Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Mini Comparison - Vibe (1st gen), C700, PK2, RE0, NE-7M, PFE, ER4S, OK1, TF10, UM3X, SE530, IE8
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Mini Comparison - Vibe (1st gen), C700, PK2, RE0, NE-7M, PFE, ER4S, OK1, TF10, UM3X, SE530, IE8 - Page 3

post #31 of 142
Very nice update. I look forward to your review in two weeks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post

After that, I think I'm done buying earphones for a while. What I have is good enough, and there really isn't anything on the market that compels me to shoot for better.
I really like your review. Very informative, helpful, and detailed. Does this mean this is your last review for a while?
post #32 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
Yes, stage width will depend on location. Shoved way in ear versus loose in ear affects width. As well, a bud or semi open IEM can generally get a wider stage it seems then a fully enclosed IEM.

The filter doesn't affect the stage, only frequency response. It has no other mechanical capability. Any other perception is physcoacoustic, i.e. your mind makes up stiff to make sense of what it hears. The midrange bump could be perceived as more open, spacious. As well, you would listen to the earphone quieter, creating less physical vibration and thus bringing less attention to the source point.
Well, isn't all soundstage physcoacoustic? And I noticed a detail difference for the PFE between the black and grey filters, with the grey being more detailed, especially in the treble. In my opinion, more than just frequency response is changed by introducing something (in this case a filter) between the source (BA) and your ear.

I had the IE8 to compare with (which is know for it's soundstage), and from what I understand of soundstage, it was in the ball park of the IE8 with the grey filters. The NE-7, not so much. From my experience, the PFE with either filter has a wider soundstage than the NE-7.

Now, out of my 5000+ songs, some have good soundstage, most don't. When I compare songs with poor soundstages, the NE-7s still didn't keep up with the PFE. When listening to the songs with better soundstages, the PFEs stepped up much more than the NE-7.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
I do brake the sound stage into two parts. One is raw width. How wide does the stage sound. The second is depth. Basically, how open and spacious does it mentally seem. Raw width is generally the physical location of the source. Stage depth/space more has to do with the ability to create separation, space, and independent location of instruments, singers, etc. and provide a wide left to right spectrum. If things sort of blend together, the stage seems very narrow and in your head. If everything is well separated, the stage feels big and open and outside the head. I kind of do the depth/space aspect and how in-head or out-of-head the presence sounds.
Based on your excellent explanation, my experience is that the PFE does have a wider soundstage (especially with the greys), but there is NO comparison between stage depth/space. To me, the PFEs with the grey slightly beat the IE8s in that category, the NE-7 pales in comparison.

I am not trying to say you are wrong or anything, just my opinion is different than yours
post #33 of 142
Thread Starter 
You should try the ER4S...if you can stand to drop a little on the very bottom end and can give up a little of the effortless dynamics. It's a better overall IEM, better balanced overall, more body in note, and the stage is bigger, in front of you instead of in-head. Depth is similar to the Vibe but not as wide as the Vibe. For as much as some whine about the Vibe in build quality, the stage kicks butt. The depth is great and the width is the only in-ear I've used that sounds beyond the phones themselves.

NE-7M versus PFE, the PFE does sound more open, yeah, but still a in-head experience and still only as wide as the earphones. It just doesn't sound as closed in.

I can't say the same about the black versus gray filters. I just know that frequency response does play a roll in perception. A simile, sort of, is with a car with woofers in the door and tweeters in the a-pillars. A little attenuation or a lower x-over gives the perception of a higher sound stage because emphasis is drawn the tweeters. However with headphones, you can't change location. The only way spacial cues can change is through a change of emphasis and delay to a different set of drivers. The big problem with IEMs, well a lot of headphones is they suffer from vibration on bass notes. Black filters = louder relative volumes = more bass = more vibration = more awareness of the physical headphone = smaller stage. The filter itself only can do what it physically can do, and all it can do is block higher frequencies. The gray filter already does that some, the black more. They both function the same and are built the same. The black is just denser/thicker and provides more blocking. It can't do anything else different and can't affect stage. Because of the physics of the device, the only explanation is the above higher relative volume an added vibration.
post #34 of 142
Nevermind.
post #35 of 142

Hip, Hip, Hooray!

mvw2,

Thanks for this review. It's great to get such detailed input from someone who is skeptical about a lot of the subjective voodoo that is sometimes passed off as knowledge here (esp. by those with high post counts!). Loved the burn in smack-down you gave on another thread... do mechanical devices really need billions of cycles to break in? -those must be some pretty ornery molecules!

