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Orthodynamic Roundup - Page 1408

post #21106 of 23426
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post


You all seem to be forgetting the infamous Stax Sigma. So far the only headphone that I ever heard with a real soundstage. Stax did it by essentially re creating a small room over each ear with the driver at 90 degrees up front. Arguably the ugliest headphone ever but truly amazing in the perception of space.

Not all of us can afford any Stax headphone. So having never heard one (or seen one in real life), I cannot bring it up.  

 

But doesn't this come under the subject of driver angles? Aren't all headphones just a 'small room' around our ears?

post #21107 of 23426

The freq response by Tyll for the Sigma doesn't inspire much confidence, though - not only is it wonky, it looks like there may be issues with ringing starting as early as 1 kHz.

post #21108 of 23426

I only used them as demos, they were stratospherically out of my price range at the time. The issue is, that most if not all modern headphones come nowhere near to real room acoustics, very hard to do, unless like Stax you simply tell the end user to get used to wearing two "phone booths" on your ears.

 

  One would think that with the tecnology developed in the intervening years we would be able to create a sound booth over each ear with current materials which would come close to real room acoustics. Thus far I really have not seen it, and I think I am the only person on earth who Does Not see any significant sound stage improvement with the HD800.

 

 I have always been curious if the Bose Wave guide principle could be applied to a headphone shell to recreate a room acoustic.

post #21109 of 23426
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post

...... and I think I am the only person on earth who Does Not see any significant sound stage improvement with the HD800.

Now that is interesting. 

I thought the HD800 was like the universe unfolding before me, rendering all others obsolete plastic cylinders..... 

post #21110 of 23426

I hadn’t forgotten the Sigma, I was just talking about headphones I’d actually listened to or owned myself. Never had the pleasure of meeting a Sigma in real life.

 

Regardless, my point remains the same, the sigma drivers may have been at a steep angle to the ear, but they were also in a larger chamber, more removed from the ear, which are the two factors which I think do reliably increase soundstage.

 

Still not convinced on the angling thing. Angling does increase chamber (or “room”) size, and also probably helps diffuse sound within the “room”, so by virtue of these side effects, may help soundstaging. But is the angling of the drivers in of itself actually playing a role in increasing soundstage? Still not convinced.

 

I think there are good examples of impressive soundstage being achieved by simply increasing distance of the driver from the ear, and creating some way, be it damping, diffusion or open pads/baffle to stop resonances building up inside the ear pad chamber that would smear the image. The MS1000 mod produces a huge sound stage just by moving the drivers away from the ears and defeating the build up of resonances with open foam pads.

 

There are also examples of drivers being angled quite a bit and a resulting flat soundstage – like the LCD-2 – and here we see a very small ear pad chamber by the design of the pads, the pads being non-porous, and a totally closed baffle. It’s like when you put good speakers in a small room too close to the walls – too many reflections smear the sound. That’s what I think is happening in that little closed “room” the LCD-2 pads create. Mean while the expansive “rooms” the HD800, K701 produce, with porous pads letting sound out, and the “infinite” rooms of the Floats and K1000 we see huge detailed sound stage. 


Edited by EddieE - 2/14/13 at 9:03am
post #21111 of 23426
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalbee View Post

Haha, those sure look like carrots!

 

It's worth a try. I split my earplugs in quarters axially. But that's in a stock T50RP shell; did not consider doing it this way as diffusers. Good call!

 

Earplugs are closed cell foam though correct? That would make them more reflectors than diffusers, though they would still be effective at breaking up standing waves. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieE View Post

As a slight tangent - has it ever been proved that angling the drivers does actually increase soundstage?

 

It's a popular view, but I'm not really convinced. 

 

Soundstage size seems more linked to the size of the ear pad chamber (the space created by the earpad, baffle and size of the head); the openness of the earpad or baffle (I guess reducing resonances in that chamber) and to an extent the frequency response (EQ down treble on a headphone and the soundstage seems to reduce in turn).

 

I've heard headphones with drivers zeroed on the ears (example - Alessandro MS1000 mod) that had quite impressive soundstage and headphones that angled driver that had really quite poor soundstage (example - LCD-2).

 

Headphones with the best soundstage (HD800, K70*) do angle drivers a bit, but also have huge expansive earpad chambers and are porous pads, the very best soundstaging headsets I've heard (Jecklin Float, K1000) had  pretty much infinitely large earpad chambers... by not havigng earpads.

