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post #11581 of 20386

Sibilance definately occurs at anywhere around 6-11khz....

 

Going by your logic all sibilance is below 2khz? I think not :p

post #11582 of 20386

If anyone has Paul Simon's Graceland Remaster or the new 25th Anniversary Edition (24/96 if ya got it) and a pair of HE-400 and a pair of something considered smooth, AKG K701/702 or Maybe the HD600/650, try this: 

 

Listen to track #13, it's an unreleased version of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes", besides having one bad ass bass track on it, it has some very sibilant vocals on Paul Simon's vocal track. Listen to it on your HE-400 and then the other headphone.  Do you still hear it? I do....

post #11583 of 20386
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmsaxon69 View Post

If anyone has Paul Simon's Graceland Remaster or the new 25th Anniversary Edition (24/96 if ya got it) and a pair of HE-400 and a pair of something considered smooth, AKG K701/702 or Maybe the HD600/650, try this: 

 

Listen to track #13, it's an unreleased version of "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes", besides having one bad ass bass track on it, it has some very sibilant vocals on Paul Simon's vocal track. Listen to it on your HE-400 and then the other headphone.  Do you still hear it? I do....

 

Interesting.  I'll have to check this out, as I have that release of Graceland.  I've never really had an issue where the sibilance was notable on songs with male vocals or other instruments.  For me, it has usually been just limited to female vocals, or that is at least how my ears are processing it.  I'll give this a whirl and see how I perceive it.

 

I have a 31-band EQ plug-in running for my Squeezebox player.   It features all 31 bands from the ISO standard.  So that really leaves me with 6.3 kHz, 8 kHz and 10 kHz as adjustable options in the "hot" area where the treble seems to be upped a bit, or at least according to the graphs on the frequency plots.  In my case, I've done very little to 6.3 kHz because that is still somewhat normal on the chart.  8 kHz is close to the 7 to 9 kHz range where the sibilance would most likely fall into.  Thus, I've dropped the level about -5 dB at 8 kHz.  Granted, this is not a parametric EQ, but a standard graphic EQ flavor.  Had it been a parametric, I could have adjusted the width, so the bands on either side of 8 kHz would have been resolved to a degree, also.

 

Edit: I'll also listen to that same track with the Sennheiser HD-600s without any EQ applied and see how I perceive the track with those headphones.

post #11584 of 20386
Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

 

Interesting.  I'll have to check this out, as I have that release of Graceland.  I've never really had an issue where the sibilance was notable on songs with male vocals or other instruments.  For me, it has usually been just limited to female vocals, or that is at least how my ears are processing it.  I'll give this a whirl and see how I perceive it.

 

I have a 31-band EQ plug-in running for my Squeezebox player.   It features all 31 bands from the ISO standard.  So that really leaves me with 6.3 kHz, 8 kHz and 10 kHz as adjustable options in the "hot" area where the treble seems to be upped a bit, or at least according to the graphs on the frequency plots.  In my case, I've done very little to 6.3 kHz because that is still somewhat normal on the chart.  8 kHz is close to the 7 to 9 kHz range where the sibilance would most likely fall into.  Thus, I've dropped the level about -5 dB at 8 kHz.  Granted, this is not a parametric EQ, but a standard graphic EQ flavor.  Had it been a parametric, I could have adjusted the width, so the bands on either side of 8 kHz would have been resolved to a degree, also.

 

Edit: I'll also listen to that same track with the Sennheiser HD-600s without any EQ applied and see how I perceive the track with those headphones.


Cool, let me know what you think.  I have been listening to this album a lot lately and I noticed the vocal thing the other night and with it on male vocals I find it to be a recording phenomena and not a headphone induced thing. Add the resolution of an ortho headphone and it may magnify it, but it's still there on my K702-65 and those suckers are smooth as can be...

post #11585 of 20386

OK, I finished my test as follows:

 

1) Sennheiser HD-600, No EQ adjustments applied: I could hear the sibilance on the song with Paul Simon's voice.  Yet, the recording was quite open and airy - possibly done in an area as such, and not necessarily a recording studio?

 

2) HifiMan HE-400, EQ settings applied.  6.3 kHz, a -1.5dB cut, 8 kHz, a -5dB cut.  I could hear the sibilance in Paul's voice, which appeared about on the same level as the Sennheiser HD-600s.  So this was HD-600, no EQ, HE-400s, with EQ.

 

3) HifiMan HE-400, no EQ settings applied.  The sibilance was certainly a bit more prevalent than that while using the EQ adjustments while listening to the song.

