1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.

    Dismiss Notice


Discussion in 'High-end Audio Forum' started by magiccabbage, May 14, 2015.
231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240
242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251
  1. rkt31
    the dac which offers more drama and emotional attachment while watching movies imho that dac is more transparent and closer to real life sounds.
  2. Torq

    I wouldn't argue with that, to the extent, at least, that you actually know that what you think you're hearing is what you're really hearing.
    For example, the sound you hear when a door is being slammed is, more often than people might like to think, achieved not by recording the actual door slamming but by someone slapping a wet newspaper on a wooden table (something I've seen first-hand).
    There's a lot more post-production stuff that happens of that nature, and the bigger the movie budget the more it seems to occur.
    But that doesn't invalidate your point in general.
    Just, personally, I don't find a whole lot of "real life sounds" in movies that affect me in that way,.  The story does; the actor's portrayal of their character does, the score will, but otherwise not so much (again, for me).
    Since I'm evaluating DACs for use in feeding a headphone system, that's really the only thing I need to evaluate.  Any data beyond that is academic, and doesn't affect my choices, if it's not going to be relevant to how I'm actually using the component.  If I was  writing general-purpose reviews it would be very different.  But I'm not.  My DAC-evaluation (in another thread) is purely for me, purely for headphone listening, and I'm only including any speaker evaluation at all because it was, for the most part, easy to do.
  3. romaz
    I'm not sure I agree with this, at least not with the DAVE.  With the DAVE's headphone output, you are listening directly to the DAC signal and from the input to the output, there is only a single op-amp in the chain.  As soon as you add any speaker amp, regardless of how transparent you think it might sound, you will be degrading transparency.  This will be degraded further with the legnth of speaker cable you use and the crossovers that are present in any KEF speaker.  Headphones, on the other hand often using much shorter cables and are crossover-less.  This will be better addressed when Rob's digital speaker amp gets released but until then, listening on headphones will be more transparent than listening through speakers.
  4. rkt31
    actually this was power amp vs integrated amp or preamp not headphone vs speakers. in my earlier post I already posted about my preference for speakers. even though headphones may offer better transparency but for me speakers offer better imaging and depth .
  5. romaz
    My opinion is that since headphones and speakers do certain things better than the other, they both should be used if you are going to be thorough in your evaluation.  Here are Rob's words and I would agree with him:
    "The biggest problem that headphones have is much poorer depth perception than loudspeakers - but on the plus side, they often have better inner detail." 
    Bob Katz, the well renowned recording mixer masters with calibrated headphones and not speakers.  Many others do as well.
    Movies are great for testing dynamics but not the best for assessing tone and timbre or even soundstage because the sounds your hear are often contrived and even computer generated.  There's just no reference to compare to whereas with a live recording of an event that you personally attended, it becomes very easy to know what is missing.
  6. shuttlepod

    I didn't think there was any question regarding the higher degree of resolution and transparency one gets when listening to great headphones vs. great speakers. Even with all of Roy's good points above, as soon as you put a listening room in the equation, you are going to lose a fair amount of the transparency you get with headphones. Of course speakers have the advantage over headphones in terms of natural imaging and physical impact, and one may subjectively prefer one over the other. But headphones win decisively in terms of pure resolution and "hearing in" to a recording. 
    I now see rkt31 has clarified his (or her) earlier post. Agree with rkt31 on the advantages of speakers with imaging and depth. And once Rob and Chord come out with their new amp, hopefully we'll see how far the boundaries of transparency can be pushed with a power amp in the chain.
  7. romaz
    I understand.  The gap is narrowing between good speakers and headphones, imo.  These days, I seem to prefer speakers more also for the same reason that most people prefer them but as my preference is for low power amps driving high-efficiency single-driver crossover-less speakers, the inner detail seems to be all there.  At the same time, with something like the Abyss, while the soundstage will never be as good as speakers, they image incredibly well.  When I'm fully engaged with either one, I don't find myself wishing for the other.  As you've stated, in the end, once the evaluation process is finished and you've settled into your system, what is most important is the emotional attachment and I find that depending on circumstances, both speakers and headphones can be equally enjoyable.  It is, after all, the music and not the equipment that matters.
  8. shuttlepod

