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What am I doing wrong (or am I just deaf)?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm pretty new to the audiophile world but have jumped in with both feet. I just acquired a pair of HD 600s, which sound great, but I don't know if I'm getting the best of them or setting my system up incorrectly. The problem is that I can't tell a difference in the sound in them when they're driven by my iPhone 5S and when I use them with my iPod Touch (5G)/Vamp Verza combo.

The Verza is connected using a Lightning To USB cable so I should be getting a line out signal from the iPod. The Verza on high gain definitely drives the HD 600s louder, but shouldn't I be hearing a difference in audio quality, too? I listen to mostly New Age/Electronic (Delerium, Mythos, Amethystium, Two Steps From Hell, etc) with bit rates from 160kbps mp3 to 256kbps AAC.

Am I missing something or am I just not cut out for the audiophile life?
post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by camaker View Post

I'm pretty new to the audiophile world but have jumped in with both feet. I just acquired a pair of HD 600s, which sound great, but I don't know if I'm getting the best of them or setting my system up incorrectly. The problem is that I can't tell a difference in the sound in them when they're driven by my iPhone 5S and when I use them with my iPod Touch (5G)/Vamp Verza combo.
The Verza is connected using a Lightning To USB cable so I should be getting a line out signal from the iPod. The Verza on high gain definitely drives the HD 600s louder, but shouldn't I be hearing a difference in audio quality, too? I listen to mostly New Age/Electronic (Delerium, Mythos, Amethystium, Two Steps From Hell, etc) with bit rates from 160kbps mp3 to 256kbps AAC.
Am I missing something or am I just not cut out for the audiophile life?

Try turning way down the volume setting on the Verza, then max out (or near max) the volume settings on the iPod, then slowly turn up the Verza's volume, see if the audio quality improves.

 

You might try reading up and asking HD600 questions on this thread.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/538255/sennheiser-hd-600-appreciation-thread

 

If you have access to a good quality A/V receiver, try plugging the HD600s into the A/V receiver's headphone jack, see if there is a difference in audio quality.

My Yamaha A/V receiver seems to bring out the best in high impedance headphones.

post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by camaker View Post

I'm pretty new to the audiophile world but have jumped in with both feet. I just acquired a pair of HD 600s, which sound great, but I don't know if I'm getting the best of them or setting my system up incorrectly. The problem is that I can't tell a difference in the sound in them when they're driven by my iPhone 5S and when I use them with my iPod Touch (5G)/Vamp Verza combo.

The Verza is connected using a Lightning To USB cable so I should be getting a line out signal from the iPod. The Verza on high gain definitely drives the HD 600s louder, but shouldn't I be hearing a difference in audio quality, too? I listen to mostly New Age/Electronic (Delerium, Mythos, Amethystium, Two Steps From Hell, etc) with bit rates from 160kbps mp3 to 256kbps AAC.

Am I missing something or am I just not cut out for the audiophile life?


The HD600 is not that hard to drive - iDevices can drive them suprisingly well. I can get a very good sound with mine straight out of a Sansa Clip!

 

They will sound better out of the amp but the difference will not be as great as you might expect.


Edited by sinnottj - 6/13/14 at 5:49am
post #4 of 10

I think the above two posts are both great answers, and just to add to what they said, also try lossless audio files instead of mp3 files. Overall the difference wont be massive, but with your good headphones, good source like your amp/dac, and lossless files (which dont even have to be anything more than simple 16/44.1 cd quality), you should start noticing an overall better experience the more you listen. It took me a month when I first switched to flac files to even notice the specific difference in sound, and whilst only using my laptop's audio jack directly with Denon D-5000s. But once you hear it, you wont unhear it lol. Even now the difference between a well recorded mp3 file and that same file in flac is a subtle one, but its there, and I notice it. Just keep listening to your setup and with good files, and then after like a month or so just try out some older pair of headphones or not using the amp/dac, I figure by then you'll notice what is missing in the sound once you go back to your usual setup. Its all about subtlety from this point on :) and how much money you're willing to spend to get more subtle lol.

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by camaker View Post

I'm pretty new to the audiophile world but have jumped in with both feet. I just acquired a pair of HD 600s, which sound great, but I don't know if I'm getting the best of them or setting my system up incorrectly. The problem is that I can't tell a difference in the sound in them when they're driven by my iPhone 5S and when I use them with my iPod Touch (5G)/Vamp Verza combo.

The Verza is connected using a Lightning To USB cable so I should be getting a line out signal from the iPod. The Verza on high gain definitely drives the HD 600s louder, but shouldn't I be hearing a difference in audio quality, too? I listen to mostly New Age/Electronic (Delerium, Mythos, Amethystium, Two Steps From Hell, etc) with bit rates from 160kbps mp3 to 256kbps AAC.

Am I missing something or am I just not cut out for the audiophile life?

 

 

You're not gonna notice any difference in quality with that style of music. No need to try FLAC as it's still gonna be the same with electro music.

 

Hell, you don't even need high spec headphones if you're only listening to artificial kicks and hit hat. It's like buying a ferrari whithout the right roads to drive it on.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Try turning way down the volume setting on the Verza, then max out (or near max) the volume settings on the iPod, then slowly turn up the Verza's volume, see if the audio quality improves.

Thanks for the suggestion. However, when the iPod is outputting through the Lightning connection, its output is fixed and the Verza handles all amplification and volume control.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tad-Bravo View Post


You're not gonna notice any difference in quality with that style of music. No need to try FLAC as it's still gonna be the same with electro music.

Hell, you don't even need high spec headphones if you're only listening to artificial kicks and hit hat. It's like buying a ferrari whithout the right roads to drive it on.

If that is the case, what type of music should I use to evaluate sound quality differences between the two set ups? I have a wide variety, the listed genre is just my most commonly listened to.

This is where things can get very confusing for a relative newbie. I now have back to back posts telling me that a)Lossless files and higher quality recordings are the way to go and b)With my music the sampling quality doesn't matter. Any tie breaking votes or alternate views out there?
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by camaker View Post


Thanks for the suggestion. However, when the iPod is outputting through the Lightning connection, its output is fixed and the Verza handles all amplification and volume control.

 

So when you using the Verza to drive the Sennheiser HD600s, if you change the volume setting on the iPod, the volume stays the same??

post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

So when you using the Verza to drive the Sennheiser HD600s, if you change the volume setting on the iPod, the volume stays the same??

Yes. That's correct. Sending the signal out the Lightning connector cuts the iPod's amp (and onboard DAC, too, I think) out of the circuit and allows the Verza's DAC and amp to process the signal.
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by camaker View Post


If that is the case, what type of music should I use to evaluate sound quality differences between the two set ups? I have a wide variety, the listed genre is just my most commonly listened to.

This is where things can get very confusing for a relative newbie. I now have back to back posts telling me that a)Lossless files and higher quality recordings are the way to go and b)With my music the sampling quality doesn't matter. Any tie breaking votes or alternate views out there?

 

The main point of having a DAC/AMP is to be able to drive headphones with high impedance at high volume which the iphone/ipod can't do, not dramatically change the way things sound.

 

The main advantage you have now is that you are able to drive your headphones at a decent volume and hear all the nuances in the music without concentrating like buddhist monk.

If you were expecting a huge in-your-face difference then you can only be disappointed. In my experience the only component that really makes a huge difference in sound quality is the headphones themselves, the dac/amp is only there to help them achieve their potential.

 

As for the style of music to test the audio quality, try something with vocals, real recorded instruments and high dynamic range. Search "loudness war" on google to learn how to identify music that has dynamic range and which one is plain noise. (badly mastered music will sound crap no matter what you do)

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