Oluv on Youtube proves we can't hear a difference between a free smartphone DAC and a $1000 AMP
Nov 13, 2019 at 4:52 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

Denon2010

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Interesting this makes me feel very bad about spending $210 for a Headphone Amp and DAC setup I feel very much stupid now and I should have stuck to my motherboard Audio and my Samsung S8 built in stuff.

 
Nov 13, 2019 at 5:16 AM Post #2 of 14

Redcarmoose

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Some people can hear differences and some can’t. It’s true though that there could be a large group who don’t notice a difference.

Much of the time expensive gear will not only offer detail and damping factor but tend to color sound. In the end some gear offers a slight added color which makes things interesting.


It’s totally subjective though meaning.....it’s up to the individual to test and decide if it’s worth it to spend more money. It’s simply about being satisfied in the end.

Though be aware there are quite of few very delusional souls who are actually without question listening to inferior gear and perfectly happy.

It’s normally those same folks making the question as to $100 amps sounding the same as $2000 amps. Somehow it allows them to continue the self delusion. Though some honesty can’t hear a difference.
 
Nov 13, 2019 at 5:32 AM Post #3 of 14

Denon2010

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Man I feel really really down right now I had just ordered a Liquid Spark and topping D30 and RCA cables for them it came up to $210 and just as it shipped from Amazon to my freight forwarder it was too late to cancel the order and sadly I only just came across Oluv's videos where he said there was no difference and as hard as I tried to cancel it Amazon said there is nothing they can do unless I refuse the package the issue is its going to a freight forwarder and so I can't refuse.

I really did want the AMP and DAC tho, because to me I thought there might be an improvement in audio quality with my HD58x over my PC sound card xonar DG which cost $30.

But this has me seriously questioning my purchase now, what if Oluv is right and this DAC and AMP dedicated stuff is all a scam from day one? and we all got scammed into thinking we are going to get better sound quality over our smartphones and pc onboard?

But maybe I will like this combo setup who knows?

The only thing I can tell you for a fact is my Xonar DG sound card has a noticeable audible improvement over my pc Onboard so I really do hope I notice a difference with this DAC and AMP also I noticed years ago I had a Xonar DX and it sounded much better than the DG I had replaced it with so I dunno what to say at this point.

Good lord I hope I didn't waste $210 here
 
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Nov 13, 2019 at 7:02 AM Post #4 of 14

Redcarmoose

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There is no replacement for the listening experience. A review should at best give you only clues. There are no guarantees here and everyone takes chances and has a learning curve. What is great for some is not great for others; much this hobby is subjective. Though yes, at times there is popular stuff that’s popular for a good reason!

After all these years I seem to have found some great gear. But, it depends on your subjective taste as what is of value. Some people want more bass, some more midrange. Some folks want very flat response where others are looking for a V shape. Amps, sources and IEMs/headphones all have these qualities.

Plus knowing what you want takes time. It could take months or weeks before you know something is for you, and it has to have synergy with your other gear.

Going to shows can help, but again your going to be met with one persons idea of perfection at a time.

I’ve leaned a bunch from Head-Fi, but also made some mistakes along the way. The best way to go about things is with patience. At times you may simply replace one thing and get the sound you are happy with.

Your never really going to make any big mistakes buying gear that has a good reputation here. The question is really if it’s your personal tone that goes with everything you already own. Very few statements about popular gear are ever totally true. Lots of people have had good results with the said gear, it gets purchased by many and has overall good results. That carries more weight than a single opinion, in my book.


I truthfully can’t get myself to click the video, also I simply don’t care about the subject.


Part of someone having a YouTube channel is to make clickbait. Part of someone being popular is to voice some extraordinary topic. Look at it like news. They want to turn heads and get noticed, so they make outlandish claims that trigger curiosity.

Just enjoy your new gear. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you hear I’m sure! Enjoy!
 
