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[Multi-Review] Hifiman HM901, Fiio X5, Sony ZX1, Hisound Studio 3rd Anv, iPhone 4 - Page 11

post #151 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post
 

silly we all know it doesn't. But mp3's lack sound stage and the nuansaced details you get with Red book and 24/92 flacs

 

and honestly, when you start getting into the $1000 headphones, it's the sound stage you start paying for. I know the sound signiture that I enjoy, the differeance between my old DT 880 and HE 4 is mostly in sound stage and the generall texture of the music. Lossless to my ears sounds closed in, seeing as it has a 20k hrz shelf and lacks the "air" or white decay noise in the treble. Not only is this audible, but it's visuable in a spectrum analysis.  

 

but again... buys a $1000 DAP...and uses it to listen to lossy... not a smart move ino, but as long as your enjoying it that's all that really matters.

 

I take it you've never conducted a fully blind abx between mp3 320 / aac 256 and lossless using the same source (transcoded properly) and volume matched correctly?

 

I'll give you a little tip - you can't actually hear anything above 20 kHz - so how could it be doing what you're suggesting.

 

Here - the software is free, all it takes is time - test yourself (http://www.head-fi.org/t/655879/setting-up-an-abx-test-simple-guide-to-ripping-tagging-transcoding)

 

You may find your whole outlook on this topic changes ;)

post #152 of 324
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post
 

 

I take it you've never conducted a fully blind abx between mp3 320 / aac 256 and lossless using the same source (transcoded properly) and volume matched correctly?

 

Funny thing is, it doesn't even have to be blind. As long as one is truthful with one's self, then there's no way you won't hear it for yourself.

 

I've been repeating this experiment for years, with multiple different albums and masterings, always with the same result.

 

The next step for me will be to test DSD vs 320 or 16/44 FLAC. I'm just waiting on my Light Harmonic DAC to come in.

post #153 of 324

Every now and then I get baffled by how much people trust their senses without ever questioning it.

post #154 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonardo Drummond View Post
 

Every now and then I get baffled by how much people trust their senses without ever questioning it.

 

For the purposes of listening to music, your senses is the only thing you have to please.

post #155 of 324
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonardo Drummond View Post
 

Every now and then I get baffled by how much people trust their senses without ever questioning it.

 

It's like there's not even a slight, reasonably thought out effort to make sure something is worth the cash you just plunked down on it. I think this was my favorite series of events from this whole thread:

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soundbear View Post
 

 

 

While I agree that the Studio V 3rd Anniv(slightly warmer than the Studio V) has a very slight emphasized treble over the iphone4s, my interpretation of the iphone 4s compared to the 3rd Anniv is that its more V-shaped while the 3rd Anniv is more analytical and flatter in response. The holigraphic, spacious and separated sound of the 3rd Anniv is also seems more dynamic in range and placement.  I found the bass to be  slightly exaggerated on the iphone which reminds me a V shape too.

 

Listening to Alison Krause, her voice seems much warmer/slightly compressed  on the iphone while the 3rd Anniv,  sounds clearer and dryer/analytical on the 3rd Anniv.     I have my Tralucent T1  to warm up the analytical, dry 3rd Anniv(they are velcroed together).  I still get the flat, analytical sound of the 3rd Anniv, but its warmed up.

 

I would say for a critical listener, there is a bigggg difference between the iphone 4s and the 3rd Anniv.   After having the Studio V, I did find the Studio V 3rd Anniv more warm, but still needs my T1 for the warmth I like.   I'm hoping the X5 will take the place of my combo.  

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

 

 

Check your volume, bearman. Turn the iphone up slightly.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by soundbear View Post
 

Ok, turned up the iphone and it matched 11 on the 3rd anniv, much more equal.  Yes, do hear slight brightness/dryness of the Hsound, yet still slight V by louder bass with the iphone.   But much more closer in their differences like you mentioned.   Apple really did a nice job on the 4s.   If only it had an SD slot!!  ....now let me get back to my music lesson:D!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

 

Told ya so!

 

Volume = increased dynamics. That's why most people think certain gear is superior to another when they test side by side. Some days when listening to music I wonder why it doesn't sound as "alive" as it did on previous occasions...then I realize I'm listening at a lower volume.

 

Many an audiophile has spent thousands because they didn't bother to volume match for comparisons.

 

If the iphone had an SD slot...well a guy can dream, right?

 
post #156 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by truckdriver View Post
 

 

For the purposes of listening to music, your senses is the only thing you have to please.

