Regarding transients. No, the ex85 is not as good. It has more of a softness to it from the slowness there. But that is only one aspect to the sound. Regarding bass, remember, i did not day frequency respone equals bass quality. Be careful not to take things out of context. I merely said it has a larger effect than most people think on the sound quality. Try my ex85 eq and tell me the actuall bass doesn't sound better. Not just less, but better, tighter, etc.
Does that mean it frequenct can make any bass perfect? No. That involves a lit of factors, but again, the ex85 is no slouch either. :-)
Ok, you are right that frequency response can improve sound quality in the sense that it can increase bandwidth and can unmask frequencies to make more details audible. However, the bass won't get tighter, becuase tightness is not related to frequency response but the other sound quality factors that I described in the previous post. Basically, if a headphone has bass that's somewhat slow, muddy and loose, you can't fix it with FR changes IMO - it will still be muddy and loose, albeit maybe with more apparent depth and detail. This is because muddiness and lack of bass control is most often the result of poor damping in the housing, impedance mismatch between the amp in the source and the headphone's impedance (low damping factor), and sometimes (but less often) just plain poorly designed driver.
In some (rare IMO) cases, a headphone may sound muddy because the frequency range that is muddy was amplified beyond the headphone housing's or driver's capability when the headphone's FR was tuned at the factory. In this case, lowering the FR can indeed make reproduction of those frequencies to actually be of higher quality. I can't think of some real world examples like this though, but imagine that Phonak took the PFE that already has some possibly audible distortion in the mids, boosted the mids another 10db and shipped it out to consumers that way. In this case, the mids will be even more distorted at even lower volumes, but if you then manually EQ the mids down, the distortion will decrease and the sound quality will increase. I suppose in a way, this applies to every headphone - if you EQ a certain part of the spectrum down, the distortion will decrease and sound quality will thus increase and the other way around. This is pretty ridiculous though in most cases and there are many other factors affecting sound quality apart from distortion levels.
I think ba drivers sound more precise in some ways even dusregarding frequency response, but not direct in actual details. I hear more nuances in every little part of an instrument with th re272 than any other. Yet the er4s pulls out precision in a different way in one sense. You can gave two different iems give the same amount of audible texturing and detail while still sounding different imo.
I gotta be honest - I always felt that armature drivers have something missing, mostly in the high frequencies. It's not extension, but seems more like resolution. At the same time, I could never put my finger on what exactly that I feel BAs are missing. And yes, I did hear something more with RE272, and many other dynamics as well, than I could with ER4 or any other BA, but not the other way around. I never felt that BAs really had more resolution than dynamics, although it often seemed that way, but I very often did feel that dynamics are more resolving of the subtle details than BAs are. With that being said, for the past 2 years, I have settled for only one dynamic IEM, the RE400, and three BAs - HF5, ER4 and PFE. Why? Because I still think that even thought it is possible that dynamics actually have an advantage in detail resolution, this advantage was always somehow overshadowed for me by BA's clearly superior (to my ears) transients, precision and overall clarity, and fidelity.
Yes, I recognize that dynamics can do a hell of a great job pulling out those really fine subtleties from music that seem to escape my ears for whatever reason with BAs, but at the same time, I always felt that all those tiny details were usually not precise and clear enough for me to enjoy them. Maybe it's a matter of listening preferences and not outright superiority of BAs or dynamics. I know that I want to hear every sound as well defined, and as clearly and precisely reproduced as possible. Lack of definition quickly puts me to sleep - I can't stay alert and listen critically when I can't focus sharply on each sound that I listening to. Ok, maybe I am exaggerating slightly, but I do expect a certain level of precision from headphones, below which I can't enjoy the sound anymore.
Many dynamics are precise enough for me to enjoy, at least in some parts of the spectrum. RE272 was precise enough in the treble for me, but too blurry in the mids and bass. I loved DT990 Pro for their breathtaking finesse, clarity and precision in the treble that blew away every BA I heard, except maybe the ER4S, in airy presence and abundance of subtle details, but I sold them eventually, mainly because the bass was nowhere near the level of definition and precision of the highs and sounded unacceptably slow and muddy to me, compared to BAs and other cans I had at the time - the HD650 and, especially HE-500.
So one thing is audible detail, which you seem to care about more, and the other is sharp detail, which I seem to dig more, hence your preference for dynamics and my preference for BAs.
Edited by Pianist - 5/3/14 at 12:23pm