Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › Neutral audio gear, how?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Neutral audio gear, how? - Page 3

post #31 of 58
Just thought i'd add that it is one thing to prefer a headphone, and another to think it is neutral...
post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmdevils View Post
You think the K701 is neutral? not to bring the K701 thread down here, but honestly, even just focusing on bass response- have you ever heard a pair of speakers that reproduce bass like that? Maybe my macbook. j/k A bass drum should sound like a "thud", not a "thwak"
see, thats where its subjective, just because something else doesn't produce bass that way, doesn't mean its the wrong way of doing it

also, I believe the Sonus Faber Guarneri's to have a somewhat similar response to the K701 in terms of spaciousness, accuracy, and mild bass response (it isn't overpowering, its honest)

granted, thats a USD $25,000 pair of speakers that aren't produced anymore and the system I listented to them through was equally expensive (McIntosh SS amps, SACD player, and tube buffered hybrid pre)

I was able to listen to them in one room at an audio dealer, with B&W 802D's with their classe mono blocks in the next room, both are "good speakers", but entirely different, one may consider the Faber's to be a reference, while another says the B&W's show the Faber's shortcomings (and I have no idea why the dealer was on about me hearing these speakers, I only went in to listen to hp's, guess because we were using the McIntosh system and had nothing better to do)

thats where the issue arises
to me, the K701 paint the picture I'd like to see, for you, they don't, if that makes sense
post #33 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
see, thats where its subjective, just because something else doesn't produce bass that way, doesn't mean its the wrong way of doing it

thats where the issue arises
to me, the K701 paint the picture I'd like to see, for you, they don't, if that makes sense
interesting. I guess I just think that we are then disagreeing about personal preference instead of the idea of what neutral is. Does reference mean the way you want music to sound as opposed to the way it sounds live? I'm definitely not saying it's bad to like any headphone, and I'm not even saying the 701 is bad. But we both hear the same concerts, and to my ears a bass guitar puts out a much fuller note than the 701 reproduces. I can definitely see the appeal in pulling away that fullness to reveal all the airy details. But I don't think the original instrument does that.

I hope I didn't say that in an offensive way, we're both enjoying our phones, so that's a good thing
post #34 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmdevils View Post
interesting. I guess I just think that we are then disagreeing about personal preference instead of the idea of what neutral is. Does reference mean the way you want music to sound as opposed to the way it sounds live? I'm definitely not saying it's bad to like any headphone, and I'm not even saying the 701 is bad. But we both hear the same concerts, and to my ears a bass guitar puts out a much fuller note than the 701 reproduces. I can definitely see the appeal in pulling away that fullness to reveal all the airy details. But I don't think the original instrument does that.

I hope I didn't say that in an offensive way, we're both enjoying our phones, so that's a good thing
however, I don't feel that the 701 reproduces it incorrectly, it is very full and complete to my ears, its "just right"

so thats where I'm unsure you can gauge neutral, you're saying more bass and less "air" (if i'm understanding correctly), and I'm saying its just fine

I dont think either of us is wrong, but then again, if neither of us is wrong, who's right?
post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
oh, I understand what its getting at, basically instead of picking your favorite 2 or 3 test tracks, listen to the majority of your catalog, see which shows an improvement "overall"

its basically law of large #'s logic
Not exactly. It's not about looking for improvements, it's about looking for contrasts. Sorry if that sounds like a nitpick, but the difference is important, and it makes for a far less subjective evaluation. The article's main contention is (I'm not shouting, I'm pasting; the original is in caps):
Quote:
THE MORE ACCURATE SYSTEM IS THE ONE WHICH REPRODUCES MORE DIFFERENCES -- MORE CONTRAST -- BETWEEN THE VARIOUS PROGRAM SOURCES.
If one system shows overall improvement, that may be a bad sign. It's the one that presents each recording's unique flavor that we're looking for. Again, we don't know what any recording's flavor really is, only that there are an endless variety of flavors. What the OP is looking for is a system that presents the maximum number of flavors.