 

Indeed ‚Äď but a bit of skepticism might give you a better grip on reality and, in this hobby, save you some time and money ;)

post #157 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

 

It's like there's not even a slight, reasonably thought out effort to make sure something is worth the cash you just plunked down on it. I think this was my favorite series of events from this whole thread:

 

 

This!

post #158 of 324

Eke, I think the truth is somewhat more complicated than you address below.  'Soundstage' is  neither a coloration, nor a 'voicing option'.  Soundstage is the result of proper mic technique, when recording an acoustic performance.  Much of the information about the size and ambience of the recording space is captured in the low level detail in a well done recording.  Mask or miss that detail (can you say "lossy compression"?) and that info is gone.....

 

There are also some clever studio engineering tricks where subtle "adjustments" can simulated soundstage - this you address quite nicely below.  In other words, every recording does not have 'great soundstage', great bass, or great anything.  if it does, you system has rose colored glasses on and may be fun, you may enjoy it, but it is adding distortion.  I know it would be incredibly tedious to read (or write) a review where every sentence had the words 'if the recording allows it'..... but I sometimes get the feeling that, as you mention below, people often lose sight of that.   On the other hand, I sometimes think you underplay what you call voicing differences.....  In my opinion you design your 'experiments in order to mimimize false positives, at the expense of allowing false negatives -- just my 2 cents worth.

 

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

Let me answer that for you. 

 

A large part of soundstage is built on tuning. For instance, a dip in the upper mids can result in a seemingly more open vocal stage. More bass bloom and quantity can reduce the perceived ss size. The same goes for detail. Emphasized upper mids will bring certain harmonics to the fore, making it seem more detailed..........   , as if the microphone placement is adjusted when transcoding to MP3.

 

 


Edited by fzman - 4/8/14 at 1:35pm
post #159 of 324
Im talking lossy vs loseless ive done plenty of abx lossles to lossy n its pretty obviouse the differance between flac n mp3

as for 320 vs 256 vbr theres much less of a differance if any.

so flac vs mp3 is my point. n to my ears mp3s sound closed in. I doubt even need to abx i know what lossy sounds like an I always confirm my supessions will spectrual readings

but as always thank u brooko. ny point is why listen to lossy when u a hm901. stick with lossless to get the most bang for ur buck :3

n do we need to visit the spl discussion again. I have the app for my android n yes i use it.

but truck also makes a great point
post #160 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by truckdriver View Post
 

 

For the purposes of listening to music, your senses is the only thing you have to please.

 

The funny thing about it is that you'll hear the differences if that is what you believe and you've never tested yourself properly (the incredible power of your brain).  However - after testing and knowing you stop worrying about the differences in file formats (knowing you can't differentiate anyway).  This then lets you just enjoy the music and the only question you need to answer then is if there is a better mastering of the album you want.

 

The other good thing for me (knowing my limitations) is if there is an album I can't get on easily CD, it's normally available on iTunes (aac256).  Now there is no hesitation buying the music I want to hear.

post #161 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonardo Drummond View Post
 

 

Indeed ‚Äď but a bit of skepticism might give you a better grip on reality and, in this hobby, save you some time and money ;)

 

I'm trusting you're referring to common sense, as opposed to sense of sound and pleasure.

post #162 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post

The funny thing about it is that you'll hear the differences if that is what you believe and you've never tested yourself properly (the incredible power of your brain).  However - after testing and knowing you stop worrying about the differences in file formats (knowing you can't differentiate anyway).  This then lets you just enjoy the music and the only question you need to answer then is if there is a better mastering of the album you want.

The other good thing for me (knowing my limitations) is if there is an album I can't get on easily CD, it's normally available on iTunes (aac256).  Now there is no hesitation buying the music I want to hear.

thats a great point as well. thankfully I can njoy lossy music just fine. almost all of my EDM is lossy. non the less I like finding n buying cds. Since latly ive grown fond of the jewl cased discs xD
post #163 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post

Im talking lossy vs loseless ive done plenty of abx lossles to lossy n its pretty obviouse the differance between flac n mp3

 

Hi Makiah - either you're a true golden eared listener (I've yet to meet one), or I think your tests are probably flawed (two different masters, bad encoding, not volume matched etc).  Especially when you say "the obvious difference".  Suggestion - try that quote over on Hydrogenaudio forums.  You'll get a bit of a shock at the response.

 

The link I left in my previous post is easy to follow and gives you a simple way of testing yourself properly.  I'd really suggest taking the time to test yourself again ;).   Would you be interested if I could organise a public test (if we could find someone independent in your region prepared to help test you)?

post #164 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post
 

 

The funny thing about it is that you'll hear the differences if that is what you believe and you've never tested yourself properly (the incredible power of your brain).  However - after testing and knowing you stop worrying about the differences in file formats (knowing you can't differentiate anyway).  This then lets you just enjoy the music and the only question you need to answer then is if there is a better mastering of the album you want.

