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Super-Noob questions with HD598 and E17

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi, this is my first post and I just literally started trying to learn what makes for good sound. I've never really understood the differences in sound that goes in my ear, be is 128k MP3 or lossless FLAC, so please bear with me.

 

I understand there are lots of noob threads asking similar things, and I greatly appreciate you guys taking the time to help me answer mine. I looked through the first couple of pages of the forum and didn't seem to find my specific questions, but if they have been asked before, I hope someone can post me the thread link.

 

About 2 weeks ago I picked up a pair of HD598 and my friend told me I should get an amp to make the sound better. Given I wasn't looking to spend an arm and a leg I decided to go with a sure thing, or the E17. Just got it in the mail today and I have a few questions I was hoping fellow board members can assist me with.

 

1) While I want to hook it up to my iPhone 5, I realized it will only serve as an amp and the DAC won't work. Alternatively I can plug it in USB and listen with my computer. I don't have a fancy sound card, but should that matter? If I have a FLAC that I play with say windows media player, does the "data" go directly to the DAC of the device, or would I still need a good sound card? And should I go with a better audio player?

 

2) Similar question but with a DVD player. If I plop in a CD and use the optical out of a regular DVD player and source it into the E17 (by the diagram I am assuming it goes into SPDIF IN slot? [although I have no idea what SPDIF means]) does it matter if I have a high end DVD player or a crappy one?

 

3) I mainly listen to adult contemporary, so no heavy bass and lots of solo vocals and maybe some piano, acoustic guitar, and maybe some sax. As I said before, considering I know nothing about sound, what are the best settings I can use? Should I increase the bass, treble, both, lower them? What about the "gain"? I was hoping that there'd be some quantitative method rather than just decide by ear (which I am not good at).

 

Thanks for your help!


Edited by projectcafe - 2/4/13 at 7:34pm
post #2 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by projectcafe View Post

 

1) While I want to hook it up to my iPhone 5, I realized it will only serve as an amp and the DAC won't work. Alternatively I can plug it in USB and listen with my computer. I don't have a fancy sound card, but should that matter? If I have a FLAC that I play with say windows media player, does the "data" go directly to the DAC of the device, or would I still need a good sound card? And should I go with a better audio player?

 

2) Similar question but with a DVD player. If I plop in a CD and use the optical out of a regular DVD player and source it into the E17 (by the diagram I am assuming it goes into SPDIF IN slot? [although I have no idea what SPDIF means]) does it matter if I have a high end DVD player or a crappy one?

 

3) I mainly listen to adult contemporary, so no heavy bass and lots of solo vocals and maybe some piano, acoustic guitar, and maybe some sax. As I said before, considering I know nothing about sound, what are the best settings I can use? Should I increase the bass, treble, both, lower them? What about the "gain"? I was hoping that there'd be some quantitative method rather than just decide by ear (which I am not good at).

 

Thanks for your help!

Sorry, chopped off the first part to make  it shorter. I myself don't know how it works, but the more compressed the file is, the worse the sound and video (if you're doing it) quality will become. Noticed this while I was at a friend's house and his father helped me w/ the file compression fora video.

 

1)yes, the data will go to the DAC to be converted into an analog signal for the amp to do its job and amplify. Well, in the case of WMP, it goes through the mixer in windows then the DAC, which you'll need ASIO. Most of the guys around here use Foobar2000 since it has a part of it known as WASAPI. These allow you to bypass windows mixer. Sound cards tend to have decent DACs (as long as you don't hear any hiss or noise). 

 

2)Dependent on the DVD player's DAC.  As for the SPDIF, it's how data goes in/out. Usually coaxial for dvd players. That'll either send digital or analog in/out (one at home for me has both). If it's digital out, you'll need a DAC, if it's just the normal, just plug it into the amp n you're fine. As far as they go, I haven't used them much besides watching movies.

 

3)didn't understand the bolded. Gain is the amplification of the signal. Higher the gain, the louder it becomes. Too high of a gain, you can blow the drivers. 

 

Hope this helped!

post #3 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by projectcafe View Post

As I said before, considering I know nothing about sound, what are the best settings I can use? Should I increase the bass, treble, both, lower them?

 

I think you mean whether you should adjust the bass and treble setting on the E17?

 

In my opinion, you should leave them both at zero, and see how it sounds. Then you can play with the bass/treble equalizer by adjusting them one or two notches either way, and decide whether it's for better or worse.

 

Regardless of the music you listen to, everyone's ears are different. Let your ears decide which mode is most enjoyable.

 

Personally, I find that with adult contemporary, no bass/treble adjustment is required. I run my E17 on 12 gain with my HD650s, so I imagine with the HD598s, which are far easier to drive - 6 gain should be enough. Don't forget to adjust the volume accordingly after you have adjusted the gain, and then let your ears decide which level of gain sounds the best.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Mr. Violin: Thanks. I'll take a look at foobar. What is ASIO? For the DVD player, if I use its optical out, then will it bypass the DVD player's DAC? For the third question, I guess what I'm asking is what should I be looking for in order to make changes? I guess when I was younger I liked cranking up the treble but it's just subjective.

 

Santina: Thanks...I started with changing both bass and treble to +2...I guess it's just habitual that I feel like I MUST change something!

 

EDIT: downloaded foobar. Downloaded WASAPI. Got this error message after hitting apply and it restarted foobar: Failed to load DLL: foo_out_wasapi.dll
Reason: The specified procedure could not be found.


Edited by projectcafe - 2/5/13 at 6:39am
post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by projectcafe View Post

Mr. Violin: Thanks. I'll take a look at foobar. What is ASIO? For the DVD player, if I use its optical out, then will it bypass the DVD player's DAC? For the third question, I guess what I'm asking is what should I be looking for in order to make changes? I guess when I was younger I liked cranking up the treble but it's just subjective.

 

Santina: Thanks...I started with changing both bass and treble to +2...I guess it's just habitual that I feel like I MUST change something!

 

EDIT: downloaded foobar. Downloaded WASAPI. Got this error message after hitting apply and it restarted foobar: Failed to load DLL: foo_out_wasapi.dll
Reason: The specified procedure could not be found.

I thought foobar came w/ wasapi? ASIO and WASAPI are both plug-ins that allow you to bypass the windows mixer. 

I don't think it will bypass the DVD players DAC unless it specifically has a section labeled "Audio Out". Then again, that's for the one in the house here. 

There's an equalizer, not sure if it's already inside foobar. You might want to go to the foobar thread for that.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Okay I figured out the error...I tried it at work and my workplace had the old XP and apparently the component requires at least Vista with SP1. Works ok at home. When I use foobar2000 I select File->preferences->playback->output->devices, I am assuming I choose DS: SPDIF Interface (Fiio USB DAC-E17)? I read in this thread: http://www.whathifi.com/forum/computer-based-music/how-tosetup-foobar2000-to-use-wasapi that if it truly works then the windows explorer volume icon shouldn't affect the music, but it still does for me...how do I know if the DAC of the E17 is kicking in? Thanks.

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