Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Heir Audio 4.Ai - Appreciation/Impression/Review Thread
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Heir Audio 4.Ai - Appreciation/Impression/Review Thread - Page 95  

post #1411 of 2528
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarlsagan View Post

Tomscy2000 noticed it beforehand, as did Inks. These kinds of dips are more apparent during comparisons. If you're not comparing or listening critically then you probably wouldn't hear it.

Didn't feel like posting in the firestorm, but it looks like things have calmed down. My knowledge of how headphones should sound is significantly better than my understanding of IEMs. In my review, I had attributed the supposed dip to a soundstage difference in headphones and IEMs. 

 

"Because it can’t all be rainbows and kittens. It should be expected, but even higher end IEMs have a lacking soundstage when compared to open headphones. Orchestral recordings I enjoy greatly on headphones did very little for me on the 4.Ai. I’ve also noticed that the “richness” of a song is not always there."

 

The 4.Ai really sparked my interest in IEMs and their potential. Purchased a pair of customs and am awaiting their arrival. I also borrowed earphones from a friend (Westone 4s) to do a little bit of comparison after reading about the issues. I then tried EQing the 4.Ai around the ~4.1khz area, and after critical listening I can indeed hear a dip in that range.

 

Does knowing that a dip exists affect me in a very negative manner? No, not at all. The existence of the dip and my knowledge of it doesn't prevent me from enjoying the 4.Ai. I still think the IEM performs well on most genres save orchestral music, complex classical pieces and acapella.

 

From the manufacturing side, it would be interesting to hear a clarification on whether the dip was an intended design in the sound signature of the 4.Ai or not. 

post #1412 of 2528
Quote:
Originally Posted by OK-Guy View Post

so you own a pair to judge?

 

Not judging anything. Just reminding what others have said. 

 

I do have a bit of experience with comparisons concerning the TWFK driver, which is used in the 4.ai. I've heard it in the CK10 and DBA-02. It may be a slightly different iteration but all TWFK's seem to have the same dip around 3-4kHz. Personally I loved the DBA-02 for a very long time. I still own them and I'm not sure I could ever sell them. However, it wasn't until I recently snagged a pair of ER-6's that problems with the DBA's FR became more apparent. I'm not sure if it's that particular dip I'm hearing but there seems to me something missing at around that frequency range that can't be compensated by the boost at 10kHz. I thought this before I had ever heard of this particular issue.

 

Also, as someone else stated earlier, the type of music one listens to will effect how audible a dip in FR might be.  

post #1413 of 2528

Some good points everyone has made I reckon. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swimsonny View Post

I just tried a lil experiment with my 4.Ai. As you know i love them and have never commented on anything to do with a dip. Now i think this may be to do with always using a bright amp which essentially fills in the gap.

 

Amps, unless they are faulty, will have a flat frequency response with all headphones they are designed for. An amp certainly shouldn't be adding 5-20 dB anywhere in the audible range!  It is more likely due to what instruments are playing when you listen as to whether a peak or dip in the frequency response affects the sound. A good example was the HD-800s, which have a peak at 6.3 kHz. That happens to be at the point that the Cowboy Junkies Sweet Jane has some sibilance in the recording. So, listening to it we all heard SHWEEEET JANE, which was highly irritating.  I suggest experimenting with a music player that has a 31 band EQ (if you're on a Mac, Vox can enable this during playback, as can other software) and playing around with boosting or dropping different frequencies with the music you like and other types of music. These things you'll ideally need to learn about if you're going to keep posting reviews, as you'll need to find where a pair of headphones or IEMs WONT be good, as well as with what music they do sound good.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FullCircle View Post

By looking at your shipping box, it is a good thing we go to great lengths to protect the IEMs! It looks like it was launched out of the UPS truck window as it drove by.

 

I used to work with couriers. Basically, if you put a fragile sticker on a box, they'd throw it harder. They'd steal stuff from under your nose if you let them too.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by james444 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

I want to talk about the words I've bolded. I get the impression (please correct me if I'm wrong) that the thought here is that headphones or IEMs should have certain characteristics or they are "wrong" or bad or whatever. Something is only bad or wrong if it doesn't meet the goals intended of it. So I reckon unless the manufacturer intended something different then we can't say that a design, in the absolute sense, is bad or wrong. Likewise a certain frequency response could easily be wrong for us, as it doesn't match well with our ears and/or our preferred music. This ends up meaning (drum roll!) ... we don't like it!

