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Which audio setup will minimize listening fatigue ?

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Bouly

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if I read correctly, no subwoofer and main cut at 80 Hz.

as long as you keep this cutoff at 80 Hz, you will have ear fatigue.

Use a headphone
actually that's a good idea. I will try with the headphones to see if I still have the issue. This will allow me to isolate if it comes from the DAC. I mean it comes either from the DAC or from the DAC - speakers combination because before with the asus sound card I did not have that issue.
 

Trell

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actually that's a good idea. I will try with the headphones to see if I still have the issue. This will allow me to isolate if it comes from the DAC. I mean it comes either from the DAC or from the DAC - speakers combination because before with the asus sound card I did not have that issue.

Keep in mind that the RME DAC remembers the settings for each output when you test.
 
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Bouly

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Have you considered having the monitors measured? Say, by Amir? That may tell you if the problem is possibly solved by EQ.
Have you tried listing to the monitors in other environments? What I'm thinking is it could be the monitors, or the room or the way the speakers and room sound together.

What was it about the Eris8 that appealed to you and lead you to buy it?
I've been listening to these monitors for about 5 years and have not had this kind of issue. Eris E8 is an affordable monitor with great sound quality and power. At the moment the only thing I have changed in my setup is to use the ADI-2's RCA output instead of Asus STX's RCA output.
Hi there, I am going to try to answer your question with my own experience.
I bought a pair of QAcoustics 3020 years ago, they had wonderful reviews and they were affordable.
I was happy with them and I enjoyed them a lot too, but if I listened for long periods I came to a point that literally gave me a headache.
Was it because they were "bright"? Honestly I do not know but they are described as such.
So I bought a pair of Monitor Audio SILVER 100 and they are so different that I could listen all day long with no tiredness.
The latter speakers are deemed laid back but detail is very good and the 8" woofer is impressive.
So that is my take, bright speakers are not for me. I hoped it helped you.
You hit the nail on the head. The ADI-2's sound quality is superior in detail but for some reason I have to keep it at a very low volume otherwise I'm getting a headache, it sounds to me ever so slightly bright or harsh. Could be that I'm not used to so much detail, I don't know. For what its worth the Asus card also sounded cold so I replaced the op amps in it with Muses 8920 J-FET input Dual Operational opamps. The sound became rounder and more pleasant. I don't know if it is possible to replace op amps in the ADI-2 as well, maybe that could help.
 

Jimbob54

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I've been listening to these monitors for about 5 years and have not had this kind of issue. Eris E8 is an affordable monitor with great sound quality and power. At the moment the only thing I have changed in my setup is to use the ADI-2's RCA output instead of Asus STX's RCA output.

You hit the nail on the head. The ADI-2's sound quality is superior in detail but for some reason I have to keep it at a very low volume otherwise I'm getting a headache, it sounds to me ever so slightly bright or harsh. Could be that I'm not used to so much detail, I don't know. For what its worth the Asus card also sounded cold so I replaced the op amps in it with Muses 8920 J-FET input Dual Operational opamps. The sound became rounder and more pleasant. I don't know if it is possible to replace op amps in the ADI-2 as well, maybe that could help.
Noooooo! don't do that.
 
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Bouly

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I presume that the ADI-2 DAC FS would be shipping with the Auto Ref Level function enabled, but it can't hurt to check. (RTFM for how to get to it. RME gear has some of the most thorough documentation you'll find, as making full use of pro audio equipment would not be possible otherwise.) The same output level as with a 2 Vrms source like the STX would be seen at a volume setting of -11 dB.

That is obviously assuming that both balanced and unbalanced inputs are of the same sensitivity, which they may not.

A contemporary review of the E8s indicated a preference for a slight bass reduction (Acoustic Space = -2 dB), as well as bringing up the mids up a smidge and the highs down a bit. The midbass seems to be anything but shy on them.
yes Auto Ref is on. Maybe I could try reducing the highs, but is it better to do it using the knob on the speaker or through the DAC's DSPs ? To be honest its quite confusing because most things can be set either in Foobar or on the DAC or on the speaker (especially the volume, and treble, bass etc). I will sleep now and do some more testing tomorrow with rested ears.
 
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Bouly

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"... where you get rid of the PC/MacBook/USB and the active speakers from your chain ... I would be most interested in learning about your results." I was thinking like the layers of the onion skins but starting to peel them from the inside out. Starting as simple as possible, like pappy suggested. Then, progressively 'add' the skin layers back in (trying to) determine the source of the 'fatigue'.
Yes the nice thing with the active speakers is that I just plug rca cables in them, and then with an RCA -> jack adapter, I can plug them into my phone or my laptop directly. But usually I connected them to my sound card directly with RCA and no adapters. The sound quality is great when playing from the sound card (though inferior to the ADI-2), and average when playing from the laptop or the phone, but I did not have listening fatigue in any of these situations.
 

strangeqargo

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Lurker first time poster, happy birthday to me.

