Carigamers

Tech Talk => Hardware, Tweaking & Networking => SoundCards and Speakers => Topic started by: MessiaaH on February 13, 2014, 11:10:23 PM

Title: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 13, 2014, 11:10:23 PM
(http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs70/i/2011/015/d/5/headphone_wallpaper_by_famousbeast89-d377o7b.jpg)


Disclaimer:

This thread is designed to help users find the easiest path into the world of high end audio. Ask all questions you'll like answered, post your gear, and just enjoy listening.

=================Section 1=================


Path to becoming an Audiophile (Headphone Edition):

Step 1 - Getting Started
Step 2 - Headphone Amp
Step 3 - DAC (Discrete DAC / Discrete Sound Card)
Step 4 - Buttkicker!

Each of these steps can be followed in order to creep your way to becoming an audiophile. Feel free to do all steps at once  :happy0203:

Reference Threads / Sites:

MessiaaH's Audio Gear (http://www.carigamers.com/cms/forums/index.php/topic,19588.0.html)
The Buttkicker (http://www.carigamers.com/cms/forums/index.php/topic,20229.msg250209.html#msg250209)
Head-Fi.org (http://head-fi.org)
Headphone Buyer's Guide (http://www.head-fi.org/a/2013-head-fi-summer-buying-guide-introduction)
HeadRoom (http://headphone.com)
HDTracks (http://hdtracks.org)

Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 13, 2014, 11:10:40 PM
=================Section 2=================

Jriver Media Center: Best Media Player for Hifi Audio

Jriver can be used to play any media format and has the best audio processing engine I know of. Once you get up to a Discrete DAC, Jriver has a feature to pass Bitperfect Audio to your DAC device. This is where you want to be. Here's a brief description and how to configure:

WASAPI is Microsoft's most modern method for talking with sound devices. WASAPI stands for Windows Audio Session API. It is available in Windows Vista, Windows 7, and newer. It allows delivering an unmodified bitstream to a sound device.

WASAPI support was first added to Media Center 13. Media Center 15 added event style WASAPI support.

Configure:

(http://images.computeraudiophile.com/graphics/2010/1217/stx/wasapi-event-style-01-output-mode.png)

Tips:
1. Not all DACs would support Wasapi Event Style, if you notice anomalies in your audio, change to regular wasapi.
2. When using a high quality DAC, avoid EQ, BassBoost, any of that stuff, also rightclick the volume control in Jriver and set it to "Disable Volume" Ensuring you're passing a purely un-altered signal to your DAC.
3. Use the icon in the top right of jriver to ensure no changes are being made to your audio:

(http://i61.tinypic.com/acwnyd.png)

Lossless Audio:

Lossless data compression is a class of data compression algorithms that allows the original data to be perfectly reconstructed from the compressed data. When using Lossy Formats (MP3s), the data is compressed to the point that when reconstructed, data is missing. This missing data presents itself as missing quality in your music. In most cases, entire instruments go missing in the audio file. Using a lossless format, you conserve storage space, whiles still having the full complete audio file as intended by the artist.

Lossless Audio Formats include : FLAC, ALAC, WMA Lossless (FLAC is the most widely accepted format and should be your preferred choice)

Most Lossless audio can be acquired in 16bit/44.1KHzz format. Which is perfectly fine. 16bit/96KHz is the next up. And 24bit/192KHz is pretty much where you'll cap out for now. The higher you go, the better it sounds.
MP3s are usually 128bit, good MP3s are 384, in contrast, Lossless Audio Range from 1000-1500kbits  :banana:

You can get your audio into these digital formats by Ripping from Purchased Media (Audio CDs from Amazon Etc, A standard audio disc has 16bit/44.1KHz/1000-1500kbs) or Buying digital audio. HDTracks.org collection is not that large, but it's a nice source for some high quality audio. The Michael Jackson albums are stellar! DBPowerAmp CD Ripper (http://dbpoweramp.com/)  and  Exact Audio Copy  (http://exactaudiocopy.de/) are good programs to use for ripping.

