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post #16 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slaughter View Post

I want music to sound like it would live, otherwise known as accurate or real. Not sure why anyone wouldn't want music to sound this way, but most headphones don't and they still sell...so what do I know...

The problem with this quale is that you never know what it sounds like live, because you aren't listening to it live, you're listening to a studio recording (or a recording of a live presentation), it will NEVER match a live playback scenario (the actual media on the disc or master is already "wrong") - and I view this as the same problem as chasing "flat" or "neutral" as a quale as well - because that also is basically unknowable and unattainable due to variations in processing and recording and so on. Go for high quality playback that does a wide variety of material justice and can translate recordings well (I agree that detailed/accurate doesn't have to mean boring!) and you can enjoy "live sounding" recordings all night, but it will never "sound like it would live."
post #17 of 38

Even though the music was recorded in a studio, it was still made with real instruments for the genres I listen to. Sure the engineers, producers, artists had their way with it and we will never know exactly what they wanted us to hear, but I know what instruments and vocals sound like in person. And I am talking about venues with the proper acoustics and such. I have never heard recessed mids in person. I have never heard music sound dark in person. I have never heard anemic bass in person. I have heard some hot highs and overpowering lows, but most of the time I go to a venue, I hear real music with emotion and a full range of dynamics. That is what I look for in headphones. I understand there are usually sacrifices, so neutral seems like the best place to be. People can obviously have their preferences, but I personally don't understand how those preferences include not wanting to hear music the way it actually sounds. None of us have to agree, it's just my opinion.

post #18 of 38

I've always had a hard time telling the difference between neutrality and accuracy. To me an accurate headphone is one that sounds consistent across all music types rather than sounding awesome on one and horrible on the other. Speakers that "let you hear the bacteria crawling on the violinists fingernail" are a myth. Neutrality - distortion = "accuracy".

 

It's not just "audiophiles" and studio engineers who go for neutrality. It's also people who listen to tons of music virtually all day every day. I listen to music to wake up, I listen to music while driving, I listen to music at the computer all day, then I go home and listen to music for recreation. While someone who listens to the radio or itunes a few times a week may think the headphones with the muddiest bass and most piercing treble sound the coolest because of that "WOW!" factor you get when you first put them on, that gets old when you're listening to tens of thousands of tracks for several hours a day every day for several decades. At that point it's probably more exciting to hear the nuances of a mix than to hear the same "THUMP THUMP THUMP" over and over.


Edited by machoboy - 8/29/12 at 8:34pm
post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic Defender View Post

You are always going to experience a hybrid-sound regardless of your intention i.e. source constraints (mastering, recording environment) + reproduction constraints (your gear, your ear, your room). As many have mentioned, why would anybody want a perfectly flat and neutral response? Such a response would likely be quite dull and most of us would say we wanted neutral, but not that neutral. As was mentioned by Malveaux, once your expectations have been met, you will perceive the sound as being right, and that is what we are all seeking. Of course, what we perceive as sounding right can and likley will change over the years so our pursuit of the right sound will continue.

 

People always talk about how live sound is the benchmark for natural sound reproduction, but I couldn't agree less. The sound that we experience in a live show is just as subject to colouration as sound reproduction at home. The instruments and how they are tuned and or amplified changes the sound in a live show, the venue itself, even the humidity in the air will make the sound potentially different. And how about the position of the listener? In some places in typical concert hall the sound is the most balanced while in another location it may be very muddy and distorted. I only mention this as it is a related concept. Cheers.

 

 

Thanks for conveying those observations so clearly.

 

I don't see how they can be reasonably contradicted

(but I'll certainly listen to anyone who believes otherwise).

post #20 of 38

I get the concept of "neutrality," within a certain range, but the whole "as the artist intended" argument seems particularly false to me. Are we supposed to believe that Japandroids and their producers and engineers assume that everyone will be listening on perfectly neutral gear? I would bet my favorite headphones that they are, if anything, assuming the exact opposite. Which makes the whole thing somewhat of a free-for-all, within a certain range.

post #21 of 38

I'd still say that comes down to consistency across genres. I don't doubt that a lot of rap, rock, dubstep, etc is mixed with the assumption that the end listener will be using some JVC boombox with quad subwoofers. On the other hand that probably doesn't apply to some classical, "non-dance" electronica recordings, and definitely doesn't apply with older recordings from before people spent more money on their subwoofer than the car its in.

