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Mini Comparison - Vibe (1st gen), C700, PK2, RE0, NE-7M, PFE, ER4S, OK1, TF10, UM3X, SE530, IE8 - Page 4

post #46 of 142
Thread Starter 
I just hate being left in the dark...but it does make selling crap easier. Marketing preys on cluelessness.

Head-fi hasn't exactly waken up from the dark ages yet. Frankly, neither has car audio. Home and pro audio are really the only realms that treat the customers as intellegent human beings, well at least somewhat. There are also 3rd party folks who go out of their way to test and analyze hardware. You are in the know, and that is a nice place to be.

I admit I have seen a couple 3rd party testing done on head-fi, and that's great. But there could very definitely be more.
post #47 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakhtiar View Post
IMHO, PFEs reproduce echos/sound reflections which lead to a better soundstage than NE-7Ms.

TQ
Well said!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
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 don't have the PFEs anymore, but I know I have heard the soundstage outside the earphones. I can't say I recall that from the NE-7s with music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
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.
What would soundstage be technically? As bakhtiar stated, sound reflections of instruments. Combine that with precise timing of those reflections with respect to the original note, and I would stay that is soundstage. That is how the human ear perceives sound with the outer creates the reflections. For music through stereo speakers or headphones it has to be in the music. I do agree that additional vibrations on bass notes can throw off the soundstage with distortion. And from my experience, the PFE is much more accurate than the NE-7 on bass notes (well, across the spectrum).

You mention speaker location and crossover frequency (frequency response affecting soundstage). Various op amps will change soundstage through the same headphones while producing the same frequency response over the audible frequency range. To simplify, op amps do sound different (even with the same exact specs) from each other and depending upon other components in the circuit. Why? One reason is timing, how "fast" is an op amp at any given frequency, even though they are often at the same amplitude. Get the timing (hence reflections) wrong, and the brain does not "see" the correct soundstage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
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.
To me it is Black filters = more attenuation of the upper mids/highs = less clarity/detail = poorer reproduction of fine acoustic cues that result in soundstage = smaller stage. The black filters attenuate the upper mids/highs, amplitude will be higher in those frequency ranges at the same amp output with the grey filters. I listened to the grey filters at a lower volume level on my DAP, as I felt the higher quantity highs were too much at louder volumes, therefore I had less bass. But even at quiet listening levels, I noticed soundstage differences.

Any filter is going to somehow adjust the sound. After all, it is a physical obstruction between the driver and your ear. Take your speakers, put a light cloth in front of the tweeter, it will sound slightly quieter. Now, if you put a towel in front of the tweeter, it will be further attenuated. Along with that attenuation, the subtle details (with less energy) will not make it though loud enough to hear it (or perceive). But the tweeter is still producing the same output waves.

And in my experience and from reading, the more accurate and higher resolution speakers/headphones have better soundstage. For example the UE11s have a quality that makes music sound very realistic, and they have a great soundstage. I have never heard anyone wow, the music sounds like crap, but damn, the soundstage is huge.

The virtual barber shop shows (at least to me) that even IEMs can be out of your head; it is the reflections. And with music, some recordings capture the stage much better than others. Combine that with good headphones, and you will have a wider than your head stage, I know my IE8s do!
post #48 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post


What would soundstage be technically? As bakhtiar stated, sound reflections of instruments. Combine that with precise timing of those reflections with respect to the original note, and I would stay that is soundstage. That is how the human ear perceives sound with the outer creates the reflections. For music through stereo speakers or headphones it has to be in the music. I do agree that additional vibrations on bass notes can throw off the soundstage with distortion. And from my experience, the PFE is much more accurate than the NE-7 on bass notes (well, across the spectrum).

You mention speaker location and crossover frequency (frequency response affecting soundstage). Various op amps will change soundstage through the same headphones while producing the same frequency response over the audible frequency range. To simplify, op amps do sound different (even with the same exact specs) from each other and depending upon other components in the circuit. Why? One reason is timing, how "fast" is an op amp at any given frequency, even though they are often at the same amplitude. Get the timing (hence reflections) wrong, and the brain does not "see" the correct soundstage.



