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Mini Comparison - Vibe (1st gen), C700, PK2, RE0, NE-7M, PFE, ER4S, OK1, TF10, UM3X, SE530, IE8 - Page 5

post #61 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
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.
Thanks! As you know from my posts, I do think source is very important. Looks like your laptop has built in surround with 4 speakers and a subwoofer, pretty cool. Not sure what sound chip is used, though. I know I thought my realtek HD audio on my MB sounded good until I heard the Icon Mobile (via USB) and the Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1 HiFi.

I would be interested to see if you heard things differently from an external USB DAC such as the Icon Mobile or iBasso D2/D3. My IM sounds better than my Fuze, with the exception of bass, which is on the light side. However, my Prodigy sound card sounds better than the IM pretty much all around (with a rolled op amp), except the soundstage is about the same. I am receiving some additional op amps this week to see if I can further improve on the sound.

Also, what quality is your music. My test tracks are primarily FLAC and 320kbps. I can tell a difference between the two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
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.
While I agree that the PFE does not have the body of some other IEMs, it is not all that far off. I did note in my IE8 vs. PFE comparison instruments, with the exception of piano, sounded more realistic on the IE8 due to how the instruments notes decayed. But I don’t agree that the PFE has a lack of body, just a little less than other some other IEMs. And I don’t agree that you can’t get a great sense of location, as I did from some of my sources with the grey filters (and only the grey filters).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
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.
My point on the VBS was just that it is possible for IEMs to have a stage wider than the driver location. While the NE-7s do sound wider than my ears, there is a noticeable difference between them and my IE8s. My IE8s always freak me out with the door, as it the sound comes from where my door is, far off in the distance. The NE-7 doesn’t freak me out that way. With the razor sound and the NE-7, the razor cut through my head, with my IE8, it went around my head.

I do think the PFEs have great instrument placement and separation (ever so slightly better than my IE8), but not as wide soundstage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
Volume affects what you hear. Louder volumes can help make you hear the smaller spacial cues. … 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.
I agree, but of course volume is subjective, so quiet to me might be moderate to you. I do not notice a difference at what I consider normal (or moderate) volume levels vs. loud, but quiet vs. moderate volume levels, there are difference in stage (and in the VBS). My NE-7 vs. my IE8 with the bag is night and day, the IE8 sounds like a bag, not sure exactly what the NE-7 sounds like!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
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.
Agree, but I think the NE-7s lack of balance and control is more so on an absolute scale than the PFEs lack of body, if that makes sense. When I A/Bed the PFE and the NE-7s I either thought the PFEs sounded great, or the NE-7s sounded like crap.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
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.
There are many factors for burn in. I did not use continuous pink noise, I used music, tones, and pink noise. Therefore there aren’t as many cycles as you stated, that would be best case. Maybe if all I used was pink noise, the burn in process would have been quicker for me. There are too many factors that are unknowns for me to make educated, accurate conclusions, but my experience does include material science.

Current carrying materials do change over time depending upon the amount of current, temperature, imperfections in the material, etc. And there is a memory effect, permanent change in some materials depending upon how they are used. I don’t know what the driver material is, but I know some cellular structures can have the molecules align with use or in magnetic fields. After manufacture, they are only partially aligned, and do take time to adjust.

Plus, the magnitude in IEMs is on the minuscule scale. How far does the driver really move per 20 Hz cycle? How much of a magnetic field is produced? If the driver is very rigid, there is going to be less flexing in each cycle, requiring more time. Again, I don’t know what materials the drivers are made from, I am just trying to explain that it is in the realm of possibility. Plus, that is what my ears/brain tols me!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
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.
I would love to see that. Of course, the control of the headphones would be very important.

On a final note, I now better understand where you are coming from, and appreciate your posts.
post #62 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post
I would be interested to see if you heard things differently from an external USB DAC such as the Icon Mobile or iBasso D2/D3.
Agreed. How about try them with, mmmm, how about iBasso D10, USB-DAC-AMP . I am waiting for HeadphoneAddict's review.
post #63 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakhtiar View Post
Agreed. How about try them with, mmmm, how about iBasso D10, USB-DAC-AMP . I am waiting for HeadphoneAddict's review.
Yea, that is a good one also, actually on my radar for future purchase.
post #64 of 142
Thread Starter 
I do feel the phrase lack of body of the PFE is appropriate and enough to say they simply don't recreate a portion of the original sound. Simply put, they are too quick for their own good. Good or bad...eh, that's subjective. It still comes down to personal taste and what one wants to hear.

My recordings vary. I have stuff that is 320 all the way down to old, old recordings at 56 or less. I listen to online streaming like last.fm and wolfgangsvault.com It varies. Basically any music I personally own, if in mp3 form is all recorded at 320.