 

So a neutral/accurate headphone is a headphone you can use for all genres without running into any surprises. When it does become ironic though, is when guys who own 10+ pairs are still searching for "ultimate neutrality". What's the point? At that stage you're lucky enough to have a headphone optimized for every type of recording and neutrality shouldn't be a concern unless you're selling all but one. It's like a strange exercise in self deprivation.


Edited by machoboy - 9/2/12 at 10:03pm
post #22 of 38

I see SG is stirring the pot of feces again. He's got a point though: untrained listeners may not prefer the more accurate transducer. Also, his audience is the layman, not the audiophile (it is CNET after all). Although it seems confusing because he purports to be an audiophile himself. Maybe he's some sort of commie-audiophile who wants to pull off a cultural revolution to destroy high-fidelity audio. I dunno. I'll go back to my first point: He wants to stir up crap so people pay attention to him.

 

Here's a more scientific study on the matter which seems to contradict that SG's assertion:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/614631/do-objective-headphone-measurements-correlate-to-the-audiophiles-subjective-experience/165#post_8492926

 

Also SG's understanding of accuracy in terms of measurements is extremely limited. There are many other measurable aspects of accuracy other than frequency response such as energy storage / decay, transient response, and non-linear distortion. For headphones, the issue of frequency response accuracy is relevant because headphones in general tend to be horribly uneven in frequency response with severe energy storage / decay issues - especially compared to speakers. Note that smoother even FR does not necessarily imply neutral. I think it's a good idea that not all headphones sound the same, but come on, most of the headphones out there are just way out in left field.

 

Regardless of measurements, this is interesting: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57443746-47/denons-awesome-new-headphones/

SG's assessment: I've reviewed some of the best Denon headphones over the years, but the AH-D7100 was vastly better-sounding"

 

With that above statement from SG, I have strong reservations about him. Is he truly an audio journalist or an audio shill? The D7100s I heard were extremely bassy with a suckout in the upper bass. That alone would be OK if not for the extreme amount of distortion. I didn't need measurements to tell me this. Quite frankly, I find Eminem and the Fugees better sounding from the HiFiMan HE500s than the D7100s.

 

Ultimately, I think what SG needs to do is to decide and go on the record whether he is a audiophile interested in high-fidelity, or an audio journalist for the masses rather than keep confusing the issue. These two groups are distinct and have very different sonic aims.


Edited by purrin - 9/3/12 at 12:04am
post #23 of 38

No matter what the coloration or the venue (home, studio, concert hall), Beyers sucked out mids, Grados hot highs and lack of warmth, or even Sennheiser's lack of sub bass, are not accurate sound production or "audiophile" quality. I am generalizing because I haven't heard high end models, but either way, live music has way more dynamics and full range of sound than any headphone, and that can't be contradicted. So live music is the benchmark. How can real life versus a reproduction, not be the benchmark for something? blink.gif

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by zazex View Post

 

 

Thanks for conveying those observations so clearly.

 

I don't see how they can be reasonably contradicted

(but I'll certainly listen to anyone who believes otherwise).

post #24 of 38

Regardless of how acute your hearing, you really aren't able to hear a fuller range of sound than a presented by a compact disc recording heard through a full range dynamic speaker. So really, it all comes down to which experience/colouration/personal-perception of the music you enjoy and consider your benchmark. And why would a live venue provide a more accurate sonic portrayl of the music? Certainly in a perfect live venue, under ideal conditions you will hear as close to an ideal spectrum of sound as is possible based on that unique performance, nothing more, nothing less. The same constraints exist when listening to music played through any component chain you wish to use. My point is that saying live music is the true and acurate presentation is ultimately just based on opinion and preference. I have enjoyed many, many live musical performances over the years such as my wife's choir performing John Rutter's Requiem in a beautiful church hall, or Pink Floyd outdoor for the Momentary Lapse of Reason tour, or Dave Brubeck outdoor at Jazzfest, .. Judas Priest, Rush, Cheap Trick, Robert Plant ....

 

I am not trying to sound like I think I'm all that, I am just trrying to convey my experience with, and deep love for live music. Despite that, I can't say that live music is the standard by which things are measured, nothing is. I'm sure you a a very musically informed fan yourself with many great experiences under your belt, so I hope I don't come across as sounding like I'm preaching to you, or talking down to you. It's all good. Cheers.


Edited by Sonic Defender - 9/3/12 at 12:44am
post #25 of 38
I'm in complete disagreement with Steve Guttenberg, and I'm unsure why he insists in selling the idea that under-performing and mediocre systems are what every serious corporation should strive for:
 
1) "... it's increasingly obvious that most people aren't interested in buying the best-sounding speakers. Other factors, such as the smallest possible size and maximum feature set are higher priorities than sound quality."
 
