Finding the balance between helping your music sound better, and trying to not ruin it

I’m currently trying to figure out where exactly I stand in the middle grounds of wanting to hear my music the best I possibly can, and not having all the imperfections shown by the next better bit of gear I get. I don’t listen to audiophile music, I listen to the highest quality versions of music I want to listen to.

Not overstepping the boundaries and finding a continual advancement of “endgame” that helps me hear my music better without reminding myself of how bad the quality is has been rough.

Current YT rip list: (2) [Muzic:Main] - YouTube

Anyone else fighting this same battle of making things sound better without accidentally making them sound worse?

(This may not be in the right topic section, couldn’t find a “meta” section)

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That’s a good question. I listen to a lot of rock and metal too and have yet to experience the gear making it sound worse, TBH, and I’m running some high end gear right now. I’ve gotten good advice from forum members on how to shape my signal paths to complement the music I listen to most. Yes, sometimes I hear mistakes in a recording, but I really haven’t noticed higher quality gear making poor masters sound worse than they already did on budget gear, really. A bad recording sounds bad everywhere, IME.

You said YouTube rip. Are you ripping YouTube music or is that just a shareable playlist? Just moving to Spotify or Amazon or Apple music will give you better sound than a YT rip.


This generally isn’t what happens, nothing really can make a master sound better, but you hear the stuff that makes them unlistenable with any decent headphone.
A lot of late 80’s and 90’s Rock masters have excessive treble/sibilance and much less Bass content than you might imagine in the recording, but most of it while not “the best recording ever” isn’t actually terrible.

Some headphones/electronics are going to give you a better experience than others, but there is still a lot of what are you looking for that’s very personal in this.

I listen to lots of classic rock, and 70’s/80’s metal on a Susvara, and a D8000 Pro, with electronics chains costing appropriate amounts. And it certainly doesn’t stop me enjoying them.

There are however recordings that do ruin enjoyment to me, I listened to Bat out of Hell a lot when I was in College, of Vinyl on a pretty decent 2 channel setup at the time, and don’t remember it sounding quite as terrible as it does through pretty much any pair of headphones I own. But I didn’t listen to it for years, so that could easily be my memory.


You’re memory serves you well sir but somehow that’s part of the Bat out of Hell’s beauty :man_shrugging:t2: lol

I haven’t listened to Bat Out of Hell nearly as much, so you have me on that one :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:.

My description previously perhaps wasn’t very clear. It would be better stated that there are few examples of recordings that are listenable on say an Asgard 3 + HD6XX that become unlistenable with a TOTL chain. An example that pops into mind right away is TwentyOne Pilots. They are so dynamic range compressed that the treble sounds like a low bit rate mp3 no matter what system I play them on, unless its a little bluetooth speaker that’s not going to resolve much anyway. To me, that sounds unlistenably bad on my ES100 + V-Moda M100 workout rig and on my Alpha S2 + V281 + HekV2 rig. I will agree the the latter rig makes it worse, but it was already unlistenable to me on much lower gear.

In general, I’m trying to reassure @Rob that there still is reward for scaling up gear even though his preferred genres are stereotypical examples of poorly recorded music. I’m finding that there are relatively few - at least by percentage - examples of rock and metal I can think of that are listenable on lower end gear that become unlistenable on higher end gear. They exist, but IMO they’re not frequent enough to not upgrade (granted, there are some listeners who might just happen to land where they listen to those few examples the most). You allude to the second point, and that’s that rock/metal recordings are actually better than they often get credit for. Perhaps some are confusing intentionally dirty and/or chaotic sounding recordings for poor recording quality? Sometimes it’s just supposed to sound unsettling. Finally, you can still find higher end gear that de-emphasizes the problem areas of many recordings. For example, if a recording is very sibilant, you can construct a signal chain that scales back that treble.


It’s a YT playlist (I plan on finding as many flac versions of these songs as possible) and what is shaping signal paths?? I actually listen to a whole lot of different types of music so I cant just “shape” for one type

By shaping signal path I only mean you can assemble a combo of dac, amp, and headphone (or dac, preamp, amp, speakers) that either accentuate or de-emphasized certain aspects of sound. So if something is too bright, you can put together a signal chain that rolls off and/or controls the treble more. That’s just one example. You can do that with just about any aspect of sound.

And I listen to a wide range of music too. But I find that I lean to rock and metal most often. For me, if my primary signal chain can’t rock, I won’t like it. So my main rig is designed to bring out the aspects of sound I like best for the music I listen to most. But, that hasn’t stopped me from collecting multiple pieces to use when I listen to classical or jazz either. There are reasons we call this hobby a rabbit hole :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I’m not sure if my experience applies here, but upgrading gear hasn’t really negatively impacted my experience listening to poor quality recordings. That being said, I’ve already had a very high tolerance for such recordings before I got into the audiophile hobby, so your mileage may vary. (For the record, a lot of the music I listen to is the polar OPPOSITE of “audiophile music”)

Strangely, there are a good amount of cases where my lo-fi music sounds better with upgraded gear. Chaotic recordings open up substantially, and in some cases can sound holographic on a very good source (I run Hyla Sardas off a Luxury & Precision P6 Pro, for reference). It can be pretty surprising how well low fidelity music can scale with better gear, despite some of the stuff I’ve listened to being pretty much bootlegs recorded off a handheld tape deck. It won’t magically make a lo-fi live bootleg recording sound like it was recorded in a studio though.

Regarding sibilance, I think a good synergy and a good chain can do wonders with taming it. My P6 Pro completely nullified the pierce (while maintaining the intensity) that comes out of the noisier music I have (I’ve recently discovered a few albums that can still hurt though, now those are dangerous). It was pretty strange at first when I listened to noise music on it because my eardrums weren’t bleeding anymore.

So IMO upgrading your gear is still very worth it, just make sure you have a good synergy between your headphones, dac, amp, etc.

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I wouldn’t say worse, but you can find really good gear that does not match well to your specific preferences in sound signature, music genres, or comfort. If you personally enjoy the way your music sounds out of Beats headphones then even if the Abyss Diana is an amazing piece of kit, you might not enjoy it as much.

I personally think the first thing to do is to find out what you enjoy and what you are dissatisfied with in your current listening. Then find things that match what you want no matter what the general view is on them.

For me my endgame is finding the right setup so no mater what I am listening to I don’t need to mess with EQ even if it does mean having more IEMs and headphones then I strictly would need if I just did some minor EQing. For some they want one really good thing that takes to EQ really well so they can just setup even individual profiles down to the song.

So can you make music sound worse with better gear… generally probably not. For you personally, maybe. It just comes down to what you want and what you like.

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My idea seems to be speakers for all music/bass music (very nice ryhtmiks) and headphones for certain genre’s.

@TkSilver And @souon Also ^

Does DSP and room correction have a place in audiophileville ?

well, judging by what zeos has reviewed containing it, absolutely. Makes sense regardless, technology is TAKING OVER. rip

I want to hang around to experience commanding a device to VR me into a rock god playing in front of a million people.

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Music is like grade of fuel. You need race gas to get peak power on the dyno. But its expensive PIA to find it store and tune for it.

But least you know if the setup sounds rough it aint the from the recording.

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Yeah I’m an overbuild for pump gas type of guy

DSP is the knock sensor.:grin:

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“yeah, detonation is not your friend”; compressions 12:1

For hifi that would be distortion unless intended from the recording. Which leads to my question what is audiophile music?

Nothing… Everything.

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Thats whats preplexing. Does a track not make the audiophile list if the recording picked up the ground noise from the HVAC unit at the studio.

And think i wanna build a system that can pick that up in the recording.