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Does good treble = inevitable sibilance?

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
For the record I've never actually owned a headphone that is known for their treble performance. Sibilance is pretty much my pet peeve when it comes to audio closely followed by a recessed midrange. I've had the UM1s (not much trouble action here), E2C (mmm?), E4C (treble roll off), HD497 (can't remember), HD595 (nothing special), HD650 (laid back treble), SR60s (ultra forward midrange...is it treble?). And even with these cans, the only cans that I haven't gotten fatigue from sibilance is the HD650s, E4Cs and the UM1s. The HD595s are not a particularly bright can but I still used to get treble fatigue from them after a while (say 2+ hours) and the SR60s pretty much killed my ears. Interestingly when I plug my E4Cs into my tube amp they become ultra sibilant at any volume level and are pretty much unlistenable.

So my question is, does good treble mean that sibilance is inevitable due to the bad recordings that are common these days? Considering I'm already getting treble fatigue from these so called dark sound cans, I can't imagine enjoying a pair of K701s or DT990s and their treble emphasis. Are there cans out there that have good treble but never get sibilant, or is this impossible because of the poor recordings?
post #2 of 42
yeh i hate sibilance,i think sibilance is part of the highest of highs and if an instrument or voice makes that sound then a good headphone will produce it but does it spoil the sound in general, i think it does, but then i am a big fan of the smooth highs of the se530 so i would say that.

i personally think that highs that are produced too high makes the sound very unrealistic, so i prefer smoother highs because it dont come across as forced and is therfor seemingly more realistic, im with you tho sibilance is a real pain in the erm...ears and its not a nice sound when produced
post #3 of 42
recordings can aggravate sibilance, but the issue between good treble and sibilance is, at the level of headphone you're discussing, more a matter of amplification and (to a degree) source. By definition sibilance isn't good treble, and it's quite fair to ask for more, but don't let that scare you away from headphones you might otherwise like.

Fatigue can be a different matter; I wouldn't tie it to sibilance alone. And since it is so personal, the only good way to test fatigue in the real world is the old-fashioned way. If you hadn't done that with the headphones you mention, you might well have assumed the Grado would be the most fatiguing for you, and not the others.

best, FV

edit, now that you guys have me thinking about it, I do notice that a number of more recent recordings, particularly of certain kinds of music, do tend to have sibilant passages. I suppose there is no way around revealing that with a good pair of headphones. Maybe we all need one analytic rig and one forgiving/fun rig to avoid the issue when necessary.
post #4 of 42
no...

Good headphones/speakers... play what is there. Blame the recording.
post #5 of 42
I always felt that sibilance has a lot to do with the mic that's recording the music in the first place, think Beatles albums.
post #6 of 42
Good headphones pick up sibilance. Good recordings don't produce sibilance. Good headphones have no sibilance to pick up from good recordings.

If sibilance is inevitable to what you're listening to, the inaccuracy of the SE530 treble would keep the fatigue level of sibilance down dramatically compared to other full sized headphones. But at the same time, music won't sound as proper anymore.

:/
post #7 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dept_of_Alchemy View Post
I always felt that sibilance has a lot to do with the mic that's recording the music in the first place, think Beatles albums.
you know, thinking about that it really does make sence you may have touched upon something there i never thought about it like that
post #8 of 42
You have to first properly define what 'good treble' means. From your descriptions, it seems to me you are thinking of 'plenty of treble energy' (which is not necessarily the same as 'refined/well-extended treble'). To me, the HD-650 has very good quality treble; the MS-2 OTOH has more treble energy but does not beat the Sennheiser in terms of treble quality (esp. in refinement). The K340s in general have nice-sounding treble thanks to their electret components and some of them can have more treble energy than the others.

So yeah, 'good treble' does not exhaustively mean plenty of treble energy. IMHO, of course.
post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Assorted View Post
Good headphones pick up sibilance. Good recordings don't produce sibilance. Good headphones have no sibilance to pick up from good recordings.

If sibilance is inevitable to what you're listening to, the inaccuracy of the SE530 treble would keep the fatigue level of sibilance down dramatically compared to other full sized headphones. But at the same time, music won't sound as proper anymore.

:/
well its very hard to say what a real sound is because as dept of alchemy just mentioned we are all forgetting the music is recorded into mic's so in theory the highs are pretty much amplified in the higher frequencies which may well create sibilance and bangs of sharp sound, so maybe shure picked up on this (being highly experienced in microphones) and laid back the highs for a reason, so actually what we hear from the se530 could well be more ''proper'' due to not as often bursts of, what is loud volume of real high frequencies (sibilance,which is the the sounds such as shhhh chhh and so on at the beginning of words)
post #10 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by jinx20001 View Post
well its very hard to say what a real sound is because as dept of alchemy just mentioned we are all forgetting the music is recorded into mic's so in theory the highs are pretty much amplified in the higher frequencies which may well create sibilance and bangs of sharp sound, so maybe shure picked up on this (being highly experienced in microphones) and laid back the highs for a reason, so actually what we hear from the se530 could well be more ''proper'' due to not as often bursts of, what is loud volume of real high frequencies (sibilance,which is the the sounds such as shhhh chhh and so on at the beginning of words)
How about this:

I have a violin in front of me. I can hear it in actions, and the harmonics go very high. I have a good quality XRCD24 violin album with very good acoustics. When playing in high positions, the violin sounds more natural on my HD 650s. When I had the Shure E500s it just didn't quite sound all free moving, like a curtain was restricting the flow of intense notes.

But maybe you're right.
post #11 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by leng jai View Post
So my question is, does good treble mean that sibilance is inevitable due to the bad recordings that are common these days? Considering I'm already getting treble fatigue from these so called dark sound cans, I can't imagine enjoying a pair of K701s or DT990s and their treble emphasis. Are there cans out there that have good treble but never get sibilant, or is this impossible because of the poor recordings?
The Denon AH-D5000 have incredible treble and they don't fatigue my ears at all. They are probably some of the only headphones I have heard that I can say that about. Then again, my experience is more with IEMs than full-size, and IEMs get fatiguing no matter which ones you have.

But a bad recording is a bad recording anyway you slice it and dice it. IEMs will bring out a bad recording more in my experience, and make it harder to tell where the problem lies. But a good full-size headphone will let you know that the problem is with the recording, not the headphone. This may be in part due to the fact that full-size headphones reveal what IEMs cannot: impact, punch, presence, and resonance.
post #12 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Assorted View Post
How about this:

I have a violin in front of me. I can hear it in actions, and the harmonics go very high. I have a good quality XRCD24 violin album with very good acoustics. When playing in high positions, the violin sounds more natural on my HD 650s. When I had the Shure E500s it just didn't quite sound all free moving, like a curtain was restricting the flow of intense notes.

But maybe you're right.
yeh maybe im right, maybe im wrong, its all about opinions
post #13 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dept_of_Alchemy View Post
I always felt that sibilance has a lot to do with the mic that's recording the music in the first place, think Beatles albums.
x2...
post #14 of 42
I just found a great way to correct sibilance without distorting the fidelity overall. I wrote this about my ER4s, but the same principle helps me to correct the "glitches" in mp3 compression, etc (which are extremely audible even at 320kbs to me).

See:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/showpo...0&postcount=18

...you can use audacity to do a spectrum analysis of a segment of song where you hear sibilance to determine what bandwidth range it's occuring on the most with your own setup, then correct it with a dynamic compressor so you don't alter the audio when you don't need to.

-graham
post #15 of 42
No, great treble does not mean sibilance. Listen to R10, or K340, or HE90, all of which extend beautifully but have no sibilance of their own.
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