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Author Topic: Is 'At The Show' Sound Possible With Headphones?  (Read 5861 times)

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Offline OOK

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Re: Is 'At The Show' Sound Possible With Headphones?
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2014, 09:53:58 PM »
First let me say I am sorry you are having problems with your new set up.  It sucks when you drop coin on something only to not have it work correctly.  But lets see if we can figure it out.

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haven’t been able to spend too much time with the combo so far, but as of today, I’m having some problems that I haven’t yet been able to figure out.  First off, when I walked out, I thought I was leaving with a pair of 600ohm headphones.  Didn’t realize it until yesterday that they’re actually 32ohm.  More on this in a second.  So one the way home from the store I couldn’t resist, so I put the phones on my ipod/fiio head amp combo that I have.  The fiio is a low powered amp that I’ve been using with my earbuds.  Remember, when I walked out I thought I’d bought the 600ohm model, and to be honest at this point I didn’t think these phones would work with this combo, but to my surprise they worked and sound great.

If the discussion with your sales person was that you were purchasing the 600 ohm version then I would immediately return them stating you were giving the 32 ohm version and were told you were purchasing the 600 ohm version.

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My only issue was that my volume levels were a bit low, so when I turned everything up to max (including the gain and eq switches on the amp) I was able to distort the phones with the most thumping EDM type music I’ve taped.  Otherwise, they sounded GREAT, especially through that little el cheap $60 fiio amp.  It’s interesting because I don’t hear NEARLY as much fidelity improvement with my IEMs (Shure 215) as I hear when I switch between the ipod and the amp outputs with the DT990s.  Wow, with the exception of the distortion I was getting on the peak bass notes at the loudest volumes (I don’t get that with my ATH-M50) I was astounded by the sound.


It is never good to turn anything up to the point of distortion.  You are pushing the product beyond its point of what it was designed to do.  That is how you blow drivers in headphones.  The second you hear an once of distortion you should back off immediately.

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FINALLY, around 9pm last night, I hooked everything up…made sure drivers were properly installed on the computer after the Zdac was turned out.  Verified the computers sound was pointed towards the USB and the ZDac and fired this sucker up!!!

Oh no!  Nothing.  Hmmm.  First thing I noticed is, I wasn’t hearing with the amp volume at around 9pm.  So I start increasing the volume knob and I start to get sound.  Hmmm.  Volume level really isn’t decent until the vol knob is all the way to 3pm and the levels I’d prefer to listen at don’t occur until I crank it all the way full…which is just a tad short of 6pm.  Then I immediately noticed that the sound, even at 3pm was very distorted.  Not noisy like diginoise, but the music distorted.  Hmmm.
   

Now provided you haven't blown your drivers in your headphones it sounds to me like a set up issue with the computer.  I also assume you followed the directions in the manual on page 9

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USB - Computer Setup
First power up your computer, then connect the USB cable (included in the Zdac carton) and then turn on the Zdac. The first time you connect your Zdac to a computer it will automatically install the correct drivers. Next you will need to ensure that the Zdac is set as the computer’s default audio output device. Follow these instructions to assign the Zdac as the default audio device.
For a Windows® PC
- Right click on the loudspeaker icon in the bottom right of your screen (on the tool bar)
- Select “Playback Devices”
- When the “Sound” window pops up click on the “Zdac” and then click “Set as Default”
- Click “OK” to close the “Sound” window
Note: If for some reason you cannot find the loudspeaker icon you will need to go to the sound options in the Control Panel and select the Zdac as the default playback device.
For a Mac® with OS X
- Go to the Apple Menu
- Select “System Preferences”
- Select “Sound” from the Hardware Menu
- Select “ZDAC” in the Sounds Menu

Also

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I have a USB problem
- Check if the Zdac is recognized as a USB device in your computer’s control panel.
If not, remove the USB cable from the computer and re-insert it. Your computer should indicate that it has found and identified the Zdac. If it doesn’t, then try rebooting it with the Zdac connected.
- Turn off the Zdac for about 10 seconds and turn it on again.
- Is your computer operating correctly? Is the music playing or paused?

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I can hear a hum or buzzing noise from my speakers and headphones
- Cable TV is the most common source of hum. If you have a cable TV box connected to your audio system temporarily remove the cable from the Cable TV box. If the hum goes away the problem is the cable TV ground. You will need a Cable TV ground isolator which is an inexpensive device that attaches between your TV cable and the Cable TV box.
- Light Dimmers can cause noise in your audio. Try turning lights that are controlled by dimmers all the way off. If the hum goes away the problem is the effect the dimmers have on your AC power. A line conditioner might help.
- Ground Loops are a common cause of hum and buzzing noise. Finding a ground loop is a process of elimination. Unplug your source components one at a time. When the hum goes away you’ve identified the source of the ground loop. You might be able to stop the hum by attaching a wire from the chassis of the offending component to the chassis or ground screw of your preamplifier.

