More musician style of listening than audiophile help with DAP
May 1, 2015 at 9:43 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16

oceter

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Hello, maybe some of you more experienced with daps will give me an answer. As a fact that i play drums i really like to hear what is excactly going in rhythm section when im listening. Of that case i think i better like listening to narrow soundstage, with so much bass that have body and is full but not too much that the bass can drowns a bass drum Also narrow soundstage gives me a feel of more dynamic response of instruments.  I most like listening to jazz (most from the past) and other genres like funk, rock, blues. I think comparing the sound to my IPhone 5 which i think is good the general soundstage of fiio is too laid back for me so i have to search for what was played quiet, on iPhone is near so i hear it everytime. Also i have impression that fiio have less body, the sound is good but too thin for me. Maybe that price range is just not for me and i can buy something cheaper ? How would you compare it in terms i used to Sansa Clip, Fiio X1, Ipod classics (i also think that maybe the first X3 which have owned was better for me ?).
 
And there is another thing not so important, when i listen to gregory porter warsaw summer jazz days concert in hd from YT, the laptop through speakers is playing it nice, i hear everything. When i connected x3 as a dac the sound became strange, laid back, only vocal was somehow focused, rest was laid back without full and dynamics
 
May 1, 2015 at 11:24 AM Post #2 of 16

ProtegeManiac

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It's not so much "musician vs audiophile" - technically audiophile should mean hi-fi, which is important to both. However many can't perceive depth very well and some think of wide left and right imaging on headphones as real "wide soundstage," when in fact they are hearing an overemphasized L-C-R - this is similar to when people can't hear the bass but in reality it's just pushed farther back in the soundstage (where a bass drum is supposed to be) and then what they think sounds normal puts the bass drum where the vocalist is (which is only possible if it's a really narrow stage, or they hired Mr.Fantastic to stretch his feet and hit the pedal near the vocalist).
 
Since that is primarily due to headphone acoustics vs speakers (ie left ear can't hear right driver, vice versa), and secondly if the drivers are smack over the earcanals, you can get around it and simulate the speakers a little bit with Crossfeed. Some amps from Headroom and Meier have this feature; some apps already have this feature, on iOS and Android that would be Neutron Music Player, which has variable settings on the frequency setting for the high pass filter as well as the level (in dB) of how loud it lets those frequencies filter across both channels.
 
May 1, 2015 at 11:37 AM Post #3 of 16

cel4145

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Different DAPs, DACs, headphone amps might only have a very minor effect on soundstage rendering (if any at all), and subjective evaluations to that effect are potentially unreliable.

If different soundstage is important, you need different headphones.
 
May 1, 2015 at 12:25 PM Post #4 of 16

oceter

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I dont have Hi fi headphones, only bad earpods, Bw p3, and koss porta pro which are the best for me. But that sort of thing that was mentioned that bass drum is puted with vocalist, solo jazz brass instrument maybe that s what im looking for cause i can just listen more to what is played on that drum
 
May 1, 2015 at 9:28 PM Post #6 of 16

oceter

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My opinion on fiio x3 ii and what im missing is very similiar to those from review http://www.head-fi.org/products/fiio-x3-2nd-gen-ultraportable-hi-res-dap/reviews/12963. Any suggestions on daps like sony x1050 but playing flacs ?
 
May 1, 2015 at 11:35 PM Post #7 of 16

ProtegeManiac

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So the dap's dont create different aoundstage ? They just vary with frequency reproducing ?

 
They can't - whether you use DAPs, CDPs, DACs, whatever, it's either headphones or speakers that will determine that. Unless, of course, you include badly designed gear with high crosstalk (low dB rating) or use on a headphone system a source that tries to emulate speakers with crossfeed.
 
May 2, 2015 at 3:10 AM Post #8 of 16

oceter

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Thats interesting cause i experience this difference most when im switching from the out of the laptop and fiio as a dac. And fiio aleays presenta me a lack of bass but i hear it more staged. So why people compare and review dap's by writing about depth and stereo ?
 
May 2, 2015 at 3:36 AM Post #9 of 16

ProtegeManiac

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Thats interesting cause i experience this difference most when im switching from the out of the laptop and fiio as a dac. And fiio aleays presenta me a lack of bass but i hear it more staged.


The response of DACs - between the DAC chips can be miniscule but sometimes can overall be audible if the analog output stage is badly designed, intentional or not - as well as amplifier distortion (whether it's on a different unit, built into the same box/sound card as the DAC, or both integrated into the same chip) can all have some effect on the frequency response. Add to that the fact that no transducer has a perfectly flat response either, and what you are hearing is basically an EQ effect of some components. Both of them distort, but I'd suppose the laptop has more than the Fiio (at least if I understood correctly that you meant it had weaker bass but better staged).
 
In any case, what I meant was that ultimately, it's a matter of headphone vs speaker, or one headphone vs another headphone (read the example below on how some perceive Grado) that will have a greater impact on soundstage. Unless, again, you start factoring in really bad channel separation or features like Crossfeed. Between two systems whose overall signal going into the amplifier stage is flat and the amplifier doesn't distort on any given headphones to test them with, channel separation are at comparable levels, and testing is done at the same output level, differences in any way aren't audible. In that case one of your gear has more distortion than the other, but in some cases they may just have different kinds of distortion. Also, unless you use a dB meter, you might be listening with a 2dB difference, and that can have enough of an effect.
 
