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what should the average no bs complete objective set up look like?

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So up until recently I was under the impression that for a good objective, unbiased audio experience(ya know, no 'xxxtra BASS' or 'super crisp forward vocals') all that you needed was a good DAC that supports the format, bit rate and range that you're after, a good objective amp that matches the out put on your DAC and a GREAT pair of headphones(general consensus studio monitors) that matches the output on your amp and you have everything you need to experience all detail and information in your music or audio file, however becoming more active in the community recently I've come to discover this isn't they way everyone thinks of a good objective setup I've started hearing lots about buffers and preamps etc, so my question is, what's the general consensus of a good set up for accurate reproduction. now to try and prevent arguments I'm not talking about the 'PERFECT' set up, just one that accurately reproduces the music also this really isn't about subjective setups, don't get me wrong, I love subjective as well, I listen to cassette all the time on a walkman with a portable amp & a pair of vintage sony moniters. but I'm really interested in learning more about objectivity here.
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ClosDeLaRoche
17
Jul 16, 2020
For the DAC and Amp there are tons of great affordable options with vanishing low distortion, noise and plenty of power. My pick would be the Schiit Modi 3 and Magni Heresy stack, but options from JDS Labs, Geshelli, Topping and SMSL are popular too. For headphones, it depends if you are aiming for the diffuse field target or the Harman target. For diffuse field response the king is the Etymotic ER4SR, but other great options are the Ether CX, original Aeon Flow Closed and Sennheiser HD600. I won't comment on Harman response options as I prefer diffuse field myself. Hope this helps!
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Finite_emporium
3
Jul 17, 2020
Hey! This is an awesome response, it pretty much confirms what I thought, but I didn't know about diffuse field target or the Harman target so new topic of research I guess! :)
ClosDeLaRoche
17
Jul 17, 2020
Hey I'm happy to help! The Diffuse Field target was developed in the 80's. The best definition of Diffuse Field I have found is from a head-fi post: "Diffuse field equalized headphone will try to mimic a flat frequency loudspeaker response in a reverbant room that has equal sound pressure in most locations inside the room." It is the textbook definition of "flat." The Harman Curve was developed in 2013 and has been updated a few times. I don't know the exact history behind it but I believe it was developed by giving trained listeners a high-shelf and low-shelf eq to play with in order to find their most preffered sound. It looks a lot like diffuse field but with a bass boost. Since many listeners complain that diffuse field tuned headphones lack bass the Harman target is becoming popular. Cheers and hope this clears things up!
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