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Do Objective Headphone Measurements Correlate to the Audiophile's Subjective Experience? - Page 7

post #91 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by swbf2cheater View Post

 

I'm going to call you on a few points you have made.  First would be have you ever actually built a headphone from scratch?  Do you have any idea how hard it is to put everything together and come out with a win? Its not easy to tune headphones to tailor a specific sound.  Hold the manufacturers accountable?  I am not sure any headphone designer wants you to be overly analytical with your experience.  Ask Val from Vmoda if he created his company so you can listen to sweep tones and over analyze his headphones.  He made his gear so you can enjoy music.  The LCD2 didn't plot immensely well yet it sound very nice, the Fidelio L1 didn't plot well in the upper regions, yet it sounds nice.  Does that mean we bash them for this?  Hell no.  They all put immensely hard work into it, it took Sennheiser nearly 5 years to produce the HD800 and you want to bash them for some faults that are hardly even audible when you are trying to enjoy music?  What you are basically saying is the video game equivalent to creating a program that measures the texture geometry on the walls, the more perfect the angle the better the graph will look, yet the game can still look like pure crap.  You want to rely on a machine to tell you the textures are perfectly formed, yet they look like absolute crap. Go look at Star Wars Battlefront II for the pc, those textures on the walls are all nicely formed angles, yet the game looks like pure crap.

 

I fully endorse my favorite headphones failures.  They do not bother me.  My DX1000 isn't sublime, nor is my Fidelio L1 yet they sound highly musical and the failures shown on a chart are not even audibly present the majority of the time.  So no, you are absolutely wrong in your assumption.  There is nothing wrong with using graphs to further your tech knowledge, I never said anything to the contrary.  I said it was one part of the puzzle, you made it seem like I said it was THE DEVIL or some demon you need to avoid at all costs when I clearly said the opposite, twice.  You saying that the graph will help you decide what YOU like is a rehash of what I said twice before on this very page, so yes I agree.

 

Your idea what what journey is worth taking is purely subjective.  Many of us enjoy the experience and The Hunt.  Experiencing many products instead of just one.  Why on earth would I wan to celebrate measurements over the experience itself?  I am one of very few reviewers who almost never speaks of charts and plots because I feel them to be pointless and useless TO ME.  You are analytical, I am musical.  I prefer MUSICALITY over Perfect graphs.  I could care less if they looked like the Rocky Mountains so long as the end result sounds incredible.  

 

@ Jerg,

 

So what you are implying is that you got into headphones because you started off listening in a critical way?  LOL ok...

 

Well said. I'll add one more point to this since it's something I've noticed about this site since I've been here: There are posters here who seem to take quite a bit of enjoyment when a headphone doesn't measure well or when there are aspects to the measurements that they find problematic. I feel that's a large part of why these headphone wars begin and become out of control, and when you really think about what people are attacking each other over it's completely asinine. When it becomes enjoyable to be critical of someone else's headphone purchase decisions because you have a graph that shows something imperfect about them, it's time to find another hobby where you can be a bit more mature. 

post #92 of 193

 One man's Head-Fi trash is another man's Head-Fi treasure biggrin.gif

 

 head bin.jpg

post #93 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Focker View Post

 

Well said. I'll add one more point to this since it's something I've noticed about this site since I've been here: There are posters here who seem to take quite a bit of enjoyment when a headphone doesn't measure well or when there are aspects to the measurements that they find problematic. I feel that's a large part of why these headphone wars begin and become out of control, and when you really think about what people are attacking each other over it's completely asinine. When it becomes enjoyable to be critical of someone else's headphone purchase decisions because you have a graph that shows something imperfect about them, it's time to find another hobby where you can be a bit more mature. 

 

Again, well-measured plots show intrinsic properties and flaws (if they are major enough) that mirror that of subjective listening, so from a scientific standpoint it is relatively reliable data. Of course it's immature to discredit someone for their purchase by flailing around a plot, but who the hell does that? The plots show some things, so they are useful insight to those who have the ability to interpret them, that's it, period, nothing more, nothing less.

post #94 of 193
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by swbf2cheater View Post

Look at the Philips Fidelio L1 charts.  The Bass and Midrange plots are crazy good yet almost nobody gives a crap? Why is that?  Its because its not an analytical headphone, its geared to actually do something a lot of us forget to do in just enjoying the music, high musicality factor...Its not endorsed by big name/popular audio enthusiasts so it won't ever be popular. 