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Nov 13, 2019 at 7:12 AM Post #5 of 14

Redcarmoose

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Just like watched 60 seconds of the video. That guy is kind of known for his outlandish stance on topics. Who cares really...... it’s some guy making a video? That’s all it is. Your proof you’ll have in your hands and be listening with your own ears. Basically your self experience is more value than a questionable YouTube video. Cheers!
 
Nov 14, 2019 at 10:14 AM Post #6 of 14

Denon2010

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Just like watched 60 seconds of the video. That guy is kind of known for his outlandish stance on topics. Who cares really...... it’s some guy making a video? That’s all it is. Your proof you’ll have in your hands and be listening with your own ears. Basically your self experience is more value than a questionable YouTube video. Cheers!

Alright man u made me feel a little better I will be sure to let u know how it sounds when I get it
 
Nov 15, 2019 at 2:14 AM Post #8 of 14

Kammerat Rebekka

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Again probably not the best place for these kinds of threads. People in this part of the forum have most likely never tried listening to gear that’s hidden away from view.
I was like that too. I heard vast differences between dacs and solid state amplifiers and sure as hell couldn’t be pursuaded into believing what they’re peddling in Sound Science: ‘These guys are nuts!!! Have they never tried a ‘insert pricey gadget’ with a revealing can such as an hd800 before?’

Then again...when you then try something like a properly set up levelmatched blindtest in the comfort of your own home with your own gear and your music...well it rather quickly becomes a humbling experience. So much so that the first reaction tends to be that there is something inherantly wrong with the test! So I tried other ways of testing: said yes to trying this down at my friend’s workplace (professional studio) with electrostatic monitors and the works. Didn’t change anything other than me getting to see other folks failing to hear differences...as well as being explained why this wasn’t weird from a scientific viewpoint, which did help a bit.
He (my friend) also asked me a rather interesting question: ‘Out of all the audiophiles out there - how many do you think read up on the human hearing and thresholds BEFORE they submerse themselves in specs?’
 
Nov 15, 2019 at 7:55 AM Post #9 of 14

Redcarmoose

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Expensive equipment even when great and in synergy with the over all system only gets you a 10% improvement. It’s such a very small difference that it’s safe to say a $100 desktop amp like a Schiit Asgard One gets a person 90% there. Phones normally cost over $100 but don’t have the power/damping factor for many headphones.

It all comes down to how much value you place in that extra 10%. Because at times it’s absolutely there. Strangely it’s there in kind of a mix of detail AND color. So in a way these folks are paying for distortion. But what ever it is it’s personality and a combination of clarity.

——————

The above is a much more rational take than to say there is no difference....or folks are delusional spending $2000 for an amp. But again this subject is totally subjective. There are some combinations which seem to go together making a small low cost portable setup all you would ever need.

In the last 5 years the ability for mid-fi to gain ground into the level of summit-fi has been a great reality. But due to confusion there are always going to be people who don’t hear some differences. In other threads it’s often that folks don’t notice the sound of firmware updates where 80% of the thread does notice differences and is able to agree on the update personalities. We don’t know why this is and many speculate it’s due to the IEMs or headphones used? It does not indicate that people don’t always notice the difference in amplifiers but of course that could be the case to an extent.

Getting different gear can result in better damping factor. It’s primarily the damping factor for not being able to be happy with full size headphones being plugged into a phone. Strangely the combo gets loud enough at times but damping factor increases soundstage and lower midrange and bass clarity. Simply the diaphragm is moving in a more articulate fashion due to an increase of power. These controlled movements get better detail than normally what a phone can do with full size headphones.

Even very easy to drive IEMs and headphones can at times show an improvement from more power. Of all my equipment typically the better gear gets more power out, offers better separation and imaging. Much of the time stuff like a treble boost or bass boost will offer the feeling of better detail when in reality it’s farther from a flat response. This “different” personality is one of the reasons some amplifiers can have polarized acceptance here.

