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"Audiophile apprenticeship application" Experienced audiophiles please read!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hello reader, i'm not sure how well my title convey's my point, so let me explain. I am a young, intelligent audiophile that has a passion to learn everything I can about high-fidelity sound reproduction. Along with my desire to learn, I have the interest, time, and determination to help the Head-Fi community in any way I can. So far, I have been able to help a couple of members with recommendations and the like through intense research into the matter of question. Now, you see, the more research I do, and the more questions I try to answer, the more I realize how little I know. As much as I love music, and hearing it it's ideal reproduction, I am admittedly a total 'noob' with little experience. This is where you come in. I have the drive, and the passion to learn, and you have the knowledge and experience to teach me what I need to know. My ultimate goals are to learn enough that I can help the community in the ways of answering questions, and giving reviews on products etc. I really just want to become a true knowledgeable audiophile. I have been studying the Glossary of terms, and describing a sound forums, and while that is a good start, it's just that... a start. In essence, I suppose I am asking that a knowledgeable audiophile take me as an apprentice of sorts to teach me. I hope that I have been able to somewhat get my ideas across clearly. Thank you so much for reading, and if there is anything I can do to clarify any section of this post, just ask. I will reply as promptly, and descriptively as possible.
Edited by ZokharaFi - 12/1/13 at 10:22pm
post #2 of 11

Hi,

 

Quote:

 I really just want to become a true knowledgeable audiophile.

 We don't say "a true knowledgeable audiophile". Here we just simply say "MalVeauX"

 

 

First of all, I'm not the experienced audiophile that you seem to be looking for but...

 

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is this:

 

"A chain is only as strong as its weakest link"

 

I think that's pretty easy to understand. For example, if you listen to music with using your computer as a source, links could be:

 

1 - Recording quality
If you want this link to be strong, you should look for 'audiophile' recordings, most of the times made by Chesky Records, Telarc, Harmonia Mundi, and other well regarded labels. You should also read about Dynamic Range and Loudness War.

 

Here you have a good dynamic range database:
http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/

 

2 - File quality
(Good transcode) 16bit/44100Hz .mp3 [320Kbps] is a good start. Difference between this format and those with higher bitrate (FLAC, PCM) is not huge. Most of the times it is quite dificult to notice any difference.

 

What does 'good transcode' means?
http://www.whatinterviewprep.com/prepare-for-the-interview/transcodes/

 

3-DAC
Digital to Analog converter. This device take your digital file (.mp3, .flac, etc.) and converts it to an analog signal. This step happens in your soundcard or integrated audio chip in your laptop (or portable player). Getting a 'separate' higher quality DAC improves sound quality (transparency, soundstage, etc.)

 

4-Amp
This device amplifies that analog signal coming from the DAC. This step also take place in your soundcard, unless you have a 'separate' higher quality Amp. Separate amps are more transparent and less noisy and most of the times can work at higher voltages, and can give more current than an ordinary built in amplifier.

Most of the times high impedance headphones need high voltage to work properly. (Beyerdynamic DT880 600Ohm)

Most of the times low impedance headphones with low sensitivity need lots of current to work (Hifiman HE500)

 

5-Headphones
Some terms you should read about:
Open Back, Closed Back, High Impedance, Low Impedance, Bright, Dark, Cold, Warm, Planars, Electrostatics, Frequency response graphs (remember: Graphs are only Graphs. Sometimes really useful, sometimes useless)

 

Well, here we have 5 links (we can add cables as a 6th link but I prefer not to do that)

The most important and most of the times Weakest Links are 1, 2 and 5, then those are the ones to care firstly.

 

Another interesting things:

 

It is really common here to say "Welcome to Head-Fi, sorry about your wallet"
I must admit, I like that phrase very much, but then I must warn you, and I think a good way to do that is by just mentioning something called  "law of diminishing returns"

 

Listening to music is not the same as listening to your equipment. I think it's sometimes useful to listen critically to your equipment, but after that you should still be able to listen to music through your equipment.

