Am I just not cut out to be an audiophile?
Oct 2, 2015 at 1:42 AM Post #31 of 76

ProtegeManiac

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 29, 2009
Posts
16,440
Likes
3,137
Location
Manila
A) This assumes "all amps" target flat frequency response and ultra-low THD; this is not always true.

 
Which is why I said "until distortion sets in." Given that distortion more loosely defined means a deviation from the input signal, that means a colorifying warmmonger unlike an amplifier will have distortion set in much earlier than an amplifier.
 
Oct 2, 2015 at 1:49 AM Post #32 of 76

obobskivich

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 29, 2007
Posts
11,206
Likes
593
Location
Barsoom
Which is why I said "until distortion sets in." Given that distortion more loosely defined means a deviation from the input signal, that means a colorifying warmmonger unlike an amplifier will have distortion set in much earlier than an amplifier.


I don't consider non-flat FR to explicitly be distortion; for example if you take an amplifier with bass boost switch, is that distortion? It's not the same as saying it has really high THD, its a deliberate feature that may improve the subjective listening experience (what ultimately matters) even if it isn't "as the artist intended scope perfect" (which ultimately doesn't matter). Just my 2c. :xf_eek:
 
Oct 2, 2015 at 2:02 AM Post #33 of 76

ProtegeManiac

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 29, 2009
Posts
16,440
Likes
3,137
Location
Manila
I don't consider non-flat FR to explicitly be distortion; for example if you take an amplifier with bass boost switch, is that distortion? It's not the same as saying it has really high THD, its a deliberate feature that may improve the subjective listening experience (what ultimately matters) even if it isn't "as the artist intended scope perfect" (which ultimately doesn't matter). Just my 2c.
redface.gif

 
"Distortion is the alteration of the original shape (or other characteristic) of something, such as an object, image, sound or waveform. Distortion is usually unwanted, and so engineers strive to eliminate distortion, or minimize it. In some situations, however, distortion may be desirable. The important signal processing operation of heterodyning is based on nonlinear mixing of signals to cause intermodulation."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distortion
 
 
Basically, even if desirable, by definition, it's distortion.
wink.gif

 
Oct 2, 2015 at 4:00 AM Post #34 of 76

obobskivich

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 29, 2007
Posts
11,206
Likes
593
Location
Barsoom
[COLOR=252525]"[/COLOR][COLOR=252525]Distortion[/COLOR][COLOR=252525] is the alteration of the original shape (or other characteristic) of something, such as an object, image, sound or waveform. Distortion is usually unwanted, and so engineers strive to eliminate distortion, or minimize it. In some situations, however, distortion may be desirable. The important signal processing operation of [/COLOR]heterodyning
[COLOR=252525] is based on nonlinear mixing of signals to cause intermodulation.[/COLOR][COLOR=252525]"[/COLOR]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distortion


Basically, even if desirable, by definition, it's distortion.:wink:


By that definition, which you (or anyone else) is certainly welcome to interpret in whatever manner they like (explicitly literal or not), sure EQ and other tone controls are, by definition, distortion. And I'm sure there's some folks who would seek to stamp them out in a zero-tolerance manner. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on that though - when I think distortion I think measured distortion in terms of THD or a similar metric (e.g. something that was not done deliberately and that has negative consequences), and regard something like EQ or other deliberate shaping of the FR as potentially "wanted" and therefore not distortion (which carries negative connotation). Of course, its often best if those features are user variable or have a bypass, unless you (or whoever the listener is) really loves the specific coloration/change they bring. My larger original point, however, was not to debate semantics, but to specify that not all amplifiers target the same quale, and it seems (IME) that headphone amplifiers are much more variable than modern speaker amplifiers in their goals and design (for better or worse). :xf_eek:
 
Oct 2, 2015 at 4:10 AM Post #35 of 76

ProtegeManiac

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Oct 29, 2009
Posts
16,440
Likes
3,137
Location
Manila
By that definition, which you (or anyone else) is certainly welcome to interpret in whatever manner they like (explicitly literal or not), sure EQ and other tone controls are, by definition, distortion.

