Should you color your DAC or your amp?
Aug 24, 2021 at 10:25 AM Post #31 of 236

gregorio

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Missing Jude’s point here 21:53.....There is a range of neutrality.

You didn't need to post it once, let alone twice!

You're right though, I must be missing the point. Assuming "neutrality" means accurate (flat) frequency response, then of course you would want that across the entire audible spectrum range. And that's what you get with any half decent DAC. Jude mentions a slight bass lift and I personally don't really have a problem with that, due to the point I made about fidelity above.

I'm not sure if Jude has actually measured the HPs or it's just his personal perception though, I just watched a few seconds around the time you suggested. But I don't see how it supports what you stated and disproves what I've stated.

G
 
Aug 24, 2021 at 10:39 AM Post #32 of 236

Redcarmoose

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All I’m saying is I don’t think that there truly is a firm frequency response of neutral. I agree the IPhone is neutral. But..... there are actually many variations of “neutral”. FR may be 80% of why an individual likes a headphone, but there is more freedom in the response curve. All is a range of neutrality. There is even, correct and complete frequency response curves that are brighter and darker, more mid-rangy. They are still correct and reflect what the audio engineer wanted, still maybe not exactly the same tone he or she heard upon making the recording. It’s OK.

He measured the schiit out of the headphone. But again, this is nothing new, I mean it’s maybe fairly new? The idea of a broad range of neutrality?
You didn't need to post it once, let alone twice!

You're right though, I must be missing the point. Assuming "neutrality" means accurate (flat) frequency response, then of course you would want that across the entire audible spectrum range. And that's what you get with any half decent DAC. Jude mentions a slight bass lift and I personally don't really have a problem with that, due to the point I made about fidelity above.

I'm not sure if Jude has actually measured the HPs or it's just his personal perception though, I just watched a few seconds around the time you suggested. But I don't see how it supports what you stated and disproves what I've stated.

G
 
Aug 24, 2021 at 10:40 AM Post #33 of 236

gregorio

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Often times, even musicians aren’t sure what outcome they are looking for. Some participate throughout an entire process to certain degree, some don’t. In that case mixing/mastering engineers are left with their own creative vision and experience to make it work. It’s an art form and results vary.
Exactly, that's the difference between us. It's an art form with all manner of very specific details, informed by collectively decades of practice and knowledge, I respect that and therefore want to try and reproduce it as accurately as possible. You on the other hand what to change it, which is up to you of course.
Perhaps in headphone world some guidelines are standards are in fact useful and justified but in stereo speaker domain with so many variables (room being the largest offender), flat FR doesn’t mean a whole lot. Unless you want to turn your living space to anechoic chamber. :wink:
Yes, the noise and distortion of speakers, rooms and headphones are massively more than the distortion of any half decent DAC or Amp. So, it makes a great deal of sense to look for improvements in your speakers, acoustics or headphones and none at all by changing your DAC or Amp!

G
 
Aug 24, 2021 at 10:53 AM Post #34 of 236

Redcarmoose

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How can it be an illusion? A correct frequency response is very much needed for fidelity. Anytime we have the means to determine what neutral is, getting it goes toward fidelity. By definition.

You can very much dispute the concept of a universal flat for headphones, and I’ll back you up on it. Because we do need a more or less custom compensation for the missing parts of the listener’s HRTF when we use headphone/IEM.
Or you can simply decide to go for something you enjoy even though it’s not your flat. Nothing wrong with personal choices.
But fidelity is fidelity.
Yes, I had to read that over and over. So? Your saying Headphones can have many variations. But the recording and sound replay (before the headphone) need to follow fidelity which is? Flat? Even though, variations in recording process are “variations”. The electronic replay (before the headphone) needs to follow very strict rules?
 
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Aug 24, 2021 at 10:53 AM Post #35 of 236

gregorio

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[1] All I’m saying is I don’t think that there truly is a firm frequency response of neutral. I agree the IPhone is neutral. But..... there are actually many variations of “neutral”.

