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Good Treble = Detailed. No, really.

post #1 of 116
Thread Starter 

If any of you are familiar with frequency domain transformations, this will probably make sense (I think too many people have the misconception that "treble" only effects high pitch sounds, and don't realize that every frequency contributes to the sound across the entire spectrum.)

 

By definition, a "detailed" headphone exposes the fine details, that is, the subtle quick curves and features of the sound waveform. By definition, this means in the frequency domain, the higher frequencies are better / not suppressed.

 

If you know what I'm referring to about frequency domain, consider the DCT of JPEG compression. As you lower the quality of the image, the higher frequency components of the (8x8 I think) freq-domain blocks are dropped off, resulting in a blurrier photo in general. Of course it's a bit more complex than that with color transformations, quantization etc., but you get the idea.

 

Lack of high frequency features, from a mathematical and practical perspective as far as I have ever seen = lack of detail.

 

I'm curious if there's something I'm missing. How can anything but treble have an effect on detail? And if nothing, why do people say "Be careful - good treble creates a false impression of detail!"

 

My impression is that when people refer to "detailed" headphones which may have recessed treble, they are referring to waveform amplitude precision / low quantization, and high quality highs, even if they're quiet.


Edited by ac500 - 11/7/11 at 8:41am
post #2 of 116

It's part of the picture, but doesn't transient response, separation, lack of distortion and noise al play pretty important roles too?

 

I think what people mean by peaky treble masquerading as detail is that putting a spike in the treble is an easy way of showing up the little microsounds that often ocur in the upper regions, like the figers sliding on the strings of a guitar, a cuff button hitting a mic stand etc. So you can use hearing those details (louder than they should actually be in the mix) as evidence of a detailed headphone, even if the headphones are actually very slow and smeared and that peak is the only place you hear details.

 

But a headphone with really clear sound, excellent separation, very tight transient response, inaudible distortion and noise, you should be able to hear details across the frequency range clearly and smoothly, without having to put an unnatural spike somewhere in the response where little details are likely to be heard.

 

post #3 of 116
Thread Starter 

True, adding treble quantity can create a false illusion of detail. However I still think treble quality is more or less the same thing as a headphone being detailed, at least in concept / theory.

 

Transient response is a good point, but doesn't transient response basically define treble quality anyway?


Edited by ac500 - 11/7/11 at 9:10am
post #4 of 116

So you can't have detail in bass? That doesn't make sense.

 

Perhaps resolution or clarity is a better word tho. . . 

post #5 of 116
Thread Starter 

Satellite_6, that's a perfect example of the misconceptions I was referring to. People don't realize that the high frequency components add detail across the spectrum, even to bass. For example, my HD650 has bass much stronger and more impactful and far extending than my SRH940, yet my SRH940 bass sounds much more detailed, especially in complex and fast paced songs with a lot of stuff going on. Why? Better high frequency reproduction.

 

Like I said it will make sense if you know what I mean regarding frequency domain transformations. Treble does NOT only effect high pitched sounds.


Edited by ac500 - 11/7/11 at 9:45am
post #6 of 116

How does treble add detail to bass notes if the bass notes don't have harmonics that reach the treble?

 

And does the SRH940 have better treble than the HD650, or more treble?


Edited by Head Injury - 11/7/11 at 9:51am
post #7 of 116

Correct me if I'm wrong but something in "concept or theory" may not be exactly how everyone perceives the phenomena especially for something so subjective as hearing. And also I think a distinction needs to be made between detail and the perception of detail. 

 

My two cents. 

post #8 of 116
Thread Starter 

> And does the SRH940 have better treble than the HD650, or more treble?

 
More, but also much better (there's no comparison, really). I've had my HD650 and SRH940 for several months now, and I cannot deny it as much as I like the HD650s for movies. The HD650 treble and mids are a league below the SRH940, believe it or not.
 
You'll read reviews comparing the SRH940 favorable to HD800s, and while I cannot speak to the accuracy of that (seems absurd), I can say they sound without a doubt a league above the HD650s in everything except for bass impact. The HD650s I still use for badly compressed or harsh treble music (since it smoothes it over), and for movies where the bass boom is nice.
 
