Headphones vs Source
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Windsong

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So I have a choice to make, with $120ish im gonna get from selling my ipod, I'm either going to buy a pair of M-50's and be forced to listen through a slightly-worse-than-ipod mp3 player, or buy a Cowon i9 and use my $30 sony earbud (which are also decent). What should I do? Also, my piano might sell in a week to a few months, and when that happens i'll buy whichever of the two i didnt buy now, if that makes sense.
 
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MalVeauX

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Quote:
So I have a choice to make, with $120ish im gonna get from selling my ipod, I'm either going to buy a pair of M-50's and be forced to listen through a slightly-worse-than-ipod mp3 player, or buy a Cowon i9 and use my $30 sony earbud (which are also decent). What should I do? Also, my piano might sell in a week to a few months, and when that happens i'll buy whichever of the two i didnt buy now, if that makes sense.

I'm confused.
 
You can't decide whether to listen to nice headphones or to have a nice source and bad earbuds (let's not call them decent, they're not HiFi). What's the point of having a really nice source if you're listening headphone/IEM can't even reveal the sound to you? Get the headphones. Always put headphones budget above your source at entry level. Get the M50's. Or something else perhaps. But don't just get a new source and use junk IEM's unless you just don't want HiFi.
 
Very best,
 
 
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extrabigmehdi

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Obviously if you want to upgrade your listening experience, get better headphones first.
Quote:
be forced to listen through a slightly-worse-than-ipod mp3 player
What's this non sense ?  Consider a Sansa Clip, it's not very expensive.
 
The true reasons to get the Cowon:
- BBE & other tweaks.
-  good EQ
- support lossless.
 
 
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Uncle Erik

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Get the headphones.

Digital sources are overrated. Bad digital is bad. You'll hear noise, distortion, dropouts, etc. Noticeable stuff, golden ears not required.

Good digital all sounds the same. Output power varies, which is where the claimed "differences" come from. Level match and they're all about the same.

The truly wonderful thing is that good digital is very inexpensive and very available today. But instead of celebrating how good sound is so cheap, audiophiles are upset that a cheap player can sound good. Go figure.

The quality of your recording is more inportant than anything. You want lossless and a recording that has avoided the Loudness War (Google it if you're not familiar.) Next most important is the headphone. Then the amp (yes, even portable players have an internal amp - often confused with the quality of its DAC).

Everything else doesn't make much difference. Especially cables. They're in the same league as palm readers, healing crystals and ghosts. Ask lots of questions and you'll understand. Hard questions will get you labeled a "hater" and you'll be treated like you insulted their race or nationality.
 
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uncle erik.. how about onboard sound?? do you think nowadays its good enough?? i always plug my hd 598 to my onboard laptop and i dont notice any differences between it, my nexus s, or my ipod touch.. but a few of my friends who are also into audio always tell me to buy at least a decent budget DAC.. so, whats your take on this??
 
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extrabigmehdi

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@redwarrior191
Quote:
i dont notice any differences between it, my nexus s, or my ipod touch..
If you don't notice a difference, I  bet you won't after upgrading the DAC.
Onboard sound currently is better than many people believe.
 
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MalVeauX

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Quote:
uncle erik.. how about onboard sound?? do you think nowadays its good enough?? i always plug my hd 598 to my onboard laptop and i dont notice any differences between it, my nexus s, or my ipod touch.. but a few of my friends who are also into audio always tell me to buy at least a decent budget DAC.. so, whats your take on this??

Heya,
 
If you cannot tell a difference sonically between your onboard laptop's output, your nexus S, nor your Ipod touch (especially this), then you do not need a new DAC at all. And you already have your empirical evidence to support not spending money on a DAC. Focus on just having a nice set of headphones to work with right now. You don't need the expensive DAC's and amplifiers primarily. Those are needed for headphones and sources that are in a budget bracket that you may not have interest in. And honestly, I'll say, you may notice little difference amongst (seriously, after a certain point, it's a preference thing). So get some nice headphones. You'll get way more from them at this point.
 
Very best,
 
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Quote:
 
Onboard sound currently is better than many people believe.

Really? 

 
Cause mine sucks and i have to use a USB dac (when on my notebook)
 
Oh, and another vote for the headphones first. 
 
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extrabigmehdi

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Quote:
Cause mine sucks and i have to use a USB dac (when on my notebook)
The fact that yours sucks doesn't mean that all the onboad sucks.
Realtek is good enough, at least if you have a computer not too old.
 
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Quote:
 

Really? 

 
Cause mine sucks and i have to use a USB dac (when on my notebook)
 
Oh, and another vote for the headphones first. 

Amazingly enough, my Receiver via rca from my MoBo sound interface has better sound quality then a usb DAC to under $300 tube amp out.
 
But I've tested out better amps and sound cards out and that makes a difference.
 
But, for the price, $20 vs $500, I like my set up
 
 
Headphones over sources, because without a good headphone, your source is worthless. But then without a good source, headphones suffer. But good enough, Clip+ run under $20 if your lucky and give out great sound. If you have extra cash, go for Cowon and always push from your computer. I find the 4TB of space on my desktop is better then a library of vinyls. Make sure to get FLAC and rip well. Just make sure, the headphones you get don't have to be pushed by an amp when you don't have one.
 
 
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Quote:
 
The fact that yours sucks doesn't mean that all the onboad sucks.
Realtek is good enough, at least if you have a computer not too old.


You also have to use better quality formats.
 
If your listening to youtube or streams, it doesn't matter what your headphones are or you DAC/Amp, you're still going to suffer. 
 
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extrabigmehdi

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Quote:
You also have to use better quality formats.
I have now a lossless library . Youtube is the worst place to listen to music;  it's not even "compression", it's stuff that been downloaded &  re-uploaded many times (and hence re-compressed ).
 
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Quote:
If you don't notice a difference, I  bet you won't after upgrading the DAC.
Onboard sound currently is better than many people believe.


Correction, onboard sound isn't as bad as it used to be. Still awful.
 
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Quote:
Really? 

 
Cause mine sucks and i have to use a USB dac (when on my notebook)
 
Oh, and another vote for the headphones first. 
 
Quote:
Correction, onboard sound isn't as bad as it used to be. Still awful.

Onboard sound is highly variable.  Some of it sucks, some of it is great.
 
 
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Roller

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Quote:
 

Onboard sound is highly variable.  Some of it sucks, some of it is great.
 


Fine, some onboard audio chips are less awful. Certainly not even near the great yard. Again, a sub-$50 DAC beats all forms of current onboard audio, which should be an indicator by itself.
 
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