1. I believe one of the main reasons of audio fatigue is, basically, that same case with OPs 128k mp3s, it just hits much later due to far more detailed sound.

Still, no matter how detailed the sound is, digital always sounds exactly the same. All the time. There will be a moment, sooner or later, when your brain knows every detail of your favorite soundtrack, and after that it will begin to grow fatigue.

2. I suspect, that's realy why people love tube amps/vinyl: not because of superior quality, but because distorted/randomly noisy anaologue sound helps them to escape fatigue.

3. Software solutions I tried/want to try

-android app for "vinylising" and "tuberising"
-adding something like rain simulators/ambient random generated noise

Rain and vinylising really helped.

And if I want to hear the music in all original lossless digital glory, I can always turn the soft off.

I mean I like to hear the music in original quality, but who can forbid me use some dirty tricks to escape fatigue if I want to?
 
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Trell

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No one on this forum is forbidding you to listen to your music the way you want.
 

Digby

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It seems like the listening fatigue issue is mostly resolved. I think the solution was mostly to adjust the input gain on the speakers (setting it close to minimum), and maybe switching to RCA cables helped. If I would switch to amp + passive speakers or to a different set of speakers it would be mostly to be able to adjust volume more easily. I had to turn the input gain knob a quarter of a millimeter from the minimum. Also since both speakers are powered independently it was not super easy to make them even.
From what you're saying that there might be an output/input mismatch. You should try adjusting the DAC output levels. Look at the manual and find this part:

Line Output: Ref Level Sets the reference level for the analog outputs. Choices are -5 dBu, +1 dBu, +7 dBu, +13 dBu at the RCA output, referenced to digital full scale level (0 dBFS). The levels at the XLR output are 6 dB higher, +1 dBu, +7 dBu, +13 dBu, +19 dBu
 

Jimbob54

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Lurker first time poster, happy birthday to me.

1. I believe one of the main reasons of audio fatigue is, basically, that same case with OPs 128k mp3s, it just hits much later due to far more detailed sound.

Still, no matter how detailed the sound is, digital always sounds exactly the same. All the time. There will be a moment, sooner or later, when your brain knows every detail of your favorite soundtrack, and after that it will begin to grow fatigue.

2. I suspect, that's realy why people love tube amps/vinyl: not because of superior quality, but because distorted/randomly noisy anaologue sound helps them to escape fatigue.

3. Software solutions I tried/want to try

-android app for "vinylising" and "tuberising"
-adding something like rain simulators/ambient random generated noise

Rain and vinylising really helped.

And if I want to hear the music in all original lossless digital glory, I can always turn the soft off.

I mean I like to hear the music in original quality, but who can forbid me use some dirty tricks to escape fatigue if I want to?
Yes. This is exactly what we need. Audiophiles with our already shrunken bladders and engorged prostrates getting subliminal water sounds.
 
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Bouly

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From what you're saying that there might be an output/input mismatch. You should try adjusting the DAC output levels. Look at the manual and find this part:

Line Output: Ref Level Sets the reference level for the analog outputs. Choices are -5 dBu, +1 dBu, +7 dBu, +13 dBu at the RCA output, referenced to digital full scale level (0 dBFS). The levels at the XLR output are 6 dB higher, +1 dBu, +7 dBu, +13 dBu, +19 dBu
A quick update: I've been listening to the RME DAC through XLR for the past month or so. Listening fatigue seems to not be an issue anymore. I put the DAC level to roughly between -30 and -35 dB depending on source level. Windows level at 100. No issue on Mac.

When doing blind tests comparing the RME DAC to the Asus internal sound card, one time by me and one time by my girlfriend to try and avoid my own potential bias, two things became clear: 1) the RME DAC has a much more detailed sound than the Asus STX and 2) I was setting the volume on it much higher than on the sound card. Other tweaks I made was increasing a little bit the volume on the knob directly on the active speakers and reducing the volume a little bit on the ADI 2 .

I dont have a clear answer as to how I solved the issue, could be that my own ears and brain needed "burn-in" to fully appreciate the DAC. Anyway the sound card is in a drawer now, using the external DAC is much better for sound quality, also I am plugging it in a USB switch so I can use it either with my PC or with the MacBook so its much more practical to use, and last but not least, removing the sound card from the micro ATX motherboard on the windows PC allows the graphics card to not be choked for air anymore and have better temps.
 

Digby

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-30 to -35db is still a relatively low output. You should play around and see if dropping the output from the DAC (check the manual) and adjusting the speaker gain to suit allows you finer/wider volume control.
 
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