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post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanth View Post
Some ARE NOT correct, and this is a pretty well known fact among enthusiasts. This is why Stereophile is a decent source of info because they will test the gear and if it does not match what the manufacturer states, they will dispute this. One great example is Coincident. Great sounding speakers, not nearly as efficient as claimed.
Good point. Reviews are probably the best source for accurate specs
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
How does the audiophile community feel about specifications that are concealed like they were special sauce?

USG
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by acidbasement View Post
If all we want to know is "Does Gear A sound better than Gear B?", then I'd say the specs could be a red herring.

And that is all we want to know. Use specs only to figure out if something is even on the short list. Then it's all about listening.

Dealers don't have HPs available for listening, with some exceptions. That's what we have meets and CanJam for. Lots of people listen to everything. It works.

If we did serious, listener-blind testing it could work better. I propose we write LBT instead of DBT, since double blind makes no sense here.
post #19 of 26
I don't think specs should really play a role in ANYTHING. Specs don't mean crap. I think the only time specs matter to me, is when I'm reading about how long its battery life is.

SE530s are Headrooms biggest selling IEMs, but according to their specs, they're one of the more rolled off IEMs....they don't sell because of specs, they sell because of their sound. And I think more things need to follow this trend, rather than trying to have the highest spec'd gear available.

An example is DACs. Who really cares if it uses a PCM variant op amp, if it sounds as good as the DAC with a WM variant, does it really matter (that goes for anything of X vs. Y)? I think the reason many people have specs play a large role is because it has some sort of bragging rights attached to it with it being "high end" and it being "top shelf". Blah...

A perfect comparison would be like drinking margaritas. If you're drinking socially to have a good time (or are just drinking to get trashed), and you personally don't think a "top shelf" margarita tastes better or gets you any more drunk, would you keep buying "top shelf" drinks? I think really, it depends on your company....
post #20 of 26
It might depend on one's company for sure, if we are talking about something like food or drink. With something like audio, it might be a case of:if item X indicates a, and item Y indicates b, and item Z NEEDS c, then if a = or approximates c, then item X can be used with item Z, but if b doesn't come close to c then one ought to avoid b. Specs are good for people to understand what their associated equipment requires to function at its best. This affects the sound and sometimes to a pretty big degree.

A great example is the difference between the Etymotic 4S and the 4P.

The difference? a 50 or 75 ohm resistor in the cable. That's it that's all. The difference in sound? S is flatter, P is more forward sounding with plumper bass. If one didn't know this, one could measure the cables of each and determing that yikes! one won't work as well as the other with a given portable player because said portable player only has X amount of power and current output. The P's are easier to drive, easy out of a DAP, the S model is harder to drive affecting the overall performance.

At the end of the day though, I agree, it is about how something sounds. Digital front-ends are very very complicated as compared with amps or heh, cables. Differences should exist and many believe they do. Though, some don't so long as two units measure the same. At the end of the day, the question is, are those measurements all inclusive? Are we testing everything?
post #21 of 26
^ I agree.

Don't you think however, that if you had NO hi-fi friends nearby, your rig would be as "high end" as it is? Or a better question, if there wasn't a forum to interact with other enthusiasts, would your rig be the same? Of course there's a balance to things, but generally speaking.

Kinda like how people were pre-internet age. It seemed as if sports, hobbies, and lifestyles were more "pure" before forums started becoming a norm for most everything. In that, you have people that are genuinely interested in the hobby or culture, rather than being indulged via the internet first. And regardless of how the "informed internet community" viewed things. i.e. you like the way it sounds/is, not because the internet community says it sucks.

Kinda hard to verbalize the point I'm trying to get across....hopefully the point was made.
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by oicdn View Post
Don't you think however, that if you had NO hi-fi friends nearby, your rig would be as "high end" as it is? Or a better question, if there wasn't a forum to interact with other enthusiasts, would your rig be the same? Of course there's a balance to things, but generally speaking.
The only hi-fi friends I have are folks I've met through Head-fi. Without Head-fi I may have some RS-1's and the RA-1 but otherwise...I wouldn't have a lot of what I own. Perhaps better put, if the internet didn't exist I'd have some Sony headphones and whatever CD/SACD player my local hi-fi shop sells. That's it that's all. Regarding my close friends, my tubes in my cd player cost more than their entire rig. The tubes in my player didn't cost that much

Quote:
Kinda like how people were pre-internet age. It seemed as if sports, hobbies, and lifestyles were more "pure" before forums started becoming a norm for most everything. In that, you have people that are genuinely interested in the hobby or culture, rather than being indulged via the internet first. And regardless of how the "informed internet community" viewed things. i.e. you like the way it sounds/is, not because the internet community says it sucks.

Kinda hard to verbalize the point I'm trying to get across....hopefully the point was made.
I'm not sure what you were saying in the above paragraph but I'll try my luck at it. Pre-internet I liked a certain sound and/or I had gear that I enjoyed or nearly enjoyed without much of the doubt and wonder many are conflicted with, better known as upgraditis. Once the web hit and forums specifically, the OCD folks were able to go nuts over the minutia of every aspect of every hobby. For us audio folks, this expanded our exposure to gear but also to perhaps new problems, better sound from X Y or Z. Now, properly or not, one might look at their rig as something less than it is.