[2] He measured the schiit out of the headphone. But again, this is nothing new, I mean it’s maybe fairly new? The idea of a broad range of neutrality?

1. Exactly, "neutral" is an audiophile term not a scientific audio term and therefore it could mean pretty much anything anyone want's it to mean. Therefore, I could agree that the iphone is neutral and disagree that the iphone is neutral and be right both times. However, if we take "neutral" to mean some objective audio property, like frequency response, then if I disagree that an iphone is neutral, I'd be wrong.

2. Again, if we are saying that "neutrality" is accuracy (flatness) of freq response, then the idea is pretty much as old as audio itself. Of course though, that idea was an unachievable ideal until digital audio came along.

G
 
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Aug 24, 2021 at 10:55 AM Post #36 of 236

Redcarmoose

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1. Exactly, "neutral" is an audiophile term not a scientific audio term and therefore it could mean pretty much anything anyone want's it to mean. Therefore, I could agree that the iphone is neutral and disagree that the iphone and be right both times. However, if we take "neutral" to mean some objective audio property, like frequency response, then if I disagree that an iphone is neutral, I'd be wrong.

2. Again, if we are saying that "neutrality" is accuracy (flatness) of freq response, then the idea is pretty much as old as audio itself. Of course though, that idea was an unachievable ideal until digital audio came along.

G
Wow!
 
Aug 24, 2021 at 11:12 AM Post #37 of 236

gregorio

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Yes, I had to read that over and over. So? Your saying Headphones can have many variations. But the recording and sound replay need to follow fidelity which is? Flat?

Yes, he's saying the same as I am. Fidelity requires a flat response and we want to record, store and reconstruct that recording in high fidelity (therefore with a flat response). Please note again that a flat response does NOT mean that the frequency content of what we're recording, storing or reconstructing is flat! Relatively, headphones and speakers/acoustics are all over the place, particularly speakers/acoustics but headphones have their own issues. That's where you make meaningful changes!


Why "Wow"?

G
 
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Aug 24, 2021 at 11:25 AM Post #38 of 236

Redcarmoose

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Yes, he's saying the same as I am. Fidelity requires a flat response and we want to record, store and reconstruct that recording in high fidelity (therefore with a flat response). Please note again that a flat response does NOT mean that the frequency content of what we're recording, storing or reconstructing is flat! Relatively, headphones and speakers/acoustics are all over the place, particularly speakers/acoustics but headphones have their own issues. That's where you make meaningful changes!



Why "Wow"?

G
But amps are all over the place as far as character? And there are variations in tone of a variety of sources? Those are the electrical elements before the headphone and after the recording process. So? Then they are musical but not accurate? And not accurate is “OK”?

I just stated Wow, because of surprises in what you wrote.
 
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Aug 24, 2021 at 11:26 AM Post #39 of 236

FYFL

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I respect that and therefore want to try and reproduce it as accurately as possible. You on the other hand what to change it, which is up to you of course.
“Accuracy” is overrated. Especially in audiophile world.
End result is always, music enjoyment. At least to me that’s ultimate goal. Audio components are just tools that help me achieve that goal. Measurements and critically scrutinizing of any particular component in audio chain is fine but at the end it’s the emotional connection to music that should matter the most. How you get there and with which component choice is irrelevant.
 
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Aug 24, 2021 at 11:36 AM Post #40 of 236

Redcarmoose

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Yes, he's saying the same as I am. Fidelity requires a flat response and we want to record, store and reconstruct that recording in high fidelity (therefore with a flat response). Please note again that a flat response does NOT mean that the frequency content of what we're recording, storing or reconstructing is flat! Relatively, headphones and speakers/acoustics are all over the place, particularly speakers/acoustics but headphones have their own issues. That's where you make meaningful changes!



Why "Wow"?

G
Studio recordings don’t follow any style of standardization so there is no way to achieve “flat” at a recording level. This smears fidelity in playback.

