head-fi portable forum not about SQ anymore?
Jun 4, 2010 at 4:09 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 33

Gojira

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I haven't spent much time reading or posting to this forum in the past few years, so I can see it with fresh eyes and yikes! It looks to me like audiophiles make up less than half of the people now posting here. The focus on sound quality issues has been lost. I find that kind of sad. It used to be that I could post here and know that my audience was mostly made up of people who care at least a little bit about sound quality. I guess it's just the nature of this forum. As the focus changed from PCDPs to mp3 players I guess it was inevitable. After all I have yet to hear an mp3 player that can even remotely compare to my D-515 or D-311 or even one of my DAT players. IOW pretty much all mp3 players are junk in terms of SQ. I was thinking of buying a Teclast T51 and doing a comparison review with my Sony PCDPs and maybe some of my mp3 players as (including my piece of overrated pos Sansa Clip), but I'm not sure it's worth it. Hardly anyone here even seems to care about SQ. I've been reading posts where the poster asks the very sensible (although much repeated) question: which is the best sounding mp3 player? Seems like that should be what this forum is mainly about. But most of the replies are basically "who cares" or "they are pretty much all the same in terms of SQ" omfgbbq! Actually that last part may even be true, but the point is that that is supposed to be a problem and for many people here it doesn't seem to be. Sound quality? What's that? <yawn>. I'll be curious to see whether the other forums have been affected by this. I don't really understand why people are here if they don't care about sound quality.
 
Jun 4, 2010 at 4:58 AM Post #3 of 33

Danneq

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I think that audiophilia and portable media players is a sort of oxymoron. These little buggers can only perform up to a certain point and also other factors such as file format (lossy vs lossless) and headphones are important.
 
I have never considered myself an audiophile. I am first and foremost a music lover, and also I own a bunch of mp3 players both since my music collection is quite big and also that I am a bit of a gadget nerd. But of course I want as good a sound as possible while listening to music on my portable players!
 
Lurking at this place has led me to buying an Cowon S9, iRiver H120, Creative Zen Vision: M and a Kenwood HD20GA7. I have read threads about these DAP:s and found them interesting and when I found a good deal (the S9 was the only one I bought new) I have bought them to be able to check them out myself.
 
While a big part of SQ is objective (equipment etc), there are also subjective preferences involved. Different people like different sound signatures. I prefer to use "sound signature" instead of "sound quality". The Sansa Clip has been tested and is seen as a very transparent, i.e. accurate and good source. The conclusion seems to be that if you do not like the sound of the Clip, you are not hearing correctly or you cannot appreciate "natural sounding music".
Out of my DAP:s (see my signature), I think that the Kenwood has got the best sound (I will have to exclude the H120 since I have not compared it to the Kenwood yet). It has done badly on RMAA tests here and that means that it is a bad DAP. So there must be something wrong with my hearing which makes me think that it sounds more natural and less digital than my other DAP:s. I cannot point out what that might be, though...
 
So to me it might be a case of some people starting to trust measurements more than their own ears. But this is just my opinion...
 
Jun 4, 2010 at 5:05 AM Post #4 of 33

shigzeo

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Not sure I get it. The portable forum has always been and always be... about 'sq', but just as some people only thing SQ comes form esoteric brands, other are sure that it is only found in CD players. Or, maybe SQ will always be about preferences rather than actual performance, rather than actual ability of the machines to push quality signal. Headfi isn't now any more about SQ than it was back in 2003. Unless of course, you take into account that portable amp quality has gone up and so too has line out quality... 
 
There has to be a standard set somewhere. If SQ is to mean a lot of 'ooh's and aaaah's over a dreamy sound, then so be it. If it is designate the driving potential at the ear of certain earphones, then so be it. But it should never be this: MP3 players suck; DAP's suck; only CDP are good as that ignores vast rubbish products in any camp. 
 
Jun 4, 2010 at 5:48 AM Post #5 of 33

ClieOS

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Not sure I get it either. In the old days good sounding DAP was hard to come by and DAP maker only made DAP, but nowadays a Sansa Clip sounds tremendous compared to the first DAP I had in 1989 and costs close to nothing, while user want to listen to music as well as playing games and making calls. I used to happily carry around PCDP that weighted 300g and now people complaint about DAP that weighted half as much. Time change, and people standard of 'portability' and 'SQ' change with it as well. With most brand name DAP all sound more than decent (hey my Samsung cellphone sounds pretty good too), the focus is no longer about getting the best sound, for both the consumer and the manufacturer. That's why T51 or HM801 will never outsell even the lousiest cellphone that can play music, but at least we still have manufacturer who do willing to make T51 or HM801 for the dedicated few who rather have one device that do one thing well than one device that do everything decently - but that is no where the big money lies these days.
 
