High End Audiophile Thread Part 2

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by vbetts, Sep 24, 2018.

  1. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    The Ananda looks to be a sweet headphone, I considered getting them too. The people I bought my DAC from offered me a really good discount.
    What put me off were user experiences with many HifiMan phones that broke due to poor design and poor customer service/no warranty.
    I didnt feel like testing the water.

    Take a look at Meze, their customer service is as good as it gets and their products have top quality build, look and sound.
    When I had a problem with deep bass on my Empyrean they were positive and professional throughout, easy to deal with. They replaced the drivers which was a bit of a bummer because they needed another 200 to 500hrs burn in, but it was worth it.

    Their 99 Classics are held in very high regard and the price is surprisingly low for what you get.
    https://mezeaudio.com/collections/all
    This 99 Classic review reveals how they started with terribly expensive re-badged phones and what they made of themselves since.
    Along with a glowing review
    https://www.audiophileon.com/news/meze-99-classics-review-headphone

    Its well worth looking at other reviews of them.

    edit
    My bad, they arent Planar.
    Meze are really missing a trick not having a middle ground planar.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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  2. theoneofgod

    theoneofgod Ancient Guru

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    If you can, give Sonarworks a try
     
  3. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Why? I already have bunch of EQ presets for my needs.
     
  4. theoneofgod

    theoneofgod Ancient Guru

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    Okay.
     

  5. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    DT 990 Pro 250 Ohm headphones arrived today. (Wasn't expecting them until Tuesday) Grabbed a nice FR chart and did my EQ tweaks, tho the can's tuning by itself isn't that bad. Just a treble hump in the 7-8K range, and typical "lively" U-shaped curve. Probably why people say it's warm and somewhat bright. Anyhoo, thus begins the long process of playing my set of test tracks and tweaking accordingly, while still endeavoring to maintain the can's original signature. After all, why have all your cans sound the same? :D

    I found it odd that they come with 1/8" stereo plug installed, with 1/4" threaded on. *shrug* Otherwise, unit was new, and I like the fact that most of the unit can be torn down and replaced. The cabling is fixed, however.

    In comparison to the HD580 and MDR-SA5000, I put these in the middle of the two. Soundstage is a natural presentation, tho the Sony's are better with songs with a sweeping orchestral design, like Billy Joel's "The Downeaster Alexa". The DT 990 are detailed and fast response, and have this in common with the Sony's, but when listening to that song on the Sony's I end up swaying back-and-forth to the rhythm. :) [EDIT: Applied +2dB to 20-150Hz range and restored the bass impact, song sounds more upbeat and overall better.]

    We'll see what I think of them after a week of using them.

    Comfort: not heavy, lighter than the HD580, Sony are lighter. Velour cups, not bad tho warmer than the leather Sony cups. Shouldn't be a problem with long-term listening.

    EDIT2: Headphones work quite well plugged into my LG V40 ThinQ phone with Hi-Fi Quad DAC enabled.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
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  6. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    UPDATE: Installed Equalizer APO, and spent some time learning how it works. Grabbed a bunch of presets from AutoEQ for my 3 headphones, and set everything up using Parametric EQ. Wish I had known about this before, doing my own is so time consuming. Funny that a couple of my EQ's were similar to those provided, but I like theirs better, cuz they retain more of the signature sound of the respective cans.

    So after all is said and done, and listening to my test tracks, I have to say the Sony MDR-SA5000 are still my overall favorite. More spacious sound, the PEQ settings really restored the timbre of the music, which was something I value in the HD580. Also, they're easier to drive, with the BeyerDynamic DT990 Pro's being the hardest. The Sony's have better dynamic range and impact, and the PEQ made them a bit livelier, which is a good thing. I'll still be keeping the DT990 cans, I love switching up from time to time. I'll have to still adjust the DT990 PEQ, because the inherent U-shaped tuning causes the bass to be a tad too strong and somewhat overdone.

    Another bonus is that EQ APO applies to all audio, so it benefits movie playback and gaming.
     
  7. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    https://jcat.eu/product/net-card-femto/

    An audiophile network card for $480. Why, God, why??

