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[Cnet]Who wants perfectly accurate sound? - Page 3

post #31 of 38

My name is Hamilcar and I'm a (reformed) bass addict.

 

Personally, I want to be able to hear a perfectly accurate and neutral sound when I've set all the controls to their defaults.

 

If it turns out that I don't like then "perfectly accurate and neutral" sound, or when I just want to play, I'll use an equalizer.

post #32 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


lol.
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.
Whoa unrelated quantum leap.
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.

 

The bass phenomena isn't just limited to headphones. It also applies to speakers. It sells. At T.H.E. SHOW Irvine, I was rather surprised at how there were at least a few "highly regarded" TOTL audiophile speakers which had a mid-bass emphasis. The bass thing is a guilty pleasure. I applaud the high-end audio companies who resist this temptation toward the lowest common denominator.

 

Koenig may have a point with S-LOGIC as I tend to wear my headphones low and to the front. Unfortunately, Ultrasone, with the exception of a few models, probably makes some of the most inaccurate headphones with the most screwy FR's in existence.

 

And BTW, the Beats Studios, which I own, are actually more accurate than many "audiophile" headphones. People just think it has massive bass because of Dr. Dre's commercials.


Edited by purrin - 9/3/12 at 2:37pm
post #33 of 38

That pretty much sums it up for me as well, Hamilcar. I'd rather start out with a (hypothetically) perfectly flat, clear, detailed speaker and EQ for my mood than have a headphone with zuper xxtreem bass and electric violin treble that never turns off and if you try to EQ it away the entire sound signature falls apart (cough hfi 580)

 

However in regards to the average consumer, maybe 8% of them even know how an EQ works (think of your random aunt or some one from work, etc., what are the odds they know what to do with an EQ other than press one of those horrific presets realtek/creative cards come with)?

 

So things start to make sense.

 

I think with headphones in particular a lot of us falsely believe ourselves to be "bassheads" because we're coming from <$50 headphones or even earbuds completely un-amped, so we start asking for the bassiest thing available.

 

Then we buy it and find out that the bassiest thing available is like wearing a vibrating foot massager on your head.. And we realize what we really wanted was just a powerful clear sound that doesn't fail in any particular area.

 

Then sadly since accuracy/neutrality = precision engineering, which costs more than throwing in a standard "fun" driver, we start to spend way more than we originally intended...

 

Then we're like "hmm I've already spent $XXX, what's another $XXX to find perfection?" and the "accuracy" obsession begins.


Edited by machoboy - 9/3/12 at 2:49pm
post #34 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

The bass phenomena isn't just limited to headphones. It also applies to speakers. It sells. At T.H.E. SHOW Irvine, I was rather surprised at how there were at least a few "highly regarded" TOTL audiophile speakers which had a mid-bass emphasis. The bass thing is a guilty pleasure. I applaud the high-end audio companies who resist this temptation toward the lowest common denominator.

And I would say that there's probably more psychosocial phenomenon behind this, not just "lowest common denominator" (that's a bit elitist (and rather boring), don't you think?) - there's a reason it sells. It isn't arbitrary.
Quote:
Koenig may have a point with S-LOGIC as I tend to wear my headphones low and to the front. Unfortunately, Ultrasone, with the exception of a few models, probably makes some of the most inaccurate headphones with the most screwy FR's in existence.

Koenig's "point" with S-LOGIC is that the S-LOGIC principle *should* give you better spatial presentation, but that because of differences in outer-ear shape it becomes highly unpredictable which leads to people having such polarized opinions of Ultrasone headphones. I'm actually wondering if this isn't also the problem with their "screwy FRs" - his data (which was collected using real heads) shows that for some users they get close to "flat" and for others they are very screwed up (like some of the weird hash you see on Tyll's measurements). I think the other compounding issue with S-LOGIC is that it's chained to Ultrasone products - in theory it should be feasible with any driver you like, in any enclosure you like (as long as it puts the driver in that "ideal position"), without the MU Metal shield and so on, but TMK S-LOGIC is owned by Ultrasone AG, not Koenig's pet research company, so it isn't like it can show up in other products.

Contrast this to the "Sony approach" with angled drivers (Sony has a trademark for this called "Aura-nomic" but I don't know how that delineates their products from say, Audio-Technica), that many manufacturers use (Sony, Audio-Technica, Kenwood, Denon (to some extent), Sennheiser, Bose, etc) - some products with angled drivers have very good FR, some are really skewed. Drivers, enclosure design, etc contributes to that (so as a random comparison - the Bose AE2 is not as flat or accurate as the HD 800, but both use angled drivers).

Quote:
And BTW, the Beats Studios, which I own, are actually more accurate than many "audiophile" headphones. People just think it has massive bass because of Dr. Dre's commercials.

I've never heard a working demonstration pair of Beats Studios, but I have heard other Beats products (and some other "celebrity endorsed" cans) - and I would agree based on those, that yeah, I'd take them over most "audiophile" headphones. +20 dB at 10khz is no more accurate than a boost at 100hz is, but it's certainly more fatiguing. There's less expensive "consumer" cans that I'd take over either, that sound less screwed than either, imho. My point was more that if you look at relatively clean/accurate headphones, which are generally studio monitors, they never enjoyed the popularity you see with something like the Beats or various other highly colored products. Again, that isn't just arbitrary - there's something greater at work. Maybe it really is the celebrity endorsement or maybe it's the sound signature, but in either case, there's still an underlying "why" to that preference. It can't just be dismissed with a hand wave. For example why is Dr Dre "cool" but Tony Bennett and Tim McGraw aren't?

I would add that IMHO the Beats headphones tend to have boosted bass, but I also consider something like the MDR-F1 to be fairly center-neutral in bass impact (it neither measures nor is reviewed as such) - I've also never seen an advert for Beats headphones. I don't feel that I'm missing anything though. redface.gif According to measurements they have more bass than flat though (they look similar on plot to the Bose QC15, which are absolute bass monsters imho - good sounding, but very heavy down low).
Edited by obobskivich - 9/3/12 at 2:54pm
post #35 of 38

You need to hear the $1200 Denon D7100s which SG raved about. To me, it's the sonic equivalent of getting a glass bottom boat from an elephant. I hope to the divine forces of the universe that future TOTL headphones don't sound so bad. I also hope that the divine forces of the universe strike down SG's computer with lightning so he does not continue to encourage manufacturers to make crappy sounding overpriced headphones.

 

Nothing wrong with bass, as I admit that I'm a closet basshead too. But there is something wrong with crappy, especially at $1200.


Edited by purrin - 9/3/12 at 3:12pm
post #36 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin View Post

You need to hear the $1200 Denon D7100s which SG raved about. To me, it's the sonic equivalent of getting a glass bottom boat from an elephant. I hope to the divine forces of the universe that future TOTL headphones don't sound so bad.

I've heard nothing but bad things about the 7100 (especially in context of their price and supposed peerage) - that's not something I want to spend $1200 on even if I know they're being returned, that's just a lot of hassle. Sadly I don't have any local dealers. redface.gif
post #37 of 38

Yup. They were so bad that even the appreciation thread turned into the HF equivalent of a NASCAR wreck. Too bad I missed it though. The clean up was pretty thorough I hear.


Edited by purrin - 9/3/12 at 3:30pm
post #38 of 38
I think the problem with headphones like the 7100 (and "reviews" in general) is that you very easily get into the "I spent money, yay for me!" mob mentality. Or that people are convinced they should be hearing something more or that they should accept them as "good sounding" or buy supporting fancy toys, because obviously they're expensive for a reason and price always mean quality, after all. rolleyes.gif
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