Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Sennheiser HD 800 VS Grado PS 1000
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Sennheiser HD 800 VS Grado PS 1000 - Page 8

post #106 of 196

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

 

I found the PS1000s, less bright than the GS1000s, but still bright overall (and brighter than my HD800s and T1s).

 


No dispute here, but I enjoy excitement on the top end. Thankfully there's a headphone for every taste in this hobby.

 

Anyway, I've been listening to the Edition 8 a lot in my office where I need the isolation, and it has reaffirmed why I've like the PS1000 so much. The bass punch of the Edition 8 is great, but it just doesn't have the excitement and clarity in the upper registers, and the midrange can be fairly dull. The Edition 8 signature is far less natural to my ears. The PS1000 in my system portrays guitars, brass, percussion, and vocals with much more realism. Only harsh recordings are harsh in my system.

 

I had planned on adding the T1 to my system, but I don't imagine that I'd be grabbing it over the PS1000 if they are sitting next to each other. I had a DT880 for a while but it didn't really appeal to me over the Grados I had at the time, and from what I can tell the signatures of the DT880 and T1 are pretty similar, technical superiority of the T1 aside. I'll probably opt for an orthodynamic in the future. The shelved top end of the LCD-2 makes me hesitate, but I'm still curious. I also wish that it wasn't even heavier than the PS1000. The HD800, T1, LCD-2 and Edition 8 all have dips somewhere in the upper midrange that don't suit my tastes and music, but the PS1000 does. 

 

I like good gear, and all these headphones are top notch, but if the gear doesn't make the music enjoyable, then the gear is pointless. I've had enough gear in that is technically advanced that just doesn't have the feeling that I want from my music. The PS1000 has given me the most enjoyment from a headphone yet. It suits me, and I haven't been looking for a replacement. Still, I'll own more of these flagships in the future out of curiousity.

post #107 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrostyMMB View Post

 

Only harsh recordings are harsh in my system.



Do you mean only harsh recordings are harsh on your system, or do you mean only perfect recordings are not harsh on your system?  evil_smiley.gif

post #108 of 196

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmdevils View Post

Do you mean only harsh recordings are harsh on your system, or do you mean only perfect recordings are not harsh on your system?  evil_smiley.gif

 

Well that would be a sorry situation!


Harsh recordings on my headphone system are harsh with the Edition 8 as well, and even harsher with the K701. They're harsh on my speaker system and on my car system. Perfect recordings sound great with the Edition 8, but significantly better with the PS1000. Any decent recording sounds excellent with any of my headphones or speakers. I've always considered the source to be the strongest link, followed by the amplifier, and cabling is also important.

 

I dig the Naim sound. The CD5 gets a lot of praise for PRaT, so it's a rocker. People on the Naim forums laud it for playing back CDs with more analog character than overly digital. The upgraded power supply really makes everything significantly better. The combo makes for a ~$4,000 source which is very capable of delivering pleasing playback. The CD5 handles poorly recorded material far better than the Arcam I had many years ago, but I have yet to find a cure for **** recordings, which we all know are far too common in modern music. Unfortunately, plenty of recordings in my collection are less than perfect. There are only a few that are unlistenable with my current system, which is far better than it has been in the past with less capable equipment.


Edited by FrostyMMB - 9/7/11 at 4:45pm
post #109 of 196

I think the OP should buy skullcandy.

post #110 of 196

I got to experience the Sennheiser HD 800's the other night, and although I have never listened to the Grados, I think that they are pretty hard to beat.  Those HD 800's sound amazing! 

post #111 of 196

The problem with comparing frequency response graphs is that you are given perspective based on the frequency at which the curve centers itself. Headroom makes the 1khz point 0 dbr as a reference point across all headphones, and while a reference is necessary and helpful in interpretation across graphs, it easily skews perception of how these things will actually compare when you put them on your head. At best measurement graphs are good for giving a general impression of what a headphone might sound like. Remember that your earlobes and ear canals aren't shaped exactly like the dummy head used for measurement.

 

Here are some other perspectives. Only colors and y-axis position were adjusted from the original graphs.

 

Headroom graphs with curves centered at 3khz. These are the measured curves prior to smoothing, which you can see on the Headroom site by subtracting 1 from the graphID.

