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Is it better not knowing?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by revhed, Dec 23, 2019.
  1. revhed
    Merry Christmas and wishing a Happy New Year!
    I am almost 60 and saw many (300 or so) LOUD concerts, not to mention many dancing nights out, and was stupid, no ear protection.
    I have done a few online hearing tests and have only minimal loss, OK!
    I have tried to hear difference between mp3-320, flac, wav with a song I know well.
    My wife does blind test for me.
    Does anyone offer a good song for testing please?
    What to listen for?
    I REALLY enjoy listening to music, mostly classic, prog, rock and just sometimes wonder
    if I should investigate further high fidelity or be happy where I am at?
    I find there is a difference between listening to the music or the set up, but know there
    is common ground.
    I am sure this has been posted many times before, any specific topics will be read, and any and all
    info helpful.
    Current setup which seems to serve me quite well, FiiO M3k, FiiO A3 amp, audio-technia ath M40x
    R H
  2. old tech
    Merry Christmas to you as well.

    For the comparison, it is usually best to use music that you know very well and differences, if they can be heard, are usually around single instruments, particularly cymbals - well at least that is where I very occasionally can pick lossless from say 220 kbs.

    If your current set up serves you well I suggest not going down rabbit holes. What you could do is focus on obtaining better quality source material of whatever music you listen to as different masterings or productions of the same album can vary subjectively and objectively. Just google "best sounding version of xxx" and look for consensus opinions.
  3. Redcarmoose
    Treat this hobby like walking in the woods. First find out about this curiosity. Obviously you are as you made a post.

    Simply as you go, explore the music of your youth and find out if it sounds any different. That’s the music you know and the music you were and are passionate about.

    I’m 58 in March and have the same loud history as you. Your still going to notice big improvements in sound as you try different stuff. It’s a slippery slope with some stuff making sense and some aspects fully ridiculous. But......as you explore and spend, you will find your own truths.

    The woods are big, uncharted territories and discoveries to make. There can be financial dangers and efforts waisted climbing ridges that go nowhere. You may have support of your friends and family and you may not.

    But the best parts are the success stories and advancements. There has never been a better time. Lots of gear is well priced and there is an abundance of information.

    Don’t have any music to suggest other than make a list of your high school favorites and attempt to get closer to them. Later your discover more too, as it’s just a matter of opinion if recordings are better now than in 1976.

    Get to a Head-Fi meet if you can and listen to as many rigs as you can find. You may learn what style of response your after. And truly money is not always the issue in contrast to what it seems. Low cost mid-fi has never sounded better and gets 80-90% to summit-fi. Just like walking in the woods, enjoy the journey for the sake of the experience.


    Get me a list of maybe 10 artists your familiar with and I can suggest some music.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
    Richsvt and Whitigir like this.
  4. revhed
    THX for feedback!
    Pink Floyd
    The Who
    Led Zeppelin
    Beatles of course!
    David Bowie
    Dire Straits
    Eric Clapton
    Jeff Beck
    Merci, R H
  5. Redcarmoose

    I knew your list would be something like that. The Who made the rock opera Tommy. There are wonderful remasters of the album. It’s one album that always sounds great, but the remaster was done well. I’ve never heard a copy of the remasters that didn’t sound amazing. It’s out there in 16/44.1 also 24bit I think? and SACD.

    This song has special imaging as elements are added as well as big orchestra drums and 12 string guitar. I’ve used this to test equipment forever. The bass, which you hear right off, never gets old!

    Most here use TDSOTM by Floyd. As you must know there is an abundance of different versions of the album. I use it to make sure right and left is correct as when the album starts you hear a heart beat to the slight right. If someone was facing you their heart would be to the slight left so maybe that was their idea? But the song “Time” is such an amazing song to test headphones. After the bells and chimes you hear a deep synth which has wonderful panning drums.

    This list would not be complete without the opening to “Moving Pictures” Tom Sawyer will amaze friends and family with the great rendition of drums you can hear on headphones.

    Led Zeppelin One could be thought of as the poorly recorded Zeppelin before they had popularity......still “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You” has an amazing aspect where with a great system you can hear Robert Plant take a breath after he first says “Babe”. Many versions of Zeppelin One and of course the new remasters sound wonderful.

