or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › If a DAP is described as "Warm" or having a frequency bump - why doesn't it show on Freq response curves?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

If a DAP is described as "Warm" or having a frequency bump - why doesn't it show on Freq response curves?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

Question is a simple one - and I really want to find the answer.  Was posed on the X5 thread - where this comment was made:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scorpion667 View Post
 

I found my iphone 5 to have a bit of a mid bass hump compared to the x5. This hump is not present with my Theorem 720 DAC/Amp or Xonar STX sound card either.

Also the detailing of the X5 beats all my other sources. I have one song that plays perfectly on every one of my sources except the X5 where I can hear obvious compression artefacts. I was rather surprised with this, considering the T720 is more than 2x the price of the X5. 

 

To be honest I don't mind using the iphone 5 as a source for IEM's as long as I'm using foam tips. For some reason, on my Atrio MG7's, silicone tips add a mid bass hump. When I add the iphone 5's mid bass hump to the equation it makes for a bad mix. But with foam tips it sounds pretty good for an ultra portable setup.  

 

I am currently testing Moto X sound quality but it's too early to make conclusions. I can't find any obvious faults like distortion or excessive floor noise (well, more floor noise then X5, less than T720 on low gain for 2x of my 32ohm IEM's) but it could benefit from some EQ.. I hear less sub bass and mid bass compared to the X5 on FW2.0 (surprisingly) and there's a slight peak in the highs which I've only noticed on one song so far. All things considered, the X is still my favourite smartphone, even after playing with or owning a majority of the smartphone flagships of 2013/2014. It's only slightly wider than the iphone 5 with similar height, yet houses a 4.7" screen. I don't like big phones, but I like big screens, nomsayin? It makes the HTC One look massive in comparison, even though they have the same screen size. Ultra thin bezels get my thumbs up. 

 

I just noticed recently that the Kingston Class 10 MicroSD card I bought for my X5 only has 10 MB/s read/write. I went to the local headphone shop and tried the owner's Sandisk 45MB/s card and track switching was definitely faster. The SAD, SAD part was, I didn't even read the product specs on the website before I left my house to buy the card! For $2 more I could have gotten a 45MB/s read, 10MB/s write card from the same store! I completely forgot that class 10 doesn't mean anything lol. I dunno.. considering I'm a tech enthusiast/custom PC builder/licensed technician that's really a rookie mistake =/

 

I replied with this :

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post

 

Nope.

Ken Rockwell had the iPhone 5 on a scope (http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/iphone-5/audio-quality.htm).  Measured basically flat from 20Hz to 20 kHz.

If you're finding a mid-bass hump - it's not the iP5 that's adding it.

 

Then ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by WCDchee View Post

Well the thing about source and amp frequency response curves is that they dont tell you anything about the sound signature. Almost all good amps and sources measure perfectly flat almost end to end. But the signature varies vastly. The x3 measures flat too. But it sounds very warm. So perhaps what he hears isnt technically a midbass hump. But yes it definitely comes from the iphone, and it definitely sounds like a midbass hump. Why the measured frequency response charts for amps and dacs dont give a picture of the signature like the charts of headphones do, i'm not too sure. But i know for a fact that they don't smily_headphones1.gif
 

And .......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post
 

Perhaps you can show measured the frequency response for the X3 and we can compare?

 

If there is a mid-bass hump on the iP5, it should show up in a frequency response curve.  The only way I can see that it would otherwise show up is if the iP5 had a high impedance on the headphone out and the Atrio MG7 had an incorrect damping factor.  But the iP5 has an output impedance of 4.5 ohms (a little higher than I'd prefer) and the Atrios are rated at 32 ohms - so damping shouldn't come into it.

 

If the iP5 was underpowered - this could also have an effect - but given that the Atrios have a sensitivity of 112dB 30 Hz/Mw - and the iP5 will be able to drive them to deafening levels well under the output full volume, then this is negated also.

 

So no issues with power or impedance mismatch on the IEM's he was talking about.  So where does the mid-bass hump come into it?  Simple answer - it can't come from the iPhone.

 

And culminating in this link to the X3 measured response:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by WCDchee View Post

http://www.head-fi.org/t/663600/impression-fiio-x3-high-fi-low-price

You can find the measurements here smily_headphones1.gif
 

 

So - If a DAP is described as "Warm" or having a frequency bump - why doesn't it show on Freq response curves?  Any help appreciated.

post #2 of 30

Because people have really poor critical thinking skills.  Mostly, they listen at different volumes and perceive changes as a result. 

 

I'd add that the role of social conformity plays an interesting part.  The more "credible" poster comes out with a new review of a just released DAP, and then unconsciously others are influenced to mirror the opinions presented. 


Edited by roy_jones - 5/18/14 at 8:32am
post #3 of 30

Frequencies are what we hear. If it doesn't show up as a frequency on a response chart, we can't hear it. Saying that there are sounds that don't show up on response charts is like saying you took a photograph of a ghost.

post #4 of 30
It could be the output impedance differences of the devices causing the output to be more or less warm with certain headphones. Every quality of a sound system can be measured in some way, but it isn't always easy to determine how it sounds from such a large number of electrical variables affecting the sound signature.
post #5 of 30

But that would be caused by the particular headphones used, not the DAP itself. If I hooked up three inch speakers to a McIntosh amp, would it be fair to say that the McIntosh amp sounded tinny and thin?

post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

But that would be caused by the particular headphones used, not the DAP itself. If I hooked up three inch speakers to a McIntosh amp, would it be fair to say that the McIntosh amp sounded tinny and thin?
No, but it wouldn't be fair to say it was the headphones either. The combination would sound tinny and thin, not either component specifically.
post #7 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddTheMetalGod View Post


No, but it wouldn't be fair to say it was the headphones either. The combination would sound tinny and thin, not either component specifically.


