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Which dac amp upgrade would be the best

Fosh612
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I have a schiit stack a modi 3+ and a magni 3+ and I am going to move this stack away from my pc and I am looking for something else and possible better. Was considering a hel 2 before and considering it again. Something else from schiit would be the asgard 3 with either the module installed or a modius for looks more or less. Since the modius is $250 I could go with the magnius and get balanced cables for the same price but that means I would need balanced for every headphone I purchase. Considering the power the asgard has I'd probably opt for that. Aside from schiit a fiio k5 pro or thx amp from drop perhaps. That's really all I have looked at because when I heard about the price to comparison with the stack I have it was a no brainer. What do you guys think? I am looking for something powerful and future proof that sounds good. 

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If you have the money, stick to dedicated solutions. Not just Amps with integrated DACs, but individual DACs and Amps. Unless you're on a tight budget (sub ~$150), that's a bad investment.

 

I've been out of the amp game for a while, but THX is still in the top percentile even years later (at least, at this price category). If you don't need balanced, the THX AAA ONE from Drop is a good, cheap offering. The SMSL SP200 is only marginally more, comes with an updated THX-888 chip, and balaced inputs/outputs.

 

If possible, I like to steer you clear of audiosciencereviews for measurements. They've recently had a spotlight shone on their immoral and technically inaccurate practices. I wouldn't trust them to use their own equipment properly, and GR Research made a very good point as to why. If necessary, I'll direct you to some other site.

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From what've I read, the Magnius will sound very similar to the 789 (which I own).  The SP200 mentioned above will be extremely similar if not identical.  I wouldn't worry about going with balanced headphone cables for this price point—especially if you get a SP200 since it's not actually outputting as balanced over the 4 pin xlr. 

The $100 premium for the Asgard 3 DAC isn't worth it, considering all you get is a USB input that can't be used with any other amps.  I recommend just sticking with the Modi 3 for now.

If you want a combo similar in price to the K5 pro, look at the Topping DX3 pro+.  I've read a lot of positive feedback on it.  But the K5 or DX3 aren't going to be much of an upgrade over the Magni 3+.  

Anyway I think most people will like the Asgard 3 (which I own) the best of any of these.  But it depends on personal preference and what headphones you're using.

 

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3 minutes ago, marcgii said:

From what've I read, the Magnius will sound very similar to the 789 (which I own).  The SP200 mentioned above will be extremely similar if not identical.  I wouldn't worry about going with balanced headphone cables for this price point—especially if you get a SP200 since it's not actually outputting as balanced over the 4 pin xlr. 

The $100 premium for the Asgard 3 DAC isn't worth it, considering all you get is a USB input that can't be used with any other amps.  I recommend just sticking with the Modi 3 for now.

If you want a combo similar in price to the K5 pro, look at the Topping DX3 pro+.  I've read a lot of positive feedback on it.  But the K5 or DX3 aren't going to be much of an upgrade over the Magni 3+.  

Anyway I think most people will like the Asgard 3 (which I own) the best of any of these.  But it depends on personal preference and what headphones you're using.

 

I actually forgot about topping stuff. Ik they have good stuff. 

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One question - are you actually solving a problem that needs solving? headphones have increasingly become LESS sensitive to amps/DACs over the years (compare HD800, which I have, to the newer HD800s).

If your headphones aren't in the $1000+ range you'd almost certainly be better off getting better cans (or even cans with a different sound signature that you can swap between).

 

 


 

As an aside, balanced cables don't really matter for lengths under 20 feet and there are reasons to think that they're slightly WORSE for short distances (you need to push more power through them). They also don't matter (as in the extra wire is not used at all) for unbalanced gear (most headphones). The notable exception is you have a bunch of RF polluting gear around or live next to a radio tower. You probably don't.

https://www.google.com/search?channel=fs&q=balanced+cables+for+short+runs

There's also reason to believe that having TWO amps in one unit is worse for headphones in particular.
https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/application_notes/audio-myth-balanced-headphone-outputs-are-better
 

 

https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/qftkhv/is_getting_a_balanced_cable_worth_it/

 

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6 hours ago, OfficialTechSpace said:

If possible, I like to steer you clear of audiosciencereviews for measurements. They've recently had a spotlight shone on their immoral and technically inaccurate practices. I wouldn't trust them to use their own equipment properly, and GR Research made a very good point as to why. If necessary, I'll direct you to some other site.

