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  #21  
Old 06-15-2009, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by morfic View Post
Sure some of the disclaimers he had in the text may be easier to digest if they are in a "what they don't do" bulleted list.
I was thinking more along the lines of those who believe that headphone amplifiers, generally, improve sound quality versus those who believe that headphone amplifiers, generally, do not improve or worsen sound quality. I think everyone agrees that a headphone amplifier is probably required if the music is not loud enough.
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  #22  
Old 06-15-2009, 11:09 AM
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I didn't realize this was as split a camp as cables. I will respectfully step away.
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  #23  
Old 06-15-2009, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by morfic View Post
I didn't realize this was as split a camp as cables.
Yes, the sound quality of wires is split into two camps. But only one of those camps is taken seriously.
http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum...ad.php?t=27050
http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum...ad.php?t=43263
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  #24  
Old 06-15-2009, 12:35 PM
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Yeah ,the idea that you have to burn in a cable is just plain silly.
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  #25  
Old 06-15-2009, 09:35 PM
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Apologies for delayed response, the internets were broken in area for the last day and I have not been online. Everyone has contributed important points and funny enough I agree with most. On another note, I really should not have commented on “$20.00 inexpensive amp,” as I haven’t tested any and it’s possible that they perform very well driving higher impedance headphones and adding other sound qualities as well.

I can say to the other camp that believes in the “placebo effect,” I have tried some RMAA tests myself on my sound card and the tests can certainly make things look a lot worse than they sound, you can hear/identify the poor sound quality beyond seeing the test results, so how can you say that one can not hear the reverse with good sound quality.

ps I’ll correct the noted points soon…
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  #26  
Old 06-16-2009, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
dfkt seems pleased enough with his
I don't recall seeing him make any recommendations in that thread. You however, did.

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Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
If you don't like it, that's fine. It's still a free Internet, I think.
Don't twist my words to mean things other then what I wrote. I didn't say I didn't like it. I said it was a bad recommendation and I gave a series of reasons why.

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Silly in your opinion.
You disagree with the proposition "buying an amp to go with a $25 dollar pair of headphones is silly"?
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  #27  
Old 06-16-2009, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
Apologies for delayed response, the internets were broken in area for the last day and I have not been online. Everyone has contributed important points and funny enough I agree with most. On another note, I really should not have commented on “$20.00 inexpensive amp,” as I haven’t tested any and it’s possible that they perform very well driving higher impedance headphones and adding other sound qualities as well.
I'd say the E5 is fairly respectable at about that price point, and for some stuff (X5, Ipod 3G) it'd be a nice improvement. For other stuff (Sansa Clip) its probably not going to help at all.

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Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
I can say to the other camp that believes in the “placebo effect,” I have tried some RMAA tests myself on my sound card and the tests can certainly make things look a lot worse than they sound, you can hear/identify the poor sound quality beyond seeing the test results, so how can you say that one can not hear the reverse with good sound quality.
I don't follow your question. Are you saying that RMAA results look worse then things sound? If so, thats not really surprising. The ADC on even a mid range sound card is far more sensitive then your ears. Its picking up defects in the sound that have no hope of getting through your ear.
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  #28  
Old 06-16-2009, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
You disagree with the proposition "buying an amp to go with a $25 dollar pair of headphones is silly"?
I would say it depends on the $25 headphones. You sir imply low price == bad. And if they do not suck balls the amp can still improve on the short comings of the player.
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  #29  
Old 06-16-2009, 09:25 PM
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I'd say the E5 is fairly respectable at about that price point, and for some stuff (X5, Ipod 3G) it'd be a nice improvement.
Although the E5 is respectable in your opinion (I don't disagree, I just haven't tested it so it's hard for me to comment on it), it wouldn’t pair nice with the X5 because of the size difference. IMO I think the X5 would pair better with the T4, Pico Slim, D10, Pico, 2Move, RSA or other similar size amps. Yes, I know there's a wide difference in their sq and preformance, so the X5 user would have to make that call. I’ll refrain from commenting on the ipod

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Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
For other stuff (Sansa Clip) its probably not going to help at all.
On the Clip, I would have to say it depends on the phones you are going to pair it with, but I'd bet that it does help with certain phones.


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Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
I don't follow your question. Are you saying that RMAA results look worse then things sound? If so, thats not really surprising. The ADC on even a mid range sound card is far more sensitive then your ears. Its picking up defects in the sound that have no hope of getting through your ear.
I didn’t expect an answer, it was a rhetorical question. /me tries to re-explain ---> I can see via the RMAA test I have preformed the results of my sound card which looked horrendous, but at the same time I can easily hear the bad sound quality. I didn’t really need the graph to tell me that, but I enjoyed running the test. Just as that statement holds true, the reverse is also possible, I can listen to headphones amped or not and know if I like them or not. Yes it’s subjective, but far from placebo suggested by Enigmatic. Thus you don’t always need a graph to tell you what sound quality you like or don’t like.

