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What is the sound quality of iPhone, iPad, iPod (Touch)?

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by dlangendorf, Sep 12, 2012.
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  1. elfary
  2. Sgt. Ear Ache
    this is an interesting thread...


    it's baffling to me that some in the audiophile world have such a difficult time accepting the value of blind testing. Even in light of the fact that in blind testing it's shown to be impossible to differentiate between a $30 dac and a $3000 one, still there's people desperately clinging to the notion that there is something about the expensive model that makes it worth the money - and that there is something about blind testing that makes audio exempt from it as a use-able procedure. They make silly statements such as "I've never understood the need to compare different products" Um...what? This entire hobby is largely based on comparisons of different products - unfortunately, those comparisons are usually completely subjective and totally meaningless. If I'm being lead to believe that there is something meaningful that justifies spending $3000, or even $300 on a product rather than $30, a (true, blind) comparison between those products matters. If I can't get any real, audible benefit from the more expensive item, then I'd much rather save the money and put it towards something I know will make a difference. Imho, a $3000 dac should not just be a modest improvement over a $30 one. It should be substantial, easily identifiable, significant. It's not. In fact, the difference appears to be completely insignificant - even non-existent. Same goes for expensive cables. Unless there's a difference evident in blind testing, give me the cheap ones thank you.
    sonitus mirus and TheSonicTruth like this.
  3. SparkOnShore
    + 1.000.000!!

    This is a very important post from sgt ear ache!! Please send it to all fools audiophiles all around the globe! Sgt thanks a lot for being here!
  4. krismusic Contributor
    I agree except... When you conduct a blind test, is it not true to say that one of the things you are testing is your ability to pick out small differences? i.e. One vital piece of test equipment may be faulty. Your ears!
  5. Sgt. Ear Ache
    I don't know what point you are making. Ideally, the sort of blind testing I'm most interested in is having the test conducted on a variety of different subjects - as in not just my ears or one set of ears but the ears of several different people. Sure, maybe my ears are no good (although I can certainly hear fairly subtle differences between different models of headphones), but if a dozen people take the test and none of them can distinguish a difference then it's less likely to be bad ears. And we aren't talking here about items that are $100 and $140. We're talking about something that is almost no money on one hand, and several thousand dollars on the other. One would hope that it wouldn't be too hard for average ears to tell the difference...

    not to mention when people present their recommendations for these things, they often make claims to the effect that the differences are dramatic. It will be "I've been listening to my new Topping DX1000 dac for the past few hours and holy crap this thing is amazing! It blows my old fiio XYZ away...seriously night and day improvement!" If the difference is actually dramatic, I'm pretty sure most people with more than a passing interest in music and audio would be able to identify some distinction in a blind test...
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
  6. krismusic Contributor
    I didn't realise that a blind test had to be a group test.
  7. Sgt. Ear Ache
    Well it doesn't have to be. But obviously, the more people who take the same test the better...the results just become more and more conclusive.
  8. krismusic Contributor
    When I blind tested the Mojo against the iPhone, I did so with one other. We found it amusing that neither of us could detect a difference. To the point that with the same track playing simultaneously, we couldn't tell when the signal had been switched! It would be great to conduct a larger test but almost impossible to arrange.
  9. bigshot
    The thresholds of audibility are just as important as the spec sheet on an audio component. Audibility is the context for the numbers on the spec sheet. The problem with audiophiles is that they chase endless incremental improvements in numbers far beyond their ability to perceive the improvement. They sit in their living room listening to a Beethoven symphony convinced that with their DAC it must sound purer than with a cheap DAC. But the truth is, it sounds exactly the same because even cheap DACs are capable of achieving audible transparency.

    Controlled testing puts the lie to audiophile common knowledge like Cirrus is better than Wolfson and 24 bits is better than 16 and DSD is better than PCM. It would be possible to correctly predict how something might sound by the numbers if you know the context of what our ears can and can't hear, but audiophiles only want to believe that they can hear the inaudible through training and their inborn discerning nature. They don't want to admit that they have ordinary human ears like everyone else and they hear the same frequencies as anyone else.

    You made the effort to find out for yourself, so the results had more impact. I've seen many examples of audiophiles being presented with careful peer reviewed studies showing that they are incorrect, only for the audiophiles to dismiss them out of hand as "flawed studies". Did they bother to do a test themselves? Nope.

    Proof doesn't make any difference if someone flat out doesn't want to know the truth. You made an effort. It wasn't hard, but your results mean more to you that way. They're also a hell of a lot more useful to you than the audiophile's common knowledge. I think people learning for themselves is a lot better than controlled tests with large pools of people being tested. It's easier to dismiss a finding written on a piece of paper than it is to dismiss the fact that you can't hear a difference as hard as you try.
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
    gregorio and Sgt. Ear Ache like this.
  10. Sgt. Ear Ache
    Yes for sure, as far as my own knowledge is concerned I would love to do a bunch of these tests myself. In the absence of having tested myself, I like the big tests on large groups. However, it's true that those can always be shot down as having been "flawed" in some way...or simply as having been faked to achieve a certain outcome. But, the more the preponderance of available evidence points in one direction the harder it becomes to disregard...

    And while it is great that krismusic challenged himself by taking the test...if he came here and claimed to have done so and that he had been able to hear a difference, he'd have been asked to provide proof right? Would you have believed him?

    Has Mythbusters ever done an episode testing audiophile myths?? :D
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
  11. bigshot
    If a small scale test shows a clearly perceptible difference, then you do more tests with more people to verify it. You don’t need to verify a null result.

    Doing listening tests is easy and the equipment to do it is only about $50. If you were interested, folks here could give advice on how to DIY and not have to depend solely on what people tell you you can or can’t hear.

    For myth busting, see the AES links in my sig file
    Last edited: May 31, 2019
  12. Sgt. Ear Ache
    Ah cool thanks. I'll watch that later...
  13. The Socialist Nerd
    Personally I think the new iPod touch *7th gen will sound better than my iPhone XR. Less interference which is key.
  14. SparkOnShore
    But we use Apple’s lightning to 3,5 dongle anymore for audio out.
  15. SparkOnShore
    But we use Apple’s lightning to 3,5 dongle anymore for audio out.
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