Audiophile equipment myths
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Fir3Chi3f Offline
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#1
Audiophile equipment myths


My audio setup is Sony MDR-7506 headphones and ASUS Xonar DX audio card. With that I think everything they said is true. As far as I could tell the audio card only amplifies the signal and I really like the way Linux handles the hardware switching.

Can I get an amen!?

Or if you have a different position that's good too. Rainbowwild
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2013-12-19, 09:56:42 AM
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Walfas Offline
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#2
RE: Audiophile equipment myths
Unfortunately this guy generalizes a lot, and doesn't really explain anything to back it up.

On top of that, "1/3 of the audio is 'eaten up'"? Doesn't make much sense, my Xonar D1 has an output impedance of 100 Ohms and my reciever has an imput impedance of 4 Ohms(16 for the speakers attached, but they doesn't matter). By their math of soundcardResistance/deviceResistance, I'd be gaining 2500% on my signal. Doesn't make much sense, does it?

Long story short, spending a huge amount of money on a sound card isn't worth it, but it is usually a good upgrade from onboard. If you want to go further than that, get an external DAC. Other than that, it's money. Shielded cables help if you're awful at cable management or hang them off the back of a fridge.

Your headphones are decent, but there are always better ones out there. I personally don't use headphones, but I might get into it someday. I like my speakers, thanks.
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2013-12-19, 12:09:00 PM
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Walfas Offline
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#3
RE: Audiophile equipment myths
Also the "I promised I wouldn't do any marketing, but I'm going to market this" part was really fishy, and he pretty much ran through all the stats and pros on it. But he totally promised not to market in this video. On top of the "hey look at my $700 headphones" didn't do anything to make them look more legit. None if it needed to be mentioned, but they still did and spent 20% of the video on it. Another 50% was about surround sound, and 30% was about actual soundcards.
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2013-12-19, 12:55:51 PM
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StaCT13 Offline
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#4
RE: Audiophile equipment myths
In terms of noise, dedicated sound cards will almost always have advantages over onboard sound, but are still worse than high-end external DACs. On my main rig, the onboard sound had an amazingly annoying tendency to make almost 'galloping' radio-interference noise every 20 minutes or so (I might get a recording of it in a few weeks). I ended up buying an Asus Xonar DX, and although it reduced the amplitude of the noise, it still persisted, and I ended up not using the rig at all for anything other than F@H / Bitcoin. I did notice that they were saying how cards that label themselves as 'shielded' often aren't, claiming that any holes in the shield renders it useless. And while holes may make the shield slightly less effective, as long as the shield is soldered to ground, it still serves its purpose. Holes in shielding doesn't render it inoperable; Faraday cages often have more holes than metal, and they're still widely used. Now, that isn't to say a shielded sound card will eliminate any and all noise; for that, one would need an external DAC, which places sensitive analogue components completely outside the metal box of electronic noise that is the desktop computer.

It's also pretty funny how they kind of over-simplified impedance. While it is true that lower efficiency headphones will require more voltage (as opposed to 'power', which is the term they used) to output the same volume of sound, higher efficiency headphones will require more current to sound their best. They did touch upon this about 2/3 through the video in that the absence of a powerful amp will cause a bass roll-off on high efficiency headphones, but they never really explained how that's due to current. In general, the voltage is often what will determine volume (even with high output impedance reducing the effective output voltage, most amps will readily handle over double the voltage required for loud operation), but in an underpowered (high output impedance) amp, the lack of available current will quickly degrade the bass and later the mids and upper band. Even cards that claim to have headphone amps built in are often focused toward high efficiency headphones, meaning they still have higher output impedance (and therefore lower maximum current) than what is ideal for most consumer (and many audiophile-grade) headphones. Having a proper external headphone amp (one with less than an ohm of output impedance) really does have a noticeable effect on sound quality, and is probably what I'd recommend to anyone wanting to improve their sound setup (assuming they aren't having noise issues).

Finally, I can vouch for that O2 they advertised so much. It's brilliantly designed and completely open-source, and one can build it independently (including ordering custom PCBs) for about the same as buying pre-assembled from one of many sites offering variants. Also of note, the version shown is actually the ODAC / O2 (not just an O2), which replaces the batteries for a less-documented (but still open-source) DAC, which means buying an additional board.

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(This post was last modified: 2013-12-19, 02:47:27 PM by StaCT13.)
2013-12-19, 02:44:46 PM
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Luis_GT Offline
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#5
RE: Audiophile equipment myths
I'm so much of an audiophile that I use apple earbuds...
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2013-12-19, 11:17:00 PM
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Spazturtle Offline
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#6
RE: Audiophile equipment myths
(2013-12-19, 02:44:46 PM)StaCT13 Wrote: On my main rig, the onboard sound had an amazingly annoying tendency to make almost 'galloping' radio-interference noise every 20 minutes or so (I might get a recording of it in a few weeks). I ended up buying an Asus Xonar DX, and although it reduced the amplitude of the noise, it still persisted, and I ended up not using the rig at all for anything other than F@H / Bitcoin.

