Headphone Chat


(Leon) #1

Your wireless ear/headphones is not the best example to use, as up to now wired connections are, as far as audio is concerned still way better.


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#2

Hi @patrice58, you are right to a degree, but I’d counter with:

• The vast majority of the population wouldn’t have the ear to see any difference.

• The quality of music people are streaming means it won’t make a difference.

• By killing the headphone jack, wireless technology will be allowed to improve as more focus is put on it in the music industry.

So I see your point, and you are right - But I don’t think that matters in this instance.

Anyway, didn’t want to detail the Starling thread again, so back to Starling!


(Leon) #3

True you definitely wouldn’t see any difference but I’m sure you’d hear it. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Anyway carry on. :wink:


(knows someone who knows Tom quite well) #4

I used to think so, but with the bandwidth increase with the later bluetooth and hi quality hi bit rate codecs I’m not so sure. Double blind tests show that almost no one can tell the difference between 256k AAC and uncompressed - one example

Having the audio amp so close to its battery and the driver must be a benefit to audio quality.


(Leon) #5

Sure but like all things the higher bit rate you go the more glaring the difference. I appreciate that some people won’t be able to tell the difference and that’s sad for them. I however can. (I mean my ears are large enough!)


(Leon) #6

I’m not so sure as that’s where the DAC is on normal phones with a headphone port. To be honest the DAC’s on mobile phones have improved so much that you don’t really need a separate one. (Yes I have a separate DAC and it does improve the sound but it’s not night and day.) You might even prefer the sound signature of your phones DAC over the standalone DAC.


(Leon) #7

Was that test done with wired or wireless ear/headphones?


(knows someone who knows Tom quite well) #8

Yeah, a modern phone DAC is way beyond what was considered audiophile even 5 years ago.

But the DAC is only part of the story, you need to drive and control the speaker - that is done by the amp, these days usually a class D or a class G amp. Where that is, relative to the speaker and power supply can make a huge difference to the sound quality.

It was done on whatever equipment was available to the testers.


(Leon) #9

As for your last answer well it does not answer the question of if wireless has improved to beat wired headphones. (Of course they haven’t, the derogation of sound which is inherent in Bluetooth audio would put paid to that.)

The brackets are my views.


(knows someone who knows Tom quite well) #10

Are you asserting that any sound quality reduction is NOT due to the compression?


(Leon) #11

I’m gonna ask you this question. If you had one person with two presents for you but you could only pick one. Which would you pick a top of the range wired ear/headphone or a top of the range Bluetooth ear/headphone?


(Leon) #12

What? Bluetooth audio is compressed so it’s one and the same.


(knows someone who knows Tom quite well) #13

I’m trying to dissect your argument to understand it.

If the bluetooth is lower quality because it is compressed then we can address that through seeing if we can distinguish between compressed and uncompressed audio on a system that is otherwise identical. Recent research shows that for adequate bit rates in the compression almost nobody can tell the difference. That removes compression as the source of your assertion that BT headsets will always be worse than wired.

That leaves something else as the source of inferiority. I’m asserting (as an analog/mixed signal chip designer) that the potential for a self powered bluetooth headphone is higher than that for a wired headphone because by definition and design the chip driving the speaker is closer to it and the source of power. It can sense the speaker and make it do what it’s meant to do - we do this a lot now as to get the volume, these speakers are often driven into potentially damaging distortion zones, they will be destroyed within seconds if it wasn’t controlled. The control can significantly reduce the distortion in the speaker and that is one measure of fidelity.


(Leon) #14

No I never said that they will always be worse. They are however definitely worse now and by a long margin because of the inherent compression.

Can and will Bluetooth audio be improved? Sure, but I’m not sure it will ever sound better then uncompressed audio but even if not it’s still a win for those that want audio on the go without wires.

This is a extremely good conversation we are having. I’m enjoying it. :blush::+1:

P. S. Ooooooh Ooooooh another win for wired is no batteries to degrade, which means a expensive replacement. Hmmmm I wonder who that benefits? Not you or me that’s for sure. A bit like the decision to have sealed in batteries in mobiles.


(knows someone who knows Tom quite well) #15

I have some B&O E8s. Out of the box they are set to ordinary BT audio which sucks. Badly. Switch them to AAC though and I’d challenge you to distinguish them from uncompressed. I can’t and I used to spend silly money on audiophile kit.

I also have some wired PSB M4U 2 headphones which are glorious. The reason they are glorious is that they are active as I described for the BT - the amp is in the headphones and drives the speakers directly. Paul Barton is extremely picky about sound quality but he has just released a pair of BT headphones. If only he’d include AAC I’d be buying them.

Enjoying it too :sunglasses:


(Leon) #16

Nice I have a pair of Mitchell & Johnson GL2 headphones for the wide frequency response that they have. Aside from that they sound sweeter then the sweetest nut.


(knows someone who knows Tom quite well) #17

I should correct one thing - you can of course put the DAC and amp next to the speaker in a wired headphone, but then why bother sending the bits up a piece of wire when you can send them wirelessly?


(Leon) #18

Oh no, I was talking about the DAC in a mobile phone not in a headphone.


(knows someone who knows Tom quite well) #19

You’ll see more and more wired headphones with USB-C or lightning connectors - the cable has a DAC and PA in it. (Although USB-C can actually pass the analog audio too)


(Leon) #20

Oh yeah definitely which is not a good thing in my option as I like to cherry-pick my equipment. Horses for courses, but yeah I can see that will happen with increasing frequency in the present and future.