To me it is Black filters = more attenuation of the upper mids/highs = less clarity/detail = poorer reproduction of fine acoustic cues that result in soundstage = smaller stage. The black filters attenuate the upper mids/highs, amplitude will be higher in those frequency ranges at the same amp output with the grey filters. I listened to the grey filters at a lower volume level on my DAP, as I felt the higher quantity highs were too much at louder volumes, therefore I had less bass. But even at quiet listening levels, I noticed soundstage differences.

Any filter is going to somehow adjust the sound. After all, it is a physical obstruction between the driver and your ear. Take your speakers, put a light cloth in front of the tweeter, it will sound slightly quieter. Now, if you put a towel in front of the tweeter, it will be further attenuated. Along with that attenuation, the subtle details (with less energy) will not make it though loud enough to hear it (or perceive). But the tweeter is still producing the same output waves.

And in my experience and from reading, the more accurate and higher resolution speakers/headphones have better soundstage. For example the UE11s have a quality that makes music sound very realistic, and they have a great soundstage. I have never heard anyone wow, the music sounds like crap, but damn, the soundstage is huge.

The virtual barber shop shows (at least to me) that even IEMs can be out of your head; it is the reflections. And with music, some recordings capture the stage much better than others. Combine that with good headphones, and you will have a wider than your head stage, I know my IE8s do!
Hmm, I think the definition of soundstage certainly has different meanings depending on whose view you ask. Personally, I think soundstage can only truly be defined as the physical distance of sound from the inner ear. In my experience only two physical properties have significantly contributed to creating a larger soundstage, that is the distance of the driver from the ear and the size of the 'pocket of air' created between the inner ear and the driver. Reflections and the timings of them by instruments as you say is what I would call reverberation which is very different to soundstage. Perceptions created by separation and by extension transparency are not really the same as soundstage though I can see why people might want to call it so.

I have to agree with mvw2, I don't hear any differences in soundstage between black and grey fillters on the phonaks. I do hear large differences when it comes to separation and transparency on the other hand. Enough, of a reason for me to want to make the switch to them! Again, I used to have a pair of gx200 iems that despite having a 'towel in front of its tweeters' so to speak due to it using the longest thickest complys available, it still had probably the largest soundstage I have heard. Accountable for the same reason as pointed out above and most likely the very same reason behind the IE8's reported exceptional soundstage.
post #49 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
I just hate being left in the dark...but it does make selling crap easier. Marketing preys on cluelessness.

Head-fi hasn't exactly waken up from the dark ages yet. Frankly, neither has car audio. Home and pro audio are really the only realms that treat the customers as intellegent human beings, well at least somewhat. There are also 3rd party folks who go out of their way to test and analyze hardware. You are in the know, and that is a nice place to be.

I admit I have seen a couple 3rd party testing done on head-fi, and that's great. But there could very definitely be more.
Not sure about the rest of Head-Fi, since I mainly read and post in portable, but the entire testing and analyzing thing in home and pro audio probably makes much more sense because the gear is typically so much more expensive. With the exception of the top-tier IEMs, ranging from $300-$1,000 (and there are so few specific phones in that category), who really cares about all that precision, data, etc., in buying a pair of say, $100 IEMs or canal phones?

I understand your hunger for truth, science, debate, etc. Just not over a pair of relatively cheap pieces of listening gear. To me, that's why Head-Fi isn't chocked full of charts, graphs, scientific analysis, etc. It would be boring for the majority of the "clueless" (and I guess I have to count myself in that group). Only a relative few have invested the type of cash people invest when it comes to home gear, so for the majority of members, it's way too much to ponder.

I don't read the "high-end audio" threads, but are those threads also filled with clueless consumers in the "dark ages" who are being hoodwinked by the marketing gurus? Also, which makers would you say are "selling crap" in the IEM/canal phone world. Are we talking Bose? Or are there more of those companies. I'd like to know who they are, so I can avoid them in the future. To say marketing plays on cluelessness is really only partially true. Smart marketing plays on smart consumers, who can have a pretty good strategy in choosing which product is best suited to their needs.

