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What does "slow" and "can't keep up" mean?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

I know it's difficult to describe sound in words, and it's taken me a while to understand better what "bright" and "warm" and the like mean but I've gotten better at it over time. What I haven't been able to pick up is what people mean when they describe headphones as too slow and say that they "can't keep up" with certain music.

 

For reference, I have HD600s with the E7/9 combo and I think I've heard people say that HD600s fall into the above category. Could someone give me an example of a song that will help me understand what it is like for my headphones to be "too slow" and "not keep up"?

 

Thanks :)

post #2 of 14

Generally, "faster" headphones have better seperation, less leakage, more detail, arent overwhelmed when there are many instruments played and start muffling the sounds up and mixing em together.

 

Speed has nothing to do with sound signature, moreso ability.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blama View Post

I know it's difficult to describe sound in words, and it's taken me a while to understand better what "bright" and "warm" and the like mean but I've gotten better at it over time. What I haven't been able to pick up is what people mean when they describe headphones as too slow and say that they "can't keep up" with certain music.

 

For reference, I have HD600s with the E7/9 combo and I think I've heard people say that HD600s fall into the above category. Could someone give me an example of a song that will help me understand what it is like for my headphones to be "too slow" and "not keep up"?

 

Thanks :)



 

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks. Would it then be correct to say that speed is proportional to soundstage?

post #4 of 14

Not exactly... While speed obviously makes better seperation and which would give the illusion of a wider soundstage; it isnt proportional.

 

Example?

 

My Sony MDR-V6s. Rarely overwhelmed, very detailed, quite fast, nice seperation. Soundstage? Pretty decent, yes, but not the widest soundstage not around in proportion to its speed.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blama View Post

Thanks. Would it then be correct to say that speed is proportional to soundstage?



 

post #5 of 14
No. Soundstage is a different concept entirely.

Speed is a transducer's ability to keep up with very miniscule changes in signal. Generally the lighter the membrane the faster it is. Now I'm not technologically inclined so to speak so I can't get into the details and of course I could be completely wrong.

Sonically, it's relatively easy to play back a solo instrument and hear detail, correct tone, texture, etc. But when you have many instruments playing at the same time they start to blend into one another and you lose sight of the texture and tone of each individual instruments. On a slower transducer a complex passage will sound more like a single wall of sound, whereas on a faster transducer you will still hear more detail in each instrument individually.

Senns (600/650) are very good at tone and do really well on music that's relatively transparent where you don't have a lot of instruments happening at the same time - jazz, more minimal rock and blues, smaller-scale classical, etc, but when you have large-scale orchestral pieces or very fast and dense rock/metal they start losing some of the inner detail. Whereas something faster like Stax will take anything you throw at them and will remain perfectly detailed throughout, though on the sort of music the Senns do well you may not notice much of a difference.

Also cranking up the highs generally brings out inner detail, so a lot of headphones that aren't too fast but have emphasized highs will still sound a lot faster than they should. Senns don't do that (well at least the 600/650 don't) so they don't have an impression of speed, even though they're actually some of the faster and more detailed dynamics around IMO. If you take some of the brighter stuff out there and EQ it to have a roughly similar tonal balance to the HD650 you'll be surprised at how much more detailed the 650 is.
Edited by catscratch - 1/10/12 at 2:08pm
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks, that helps.

post #7 of 14

Just out of sheer curiosity, where would Grados fall on the scale of 'speed'?

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arboginge911 View Post

Just out of sheer curiosity, where would Grados fall on the scale of 'speed'?



Depends which. The 325s to me sound quite fast and impressive whilst the SR60s are adequate but lacking.

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by elemein View Post



Depends which. The 325s to me sound quite fast and impressive whilst the SR60s are adequate but lacking.



 

Makes sense, I kinda asked a vague question... Haha is there a particular company that is reputed as having fast phones, or does it solely rely on the model?

