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The diary entries of a little girl in her 30s! ~ Part 2 - Page 812  

post #12166 of 21761
Pop looks like the specs were true

450#post_9443189
post #12167 of 21761
Pop looks like the specs were true

450#post_9443189
post #12168 of 21761
Quote:
Originally Posted by drez View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by vwinter View Post

Can someone please explain to me how two sources which at a glance are ruler flat and measure well can sound markedly different?
Please.

 

Most of the problem I think is that people try to place limits on what matters, absolute thresholds, blanket statements etc.  If you are looking at two specific pieces of equipment, to be used with specific headphones it becomes much easier to compare on a technical level.  At this point in my journey I find it most useful to use a combination of measurements and subjective listening, measurements are useful to make sense of what is being heard and subjective listening to decide whether the differences in equipment are for better or worse or non-existent.  Personally I tend to prefer listening first, don't let other people tell you what you can or cannot hear - listen for yourself then decide.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent One View Post

 

Design. Materials. Configuration.

 

At this point I'm of the "everything matters" school of audiophillia.  I just don't try not to buy a whole lot of tweaks because most of them are overpriced, and the results are unreliable or even unpredictable.  i still say "just listen to it" is the best philosopy   EDIT: I'ma leave that that part out as it kind of missed the point.  I guess what I meant to say is that it's hard to discuss what exactly measurements miss when we aren't discussing anything in particular...

 

 

Paragraphs: 2, 20 or 200? I've enough thoughts on this reply for each. But I'll choose brevity. I am in agreement with your post, the above comments and your crossed-out comments as well. I will go on to say my initial reply answers two questions: the OP's original question and "How can the very "same" source sound different?

 

The answer has to do with one's environment - it is the placement of gear. Where you place your source and what surface you place it on matters. A number of members will bring gears home, set it up and listen. For a day or days on end and think they know the gear's sonic signature. Usually, the members more emotionally prone to upgrading, may show it the door... in a hurry! 

 

This speaks to resonances. Even members who are well versed on speaker placement and perhaps room treatment, might give little regard (if any) about the placement of their source.

 

Regarding tweaks, many that are marketed toward audiophiles are expensive. In some ways, this marketing experience is no different than other consumer goods. Home cooked meal or dining out? Dealer options for your new ride or aftermarket? A contractor for home repairs or hardware store? Many a member can experiment with their gears for better placement and it won't cost a dime. Purchased materials, a few dimes... maybe.ksc75smile.gif

 

Speaking of materials, I'd like to add that the chassis a source is designed with, the footers that sit underneath and how the component is configured to work ect, these are the kind of things that could make similar spec'd sources sound different as well. 

 

Of coursewink_face.gif, these are my views...

 

 

Post Script.:  Lastly, I'll throw in that often times tweaks won't necessarily improve your sound or make it worse, sometimes just different. However, worth exploring 'cause it might be a sound preferred. 


Edited by Silent One - 5/16/13 at 12:06pm
post #12169 of 21761
DF, something is not working with your pic.
post #12170 of 21761
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgray91 View Post

DF, something is not working with your pic.

 

Pop looks like the specs were true

 

450#post_9443189

post #12171 of 21761
Assuming that DF post is a picture of the DX50's specs. I originally wanted to say "I want to be impressed, but...", but then I read the specs and... I'm impressed. Slightly because it's in "WHYMONEYWHY" segment.
P.S. It's disconcerting how the Parterre already has an appreciation thread, since it's not close to shipping yet. I can understand for something that's already in the hands of many, but this...

/mildly_confused
Edited by jgray91 - 5/16/13 at 1:31pm
post #12172 of 21761
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgray91 View Post

Assuming that DF post is a picture of the DX50's specs. I originally wanted to say "I want to be impressed, but...", but then I read the specs and... I'm impressed. Slightly because it's in "WHYMONEYWHY" segment.
P.S. It's disconcerting how the Parterre already has an appreciation thread, since it's not close to shipping yet. I can understand for something that's already in the hands of many, but this...

/mildly_confused


Yeah I hear ya.  I just thought it was somewhat amusing that he posted it twice, and it was equally vague both times.  Maybe the pic shows up for him?  Or maybe it was a munged link?  Oh well, we'll have to wait I guess.

post #12173 of 21761

Totally OT, but you know what is crazy to me? That more people in the US and EU market aren't into earbuds. While they don't have a super secure fit, the soundstage is great, they always sound very open in their presentation, and the limited isolation actually comes in handy when listening to music in many instances (at work, with people that may need you, etc).