 

HR_PS1000_HD800_3khz.png

 

Both headphones feature a +10dB spike from 5khz to ~6khz. The PS1000 has a more intense 4khz spike by about 4dB. The PS1000 has more area under the curve (combined amplitude) between 4khz and 10khz. The HD800 has more area under the curve below 1khz. This graph suggests that the HD800 would sound fuller, or the PS1000 would sound brighter, by comparison.

 

 

GoldenEars graphs with curves centered at the dip in response between 3-4khz (also crossing several times between 1-3khz).

 

01.FR_PS1000_HD800_3khz.png

 

This measurement and alignment doesn't support a claim that the PS1000 treble spikes higher than the HD800. Additionally, it's hard to visually determine if the area under the curve between 4-20khz is significantly greater for either headphone. Neither is flat across 1-4khz. Both slope upward in amplitude as they extend lower in frequency from 1khz. The HD800 is of course flatter and extends further in the bass band in both the Headroom and GoldenEars graphs.

 

I haven't heard the HD800. I've only read hundreds of opposing posts on wether or not they are bright or if they have enough bass or if they need a cable upgrade or what amp will make them sound just right. All I can do is observe that both headphones, through the interpretation of these two datasets (collected with different equipment, under different variables, with different pairs headphones from each other) feature similarly measured peaks in the treble. Joe could find that his ears prefer one and Jane could find that her ears prefer the other when they actually put the headphones on their head (other system components aside). There is no accounting for system matching, differences in fit, differences in ear shape, musical preferences, taste in sound signature and presentation, etc. These are variables that no one can assume anything about for another member when they ask for advice. Both headphones have been loved and hated, praised and criticized. I guess the one that 'wins' is the one with the most vocal supporters.

 

I can only guess what I'd hear by comparison, but I know I don't hear at home what some people hear with the PS1000 during their brief meet auditions. I know that I can make my PS1000 sound brighter by shifting the position of the cups or adjusting the headband fit. Additionally, I've had three different pairs of G-cushions on hand at one time with the PS1000. Two of them were the fresh pairs shipped with two new PS1000s, one of which had been compressed a bit, perhaps by the weight of the cups during storage, the other which had not. A third pair of cushions were warped along the rim and wouldn't seal well. All three pads affected the sound differently. Only the thick, unwarped pair sounded right to me, given a firm fit and seal to my head and ears. The warped pair was brighter since it didn't seal, and the compressed pair was too full in the bass since the drivers weren't properly distanced. Seems to always be a toss up with Grado quality control, which is an obvious flaw with their business and a serious concern when you're paying so much for audio equipment. I contacted Grado by email about the pads and was told that since John hadn't changed anything about the pad manufacturing, there shouldn't be a difference. Well, there was, visually and audibly. Who knows what the shape of the pads are on all these pairs of PS1000 out there. Anyway, fit and seal is very important to the Edition 8 as well, which learned after a couple hours with them.

 

Meet impressions seem to make everyone an expert. It's not required to trial a pair at home to fully understand a pair of headphones in one's system, on one's head for adequate evaluation time in order to post an opinion on how a headphone performs. Comparing a dozen pairs of headphones at a meet and hearing that 'this one is brighter' or that 'this one is not as bright' to determine personal impressions with one's own ears is of value, but so is taking the time to build your own appropriate system and evaluating a pair of headphones that way. The pair of headphones I heard at a meet doesn't sound how it would with my gear in my home after I had adjusted all the variables to get the best sound I could. Easily, I can put on a pair of headphones, say 'this sucks', and then post about it on the forum to influence the purchasing decisions of others. I myself wouldn't want to do that, because that's not a proper evaluation. I value most the posts from those who have owned a pair of cans, compared it to others that they own on appropriate equipment, and determined that to their ears, this one is inferior to that one or this one is better suited for me than that one. Those posts are the most credible to me. I know the OP has pretty much ducked out of the thread, but I'm glad that he's buying one and considering buying the others later. He can decide for himself.

 

I wouldn't dispute that the HD800 are a reference and praiseworthy pair of headphones. I'd buy a pair build a system to get the most out of them if they were suitable for my music and tastes. But they aren't, so I chose the PS1000 and haven't regretted it. They are the reference and praiseworthy headphones that I enjoy every single time I listen to them.

