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Why do expensier headphones generally get brighter and more laid-back? - Page 4

post #46 of 73

I wouldn't trust early impressions of new headphones that much. Especially not ones that cost over a grand. Almost everyone that has heard them just spent a huge amount of money on them and has a strong confirmation bias to like them. If you read between the lines - they sound bright. Someone said the other day the Omega are less fatiguing in the highs... have you ever seen an FR graph for an Omega?

 

spritzer-albums-stax-picture1611-om.jpg

 

All speculation of course. Here's hoping the SR-009 come to a UK meet soon. Mark from high end workshop always seems to have the new Stax' as soon as they're released so there's a good chance they'll come around soon.

 

Re the HD800

 

I guess it depends on what you play on them, I listened to something with electric guitars that kept hitting that peak and attacking my ear drums, then I listened to some stuff with brushes on snare drums and cymbals and it sounded like an annoyed librarian -

 

SHhhhhhhhhhshhhhhhhhhhshhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHHHHSSSSSSShhhhhhhhhhhshhhhhhhhhhSSSSSSShhhhhhh

 

Most of the tracks I tried out on them hit that peak a lot, but if you're lucky enough to listen to a track that misses it from beggining to end, maybe they would sound neutral.

 

The lack of sub bass foundation also adds to it a fair bit IMO...

post #47 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackmccabe View Post




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%5B%5D=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.


that's the problem. i tell many people why headphones usually have big dips in the highs on purpose and this is why. a natural headphone from a technical point and having a flat response will always sound bright with a lot of material. it's natural due to human hearing and drivers being so close to the ears. good speakers usually have very flat response but don't sound bright,why? cause they are farther from the ear and it comes down to what they reflect off. you can easily tame frequencies with your room. headphones are different. a flat headphone will always sound bright on lot of recordings. only way to make headphone sound in theory ''flat'' due to driver being close to the ears is to roll off the highs and boost the sub-bass a bit but while it sounds flat to the user it's not very idea if your an audio engineer or a producer. might be great for music listening but not idea or considered if your type of person who wants to hear how the recording was meant to be or if your a person who needs absolute flat response for audio monitoring. everyones different as well so perception of sound can vary to what is ''flat''. just mentioning a headphone that is flat due to human hearing sensitivity will always sound bright.
post #48 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by RexAeterna View Post

that's the problem. i tell many people why headphones usually have big dips in the highs on purpose and this is why. a natural headphone from a technical point and having a flat response will always sound bright with a lot of material. it's natural due to human hearing and drivers being so close to the ears. good speakers usually have very flat response but don't sound bright,why? cause they are farther from the ear and it comes down to what they reflect off. you can easily tame frequencies with your room. headphones are different. a flat headphone will always sound bright on lot of recordings. only way to make headphone sound in theory ''flat'' due to driver being close to the ears is to roll off the highs and boost the sub-bass a bit but while it sounds flat to the user it's not very idea if your an audio engineer or a producer. might be great for music listening but not idea or considered if your type of person who wants to hear how the recording was meant to be or if your a person who needs absolute flat response for audio monitoring. everyones different as well so perception of sound can vary to what is ''flat''. just mentioning a headphone that is flat due to human hearing sensitivity will always sound bright.

I completely agree, but the hd800s aren't brighter than most other phones e.g. dt880, dt990, pretty much any grados, etc .

The only thing that makes people think the hd800s are bright is the treble peak.

Loads of headphones have treble peaks that are much larger the hd800s is just in a rather annoying place.

Anyway even if you consider the hd800s bright there are still more bassy/neutral/treble recessed high-end headphones than there is trebly ones.

 

Juding from the op's headphones he is a bit of a basshead so that's why he might find them bright;

I personally found the xb500 way too bassy.

 


Edited by jackmccabe - 6/13/11 at 10:01am
post #49 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

....here's what I'd call neutral/natural when the highs (4kHz ->)  are no more elevated than the midrange (500Hz ~ 4kHz), like on LCD2 but yea on LCD2 the highrange is actually tiny bit below midrange but it's such a small deviation I wouldn't call them dark.

 

I think there are some issues with your terminology here.  "Trebles" start way below 4khz.  In fact, the pipe organ is one of the few instruments that can actually play a core frequency above 4khz.  Violins and piccolos don't even get up that high.  You've relegated the term trebles to the realm of overtones instead of the realm of treble instruments and voices.
 

 

post #50 of 73

Well this isn't "from" anywhere and its not official in any way, but what I have in my head from various bits and pieces I've read is the rough breakdown (give or take some hz)

 

Sub bass - bottom of hearing (20hz give or take) to 90hz

Upper bass - 90hz - 150hz

Lower mids/Mid bass - 150hz - 400hz

Mids - 400hz - 2.5khz

Upper Midrange/Mid Treble - 2.5k -5khz

High frequencies/Upper treble - 5khz to the top of hearing (20khz give or take)

 

It's probably slightly wrong in the fine print, but I think that is basically it.

