Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Review: SPL Auditor
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Review: SPL Auditor - Page 10

post #136 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie_X View Post

Here's a little video overview I did of the SPL Auditor:

 

 

beerchug.gif

 

Skinship with Auditor biggrin.gif , well thanks for the video ^^  , now you could put this one on front page of this thread i guess.

post #137 of 200

Zombie_X: "The Auditor and Phonitor sound identical, the only difference is the crossfeed circuit that's built into the Phonitor"; "They both perform the exact same otherwise. So you are paying a extra $1,000 premium for the crossfeed."

 

Comparisons are always tricky. The statements above are true, but they're also misleading. It's like saying Usain Bolt and I are the same; the only difference is speed. In the case of the Auditor and Phonitor, we're really talking about two completely different amps. The Auditor is an amp. The Phonitor is an audio-imaging instrument.

 

As most who have used the Phonitor will admit, the variable controls for crossfeed, speaker angle, and centering produce effects that are subtle or not easily detected. Thus, after preliminary testing, they might conclude that these features are more phantom than real and not worth the additional cost.

 

Normally, a side-by-side comparison of amps is complicated because we try to keep the lineup of equipment identical while varying only the target component. If we're forced to physically switch the amps in and out of the lineup, we lose valuable time that results in decay of image memory. But with these two SPL amps, all we need is the Phonitor, which allows us to instantly switch from one to the other.

 

Here's the simple test: Use reliable recordings, e.g., Head-Fi's Open Your Ears. For me, the most revealing track in this album is Billy Burnette's cover of Bob Dylan's "Everything Is Broken." On the Phonitor, open up the controls to exaggerate the features. I use 3-4 for crossfeed, 40-50 for speaker angle, and I try to keep the centering as natural or distributed as possible. Listen continuously for about 20 minutes. Length of time is critical to "burn in" the sound image in your mind. Next, quickly switch off the three features. (This turns the Phonitor into an Auditor.)

 

For me, in an instant, the sound image shrinks or collapses dramatically from a very wide stage to a narrow screen. The change is real, palpable, like the difference between a normal and super widescreen TV. However, the mind quickly adjusts and the soundstage image for the Auditor fills out.

 

The point is that time lapse is critical. Too much time, and the first image fades, making comparisons difficult if not impossible.

 

Another point is that the mind compensates to create as natural a sound image as possible. This is a fatigue factor. The harder it has to work, the quicker the onset of fatigue. Thus, the Phonitor, when adjusted correctly, reduces fatigue.

 

Another important factor is headphones. For example, the HD800 is designed to provide as flat (or dynamically wide) a soundstage as possible. Thus, if the volume is carefully monitored, fatigue is reduced. But this attribute confounds testing of the Phonitor-Auditor. That is, it compensates for narrower imaging. When used with the Auditor, it automatically widens the soundstage.

 

Among my cans, I find that the K701 provides the cleanest and clearest images for comparison. When the Phonitor's controls are switched off, the change is dramatic.

 

The issue re the Phonitor and Auditor isn't which is better. As Zombie_X says, they're both excellent amps with identical strengths. However, the Phonitor has added features for monitoring and adjusting sound imagery, and some need or want this advantage. And, from my perspective, this advantage is real and significant.

post #138 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by feifan View Post
The issue re the Phonitor and Auditor isn't which is better. As Zombie_X says, they're both excellent amps with identical strengths. However, the Phonitor has added features for monitoring and adjusting sound imagery, and some need or want this advantage. And, from my perspective, this advantage is real and significant.

Excellent summary....

post #139 of 200
Thread Starter 

True, both have their own strengths and weaknesses. I personally can not justify the extra money for the crossfeed. It's a great feature but a bit costly for me.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by feifan View Post

Zombie_X: "The Auditor and Phonitor sound identical, the only difference is the crossfeed circuit that's built into the Phonitor"; "They both perform the exact same otherwise. So you are paying a extra $1,000 premium for the crossfeed."

 

Comparisons are always tricky. The statements above are true, but they're also misleading. It's like saying Usain Bolt and I are the same; the only difference is speed. In the case of the Auditor and Phonitor, we're really talking about two completely different amps. The Auditor is an amp. The Phonitor is an audio-imaging instrument.

 

As most who have used the Phonitor will admit, the variable controls for crossfeed, speaker angle, and centering produce effects that are subtle or not easily detected. Thus, after preliminary testing, they might conclude that these features are more phantom than real and not worth the additional cost.

