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Are headphone amps frustrating and depressing? - Page 3

post #31 of 47



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nomexalloys View Post

 

So for me, buying even 5 pairs of headphones just because they sound better in different genres is a bit daft.



You know, if I were going to have different headphones it would be for different recordings, as I find that's where the real variation lies. However, I too think it's a daft notion. If a phone is generally balanced and neutral (no headphone is absolutely balanced and neutral), even though it may not be optimal for every genre and recording, it will be acceptable overall--that is, you won't be constantly wishing you'd bought something else. That's one of the differences I've found with my 650s over other phones I've owned, that while it doesn't make all recordings sound the same, it doesn't exaggerate the differences either, or make me feel I need another phone just for certain recordings. Great recordings sound great, and if they don't sound as great as on an 800, they sound great enough. Lousy recordings still sound lousy, but it's an acceptable lousy rather than a shrieking, wincing lousy. That's what makes the 650 such a classic, this balance of resolution with a forgiving nature. It's a phone for all seasons. Anyone who has 5 phones but no 650 should really hear it and see if he can't cull his arsenal a little. 

 

 

Advertising blurb over.

 


Edited by pp312 - 4/12/11 at 11:30pm
post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post

Good point, nomexalloys.

All of the truly serious music geeks I know don't give a crap about the gear. People with really deep collections and who know a frightening amount about the music. They tend not to care much, if at all, about the gear. Cheap stuff is fine as long as it holds up and plays their music.

There's a lesson in there.

I think gear is fascinating - I love tubes and exotic drivers. But the music geeks are right. I'm thinking hard about getting rid of a lot of stuff and getting in deeper with the music. I'll keep a good rig, for sure, but the music should be more important.

Definitely musicians as well. One ex-band mate of mine, who I think is a very impressive musician and vocalist only uses ear buds.

 

I already consider my current rig rather straight forward. DAC->headphones and then the upcoming electrostatic rig may seem overboard for listening to music, but so would having a Les Paul Custom seem like going overboard to some people.

 

Anyways, the generalization is a bit strong. I have to eq because I absolutely can not tolerate certain frequencies during different times or just to have fun simply. If I heard a bright headphone in the morning, I would immediately take it off and lock it in the closet. I wouldn't just listen to it. I just want the best equipment that suites my preferences and be done with it. EQ allows that to be easier most of the time. I don't tweak headphones or any of that nonsense.

 


Edited by wind016 - 4/12/11 at 11:48pm
post #33 of 47

Think about it logically. Why do different people have so different opinions about the EQ, amps, headphones etc.?

 

It is because people's hearing systems are very different! Your best investment in the hobby could be buying, reading, and *understanding* a book written by a reputable sound engineer/researcher, such as "Sound Reproduction" by Floyd E. Toole. Among other things, he illustrates how dramatically the frequency perception curves differ from one individual to another, and for one individual from decade to decade.

 

Some sound reproduction gear vendors maximize their profits by pursuing mass-market customers with average frequency perception curves. Others go after specific niches - for instance, bass-heavy headphones are popular among 20-somethings yet are perceived as "dull" by their parents, whereas treble-accentuated ones appeal to those beyond middle-age yet are regarded as "shrieking" by their children.

 

My personal approach is to have a "wire-with-gain" DAC+Amp in combination with studio-quality software EQ (I currently use Cubase yet there are others comparable in quality and ease of use). What I found is that there are three parameters of importance *to me personally* regarding the headphones, so for any one I keep I can answer the following three questions affirmatively: 

 

(1) Are they confortable to wear?

(2) Are they resonance-free?

(3) Can they reproduce the EQ-ed signal without noticeable distortions at a comfortable listening level?

 

Bottom line: The only expert on the subject of best sound system for you is you yourself. There are no others.

 

 

post #34 of 47

"Bottom line: The only expert on the subject of best sound system for you is you yourself." 

 

@Krav - truer words never spoken.

 

I'll admit I'm prejudiced against EQ. In the analog days, putting a signal thru 16 different analog filters definitely introduced noise. Basically adding 16 pieces of gear into your signal chain with all the attendant potential for hum and hiss.

