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How important is the source? - Page 3

post #31 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by KenW
Get a good source. Best move I've made so far. You won't regret it.
I second this post...heartily at that.

IMHO, it happens from the front end back. If you have an excellent source and a good amp, you can get a lot out of even relatively modest cans. However, when you do upgrade those cans, you'll be VERY happy!!

BTW - The Total Bithead is not bad...it's probably on par with the better PCDB's as a source.
post #32 of 66
Your source basically owns the rest of your system. A system can only sound as good as its weakest link, and if your source sucks, you're effectively drawing dead, or trying walk up a flat wall, as there is nothing the rest of the chain can do to make up for that lost quality. Get a good source now, and then every time you can upgrade the surrounding components to reveal mopre of your source's quality you will be handily rewarded. It is going to take a lot more money before I surpass the capability of my source, I can confidently say.

The source makes or breaks your system. Don't shrug it off, or it will break you
post #33 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Target1
Are there any advantages at all to getting a Transit, or even the M-audio Audiophile over the airport express. Puting the portability aside, which of these componants will the quality be best with, or doesn't it matter?
If you're going to a DAC you'll want a bit perfect connection, which I think any of these devices will do. If you're thinking of using a Piccolo I would get the Transit because it's cheaper.
post #34 of 66
I won't get in to the debate on whether computer audio is as good as a dedicated CD player or not.
Apple lossless files ............... who ripped them? Did you? If not, do you know the quality of the program used to rip them? Do you know the quality of the CD device used to make them? Did it read every little detail? was it low jitter? on and on .............

One thing about a source upgrade that I noticed when I finally got a good CD player. It made my amp and phones sound like they had been upgraded. I felt like I had a whole new set up by just changing the CD player.
I went from a Sony DVD player to an Arcam CD23T.
post #35 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.PD
I won't get in to the debate on whether computer audio is as good as a dedicated CD player or not.
Apple lossless files ............... who ripped them? Did you? If not, do you know the quality of the program used to rip them? Do you know the quality of the CD device used to make them? Did it read every little detail? was it low jitter? on and on .............
Lossless is exactly that, lossless. Isn't it? I can see how the playback of the files may influence how they sound but I can't see how the ripping to lossless will make any difference.
post #36 of 66
I'm not saying that the source doesn't make a difference. Of course it does. But I'm happy with my source using compressed files so not everybody wants the same thing. It is posssible to get brilliant quality from a computer if it is done properly. In fact the music you're listening to has most likely been on a computer at some point.
post #37 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3lusiv3
I'm not saying that the source doesn't make a difference. Of course it does. But I'm happy with my source using compressed files so not everybody wants the same thing. It is posssible to get brilliant quality from a computer if it is done properly. In fact the music you're listening to has most likely been on a computer at some point.

Yes, but what price properly? My guess on the basis of the HDSP9632 and 1212M is more than most of us spend on sources in general.
post #38 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by bangraman
Yes, but what price properly? My guess on the basis of the HDSP9632 and 1212M is more than most of us spend on sources in general.
OK, I guess I agree. To get decent sound from a computer will cost a lot more than what most people seem to think, but it is possible and some people may be willing to do it for the benifits of computer playing, so I didn't want people thinking it wasn't possible. I have read that people have gotten great results with a DAC1, but I know I'm not willing to spend that sort of money.

Let me put it this way. A " cheapish" CD player will probably sound better than most computer sources. I agree that my cheap Pioneer DVD player probably sounds better than my computer, but I'm prepared to pay the price in terms of quality because of convenience and I'm sure others are too. We're not all audiophile here, just wanting good sound that suits our own needs and budgets.
post #39 of 66
Target1-
before you blow the load, you should really asses how much you listen, why you listen, when etc.

do you do alot of critical listening? the only time i really make the full use of my rig is for maybe 45 minutes in the day.

that's not to say that i don't have music playing all day, every day,

but when i really call on my setup to sound the very best is when i sit down, pop in a telarc Mahler cd and critically listen to every single note.

for me, spending roughly 1200 bucks total on a setup was worth the money for those 35 minutes every night.

act accordingly
post #40 of 66

This isn't going to help

There is an old adage -- A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

That's not entirely true in audio. Sure it's true, but it needs to paraphrased just a smidgeon -- A chain is at best as strong as its weakest link.

In other words -- yes, if you have a crap source, and superior amplification, drivers (basically, everything downstream), then you're going to hear the weaknesses of your source, most likely.

But it's cumulative. So, for example, I have a really nice source, amp and speakers, but I'm using a crap pre-amp right now. So there's two possible weakest links -- the pre-amp, and the CD's I play.

It's funny -- the only reason the pre-amp is crap is because the amp amplifies so much that I can hear low-level noise (probably due to Brownian motion amongst the atoms and electrons). Well, if the dither is inordinately high on the CD, I can hear that, too.

Guess which is more annoying? Yup, you guessed it, the dither. Even if it's quieter than the random-EM noise eminating from pre-amp, it's still audible, and more annoying.

My point? I guess what I'm trying to say is that you need to add weighting factors to various things, as they are important to you. If you're perfectly happy with mp3 compression, then a MP3-based source might be perfectly adequate.

I've heard quite a few headphones -- even real cheap ones -- improve greatly just by throwing a really nice (read: completely overkill) amp at it.

So, short answer: it depends.
post #41 of 66
I respectfully disagree. The source component is the most critical and vital chain in an audiophile headphone HI-FI reference system. It always starts with the source first for top sound quality.
post #42 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Welly Wu
I respectfully disagree. The source component is the most critical and vital chain in an audiophile headphone HI-FI reference system. It always starts with the source first for top sound quality.
i totally agree! from my experience no matter what amps headphones etc are in the system the whole rig does sound like the 'source' afterall...
post #43 of 66
I also firmly believe that the second most important chain in an audiophile headphone HI-FI reference system is a dedicated headphone amplifier for home usage. The source first defines the character of the sound while the headphone amplifier should merely pass the signal through unadulterated. Also, the other major expectation I have with regard to a headphone amplifier is for it to offer convenient features that do not detract from pure sound fidelity and options that maximize flexibility in designing a dream reference system.

The source and headphone amplifier constitute the bulk of the sound but not the absolute sound.
post #44 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3lusiv3
Lossless is exactly that, lossless. Isn't it? I can see how the playback of the files may influence how they sound but I can't see how the ripping to lossless will make any difference.
Ripping is playback (only faster and not converted to noise). What is playing the CD? Is it a cheap CD-ROM drive? Or is it a quality drive?

Just questions I thought were important to think about when making computer audio.
post #45 of 66
Ripping should be a bit-perfect copy of the digital file on the CD, as far as I understand it. Not playback. The playback is done by the software.
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