 

This isn't to say angling drivers severely like this won't increase soundstage, because the earpad chamber is being made substantially larger by that angling, but I remain unconvinced the angle does much in itself.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GREQ View Post

Not all of us can afford any Stax headphone. So having never heard one (or seen one in real life), I cannot bring it up.  

 

But doesn't this come under the subject of driver angles? Aren't all headphones just a 'small room' around our ears?

 

It's precisely that headphones are "small rooms" around the ears that I've been growing to dislike the use of the word soundstage. Unless you're listening to a binaural recording, most of the "proper" soundstaging elements will be missing. A panned left/right signal fired at your ears is what you get. Pretty much all the phase delays and hrtf will be obscured or in the wrong spot, but at least there's an amplitude difference from each side which for many will be enough. 

 

 

Angling drivers, increasing distance, increasing cup size, these all change how the sound waves hit not just the ear canal but the earlobe itself (and to a lesser degree the contact area around the ear). These are all components in how your ear/brain translates positional cues. They aren't perfect, but sometimes its enough to trick the brain, and the brain does a marvellous job of filling in the rest. Seriously, psychoacoustics at play here. 

 

Midway solution is to use crossfeed, speaker/room emulation, etc. Crossfeed is an ad hoc solution but some implementations can sound nice, and once again just that little bit is enough to trick the brain. The speaker/room emulators (like Isone Pro or Focusrite's VRM) actually do some crazy computations and are like crossfeed on steroids.

 

Of course, the best way to get "soundstage" is to do away with headphones entirely and listen to binaural recordings with iems. All (or most) relevant HRTF is captured in the recording and you DO shove that directly into your eras. As long as the frequency response is flat (particularly in the 100-2000Hz range, and you don't have any overly nutty treble spikes later on), that's the best you can get. 

post #21112 of 23426

^ Fair point. Doing most of my listening on speakers these days, the term "soundstage" for headphones is a bit of a misnomer I agree. But it is in the lexicon as a well understood term for what we're talking about. Even if the music is inside your head (or just outside it) with headphones, rather than laid out in front of you on a virtual "stage" - positioning, imaging, sense of space between instruments and so on is still important to enjoying a lot of recordings properly.

post #21113 of 23426
Thread Starter 

Amen to the idea of binaural recording being the only way to get "real" soundstage on headphones. We have to keep in mind that 99.9 % of all commercial recordings are made for speaker stereo, which assumes the end user will supply the room and the acoustics thereof. Those recordings are never going to sound quite right on headphones (without a sophisticated black box somewhere to remake the recording into binaural), whereas a binaural recording can sound pretty darn spacious even on closed-in-sounding headphones (and of course even better on properly designed ones). Which is why I urge any headphone fan to make his/her own binaural recordings or seek out the few commercial ones.

 

re: diffusion vs reflection: One is simply the randomization of the other. Lots of little reflections over lots of different wavelengths in lots of directions rather than one unobstructed big one. Ideally, the carrots would be different sizes in Vaughn's case, but what he's got would at least help. Make some of them stick out from the others in groups so it becomes more like the big wedges in an anechoic chamber. [Har, spellczech duzzent lyke "anechoic".] Anyway, combining diffusion with absorption helps both and keeps the soundstage-robbing effects of internal reflections down. It's not a panacea, but it's cheap and doable, and it doesn't have to be complex; simply tilting the back (outer) wall of a typical cup would turn the internal volume into a wedge. Voyla, symmetry on one axis defeated. Either that or chuck the whole thing and accept the risks of a fully-open-back design, a headphone version of Siegfried Linkwitz' Orion speaker or the classic Magneplanar.

 

I'm not suggesting Vaughn take a ball-peen hammer to his nice aluminum shells (or that the shape of the internal volume is the cause of all of that headphone's problems), but...

 

Belated thanks to Greq for the work on, and photos of, the Universum and Watson. I would never have suspected that anyone had combined SFI-type drivers with volume and tone controls, which are, at least in the US, inevitably marks of a cheap headphone. 

 

re: HOK-80 Mk I: I accepted that it would always be an "EQ 'phone", one that might be useful for listening for distortion in recordings but mostly would need massive bass EQ to sound right. Wouldn't hurt to have a nice parametric for the rest of the response curve, either. Regardless, I still haven't given up hope that someone in the Eurortho community will find a way to use this little driver, even if it requires an inline EQ pod and being driven from speaker outputs.

