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The Fiio X5 Thread - Page 1174

post #17596 of 17604
Quote:
 It's not expectation bias that ruins sighted tests...

Lol, I've read this forum and was expecting one of these answers Joe. I'll restate that I expected the same sound before listening and add that I prefer the Mac source at any volume to the X5 source at any volume for hires tracks.

 

Might get the Mrs to do some switching for me with a blind fold on. But I bet I can pick the Mac every time.

post #17597 of 17604
Quote:
Originally Posted by MostlyGordon View Post

Lol, I've read this forum and was expecting one of these answers Joe. I'll restate that I expected the same sound before listening and add that I prefer the Mac source at any volume to the X5 source at any volume for hires tracks.

Might get the Mrs to do some switching for me with a blind fold on. But I bet I can pick the Mac every time.

Remember to volume match before you do. Even 1db louder and it will sound preferable to our ears. If you don't have the appropriate gear then a speaker level app on your smartphone will be better than just using your ears.
post #17598 of 17604
Quote:
Originally Posted by MostlyGordon View Post

Quote:
 It's not expectation bias that ruins sighted tests...
Lol, I've read this forum and was expecting one of these answers Joe. I'll restate that I expected the same sound before listening and add that I prefer the Mac source at any volume to the X5 source at any volume for hires tracks.

Might get the Mrs to do some switching for me with a blind fold on. But I bet I can pick the Mac every time.

Hello Gordon,

In that case I'll report back if our engineers can reproduce the discrepancy? confused_face_2.gif

What kind of hi-res tracks (format, sample rate, bit depth) were you playing?

Best regards,
Joe (FiiO representative)
post #17599 of 17604
Quote:
 In that case I'll report back if our engineers can reproduce the discrepancy?

Many thanks Joe, you guys offer great support and I love the X5 (FW2.5). As I said earlier, I don't really find it an issue, just intrigued why it's happening.

 

I intended doing some testing on the weekend. I have been thinking about it more and might take my ears out of the equation. If I use the line out and record to Audacity on a second Mac any difference should be seen. And, volume should not factor in correct?

 

A bit more on the volume. I knew to most people louder is better. So I tried with both sources louder and softer than each other and still preferred the Mac.

 

I gave a quick listen to a few hires albums. I'll have to check bit rates. I did the most listening with Norah Jones - Come Away With Me 192/24.

 

Sounds like I'll have to start saving for a Gen II :)

post #17600 of 17604
Quote:
Originally Posted by MostlyGordon View Post
 

Lol, I've read this forum and was expecting one of these answers Joe. I'll restate that I expected the same sound before listening and add that I prefer the Mac source at any volume to the X5 source at any volume for hires tracks.

 

Might get the Mrs to do some switching for me with a blind fold on. But I bet I can pick the Mac every time.


The difficulty here is deeper - and even blinded, random A/B testing is not even enough.

 

This is the thing that makes people cringe - our expectations shape our perception. It is not that you "imagine" something sounding better. It DOES "sound" better - TO YOU. If you believe that the $120 headphone cable made with unobtainium causes your system to sound better than the well-constructed $15 copper core cable then, for you, it actually WILL sound better. Not "you are imagining it". You expectation will change your perception in such an incredibly subtle way that you WILL ACTUALLY experience an improvement. We forget that our BRAIN is the THE most important organ involved in hearing. Not our ears - our brain.

 

If you are in physics, then "sound" is oscillating longitudinal air pressure. There is no brain present, and no processing. Under such conditions, everyone "hears" the same thing - and the "now" you will hear the same thing as the "future you", and also the same thing as what "past you" heard. But nothing could be farther from the truth. You and I will NEVER hear exactly what our own ears experience. That perception is filtered through layers of processing and even feedback loops (yes, your brain actually alters your ears' geometry in response to some sounds, which in turn changes how you hear those sounds, which results in changes in geometry.... you get the point).

 

If you even have a mild, subconscious bias (no - not even a conscious one) toward one source vs. another and you fail to do blind A/B/X testing, then your tests mean very little to nothing. The industry does not want you to believe that, but there is an enormous body of science that backs that up.

 

Then you get into equal loudness counters ("Fletcher-Munson Curves"), which show how our perception of volume is DIFFERENT at different frequencies, and you see why level matching is so important when testing. With source material, you have another problem with controlling variables. That great SACD you bought MIGHT sound better than its red-book counterpart because it is DSD. It might instead sound better because the mix, or the mastering on the SACD was different - with greater dynamic range. So now, to do a really good experiment, you have to control for that too.

 

Because here is the deal - you can be JUST as happy and have JUST as great an experience if you use rational, unbiased information to shape your expectations. Then your expectations will be more realistic - and those expectations will shape you perception - and you will have the same fantastic experiences while spending a ton less money.

 

That does not mean that there is no difference between products. The X5 is an excellent player. It has outstanding sound quality given reasonably high-quality source material. I have one, and bought one for a grad present for my music-major son. 


Edited by Laird - Today at 7:52 pm
post #17601 of 17604

While I'm here... Can anyone comment on how an E10K compares to the X5 as a DAC? Thinking of grabbing one to throw in my Laptop bag. I like to look after the X5, better not to take it as my daily carry if the E10K is nearly as good.

post #17602 of 17604
Quote:
 The difficulty here is deeper...

But Laird, I believe they should sound the same. And, I truly want them to sound the same.

post #17603 of 17604
Quote:
Originally Posted by MostlyGordon View Post
 

But Laird, I believe they should sound the same. And, I truly want them to sound the same.


The point is, you believe that. But you don't necessarily know that. If you have a reason for them not to sound the same - and nice theoretical, rational reason, then that shapes your expectation - even when you don't want it to. Only a really good experiment can tease the "expectation" variable out of all the other data. We are all beautifully flawed.

post #17604 of 17604

Hah if only my compatriot Jean-Claude Van Damme was into Head-Fi 

 

After reading Lair's posts, I feel like Head-Fi website should have the following message before entering the site: "Greetings visitor, just know that the gear you own already sounds the best!"

...and if the person still agrees, get greeted with "Welcome to Head-Fi, sorry about your wallet." 

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