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My experience so far with the Fidelio X1 & some questions

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello fellow members of head-fi, I've posted a thread some time ago asking for some suggestions because I was looking for a decent, comfortable and natural sounded headset. So when I've tried the fidelio X1, I've decided it's probably the best choice for me, I like the soundstage, the bass is there and it's not aggressive, these seem perfectly balanced. So I am thankful to this community having shown me a whole new world in this domain, and also for having given me advice. 

So, there are a few things which have been bugging me for a while. I usually listen to youtube songs, and of course I aim for at least 720p's, so that would mean the quality should be gradually better. But there are times when I think the sound feels somehow distorted, not as natural, and I am wondering if it's either because of my crappy laptop, I need a digital-to-analog amp or this is simply the most my headset can do. Before going into this further, there are songs, at least that's what I make of it, in which some instruments are more pronounced on one of the ears, but it just feels like the sound isn't "equal" in both ears sometimes, I find it hard to explain. Of course, I know that the human ears naturally have different affinities, the left one perceives instruments better while the right one can perceive voices better, but still, I'm not sure how it should be. I definitely felt a considerable difference between these and the old ones I had been using, the immediate reaction was that the sound was much more detailed. Does this make it seem as if the drivers weren't working properly?

 

Maybe my questions/misunderstandings sound stupid, it's my first hi-fi headset anyway, maybe I'm just silly over it, but can someone clear it out or at least voice their own view on this kind of stuff? Is this normal? Is this what defines a soundstage practically? I initially thought natural sound should feel as if I am in front of an orchestra hearing everything in front of me.

Since I've opened the subject, I've read some threads and people said cheap amps aren't worth it, so far FiiO seems to be the favorite brand of hi-fi headset users. I'm not really looking for a portable one since these headphones are pretty much for indoors, but I can't really spend more than 100 euros on one without knowing what exactly makes it shine, so should there be anything decent you've aquired at a reasonable price? Or is it just better to wait it out, save up and buy something superior? It seems like my only options so far are FiiO E7, D07 and E9. Since I'm using this headset purely for listening to my favorite tracks and not for professional purposes, I thought a digital-to-analog converter isn't necessary.

 

I hope I did not open one more of those "unwanted threads" and I'm gonna say thank you very much in advance ! Wish you all a good day!

 

 

 

P.S.: Sorry if there are grammar mistakes or inconsistencies left, English is not my mother language.

post #2 of 7

I have a pair of X1s, Denon AHD2000, Momentums, Grado sr80s and various IEMs and have to say that I really enjoy the X1s. From the sound of it, your problem is with the sound quality of Youtube videos. 720p denotes a pixel count and really has nothing to do with sound quality. I've seen some pretty good looking videos with crap sound, not synced ect. An external DAC, better sound card or new headphones wont fix this.

 

Soundstage refers to the feeling of being placed in a room and your relation to the performers. This is very recording dependent , most modern music , IMO, just doesn't present a soundstage per se. In general I would say that the Fidelio X1s have about a medium soundstage and can give the impression of being in a fairly large room a couple rows back. Not neutral but pretty fun.

 

Check this video out for an idea of decent YouTube sound and idea of soundstage. Close your eyes and imagine about where you see yourself in the hall. If this recording sounds bad it may be an issue with your source or maybe your headphones.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMTuXnLiZ2k

post #3 of 7
About the unequal sound, first do a simple test for a channel imbalance by putting them on backwards. Do you consistently hear an imbalance?

I should add that many single cable headphones have a slight volume difference (left is louder), but it shouldn't be so noticeable as what you're describing.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

The thing is, it's kinda hard to figure it out precisely, most of the times some instruments are more pronounced on only one side. I've tried putting them on backwards and I can't say I feel any difference.. Then again, I listen to music on YT most of the time, I guess ****ty quality could probably be a problem too. I really like this headset, I've been trying to "keep it safe", but I'm really worried because I've heard it has sensitive drivers, since the cable is detachable, and the problem is that this cable is damn long (5m) and I accidentally stepped on the cable a few times and dragged it out if the headset. So I'm hoping there hasn't been any damage. Another thing, I don't really have a lot of high quality audio tracks on my laptop (only have a few FLAC's), but ever since I've bought this headset it seems like I can hear more details, and some songs have slight buzzing sound, the typical sound lost TV signal gave, that sort of thing but much more quiet; this means the quality of the song is probably complete crap right?

As a sidenote, I don't know why but I find this headset really quiet, is it because I'm not powering them up through an DAC amp ? I've heard they need quite a significant amount of power for a 30Ohm headset. I'm pretty positive the laptop has a ****ty soundcard (it's a vaio vpcf series). Do you guys keep Dolby settings or do you just disable everything related to digital properties?

And also, thank you for the explanation, I think I'm getting an idea of what soundstage really means !

Edit: let me actually give you an example - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1e3XtQ7D5Q  this one seemed like it has outstanding quality, I can clearly hear her voice, together with any slight pitch shift. I might be a complete moron though, when it comes to my perceptive senses. 


Edited by Hachiroku - 3/24/14 at 4:29am
post #5 of 7

720p video on YouTube is actually of higher audio quality, they compress everything on lower formats to help with bandwidth. The rates are available on Wikipedia for your viewing pleasure. 720p is no different from 1080p audio-wise though.

The noise is could be due to file compression, laptop noise, or both. Most likely its laptop noise. An external DAC/amp should help with any laptop noise, as well as providing extra volume. Impedence doesn't always perfectly dictate how loud something can get, more juice from a dedicated amp should help.


Edited by jodgey4 - 3/24/14 at 7:45am
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hachiroku View Post

So, there are a few things which have been bugging me for a while. I usually listen to youtube songs, and of course I aim for at least 720p's, so that would mean the quality should be gradually better. But there are times when I think the sound feels somehow distorted, not as natural, and I am wondering if it's either because of my crappy laptop, I need a digital-to-analog amp or this is simply the most my headset can do.

As jodgey4 pointed out, YouTube 720p is encoded by YouTube at a higher bit rate than lower resolution YouTube videos. That doesn't mean that the original source material loaded to YouTube is of good quality.

An external DAC/headphone amp could certainly help if you were listening to good quality source files on your computer. But there's no guarantee it will improve YouTube videos that have crappy sound to begin with.
post #7 of 7
Try it with a number of non-compressed files or a CD and hear if it's still happening. It sounds as if that's the problem, not chanel imbalance or driver mismatch or damage to the cable. Buying a decent soundcard might overcome the problem--or not. It could be that those files are best heard on a more forgiving or less resolving headphone.
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