"Computer Audiophiles," audiophile gamers, and the built-in noise floor.
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OM hawk

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I'm more or less new to this hobby, and there may be something I'm missing here...
but I have to ask, why would a serious audiophile use open backed headphones with their computer as a source, or for that matter, why would an audiophile gamer play games on a console with open backed headphones, when computers and game consoles give you a constant, built-in noise floor due to their fan noise? My Playstations, both 3 and 4 make a TON of noise, and my PC is constantly humming and there's these little ticking noises all the dang time. Is this distracting noise not the exact kind of thing we as audiophiles would strive to eliminate, seeing as how it comes between us and our music? This is why I use a portable dap as my source, because it is, obviously, silent at all times. But as I've been learning more and more about audiophile culture, it seems that lots of people use their PCs as part of expensive hi-fi audio systems. Do you all modify your computers to be quieter somehow? A big part of my reason for choosing my Neuman NDH20 cans is that they are totally closed, with quite good isolation, so I can block out the fan noise of my PS4 when I'm trying to get immersed in Skyrim or The Last Guardian. But most of the really great audiophile cans on the market are open backed. I saw a youtube video where a reviewer was saying the HD800 was a fantastic headphone for gaming, and I was like nope, that's wrong, very wrong. Now, if you have a Nintendo Switch, that would be great with an open back. But then it would have to be easy to drive, of course. I used to rock some Grado SR80i's with my Playstation Vita.

I'm just curious, because I know audiophiles do obsess over little things like this. I can't be the only one who turns the thermostat way up so the AC won't cycle on while I listen to music...
 
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Sefelt103

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I've always found it a bit strange that PC/laptops are probably the most common sources for hifi setups. A multifunctional device that may generate noise, uses lots of electricity (in some desktop PCs), has a large complex operating system, can be interrupted by e-mails and other software running has become an 'ideal' and common transport for music ? But anyone wishing to use a (largely) single function media player has all the irregularities of the ever changing usb interfaces, potential incompatibilities and sound quality/consistency issues to deal with. I tried plugging in my Objective O2+ODAC into a Windows 7 PC and found the music would cut out periodically due to some software glitch. I managed to get it to work fine on and older XP instal. It's true most laptops are silent these days although heavy gaming might generate noise. Sennheiser's HD800 and Beyerdynamic's T1 are praised as expensive audiophile gaming headphones because they image so precisely. If you've got a whining fan that's a constant anyway regardless of the headphones. Presumably gamers have a different setup for music enjoyment. There is an inherent conflict between being an audiophile and a gamer and a conflict in not wanting to use your media players headphone oot.
 
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minh278

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Computer:
I use a computer mainly because of convenience(library management and streaming). I am in an environment with not that much room or need to move frequently.
My computer is whisper quiet(self-built, but you pay $$$ for that silence).
I personally don't notice the noise issues with an external dac+amp(dx3 pro).
Some games have amazing soundtracks(assassin's creed odyssey) getting another setup would require space i don't have and extra quality I probably wouldn't notice.

Open vs Closed:
I mainly use closed due to background noise(people, ac i have no control over. etc.).
I do prefer non-complete isolation for situation awareness.
 
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Deolum

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I don't know any serious audiophile who would use a loud computer as source. I had a laptop myself which was loud due to fan noise so i had to limit it's fan use. Still was too loud so i bought a streamer.

Usually computer that are used as source are either selfbuild with good fans, macbooks or headless mac minis that are very quiet.

In very high end systems i've only come across either heavily modded headless mac minis or streamers.
 
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bdjul

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in my experience, personal computers are pretty silent if you only listen music. You can manually set up your fan speed to be silent. If we speaking about gaming then adding up volume in game can partially muffle fan noises.
I have hd800s,t90, z1r and sennheiser gaming zero, and for me gaming headset is most enjoyable to be in when im playing.
Using computer as a source: I like it, because of the sound I get from the apps like Roon and audirvana, for me they sound better then, when I connect wm-1a to dac. But I didn’t listen high quality streamers like aurender.
 
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OM hawk

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My computer is whisper quiet(self-built, but you pay $$$ for that silence).
Ahh, ok that answers the question. I didn't know you could build a pc specifically to be silent. Do you think I'm sacrificing anything sound-wise by using a dap as my source? If the dap is sending bit perfect data to my dac/amp through a well-made usb cable, it should sound the same as using a PC as the source, right? (aside from some EQ options I'm assuming)
 
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catscratch

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There are issues with this for sure, but they are solvable.

You can definitely build a PC to be quiet. Water cooling is good for that, but you don't even need to go that far, just have a case with good airflow, large fans that don't have to run at high speed, don't overclock your CPU/graphics, and you're set. My huge tower makes less noise than the air coming out of the central AC outlet, and it's quite old by now and noisier than it used to be.

Regarding using it as a transport - I'm not an electrical engineer, but as far as I know USB out of PC is generally a bad way to go, the jitter is quite high, the power isn't clean and there is a ton of interference, so using a battery powered DAP is probably going to give you better results. However a) you don't have to use USB, and b) there are some DACs with good USB implementation and good jitter rejection which will sound fine regardless.

I wouldn't stress out about it unless you have a pretty high end system. But if you do, then yes, all that stuff becomes important.
 
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