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Bringing out mids/highs in IEMs

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

 

Somewhat new to the game, so excuse my lack of knowledge and potential misuse of the audiophile buzzwords.  I originally posted this in the IEM forum, but I didn't get much of a response.

 

My current setup is laptop --> Headroom Total BitHead --> IE8s (or sometimes Sennheiser HD280 Pros)

 

I love the deep bass range of the IE8s - I think it makes the music feel full-bodied and powerful.  Definitely don't want to give that up.  I normally listen to electric-guitar-based rock, and the IE8s sound really great for tracks with deep, heavily distorted electric guitars.  

 

But the mids (maybe the higher end of the mid range) seem too recessed for typical rock music.  The music has a nice full (warm?) sound, but the cutting guitar riffs are just not as "in your face" as they should be.

 

So before we get into a comparison of other IEM's, can anyone comment on my setup and whether a dedicated DAC/amp would bring out the mids/upper-mids?  I eventually want to pick up a pair of HD600s or HD650s so I wouldn't mind upgrading the whole setup if it would also benefit the IE8s.  Also, I don't want to lose the bass by switching to a different IEM.

 

Are the changes I want too dramatic to achieve from a decent DAC/amp setup (something like the Headroom Micro, for example)?

post #2 of 4

Two possibilities:

 

1) It's a hardware issue--

 

The only way to boost midrange without changing your cans is to add an equalizer in the pathway.  It can be a software one in your player or a deck.  A good amp will not color the sound.  It's up to the cans to faithfully produce sound from a good signal.  The bithead isn't a bad little amp, so I'm guessing the IE8 might be the culprit here.

 

2) It's a listener issue (please note that I'm not implying you are like this at all, but it's something I want to mention)

 

I personally think a lot of people confuse midrange with soundstage.  Some people hear wide soundstages and think mids are recessed, where others hear the opposite--small sound stages have recessed mids.  I've never used the IE8, but other IEMs I've used had quite compressed sounstages, and as a result, the mids appeared out of balance, but it was not the case at all once I trained me ear to hear what was really going on.

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Interesting insight.  How can you tell whether it's a soundstage or midrange issue?  And if it is soundstage, how do you train your ears to adapt to that?

 

I did bump up the computer EQ from around 1k to 8k and it seemed to help somewhat.

post #4 of 4

You actually answered your own question

 

If changing the eq changes the midrange, then you properly hear the midrange.  If changing the eq seems to change the soundstage, then your ears are tricking you into thinking mids are soundstage.

 

For me, to train my ears to properly hear midrange and soundstage, I would actually listen to low volume, in the dark, with my eyes closed.  I would listen to every sound that came through the headphones and then imagined how the placement of that sound was important to the theme the artist was portraying.  Eventually, it all came together.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Armonster20 View Post

Interesting insight.  How can you tell whether it's a soundstage or midrange issue?  And if it is soundstage, how do you train your ears to adapt to that?

 

I did bump up the computer EQ from around 1k to 8k and it seemed to help somewhat.

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