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Evshrug's "If I knew then what I know now" discussion journal. - Page 4

post #46 of 128
Thread Starter 
Wiskaz,
I actually went to college at a small liberal arts college in the city of Greensburg. I bet if I'd gone to to the Art Institute, which is basically like a vocational school, I'd actually have had more immediate opportunities upon graduation. My education was good, but the program was pretty small (there were only like 10 people that graduated in GD with me), and there weren't many internship opportunities in Greensburg (and none that had room for taking me on as an employee upon graduation). Time will tell if the degree (which doesn't look as nice as my high school diploma from a graphic design standpoint, lol!) will end up clearing some future glass ceilings for me. I plan to make a little money and take some more classes at the Art Institute anyway, maybe get a masters, but honestly I'd mostly be doing it for the networking connections and keeping abreast of new techniques.

Nameless,
It's like the classic example of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." There's probably a lot of kickback against such a move by the higher ups, you know, change is scary and not guaranteed. They may also not believe it would be possible to get their brand name on other manufacturer's electronics, perhaps even tried a few times and only received unfavorable deals. I think their biggest fear would be they could spread their assets out too thin if they farm out their software separate from their hardware... but then Asus' cards, and most computer DAC accessories, are hardware upgrades with other's software or very little software. But they gotta keep trying, and in the meantime they need better marketing for their business.
post #47 of 128

Hey, Evshrug :) sorry I haven't said anything, but I was using my college mail for a while and Headfi mails that were redirected there were being filtered to spam.

 

In regards to your second-to-last post on my thread, Undisclosed Desires is one of those songs that gets my eyes closed and just removes me from existence for a while. However, I must say I've never listened to it in any superior quality - I actually don't even remember the origin of my iPod version.

As for any differences with the amp... I'm quite reluctant to say I did. There's a clear difference, my ears just aren't sharp enough to actually tell whether it's for better or for worse as far as pure quality (precision, depth, clarity, spatial, general timbre) goes. I can at most say I enjoy listening to music on it, and it's virtually always on at home. The high-gain is unnecessary for me, and the bass boost has had its moments in a couple songs/albums, but is always off as well, as manual EQing produces much better results. 

 

As for your last post, she absolutely loved them. I don't know how it would have gone down with the Citiscapes instead, but she fell in love with these ones (I'm starting to realize I'm being responsible for quite a trend towards spending some more on headphones around here, as people try her headphones and frequently get blown away. Doesn't happen as frequently with my M50s actually!)

I must add, though, we're not together anymore. ^^'...

post #48 of 128
Thread Starter 
Rosbife,
I'm sorry to hear that... But perhaps it was for the best? You never know where life will take you! I forgot which headphones you ended up choosing though XD

I'll tell you what, with a lot of amps, I wonder if I'm just imagining things regarding "improvement." I like a more gripping, engaging sound, but I hate when the sounds are so "hard" my ears get irritated. And then some sound almost exactly the same, especially between solid state amplifiers. I suspect the difference or improvement made by a more expensive DAC may not be detectable, but I've tried to keep an open mind about it. I actually got to borrow an ODAC, but I haven't been able to get the darn thing to work! I had another whole "article" planned out to open for discussion too.

Last thing I wanna say, it's OK you didn't reply straight away. You don't owe me anything, but I appreciate that you did reply. I like to think I have cyber friends out there.
post #49 of 128
Thread Starter 
Oh. My god.
Gonna go off topic for a sec guys, but I just drove a stick-shift for the first time. With a turbo, no less. And it wasn't just me and my dad's car or something, it was at a car dealership 35 minutes from home and "learning" from a dealer who, bless his patience, probably expected me to already be familiar with the process and feel.

It was like learning to drive for the first time all over again, for the first ten minutes I couldn't get into first gear and just stalled again and again. The salesman kept saying I needed to be gentler with the clutch release, but I realized that the real problem (cuz I was being as soft as I could easing the clutch back on) was that I wasn't using the gas almost at all. So, I had to be "brave" and use some gas (2000 rpm) before beginning to release the clutch, kinda just go for it to get it to work. When I finally got it for the first time (and not just a little "yay! We got past 11mph this time, it's a record!") I was very pleased – hello sense of accomplishment! – but I didn't realize that I would stall again at the end of the parking lot (an empty church where the dealer took me to "play" a little bit) when I stopped.