Another good example that morfic stated in post #11 “I love graphs too, but in a subjective field like audio they do not tell the whole story, RMAA would show you higher distortion for a tube amp than a SS amp, would you then say a SS amp is better?” BTW, I love the sq of my tube amp and I’m sure the tests wouldn’t show great performance, but I can listen to it for hours without it being fatiguing vs my ss amp and the lush warmth is to die for.
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  #30  
Old 06-16-2009, 10:52 PM
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Originally posted by saratoga
Quote:
I don't recall seeing him make any recommendations in that thread. You however, did.
So sue me....the poster asked a question , and I answered it. I'm sure now I shall burn in hell.


Quote:
Don't twist my words to mean things other then what I wrote. I didn't say I didn't like it. I said it was a bad recommendation and I gave a series of reasons why.
And I gave a series of reasons why they will probably be happy with my recommendation, having extensive experience with what I recommended....I get it, you disagree.



Quote:
You disagree with the proposition "buying an amp to go with a $25 dollar pair of headphones is silly"?
As I said before...
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian
Quote:
For the price of the E5, however, they could not have gotten something better than the 201. Therefore, the E5 is a cost-effective way for them to get better sound than what they currently have. I have spent many hours with that combo, and DAP-->E5-->201 is capable of better sound than DAP-->201.
Clearly we are just going around in circles here. Your mind is made up, and so is mine.

Also, I don't want this thread to spiral out of control like some others have. So what do you say we agree to disagree in an amicable fashion and let the thread continue on?
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  #31  
Old 06-17-2009, 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
Just as that statement holds true, the reverse is also possible, I can listen to headphones amped or not and know if I like them or not. Yes it’s subjective, but far from placebo suggested by Enigmatic.
The placebo effect is very big in audio, especially high-end audio. Never underestimate its ability to sell snake oil or unnecessary products. No one is free from the placebo effect. One poster claimed in another thread that shining a small green LED on a CD improves sound quality. If that poster then claimed that he can listen to CDs LEDed or not and know if he liked them or not, would you take him seriously? I stand by my original recommendation: listeners should be very careful when evaluating sound quality only subjectively.
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  #32  
Old 06-17-2009, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Enigmatic View Post
The placebo effect is very big in audio, especially high-end audio. Never underestimate its ability to sell snake oil or unnecessary products. No one is free from the placebo effect. One poster claimed in another thread that shining a small green LED on a CD improves sound quality. If that poster then claimed that he can listen to CDs LEDed or not and know if he liked them or not, would you take him seriously? I stand by my original recommendation: listeners should be very careful when evaluating sound quality only subjectively.
We are not talking high-end audio here, it’s portable and middle of the road at best. In fact I am not discussing or recommending one specific brand. Although I agree with your statement of “listeners should be very careful when evaluating sound quality only subjectively,” On another note, I can not believe that you are comparing a green LED improving sound quality to amped vs. not amped o-O, at the very least you must admit it will amplify the signal and change the sq, regardless if you like it or not. Not sure about you, but I feel confident being able to tell what my ears enjoy or not, sure there’s lots of snake oil out there and possibly in the portable amp business as well, but once again I am happy with what I have.

Maybe we should change the title of the thread to “What Do Good Portable Amps Do” or “What Are Good Portable Amps Supposed To Do.”


BTW, We have been discussing the placebo effect and most of the articles that you quote since I joined both here and on #anythingbutipod irc, you got no argument from me.
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  #33  
Old 06-17-2009, 03:05 PM
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You could add a DAC combo bullet list. That'd be something that, at the very basics, should be agreeable on...
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  #34  
Old 06-17-2009, 05:45 PM
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You could add a DAC combo bullet list. That'd be something that, at the very basics, should be agreeable on...
While some amps do come with DAC's, not all have one included. You can buy a portable amp, a portable amp/DAC combo or even a portable DAC without the amp. I really didn't want to get into all of them and only wanted to identify some areas that a good amp may help with under the proper conditions. But I'm certainly up for entertaining the idea if everyone would want to add it.
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  #35  
Old 06-17-2009, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
Although I agree with your statement of “listeners should be very careful when evaluating sound quality only subjectively,” On another note, I can not believe that you are comparing a green LED improving sound quality to amped vs. not amped o-O, at the very least you must admit it will amplify the signal and change the sq, regardless if you like it or not.
I deliberately chose one of the most absurd examples I could find to show the pitfall of unchecked subjectivism. I agree with you that you and most readers of this thread will have immediately noticed how ridiculous the LED claim was. Yes, I agree the signal will be amplified; I think no one disagrees with this. Change the sound quality? Now this is a much more interesting question to ponder.