 


Edited by FrostyMMB - 9/8/11 at 5:36pm
post #112 of 196

I would suggest that you have a look at Tyll's graphs of the HD800s, they seem to be quite similar to the Headroom graphs. Now with the 1kHz reference point, adjusting the volume up or down shifts the entire graph up or down and regardless, the PS1000s share the classic Grado house sound (which BTW I am a big fan of, I have owned pretty much every Grado from the SR60s to the RS1s....twice for that matter) with a fall-off in sub-bass, a large mid-bass hump and trumped up treble (which in turn makes the mids sound recessed).

 

But my opinion (maybe not yours and that's cool) is that a flagship headphone should be about high fidelity. And my definition of fidelity is well the typical one:

 

fi·del·i·ty

[fi-del-i-tee, fahy-] dictionary_questionbutton_default.gif Show IPA

noun, plural -ties.

1.
strict observance of promises, duties, etc.: a servant's fidelity.
2.
loyalty: fidelity to one's country.
3.
conjugal faithfulness.
4.
adherence to fact or detail.
5.
accuracy; exactness: The speech was transcribed with great fidelity.

 

So with this in mind, the PS1000s don't fit the bill (for me...YMMV of course). So can one enjoy the classic Grado house sound? Certainly, but it is filtered through John Grado's perception of what's going on. But with these uber expensive headphones, I prefer fidelity to the recording, you might not. I might one day go back and pick up an HF-2 or maybe the RS1s (for a third time tongue.gif).

 

With regards to the treble, the HD800s are immensely harder to drive than the PS1000s. Not to mention I find that they are very dependent on source/dac and cable more than most headphones. So if you feed them a bright source or power them with a bright amp, then you'll hear a bright sound. But with the right setup (the best ones I've heard are either through the Cary XCiter DAC, Bryston DAC, or W4S DAC-2 and a WA2, WA22 or B22) the HD800s don't come off bright in any way. But ALL Grados are bright headphones to my ears (with the least being the HF-2s and the most being the GS1000s/SR325s).

 

 


Edited by MacedonianHero - 9/8/11 at 5:56pm
post #113 of 196
frosty. +1
post #114 of 196

I've spent plenty of time with Tyll's graphs and of course I'm familiar with his measurements of the HD800. He has yet to measure the PS1000 for comparison. I trust his methods, so I am hoping that he does at some point.

 

The point of changing the reference wasn't at all to say that the signature changes. It changes the perspective of the comparison and the interpretation can change along with it. The post has since been deleted for some reason, so I apologize if misinterpret what you had posted, but you were trying to point out that the PS1000 has a MASSIVE boost in the treble. The HD800 features a sharp 10dB spike in the same region when you look at the unsmoothed graph. From my experience with EQing, narrow band spikes in the response can be pretty rough, so maybe this is why some people have a problem with the HD800 up top. When the graphs are matched at a different reference point this becomes more apparent that the local minima and maxima in that region are not massively different. When we compare headphones with our ears, we don't level match them with an spl meter and a 1khz signal. Making every comparison with a 1khz reference point only gives one perspective and it leads to inaccurate conclusions.

 

Yes, Grados have accentuated treble compared to the typical Sennheiser. It's the Grado sound. It's not supposed to have the fullness or euphony of a Sennheiser. Rock guitars don't want euphony, they want aggression and crunch. A rock drumset doesn't want heavy drums, they want punch to the kick drum, snap to the snare, and crash and shimmer in the cymbals. I love assertive horns and I like them rendered with the bite and brassy harmonics they have in real life. I personally don't want to be sitting out in an arena 30 rows back from my favorite band, rather I want them around me. I've performed music on probably a hundred stages and seen bands on just as many so that's the perspective I prefer. I've played next to drumsets, guitars, trumpets, trombones, saxophones, sang next to basses, tenors, altos, and sopranos, in small ensembles in auditoriums, stage bands and 300 piece bands so I use that as a reference. My mileage does vary though because I don't want the distance of the Sennheiser soundstage.

 

I don't have a dissimilar definition of fidelity. What we've been discussing is measured frequency response and percieved brightness, which is only one of many parts of fidelity and is personal to our ears. The PS1000 aren't neutral across the entire spectrum and neither are the HD800. That neutral argument has always been a pointless one in my opinion so I don't typically get into it. Speakers EQ'ed to measure ruler flat aren't perceived that way to our ears because of differences in sensitivity of our ears to difference frequencies. A headphone's proximity to ear calls for different adjustments than speakers, but some sort of equal loudness contour is required.