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arboginge911 View Post



 

Makes sense, I kinda asked a vague question... Haha is there a particular company that is reputed as having fast phones, or does it solely rely on the model?



Not exactly... There are high end models and low end models; there are fast highends and slow highends and vice versa with the low ends. It really does depend on the model mostly, but if you want an average, then on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being concise and clean sound with 1 being bloated and ugly wall of sound then; Grado: 6.5, Sony:6, Coby:4, Shure:5, Sennheisers: 5. Now those are just from the models I've heard, and I've heard most of the models they offer in the reasonable price range. Anyway, it all seems to be stuck around 5 because a lot of the headphones offered by these companies are "all arounders" (Excluding the XB line by Sony). The HD280s? All-arounders. XD100s? All rounders. SRH440s? All arounders. SR60s? All arounders... Sorta. Anyway, the more balance you throw into a headphone the higher the price is. Most headphones are balanced in terms of comfort and material and build and reliability and all that if you're getting your moneys worth.

 

Also, it was said previously, but dont fall for thinking high sounds add to detail. They dont. If you have an ocean of mids and one little pique of high, it'll give the illusion that the headphones are detaled because of that high when really they're not. SR60s try to present this illusion but when you put on some house electronic music all of a sudden they slow down to just adequate.

 

If you're curious about particular models, ask around; we'll be able to help ya out.

 

post #11 of 14


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by elemein View Post



Not exactly... There are high end models and low end models; there are fast highends and slow highends and vice versa with the low ends. It really does depend on the model mostly, but if you want an average, then on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being concise and clean sound with 1 being bloated and ugly wall of sound then; Grado: 6.5, Sony:6, Coby:4, Shure:5, Sennheisers: 5. Now those are just from the models I've heard, and I've heard most of the models they offer in the reasonable price range. Anyway, it all seems to be stuck around 5 because a lot of the headphones offered by these companies are "all arounders" (Excluding the XB line by Sony). The HD280s? All-arounders. XD100s? All rounders. SRH440s? All arounders. SR60s? All arounders... Sorta. Anyway, the more balance you throw into a headphone the higher the price is. Most headphones are balanced in terms of comfort and material and build and reliability and all that if you're getting your moneys worth.

 

Also, it was said previously, but dont fall for thinking high sounds add to detail. They dont. If you have an ocean of mids and one little pique of high, it'll give the illusion that the headphones are detaled because of that high when really they're not. SR60s try to present this illusion but when you put on some house electronic music all of a sudden they slow down to just adequate.

 

If you're curious about particular models, ask around; we'll be able to help ya out.

 



 

Ohhh, I think I get it! Thanks a lot for your help, I'll be sure to start payin' attention to stuff liek this~!

post #12 of 14

I always believed a "slow" sounding was to describe a headphone with slow, sloppy, or loose bass that turns into a muffled mess on faster tracks.

I never knew that it described separation of instruments; however, this starts asking fundamental questions about what "soundstage" really means. 

 

I'm confusing myself entirely; I guess in the end it depends on what the person who said "slow" meant. 

 

However I did learn a lot on your posts; thanks for the info

post #13 of 14

Sound decay. That's what I always thought it meant.

post #14 of 14

I think of it as the overall ability of a headphone to keep up with energetic, dense, and busy music.  It generally stems from the bass, but can deal with the treble as well.  For example, DT-770s are on the slow side.  Their bass is earth-shaking, but they kind of lumber along slowly as each note flows out.  The decay on the notes is long, so they linger and can get mushed into successive notes.  This is fine for slower and more mid-tempo genres like trip-hop and hip-hop, but on faster metal and electronic music like drum and bass it can seem like they are struggling to produce such a continuous stream of rapid fire sounds.  Try listening to something like Dieselboy, more aggressive albums from Venetian Snares, or faster tracks from Noisia and it should be more easy to grasp.  By contrast, a brand like Ultrasone is extremely fast.  They keep right on time with anything thrown at them with ease. 

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