 

 

So, diary-fiers, why do you like/dislike earbuds?

 

 

I'm actually contemplating ditching these VC02's (after a little more demo time) and getting some Yuin PK2's, or maybe some from Sunrise. I know barely anything about this market compared to IEMs rolleyes.gif

post #12174 of 21761
Just get the EarPods. I bought mine with only a single purpose: to use on the bed. Perfect.

I can think why people won't like earbuds though. For one, it hardly stays put. Two, when it does stay put, it's somehow not too comfortable. The EarPods, for me at least, remedies both of those problems 91.2%.

While I won't suddenly go into a musical sequence singing the EarPods Saya hyperbolic praises, she does sound good. Isolating enough for most dorm background noise, but not isolating enough to let me notice someone in the vicinity. No common glaring problems (bass bloat & bleed, sibilance, tinny vocals), and ticks most of what I want out of it (good female vocals, good bass impact). Best second $35 I've spent, below the first best $35 I've spent, the Portapro.

11/10
post #12175 of 21761
Quote:
Originally Posted by mosshorn View Post

So, diary-fiers, why do you like/dislike earbuds?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jgray91 View Post

 it hardly stays put.

 

This, exactly......they won't stay where they belong.

post #12176 of 21761
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgray91 View Post

Just get the EarPods. I bought mine with only a single purpose: to use on the bed. Perfect.

I can think why people won't like earbuds though. For one, it hardly stays put. Two, when it does stay put, it's somehow not too comfortable. The EarPods, for me at least, remedies both of those problems 91.2%.

While I won't suddenly go into a musical sequence singing the EarPods Saya hyperbolic praises, she does sound good. Isolating enough for most dorm background noise, but not isolating enough to let me notice someone in the vicinity. No common glaring problems (bass bloat & bleed, sibilance, tinny vocals), and ticks most of what I want out of it (good female vocals, good bass impact). Best second $35 I've spent, below the first best $35 I've spent, the Portapro.

11/10

I actually agree with you completely. The Earpods are far from the perfect solution, but I would probably own more earbuds by now if they were designed in the same way with the music directed out the side. That was a genius move on Apple's part, and pretty much remedied one of the huge negatives I would say earbuds have in general: while the non isolation is a positive, the SPL to hear with some of them in even remotely noisy environments is WAY too high.

post #12177 of 21761
Quote:
Originally Posted by mosshorn View Post

I actually agree with you completely. The Earpods are far from the perfect solution, but I would probably own more earbuds by now if they were designed in the same way with the music directed out the side. That was a genius move on Apple's part, and pretty much remedied one of the huge negatives I would say earbuds have in general: while the non isolation is a positive, the SPL to hear with some of them in even remotely noisy environments is WAY too high.

My brain: "Oh hey, lets take the EarPods out on the way to class."

Jump scene to Outside.

My brain: "DAMMIT!"

It does not work. On the bright side, my chance of not hearing my metal-clad wheeled doom is not as low as when I wear IEMs.

It's actually funny the first time I see the iPhone 5 keynote, when they unveiled the EarPods. I rolled my eyes, and laughed when they said that "it's directed into your ears". Well, thank you, Tim "Captain Obvious" Cook. But the more I think about it, the more I see that earbuds aren't really directed into our ear, but to our ear. And with the mounting praises I've seen from weeks after that, and the sudden urge to want one bedphones, I bought one EarPods.
Edited by jgray91 - 5/16/13 at 2:28pm
post #12178 of 21761
Thread Starter 

The Abyss thread is just obnoxious. A few errant thoughts below. Warning: very rant-y and meandering and not particularly on-topic half the time or even particularly relevant to anyone or anything.

 

1. The company president isn't doing himself any favors by posting, especially as his interpersonal skills could use work. He should really stay out of the mud slinging and just answer legitimate questions. Getting involved when head-fiers are clearly out for blood has never benefitted a manufacturer. 

 

2. Anytime an expensive headphone gets released that isn't Stax, it seems to trigger a borderline psychosexual desire among some people to see it destroyed. I love Stax. I love electrostatic headphones. Seeing comments like "an ortho could never justifiably cost more than electrostats" however is just stupid. Shhh, don't tell the statophiles, but there are some things other headphones do better than 'stats.