Actually, it would. You just missed the point of his entire post. They are crappy speakers, what's why he used them as an example. Saying they don't pair together is ridiculous. The only reason people say that is that when they plug their headphones into their new  "$super cool $800 dac" they don't notice a difference. To prevent themselves from realizing they just wasted a ton of money, a defense mechanism kicks in, called "denial" and justifies this $800 purchase by saying, it simply doesn't "pair well", they move on with their lives, and so does everyone else, while the lie proliferates.


Edited by Hapster - 5/18/14 at 2:05pm
post #8 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddTheMetalGod View Post

It could be the output impedance differences of the devices causing the output to be more or less warm with certain headphones. Every quality of a sound system can be measured in some way, but it isn't always easy to determine how it sounds from such a large number of electrical variables affecting the sound signature.

 

In the example I gave though - I showed the headphones he was talking about, their impedance, the impedance of the iP5, and the fact that there is sufficient power.  So if he's claiming a mid-bass hump, and attributing it to the device, then this just does not seem possible to me.  Human error rather than device?

post #9 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hapster View Post


Actually, it would. You just missed the point of his entire post. They are crappy speakers, what's why he used them as an example. Saying they don't pair together is ridiculous. The only reason people say that is that when they plug their headphones into their new  "$super cool $800 dac" they don't notice a difference. To prevent themselves from realizing they just wasted a ton of money, a defense mechanism kicks in, called "denial" and justifies this $800 purchase by saying, it simply doesn't "pair well", they move on with their lives, and so does everyone else, while the lie proliferates.
I wasn't referring to his example. My point is that you could plug a pair of 32 ohm headphones into something with a 50 ohm output impedence and have it sound god awful. It wouldn't be the fault of the headphones or amp, it would be the fault of the user for doing so. I'm not talking about "synergy" between equipment, I'm talking about electrical properties. That amp could be one of the best amps in the world for high impedence headphones, but no matter what you did it would sound much worse with say a low sensitivity planar.

I'm not arguing about the OP's situation or Bigshot's example, I skimmed the OP and was just suggesting a possible cause. Sorry tongue.gif.
post #10 of 30

iphone measures flat exactly how is the question... with a simple purely resistive load? with no load?  the test equipment measuring the curve all have an effect on the shape of the curve they show.  also seems their could be dynamics at play here with the assumption that the frequency curves measured are from a white noise source or a sweeping sine? real music places different demands on the amplifier at different times.  Perhaps at the volume level being listened to and considering the current draw of the headphones the iphone power rails are not stable.

post #11 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by groovyd View Post
 

iphone measures flat exactly how is the question... with a simple purely resistive load? with no load?  the test equipment measuring the curve all have an effect on the shape of the curve they show.  also seems their could be dynamics at play here with the assumption that the frequency curves measured are from a white noise source or a sweeping sine? real music places different demands on the amplifier at different times.  Perhaps at the volume level being listened to and considering the current draw of the headphones the iphone power rails are not stable.

 

Well he does advise the different loads he used - http://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/iphone-5/audio-quality.htm

 

Not sure how helpful this is though.  Does it shed any light?

post #12 of 30

It's possible that, assuming both DAPs' amp circuits were used, one device just has more distortion at the same volume level. Just because one is "warmer" doesn't mean it's more "hi-fi," since that could be distortion.

 

Not specifically with the case cited in the OP, but this has been the bane of hi-fi where you have people getting into it hearing fuller sound compared to their usual audio systems, and thinking more warmth has to be better all the time. Some will even cite how even pro musicians want warmth, completely disregarding the difference between a Marshall amp adding warmth to the guitar on the stage or studio and a warm system adding warmth to everything in the recording during playback. I've listened to a $1,000 CDP that was warm to the point of being borderline nasal, and my amp's built in PCM2702-based USB DAC that is wired to the input stage after the single DAC chip sounds more natural than its dual WM8740s with full blown output stages. Yes, some digital sources sound different - it is not absolute fact that they all do. What you should be aware of is how you can be paying more for something that understands "audiophile" in a way that in antithetical to the term "hi-fi."

 

Also sometimes achieving the same volume level is impossible even with measuring equipment if the steps don't match, so that holy grail of equal testing isn't always absolutely possible. My listening level on my SGS3 and iPad2 don't line up properly regardless of the player app used, but even with the SG3 at my listening level on it or two steps up that is louder than my listening level on the iPad2, the tablet is still a lot closer to neutral. Still, just because one integrated DAC-HPamp chip isn't this good doesn't mean that the other one isn't implemented better, and is also better than that nasal $1,000 CDP with dual DACs.


Edited by ProtegeManiac - 5/18/14 at 10:59pm
post #13 of 30
What distortion? Distortion is pretty much inaudible in modern solid state electronics.
Edited by bigshot - 5/18/14 at 11:02pm
post #14 of 30

"Pretty much." How else can somebody make a nasal-sounding source worse than tube source using modern solid state electronics?

post #15 of 30
I think people are hearing things.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Science
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › If a DAP is described as "Warm" or having a frequency bump - why doesn't it show on Freq response curves?