    I'm curious about how people with access to both high quality headphones and high quality speaker systems listen to music. I am finding that I am drawn to listening to large scale symphonic music on headphones and more intimate music on speakers. That may sound counterintuitive. For me, the gap between the concert hall experience with a large symphony orchestra and the playback experience, even with a system that is capable of really energizing a room with full sound, is still quite large. So there is a realism deficit when listening to these large pieces in my big rig. With headphones, I can really hear the inner detail on well recorded symphonic music and get lost in the sound. It gives me more insight into the composer's and conductor's intent. With smaller scale music, whether it's a jazz trio or woodwind quintet or alt rock, the realism quotient can be quite high as I can visualize and feel performers in the room. Of course these are generalizations and I can still thrill to large scale music on my speakers and small scale music on headphones.
    Do others share this general bias in listening or am I an outlier? 
  9. paulchiu
    You are not alone and here is the forum where many share your experience.  I have separate rooms in my home for speakers and headphones.  In my office, I have both.  I usually play my large speakers when friends are over.  Mainly so they can all enjoy the music.  When I personally savor my music, it most always will be with my favorite DAC/Amp/headphone.  Currently in the market, there are extraordinary DACs, amps and headphones.  The progress of speakers is not comparable, at least in the price zones for personal listening.
    Over a year ago at one of the best audio salons in New York, I auditioned the Nagra HD DAC with TH900 and my Macbook Pro.  In the same room were 2 pairs of speakers connected to systems (both analog and digital) worth a million.  After an hour of listening to both, I was surprised that I prefer the sound from the head-amp and TH900.  Yes, I do not have the imaging or tactile connection with the music when using the headphone.  Yes, the headphone can get warm, uncomfortable or restrictive.  These aside, the resolution and intimacy afforded by the TH900 and Nagra were overwhelming.  The million dollar speakers-system in an exquisite sound room could not lure me away from the unique personal soundscape I enjoyed.  It was not about the money!
    I purchased the Nagra following that day.
    Similar thing happened to me this past year when I added the great DAVE.
    shuttlepod likes this.
  10. romaz
    I know what you're saying, Jon.  I gave up long ago trying to recreate to scale the full experience of a symphony orchestra on speakers.  This is where a $500,000 system comes in with megawatt amplification and a pair of giant Wilson XLFs or Focal Grand Utopias and even then, it's not the same and so I'm content to simulate it in the more intimate setting of my headphones and like you, with headphones, I do feel I can better glean the smallest details better.  With a small 4 string quartet or jazz trio, and I have personal recordings I have made of such concerts performed at my home, my speakers are more capable of transporting me back to the night of the performance because small events like these are within the grasp of what my 2-channel speaker setup can convincingly convey.
    shuttlepod likes this.
  11. LouisArmstrong
    How is Chord Dave paired with HE1000? Any thoughts?
  12. shuttlepod

