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Need some guidance from my head-fi elders.

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I recently went ahead after some research and bought an e17DAC/amp Fiio, and sennheisers 598 cans to accompany them. Now I've never had any other decent headphones to compare or a DAC in my life so I really need some clarification in the next shortwhile for comparison.

 

I'm really enjoying the improvement, and my sensitive ears notice a mountain of difference, that being said I'm curious if my issues are hardware, common or psychological.

 

#1 either my DAC or headphones at certain frequencies input little crackles and pops in nooks and cranies of vidoes and music or they are also improving the "flaws" of the recordings themselves along with the good bits. Like I said I have sensitive ears so it stands out to me.

#2 The current setup feels extremely smooth and natural(bass is perfect not overdone but realistic my preference) but that's just it, it's not all that aggressive or open. But from my research there seems to me no such thing as really a better option headset wise(meaning improved soundstage, crispness and translucent sound).

should be noted I've only had them for 1 day, and they may need to be worked in like my speakers. Could it be that I should also have a more powerful headphone amp?(only 30ohms for these cans thought an e17 could easily drive that).

 

It's alot but if anyone knows it will be you guys. Peace, one love.

post #2 of 12

The problem may be from clipping which is when the amp is turned up too far when the source volume is too low.  For example if the PC output volume is set to 10% instead of 100% the amp may clip as one tries to draw more power from it then it is capable of contributing.

 

What is your source: PC, CD player, portable?

 

Do the cracks and pops occur during bassy sections or trebly sections of music?

 

If it is the bass it may be the source material or debris trapped in the driver area.

 

If it is treble then it may be the DAC, Amp, or more likely the headphones ( sibilance ).

 

Impedance is only half the equation when talking about amp power.  Both impedance and sensitivity play crucial rolls in determining if an amp is the limiting factor.  In your case I doubt the amp needs to be more powerful.

 

Post an example of a track  that you hear the crackle/pops on and we can tell you if we hear it as well.  It may just be the track.

 

My bet is it is that your source volume is too low and your amp volume too high.

 

My setup is:

 

PC volume at 100%

DAC volume at 85%

Amp volume at 25%

post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 

Well the crackle isn't specific to bass or treble really, and it is at the exact same parts of the track every time(replayed the part 5 times, same place each time).

 

My PC volume is at 100%, my DAC is my amp at the same time, which is at approximately 15out of 60, usually around 25%.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuSiuMuBLhM < example of the crackle pop at 3:31 there is a snap at 3:33 a pop. On my setup it is extremely distinguished, and not the first time since today I've heard these in tracks or movies. Also at 2:19 a more subtle break in the recording and many more. Let me know if it's my setup or I'm just noticing all the flaws.

 

My source is a PC>USB DAC/AMP>Senns 598. I just want to make sure there is no flaws with my actual hardware, as it's extremely difficult to test sound gear within the 17 days without any other headsets or DAC comparisons.

 

Also it should be noted, I've been running at 96khz 24 bit. And a limited amount of my sources are actually loss less.

post #4 of 12

Try playing a FLAC or audio CD and use Foobar2000 to play audio files, see if the audio quality improves.

post #5 of 12

There is no snap or pop at the youtube video times that you specify.

 

It's possible that you have a grounding issue somewhere that manifests itself at peak music passages.  Try changing the USB cable out with another one.  If that doesn't work, ensure that other USB devices that might be pulling power are disconnected.  See if that makes a difference.  If not, then try plugging the headphones directly into the sound card on your PC and see if cuts out the snap and pops.

 

It could be a bad cable, a bad ground connection or similar in the Fiio, or the headphones themselves are defective.

