A bit of advice on moving forward
Oct 11, 2009 at 5:43 AM Post #16 of 20

Clarkmc2

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OK, I am old fashioned but pretty digital savvy. What I am saying will be wildly unpopular here, but I wanted to give an alternative perspective.

A source signal is key because it cannot be improved. It can be degraded; the best outcome of any signal processing - amps included - would be to pass the signal unchanged except for level. In other words, transparently. A decent used CD player is my suggestion for a better source. I know that music servers have their fans here, but they don't tend to lead to a high quality signal chain to the headphones. The analogue stage in the components found in music server rigs tend to truly suck. (Very good headphones are high fidelity enough to reveal the shortcomings in chip amps and op amps. A good analogue component from the hifi world will make them sound like the pricey but cheaply made gear they are. Your system has some very nice components in it, but beware the boxes we tend to place between - or before in your case - the good stuff.)

I do often source from FLAC files, but decompressing and burning them to CD is the way to go for consistent quality. Asking low priced gear to decompress on the fly is a looser. Using lesser sources - like mp3s - will keep the best electronics and headphones in mid fi - or less - territory. Beware of FLAC files that are mastered from mp3s, they are more common than you might think. Using poorly recorded and/or mastered sources will do likewise, and unfortunately almost everything currently being released fits that description. Being older than most of the members here has an advantage. The types of music I tend to listen to are better recorded and mastered than what is popular right now. No help, but you see the situation you are facing as a contemporary listener.

I also concur that a quick tryout of a component, headphones and speakers included, does not reveal much. You need to spend some time with stuff.

Sorry to be so long winded. If you end up ignoring everything I have said and find yourself with a rig that pleases you, that would also be wonderful and make us both very happy!

Clark
 
Oct 11, 2009 at 12:13 PM Post #17 of 20

Seamaster

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mrarroyo /img/forum/go_quote.gif
The DT880 are a tricky beast, I had an opportunity of trying different versions and impedances. My favorite was the 2003 in 250 ohms, it was the most balanced and clear of them all (over 20 year old unit to the 2005 250 ohm version). Another great can would be an used AKG K500/501, occasionally you can get them for under $150. IMO these out of production AKG's are amazing sounding cans. Cheers and good luck.


My DT880 is the older type before they remodeled. Don't get me worng, DT880 works very well with female vocal.
 
Oct 14, 2009 at 6:10 AM Post #18 of 20

928GTS

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Clarkmc2 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
OK, I am old fashioned but pretty digital savvy. What I am saying will be wildly unpopular here, but I wanted to give an alternative perspective.

A source signal is key because it cannot be improved. It can be degraded; the best outcome of any signal processing - amps included - would be to pass the signal unchanged except for level. In other words, transparently. A decent used CD player is my suggestion for a better source. I know that music servers have their fans here, but they don't tend to lead to a high quality signal chain to the headphones. The analogue stage in the components found in music server rigs tend to truly suck. (Very good headphones are high fidelity enough to reveal the shortcomings in chip amps and op amps. A good analogue component from the hifi world will make them sound like the pricey but cheaply made gear they are. Your system has some very nice components in it, but beware the boxes we tend to place between - or before in your case - the good stuff.)

I do often source from FLAC files, but decompressing and burning them to CD is the way to go for consistent quality. Asking low priced gear to decompress on the fly is a looser. Using lesser sources - like mp3s - will keep the best electronics and headphones in mid fi - or less - territory. Beware of FLAC files that are mastered from mp3s, they are more common than you might think. Using poorly recorded and/or mastered sources will do likewise, and unfortunately almost everything currently being released fits that description. Being older than most of the members here has an advantage. The types of music I tend to listen to are better recorded and mastered than what is popular right now. No help, but you see the situation you are facing as a contemporary listener.

I also concur that a quick tryout of a component, headphones and speakers included, does not reveal much. You need to spend some time with stuff.

Sorry to be so long winded. If you end up ignoring everything I have said and find yourself with a rig that pleases you, that would also be wonderful and make us both very happy!

Clark




Thanks for the kind suggestions. I would like to some day get a nice CD player. The price of buying all of the CD's of the bands that interest me would get a bit prohibitive so it'll be a while before I can afford that. However I do understand your point and I will keep it in mind for when I have a bit more to spend in that area.

I agree about the whole concept of quickly trying out components. I spent a good two days with those HD 650's and I did enjoy them quite a bit. It certainly takes a while for the ear to really make a good evaluation of a change that has been made in the audio chain.

I can definitely tell when a rip is sub standard and I've had to toss out quite a few until I find one that doesn't have any artifacts or excessive gain on the tracks. I understand what you mean about early recordings being a lot less of a crap shoot,people certainly seemed to know about what to do a bit better back then.


Mrarroyo,is the sound signature of the K500/501 anything like the K701? The 701's are known to be more focused towards jazz and classical/string compositions.
 
Oct 14, 2009 at 3:53 PM Post #19 of 20

erikzen

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You point out something that, being an old fart, I never even thought of. I have about 1000 CDs that I've collected since about 1990, when CDs first came out. I've ripped a lot of them to my computer (probably my favorite 300 or so) but still like to use the CD as the source material primarily.

However, the current generation could actually have a music collection just as large but never even own one CD. If you don't have any CDs to begin with then there really is no reason to have a CD player.

Obviously, you can buy songs as downloads on iTunes and other music services, but is the same sound quality available that you would get from CDs or is that quality lost at this point? Will people decide that compressed lossy formats are good enough and will PCM audio become a thing of the past?
 
Oct 14, 2009 at 8:15 PM Post #20 of 20

928GTS

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Quote:

Originally Posted by erikzen /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You point out something that, being an old fart, I never even thought of. I have about 1000 CDs that I've collected since about 1990, when CDs first came out. I've ripped a lot of them to my computer (probably my favorite 300 or so) but still like to use the CD as the source material primarily.

However, the current generation could actually have a music collection just as large but never even own one CD. If you don't have any CDs to begin with then there really is no reason to have a CD player.

Obviously, you can buy songs as downloads on iTunes and other music services, but is the same sound quality available that you would get from CDs or is that quality lost at this point? Will people decide that compressed lossy formats are good enough and will PCM audio become a thing of the past?



I understand the loss of quality of lossy formats and I will eventually buy a good CD player and just spend my money on buying CD's of albums that were actually originally recorded and mastered well enough to benefit from being listened to on a proper format. I don't really accept what the pay music services are offering as high quality but then again I'm sure a lot of younger audiophiles would be willing to admit that they find their high quality digital audio through less than legal avenues however that really isn't something that should be discussed on this forum.

I do,however,have a pretty sizeable record collection and I do plan to save up for a good player and needle combination so I can enjoy those at their full fidelity. The fact I have a record collection,however,is both due to my appreciation of vinyl as well as the fact that I can pick up LP's for $3 to $6 a piece from my local record store whereas CD's are usually more than twice that.

I need to do some direct to WAV transfers of CD's and listen to them back to back with a CD played from a quality CD player and see what I can discern.
 

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