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The Neutral / Balanced Thread - Page 20

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

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 18% (42)
    Etymotic ER-4S
  • 3% (7)
    Hifiman RE-272
  • 3% (9)
    Shure SE425
  • 1% (3)
    Sony EX510
  • 6% (15)
    Vsonic GR07
  • 3% (8)
    Westone UM3X
  • 8% (20)
    Audeze LCD-2
  • 13% (31)
    Sennheiser HD600
  • 11% (27)
    Sennheiser HD800
  • 7% (18)
    Beyerdynamic DT880
  • 3% (7)
    Shure SRH 840
  • 8% (19)
    AKG 702
  • 9% (21)
    Stax SR-009
  • 0% (1)
    Denon DN-HP1000
  • 0% (1)
    ESP950
  • 10% (24)
    Ultimate Ears Reference Monitor Custom
  • 3% (9)
    Unique Melody Miracle
  • 2% (6)
    KRK-KNS8400
  • 2% (5)
    Koss ESP950
226 Total Votes  
post #286 of 353

What I find interesting is that a full size headphone with that shelf style FR could sound neutral and balanced.  If the SR-009 actually accomplishes that I find that quite neat.  I don't think the LCD-2 rev2 quite accomplishes that magic auditory illusion.  Looking at the Inner Fidelity FR graphs for the HD600 and SR-009 and there's 10+ dB differences in areas for midrange through treble.  Yet both are being considered neutral and balanced.  I find that interesting.  I don't think you'd find the same sort of 10 dB discrepancy in any two brands of speakers that are considered neutral and balanced.  But speakers aren't headphones.  And if 10 dB differences between the HD600 and SR-009 can allow both to be considered neutral then why not 10 dB differences between the LCD-2 and SR-009?

 

I don't quite consider the LCD-2 rev2 that I have to be perfectly neutral and balanced.  If it was I wouldn't have such an urge to EQ it.  I like it with a 2 to 3 dB bump between 3K and 5K.  Or I do a shelf EQ that raises everything a dB or two from 3K on.  It sounds better to me like that and closer to neutral to my wonky ears.  I also think my EQing choices could change a bit as I try different amps.  So this neutral and balanced thing for the LCD-2 is still undecided for me.

post #287 of 353

Speaker FR measurements is one thing. They are easy. Headphone FR measurement methodology is evolving and there is still a lot of disagreement how they should be done. All I know is to take most of these headphone FR measurements with a grain-of-salt and instead trust trained or well experienced ears.

 

If it sounds right (especially if you have properly set up neutral speakers as a reference) but measures wrong, then the measurements are wrong. I am absolutely horrified that at how people who either have limited experience (with headphones or hi-fi in general), or zero experience with specific headphones go out and grab FR measurements from HeadRoom or InnerFidelity and make statements regarding the linearity or general balance of specific headphones.

 

Quite frankly, I'm shocked at how there are so many votes for the HD800 and LCD2 (at the same time) as neutral. Very few headphones sounds neutral. This is especially true when you compare headphones to even mid-fi speakers.

 

Three of the five most neutral headphones/IEMs that I've actually heard aren't even on the list:

 

UERM, SR009, HD600, ESP950HP1000

 

 


Edited by purrin - 11/13/11 at 12:20am
post #288 of 353

I wouldn't exactly call 9 votes 'so many'.

 

The poll is mostly useless because I don't anyone has heard - in detail, from a good source, for any lengthy amount of time - every IEM/can on that list.

 

ESPECIALLY since the LCD2/SR-009/HD800, etc.. are far out of reach for the average consumer.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

Speaker FR measurements is one thing. They are easy. Headphone FR measurement methodology is evolving and there is still a lot of disagreement how they should be done. All I know is to take most of these headphone FR measurements with a grain-of-salt and instead trust trained or well experienced ears.

 

If it sounds right (especially if you have properly set up neutral speakers as a reference) but measures wrong, then the measurements are wrong. I am absolutely horrified that at how people who either have limited experience (with headphones or hi-fi in general), or zero experience with specific headphones go out and grab FR measurements from HeadRoom or InnerFidelity and make statements regarding the linearity or general balance of specific headphones.

