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iFi audio EarBuddy

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by Niouke, Sep 8, 2017.
  1. Niouke

    "Basically, a smart device like your iPhone or tablet or a DAP (Digital Audio Player), uses a digital volume control and most of us typically use just 60% of the available volume.

    On most headphones or IEMs (in-ear monitors) any louder than 60% would blow your head off. And it normally increases annoying background noise in the form of hisses or hums.


    The trouble with this is that you are not getting the sound quality that you expect/deserve.

    Dynamic range is effected so the distinction between the quietest and loudest parts of the music is blurred. And resolution is distorted – it’s like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces – you just don’t get the complete picture."

    Sounds like BS to me?
  2. bigshot
    What is it? An attenuating cable?
  3. castleofargh Contributor
    we can expect that the impedance "seen" by the amp and IEM will not be each other's anymore(could be good or bad). the side effects will depend on the gear used and the electrical specs of that plug so IDK.
    a good deal of power will probably end up wasted for the same volume level into the IEM, so battery might drain faster.
    for noise it is a practical solution as long as said noise isn't increasing with the volume level. if the noise and music go down by 15dB and you push the music back up 15dB it's a pretty good deal. at least as far as this noise is concerned. it would logically be better to just get gears that are really made for each other.
    about the dynamic range it's true and BS at the same time. the maximum dynamic range of the device will go down sooner or later when using digital volume, but in practice most people will use 16bit files with delta sigma chips that are at the very least 24bit equivalent(most are 32) and probably will have the volume control directly integrated to the chip. so it might be a long attenuation before the digital noise will start to touch the music signal, and even more before the digital noise becomes louder than noises from the amp section. so not BS, not snake oil, but a little alarmists.

    when asked if it's an L-pad they said there was more to it. until I know what it is for sure, I will personally assume it is in fact a L-pad network. ^_^
  4. bigshot
  5. Niouke
    I have no idea what this thing does, hence this thread...When they talk noise reduction I think Dolby NR and loss of treble...

    Also with the SPL discussions I've seen here before, this whole "have the full range of dB without the associated SPL" makes me sceptic, is it like a compressor?
  6. castleofargh Contributor
    no, it's a passive component for sure(what would be the power supply on this design?). think of it like a resistor in series for the effect on loudness level. but with an electrical trick so that to get about 15dB of attenuation, the circuit will not "see" a huge impedance like it would when really using a single resistor in series. the benefit is that you won't cripple your damping ratio as much as if you actually used a single resistor in series. but the main purpose is really just to attenuate the voltage reaching the IEM, nothing fancy.
    now the consequences is that to get the same comfortable loudness into your IEM while using the Earbuddy, you will have to increase the output on the DAP by about 15dB to counter the attenuation. so let's say that before, the music was around 85dB and the background hiss was 35dB on a very sensitive IEM. the hope is that you attenuate both by 15dB adding the Earbuddy, then only increase the music by 15dB by increasing the volume setting on your DAP. so now the music would ideally be around 85dB and the background hiss at 35-15=20dB. that would be the ideal result of using that plug.
    it's like getting a less sensitive IEM but with more potential side effects. I would almost always suggest to instead get a source with lower noise, or give up on stupidly sensitive IEMs. but those who really want to stick to the combo they have for ... reasons, can try this Earbuddy thing and in most cases it will help with hiss.
  7. Alfred143
    Will this benefit me if I'm using a headphone with a built in amp like the Blue Sadie?
  8. castleofargh Contributor
    if you're talking about background noise, then probably not. most headphones I've tried with internal amps had more or less obvious background noise issues caused directly by the integrated amp.
    if your issue is that the sound level is too loud even at the lowest settings, then this would reduce the output of whatever you're going to plug into the Blue Sadie. so the volume reduction aspect should work just fine.

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