 

Normally, a side-by-side comparison of amps is complicated because we try to keep the lineup of equipment identical while varying only the target component. If we're forced to physically switch the amps in and out of the lineup, we lose valuable time that results in decay of image memory. But with these two SPL amps, all we need is the Phonitor, which allows us to instantly switch from one to the other.

 

Here's the simple test: Use reliable recordings, e.g., Head-Fi's Open Your Ears. For me, the most revealing track in this album is Billy Burnette's cover of Bob Dylan's "Everything Is Broken." On the Phonitor, open up the controls to exaggerate the features. I use 3-4 for crossfeed, 40-50 for speaker angle, and I try to keep the centering as natural or distributed as possible. Listen continuously for about 20 minutes. Length of time is critical to "burn in" the sound image in your mind. Next, quickly switch off the three features. (This turns the Phonitor into an Auditor.)

 

For me, in an instant, the sound image shrinks or collapses dramatically from a very wide stage to a narrow screen. The change is real, palpable, like the difference between a normal and super widescreen TV. However, the mind quickly adjusts and the soundstage image for the Auditor fills out.

 

The point is that time lapse is critical. Too much time, and the first image fades, making comparisons difficult if not impossible.

 

Another point is that the mind compensates to create as natural a sound image as possible. This is a fatigue factor. The harder it has to work, the quicker the onset of fatigue. Thus, the Phonitor, when adjusted correctly, reduces fatigue.

 

Another important factor is headphones. For example, the HD800 is designed to provide as flat (or dynamically wide) a soundstage as possible. Thus, if the volume is carefully monitored, fatigue is reduced. But this attribute confounds testing of the Phonitor-Auditor. That is, it compensates for narrower imaging. When used with the Auditor, it automatically widens the soundstage.

 

Among my cans, I find that the K701 provides the cleanest and clearest images for comparison. When the Phonitor's controls are switched off, the change is dramatic.

 

The issue re the Phonitor and Auditor isn't which is better. As Zombie_X says, they're both excellent amps with identical strengths. However, the Phonitor has added features for monitoring and adjusting sound imagery, and some need or want this advantage. And, from my perspective, this advantage is real and significant.

post #140 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie_X View Post

True, both have their own strengths and weaknesses. I personally can not justify the extra money for the crossfeed. It's a great feature but a bit costly for me.

 


Saying what is in the post above as a simply a crossfeed sound does not describe what is summarized adequately in my view.  The Phonitor provides a realism that is hard to quantify, at least to me, but is much more than a simple "crossfeed."  It allows me control of the soundstaging and imaging that I could not otherwise be able to do.

post #141 of 200
Thread Starter 

Yes you can control these parameters. I found that using the crossfeed makes the soundstage smaller but imaging does improve.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slwiser View Post


Saying what is in the post above as a simply a crossfeed sound does not describe what is summarized adequately in my view.  The Phonitor provides a realism that is hard to quantify, at least to me, but is much more than a simple "crossfeed."  It allows me control of the soundstaging and imaging that I could not otherwise be able to do.

post #142 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zombie_X View Post

Yes you can control these parameters. I found that using the crossfeed makes the soundstage smaller but imaging does improve.

 


I agree about you view of soundstage and this is important to me because this has been one of my issues with the Senn headphones.  This issue is an inordinately large soundstage or non-real soundstaging so this allows me to set it to be more  coherent and real to me.  The standard soundstage of these headphones is normally so large that any precise imaging get lost to me.  This is another reason why I have never really liked the Senn 650 specifically and especially when balanced.  The HD800 does not have as un-real soundstage as the HD650 to me to start with but the Phonitor does allow me to control that issue as i think it should be controlled. Yes, it might not be worth the extra 1,000 but I did not pay that. I got a great value here used.


Edited by slwiser - 6/14/12 at 6:53pm
post #143 of 200
Thread Starter 

IMO The Phonitors imaging and crossfeed controls fix the HD800's wonky soundstage. To me the HD800's soundstage is too large and the Phonitor does correct the issue.