 

As far as EQ'ing individual instruments when recording a mix, that's a whole different thing. Shaping the sound of an individual instrument in a mix is essential. Taking a whole finished mix that spans the spectra of frequency & timbre is something that should only be done with a very light touch, you can't use a hard curve for all those individual elements and expect an optimum result.

 

Now that EQ'ing is done in the digital domain, it probably isn't as heinous as those of us from olden days see it, but when applied to a finished recording, where presumably a professional mixing engineer has done that for you, if you need more than a smidge of it to compensate for a bad room (with speakers), or a headphone/amp/dac signature you're not completely copacetic with, or a recording aimed for commercial purposes at an audience with prefs you don't share*, it probably does mean you do have something in your signal chain that is not up to par.

 

*I mean I adore hip hop, but that bass is just too loud for a 50 year old - I want to hear the words and savor their meaning, yall hoass be-atches ;-)

post #35 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by sferic View Post

"Bottom line: The only expert on the subject of best sound system for you is you yourself." 

 

@Krav - truer words never spoken.

 

I'll admit I'm prejudiced against EQ. In the analog days, putting a signal thru 16 different analog filters definitely introduced noise. Basically adding 16 pieces of gear into your signal chain with all the attendant potential for hum and hiss.

 

As far as EQ'ing individual instruments when recording a mix, that's a whole different thing. Shaping the sound of an individual instrument in a mix is essential. Taking a whole finished mix that spans the spectra of frequency & timbre is something that should only be done with a very light touch, you can't use a hard curve for all those individual elements and expect an optimum result.

 

Now that EQ'ing is done in the digital domain, it probably isn't as heinous as those of us from olden days see it, but when applied to a finished recording, where presumably a professional mixing engineer has done that for you, if you need more than a smidge of it to compensate for a bad room (with speakers), or a headphone/amp/dac signature you're not completely copacetic with, or a recording aimed for commercial purposes at an audience with prefs you don't share*, it probably does mean you do have something in your signal chain that is not up to par.

 

*I mean I adore hip hop, but that bass is just too loud for a 50 year old - I want to hear the words and savor their meaning, yall hoass be-atches ;-)


How long ago are you talking about? Try the PSP Neon HR linear phase eq or some good EQ. Or even try the Cowon BBE on their players and EQ the mids according.
post #36 of 47

i find soooo much misinfo & misconception on eq's that i dont know whether to be sad or amused! most of the distortions heard are via less than optimal 'free' software eq's &or such ilk. go play with a real hardware para eq & i guarantee one'll leave with jaws ajar & eyes wide open'd.

 

all its costs is <$100 -both for a decent used para eq & IC- & go play. if ones judiously with the controls, i have yet to find any (yaaa u heard me-NOT EVEN ONE) downside, cost aside, to using one. psssssst, there's such a thang called a bypass switch too wink_face.gif

post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by wind016 View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by sferic View Post
 


How long ago are you talking about? Try the PSP Neon HR linear phase eq or some good EQ. Or even try the Cowon BBE on their players and EQ the mids according.


I'm talking about much longer than that. See statement: "Now that EQ'ing is done in the digital domain, it probably isn't as heinous as those of us from olden days see it." In the 70's, I'm not sure Cowon even existed. And in the 80's BBE was a revelation. I had a $1000 standalone box just to apply BBE to my music mixes. Don't be mean to old people, we're not ALL bad, and many of us are very proud those who came after :-) Good points bro!


Edited by sferic - 4/15/11 at 8:24pm
post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by sferic View Post





I'm talking about much longer than that. See statement: "Now that EQ'ing is done in the digital domain, it probably isn't as heinous as those of us from olden days see it." In the 70's, I'm not sure Cowon even existed. And in the 80's BBE was a revelation. I had a $1000 standalone box just to apply BBE to my music mixes. Don't be mean to old people, we're not ALL bad, and many of us are very proud those who came after :-) Good points bro!