You can also use DBPowerAmp for audio conversion from and to any format.
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 13, 2014, 11:33:26 PM
=================Section 3=================

Here are some Kit's assembled at different price ranges, choose according to your budget.
Recommend by MessiaaH and Crixx

======Toddler: $200======

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/416Y1h-GfKL._SX300_.jpg). (http://www.headphoneclub.co.kr/shopimages/amedia/0240080000012.jpg)

Creative SB1040 Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio PCI-E Sound Card  (http://www.amazon.com/Creative-SB1040-Sound-Blaster-Xtreme/dp/B000W7PNZI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392408621&sr=8-1&keywords=creative+sb1040+sound+blaster+x-fi)
Electric Avenues PA2V2 Amp (http://www.electric-avenues.com/amplifiers.html)

+

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41tl1dOXS4L.jpg). (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61Ipqq2FUUL._SX522_.jpg). (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81HrYSk8DuL._SL1500_.jpg)

Sennheiser HD 518 Headphones (Black) (http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-518-Headphones-Black/dp/B0042A68R8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392408683&sr=8-1&keywords=senn+518)
Grado Prestige Series SR-60i Padded Headphones (http://www.amazon.com/Grado-Prestige-Series-SR-60i-Headphones/dp/B0006DPMU4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392408720&sr=8-1&keywords=grado+i60)
Audio-Technica ATH-M30x Professional  (http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M30x-Professional-Headphones/dp/B00HVLUQW8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392408759&sr=8-1&keywords=ath+m30)


=================================================

======Starter: $300-400======

(http://schiit.com/public/upload/general/imagecache_thumbnail_product_gallery_large/magni-front(2).jpg)  (http://schiit.com/public/upload/general/modi-front.jpg)
Schiit Audio Magni Amp (http://schiit.com/products/magni)
Schiit Audio Modi DAC (http://schiit.com/products/modi)

+

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41JFc3ohbNL._SY300_.jpg). (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41%2BEyYwh2qL.jpg). (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ANjGBEdDL.jpg)

Audio-Technica ATH-M50 (http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M50-Professional-Monitor-Headphones/dp/B000ULAP4U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392399773&sr=8-1&keywords=ath-m50[/url) / Audio-Technica-ATH-M50x (http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M50x-Professional-Headphones/dp/B00HVLUR86/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1392400652&sr=8-2&keywords=ath+m50)
Sennheiser HD558 (http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-Headphones-Burl-Wood-Accents/dp/B0042A8CW2/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1392400364&sr=8-3&keywords=Senn+558)
Beyerdynamic DT-770-PRO-32  (http://www.amazon.com/Beyerdynamic-DT-770-PRO-32-Headphone-Monitoring-Applications/dp/B008POFOHM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1392400718&sr=8-2&keywords=beyer+770+32ohm)

=================================================

===Head-Fi: $450-500===

The headphones included in this kit are stellar phones. The Hifiman HE400 has my personal best headphones under $500 recommendation. These headphones are good enough to scale into the higher levels, so they can be easily combined with amps/dacs from the "Bitrate Junkie" kit. These cans scale up very well.

Starter Kit

+

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/71J3un9fMgL._SL1500_.jpg). (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81GhUEvz%2BmL._SL1500_.jpg)

beyerdynamic DT 990 Premium 32 ohm (http://www.amazon.com/beyerdynamic-990-Premium-32-Headphones/dp/B0024NK344/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1392400718&sr=8-6&keywords=beyer+770+32ohm)
HiFiMan - HE-400 (http://www.amazon.com/HiFiMAN-HE-400-HiFiMan-Headphones/dp/B007ZG32I4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392401807&sr=8-1&keywords=hifiman+he400)


Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 14, 2014, 06:14:20 PM
===Bitrate Junkie===
Kit Price Range: $1400-2000

Each of the headphones in the Head-Fi kit can be used with great results when combined with the below kits. Also, each of the headphones included below can easily scale to the Audiophile kit. They represent some of the best headphones around for the price and extremely good value for the money. The Audeze LCD-2 is my personal favorite of the bunch and considered one of the best headphones ever made. A true Gem. If you get your hands on one of those, you'll be smiling ear to ear.  :happy0203:


$800
(http://www.head-fi.org/content/type/61/id/887114/width/350/height/700/flags/LL). (http://www.head-fi.org/content/type/61/id/888132/width/350/height/700/flags/LL)

Schiit Audio Valhalla (http://schiit.com/products/valhalla)
Schiit Audio Bifrost (http://schiit.com/products/bifrost)

--or--

$947
(http://www.head-fi.org/content/type/61/id/887138/width/350/height/700/flags/LL)