 

The Phonitor also corrects the K702's odd soundstage. The K70* line is in dire need of it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by slwiser View Post


I agree about you view of soundstage and this is important to me because this has been one of my issues with the Senn headphones.  This issue is an inordinately large soundstage or non-real soundstaging so this allows me to set it to be more  coherent and real to me.  The standard soundstage of these headphones is normally so large that any precise imaging get lost to me.  This is another reason why I have never really liked the Senn 650 specifically and especially when balanced.  The HD800 does not have as un-real soundstage as the HD650 to me to start with but the Phonitor does allow me to control that issue as i think it should be controlled. Yes, it might not be worth the extra 1,000 but I did not pay that. I got a great value here used.

post #144 of 200

Zombie_X, carefully consider Slwiser's comment that the Phonitor's controls are "much more than a simple 'crossfeed.'"

 

The vast majority of (if not all) amps that feature crossfeed treat it as a single function that can either be turned on or off. Except for the Phonitor, which separates it into 5 levels or degrees. Combine that with 6 different speaker angles and you begin to get an idea of the amount of control you have over sound image. But the Phonitor doesn't stop there. It also gives you 6 different levels of centering to further correct imaging. Obviously, the number of combinations are far greater than one.

 

The purpose of crossfeed is to ameliorate the super-stereo effect. Mike does an excellent job of explaining it in his 3/2/10 Headfonia article: "What we mean by super-stereo effect is that with headphones, the left ear hears only the sound coming from the left transducer and the right ear hears only the sound coming from the right transducer." The problem was an issue in some early recordings, and crossfeed was a solution. Obviously, the amount of sound from the left ear also entering the right -- and vice-versa -- is variable, a continuum, and not discrete. The Phonitor takes the continuum into account.

 

Your comments about the HD800's soundstage as "wonky" and "too large" are, to say the least, interesting. Your comment that "The K70* line is in dire need of" soundstage correction is also interesting. "Interesting" because they raise questions about your purpose for tossing out these red herrings. If you're trolling, you won't get a bite from me and, hopefully, from others, too, who appreciate the imaging power of these two reference headphones.
 

post #145 of 200

I absolutely love HD800's soundstage. Its what makes them unique.

post #146 of 200
Thread Starter 

Hi,

 

I know it's much more than a simple crossfeed circuit, it's quite the excellent piece of engineering. If my comments calling it a crossfeed have been  interpreted wrong then I am sorry, I just use "crossfeed" to generalize it. It does remove the super stereo effect but it seems in doing so that in squishes the soundstage. From my testing the imaging did improve but you do sacrafice soundstage.

 

I use crossfeed on the Beetles remasters as they have hard panning which sounds annoying and unnatural. I'm not talking down the circuit and purpose of the Phonitors abilities at all.

 

To me the HD800 has a soundstage that is far too large to be natural. Wonky was the wrong choice of wording, but it does sound that way to me. Keep in mind I do have hearing damage so soundstage perception can be a bit off.

 

As for the K70* line, yes their soundstage is nice and wide but lacks depth and height so in turn you need someway to fix that. The K702's soundstage is wonky to me. It's way too wide with not enough depth and height to even it out, so the super stereo effect is even more exaggerated.

 

No I'm not trolling, I don't troll, I am merely stating my opinion on the matter at hand. I'm sorry if it comes off as trolling but these are just opinions I have. I'm not trying to start a fight or anything, I am just voicing my opinion. I hate trolls so I would not do such a thing. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by feifan View Post

Zombie_X, carefully consider Slwiser's comment that the Phonitor's controls are "much more than a simple 'crossfeed.'"

 

The vast majority of (if not all) amps that feature crossfeed treat it as a single function that can either be turned on or off. Except for the Phonitor, which separates it into 5 levels or degrees. Combine that with 6 different speaker angles and you begin to get an idea of the amount of control you have over sound image. But the Phonitor doesn't stop there. It also gives you 6 different levels of centering to further correct imaging. Obviously, the number of combinations are far greater than one.

 

The purpose of crossfeed is to ameliorate the super-stereo effect. Mike does an excellent job of explaining it in his 3/2/10 Headfonia article: "What we mean by super-stereo effect is that with headphones, the left ear hears only the sound coming from the left transducer and the right ear hears only the sound coming from the right transducer." The problem was an issue in some early recordings, and crossfeed was a solution. Obviously, the amount of sound from the left ear also entering the right -- and vice-versa -- is variable, a continuum, and not discrete. The Phonitor takes the continuum into account.