While I am far from an ASR "fan" and generally cannot stand their attitude (you can look at my post history on that site if you don't believe me). I don't agree that they are a "great savior in a sea of evil", but I have yet to see major flaws in how they run measurements. As it stands, I do not know of another site that can even come close to their quality and quantity of data.

 

Sure, I really would like to see more comprehensive testing for power amplifiers, but I also get that there is a time factor here. I generally like Erin'sAudioCorner a little more for speaker testing, but both of them take good, useful data. 

 

It's possible you know something that I don't, but please list what you mean by "technically inaccurate practices". 

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To be honest, I really see no point to upgrading past the Magni 3+ and the Modi 3. Both are really, really good devices, and are objectively better than anyone can hear by a good margin. 

 

The more expensive Schiit hardware does have some worthwhile upgrades - better volume controls (either an RK27 pot or relay stepped attenuators), balanced inputs / outputs, built-in power supplies (no more wall warts) and a physically larger chassis that won't slide around on your desk. Unless you're unusually picky like me (keep in mind you're talking to someone who just spent $200 on rope line because of how it feels), this probably isn't worth it unless you really need balanced inputs / outputs.

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1 hour ago, H713 said:

It's possible you know something that I don't, but please list what you mean by "technically inaccurate practices". 

For example, testing the Electro-Magnetic Interference of a power cable that is unplugged in attempt to prove that EMI doesn't have an impact on closely-routed audio cables (which is hilarious). Also, entering their reviews with pre-conceived opinions and measuring things wrong on-purpose to try and get the results they like. In this particular instance, even that attempt failed and they ended up recommending the speakers. Not to mention, the speakers they "reviewed" they never once even listened to. They had one unit, which played in mono, they measured it wrong, and then wrote an article about it. They also just don't know how to measure off-axis response, etc. etc.

 

I used to go to ASR for everything DAC/Amp related, measurements included. However, with their inadequacies shining through now, I won't even speak their name if I'm able to avoid it.

 

Here's a video explaining the recent controversy in detail:

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4 hours ago, OfficialTechSpace said:

For example, testing the Electro-Magnetic Interference of a power cable that is unplugged in attempt to prove that EMI doesn't have an impact on closely-routed audio cables (which is hilarious).

Nothing wrong with that video, it's a reasonable demonstration and explanation of electrostatic coupling, and also a pretty good illustration of why electrostatic shielding doesn't really matter for low impedances and low frequencies. I didn't go over it with a fine-tooth comb (I don't have all that much free time...), but nothing stood out to me as being wrong. At 500 MHz things are very different, but fortunately we don't hear 500 MHz. This can still be an issue if there's modulation going on though.

 

Magnetic coupling is another issue entirely, and is a bit harder to understand. Speaker cables are almost totally immune, because they're low impedance systems and the loop area is almost always tiny because the cables are (often) a twisted pair and because the speakers are floating.

 

The reality is that 99% of mains interference issues in audio equipment are grounding issues, because that's where you end up with a loop area large enough to cause problems. 

 

Generally speaking Amir knows how to use his equipment as well as anyone. Do I always agree with how he interprets his results? No. Has he done tests that I believe are useless and / or misleading? Yes. Were the measurements taken correctly in all of those cases? Yes, they were. I really haven't seen any cases where Amir's measurements didn't match those taken by others using similar equipment. In any case, it's not like the AP box is particularly difficult to use. Amir has the APx555, which completely solves the things that made using the SYS 2722 so difficult (the god-awful software for the System 2 was re-written when they went to the APx series and from what I've heard sucks infinitely less). 

 

I haven't made it through Danny's entire video (I really don't have time to watch the whole thing). I did notice that at roughly 25 minutes in he made a pretty real error: taking a whole bunch of measurements using the same input parameters, then averaging them, is NOT the same thing as 1/3 octave smoothing. 

 

The Klippel is a powerful tool, and is probably the best way to measure speakers. Quasi-anechoic methods like those which Danny uses are useful, but they will never match those of the Klippel, which is a marvel of modern technology (it mathematically eliminates the effect of the room from measurements - details can be seen in their research papers). 