 

So, at the conclusion of the tests, I believe I'm able to apply some comments that I've been thinking about the last few days in regards to the sound signature.  For me, I don't feel that Paul Simon's voice on that track is to a degree of sibiliance that greatly affects me and my ears don't seem quite as sensitive to it.  However, when I hear female vocals, the sibilance for many of them is almost grating on me.  I feel some of this might be my own hearing with respect to the frequencies I can hear and to which degree.  This certainly might be a major contributor to the sibiliance.  After all, my ears are 49 years old at this point.

 

However, your comments on the HE-400s and the AKG's and how they both responded to the Graceland "Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes" certainly does lend itself to being certainly an attribute of the track itself and almost seems like the headphones are doing just what they should do - apply and play the music to their best ability, and without covering up any flaws or features within the track itself.  Additionally, I do realize that some degree of sibiliance will exist and no matter how many headphones I upgrade to or switch to, I may not be able to completely dodge this issue ... or, should we say feature?  

 

But, one headphone in the past comes to mind where the sibiliance was really non-existent.  That happened to be the modified Fostex T50RP headphones.  It seems like all the female vocals that I pushed through them has a very buttery smooth approach to their vocals without any hint of harshness.  With that said, then the question comes to mind as to whether the T50RP was just masking the sibiliance as a weakness of the headphone itself, or was it just doing a better job of handling the sibiliance?  After hearing the track with both the Senneheiser and HifiMan headphones, I suspect the Fostex might have just been better at masking the true recording to a degree.

 

In the end, though, this is quite an interesting test.  We have a single track that we can pinpoint and then share our perceptions of each via various headphones.  This certainly does remove some of the "Apples vs. Oranges" bias that could happen with such comparisons.

post #11586 of 20386
I think it's kinda like I said earlier in the thread about other headphones not having the resolving capability of the Orthos and we accept that as "standard". Do you have some Diana Krall SACD or 24/96? I bet there is no sibilance on those recordings. I think it's on certain recordings and some think the HE-400 is causing it, yet it really is just resolving it where others fail to reveal it. Not saying that's a good thing necessarily...but at the end of the day, isn't that what we are paying all this money for? Resolution?
post #11587 of 20386
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post


I don't totally disagree with you but I do believe you need to think about what you are saying here. The suggestion (that you made to me), is that the fundamental tones are not actually that fundamental! I say that because, to me, you are emphasizing the role of 'all the other sound' outside the fundamentals that 'distinguish' something (like an instrument). Just because you can slide an EQ around and hear something change for the better or for the worse, it doesn't conclude that a problem like sibilance (which again is not necassarily bad) is solved at one frequency extreme or the other. My suggestion was that there is a difference between vocal and instrumental sibilance, and there is a difference between a sibilant recording, and a sibilant speaker. The former you can personally do nothing for, the latter, you can try to 'fix'. In a completed recording that you are playing back, tweaking a frequency for a voice is impacting everything else in the recording also, so as you note, maybe the voice problem isn't as bad, but now the trumpet sounds a little flat. That is why it is so important to have a good recording and a good speaker - at the end of the day, the issues that may be audible to you are not really going away.

I am not an expert on sound by any means, but I wish I could find the link I posted eons back that had a website where you could listen to slices of a radio broadcast (with some music), to discover why certain recordings are processed the way they are. To the contrary of what you said, the article was actually about all the sound information that you DO want to process out, to maximize vocal intelligibility and definition. Just because recording equipment captures the deep bass of a man's voice, it does not mean you want all that bass in the broadcast - it will be boomy and distracting, and 'unnatural'. It lead by example, by letting you listen to slices of the same recording over and over again. As it turned out, it was easy to hear how bfrequencies at, say, 200 hz were where voices could sound muddy and bloated, while around 2 khz they could become very sibilant and harsh. Without question, all frequencies were important to a well-done recording. However, if there was but one range of frequencies to have, for the sake of actually being able to hear what the persons were saying at all (and still somewhat human), it was right around 1 khz. There was virtually NOTHING going on above 4 khz and anything higher than that was basically inaudible - just scraps of sound that would be very easily missed. So, as I suggested, and what I hold to be an important rule of audio-wisdom is this: YES it might be there, but IS IT AUDIBLE, is it CRITICAL to reproduction of the sound??? That is the most important question sometimes. Without question, there is more vocal sibilance potentially at 1-4 khz than you will find at 15 khz.