ALO Audio Pan Am + The Gateway + The Passport (http://api.viglink.com/api/click?format=go&jsonp=vglnk_jsonp_13924141296078&key=04fea777994d26cd84e01a5e54f4c01d&loc=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.head-fi.org%2Fa%2F2013-head-fi-summer-buying-guide-desktop-amps-dacs&v=1&libId=a855b56c-7863-40f6-8e30-e2d58965a69b&out=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aloaudio.com%2F&ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.head-fi.org%2Fa%2F2013-head-fi-summer-buying-guide-portable-amps-dacs-daps-music-players&title=2013%20Head-Fi%20Summer%20Buying%20Guide%20(Desktop%20Amps%20%26%20DACs)%20-%20Head-Fi.org%20Community&txt=www.aloaudio.com)

--or--

$999
(http://www.head-fi.org/content/type/61/id/888886/width/350/height/700/flags/LL)

Woo Audio WA7 Fireflies (http://www.wooaudio.com/)

+

$599
(http://www.head-fi.org/content/type/61/id/886127/width/350/height/700/flags/LL)
HiFiMAN HE-500 (http://www.headphone.com/headphones/hifiman-he-500.php)

--or--

$799
(http://www.head-fi.org/content/type/61/id/889147/width/350/height/700/flags/LL)
Fostex TH-600 (http://www.headphone.com/headphones/fostex-th-600.php)

--or--

$850
(http://www.head-fi.org/content/type/61/id/886120/width/350/height/700/flags/LL)
Sennheiser HD 700 (http://www.headphone.com/headphones/sennheiser-hd-700.php)

--or--

$995.00
(http://www.head-fi.org/content/type/61/id/886128/width/350/height/700/flags/LL)
Audeze LCD-2 (http://www.headphone.com/headphones/audeze-lcd-2-bamboo.php)
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 14, 2014, 06:14:43 PM
===Audiophile!===
Kit Price Range:$2000 >

All of these headphones are considered to be amount the best in the world, each leading a particular strength in it's class. At this class of headphones, pairing with the right amp is particularly important and the best match will be indicated accordingly. Choose wisely and feel free to ask questions.

===Headphones===

(http://media.headphone.com/productphotos/large/9990723000_7618.jpg)                    Audeze LCD-3: $2000 (http://www.headphone.com/headphones/audeze-lcd-3.php)

Audeze is one of the two leaders in the Planar Magnetic implementation of headphones. (Hifiman being the other). And though amongst the easier to drive planar headphones, the lcd2/3 benefits tremendously from a powerful amp. These cans are rich and lush, whiles still providing tons of energy, punch, detail retrieval, with stellar mid range. Considered to have the best bass in any headphone ever made. Best Bass Headphones in the world! (My personal flagship)

Strength: Bass King!
Pairs well with: RSA Dark Star, ALO Audio Studio Six, Eddie Current Balancing Act.
(http://media.headphone.com/productphotos/large/0020490060_6292.jpg)
                   
HiFiMAN HE-6: $1300 (http://www.headphone.com/headphones/hifiman-he-6.php)

This headphones is one of the best, but requires the most power you can feed it to sound as it should. One of the hardest headphones around to drive. As such only the most powerful amps would be recommended as a minimum for this phones. Hifiman has solved this by releasing an amp designed specifically for this headphones. Once paired, you'll have one of the best sounding kits available in that price range. Uses the same planar tech as the Audeze series.

Strength: Many of the qualities of the LCD3 but with less and tighter bass, and more treble.
Pairs well with: HiFiMAN EF-6, All LCD-3 Amps
(http://media.headphone.com/productphotos/large/0020900900_8067.jpg)                    Fostex TH-: $1500 (http://www.headphone.com/headphones/fostex-th-900.php)

Currently one of the most all rounded, reference headphones on the market. Very revealing, relatively neutral, never fatiguing. Organic sound without being overly smooth. Go to headphone of choice by many audiophiles

Strength: Best All Rounded
Pairs well with: Fostex HP-A8C
(http://media.headphone.com/productphotos/large/0020082800_3964.jpg)                    Sennheiser HD 800: $1500 (http://www.headphone.com/headphones/sennheiser-hd-800-4-pin-balanced.php)

Ruthlessly revealing headphone. Like the Hifiman HE6, The HD 800 needs to be matched well with a good headphone amplifier (with this headphone, the best results can be had with tube amps).  Match it up poorly, and it can be overly bright. Drive it well, and it'll reward you with what will probably be the best sound quality you've ever heard from headphones.  This can is very picky, but can sound amazing once you've gotten it right. Studio Reference cans, not for everyone.

