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The Neutral / Balanced Thread - Page 12

Poll Results: Best Neutral IEM and Headphone 2011 (Pick 1 IEM and 1 Headphone only)

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 18% (43)
    Etymotic ER-4S
  • 2% (7)
    Hifiman RE-272
  • 3% (9)
    Shure SE425
  • 1% (3)
    Sony EX510
  • 7% (18)
    Vsonic GR07
  • 3% (8)
    Westone UM3X
  • 9% (22)
    Audeze LCD-2
  • 13% (33)
    Sennheiser HD600
  • 11% (28)
    Sennheiser HD800
  • 8% (19)
    Beyerdynamic DT880
  • 2% (7)
    Shure SRH 840
  • 8% (19)
    AKG 702
  • 9% (22)
    Stax SR-009
  • 0% (1)
    Denon DN-HP1000
  • 0% (1)
    ESP950
  • 10% (24)
    Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor Custom
  • 4% (10)
    Unique Melody Miracle
  • 2% (6)
    KRK-KNS8400
  • 2% (5)
    Koss ESP950
237 Total Votes  
post #166 of 355

The GMP450 PRO surely needs to be up there, even though they seem to be quite rare here on this site.

post #167 of 355
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by R-Audiohead View Post

The GMP450 PRO surely needs to be up there, even though they seem to be quite rare here on this site.


Added to the list. :)

 

post #168 of 355
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikp View Post

I agree.

A flat frequency graph = accurate audio reproduction = neutral = closest to the "real" thing

 

Closest experience to real life? How does that makes sense?

 

edit: Furthermore, I think we should keep going instead of stuffing the thread with useless complications. 

 


I think that is what "natural" sound signature means. ClieOS has a good article about it here: http://www.inearmatters.net/2008/12/neutral-vs-natural-thought.html

 

 


Edited by JamesMcProgger - 10/24/11 at 11:21pm
post #169 of 355
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesMcProgger View Post

I think that is what "natural" sound signature means. ClieOS has a good article about it here: http://www.inearmatters.net/2008/12/neutral-vs-natural-thought.html

 

 


It's a good article! By the way, in physics, it is stated that a flat FR graph has an accurate audio reproduction so I don't think those two things can be separated. I won't argue about natural vs neutral but that's just how I think. 

 

post #170 of 355
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesMcProgger View Post

I think that is what "natural" sound signature means. ClieOS has a good article about it here: http://www.inearmatters.net/2008/12/neutral-vs-natural-thought.html

 

 



Neat article.  I hadn't seen it before.  A good read.

 

There's also an article by Stereophile on the art and science of measuring headphones.  It gets into measurement issues and the difference between a headphone designed to mimic free-field vs. a headphone designed to mimic diffuse-field.  A free-field headphone is going to have a bit more treble than a diffuse-field headphone.  Which model is more right?  Free-field or diffuse-field or something else?  We're really screwed here if we want to nail down one sound for being the right "neutral and balanced".  There isn't one right answer to that.  Every headphone or earphone manufacturer that wants to design a neutral studio quality headphone ends up with a different answer to that problem.

 

The best we may be able to do is list various headphones and earphones that approach some flavor of neutrality.  Ones that want to be neutral and are obviously not treblehead or basshead headphones.

 

We're gong to have a short list compared to the basshead list and treblehead list.  There just aren't that many actual neutral headphones that don't suck or don't sneak in too much treble or bass.  Cause neutral can be boring and boring doesn't always sell headphones, even for studio or professional use.

post #171 of 355

 

The Etymotic IEM's do not have a flat FR at all... and yet they are more accurate than IEM's with a flat FR, right?

 

 

post #172 of 355

 

By the way an IEM can have a crazy FR and still sound neutral... like the Final Audio FI-BA-SS, the FR is all over the place, and yet it has been called "neutral".

 

 

post #173 of 355
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiteki View Post

 

The Etymotic IEM's do not have a flat FR at all... and yet they are more accurate than IEM's with a flat FR, right?

 

 



What is flat for a headphone?  What is flat in a final FR graph depends on the measurement head and ear used and the HRTF (head-related transfer function) used to correct the measured data.  What a "flat" graph looks like depends on the HRTF chosen to compensate or correct the data.  Depending on the HRTF, a headphone that sounds neutral may not actually measure flat.

 

So it's messy.  And everyone who measures headphones does things differently.  So it is difficult to compare graphs done by different people.

 

Tyll has an explanation of the frequency graph measurements he does.  Explains his choice of HRTF and how that affects the graph.  For the HRTF that Tyll uses a neutralish headphone will have a slight downward slope starting at 1000 Hz.  Look at the graph for the HD600 as an example.  The graph won't be flat or perfectly smooth.  There will still be some bumps in the treble.  If you look at the graphs at Inner Fidelity you see the raw measurements at the bottom of the graph and the compensated measurement at the top of the graph.  The raw measurement will have a bump starting at 1000 Hz and peaking at around 3000 Hz due to the way the measurement head and ear (and the human ear) hears things.  The compensated graph will have a HRTF applied that corrects for that.

post #174 of 355

 

Piggy, you are not making this any less complicated!

 

 

Here's some more complication:

 

"But what should it sound like? The pat answer, of course, is that it should sound like "the real thing," but it's a bit more complicated than that. If the system itself is accurate, it will reproduce what is on the recording. And if the recording itself isn't an accurate representation of the original sound, an accurate sound won't sound realistic. But what does the recording sound like? That's hard to tell, because you can't judge the fidelity of a recording without playing it, and you can't judge the fidelity of the reproducing system without listening to it---usually by playing a recording through it. Since each is used to judge the other, it is difficult to tell much about either, except whether their combination sounds "real." But it can be done.