 

I hate to say it, but the issues with the GR LGK speaker are something I could have told you would be the case before even putting a microphone on it. Full range drivers of this type always have directivity issues at high frequencies due to their large size (compared to a tweeter, that is) and their small size (compared to a woofer) and generally limited x_max tends to result in major distortion very early on. This is an issue with almost all 3" full-ranges. This thing may sound decent in a desktop application when paired with a subwoofer though. 

 

Mono listening tests are useful. It's a lot easier to hear tonal issues in a mono test, and its a lot easier to hear power handling issues, so I see why Amir does his testing that way. Any time I'm doing crossover testing, I'll usually do it in mono because it's a lot easier to hear the effects of what you're doing.

 

 

To be clear, I am not an ASR fanboy. You can feel free to dig through my posting history there. I certainly don't always agree with Amir. I've voiced distaste for the attitude on that site (where they seem to enjoy making fun of other people's mistakes and where the default assumption is that any engineer who makes a mistake is a science-denying scammer). That said, I'm going to to call the data bad until I see real issues with it. People regularly accuse Amir of "not knowing how to use his tools", and inevitably point to mistakes in their own test setup rather than Amir's. The guy isn't an idiot- he's an engineer, and he knows his data doesn't reflect well on a whole lot of companies, so there is strong incentive to make sure it's right. 

 

As a last note, I don't have anything against Danny. I think he's a pretty good loudspeaker engineer (a lot of his work is actually really quite good). His "tweaks" are largely BS*, but I can look past that.

 

*The issue of capacitor, resistor and inductor linearity is well-documented. People like Douglas Self have spent countless hours testing and collecting data. If people are curious about this I'm happy to discuss it, but that's getting into a tangent of a tangent. If you really want to dig deep into it, Douglas Self's Small Signal Audio Design and Design of Active Crossovers goes into pretty good detail on the subject of passive component linearity. 

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19 hours ago, H713 said:

I really haven't seen any cases where Amir's measurements didn't match those taken by others using similar equipment.

 

Going off topic but the one case I'm aware of would be the JBL A130.

https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/jbl_stage_a130/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/jbl-stage-a130-review-speaker.18260/

 

The current belief is that there are TWO different revisions of the same speaker under the exact same name. I stopped recommending the A130 as result even though it used to be AWESOME.

 

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38 minutes ago, cmndr said:

 

Going off topic but the one case I'm aware of would be the JBL A130.

https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/jbl_stage_a130/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/jbl-stage-a130-review-speaker.18260/

 

The current belief is that there are TWO different revisions of the same speaker under the exact same name. I stopped recommending the A130 as result even though it used to be AWESOME.

 


Also keep in mind that production tolerances for woofers and tweeters vary. Some drivers (such as ScanSpeak) are remarkably consistent, while some of the cheaper drivers (Dayton, Vifa, etc) can be very inconsistent. Given how cheap this speaker is, there just isn't budget for QC, so I wouldn't rule out sample variation. 

 

Also, temperature does have a pretty significant impact on transducer characteristics. John Krutke has some interesting data on his site regarding this. 

 

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From what I understand there's multiple people getting BOTH patterns with more people getting the worse set of measurements for more recent purchases. Also the online purchase page shifted.

So likely same marketing name but different SKUs.

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Sounds like a tooling issue to me. Maybe two molds that aren't quite the same? 

 

 

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I enjoy coming at this hobby with a purely subjective view point, I don't look at anything objective and go off gut instinct when listening to reviews from different sources.  If I've got a tickle in my pickle I push the buy button.  Zeos gave his at the time the most glowing review of the dt880-600 and I had just experienced the dt770-80 that I bought for my blind friend as a durable daily.  So I scoured the internet looking for a pair in stock knowing that I had no viable way to power them.  When I got them I also ordered cables to hook them up to a speaker power amplifier and when those thing's fired up....... MY GAWD it blew my brains out and gave me exactly what I was looking for, a different and unusual experience.  Granted it popped the cheap rack mount power amp because the grounds were shared between channels.

 

Anyways my point is that it sounds like you are in this for the hobby and not a solution.