I was under the impression that people want the best-sounding speakers for a given size, price, and features... Certainly not the worst and most meh sounding. If a technology does not fit the bill, it will more than likely either improve itself to fit the bill, or cease to exist once the hype dies out (including sound bars and under-powered bluetooth speakers.)
 
2) "Digital audio formats, for example, always have more accurate frequency response than any analog format, but I think LPs sound better than CDs. I think records sound better: more lifelike and realistic than any digital audio format." 
 
I don't. As a transport, LPs were king, CDs are king now and sound better than LPs IMHO. Also I thought "lifelike and realistic" = "accurate" when the recording is mastered correctly... So now, inaccurate is more lifelike and realistic? I don't follow this logic at all.
 
3) "Buyer preferences for headphones are somewhat different than they are for speakers, but most people prefer bass emphasized over "flat," or more accurate-sounding models."
 
I find myself liking more accurate-sounding models. Is SG selling the idea that bass emphasized models will produce more "lifelike and realistic" sound?
 
4) "First, measurements have little to do with the sound of music, and better-measuring headphones don't always correlate with users' sound-quality preferences. Test tones are too simple and predictable; music is far more complex and random."
 
This is COMPLETELY MISLEADING. When measuring the frequency response of a system, a pseudo-random noise like waveform is sometime used to excite ALL the frequencies of a system at the same time, in order to obtain it's impulse response. Let me repeat that: PSEUDO-RANDOM NOISE LIKE WAVEFORM. Tones are certainly very useful though (particularly when determining non-linear distortion).
 
5) "If accuracy was prized above all, the $300 Etymotic ER-4PT in-ear headphone would be a huge seller, but it's not. It's too accurate." 
 
Accurate headphones are not necessarily the cheapest, which means they are not with in budget for everyone. For example, while my Phonak PFE 112 destroyed the Klipsch offerings, it was certainly more expensive (and accurate.) The PFE 112 is not perfect, I'm certain there are better offerings out there. Perhaps SG should show some dedication in comparing IEM within their price class and HELP the uninformed buyer!
 
6) "Manufacturers all bow to the altar of accuracy, but they also know that truly accurate products don't sell"
 
Not lately they aren't, and Steve is only making a case for this lackluster products IMO! This is very disappointing to say the least!

Edited by ultrabike - 9/3/12 at 12:48am
post #26 of 38

quote from ultrabike:  

 
3) "Buyer preferences for headphones are somewhat different than they are for speakers, but most people prefer bass emphasized over "flat," or more accurate-sounding models."
 
I find myself liking more accurate-sounding models. Is SG selling the idea that bass emphasized models will produce more "lifelike and realistic" sound? [end quote]
 
I think most audiophiles and audio enthusiasts would agree. All the new models from the major headphone manufacturers are attempts at 'flatness' and accuracy, AFAIK. Or Shure wouldn't have come out with the 940 and the new open models, AKG the 550... the new Beyer and Sennheisers, I assume are the same....attempts at high fidelity....not boomboxes for the ears. If a manufacturer could guarantee 100% fidelity at a consumer friendly price(impossible of course) wouldn't we all buy it?  I assume people spending big bucks for a new lens for their camera are looking for transparency, not distortion and color. Wouldn't the same hold true for audio? It's the fact that total transparency is unobtainable, however, that makes this hobby interesting. We can experience all the different colorations that different equipment adds and debate which has a 'better' coloration.

Edited by lejaz - 9/3/12 at 9:13am
post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

He's got a point though: untrained listeners may not prefer the more accurate transducer.

This also disagrees with Olive's findings (which I'm not exactly in love when it comes to translating to headphones) - in Olive's tests, people in general prefer more flat and accurate speakers out of a group, trained listeners just give you better study data and are better able to pick out the bad eggs.
Quote:
Also, his audience is the layman, not the audiophile (it is CNET after all). Although it seems confusing because he purports to be an audiophile himself. Maybe he's some sort of commie-audiophile who wants to pull off a cultural revolution to destroy high-fidelity audio. I dunno. I'll go back to my first point: He wants to stir up crap so people pay attention to him.