Curious about FLAC vs. mp3. I'm not too keen on the algorithms used for each. I'm familiar with mp3 doing curve fitting. FLAC is more of a file compressor specifically designed to compress audio, basically WinZip for music. The decoder unzips the file as it plays basically, i.e. lossless. I've toyed with mp3 bitrates vs. original CDs in the past. Being able to tell a difference heavily depends on the hardware you run. A crappy speaker setup won't show anything. A good one will. 256 or higher is arguably lossless in my book and even 192 is hard to casually tell. In the end, it's a matter of how perceivable are changes to the human and how much perceptible detail can the hardware provide. Most of my own A/B testing against original CDs and raw copies points towards 256 plus being basically indiscernible, and 192 seems good enough in most cases, especially on hardware incapable of great high frequency detail.

My laptop seems decent enough. At the very least, the noise floor is low, so I don't get hiss from it. That's 90% of my concern right there. As far as all the detailed specs, I have no clue. It's an IDT based chip. They have detailed specs of the chips on their website, but they don't really tell you which one you have in any way shape or form. They did go through a decent effort to incorporate a decent on-board setup which actually sounds surprisingly good for a laptop. Most of the time however, it's run through a speaker setup or my earphones.
post #65 of 142
Nice work fellow, can't really comment because the only IEMs I ever heard are E500/SE530s.
post #66 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by average_joe View Post
Thanks! As you know from my posts, I do think source is very important. Looks like your laptop has built in surround with 4 speakers and a subwoofer, pretty cool. Not sure what sound chip is used, though. I know I thought my realtek HD audio on my MB sounded good until I heard the Icon Mobile (via USB) and the Audiotrak Prodigy 7.1 HiFi.

I would be interested to see if you heard things differently from an external USB DAC such as the Icon Mobile or iBasso D2/D3. My IM sounds better than my Fuze, with the exception of bass, which is on the light side. However, my Prodigy sound card sounds better than the IM pretty much all around (with a rolled op amp), except the soundstage is about the same. I am receiving some additional op amps this week to see if I can further improve on the sound.

Also, what quality is your music. My test tracks are primarily FLAC and 320kbps. I can tell a difference between the two.



While I agree that the PFE does not have the body of some other IEMs, it is not all that far off. I did note in my IE8 vs. PFE comparison instruments, with the exception of piano, sounded more realistic on the IE8 due to how the instruments notes decayed. But I don’t agree that the PFE has a lack of body, just a little less than other some other IEMs. And I don’t agree that you can’t get a great sense of location, as I did from some of my sources with the grey filters (and only the grey filters).



My point on the VBS was just that it is possible for IEMs to have a stage wider than the driver location. While the NE-7s do sound wider than my ears, there is a noticeable difference between them and my IE8s. My IE8s always freak me out with the door, as it the sound comes from where my door is, far off in the distance. The NE-7 doesn’t freak me out that way. With the razor sound and the NE-7, the razor cut through my head, with my IE8, it went around my head.

I do think the PFEs have great instrument placement and separation (ever so slightly better than my IE8), but not as wide soundstage.



I agree, but of course volume is subjective, so quiet to me might be moderate to you. I do not notice a difference at what I consider normal (or moderate) volume levels vs. loud, but quiet vs. moderate volume levels, there are difference in stage (and in the VBS). My NE-7 vs. my IE8 with the bag is night and day, the IE8 sounds like a bag, not sure exactly what the NE-7 sounds like!



Agree, but I think the NE-7s lack of balance and control is more so on an absolute scale than the PFEs lack of body, if that makes sense. When I A/Bed the PFE and the NE-7s I either thought the PFEs sounded great, or the NE-7s sounded like crap.



There are many factors for burn in. I did not use continuous pink noise, I used music, tones, and pink noise. Therefore there aren’t as many cycles as you stated, that would be best case. Maybe if all I used was pink noise, the burn in process would have been quicker for me. There are too many factors that are unknowns for me to make educated, accurate conclusions, but my experience does include material science.

Current carrying materials do change over time depending upon the amount of current, temperature, imperfections in the material, etc. And there is a memory effect, permanent change in some materials depending upon how they are used. I don’t know what the driver material is, but I know some cellular structures can have the molecules align with use or in magnetic fields. After manufacture, they are only partially aligned, and do take time to adjust.

Plus, the magnitude in IEMs is on the minuscule scale. How far does the driver really move per 20 Hz cycle? How much of a magnetic field is produced? If the driver is very rigid, there is going to be less flexing in each cycle, requiring more time. Again, I don’t know what materials the drivers are made from, I am just trying to explain that it is in the realm of possibility. Plus, that is what my ears/brain tols me!



I would love to see that. Of course, the control of the headphones would be very important.

On a final note, I now better understand where you are coming from, and appreciate your posts.