Anyway, this thread is very useful and even-handed. Its empirically grounded and fanboy-free. Three cheers!
post #36 of 142
Not sure praising the good work of mvw2 by putting down others is really very helpful. While I agree that mvw2's analysis is very useful and extremely detailed and well-done - and I also like the PFEs and the Yuin PKs - why isn't it good enough to give him a thanks, rather than mentioning his "smackdown" of someone else in another thread who basically has a different opinion on burn-in? Very little real science going on here. In the end, it's what sounds best to someone, no matter how many charts and graphs are posted, or how many esoteric points about IEMs are made and/or discussed. Absolute truth is really not attainable when it comes to listening music through headphones, so "subjective voodoo" really isn't such a bad thing. In fact, its the main currency on Head-Fi.
post #37 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by tstarn06 View Post
Not sure praising the good work of mvw2 by putting down others is really very helpful. While I agree that mvw2's analysis is very useful and extremely detailed and well-done - and I also like the PFEs and the Yuin PKs - why isn't it good enough to give him a thanks, rather than mentioning his "smackdown" of someone else in another thread who basically has a different opinion on burn-in? Very little real science going on here. In the end, it's what sounds best to someone, no matter how many charts and graphs are posted, or how many esoteric points about IEMs are made and/or discussed. Absolute truth is really not attainable when it comes to listening music through headphones, so "subjective voodoo" really isn't such a bad thing. In fact, its the main currency on Head-Fi.
It was a "burn-in smackdown" not a human smackdown. Smackdown of an idea, concept, notion, myth, or measure of subjective voodoo currency.

But, yeah, you are right. No sense in starting something. And very true, enjoying tunz is thoroughly subjective. But sometimes folks issue what sound like priestly edicts, "give them 200hrs of burn in" for instance. You are right, I don't have any science to prove otherwise but I can't help thinking that something else entirely is getting burned in, somebody's brain or someone's authority perhaps. Would be interesting to see if burning in while listening went faster than burning in off line. But its a dead horse anyway--including this guy was a veiled ironic reference.

Sorry if I offended. I did find mvw2's comments really refreshing, however, and part of that was his skepticism toward the received wisdom of some of the elder wise ones here. It's hard to criticize ideas without implicitly critiquing people. I'll drop the subject now.
post #38 of 142
No offense. I could have been a little more diplomatic. Your POV is understandable, and an excellent response. I do agree, it's good when conflict can generate new ideas, as can happen.
post #39 of 142
MVW2, what does "ABF" mean in your reviews?
post #40 of 142
I do not expect a wider soundstage from recordings. Why? Most of the time, sound/performances were recorded closely, which focused to the direct sound. It is being like listening at the front row in the hall, where echos were being masked by the direct sound. Sometime audio engineer add some delay or reverb effects to enhance the soundstage.

IMHO, PFEs reproduce echos/sound reflections which lead to a better soundstage than NE-7Ms.

TQ
post #41 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
MVW2, what does "ABF" mean in your reviews?
I think it's amp benefit factor.
post #42 of 142
Thread Starter 
Yeah, the format was pulled from ClieOS's reviews. He provides a blank format in one of his review threads:
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f103/r...-v-2-a-394365/

Quoted from his thread:
"ABF - Amplification Benefiting Factor"

Basically, it's how much of a benefit does amping make for the headphone.

In most cases, I found amping to not be terribly necessary, but small benefits could be seen when wattage needs outweighed the availability at higher volumes. As well, the amp I ran was FiiO's E5, a nice, little amp, cheap too, but it does have its quirks. The review was done without the amp as it colored some and also knocked out some of the separation, but I used it as a tool to gauge how beneficial more wattage can be for a particular headphone.


On the topic of "smackdown," I take online forums as a knowledge base. It is essentially a collaboration of many, many individuals efforts, interests, and opinions. Because much of this and similar hobbies are based on opinions, people will obviously debate issues. I think it's encourageable. Debate translates to expression of thought and ideas, analyzing, breaking down, and rebuilding understandings.

I'm a logical person. I am also scientific. I like the rational. I don't have most answers, but I can debate perceptions and guesses of those answers. Everyone is free to make up their own minds. This forum is simply a platform of sharing. Sharing is not always pretty. Not everyone gets along. Not everyone is right. Some folks are mean, some stuborn, some like to hear themselves talk. Everyone has their own reasons for being here. For some, it's to learn, others to help, some just for social connection. The social interaction and clash of minds is dynamic. Good, bad, helpful, harmful, it really doesn't matter. It's all good because it is all expression of the mind. It's a powerful thing when you have 100, 1000, or 10,000 minds focused on a single idea. It's dynamic and chaotic, but it's infinitely powerful.

