How to properly compare SQ

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by swesko, May 2, 2018.
  1. swesko
    So, as my journey continues in the audiophile world, I found myself buying blindly recommended audio gear as I have no hifi retailer in the country. So far the experience is somewhat mixed. I started with a pair of westone w40 which were a big step up from the shure215 I used to own. Being wowed I decided to move up to the westone w60 (staying with westone as I liked their sound sugnature) the soundstage is wider with less veil but sibilance showed up on some tracks. Then I acquired the w80. The wow effect dissipates but I did hear improvements with better low bass slamming and more treble control. Then I set my eyes on audio64 u18t. I saw the price and I was sure I'd never buy these as, surely the price doesnt reflect the improvement in sound quality. I ended up ordering them 6 months later, should be here soon. Anyway, back to my journey, I bought the mojo, and boy that amp is powerful not sure about the DAC though as I didn't really hear any difference. My question is, how do you do a proper test to see if you are really hearing new things or it's just a placebo effect because of the excitement. I tried once, by using the mojo dual SE output, using L/R from each of the 2 iems I was testing. Would that be considered a good way?
     
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  2. bigshot
    Switch box for direct A/B switching. Preamp for adjusting line levels. A friend to switch for you to make sure you don't know what you are listening to. Multiple tests averaged to eliminate randomness. If you do that right, I'd put a 50 cent bet that all amps and DACs will sound pretty much the same to you, assuming the amp is sufficient for the job.
     
  3. swesko
    Well I did the opposite few months ago, where a friend of mine was listening to cheap iems and I plugged my w60 and he was blown away so of course there is a difference. Now for the DAC, I used both the mojo and the oppo ha2 and I can tell you with 100% confidence that the oppo sounded thin and lighter but of course the volume part could have played a part as both dont have the same volume steps. I'll try it your way if I can get hold of an amp
     
  4. overgang
    This is it. Instead of buying gear blindly you should test it blindly. This way you'll hear that anything past your initial 'wow point' is fraud.
     
  5. swesko
    As stated in OP I cant test before buying, we dont have audio gears here
     
  6. bigshot
    Buy from a place like Amazon where they have generous return windows. It probably doesn't matter though, because I think you'll find that most DACs and amps sound the same. You should look more to features and price when choosing one over another.
     
  7. bigshot
    The cheap IEMs probably had specific impedance requirements. An amp will sound different if it doesn't have enough power to push what you are using it to push. But that isn't the amp's fault. With other kinds of headphones it might sound exactly the same.

    By the way, I have an Oppo HA-1 and I've compared it to the straight output from my iMac and they are identical using Oppo PM-1s.

    Line level matching is very important in comparisons. Humans tend to read a tiny bit louder as being better sound quality.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2018

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