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Why are high end dynamics/orthos still being created? - Page 2

post #16 of 46
Thread Starter 

These all have very strange, characteristic humps, as well as an odd dip at the same frequencies, that is not a result of DFE. I wonder if these things are artifacts of the HRTF they are adding to the raw data?

post #17 of 46

I don't want to dive fully into the whole debate, but I do have some things to contribute.

 

Electrostatic diaphragms are limited in excursion by the close spacing of the stators.  When the stators are further apart, higher voltages are necessary, and so the potential for arcing at best stays the same (because your goal is to increase the excursion of the diaphragm) and the attraction of dust is increased (a problem for dead skin and hair from heads, I can imagine).  So you've either got reduced bass extension or need increased spacing and riskier higher voltages.  Higher voltages also mean more expensive transformers or direct drive amplifiers.  Now, with the limited air volume that headphones have to move it's definitely less of a problem than for speakers, but it's not a non-issue for headphones.

 

Also, it's not like electrostatic transducers are new - they've been around for almost a century; nearly as long as moving coil transducers.  I suspect that Sennheiser, AKG, Beyerdynamic, etc. would all have moved to electrostatic transducers for high-end headphones within the 50-year history of them as commercial drivers if there weren't convincing reasons not to - of course, amplification being perhaps the most convincing reason.

 

Part of the success of planar magnetic headphones in the high-end headphone world the last few years can, I believe, be contributed to a few key characteristics.  Planar magnetic transducers avoid the biggest problems with electrostatics, in terms of limited excursion and the need for high voltage (transformers or high voltage direct amplification needed, in addition to the other pitfalls of the high voltage).  They maintain the even drive of electrostatics over the transducer's surface - not nearly as perfect as electrostatics can, but in practice well enough to reach performance more than proportional with their cost and convenience.


Edited by BlackbeardBen - 8/4/11 at 8:36pm
post #18 of 46
this is interested read but i'm curious how can you tell if a headphone was measured in a free field or diffused field environment? i thought only certain selected headphones were actually free field equalized and diffused field equalized? i'm little confused here.
post #19 of 46

Shike do you have a link to the Orpheus FR you're referring to?

post #20 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3rdling View Post

Shike do you have a link to the Orpheus FR you're referring to?



Someone posted an archive a while back containing various past Headroom FR's and other measurements.  I don't have a link to the thread on hand so I'll just post it directly:

 

xtMfU.png

 

This is the only Orpheus measurement included - and yes it has a typo.

post #21 of 46

I'd buy a Sennheiser Opera House reissue.

post #22 of 46
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RexAeterna View Post

this is interested read but i'm curious how can you tell if a headphone was measured in a free field or diffused field environment? i thought only certain selected headphones were actually free field equalized and diffused field equalized? i'm little confused here.


Hi, usually they are not. Usually you just go headphones -> Straight to mic in a head.

The HRTF functions added to the graphs by headroom (so that "flat is good")  are based on measurements of the head in a diffuse field (Tyll himself has said this). As for design choice, it's intuitive viewing of graphs. In many ways, headroom complicates this and has basically fostered the flat delusion. Flat IS good for speakers; it isn't (in actual frequency output) for headphones**


You are right in saying that only a few headphones are very close to diffuse or free field curves; although if you look at the raw responses of even IMHO very dark headphones, you'll see they have more treble than bass - because that's what we hear from a flat speaker. IMHO, all "high end" headphones should be as flat as possible to any kind of equalisation of choice (diffuse, direction independant, free field etc). I don't really care if mid-range ones are taken other ways.

 

**Just a disclaimer: The reason for this is actually an artifact of not only our heads, but the way we record. If recording was, for example, to be entirely centered on the human head, the adjusted frequencies would actually be in the recording already. Of course, this would mean that speakers would need LESS treble to be "as real life"



PS nice post, BlackbeardBen


Edited by MrGreen - 8/4/11 at 8:57am
post #23 of 46

BlackbeardBen summarized the reasons quite well.

 

 

All electrostats I have tried thus far lack extension in the bottom end. 