We can only hope to achieve an approximation, a variety of quality.
 
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Aug 24, 2021 at 1:14 PM Post #41 of 236

gregorio

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[1] But amps are all over the place as far as character? And there are variations in tone of a variety of sources? [2] Those are the electrical elements before the headphone and after the recording process. [3] So? Then they are musical but not accurate? And not accurate is “OK”?
1. Not in my experience, nearly all consumer amps and all studio amps are pretty flat and that's been true for many years. Even some of the more exotic audiophile amps are pretty flat. Obviously this assumes they are not being over driven and have the appropriate power/impedance for the job. That last part is not necessarily easy to assume in the special case of IEMs, because some/many have very strange (low) impedance requirements and therefore can audibly affect the performance of amps. Aside from this, I'm not really in the loop of the latest audiophile amps and I don't know if there are currently some that seriously deviate from flat. Maybe others know better? If there are amps with character, I certainly don't want one, the only character I want is the character put there by the musicians/artists. Of course, this is just for reproduction, amps used by say electric guitarists are deliberately not flat and are deliberately overdriven to produce massive amounts of distortion, these certainly have character and it's important they do, because that's what defines the sound of an electric guitar and without it, an electric guitar doesn't have any character, they just produce a quiet twang sound!

2. As the name suggests, an amplifier should amplify and a DAC should convert digital audio data to an analogue signal, that's it, nothing more, no distortion.

3. Again, I don't see how an amp can be musical ... does an amp even know what musicality is and whose musicality, Mozart's or Meat Loaf's? If there is such a thing as a musical amp, I certainly don't want one. I want the musicality of the musicians, not of my speaker or headphone amp.
I just stated Wow, because of surprises in what you wrote.
In which case, my response is Wow, because I'm surprised that my words would surprise you! :)
“Accuracy” is overrated. Especially in audiophile world.
End result is always, music enjoyment. At least to me that’s ultimate goal. Audio components are just tools that help me achieve that goal. Measurements and critically scrutinizing of any particular component in audio chain is fine but at the end it’s the emotional connection to music that should matter the most. How you get there and with which component choice is irrelevant.
That appears self contradictory to me. I suppose it depends on what you mean by music, whose music? For example, if you have more of an emotional connection or more enjoyment by distorting the music with say a tube amp, isn't your extra emotional connection/enjoyment with the tube amp? If I want to enjoy the music itself and have an emotional connection to music/musicians then surely I want to reproduce it accurately and not obscure any of it with distortion introduced deliberately.
[1] Studio recordings don’t follow any style of standardization so there is no way to achieve “flat” at a recording level. [2] This smears fidelity in playback.
1. Ah, it seems you didn't note what I repeated "Please note again that a flat response does NOT mean that the frequency content of what we're recording, storing or reconstructing is flat!" If we record a bass for example, obviously we don't want the frequency content to be flat, we obviously want it to be bass heavy. And furthermore, particularly with an electric bass, we're likely to apply considerable processing both by the bass player when performing and afterwards when mixing. We want to record all this with a flat frequency response, IE. No lost, added, boosted or reduced frequencies, just the frequencies we (the musicians/engineers) put there. Also, as virtually all studios record using ruler flat ADCs, there is effectively a standardization that is "flat" at the recording level but again this is a flat frequency response, NOT flat frequency content!

2. No, it's the exact opposite! As a flat frequency response means no frequencies that are lost, added or changed, then not having a flat frequency response means you ARE loosing, adding or changing the frequencies on the recording and that is lower fidelity.