Does this make sense? Am I missing your point?

Of course, I can''t speak for the vast majority, the mainstream, if you will, of members here (in the portable phone forum). But my guess is if you start posting too many charts and scientific test results in deciding which $100 IEM to buy, their eyes will glaze over and their heads will start to hurt. A simple Top 10 list with some analysis, albeit mostly opinion, not science, will do them just as well. And I guess I don't see the problem with that. What may work for the home and pro audio crowd will not play for the "I just want the best IEM $xxx can buy" crowd (given a person's specific needs/desires).

In the meantime, please continue to deliver your reviews. I found your take on the PFEs very interesting and helpful.
post #50 of 142
Why not learn how sound being recorded and extend your knowledges of Professional Audio. By doing this, you can appreciate the beauty of audio.
post #51 of 142
Thread Starter 
The beauty of audio is listening to artistic expression. The hardware is not there to make the beauty. They are there to accurately reproduce the beauty of the artists and sound engineers original intentions. My only concern with hardware is how good they reproduce sound without flaw or coloration. Many folks do prefer coloration to adjust sources to personal taste. It's akin to wearing colored sun glasses inside an art museum. Your perception may be more desirable to you but may not be the intended goal of the original artist. Is that good? Is that bad? Does it even matter?

Audio is heavily personal preference. Everyone has their own interests and goals in this hobby. Because of this, I'd say it doesn't really matter. Yet to those it doesn't matter, I pose a question: should it matter?
post #52 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakhtiar View Post
Why not learn how sound being recorded and extend your knowledges of Professional Audio. By doing this, you can appreciate the beauty of audio.
Can one really learn that sitting and reading some posts on a forum? I'd say you would really learn about it being in a studio, watching AND listening.

You can also appreciate the beauty of audio by just listening, no? Without too much analyzing, etc.?
post #53 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
The beauty of audio is listening to artistic expression. The hardware is not there to make the beauty. They are there to accurately reproduce the beauty of the artists and sound engineers original intentions. My only concern with hardware is how good they reproduce sound without flaw or coloration. Many folks do prefer coloration to adjust sources to personal taste. It's akin to wearing colored sun glasses inside an art museum. Your perception may be more desirable to you but may not be the intended goal of the original artist. Is that good? Is that bad? Does it even matter?

Audio is heavily personal preference. Everyone has their own interests and goals in this hobby. Because of this, I'd say it doesn't really matter. Yet to those it doesn't matter, I pose a question: should it matter?
Ouch, my head hurts. But point well taken. I guess I don't know the answer. Very esoteric territory here. But thought provoking as well.
post #54 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by communic View Post
Hmm, I think the definition of soundstage certainly has different meanings depending on whose view you ask. Personally, I think soundstage can only truly be defined as the physical distance of sound from the inner ear. In my experience only two physical properties have significantly contributed to creating a larger soundstage, that is the distance of the driver from the ear and the size of the 'pocket of air' created between the inner ear and the driver. Reflections and the timings of them by instruments as you say is what I would call reverberation which is very different to soundstage. Perceptions created by separation and by extension transparency are not really the same as soundstage though I can see why people might want to call it so.
OK, what changes as distance of the driver changes from your ear? If you are listening to speakers, moving back will alter the time the sounds arrive at your ears. With speakers in a room, there are reflections off walls which also affect the sound you perceive. And if only the size of the pocket of air mattered, then I can put speakers in a 6'w x 10'l x 12'h room and get the exact same sound as the same speakers in a 5'w x 18'l x 8'h room and stood 4' the same distance from them, they would sound the same (speakers same distance from each other)? The soundstage would be the same?

Timing of when direct and reflective instrument sounds reach your ear drum determine instrument location, therefore determining soundstage. From The Master Handbook of Acoustics By Frederick Alton Everest, "A single lateral reflection affects the size and position of the auditory image and controls spaciousness."