I'm not really sure who Guttenberg is targeting - he writes on CNET, but also shows up in Home Theater, Stereophile, Head-Fi, InnerFidelity, etc - and I have no idea if this article is a reprint or an original piece for CNET. But I do agree with the general consumer bent that he takes, I think if anything he's trying to walk that "center line" between tweako audiophile and average user.
Quote:
Here's a more scientific study on the matter which seems to contradict that SG's assertion:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/614631/do-objective-headphone-measurements-correlate-to-the-audiophiles-subjective-experience/165#post_8492926

So this whole post was just a shameless plug for your posts? tongue.gif (I kid, I kid!)

Quote:
Also SG's understanding of accuracy in terms of measurements is extremely limited. There are many other measurable aspects of accuracy other than frequency response such as energy storage / decay, transient response, and non-linear distortion. For headphones, the issue of frequency response accuracy is relevant because headphones in general tend to be horribly uneven in frequency response with severe energy storage / decay issues - especially compared to speakers. Note that smoother even FR does not necessarily imply neutral. I think it's a good idea that not all headphones sound the same, but come on, most of the headphones out there are just way out in left field.

Yeah, I would agree with this straight up. Especially the bolded last part.

But TMK there's been no actual studies done on listener preference for what the ideal headphone would be like (I know that Denon claims to have done ergonomics studies for the D7100, and that Sennheiser and AKG both claim their respective flagships are the result of "lots of research" but who knows what either of those claims means), beyond Ultrasone's work on S-LOGIC vs other radiative alignments (which are mostly inconclusive beyond telling us that Ultrasone, as usual, is madness incarnate). And by actual studies, I mean something that complies with ITU standards, is repeatable, and isn't done for journalistic reasons. Actual research. Like what Olive does with speakers. I'm not aware of *anything* close to that for headphones.
Quote:
Regardless of measurements, this is interesting: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57443746-47/denons-awesome-new-headphones/
SG's assessment: I've reviewed some of the best Denon headphones over the years, but the AH-D7100 was vastly better-sounding"

lol. I just have to lol whenever I see positive press mention of brand spanking new megabuck products, and the 7100s seem to be the most virulently shilled yet - I've seriously yet to read a truly negative review outside of user impressions (and most user impressions are anything but glowing; is it me, or is it getting funky in here?).
Quote:
With that above statement from SG, I have strong reservations about him. Is he truly an audio journalist or an audio shill? The D7100s I heard were extremely bassy with a suckout in the upper bass. That alone would be OK if not for the extreme amount of distortion. I didn't need measurements to tell me this. Quite frankly, I find Eminem and the Fugees better sounding from the HiFiMan HE500s than the D7100s.

Lol. Like you said - it's CNET. There is a *strong* "move units" vibe when it comes to individual product reviews. But then again, that's the point of the audio "press."
Quote:
Ultimately, I think what SG needs to do is to decide and go on the record whether he is a audiophile interested in high-fidelity, or an audio journalist for the masses rather than keep confusing the issue. These two groups are distinct and have very different sonic aims.

I could buy this - as I said earlier, he appears in so many different publications and takes the same bent across the line; I get that he's "prolific" or whatever in the audio writing industry, but he doesn't seem to have a unified "point" to make. Very confusing to say the least.

And don't take any of the above as a direct attack if you please - I do agree with many of your criticisms, but I also agree with the "central thrust" of Guttenberg's argument in attacking the whole "as the artist intended" and "flat rules the day" themes. I think the problem is that he makes statements like that, and then uses them to cover his tail for pushing the chicken (figuratively speaking). The other side of the coin is that the community is (seemingly) collectively onboard with pushing "flat and accurate" as the end of the world, and doesn't take into account personal preference - sure, there are studies (like those by Olive and Koenig) that say people, on average, will tend to preference, on average, the relatively flattest response of a series. But I think the problem is when we start extrapolating that and saying "you will like this one more because the squiggly is the right shape" - based on what? Ignoring that there's nothing that says what the "right squiggly" is for a pair of headphones, and ignoring that based on Koenig's writings there is likely no such thing as a "right squiggly" for all heads, what about the outliers? What kind of confidence are we making those generalizations with?

Again, I'm not saying we should have all of these insanely screwed up and quite frankly really megabad products, I'm just saying that one size fits all probably isn't as applicable here as it is with speakers. And that's more what I got out of Guttenberg's article.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post

quote from ultrabike:  
 


3) "Buyer preferences for headphones are somewhat different than they are for speakers, but most people prefer bass emphasized over "flat," or more accurate-sounding models."