Even after more than 116 years of technological advancement (footnote 1), today's almost-perfect sound reproduction still cannot duplicate the sound of "the real thing" well enough to fool someone who has learned to listen analytically---a trained listener. But the goal of literal realism, or "accuracy," remains the standard against which a subjective reviewer evaluates any audio product design."

 

 

Anyway as far as Etymotic are concerned, if they are to be believed, the ER-4P/S/B are trying to be as accurate as possible to the sound of real life, I can't think of any other IEM's right now that try to - or claim to try to - acheive that.


The way I see it, there are three kinds of monitors, there are stage monitors, studio monitors, and analysis monitors.

 

 

 


Edited by kiteki - 10/25/11 at 11:39am
post #175 of 355
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ham Sandwich View Post



Neat article.  I hadn't seen it before.  A good read.

There's also an article by Stereophile on the art and science of measuring headphones.  It gets into measurement issues and the difference between a headphone designed to mimic free-field vs. a headphone designed to mimic diffuse-field.  A free-field headphone is going to have a bit more treble than a diffuse-field headphone.  Which model is more right?  Free-field or diffuse-field or something else?  We're really screwed here if we want to nail down one sound for being the right "neutral and balanced".  There isn't one right answer to that.  Every headphone or earphone manufacturer that wants to design a neutral studio quality headphone ends up with a different answer to that problem.

The best we may be able to do is list various headphones and earphones that approach some flavor of neutrality.  Ones that want to be neutral and are obviously not treblehead or basshead headphones.

We're gong to have a short list compared to the basshead list and treblehead list.  There just aren't that many actual neutral headphones that don't suck or don't sneak in too much treble or bass.  Cause neutral can be boring and boring doesn't always sell headphones, even for studio or professional use.

i don't think most headphones are measured this way anymore. i only know of couple headphones that were measured in a diffused field. the 240DF(the suffix ''DF'' says it all) and beyer dt48S were measured in a diffused field for IRT standard. the 240 sextetts were actually measured in a free-field since they used head dummies in an anechoic chamber to measure the 240 sextetts. i think only some STAX are still free-field equalized cause i think the company believes in free-field hearing still over diffused field. i don't know if any STAX or electrostatics at all were measured in a diffused field. i know the AKG K1000's also were free-field measured. i don't think headphones don't get measured the same way like they use to cause it's actually very expensive for the whole measurement to be tested and done in either a free-field chamber or diffused-field chamber.
Edited by RexAeterna - 10/26/11 at 2:53pm
post #176 of 355

Are the HD600, or the DT880 600 ohm more neutral?

post #177 of 355

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RexAeterna View Post


i don't think most headphones are measured this way anymore. i only know of couple headphones that were measured in a diffused field. the 240DF(the suffix ''DF'' says it all) and beyer dt48S were measured in a diffused field for IRT standard. the 240 sextetts were actually measured in a free-field since they used head dummies in an anechoic chamber to measure the 240 sextetts. i think only some STAX are still free-field equalized cause i think the company believes in free-field hearing still over diffused field. i don't know if any STAX or electrostatics at all were measured in a diffused field. i know the AKG K1000's also were free-field measured. i don't think headphones don't get measured the same way like they use to cause it's actually very expensive for the whole measurement to be tested and done in either a free-field chamber or diffused-field chamber.


I didn't want to imply that free-field or diffuse-field was better than one or the other or being widely used.  I mainly wanted to point out that different headphone makes and models can have different concepts of neutral when being designed.  Also, when measuring headphones HRTF applied and the particular dummy head/ear used will affect how the graph looks and what is neutral for a particular graph.  A flat graph isn't necessarily neutral in the headphone world.

 

post #178 of 355
Quote:
Originally Posted by sennheiserhd485 View Post

Are the HD600, or the DT880 600 ohm more neutral?



Interesting question.  I've owned both (my DT880 was actually 250ohm) - and I'd say the HD600 is slightly closer to neutral.  DT880 has a little more bass emphasis and definitely more detail/sparkle at the high end.

 

Here's the graphs from headroom - they show same ....

 

graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2751&graphID[]=573

 

My personal preference is definitely the HD600.

post #179 of 355
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ham Sandwich View Post




I didn't want to imply that free-field or diffuse-field was better than one or the other or being widely used.  I mainly wanted to point out that different headphone makes and models can have different concepts of neutral when being designed.  Also, when measuring headphones HRTF applied and the particular dummy head/ear used will affect how the graph looks and what is neutral for a particular graph.  A flat graph isn't necessarily neutral in the headphone world.

true. usually a flat sounding headphone does not have a flat FR curve due to hearing limitation and how close the speakers are to the ears. only headphone i know that supposedly had a flat repose from 20-20khz was the Pioneer Monitor 10

60daefd7_vbattach11259.jpg


i have them and they do sound very good and one of my favorite headphones right next to my 240 sextetts LP and 240DF's. they're just picky when it comes to sealing on your head and require some good amping cause they use aluminum voice coils instead of copper. i think they only ones of the time that didn't use either diffused field or free-field like other studio/monitoring headphones during the 70's as well. best way i would describe the pioneer monitor 10's is that like a good speaker they just do their job. for a closed headphone they have very impressive stereo imaging that is open when intended but i think cause they're balanced with a heavy 4-core 1/4'' TRS jack since during that time balanced headphones were studio standard unlike modern headphones were they only use a 3-core cable and have a shared ground connector.
Edited by RexAeterna - 10/27/11 at 4:47am
post #180 of 355

Nice pioneer

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