Also before you ask, I've equalized them both to sound more or less neutral, so it's not an issue of different sound signatures. Once both are equalized, the HD650's lack of treble quality vs. the SRH940 becomes quite obvious.
 
>And also I think a distinction needs to be made between detail and the perception of detail. 
 
No, I think all that matters is what you hear. The only time a distinction needs made is when you are trying new headphones and are biased to prefer it. I have SRH940 and HD650 and have no particular bias to either (except a bit of bias for my HD650 because they're so comfortable to me, whereas my SRH940 are a bit less so), and after months of listening I cannot deny what I hear and that I find the SRH940 much more detailed and resolving than the HD650.
 
> How does treble add detail to bass notes if the bass notes don't have harmonics that reach the treble?
 
Think of a sound wave. Bass is a slow wave. Treble is fast waves. Now consider what you imagine to be a detailed bass melody. It is a slow wave that changes dynamically - fast. The only way this happens from a mathematical/physical perspective is the incorporation of higher frequency components to the frequency spectrum.
 
I've also heard this in real life without realizing this was why, again with my SRH940s. They produce more detailed bass than my HD650s, and that perplexed me for quite some time. Then I EQ'ed my HD650 treble up, and noticed the bass seemed to become more detailed somehow. It didn't occur to me until I thought of it that this makes perfect sense mathematically as I've mentioned above.

Edited by ac500 - 11/7/11 at 10:16am
post #9 of 116

Uhhhhhh. . . that still makes no sense. 

post #10 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac500 View Post

Think of a sound wave. Bass is a slow wave. Treble is fast waves. Now consider what you imagine to be a detailed bass melody. It is a slow wave that changes dynamically - fast. The only way this happens from a mathematical/physical perspective is the incorporation of higher frequency components to the frequency spectrum.


You're going to have to actually explain this. I'm not sure you're picturing the waves correctly.

post #11 of 116
Quote:
Originally Posted by ac500 View Post

> And does the SRH940 have better treble than the HD650, or more treble?

 
More, but also much better (there's no comparison, really). I've had my HD650 and SRH940 for several months now, and I cannot deny it as much as I like the HD650s for movies. The HD650 treble and mids are a league below the SRH940, believe it or not.
 
You'll read reviews comparing the SRH940 favorable to HD800s, and while I cannot speak to the accuracy of that (seems absurd), I can say they sound without a doubt a league above the HD650s in everything except for bass impact. The HD650s I still use for badly compressed or harsh treble music (since it smoothes it over), and for movies where the bass boom is nice.
 
Also before you ask, I've equalized them both to sound more or less neutral, so it's not an issue of different sound signatures. Once both are equalized, the HD650's lack of treble quality vs. the SRH940 becomes quite obvious.
 


Isn't what you are talking about is phasing? Depending on your equalizer, you might notice a reduction of detail because of phasing.

 

post #12 of 116

I do not get this either. Play about with an EQ and you will see how you cannot improve bass clarity by adjusting high frequencies, but you can by adjusting lower ones.

post #13 of 116

...i don't get it nor i feel the 940 has good bass ==

post #14 of 116

Resolution is independent of frequency range.

 

Good treble will have detail and extension but sound also musical, not harsh like so many speakers and cans do.

post #15 of 116
Thread Starter 


Quote:

Originally Posted by Head Injury View Post
You're going to have to actually explain this. I'm not sure you're picturing the waves correctly.

 

http://mathworld.wolfram.com/FourierSeries.html

 

> Resolution is independent of frequency range.

 

If by resolution you mean sampling rate or quantization precision, then yes. If by resolution you mean the actual ability of the sound waveform to conform to the input signal, then absolutely not. I think of resolution as the former however, so I'd agree. The latter is how I define detail.

 

> ...i don't get it nor i feel the 940 has good bass ==

 

It was kind of funny I was surprised when a non-audiophile listened to my SRH940s unamped (which severely reduces their bass), their comment was "Wow these have really nice low bass."

 

The SRH940s do not have very impactful bass, and it does roll off. But it is detailed, as far as my ears can tell - and notably more so than my HD650s. Anyway this is not a debate about the SRH940. 


Edited by ac500 - 11/7/11 at 11:48am
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