 

Balanced is not a requirement, which I thought it was for "futureproofing" but anything can be single ended.  The improvements that balanced give is more of a slight technicality in that it does give better sound but it's marginal.  Don't make balanced an end game while sacrificing something else, if balanced happens then great, that's one more experience you have available to you.  For me, the biggest improvement with balanced would be it's tendency to reject noise in the system, which is something that plagued me for a while on my SE connections.  Also, you don't have to buy all balanced headphones, most headphones with a detachable cable can have balanced counterparts made for them.  I recommend periapt or hart cables.

 

Lastly I would highly suggest looking at tubes if this is in fact a hobby/experience and you aren't in it for accurate reproduction.  I love nothing more than kicking back for a "music nap" where I fire up some tubes, plop on some headphones and just ZONE TF OUT and stop existing for an hour.

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DAC S.M.S.L SU-9

Class-D dac/amp Topping DX7 - Schiit Fulla E

Class-A amp Emotiva A-100 - Xduoo MT-602 (hybrid tube)

Pure Tube amp Darkvoice 336SE - Little dot MKII - Nobsound Little Bear P7

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On 6/30/2022 at 4:31 PM, OfficialTechSpace said:

If you have the money, stick to dedicated solutions. Not just Amps with integrated DACs, but individual DACs and Amps. Unless you're on a tight budget (sub ~$150), that's a bad investment.

 

I've been out of the amp game for a while, but THX is still in the top percentile even years later (at least, at this price category). If you don't need balanced, the THX AAA ONE from Drop is a good, cheap offering. The SMSL SP200 is only marginally more, comes with an updated THX-888 chip, and balaced inputs/outputs.

 

If possible, I like to steer you clear of audiosciencereviews for measurements. They've recently had a spotlight shone on their immoral and technically inaccurate practices. I wouldn't trust them to use their own equipment properly, and GR Research made a very good point as to why. If necessary, I'll direct you to some other site.

If you trust GR research over ASR you would take the advice of a televangelist over a doctorate in quantum mechanics. Danny / GR Research is a guy with a hobby that sells upgrade kits to to fix big box speakers. Amir / ASR is an actual engineer. I work with engineers of all disciplines. Amir's methods correspond to what I see performed in actual testing labs. Danny is the shamwow guy that knows how to wire a crossover.

 

Seriously, when you promote high end power cables and using tinker toys to elevate your speaker cables you are either a kook who's failed at everything else is life, or a junior college drop out that can't pass a basic electrical engineering class. Worse is yet are fans that cant tell the difference.

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3 hours ago, wseaton said:

If you trust GR research over ASR you would take the advice of a televangelist over a doctorate in quantum mechanics. Danny / GR Research is a guy with a hobby that sells upgrade kits to to fix big box speakers. Amir / ASR is an actual engineer. I work with engineers of all disciplines. Amir's methods correspond to what I see performed in actual testing labs. Danny is the shamwow guy that knows how to wire a crossover.

Danny has worked in partner with manufacturers to create his own drivers, all to his own specifications/standards. He then uses these drivers in a number of applications, including his own speaker systems that he sells and makes a living off of. Systems range from as little as $200 to $4K and above, which custom and sometimes open-baffle cabinets are designed for. They're also sold individually/separately for anyone who'd prefer that. Danny designs his own crossovers using only the most quality components (at a reasonable price), and sells kits that completely rework existing speaker designs by other companies. Get that? His side-business is fixing the mistakes made by other companies. Kits also include new connectors, and a sheet of NO REZ to retreat the cabinets. He's been in the audio industry for decades, and GR Research has been a standalone business for that time.

 

If someone who designs their own drivers, cabinets, and crossovers isn't an engineer... then I don't know what is. The problem with that though, is that I do. Meaning we should be pointing elsewhere for your source of confusion. ASR on the other hand, does not design their own products. They actually have a clear lack of understanding when it comes to doing so as well. When given the opportunity to show their strengths whilst reviewing a DIY speaker kit... they didn't even treat the cabinet... they left it raw, and then measured it wrong with averages taken from multiple different positions. The people at ASR are not engineers, they are glorified enthusiasts with measurement hardware they're incapable of competently making use of when it comes to speakers. ASR also tried to disprove the existence/impact of EMI by running an unplugged power cable next to an audio cable (which is hilariously stupid). 

