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Better Sound Or Just Louder Sound? - Page 2

post #16 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by laon View Post

I don't consider getting used to nuance or sound you normally can't or not used to hear due to many factor to be a bias, more like "schooling" your ears.

 

You do not know it is not bias (it very often is, because of the factors listed in the OP) until it is verified under controlled conditions. Also, long term auditory memory is not very accurate, so listening to the new amp for an extended period of time but not to the old one means that you do not even remember exactly what the sound was like before the "upgrade", and when you do the switch back in the usual non-level matched sighted way, you expect the old amp to sound worse. The "improvements" discovered over a long period of time could very well be the result of imagination and bias filling in the gaps in the fading memory of the old sound.

post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

 

That is not necessarily true. The distortion might (and often does) result from the difficulty of driving a low impedance transducer load, while a line input is very easy to drive. Here you can see how the line output of an ALC887 HD audio codec on a motherboard performs in terms of THD vs. level with a 5.4 kΩ line input and a 220 Ω load. The distortion is lower in the former case, and the latter even clips before reaching 0 dBFS. Additionally, the amp can improve sound quality by having a lower output impedance (high output impedance also increases the distortion of transducers, in addition to affecting the frequency response) and direct coupled outputs; this output impedance graph of the same line output indeed shows that an amp would make a useful difference. Now of course you may say that these examples do not count because it is a line output, but many cheap headphone outputs are really not much better than a line output, and have similar issues driving headphone loads.

 

Great post, very informative, that's exactly my understanding of when amps really do make a difference and particularly true in the case of the underpowered amp sections fitted to most personal Daps mainly because iems are normally very sensitive and easy to drive and also to preserve battery life. 

 

In the OPs case it may give the sound from his Mbook Pro a slightly different flavour and potentially increase the volume further but without seeing his particular combo measurements it is probably safer to assume that it will be a sidestep in SQ rather than an improvement.


Edited by Ari33 - 4/3/13 at 11:56am
post #18 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

 

That happens when the source has a very high output impedance, which is not the case with the MacBook Air (at least the 5G version that I have seen measured). It is prone to oscillation when driving capacitive loads (like long headphone cables), though, but that probably would not result in "messy" bass. Clipping because of insufficient power could be described as "messy bass" by some people, but - listening at low volume - you do not seem to have any clipping issues.

The DT770-80 has bass quality problems (non-flat frequency response, and high IMD at loud levels) even from an "ideal" amp with zero output impedance etc., so many people may also just blame its flaws on the cheap source.

Would you say amping would result in any noticeable improvement?

post #19 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ari33 View Post

 

Great post, very informative, that's exactly my understanding of when amps really do make a difference and particularly true in the case of the underpowered amp sections fitted to most personal Daps mainly because iems are normally very sensitive and easy to drive and also to preserve battery life. 

 

In the OPs case it may give the sound from his Mbook Pro a slightly different flavour and potentially increase the volume further but without seeing his particular combo measurements it is probably safer to assume that it will be a sidestep in SQ rather than an improvement.

 

My macbook (2008) sounds great; my iphone 5 unfortunately sounds fine, but the macbook clearly has a warmer, brighter sound which I have a strong preference for. 

 

If I get a fiio e6, I won't expect an impovement in SQ, I just think it would be fun to use.

post #20 of 42

The biggest advantage I see to external amps is when paired with a high quality external DAC when the built-in DAC is either not of good quality or prone to picking up noise.

post #21 of 42

Everyone has different definitions in this hobby, but in my book, bright and warm are basically opposites. 

 

What do you mean by warmer and brighter?

Quote:
Originally Posted by newphones View Post

 

My macbook (2008) sounds great; my iphone 5 unfortunately sounds fine, but the macbook clearly has a warmer, brighter sound which I have a strong preference for. 

 

If I get a fiio e6, I won't expect an impovement in SQ, I just think it would be fun to use.

post #22 of 42
When you are in a rainstorm and the thunder hits close it is an emotion that moves the brain of man. We are just wired that way. To say that your going to get the same altered state of mind to the audio equal to an 8 inch TV is wrong.

That said with much gear higher volume is adding distortion. The best systems also produce dampening which actually pull the drivers back adding detail to the headphones response. That's what you get with good matched gear.
Edited by Redcarmoose - 4/4/13 at 3:36pm
post #23 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by newphones View Post

 

My macbook (2008) sounds great; my iphone 5 unfortunately sounds fine, but the macbook clearly has a warmer, brighter sound which I have a strong preference for. 

 

If I get a fiio e6, I won't expect an impovement in SQ, I just think it would be fun to use.

 

I wouldn't dissagree with pretty much everything you say but lets not generalise, what may be true for you will quite likely not apply to the next persons kit combo. All amps are NOT created equal and there are many variables that should be taken into consideration depending on the player/amp/headphone combination.

I don't have either of your devices but my laptop just has a truely aweful amp section, my Iphone 3G sounds terrible with my low impedance Iems (possibly due to the Iphones own output impedance affecting the FR dynamically?) My Samsung Galaxy S has fantastic sound quality from its Wolfson DAC but it struggles at higher volumes with my TF10's due to lack of headroom and judging from the pre-amp gains auto reduction when boosting certain frequencies with the EQ I can only conclude that the inbuilt amp just doesn't have enough power to do what I'm asking of it.

 

There is a good thread on the factors that can affect SQ with amps, see- http://www.head-fi.org/t/583300/what-makes-some-amp-better-than-others#post_8469465

post #24 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

 

Of course, do not forget to match levels (with measurements, not by ear), and perform the comparison double-blind. Otherwise, "getting used" to the new devices is basically just developing bias.


This a thousand times.

 

I stop reading comparisons or comparative reviews when the conducting party either fails to mention level-matching criterion or says that they level-matched "by-ear."


Edited by 3X0 - 4/4/13 at 10:37am
post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3X0 View Post


This a thousand times.

 

I stop reading comparisons or comparative reviews when the conducting party either fails to mention level-matching criterion or says that they level-matched "by-ear."

Do people like you listen to music at ear splitting level or do you measure level output of each headphone everytime you want to listen to your music?


Edited by laon - 4/4/13 at 10:45am
post #26 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by laon View Post

Do people like you listen to music at ear splitting level or do you measure level output of each headphone everytime you want to listen to your music?

Don't need to measure output levels if I'm not making comparisons.

 

The fact of the matter is that comparisons are invalid when they aren't level-matched properly.

post #27 of 42

To you maybe, there are many factor beside that to see many things from people's comparison (especially if you know the reviewer's view on particular cans you've tried or his general taste).

post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by laon View Post

To you maybe, there are many factor beside that to see many things from people's comparison (especially if you know the reviewer's view on particular cans you've tried or his general taste).


I'm not talking about headphones, I'm talking about upstream components.

 

Jury's out on headphones since we know, empirically, that they sound different.

post #29 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3X0 View Post


I'm not talking about headphones, I'm talking about upstream components.

 

Jury's out on headphones since we know, empirically, that they sound different.


Of course because there's no such thing like driver impedance and sensitivity on each headphone right?

post #30 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by laon View Post


Of course because there's no such thing like driver impedance and sensitivity on each headphone right?

You're preaching to the choir. We know headphones sound different.

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