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Why do expensier headphones generally get brighter and more laid-back? - Page 5

post #61 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmdevils View Post

Skullcrushers and Yanni.  evil_smiley.gif


Okay, give me the Bamboo....frown.gif

 

post #62 of 73

I think its too bright, and the soundstage is larger than what's natural, but the HD800 does have by far the most technically sophisticated dynamic driver on the market.  If they make an HD850, it will be damn near perfect.

post #63 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by maverickronin View Post

I think its too bright, and the soundstage is larger than what's natural


What if it wasn't.....wink.giftongue.gif

 

post #64 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

What if it wasn't.....wink.giftongue.gif

 


What if it wasn't as bright?

 

It would be better.

post #65 of 73

I just had an epiphany as to why within some basic limits, FR is basically a just preference which is mostly irrelevant to how "natural" or "realistic" a headphone sounds.  Those basic limits involve not being super bright or super dark and having a fairly even response without having any huge jumps or peaks in amplitude as well as enough extension to cover all the instruments used.  What I think is really important is the spectral composition of the transducer's distortion products.

 

In real life the frequency response of even the familiar sounds of the voices of friends and family vary quite a bit based on many variables like distance and room acoustics yet we always recognize them.  What those varying environments don't add is the sort of harmonic and intermodulation distortion that transducers and to a lesser extent amps and DACs do.

 

You'd easily recognize your lover's voice as the real thing in pretty much any environment from a padded cell to an echo-y warehouse whether they're right next to you or yelling from a distance but even a simulation that compensated for your personal HRTF with a perfect frequency response but poor distortion performance (e.g. a Realiser used with low-fi headphones) wouldn't fool you for a second.  OTOH, if the distortion was below audibility but the FR was just off a little you'd think it was real and possibly misjudge their location slightly.

 

Because of the way nearly all music is recorded and mixed there is basically no way to objectively demonstrate that any one FR from a set of FRs that are physically possible in RL is more accurate than any other without reference to a specific location relative to its original live performance.  There are several other factors to consider as well.  There often is no "original" performance.  Lots of music is either synthesized in whole or part or is composed of separately recorded tracks which are later mixed together giving no absolute reference for FR balance.  Even if there was an original recording, any position relative to it is equally valid.  Are you on stage?  In the front row?  Back row?  Balcony?  Volume is also an important consideration.  The equal loudness contours show how perceived volume varies with frequency which would dictate volume matching to the original performance (if any) in order to preserve the original perceived FR.  You might not be able to precisely determine something like after the fact but with something like classical where different orchestras all play the same pieces it wouldn't be hard to get a good estimate.  Who even tries that?

 

What I think this comes down to is that FR isn't really too important outside of binaural recordings or positional audio because in most cases there's no objective standard to judge it by.

post #66 of 73


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maverickronin View Post

You might not be able to precisely determine something like after the fact but with something like classical where different orchestras all play the same pieces it wouldn't be hard to get a good estimate.  Who even tries that?

 

 

I always argue that there is an absolute standard, that manufacturers ought to be working towards it and we as audiophiles ought to aspire to it. I can do this because I'm a classical fan and have no interest in electronic music of any kind, nor in the kind of music which requires endless overdubs, overlays etc to achieve its objective. IOW, my standard is acoustic music heard in an average acoustic environment from a reasonable distance, meaning that if you were to stand say 20 feet from a small orchestra in an average size hall and record what you heard, the recording played back through your headphones should resemble what you heard in the hall, at least within the obvious limitation of headphone listening. Here I'm referring particularly to tonal balance: under those conditions it would be relatively easy to pick which phones were outrageously bright or boringly dull. This is why I don't believe headphone (or speaker) manufacturers should have carte blanche and still call themselves seekers of accuracy. There is a quite simple way to at least provide parameters for accuracy and a speaker or headphone that claims accuracy as it's aim should fall within those parameters.

 

Now to the can of worms. Of course people prefer different types of music and different balances and many consider the very idea of an absolute standard as elitist. There is no requirement on anybody to like a certain type of sound. All are free to choose whatever sounds good to them and spend their money where they will. I'm simply saying that the audiophile industry (not the populist market) needs a goal, something to work toward, even if the goal is ultimately unattainable. You could probably call this a mission statement, just something that keeps us on the track, defines hi-fi and staves off the utter chaos of saying that hi-fi is nothing more than just what you or I like. After all, hi-fi has been around a long time, and what have manufacturers been working toward and reviewers predicating their reviews on all these years if not the ideal of absolute accuracy? And when was the last time you read a review that said something like: "Well, these speakers don't sound like music as I know it, but someone somewhere is sure to like them and it's really just a matter of taste so I'll give them five stars."