When you talk of improved sound quality from using a headphone amplifier, are you talking about the output from the MP3 player’s headphone jack, line out, or both? When you say that the sound quality is improved, are you saying that laboratory measurements will show improvements in things like frequency response, signal-to-noise ratio, total harmonic distortion, channel separation, etc.? Proper interpretation of laboratory measurements may trip people up. For example, for typical music, increasing the channel separation from 20 dB to, say, 60 dB will lead to no increase in sound quality.

Total harmonic distortion better than, say, 0.1% leads to no increase in sound quality. For typical music, nothing much is happening down below about 50 Hz. So if, for example, a headphone amplifier boosts the output at 30 Hz by 3 dB, listeners will be unable to hear a difference unless the music contains large amounts of deep bass—e.g., artillery fire, pipe organs, synthesizers, etc. And then the improvement will only be subtle. So it is difficult for me to admit that the sound quality will improve. Will the sound quality change? It might.

Quote:
Maybe we should change the title of the thread to “What Do Good Portable Amps Do” or “What Are Good Portable Amps Supposed To Do.”
Yes, this would be good. But better would be for your article to explain why the sound quality is improved and back it up with laboratory measurements and explain the laboratory measurements—why the laboratory measurements indicate an improvement in sound quality.
Quote:
BTW, We have been discussing the placebo effect and most of the articles that you quote since I joined both here and on #anythingbutipod irc, you got no argument from me.
Glad to hear it. The more people that are aware of the placebo effect, the less people will be ripped off by snake-oil sellers. Users of MP3 players will be able to get more from their MP3 players. Everyone wins. Except the rip-off artists.
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  #36  
Old 06-17-2009, 08:49 PM
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Enigmatic, this is NOT an article, there wasn’t any one amp recommended, a few brief ideas and a request for others to suggest as well. What equipment are you suggesting to test? No offense, but your post seems more like rhetoric than anything specifically useful. And as far as laboratory testing, feel free to do them and share. I am not in this industry, I don’t get paid for this, don’t have the time, money or inclination to do them. Only reason I ever did a few RMMA test were for the fun of it. IMO this laboratory testing equipment that you suggest would cost more than my total investment in portable audio and possibly my home system as well, I think you’ve got the wrong site

Edit: changed thread title "What Can Good Portable Amps Do"
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  #37  
Old 06-18-2009, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
What equipment are you suggesting to test?
Your headphone amplifiers?
Quote:
No offense, but your post seems more like rhetoric than anything specifically useful.
No offense taken.
Quote:
Only reason I ever did a few RMMA test were for the fun of it.
Why not post them?
Quote:
IMO this laboratory testing equipment that you suggest would cost more than my total investment in portable audio and possibly my home system as well, I think you’ve got the wrong site
I apologize for a bad choice of words. The test results from a RightMark Audio Analyzer would be fine.

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  #38  
Old 06-18-2009, 04:57 PM
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Enigmatic,
Didn’t post them because the tests were on a creative POS sound card, really not worth it and I did share with others in #anythingbutipod irc. I can’t do other test as I don’t have a good card to use, that’s why I bought an amp with a DAC to bypass soundcard and I don’t see buying additional equipment just to start testing equipment. I’ll leave that to dfkt and AFAIK Enzo is starting to do them as well. Maybe if I get the equipment I need in the future, but for now I’m broke :/ Keep in mind, I’m no audiophile and I’m not in the business.


Edit: /me thinks this thread is getting off topic
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  #39  
Old 06-18-2009, 08:19 PM
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Default What a good portable amp should do.

Any chance to get this back on track?
  • A good amp to me should fit under my DAP.
  • It should allow me to drive headphones i could not drive w/o it, be they too low ohm or too high ohm. Gain switches for widest range of impedances welcome.
  • It should allow me certain adjustments beyond volume, active crossfeed to fight fatiguing recordings would be nice, bass/treble boost for those recordings where i don't agree with "The artists intend".
  • Opamp sockets since our ears hear "coloring of sound" unlike rmaa which is color blind. This way we tune the amp to our preference.
  • It should allow me to listen to music longer since it should make the player's battery last longer, so a decent battery to match my players improved battery life is a must.
  • Bottomline: It must make me enjoy music more with any of my phones.
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  #40  
Old 06-19-2009, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by morfic View Post
Any chance to get this back on track?
I certainly hope so, as we arn't speaking of any one specific portable amp.

On another note, for those that are interested in RMAA, you need to have a very good sound card or the tests are tainted, also you should follow their forums and you might be surprised.
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