In my personal opinion, I think you are trying to justify a fictitious change. Long-winded replies and descriptive words don't necessarily justify anything.

There may be a change, in fact I guarantee a change! An audible one? Nope.

nG
post #67 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
I do feel the phrase lack of body of the PFE is appropriate and enough to say they simply don't recreate a portion of the original sound. Simply put, they are too quick for their own good. Good or bad...eh, that's subjective. It still comes down to personal taste and what one wants to hear.
Again, I partially agree, so I guess we will both agree to hear what we both want to hear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
My recordings vary. I have stuff that is 320 all the way down to old, old recordings at 56 or less. I listen to online streaming like last.fm and wolfgangsvault.com It varies. Basically any music I personally own, if in mp3 form is all recorded at 320.

Curious about FLAC vs. mp3. I'm not too keen on the algorithms used for each. I'm familiar with mp3 doing curve fitting. FLAC is more of a file compressor specifically designed to compress audio, basically WinZip for music. The decoder unzips the file as it plays basically, i.e. lossless. I've toyed with mp3 bitrates vs. original CDs in the past. Being able to tell a difference heavily depends on the hardware you run. A crappy speaker setup won't show anything. A good one will. 256 or higher is arguably lossless in my book and even 192 is hard to casually tell. In the end, it's a matter of how perceivable are changes to the human and how much perceptible detail can the hardware provide. Most of my own A/B testing against original CDs and raw copies points towards 256 plus being basically indiscernible, and 192 seems good enough in most cases, especially on hardware incapable of great high frequency detail.
The difference I notice between MP3 and FLAC is sometimes in the detail, but most of the time in the presentation, spaciousness, proper timbre of instruments. I would say that most of the original detail of the main file is there at 192kbps, but I still hear a difference between 320kbps and FLAC. And its not like I am looking for the change, I have FLAC and various bit rate MP3s, and when I hear a song come on that I think, wow, this is mastered so well and sounds really airy, it is FLAC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
My laptop seems decent enough. At the very least, the noise floor is low, so I don't get hiss from it. That's 90% of my concern right there. As far as all the detailed specs, I have no clue. It's an IDT based chip. They have detailed specs of the chips on their website, but they don't really tell you which one you have in any way shape or form. They did go through a decent effort to incorporate a decent on-board setup which actually sounds surprisingly good for a laptop. Most of the time however, it's run through a speaker setup or my earphones.
No matter how good the included sound chip is, I believe something like an Icon Mobile or Hot Audio HotUSB1 would be a step up. The IM is $99 and offers a 30 day return policy, no restocking fee. NuForce is a very customer friendly company also, and very responsive. But again, it will depend upon your headphones, as there is only a small difference between my IM and Fuze with my NE-7s, but a huge difference with the IE8.
post #68 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by ngsm13 View Post
I think you're full of shit. Justifying a fictitious change. You think long-winded replies and descriptive words justify your opinions as fact? Nope.

There may be a change, in fact I guarantee a change! An audible one? Nope.

nG
Of course, nothing wrong with disagreement and debate, but I'd say that first comment is way over the line. Shows a certain lack of, how you say, decorum. Anyway, if you don't agree, fine. But name-calling (or whatever) is, at best, silly and counterproductive. Perhaps a PM venting your hostility would have been a better path? Just sayin'.
post #69 of 142
I just call it how I see it, when I see it.

Sorry if that seems out of line, it's just who I am. I try not to sugar-coat things, and I'm usually the one to say things that other people may be thinking... but never put into words.

I don't mean to come off as extremely offensive, maybe... more thought provoking. Also, the internet and a keyboard do not portray sarcasm or anything of the sort...

But yeah, I'm a sarcastic ******* who usually speaks what I think.

Just laying that out on the line.

nG
post #70 of 142

Car vs. Headphone

Just for kicks, someone less lazy than me could do the equivalent number of miles a car would have to be driven at various engine speeds to result in the same number of engine cycles as 200 hours of headphone oscillations at any chosen frequency. Without doing the math I bet 200hrs at 10k hertz is something like driving to the moon and back to break in a car. Just throwing a guess out there to illustrate that breaking in mechanical devices is just breaking in mechanical devices and the paper or steel or plastic molecules don't care if they are in a car or a headphone. Well, maybe that's a little fatuous but the simile has some validity.

I'd be curious to find out how far you have to drive your new toyota to be the equivalent of burning in your new IE8s for 200 hours. Right off the bat Hz > RPM by 60x for equivalent units. So 3k Hz = 180k RPMs and 200hrs headphone time --> 12,000hrs car engine time. At 60mph that's 720,000 miles at 3k RPM, hehe. A toyota just might be able to make it that far. American car, forget about it. For 10k Hz we are talking about 2.4 million miles at 3k RPM!