 

 

Actually the Philips Fidelio L1 have generated quite of bit of interest (at least with some members in the "experienced" crowd for lack of a better term) based on Tyll's measurements and some good impressions from a few people including Tyll (and I think even Jude.) It's not popular because Philips does not have good brand recognition and their marketing and outreach efforts seem rather poor compared to other manufacturers.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by swbf2cheater View Post

 

Ask Val from Vmoda if he created his company so you can listen to sweep tones and over analyze his headphones. 

 

He didn't create his headphones to listen to sweeps; but I've spoken to Val on several occasions including in person, and he firmly believes in measurements. We compared our own measurements of the M80 and thought it was cool that they were very similar. Also, Val is honest about his measurements and specifications, not spouting off unrealistic BS like +/- 0.5 channel matching. He does have a vision of how he wants this headphones to sound, and he uses measurements to help in achieve this. I have an enormous amount of respect for him. If fact, his marketing materials compares the FR of the M80 to other well known competitors.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by swbf2cheater View Post

 

The LCD2 didn't plot immensely well yet it sound very nice, the Fidelio L1 didn't plot well in the upper regions, yet it sounds nice.  

 

The LCD2 actually measures very well in FR + CSD. There's reason why many people (but not all) like it. I haven't tested the Fidelio L1, but I suspect that it too would measure well.


Edited by purrin - 6/17/12 at 7:57pm
post #95 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

 

 Of course it's immature to discredit someone for their purchase by flailing around a plot, but who the hell does that?

confused_face_2.gif  You can't be serious, Jerg 

post #96 of 193

Maybe people that think everything sounds good and have no way of contributing critical analysis to others should avoid threads or forums that do.  I see no value in turning every thread on a forum into appreciation threads where consumers blindly chase unicorns that don't exist.  Such an attitude makes the consumer a proxy shill for companies and they don't even get paid but pay for the pleasure of hyping their product!  Also, a headphone must not sound very good if someone is more concerned about what others think about it than they do themselves.  Such people might be said to possess insecurities and it might be the mature thing to avoid a forum whose intention and purpose is to offer impressions that actually evaluate gear.  That's kind of what the founder of the site and most members who contribute and follow are actually doing here.  

post #97 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

Of course it's immature to discredit someone for their purchase by flailing around a plot, but who the hell does that?

 

Oh there are people that do that.  I've had more than my share of tussles with those folks. There are also those that see that when it's not there.  Hyper-sensitives.  That's why I don't associate w/ any of the extremists.


Edited by Anaxilus - 6/17/12 at 6:21pm
post #98 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishski13 View Post

thanks purrin.

 

i have to disagree with anyone who says that the participants in this poll were inherently biased due to their association to a certain forum.  i think there are a variety preferences, tastes and priorities among the participants, and would consider them to have a fair amount of experience with headphone reproduction in general.  the biggest difference is that more tempered opinions prevail without hype, engendering constructive criticism that i personally feel is more educational.  just because you spend $1K on a headphone (or amp, DAC) doesn't make it perfect.  i mean there are members there that have to fix the problems of $1-1.5K headphones with toilet paper and craft store foam to suit their needs.  i could care less what someone else prefers, and would consider myself more tolerant of peaky high-mids and highs than most, but i have never owned a headphone that i could rate "1" and doubt there will ever be one.  i'm OK with that and don't feel i need my choices validated with hype to make me believe i have "the best".

 

$1K is a lot to spend on a pair of headphones.  there are some of us that feel that manufacturers are conducting "market segmentation" to the detriment of headphone culture.  we want more "better", not just more "different" with a higher price tag. 

[emphasis added]

 

It depends on how you interpret the results.  Biased compared to what?  To me it would be hard to imagine that there's not some effect from group self-selection, not to mention some or most people having seen some of the measurement data and/or discussions before, group think, and so on.  Even comparing the participant pool to the group of "advanced headphone hobbyist" may show some significant differences—the participant pool is more interested on average in headphone measurements and may be more sensitive to resonances and some other odd artifacts (hence maybe why they are sticking around there).

 

But anyway, purrin's said that this is an informal affair and hasn't overstated the results, so that's that.

 

When you have results that significant, with some reasonable confidence, conclusions you draw based on results from the surveyed group may still be very applicable to a more general population.  If nothing else, the results are interesting, but I'd think that there's more weight here than just that.

