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Do hard drives sound different?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by wuwhere, Aug 25, 2014.
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  1. limpidglitch
    You mean "10bit music"?

    (or was that an other thread? Honestly, they all seem to drift together.)
  2. cjl
    If a device has low distortion, a flat frequency response, good linearity, and an inaudible noise floor (along with good channel separation), soundstage, imaging, dynamics, decay, and definition will all be taken care of. They are not independent things - errors in them will also show up in distortion, channel separation, and linearity measurements. It is true that most devices do not give enough specifications to truly characterize their performance, and most reviews do not measure all the required parameters either, but we absolutely have the capability to. This also relates to why any competently designed DAP should sound identical - presumably the designers of the DAP would have made a much more complete set of specifications and measurements than you see on the box, and if they were designing with the goal of high-fidelity reproduction, they should all be designing their devices towards the same set of measurements (which would tend to make the devices sound identical). 
    Well, I think there is if they have an audibly different frequency response. Electronics should play the music I pass through them, not change it.
    (Also, it is absolutely possible to design a completely transparent tube amp. That isn't to say they all are, but you can make a tube amp that has a flat frequency response, low noise floor, and low distortion, but with the added benefit of the Pretty Glowing ThingsTM sticking out of the top of the amp...)
  3. Music Alchemist
    It would be nice (in some ways, at least) if anything designed to spec sounded identical. That would mean I could just get the cheapest suitable amp/DAC and be done with it.
    What do you think about these amp comparisons?
  4. bigshot
    It's your lucky day! An inexpensive amp *does* sound just like an expensive one with the same specifications.
    I think those reviews are beautiful poetry. "Sonic Zeus HA-II B! Let me to compare thy warmth to a summer's day..."
    Music Alchemist likes this.
  5. Roly1650
    I loved this quote: EC4-45 "I was touched by the hand of god when I first heard this."
    I guess more than a headphone amp then? What in hells name is a wet sounding amp, goes glug glug maybe?Such tosh.
  6. Head Injury
    Spilled his bong water in it, maybe.
  7. Music Alchemist
    From the glossary:
    I'm just a little wary of everything I read from both sides of the debate. I mean, at least this guy has listened to and compared them. (And I know he is an experienced and respected member of this forum and others.) Shrugging it off and saying there's no way they sound different seems irresponsible to me. My perspective is: maybe, maybe not. I haven't listened to and done measurements for these amps, after all. Anyway, I'm getting an amp/DAC combo under $300, so no worries for now. If more expensive amps offer nothing more in the future, all the better for my wallet.
  8. SilverEars
    Only thing I can tie the wet vs dry is the waterfall graph showing tonal decay which is headphone related.  Those definitions are written by somebody, and the word wet or dry can have different meaning from person to person is the problem.
  9. paradoxper
    Purrin has been criticized for not even level matching, so. You need to hear stuff for yourself (in whatever manner that may be) and decide for yourself.
  10. paradoxper
    Oh yea, what about plankton. [​IMG]
  11. Head Injury
    There's plenty of reasons why they can sound different. Noise, distortion, frequency response, impedance mismatch, and most importantly, cognitive biases. Among others (volume level, as paradoxper just mentioned), I'm far from a professional and won't pretend to know what each amp is doing. That said, I'm far from a professional so I'll make a lot of assumptions.
    We can probably write off noise and distortion, unless it's been intentionally added for coloration or it's a poorly designed tube amp. The HD800 is a fairly high 300 impedance headphone and not terribly difficult to drive so it's an easy load from the amp's perspective.
    Frequency response better be OK, or you're paying for a very expensive equalizer with one setting and no off button.
    Output impedance should be mostly OK because of the aforementioned 300 ohm headphone, but will be a factor with some amps. I believe the Crack in particular has a 120 ohm output impedance, leaving the HD800 with a damping factor of only 2.5.
    Which leaves us cognitive biases. Pick your favorite. I'd put far more trust in those amps than in my own mind.
    Keep in mind, even if there are differences, they're always a degradation of the original signal. It's not too difficult to design a transparent amp or DAC at the price range we're talking about, and anything that sounds  "better" is objectively the same or worse. Color your sound with an equalizer, not a $1000 distortion box.
    cjl and Music Alchemist like this.
  12. castleofargh Contributor
     having a fanboy base repeating whatever he says doesn't empower him with truth. I for one certainly do not recommend taking his claims at face value.
  13. SilverEars
    Actually, the output impedance seems to affect resonance area of the headphone since the area is inductive.  This leads me to think that damping factor really isn't an issue unless resonance is significant.  You have area that is closer to nominal, DC impedance or resistance which should have negligible affect from the output impedance.
  14. Head Injury
    From Tyll's measurements and my shoddy math, even assuming damping factor has no effect the 120 ohm output impedance will still be imparting up to 1.1 dB of bass boost at 100 Hz, sloping off over a fairly large range of frequencies. It should make for a nice subtle warming effect on what's widely considered a cold headphone. Probably noticeable in a blind test (try it with an EQ!)
    This may be the true source of the warmth Purrin mentioned (that and expectation bias upon seeing toobz).
  15. SilverEars
    Yeah, somebody posted a graph of the 800 affected by output impedance of various values.  the bass was affected where the damping would decrease with increased output imepdance, the resonance area.  It increased the bass as the output impedance was increased.  I would think the distortion was also increased since lack of damping would cause decrease in control of the driver in the region.  I believe it would cause extended decay which I believe the warmth is. So is warmth really extended decay of the driver in the bass region?
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