After about 20 minutes of an impromptu driving lesson, a couple times reaching 2nd, 3rd, and shifting down (starting into 1st gear is the hardest part!), and achieving like a 2:3 success rate, I was ready to drive back to the dealership for now. I almost made it back to the dealership, but I stalled again across the street at a stop sign. I traded driver's seats so I wouldn't roll backwards into the car behind me (she was actually pretty understanding, though grateful I was giving the wheel back to the dealer too, of course), and pretty much that was the end of my first stick driving. I felt a little better when the dealer stalled trying to reverse from the garage door (manuals are a lost art).

I don't know if I'll end up choosing the manual, because I'm torn. Of course I was a bit embarrassed after 10 years of getting better and better and smoother at driving (automatic), but my main worry is that I'll always be a bit stressed trying to drive (even once I "get the feel" and instinct of it). On the other hand, I think it's good to know how to drive stick and really keeps you aware of your car, and I also want to master the challenge. Damn though, it felt sporty! I do know I definitely need to thank the very patient salesman somehow, and he pretty much has my loyalty because of that.
Edited by Evshrug - 6/16/13 at 5:38pm
post #50 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

I don't know if I'll end up choosing the manual, because I'm torn. Of course I was a bit embarrassed after 10 years of getting better and better and smoother at driving (automatic), but my main worry is that I'll always be a bit stressed trying to drive (even once I "get the feel" and instinct of it). On the other hand, I think it's good to know how to drive stick and really keeps you aware of your car, and I also want to master the challenge. Damn though, it felt sporty! I do know I definitely need to thank the very patient salesman somehow, and he pretty much has my loyalty because of that.

The fun part about having a manual transmission in the US is that most people can't drive stick. That means your car is less likely to be stolen and your acquaintances aren't going to be asking to borrow your car (unless they also know how). And it'll probably come in handy should you ever have to drive in Europe.

A little bit back on topic, what's your opinion on EQ?
post #51 of 128
Thread Starter 
Regarding EQ:
I've had good experiences with moderate EQ, but over time I've learned that EQ applied to the analogue stage is much less destructive than EQ from software. That still wouldn't stop me from enjoying software/digital EQ, the bass EQ built into the Recon3D USB was pretty impressive, and with certain headphones I often turn on treble reducer on my iPod. Another rule of thumb, it's generally better to reduce frequencies via EQ to balance the overall tone rather than boost one, because you run the risk of pushing that freq into a point where you'll experience clipping.

Life experience: I got the FiiO E12 at the beginning of the year (limited first release), it has a very targeted bass boost which I really like. It's not a particularly narrow boost, but it's 6 dB peak is centered around 20hz and rolls off into flat before the mids get started. The boost reaches so low into the sub-sub bass, where headphones tend to roll off their response and could use a boost the most, and yet it doesn't bleed over into the rest of the sound and doesn't result in midbass bloat (by stacking up more bass where many headphones are already more "bass-boosted" than neutral). Frankly, I leave it on basically all the time, it doesn't hurt anything on a delicate classic track or song that isn't supposed to have a lot of bass, but the deeper a song digs, the more the amp backs it up. However, since all of us who were getting the first units talked about how we enjoyed it but noted that the effect wasn't very pronounced on most songs (cuz they don't have notes that low), there were a handful of people who didn't have the amp, read our reviews, and expressed that the bass boost wasn't enough, which caused FiiO to tweak the boost so that it peaks at a higher frequency and affects the midbass more, making the effect more noticeable on more songs. Head-Fi'ers started calling the revised model "V2," that's what you can buy today AFAIK. I haven't convinced myself to let my E12 go, because I think that it's analogue – stage EQ is unique.


