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An EE CIEM is probably not in my budget right now but damn I'm digging that t-shirt.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, @WiR3D! And @moedawg140!
But I still think it would be interesting to conduct an experiment to see how impedance adapters of specific ratings affect the frequency response of a given IEM, as @nmatheis is planning to do. If enough useful data becomes available, we might be able to do some impedance-adapter-rolling, as it were. Might be fun :-D
Im wondering if burn in time will help with hiss.. Reason is I recently got a new headphone cable that had some hiss. I've put on 40+ hours and the hiss has since diminished on said tracks where it was noticeably??
My experience has been that changing impedance will likely have a significant effect on the sound signature. For example, in reverse on a microphone, the Cloudlifter CL-Z has variable impedance, and is known for changing the color of the recoding based upon it's setting. Of course this is frequently intentional, not as a by product of 'de-sensitizing' the microphone. Some may say the fewer components between the source and the ear the better, but my thought is that if the sound is good, who cares... if increasing resistance reduces perceived hiss, I say go for it.
I personally have the Apollo X's and a Chord Mojo, and I hear no hiss at all. I should say I am sensitive to hiss too, and already sold on an Oppo HA-2 and returned an ALO RX due to hiss. I'm glad I persevered with waiting for the Mojo, especially with the Apollo X's - they just sound better together every time i use them. I should addd I do also use a Silver Dragon cable too, jus to open up the top a tad more - that would suggest that hiss might be more evident, but that is definitely not that case for me.
As always, YMMV.
Or use a source or sources that do not exasperate hiss with certain IEMS if you perceive hiss so you will not need to resort to using any specific rated type of any impedance adapter.
For example, my iPhone 6, Grace Design x Massdrop m9XX and Questyle Audio QP1R all do not experience hissing when listening to all of the audio equipment I have connected them to, including the entire Empire Ears lineup.
proper pairing >>> bandaid solutions
Just to clear up a little potential confusion here- you do not want to add impedance (like an impedance adapter) in front of multi-BA iems if your goal is to remove hiss. Adding impedance will cause a frequency response variance based on the particular iem's impedance curve. This may or may not be pleasing but it is certainly a deviation from the intended frequency response of the designer. Once you've you seen an impedance graph of a particular iem, you could potentially add impedance to change or fix issues you find with the stock performance. But in general this is not something you are probably intending to do.
A buffer is something entirely different. The UE Buffer Jack isn't really a buffer in the strictest definition but probably more likely a less advanced voltage splitter. I don't really understand how voltage splitters work but it involves more than the one resistor of an impedance adapter and attempts to split the difference of the input and output, so that the damping factor is doubled as a result. A true unity gain buffer, like the UE Pro Line Drive utilizes an opamp to front load higher impedance at the input but lower impedance at the output (headphone out), without increasing gain (thus unity gain), and is a more effective way of reducing hiss, noise and impedance. That being said, the UE Buffer Jack is pretty inexpensive and small, and worth a try for anyone experiencing a bit too much hiss.
I think listing the sources/amps that don't hiss versus those that do is a good idea, like mentioned above, for potential and new buyers. I'll add that the Picollo amp from Cypher Labs, less than 1 ohm output impedance, doesn't hiss with anything. It's veritable black hole. I didn't notice any hiss with the iPhone 6S+ either, which is supposedly around 3.3 ohm output impedance.
shotgunshane: That clears up a lot of confusion that I think I started. Sorry about that, folks. Awesome to have peeps like shotgunshane around to set us straight!
Thanks for the heads up. I actually had no clue exactly what was inside the buffer jack. Guess maybe it wasnt the cleanest of assumptions.
On the other hand, the pro line drive, while effective, is definitely too bulky for a lot of people here. And the cost is also a bit to sacrifice.
@shotgunshane That actually cleared up a lot of confusion, thanks man.
shotgunshane - Regardless of a buffer jack/impedance adapter or anything in between, it is most definitely deviating somewhat to a lot (based on the listener's perception) of the intended frequency response of the IEM designer.
Adding the sources that I mentioned are great for any user, regardless if they are potential or new buyers, since everyone can benefit with knowing which sources are very good to use to inherently eliminate hiss - including the amp and smartphone that you listed above.
I've got the UE Buffer Jack, Vibro Veritas, and Empire Ears demos on the way soon moedawg140 and will try to mad scientist an answer for us all!
I actually have all three of those ingredients with me now. But honestly, the veritas show fairly "meh" results and I dont really want to most graphs that arent completely accurate.
Maybe i'll get to playing around with them later in the week.
An issue as well is when you use your methods to record possible variances with the adapters and your measurement apparatuses is that it may to will not correlate with real world listening, meaning there will be a very high chance (99.99999999% chance in my opinion) that the measured-with-equipment results will be one point of reference that will not be deciphered 100% from the human brain for a multitude to various reasons (psychoacoustics, etcetera).
I did not read this while writing the above post, but you proved my point, at least one of many.