G
 
Aug 24, 2021 at 1:39 PM Post #42 of 236

FYFL

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That appears self contradictory to me. I suppose it depends on what you mean by music, whose music? For example, if you have more of an emotional connection or more enjoyment by distorting the music with say a tube amp, isn't your extra emotional connection/enjoyment with the tube amp? If I want to enjoy the music itself and have an emotional connection to music/musicians then surely I want to reproduce it accurately and not obscure any of it with distortion introduced deliberately.
I do NOT get emotional while looking at vacuum tubes glowing or any deliberate sound characteristics imposed purposely or not by manufacturer. Lol
Emotional connection to the performance could be perceived as incredibly lifelike and intimate experience. When a recording fools your senses and transport an individual back in time and place when and where that performance took place, it’s the experience I am talking about. People shoot for neutrality or “naturalness” (whatever that means) in reference to their rig abilities to resolve musical information from the recording. For me, it equals to goosebumps filled ride in a time capsule. Ofcause, quality of mastering/recording is responsible in large for that sort of experience. And with that being said, do I really care what measurements tell me or how many zeros measurable number follows in its THD graph? Not really. And finally, I think we are all trying to get to the same place. Some of us just focus on things that are less relevant to measurements aficionados in this hobby.
 
Aug 24, 2021 at 5:28 PM Post #43 of 236

Redcarmoose

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1. Not in my experience, nearly all consumer amps and all studio amps are pretty flat and that's been true for many years. Even some of the more exotic audiophile amps are pretty flat. Obviously this assumes they are not being over driven and have the appropriate power/impedance for the job. That last part is not necessarily easy to assume in the special case of IEMs, because some/many have very strange (low) impedance requirements and therefore can audibly affect the performance of amps. Aside from this, I'm not really in the loop of the latest audiophile amps and I don't know if there are currently some that seriously deviate from flat. Maybe others know better? If there are amps with character, I certainly don't want one, the only character I want is the character put there by the musicians/artists. Of course, this is just for reproduction, amps used by say electric guitarists are deliberately not flat and are deliberately overdriven to produce massive amounts of distortion, these certainly have character and it's important they do, because that's what defines the sound of an electric guitar and without it, an electric guitar doesn't have any character, they just produce a quiet twang sound!

2. As the name suggests, an amplifier should amplify and a DAC should convert digital audio data to an analogue signal, that's it, nothing more, no distortion.

3. Again, I don't see how an amp can be musical ... does an amp even know what musicality is and whose musicality, Mozart's or Meat Loaf's? If there is such a thing as a musical amp, I certainly don't want one. I want the musicality of the musicians, not of my speaker or headphone amp.

In which case, my response is Wow, because I'm surprised that my words would surprise you! :)

That appears self contradictory to me. I suppose it depends on what you mean by music, whose music? For example, if you have more of an emotional connection or more enjoyment by distorting the music with say a tube amp, isn't your extra emotional connection/enjoyment with the tube amp? If I want to enjoy the music itself and have an emotional connection to music/musicians then surely I want to reproduce it accurately and not obscure any of it with distortion introduced deliberately.

1. Ah, it seems you didn't note what I repeated "Please note again that a flat response does NOT mean that the frequency content of what we're recording, storing or reconstructing is flat!" If we record a bass for example, obviously we don't want the frequency content to be flat, we obviously want it to be bass heavy. And furthermore, particularly with an electric bass, we're likely to apply considerable processing both by the bass player when performing and afterwards when mixing. We want to record all this with a flat frequency response, IE. No lost, added, boosted or reduced frequencies, just the frequencies we (the musicians/engineers) put there. Also, as virtually all studios record using ruler flat ADCs, there is effectively a standardization that is "flat" at the recording level but again this is a flat frequency response, NOT flat frequency content!

2. No, it's the exact opposite! As a flat frequency response means no frequencies that are lost, added or changed, then not having a flat frequency response means you ARE loosing, adding or changing the frequencies on the recording and that is lower fidelity.

G
Screen Shot 2021-08-25 at 5.11.13 AM.jpg
Screen Shot 2021-08-25 at 5.19.56 AM.jpg
 
Aug 24, 2021 at 5:32 PM Post #44 of 236

Redcarmoose

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In consequence this lack of standardization and control is the ..........................

Note "Spectral Balances"

So the room where the producer listens has various examples of different playback, studio to studio.