 


I find myself liking more accurate-sounding models. Is SG selling the idea that bass emphasized models will produce more "lifelike and realistic" sound? [end quote]


 


I think most audiophiles and audio enthusiasts would agree. All the new models from the major headphone manufacturers are attempts at 'flatness' and accuracy, AFAIK. Or Shure wouldn't have come out with the 940 and the new open models, AKG the 550... the new Beyer and Sennheisers, I assume are the same....attempts at high fidelity....not boomboxes for the ears. If a manufacturer could guarantee 100% fidelity at a consumer friendly price(impossible of course) wouldn't we all buy it?  I assume people spending big bucks for a new lens for their camera are looking for transparency, not distortion and color. Wouldn't the same hold true for audio? It's the fact that total transparency is unobtainable, however, that makes this hobby interesting. We can experience all the different colorations that different equipment adds and debate which has a 'better' coloration.


I'd probably agree with what ultrabike is insinuating, but for a different reason: a lot of average consumers/normal users are buying headphones for portable or transportable use, not to sit in a "listening room" - and "boosted bass" can be a godsend in mobile environments when your chosen celebrifone has terrible low-end isolation. If that makes any sense. There's also the old adage that bass sells, and even with the most bass boosted headphone, you don't have anywhere the same mud and blood presentation you'll get with a bad subwoofer in a bad room (I mean what's the highest THD you've captured for LF on a headphone yet purin? Like 10%? And maybe like 10-15ms for a really bad ridge?).

To the other point - I'd probably disagree. Most of the new models that are "audiophile style" target extremely boosted treble as a means of being "detailed and accurate" and (perhaps somewhat snarkily) being different from the bass-boosted "DJ style" or "celebrity headphone" products that most audiophile poseurs wish to delineate themselves from. It's still a form of outward social presentation and all that (because remember, this stuff is all meant to be worn around in public). And I think that's probably the bigger disservice to all customers - it's saying that audiophiles want +30 dB at 10khz, and that "normal folks" want +30 dB at 100hz. Neither is really flat nor accurate. But both sides will still insist they're letting you "hear the music as the artist intended" - which is where I say "gag me" and get off that carousel.

EDIT
I wanted to add that I agree with ultrabike's complaint that Guttenberg's claim that "measurements are less than the range of human hearing" (what a tired old crutch that is) - but I didn't grab his post in a quote. We can absolutely "see" whatever phenomenon we want to "see" - the question is then how do you INTERPRET it. That's where HSR needs to be done, and I think (at least in this field) there's more application than there is theory. Which leads to a lot of misunderstanding.
Edited by obobskivich - 9/3/12 at 1:21pm
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

This also disagrees with Olive's findings (which I'm not exactly in love when it comes to translating to headphones) - in Olive's tests, people in general prefer more flat and accurate speakers out of a group, trained listeners just give you better study data and are better able to pick out the bad eggs.

 

I already knew that, but I was trying to give SG the benefit of the doubt. smile.gif

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Again, I'm not saying we should have all of these insanely screwed up and quite frankly really megabad products, I'm just saying that one size fits all probably isn't as applicable here as it is with speakers. And that's more what I got out of Guttenberg's article.

 

A personal preference level, I don't disagree. Most kids like massive bass these days. On a technical level, this is where I disagree. Take a look at the TOTL IEMs from JH, Westone, UE, FitEar, (or even compare to lesser models such as ER-4S). Their FR's are incredibly much closer to each other than the top headphones are, yet these IEMs still sound quite different and maintain their own "color".

 

Most human beings prefer to mate with other human beings, despite everyone person being unique. What SG is proposing is that humans beings mate with gorillas and space aliens.

 

Besides, I don't understand what SG is trying to say when the industry as it currently is, already produces gorillas, space aliens, banshees, etc. It seems he should already be loving it! So then, what is this guy's beef against audiophiles would like to see at least some TOTL headphones take a similar direction where IEMs have already gone with consistently higher-fidelity more accurate sounding transducers? The fact is, there was been no headphone released in 2012 which comes anywhere remotely close to accurate (subjectively by trained ears or objectively via measurements). Whereas the same cannot be said of IEMs.

 

As I've said, SG's a commie-audiophile who wants to ensure that everyone gets crappy sounding wildly (not mildly or purposely tuned) inaccurate headphones.


Edited by purrin - 9/3/12 at 2:24pm
post #29 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

I already knew that, but I was trying to give SG the benefit of the doubt. smile.gif

lol.

