Quick multiple choice poll: Which factors do *you* think make an audible difference?
Jul 26, 2011 at 2:10 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 36

anetode

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Kind of a take on the "Does it all really sound the same?" thread, but meant as a quick and unscientific survey. If you think the poll option can make an audible difference, select it. No need to argue about any of the options, just hit and run.
 
There are various flaws interspersed throughout the poll's organization, specificity, etc. -- I assure you that they are all intentional and require neither enumeration nor reprisal.
 
Proof of participation may entitle you to one free cookie or one free cookie's worth of personal satisfaction (s&h not included, void where prohibited).
 
Jul 26, 2011 at 2:36 PM Post #2 of 36

RPGWiZaRD

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I must admit when I got to the "Price" bulletin I laughed a bit. :p I know why you included it as price can have a physiological skew on our minds but I know from experience I personally certainly isn't affected by it!
 
Jul 26, 2011 at 2:48 PM Post #3 of 36

Prog Rock Man

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Everything has the potential to make an audible difference. Whether that audible difference is caused by the component itself or placebo/psychoacoustics is the real issue.
 
I have voted where the component (including bit rates) is the actual cause.
 
Jul 26, 2011 at 2:48 PM Post #4 of 36

Willakan

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Much as I would like to vote, much of the stuff there can *potentially* affect sound quality. For example, I would like to say that cables do not, but a basically broken cable with stupidly high capacitance can. Your question is sadly too open to get any votes from me
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Jul 26, 2011 at 3:21 PM Post #5 of 36

anetode

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Then you're in luck because this is one of the few polls that allows the participant to choose the narrowness of the scope of their interpretation
wink.gif

 
Or think of it as a beauty contest: I'm not just asking you which of these candidates have the requisite sexual morphology, I'm asking about those that woo your fancy.
 
Jul 26, 2011 at 3:24 PM Post #6 of 36

Shike

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The selection was a bit hard, because there's a "sometimes" factor.  Such as amps with high output impedance, transformers on a tube amp vary (not power based), power filtering . . . if it's voltage regulation in an area that normally experiences brownouts it may help on cheaper gear without proper regulation, potentiometers vary in tracking quality, etc.
 
Jul 26, 2011 at 4:08 PM Post #7 of 36

bcasey25raptor

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hard choice but of the things on there. i feel dacs are a waste of money. and bitrates above 320kbps mp3 is also useless. i never notice a difference between 320 and flac.
 
amps make a difference if headphones need them to be driven popular. but past the fiio e9 i feel amps are also a waste of money. i understand tube amps give a bit of a distortion like sound a kin to vinyl. not really a good difference but there is a difference. i personally wouldn't pay when you could recreate the same sound with computer software.
 
room treatments regarding speakers do make a difference. i notice when something goes in front of my speakers they generally sound wonky. but i don't feel it is really noticeable unless you have a really expensive set of speakers.
 
now price. yes i do believe price makes a difference. generally the higher the price the better the quality. the difference might not be worth the improvement but it is there. there is always the few exceptions where you can find something offering really good sound for cheaper then the competition that it can compete with items much more expensive (shure srh series, audio technica ath m50, grado sr60/80/ms1. but i still feel generally the more expensive the better.
 
now some people do not buy into better sound quality and actually prefer a colored sound. in that case finding very expensive colored headphones is not an easy task. and you can get really good colored that to them is better then the much more expensive options. but do to the dynamics of audio and audio science we know it doesn't faithfully reproduce the recording realistically and is not better. but every individual is different and some will prefer inaccurate sound signatures.
 
 
anyways that's my take on this matter.
 
Jul 26, 2011 at 6:53 PM Post #8 of 36

b0ck3n

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Getting great colored headphones is plenty easy - basically all flagship headphones are markedly colored in some way. If you actually heard flat headphones you wouldn't think of them as neutral I'd wager, but it's an interesting experience for sure.

I'm quite surprised that transducers rank that low, it should rank second after recording - which isn't even on the list.
 
Jul 26, 2011 at 11:35 PM Post #9 of 36

khaos974

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That poll is quite meaningless because of the lack of specifics.

Let's take a look at do cables make a difference? My first instinct is to answer no, but then I remember that some cable company made very expensive cables included caps and inductors in the design, or some random no name cable that was wired of incorrectly...
So yes in certain conditions, cables make a difference. :cool:

And this applies to every single point of the list? A badly implemented high end opamp that overshoots and rings? Yep, it's very audible.
And are we talking about a 320 kbps average VBR 320 AAC/Vorbis or a 128 kbps CBR mp3 when you refer to lossy compression, the former I will probably fail to discriminate in ABX even with some training, and I can hear the latter even drunk. So lossy compression, huh?

So a big YES to everything.
 
Jul 27, 2011 at 10:23 PM Post #10 of 36

anetode

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Quote:
So a big YES to everything.



Even shiny?
 
Seriously though, if selecting all of the options fits best with your interpretation of the question, then please do so! There's nothing to be won or lost or proven or conceded, what I'm after here is to see the specific distribution of votes. And the obvious candidates aren't quite as interesting as the ancillaries.
 
Jul 27, 2011 at 10:33 PM Post #11 of 36

khaos974

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Yes, even shiny! Shiny has a huge impact on what people hear.

It's one of the biggest responsible of placebo effect after all; don't tell me that a big, heavy and posh aluminum enclosure doesn't influence the buyer at all.
Why do you think that big manufacturers put so much emphasis on shiny (tm), it because it puts the listener into a good mood, it reassures the buyer about the quality of their gear.

Shiny for the win :cool: :cool: :cool:

NB: I would have unchecked shiny if the question was "a different sound" instead of "an audible difference".
 
Jul 27, 2011 at 11:05 PM Post #13 of 36

maverickronin

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Well everyone already agrees that the transducers make a difference so is there any reason to ask again?
 
Jul 27, 2011 at 11:09 PM Post #14 of 36

Redcarmoose

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Interesting results on the poll. I do understand it is trying to get the public Head-Fi views on hard to test audio improvements and factors. Lossy seems to win so far! lol I wonder if that will effect the sound of lossy now in peoples minds?
 
Jul 27, 2011 at 11:17 PM Post #15 of 36

sml1226

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Why aren't lossy and lossless even in numbers here? If you choose one, you're basically saying compression as a whole affects it. If you can hear a difference when it's lossy, you can hear a difference when it's not. Is that a bad assumption, or am I right to think that not noticing problems from compression is an audible difference to a compressed mess of a file as well as compression being an audible difference from the pure sound as it was meant to be?
 

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