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If I can't articulate what they're saying do my speakers suck?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I'm too young and poor to be an audiophile... for now. I don't know the first thing about it but listening to the reviewers describe all the parts in a little piece of technology and why it's so expensive is fascinating.. That being said I have a cruddy pair of AKG K 77 and this is the best sound quality I've ever heard, when I upgraded from iPod's generic earbuds to these cans my mind was blown, I gasped and smiled after years of iPod buds :) I still love these headphones and can't go back to standard in-ears buttt I'm ready to be blown away again.

 

My question is: Am I not able to listen well because of my low quality headphones? I'm not talking about death metal or something, you're amazing if you can pull human speech from that. Example: I listened to a jazz song, smooth and the vocalist could sing very well. Had to look up the lyrics. To my surprise they were a bit different and it changed my understanding of the song. This stuff happens often unless the vocals are pristine and not drowned out by harsh instruments.


Edited by bahmah - 2/26/14 at 12:01am
post #2 of 16

I'm somewhat the same way, and there's a reason for that.. I was never interested in music (at all) until my teens when I discovered music I actually liked (not annoying popular music) and developed my own taste. Since I never cared for music, I had a pretty hard time hearing what was sung for years... But that has gotten better, especially as I have gotten better gear too.

 

Btw, you'll probably not be as blown away by your next upgrade as you were when coming from crappy ibuds. 

 

No need to worry unless you also have a hard(er than normal) time discerning speach in loud environments.

post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bahmah View Post
 

I'm too young and poor to be an audiophile... for now. I don't know the first thing about it but listening to the reviewers describe all the parts in a little piece of technology and why it's so expensive is fascinating.. That being said I have a cruddy pair of AKG K 77 and this is the best sound quality I've ever heard, when I upgraded from iPod's generic earbuds to these cans my mind was blown, I gasped and smiled after years of iPod buds :) I still love these headphones and can't go back to standard in-ears buttt I'm ready to be blown away again.

 

I started with the K66 back in college - good choice with that K77. My friend started out on it too but the right side driver broke after nearly two years. You really can't be too young - over here a bunch of us were in college and, perhaps realizing that being a pro musician was out of the question (given we put just as much time studying being in soc/nat science programs, or management, where the real band guys are all in Humanities and Literature and there isn't that much workload) some of us ended up screwing around our cars' systems, which was the only place we could listen a bit louder without anyone complaining.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bahmah View Post

 

My question is: Am I not able to listen well because of my low quality headphones? I'm not talking about death metal or something, you're amazing if you can pull human speech from that. Example: I listened to a jazz song, smooth and the vocalist could sing very well. Had to look up the lyrics. To my surprise they were a bit different and it changed my understanding of the song. This stuff happens often unless the vocals are pristine and not drowned out by harsh instruments.

 

You'd be surprised how even music like that would be clearer on better headphones or speakers. For example, power metal with death grunts+female vocals like The Phantom Agony (the whole album) it was easier to make out what the grunts were on the Dynaudio Contour S5.4. Shocked the beejezus out of the older guy waiting for his turn at that room in our local HiFi show.

post #4 of 16

When you say, am I not able to listen well, do you mean are you not able to comprehend everything that's going on in a song because of gear? Or do you mean your ability to perceive what's going on in the song in your mind? And yes it's true, even death metal can sound better with good headphones. I think it's a combination of your headphones and your listening abilities. What I mean is, with regards to listening ability, since you're new to the high end headphone deal and the K77 is your first headphone, you might not have done too much critical listening in the past. The more you listen to music on better gear, the more you'll be able to hear and understand, to process in your mind. I think this aspect can come with different gear. I'll say different as opposed to better, because often a sidestep will be every much an upgrade as a true upgrade based on price.

 

I haven't heard the K77 so I can't comment on sound, but I do also agree that with better headphones, instruments and vocals can become clearer to hear, understand, and comprehend. Detail retrieval.

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the helpful replies. I've noticed myself turning the iPod up to max. recently but I don't think it's my ears getting weaker. I'm convinced I just need better headphones. 

 

edit: Btw those earphones in my avi look like Westone ES5's. Those are the one's I want, coincidentally. They'd be great for the gym and more mobile than some new headphones. I've watched a reviewer say that it sounds like the band is right next to you, but you probably need a better system than an iPod to bring them out.

 

I guess I'll just focus on working on school, my business and some day soon I'll afford them.

 

PS. can anyone recommend a better device than an iPod? 


Edited by bahmah - 2/26/14 at 6:09pm
post #6 of 16
I started lurking this forum when I was in college. I still find it hard articulate differences in sound signatures of similarly sounding headphones. It's not easy so don't sweat it. Check out the FIIO X3 for a better music player!
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Byrnie View Post

Check out the FIIO X3 for a better music player!

