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Old December 15, 2011, 06:00 AM
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Default Linus - please show the way for this audiophile n00b



Having watch many of your un-box video it's apparent that you are into high end audio and i'm tryin to learn as best as I can but it's just so confusing. I've recently bought myself a pair of Sony XB 1000 and I'm using it with the on board audio of the Gene Z ATM. With the provided software I have the equalizer set for bass heavy and unfortunately the sound is distorted even with these headsets. Now as far as I can understand that higher the volume along with setting excessive lows or highs in the equalizer will give a distorted sound. But if I line out the audio to an amp like this Audioengine N22, won't the sound be even more distorted? I should also state that I'm after higher volume as well, coz the on board audio just don't cut it. But at the current max volume from on board audio the sound is already distorted so an amp will....help or will it? I just don't get it.

Hope you can help dude.
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Old December 15, 2011, 08:13 AM
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Maximus IV GENE-Z/GEN3


i noticed SupremeFX X-Fi 2 built-in 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC, in drivers shows realtek for this MB

make sure you using correct driver for sound chip you have, this mite be the distortion issue


have HT amp/reciever use it via Tosi/optical from MB Optical S/PDIF out for 8 channel sound

or use a 1/8 stereo to RCA plug in front to amp/reciever

for the BIG sound

Audioengine N22 spec's not shown amp's speaker impedence rating, so mite have wrong speaker matched to amp.

Last edited by KaptCrunch; December 15, 2011 at 08:25 AM.
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Old December 15, 2011, 08:48 AM
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No offense to Linus, but he likely isn't the best person to be asking for audiophile advice. This isn't exactly the best forum either, though there are some fairly knowledgeable audio experts here. I would consider looking into an actual audiophile forum like ABI or HeadFi. But as always take everything everyone says (myself included) with a grain of salt. Everybody's ears are different, what's right for someone else might not be good for you.

If the XB1000's aren't bass heavy enough for you with your current audio setup, return them to the store if possible. Unless you have extra money to spend on a higher end soundcard/amp or external DAC/amp setup. (EQ should be done at the DAC, the amp should merely increase the power) TBH I would recommend looking into buying a few budget headphones first to better understand the exact sound signature you want. Jumping straight into upper mid range audio without an upper mid range DAC/amp will likely only lead to disappointment and a lot of wasted money.
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Old December 15, 2011, 10:08 AM
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I was just thinking the same thing. Linus IS an audio noob. ;)
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Old December 15, 2011, 03:01 PM
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Audiophile is a term that gets thrown around a lot by people who "think they're leet but they're not". The only people who are audiophiles are the people who drive around in a 20 year old car and live in a trailer so that they can afford to upkeep their $20,000 audio setup and the expensive lossless content that goes with it.

I'm a self-described "headphone geek", which means I can tell the difference between most headsets under the $150 range and while I appreciate the difference in quality between lossless CD rips and crap MP3s from iTunes, the convenience of small file sizes outweighs my appreciation.

So yeah... if you need a recommendation for a gaming headset that doesn't suck, I'm probably the right person to talk to. If you're an aspiring audiophile, I'm "t3h noobsauce".


edit: All of that aside, the solution to your problem is fairly simple. Can't count the number of times I've said this in my videos, but here it goes anyway: Stop using onboard audio. It doesn't matter what marketing is attached to it and what "certifications" it carries. It all sucks (with the possible exception of the GB G1. series boards that have amped onboard audio, but I haven't spent much time with them, so I can't say for sure). Any add-in sound card is better than onboard, and if you get one with a headphone amp, you will be happy you did.
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Old December 15, 2011, 03:07 PM
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I can vouch for the G1.Sniper 2 audio, it is pretty awesome.
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Old December 15, 2011, 04:03 PM
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onboard = pre amp to your kickbutt amp for big sound via optic



G1.Sniper 2 Audio
  1. 1 x Creative CA20K2 chip
  2. Support for Dolby® Digital Live and DTS™ Connect
  3. Support for X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity® and EAX® Advanced HD™ 5.0 technologies
  4. High Definition Audio
  5. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  6. Support for S/PDIF Out
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Old December 16, 2011, 06:31 AM
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Soz for the late reply peeps, been real busy with work.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KaptCrunch View Post
Maximus IV GENE-Z/GEN3
......make sure you using correct driver for sound chip you have, this mite be the distortion issue

......Audioengine N22 spec's not shown amp's speaker impedence rating, so mite have wrong speaker matched to amp.
I thought it may have been the driver too but I've re-downloaded it from Asus and it didn't help.