The presence of second, third   . . . 90th order 'harmonics' as providing the missing link of musical beauty to me sounds more like marketing speak than science-speak. Today's recordings are typically digital, giving audio engineers free-reign to tweak every aspect of the recording one instrument and vocal at a time. They can and will choose to shape the sound of everything recorded, they will set playback levels, speed, add artificial resonances, and on and on. So if they screw it up (and boy, do they frig with everything sometimes, to our loss), we (the listener), are basically screwed. You may think that the HE-400 will never sound 'real', and that is fine, but lets not confuse multiple subjects together.

I get that there are big differences between real, live music, instruments, and recording and playback electronics. But I think you should take another look at my post. To what extent do you think the harmonics outside the fundamental tones are not only audible, but critical to the enjoyment of these headphones? Because I am not convinced that an issue like sibililance should be tackled in the 15 khz range, when the human voice cannot physically create that frequency itself.

I think if you were to understand a little more about the physics of sound, you would know that the 'fundamental' tone isn't just a name I've called the frequencies I think are important, it's actually a specific term for the base frequency that gives that note its pitch, its 'fundamental' frequency - https://www.google.com/url?q=http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_frequency&sa=U&ei=dtLwUZyNFILWPeTJgJgN&ved=0CAcQFjAA&sig2=0euJkhVJNdUJw42H5xxC_Q&usg=AFQjCNGOl3knNu0RSJULIgndNk6RwkKGgg

Regarding what you said about intelligibility of speech, I totally understand about which frequencies are important to recreate the sound of diction and you can certainly very that without the upper harmonics and frequencies, but you won't get a realistic sound. A prime example of this would be a telephone or AM radio. You can hear the voice and diction quite clearly, but the lack of frequencies above about 5khz (maybe a lot less, actually) render the voice artificial and sounding recorded and 'off the radio'. Just try it yourself - cut the frequencies above 5khz and bring them back in again. You won't lose intelligibility, but you will lose realism and a lot of the qualities of the recording that make that voice sound real and impressive. Conversely, bang those frequencies up and you will wince from the sibilance and change in the actual timbre of what you are hearing. I've recorded plenty stuff and been recorded enough over the years to know what messing with EQ during the mixing and mastering stage of making a record does, so please don't think I'm just saying what I think may be true, I am speaking from experience as well.

I do already own the HE-400s and have grown to love them. I don't get a totally realistic sound from any of my setups and it's only certain unprocessed music that really calls for total realism in timbre. Maybe I would be a Stax guy - wouldn't we all be if we had the money?!
Edited by amigomatt - 7/25/13 at 6:13am
post #11588 of 20386

Amigomatt is right.

 

Harmonics will resonate throughout the frequency specturm, even past human hearing not to mention bat hearing. After the principle note, there is 2nd order, 3rd order, 4th order, 5th order... harmonics etc, etc, extending to infinity until the universe echos. And yes it's these harmonics that create timbre and our perception of what sounds real/natural, not the actual note. And probably also the reason why many of you hear sibilance when the spike is located past 13K or 9K depending on what version you have.

 

This is the reason I don't EQ because changing one part of the spectrum can result in effecting other parts of the frequency curve that you did not intend because you're basically screwing with harmonics of the other fudamental notes not within range of your original EQing. I'm sure sometimes it's harmless but I find it uneasy and would much rather get headphones I didn't have to EQ if at all possible.

 

*I'm silently waiting for TMRaven to swoop in and bash me over the head for speaking against his sacred EQ. LOL very_evil_smiley.gif

*Remember this is the ramblings of one man, i.e. me.


Edited by M-13 - 7/25/13 at 1:09am
post #11589 of 20386

 

 

post #11590 of 20386
Quote:
Originally Posted by M-13 View Post

Amigomatt is right.

 

Harmonics will resonate throughout the frequency specturm, even past human hearing not to mention bat hearing. After the principle note, there is 2nd order, 3rd order, 4th order, 5th order... harmonics etc, etc, extending to infinity until the universe echos. And yes it's these harmonics that create timbre and our perception of what sounds real/natural, not the actual note. And probably also the reason why many of you hear sibilance when the spike is located past 13K or 9K depending on what version you have.

 

This is the reason I don't EQ because changing one part of the spectrum can result in effecting other parts of the frequency curve that you did not intend because you're basically screwing with harmonics of the other fudamental notes not within range of your original EQing. I'm sure sometimes it's harmless but I find it uneasy and would much rather get headphones I didn't have to EQ if at all possible.

