Post CanJam cynicism.

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by krismusic, Aug 30, 2015.
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  1. krismusic Contributor
    I will post this here as I know you guys can take it!
    This kind of strikes at the heart of what HeadFi is about.
    I love being on the forum. I probably spend as much time on here as I do listening to music. (I might want to address that!)
    Anyway. I went to CanJam London yesterday.
    Met some great people and listened to a lot of gear.
    To tell the truth I was shocked!
    Nowhere did I hear anything that blew me away.
    Some nice sounds but nothing significantly better than the K10's straight out of the iPhone.
    I get home and HeadFi is full of chat about "awesome" and "sublime".
    Am I missing something? Are all these people gullible and deluded?
    It was the Chord AK set up that shocked me. For that kind of money I would want the music to sound like it was coming at me from six feet away. Surrounding me with detail that I could almost touch.
    Not struggling to detect tiny differences from an iPhone!!!
    I used to be very into 2 channel speaker based systems and went to a few HiFi shows.
    There I heard just a couple of systems that I would have bought without hesitation if I could afford the 10k+ that they cost.
    I have never heard a headphone rig that had that effect on me.
    Based on what I heard yesterday,
    I would say that once you have a nice pair of headphones, that is the end of it.
    The electronics that you pair them with will have only a small effect on the overall sound.
    That sound, regardless of price, will only ever be good within limitations.
    Again, am I missing something?
    moshen likes this.
  2. arnyk
    Which brings to mind this helpful form:
    You claim that an:
    ( ) audible
    ( ) measurable
    ( ) hypothetical
    improvement in sound quality can be attained by:
    ( ) upsampling
    ( ) non-oversampling
    ( ) increasing word size
    ( ) vibration dampening
    ( ) bi-wiring
    ( ) litz wire
    ( ) replacing the external power supply
    ( ) using a different lossless format
    ( ) decompressing on the server
    ( ) removing bits of metal from skull
    ( ) using ethernet instead of wireless
    ( ) inverting phase
    ( ) reversing “polarity” of resistors
    ( ) ultra fast recovery rectifiers
    ( ) installing bigger connectors
    ( ) installing Black Gate caps
    ( ) installing ByBee filters
    ( ) installing hospital-grade AC jacks
    ( ) defragmenting the hard disk
    ( ) running older firmware
    ( ) using exotic materials in cabinet
    ( ) bronze heatsinks
    ( ) violin lacquer
    ( ) $500 power cords
    Your idea will not work. Specifically, it fails to account for:
    ( ) the placebo effect
    ( ) your ears honestly aren't that good
    ( ) your idea has already been thoroughly disproved
    ( ) modern DACs upsample anyway
    ( ) those products are pure snake oil
    ( ) lossless formats, by definition, are lossless
    ( ) those measurements are bogus
    ( ) sound travels much slower than you think
    ( ) electric signals travel much faster than you think
    ( ) that's not how binary arithmetic works
    ( ) that's not how TCP/IP works
    ( ) the Nyquist theorem
    ( ) the can't polish a turd theorem
    ( ) bits are bits
    You will try to defend you idea by:
    ( ) claiming that your ears are “trained”
    ( ) claiming immunity to psychological/physiological factors that affect everyone else
    ( ) name-calling
    ( ) criticizing spelling/grammar
    Your subsequent arguments will probably appeal in desperation to such esoterica as:
    ( ) jitter
    ( ) EMI
    ( ) thermal noise
    ( ) quantum mechanical effects
    ( ) resonance
    ( ) existentialism
    ( ) nihilism
    ( ) communism
    ( ) cosmic rays
    And you will then change the subject to:
    ( ) theories are not the same as facts
    ( ) measurements don't tell everything
    ( ) not everyone is subject to the placebo effect
    ( ) blind testing is dumb
    ( ) you can't prove what I can't hear
    ( ) science isn't everything
    Rather than engage in this tired discussion, I suggest exploring the following factors which are more likely to improve sound quality in your situation:
    ( ) room acoustics
    ( ) source material
    ( ) type of speakers
    ( ) speaker placement
    ( ) crossover points
    ( ) equalization
    ( ) Q-tips
    ( ) psychoanalysis
    ( ) trepanation
    Killcomic and Vkamicht like this.
  3. dazzerfong
    When you buy something more expensive than your existing stuff, you tend to -really- want it to be actually better than the cheaper 'junk' you have. That's why reading on a forum only does so much, and should never substitute your own listening.
  4. dazzerfong