Just for fun
post #71 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by mvw2 View Post
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.
The NE-7m has a very compressed soundstage. It is wide left to right but the 3 dimensional depth is very compressed.

Quote:
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.
You are contradicting your self. You just said the PFE lacked "body" of note what ever that means. How is that defined if not via frequency response, decay and transient response?

Quote:
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.
What are these spatial cues exactly? Explain them. Those cues are either present in the recording or not.

Fast attack and decay are what you want. Most systems don't do that. You are too used to slow decaying speakers so seem to think that that is what you should be hearing.

Head over to AVSforum and in the subwoofer forum there is a thread called SPL vs Loudness.. there is a good discussion on transient response and decay.
post #72 of 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by thwood3 View Post
Just for kicks, someone less lazy than me could do the equivalent number of miles a car would have to be driven at various engine speeds to result in the same number of engine cycles as 200 hours of headphone oscillations at any chosen frequency. Without doing the math I bet 200hrs at 10k hertz is something like driving to the moon and back to break in a car. Just throwing a guess out there to illustrate that breaking in mechanical devices is just breaking in mechanical devices and the paper or steel or plastic molecules don't care if they are in a car or a headphone. Well, maybe that's a little fatuous but the simile has some validity.

I'd be curious to find out how far you have to drive your new toyota to be the equivalent of burning in your new IE8s for 200 hours. Right off the bat Hz > RPM by 60x for equivalent units. So 3k Hz = 180k RPMs and 200hrs headphone time --> 12,000hrs car engine time. At 60mph that's 720,000 miles at 3k RPM, hehe. A toyota just might be able to make it that far. American car, forget about it. For 10k Hz we are talking about 2.4 million miles at 3k RPM!

Just for fun
Apples and oranges, heck apples and elephants. Lets see, different environment, materials, operating principals, product lifespan, etc. To me, that is like saying I can throw a piece of steel into my fireplace and burn it because it burns wood.

But hey, if that is what you believe, cool.
post #73 of 142
party pooper -- actually steel in the fireplace is more like how many oscillations it would take to break in a sexual partner. a few trillion times at least!
post #74 of 142
Thread Starter 
oarnura, a driver reproduces a wave pattern. There is a certain duration of extension and return of the diaphragm. Some drivers are overly slow and sluggish. These drivers sound full, smooth, sometimes muddy and disconnected if too slow. Other drivers are very fast in attack and/or decay. You get a driver that's very punchy or very crisp in sound. The end goal is to accurately reproduce the wave signal in air pressure waves. The intensity, duration, and variation should be reproduced. The attack and decay duration is what I call "body." It's the time involved to produce that wave pattern. The driver recreating that wave can be overly quick, overly slow, or just right in duration. This body provides a sort of texture to the music, an area of subtle information. Within this area, you get a lot of spacial information, cues that show space, location, and any other subtle information that creates differentiation between say guitar 1 and guitar 2. When done well enough, you can discern where they are, what room they're in, and what brand/model instrument they're using. When done poorly, this information isn't there or it's so skewed that the information presented is distorted and hard to distinguish.

Fast attack and decay is desirable to some folks. Slow attack and decay is desirable to other folks. It depends upon taste in sound. For example, I grew up favoring a fuller, more velvety sound. Because of this, I liked drivers that move a little slower then they probably should. My problem is I do end up picking a driver that skews the sound some. Also, if I pick poorly, I could even end up with a driver that is muddy and sluggish, detracting greatly from the quality of sound despite possibly being desirable to my taste.

Frequency response is simply loudness at a specific frequency point, basically sensitivity. You toss 1 watt in and you get 90dB at 1kHz, 93dB at 4kHz, 86dB at 50Hz, etc. It's relative loudness over the frequency range. This has nothing to do with the way the note is presented other then how loud you hear it relative to notes at other frequencies. In a car or home, you can make use of frequency response and attenuating certain frequencies to make the tweeter or woofer dominant and pull your attention to it. In a car for example, a common component setup is the woofer down in the door and tweeter in the sailpane. Well, if the tweeter is quiet or delayed, the woofer will be dominant and pull your attention down to the woofer mostly. The sound stage height follows. Folks prefer the tweeters to be dominant so the stage is high. This can be done through attenuation (loudness, sensitivity, boosting treble frequencies) and time alignment. In head-fi, you can't really do this because the sound is from a single point source. Because you are only working with a single source, frequency response can't affect the stage. The only way it can is if it can improve or detract from the spacial cues. For example, maybe the room reverberation is in the frequencies of 500Hz to 2kHz mostly. If you bump up this frequency range, the spacial cues will be louder. This could technically create a better sense of space, assuming it is influential enough to do so simply through output.
post #75 of 142
Thread Starter 
Mmm, just got my OK1s today. Initial listening, very natural sounding and great transparency.
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