I'm thinking about picking up an external DAC for music, I'm thinking a FiiO E07k, Schiit Modi, Audioengine D1, or a Creative SoundBlaster Z for my computer and games. The thing about the Z though, I mostly use Mac OS X, and since Creative hasn't made Mac-native drivers for the card I worry that the computer won't boot into Mac if I have the soundcard plugged in. If not for that issue, I would probably have a Z already. Anyone have thoughts?
post #52 of 128
I've been playing with a digital 10-band EQ and it's been a good learning experience noticing changes on familiar songs. Definitely helps in identifying frequencies and other subtleties. Haven't tried EQ-ing in games yet. I doubt I'll be working with an analog 31-band equalizer anytime soon though. I'm looking to get the iFi iCan headphone amplifier once I have the money. According to the review by ClieOS, it has a two very nice levels of bass boost centered at a little under 20Hz (one is +6.5dB, the other is a whopping +10dB).

About the Sound Blaster Z, has Creative ever made Mac drivers for their PCI/PCI-e sound cards? The USB sound cards should work if this thread is any indication. Most Mac laptops have an optical out port and the safest bet would be to use that. By the way, don't you have a Recon3D USB? I think I remember you talking about it on MLE's thread. Or was that someone else?
post #53 of 128
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by HalidePisces View Post

I've been playing with a digital 10-band EQ and it's been a good learning experience noticing changes on familiar songs. Definitely helps in identifying frequencies and other subtleties. Haven't tried EQ-ing in games yet. I doubt I'll be working with an analog 31-band equalizer anytime soon though. I'm looking to get the iFi iCan headphone amplifier once I have the money. According to the review by ClieOS, it has a two very nice levels of bass boost centered at a little under 20Hz (one is +6.5dB, the other is a whopping +10dB).

About the Sound Blaster Z, has Creative ever made Mac drivers for their PCI/PCI-e sound cards? The USB sound cards should work if this thread is any indication. Most Mac laptops have an optical out port and the safest bet would be to use that. By the way, don't you have a Recon3D USB? I think I remember you talking about it on MLE's thread. Or was that someone else?

Hey HalidePisces,

Sorry I didn't notice you had replied!

That iCan amp sounds awesome!

 

Short answer to your questions: No, Yes, And I Did and want it back.

It is curious that Creative hasn't made Mac drivers for any Sound Blaster internal cards AFAIK, and that includes the Z series. That's the only barrier to entry keeping me from buying a Z for myself, since I would have to open my computer and disconnect the Z card anytime I wanted to boot into OS X, which is where I'm at 90% of the time. It is curious, since as you said the Recon3D USB DOES have native Mac drivers to install from a disc (and then you can connect to the mac via USB), and videogame options are expanding for the platform WHILE ALSO OS X has really been supporting OpenAL (and OpenGL) for a long time. I imagine Creative wouldn't have to start from scratch to get Z-series drivers for PCI. I'll probably get a Recon3D USB again, because it was simply a more modern (and better to my ears) virtual surround processing than Dolby Headphone, and I loved that I could use it for all my gaming situations (Mac, Windows, Xbox, even iPad if I wanted extrapolated surround from stereo). I've been reading great things about the new Z-series cards, and I would recommend them first for Windows gamers, but for Mac and consoles I recommend the Recon3D USB first. Watching movies on my Mac, with headphones, was great! I believe you can use some of Creative's other external sound cards connected via Optical, but I think that's only a Stereo option. Could be wrong on that one though.

 

There were a few other people that have/had the Recon3D USB (like AxelCloris, NamelessPFG, and even MLE borrowed one and is using a Recon3Di software suite on his laptop now), but I was the main proponent. Mad prefers Dolby Headphone, but I've been using my Turtle Beach DSS for a few months now and I can't shake my annoyance with the echo/reverb effect, it just doesn't work as well for me as the Recon3D USB, and CMSS-3D is too treble-harsh from it's processing. Compressed demos of the new SBX processing on the Z-series cards on Youtube are impressive, but there just isn't a Mac (or console) compatible surround option for those. Yet?

post #54 of 128
Thread Starter 
New Headphone!
V-MODA M-100 (stealth, with extra Orange shields). Part 1 is up, I'll post part 2 this evening after work (and a date). I really shouldn't say "a short unboxing" because I get too excited about the details:
Part 1

Part 2
Edited by Evshrug - 7/15/13 at 9:01pm
post #55 of 128
Thread Starter 
AKG K712 Pro Headphones - Live First Impressions!