I may have fit into that category at various times. I'm certainly an avid headphone enthusiast, moreso than if the Web had never existed. Again, I'd likely own my SR60's, perhaps the RS-1's and RA-1 because I knew about them. I'd also have a mid-fi player of some sort because I had been nurturing an appreciation for better sound through better gear. However, much of my gear is composed of older models or older designs. I'm not into the flavour of the month and I research A LOT before I buy. When I do, it's a very long-term investment. So, before the web really got going (Headwize was about to come online in a year or 2) I bought a pair of SR60's. I really enjoyed them, so much so that when I read a review about the RS-1's, I wanted them. Now, when Headwize and eventually Head-fi appeared, the big debates were 600's vs. RS-1's, then HP-1's vs 650's with Stax, HE90's and sometimes the R10's thrown in there. A year or two later the golden age of headphones began I would say and we are still in it. SOOO much gear is available. For me? I still have my SR60's and those RS-1's that I so wanted way back when. I love music and I feel I get the most out of my music with the gear I've chosen. So I'm happy. I've learned a lot, tried a lot out, met some really cool people in the process, made some friends etc. The hobby clicked for me because of the net. Are there folks who see the forum first, and miss out on the music? Missing the forest for the tress kinda thing? Sure, and that would happen anywhere.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanth View Post
It might depend on one's company for sure, if we are talking about something like food or drink. With something like audio, it might be a case of:if item X indicates a, and item Y indicates b, and item Z NEEDS c, then if a = or approximates c, then item X can be used with item Z, but if b doesn't come close to c then one ought to avoid b. Specs are good for people to understand what their associated equipment requires to function at its best. This affects the sound and sometimes to a pretty big degree.

A great example is the difference between the Etymotic 4S and the 4P.

The difference? a 50 or 75 ohm resistor in the cable. That's it that's all. The difference in sound? S is flatter, P is more forward sounding with plumper bass. If one didn't know this, one could measure the cables of each and determing that yikes! one won't work as well as the other with a given portable player because said portable player only has X amount of power and current output. The P's are easier to drive, easy out of a DAP, the S model is harder to drive affecting the overall performance.

At the end of the day though, I agree, it is about how something sounds. Digital front-ends are very very complicated as compared with amps or heh, cables. Differences should exist and many believe they do. Though, some don't so long as two units measure the same. At the end of the day, the question is, are those measurements all inclusive? Are we testing everything?
NOW that you mention the Etys, the impedance has an impact on the sound, there is no doubt of that, just placving resitor you cna tune any heapdhone to a more plessant or diisgusting sound. But impedance alone if you are not familiar with the devices in questions says very little, now I was always curious as how the B version sounds in comparison to the S and P, IIRC from the old timers there was one moderator that prefered the B to the other two, I have not been able to grab one B yet in my journey along this hobby to see how it sounds like???
post #24 of 26
That was Vertigo-1 and he said the B's were the most neutral of the bunch. He had the S's, P's, Omega I, Omega II's, R10's, CD3000's, HP-1's, HP-2's, RS-1's, HD600's, HD650's and maybe a Beyer or two. I trust his ears and if he said the B's sounded the most neutral I'd buy the B's based on that information. I grabbed the P's because it was trivial to make them S's with Xin's (or now Ety's) resistor cable. I wanted great sound and flexibility. If I had the cash, I would get the B's to compare.
post #25 of 26
Specifications are important to me, but they need to be of a relevant sort.

On sources:

Specifying something like THD+N is generally not terribly useful. This is for a few reasons:

1. It doesn't tell me distribution. Distribution is generally more important than simply the summed harmonic amplitudes given as a ratio of the total amplitude. Some harmonics are considerably less audible than others, and some are considerably worse sounding than others, so it's important to know distribution.

2. Simple sine tests don't really stress a system in a way that resembles audio reproduction. A lot of things can pass a simple sine test even if they stink in IMD or DIM/TIMD type measurements. It's important to, at a minimum use duotonic (e.g. standard IMD tests) and, really, use multitone tests at a minimum in order to get something useful.

3. Often it's specified at 1KHz, which is a pretty easy test to do well on. 20-20KHz sweeps should be done at a minimum for the standard sine test, though as noted above that isn't sufficient.

FFTs are pretty much where it's at for solving the distribution problem. Multitone takes a more expensive piece of equipment but something like a dedicated audio analyser of good quality can probably do it, or a really nice function generator.

I also, personally, like to know in detail which parts are used. I don't know how useful that is to people generally, but since I've used so many parts in audio applications now I have a pretty decent idea of what I do and don't like in terms of things like op-amps, filter caps, bypass schemes, digital filters, and d/a converters.

On headphones:

I definitely like to know nominal impedance and sensitivity. It's important in terms of knowing what kind of power requirements I'll need...

Aside from that, graphs like what headroom provides can be somewhat useful, but giving a full account of a headphone in terms of specification probably would require something like distance from driver to ear canal (typical distance anyhow), size of the space within the pad, some measure of phase response, maybe some distortion measurements like those noted earlier, and relative amplitude in each direction of the driver (as, in my experience, this does affect what it ends up sounding like).

Headphones are kind of tough to effectively measure just in terms of logistics, and the factors in play require a fairly elaborate rig be put together in order to really be effective. That said, I imagine major companies do use at least applicable technology for the task during the process of designing the headphone, so it's plausible this sort of regimen could be accommodated.

Amps:

Basically the same deal as sources; the same concerns apply. However, it should be tested with different loads as well.
post #26 of 26
Odd to hear you speaking like this while forgoing a recable on your Ed 9s, Sovkiller
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