Producer A: one sound
Producer B: another set of mastering speakers, another sound mixed.

Thus every example of recorded music has different tone. This explains the variations in CD quality. Some studios have a similar sound but nothing is standardized.

Your quote:
1. Ah, it seems you didn't note what I repeated "Please note again that a flat response does NOT mean that the frequency content of what we're recording, storing or reconstructing is flat!" If we record a bass for example, obviously we don't want the frequency content to be flat, we obviously want it to be bass heavy. And furthermore, particularly with an electric bass, we're likely to apply considerable processing both by the bass player when performing and afterwards when mixing. We want to record all this with a flat frequency response, IE. No lost, added, boosted or reduced frequencies, just the frequencies we (the musicians/engineers) put there. Also, as virtually all studios record using ruler flat ADCs, there is effectively a standardization that is "flat" at the recording level but again this is a flat frequency response, NOT flat frequency content!

So how is it possible when mixing that a standardization is achieved? Thus not one way is always the same for every studio across the globe. What the producers hear from the speakers is different from every mixing station, one to another?
 
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Aug 24, 2021 at 5:38 PM Post #45 of 236

Redcarmoose

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1. Not in my experience, nearly all consumer amps and all studio amps are pretty flat and that's been true for many years. Even some of the more exotic audiophile amps are pretty flat. Obviously this assumes they are not being over driven and have the appropriate power/impedance for the job. That last part is not necessarily easy to assume in the special case of IEMs, because some/many have very strange (low) impedance requirements and therefore can audibly affect the performance of amps. Aside from this, I'm not really in the loop of the latest audiophile amps and I don't know if there are currently some that seriously deviate from flat. Maybe others know better? If there are amps with character, I certainly don't want one, the only character I want is the character put there by the musicians/artists. Of course, this is just for reproduction, amps used by say electric guitarists are deliberately not flat and are deliberately overdriven to produce massive amounts of distortion, these certainly have character and it's important they do, because that's what defines the sound of an electric guitar and without it, an electric guitar doesn't have any character, they just produce a quiet twang sound!

2. As the name suggests, an amplifier should amplify and a DAC should convert digital audio data to an analogue signal, that's it, nothing more, no distortion.

3. Again, I don't see how an amp can be musical ... does an amp even know what musicality is and whose musicality, Mozart's or Meat Loaf's? If there is such a thing as a musical amp, I certainly don't want one. I want the musicality of the musicians, not of my speaker or headphone amp.

In which case, my response is Wow, because I'm surprised that my words would surprise you! :)

That appears self contradictory to me. I suppose it depends on what you mean by music, whose music? For example, if you have more of an emotional connection or more enjoyment by distorting the music with say a tube amp, isn't your extra emotional connection/enjoyment with the tube amp? If I want to enjoy the music itself and have an emotional connection to music/musicians then surely I want to reproduce it accurately and not obscure any of it with distortion introduced deliberately.

1. Ah, it seems you didn't note what I repeated "Please note again that a flat response does NOT mean that the frequency content of what we're recording, storing or reconstructing is flat!" If we record a bass for example, obviously we don't want the frequency content to be flat, we obviously want it to be bass heavy. And furthermore, particularly with an electric bass, we're likely to apply considerable processing both by the bass player when performing and afterwards when mixing. We want to record all this with a flat frequency response, IE. No lost, added, boosted or reduced frequencies, just the frequencies we (the musicians/engineers) put there. Also, as virtually all studios record using ruler flat ADCs, there is effectively a standardization that is "flat" at the recording level but again this is a flat frequency response, NOT flat frequency content!

2. No, it's the exact opposite! As a flat frequency response means no frequencies that are lost, added or changed, then not having a flat frequency response means you ARE loosing, adding or changing the frequencies on the recording and that is lower fidelity.

G
So? Your saying all amplifiers sound the same?............the ones you personally heard, so you believe all amplifiers sound the same?
 

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