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post #46 of 89

Hey, Joe!  :)

 

Browsing the other sub-forums for such a long time left me with a ton of questions that I thought would be able to be answered here, such as why people describe amps the same way they describe headphones.  I have similar questions about DAC's as well, but now that I actually know more about the history of this place, I think a different forum would be a better place for me.

 

That one link you sent me yesterday, Joe, has answered quite a few of my questions and is helping me find answers to extra questions that pop up as I go along.  I really appreciate that.   

 

There is just no middle ground here, and I mean that in the sense of attitudes, not beliefs.  Apparently because of all the drama that I wasn't aware of before I joined here, a rift has formed and really does a disservice for new members who are looking for honest answers.  So it seems here I either get one of two types of people - someone completely subjective to the point of apathy regarding anything technical, and then the total and exact polar opposite, people so objective they refuse to honestly answer any subjective question with a real response, even when the person asking the question is looking for an objective answer.  

 

The biggest difference is the solely subjective people come off as much nicer and welcoming, which can lead people to make decisions that they otherwise wouldn't have if they weren't so disgusted and turned-off by the attitudes of the solely objective people, the people they'd actually prefer an answer from.  My suggestion would be, instead of making fun of someone asking about cables or whatever they may be asking, and instead of responding with rhetorical questions and snide remarks, if you really just don't want to answer the question, just don't, and perhaps someone with more patience for noobies will come along and provide the answer they were looking for.  Some of you guys half-way answer a question and act like you never wanted to answer the question in the first place, and were forced to do so, which is the most baffling part for me.  

 

And a lot of you act offended when someone asks an objective question with a subjective base.  Instead of just being able to ask a question, I actually have to do research first to make sure my question is "technical" enough to not offend anyone, which can eventually lead me to the answer without the forums assistance, but good golly, it'd be so much easier if I could just be honest and a simpleton and just ask a question without being essentially attacked with aggressive-passive-aggressiveness and hateful rhetoric.  

 

Anywoot, I give up.  Not completely, just with this sub-forum.  I might hop on Skype and shoot you some questions every now and again, Joe, if yah don't mind.  :)  

 

Yatta!


Edited by Meremoth - 7/1/13 at 4:34pm
post #47 of 89

Have fun in your travels.

post #48 of 89

Of course, if people misinterpret your question you shouldn't reply with "go away" or "what the hell is wrong with you" or the like and then complain about them not answering your question satisfactorily. Such behavior is incredibly baffling to me.

 

It can be as simple as saying "No, you misunderstood me. What I was asking is X" but that would require a non-defensive attitude.

 

 

There are new members here every now and then, and most of them get nice and sometimes it seems even too many/detailed responses. That is if their question makes sense and is clear.

But even the occasional complete newbie gets nice answers if he makes it clear that he doesn't know much.

 

How you ask questions and respond to answers makes a huge difference to discussions. Cya.

post #49 of 89

Sorry, I thought Greenleaf7 was a known troll.  He goes from thread to thread giving fake, positive reviews about cables, despite not believing that cables make any difference at all, nor actually having tried the cables in question.  And what an adorable avatar he has.  That's why I responded the way I did to him, but at that point I was just teasing/joking around.  Should have used an emoticon, I suppose.  

 

I really do want to know more about how the construction-process of an amp can color a sound and give a certain sonic impression, but this sub-forum just doesn't seem the place to be asking anything like that.  Could you recommend another audio science forum I can post the question in?  Then I can send you the link.  


Edited by Meremoth - 7/1/13 at 5:18pm
post #50 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meremoth View Post

Sorry, I thought Greenleaf7 was a known troll.  He goes from thread to thread giving fake, positive reviews about cables, despite not believing that cables make any difference at all, nor actually having tried the cables in question.  And what an adorable avatar he has.  That's why I responded the way I did to him, but at that point I was just teasing/joking around.  Should have used an emoticon, I suppose.  

 

I really do want to know more about how the construction of an amp can color a sound and give a certain sonic impression, but this sub-forum just doesn't seem the place to be asking anything like that.  Could you recommend another audio science forum I can post the question in?  Then I can send you the link.  

Greenleaf7 is not trolling. He is just posting reviews of ludicrous products just for comic relief! tongue.gif

post #51 of 89

An amp that has coloration is simply an amp with a non-standard equalization curve hard wired in.

 

It's very easy to build an amp that has a totally flat and neutral frequency response. Almost all low end and midrange amps and receivers fall into that category, and those all sound the same. You have to *deliberately* color an amp to get it to sound different. Most people don't want that. They want the amp to faithfully represent the exact sound that is on the CD.