You guys whine about hurt feelings. Frankly, I don't care. I'm here to learn, to teach what I know, and to debate about what I don't. At the very least, I like to make people think. In the case of 50-100 hours of burn in, I ask why. I want people to second guess themselves, what they've heard, or blindly been told. I want people to rationalize and actually think about the subject and come to their own conclusions (right or wrong). The best thing we can do as humans is to question everything, even if it was told to us as the "truth." The truth is never true in our own minds unless we fully understand why it is true. You need the knowledge and understanding to make it true in our own minds. Without it, all we have is faith, and that is really just hearsay and assumptions which can be as dangerous and detrimental as it can be helpful. One challenging side-effect of knowledge is that we also have to question our own results. We need to guarantee our testing methods are free from bias and influence.

In the case of burn-in, our ears/mind and perception of sound vary. What we hear one day isn't what we hear the next day. What type of sound we like one day isn't the same as the next day. We like to do listening tests to gauge the usefulness of burn-in, but at the same time, many will ignore human influence. We change. How can we work around that? Frankly, we can't. What we'd have to do is step to a scientific approach, actually measure the phones on oscilloscopes and other tools. We'd have to be able to measure change and show it through the burn in process. Does frequency response change? Does Thiele-Small paramters? Does decay? Does distortion? What exactly happens through the burn in process? How long does it actually take before additional time becomes pointless? We don't know. None of us do. There are zero tests on this. Zero. All we can do is speculate. All I can do is question the status quo because it does not sit right with my general perception of reality. That's a good thing. It makes all of you think too and question your own understandings. Maybe someone, someday will be so compelled that they actually do test headphone performance/sound quality in relation to burn in time. Or maybe this will compel a massive blind trial using random people and sets of identical headphones at various burn in times to see if anyone could really tell the difference and at what point.
post #43 of 142
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakhtiar View Post
I do not expect a wider soundstage from recordings. Why? Most of the time, sound/performances were recorded closely, which focused to the direct sound. It is being like listening at the front row in the hall, where echos were being masked by the direct sound. Sometime audio engineer add some delay or reverb effects to enhance the soundstage.

IMHO, PFEs reproduce echos/sound reflections which lead to a better soundstage than NE-7Ms.

TQ
It also helps of the headphone can keep good clarity and separation of information. Sometimes slower, more sluggish, or sloppy headphones have a hard time keeping that additional information distinct and meaningful. A simple example is Linkin Park. They're a great example of a lot of noise jumbled together. I have found very few pieces of hardware capable of maintaining good separation of instruments, singers, etc. A lot of hardware I've listened to has a greater tendency to just throw everything together in a noisy mess. The hardware needs cleanliness and articulation of note, transient, effortless speed, and balance in presentation to present the mess well enough to remain independently discernible we you can actually perceive instruments, singers, sound effects, etc. separately and distinctly. It's hard to do well. Some hardware fails horribly. Some do ok. Some perform amazingly well. This is the difference between hardware capable of creating a good sound stage and one that can not.
post #44 of 142
IMHO, human hearing perception did effects the soundstage. PFEs do sound accurate and clearer, and our perception to this clear sound as, near or close to our ear. And this what we thinks the soundstage is small. I do not have other high end IEMs with 'bigger' soundstage (yet ), so I cannot do comparison in this matter.

So I thinks small soundstage means accurate reproduction of audio from the source recordings. This is why I left the 'audiophile' world, because, I felt being cheated by the high end 'consumer' audio products. A good audio products should unveil the bad recordings/source, not make it better sound.

Now listening to Diana Krall's "I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You", FLAC. If you noticed, her voice are under 'noise gate' / dynamic expander effects. But who cares, if love the song, just enjoy it, in what ever situation. Same also goes to others who love turntables or vacuum tube amps. Eventhough these devices are inferior but, they still loves it.
post #45 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
The head-fi world is such a strange place. It's so eccentric and seemingly in lack of science. I mean where are the frequency response plots, THD plots, T/S parameters, and all that fun stuff so readily available in the home audio world? I doubt there's a BL or CMS curve in public existence of a headphone driver. There isn't a hint anywhere of motor linearity, diaphragm stiffness, or anything. There isn't even really any marketing on the sound of the headphones being sold. Every single purchase is completely blind. The only reason we know anything is because of sites like this and the sharing of information. A few of us have the chance to personally demo a small selection of the market at the few stores and get-togethers that happen. Other then that, nada, and everyone's buying blind. I mean go to a store, pick up a packaged headpone and look at it. Then tell me how that headpone will sound. It's pretty much a big joke. People should desire more, demand more from the companies. It's late, I'm rambling...

I agree 100%...

I started of in the +12v audio world, then into home, and now into Head-fi....

I find it weird at times too...

nG
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