Originally Posted by Dwee
Since I can't very much get my head around audiophile terminology because I don't have (yet) any terms of comparison, I'll try with an analogy:
Let's say I have a 50 inches display, which if I'm close enough to will fill my entire field of vision just like a pair of headphones covers the entirety of my ears.
Now, going from a pair of cheap earbuds to my current equipment for me was something comparable to going from VGA to FullHD.
What I heard was an "increase of resolution" and "decrease of artifacts". I mean, no more "kkkhhh" background noise, I could hear a triangle going "DING" instead of just hearing a "NNNNG" sound, I didn't have to raise the volume to uncomfortable levels to be able to hear every part of a song, which however introduced distortions in the edges of the audible spectrum (I don't what they are called, the classic noise you hear when you raise to the max the volume of a cheap stereo).
I'm not disappointed with my current headphones, but I feel like there could be something more. Let's say I don't quite feel like they are retina resolution, but since I can't compare them to something superior, I can't really be sure. Maybe that's just the limit of my hearing.
Also there is a point from which increasing the resolution does nothing, since the eyes wouldn't be able to see the difference. Nevermind the fact that at that point most of the source material would be mastered at a lower resolution, so you wouldn't gain anything even if you were theoretically able to see the difference.
The same as with a retina screen: if most apps aren't optimized for it, they'd just look like crap.
Maybe this could be comparable to when people say some headphones are "revealing" and "unforgiving"?
Anyway, I'm guessing something similar happens for audio: there is a limit beyond which the human ears (and everything behind them) aren't simply able to tell the difference. It's a simple matter of design of the human body, nothing really we can do about it for now.
All things said, here's a very idiotic question: cheap earbuds are VGA, now I'm on FullHD. Would be switching to something like a pair of HD 800 comparable to switching to a retina display?
Yeah yeah I know I know, forgive me.
I don't really feel like considering orthodynamics because they weigh a lot and I haven't read many happy opinions regarding their comfort, which is paramount to me given for how long I tend to keep headphones on my head and completely forget about them.
About the Xonar Essence STX, what bothers me about it is the fact that I wear my headphones all the time when I'm at my PC, for hours straight, and when nothing is playing I hear a constant hiss that with time is starting to annoy me. The noise floor in my studio/computer/listening room is very low (I measured it just a few days ago: 14dBA/18dB from my chair in front of the desk) and when I tried to move to other noisier rooms I wasn't able to hear it, so it's not really high, but it still annoys me.
It's probably caused by some noise source inside the computer, so I guessed that if I were to buy an external unit I wouldn't hear it anymore.