Hello lads - a quick question - especially for the likes of Arly, Lee, H20, and Eke - who've heard multiple DAPs.
I've noticed a lot of reviews (and I'm only talking about DAPs here) often reference imaging and sound stage. This continually puzzles me. My understanding (unless we're merely talking about crosstalk implementation) is that sound-staging especially is mainly influenced by the actual recording itself, and how it is miked. If done properly, then sound-staging cues / information will be there. If done poorly, they won't be.
The next influencer is the headphones. If the cues / information are present - but the transducer is poor, or set-up for a narrow sound-stage presentation (eg closed phones like the ATH M50 or even lower end Grados where the transducer is very close to the ear), then the sound-stage will not have depth or sense of space.
What I don't get is reviews talking about how the DAP itself has good or bad staging. If the DAP is essentially flat (20Hz-20kHz), and has a balanced presentation across that range, and doesn't suffer from crosstalk issues - then won't they simply reflect what is present in the recording, and able to be transmitted effectively by the headphones?
In my personal experience - the V3 is slightly on the bright side of neutral, and this gives it the rather pleasant 'illusion' of air and separation. But by EQ (with same headphones), I gave my iPhone4 a similar (not quite as good) lift and the illusion of sound-stage / air / separation was also increased. I'm starting to think that if I was an expert with EQ (and I'm not) I could probably get pretty close to the presentation of the V3's default sig (with an iP4).
Which leads back to my earlier question I guess. I can understand comments in reviews regarding warm / neutral / bright. Even comments on presentation such as airy (ie tending towards brightness). But the sound-stage comments leave me a little puzzled.
Thoughts .... ?