What Component (To You) Has The Biggest Impact On The Sound Of A System?
Jul 31, 2007 at 6:21 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 131

Rise To The Top

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Which component of a headphone rig has the biggest impact on sound? Is it the headphone, the amp, or the source? Or even cables (in Patrick's case). Discuss.
 
Jul 31, 2007 at 6:32 AM Post #2 of 131

Chris_Himself

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headphone. i think amps only let you hear more of the headphone. because we all have some kind of source, so we find a headphone that caters to our needs and equipment, and eventually an amp to cater to the headphone's needs.

cables... uhh, well you need them, and you tailor them to what you might want in your setup.

1000 dollar cryo treated cables to radio shack gold plated cables DO play an important role, but not as important as the initial investment we all have to make in headphones.
 
Jul 31, 2007 at 6:45 AM Post #3 of 131

Cor

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Answer 1: The part that's sub-standard.
Answer 2: Assuming everything is reasonably adequate for its purpose, my big #1 is not the gear, but the music you're playing on it.

Explanation 1: Say you have awesome cans, amp, and source, but for the cable you're using a 200' run of 32AWG wire and half of it is tightly coiled around a power cable. That cable is substandard, and it's going to drag the rest of the system down with it. Similarily, if you're trying to drive a pair of Stax's with an iPod, your amp (or lack thereof) is the substandard component.
Explanation 2: Garbage in, etc..
 
Jul 31, 2007 at 6:53 AM Post #5 of 131

Azure

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[size=large]1. Headphones[/size]
[size=medium]2. Source[/size]
3. Amp
[size=xx-small]4. Cables[/size]
 
Jul 31, 2007 at 6:57 AM Post #6 of 131

Torula Yeast

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So far it's three to one in favor of the cans.

And if this question were posted in, say, the amp forum...?
cool.gif
 
Jul 31, 2007 at 6:58 AM Post #7 of 131

granodemostasa

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On the sound sig:

1. Headphones
2. Amp
3. Source
4. cables

On the Sound quality

1. Source
2. Amp
3. Headphones
4. cables.
 
Jul 31, 2007 at 7:04 AM Post #8 of 131

vcoheda

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source

as the name suggests, it is the starting point from which the music arises. without a strong source, the rest is pointless.
 
Jul 31, 2007 at 7:08 AM Post #9 of 131

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Quote:

Originally Posted by vcoheda /img/forum/go_quote.gif
source

as the name suggests, it is the starting point from which the music arises. without a strong source, the rest is pointless.



x2. Headphones can always be switched around for different sound sigs of the setup at hand.
 
Jul 31, 2007 at 7:14 AM Post #11 of 131

Rise To The Top

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Torula Yeast /img/forum/go_quote.gif
So far it's three to one in favor of the cans.

And if this question were posted in, say, the amp forum...?
cool.gif



There would be significantly less headphone votes. Most of the people who lurk the amp/source forum come here frequently. The headphone forum is the most popular, and eveyone visits it. This way everyone gets a voice.
 
Jul 31, 2007 at 7:32 AM Post #13 of 131

Dept_of_Alchemy

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Wow, Team Source-First is out en force today.
smily_headphones1.gif


I think we can all agree that the headphone imparts the most significant difference in the sound quality of a setup, though. You won't get anywhere near perfection UNLESS you have a headphone that fits your taste first. And of course the biggest difference anyone here has experienced that's turned them onto head-fi is that of upgrading from a pair of el cheapo to a proper pair of headphones.

In other words, it's headphone-first for me.

Another critical component that's been neglected in this thread is the quality of the source material. Compare a recording by Simon and Garfunkel to, say, Norah Jones, and the difference is night and day. So looking for well-recorded material is an important aspect of this hobby (especially if you're a classical fan like me) that's been consistantly under-explored in my opinion especially in light of the fanatical attention paid to tweeks like cables and power conditioning of late.
 
Jul 31, 2007 at 7:34 AM Post #14 of 131

krmathis

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1. Headphone
2. Source
3. Amplifier
4. Cables
 

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