@ bjojoj: I think your goal is reasonably acheiveable. You'll never find a 100% accurate headphone, but you should be able to get fairly close with the rest of the signal chain. And given any two headphones, one will always be more accurate than the other. Pick that one and then compare it to another. Repeat until satisfied.
post #36 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
based on that you're asking for a "neutral reference that must be truly neutral to appreciate all genres of music", even after being told such a thing doesn't exist, cannot exist, and that you'll always be limited by the recording

and that your question could have "neutral reference" replaced with "high quality" and still be intelligeble, and you'd probably get some pretty good and honest responses

it sounds like all you're looking for is a jack of all trades capable system, something that sounds good/revealing with anything you throw at it, a lot of systems like that exist, most of them aren't "entirely neutral"
Hmm, I think I need to clarify once and for all what I'm asking for/about in this thread. I'm not primarily asking for suggestions on specific components, but suggestions and thoughts on a good and useful method for finding and selecting components which reproduces the sound of an album as close to the recorded sound as possible. Perhaps the following example may help explaining what I want to get out of a system:

You've taken a picture with a camera and you want a printed copy of that same picture. The goal is to make that copy as true to the TAKEN PICTURE as possible, not to make it an exact copy of the real view (what you saw with your own eyes in reality) depicted in the file on the camera. You can't neutralize what the camera added/removed/altered from reality to the file, so that's not an option. No matter how accurate or unaccurate the picture is, it is that captured picture in the camera you want to print as accurate, exact and true to the original as possible.

So, what happened on the way from the artist's performance in the studio, trough the microphones, mixers, mastering etc. all the way up to what is finally put on the CD, is out of my control and cannot be neutralized by the reproducing components. I just want the sound reaching my ears to be reflecting the ORIGINAL ON THE CD as neutral/accurately/uncolored as possible. Fitting all genres is ONE reason for my goal, another one being that I want to hear the album the way it was intended.

I also realize that it this is not easily achieved, hence the question if it's at all possible in my first post in this thread, but I'm not gonna give up my goal "just" because of the difficulties. That is why I started this thread.

Did this post make my goals clearer for anyone?
post #37 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
Not exactly. It's not about looking for improvements, it's about looking for contrasts. Sorry if that sounds like a nitpick, but the difference is important, and it makes for a far less subjective evaluation. The article's main contention is (I'm not shouting, I'm pasting; the original is in caps):If one system shows overall improvement, that may be a bad sign. It's the one that presents each recording's unique flavor that we're looking for. Again, we don't know what any recording's flavor really is, only that there are an endless variety of flavors. What the OP is looking for is a system that presents the maximum number of flavors.

@ bjojoj: I think your goal is reasonably acheiveable. You'll never find a 100% accurate headphone, but you should be able to get fairly close with the rest of the signal chain. And given any two headphones, one will always be more accurate than the other. Pick that one and then compare it to another. Repeat until satisfied.
Rather well put I think.
Thanks for you encouragement
post #38 of 58
uh, what are you talking about "file" and "CD" when talking about camera?

you know that when a print is developed, the film negative is enlarged and printed to a positive, right? and that theres a lot of control points in there to influence the production, its still impossible to get it "Exact", but you can get it pretty close, if your goal is to get close to neutral, it'll really depend on what your ears hear as neutral, not what a bunch of other people hear as neutral
post #39 of 58
a photographer's goal is never to get exactly what is on the film or exactly what the camera sees. It's not about what the camera or film see, it's about what the photographer sees. the information on the film or in the file is just a stepping stone on the way to producing an image that captures the real world in a certain way. If you want the final image to be close to real life, you HAVE to manipulate it, change it from the way it looks on film/file because film/sensors are not neutral. They all have their own signatures. I guess that is the beauty of photography, that the artist must have some say as to what the final product looks like. Otherwise ever image would look the same.

And I suppose this logic applies to sound as well. There's no way of knowing what a recording actually sounds like, because it is not usable in that raw state. it needs to amplified, changed, in order to sound like real life. So all you can do is listen and hope to find a combination that creates something similar to what you want to experience.
post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmdevils View Post
a photographer's goal is never to get exactly what is on the film or exactly what the camera sees. It's not about what the camera or film see, it's about what the photographer sees. the information on the film or in the file is just a stepping stone on the way to producing an image that captures the real world in a certain way. If you want the final image to be close to real life, you HAVE to manipulate it, change it from the way it looks on film/file because film/sensors are not neutral. They all have their own signatures. I guess that is the beauty of photography, that the artist must have some say as to what the final product looks like. Otherwise ever image would look the same.