 

Finally, it's not good trying to build up conclusions about your gear too soon. Take your time, some days is a lot better than some hours.
We tend to hear in a comparative way with what our brain has as its reference, then if you have been listening to dark headphones for a year, you will probably hate a bright sounding one the first days you use it.

 

Hope you find this useful.

 

Best Luck!


Edited by Me x3 - 12/1/13 at 11:55pm
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you Me X3, that was a lot of good info and I will start looking at those links you sent me ASAP!

Best regards,
ZokharaFi
post #4 of 11

hiya, I have been learning many things by searching and answering to questions. however, there are senior members from whom we can learn by just reading their posts. For example, look this post http://www.head-fi.org/t/680240/would-a-fiio-e17-be-good-enough-for-a-he-4#post_9775764

I learn a lot from headfiers such as Malveaux

post #5 of 11

Listen to a lot of music.   Critically - i.e., while not doing anything else.

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by vkalia View Post
 

Listen to a lot of music.   Critically - i.e., while not doing anything else.


yes.... good idea

but I always work while listening music

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vkalia View Post
 

Listen to a lot of music.   Critically - i.e., while not doing anything else.

 

I listen to music a lot while doing nothing else, but how do I listen to music "critically" like what should I do? What do you mean by that.

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubinstein View Post
 

yes.... good idea

but I always work while listening music

 

Nothing wrong with that.     As do I, most of the time.   More below...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZokharaFi View Post
 

 

I listen to music a lot while doing nothing else, but how do I listen to music "critically" like what should I do? What do you mean by that.

 

If you want to work on your "audiophile" skills (I'll leave aside the matter of why ever would you want to go down THAT road!) then you need to listen not just to the music but also the sound.    

 

In a way, the two are contradictory - if you are listening to music, you immerse yourself in the gestalt of the overall work:  whether I am listening to Metallica's One or Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, I am listening to the music as a whole, not to the individual instruments or chords.   But if you want to become an audioweeni-- erm, audiophile, then you need to focus on the individual notes and different instruments, and try to imprint how they sound.   In other words, you are no longer just listening to the overall piece, but breaking up the various instruments and analysing how they sound.

 

Personally, as a reformed audioweenie, I think it gets in the way of enjoying the music, but each to their own.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone so far who has replied, all of your input has been very helpful!
Also, anyone reading this still is more than welcome to put in their word, I'm still interested in more tips etc.!
post #10 of 11

Quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rubinstein View Post
 


yes.... good idea

but I always work while listening music

 

Originally Posted by vkalia View Post
 

 

Nothing wrong with that.     As do I, most of the time.  

Even though I listen OST composed by Hans Zimmer repeatedly, The instrumental separation makes me to stop working and listen music!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vkalia View Post
If you want to work on your "audiophile" skills (I'll leave aside the matter of why ever would you want to go down THAT road!) then you need to listen not just to the music but also the sound.    

 

In a way, the two are contradictory - if you are listening to music, you immerse yourself in the gestalt of the overall work:  whether I am listening to Metallica's One or Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, I am listening to the music as a whole, not to the individual instruments or chords.   But if you want to become an audioweeni-- erm, audiophile, then you need to focus on the individual notes and different instruments, and try to imprint how they sound.   In other words, you are no longer just listening to the overall piece, but breaking up the various instruments and analysing how they sound.

 

Personally, as a reformed audioweenie, I think it gets in the way of enjoying the music, but each to their own.

I just like instrumental separation and wider soundstage.

Where did you get that word audioweenie?

post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubinstein View Post
 

I just like instrumental separation and wider soundstage.

Where did you get that word audioweenie?

 

Liking certain features in the sound is one thing - I like a thick, full-bodied midrange uber alles as well.    Where people lose the plot is when they get off on how wide the soundstage is, or how precise the imaging is, or how thick the midrange is, at the expense of music.

 

Audioweenie - not sure, been using it for a while.   Maybe i picked it up back in the Usenet rec. audio.* days, or heck, i may even have come up with it.  I certainly was one back in the day, obsessing over all sorts of minute and often made-up differences.   The amount of unchallenged BS that gets peddling in the audiophile world is indeed staggering - i recently re-subscribed to TAS and have a face palm moment every few pages.   

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