Strength: Neutrality King, Revealing, Comfort
Pairs well with: Powerful Tube Amps
(http://www.wooaudio.com/images/fullsize/stax009-full.jpg)                    Stax SR-009: $4450 (http://www.headphone.com/headphones/sennheiser-hd-800-4-pin-balanced.php)

Simply put.... the best headphone in the world.
#mic.wired.directly.to.brain

Strength: Detail King, Clarity King, Resolution King
Pairs well with: Woo Audio WES: $5000 (http://www.wooaudio.com/products/wes.html) (Requires Electrostatic Amp)

===Amps===
RSA Dark Star: $3500 (http://www.raysamuelsaudio.com/products/dark-star)
ALO Audio Studio Six: $4100 (http://www.aloaudio.com/amplifiers/studio-six)
EC Balancing Act: $3950 (http://www.raysamuelsaudio.com/products/dark-star)
(http://raysamuelsaudio.com/assets/2011/7/7/DSC_7991.JPG)  (http://mikeshouts.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/ALO-Audio-Studio-Six-Headphone-Amplifier-image-3.jpg)  (http://www.eddiecurrent.com/images/newba-1_6wpz.jpg) 
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: Fkacn_tt on February 14, 2014, 06:57:43 PM
So what would you consider a good entry head set on a budget. I talking cornbeef and rice budget, lol.

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 14, 2014, 07:09:59 PM
So what would you consider a good entry head set on a budget. I talking cornbeef and rice budget, lol.

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk



Headsets don't belong on this thread, hifi queries only. Go check the other threads for headset garbage, or Wyatt. :laughing7:
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: Crixx_Creww on February 14, 2014, 07:16:05 PM
Lulz @ head set muggle interest
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: Fkacn_tt on February 14, 2014, 09:04:49 PM
Wrong terminology but I meat a good pair of headphones.

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk

Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 14, 2014, 09:13:23 PM
See above of what I consider entry, and above that the toddler section. Anything lower than toddler i'd consider crap and would not recommend to anyone.
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: RustyPlumber on February 14, 2014, 09:30:28 PM
Wrong terminology but I meat a good pair of headphones.

Sent from my HTC One using Tapatalk



a great pair of entry levels are the Sennheiser HD 201's. Dont take my word for it (although i had a pair at one point in time), let the reviews speak for themselves.

http://www.headphone.com/headphones/sennheiser-hd-201.php


MessiaaH,not everyone can afford uber high end stuff,even some may consider the toddler stuff to be a bit pricey.Plus personally people who refer to themselves as "Audiophiles" i consider snobs.
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 14, 2014, 09:41:09 PM
The intended purpose of the thread is to get man into this audiophile thing. It have countless other threads to address non-pricey products. So I not wasting time recommending anything lower.
But, Agreed @ what you said, and nothing stopping others like yourself from recommending sub-tod.

You did recommended a stellar sub-tod though.

Also keep in mind guys, their are tons of alternatives to everything above, I just list the ones I'm familiar with and generally known as the better options to ease the transition to this fun hobby, but I always encourage to do your own research and read read read.
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: W1nTry on February 15, 2014, 01:03:14 AM
personally people who refer to themselves as "Audiophiles" i consider snobs.

The same can be said about PC Elitist,  or 'Athletes',  or Ivy leaguers, etc. It doesn't really matter what ppl call themselves in here because this is meant to be a guide to help ppl to finding what's best for them. Even a pompous person can be informative if you filter out the noise. 

Suggestions are welcome, constructive discussion is welcome. Wasting ppl time with repetitive questions or hidden agendas isn't.

Sent from my XT1032 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 15, 2014, 01:11:47 AM
Exactly wintry.

The purpose of this thread is to help ppl who serious about improving their audio experience. the trolling, the pointless questions, the arguing bout who is snob, the hifi being pointless, the hidden agendas, all that rubbish will not be tolerated on this particular thread, and a strict delete and desist policy is in effect as of now. Ah want this thread clean.