Quote:
A personal preference level, I don't disagree. Most kids like massive bass these days. On a technical level, this is where I disagree. Take a look at the top IEMs from JH, Westone, UE, FitEar, (or even compare to lesser models such as ER-4S). Their FR's are much closer to each other than the top headphones, yet these IEMs still sound quite different and maintain their own "color".

I could buy this. But I also wonder if there isn't something to the "massive bass" (beyond the bad isolation mobile scenario) - the lack of a solid preference study is the problem.
Quote:
Most human beings prefer to mate with other human beings, despite everyone person being unique. What SG is proposing is that humans beings mate with gorillas and space aliens.

Whoa unrelated quantum leap.
Quote:
Besides, I don't understand what SG is trying to say when the industry as it currently is already produces gorillas, space aliens, banshees, etc. What is this guy's beef against audiophiles would like to see headphones take a similar direction where IEMs have already gone with consistently higher-fidelity more accurate sounding transducers.

I think this is probably on-point, but the problem is that a lot of the current "attempts" at making flat/accurate/etc setups (like IEMs have done in the last few years - even the Monster IEMs measure pretty clean and flat compared to the insanity of full-size cans) just end up being eye-burners or otherwise hilarious in some way (I always feel like I've found a rare gem when I find a pair of full-size cans that aren't massively skewed). I think part of the problem is what Koenig gets to in his paper on S-LOGIC - that the differences in ear shape really screw with how a headphone will sound; IEMs tend to ignore those problems (by ignoring/bypassing the outer ear). However if you go back into time, there are plenty of relatively flat and accurate headphones out there - they didn't sell though, because they didn't have "massive bass" (or celebrity endorsement or god knows what else), so the question then becomes why. At least imho.
post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Again, I'm not saying we should have all of these insanely screwed up and quite frankly really megabad products, I'm just saying that one size fits all probably isn't as applicable here as it is with speakers. And that's more what I got out of Guttenberg's article.
I'd probably agree with what ultrabike is insinuating, but for a different reason: a lot of average consumers/normal users are buying headphones for portable or transportable use, not to sit in a "listening room" - and "boosted bass" can be a godsend in mobile environments when your chosen celebrifone has terrible low-end isolation. If that makes any sense. There's also the old adage that bass sells, and even with the most bass boosted headphone, you don't have anywhere the same mud and blood presentation you'll get with a bad subwoofer in a bad room (I mean what's the highest THD you've captured for LF on a headphone yet purin? Like 10%? And maybe like 10-15ms for a really bad ridge?).
To the other point - I'd probably disagree. Most of the new models that are "audiophile style" target extremely boosted treble as a means of being "detailed and accurate" and (perhaps somewhat snarkily) being different from the bass-boosted "DJ style" or "celebrity headphone" products that most audiophile poseurs wish to delineate themselves from. It's still a form of outward social presentation and all that (because remember, this stuff is all meant to be worn around in public). And I think that's probably the bigger disservice to all customers - it's saying that audiophiles want +30 dB at 10khz, and that "normal folks" want +30 dB at 100hz. Neither is really flat nor accurate. But both sides will still insist they're letting you "hear the music as the artist intended" - which is where I say "gag me" and get off that carousel.
EDIT
I wanted to add that I agree with ultrabike's complaint that Guttenberg's claim that "measurements are less than the range of human hearing" (what a tired old crutch that is) - but I didn't grab his post in a quote. We can absolutely "see" whatever phenomenon we want to "see" - the question is then how do you INTERPRET it. That's where HSR needs to be done, and I think (at least in this field) there's more application than there is theory. Which leads to a lot of misunderstanding.

 

I see some validity to the argument of one size doesn't fit all in headphones, but that's not what I got from Steve's article.

 

Steve seems to be on some sort of a crusade against accurate/neutral (in terms of frequency response) sounding gear... I mean, the title of his article is "Who wants perfectly accurate sound?"  His main claim is repeated over and over as follows:

 

"I'm far from convinced that the most accurate sound is the best sound"

 
"most people prefer bass emphasized over "flat," or more accurate-sounding models"
 
"measurements have little to do with the sound of music"
 
"Most buyers want more bass, more punch, and more excitement from their headphones than the ER-4PT provides"
 
"truly accurate products don't sell"
 
He does not seem to be taking the center line in every single paragraph of his article. He seems to be on a gear should be "like a box of chocolates" crusade that makes absolutely no sense to me.
 
I strongly agree with your statement regarding the normal vs audiophile hearing preferences (which I bolded and underlined).

Edited by ultrabike - 9/3/12 at 2:28pm
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