Originally Posted by dpastern
You're welcome to disagree. But it doesn't change my views, and nor will it, that measurements are well, irrelevant. To each their own.
I have quite a few well recorded CDs, that I own on vinyl & CD. Vinyl wins everytime for me, given my ears, my room, and my system. I've even started hunting down original CDs from the late 80s/early 90s where appropriate to avoid ****ty remastering that plagues the modern music world.
The ear canal does bugger all with headphone sounds imho, it's the pinna. And they do vary widely from human to human. Sound should NEVER directly hit the ear canal. Many audiologists will concur with me on that. We're heading for a period of mass hearing issues in the next 20-30 years due to the usage of ear buds for portable audio, instead of over the ear headphones.
I haven't heard the HD800s, nor do I have any intention of doing so. Having sampled a few "modern" headphones, I am becoming more and more suspicious that the current SQ levels are terrible. When 25+ year old headphone technology kills modern headphones, one has to be suspicious. I don't care about flat frequency response plot charts, or any of that. It's irrelevant to me. Hell, I don't get out and measure every single performance of my car, I simply *enjoy* driving it. Too many audiophiles have some serious issues and need to chill and actually start listening to, and enjoying the music instead.
Here endeth my response.
Interesting! I realize it doesn't change your views, but it can educate the developing views of those reading. Let me follow up and add some clarifying remarks for those following this side conversation.
"Vinyl wins everytime for me, given my ears, my room, and my system." As I emphasized earlier, sound preferences are the deciding factor for listening enjoyment, not graphs. Some people do not like sound to be as bright as it is in real life and others like it even brighter still. I have completely understood and accepted that fact and I continue to do so. People should be able to enjoy music the way that it is most pleasurable for them. However, in the ultimate sense, digital audio, whether CD, FLAC or high bitrate mp3 (>320 kbps) on proper spec equipment, is technically superior in dynamics, frequency response and channel separation to vinyl. Leading audio engineers who have studied the science and art well from both sides know and acknowledge this fact.
"The ear canal does bugger all with headphone sounds imho, it's the pinna." Notice that I said "ear canal actual perceived sounds" which means the sound heard at the ear canal, not the mathematical equation that only accounts for the ear canal. The entire ear and face, including the inner and surrounding skin, muscle, fat and bone tissue, play a large part in the sound propagation between point a, the sound source, and point b, the eardrum. With a modern HATS (head and torso system), a flat sound response can be established and used as a reference point quite readily because its physical parts and the minor post-measurement calculations take into account all these things. As for hearing differences from person to person because of differing pinna, like I said earlier, the resulting or perceived sound at the ear canal is very much the same person to person. Only in the cases of hearing damage due to malformations at birth or hearing damage--due to the aging process or accidental throughout life--do the real differences arise. Either so, if a headphone is following a perfect sound curve and if a certain sound is muffled for one person in real life because of hearing damage, that same sound will sound realistic or exactly as it does in real-life to the person when hearing it through the headphones--muffled. Sound science, at its most fundamental level, is black and white: you have an accurate sound or you don't, end of story. In practice, the variations of headphones closer and further from accuracy comes from differing priorities in reaching a certain presentation of that sound, but the fact remains that it can be established through measurement which is closer and which is not.
"When 25+ year old headphone technology kills modern headphones, one has to be suspicious." Which old ones? Some retro models follow your description to some degree or another, which I never said was not the case. However, to give a counter viewpoint, I remember one very prominent Head-Fi forumer touted that the recently discontinued Beyerdynamic DT 48 was supposedly far superior in its midrange response to modern headphones. Come to find out, other forumers tried this headphone and found it plagued by distortion, edginess and muddiness even compared to some $10 and $20 headphones like the Sennheiser HD 201 and Koss KSC75. In short, the sound issues were terribly obvious to most users. And yet, a few actually liked. Going back to the truth about preferences, if this brings the person pleasure sonically, they are free to have it. It just is not like what you would be hearing in real life with all the dynamics and energy such real-life sound possesses.
"Sound should NEVER directly hit the ear canal. Many audiologists will concur with me on that." Although you do not believe in measurements as you have established, I believe we both believe in the same thing here, but we are saying it differently. An IEM should be tuned to produce the same effective, measured sound at the eardrum as regular headphone would. If the IEM is tuned that way, it is not being direct--it is reducing the sound frequencies the pinna would have reduced when using a regular headphone. A HATS, which I referred to earlier, has a functional pinna with essentially the same acoustic properties as a real human ear would. Headphones and IEMs recorded on a HATS will show a flat frequency response. Again, I know you do not believe in measurements, but I am sure you would say a vinyl is much better than a crystal radio for most people, am I correct? Properly obtained measurements confirm this fact. Properly obtained measurements also confirm a safe, neutral sound even physical differences exist between neutral IEMs and neutral headphones.
To close out this conversation: Just read my profile if you don't believe me when I say I believe in full equality and freedom in the audio world. I encourage there myself, "Agree to disagree. One person might like a piping hot Grado and the other a warm smooth Sennheiser, and both are right," and also, "When it comes down to it, the things we enjoy listening to (music, movies, games) are why we are here to begin with. Headphones are but a means to an end." The point being is we all have some specific sound we like and that is why we all tend to so many different things in this massive, diverse mix of brighter, darker, bassy-er, gentle-er, harsh and smooth sounding headphones. In my opinion, as long as we get something that makes us happy and satisfied, the adventure has been well worth the wear.
One thing is for sure and I want to be plain as day when having open conversations like this: I have my opinion, you have yours, we're always perfectly, unresentfully okay with that, and we can share friendly banter about it without ruffled feathers or bad feelings. Know this: Although I respect and look up to him for the huge technical advances he brought to the budget audio world, I deeply do not believe in Voldemort's approach that got that particular user/electrical engineer banned. I believe that if there is something wrong with something, I will not publish the issue to smear someone publicly unless I have done all within my power to see if the company will fix it and I am without recourse--and even then I will do it politely, never rudely. His course of behavior is something I actually thought was quite arrogant and contentious for him to do on his part. I feel educating and informing with kindness and respect will gain someone a lot more friends and supporters than essentially openly publishing "Hey! This company is evil, because they are selling something that doesn't quite do this and they are just pushing out a pretty product to get your money."
To reemphasize and stress as much as I humanly can, no audio preference is evil. It is just as much right for someone to like chocolate ice cream as it is for them to like strawberry ice cream and so on, and the same applies for audio enjoyment. Knowing and accepting that will save one from the lamentable and preventable bans I frequently see on users here, even those who have over 1000 posts and seem to begin to believe that mere number has bestowed upon them godhood or something. I am glad for the opportunity we had to talk openly like this, and I hope you continue enjoying your audio experience as much as I have!
(I probably have cluttered up this thread too much already. If you have nothing else to add, you can go back to your regular programming, folks!)
Edited by Hifihedgehog - 1/25/15 at 7:47pm