Who don't like it, there's the door. Who have positive contribution / suggestions or Who interested and want help, you're fully welcomed.
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 15, 2014, 04:07:01 AM
Thread Update Feb 15, 2014:Audiophile Section Updated - Remaining Amps and Dacs coming soon.
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: AR! on February 15, 2014, 02:54:26 PM
Very nice. the snobbery part of it is pretty moot at this point imo. I myself won't shell out for an expensive set of cans, but as a sale hawk I will grab something that I consider to be a fair buy - case in point, I picked up a pair of Sennheiser HD518's for CAD$80, its regular price being $160. Very nice buy for me, despite the fact that I was looking to pick up an ATH-M50. I played the entirety of MGSR on it and was not disappointed.

I think maybe an addition to this thread might be headphone amps - along with the HD518 I also bought a Fiio E6 (tiny portable thing but I am liking it thus far).

I'm also looking into investing in a DAC possibly; as an ITX motherboard user I am left without a plethora of options in the audio department, so it's either going to be one of these or a motherboard upgrade, which in the end may be a cheaper and more importantly effective solution - ASUS ROG motherboards are reputed to have decent if not above average sound, and if that is not up to the task on the ITX front, there are many other options left.

I find that DAC's do not leave much for the budget oriented users, but to be fair if you are not as concerned with audio quality as with other aspects of your media then to each his own. As an inexperienced audio snob I find after using the HD518 that I can just as easily go back to using my Logitech G430 without too much fuss, though I do appreciate the differences in their reproduction. I would love to hear more on the subject of soundcards and even opinions on laptop audio for those who can share.

Recommendations on external sound solutions would also be very much appreciated
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 15, 2014, 02:59:49 PM
Every kit above has both recommended amps and dacs, so they are included.....

I also planned on doing another section for portable amps like the Fio
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: RustyPlumber on February 16, 2014, 07:08:24 AM
personally people who refer to themselves as "Audiophiles" i consider snobs.

The same can be said about PC Elitist,  or 'Athletes',  or Ivy leaguers, etc. It doesn't really matter what ppl call themselves in here because this is meant to be a guide to help ppl to finding what's best for them. Even a pompous person can be informative if you filter out the noise. 

Suggestions are welcome, constructive discussion is welcome. Wasting ppl time with repetitive questions or hidden agendas isn't.

Sent from my XT1032 using Tapatalk


no,you mistake my point of my whole statement.,with PC enthusiast even though their spending top dollar,there is real life performance gains with their systems,with high end,its subjective to the listener. "X" Pair of speakers for $100,000 can sound like a piece of crap to others,even in blind test,you see how much fail there is.Which cables "sound" better than other cables and all that bullcrap.

If you think i'm trying to troll your thread,you all are dead wrong,i have over 11 years experience in "high end" audio.Since i got my first pair of klipsch promedia 2.1 back in 2002,I've been fond of finding equipment that can reproduce better sound.It boils down to who can throw more money at their system though basically.

take a look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xs1aUws0Lrs
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 16, 2014, 09:55:35 AM
No its not about who can throw more money at their systems, I've heard very expensive setups that get own by cheaper setups. Its about doing your research and finding what truly performs the best, finding the right synergies, using the right cables for your specific gear, etc etc etc.

And everyone knows that in any hobby like this, the higher up you go, you get diminishing returns for ur money. A fact that has been well document in my personal hifi thread if you bothered to read that. But their is a ginormous gap that exists between high end audio and the average stuff, that gap is drastic until you get up to say the "Bitrate Junkie", you will hear enormous and significant increase in audio fidelity and performance. Once you pass that and hit audiophile level, the gains for the money are far less. But the gains are most definitely present. Take the lcd2 for instance. A stellar headphone, well worth it's asking price, some mite argue though, that the improvements made to the lcd3 (better clarity, midrange, better treble, better soundstage) is not worth an additional $1000, but then that's what makes an Audiophile , that's what makes an insane pc builder, that's what makes the dude that wants to squeeze the last ounce of performance from their vehicles. The guys that think, that extra 10% performance is worth it.

I've made this journey in both audio and computer gaming, from the cheapest of cheap, right up to the upper end of the scale in both areas. And if I had to do both all over again, id change nothing. Now you have a look:

http://youtu.be/afkYRJU0Dlw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEIXqQl42tg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOLZHxQCrGw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qA7RIfpKSh8

And I very much intend to go higher, maybe some day own that sexy sr009, want to hear it in person first.
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 16, 2014, 10:30:35 AM
I've been into audio/PCs years before I join GATT, my entire journey not recorded here lol. Watch all those videos.
And like I said, ah not condoning no fight down and crap comments. I left the "constructive" comments you made, the last two is just trolling.