 

Quite frankly, I'm shocked at how there are so many votes for the HD800 and LCD2 (at the same time) as neutral. Very few headphones sounds neutral. This is especially true when you compare headphones to even mid-fi speakers.

 

 



 

post #289 of 353
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

 

Quite frankly, I'm shocked at how there are so many votes for the HD800 and LCD2 (at the same time) as neutral.

 

 



I've always thought this was funny too, they sound nothing alike. 

post #290 of 353

I just saw this thread for the first time and will also add onto the Grado HP1000 pile, which IMO is the most "neutral" full-size dynamic headphone that's ever been made, at least that I've heard. (I've also heard LCD-2 r1 & r2, HD800, T1, and others, plus the SR-009 briefly on a BHSE - but I wouldn't really count my SR-009 experience as anything really helpful.)

 

Aside from dynamic-type headphones, the only others that come to mind as being close to neutral are the JH Audio JH13 IEMs and Stax SR-007 electrostatic headphones (but only when powered by a BHSE).

 

The mention of the UERM piqued my interest, as I've never paid much attention to those. Looks like that could be a replacement for my JH13 if something ever happens to it, as I don't think I'll ever be buying from JH Audio in the future (the situation with the JH-3A completely turned me off to the company).


Edited by Asr - 11/13/11 at 12:47am
post #291 of 353

kwkarth brought a Koss ESP950 (and the plastic amp box) to a Portland meet.  I got to compare it to my HD600.  I really liked that ESP950.  A better HD600 in some ways.  Definitely neutral and balanced.  I want one.  It's high on my "want to get" list.

post #292 of 353

I'm considering Superlux HD681F. For $30 I've got nothing to lose, right? Their bass-boosted siblings seem to measure pretty good on Inner fidelities dummy with the Independant-of-direction HRTF...


Edited by markanini - 11/13/11 at 8:27am
post #293 of 353
Quote:
Originally Posted by n3rdling View Post

I don't think FR is the only thing that determines neutrality when talking tonality.  For instance, what if two headphones have the same FR but one has slow decay in the upper mids and another has slow decay in the midbass?  They won't sound the same because there's so much more energy in one area of the FR than another.  I think it'd be kinda cool to take something like purrin's CSD measurements to calculate the 'volume' of a given frequency (based on decay) and then illustrate it as a 2D graph similar to normal FR plots.


x2

 

post #294 of 353

I personally think the KRK-KNS8400 needs to be added to the list of full size cans that are neutral sounding (not necessarily for the poll).

 

I agree that the list of headphones that actually sound neutral to me is very short, but these are one set that really does to me.  By neutral, I mean nothing SOUNDS emphasized, but balanced.  These cans are close enough I think to be on the list... a lot closer than some others up there... just my opinion.

post #295 of 353

About my vote, I've actually voted on RE272; the headphone vote... I'm can't decide between HD800 (harsh), MS400 (darker), DT1350 (finicky fit) and Beyerdynamic Tesla T1 (bright).

Personally, I'd say T1 edges it out of the abovementioned.

post #296 of 353
Thread Starter 

Added and removed headphones (ones with 0 votes) off the poll.

post #297 of 353

Voted for the HD600 and reference monitor.

post #298 of 353

Umm, the HP1000 you listed as a Denon?  Should be Grado.  Grado HP1000/HP1/HP2.  Unless the Denons are all that.  tongue_smile.gif


Edited by Anaxilus - 11/14/11 at 11:20pm
post #299 of 353
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

Umm, the HP1000 you listed as a Denon?  Should be Grado.  Grado HP1000/HP1/HP2.  Unless the Denons are all that.  tongue_smile.gif


*facepalm* I did a quick search in google and it turned out to be denons. Big mistake. tongue.gif

 

post #300 of 353

I recently got the AKG K702s, so please add me to the list smily_headphones1.gif.  I'm enjoying the sounds of the K702 a lot!

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