Graphics cards interfere with sound cards, sounds like your mobo is not very good at isolation things on the north bridge. Or if its a new CPU with an intergrated northbridge then the CPU is not very good at isolating noise.
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2013-12-20, 02:36:07 AM
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StaCT13 Offline
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#7
RE: Audiophile equipment myths
(2013-12-20, 02:36:07 AM)Spazturtle Wrote: Graphics cards interfere with sound cards, sounds like your mobo is not very good at isolation things on the north bridge. Or if its a new CPU with an intergrated northbridge then the CPU is not very good at isolating noise.

It's an Ivy Bridge, and I know it's particularly bad with noise handling.

My previous motherboard + CPU (Core 2 Quad with P45 chipset) never had the same problem, despite keeping the same components. It might have also helped the 'onboard' audio was actually a low-end dedicated sound card, but even then, I'd expect at least some noise if my current motherboard isn't actually worse.

(2013-12-19, 11:17:00 PM)Luis_GT Wrote: I'm so much of an audiophile that I use apple earbuds...

While I'm not one to force audiophile ideologies down people's throats and laugh at those who don't care about sound quality, I'd still advise people to try out some higher quality headphones or speakers at some point. Next time those things break, rather than getting another pair, get some Koss PortaPros or something. You'll thank me. unless you think those are ugly, in which case, do whatever.
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2013-12-20, 07:02:00 AM
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Sellyme Offline
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#8
RE: Audiophile equipment myths
monster cable

HiigEDIT:

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2013-12-20, 08:25:42 AM
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Walfas Offline
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#9
RE: Audiophile equipment myths
(2013-12-20, 08:25:42 AM)Sellyme Wrote: monster cable

Banned.
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2013-12-20, 08:35:10 AM
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Luis_GT Offline
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#10
RE: Audiophile equipment myths
(2013-12-20, 07:02:00 AM)StaCT13 Wrote:
(2013-12-20, 02:36:07 AM)Spazturtle Wrote: Graphics cards interfere with sound cards, sounds like your mobo is not very good at isolation things on the north bridge. Or if its a new CPU with an intergrated northbridge then the CPU is not very good at isolating noise.

It's an Ivy Bridge, and I know it's particularly bad with noise handling.

My previous motherboard + CPU (Core 2 Quad with P45 chipset) never had the same problem, despite keeping the same components. It might have also helped the 'onboard' audio was actually a low-end dedicated sound card, but even then, I'd expect at least some noise if my current motherboard isn't actually worse.

(2013-12-19, 11:17:00 PM)Luis_GT Wrote: I'm so much of an audiophile that I use apple earbuds...

While I'm not one to force audiophile ideologies down people's throats and laugh at those who don't care about sound quality, I'd still advise people to try out some higher quality headphones or speakers at some point. Next time those things break, rather than getting another pair, get some Koss PortaPros or something. You'll thank me. unless you think those are ugly, in which case, do whatever.

Koss has always meant cheap to me... at least their CD players and radios where cheap crap...

Also, I've had bose (yeah I know... overpriced crap, but they where 60 bucks) I also have the Sony Pulse headphones...

Maybe I've gone slightly deaf from all the concerts I've been too...
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2013-12-20, 10:17:19 AM
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Talifan9 Offline
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#11
RE: Audiophile equipment myths
(2013-12-20, 08:25:42 AM)Sellyme Wrote: monster cable

HiigEDIT:
flutterbanned
no silly, you need one of those $1500 hdmi cables!
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2013-12-20, 06:41:17 PM
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Fir3Chi3f Offline
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#12
RE: Audiophile equipment myths
Love the reviews on that cable

Not quite as poetic as Tuscan Whole Milk, but it's up there!
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2013-12-20, 08:33:24 PM
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Talifan9 Offline
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#13
RE: Audiophile equipment myths
(2013-12-20, 08:33:24 PM)Fir3Chi3f Wrote: Love the reviews on that cable

Not quite as poetic as Tuscan Whole Milk, but it's up there!
Seller comment:
Quote:By AudioQuest07/29/2013
Dear WhiteNinja, We're working on a very inexpensive add-on to the Diamond HDMI cable that will provide a hologram image, so you won't need a TV at all! Oh, and thanks for the 5 star review. Best regards, AudioQuest Customer Service
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2013-12-21, 06:05:57 PM
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Deeplove Offline
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#14
RE: Audiophile equipment myths
It's all up to the listener. I myself fell into the trap of getting a soundcard. Have a X-fi Titanium. It does amplify the sounds but when it comes down to listening on my headphones of choice, there is no difference between my onboard and the X-fi. Oh, and for expensive cables? I go with Monoprice. No difference to me.

It's all in the eye of the beholder.
2014-01-01, 01:13:05 AM
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Spazturtle Offline
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#15
RE: Audiophile equipment myths
Gold wire = cheap.

3.5mm connectors = cheap.

You could just make your own cable, when it breaks just fix it easily.
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2014-01-01, 11:56:48 AM
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