 

Natural soundstage, instrument placement and separation, dynamics, resolution, are all parts of my definition. I like my system to recreate my experience with real instruments and voices, to faithfully reproduce the real life experience rather than the recording. That's what I try to achieve with my system, and to date the PS1000 does it best. The HD800 serves others well. I'll own other flagships and hope that they do it well, too. Now I just need all of my music well recorded and served up in 24 bits and 96khz sample rate format. In my dreams!

post #115 of 196
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiogamma View Post

I think the OP should buy skullcandy.



Thanks for the suggestion ay, but unlike you I can afford a high end headphone.

post #116 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrostyMMB View Post

I've spent plenty of time with Tyll's graphs and of course I'm familiar with his measurements of the HD800. He has yet to measure the PS1000 for comparison. I trust his methods, so I am hoping that he does at some point.

 

The point of changing the reference wasn't at all to say that the signature changes. It changes the perspective of the comparison and the interpretation can change along with it. The post has since been deleted for some reason, so I apologize if misinterpret what you had posted, but you were trying to point out that the PS1000 has a MASSIVE boost in the treble. The HD800 features a sharp 10dB spike in the same region when you look at the unsmoothed graph. From my experience with EQing, narrow band spikes in the response can be pretty rough, so maybe this is why some people have a problem with the HD800 up top. When the graphs are matched at a different reference point this becomes more apparent that the local minima and maxima in that region are not massively different. When we compare headphones with our ears, we don't level match them with an spl meter and a 1khz signal. Making every comparison with a 1khz reference point only gives one perspective and it leads to inaccurate conclusions.

 

Yes, Grados have accentuated treble compared to the typical Sennheiser. It's the Grado sound. It's not supposed to have the fullness or euphony of a Sennheiser. Rock guitars don't want euphony, they want aggression and crunch. A rock drumset doesn't want heavy drums, they want punch to the kick drum, snap to the snare, and crash and shimmer in the cymbals. I love assertive horns and I like them rendered with the bite and brassy harmonics they have in real life. I personally don't want to be sitting out in an arena 30 rows back from my favorite band, rather I want them around me. I've performed music on probably a hundred stages and seen bands on just as many so that's the perspective I prefer. I've played next to drumsets, guitars, trumpets, trombones, saxophones, sang next to basses, tenors, altos, and sopranos, in small ensembles in auditoriums, stage bands and 300 piece bands so I use that as a reference. My mileage does vary though because I don't want the distance of the Sennheiser soundstage.

 

I don't have a dissimilar definition of fidelity. What we've been discussing is measured frequency response and percieved brightness, which is only one of many parts of fidelity and is personal to our ears. The PS1000 aren't neutral across the entire spectrum and neither are the HD800. That neutral argument has always been a pointless one in my opinion so I don't typically get into it. Speakers EQ'ed to measure ruler flat aren't perceived that way to our ears because of differences in sensitivity of our ears to difference frequencies. A headphone's proximity to ear calls for different adjustments than speakers, but some sort of equal loudness contour is required.

 

Natural soundstage, instrument placement and separation, dynamics, resolution, are all parts of my definition. I like my system to recreate my experience with real instruments and voices, to faithfully reproduce the real life experience rather than the recording. That's what I try to achieve with my system, and to date the PS1000 does it best. The HD800 serves others well. I'll own other flagships and hope that they do it well, too. Now I just need all of my music well recorded and served up in 24 bits and 96khz sample rate format. In my dreams!


I would certainly classify the HD800s as much closer to neutral than any current Grado in production. You previously mentioned that you haven't heard the HD800s and I suggest you give them a try on a system that is properly built around them. You will find that their treble can be quite good without spikes. Plug them into a sub-par and/or non-synergistic rig and you'll hear what you're feeding them (more so than pretty much any headphone I've used to date). With regards to sound stage placement, I find the expansiveness of both headphones actually more similar than dissimilar. I found the layering and placement of the HD800s more realistic and accurate.

 

With regards to  separation, dynamics, detail retrieval, etc... I definitely prefer the HD800's presentation. While I prefer the LCD-2s overall, technically I find the HD800s about as good as it gets. YMMV of course. smile.gif

 

post #117 of 196

FrostyMBB, 

 

Very interesting points, it's a bit contrasting from some slightly childish comments from junior angry members ;).