 

Sorry for the longwinded post. As always, thanks for listening.


Edited by wualta - 2/14/13 at 1:52pm
post #21114 of 23426
Quote:
Originally Posted by wualta View Post

re: diffusion vs reflection: One is simply the randomization of the other. Lots of little reflections over lots of different wavelengths in lots of directions rather than one unobstructed big one. 

I was also thinking of diffusion in terms of passing through a material and the partial absorption thereof. Bah, too many terms with similar yet different applications. 

post #21115 of 23426

sorry for offtopic and i need a somewhat random question

 

if youre damping a headphone and performed the usual "SOP" at the back of the cups, like putting an open-cell foam and some cotton material at the back of the cups for example. you try to listen to the headphone and there is still too much midrange going on, specially on the vocals to the point it still causes spikes on that region. any suggestions on how to town down the midrange?

post #21116 of 23426

Binaural recordings only go so far. Fact of the matter is very few producers actually have a clue as to how to use the Neumann mike system to make a proper binaural recording. There is a lot of production that goes into a good binaural recording and at best I have heard about 10 that make the cut. Google the Stax Space Sound CD and get hold of it if you do not already have a copy. It is a perfect demo of how binaural should be done. With most, I'm afraid you get a lot of breadth of soundstage and very little depth.

 

Just for giggles I played around with my fave experimental drivers and some interesting clay to make ear covers and take a driver through some rotations. With a good seal it was surprising how little volume is actually lost. I would have thought that the increase in volume of the earcup would have absorbed more energy than it did, at a guess it was perhaps a 10 to 15 percent difference. I found as the driver was rotated out the soundstage widened but did not gain depth up until about 70 degrees. At 90 degrees the image did move significantly but nowhere near where I expected. It wound up forward and up just about at the hairline. That was a most unsettling feeling as I caused me to keep trying to look up and move my head which of course moved the image up etc etc. Point being it is possible to move the image forward in practice by rotating the drivers. As to what kind of acoustics needed in the shells to enhance or expand that effect, there are hours and hours of experimentation involved in that. And still I have to figure that as sound is so subjective to the listener it may be that a "3D" stage for one is dead flat for another.

 

Some where in the bowels of the internet is a Study done at McGill (I think) which used clicks to "fool" listeners as to the source location while using headphones.
 

 

To Armaegis comments re Isone et all. There are some great products out there And the toneboosters stuff is among the best. I would encourage anyone to get hold of their free package and have a go at it.

 Crossfeed, I have not yet heard a software implementation which impressed in the least. I think time is better spend with the above mentioned plug in or Longcats H3D, or 112db's Redline monitor. Of course when you start processing sound you start losing some details and latency becomes an issue.

 

 I still think there is a purely acoustic solution to be had though;)

post #21117 of 23426

I'm inclined to believe that angled drivers only play a role in the direction and spacing of sound and it's reflections.

If you take the same cups and have a flat vs. angled driver mount on the baffle, the main cause of sound change is most possibly:

-Different differential distances to your ears

-Completely changed reflection pattern inside the cups

 

So in the end, angled drivers are not a mean to change sound but a mean to change reflective patterns especially inside the cups. At least that's what I think.

post #21118 of 23426
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutnicks View Post

Binaural recordings only go so far. Fact of the matter is very few producers actually have a clue as to how to use the Neumann mike system to make a proper binaural recording. There is a lot of production that goes into a good binaural recording and at best I have heard about 10 that make the cut. Google the Stax Space Sound CD and get hold of it if you do not already have a copy.


 Crossfeed, I have not yet heard a software implementation which impressed in the least. I think time is better spend with the above mentioned plug in or Longcats H3D, or 112db's Redline monitor. Of course when you start processing sound you start losing some details and latency becomes an issue.

 

 I still think there is a purely acoustic solution to be had though;)

could you point us to the 10 you feel ae adequate sometime?

 

Software versions, but have you tried the hardware versions?

post #21119 of 23426

Hi all. My friend has a Yamaha HP-1 and i really like it. I'm wondering if the TDS-5 sound exactly the same except bass section (better) than the HP-1?

post #21120 of 23426
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by proid View Post

Hi all. My friend has a Yamaha HP-1 and i really like it. I'm wondering if the TDS-5 sound exactly the same except bass section (better) than the HP-1?

Well, mine doesn't. In the same ballpark, sure, but not exactly like it. What say you, other TDS-5 and 5M owners?

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