 

 

       


Edited by pp312 - 6/15/11 at 6:58am
post #67 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by pp312 View Post

Now to the can of worms. Of course people prefer different types of music and different balances and many consider the very idea of an absolute standard as elitist.


There can be an absolute standard for that kind of music but even it only applies to a specific point in space at a specific volume.  To top it off, that standard is only ever for an individual person's HRTF.

 

The point is that for most reasonable FR curves you can't say "this is necessarily more accurate".  You have to specify all sorts of conditions that are either objective but usually something you can't possibly know with much certainty or something that's relative and subjective like your personal HRTF or how far you sit from the performance.  For example, 20 feet is way too close and way to loud for me.

 

Its not that are no wrong answers.  Its that there are lots of right answers.

post #68 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by maverickronin View Post


There can be an absolute standard for that kind of music but even it only applies to a specific point in space at a specific volume.  To top it off, that standard is only ever for an individual person's HRTF.

 

The point is that for most reasonable FR curves you can't say "this is necessarily more accurate".  You have to specify all sorts of conditions that are either objective but usually something you can't possibly know with much certainty or something that's relative and subjective like your personal HRTF or how far you sit from the performance.  For example, 20 feet is way too close and way to loud for me.

 

Its not that are no wrong answers.  Its that there are lots of right answers.


Well said.

 

post #69 of 73



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maverickronin View Post


There can be an absolute standard for that kind of music but even it only applies to a specific point in space at a specific volume.  To top it off, that standard is only ever for an individual person's HRTF.

 

 

 

Hell, I missed what HRTF means, but if it means anything like personal preference I'm not sure I see the relevance. Either the reproduced sound closely resembles what was heard in the hall or it doesn't--from 20, 40 or 100 feet--at any volume, though obviously a similar volume is preferable for comparison. (Remember, I'm talking about the recording being made from the where you're standing, as if you were holding the microphone). Personal preference only comes into it when you go into the store to choose your headphones. I'm not sure I see any complication whatsoever until you start to introduce electronics and general studio interference into the equation; then comparison of live versus reproduced becomes impossible. That's why I believe the only real test of a headphone is the comparison with live acoustic music, preferably a symphony orchestra because it runs the gamut of frequencies and dynamics. 

 

Of course most people don't know or care what a symphony orchestra sounds like; their aim is more likely to make Metallica sound as punchy and assertive as possible, accuracy be damned. That's okay for them, but I'm talking about a goal, an ultimate aim, for the industry. You can cloud the issue with all sort of objections about personal preference and electronics and whatnot, but when it comes time to define what hi-fi is and where it's going, you need a standard. If someone's got a better one than what I've suggested, I'm all ears.

post #70 of 73

HRTF

 

Two people can actually hear the same sound differently.

post #71 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post




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.

 

 


You're using this term wrong man, you should edit the thread title.  In my 6 years here, laid back has always referred to frequency response.  It's kind of a big deal because it creates a lot of confusion to make up your own meanings to terms that have been used for a long time like that.  Especially if you're trying to write reviews and such.  If other people start using it this way, we'll just have a big frickin mess. 

 

post #72 of 73
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmdevils View Post


You're using this term wrong man, you should edit the thread title.  In my 6 years here, laid back has always referred to frequency response.  It's kind of a big deal because it creates a lot of confusion to make up your own meanings to terms that have been used for a long time like that.  Especially if you're trying to write reviews and such.  If other people start using it this way, we'll just have a big frickin mess. 


Yeah completely.  He's referring to SS depth and intimacy.  I tend to associate 'laid-back' w/ PRaT or the lack of which may or may not be FR related depending.

 

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


(Remember, I'm talking about the recording being made from the where you're standing, as if you were holding the microphone)


 

Except for binaural, nothing is recorded like that and if it's in stereo there are at least two mics.  Even most classical is separately mic-ed and mixed.  The perspective or location is almost entirely illusory.  In addition, its mixed for speakers.  If it happens to sound natural over headphones its because those headphones take your HRTF and the fact that the music is mixed for a different medium into account.

 

The volume has to do with equal loudness curves.  This will sound natural if you listen very quietly in a near silent environment.  It will sound like the real thing if the real thing magically got quieter for the sake your continued ability to hear.  If you crank it, then it won't anymore.

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