Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Final Audio Design Impressions and Discussion Thread
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Final Audio Design Impressions and Discussion Thread - Page 59

post #871 of 4523

A sensational post and read, providing real insight and distinctions...........thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

 

Thank you!!!

 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

 

Well, I wasn't suggesting the Piano Fortes didn't sound natural to me because they aren't neutral. They simply don't sound natural to me. Similarly, a perfectly flat FR doesn't really sound natural to me either. Really though "natural" is kind of a problematic term to employ, as it kind of has a very personal meaning I think.

 

To that end, I'm of two minds with regard to what you're saying.

 

On the one hand, I think it's a little problematic to assume the Piano Forte is conveying the way something is mastered "naturally." It may sound natural to you, but can we really presume that's the way the engineer intended it to sound? Ideally, a more neutral pair of headphones will allow the mastering to come through without adding anything to it. In other words, they reach that baseline and tweak it to sound natural to them using their own headphones and not the Piano Fortes. Seems obvious enough, but really it speaks to the fact that listening with very colored headphones like the Piano Fortes is more about what we personally conceive as natural and not the producer. And that's fine. We tweak things to suit ourselves. However I think there may be a tendency to conflate the window with the scenery outside, if that makes sense.

 

Assuming the producer tunes something to be natural to his / her ears, the Piano Forte's very distinct coloration is adding to that on our end, doing more than simply letting what the producer "intended" through the gates (unless he / she masters specifically with the PF in mind). I suppose I'm saying that, for me, the truth of the 1601/1602 doesn't lie in its allowing that truth to come through, but rather in its offering a very unique and singular vision of that truth. Here's another way of looking at it: if the Piano Forte's truth is really universal, then why is it so difficult for so many people to get? More people don't like the sound of these than do in my experience. Perhaps it's a bit naive on my part, but I tend to think that "natural" sounding music is more obvious and has more of an immediate, recognizable appeal. No, to me this is exotica.

 

Speaking of conflations, I think there's also a tendency to confuse "flat" with "analytical." I've seen it time and time again: people calling headphones like the K701 neutral or flat. That's simply not the case. Some people mistakenly associate headphones with big treble tilts and massive detail emphasis as being flat. In actuality, a flat headphone like the Paradox doesn't sound very artificial or analytical in my opinion.

 

On the other hand, for my personal tastes, I think audio playback is at its best when the entirety of the system is considered. This sort of holistic approach is common in higher-end Japanese audio like Kondo Audio Note and Shindo Labs. They seem to favor a more organic and unified view. In this sense, I absolutely agree that achieving a "natural" sound isn't just tuning something to be flat. There's a certain vitalism, a certain... spirit to music, and one needs to consider every component of the audio chain. It's not just the headphones that contribute to good sound, but the amp and source, and beyond that the engineering and mastering, and beyond that the microphones and recording, and beyond that the artists and their soul and passion. It's all a singular line of continuity from one human's mind to another. So I can see the appeal in having transparent gear that gets out of the way. However we have to consider transparency for what it really is IMO, and that isn't necessarily neutral or "flat." In fact something neutral can be distracting, what I like to equate with deafening silence. The lack of something can be a distractor. A lack of coloration can itself be coloration. I think true transparency is, at its most basic, a connection to the music. I can see in that sense how the Piano Fortes can be transparent for you. For me, they simply aren't.

 

Hmm. I really didn't intend that to be a cliche "we all hear differently" post. I actually think our hearing is more similar than not. I think our tastes are what differ, what our tolerances are and what we are used to, which can directly effect what allows us to connect to what we're hearing. It's that old "listening to gear versus listening to music" thing.

post #872 of 4523
Muppet,

Fantastic read. Thanks for that. I have a couple thoughts of my own you conjured up.

My tastes aren't dictating my love of the PF. The PF is dictating my tastes. I typically have always liked v-shaped FRs. But I kept my mind open amount the PF.

For the first time in a long time I am listening to music and not the gear.

The simple truth is that for many genres of music, the PF is by and far the most natural thing I've heard. Not for trance necessarily, but for real, live music.

I think the PF can't be more of a universal truth because it is so different. Whether we agree on it being right/natural/correct or not, it is vastly different than the rest of the (IMO) artificial, contrived sounding IEMs out there. It's hard for people to let go of what they expect.

I don't think it comes down to taste differing, as my first sentence validates (for me). I think it's more that its hard for people to embrace the unfamiliar and break from their paradigm of what a headphone should sound like. And since these are so different, they are often times dismissed, whether or not they should be or not.

All I know is that these earphones have changed me, my tastes and my music through their own power. For the first time, my pre-existing tastes did not dictate in the end my love for the PF. The PF is truly a magician.