And I suppose this logic applies to sound as well. There's no way of knowing what a recording actually sounds like, because it is not usable in that raw state. it needs to amplified, changed, in order to sound like real life. So all you can do is listen and hope to find a combination that creates something similar to what you want to experience.
That's a valid point and an approach I fully accept. But it's not mine. Photography is or can be an art, just like painting. Apart from documentary and holiday photography and the like, the pictures are an interpretation -- or an accentuation of an isolated aspect -- of reality. Whereas hi-fi music reproduction originally strives for high fidelity, i.e. a sound as close to reality as possible.

If you're into headphones, you have already given up a great deal of realism beforehand. So what's left is to make the «best» out of it (to those interested in some form of accuracy). And there are definitely different paths to approach this goal. Some care for neutrality with every single component, some search for optimal synergy, and some look for a sonic characteristic compensating at least partly for the system-inherent lack of realism in the form of euphonic effects, finally some just want fun. None of these different approaches is inherently wrong. We just have to take care to make our sonic ideals clear, not to cause innecessary misunderstandings.
.
post #41 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmdevils View Post
a photographer's goal is never to get exactly what is on the film or exactly what the camera sees. It's not about what the camera or film see, it's about what the photographer sees. the information on the film or in the file is just a stepping stone on the way to producing an image that captures the real world in a certain way. If you want the final image to be close to real life, you HAVE to manipulate it, change it from the way it looks on film/file because film/sensors are not neutral. They all have their own signatures. I guess that is the beauty of photography, that the artist must have some say as to what the final product looks like. Otherwise ever image would look the same.

And I suppose this logic applies to sound as well. There's no way of knowing what a recording actually sounds like, because it is not usable in that raw state. it needs to amplified, changed, in order to sound like real life. So all you can do is listen and hope to find a combination that creates something similar to what you want to experience.
uh, I was teasing him because I refuse to accept digital cameras as a valid form of photography, based on my own preference towards B&W film and a good enlarger, but very nice post

the only thing I'd like to quip about, is that the goal of a camera manufacturer, or optics designer, is to make the thing as neutral as possible, to give the photographer as much control as possible, you can make it look dead realistic, or scary unreal

oh and documentary and holiday photography can be excellent forms of art, and some of the most impacting photographers of our day were documentary photojournalists on a mission

the best way to describe photography is to summarize what my photo teacher viewed the art as, sharing your own vision, it isn't about capturing a moment truthfully, or relaying information in an honest manner (thats surveillance), its about sharing your own vision of an object, you arrange and compose the image to tale the story you want it to

the camera should be as transparent and unimportant as possible, yes the technical aspects do matter when you're printing, because they help you understand what kind of developing cycle your film needs, what kind of papers, filters, and other optics to apply, and so on, however to the actual image, they matter very little (which is why I hate digital photography, because it removes all of this, and everyone with $100 can snap a black and white picture of a chair and print it home, after applying a bucket of photoshop filters, so brooding and unique indeed )

now to the point at hand, this is what I believe the OP to be after, something that doesn't get in the way of his music, this is not neutral sound, this is simply (as we've been telling him), good sound, something his ears like and agree with, for me thats AKG K701's, for other users, thats Beyer DT880's, for others, its Bose TriPorts, none of them are "wrong" at producing sounds, but none of them are "right" either (because while you can say "the system which shows the most dynamicism and difference is best", the human being listening is still the one judging that, so its biased and subjective, in other words, whichever one presents the best differences to you, regardless of how much you put through it, thats the best choice for you)
post #42 of 58
In answer to the question, yes, it is possible to get pretty damn close but not with cans and not easily.

Obviously with cans, you are to an extent filtering out room acoustics. The commercial quality album was almost certainly not mixed on or designed for cans. It was mixed in a control room which has reverb, albeit highly controlled reverb in the best studios. What you need is a good pair of studio monitors (I prefer Genelecs), which are flush mounted (correctly). To be honest the exact make or model of equipment is largely irrelevant provided you are getting good studio grade gear. DA10 is certainly good enough for example. What is more important is the listening environment. Freq response of the room needs to be flat, probably requiring the use of acoustic panels, bass traps and other types of absorbers. Reverb needs to be controlled but not eliminated! RT60 of about 0.4 is a good figure to aim for. One or more diffusers are likely to be required to randomise the reverb.

Baring in mind all studios sound slightly different, nevertheless it is possible to create a pretty nuetral listening system. Although it won't be cheap, you certainly do not need to spend $30,000 a speaker. It will require some construction work though! There are quite a few websites out there detailing the construction of recording studios and except for the labour, the materials are not generally exhorbative.

G
post #43 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post
In answer to the question, yes, it is possible to get pretty damn close but not with cans and not easily.