Quote:
Originally Posted by communic View Post
I have to agree with mvw2, I don't hear any differences in soundstage between black and grey fillters on the phonaks. I do hear large differences when it comes to separation and transparency on the other hand. Enough, of a reason for me to want to make the switch to them! Again, I used to have a pair of gx200 iems that despite having a 'towel in front of its tweeters' so to speak due to it using the longest thickest complys available, it still had probably the largest soundstage I have heard. Accountable for the same reason as pointed out above and most likely the very same reason behind the IE8's reported exceptional soundstage.
Hey, your opinion on the soundstage is fine with me, and you can agree with whoever you want I did hear a noticeable difference between the 2. Maybe it is a blessing or a curse that my hearing can detect those differences.

With complys vs. silicon that while the high frequencies are slightly absorbed (more of a kleenex in front of the speaker, not a towel), the differences IMO are not great enough to change the soundstage in a perceivable manner. My comparison for the cloth and towel were for the black vs. grey filters on the PFE.

So if I understand you correctly, you are saying that the further out in your ear canal the IEM is worn, the better the soundstage? I do agree with that (experiments with the NE-7 prove that to me), but that is not the only factor in developing a soundstage. As I stated before, accuracy of the reflections play a huge role also.
post #55 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post
OK, what changes as distance of the driver changes from your ear? If you are listening to speakers, moving back will alter the time the sounds arrive at your ears. With speakers in a room, there are reflections off walls which also affect the sound you perceive. And if only the size of the pocket of air mattered, then I can put speakers in a 6'w x 10'l x 12'h room and get the exact same sound as the same speakers in a 5'w x 18'l x 8'h room and stood 4' the same distance from them, they would sound the same (speakers same distance from each other)? The soundstage would be the same?

Timing of when direct and reflective instrument sounds reach your ear drum determine instrument location, therefore determining soundstage. From The Master Handbook of Acoustics By Frederick Alton Everest, "A single lateral reflection affects the size and position of the auditory image and controls spaciousness."
Yes, absolutely, soundstaging would sound different in those two different scenarios due to the reflections within its imposed cavity but this factor only gains real significance in large speaker/room setups where the speed of sound has more time to create changing perceptions. In the context of iems, the topic in question, it is of less significance where the drivers are so close to the inner ear and its housings are relatively small. Although, I suppose with open iems (such as vibes) that is where reflections would show their importance in soundstaging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post
With complys vs. silicon that while the high frequencies are slightly absorbed (more of a kleenex in front of the speaker, not a towel), the differences IMO are not great enough to change the soundstage in a perceivable manner. My comparison for the cloth and towel were for the black vs. grey filters on the PFE.

So if I understand you correctly, you are saying that the further out in your ear canal the IEM is worn, the better the soundstage? I do agree with that (experiments with the NE-7 prove that to me), but that is not the only factor in developing a soundstage. As I stated before, accuracy of the reflections play a huge role also.
I've used the silicon and complys on the phonaks with both filters and yes, it is more of a kleenex put over the speakers when switching tips. However, the absorption of the highs with the included complys that came with the gx200s, to paraphrase, were like a towel placed over the speakers compared to the included silicons, it was that bad!

I suppose it really boils down to what you consider to be 'better' soundstage. For example, I much prefer the physically smaller soundstage of the X10's compared to the larger phonak soundstage. This is because it has more intimacy and hence more emotion evoking since instrumental separation for both the phonaks (grey filters) and x10's is about the same so placement is easier to distinguish.
post #56 of 142
Thread Starter 
In the end, it's all about what our mind thinks. How does one reproduce open room space with an object shoved up in the ear? There's only so much locational info we can create before we really do need the actual room and actual locations. An example is attempting surround sound in a home audio environment with 2.1, 3.1 kinds of setups. In the end, you can create spacial cues through processing and get a nice surround type of effect, but frankly, it's still not the same as true surround sound.