So why people compare and review dap's by writing about depth and stereo ?
 

Because of a number of things:
 
1. Up to a point, the channel separation can vary between one player and another, and the difference might be audible.
 
2. Ditto distortion when driving certain loads - when you get more of an EQ effect then there is more to affect the response. Think of a speaker with a strong bass boost in a room with strong reflections - you get the bass drum low and too far forward.
 
3. Qualitative reviews are inherently problematic up to a point, although I'm not one to totally dismiss their usefulness. It's just that we have to be mindful that there is already too much literature on the effects of psychology. For example the mere delay switching out one from another can mean that the miniscule differences can be imagined due in part to shorter auditory memory further affected by expectation bias. In addition to that, like I previously posted, a lot of people posting impressions don't actually understand what's happening - I've read too many reviews or thread posts exalting certain Grados for their wider soundstage, when the reality is that it only feels wide because the cymbals are right by one's ears. Unless you have Reed "Mr.Fantastic" Richards on the drums your cymbals aren't supposed to be where your guitars are. Ditto the bass drum example above - what many praise tonally for "real" bass on a headphone has too much bass boost, the ones they feel have no bass just image the bass drum farther back, and in reality the "weak bass" headphones still have roughly 7dB on average over the response in the 1khz to 2khz region. This is because it's difficult to get a very flat reponse on a dynamic headphone, as well as some manufacturers favoring that boost to compensate for the inherent issue of having the speakers right by the ears (ex. a speaker with a flatter response all the way down to 20hz would still have that sensation of a kick in the chest on some bass drum kicks, precisely because the soundwaves push air which eventually hit the listener's whole body).
 
May 2, 2015 at 6:58 AM Post #10 of 16

oceter

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Now i need to read what you wrote but i meant that laptop has stronger bass and is more full bodied, and fiio dac more of strange channel separation which give a feel of depth but with less body
 
May 2, 2015 at 11:18 AM Post #11 of 16

cel4145

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Thats interesting cause i experience this difference most when im switching from the out of the laptop and fiio as a dac. And fiio aleays presenta me a lack of bass but i hear it more staged. So why people compare and review dap's by writing about depth and stereo ?


Which headphones do you have? Could be the output impedance on your laptop is not low enough, so it's affecting the bass.
 
May 2, 2015 at 12:26 PM Post #12 of 16

ProtegeManiac

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  Now i need to read what you wrote but i meant that laptop has stronger bass and is more full bodied, and fiio dac more of strange channel separation which give a feel of depth but with less body

 
That's exactly how I interpreted it. In some cases what sounds like it isn't "full bodied" just has a flatter response, so what seems like weaker low end is just imaging everything farther back from the listener, as well as you can get "imaging" on personal audio anyway. By contrast the laptop has a flat plane but more "full-bodied" sound but it could actually be distortion on its part, or its DSP boosts the lower and higher frequencies on top of how many headphones already have that to compensate for natural hearing bias (by the brain, not the ears themselves; this assumes healthy ears as well).
 
May 2, 2015 at 9:43 PM Post #13 of 16

oceter

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Now i can say that Fiio is great by line out to Sony TA-F70 amp by line out. The best sounding headphones for me are my popular Koss porta pro, i love it sound but i want IEM's that will separate me from the background, any suggestion with searching for headphones like that ?
 
May 2, 2015 at 10:35 PM Post #14 of 16

ProtegeManiac

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  Now i can say that Fiio is great by line out to Sony TA-F70 amp by line out. The best sounding headphones for me are my popular Koss porta pro, i love it sound but i want IEM's that will separate me from the background, any suggestion with searching for headphones like that ?

 
You mean from background noise? Any comfortable IEM (for me that's practically any designed to have the cable go over and around the ears) with the right fitting and comfortable ear tips (my personal favorite is the Sony Hybrid and Shure Olive medium, but it's easier to stretch the Sonys over larger IEM bores) should have over 20dB of attenuation. The thing is though that's highly dependent on each person - "universal" here doesn't mean that every ear tip and every IEM has the same effect on every person. Personally if you're going to hit around $400 on a universal IEM you might as well get a custom IEM, maybe spend a little bit more.
 
i was using the Aurisonics ASG-1.3 for comfort (the semi-custom shell spreads pressure and friction out along the outer ear. instead of putting all of it on the eartip) but the shell cracked; while I'm waiting for a reply from Aurisonics I picked up a VSonics VSD3. From reading the reviews the Have B3 Pro sounded more like what I need out of an IEM, but the Sennheiser IE8 didn't fit me too well (none of them did), and that one had a similar shape shell. The VSD3 had a general shape similar to Shure and Westone; however the angular surface is more like the boxy Earsonics SMx IEMs (the first versions).  Surprisingly enough it was considerably more comfortable than the Earsonics. Compared to other brands in general though the ergonomics aren't to my liking, particularly the thick cable - others use thinner cables that are not any more prone to microphonics if the cable is worn tight, but the VSonic slider doesn't move as easily as Aurisonic's or Shure's. Still, the sound for around $50 (even if you factor in the $30 mic cable I ordered, so that's around $80) it's great. 
 

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