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How to improve Sound Quality ?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I already know that Sound Quality depends on DAC, AMP and the headphone. Are there other factors that affect sound Quality ?

 

Does moving from entry-level DAC(like E17) to mid-level or High-level DAC make a huge difference ? 

 

 

Is it better to buy a better DAC or a better headphone for SQ improvement ?

post #2 of 9

If you already have an external DAC then there will most likely not be a huge improvement.  The headphones change the sound signature the most if the DAC and amp are designed properly.

 

What headphones do you currently own?  We can make some suggestions from there to help you get more out of your setup.

 

Looking for sound quality improvement?


1.) Better source material ( well recorded music )
2.) Better headphone ( go from the Koss Porta Pro, Philips Cityscape Downtown, Sennheiser HD600, and end near the LCD-3 )
3.) Better DAC ( especially if you do computer listening )
4.) Better Amp ( some amps deliver less noise and a cleaner low end while extending the treble )
5.) Lastly let your brain filter have time to understand the new sound signature

post #3 of 9

Headphones will probably have the biggest effect on sound quality (and sound signature).

 

The DAC will only make a considerable quality difference if your source has crappy onboard audio.

 

As long as the headphones are sufficiently powered, the amp should not have an enormous effect on sound quality.

 

Of course, the more you spend on your gear the better sound quality you will get but note that a jump from $50 to $150 headphones will have a much bigger difference than going from $400 to $800.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NA Blur View Post
 

If you already have an external DAC then there will most likely not be a huge improvement.  The headphones change the sound signature the most if the DAC and amp are designed properly.

 

What headphones do you currently own?  We can make some suggestions from there to help you get more out of your setup.

 

Looking for sound quality improvement?


1.) Better source material ( well recorded music )
2.) Better headphone ( go from the Koss Porta Pro, Philips Cityscape Downtown, Sennheiser HD600, and end near the LCD-3 )
3.) Better DAC ( especially if you do computer listening )
4.) Better Amp ( some amps deliver less noise and a cleaner low end while extending the treble )
5.) Lastly let your brain filter have time to understand the new sound signature

 

Thank you for your reply

 

I own DT990 32 ohm, HD598, A700X and my DAC/AMP is Alpen E17

 

planning to get M-Audio Q40 and SR225i.


Edited by Sam21 - 10/4/13 at 3:31pm
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cidiano View Post
 

Headphones will probably have the biggest effect on sound quality (and sound signature).

 

The DAC will only make a considerable quality difference if your source has crappy onboard audio.

 

As long as the headphones are sufficiently powered, the amp should not have an enormous effect on sound quality.

 

Of course, the more you spend on your gear the better sound quality you will get but note that a jump from $50 to $150 headphones will have a much bigger difference than going from $400 to $800.

 

Thank you for your reply

 

So you are saying if i Upgrade to LCD-2 from DT990, the SQ is going to be better than when instead moving from the E17 to lets say Xonar Essence One. right ?

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam21 View Post
 

 

Thank you for your reply

 

So you are saying if i Upgrade to LCD-2 from DT990, the SQ is going to be better than when instead moving from the E17 to lets say Xonar Essence One. right ?

 

Yes.

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam21 View Post
 

 

Thank you for your reply

 

So you are saying if i Upgrade to LCD-2 from DT990, the SQ is going to be better than when instead moving from the E17 to lets say Xonar Essence One. right ?

 

I have heard both these headphones and the SQ is a big jump. One thing to keep in mind is that I could still see myself using the DT990 (movies, games), even if I owned the LCD-2.

 

Don't know much about the Xonar Essence One, but I would assume that the upgrade would not be as impactful.

post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam21 View Post
 

I already know that Sound Quality depends on DAC, AMP and the headphone. Are there other factors that affect sound Quality ?

 

Does moving from entry-level DAC(like E17) to mid-level or High-level DAC make a huge difference ? 

 

 

Is it better to buy a better DAC or a better headphone for SQ improvement ?

 

Heya,

 

#1 - Better quality source material. The music itself. Not all albums were made and mastered equally. Some are better than others. And garbage in, garbage out applies big time here. If you get music that is poorly made/recorded, it will sound poor. And even more poor on a higher resolving piece of equipment. Buying all kinds of new higher end equipment doesn't do anything for this. There's no magic. If nothing else, higher end equipment strives to just be more faithful to the recording, and so if the recording is bad, the sound is bad. Plain and simple. One of the hardest things is to be able to find enough extremely well made albums of music that you really like. I find for myself that this often helps me discover new music. It dictates my taste, and my taste is simply anything that sounds really good. This is the biggest source of quality in your entire chain--quality of the recording.

 

Moving from the E17's DAC to a $1000 DAC will probably not change the sound hardly at all to your ears. DAC's hardly color sound. You'll read all kinds of glowing statements about one being warm or not. But frankly, until you test it yourself, I will say easily that this is the absolute last thing you should be worrying about is a DAC when it comes to quality.

 

If you have a decent amplifier and a decent set of mid-tier or better headphones, you're good to go with the E17's DAC. You'll get more from high quality music than you will from buying a $1000 DAC.

 

Very best,

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post
 

 

Heya,

 

#1 - Better quality source material. The music itself. Not all albums were made and mastered equally. Some are better than others. And garbage in, garbage out applies big time here. If you get music that is poorly made/recorded, it will sound poor. And even more poor on a higher resolving piece of equipment. Buying all kinds of new higher end equipment doesn't do anything for this. There's no magic. If nothing else, higher end equipment strives to just be more faithful to the recording, and so if the recording is bad, the sound is bad. Plain and simple. One of the hardest things is to be able to find enough extremely well made albums of music that you really like. I find for myself that this often helps me discover new music. It dictates my taste, and my taste is simply anything that sounds really good. This is the biggest source of quality in your entire chain--quality of the recording.

 

Moving from the E17's DAC to a $1000 DAC will probably not change the sound hardly at all to your ears. DAC's hardly color sound. You'll read all kinds of glowing statements about one being warm or not. But frankly, until you test it yourself, I will say easily that this is the absolute last thing you should be worrying about is a DAC when it comes to quality.

 

If you have a decent amplifier and a decent set of mid-tier or better headphones, you're good to go with the E17's DAC. You'll get more from high quality music than you will from buying a $1000 DAC.

 

Very best,

Cannot agree more with Mal on this point.  Better reference material = better listening almost every time.

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