For stage in a headphone environment, distance seems to help on width, but it's not entirely necessary. Transparency helps keep the mind from being directed to the headphone. This includes vibration from bass notes that can bring your attention back to the headphone playing the music. As well, spacial cues need to be recreated by the headphone to recreate room space and instrument, singer, etc. locations, so the headphone has to be detailed enough and dynamic enough to pull off good recreation of the subtle reflections, delays, etc. that we pick up as spacial cues. The source music needs to have these as well.

This is something I really liked about the Denon C700. It had a knack for representing the recording space. It has the transparency. It doesn't vibrate on bass hits. It is effortless and dynamic in sound with good articulation of note. The small details are presented and the sense of space, room size, instrument/singer separate is well presented. It performed well enough to where you could mentally see the performers in the studio room playing music.
post #57 of 142
This debate started with my questions about your perceived soundstage similarities between the NE-7 and PFE. I know people hear things differently due to so many various reasons and wanted to add my findings. Also, I was curious as to how you tested because if you have similar source gear & hearing, I can use your reviews to help me select gear (as stated in this thread, we have to buy blind). So, re-reading this thread, I still have some questions. (sorry for the long, rehashed post to most of you )

Something that I forgot to mention (well, remember) is that low frequency notes don’t have spacial ques, so extra vibrating in the bass region will not directly affect soundstage but the harmonics can (distortion or also called lack of accuracy).

You were asked what your source was in post #12, 29 with this response:
“Several sources, both amped and unamped” from post #7 and 14.

Then you stated in post25:
”FiiO E5, not the greatest but functions well enough. It colors a little bit and noticeably decreases stereo separation, but it does improve control and articulation of note on most headphones. The benefits outweigh the disadvantages. I'd love to run a better amp, but I really don't want anything big and bulky nor am really willing to spend towards some of the three figure good options.”

And post 42:
”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.”

So, what source(s) did you use for your reviews? Computer, DAP, CD player, etc. and which ones? To me, that makes a huge difference. My Fuze doesn’t have the soundstage that my Icon Mobile via USB and my sound card have.

Post #33:
“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.”

So, does that mean a wider soundstage for the PFE vs. NE-7?

Post #30 you state:
”The filter doesn't affect the stage, only frequency response.”

So were you saying that changing the frequency response will change the soundstage perception? EQing will change the perceived soundstage?

Post #33 by mvw2:
“The only way spacial cues can change is through a change of emphasis and delay to a different set of drivers.”

The special cues are recorded in the music. For live music, your ears create the spacial cues, for recorded music, the spacial cues are recorded in the music they aren’t added by the drivers. Drivers outside your ear canal will add some spacial cues about where the source is, therefore the transparency discussion. For stereo you have 2 point sources, and poor recordings/speakers/headphones reveal as much. Were you able to listen to the virtual barber shop link I provided, and did the sound seem like it was coming from outside of your IEMs?

Post #33 by mvw2:
“Because of the physics of the device, the only explanation is the above higher relative volume an added vibration.”

Does soundstage change for you with volume adjustments?

Post #33 by mvw2:
”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.”

Actually, you can. How an IEM is inserted or how a headphone is placed over the ears will change how they sound, sometimes dramatically. For IEMs, I can push the NE-7s far into my ears and the soundstage shrinks, and the bass is leaner and tighter.

Post #56 by mvw2:
”For stage in a headphone environment, distance seems to help on width, but it's not entirely necessary. Transparency helps keep the mind from being directed to the headphone. This includes vibration from bass notes that can bring your attention back to the headphone playing the music. As well, spacial cues need to be recreated by the headphone to recreate room space and instrument, singer, etc. locations, so the headphone has to be detailed enough and dynamic enough to pull off good recreation of the subtle reflections, delays, etc. that we pick up as spacial cues. The source music needs to have these as well.”

That is what I stated earlier, and the PFE is more detailed and dynamic than the NE-7 from my experience, therefore having better soundstage (when the ques are there in the music and amp). So, what source is used is paramount, as in my experience rolling op amps and using various sources it does make a difference for soundstage.