3 hours ago, wseaton said:

Seriously, when you promote high end power cables and using tinker toys to elevate your speaker cables you are either a kook who's failed at everything else is life, or a junior college drop out that can't pass a basic electrical engineering class. Worse is yet are fans that cant tell the difference.

Or maybe it's people like you who don't know any better. You'll have the right to go against an honest audio engineer when you own/operate your own business, and are able to competently match or surpass the performance of others. However, as it stands you do not. Speak on what you know, not what you don't. Leave audio to the professionals, and become less of an opinionated barrier for progression in the industry. There are too many of you, you're just another parrot... another copy of a copy. *insert nine in nails* Lol.

 

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MOUSE: Logitech G502 HERO (wired)  KEYBOARD: Rosewill K81 RGB (Kailh Brown)  HEADPHONES: HiFiMan Ananda, Drop x Sennheiser HD6XX

IEMS: 7Hz Timeless, Tin Audio T2, Blon BL-03, Samsung/AKG Galaxy Buds Pro  STUDIO MONITORS: Mackie MR524, Mackie MRS10  MIC: NEAT Worker Bee  

INTERFACE: Focusrite Scarlett Solo  AMPLIFIER: SMSL SP200 THX AAA-888, XDUOO XD-05 Basic  DAC: SMSL Sanskrit 10th MKII (upgraded AK4493 Version)

WHEEL: Logitech G29 + Logitech G Shifter

 

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8 hours ago, OfficialTechSpace said:

 Danny designs his own crossovers using only the most quality components (at a reasonable price), and sells kits that completely rework existing speaker designs by other companies..

Danny is a competent loudspeaker engineer, no question about it, and most of his speakers are quite well-designed. That said, and I've brought this up many times, Danny only uses boutique crossover parts that are very expensive compared to alternative parts that will perform just as well. The Sonicaps are a good example of this. A 4.7 uF 200 V Sonicap is about $48. A 4.7 uF Panasonic polypropylene film cap, rated at 450 V, is $4.22 at Mouser. The Panasonic PP film caps are known to be excellent performers in filter circuits and are virtually free of distortion caused by dielectric absorption. I'd love to compare more specs than this, but Sonicap doesn't publish datasheets (which is a huge red flag in my book). Dissipation factor on the Sonicap is claimed to be lower (though for both caps it's low enough to not really matter here), but if we go up to about $15 at Mouser, we can get 1 kV rated IGBT stiffening caps with far lower dissipation factors. These things are tanks and are designed for HUGE pulse currents with very fast rising edges, so they're great to have on hand.

 

 

8 hours ago, OfficialTechSpace said:

If someone who designs their own drivers, cabinets, and crossovers isn't an engineer... then I don't know what is. The problem with that though, is that I do. Meaning we should be pointing elsewhere for your source of confusion. ASR on the other hand, does not design their own products. They actually have a clear lack of understanding when it comes to doing so as well. When given the opportunity to show their strengths whilst reviewing a DIY speaker kit... they didn't even treat the cabinet... they left it raw, and then measured it wrong with averages taken from multiple different positions. The people at ASR are not engineers, they are glorified enthusiasts with measurement hardware they're incapable of competently making use of when it comes to speakers.

FWIW, Amir is an electrical engineer and worked as one for a long time, and he's the one behind 95% of ASR measurements. As far as I'm concerned, they've measured several DIY speakers, and all (or almost all) have performed very, very close to the design specifications. That includes the ones designed by Danny. The main difference is that Amir is not happy with those characteristics, while apparently Danny is.

 

Now, a quick note: ASR pretty much treats all speakers the same. Most of the time, this works out okay, but it does mean that speakers designed to be used in a tiny office (or with a subwoofer) tend to do poorly. The Zaph ZA5 is another good example of this. That said, it doesn't take a genius to look at the ASR ZA5 measurements and say "yeah, this would be great with a subwoofer in a smaller room", and many people have done just that.

 

 

8 hours ago, OfficialTechSpace said:

ASR also tried to disprove the existence/impact of EMI by running an unplugged power cable next to an audio cable (which is hilariously stupid). 

 

You should probably re-watch the ASR video on this subject. First, however, I strongly encourage you to spend a few hours reviewing the fundamentals of E&M fields. AoE and the ARRL handbook are good places to start since they don't instantly jump into the vector calculus, and it tends to be easier to learn the math after you've learned the physical concepts.