 

Aside from personal preference, we consumers should be allowed (in a matter-of-fact tone) to judge a product by its manufacturer's description. The manufacturer's webpage claims that the 4.Ai offer "a clean neutral sound signature" and that its BAs are "precision tuned". So, in my book, either Rin's measurements of FR and L/R mismatch are to be refuted, or the manufacturer's description adapted. No offense meant, but I just can't see how both things could be valid at the same time.

 

Valid points and no offence taken. I joined in the discussion only when I saw the word "should" and have no comment one way or the other on the IEMs themselves. Whatever Heir Audio make and say is up to them, as they have to wear any consequences of it, such as consumers judging it. smile.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by anoxy View Post

Yet it only becomes noticeable once they've been told it's there.

 

I don't think people don't notice these things, they just don't understand what they are hearing, because nobody has explained it to them. A person, for example, might listen with iPod earbuds, then go to an Apple Store and try the Beats, hear the stronger bass, think "That's so cool" and buy them. But they don't understand, specifically, that it was the stronger bass that influenced them. Likewise, when someone says a pair of headphones is "brighter", it is because there is a stronger treble with the music they listen to. If we take a pair of headphones that have a dip at 4 kHz and a peak at 6-8 kHz, common in many headphones, someone who listens to classical will feel they sound "dark" because that 4 kHz dip is around the upper notes of a lot of classical instruments and vocals, but someone who listens to pop will find them piercing, especially if they have ringing or resonances in the treble, as modern pop is very often mastered in a way that sound very bright above 6 kHz. So are the headphones dark or bright? Neither!

post #1414 of 2528
Thread Starter 
I said that it essentially fills the gap. Not that it actually fills the gap. Just the amp has a brighter tone to it which make myself perceive the IEM not lacking at all in mid-highs. It really is hard to notice, look how many people it slipped. There is no saying that an amp does not effect things like this in a IEM or headphone.

As for genres that is not the case, I listen on general to a wide variety of genres and when I review I cover all types as to not miss these things. Hey I have no interest in EDM but I still listen to it as its a genre a lot of people listen to.
Edited by Swimsonny - 11/7/12 at 8:30pm
post #1415 of 2528
Quote:
I said that it essentially fills the gap. Not that it actually fills the gap.

 

I think that we should all take a deep breath a realize the tone and inflection that is lost on these forums.  Swim, he was just using you to make a point and responding to your post, like any good moderator would.  If we continue to be defensive then it will just keep the crazy back and forth about all this stuff churning instead of talking about what this thread really is...a 4ai APPRECIATION thread.  Personally I think a new thread should be started if people want to talk more about 3-4 K notches in certain headphones so that it's not just heir taking the brunt of all this.

 

This is an internet forum, let's keep it light and not take everything so personally.

 

Sorry for the aside.
 

post #1416 of 2528
Quote:
Originally Posted by zach915m View Post

 

I think that we should all take a deep breath a realize the tone and inflection that is lost on these forums.  Swim, he was just using you to make a point and responding to your post, like any good moderator would.  If we continue to be defensive then it will just keep the crazy back and forth about all this stuff churning instead of talking about what this thread really is...a 4ai APPRECIATION thread.  Personally I think a new thread should be started if people want to talk more about 3-4 K notches in certain headphones so that it's not just heir taking the brunt of all this.

 

This is an internet forum, let's keep it light and not take everything so personally.

 

Sorry for the aside.
 

 

You have to appreciate the highs, as well as the lows of every headphone.  They come bundled together, you can't just ignore one just because you don't want to talk about it.  So I don't agree with splitting off into a non-appreciation (hate) thread.  As with any IEM, it has it's ups, and its downs.  You have to come to peace with both really.  But you can't ignore either.  You can't push it underneath the bed and hope it goes away, 'cause it really doesn't. 

 

I honestly feel that many of the people that this flaw "passed by" create a solid opinion on the headphone way to early.  Once this solid opinion was created, they continue trucking in that direction.  I also have a gut feeling that the same people really never listened for flaws...  Rather just embraced the positives of the 4.Ai. 