Post #48 by communic:
”In my experience only two physical properties have significantly contributed to creating a larger soundstage, that is the distance of the driver from the ear and[b the size of the 'pocket of air' created between the inner ear and the driver[/b]. Reflections and the timings of them by instruments as you say is what I would call reverberation which is very different to soundstage.”

Pos t#55 by communic:
”Yes, absolutely, soundstaging would sound different in those two different scenarios due to the reflections within its imposed cavity but this factor only gains real significance in large speaker/room setups where the speed of sound has more time to create changing perceptions.”

Post #48 by communic:
”I have to agree with mvw2, I don't hear any differences in soundstage between black and grey fillters on the phonaks.”


Post #50 by bakhtiar:
Why not learn how sound being recorded and extend your knowledges of Professional Audio. By doing this, you can appreciate the beauty of audio. IMHO, PFEs reproduce echos/sound reflections which lead to a better soundstage than NE-7Ms.”

Yes, sound engineers are know to add reverb to songs. And I my point on the PFEs vs. NE-7s.

Post #36 by tstarn06:
“Very little real science going on here.”

Yep, these pages are mainly about what people hear, which is really the be-all end-all of audio. I started by voicing my opinion on what I have heard with the PFE. While I don’t own them anymore, I do think they are excellent for their price, as others have stated. I just go by what my ears tell me and go from there, but when people do hear things differently, there are many factors that can cause that, hence my debate. Oh, and I do have a strong background in science and engineering.

Post #42 by mvw2:
”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."

If this is referring to me stating 170+ hours of burn in for IE8s, that is what I experienced. Does brain burn in exist, yes, I believe so, but I also believe in physical burn in more so. To me, brain burn in is a sound sig and presentation sounding natural, or how it should sound. This site is littered with burn in talk, so all these people that listen once, burn in for xxx hours, then listen again have had brain burn in?

And I could question the material structure schooling/experience people on this board have, but I know that structures (driver cones, silicon paths, plastics, metals, etc.) do change over time with mechanical stress, magnetic fields, and electron flow, and other environmental influences.

Post #42 by mvw2:
”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.”

I do agree sound perception varies, but there are semi-scientific ways to hear differences, which is A/B testing. If our hearing changed, the perception of both would change, therefore still validating the burn in changes. But I digress from soundstage.
post #58 of 142
Ever experienced mistakenly wiring speakers with reverse polarity (out of phase) ? I sure you will find the sound is much more wider. With speakers system, sound are mixed in the air, canceling each other before it reached to our ears. Plus with other factors such as speakers, furniture, walls and floor's resonances and reflections, it may create a 'new soundstage'.

But what about IEMs ?. I just did a simple experiment, how 'out of phase' sound likes with IEMs.

1) Using siggen Signal Generation tools for Linux and /dev/dsp , generate several sine/cosine waves. Example 20Hz, 440Hz, 1kHz ...

2) Change phase at channel 2 (right), and observe. 'Out of phase' effect is at 180 degree.

Any differences? Honestly, with IEMs, differences are small, compared to normal speakers systems. IMHO, what left is our perception to interpret the soundstage. Like my previous opinions, generally IEMs' soundstage is small. If you listen to orchestra, you may find the soundstage is bigger than when you listen to jazz. So with IEMs, soundstage is depends on the audio source. Some may dislike the 'original' sound's taste, and they would like to 'color' it with FXs to suit their needs.

Mr joe_average and Mr. mvw2, both of you are right. mvw2 thinks PFE's soundstage is smaller because he feels like that, but he also said PFEs is wider than NE-7M, but based on his SCALE, it is still small. I respect his opinion. joe_average thinks PFEs' soundstage is wider than NE-7Ms based on his SCALE, he also right, and I also respect his opinion. I do finds PFEs soundstage is wider than NE-7M because, PFEs accurately reproduce echos and reverbs from the SOURCE. In other words, PFEs sounds wider if you listened to well-recorded Philharmonics Orchestra.