 

The other good thing for me (knowing my limitations) is if there is an album I can't get on easily CD, it's normally available on iTunes (aac256).  Now there is no hesitation buying the music I want to hear.

Good points.  I've been able to believe without proper testing that the differences in file formats are not always that great, so I can still enjoy all formats.  Again, it's hard to make a blanket statement that 256 is incredibly different from lossless, when sometimes I will hear a tune I purchased off iTunes and come away surprised that the difference is not significant.  Studio engineers make the difference across all formats.

post #165 of 324
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fzman View Post
 

Eke, I think the truth is somewhat more complicated than you address below.  'Soundstage' is  neither a coloration, nor a 'voicing option'.  Soundstage is the result of proper mic technique, when recording an acoustic performance.  Much of the information about the size and ambience of the recording space is captured in the low level detail in a well done recording.  Mask or miss that detail (can you say "lossy compression"?) and that info is gone.....

 

There are also some clever studio engineering tricks where subtle "adjustments" can simulated soundstage - this you address quite nicely below.  In other words, every recording does not have 'great soundstage', great bass, or great anything.  if it does, you system has rose colored glasses on and may be fun, you may enjoy it, but it is adding distortion.  I know it would be incredibly tedious to read (or write) a review where every sentence had the words 'if the recording allows it'..... but I sometimes get the feeling that, as you mention below, people often lose sight of that.   On the other hand, I sometimes think you underplay what you call voicing differences..... 

 

 

 

I'm referring mainly to soundstage in terms of variations between top tier IEMs.

 

Here's an example of what I'm talking about...an excerpt from the 1plus2 to ASG-2 comparison I did a while back. Note the bolded areas.

 

Quote:
 

When I first listened to the 1Plus2, I was immediately struck by how similar the tonal balance was to the Beyerdynamic DT880 that I owned for a couple of months. Both phones share a slightly boosted low end, and mids that are scooped just enough to showcase an amazing treble response. The treble itself works wonders for the overall sound, bringing clarity, detail emphasis, and changes in timbre that are either negative or positive depending on the song.

 

To me though, the real hallmark of the 1Plus2 is its soundstage and imaging. The stage is about the same size as that of the ASG-2, but the 1P2 has the sound signature to take advantage of that space, creating a starker image thanks to the increased treble and lessened bass response. The scooped midrange also moves the vocals far back enough to allow sound cues to dance around the stage more.

 

Note weight is decidedly lighter on the 1P2 than on the ASG-2. I've outlined the benefits of this already, but there are also downsides. For instance, I like a good bit of rock music, and I like my distortion and electric guitars full, crunchy, and powerful, toms deep and impactful, and vocals that have emotion. I don't get this with the 1P2, at least not vs the ASG-2. Guitars sound remarkably less full, and the song loses the engagement factor for me.

 

I went on to test the soundstage of both iems using Chesky's Explorations in Space and Time binaural album (seriously, you need to buy it now if you don't already own it). the test confirmed for me that both iems are equal in soundstage dimensions, but the 1P2's change in sound sig goes a long way towards creating a starker image.

 

 

As for an explanation of detail, look no further than the Etymotic ER4S' tuning. It exposes so much in a recording, yet it does it with one single balanced armature driver. No fancy multi-BAs, no hybrid design. Look no further than its raw FR graph for the explanation...hint, it's that massive boost in the upper midrange.

 

 

There needs to be a change in the whole paradigm of "lossy" compression. In reality, there is no compression at all. There is only the removal of unnecessary waste from the parent file that is useless to the end consumer. Again, see the RAW vs JPG debate after post processing is complete. These hi-res files contain space that is left there for more scalpel like precision when it comes to mastering. You can make changes without affecting nearby vital bits. For instance, you can alter the pitch of a note without doing so for the next one. Such is the use for these large files. Realistically, and scientifically, there is absolutely no sonic benefit of a FLAC file over a properly encoded MP3 file. 

 

Now, when you start to go down from 320, you are beginning to compress necessary bits in the file. at 128kbps, you've effectively trimmed way too much from the file.

 

A more visual example. Imagine that a FLAC file is a thick cut of NY Strip steak. A master chef comes in and carefully trims the fat off the meat. This is the resulting 320 kbps file.

 

If you let a janitor come in and try to do the same trimming, the steak obviously won't be to the same standard as the one created by the master chef. This is the difference between encoders.

 

 

I'll be bookmarking this post for future talks, as I don't know how many times I can say the same thing. 

 

Sources: Over a decade of computer experience, as well as a CCNA certification that taught me how digital files are packaged (headers, body, etc.).

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