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Why do expensier headphones generally get brighter and more laid-back? - Page 3

post #31 of 73

I personally am not a fan of considering phones over $300 w/o consideration of the rest of the chain.  From my experience one really needs to consider their system as a whole.  It's also not just a matter of 'fixing' things but truly getting the most out of your drivers capabilities.  Plus certain aspects to a FR can have other attributes other than sounding dark or bright.  I think this is really a more complex topic than has been delved into so far.  

 

I think some are also under the impression that if you spend more money on phones your choices become easier and problems evaporate.  Quite the contrary.  You don't buy a Ferrari and expect to service it at Jiffy Lube or put $50 tires on it.

post #32 of 73

     Quote:

Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

Well at least for me the terms laid-back vs forward and bright (cold) vs dark (warm) are far from the same or at least that's what I gathered a while ago when discussing this same topic in another thread.

 

bright/dark = frequency response balance related

 

laid-back/forward = soundstage related, has to do with "distance" and positioning. "on-stage" sound = forward, sitting far back in the rows in the crowd in a concert hall kind of sound = laid-back.

 

Laid-back & bright = T1, HD800, typical atributes for "studio monitors" as it often helps with soundstage and transparency.

 

 


Ah, I see.  Who says you don't learn something new everyday?smily_headphones1.gif

post #33 of 73

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieE View Post

 

And we don't all hear differently, there is no evidence that is anything more than a saying to mean "we all prefer different sounds to each other".

 

 

No, we do all prefer different sounds, but what I meant was that we all in fact hear differently in that our ears are different shapes and in different conditions. Just try pushing your ears forward slightly the next time you're talking to someone and you'll be amazed how much more you hear. Or try contracting tinnitus and see how much more sensitive to treble you become.  Or just go a little deaf from too many rock concerts and see how much more treble you crave. We're all different physiologically and psychologically, yet we're trying to reach a consensus on the ideal headphone; is it any wonder we're having some difficulty? 

 

And all that, of course, omits our different musical preferences and the way different musical genres tend to be recorded differently. 

post #34 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post




Well at least for me the terms laid-back vs forward and bright (cold) vs dark (warm) are far from the same or at least that's what I gathered a while ago when discussing this same topic in another thread.

 

bright/dark = frequency response balance related

 

laid-back/forward = soundstage related, has to do with "distance" and positioning. "on-stage" sound = forward, sitting far back in the rows in the crowd in a concert hall kind of sound = laid-back.

 

Laid-back & bright = T1, HD800, typical atributes for "studio monitors" as it often helps with soundstage and transparency.

 

 

 

 


I attribute laid-back to smooth, non-fatiguing characteristics, opposite to overly bright, etched, grainy and abrasive.

 

I just swapped the tubes in my Lyr back to Cryo 6N23P's and the presentation is more forward and immediate, as opposed to the deeper and "a few rows back" soundstage of the previous RCA 6BQ7A tubes. It's still smooth and non-fatiguing (laid-back) but instruments are upfront, with more impact and energy. Laid-back and forward aren't mutually exclusive imo. You can be enveloped and engaged by a supposedly laid-back presentation and the HD650 with the right components is prime example of this.

 

Laid-back carries negative connotations (boring), but I believe people are mistaking the term with the "veil" and lack of response that's apparent when there are deficiencies in a chain.

 

post #35 of 73

Not only do our "brains" hear differently from everybody else but, and maybe more relevant, our wordings (and experiences) to express what we hear are different. My 1st language isn't even English.

post #36 of 73

Forward and laid back have nothing to do with soundstage, AFAIK they refer to frequency response.  You can have your own definition I guess, but the way it's been used for years has been to mean "forward" upper mids/treble ie Grados or "laid back" upper mids/treble ie Sennheiser.  It doesn't really make sense for it to refer to soundstage, because all you have to say is "big/small soundstage"


Edited by rhythmdevils - 6/13/11 at 3:39am
post #37 of 73

Let me have a go at a play on words too.

 

Big stage or small stage... in depth or hight, or both?

post #38 of 73

The way RPGWizard describes laid-back was difficult to follow and with certain headphones, doesn't work. The HD598, for example, has a very large soundstage but the midrange is upfront. So close mic'd instruments or vocals will sound very close but in a very spacious soundstage.

post #39 of 73
Thread Starter 

Yes it's a bit confusing since most people including me often talk about "forward mids" which in this case is referred to the opposite of recessed mids, above neutral level boosted mids in the same sense of often using the term "bright" to refer to boosted highs. I think this "forward mids" could possibly use another word to describe it like for example "bright" is pretty obvious what it means (or what it sounds like it is). However when I refer to a headphone sounding very forward I mean that it sounds like I'm in the center of the band/orchestra or whatever playing with the singer very up-front and the closer sounding to me the more forward which to me leads to a more engaging experience. That it's forward sounding DOESN'T have to mean the soundstage would be worse, but more often that  becomes the case if everything sounds more centered. With very laid-back presentation it sounds like there would be a distance to that "center" of the band/orchestra, like you're sitting further away. 