So, our key word of the day : Personal SCALE

I might be wrong, and any constructive ideas are welcomed.

Thank you.
post #59 of 142
Thread Starter 
The sources are mainly my laptop(HDX18T), direct output or out through the FiiO E5. However, I've also used two other laptops and my bro's Sony Walkman for everything short the ER4S, PFE, and NE-7M.

By wider, I mean more open. This is both in the sense of width and how out of the head it sounds, i.e. does the sound come from just between the ears or is it presented more in front of you? The NE-7M has a relatively closed in presence. Things sound very close, more so then they should be. The PFE is more open, but it suffers from another flaw. It's lack of body of note means it lacks the ability to develop good spacial cues. You don't get a great sense of location with them, but they also don't sound as closed in as the NE-7M.

Frequency response can't really change the sound stage unless those frequencies are somehow tied to the recreation process. In home or car fi, driver location and frequency response and output emphasis can shape the stage. In head-fi, you can't really work off physical locations.

I never noticed the barbershop link. I did look back through and found it. That is a good example of what processing can achieve. However, it is bound to the requirements of actually incorporating the processing, is bound by the hardware used and its ability to broadcast spacial cues, and is bound to the limitations of perception of the listener to decode the algorithm into what it's supposed to be. For example, the ER4S has great body of note with significant attack and decay which creates a lot of what I'll call texture of the note. In here lies a lot of the spacial cues, subtitles that bring detail to the music. You get a great sense of space and great locational cues listening to the barbershop test. The NE-7M has body of note, so it presents good spacial indicators. However, it doesn't do it quite right and makes for a closed in sound. Some of the locational cues are a little awkward. The PFE lacks body. It's fast attack and fast decay. You get a clean, light sound, but you miss the body and associated spacial cues. The PFE suffered through the barbershop test because it simply didn't supply a lot of the information needed to correctly recreate the space. The sound is clean and decently balanced, so location is good, but the sense of space is ghostly at best. My old Vibe is notorious for poor location. It has great stage width, but instrument/singer location sucks. It too suffered through the barbershop test but for different reasons. It has great width, but locational cues were hardly there. In the example of the hair cutting from ear to ear, you had a good sense of at the ear, but the transition was almost non-existent. I wish I had the Denon on me, but I don't. The next time I'm at my bros, I'll play that barbershop test again.

Volume affects what you hear. Louder volumes can help make you hear the smaller spacial cues. For example, if I play my ER4S quiet versus loud, I get a better sense of room, space, and location if I play it louder. In the barbershop test, it's not as big a deal because it lacks bass, but with music with bass, you get a problem with the bass physically shaking the earphones and bringing your attention back to the earphone. This can mess up the transparency in sound and stage. Mechanical noise and distortion never helps. The closest thing the barbershop test has is with the bag over the head part. Depending on the earphone, do you hear the earphone distorting or do you hear the bag being placed over the head and crackling around? Ask yourself how much you notice the earphones during this part.

NE-7M vs. PFE in terms of transparency, dynamics, clarity, etc. that is needed to recreate the sound stage, yes, these things are needed. However, both the NE-7M and PFE falter in different ways that do make their stage presences suffer. It's just different reasons. You really do have to get everything right in order to recreate the end result well. The ER4S is a good example of presentation done well. Its only fault is some lack of dynamics. It takes a little volume to make some of the subtle cues more noticeable. More effortless dynamics wouldn't need higher volumes. The NE-7M lacks some balance and control. The PFE lacks body and resulting cue information.

As for burn in, it really can be debated till the cows come home. My point is we never hear the same at any two separate points in time. Our perception of sound always varies. Because of this, how can we really test accurately? I don't say burn in is not real. I just question the length simply because of the physics behind it. 180 hours = 32 million cycles at 50Hz, 648 million cycles at 1kHz, and 6.48 billion cycles at 10kHz. Do you really think that you have to move a diaphragm back and forth 30 million times to improve bass response or 6 billion times to improve highs? Wouldn't you think there'd be a bit of that ol' diminishing returns concept after the first million or so? ...or much less? I mean even after just 5 hours, you've already moved the diaphragm a million times at 50Hz...a million times. It's really a game of numbers here.

