When looking into the world of audiophile headphones, it would be easy to think that the only thing that matters is a great set of headphones, this is unfortunately not the case. There is a world of other equipment which can make your headphones sound better or worse, in the below we will be looking at some of this other equipment to find out how it can actually change how your headphones sound.
The first and main thing to look at is where your music is coming from. If you are streaming low quality music, it will not sound as good as it can, even if all of your equipment is high end. There are a few potential sources that are normally used.
- Streaming – Streaming music is the most popular audio source. When looking for an audio streaming service which offers high resolution audio, it is important to note the bitrate which the music is supplied in. For the best experience, it would be recommended to use a steaming service that supplies lossless audio files, lossless audio files will usually have a bitrate of 1411kbps. Using a FLAC (also lossless) audio file at 900kbps may not be very noticeable depending on the music, going lower than 900kbps can distort the music slightly, again, depending on what you are listening to.
- CD – CDs are a great way to enjoy lossless audio quality whenever you want. While a CD will never have the convenience of steaming, it’s a fantastic way to enjoy a fantastic and accurate reproduction of your favourite music every time. It’s important to note that this is referring to an original CD using WAV format, as WAV is lossless.
- Turntable – A lot of audiophiles swear by the use of a turntable as the most rich and pure form of the sound available, this can be somewhat difficult to reproduce as every turntable will have its own unique sound. Poorly designed turntables will often lack in base and even sound screechy. Investing in a good turntable should only be considered if you have the opportunity to hear other turntables and compare which sounds the best for you.
The source of the music you listen to is the most important part. Without good quality audio from the start, everything down the line will suffer.
Many high-grade headphones will require a lot of power to run, more power than the average cellphone or computer is able to muster. This is where the amp or amplifier comes in. a good rule of thumb is that if your headphones require over 32ohm, they will benefit from having a good amplifier. Amplifiers in this case are also sound and headphone dependent, be sure to do adequate research to find what the best amp would be for your chosen headphones.
A speaker is an analogue device turning electrical energy into sound waves, but most of our modern audio sources only function on a digital format. A DAC or digital analogue converter is what bridges this gap. All modern computers and phones that you can play Bingo online for money on have an inbuilt DAC as standard to allow you to plug in a headset, but modern electronics are generally not built with the best of the best audio in mind.
Upgrading from your phone or computer’s internal DAC to a good quality external DAC can be one of the best decisions you can make to give your audio an extra boost in quality.