One other possibility it sounds like you overloading the input on the Z-dac by turning the volume all the way up on your computer.  I would set the volume on your Zdac to 50% of its gain.  Start at 0 on your computer and slowly bring it up until you hear clear sound.  If at no time you hear clear undistorted sound then I would say it is your headphones.   You can confirm this by hooking it up to a digital out of either a recorder and playing a recording you did on that recorder or disc player with a digital out.   If you play a disc in a player and send the digital out to the zdac and your headphones distort I would say you blew your phones out....But honestly I can't believe you would have done that.  Phones are fragile but not that fragile.  It has to be something in the setup or drivers.

I am also assuming you have tried it with various recordings studio and live....?
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 09:56:08 PM by OOK »
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Offline OOK

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Re: Is 'At The Show' Sound Possible With Headphones?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2014, 10:00:41 PM »
Wait a second you said you got distortion from you initial plugging into the fiio amp and ipod as well as the Zdac.  It then isn't likely the Zdac or the computer its the phones.  Sounds like they could be blown.  I would take them back and try them on a system back at the stereo shop.  If they distort there then its the phones.  Take a copy of the recording you used to listen at home with you and play it there.  Also use one of their songs.

I am thinking it is the phones....

You have a pair of ATM-50 did you plug those into the Zdac and do they distort?

OOK
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stevetoney

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Re: Is 'At The Show' Sound Possible With Headphones?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2014, 11:16:37 PM »
Wait a second you said you got distortion from you initial plugging into the fiio amp and ipod as well as the Zdac.  It then isn't likely the Zdac or the computer its the phones.  Sounds like they could be blown.  I would take them back and try them on a system back at the stereo shop.  If they distort there then its the phones.  Take a copy of the recording you used to listen at home with you and play it there.  Also use one of their songs.

I am thinking it is the phones....

You have a pair of ATM-50 did you plug those into the Zdac and do they distort?

OOK

Bingo.  Tried the ATH-M50 and they sound fine.  So it seems the 32ohm impedence headphones are the culprit...and after listening in on the M50's I plugged the 990s in and brought the volume up slowly and sure enough they sound nice and clean at lower volumes, but as I bring it up, the sound starts to break up, so there ya go.  Also, turns out my explanation about the volume this morning was off.  The volume levels are fine in both headsets...it's just that since I'm hard of hearing in teh first place, I was expecting something different.  The volume on the M50s is about right at 1-2 pm and getting loud at 3pm  and if I were to listen over any amount of time with it higher than that, it woudln't be smart.

I'm gonna take them in tomorrow and trade them back in on a higher ohm model. 

Yay, thanks for the help gentlemen!

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Re: Is 'At The Show' Sound Possible With Headphones?
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2014, 11:31:09 PM »
nuts, sorry to hear about the problems. The initial report with the fiio threw me off and I skipped like half of the report so I thought that was ok and moved onto why the DAC was giving you issues but the fiio and ipod combo wasn't. my bad, sorry for the bum suggestions.
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Offline George

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Re: Is 'At The Show' Sound Possible With Headphones?
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2014, 08:25:08 AM »
Hi Page,

              It's very strange to read that you thought the Senn's were a bit bright and bass-shy. I owned the HD 580's, which are quite close to the HD600's, and I found the 580's to have ample amounts of bass, especially when I paired them with a tube amp, the tube amp really opened up their bass reproduction.  Of course, they cannot compare to the Beyer 770's which I also owned, those suckers had the deepest bass reproduction I've ever heard out of a pair of headphones.

Another thing you cannot forget is pairing the right headphone amp with your headphones.  Synergy goes a long way to  :bigsmile:

That's it right there, I forgot to mention that I based all of my reflections on solid state amps/dacs. I'm comparing to a solid state monitoring setup that I see in studios, sort of to eliminate that coloration from the equation as much as possible. I got rid of my tube amp a long time ago. It's fun, but I needed an amp I could use in mixing first and foremost and a fun amp second.


I've run my 580's with a SS amp too and it never sounded too bright, their was always enough bass. I don't think they're great for monitoring though, they have a very specific sound that I would probably describe as warm, certainly not bright.  There were tons of threads on head-fi back in the day where people often complained they sounded "veiled" because they were not being driven properly.
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Offline OOK

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Re: Is 'At The Show' Sound Possible With Headphones?
« Reply #20 on: January 03, 2014, 10:03:45 AM »
Bingo.  Tried the ATH-M50 and they sound fine.  So it seems the 32ohm impedence headphones are the culprit...and after listening in on the M50's I plugged the 990s in and brought the volume up slowly and sure enough they sound nice and clean at lower volumes, but as I bring it up, the sound starts to break up, so there ya go.  Also, turns out my explanation about the volume this morning was off.  The volume levels are fine in both headsets...it's just that since I'm hard of hearing in teh first place, I was expecting something different.  The volume on the M50s is about right at 1-2 pm and getting loud at 3pm  and if I were to listen over any amount of time with it higher than that, it woudln't be smart.

I'm gonna take them in tomorrow and trade them back in on a higher ohm model. 

Yay, thanks for the help gentlemen!

Considering the ATH-M50 are 38ohm it is definately your Beyers.  Understand your new Beyers with a higher impedence will be less efficiant so you may be giving them more gain than your ATH-M50's but they will sound fantastic.  Gladd we could figure it out....

OOK
DPA/HEB 4060's > R09HR
MBHO648/KA100Lk/KA200/KA300/KA500 > SD702

 

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