The purpose of this thread is to help ppl who serious about improving their audio experience. the trolling, the pointless questions, the arguing bout who is snob, the hifi being pointless, the hidden agendas, all that rubbish will not be tolerated on this particular thread, and a strict delete and desist policy is in effect as of now. Ah want this thread clean.

Who don't like it, there's the door. Who have positive contribution / suggestions or Who interested and want help, you're fully welcomed.
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: Crixx_Creww on February 17, 2014, 08:59:52 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Grado-Prestige-Series-Stereo-Headphone/dp/B000G3LCQC?&tag=lifehackeramzn-20&ascsubtag=[referrer|lifehacker.com[type|link[postId|5949489[asin|B000G3LCQC[authorId|5716553178370339807
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: Kraeoss on February 19, 2014, 09:50:36 AM
very informative thread, albeit light years away from what i can afford :)
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: W1nTry on February 20, 2014, 02:35:56 PM
very informative thread, albeit light years away from what i can afford :)
Nah man? serious? so you saying you can afford $60USD games but not a $45usd headphone? remember like a PC you don't have to go hard immediately, you can start with just the headphone which can be night and day difference I assure you. Then when yuh save a bit, get the p2p amp. Combined its the same as 2 AAA games.
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: AR! on February 20, 2014, 03:31:56 PM
Watch those sales...never know what you might find. I am currently trying to palm off my HD518 onto my bose-happy pops, so I can find an excuse/funding to splurge on the much lauded ATH-M50.
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: Berzerk on February 20, 2014, 07:05:29 PM
own an athm50  awesome pair of phones.
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: W1nTry on February 21, 2014, 11:33:23 PM
So I received my Schiit combo today and let's start with the packaging quality. It was as expected shipped as one parcel with 2 separate boxes in side for each item. The internal packaging was all cardboard, sturdy and compact. All items landed with no damage and within 9 days of purchase. They accept paypal and ship to freight forwarders with no issue.
All in all the total package was ~ 230USD + $71TT shipping (courtesy Caribox). Each item has a solid feel to it, all Aluminium body, silver, very easy on the eyes. It comes with 4 rubber legs that you apply at will on each device. I opted for the 6" PYST RCA cables which at $20usd (included in total above).
The devices as per pics below are made to be stacked, with the Modi DAC on the bottom as there are perforations on the top of the Magni to allow for cooling of the AMP. The Magni gets slightly warm after constant use, but the all aluminium body as well as the vents more than provide adequate cooling (unless you live in a furnace).
Setup is as easy as the website alludes, there are NO drivers to install. My Windows 8 PC recognised the DAC without so much as a notification and sure enough connected via USB it just WORKS. The AMP has a small power switch at the back and the both of them have a white front LED to indicate they are powered. The AMP uses a 6.35mm (1/4") stereo connector and it fits snugly. All components feel snug and well seated. When purchasing the AC adapter for the AMP you can select your region power connector (US, Europe, Japan, etc).

Now the real meat, the SOUND.... before I get to it i'll give a little history of how I got to where I am now (aka beginner audiophile - stress on beginner). I've owned several different audio devices throughout my life. I was a early believer of dedicated sound card in the Pentium 3 days when onboard was truly atrocious, so from Creative Sound blaster 16 to Audigy, Audigy 2 ZS Platinum, back to onboard (by this point it had become 'good enough'). I own Logitech Z2300, Z5500, LS21 and more recently a G45 gaming headset and other speakers along the way I can't remember (altec lansing, etc). I also own the nigh indestructable Sharkoon Gaming headset.
I basically went from normal PC speakers to power PC speakers, to powerful 5.1 PC speakers, to console/PC compatible positional gaming headset, PC gaming headset and now finally to an Audio-Technica ATH-M30 and Schiit Modi and Magni DAC and AMP.
All along the way there was an improvement in some form or fashion. Sometimes it was just raw power output, sometimes it was 5.1 and finally it was clarity. The jump from desktop speakers to the Sharkoon was fueled by the need for positional audio in FPS games. When I first used my Sharkoons I was surprised at how much details I was missing in games. I was amazed but the ambient sounds you would just never notice with stereo, or on even the Z5500 unless the volume was enough to get me evicted. I was satisfied with this for some 2-3 years but truth be told they are not great for full bass and they are HEAVY. Heavy enough that I am certain daily use has thinned my hair a bit (according to the hear dresser)  :ph34r:
So I finally opted for a light weight headset and with my re-surgence in PC gaming I thought what the heck. Enter Logitech G45. From the minute I used these I realized the Sharkoon were definitely dated. Apart from my HAIR thanking me for the 5oz headset my EARS were awakened yet again (much in the way the Sharkoon originally did). Heights were cleaner, bass deeper and more full body. I could HEAR AGAIN (again).
Skip forward to now. Courtesy of Crixx and Messiaah and they incessant audiophile tongue lashings I opted to take on crixx suggestion (it doesn't happen unless mercury and Uranus align I assure you) and chance a 47USD headset. The Audio-Technica ATH-M30 (with 2 year insurance no less  (+)).
So ~$47USD + $20TT shipping and about 2 weeks later they were on my head yet again awakening me to the difference in quality I had surely been missing. Truth be told the difference in perceived quality between the M30 and the G45 is surely less than the Sharkoon and G45. To put it another way:
Desktop speakers -> Sharkoon == Night and day
Sharkoon -> G45 == Night and day
G45 -> M30 == Mid morning to evening
M30 -> M30 + Schiit combo == Dawn to mid day (sound is brighter, even cleaner and bass is even more full body)