Now I could see burn in as taking longer if the burn in process was done at progressively louder volume levels. In this sense, one would not move through the entire excursion range immediately but rather build up over time. In this sense, you would never fully break (pre-fatigue?) in the materials until the highest of volume levels. However, one should be able to ramp up relatively quickly depending on what one considers an adequate number of cycles.

I'd love to see a group A/B comparison, well A, B, C, D, etc. of equal drivers at different burn in levels, say 0 hour, 10 hour, 50 hour, 100 hour, 200 hour. Then have 10-20 people or more do brief listens to each randomly and have them describe the sound and any variations. One could maybe do a long versus fast burn in process, say 200 hours and just one hour on a progressive volume scale to see if it's more of a matter of time or simply range of motion and a quick loosening up.
post #60 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakhtiar View Post
Ever experienced mistakenly wiring speakers with reverse polarity (out of phase) ? I sure you will find the sound is much more wider. With speakers system, sound are mixed in the air, canceling each other before it reached to our ears. Plus with other factors such as speakers, furniture, walls and floor's resonances and reflections, it may create a 'new soundstage'.

But what about IEMs ?. I just did a simple experiment, how 'out of phase' sound likes with IEMs.

1) Using siggen Signal Generation tools for Linux and /dev/dsp , generate several sine/cosine waves. Example 20Hz, 440Hz, 1kHz ...

2) Change phase at channel 2 (right), and observe. 'Out of phase' effect is at 180 degree.

Any differences? Honestly, with IEMs, differences are small, compared to normal speakers systems. IMHO, what left is our perception to interpret the soundstage. Like my previous opinions, generally IEMs' soundstage is small. If you listen to orchestra, you may find the soundstage is bigger than when you listen to jazz. So with IEMs, soundstage is depends on the audio source. Some may dislike the 'original' sound's taste, and they would like to 'color' it with FXs to suit their needs.

Mr joe_average and Mr. mvw2, both of you are right. mvw2 thinks PFE's soundstage is smaller because he feels like that, but he also said PFEs is wider than NE-7M, but based on his SCALE, it is still small. I respect his opinion. joe_average thinks PFEs' soundstage is wider than NE-7Ms based on his SCALE, he also right, and I also respect his opinion. I do finds PFEs soundstage is wider than NE-7M because, PFEs accurately reproduce echos and reverbs from the SOURCE. In other words, PFEs sounds wider if you listened to well-recorded Philharmonics Orchestra.

So, our key word of the day : Personal SCALE

I might be wrong, and any constructive ideas are welcomed.

Thank you.
Interesting test. However, don't forget that our brains don't distinguish location at the lower freqs, hence soundstage. And with tones, there really isn't a stage anyways, so if it can be repeated with music that is known to have a good SS, that would be relevant to me.

In my experience, soundstage goes like this:
IEMs < fullsized headphones < speakers

But there are some exceptions, such as high end IEMs having a bigger stage than some lower end full sized cans. So, depending upon what IEM you did the testing on will also make a big difference. For example, if you read about the IE8s, they have an amazingly wide soundstage compared to other IEMs (there is a best IEM soundstage thread).

There is a much bigger difference in SS between good and poor full sized speakers than with IEMs on an absolute scale. And while I primarily agree with your observation that there are small differences in soundstage for IEMs, there are exceptions to that. If I hadn't heard the IE8s, I would not think IEM soundstage can be as wide as I experience daily!

I also agree that people have different scales, as so much of what is on head-fi is subjective. I respect when others experiences with the same equipment does not match mine. But if someone hears things differently, I am going to wonder why.

But at the same time, when people do hear it differently, I am curious as to what equipment the results were achieved with. Unfortunately, I still don't know what source was used in these reviews.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
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...
But I go back to this post, which is one of the big reasons we are all here. Thanks for reminding me mvw
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