 

 

Amir's video did a reasonable job of illustrating the effects of electrostatic coupling and electrostatic shielding. You do not need current flow to have electric fields, so an open power cord is an acceptable way to simulate this. 


As mentioned, in most audio systems the electric fields don't cause a lot of problems. It can be an issue with tube gear due to the high impedances involved, which is why a lot of tube gear that deals with tiny signals makes use of electrostatic tube shields. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, H713 said:

FWIW, Amir is an electrical engineer

The same electrical engineer that recently insisted a time-arrival/phase issue could be resolved with EQ? That's what he said in his "review" of the GR Research RP600M upgrade kit. I put "review" in quotations because they aren't actually reviews. Amir (whom I will now refer to as Moe, because that's funny) takes one speaker, playing in mono, measures it... and then that's it. He doesn't even listen to them as part of the "review" process, nor could he. He doesn't even have the other speaker.

 

https://youtu.be/Gu7U_7JSAzg

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22 minutes ago, OfficialTechSpace said:

The same electrical engineer that recently insisted a time-arrival/phase issue could be resolved with EQ? That's what he said in his "review" of the GR Research RP600M upgrade kit. I put "review" in quotations because they aren't actually reviews. Amir (whom I will now refer to as Moe, because it's funny) takes one speaker, playing in mono, measures it... and then that's it. He doesn't even listen to them as part of the "review" process, nor could he. He doesn't even have the other speaker.

 

https://youtu.be/Gu7U_7JSAzg

Because listening to speakers in 'stereo' does not add objective value to a speaker review.

He does listen to the speakers. He always does a written review - I don't believe he does a video review every time.2079065993_ScreenShot2022-07-06at3_20_50AM.thumb.png.9d01d94adfb87c67e0df23a8d81dea62.png

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19 minutes ago, saint_louis_bagels said:

Because listening to speakers in 'stereo' does not add objective value to a speaker review.

He does listen to the speakers. He always does a written review - I don't believe he does a video review every time.2079065993_ScreenShot2022-07-06at3_20_50AM.thumb.png.9d01d94adfb87c67e0df23a8d81dea62.png

Everything other than measurements is subjective, and technical performance is equally as important to discuss as the measurements themself. Most audiophiles would rather be told about the detail, resolving ability, imaging, soundstage, timbre, candor, and dynamics of a speaker. As opposed to being told of course, that they're a little bright. The measurements already told us that. Plus, they're Klipsch speakers... with a horn... so there's no surprise there in that regard. Moe doesn't even understand time-arrival/phase issues, which are objective in themselves. A "reviewer" that listens in mono, provides some measurements, and doesn't even entirely understand the objective faults in a design is not a valuable asset. If subjective impressions aren't part of the "review", then it's simply not a review. It's a brief overview.

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4 hours ago, H713 said:

You should probably re-watch the ASR video on this subject. First, however, I strongly encourage you to spend a few hours reviewing the fundamentals of E&M fields. AoE and the ARRL handbook are good places to start since they don't instantly jump into the vector calculus, and it tends to be easier to learn the math after you've learned the physical concepts.


This is generally good advice. You want to HAVE a good intuitive understanding of physics concepts FIRST, ideally before digging into equations which should come second. I say this as someone who academically mostly dealt with equations (learned the vector/matrix calculus on the fly while doing proofs).

E.g. if someone says that the temperature gradient between two objects suddenly doubled, you should intuitively know (barring second and third order effects) holding all else equal that the rate of instantaneous heat transfer will double.

Crash course is pretty good (I actually need to give this a watch through - back in 2018 I reached the end of available material and went on to other stuff) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTWHMchUlws

 

Other bits that apply to having an "engineering mindset" also relate to having a good feel for tradeoffs (so loosely thinking of systems as a bunch of S curves with respect to some objective criteria) and optimizing on whatever area has the steepest slope relative to input costs.

 

 

---

1 hour ago, OfficialTechSpace said:

A "reviewer" that listens in mono, provides some measurements, and doesn't even entirely understand the objective faults in a design is not a valuable asset. If subjective impressions aren't part of the "review", then it's simply not a review. It's a brief overview.

