High End Audiophile Thread Part 2

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

  1. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    11,668
    Likes Received:
    754
    GPU:
    1080Ti + Xtreme III
    This is all before it gets to the DAC, that has its own issues.
    But if the signal being sent to it has problems, those issues magnify.

    The timing of the 0/1s is what makes a difference and whether they actually get there.
    There can be enough noise that the leading edge of a signal is not received in time, isnt latched in and is discarded. This is passed on to the DAC (or even happens as it enters the DAC chip).
    The DAC chip then has to interpolate which reduces quality.

    When the signal does get latched, timing discrepancies receiving the signal caused by problems such as Jitter are the issue.
    These cause noise, the less the better.
    This is why so much money is spent in digital systems on power supplies, isolation and shielding, to remove noise and keep the pulse timing as accurate as possible.
    Improvements in DACs are not all down to the DAC chip and basic circuit design.
     
  2. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    5,762
    Likes Received:
    2,598
    GPU:
    NOVIDIA -0.5GB
    tltd; Some people suffer more than others.

    Boy I am glad I am don't have such issues.
     
  3. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    11,668
    Likes Received:
    754
    GPU:
    1080Ti + Xtreme III
    You could well have issues and not know about it, but if you dont care it doesnt matter any way.
    Even a different USB port can make a difference with an external DAC.
    With my motherboard (Asus Maximus VIII Hero), USB 3.0 sounds muffled/less detailed in comparison with USB 2.0. Confirmed many times.
    I actually worry whether my next mobo will have USB 2.0 because of this.

    There surely are things that can be done to improve a system (unless they have already been done).
    I tried quite a lot things and have had great success, I dont feel the need to pursue it further myself now. (at least not until something goes pop!)
    If thats where you are at, fair enough :)
     
  4. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    5,762
    Likes Received:
    2,598
    GPU:
    NOVIDIA -0.5GB
    I couldn't tell much difference (besides volume) between SPDIF and USB2.0 for Topping D30 DAC.
    There lots of placebo when changing hardware and cables. So I do my best not to run into judgement and let it sink first.

    Expectations of better sound by applying essential oil on the cables and holy water on the DAC, might make it sound better in someones head!
     

  5. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    11,668
    Likes Received:
    754
    GPU:
    1080Ti + Xtreme III
    I agree, although the quality of equipment used will change what gets exposed.
    As soon as I started using ribbon tweeter speakers the massive improvement in clarity/imaging exposed lots I previously hadnt noticed. Then using biwire (not bi-amp) made treble a little clearer again. Going back to single wire the treble sounded a bit fuzzy. Before using ribbons I had not encountered this.
    ie you may not notice some benefits because they are masked by the system or its setup.

    Some tweaks are clearly better but some you need to be sure. Effects add up so might be worth the time invested.
    I checked results by getting friends or my brother to report their own experiences and participate in blind testing with me.
     
  6. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    5,762
    Likes Received:
    2,598
    GPU:
    NOVIDIA -0.5GB
    Oh yeah, blind testing tells the harsh reality. The only sane island in ocean of madness.
     
  7. SplashDown

    SplashDown Master Guru

    Messages:
    642
    Likes Received:
    78
    GPU:
    EVGA 980ti Classy
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
  8. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    2,248
    Likes Received:
    628
    GPU:
    Nitro 5700 XT
    UPDATE: sold the DT-990 Pro, ordered the DT-1990 Pro. Felt the soundstage was compressed, and instruments that were quiet were disappearing into the background. Hope the Tesla's fare better.
     
  9. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    5,762
    Likes Received:
    2,598
    GPU:
    NOVIDIA -0.5GB
    Oh yeah, DT1990 are definitely more controlled, clear and punchy sounding. However don't expect soundstage to open up. DT1990 trades clarity and imaging over soundstage.

    If you into soundstage, better invest into HD800. Or poors man HD800, AKG712. Bass is rather lacking though. So depends on what you like.
     
  10. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    2,248
    Likes Received:
    628
    GPU:
    Nitro 5700 XT
    [​IMG]

    "Do not underestimate the Power of BeyerDynamic. There will be no other headphones left to stop us this time." - Lord Vader

    [​IMG]

    The soundstage on these isn't as robust as my Sony's, but better than the DT-990, but are quite acceptable [EDIT: Better than acceptable, it's quite good. Nice natural presentation.]. I can see these as studio monitor headphones for editing. Also, soft instruments aren't disappearing to the background either like the DT-990. :D Now I have to retrain my brainz! Breaking them in with the Balanced pads.

    I also invested in a Mini-XLR replacement cable (4') which is more flexible than the stock cables, and easier to use on the desk. I have a habit of pulling my headphones to the floor from the cable entangling with my feet. Neurapathy prevents me from feeling the cable too often.

    EDIT2: After some listening, and getting EQ APO all set up, I compared the Analytic Pads vs the Balanced Pads. The A pads bring the signature sound to be more aligned to the Sony's MDR-SA5000, bright, airy, detailed, and fast, tho not sibilant. If the track you listen to sounds sibilant, it's because it's in the mastering. Don't blame the cans, they are highly revealing, which is the point of studio mastering headphones. :)

    The Balanced pads are more solid, and ventilated, meaning you can move more air and keep it inside the seal. This raises up the lower end, and causes the frequency curve to be more in line with the Harman Curve. I still find it detailed and resolving, just with more timbre and visceral impact. Still, the bass is controlled, and not loose and muddy.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
    Turanis and sverek like this.

  11. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    5,762
    Likes Received:
    2,598
    GPU:
    NOVIDIA -0.5GB
    I knew I saw that picture somewhere else.