     
  8. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    lol
    This is for those that want every last ounce of detail out of their PC controlled DAC.
    The idea being that processing noise within a PC is responsible for masking some of the very fine detail on very high end audio systems.
    You play back the audio on one PC, send it over network to a 2nd PC that sends it to the DAC.
    That 2nd PC is doing so little its near the best it can be for noise and the CPU is available to service audio immediately so timing is more precise.
    The software player can shut down most of the OS and display to bring EM and conducted noise to a minimum.
    ***Unless you have an extremely good DAC/amp/speakers and want to get the very best out of them, you wont care about this.***

    The network card is designed to reduce EM and electrical interference produced by the 2nd PC controlling the DAC.
    This nw card minimises its own EM emissions and conducted noise.
    Its about perfecting the setup.
    Some people have gone as far to convert the network to optical to minimise noise transferring between PCs. Then you only have to worry about noise/timing on the actual incoming signal.

    There are a few software players that can use 2 PCs to play audio in this fashion.
    Jplay is one.
    HQPlayer can do it too I believe but I have not tried.
    There may be more.

    I considered going this route a few years ago but am more than satisfied using HQPlayer (for very high quality upsampling) with a single PC on my newish DAC that I dont care. Its crazy what extra HQPlayer brings out from the music if your kit is good enough!
    Though tbh I often use Foobar despite it not being quite so detailed because I get such a f**k ton of extremely fine detail anyway, and its so much easier to use, EQ etc.
    Note, I would never have bought this network card, even if I went the 2 PC route.

    ps
    HQPlayer demo is free and doesnt expire but you only get 1/2hr at one go.

    JPlay used to have a free demo which acted as a plugin for a few players like Foobar, the demo cuts the sound for a few seconds every 5 mins or so.
    It also came with another standalone player that disables the display while cutting down processes, playing on a single PC. There is a good difference in detail with this player, and the normal JPlay plugin is no slouch either.
    Of the 2 I prefer the sound of HQPlayer upsampling, more detailed and easier on the ear (and less buggy!! JPlay might have fixed that now though, I havent tried it for over 1.5 yrs)
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
  9. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Cause some people don't know about external dedicated dac units. The price people pay for being dumb. Can't wait to see audiophile video card, memory and motherboard. Gotta get them all for ultimate audiophile experience, otherwise some component gonna mess up the soundcard card you got in your PC with electronic interference.
     
  10. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Its designed to be used alongside an external DAC.
     

  11. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    What? I don't understand this mess anymore.
     
  12. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I explained in the post above your first reply, #188
    Its for a 2 PC music playback system to help reduce EM and electrical noise.
    Its not required unless you are after very high end results.
     
  13. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Noise coming from where? Affecting what (digital or analog signal) ?

    If we talk about noise coming from inside of the PC when converting Digital Signal to Analog, you also have to consider videocard and other components.
     
  14. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Yes, reducing any form of EM or electrical noise but before it gets to the DAC, purely digital domain.
    If you read my post it covers disabling video and reduced use of the PC, thats what this is about.

    ps I didnt bring this up or recommend it.
    I wouldnt use this card myself and have not used the dual PC route to play music because I am more than happy without it.
     
  15. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Using optical cable seems like a cheaper and more elegant solution to me (Just SPDIF in and out ports). You also mentioned it.
     

  16. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    I think @sverek is gagging on the concept of distorting digital information from EMI radiation. Rightfully so.

    This ranks with the concept of digital audio quality is affected by the media they are stored on. And using silver interconnects for digital because it enhances some aspect of the audio, like better treble.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  17. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I agree, but I am not in a position to try any of this to determine what actually works best.

    I used to have an Oppo 105 and Oppo 205.
    These can accept audio over USB from PC, USB drive, SPDIF, HDMI and network.
    edit: and it can play disks.
    There is a difference in how each sounds:

    HDMI was unpleasant, rough, sibilant. I only ever used this for surround gaming. Movies/music were played direct from the player via spinny disk or with a USB drive.
    USB from PC was really good, no roughness and tons of detail.
    SPDIF optical, network and USB drive (direct to the Oppo) were best, slightly smoother/laid back sound, an easier listen.
    edit: disk playback is also right at top for quality and ease of listening.

    There is method in the madness.
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2019
  18. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    I thought there no difference between digital signal, it's just passing 0/1.
    The same 0/1 you get by HDMI, USB, Ethernet, SPDIF, etc... The same 16bit 44,100hz audio that you copy in your PC.

    Wouldn't the difference rather be in the way the digital signal being converted to the analog?
    (For example HDMI DAC is poor quality and USB DAC is better one?)

    I just can't wrap my head around how digital signal can be messed up so badly that 0 becomes 1 and 1 becomes 0.
     
  19. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    That's my point, it's audiophile foolery. Plugging the DAC into the original source with all the EMI of the PC, vs transporting it around over a network and a surrogate PC to a DAC, would result in an identical package of 1's and 0's that the DAC would decode.
     
  20. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    oops duplicate
     

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