 

Its the one reason you find hybrid electrostat speakers even in high end.

 

Besides, people like variety and choices.

 

We can't have everyone using the same technology and don't care if some people like it or not..what are we..communists!!!??

post #24 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shike View Post

I'd pose the same question to you though, why bother with electrostatics?

 

If we look at distortion headphones in general are dismal (often below 1% THD).  Even if they reached 3% in bass it would be of questionable audibility all around unless doing test signals.  Furthermore, while electrostatics presumably do well in say square wave tests their FR isn't exactly flat either.  Many argue you need to spend obscene amounts of money to get a good amplifier for them - more expensive than a comparable dynamic one.

 

Having owned a pair of SR-202 and compared them to my K601 - I do think bass is a problem on some of them.  Some roll-off too soon.  While you can say this is true of any headphone type, to get an electrostatic with bass is much more expensive than finding a dynamic with one.  I felt the SR202 sounded neutered when compared to my K601.  They sounded equal on everything but bass, and that's because it almost was non-existent on the SR-202.  The K702 has more bass than the SR-202, and it gets criticized regularly for its bass roll-off.  So we can say some electrostatics may very well have bass, but they're substantially more expensive.

 

Ultimately the question is going to be are they really any more accurate than dynamics.  I'd say they fall into the same position as some new Orthos - amazing square wave response with roll-off at one end or the other.  They aren't simply a matter of fact superior.


meh. 202 is far from great in the electrostatic line up. Especially in the bass department. SR-507 and even 404 wipe the floor with it there.
507 probably sounds the most similar to the current high end orthos...Slightly brighter mids and not that deafening bass, but a lot more similar to those than 202. Unfortunately I happen not to like that, meaning I should probably go back to 404LE or go up to 007 for a more 'fun' sound
post #25 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by svyr View Post



meh. 202 is far from great in the electrostatic line up. Especially in the bass department. SR-507 and even 404 wipe the floor with it there.
507 probably sounds the most similar to the current high end orthos...Slightly brighter mids and not that deafening bass, but a lot more similar to those than 202. Unfortunately I happen not to like that, meaning I should probably go back to 404LE or go up to 007 for a more 'fun' sound

 

Humor me for a moment and check these two links:

 

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dryumatsuba%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26hs%3DNM5%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26prmd%3Divns&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ja&twu=1&u=http://www.geocities.jp/ryumatsuba/srs-2020.html&usg=ALkJrhjEqoyIAburVepraasZQ2vWWvuEcg

 

http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dryumatsuba%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26hs%3DNM5%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26prmd%3Divns&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=ja&twu=1&u=http://www.geocities.jp/ryumatsuba/srs-4040.html&usg=ALkJrhgKcodlEJLzdHZgEbywi6ctfnCJ0w

 

Look at the measurements and tell me the SR-404 still has bass that wipes the floor with the SR-202 - they practically measure identically.  Anemic bass applies to most of Stax Lambda design (if not all).  Heck, even the K701 looks more balanced and offered more bass according to Ryumatsuba's measurements.

post #26 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrGreen View Post


 


Hi, usually they are not. Usually you just go headphones -> Straight to mic in a head.

The HRTF functions added to the graphs by headroom (so that "flat is good")  are based on measurements of the head in a diffuse field (Tyll himself has said this). As for design choice, it's intuitive viewing of graphs. In many ways, headroom complicates this and has basically fostered the flat delusion. Flat IS good for speakers; it isn't (in actual frequency output) for headphones**


You are right in saying that only a few headphones are very close to diffuse or free field curves; although if you look at the raw responses of even IMHO very dark headphones, you'll see they have more treble than bass - because that's what we hear from a flat speaker. IMHO, all "high end" headphones should be as flat as possible to any kind of equalisation of choice (diffuse, direction independant, free field etc). I don't really care if mid-range ones are taken other ways.