I spotted in the FAQ of the actual N22 page that it can run headphones with impedance from 16 to 300 ohms. Mine is 24 ohms....? Here's another thing I don't get about impedance rating, is it a measurement of how good the headphones, earphones, speaker etc will sound?


Quote:
Originally Posted by ilya View Post
No offense to Linus, but he likely isn't the best person to be asking for audiophile advice. This isn't exactly the best forum either, though there are some fairly knowledgeable audio experts here. I would consider looking into an actual audiophile forum like ABI or HeadFi. But as always take everything everyone says (myself included) with a grain of salt. Everybody's ears are different, what's right for someone else might not be good for you.

If the XB1000's aren't bass heavy enough for you with your current audio setup, return them to the store if possible. Unless you have extra money to spend on a higher end soundcard/amp or external DAC/amp setup. (EQ should be done at the DAC, the amp should merely increase the power) TBH I would recommend looking into buying a few budget headphones first to better understand the exact sound signature you want. Jumping straight into upper mid range audio without an upper mid range DAC/amp will likely only lead to disappointment and a lot of wasted money.
I've actually posted on Head-Fi.org about 2 days ago but unfortunately I've only had 2 replies and if I'm honest it wasn't very helpful. So I thought maybe the fellow PC enthusiasts with audio experience might be able to help coz one can bridge between the mind of the PC and audio enthusiast.

I do wish I'm closer to an audio equipment retailer tho, coz you're very correct that everyone's ear is different. So only if I can rock to a retailer and have a taste test with the equipment on display. And of course trade with them lol, that'd be sad if I just rock up and ask if I can have a crack at the product and not buy the product or somethin of similar.

The thing is I'm very used to in the face type of bass where as the XB is more refined. I guess in short, I was hoping for the XB to be in the face type of bass but of course without the distortion that has always plagued the past headphones I've owned. I prob won't return the XB tho, coz I purchased them online and it's rather a hassle to do so.

On your suggestion of DACs and AMPs, say if I get the Asus Xonar Essence One, that would presumably be a waste if I don't get a separate/ better sound card or pair it with an AMP? I'm edging on getting the N22 amp and see whether if it'll give me what I'm after and if not sell it on eBay for 20 bucks off or somethin. I've returned goods I bought online couple of times but it was coz they sent out the wrong item. But nevertheless one of the occasion was a nightmare. The store sent me the wrong item so I immediately sent it back with me paying for the postage and in the end they wouldn't even reimburse me at least half the postage costs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Linus View Post
.....Stop using onboard audio. It doesn't matter what marketing is attached to it and what "certifications" it carries. It all sucks (with the possible exception of the GB G1. series boards that have amped onboard audio, but I haven't spent much time with them, so I can't say for sure). Any add-in sound card is better than onboard, and if you get one with a headphone amp, you will be happy you did.
Please don't get me wrong but I've known that on-board is bad compared to add-in from the very beginning but what I was hoping for is for someone to chime in on if I get an AMP like the N22 will doing so cure the distortion. And it'd be nice if that's the case, coz I then won't have to fork out as much money.

Thanks peeps
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Old December 16, 2011, 08:44 AM
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The way computer/digital audio works in laymen's terms:
You have your digital source, (MP3, FLAC, etc, file) which is converted into an analogue signal by your DAC. Said signal is then amplified for use with headphones/speakers.

If you're getting distortion adding an extra amplifier will only make the problem much much worse. (your onboard sound *technically* has an amp of its on, unless you're using the line out)

What you need to do is identify where the distortion is coming from. Recording, DAC, amp, or headphones. It could also be that your headphones respond poorly to EQ.

If you can't turn back on the XB1000 purchase, I would look into a quality sound card like the Xonar you mentioned or an external DAC like the Fiio E7. Impedance is merely a measurement of electrical resistance. Inefficient drivers or drivers with more coils will have higher impedance which will in turn require more/cleaner power. However, higher impedance does not always mean better sound - it all depends on the implementation and source. Higher impedance also does not necessarily need an amp and sometimes lower impedance headphones are very difficult to drive without a good amp.

If you're looking for a more aggressive sound, look at some Grados. If you don't want to shell out as much cash for the time being, you could also try Koss KSC75's. (they're readily available under $20) If it's just bass you're looking for, there are plenty of relatively inexpensive cans that can sound very warm and/or fun.
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Old December 16, 2011, 04:32 PM
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Fiio E10. Problem solved for portable and stationary use.

Fiio E10 - Headphone Bar
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