 

However some boutique manufacturers deliberately color the response of their products to be "warmer" (cut high end) or "brighter" (boosted high end). They call it their "house sound". Some audiophiles hear "different" and interpret that as "better". But it really isn't better. It's just different.

 

Any of those colorations could be applied exactly the same using an equalizer. In fact, with an equalizer, you aren't limited to the "house sound" hard wired in. You have a huge range of adjustments to color it precisely the way *you* want it. With EQ, you can even correct for deficiencies in their response to make midrange headphones sound as good as ones that cost much more.

 

If a DAC is colored, then when you plug your iPod into your amp, it will sound entirely different. That's why people choose sources that have a flat response and apply equalization as the last step before the speakers or headphones. It's more consistent and flexible that way, and any source you plug in will have the exact same coloration that you prefer.

 

Hopefully this will make it clearer to you.


Edited by bigshot - 7/1/13 at 5:12pm
post #52 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meremoth View Post

Sorry, I thought Greenleaf7 was a known troll.  He goes from thread to thread giving fake, positive reviews about cables, despite not believing that cables make any difference at all, nor actually having tried the cables in question.  And what an adorable avatar he has.  That's why I responded the way I did to him, but at that point I was just teasing/joking around.  Should have used an emoticon, I suppose.  

 

I really do want to know more about how the construction of an amp can color a sound and give a certain sonic impression, but this sub-forum just doesn't seem the place to be asking anything like that.  Could you recommend another audio science forum I can post the question in?  Then I can send you the link.  

There's no reason not to actually ask here.  The are some amazing people with fantastic knowledge - and if you pick your way through some of the few trying to cloud the issues, there is a lot of knowledge.  Plus if you're polite and friendly - guys like Xnor, Jaddie, Big-shot, Nick Charles, stv014, Steve Eddy (actually there is far too many to name ....... ) will take the time to explain the basics - even to dummies like me wink.gif

 

If you do want to try a different forum - I've often lurked at hydrogenaudio (eg http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showforum=21) - but I end up actually asking the questions here.  I'm getting to know the community and the more time you spend here - the better it becomes to interact.

post #53 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post

There's no reason not to actually ask here.  The are some amazing people with fantastic knowledge - and if you pick your way through some of the few trying to cloud the issues, there is a lot of knowledge.  Plus if you're polite and friendly - guys like Xnor, Jaddie, Big-shot, Nick Charles, stv014, Steve Eddy (actually there is far too many to name ....... ) will take the time to explain the basics - even to dummies like me wink.gif

 

If you do want to try a different forum - I've often lurked at hydrogenaudio (eg http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showforum=21) - but I end up actually asking the questions here.  I'm getting to know the community and the more time you spend here - the better it becomes to interact.

If anything, the guys mentioned above are over qualified and over detailed in their in dept explanations!

post #54 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

An amp that has coloration is simply an amp with a non-standard equalization curve hard wired in.

 

It's very easy to build an amp that has a totally flat and neutral frequency response. Almost all low end and midrange amps and receivers fall into that category, and those all sound the same. You have to *deliberately* color an amp to get it to sound different. Most people don't want that. They want the amp to faithfully represent the exact sound that is on the CD.

 

However some boutique manufacturers deliberately color the response of their products to be "warmer" (cut high end) or "brighter" (boosted high end). They call it their "house sound". Some audiophiles hear "different" and interpret that as "better". But it really isn't better. It's just different.

 

Any of those colorations could be applied exactly the same using an equalizer. In fact, with an equalizer, you aren't limited to the "house sound" hard wired in. You have a huge range of adjustments to color it precisely the way *you* want it. With EQ, you can even correct for deficiencies in their response to make midrange headphones sound as good as ones that cost much more.

 

If a DAC is colored, then when you plug your iPod into your amp, it will sound entirely different. That's why people choose sources that have a flat response and apply equalization as the last step before the speakers or headphones. It's more consistent and flexible that way, and any source you plug in will have the exact same coloration that you prefer.

 

Hopefully this will make it clearer to you.

Frequency response, yup. But THD and noise also play a role in how an amp sounds too, does it not?

post #55 of 89

This stuff really isn't all that complicated. It's easy and cheap to get great sound nowadays. Back in the analogue era, it was a LOT harder. You had a bunch of different formats, each with their own benefits and drawbacks, mechanical stuff would go wrong, sound quality could drift for a million reasons. Stuff now is pretty much plug and play. It isn't hard to pick an amp, DAP, DAC or standalone player. They all sound good. The only real differences are features and the remote control layout.