 

**Just a disclaimer: The reason for this is actually an artifact of not only our heads, but the way we record. If recording was, for example, to be entirely centered on the human head, the adjusted frequencies would actually be in the recording already. Of course, this would mean that speakers would need LESS treble to be "as real life"



PS nice post, BlackbeardBen


that is interesting.thanks for the explanation. i wonder tho have you found any headphones that were actually free field equalized? only headphone i know of are the akg 240 Cardens(sextetts) going by the PDF file AKG sent me when i asked them about my sextetts. i shared the file in the akg grado'ed forum been going on. i always thought ''free field'' in theory be better since the equalization gets taken place in an anechoic chamber with mics attached to ear lobes of a test dummy while ''diffused field'' is done in a reverberation chamber with reflections everywhere measured with pink noise.
post #27 of 46
accordig to spitzer, there are several sr-404 variations(incl drivers) over the year. admitedly this makes comparison a bit hard
post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by svyr View Post

accordig to spitzer, there are several sr-404 variations(incl drivers) over the year. admitedly this makes comparison a bit hard


If the differences are so large then you end up playing headphone lottery, if the differences aren't that large then you're merely looking at minor deviations of the design which is still very bass limited.  Neither of these situations are desirable.

post #29 of 46
Thread Starter 


Quote:

Originally Posted by RexAeterna View Post



that is interesting.thanks for the explanation. i wonder tho have you found any headphones that were actually free field equalized? only headphone i know of are the akg 240 Cardens(sextetts) going by the PDF file AKG sent me when i asked them about my sextetts. i shared the file in the akg grado'ed forum been going on. i always thought ''free field'' in theory be better since the equalization gets taken place in an anechoic chamber with mics attached to ear lobes of a test dummy while ''diffused field'' is done in a reverberation chamber with reflections everywhere measured with pink noise.

 

Hi, the entire stax lambda line and the original omega are free-field equalised, and very accurately. 

 As an FYI, the key differences in sound come from how the waves interact with the head, rather than the room type used.

Free field = Sound coming at the face, captured at the ears

Diffuse field = Sound captured at the ears in a diffuse field

I'm not sure how direction independant is defined, or how it's capturing technique different, but the curve itself is somewhere between the two above.

The lambda line specifically has a "semi-panorama", in that they have uneven padding, which makes the sound come from slightly more forward than most headphones. Still, I'm not sure how big an effect this actually has

   IMHO free field is the better in practise, since it is easily reproducable, and much closer to real life (usually we are facing a sound, most sounds are recorded head on, and those that aren't are typically captured with cariod mics that have different off-axis properties; which means the effect is in the recording, often not captured at all). On the other hand, Diffuse field is often the sought after "ideal" for all speaker setups (one that is essentially futile since any body in the room would disrupt the field)

 

@Shike; iirc, there was a post made here by another person who was doing amateur measurements against some results for stax by Ryumatsuba - one with the pad flush and one with it sitting slightly ajar. The Ryumatsuba results looked like the ones with the pads slightly ajar. I can't remember where the post is, but I've seen it posted several times.


I do, however agree with you about stax lambda sounds in the sense that there isn't that much of a difference between the models. There are differences in construction (housing, driver mounts) over various decades of production (Eg, Mechanical damping, no mechanical damping, modern mounting frame), which would make a difference. But otherwise, they are pretty similar if you ask me.

I haven't heard any from the new line.

FWIW, I'll give recording headphones a go once I knock up a recording studio at home, but honestly it seems very hard (and expensive) to do well
 

 


Edited by MrGreen - 8/5/11 at 8:12am
post #30 of 46

The post you're referring to is on the first page (maybe even the first post) of either the old or new Stax thread.  

 

The semi panorama thing is also due to the angled backside of the frames.  Look at the frames from above to see what I'm talking about.  I think the idea is to have partial reflections of the back wave hit the slotted frame at an angle which should give a similar effect to having angled drivers.  They likely had to do it this way because an angled driver would break the seal between it and the ear and the bass wouldn't measure as flat.  Pretty cool stuff. :)

 

I haven't heard a ton of Lambdas for some reason, but there are pretty obvious tonal differences between headphones like the Lambda/Lambda Sig vs the LNS/SR507.

 

Shike, thanks for the pic, I'd never seen it before.

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