Setting up gear and thread, warming up the tubes...
First listening will be with my standard (but maybe now outdated) "Quality Test" playlist:

Angel
Undisclosed Desires
Knights of Cydonia
Gold Digger
Journeyman
The Only Hand to Hold (feat Shara Worden)
Blow Out
Fake Plastic Trees
Dreamer
Patience
I Know It's Over
Tiger, My Friend
Fugue for Solo Guitar, BWV 1000 in A Minor
The Planets, Suite for Large Orchestra, Op. 32: IV. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jolity,
Adagio in G Minor for Strings and Organ


Some low-fi pictures:

K712 unpacked, with Q701 alongside to compare and contrast.

Physically: K712 earpads feel like the same velour as the Q701, though the pads are now less stiff (easier to compress). The inner part of the pad ring seems less rounded. Though the Q701 distinctly has a taller pad along the "back" side of the pad that goes behind your ears, these K712 pads appear virtually even (perhaps the rear side is stiffer? Doubtful, doesn't feel different). The headband bumps of the Q701 are not on these K712, immediately noticeable because I always tilted the headband in front of the "point" of my head (behind feels like it would slip off with either). The headband width that sits along your head (front to back) is thinner on the K712.

Current music setup: 2005 iPod Video > FiiO L11 Line-Out Dock connector > monster 3.5mm to RCA cable > Zigis' "Rock 'n Glass" class A tube amp with an Amperex 6DJ8 "Bugle Boy" (white letters) > AKG coil cable > AKG K712

Angel - Massive Attack
Fades in smoothly.... Bass is a little looser than the Q, but still on the side of controlled. Nice energy, pleasurable. Texture, not just a boom but a buzz. Now mid musical accents come in, sounding liquid. In and out pressure feeling on some of the bass. VOCALS Ahhhh Andy Horace... Velvety almost feminine voice sounds nice, though bass is more forward (Horace doesn't sound recessed, just bass forward). You can hear the liquid on his tongue/lips. Guitar has a nice buzz. Cymbals maybe less sparkle than I'm used to, but the beat cymbals are distorted by the song engineer, the normal cymbals used for accents have a bit of sheen but are smoother yet perhaps less sparkly than the Q701 I'm used to. Dang! Good threat to the bass! Tempo just slowed a bit... The little nuances like hit power are well represented. Finishing bass sounds awesome, like two big marbles hitting eachother and vibrating rapidly, nice texture in the reproduction of many little hits, have a larger boom to them.


Undisclosed Desires - Muse
Rhythm seems almost slow. Bass still hitting with nice texture, but I turned down the volume a tad, seem a little loud (not used to them yet of course). Violin plucks in background sound like they are plucked in a small room, but with a little delay (echo) added to the processing. The background buzz buzz has nice power and solidity, tho I'm still not sure if it's a bit much for my taste, slightly fatigued or will be? It's just strong for me. Vocals are good by the way, not usually the first thing I pay attention to just to be honest. Easy to hear the whisper accompanying the lead singing and all the effects. The cello vrmm answered by the sub-bass woooom @ the end is interesting still, but not new compared to Q701.


Knights of Cydonia - Muse
Panning effect is interesting, moved around to my left ear with a bit of out front along the way. Another effect seemed to go behind just now, this is just a stereo recording right? Still lemon/oval shaped, but gives me high hopes for surround processing. Vocals seem pretty up front, backing voices sound like they're trying to be more distant but not so far. @ 3:20 reveals the part you play in Guitar Hero 3 pretty well, though vocals are more prevalent. Jamming out @ 4:12 (paused and rewound to that point, impact of pressing play YE-OW! Bam! Here's the music!) doesn't sound slow tempo because you can feel the speed of the drumming. Dump-pa-da-bump! While cymbals go Ching — Ching — Ching, in this song if you can't hear the drums well you end up just hearing the cymbal hits which slows the pace.