Jun 4, 2010 at 6:03 AM Post #6 of 33

RAFA

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To be honest, I do not understand how such a RMAA test even works. I read in a non head-fi review that the iPod touch is better than the Sflo2 or Tecast T51 in terms of SQ, because the RMAA test say so. Well IMO, wich is really a subjective thing the T51 sounds much better. What is the statement here? I think if we were given a perfect situation, where headphones, cables music quality,... everything is perfect except the DAP, we than could use the result from such a RMAA test much better. If we would change the DAPs ceteris paribus, we could than have a real comparison. But this is not the case. So IMO a RMAA test says nothing.
 
Also in the case of reviews, it might be better to use the term impressions, since they are just personal imprssions of a hearing session. The problem is the fact that we all do not have the same hearing conditions, even if we would have the same equipment, the ears have diffrent ear canals, so I think it would sound a little diffrent.
 
I think this "portable source gear" forum is actually the "what is the best portability / SQ ratio" - forum. It would describe it best. Real hifi we will get in portability, when we invent something like a nano nuclear powerplant for energy supply.
 
Jun 4, 2010 at 12:41 PM Post #7 of 33

Punnisher

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I can think of a few reasons.
 
Some people put more time and money into their home systems. Portable systems are an afterthought for them.
 
Most people don't have the need for ultra high end portable sound. You'd need a quiet place where you can relax for hours when you're out and about. Many people don't have that opportunity on a weekly basis.
 
This might be why some don't care about the subtleties of portable audio. They just want something to listen to on the go.
 
Jun 4, 2010 at 4:38 PM Post #8 of 33

maverickronin

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Considering many DAPs play FLAC nowdays, an exact, bit for bit copy of a CD, are you saying that the DACs they use aren't any good?  Or do the HP amps, and line outs on modern DAPs inexplicably suck compared to PCDPs?  What's different other than the physical medium the bits are stored on?
 
Jun 4, 2010 at 8:02 PM Post #9 of 33

happyxix

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Portable means portable. Portable with an amp doubling its size is not portable. Hell a CD player is barely portable. I wouldn't carry that thing outside when it was my only option.
 
I have my main home rig to have great quality sound. On the busy bustling streets when your music is distorted due to outside noise, who really cares about pitchperfect accuracy? I tend to get someone bassy because that is the first to go when a portable is used as a poratble (and not like a mini living room rig or whatever)
 
Jun 4, 2010 at 8:12 PM Post #10 of 33

Ntropic

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Another point: Like you say, there's little point in having a GODLIKE system out and on the go due to noise on the outside. Traffic, conversations, bus engines, etc. You only need to get it to "good enough", whatever that may be for you.
 
Not that you should have both ears plugged in while driving, walking, biking, or otherwise not sitting down. I laughed when I saw some idiot wearing a pair of M50s almost get ran down, and didn't even hear the horn.
 
Quote:
. On the busy bustling streets when your music is distorted due to outside noise, who really cares about pitchperfect accuracy? I tend to get someone bassy because that is the first to go when a portable is used as a poratble (and not like a mini living room rig or whatever)



 
Jun 4, 2010 at 8:25 PM Post #11 of 33

happyxix

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Quote:
Another point: Like you say, there's little point in having a GODLIKE system out and on the go due to noise on the outside. Traffic, conversations, bus engines, etc. You only need to get it to "good enough", whatever that may be for you.
 
Not that you should have both ears plugged in while driving, walking, biking, or otherwise not sitting down. I laughed when I saw some idiot wearing a pair of M50s almost get ran down, and didn't even hear the horn.
 

 


Should've ran him over and jacked his cans.
 
 
Jun 4, 2010 at 8:43 PM Post #12 of 33

Max F

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ignore
 
Jun 4, 2010 at 8:44 PM Post #13 of 33

Max F

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nevermind
 
Jun 5, 2010 at 1:34 AM Post #14 of 33

mesasone

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Quote:
Portable means portable. Portable with an amp doubling its size is not portable. Hell a CD player is barely portable. I wouldn't carry that thing outside when it was my only option.
 
I have my main home rig to have great quality sound. On the busy bustling streets when your music is distorted due to outside noise, who really cares about pitchperfect accuracy? I tend to get someone bassy because that is the first to go when a portable is used as a poratble (and not like a mini living room rig or whatever)

 
What?  Many DAP + Amp combos are significantly smaller and often lighter than the CD Players you consider barely portable.
 
 
Jun 5, 2010 at 6:47 PM Post #15 of 33

non-entity

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No offence, but how could such an old portable CD-player sound better than a modern digital audio player (let's say a Clip or Fuze by Sandisk) with great DAC and amp stage inside playing back a properly ripped/encoded FLAC file? This does not make sense to me, sorry. Well, if you simply like it better than it is just fine, we all know that tastes differ, but you emphasized it so much that I almost had to shake my head.
Quote:
After all I have yet to hear an mp3 player that can even remotely compare to my D-515 or D-311 or even one of my DAT players. IOW pretty much all mp3 players are junk in terms of SQ.

 

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