Let me try to put into words what I perceive as the difference:
Clarity - you HEAR words, notes, instruments you didn't even KNOW were there. You wonder at the completeness of sounds even as the volume increases without distortion.
Depth - Bass is full, more body (akin to a good subwuffer without the large box). Depending on the headphones you get more punch to the bass. It's concise and not a blur of heavy vibrations like you're in a fete.
To expand on the last comparison of dawn to mid day. Think of when you're driving at dawn/dusk. It;s neither bright nor dark. So your headlights make little difference and the sun isn't up enough to light the way. This is the best comparison I can think of, as once its midday, its bright and clear. You can see further and more easily. In the same way the combo has made the sound even more crisp, clear and deep. And consider its a CHEAP headset. I have my eye on something to come, but that will be in time.

Would I recommend spending money on better audio? a resounding YES. Would I recommend the Schiit, a resounding YES. Would I recommend it to EVERYONE, a resounding NO. Like all hobbies you eventually hit the wall of diminishing returns. Its the same for cars, PCs, audio, etc. This is something you have to have an interest or passion for. Will your ears thank you for it? HELL YES. Will you find such a distinct difference between your run of the mill $30TT headset and my current setup YES. Will you feel you are justified moving from say a G45 to my setup maybe not. For me YES, but as with everything quality based mileage will vary.

I am quite happy with what I have but I WILL be moving onto a proper $200-$300USD pair of headphones at SOME point in time.

Other points to note:
In addition to improving the quality of your hardware, it is ESSENTIAL you move to improved sources. mp3-FLAC is NIGHT and DAY. Using a good player like JRiver or even AIMP (the successor to winamp). You can't overhaul your car engine intake and exhaust and continue to just run on good ole super. You would be intentionally hampering your gains. Using WASAPI - bypassing windows sound processing allowing your sound card or DAC to covert the digital format back into analog sound.

I used a DAC as my PC is an HTPC and I do NOT have space for another PCIe card. Hence I needed to move to USB. A good sound card could suite you very well if you have the space. So the jump you make need not destroy your pocket.
 
Lastly go to Head-fi.org and READ READ READ, oh and also ask anyone on the forum who you see actively participating in these types of discussions.

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Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: woodyear99 on February 21, 2014, 11:54:01 PM
Hmm impressive. Makes me want to at least get a decent pair of headphones.

Sent from my Galaxy S4 using Tapatalk 4

Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: W1nTry on February 22, 2014, 12:00:11 AM
Hearing is believing though, I just switched back to the G45 after listening whole evening to my Schiit setup... to make it fair in terms of what ppl normally listen to, I was listening to youtube... OMG the difference is MILES... I can almost appreciate crixx and messiaah statement of penis in ears.... it's THAT noticeable.
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 22, 2014, 12:01:10 AM
Ah boy, audigy 2 zs, i remember those days, epic! :)

Z5500 provide many hrs of audio enjoyment as well.
Also owned a judgement altec lansign sub, dual 6", that rocked in it's day.

Drop on flaw laughing @ "incessant audiophile tongue lashings" bhrbharhahha

@ I opted to take on crixx suggestion (it doesn't happen unless mercury and Uranus align I assure you):  breheheheheheheh

Good review man.