Still there is a huge movement at Head-Fi when value equipment gets popular. The under $200 amplifiers which sound good make a big splash. Whole companies like Schiit Audio got there start with the under $200 Asgard One. There is nothing wrong with that. If anything projects like the Asgard One show that a good amp gets you 90% there. If people want a tweak they can pay more for tubes. They can pay more for a slightly different sound. But if you go to a Head-Fi meet you’ll end up meeting up with 50 systems which all sound different, some close to the same and some way different. Still in the end those expensive systems were simply offering that different 10% better sound........a hint of improved detail and finally a change of color.
 
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Nov 15, 2019 at 9:14 AM Post #10 of 14

ginetto61

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sorry but the amp used in the comparison is not a 1000USD amp, more a 299 UKP amp

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07B3RZ...cbfb9e673686506d90ad7c0f556aac&language=en_GB

At max this test tells me that THIS amp is on par with the smartphone.
Cheap hybrids are usually adding noise and distortion to the original signal. They are not that clean.
However i still think that a superior amp can sound quite better than the out from the smartphone.
I have been exposed to a Auralic Taurus and i would be much surprised to hear no difference between it and a smartphone, expecially with good quality headphone a little demanding as a load
The amp was so in control and clean and powerful that i felt like i was hearing a real event.
Yes ... i bought it.
An interesting comparison would be with the much lauded THX amp ... that is quite excellent from what i understand and could be a better benchmark
 
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Nov 15, 2019 at 10:38 AM Post #11 of 14

Redcarmoose

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sorry but the amp used in the comparison is not a 1000USD amp, more a 299 UKP amp

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07B3RZ...cbfb9e673686506d90ad7c0f556aac&language=en_GB

At max this test tells me that THIS amp is on par with the smartphone.
Cheap hybrids are usually adding noise and distortion to the original signal. They are not that clean.
However i still think that a superior amp can sound quite better than the out from the smartphone.
I have been exposed to a Auralic Taurus and i would be much surprised to hear no difference between it and a smartphone, expecially with good quality headphone a little demanding as a load
The amp was so in control and clean and powerful that i felt like i was hearing a real event.
Yes ... i bought it.
An interesting comparison would be with the much lauded THX amp ... that is quite excellent from what i understand and could be a better benchmark
That’s great to find that. I have not watched the video detailed enough to hear the YouTube video presenter describe his amp in comparison to the phone as a $1000 amp. We do know the thread starter placed $1000 amplifier in the title.

For comparisons sake I would guess some amps in the $299 territory would offer a nice departure from a simple phone. Especially what can be found today for $299?

The interesting feature here is the HD600. In reality low power tube amps have a great pairing normally with the HD600. I don’t own a pair of HD600 headphones but the single low power tube amp I own...the Woo 3 sounded it’s best with the HD600. Again though that’s not to say this YouTube reviewer does not have a basic affinity for a more digital sound. He actually does say the two sound different saying the phone has a “digital” sound. What he is trying to say in the video is that there is not a super noticeable difference. Interestingly too, he fails to believe his own personal judgment in sound quality and feels sound demonstrations between the amp and phone need a faster...change to really be able to tell a difference.

This kind of testing has always been questionable to me. As if there are noticeable differences than it would be heard right away or after long testing listening sessions? But who knows.....the amp in the video actually could sound exactly like a phone. In fact that would not be that strange of an outcome.

The end result here is of course most of us fully know that even a dedicated $100 headphone amp (if chosen well) will always win out over most phones.
 
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Nov 15, 2019 at 10:51 AM Post #12 of 14

Redcarmoose

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Also what ever sound the amp in the video is capable of....in no way are we belittling the effect and possibilities of owning a low power tube headphone amp.

It’s a purchase that is for many all they would ever want. Typically tubes are always going to be low power except in expensive extreme situations. The Woo Audio W5 LE is in the $3699 range and is super super powerful. But normally low power $300-$500 tube headphone amps have their valued place at Head-Fi. They offer a slower romantic sound that offers special colorations with Jazz and Vocal music. But typically solid state is a better value if someone was simply looking for power. In the end both solid state and valve offer their own sound.
 
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Nov 15, 2019 at 11:05 AM Post #13 of 14

Redcarmoose

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Nov 15, 2019 at 11:24 AM Post #14 of 14

Redcarmoose

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