 

From the moment a reviewer puts on the headphones, they know whether or not it will be a positive or negative review.  They know.  How much they know is still in the range of ignorance.  It is the job of the reviewer (IMO) to be able to do both of these:

  • See good in something in a fog of negativity.
  • See the bad in something amazing.

This will help the end review have less of a total bias to it.  I have a feeling that Swim (being used as an example) failed to do the second as he came up with his final results (solid/strong opinion) about the 4.Ai within a week (If memory serves, it took him 5 days to write the full review).


Edited by tinyman392 - 11/7/12 at 9:04pm
post #1417 of 2528

I agree with Zach... it's a common driver design problem...not heir problem...i don't see the reason why heir must become the scapegoat, or the fall guy...

 

Let's find a general issue with IEM's and let's talk about that in the UE 900 thread!!!....That's make no sense...


Edited by sly_in_the_sky - 11/7/12 at 11:10pm
post #1418 of 2528
Thread Starter 
Thing is I could have published that review any time up until now and it would read the same thing, it has nothing to do with the time I took to write it, as for how I understood the signature, I review with my ears and not test tones so I Heard no notches. I don't think there is a problem with how I did that review.

As for us discussing this notch in the FR response I think that is the point of the thread, I think I will change the appreciation in the title to discussion!

As for the two bullet points you mention I do indeed do those things, however upon putting these in my ears, i was not sure that I could find a negative as they exceeded every IEM in my experiances and they still do really. If you look at my review of my HY3XB, a rather negative review but I still pick up on the positives, and even with my 4.Ai review, I said it lacks some sub bass extension making it not ideal for EDM and Dub.

The title was no we have perfection but do we?
Edited by Swimsonny - 11/7/12 at 11:21pm
post #1419 of 2528
Originally Posted by sly_in_the_sky View Post

I agree with Zach... it's a common driver design problem...not heir problem...i don't see the reason why heir must become the scapegoat, or the fall guy...

 

Let's find a general issue with IEM's and let's talk about that in the UE 900 thread!!!....That's make no sense...

It's NOT a common design problem to have a huge suck-out (it's more than your regular dip, which I wouldn't have an issue with).  Really.............. this was the first time I had seen/heard this on a so called flagship IEM. I reply to posts like these because misinformation just irks me, no need to change the picture. If you like it regardless that's fine and another point not in relation to matter brought about. 

 

James444's last point is spot-on. 


Edited by Inks - 11/7/12 at 11:42pm
post #1420 of 2528

So James comes and here is Ink again...:-) Headphoneus Supremus War against little Swiss common user...:-)

 

Ok sir, I shut up... I have problems in my ears and Heir 4 Ai sound like bull****....  I'll go and catch a UE 900 instead...:-)

 

By repeating things again and again, you will convince the whole audio world... and I think Heir don't deserve that...

post #1421 of 2528

Now listening to Ane Brun on my 4.Ai, being fed by the lovely DX100 - EQ'ed to +4dB on the 4K band. Will do A/B comparisons and post my thoughts. 

post #1422 of 2528
Quote:
Originally Posted by sly_in_the_sky View Post

So James comes and here is Ink again...:-) Headphoneus Supremus War against little Swiss common user...:-)

That was funny as dude.. biggrin.gif They're out to get ya Sly....coming up behind ya! devil_face.gif
post #1423 of 2528

I must watch my back...;-)

 

But I think that if I buy the UE 900, I'll be saved...;-)

 

Listening to Bitches Brew (Miles Davis...), even if the recording is a little bit poor, the UE 900 (oh my god, what am I saying?!?!...;-), the Heir 4 ai are so envelopping...

post #1424 of 2528

This whole thing is getting out of hand. I made my post to try to put reason and temperance behind both sides, but it appears no one is interested in actually figuring out why there's a difference of opinion and instead indignantly bickering about in a fashion that will never amount to any progress of our understanding.

 

I want to make it clear: while my post was intended to stop sensationalistic statements that serve to do nothing but perpetuate mass panic and confusion, it is NOT a ticket for blind apologist behavior.

 

Do I like my 4.A? Yes, absolutely, warts and all. In fact, I understand the technical limitations of such a design. Do I acknowledge that there's a notch around 4k when I listen critically with tone sweeps and pure tones? Yes. A notch does not automatically discount the 4.A/Ai from being an excellent sounding earphone, at all. These two facts are NOT diametrically opposed to each other.

