Quality Headphones and Less Than Stellar Source Material
Nov 8, 2019 at 4:52 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2


human bean
Dec 6, 2017
New York City
When the source material is not the best, or maybe even not all that good, how much does it matter how good the headphones are?

Assuming everything else is held constant, assume the following variables:

1) Source Material: Anywhere from 128 mp3, to 320 AAC, to FLAC, to 96khz, to 192khz.

2) Headphones: Anywhere from Audeze LCD-1, to Focal Clear, to Focal Utopia.

Assume the logical: That as the source material quality goes up, it sounds better irrespective of headphone. Also, that as the headphone gets better, it sounds better irrespective of the quality of the source material:


Is it correct to assume that the higher the quality of the source material, the greater will be the improvement in final listening quality caused by improving the headphones? Or is it linear? Or actually perhaps negative?
Nov 8, 2019 at 7:45 PM Post #2 of 2
That's a great question, I'm also interested in people's views.

A few experienced audiophiles told me to upgrade whatever is closest to the ears first ie. transducers (IEMs/headphones), for the biggest yield. And later to upgrade the downstream components like source.

TBH I can't hear the difference between AAC 320kbs and lossless, but as always YMMV.

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