Source Importance for IEMs?
Aug 28, 2004 at 10:28 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 9

Zoide

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OK, so in past days we've heard quite a bit about amps not being really necessary for IEMs like the Sensaphonics 2X-S and the UE10-Pro and UE-5C. They're supposed to be very efficient and run from belt packs, etc.

So what about sources? Are IEMs also relatively insensitive to source quality? People seem to be glad running them from DAPs, and I suppose musicians do run them from belt packs, both of which I believe are pretty far from a home rig's CDP or nice soundcard + $$$ DAC.

What are IEM owner's impressions on the effect of swapping sources with their IEMs?

Thanks.
 
Aug 28, 2004 at 11:44 PM Post #2 of 9

winty

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My soundcard is significantly better than my DAP (RME HDSP 9632 vs iRiver iHP140). On most of my headphones, I really hear a difference. With the UE10Pro, I struggle to tell the difference between the soundcard and the DAP.

I've drawn the conclusion that the UE10 is very unfussy about source.
 
Aug 28, 2004 at 11:47 PM Post #3 of 9

Kirosia

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I've only used the er-6 and er-4p, and in my experience source matters. It always matters, I would think.
 
Aug 29, 2004 at 12:12 AM Post #4 of 9

lindrone

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Quote:

Originally Posted by winty
My soundcard is significantly better than my DAP (RME HDSP 9632 vs iRiver iHP140). On most of my headphones, I really hear a difference. With the UE10Pro, I struggle to tell the difference between the soundcard and the DAP.

I've drawn the conclusion that the UE10 is very unfussy about source.



That's interesting, I think this is hard to determine because this question has two different factors that will sway your opinion in one way or another depending on how you interprete it.

1. Driveability (hmm.. not very technical term, is it?)

Since high-end IEM's are designed to reach a very high quality of sound even when driven from poor sources (it's like singing an old tune, they are designed for battery driven wireless belt-packs for on-stage performance), you can easily reach a very high level of performance even directly out of a DAP. Most high-end headphones have trouble reaching a high level of performance without being properly amped.

This is more than just a factor of sensitivey and impedance. For example, Sony CD3000 is very sensitive and low impedance, but it doesn't sound nearly as good when coming directly from a DAP versus when it's driven properly.

UE-10 and 2X-S, on the other hand, is pretty consistent with its sound signature regardless if a separate amp is used....


2. Source material

So, one can argue based on the previous observations, that high-end IEM's are more forgiving of its source material because it's easier to drive. Yet, you can also say that because they're so easy to drive, amping is really not that big of a problem, so its performance almost entirely rely on the source material.

I mean, basically, if your source doesn't have enough detail, your encoding bitrate isn't high enough, then it becomes the single biggest factor to affecting the resulting sound. Basically, the amp is out of the equation, the IEM itself is consistent, so what exactly improves your sound quality? It's gotta be the source, right?


So, I think depends on the way you look at it, the answer really isn't that simple. Personally I think lossless encoding sounds much better on these IEM's than any sort of lossy compression, and there is a significant difference; at least a very addictive difference for those who perceive it. I would say that source matters, but in a way, especially in a portable environment, encoding bitrate and method matters even more, because regardless of your DAP's ability to resolve detail, if the source file doesn't have it, it can't add anything back.

On the other hand, the overall sound signature should be pretty consistent even if your original music is crap... disregarding artifacts and such, I'm sure more subtle characteristic such as soundstaging, imaging and decay detail will be somewhat absent.
 
Aug 29, 2004 at 3:10 AM Post #5 of 9

Zoide

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I think the most important thing to determine thus becomes:

How much is it worth spending on a source if one is to use an IEM like the UEs or Sensas?
 
Aug 29, 2004 at 6:36 AM Post #6 of 9

Welly Wu

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Zoide
I think the most important thing to determine thus becomes:

How much is it worth spending on a source if one is to use an IEM like the UEs or Sensas?



Well, my source component is $1600 USD MSRP and my earphones cost $950 USD MSRP. I think my source component is as cutting edge as possible in terms of audio/video performance but I also think that it needs to be heavily modded too. The interesting question is whether my Ue-10 PROs will reveal all of benefits of heavy modifications or not. If so, then great. If not, then I got to get the Grado PS-1s. If I can't make up my mind, then I still got to get the Grado PS-1s!
very_evil_smiley.gif
 
Aug 29, 2004 at 7:03 AM Post #7 of 9

Iron_Dreamer

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I think it is absolutely important. My E5's point out the difference between my Archos and Benchmark much more strongly than my other cans, even the difference between different bitrate MP3's on the Archos. If you don't have a good source, then those uber-expensive earphones are being crippled from the start, since the signal they are handed is not as good as it could have been.
 
Aug 29, 2004 at 7:21 AM Post #8 of 9

KPOT

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Hey, guys, your earlier words contradict your later words! We are talking about sound quality and saying UE10PRO have fantastic detail level and excellent dynamics. So, if they really have it, they must show you any distortion, any sound alteration.... Bad sources means bad sound reproducing, and UE10PRO and other IEMs will show it to you.

Quote:

Having these high quality headphones, the sure thing is that you’ll have to get rid of a considerable part of your CD-collection.But maybe this would be your reward for such a high goal .Anyway, for someone who can afford to invest in this amazing product so many dollars, I think it would be no problem to buy a few qulitative recordings.


 
Aug 31, 2004 at 5:14 PM Post #9 of 9

Zoide

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This is from another (http://www5.head-fi.org/forums/showthread.php?t=83352) thread:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kurt
Quote:

Originally Posted by Iron_Dreamer
I can only imagine what 2XS+DAC1 would be like.


While I’m totally unable to express myself (may even hear as good) as lindrone, yet I hope, I can tell it is a very enjoyable combo.
And even better with the Talisman.
biggrin.gif



Kurt,

Have you compared the sound of your 2X-S with the DAC1 versus other sources? Do the 2X-S show a noticeable (worth $950) improvement when switching to the DAC!?

Thanks.
 

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