It's a tradeoff. Listening in mono means it's less sensitive to positioning (read: less time spent). It's easier to standardize. It also cuts shipping costs roughly in half when dealing with getting product over as well. It's also allows for meaningful assessment of center channel speakers which usually aren't sold in pairs.

In an ideal world you would have two pairs of speakers that are reasonably well dialed in but then you run into issues with the room in question being dissimilar to others.


What does end up being somewhat interesting though is that A LOT of the "these are pretty darn good speakers" recommendations end up measuring very well. The measurements are imperfect but they're standardized, they're consistent across a wide range of entries and this has value.

The alternative is dealing with the placebo effect (which can often have a bigger impact than people would like to admit) and a lot of other acoustic and psycho acoustic phenomenon (e.g. moving your head 2 inches changes the frequency response for a given ear - good luck standardizing head location for more than 10 seconds) and individuals have a hard time focusing on more than a narrow range of sounds at time - "I hear new things" usually just means less distraction or placebo. Also state of mind becomes an issue.

Measurement obviates those problems. Because a siren going off at 2AM leaving a reviewer in a grumpy mood shouldn't tank a review of a good product and mild inebriation shouldn't elevate a medicore product.

Any suggestion should ideally be backed by both meaningful measurement ("it's different in the 500MHz range" doesn't count) PLUS a "preponderance" of "not bad" reviews.

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@OfficialTechSpace @cmndr......... good job hijacking this thread, you know if someone says something you don't like or agree with..... ignoring it IS an option

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3 hours ago, Psittac said:

@OfficialTechSpace @cmndr......... good job hijacking this thread, you know if someone says something you don't like or agree with..... ignoring it IS an option

It certainly is, so you are right about that. It just doesn't look good on whomever ignores it. That's like admitting you're wrong, and allowing the other to win. If the other is wrong and you believe something that they're saying could wrongfully influence the OP, it makes perfect sense to correct them. That way it's publicly known by all parties that the others information should be disregarded for the better of attaining an appropriate result.

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On 7/4/2022 at 2:41 AM, Psittac said:

I enjoy coming at this hobby with a purely subjective view point, I don't look at anything objective and go off gut instinct when listening to reviews from different sources.  If I've got a tickle in my pickle I push the buy button.  Zeos gave his at the time the most glowing review of the dt880-600 and I had just experienced the dt770-80 that I bought for my blind friend as a durable daily.  So I scoured the internet looking for a pair in stock knowing that I had no viable way to power them.  When I got them I also ordered cables to hook them up to a speaker power amplifier and when those thing's fired up....... MY GAWD it blew my brains out and gave me exactly what I was looking for, a different and unusual experience.  Granted it popped the cheap rack mount power amp because the grounds were shared between channels.

 

Anyways my point is that it sounds like you are in this for the hobby and not a solution.

 

Balanced is not a requirement, which I thought it was for "futureproofing" but anything can be single ended.  The improvements that balanced give is more of a slight technicality in that it does give better sound but it's marginal.  Don't make balanced an end game while sacrificing something else, if balanced happens then great, that's one more experience you have available to you.  For me, the biggest improvement with balanced would be it's tendency to reject noise in the system, which is something that plagued me for a while on my SE connections.  Also, you don't have to buy all balanced headphones, most headphones with a detachable cable can have balanced counterparts made for them.  I recommend periapt or hart cables.

 

Lastly I would highly suggest looking at tubes if this is in fact a hobby/experience and you aren't in it for accurate reproduction.  I love nothing more than kicking back for a "music nap" where I fire up some tubes, plop on some headphones and just ZONE TF OUT and stop existing for an hour.

I've heard great things about the vali 2+  thinking about grabbing that little tube amp. 

 

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17 minutes ago, Fosh612 said:

I've heard great things about the vali 2+  thinking about grabbing that little tube amp. 

 

I've never been a huge fan of the Vali. It's a tube amp, but it's got a solid-state output driver and no transformers in the audio path. I also feel that their plate voltages are a little on the low side for the tubes being used - I'd like to see them a little bit higher for maximum linearity out of an ECC88.

 

IMO, tube amps are a lot of fun, but 50% of the tube sound comes from that lossy chunk of iron in the audio path. Of course, a tube amp that I'm happy with will be pretty big and pretty heavy. Unless you're the type who builds their own tube amps like me, something of this sort would also be pretty expensive. 

 

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