 

Headphones and speakers are what people should be paying attention to. No one should buy those by mail. You should audition them. Spend the time and money there, because you'll get something back for your efforts. Once you've chosen, work with your transducers to squeeze the best sound possible out of them with EQ and DSPs. If you have speakers, pay attention to the layout of your room.

 

There. I covered most of the main points in two paragraphs. Pretty simple!

post #56 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by miceblue View Post

Frequency response, yup. But THD and noise also play a role in how an amp sounds too, does it not?

 

It used to be a problem back when I was a kid. But now, even cheap amps have noise floors down below -100 dB and THD so small it's completely inaudible.

 

Solid state amps today are quiet, clean and flat... even inexpensive ones. There's no reason to go overboard buying expensive ones. As long as they have the power to do the job, they're fine.

 

The secret of the audio industry is that the electronic parts inside most home audio electronics are mostly off the shelf. A lot of the parts in a boutique $1500 CD player are the same as the ones in a $60 Chinese made Walmart CD player. Designs are pretty standard where it counts too. Electronics are no longer the problem.


Edited by bigshot - 7/1/13 at 5:33pm
post #57 of 89

So, essentially, as long as you have enough power to properly amplify your headphones, nothing else really matters?

 

i.e. If someone has their headphones plugged directly into a PC motherboard with on-board sound, as long as that mobo has enough power to properly amplify the headphones, there's no reason to get a separate amp and DAC?  

post #58 of 89

With PCs it depends, especially old ones. Some of those cheap boxes have sound boards that aren't really made for serious music listening, or even gaming. They use parts that even the cheapest standalone CD player wouldn't use. They also have problems with isolating the sound board from the rest of the computer... which results in noise.

 

But computers have gotten a lot better in that regard in the past couple of years. There are some very good sounding PCs I hear. Macs have always been focused on good sound, which makes sense considering their business model. I've always used Macs because I'm in video/sound production.

 

But when it comes to DACs, receivers, headphone amps, DAPs and CD/DVD/Bluray players, there is absolutely no reason to spend more than midrange prices. Generally, a more recent model means more than more money does.


Edited by bigshot - 7/1/13 at 5:48pm
post #59 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meremoth View Post

So, essentially, as long as you have enough power to properly amplify your headphones, nothing else really matters?

 

i.e. If someone has their headphones plugged directly into a PC motherboard with on-board sound, as long as that mobo has enough power to properly amplify the headphones, there's no reason to get a separate amp and DAC?  

 

And the big question (hence me asking earlier in the thread) was properly amplifying.  I think this is where some people get confused a little too.  From what I have learned - properly amplifying is sometimes confused as only being about volume.  My iPhone at ~ 70% will actually get my K701s and Q701s loud enough.  Heck at 90% volume it will get my 600 ohm DT880s loud enough as well.  But using an under-powered source can cause havoc with the frequency response.

 

That's why I wanted to check on a portable amp that would drive the K701 "well enough".

post #60 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

With PCs it depends, especially old ones. Some of those cheap boxes have sound boards that aren't really made for serious music listening, or even gaming. They use parts that even the cheapest standalone CD player wouldn't use. They also have problems with isolating the sound board from the rest of the computer... which results in noise.

 

But computers have gotten a lot better in that regard in the past couple of years. There are some very good sounding PCs I hear. Macs have always been focused on good sound, which makes sense considering their business model. I've always used Macs because I'm in video/sound production.

 

But when it comes to DACs, receivers, headphone amps, DAPs and CD/DVD/Bluray players, there is absolutely no reason to spend more than midrange prices. Generally, a more recent model means more than more money does.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

This stuff really isn't all that complicated. It's easy and cheap to get great sound nowadays. Back in the analogue era, it was a LOT harder. You had a bunch of different formats, each with their own benefits and drawbacks, mechanical stuff would go wrong, sound quality could drift for a million reasons. Stuff now is pretty much plug and play. It isn't hard to pick an amp, DAP, DAC or standalone player. They all sound good. The only real differences are features and the remote control layout.

 

Headphones and speakers are what people should be paying attention to. No one should buy those by mail. You should audition them. Spend the time and money there, because you'll get something back for your efforts. Once you've chosen, work with your transducers to squeeze the best sound possible out of them with EQ and DSPs. If you have speakers, pay attention to the layout of your room.

 

There. I covered most of the main points in two paragraphs. Pretty simple!

Mhmm you make valid points and I definitely agree that the headphone/speaker is where most of the money should be put. Also trying before buying is a definite, definite yes.

 

It still boggles my mind when people go out of their way to purchase DACs and/or amps over $500. *scratches head*

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