 

For the most part I agree with you that one can interpret pretty much anything from headphone response curves so it may be a bit misleading tool. However, when you say that the HD800 and PS1000 are more similar than dissimilar when superposing their treble response, I have one irk: it's true that if you look at the trend, it is similar and both headphones are not what one would qualify as dark signature. But even only looking at the graphs you posted, we can see the PS1000 has quite a few more spurious resonances than the HD800 in the 3-10kHz range. The HD800 has one major peak at 5kHz and it is clearly audible (the only major fault of this headphone imo). The PS1000 has several peaks, and they are sharp (so most likely ringing for long time in the tradition of other grado headphones, see http://www.head-fi.org/t/566929/headphone-csd-waterfall-plots/30#post_7714357 ).

 

Although I agree with you that it all boils down to preferences, your posts make it feel like it comes in a wash between then number of people who might take the HD800 and those who might prefer the PS1000. Yet, I believe the HD800 is much more sold / popular than the Grado and I don't quite buy your statement that this is all because of the "stronger voice" of the HD800 supporters. Similar to you, I am talking about a headphone I haven't heard (PS1000 in my case), but one thing I am pretty sure about is that these sharp resonances standing out by +5dB over the rest are going to polarize listeners quite a bit and don't really qualify the headphone for being coined as "faithful" to the source. It might indeed not be the point of nowadays Grado (to make neutral headphones), and there are certainly some people who like that sound, but to me it is a kind of crapshoot as there's really no guarantee one might accept such colorations. A neutral phone on the other hands has a bit less chances to generate such (I agree though it is difficult to define a neutral signature in the case of headphone given we all have individual HRTFs...).

 

To conclude, I shall say, forget about these two anyway and discover the truth with Stax SR009 ... Just kidding ;)


Edited by arnaud - 9/9/11 at 7:11am
post #118 of 196
the bottom line is they are somewhat different from each other. which one picks is up to them. i feel both are flagship headphones in their own right. even if the grado is somewhat fragile and the hd800 is less so. my usual caveat: don't buy them without listening to them at these prices. another twist, some people don't like either! that is why one must listen to things with their own ears. at the end of the day no response curve is a buying guide imho.
post #119 of 196
Quote:
Originally Posted by FrostyMMB View Post

Yes, Grados have accentuated treble compared to the typical Sennheiser. It's the Grado sound. It's not supposed to have the fullness or euphony of a Sennheiser. Rock guitars don't want euphony, they want aggression and crunch. A rock drumset doesn't want heavy drums, they want punch to the kick drum, snap to the snare, and crash and shimmer in the cymbals. I love assertive horns and I like them rendered with the bite and brassy harmonics they have in real life. I personally don't want to be sitting out in an arena 30 rows back from my favorite band, rather I want them around me. I've performed music on probably a hundred stages and seen bands on just as many so that's the perspective I prefer. I've played next to drumsets, guitars, trumpets, trombones, saxophones, sang next to basses, tenors, altos, and sopranos, in small ensembles in auditoriums, stage bands and 300 piece bands so I use that as a reference. My mileage does vary though because I don't want the distance of the Sennheiser soundstage.


Have you (or anyone else) had a chance to compare the GS1000 against your PS1000?  If so, how would you compare the two?

 

I've only had a chance to listen to the GS1000 and I still sometimes wonder what the ultimate Grado sounds like.  From some of the posts I've read, it seems like the PS1000 takes the Grados a step closer to the Sennheisers in overall musicality and presentation.  The GS1000 struck me as an improved RS1i.  The GS1000 seemed more neutral to me, and the listening experience was less fatiguing.  There was a general mellowness to the GS1000 while the RS1i sort of felt like it was trying overly hard, sounding a bit overdone when compared to the GS1000.

 

Seems like a lot of people have heard the GS1000 or the PS1000 but not both :)


Edited by Elysian - 9/10/11 at 12:55am
post #120 of 196

I think the way Headroom laid out the HD800 and PS1000 graphs is a bit misleading.  Seems to me the HD800 would be perceived as louder than the PS1000 as they are matched in the graphs, and once the volume was lowered on the 800 to match, it's treble spikes would be a good deal lower. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: High-end Audio Forum
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Summit-Fi (High-End Audio) › High-end Audio Forum › Sennheiser HD 800 VS Grado PS 1000