I notice this effect too when I connect it to my MacBook (yeah yeah not the best source either).

post #885 of 5123
Quote:
Originally Posted by MHOE View Post

 

Yeah, it may sound too courageous but I am really not interested in any tube amps just because they are not neutral... I am simply looking for neutrality, nothing else (that said, I have nothing against tube amps in general). This is why I have O2 amplifier with ODAC - because of available measurements, a lot of explained theory behind it on the author's blog, manuals how to customise it without loosing the high level of fidelity and because even Tyll from innerfidelity confirms it as a top performer. You cannot get anything better as a DAC and amp in this price range... I unfortunately do not have 40k dollars for purchasing something you have in your inventory :-)

You would fall in love with the BHA-1 in that case. Especially for your lcd's, killer pairing.

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