Gold Digger - Kanye West
Still hate this song, still a good test to see if drivers can control the bass enough. Wow, actually this does a keep them controlled... It's actually listenable. This track was terribly mixed, I'm confused because the bass doesn't seem stronger, seems right. I guess the last time I listened to these was with the M-100, too much with those for me, hah. I basically only listen to this song when I'm testing headphones, and stop after the first drum things start. But I'm actually listening pretty far in this time (think I let it play with the Q701 too), and the kazoo-trumpet thingie that starts 2:40 actually sounds pretty nifty. Chico, I need your "Not Bad" pic inserted here, LOL!


Journeyman - Amon Tobin
A weird collection of recorded sound samples with bass beats. This is a 256k file, but it some things sound plasticy or held back... Not sure how to pinpoint it. I think I'm going to have to get used to the sound signature of these headphones before I can turn them up, but the reason I have this song in the list is because some of the sounds feel holographic or really "present" in the room with me, not happening now with these headphones. Some interesting bits, but I haven't listened to this song much lately anyway because it's not really musical.


The Only Hand to Hold - Prefuse 73
Love this song, let's pause and focus on the start... Watery, dreamy, floating... Not getting shivers but enjoying myself for sure. Vocals are a little dark and haunting, but nice. Static bursts have nice texture, like touching (except auditory) satin cloth and feeling it while occasionally getting shocks from static. Sounds like cloth with static rather than plastic with crinkles, very smooth presentation (no lack of detail, just different timbre). And I do like the timbre of this song on these headphones. Floating on water feel, though not the floating away on air feel you get with the Q701.


Blow Out - Radiohead
Wow, sounds laid back, I guess I really turned down the volume earlier. Smooth smooth smooth, almost relaxing, relaxed concentration not sleepy. Touched the volume knob up a bit. Bit more. First jammin bit sounds flatter than I'm used to, little more wall-of-sound-y. Second jamming section seems a little better, almost lifting to the sky... As the guitar rises, seems to have a little sparkle smily_headphones1.gif I think I'd usually call this very end part almost screechy, no problem here biggrin.gif good stuff!


Fake Plastic Trees - Radiohead
First thought was "Thom's voice sounds nice." Maybe these headphones traded a little treble extremeness for smoother treble and a little more glaring bass? Or maybe... dare I say... the headphones need a little burned in? I mean, I need to get used to the bass, but some of the mids seem like they're holding back from vibrating freely, even though they are forward enough and loud enough. Almost like when you bang a drum with your hand or a chime with a stick, if you don't bounce your hand away just right you don't dampen the instrument from vibrating freely, the K712 show amazing detail but seem too often like you're not getting a good hit and playing freely. Could also be a compression thing though, I'm talking here about impressions from a few songs (while I'm playing this song for a 2nd time over) and a most of them are 256 Kbps. Plastic Trees was nice overall.


Dreamer - Elizaveta
Free iTunes single, I liked her vocals before, once I got the Q701 I noticed how much the sound engineers played with her voice and do weird tremulo things. Her timbre sounds nice, little hint of cello in the back is nice with the more audible piano and synth buzz. Piano timbre lower register sounds a little held back. LOL @ her "serendipitous en-count-uhs." So the K712 passes my female vocals, though not soaring sparkle.


Patience - Guns and Roses
Acoustic guitar, enjoying the timbre. Bit of a center image void apparent here. Vocals sound good/nice. These are really good and refined, got just enough buzz and stuff. Venue space seems too small though, kinda miss that about the Q701.

Interjection, I paused my music to think about this. My feelings at this point (remember, first listen), not sure if I want to spend more improving my Audio chain to improve it, or go back to Q701. Doesn't seem majorly "wow," nor much changed from the Q701 except headband comfort, I kinda want to see if a DAC would push it into that WOW which then makes me reflect "I had WOW with this setup and the Q701 the first time I heard it. My ears have changed now, but am I throwing more money at trying to recapture the magic of first listen?" I have heard these songs many times, some of them are favourites but I have listened to them many times over the years so there's little discovery left in them, and IIRC the first time I heard my Q701 (which was unamped) I heard the range improved a bit over the AD700 but I wasn't hugely impressed. When I went back to the AD700 though, it was enough of a difference that I preferred the Q701 more and enjoyed it more. Right now, I'm also enjoying the K712, but I'm again not hugely impressed with the difference. First time I heard the tube amp though, with the second tube (Sylvania JAN 6DJ8), I WAS very impressed and listening to these test tracks got my feet unconsciously jangling to the music. I think I'll switch back to that tube tomorrow, and keep listening to these K712, because I like what I'm hearing and I'm pretty confident it will grow on me.