Obviously with cans, you are to an extent filtering out room acoustics. The commercial quality album was almost certainly not mixed on or designed for cans. It was mixed in a control room which has reverb, albeit highly controlled reverb in the best studios. What you need is a good pair of studio monitors (I prefer Genelecs), which are flush mounted (correctly). To be honest the exact make or model of equipment is largely irrelevant provided you are getting good studio grade gear. DA10 is certainly good enough for example. What is more important is the listening environment. Freq response of the room needs to be flat, probably requiring the use of acoustic panels, bass traps and other types of absorbers. Reverb needs to be controlled but not eliminated! RT60 of about 0.4 is a good figure to aim for. One or more diffusers are likely to be required to randomise the reverb.

Baring in mind all studios sound slightly different, nevertheless it is possible to create a pretty nuetral listening system. Although it won't be cheap, you certainly do not need to spend $30,000 a speaker. It will require some construction work though! There are quite a few websites out there detailing the construction of recording studios and except for the labour, the materials are not generally exhorbative.

G
my question to you is, why do B&W 800's show up in so many studios then? (they seem second most common among recognizable "non-studio" brands after JBL (which I realize *is* a studio brand, but you get my point, yes?))

I'm not discounting what you're saying, and agree that room acoustics are a huge factor, but I'm just curious why half of the engineering side says, lets use Genelec or JBL or Yamaha or Mackie and the other half says lets go with those really expensive JBL or B&W HT speakers ?

also, whats your take on Genelec's "multiple listening positions" system? (where it can be tuned to a specific focus point, and save that in memory, and it can store 2 or 3 of these focus points) I always thought it was kind of cool, but I doubt its "neutral" when you start playing with psychoacoustics so heavily
post #44 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
now to the point at hand, this is what I believe the OP to be after, something that doesn't get in the way of his music, this is not neutral sound, this is simply (as we've been telling him), good sound
What the OP asked about was how to evaluate gear for its accuracy in reproducing a recording. Obviously, a truly signature-less system is currently impossible, but a listener can work toward that end of the spectrum. This is different than working toward a system which offers pleasing colorations.
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
(because while you can say "the system which shows the most dynamicism and difference is best", the human being listening is still the one judging that, so its biased and subjective, in other words, whichever one presents the best differences to you, regardless of how much you put through it, thats the best choice for you)
In evaluating for neutrality and accuracy, "best" doesn't figure into it. "Best" figures into evaluating for colorations. If someone listens to two recordings of solo violin, and headphone #1 makes them both sound like the same instrument while headphone #2 makes them each sound unique, there's nothing subjective about that (same/different, not better/worse). Even if someone else hears the opposite, the differing conclusions are based on the listeners' hearing abilities and evaluation skills, not bias or personal preference.

Although I do see what you're getting at: listener enjoyment should indeed be the final arbiter when deciding what kind of system to stick with. Some people feel great satisfaction in knowing that they're listening to as faithful a reproduction (this is what high fidelity means, after all) of recorded media as they can, even though it may sound clinical or analytical. OP didn't ask how to evaluate for enjoyment, he asked how to evaluate for neutrality. Whether or not he'll enjoy the neutrality is a completely separate issue.
post #45 of 58
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightmare View Post
What the OP asked about was how to evaluate gear for its accuracy in reproducing a recording. Obviously, a truly signature-less system is currently impossible, but a listener can work toward that end of the spectrum. This is different than working toward a system which offers pleasing colorations.

In evaluating for neutrality and accuracy, "best" doesn't figure into it. "Best" figures into evaluating for colorations. If someone listens to two recordings of solo violin, and headphone #1 makes them both sound like the same instrument while headphone #2 makes them each sound unique, there's nothing subjective about that (same/different, not better/worse). Even if someone else hears the opposite, the differing conclusions are based on the listeners' hearing abilities and evaluation skills, not bias or personal preference.

Although I do see what you're getting at: listener enjoyment should indeed be the final arbiter when deciding what kind of system to stick with. Some people feel great satisfaction in knowing that they're listening to as faithful a reproduction (this is what high fidelity means, after all) of recorded media as they can, even though it may sound clinical or analytical. OP didn't ask how to evaluate for enjoyment, he asked how to evaluate for neutrality. Whether or not he'll enjoy the neutrality is a completely separate issue.
A nail-on-the-head clarification of what I'm asking! Thanks
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Science
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › Neutral audio gear, how?