 

Most people call a lot of what they hear of mid bass bass and a lot of what they hear of mid treble as treble. I do too. Not an awful lot goes on in treble. Snares. Cymbals. Micro details. Noise.

post #51 of 73
Thread Starter 

Don't know if treble and highs would refer to exactly same range as I never relate to "treble" for the higher frequencies, I used the term "highs" though. Anyway we're just speaking of a term that isn't written in the stone what's exactly the definition for but a quick google search would hint that the globally accepted range for highs start around 4 ~ 6kHz, it varies who you refer to. Personally I'd classify the whole range as:

 

       0 - 80Hz:     sub-bass / lower-bass

    80 - 150Hz:    mid-bass

  150 - 300Hz:    upper-bass

300 - 1000Hz:    lower-mids

 1kHz - 2kHz:    mids

 2kHz - 4kHz:    upper-mids

 4kHz - 8kHz:    lower-highs

8kHz - 12kHz:   highs

        12kHz+:   upper-highs  

 

But that's just my 0.20, where upper bass ends, and lower mids starts is perhaps the most difficult IMO to exactly classify but yea I'd say 250~300Hz. Headphones usually have the highest peak in the highs in the 8~10kHz range. Typical 10-band EQ uses 31, 62, 125, 250, 500, 1, 2, 4, 8 and 16kHz to cover several spots from every range. I'm a EQ freak/tweaker myself and just have to fiddle around with every setting I can until I've spent so much time with it I'm certain I can't get any better result and probably have spent more time EQing than most people around here, working with frequency tweaks is almost an everyday task to me so I've gotten used to how they sound like to the point I can usually tell roughly which range is a bit too excessive or weak when just putting a headphone on and listening to music (frequency sweeps/pink noise etc is boring :p). But then again I don't try to aim for a perfect flat response either as that's not my personal optimal frequency response curve for best possible music listening experience but that's another topic of discussion.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 6/13/11 at 12:10pm
post #52 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieE View Post

I wouldn't trust early impressions of new headphones that much. Especially not ones that cost over a grand. Almost everyone that has heard them just spent a huge amount of money on them and has a strong confirmation bias to like them.

 

You might also say that having spent a grand their expectations and standards are going to be pretty high. I know when I bought the LCD-2 (not quite a grand) I was expecting something quite out of the box (no pun intended), and wasn't about to influenced by any "confirmation bias" (plus of course with the LCD-2 I could have re-sold them for what I paid, which is an important factor). I would say that "confirmation bias" would apply more to the lower stratas, to those just getting involved in the hobby who desperately want to believe they've made the right first choice and aren't quite sure what they're supposed to be hearing anyway. Those spending over a grand usually know very well what they should be hearing and won't tolerate much less.  

post #53 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by EddieE View Post

 

spritzer-albums-stax-picture1611-om.jpg


I'm pretty sure that graph isn't "compensated" for HRTF.  Here's the HD800s FR, unsmoothed and uncompensated/adjusted.  (subtract 2 from the graphID in the URL)

 

graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=861

 

Here's the LCD-2

 

It gets complicated depending on which sort of HTRF you subscribe to and holy wars have been fought over it on the LCD-2 thread, but in general I think and uncompensated graph that looks a hair or two on the bright side translates into natural sound.

 

The grey curves here are the uncompensated cures.  I'm pretty sure headroom uses a diffuse field EQ HRTF and Tyll's using a new HRTF called "independent of direction" for this latest batch, so the compensated curves come out a little different.  Also be aware of the slightly different scaling used.  It makes the shapes look a little different, but all the points still pretty much line up on the ones I've checked.

post #54 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

You might also say that having spent a grand their expectations and standards are going to be pretty high. I know when I bought the LCD-2 (not quite a grand) I was expecting something quite out of the box (no pun intended), and wasn't about to influenced by any "confirmation bias" (plus of course with the LCD-2 I could have re-sold them for what I paid, which is an important factor). I would say that "confirmation bias" would apply more to the lower stratas, to those just getting involved in the hobby who desperately want to believe they've made the right first choice and aren't quite sure what they're supposed to be hearing anyway. Those spending over a grand usually know very well what they should be hearing and won't tolerate much less.  