Excuse GPS. Typing on phone.
Edited by SoundFreaq - 1/8/13 at 7:46pm
post #873 of 4523
As per usual you are far more eloquent than I on expressing what I feel about these!
post #874 of 4523
Thanks Ian, but you have many many brilliant posts in here showcasing your passion for the PF with fantastic analogies! You're partly responsible for this happening to me ; )
post #875 of 4523
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

My love affair with the Piano Forte seems a bit more complicated. I've never really felt they were "right" or "natural" like some of you seem to feel. By the same token, I've enjoyed them immensely precisely because they seem so alien to me. Like I was telling another head-fier via PM: to me they seem like an impressionist painting, like Starry Night. They don't strive for an outward realism, yet they are able to effectively convey the inner state of the artist, and in that sense they are more real than "outward" reality. Their truth is absolute, but it is their own. They are the clearest and more confrontational, most unyielding expression of Final Audio's vision.

 

This is much closer to how I feel about the PFs.  Thanks for saying it so well.   They are beautifully surreal, rather than real.

 

Mike

post #876 of 4523

Thank you for the kind and thoughtful comments everyone, I appreciate it.

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundFreaq View Post

My tastes aren't dictating my love of the PF. The PF is dictating my tastes. I typically have always liked v-shaped FRs. But I kept my mind open amount the PF.

 

Seems like a chicken and egg conundrum, doesn't it?

 

I want to focus on two key words you mentioned: unfamiliar and paradigm. I think they actually represent what I meant by tastes in my previous post. Allow me to clarify at the risk of sounding a bit Kantian.

 

We're processing what we take in from the world around us, filtering it through what amounts to a set of expectations, what we use to form judgements. So when we say "this sounds nautral to me," we're filtering that through our bias. Like I was saying earlier, I think the differences in how we hear and what we hear are overplayed often times on head-fi: that "everything is relative and we all hear differently" mantra isn't right I feel. What I do think differs from person to person in most cases is that set of expectations---those cognitive filters---and consequently what we might consider "natural" or unnatural.

 

We base that on what we're hearing, and in the case of the Piano Forte it's difficult to separate the music from the device itself. In that sense I think you're spot on: you're listening to what sounds good on the Piano Forte, and so the Piano Forte is dictating your tastes. Beyond that, the Piano Forte has helped to establish a new set of cognitive filters (a clumsy way of saying it, but you get my drift I hope). In a sense it has unlocked some doors in your mind, shown you what natural music can sound like.

 

But we get into a problematic area again pretty quickly. First, the above description entails your getting used to the Piano Fortes (either over time, or as a sudden moment of epiphany). I think the potential for that still resides within you, which is what I meant by "tolerances" in my last post, and those in a sense pre-date the Piano Forte. I think there is something latent within you, the door that existed before that required the Piano Forte to unlock it. That might explain why someone else never gets to enjoy the Piano Forte.

 

Also consider this: before you had your "eureka moment" with the Piano Forte, did you have glimmers of that before hand? Or was it really all at once? In the case of the former, I think a gradual transition occurs, and in that sense it's checked against our tastes. Perhaps I can best explain it as listening to something you don't quite understand, but thinking "hey this sounds interesting" and deciding to continue on instead of retreat. The Piano Forte may be influencing your evolution as a listener, but how you embrace that and respond is difficult to separate from it. Also consider: you were curious about the Piano Forte from that outset and seemed to want to love it even before you heard it. That's a type of expectation in and over itself, isn't it? The Piano Forte may be a magician, but you wanted to go to the magic show.

 


Edited by MuppetFace - 1/9/13 at 3:30am
post #877 of 4523

I'm looking for something thats mid centric/forward with good treble extension, but unoffensive and smooth. I also like a transparent/airy sound with a big soundstage. I listen to alot of vocals, mainly female. Which of these two are better for my tastes the Heaven IV or the Heaven C?

post #878 of 4523
Quote:
Originally Posted by Love Music View Post

I'm looking for something thats mid centric/forward with good treble extension, but unoffensive and smooth. I also like a transparent/airy sound with a big soundstage. I listen to alot of vocals, mainly female. Which of these two are better for my tastes the Heaven IV or the Heaven C?

 

Both are what I'd consider to be Final Audio's most neutral in balance, at least compared to the Heaven VI and Heaven S. I'd say you really couldn't go wrong with either, and it may come down to which you prefer as far as ergonomics and design goes.

 

They're probably going to discontinue the Heaven C at some point sooner rather than later, which is something else to consider. The Heaven IV seems to be its replacement.

post #879 of 4523

Thanks MuppetFace. Hmm... I like the looks of the housing on the Heaven IV's, looks really classy, but I don't like the cables very much. They are on sale at the moment, and i must say it is a very reasonable price dt880smile.png

post #880 of 4523
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

 

But we get into a problematic area again pretty quickly. First, the above description entails your getting used to the Piano Fortes (either over time, or as a sudden moment of epiphany). I think the potential for that still resides within you, which is what I meant by "tolerances" in my last post, and those in a sense pre-date the Piano Forte. I think there is something latent within you, the door that existed before that required the Piano Forte to unlock it. That might explain why someone else never gets to enjoy the Piano Forte.