    I guess it's time for the next installment of the High Fidelity Cables chronicles (seems strange but there does not appear to be a separate thread on head-fi covering HFC products). Over the last week I've been auditioning 1) the MC-0.5 Wave Guide, which is the small device you plug into an unused outlet, and 2) a pair of RCA magnetic adapters.  
    I'll be buying both.
    I've owned one of the HFC CT-1E interconnects for over two years, so I was already acquainted with HFC products. I've been using this IC between my DAVE and my Crayon CFA 1.2 integrated amp to very good effect. But I was curious about the impact of the Wave Guide and the adapters, particularly on my analog system. 
    Frankly, it's been difficult to evaluate the impact of the HFC products on my digital system. I've only owned my DAVE for a few weeks. Everything I listen to with DAVE is, by no small margin, much better than I’ve ever heard it in my system. The quantum leap in digital sound quality is overwhelming my brain’s ability to discriminate. In addition, simple A-B comparisons with HFC products are not possible because the magnetization (or de-magnetization) of the system takes time. So I'm going to pass on drawing conclusions for now. What I can say is that the HFC products sure aren't hurting anything or introducing a coloration, as far as I can tell. They do not seem to mess with the frequency spectrum.
    With analog, my main system has been pretty stable for 2+ years and I can more readily hear changes. All of my listening on the analog side has been with my speaker system. 
    I first introduced the adapters at the tail end of my phono cable, where it enters my phono stage, and the RCA outputs of my phono stage where my Wywires Gold interconnects run from phono stage to integrated amp. What I heard, after waiting 24 hours for magnetization to take effect, was greater transparency, openness, and sharper transients. Vocals and percussion were better delineated in space. I wouldn't characterize the improvement as huge, but it was clearly audible and definitely increased my enjoyment.
    I then took out the adapters, put in the Wave Guide in an unused plug at my wall outlet, right next to the power cable going to my Audience power conditioner on my dedicated circuit, and waited the obligatory 24 hours. I heard across-the-board improvements in the fullness, richness, weight, and density of the music. Everything, and I mean everything, sounded more alive. Music was more vibrant and vivid. I would say there was a bit more transparency, as I could hear into a recording with more ease, but unlike the adapters, transparency or separation was not the primary impression at all. At the same time, I found the music to sound more relaxed. I turned up Joni M’s Hissing of Summer Lawns a couple notches on the volume dial, and that’s a record where Joni’s voice can push the boundaries of what’s comfortable. Relative to the adapters, I would say that the overall positive effects were greater with the Wave Guide. For $300, this is a no-brainer. 
    Next up: both adapters and Wave Guide in my analog system. Best of both worlds? I would say yes. Any hint of stridency or harshness has been banished. The transparency of the adapters is married to the tone and richness of the Wave Guide. Mellow records sound even more mellow than usual, as if time was a little bit slower. On the other hand, a frenetic semi-free jazz record like Dave Holland’s Conference of the Birds sounds crazy frenetic and fast, with incredible bass clarity for Holland’s virtuosic playing. I’m kind of a tone freak, and tone is really robust and vivid. This is clearly the best I've ever heard my analog system sound.
    My best guess is that the benefits I'm hearing with analog very likely exist with digital. 
    Two pairs of adapters cost $550. A single Wave Guide is $300. Good value, in my opinion. 
    I will probably audition the MC-6 Hemisphere down the road to see how it compares to my Audience power conditioner.
    Articnoise likes this.
  13. rkt31
    though I am not into orchestral music very much ( Indian music ) but I have few albums. imho the placement of drivers both in case of headphones and speakers relative to ears is the key to the difference of imaging produced by both. in case of headphones you can't adjust the position and sadly in case of speakers , most listeners place the speakers straight firing. over the years I have found that correct toe in of speakers plays a very major role for imaging of speakers. it is so much so that when my speakers are disturbed by even few mm( or even less ) I know that there is something wrong. and believe me this toe in is required for every speaker and room combinations. there is only one toe in for correct imaging which depends upon speaker type and room conditions. ( correct toe in is independent of listening position ) in that way headphone have the disadvantage that you can't adjust the position of drivers relative to ears.
  14. romaz
    In a word, excellent.  HE1000 connected direct to DAVE is the best I have ever heard the HEK.  I know this is a long thread but if you do a search, there are numerous postings here on people's experience with the HE1000 and the DAVE.
    Mist3rLao likes this.
  15. romaz
    Thank you for your impressions, Jon.  Like most things, tweaks are system dependent so it's always enlightening to hear how something as seemingly insignificant as a quad of RCA adapters or a single Waveguide that you plug into a spare receptacle in your wall might impact a system already so highly refined as your own.  As we know, transparency is the calling card of the DAVE and in my own system, I have found these same devices that you describe to enhance this quality in the best possible way.  Unlike tubes that some people value for the colorations they produce, I am not finding that this is what is happening with this magnetic conduction technology.  It sugarcoats or colors nothing but rather, it enhances clarity as if it was stripping away a layer of distortion you didn't realize was there.  For excellent recordings, they seem to bring out buried details with a natural vividness and sheen.  Rob frequently talks about the quality of being able to clearly discern the starting and stopping of notes and this is a quality I would ascribe to this technology.  Having recently done a comparison of an Audience AU24SE power cord vs an entry level CT-1 HFC power cord to my subwoofer, it is just incredible how the HFC power cord has tightened the bass output of this sub.  As I am having a set of speakers custom made for me, I was contemplating upgrading my subwoofer.  That thought has now left my mind.  Poor recordings or highly compressed files will remain as they are but the enhanced clarity that this technology brings about make them sound better than they deserve to sound.  The benefit doesn't stop with audio.  Even with just the Waveguides, see what happens to your home theater monitor or projector.  Standard DVD somehow looks more like Blu-ray.  Old Uncle Bill with all of his warts and blemishes will remain old Uncle Bill but Uncle Bill has now been given a proper bath, meal and a good night's sleep and so he no longer looks as badly or sounds as tired as he did before.
    Obviously, these small devices represent only a tip of the iceberg of HFC's product line and unfortunately, their higher end products are not cheap but few things I have tried have made this much difference and so it will be worth exploring for yourself what the next level brings.  For some, the power products provide more obvious benefit and indeed, the benefit they provide can have a more global impact.  The signal products (interconnects, speaker cables, this headphone device that I'm testing), on the other hand, have a more direct and pronounced effect on a specific component and in some systems (including my own), this is where the greatest benefit is found.  Of course, the benefits are additive and if you are fortunate enough to have both HFC power and signal products, the reward will be there.  With regards to the RCA adapters and MC-0.5 Waveguide that you presently have, they have the potential to bring about noticeable benefit within a few days but they really take several weeks and up to a month before you hear them at their best.  It's not that they require any burn-in but rather, it takes time for these little devices to fully magnetize your system.  Your situation may acclimate faster, however, as you already had a set of CT-1E interconnects in place.
    Regarding the MC-6 Hemisphere, definitely give this product a try.  If you noticed the level of difference with a single MC-0.5 Waveguide that you describe, then this product will return even larger dividends to your system.  You could always upgrade your ICs but I would suggest you give their speaker cables a try first.  Of course, when this headphone device is brought to market in January, this little device may prove to be the best value of all.
231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240
242 243 244 245 246 247 248 249 250 251

Share This Page