 

+1 on this. I don't have it, but I've been keeping a very close eye on this unit. It looks incredibly nice, and it's actually what I might end up going with as a replacement. Also, as to iPod, it's actually a pretty decent music player. Read around, there's a lot of reviews on it, with specs and things like that. It's sound could possibly improve by using a LOD, too.

post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bahmah View Post
 

I've noticed myself turning the iPod up to max. recently but I don't think it's my ears getting weaker. I'm convinced I just need better headphones. 

 

This could be you trying to compensate for 'loss of detail' by turning up the volume. Our ears perceive sound differently at different volumes. But be careful with volume, don't want to hurt your ears.

post #9 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by bahmah View Post
 

Thanks for the helpful replies. I've noticed myself turning the iPod up to max. recently but I don't think it's my ears getting weaker. I'm convinced I just need better headphones. 

 

More efficient but not too low impedance headphones or IEMs. Some use 16ohm or below impedance to squeeze more power out of the amp or device driving it but often that might actually cause other problems since that can be too low already.

 

While it's true that we perceive detail differently at different volumes, given that there is no headphone with a perfectly flat response or does a perfect image of the soundstage, then it's possible that a better headphone or IEM might help. There is no decent quality headphone or IEM (or speakers given an acoustically great room) that does not produce certain sounds within its response range. The problem is how much concentration is needed to pick these out of the playback image, since in some cases some notes can be too soft and others can be too loud, enough to obscure some details unless you really focus on hearing certain sounds (which is not how one should listen to enjoy the music).

 

Also the source and amps can play a part in the response of the headphone/IEM or speakers in the system. In some cases the analog output stage after the DAC can add its own "flavor" to the sound (asuming the DAC chip itself is of decent quality); in other cases, the amp even if it measures flat on a test tone, might run into trouble driving a complex load where the impedance rises or drops too far from the nominal rating on some frequencies, and the amp fails to step up when those notes hit. On mainstream devices you have an integrated DAC+Amp audio chip, so there's no analog output stage to screw it up before the amp itself, but present that amp with a too low nominal load that also swings wildly, and such an amp would more likely run into trouble as it doesn't have its own power supply and capacitor banks.*

 

So basically you might want to upgrade to a good IEM (so it also has less space between the drivers and your ear drums to screw up detail) as well as a good player. Read up on how to load files on them though, especially since you have an iPod. Anyone on Windows and Linux would tend to like these devices for drag and drop transfers, but some can't even use Browse Mode because tehy don't organize them into folders since iTunes tags them and organizes them anyway, then turns out some other software can't read iTunes tags properly.

 

*think of this as an integrated GPU and there isn't enough RAM in the computer dedicated to it

post #10 of 16
Max on the iPod sounds like awfully loud to me. Maybe you care to go in further details?
post #11 of 16

Are you sure it's your headphones and not the source or files?

post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

Max on the iPod sounds like awfully loud to me. Maybe you care to go in further details?

 

AKG's aren't that efficient in practice. There's what it says on paper, then there's actually listening to them. On low gain my Cantate.2 is deafening on my HD600s, but just barely audible on the K701; I wouldn't be surprised if it;s similar with the K77. My K66 needed a lot of volume out of my old Creative players, except they'd distort badly so I settle for a lower volume.

post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

Max on the iPod sounds like awfully loud to me. Maybe you care to go in further details?

 

AKG's aren't that efficient in practice. There's what it says on paper, then there's actually listening to them. On low gain my Cantate.2 is deafening on my HD600s, but just barely audible on the K701; I wouldn't be surprised if it;s similar with the K77. My K66 needed a lot of volume out of my old Creative players, except they'd distort badly so I settle for a lower volume.

Correct, just looked it up. The k77 is 112 dB/V and 32 ohm which is only 97 dB/mW. Still, I get plenty volume with my HE-500 and iphone 4.

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post
 

Correct, just looked it up. The k77 is 112 dB/V and 32 ohm which is only 97 dB/mW. Still, I get plenty volume with my HE-500 and iphone 4.

 

I actually tend to listen louder with bigger amps, since my perception of "too loud" has to do with how much distortion I can hear. At least until my brother tapped my shoulder and told me to put the HD600 on the table, only to realize I can use them as speakers at 12:00 on my amp. Now i do that test to make sure I don't turn it up too far.

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

 

I actually tend to listen louder with bigger amps, since my perception of "too loud" has to do with how much distortion I can hear. At least until my brother tapped my shoulder and told me to put the HD600 on the table, only to realize I can use them as speakers at 12:00 on my amp. Now i do that test to make sure I don't turn it up too far.

LOL I used to do the same thing until my wife started scaring the crap out of me because I couldn't hear her creep up on me.

 

^forgot a word :D

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