 
It is, actually. Except there are more people more willing to use this kind of distortion for example to tame a peak in a headphone's response (which may be chosen for qualities such as an otherwise smoother curve, comfort, imaging, etc) given the more precise control rather than using a DAC or a colorifying warmer to offset a "bright" headphone.
 
Oct 2, 2015 at 4:23 AM Post #36 of 76

dazzerfong

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Posts
1,396
Likes
649
Location
Sydney
  Hello all!
 
I've been lurking and posting here and there for a little while now, preparing to make my first 'real' purchase. I'm thinking Oppo PM-3 and the HA-2 to go with it.
 
However, today I got the chance to try out a bunch of really high end headphones and amps.  I tried the Audeze LCD3, Audeze LCD2, Beyerdynamic T1, Grado PS1000, and some others.  I had my iTunes hooked up via USB to a Lavry DA11 DAC, and I tried the Amp in the DA11, a Phonitor 2730B, and some sort of old gigantic Moth Audio tube amp (from some googling, it looks similar to the S45, but not exactly).
 
Here's the thing though, all of these amps sounded pretty much the same to me, no matter which headphones I used.  Additionally, all of these headphones sounded pretty similar as well.  I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the LCD2 and the LCD3 at all.  There was a little bit of difference between the T1 and the Audeze's and the PS1000, but honestly if someone were to blindfold me, I don't think I would be able to identify which headphone was which (except for of course the feeling of the ear pads).
 
So naturally, my next reaction was maybe my sources were just bad (mp3's between 256 and 320 kbps).  So, I hooked up the LCD3, and then opened the Tidal Hifi test here and gave it a try.  I took it maybe 3 or 4 times, and each time, I literally could not tell any difference between any of the A and B samples.  Through best-effort-guessing, I managed a 3/5, 2/5, 1/5, and 4/5 in four different attempts, which leads me to believe this is just pretty random luck, and getting better (lossless) sources won't make a difference for me.
 
I can tell that all of these headphones are definitely *way better* than my Bose QC15 or M50's, but that's largely due to just clarity/lack of distortion.  I'm not hearing any adjectives like 'warm' or 'smooth' or 'bright' among the high end ones.  I put them on and all I can say is "yep. these are good."
 
Are my ears just not sensitive enough to be an audiophile?  What am I supposed to be listening for?  Or is it really that the entire hobby just about obsessing over that 1% difference?


And your wallet thanks you in advance.
wink.gif


Don't sweat it: there's no competition, unless you subscribe to some pissing contests here (which are, thankfully, pretty rare). Most differences except transducers are small, if not bordering on inaudible. Even better, if you can't hear differences between transducers, you've reached nirvana already.

Also, that Tidal Hi-fi test is bunk: those guys actually cheated and applied EQ to the high-res file to give it the impression of superiority. Unless you hear fizzle or buzzing, or strange uneven (almost oscillating) bass, your codec is doing its job just fine.
 
Warm, smooth and bright: these are just descriptors. They don't make a headphone better objectively speaking: they just appeal to people who like that kind of signature more. Instead, try asking yourself this the next time you try those high-end headphones: "How are they better to me?"
 
Oct 2, 2015 at 4:25 AM Post #37 of 76

obobskivich

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 29, 2007
Posts
11,206
Likes
593
Location
Barsoom
Also, that Tidal Hi-fi test is bunk: those guys actually cheated and applied EQ to the high-res file to give it the impression of superiority.


Arghhhh. Is there any popular/mainstream "hi-rez" test that *isn't* cheating these days? :mad:

Warm, smooth and bright: these are just descriptors. They don't make a headphone better objectively speaking: they just appeal to people who like that kind of signature more. Instead, try asking yourself this the next time you try those high-end headphones: "How are they better to me?"


:beerchug:
 
Oct 2, 2015 at 4:27 AM Post #38 of 76

dazzerfong

1000+ Head-Fier
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Posts
1,396
Likes
649
Location
Sydney
Arghhhh. Is there any popular/mainstream "hi-rez" test that *isn't* cheating these days?
mad.gif

beerchug.gif


Yeah, there's the NPR one, which is between 128, 320 and WAV. Unfortunately for that one, if you load the WAV files on a slow computer, the WAV file loads with a delay, making 'cheating' on that one ridiculously easy. Otherwise, it's as close as a 'legit' test as I could think of. The Philips Golden Ears challenge one is also legit, but it's murderously hard, that one.
 