 

In fact, I purposely spent an entire week without listening to the 4.A before A/Bing it against the FitEar F111, fully expecting the F111 to sound better in the midrange, and hopefully better overall, as I planned to make it my next purchase. However, I spent a long time with critical listening, switching back and forth, and I learned that I really wasn't missing anything with the 4.A, and that in certain ways, it sounded more pleasant. Did the F111 sound more accurate? You bet. Did it sound more enjoyable? Not in the least bit. That was the reason why I hesitated to write a comparison between the 4.A and F111; I wanted to say the F111 was more accurate and I was going to make it my reference for a flat diffuse-field monitor in the future, but I just didn't end up enjoying it all that much when it was pitted against my 4.A. I didn't end up hearing anything that significantly brought me the sense of superior realism in the midrange that I was looking for.

 

There's an absolutely valid point behind the 4k notch and how it might affect acoustic accuracy for some folks, but that fact, as I laid out in my previous post, doesn't apply to everyone. Psychology affects things equally both in a positive and negative manner. People often complain about how so many earphones are hyped up to a frenzy, but once one single issue arises, the product goes dead. That's precisely positive and negative bias at play. Products are never as good or as terrible as people may see them at any one moment in time.

 

With regard to Heir Audio, I don't know what the rationale was for designing the 4.A/Ai in such a manner. I can only assume that there were certain relative values between frequencies that were made as goals, and in the end, a sacrifice in the 4k region didn't seem too bad a tradeoff, as it still sounds good. I am willing to bet that the 4.A was designed to sound neutral, rather than measure neutral. Of course, the objectivists surely will say that the 4.A is just a pretender and that to truly sound neutral it needs to measure that way, and that's fine for them to believe that, but for me, I believe in the marriage of sound signature, color, and good measurement.

 

I want to briefly touch on the notch once again. People need to further understand the principles of crossover design. Almost everyone employs a first order crossover, and judging from the components employed, the 4.A is no exception. A first order function can only change 6 dB per octave. That means that even if the TWFK driver were purposely around that 4 kHz region, the slope would have to be tuned to the maximum in order to achieve a dip that steep --- hardly something you do by accident. Last time I checked, for something to constitute an "error", it'd have to be done inadvertently. So, while I haven't split apart my 4.A and looked at exactly what Heir Audio did, I can only assume that the notch was made purposefully, in light of the fact that the overall sound signature was still good. Obviously, this is only a speculation, and we don't know the reality. Myriad other factors are also at play. We're aware that the TWFK used is the generic 30017 version; from all that I've seen, this version seems to have the worst notch cut, probably because it doesn't have the improved internal dampening and better armature design that the later revisions have. At the core, they still have very similar electrical properties; you can see their impedance/phase inflections vary at exactly the same frequencies, but with greatly different magnitude. Accusing Heir of making terrible mistakes and then passing it off as a high-end product doesn't do anything but incite needless conflict. We don't know the real story --- not even Rin (unless he decides to make a in-depth post explaining exactly why he concludes that the crossover design in the 4.Ai is an "error", I can't see it, from the data I'm given on his blog).

 

With that being said, I do believe channel matching is definitely something to improve on for Heir in the future. Different companies have different standards for L/R tolerances, and I agree with Inks in that it needs to be tighter for the entire gamut of Heir products. Be aware that tighter channel matching will often incur higher costs, and in the future Heir products will most likely be even costlier. From the dozens of prototypes that I've heard that have either had failed drivers or poor driver matching, I can feel that Knowles is actually not really great with their driver batches, and probably tends only to pay greater attention to production batches given to their bigger clients, and as a new, independent company, Heir is definitely not one of them.

post #1425 of 2528

I listened to a selection of music with my 4.Ai A/B-ing with and without the +4dB boost to the 4Khz band. 

 

Honestly, I was hard pressed to find music where it made a difference. Some female vocals came slightly forward but some piano music (Keith Jarrett) sounded harsh and unpleasant. Other than that, I didn't hear much of a difference. I prefer them without the 4dB boost, notch intact. Some may prefer headphones that measure perfectly flat, I prefer the more enjoyable sound.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
This thread is locked  
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › Heir Audio 4.Ai - Appreciation/Impression/Review Thread