 

Your comments about the HD800's soundstage as "wonky" and "too large" are, to say the least, interesting. Your comment that "The K70* line is in dire need of" soundstage correction is also interesting. "Interesting" because they raise questions about your purpose for tossing out these red herrings. If you're trolling, you won't get a bite from me and, hopefully, from others, too, who appreciate the imaging power of these two reference headphones.
 

post #147 of 200
Quote:

Originally Posted by Zombie_X View Post

 

To me the HD800 has a soundstage that is far too large to be natural. Wonky was the wrong choice of wording, but it does sound that way to me. Keep in mind I do have hearing damage so soundstage perception can be a bit off.

 

No I'm not trolling, I don't troll, I am merely stating my opinion on the matter at hand. I'm sorry if it comes off as trolling but these are just opinions I have. I'm not trying to start a fight or anything, I am just voicing my opinion. I hate trolls so I would not do such a thing. 

 

 

Nice and honest review ZombieX.  Thanks!

 

Actually i agree with that 'wonky' part of HD800, but maybe I don't call it soundstage, but tonality.

 

Yes, Auditor is easily the best amp for 300 ohms HD650 when I tried it, but it's a pity that it may not be suitable for my 'low' impedance LCD-2.

post #148 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedBull View Post

 

Nice and honest review ZombieX.  Thanks!

 

Actually i agree with that 'wonky' part of HD800, but maybe I don't call it soundstage, but tonality.

 

Yes, Auditor is easily the best amp for 300 ohms HD650 when I tried it, but it's a pity that it may not be suitable for my 'low' impedance LCD-2.

 

Some seams enjoy Auditor/phonitor with their planar http://www.head-fi.org/t/437390/spl-phonitor-roll-call-appreciation-thread/450#post_8715137 .

 

And i have to say that i am enjoying my K702 a lot with Auditor . (i found Zombie_X very acurate and many times i agree with what he wrote, but for the K702 + Auditor a bad match hum i don't think soo after testing myself) .

post #149 of 200

Thanks for the info.  I guess I have to try myself first before decided to get one.

 

What I am worried is => I tried D7100 with Dark Star, I forgotten that I leave the setting to 'High' (after I tried K702.  K702 need to get its but kicked with High setting ON) and the sounds was like 'eeeww', especially the bass, uncontrolled, flabby and loose.  I couldn't believe Denon made such a bad headphone.  

But my friend noticed that I have the High setting on.  So I tried again, this time with Low setting and the sound was MUCH better, more reasonably controlled bass, tighter everything.

 

So now I am a bit worried with amps that aimed for high impedance, to drive low impedance.  It may not be so bad either but I am afraid it is far from optimal. 

At least my BCL has 5 ohms output impedance.

But I heard planar is not really affected by damping factor, but I also have AT-D700 'low' impedance dynamic headphone, so ..........

post #150 of 200
Quote:
Originally Posted by feifan View Post

Zombie_X, carefully consider Slwiser's comment that the Phonitor's controls are "much more than a simple 'crossfeed.'"

 

The vast majority of (if not all) amps that feature crossfeed treat it as a single function that can either be turned on or off. Except for the Phonitor, which separates it into 5 levels or degrees. Combine that with 6 different speaker angles and you begin to get an idea of the amount of control you have over sound image. But the Phonitor doesn't stop there. It also gives you 6 different levels of centering to further correct imaging. Obviously, the number of combinations are far greater than one.

 

The purpose of crossfeed is to ameliorate the super-stereo effect. Mike does an excellent job of explaining it in his 3/2/10 Headfonia article: "What we mean by super-stereo effect is that with headphones, the left ear hears only the sound coming from the left transducer and the right ear hears only the sound coming from the right transducer." The problem was an issue in some early recordings, and crossfeed was a solution. Obviously, the amount of sound from the left ear also entering the right -- and vice-versa -- is variable, a continuum, and not discrete. The Phonitor takes the continuum into account.

 

Your comments about the HD800's soundstage as "wonky" and "too large" are, to say the least, interesting. Your comment that "The K70* line is in dire need of" soundstage correction is also interesting. "Interesting" because they raise questions about your purpose for tossing out these red herrings. If you're trolling, you won't get a bite from me and, hopefully, from others, too, who appreciate the imaging power of these two reference headphones.
 

 

 

I like this dude, but honestly I don't know how he got to this conclusions. confused_face_2.gif BTW, the T1 have almost the same soundstage as the K702.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Headphone Amps (full-size)
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Headphone Amps (full-size) › Review: SPL Auditor