    (sorting /r/headphones by new >_>)

    Your points are similar to mine in terms of DT1990 performance. I noticed better bass performance by switching from cheap soundcard (Xonar DG) to dedicated dac/amp (Topping A30/D30).
    Since you already got decent hardware, can't think of anything better for it.

    DT1990 does indeed shine with well mastered song! Hard to watch youtube/music with poor mastering, got myself HD600 for it. It makes everything sound just good.
     
  12. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    2,248
    Likes Received:
    628
    GPU:
    Nitro 5700 XT
    @sverek Yes, /r/headphones is an evil place. :D My impetus for upgrading was several fold:

    1) The MDR-SA5000 is a very fast, detailed, and airy headphone. It's also pre-Harman Curve, and rolls off on the bass/subbass. Much EQ required. Even after EQ, it's still lean on timbre, compared to the HD-580.

    2) The MDR-SA5000 are my second high-end headphone, the first being the HD-580 Precision. Consider how long both have been out of production. My only other can is a V-Moda Crossfade LP, for use on an iPod. I also have an earlier revision of the Headroom Supreme Portable amp. (D-cells vs AA-cells option for portable power). IIRC I got the HD-580 in early 2000's, and the SA5000 somewhere about 2004-2005? So we're talking about 15+ years without a serious upgrade, mostly due to looking for a set of cans that had elements of both cans, without costing a fortune. :)

    3) As of late, due to my neurapathy in my feet, I often get the SA5000 cable caught in my toes without feeling it, and I would get up and the headphones get yanked to the floor. The SA5000 are known for having delicate wiring in the base of the cans, and soldering required to replace the cable. I do <3 these cans, and so was concerned with maintaining them, especially since they are long out of production. The DT-1990 are very tankish, and I appreciate the mini-XLR connection.

    4) I find the DT-1990 to be what I was looking for: a MDR-SA5000 successor with strengths where the SA5000 were lacking. Strong build quality; the mini-XLR connection won't wimp out on me in 10 years. And the DT-1990 perform very well with any genre, and can be tuned via the pads to your tastes. They also are very close to the Harman Curve in tuning, except in the treble, but you can use them w/o EQ. If the 8K Hz bump is too annoying for you, you can tame it with a passive inline filter, an EQ, or even some screen additions. (I was amused at the paper towel mod, reminds me of using nylon stockings cutouts to replace my back pads on the HD-580.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2019
    sverek likes this.
  13. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    5,762
    Likes Received:
    2,598
    GPU:
    NOVIDIA -0.5GB
    Was looking for EQ to play with for DT1990. Found interesting EQ from oratory1990. The difference between other EQs I applied, oratory EQ didn't make DT1990 sound boring.

    It basically keeps the sound interesting, without shutting down details by lowering treble.

    [​IMG]

    It also eliminated most sibilant sound, so I was able to listen to Muse and other musicians who tend to get intimate with mic.
    There big list of EQ here, see if you can find your headphones, might create totally different listening experience.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/oratory1990/wiki/index
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
  14. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    2,248
    Likes Received:
    628
    GPU:
    Nitro 5700 XT
    @sverek You discovered the Harman Curve Compensation EQ :) Make sure you use the correct profile for your pads.
     
  15. OnnA

    OnnA Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    10,531
    Likes Received:
    2,336
    GPU:
    Vega 64 XTX LiQuiD
     
    The1 and Turanis like this.

  16. Toadstool

    Toadstool Active Member

    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    35
    GPU:
    Vega 64
    I was reading another thread and sample rate came up, I'm not sure if this has been posted, it's a great look at sample rate and where the sweetspot is. It's aimed more at recording engineers but I think the findings should still be interesting for general audiophiles.

    lavryengineering.com/pdfs/lavry-sampling-theory.pdf
     
  17. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    2,248
    Likes Received:
    628
    GPU:
    Nitro 5700 XT
    @sverek I've switched to using Analytic pads + Oratory1990's EQ settings, with a minor left shelf tweak to 100Hz vs 90. This really deomonstrates what those Tesla drivers can do. :)
     
    sverek likes this.
  18. mike2299

    mike2299 Member

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    3
    GPU:
    nVidia
    OnnA likes this.
  19. Anarion

    Anarion Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    13,587
    Likes Received:
    343
    GPU:
    GeForce GTX 1070
    Bought HD 660 S... One step closer in completing my HD 600 series collection. :D

    It was on sale for 379 € so basically 50 € cheaper than typically.

    I probably need to buy discrete DAC too in near future... The problem is when I work at home and use my work laptops, the RealTek absolutely sucks and I can't obviously use my AE-5 with my laptop.

    The DAC in my keyboard is closer to 2Vrms while the laptops is 1Vrms at best. It's cleaner but just doesn't sound right. Has weird metallic clang in highs (probably some kind of distortion, after all it's garbage) and there's not enough power to make the bass sound correct - all that nice rumble and the feel that drivers are moving are gone (no matter how you crank up the volume). Things fall apart once all kicks in. If I'd hook my O2 to either one things would be improved power wise but I can't be arsed to do so (not a fan of constantly plugging in and out stuff behind my computer). I have my eyes on Soncoz LA-QXD1 - would have everything I could hope for at affordable price.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2020
  20. theoneofgod

    theoneofgod Ancient Guru

    Messages:
    4,161
    Likes Received:
    83
    GPU:
    RX 580 8GB
    There are tons of in-line DAC/AMPS available nowadays, it might be something to look into. USB powered.
     

Share This Page