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The importance of Components?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by gregorio, Mar 5, 2009.
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  1. gregorio
    I'm curious as to what Head-Fi users consider to be the importance of the various elements and components which contribute to sound quality. Let's say that you have a million points, how would you break it down?

    Here's my evaluation:

    260,000 = Quality of the original recording
    260,000 = Speakers
    260,000 = Acoustic environment
    169,000 = Amplifier
    50,000 = DAC
    500 = Analogue cabling
    500 = Higher sample frequency
    0 = Digital Interconnects
    0 = Higher than 16bit.

    Cheers, G
     
  2. Nick 214
    So you're putting sample frequency over bitrate?
     
  3. gregorio
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Nick 214 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    So you're putting sample frequency over bitrate?



    Yes, on some ADCs and some DACs higher sample rates (88.1 or 96kFs/s) can give a percieved improvement in sound quality due to the smoother anti-alias/reconstruction filters. 24bit is a complete waste of time, no recordings use that additional dynamic range and no DAC can output 24bit resolution anyway.

    G
     
  4. JaZZ Contributor
    I'll give it a try (divided by 1000 for better clarity):

    Speaker setup:
    250 = Quality of the original recording
    250 = Speakers
    250 = Acoustic environment
    070 = Amplifier
    070 = DAC
    060 = Higher sampling frequency
    033 = Analogue cabling
    015 = Higher than 16 bit
    002 = Digital Interconnects

    Headphone setup:
    350 = Headphones
    250 = Quality of the original recording
    150 = Crossfeed (own implementation)
    070 = Amplifier
    070 = DAC
    060 = Higher sampling frequency
    033 = Analogue cabling
    015 = Higher than 16 bit
    002 = Digital Interconnects
    .
     
  5. gregorio
    ^ Jazz, interesting that you put headphones above the quality of the original recording, why do you feel this is the case? What genre of music do you usually listen to?

    G
     
  6. astroid
    000 = Quality of the original recording - quality of this doesnt matter , if its poor it should sound poor.
    500 = Speakers
    180 = Acoustic environment
    100 = Amplifier
    150 = DAC/SOURCE
    010 = Higher sampling frequency
    040 = Analogue cabling
    020 = Higher than 16 bit.
    000 = Digital Interconnects
     
  7. gregorio
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by astroid /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    000 = Quality of the original recording - quality of this doesnt matter , if its poor it should sound poor.



    True, but the question was regarding sound quality. A score of 000 implies that you'd don't consider the quality of the original recording to be a factor when judging overall sound quality. Is that correct?

    When you listen to a recording and it doesn't sound very good, how do you judge whether it's a bad recording or if your system just doesn't represent it very well?

    Interesting as well that you feel bit depth to be more important to sound quality than sample frequency, what leads you to this conclusion?

    G
     
  8. JaZZ Contributor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gregorio /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    ^ Jazz, interesting that you put headphones above the quality of the original recording, why do you feel this is the case? What genre of music do you usually listen to?



    Well, I just gave the same score as with the speaker setup, and since the headphone comprises the speaker system's room acoustics, it scores higher now. But the number is somewhat arbitrary anyway, after all it refers to my now CD collection, which doesn't go below a certain standard in terms of recording quality (because the latter is always part of my evaluation system).

    I listen to independent/progressive/alternative rock/pop, contemporary jazz and contemporary classical and the like. The average recording quality isn't too bad with these genres, I must say.

    I kind of understand astroid's approach to take the recording quality out of the equation, because actually it's beyond our control. And if you take a shellack recording into account, you could absolutely value the recording quality as having 99% of importance for over-all sound quality. Or you could go so far as to value the musical interpretation or the specific sound of the violin (Guarneri, Amati, Stradivari...) or the piano (Steinway, Bösendorfer, Yamaha...) or the voice of the singer(s) as well.
    .
     
  9. gregorio
    Jazz - I kind of understand Asteroid's approach too as recording quality is out of the consumer's control. However, if you listen to a system and it sounds a bit harsh (bit too much mid-hi freqs) how do you know whether that is the system or the mixing/mastering of that particular track or genre? I use mid-hi's as an example because mastering engineers often add these freqs to add more energy to a mix.

    G
     
  10. Pio2001
    For me, in percent :

    Recording quality : 20 %
    Speakers : 39 %
    Acoustics : 39 %
    Amplifier (as long as transistored): 1 %
    Speaker cables : 1 %
    Source (as long as lossless, not portable player, not 20 € DVD player, not high-end tube, NOS or upsampling DAC) : 0 %
    Intereconnects, power cable : 0 %

    For headphones, sum acoustics with speakers and speaker cables : 79 %
     
  11. m0ofassa
    stealing from JaZZ a bit...
    Headphone setup:
    300 = Headphones
    300 = DAC
    150 = Quality of the original recording
    150 = Storage quality (sampling/bitrate/bit depth)
    100 = Amp
    Rest is IDC tier. Just the essentials of getting the sound is all I care about, the rest come in, but not as a whole number factor of 1000.
     
  12. apatN Contributor
    I really can't put this in numbers but:
    1. Headphone
    2. Recording
    3. Source
    4. Amp
    5. Cables
     
  13. panda
    should take recording out of the equation as it is too variable where as your system is consistent.

    1)source
    2)amp
    3)fone
    4)cables

    i used to think the transducer is the most important but i've come to think that source is what sets the sound and goes down from there. it dawned on me that when i had a krell cd player, i was shocked by how it can make even crappy systems sound fun.
     
  14. gregorio
    Interesting how high many of you put headphones, relative to the recording quality. Rather strange really as the products you are listening to have been designed for speakers and a room acoustic, not headphones.

    I'm not trying to insult anyone, I'm just facinated by the view and opinions of consumers, all I usually get to speak to is other professionals. Maybe if I understand better what is going on inside the heads of consumers it may influence how I mix, or at least put a warning sticker on my products!! [​IMG]

    G
     
  15. milkweg
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by gregorio /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Yes, on some ADCs and some DACs higher sample rates (88.1 or 96kFs/s) can give a percieved improvement in sound quality due to the smoother anti-alias/reconstruction filters.



    That's not something I have ever noticed and I give higher sampling rates than 44.1khz for music a big fat 0.
     
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