 

Also consider this: before you had your "eureka moment" with the Piano Forte, did you have glimmers of that before hand? Or was it really all at once? In the case of the former, I think a gradual transition occurs, and in that sense it's checked against our tastes. Perhaps I can best explain it as listening to something you don't quite understand, but thinking "hey this sounds interesting" and deciding to continue on instead of retreat. The Piano Forte may be influencing your evolution as a listener, but how you embrace that and respond is difficult to separate from it. Also consider: you were curious about the Piano Forte from that outset and seemed to want to love it even before you heard it. That's a type of expectation in and over itself, isn't it? The Piano Forte may be a magician, but you wanted to go to the magic show.

 

 

Well now this is a psychology discussion. Love it!

 

What was the psychological mechanism that meant I had a potential door to be unlocked, whereas others did not? 

 

To be clear, I did have glimmers of the moment before my epiphany. Like you said, it sounded like there was something special there, so I tread forward into the unknown, rather that immediately retreating. Isn't that part of my own personality though? Maybe it takes my personality type and the fact that I have been rewarded so many times for embracing the unexpected and pushing forward when others won't, that means I have that door to be unlocked whereas others are not capable of having that door. I also think age and the "set-in-your-ways" aspect somes in to play here as well - your are even more familiar with your set of expectations - or set of bias filters. 

 

I also did want to love it. But at the same time, I am NOT one to kid myself. If I've given something a fair shot, and I don't like it, I have zero qualms about vocalizing that. You can see evidence of that with my first few moments with the Piano Porte in my postings here. And with other Head-fi favorites that I ended up not liking, I went against the grain to say so. I even had helpful people like Ian try and help me out, but the door never unlocked for me, despite me wanting it to. So yes, I attend the magic show - even with great expectations, but if the performance is lack-luster, I'll leave - but not before it's over. 

 

I'll just have an extra beer to kill the time. 

post #881 of 4523
You know, the posts by MF and SF really go to show what it is about the FAD earphones/IEM's that make them exceptions to the rules.

Here we have intelligent, articulate discussions on sound and perception of sound, an exploration if you will. It is the same with music on this thread. If one goes back, page after page has been written about the exploration of music that has come about due to this companies products.

There is an emotional maturity about all of this that speaks volumes about what these headphones bring to the listeners table. Unlike other threads on other brands, brands that trumpet the extremes of hyperbole and passion on their products. Those threads soon turn into prepubescent slanging matches of who's ego is right or wrong but there is always something missing in those threads...Music!

With this thread, when there is disagreement or a divergence of opinions it always seems that the leveller, the balm, is music. No matter our thoughts or perceptions it strikes me as very few have actually said they don't like the music.

No matter how we perceive how these sound we all seem to like how they portray music on the whole. If that were not the case this thread would not be filled more with musical suggestions, new genre's or artists to explore, instead it would be full of technicalities and graph pissing matches!

I have vocalized how I now have difficulty listening to my LCD's. I think that is case in point, If one goes over to the LCD threads one will find masses of conversations about minuscule variations in graph measurements between versions, very little mention of music. In this thread there is minimal conversations about graphs and more about music.

Notice, most of what we talk about here is about enjoyment of music, not trying to best each other with our opinions of what should be, more rather an acceptance that we all perceive in different ways and that is fine as the bottom line is musical enjoyment. If these are not your cup of tea, fine we say, no problems, we don't go into defensive stance, an ego stance we just seem to chill and live and let live. How many threads on multi driver/custom/ analytical headphones/iems do you see that happen here on headfi?

Just some rambling thoughts. Like this brand, this thread is radically different from the mainstream and I kinda like that!
post #882 of 4523
Ian, well said, totally agree.

And as far as myself goes, I loved my Ultrasone Signature Pro so much that I wanted to get a second pair just in case. Now, if I had to pick a stranded-on-a-deserted-island headphone, I don't know what I would pick, despite the Piano Forte's coloration.
post #883 of 4523

I find it very amusing how every PF owner has such a connection with the music that goes through the PFs.

Such thrill and joy they seem to provide.

I only wished I demo-ed them at Jaben when I was back in Asia..

post #884 of 4523

I've found a demo of the Piano Forte should be more like a challenge. I don't know if anyone can really get a full feel for them in the timeframe of a demo at a shop. To anyone that doesn't seem to "get" the Piano Forte, I challenge you to listen to them exclusively for four days, then go back to your other headphones. 

 

Like all the significant music in my life, and this is also true for headphones - I did not gain a full understanding of the brilliance of a fantastic record or headphone right away. It grew on me. I find if I like something too quickly, I burn out on it quickly. The stuff that grows over time blossoms into something that stays with me. 

post #885 of 4523
I completely agree with that. If after a few days it is still not to your liking then move on, but a casual listen on the whole would not work so well I feel.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Final Audio Design Impressions and Discussion Thread