Haha. Sorry, if I came off defensive. I just feel all the generalizations of the past that aren't so relevant today are still affecting people's opinions way more than it should. It makes sense though with all the terrible equalizers we're provided with for free with Window Media or Itunes. The EQ I'm using right now, PSP Neon HR is simply fantastic though it is on the expensive side. FAT mode allows it to sound like a tube amp making it sound overall smoother. I don't hear any phasing issues on "max" resolution mode. It might have problems on slow computers, but it runs at 1% cpu usage on my quad-core computer.

 

I'm still looking for an excellent soundcard with a hardware-based equalizer that might be able to best the Neon HR. Some people search for tubes, amps, and cables but I believe a good equalizer, a good solid state amplifier, and a good DAC will be enough to solve most synergy issues.

 

post #39 of 47

As far as I'm concerned EQs are an admission that something isn't right and a temptation to endlessly fiddle and adjust---IOW, a distraction from the music. I've never felt the need of one beyond a physical Marantz EQ for recording really scratchy material onto minidisc. When I occasionally tweak my treble control to the right slightly it's to compensate for the material rather than the headphone, as 85% of the time I use the bypass switch. I couldn't imagine having a permanently satisfactory setting of an EQ as the variation in material would keep tempting me to experiment with the settings again...and again. Maybe just one more notch up on the 4khz slider would sound a touch better....or down two at 150hz would get rid of that mid-bass boom....it never finishes, guys.

post #40 of 47

If I would use EQ, I would need to use it on every single song. But I don't, I accept that records sound different. As far as my current rig goes, I haven't realized anything specific that could be fixed with EQ to improve the sound as a whole.

post #41 of 47
EQing never stops and its natural. Our hearing changes rapidly throughout the day and I adjust accordingly. Nothing wrong with my gear. They are as neutral as it gets. The problem is my changing hearing sensitivity.
post #42 of 47

If your gear is "as neutral as it gets", I suggest you to accept your hearing and stop messing with EQ... Or maybe you should build some sort of sensoring system to observe your hearing's condition, so the system could adjust the EQ. =D

post #43 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by wind016 View Post

EQing never stops and its natural. Our hearing changes rapidly throughout the day and I adjust accordingly. Nothing wrong with my gear. They are as neutral as it gets. The problem is my changing hearing sensitivity.



Eek. You mean you're adjusting your EQ throughout the day to compensate for your changing hearing sensitivity? Do you get any time to listen to music?

 

post #44 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post





Eek. You mean you're adjusting your EQ throughout the day to compensate for your changing hearing sensitivity? Do you get any time to listen to music?

 


I'm a musician but when I mean I'm sensitive, I really mean it. I'd rather not listen to music than have to listen to treble in the early half of the day. I can listen to music straight out of anything, but I won't put up with neutral just because it's accurate. Doesn't make sense IMO I just listen however I want but it tends to be neutral most of the time.
post #45 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post



 



The problem there is that in a recording studio people are doing a job. They can fiddle all they like and get paid for it, but in the end time will constrain them. Give a hi-fi nut an EQ and you're opening up Pandora's Box: he will play till the cows come home. He will tell himself that yes, he's got it now, that sounds perfect, but after two more tracks vague dissatisfaction will set in and it'll be time for yet another tweak of that third-from-the-left slider. This will go on forever, or until he collapses from dehydration. A hi-fi nut is not a normal human being. 

 

Of course if the aim is just to amuse oneself, that's fine. If the aim is long term listener satisfaction, it isn't.

 

I'm reminded of a guy I knew back in LP days. He'd had umpteen turntables and nearly drove himself crazy fiddling. Eventually he bought a B & O turntable, simply because there was nothing on it to adjust but the playing weight. Probably a wise move.

 


Different perceptions, I don't often fiddle with my gear, I prefer to listen to music wink.gif
I just spend a hour or two figuring out a good EQ for a specific pair of headphone to get t closer to what is natural for me, I mainly correct some roll off, take down the peaks, that sort of thing, Once I get a good enough result (let's say 90% of what I expect is the best result with EQing), I just stop there and enjoy.
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