 

*I'm silently waiting for TMRaven to swoop in and bash me over the head for speaking against his sacred EQ. LOL very_evil_smiley.gif

*Remember this is the ramblings of one man, i.e. me.

Probably true, however in the end its a subjective matter so as long as you like it, its hard to look for reasons not to do it.

post #11591 of 20386
Quote:
Originally Posted by amigomatt View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

I think if you were to understand a little more about the physics of sound, you would know that the 'fundamental' time isn't just a name I've called the frequencies I think are important, it's actually a specific term for the base frequency that gives that note its pitch, its 'fundamental' frequency - https://www.google.com/url?q=http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_frequency&sa=U&ei=dtLwUZyNFILWPeTJgJgN&ved=0CAcQFjAA&sig2=0euJkhVJNdUJw42H5xxC_Q&usg=AFQjCNGOl3knNu0RSJULIgndNk6RwkKGgg

Regarding what you said about intelligibility of speech, I totally understand about which frequencies are important to recreate the sound of diction and you can certainly very that without the upper harmonics and frequencies, but you won't get a realistic sound. A prime example of this would be a telephone or AM radio. You can hear the voice and diction quite clearly, but the lack of frequencies above about 5khz (maybe a lot less, actually) render the voice artificial and sounding recorded and 'off the radio'. Just try it yourself - cut the frequencies above 5khz and bring them back in again. You won't lose intelligibility, but you will lose realism and a lot of the qualities of the recording that make that voice sound real and impressive. Conversely, bang those frequencies up and you will wince from the sibilance and change in the actual timbre of what you are hearing. I've recorded plenty stuff and been recorded enough over the years to know what messing with EQ during the mixing and mastering stage of making a record does, so please don't think I'm just saying what I think may be true, I am speaking from experience as well.

I do already own the HE-400s and have grown to love them. I don't get a totally realistic sound from any of my setups and it's only certain unprocessed music that really calls for total realism in timbre. Maybe I would be a Stax guy - wouldn't we all be if we had the money?!

 

That should settle it. I can fully agree with this. Also, the telephone network is limited to 3 kHz btw. If any of you have experience with talking via the internet on your phone, you will probably know that the quality is way better.

 

Stax don't need to be expensive. A proper new Stax setup does not cost more than an HE-500 setup, and if you are willing to go used, you have a hole world of older Stax models before you. I have yet to wander the lands of the electrets and other stats outside the lambda series. The older Stats are not inferior to the newer ones. I have the lambda signature which is considered to be the most revealing Stax 'phone made because it has the thinnest diaphragm made (by Stax). Got my setup for not much more than 600$. That is an amp that is similar to the srm-006, and possibly superior too, despite being 25 yrs old.. 

The 'stats are known for their effortless and very realistic presentation, sounds like that would be up your alley.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wje View Post

 

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

 

OK, I finished my test as follows:

 

1) Sennheiser HD-600, No EQ adjustments applied: I could hear the sibilance on the song with Paul Simon's voice.  Yet, the recording was quite open and airy - possibly done in an area as such, and not necessarily a recording studio?

 

2) HifiMan HE-400, EQ settings applied.  6.3 kHz, a -1.5dB cut, 8 kHz, a -5dB cut.  I could hear the sibilance in Paul's voice, which appeared about on the same level as the Sennheiser HD-600s.  So this was HD-600, no EQ, HE-400s, with EQ.

 

3) HifiMan HE-400, no EQ settings applied.  The sibilance was certainly a bit more prevalent than that while using the EQ adjustments while listening to the song.

 

So, at the conclusion of the tests, I believe I'm able to apply some comments that I've been thinking about the last few days in regards to the sound signature.  For me, I don't feel that Paul Simon's voice on that track is to a degree of sibiliance that greatly affects me and my ears don't seem quite as sensitive to it.  However, when I hear female vocals, the sibilance for many of them is almost grating on me.  I feel some of this might be my own hearing with respect to the frequencies I can hear and to which degree.  This certainly might be a major contributor to the sibiliance.  After all, my ears are 49 years old at this point.

 

However, your comments on the HE-400s and the AKG's and how they both responded to the Graceland "Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes" certainly does lend itself to being certainly an attribute of the track itself and almost seems like the headphones are doing just what they should do - apply and play the music to their best ability, and without covering up any flaws or features within the track itself.  Additionally, I do realize that some degree of sibiliance will exist and no matter how many headphones I upgrade to or switch to, I may not be able to completely dodge this issue ... or, should we say feature?  

