Originally Posted by purrin
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.
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).
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.
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