Hmm. Would you say that the impact is realistic enough? I know - I'm nit picky. I am just very, very serious about this. If the bass impact is not realistic enough (as well as if the impacts of the other areas of the frequency spectrum) then could it really be considered fidelity?
This begs the question though: are headphones the key to fidelity? Well, from what I've read - no. But of course, my goal is to get as close to the "truth" (fidelity) as I possibly can.
I wonder, though, if headphones like the KRK KNS 8400 and other "reference" models exist merely as a tool to identify the music in a lifeless, non-intuitive way, where the music is represented without its "soul" (for lack of a better word). If I were to listen to a device that delivers a sonic reproduction to me without it's soul (whatever this may be) then perhaps my experience of music would actually be not of fidelity, but of an analytical tool that exists for the sake of mixing and mastering. This makes me wonder about the second school of thought referred to in the link I provided earlier in the thread, where the KRK KNS 8400 is not entirely flat, emphasizing frequency bands that are often discovered to be annoying after long-term exposure (at least this is my understanding of that second school of thought in referencing).
I am still concerned about this lack of a flat response that is said to exist in the second school of thought in referencing. But I am not just concerned about this. I am concerned that there may be tweaks to the design that detract from fidelity but aid the producer in doing the mixing. These tweaks may be posited in accordance with a philosophy that it (the headphones) is strictly a reference tool - not a tool to truthfully deliver music. Hence, one generally makes their mixing decisions final with the use of reference monitors.
Yes, well... Even if you put thousands in your headphone equipment you wouldn't get to fidelity as you see it.
I quite dislike the term "soul", even if it is for lack of a better word
I've used this metaphor: Can you enjoy a book if you had severe dyslexia? Good headphones bring the musical content to you in its integrity. Bad headphones mask this information in exchange for a little thump, perhaps, and ignorance is bliss and all that. I care about the musical content much more than the realistic presentation of it all, because even 10,000usd headphone systems don't give me that. For the price and even upward, the KNS8400 are simply the best allrounders I've ever used for such a long period of time. Went back to the chaotic Mahavishnu yesterday and it had information I've even missed listening with my beloved K272HD. John playing guitar on the right channel and mr. Hammer in the synth on the left, ever so consistent in midst of Cobham's double pedaling of the kick drums. Fantastic presentation and articulation of instruments and their notes to the pitch in such a fast pace.
Now, I can't tell what you mean when you say that you're dead serious about this, but if you're a music lover first and audiophile second, I'd highly suggest you give the KNS8400 a try. The main quarrel with them at the moment is that they don't isolate too much. I have a German Maestro GMP 8.35D on the way and I'm interested to find out how they fare to the KRK. They've been told to be very balanced and fast with maybe more emphasis on the "feel" side of things, but not losing integrity. Not my words, but I'm hoping. Plus they isolate very good, from what I read, and are near indestructible. I can let you know how they fare against the KRK this week when I receive them.