Oct 2, 2015 at 4:30 AM Post #39 of 76

obobskivich

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 29, 2007
Posts
11,206
Likes
593
Location
Barsoom
Yeah, there's the NPR one, which is between 128, 320 and WAV. Unfortunately for that one, if you load the WAV files on a slow computer, the WAV file loads with a delay, making 'cheating' on that one ridiculously easy. Otherwise, it's as close as a 'legit' test as I could think of. The Philips Golden Ears challenge one is also legit, but it's murderously hard, that one.


Yeah I knew about the NPR thing, and yeah the load time is a problem. But I've recently read about the Pono comparison one being less than genuine, and now the mention of Tidal having problems, and on and on. I mean, I guess the fact that "they" are cheating to push hi-rez should tell you everything you need to know about how important hi-rez actually is in the grand scheme of things, but still, good grief. :ph34r:
 
Oct 2, 2015 at 8:07 PM Post #40 of 76

yding202

Head-Fier
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
Posts
81
Likes
15
 
And your wallet thanks you in advance.
wink.gif


Don't sweat it: there's no competition, unless you subscribe to some pissing contests here (which are, thankfully, pretty rare). Most differences except transducers are small, if not bordering on inaudible. Even better, if you can't hear differences between transducers, you've reached nirvana already.

Also, that Tidal Hi-fi test is bunk: those guys actually cheated and applied EQ to the high-res file to give it the impression of superiority. Unless you hear fizzle or buzzing, or strange uneven (almost oscillating) bass, your codec is doing its job just fine.
 
Warm, smooth and bright: these are just descriptors. They don't make a headphone better objectively speaking: they just appeal to people who like that kind of signature more. Instead, try asking yourself this the next time you try those high-end headphones: "How are they better to me?"

 
LOL really?  Man even with the EQ on the high-res files I couldn't tell a difference.  Shows how awesome my hearing is... lol
 
Oct 2, 2015 at 11:06 PM Post #41 of 76

obobskivich

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Dec 29, 2007
Posts
11,206
Likes
593
Location
Barsoom
LOL really?  Man even with the EQ on the high-res files I couldn't tell a difference.  Shows how awesome my hearing is... lol


It may also depend on the material. For example I have some really "basic" acoustic solos that V0 VBR encoding will spit out an average of <100kbps for, and it's impossible (at least for me) to pick apart from the original CD, and other stuff that at 160kbs still exhibits ringing/noise and needs a higher bitrate to sound transparent. This is one reason I really like VBR encoding, be it lossy or lossless, because it tends to maximize size-to-quality with whatever is being ripped. :)
 
Oct 3, 2015 at 8:24 AM Post #42 of 76

VGoghs earfrmsc

Previously known as xylolz
Joined
Apr 19, 2013
Posts
346
Likes
25
May I suggest you listen for soundstage, imaging and ambience, http://www.head-fi.org/newsearch?search=glossary. Being like you with novice ears, these are the easiest ones I find. Try focusing on one instument throughout the track to help seeing through the music, and using the above, pinpoint where it is and whats around it. Perhaps the glossary will help with the more every day terms for music, but don't worry about most of them yet.
 
Oct 3, 2015 at 9:09 AM Post #43 of 76

moriez

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Sep 28, 2007
Posts
4,739
Likes
1,843
Location
da sweet spOt
  Hello all!
 
I've been lurking and posting here and there for a little while now, preparing to make my first 'real' purchase. I'm thinking Oppo PM-3 and the HA-2 to go with it.
 
However, today I got the chance to try out a bunch of really high end headphones and amps.  I tried the Audeze LCD3, Audeze LCD2, Beyerdynamic T1, Grado PS1000, and some others.  I had my iTunes hooked up via USB to a Lavry DA11 DAC, and I tried the Amp in the DA11, a Phonitor 2730B, and some sort of old gigantic Moth Audio tube amp (from some googling, it looks similar to the S45, but not exactly).
 