    The Beatles have had a remixed Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band put out which has Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds completely taken apart and put back together. Startlingly really.


    Everyone or most everyone on Head-Fi likes this style of music, I have discovered?
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2019
    motberg, revhed and Wes S like this.
  6. Matez
  7. bigshot
    I usually use acoustic music for listening test. With electric music, you don't know if the distortion is in the music or the equipment. I was listening to some electronica the other day and I thought I had a blown voice coil on one side. It drove me nuts. Then in the next verse, it was on the other channel. They were deliberately mixing in noise and distortion for rhythmic texture.
  8. christianmc
    As an aside, you might consider working harder at protecting your hearing from here forward. I've been told by an audiologist friend that as noise-induced loss progresses, the easier it becomes to cause more damage. Just a thought. Godspeed on your quest!

    P.S. - Cymbals are always the dead giveaway in fidelity for me.
    motberg and revhed like this.
  9. revhed
    Maybe I am just a positive person but just having listened to all suggestions I just do not need any better sound toys!
    Although if I was not on such a limited budget would invest in better source.
    Again could be as no comparison available to me do not know what am missing, and can live with that!
    It seems easy for me to understand why "many, most" headfiers like good old classic rock, it is just good!
    Gotta say though Mr. David Grohl, Foo fighters, gets my thumbs up for newer "real" rock!
    And going through Mr. David Bowies early works, many gems to be found IMHO.
    Enjoy some Holiday free time to have a listen to maybe more the music than your system?
    R H
    megabigeye likes this.
  10. Redcarmoose
    Right.......the music by itself is 90% of the experience. People can forget that and try to just listen to technicalities in reproduction. No system is perfect. Also everyone has their own idea of correct sound. So potentiality...... you could go to a show and hear 20 systems which are expensive......which you don’t even like.

    Be careful though as if you do find something you can relate with, it can show you that missing 10-18%.......then you may.....and I write may.....find yourself wanting more. Many are happy with what they have. It should be all about the music.

    revhed likes this.
  11. bigshot
    The problem is when they try to assign attributes of the music to the equipment. The big tip off for this is when reviewers use the term "musicality" to describe diodes and wires.
    Kammerat Rebekka likes this.
  12. DaYooper
    Short answer to the thread title: Yes.
    If you enjoy the music on the equipment you have then why seek out answers to what could be?

    That being said I still plan to attend the AXPONA event in Chicago in April because I want to sit in some million dollar plus rooms, you know, just to have a listen to "what could be".

    Merry Christmas everyone.
    revhed likes this.
  13. stonesfan129
    I did a bunch of testing on my equipment and found I can't tell once I get to ~192kbps when using LAME MP3 or iTunes AAC. I try to buy lossless when I can so that I have a perfect lossless copy on my NAS.
  14. gregorio
    1. There isn't a difference between flac and wav, so you're wasting your time trying to hear one. There is a difference with mp3-320 but over last 30 years it's been developed so that the difference is inaudible. As far as I'm aware, no one has been able to hear a difference with mp3-320 for nearly a decade, for this reason, in recent years testing has focused on 128kbps or lower.

    2. As far as I'm aware there aren't any.
    2a. Mainly; missing audio frequencies which can't be heard by the human ear (due to "masking").

    3. There is no difference in fidelity between wav and flac and the difference in fidelity with a modern mp3 encoder can't be heard no matter what equipment you've got. So if you do want to investigate higher fidelity, you're investigating the wrong area! Headphones are the area you "should investigate" because that's where audible fidelity improvements can exist, if you so desire.

    I don't know the specific convention centre where that event is being held but assuming it's similar to other convention centres (Eg. Big exhibition hall/s and a number of meeting rooms), then you're not going to be able to "sit in some million dollar plus rooms". In fact, the rooms will typically be no better and in many/most cases worse than an average consumers' listening room! The speakers/audio systems that exhibitors put in those rooms might be $1m+, but in rooms that are effectively worth less than an average sitting room (for critical listening), you're extremely unlikely to hear anything even vaguely near "what could be". In my experience, convention centre expos are good for SEEING equipment but just about the worst imaginable environment for LISTENING to equipment, except maybe for checking out noise cancelling IEMs! :)


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