    Really digging the form, except say no to Q-tips! Get ear wax removal stuff instead.​
  5. arnyk
    Source: DIYAudio.
  6. krismusic Contributor
    Fantastic response! :)
  7. Ruben123
    I'm only around to talk about el cheapo gear like KZ and Havi earphones, Sandisk Sansas, the science forum to learn, help and backup my students wallet to "not buy any expensive stuff" ideas and reading the portable source forum to have a laugh sometimes. The two pono threads and AK threads are a good place to have some fun. Impedance mismatch isn't a problem anymore because well it is but it isn't because a manufractor says so, people wanting to spend over $3000 on a music player AND WANTING TO UPGRADE. Etc etc
    Comparisons are always the same: wider soundstage, smoother highs and a tighter bass. Look for it. Always the same
  8. audionewbi
    Meet conditions tell less than half of the story. We are all different, if you are lucky enough to be happy with what you have than lucky you.

    I agree alot of things in this hobby work on hype and people wanting to hear things that aren't there because they spend money on it but it isn't all like that.
  9. inthere
    Soundstage and imagery blow me away. 
    Things I heard that blew me away:
    Headamp (the red one, don't remember the model number)
    Hifiman HE-1000 on that Headamp, wasn't really impressed when I heard it on other amps.
    The new Audio Technica W1000Z on my iPhone (incredible soundstage!)
    OBravo HAMT-1 headphones, don't remember the amp.
    Feliks Audio Expressivo-I ordered one, it cost only $319
    HiFiMan EF2
    Audio Technica also had a gigantic amplifier there that I never got the model number of-I was told it cost about $5000 so i didn't bother asking. But the headphones sounded noticeably magical on it. 
  10. krismusic Contributor
    Maybe I was listening to the wrong stuff! :)
    I have never heard soundstage and imaging that blew me away on headphones.
    Most of what I heard that I liked was down to tonality and micro details.
    In fact I would say that those attributes are what I enjoy most about the K10's.
    Their soundstage is nothing special. Although the fact that CIEM's have any is amazing to me.
  11. inthere

    Oh, you've heard soundstage and imagery from headphones before, it just didn't blow you away:)
    I work on studio monitors all the time when I'm sound engineering, but they're noticeably less magical than audiophile speakers, even though the studio monitors are usually more expensive. The setups are usually geared for accuracy with lots of soundproofing that knock out early reflections that distort imagery and soundstage. 
    Of course that magically distorted imagery and exaggerated soundstage is exactly what I want from audiophile speakers and headphones when I'm listening on my own time:)
    *edit* For the record, the Chord Hugo setup didn't impress me at all either.
  12. krismusic Contributor
    Nice to get a pro POV. :)
  13. moshen

    I've found the same thing with electronics. I've only heard a large noticeable difference with one amp, and it measured noticeably bad (bass roll off). Good amps and dacs are very hard to tell apart and I mostly can't. I believe very little hype on DACs & amps. So I spend all my money on the headphones (HE1000) and run them out of my ODAC/O2. 
    endgame likes this.
  14. moshen
    Also, I can hear a difference between two headphones of the same model (minute production variations) and blind identify them. But still can't identify a particular DAC or amp once carefully volume matched.
  15. Currawong Contributor
    Meets aren't always particularly good for listening. That being said, when I worked in a large store many years ago, they piped their own 'radio station' through ceiling speakers which cycled through a regular set of what must have been a few hundred tracks. Some of them I grew to like very much, so I went and bought the albums. I was quite disappointed listening to them on much better equipment. Likewise I have a lot of music I prefer listening to in my car, which just doesn't lend itself to high-end equipment at all. On the other hand, better equipment has given me a greater appreciation of music genres I didn't like before, such as jazz.
    There's definitely something to be said for finding the right tonality. I've always said that 99% of this hobby comes down to what music we like and how loud we listen. If we find the right transducers for those two factors we're set. If that happens to be a pair of IEMs, most phones now are designed to work well with them nowadays so most of the time we don't need anything special for them at all.
    krismusic likes this.
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