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How important is the source?

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
Here is the questoin. Lets say I have the following rig. A Graham Slee Solo with PSU1 power supply with a set of HD 580's connected to it. I actually only have half (the HD 580's), but I'm working on the rest. Is this an overkill system if my source is only going to be apple lossless encoded songs off my laptop? I have been doing a lot of reading, and decided that I really want to above set up, but if its going to be completely wasted because of a bad source I will rethink things.

Thanks all,

Mark
post #2 of 66
crap in, crap out



if your signal starts out bad, no amp or great set of cans can magically make it better.

i'm using a laptop, apple lossless - airport express - dac - melos sha1

the airport express' bitperfect signal coupled with the dac makes the source sound great imo.

it's not high end audiophile best ever but it suites my purpose.
post #3 of 66
It's an age old argument...

If you're using a half decent CDP (and head amp) with your HD580's then you won't have a problem but, at the end of the day, your laptop isn't a 'hifi' component and the quality of your signal is going to be compromised.

Sleepkyng is using a DAC for instance to improve the quality of signal from his laptop so it might well be worth your while to follow his route.

At the end of the day, IME, IMHO, nothing beats a good home rig:

Good CDP ===> Decent interconnects ===> Headamp ===> Cans
post #4 of 66
or a
Pro-ject 6.1 TT w/ ATH71el Cart - parasound zphono - melos sha 1 - hd600


sweet sweet vinyl
post #5 of 66
Thread Starter 
So then I have 2 questions. Am I getting too good of a system that won't be realized by the quality of my source, and should I possibly downgrade a bit? Second is that I have no idea what DAC is (I'll do some reseach on that tonight so in depth answers aren't overly necessary), and what are we talking about in terms of price to match up comparably with the system I described above? Also how big is this source componant? I can possible buy it in England where I will be for the next year, but then I need to be able to get it home without it costing an arm and a leg.

Thanks again,

Mark
post #6 of 66
is your laptop a mac? is it a 12inch or a 15inch?

going the all digital way is the future (imo) but it's not there yet.

an outboard dac is the way to go. dac is a digital analog converter.

unless you can find a good external sound card (i think that my airport express is much better than my old modded sonica) it's hard to really go Hi Fi.
post #7 of 66
Thread Starter 
I have a brand new 12 inch powerbook. The G4 1.3 Ghz version that just came out in April 04. Is there some sort of external device that can turn my Apple lossless songs being played off itunes into high quality output?

Mark
post #8 of 66
Buying an M-Audio professional card and putting my favorite vintage receiver in my listening system did WONDERS for me. You better believe it - I started out with HD595s and an emu10k1-compatable card and I never thought headphones could sound as good as they do NOW. A sound card upgrade helped a lot, but then the receiver just put the icing on the cake.

In my opinion, upgrade your source first, and then your headphones.
post #9 of 66
Your system can only be as good as your source. Think about saving up some dough and buying an Arcam FMJ 33 when you get to England. You could not want a better source for the money and it's not too big or heavy to bring back (just save the box and wrap it up with a handle). Bring it back as used office/school equipment or something for your declaration.
post #10 of 66
FYI,

Whatever source components you buy in England will be 220v. Unless they have a built in voltage switch, you'll have to get a transformer to play them in the US at 120v. The transformer may hinder the sound fidelity of your expensive components. Keep that in mind before you buy anything.
post #11 of 66
Anyone else thinking along hte lines of a Total Bit-head recomendation?
post #12 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Target1
Here is the questoin. Lets say I have the following rig. A Graham Slee Solo with PSU1 power supply with a set of HD 580's connected to it. I actually only have half (the HD 580's), but I'm working on the rest. Is this an overkill system if my source is only going to be apple lossless encoded songs off my laptop? I have been doing a lot of reading, and decided that I really want to above set up, but if its going to be completely wasted because of a bad source I will rethink things.
The source is very important but i don't think your system would be overkill for the source. I listen to AAC and MP3 files and I know I could get better sound if I listened to a better source but i'm not willing to give up the convenience of having all my music on my hard drive. Maybe a Sony Qualia would be overkill but not a HD 580. In the end it's a personal compromise between audio quality and convenience.
post #13 of 66
I would recommend keeping your plans intact, but including to perhaps a echo indigo card (if the 12inch has a pcmcia slot?) or a small usb dac (total bithead, m-audio etc - you may or may not need the separate headamp depending on which you go for). Then you'll have a portable setup which can suffice for home listening for a while.

Then, if you wanna go further down this expensive hobby, save all your pennies and get a killer DAC or CD source for your home setup down the track.

I have all my music stored on my powerbook for both home and portable listening.
At Home I'm setup like this:
Powerbook > iTunes lossless > Airport Express > DAC > amp > speakers/580

When portable, I'm afraid I'm stuck with the powerbook's headphone out for now, as I'm still waiting for the right portable device to present itself. It is quite torturous, however, going from my nice home setup to suffering the sound of the powerbook alone (which used to sound quite good some time ago). That's why I recommend getting a good portable source first, once you've tasted quality audio, you don't wanna go back!

Oh, and expect to fill up that hard disk with music pretty quick!
post #14 of 66
The source component is where the sound emanates and it is THE component that has the most impact on sound quality...period. Invest in a better dedicated source component. Go hi-rez! It's the future baby!
post #15 of 66
the hardware and the file are equally important, don't go for anything less than 256 kbps mp3 and try to get the best player/dac/soundcard you can afford.
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