 

As far as the bass response - HD598's are not going to give you a lot of slam.  Their looks are better than their performance, in other words.  Keep that in perspective, though.  They're an outstanding pair of introductory cans, but there's a lot out there that's better.  Lack of aggressive bass has been a trait of the HD598 family all the way back to the original HD595.  It's why Sennheiser makes the HD580/HD600/HD650 family - they're an entire cut above, especially when it comes to bass and impact.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

I just tested things out this morning, Cranked my laptop built in speakers no DAC or headphones and those cracks are there still. Are you sure you didn't hear them?

I personally think perhaps it's more of a common thing in youtube video's. It has to be, I watched Mongol last night and there wasn't one crackle, so it can't be bass or treble range.

I've begun to realize now that even skipping movies forward or backward by dragging the play slider, in VLC or youtube it also will make a crackle or popping sound. I'm not familiar with this phenomenon but perhaps someone could explain why this is the case.

 

Purple Angel I'm going to thoroughly test today, the e17 through my speakers and my headset, headset without e17 vs another logtiech headset. I generally use VLC for my FLAC I'm not sure if there is reasons against this?

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godson View Post
 

I just tested things out this morning, Cranked my laptop built in speakers no DAC or headphones and those cracks are there still. Are you sure you didn't hear them?

I personally think perhaps it's more of a common thing in youtube video's. It has to be, I watched Mongol last night and there wasn't one crackle, so it can't be bass or treble range.

I've begun to realize now that even skipping movies forward or backward by dragging the play slider, in VLC or youtube it also will make a crackle or popping sound. I'm not familiar with this phenomenon but perhaps someone could explain why this is the case.

 

Purple Angel I'm going to thoroughly test today, the e17 through my speakers and my headset, headset without e17 vs another Logtiech headset. I generally use VLC for my FLAC I'm not sure if there is reasons against this?

VLC, I use it too sometimes, I just think that Foobar2000 is a little more dedicated audio player.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

After some testing today, I've concluded most of the difference I'm appreciating is the DAC, the senheissers 598 HD seem extremely natural and actually have more than enough bass for me, but I think i"m going to get an Eo9k dock and a bit more detailed mid's and highs in a headset that is more enticing and transparent. Price isn't an issue, whatever your recommendations are I will thoroughly read into. That being said top of the line headphones probably won't see enough justice done to them on a portable DAC and amp.

post #9 of 12

You may want to disable the power management for your USB HUB devices if you are using Windows.  You can look up how to do it.  It can help with distortion issues.

 

The last thing to look into would be the ASIO audio driver

 

If you hear it with your external speakers than your headphones should be good.  With the DAC disconnected and the crackles still present it is likely not the DAC either.

 

I will try to give the track(s) a listen and report back.

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Godson View Post
 

Well the crackle isn't specific to bass or treble really, and it is at the exact same parts of the track every time(replayed the part 5 times, same place each time).

 

My PC volume is at 100%, my DAC is my amp at the same time, which is at approximately 15out of 60, usually around 25%.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuSiuMuBLhM < example of the crackle pop at 3:31 there is a snap at 3:33 a pop. On my setup it is extremely distinguished, and not the first time since today I've heard these in tracks or movies. Also at 2:19 a more subtle break in the recording and many more. Let me know if it's my setup or I'm just noticing all the flaws.

 

My source is a PC>USB DAC/AMP>Senns 598. I just want to make sure there is no flaws with my actual hardware, as it's extremely difficult to test sound gear within the 17 days without any other headsets or DAC comparisons.

 

Also it should be noted, I've been running at 96khz 24 bit. And a limited amount of my sources are actually loss less.

I think it is the encoding because I get the crackles and pops on occasion, but never at the same spot.  I definitely heard something at 3:21 and 3:30, but it was not repeatable.  I am guessing an encoding issue or buffer problem.

 

I used Windows 7 machine via Mozilla.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 

Oh okay. Is there any specific way to eliminate problems in recordings of these such? Or is it just the nature of the information. Noted I took to memory the two suggestions you've already made and have begun exploring.

Regards.

post #12 of 12

Downloading a less compressed version and then running through something like Foorbar 2000 with WASAPI should help.

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