 

 

 

On a side note, I'm a little skeptical of the significance of some midrange/treble CSD anomalies (not the more egregious cases), considering the time scale and auditory masking when actual music is being played.  I mean, cleaner is probably better, but how much better?  Are there any papers on this?  I could be very wrong, and my intuition does say that it's probably more important than a lot of other things people care about, but maybe I'll just have to listen for myself with more headphones.

post #99 of 193

I personally love measurements because I believe that one of the most important aspects to enjoying a headphone is a parametric equalizer. I'd love to dance around and try and find a headphone that exactly matches my musical preference, but, let's face it, it'll probably be needless money spent. Frequency response can be tweaked with equalization, but the rest of the headphone cannot. I can't make a headphone with overdamped, tight bass have loose sounding bass. I can't push a headphone's vocals from being forward and shouty to being more pushed back and integrated. I can't suddenly make a closed headphone with a narrow soundstage turn into an AD700. What I can do, however, is combine the use of listening experiences from other users with the measurements to make an educated purchase. I decided a while back when I bought the KRK KNS 6400s that I should buy headphones independent of their frequency response colorations and pay strict attention to their raw imaging ability and nothing else. Waterfall CSD plots combined with %THD+noise graphs are one of the best ways I've found to get this information in an objective method. Headphones with high distortion into bass frequencies will probably never have the sub-bass response I want, headphones with ringing near the 7-10khz region will probably be too sibilant for me before they hit the amount of treble I want, headphones with cleaner waterfall CSD plots are more likely to have strong detail retrieval, headphones with odd looking, wavy 30hz square waves like the KRK KNS 6400 will sound overdamped and will never slam like how I want no matter how much I equalize, etc, etc, etc. It's my means to an end to make the most of my dollar. 

 

For example, the Fostex T50RP orthos have gotten rave reviews from both reviewers and also have measured very well. The combination of these factors helped me make an educated buy of my current favorite headphone, the T20RP. Some basic mods of them combined with me equalizing up the treble and bass regions a bit more to flavor has left me completely satisfied. 

post #100 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

 

On a side note, I'm a little skeptical of the significance of some midrange/treble CSD anomalies (not the more egregious cases), considering the time scale and auditory masking when actual music is being played.  I mean, cleaner is probably better, but how much better?  Are there any papers on this?  I could be very wrong, and my intuition does say that it's probably more important than a lot of other things people care about, but maybe I'll just have to listen for myself with more headphones.

 

This is good point and discussed on occasion but not to the extent that would satisfy your curiosity.  Obviously this isn't the right place to do so as the internet might melt.

post #101 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaxilus View Post

Maybe people that think everything sounds good and have no way of contributing critical analysis to others should avoid threads or forums that do.  I see no value in turning every thread on a forum into appreciation threads where consumers blindly chase unicorns that don't exist.  Such an attitude makes the consumer a proxy shill for companies and they don't even get paid but pay for the pleasure of hyping their product!  Also, a headphone must not sound very good if someone is more concerned about what others think about it than they do themselves.  Such people might be said to possess insecurities and it might be the mature thing to avoid a forum whose intention and purpose is to offer impressions that actually evaluate gear.  That's kind of what the founder of the site and most members who contribute and follow are actually doing here.  

 

Yes, except that being overly positive and appreciative of one's headphones, wanting to share their experiences with others, and even blindly chasing unicorns that don't exist isn't against the forum rules, whereas disparaging others for their comments - positive or negative - is. Thankfully it's not up to individual members as to who may or may not post on a great forum such as head-fi...it's up to Jude and his admins. 

 

Actually it's funny you mentioned this, cause it wasn't long ago that I was actually accused of being too positive on here. I got a kick out of that, cause it's something I never expected to hear on a consumer forum. I sometimes get sucked into the back and forth like anyone else, but the truth is that I don't like being negative when it comes to something I consider a hobby. I come across audio gear that I don't care for all the time, but I don't prefer to talk about that cause I know that there are people who own said gear and probably don't want to hear about my negative experiences with it. Besides, there are plenty of others who fill in that gap, nobody needs me piling on. On top of that, it's much more fun to talk about how much I love my headphones and how much enjoyment they bring me...makes me happy. 


Edited by Focker - 6/17/12 at 6:40pm
post #102 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhythmdevils View Post

The journey?  What, buying headphone after headphone because people who don't know anything write glowing reviews about how perfect they are, only to be let down by glaring problems over and over again?  I don't consider that a journey, I consider that a huge waste of time.  I've wasted 7 years doing that. 

 

SWBFcheater, as someone who has written a lot of very dramatic threads about how disappointed you are in the majority of headphones you should be celebrating these measurements because they hold headphone manufacturers accountable.  What these measurements show is not debatable, you can't just pay off a reviewer, or trick people with fancy packing and marketing.  Headphone companies take advantage of this subjective mentality because anything can be anything, people's opinions and experiences can be shaped by marketing.  And it allows them to keep making headphones with gross colorations and selling passing them off as perfect.  These graphs don't show the whole picture, and they don't tell you whether a headphone is bad or good.  They tell you about speed and decay.  It's up for you to decide what kind of speed and decay characteristics you like. 