 

But, one headphone in the past comes to mind where the sibiliance was really non-existent.  That happened to be the modified Fostex T50RP headphones.  It seems like all the female vocals that I pushed through them has a very buttery smooth approach to their vocals without any hint of harshness.  With that said, then the question comes to mind as to whether the T50RP was just masking the sibiliance as a weakness of the headphone itself, or was it just doing a better job of handling the sibiliance?  After hearing the track with both the Senneheiser and HifiMan headphones, I suspect the Fostex might have just been better at masking the true recording to a degree.

 

In the end, though, this is quite an interesting test.  We have a single track that we can pinpoint and then share our perceptions of each via various headphones.  This certainly does remove some of the "Apples vs. Oranges" bias that could happen with such comparisons.

 

 

You talk about EQ at 8 Khz? Are you looking at the headroom graph, cuz that is for the rev.1, which is said to be far darker sounding. The treble energy goes up from 8 kHz until some 16kHz as I remember it. So you want a treble roll-off.

 

To the grado owner (who was it?): Washing the pads can help immensely on the bass response (I have that from very reliable ressources. You should wash them in a washing machine). It is the L- or G-cush, right? Is the mod reversible?


Edited by davidsh - 7/25/13 at 4:07am
post #11592 of 20386
Thread Starter 

Guys, lets please be careful with topic that should belong in sound science and keep the discussion moving forward and relevant to the he400. This thread has been a wealth of information on many fronts and fun to hang out in. I'd hate to see it get locked. Please use caution...

post #11593 of 20386

A couple things.

 

1: We shouldn't compare the rev.1 graph (if it is the rev.1 graph) of headroom to Purrin's Rev.2 graph.  Even if they're different iterations of the HE-400, Purrin's graphs are completely different in compensation.  Also bear in mind that for headroom and inner-fidelity graphs, a reduction of around 10db actually ideal for the area around 3-4khz-- which means the HE-400 are more along the lines of 5db recessed in that area and not 15db or whatever huge dip the headroom graph has.  I personally EQ that area up by 3db whenever I'm in the mood to and I'm perfectly happy with the results.

 

2:  About using greatly recorded music.  Yes, the HE-400 does sound way better with greatly recorded music, but so does almost every other headphone and piece of audio equipment.  To really test a headphone for flaws one might try to use less than optimal recordings.

 

3: By M-13's argument, EQ'ing the treble of the HE-400 down to flat (or in this case let's say HD600 and/or LCD2) messing with its timbre would be essentially saying that an HD600 or LCD2 have horrible timbre to begin with.  There's only one argument I can come up for against EQ, and that is that EQ's like the simplistic ones found in iTunes (which I use) are less accurate than they should be. It's why I never really bother with complex EQ'ing of the mids on the iTunes thing.  A simple treble rolloff however is pretty much nonintrusive.  Also a lot of people love to use that parametric EQ, and that's way more accurate, just as long as you stay in digital mode.  Analog mode creates nonlinear distortion.

 

4: I've said it a couple times already but this thread's getting far too big and has far too much circular rambling in it complete with walls of texts.  It's not a welcoming environment for people trying to get information on HE-400.  The original post should have links to many of the major reviews, comparisons and impressions of the HE-400 found in this thread-- provided by the members of course so the topic creator doesn't have to sift through 700 pages of crap himself.

 

5: I've said it a couple times already but this thread's getting far too big and has far too much circular rambling in it complete with walls of texts.  It's not a welcoming environment for people trying to get information on HE-400.  The original post should have links to many of the major reviews, comparisons and impressions of the HE-400 found in this thread-- provided by the members of course so the topic creator doesn't have to sift through 700 pages of crap himself.


Edited by TMRaven - 7/25/13 at 5:16am
post #11594 of 20386
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmsaxon69 View Post

I'll go with a tilted sonic characteristic toward the high frequency, but never harsh to me. That's one thing I always liked about the SR80I that ive had for years, they never sounded harsh no matter what I played on them. Oh well, guess we all hear things differently.

Me too - my SR80s never sound harsh in that sense. Bright yes, but not harsh or tizzy.
post #11595 of 20386
Quote:
Originally Posted by MattTCG View Post

Guys, lets please be careful with topic that should belong in sound science and keep the discussion moving forward and relevant to the he400. This thread has been a wealth of information on many fronts and fun to hang out in. I'd hate to see it get locked. Please use caution...

Sorry for the physics ramblings, Matt. I've just finished reading this entire thread and I was just trying to put to bed a misconception that has been flying around for too long about the treble spike on the 400s. Over and out on that one now!
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