 

XB500 doesn't have what I'd call forward mids or bright highs, more the opposite, yet it's very forward sounding, everything sounds very up-front, like I'd be on the stage with the band or possibly being on the dancehall in a club when listening to electronica etc with music surrounding me. I haven't owned very laid-back sounding headphones, DT770 Pro/80 and Denon D1100 are only gently "laid-back" sounding but still everything sounded further away like there was always a distance to the singer etc and I wasn't standing in the center of the music, more like the experience you get sitting further back in the rows in a concert. The JVC HA-M5X I picked up is even more unbalanced than XB500 with further recessed highs and more recessed upper mids (but slightly more forward lower mids) but it's even more forward sounding than XB500, probably as forward you can get in a headphone I'd say. For example playing Unreal Tournament 3 it was very obvious when the girl announcer's voice was heard it sounded like she wispered in my ear on HA-M5X and on XB500 it sounded like she'd stand very close to me.

 

I dislike having a distance to the singer/instruments/band/orchestra or whatever and usually end up selling headphones quickly that aren't forward enough sounding and yes like I said earlier I don't even like aggressive sound signature where the mids and highs are boosted and screaming into my ears. I rather use terms aggressive, bright (cold), dark (warm), veiled etc to explain frequency response balance related things, in another thread this was what forward / laid-back what it was explained to me that it was related to the "distance"/positioning in the soundstage as I previously had mixed some of the terms. Anyway whatever you should call it, that's what I personally mean with those terms.

 

Because when you think about it, how do you explain how some headphones, for example AKG K518DJ, XB500, HA-M5X that have both recessed mids and highs are very forward sounding if it worked like that if the whole frequency range would be boosted and therefore must sound "forward". 


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 6/13/11 at 6:37am
post #40 of 73

^ The way you've just defined "forward" and "laid-back" makes it clear your use of these terms is misguided. Sorry.

post #41 of 73
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by olor1n View Post

^ The way you've just defined "forward" and "laid-back" makes it clear your use of these terms is misguided. Sorry.


I'm only wrong until I'm proven wrong. :p Provide me some proof about laid-back and forward is what you refer to then. 

 

To the others, to make it clear: 

 

olor1n refers laid-back/forward like:

 

Forward = boosted frequency response

 

Laid-back = recessed frequency response

 

I refer it as:

 

Forward = "Up-front" / being center of the music. Picture you're sitting in a concert hall, the closer to the stage the more forward sounding

 

Laid-back = It sounds like having distance to the music. Picture yourself sitting in a concert hall, sounds like you're sitting further back in the audience.

 

I use words like bright/dark/veiled/recessed/aggressive etc to explain what you refer to.

 

 


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 6/13/11 at 6:44am
post #42 of 73
I thought it was the other way around. The more expensive headphones tend to be darker/smoother like most of the HiFiman series, Stax, and LCD-2.
post #43 of 73

I have no idea what you are basing this conclusion on.

most high-end cans are not bright but neutral or dark: R10, L3000, HE-500, LCD-2, Stax O2, Stax 007, Stax 009 

There are of course many high-end headphones that are fairly bright but not excessively : T1, HE90, HE60, HD800 (arguable) 

 

I also think they are laid back because they generally have a larger soundstage which comes across as laid back.

 

 

 

post #44 of 73

^ I would certainly argue that the HD800 is indeed very bright. The T1 is closer to neutral but I would still class as to the bright side.

 

But yeah, I agree with you that of the ones you list I've heard (HE-500, LCD-2, Stax SR-007) none of them are bright.

 

So you've been lucky enough to hear the SR-009? From bits and pieces I'd read I was getting the impression of a bright headphone, you'd say not?

post #45 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieE View Post

^ I would certainly argue that the HD800 is indeed very bright. The T1 is closer to neutral but I would still class as to the bright side.

 

But yeah, I agree with you that of the ones you list I've heard (HE-500, LCD-2, Stax SR-007) none of them are bright.

 

So you've been lucky enough to hear the SR-009? From bits and pieces I'd read I was getting the impression of a bright headphone, you'd say not?


I haven't personally heard them but I know a few people who have heard it and they said they was fairly neutral.

 

graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=863

Looks pretty neutral to me and also sounded pretty neutral.

There is that rather annoying peak but I still wouldn't call them bright.

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