 

The only reason to write off these measurements is if you are so insecure about your preferences that you can't stand the idea that something might be wrong with a headphone you like.  Instead of needing to claim perfection in something that is (as you have told us all over and over again) far from perfect, why not use these measurements as a way of furthering your understanding of sound.  THAT is a journey worth taking.  Use them to figure out what it is you like in a headphone, and what you don't like.  Maybe you like some resonance.  That's fine.  But we don't need to throw out facts, logic and very useful tools so that you can hold onto a silly and impossible notion of perfection and what seems to be sense of self worth that is attached to your headphones and preferences. 

 

There's still room for subjectivity.  You like what you like.  These shouldn't be seen as a threat to what you like.  They are tools to help you better understand what you like.  And to help you more easily find more of what you like.  Again, THAT is a journey that is worth taking. 

 

Very well said rhythm.

 

Measurements don't lie. Reviewers can say this, and marketing can say that, but measurements are always grounded in reality. Having the ability to test and measure equipment is what helps us sniff out the BS.  This doesn't mean you have to prefer a perfectly flat FR, but you should at least be aware of the colorations that you're experiencing.

post #103 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by OJNeg View Post

 

Very well said rhythm.

 

Measurements don't lie. Reviewers can say this, and marketing can say that, but measurements are always grounded in reality. Having the ability to test and measure equipment is what helps us sniff out the BS.  This doesn't mean you have to prefer a perfectly flat FR, but you should at least be aware of the colorations that you're experiencing.

This is also something I left out of my post. The repeatability and accountability of measurements is also one of my favorite parts of measurements. 

post #104 of 193
Quote:
Originally Posted by Focker View Post

 

Yes, except that being overly positive and appreciative of one's headphones, wanting to share their experiences with others, and even blindly chasing unicorns that don't exist isn't against the forum rules, whereas disparaging others for their comments - positive or negative - is. Thankfully it's not up to individual members as to who may or may not post on a great forum such as head-fi...it's up to Jude and his admins. 

 

Actually it's funny you mentioned this, cause it wasn't long ago that I was actually accused of being too positive on here. I got a kick out of that, cause it's something I never expected to hear on a consumer forum. I sometimes get sucked into the back and forth like anyone else, but the truth is that I don't like being negative when it comes to something I consider a hobby. I come across audio gear that I don't care for all the time, but I don't prefer to talk about that cause I know that there are people who own said gear and probably don't want to hear about my negative experiences with it. Besides, there are plenty of others who fill in that gap, nobody needs me piling on. On top of that, it's much more fun to talk about how much I love my headphones and how much enjoyment they bring me...makes me happy. 

 

Absolutely nothing wrong w/ sharing experiences and impressions.  I find some random commentaries the equivalent of saying the sky is green sometimes but whatever.  

 

Do consider that some here consider this more than a hobby.  There are many music and audio engineering professionals on this site that do it for a living.  Just because they are professionals also doesn't mean they have infinite time and money to select the most appropriate gear.  So how better to suit the needs of this segment?

 

I'll repeat that I find the box that purrin seems to get framed in rather unfortunate.  I met him through Head-fi and we compared notes and listening impressions long before the CSDs started.  It was because we were hearing things with our ears that others didn't seem to notice that we got along.  Independently we both auditioned the most favored phones at the time and found various flaws that others didn't mention wondering why?  If I never had the opportunity to discover this in person at a local meet I would have plunged down an enormous rabbit hole that would have forced me to live with a lot of headphones, amps and DACs I know now I do not like at all solely based on other people's impressions.

post #105 of 193
purrin,

Thanks for posting this. I've been very curious to see something like this done (it reminds me of Olive's work; I get that there's differences in implementation and study design). Sort of confirms what I figured it would (actually based on Olive's work), but still interesting nonetheless. I also agree with the "other side" (the point about the "holy crusade" is well received and understood) that it shouldn't be about having some single value that you can smash other people in the face with - "this is 6 mextacs, it's better than your widget which is only 3 mextacs!" And I appreciate that you never try to make your measurements into such a mess.

Also got an lol out of the 1350.

Anaxilus,

I just figured out your avatar for the first time ever. I had an lol. Also I agree with the points you've made - reminds me of a *very* old post by Jude (http://www.head-fi.org/t/11585/about-cables/15#post_132360). Common sense sometimes isn't so common, methinks.

Everybody join together, with the band. smily_headphones1.gif
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