I had a pretty long day at work, gonna take a dinner break

Edited by Evshrug - 9/14/13 at 8:43pm
post #56 of 128
Thread Starter 
I took about a 30 minute break, and got back to it... This time I'm laying down, and I switched out my amp for my FiiO E12.
WHAT? Am I going crazy?
I'm enjoying them more off the solid state amp! More even across the frequency range... The songs sound more like I expect. No blow-by blow this time, I'm typing now after listening to the rest of the playlist, which looped around and now I'm back all the way up to Journeyman. Seems like it's clearer and more holographic now. Was this a really fast case of brain burn-in Caused by sleepiness? Curious. OOOH, hang on guys, Only Hand to Hold just came on and sounds marvelous...
post #57 of 128

I absolutely love the color on the K712. So gorgeous. I'd be picking those up if I weren't going to get the Alpha Dogs when the upgrade program is launched. Also, loving this play-by-play impressions idea.

post #58 of 128
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I actually have similar notes from when I first listened to the Q701, though I haven't published them. My final review will be where actual conclusions will be made though, after I've listened a lot more and gotten a general grasp of things. I'd also like to add, though I stopped giving a blow by blow while listening with the E12, that part of my listening was also very important because it was mostly smooth sailing, and because I almost got all the way through the playlist again without really noticing the passing of time. It's kinda funny: I guess treble highs really do make me feel high like a bird soaring, but the K712's combination of smoother treble, more liquid mids, and bass prominence (not overblown just the most forward presence) let me relax in a song and felt like drifting across a mirror lake, so smooth yet the bottom end grounded it.

Are you selling both your Q701 and Mad Dogs to get the Alpha Dogs? Seems like you wouldn't need both "dogs," but then I don't know if the signature is more different between them than I would expect.

Also, think I should post my Q701 blow-by-blow thoughts from a year ago?
post #59 of 128
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Thanks! I actually have similar notes from when I first listened to the Q701, though I haven't published them. My final review will be where actual conclusions will be made though, after I've listened a lot more and gotten a general grasp of things. I'd also like to add, though I stopped giving a blow by blow while listening with the E12, that part of my listening was also very important because it was mostly smooth sailing, and because I almost got all the way through the playlist again without really noticing the passing of time. It's kinda funny: I guess treble highs really do make me feel high like a bird soaring, but the K712's combination of smoother treble, more liquid mids, and bass prominence (not overblown just the most forward presence) let me relax in a song and felt like drifting across a mirror lake, so smooth yet the bottom end grounded it.

Are you selling both your Q701 and Mad Dogs to get the Alpha Dogs? Seems like you wouldn't need both "dogs," but then I don't know if the signature is more different between them than I would expect.

Also, think I should post my Q701 blow-by-blow thoughts from a year ago?

 

The Mad Dogs will be shipped back to be used in Dan's upgrade program. $300 + Mad Dogs with alpha pads = Alpha Dog. Which works out well for me. I'm running an older mod version of the Mad Dogs, and they wouldn't sell for $300 themselves, so his program will actually save me a bit of money when I upgrade them. That's why I've been contemplating an open fun headphone as a compliment since they're reported to be very neutral without modifying the bass screw.

 

I know I'd be interested in reading the blow-by-blow thoughts. It's an interesting insight since most of the reviews around here are polished and reviewed before posting. The method you used above is a more "human" review of the headphone. It's a nice change of pace, I like it.

post #60 of 128
Thread Starter 
Lol, and definitely not more polished. Thing is though, there was a little more magic that happened with the Q's, but that's not to say with the K712 I won't have that song hit me in that mood right when this draft of air brisks the back of my neck...
I'll add a good picture of the K712 too, it's a menacing but sharp looking little bugger. Maybe not so little, relative to headphones, heh.
Edited by Evshrug - 9/15/13 at 8:23am
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