This is really a hobby, and once you start, you'll start creeping your way to better gear. Great that this thread and discussion was useful to you in providing a 'cheap' path to enter with noticeable gains.

In audio there most definitely are diminishing returns the higher you go. But keep in mind, technology also advanced significantly over the last few years. creeping your way from entry to say midrange, would be small steps. But once you hit a proper $400~ headphone, your mileage will dramatically increase. And once you move from that to flagship status, say $1000~ phone, there will be another dramatic jump. It sounds hard to believe. When you enter hifi, the music sounds so good, so clear, so wonderful, its hard to imagine it possibly sounding any better. But remember the first time you heard the sharkoon, im sure your brain told you the same thing. There's a lot,....I stress... ALOT more to be enjoyed. Have fun on your journey. (The new headphones you're considering would be significantly better than what you have now, then you'll understand a bit more on what I've just said.)

Also, some impressions in gaming would be appreciated when you get chance.

Hope to have a listen to your gear some day.

GG, WP! Hifi to the world!  :banana:



Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 22, 2014, 12:02:56 AM
Hearing is believing though, I just switched back to the G45 after listening whole evening to my Schiit setup... to make it fair in terms of what ppl normally listen to, I was listening to youtube... OMG the difference is MILES... I can almost appreciate crixx and messiaah statement of penis in ears.... it's THAT noticeable.

Ahhhh, I was waiting on that. the moment when you SWITCH BACK! that is when the difference is most noticeable. Your brain does get accustom to nice thing, and is only when you try to go back do you notice the "dirty penis in ears".

Go listen to the sharkoon....:laughing7:
Title: What Does It Take To Turn The PC Into A Hi-Fi Audio Platform?
Post by: woodyear99 on February 25, 2014, 05:23:44 PM
Relevant....

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/high-end-pc-audio,3733.html

Most hi-fi audio is stored in digital form. With advancements in lossless compression, bit-perfect ripping/streaming, HD audio formats, multi-terabyte storage, and PC-friendly DACs, has the PC earned a place among high-end audio gear? At what price point?

Hi-fi stands for high-fidelity. Specifically, the high fidelity of a reproduced audio signal compared to its original source. Recording and reproducing sound introduces artifacts, and your listening environment has an effect as well. So, playing back recorded audio never sounds exactly the same as the original. You can get pretty close, though.

McIntosh MC275 50th Anniversary: A $6500 amplifier with no DAC capabilitiesMcIntosh MC275 50th Anniversary: A $6500 amplifier with no DAC capabilities

Hi-fi often is often associated with exotic (and expensive) equipment. Tube amplifiers. Silver cables. Gold-plated interconnects.

Yet, unless you own a dozen shelves of 180-gram vinyl records, most of your hi-fi audio is probably stored in an affordable digital format, either on optical media (like CDs, DVDs, SACDs, and LaserDiscs) or magnetic storage, in the form of files on your hard drive.

In order to play back that content, you need a few different components. You need something to access the information (a CD reader, perhaps). You need to convert the digital signal back into an analog one using something called a Digital to Analog Converter, or DAC. You need an amplifier. And finally, you need something to create sound pressure waves in the air around you at the right frequencies set by the signal (speakers or headphones).
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 26, 2014, 10:59:02 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tu1mqqi-rw

Currently on sale for $3950...hmmmm....
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: MessiaaH on February 28, 2014, 05:54:29 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t23lyqf0p28&feature=player_detailpage
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: woodyear99 on March 05, 2014, 12:07:03 AM
EDIT: Well based on the recommendation in this thread I ended up ordering the Audio-Technica ATH-M30x for $69. I've never bought such expensive headphones before, hope my ears thank me.....The last headphones I had was the Turtle Beach PS3 Ear Force P11.

Are these any good? Seeing them for $49 (Don't want to spend more than $50)

Audio-Technica ATH-M35
http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M35-Closed-Back-Dynamic-Headphones/dp/B00242J0XU/ref=pd_cp_MI_2

What's the difference between the M35 and the M30?

http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-ATH-M30-Professional-Closed-back-Headphones/dp/B00007E7C8/ref=pd_cp_MI_0
Title: Re: The Lair of the Audiophile!
Post by: Mickey on March 11, 2014, 04:34:10 PM
so you guys into diy stuff as well it is the best way to get super cool gear at a super cool price there are even vintage remakes, tube bessness for cheap
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