Here's the thing though, all of these amps sounded pretty much the same to me, no matter which headphones I used.  Additionally, all of these headphones sounded pretty similar as well.  I honestly couldn't tell the difference between the LCD2 and the LCD3 at all.  There was a little bit of difference between the T1 and the Audeze's and the PS1000, but honestly if someone were to blindfold me, I don't think I would be able to identify which headphone was which (except for of course the feeling of the ear pads).
 
So naturally, my next reaction was maybe my sources were just bad (mp3's between 256 and 320 kbps).  So, I hooked up the LCD3, and then opened the Tidal Hifi test here and gave it a try.  I took it maybe 3 or 4 times, and each time, I literally could not tell any difference between any of the A and B samples.  Through best-effort-guessing, I managed a 3/5, 2/5, 1/5, and 4/5 in four different attempts, which leads me to believe this is just pretty random luck, and getting better (lossless) sources won't make a difference for me.
 
I can tell that all of these headphones are definitely *way better* than my Bose QC15 or M50's, but that's largely due to just clarity/lack of distortion.  I'm not hearing any adjectives like 'warm' or 'smooth' or 'bright' among the high end ones.  I put them on and all I can say is "yep. these are good."
 
Are my ears just not sensitive enough to be an audiophile?  What am I supposed to be listening for?  Or is it really that the entire hobby just about obsessing over that 1% difference?

 
IMHO,
if you really have an interest in entering the HF arena it basically comes down to taking your time with the equipment from which comes experience. In the process I betcha you will very distinctly hear the differences between for example Audeze, Beyer and Grado. 
 
Are my ears just not sensitive enough to be an audiophile?  
If you can hear they're ''better'' than your Bose you can hear differences. If you care (a lot) about what you're hearing and about improving / tweaking it to your taste I guess you can say you're entering audiophile territory.
 
What am I supposed to be listening for?
Whatever you want to be listening for :) Seriously that but mostly: just to the music. Does it mesh with you the way the music is presented or not.
 
Or is it really that the entire hobby just about obsessing over that 1% difference?
Not per definition ofcourse. It can be part of it and is true for some people more than for others. Like described above, you want the music to be presented to you the way it best suits you and that's what I think we're all doing here and looking for.
 
May 26, 2017 at 1:58 AM Post #44 of 76

rjb1101

New Head-Fier
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Posts
22
Likes
2
Can see where you'r coming from,
Before, i was listening to my music through my Mobile phone until i came across this site and after many searching on reviews i went and purchased a Fii0 X5 which pretty much blew me away i'am a massive House Music fan and i have always had a wide collection of headphones ( much to the wife's annoyance "why do you need so many?" ) but pretty much wasted on the player i was using at the time.But to me these headphones serve a purpose for different situations and surroundings.
So through this sites reviews I've also purchased two additional cans the ESS RML-713 which give a lovely bass and are surprisingly light for long sessions and the Aedle VK-1 not only look every inch the business but sound awesome too.
Hopefully through this site i hope to gain a lot knowledge and understanding and hopefully you do too

Good luck.

My wife said the same thing when I bought my 2nd pair of headphones. I asked her to try them and now she borrows them over her headphones (noise cancelling for loud environments and open ear for home).

She's also gave me the itch to upgrade my stereo at home. We went to an audio store to get surround speakers and she said all these speakers sound so much better than my polls that I should replace them.
 
May 26, 2017 at 8:05 PM Post #45 of 76

The Medusan

New Head-Fier
Joined
Apr 13, 2017
Posts
37
Likes
1
I'd give it some time. What I have found is that your ear changes with continued listening, and becomes much more accustomed to picking out differences and details. Your preferences for sound signature will change as well, after listenining to more and more gear (or at least it has for me!).

Also, picking a few songs as your "reference" material can be very helpful. Each track should be a good example of some element of music/sound ie. one with strong percussion and cymbals, another for acoustic strings, male/female vocals, sweeping synths, bass detail and extension, etc etc etc... This way you can refer to sections of a track you are very familiar with on all the gear you try, and the differences may be more apparent to you then. And lastly, try to test new things in a fairly quiet environment! Lots of background noise always makes things more messy and difficult to distinguish. My 2cents
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top