Just to add to the subtopic, my purchase of the HD800 was the inverse of confirmation bias.  I had expectations of buying either the HE6 or LCD2 before auditioning considering my love for my T50RPs and that Ortho sound.  After two meets and some auditioning I found myself in a precarious position.  Although having started as a Senn fan twenty years ago I've been a Senn hater for the last decade or more.  Despite this and the fact the HD800 sounded as badly as I expected in overall tonal balance through 85% of the sources I sampled, with two amps in particular they were pure magic.  More magical than anything I heard from the other two to my ears.  I was shocked and had to have a real long conversation with myself.  Did I want to commit to the HD800 in such a wholistic way?  In the end, I decided it was worth it.  I didn't give the HD800 anything.  I fought them every step of the way and they earned their spot in my home.

 

post #55 of 73

That could well explain it (the graph) - when I saw that I shocked - I didn't understand how a supposed legendary phone could look that bright!

 

Re. confirmation bias I guess it very much depends on the psychology of the individual person. Maybe some go one way and some go another.

post #56 of 73

The Omega is on the bright side of neutral (listening to it right now actually :) ) to my ears but not super bright.  The HD800 is definitely brighter.

post #57 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

This is something I've kept wondering, many expensive headphones and flagship models tend to be bright (cold/analytical) and laid-back. Of course there is some exceptions but it gets more and more common with that being the case the higher up you go on the pricelist. What is there that says laid-back sound and emphasized highs are more valued than forward and neutral (or gently darkish) headphones? Is the majority of people that have developed such preferences or does it have to do with some technical details etc? As a fan of forward and neutral or possibly slightly veiled highs (darkish) I feel a bit offended that there wouldn't be manufacturers creating highend stuff with what I'm looking for. Of course I ain't looking for $1000 headphones today but the thought still bugs me.

 

What do you think?

 

 

I think you're lucky because that means your "high end" is just like $200.

 

But then.... enter the LCD2 and yeah your ceiling is now $900. very_evil_smiley.gif
 

 

post #58 of 73



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post




Just to add to the subtopic, my purchase of the HD800 was the inverse of confirmation bias.  I had expectations of buying either the HE6 or LCD2 before auditioning considering my love for my T50RPs and that Ortho sound.  After two meets and some auditioning I found myself in a precarious position.  Although having started as a Senn fan twenty years ago I've been a Senn hater for the last decade or more.  Despite this and the fact the HD800 sounded as badly as I expected in overall tonal balance through 85% of the sources I sampled, with two amps in particular they were pure magic.  More magical than anything I heard from the other two to my ears.  I was shocked and had to have a real long conversation with myself.  Did I want to commit to the HD800 in such a wholistic way?  In the end, I decided it was worth it.  I didn't give the HD800 anything.  I fought them every step of the way and they earned their spot in my home.

 



This probably deserves a little further digging:

 

1. Why were you a Senn hater?

 

2. What were the two amps in particular?

 

3. Did they actually overcome the treble spike, or just mask it on all but the brightest material? And further, is it really possible for any amp to compensate for a headphone's FR aberration.  

 

4. In what way was the HD800 magical on that initial audition?

 

Ve have vays of making you talk!  tongue_smile.gif

 

post #59 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post


This probably deserves a little further digging:

 

1. Why were you a Senn hater?

 

I was not a fan of the Senn veil and laid back signature bordering on boring that became their house sound.  My first Senn experience was 20 years ago and that was natural, lively, dynamic, clear, etc.  They got away from that IMO.  The HD558/598/800 have come full circle and work better for my ears.

 

2. What were the two amps in particular?

 

Woo WA5 and Eddie Current Super 7

 

3. Did they actually overcome the treble spike, or just mask it on all but the brightest material? And further, is it really possible for any amp to compensate for a headphone's FR aberration.  

 

Tough to answer that.  The Super 7 w/ the Russian Tung-sols made it sound like a smooth and lush Ortho.  The WA5 was more transparent and made it seem like the HD800 was just able to be itself.  All I can say is there were no objectionable spikes and nothing seemed lost either.  Everything was just spot on.  The Perfect Wave DAC certainly didn't hurt either.

  

4. In what way was the HD800 magical on that initial audition?

 

It went from peaky, over-analytical and lean to natural, lush and full bodied with all the technical prowess and dynamics of the HD800 preserved.  It was the only phone I heard that I felt sounded like it had no technical deficiency to overcome.  Once the signature was dialed in there were no arguments left for me to make.  I would still like to see if there is a LCD2 setup that can give me that magic and the HE500 does pique my curiosity.  The Stax 009 is, well, just a whole different road I don't feel like travelling down atm due to the almost four fold expense. 

 

Ve have vays of making you talk!  tongue_smile.gif

 

Bamboo under the fingernails?  Again?!

 



 

post #60 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post


Bamboo under the fingernails?  Again?!

 



Skullcrushers and Yanni.  evil_smiley.gif

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