 

3. The headphones industry *is* in a rather sad place these days IMHO. Unlike in-ears, I think there's genuine stagnation with much more of an emphasis on marketing and appeals to lifestyle than actual innovative R&D taking place. More times than not it's larger companies that set industry trends however, and a lot of that stagnation is due to their direction I think. When Sennheiser invested heavily in R&D, they produced the ring driver of the HD800 which was quite an engineering accomplishment. In most cases tho, I get the sense that it's just stagnation with a lot of these big names: wrapping up the same---or even inferior---tech under a new veneer and ad campaign. It sells, and there's no incentive to do better on their part.

 

Take the ever-popular whipping boy AKG for instance. An ex-company engineer gave some figures for a new K1000 based on his own speculation, and he said he felt it could easily be improved with today's better materials, provided they invest enough in it initially. AKG however is more concerned with branding and marquee value, so they instead continue to rerelease the same headphones again and again. We keep seeing new K701 / 702s under different guises with new color schemes and new marketing behind them, only at double or even triple the price of what the original goes for these days. They do sound marginally better, but I believe this is due to better driver matching and a few other basic tweaks. For as much as the K3003 gets maligned in some circles, it probably has the most genuine effort behind it than anything AKG has released in a while. People keep bemoaning the loss of the K1000, but really the K3003 is the closest to a spiritual successor we've gotten, and in many ways it's better than the K1000 (like in tonal balance). It's also lead to a lot of good trickle down / copy-cat stuff. I get the sense their engineers were allowed to engineer with the K3003, and I think that genuine spirit comes through despite some folks not detecting it.

 

4. With smaller companies, I think there's more of a liberal atmosphere and willingness to risk-take, so you see a lot of good R&D work. Only it results in higher costs because they can't really offset it like larger companies. Companies like Audez'e seem to do things in a graduated manner, one step and a time, building up resources for the next step, so it's more likely you'll see more revisions along the way: LCD-2 rev. 1, LCD-2 rev. 2, LCD-3, LCD-4, etc. By comparison a company like Sennheiser will only release one HD800, and if there are changes they will be very subtle and not largely announced. It'll be years before we see an HD850 or HD900. The HD800 was a long time in the making, and they make damn well sure it was right before it was released. Sony used to be a major innovator when it came to materials (biocellulose, the Qualia drivers, etc.), but these days they seem to be falling into an ongoing state of blandness. That spark is missing more and more as time goes on, sadly.

 

5. Sony also used to be more artsy fartsy. Taking that tangent to its extreme, you have smaller companies that seem more interested in making artistic statements. Final Audio Design for instance. They sort of occupy their own niche within a niche, and I don't think they can be readily compared to other facets of the industry at large without doing them a disservice.

 

6. Not all small companies are out to make genuinely innovative products. It's not so cut and dry as big company = bad / small company = good. I think you see this a lot more in amplifiers and other speaker components, because headphones almost seem to force smaller companies to be somewhat creative, but in either case you get these salesmen who are all about a certain posture, coming across as innovators and doing cutting edge stuff when in reality they're just selling you a Cmoy or something. It's a case of how much can I get away with? I don't blame folks for thinking the Abyss is indicative of this spirit. People tend to view mega-buck cables with suspicion. Factor in the way their ads and press read, the attention from wealthy lifestyle blogs, the refusal to have demos outside of certain controlled environments... yeah. It's all a little hamfisted, because the Abyss actually has a lot of impressive R&D behind it as I've said countless times. In fact the Abyss seems to be taking ortho R&D further than any other small company has in quite a while.

 

7. To that end, I think a lot of head-fiers genuinely don't grasp how expensive R&D is or how much bulk materials cost. You see it when people compare commercial amps to DIY builds and chastise the manufacturer because they can't match the price. In the case of headphones like the Abyss, the R&D can actually be quite astronomical because they're using materials that have hitherto not been used in headphones. They're using surprisingly advanced processes to lay the traces on the drivers. Their magnets are custom made, proprietary, and the strongest used in headphones to date, and so they cost a lot of money. They've gone through numerous builds and tried tons of different combinations of materials and positioning, built and scrapped numerous mock ups. Orthos require a lot of fine tuning and a pretty keen understanding of certain material effects. I know some folks in the Abyss thread were skeptical about whether JPS really went through so many trials in the testing phase, and honestly I have no clue what extent they went to, but I know that even dedicated head-fiers who are modding their T50RPs can go through hundreds of different configurations of materials trying to get it just right. I know some modders who spent a lot of time, money, sweat and tears to this effect. One guy I know spent a thousand bucks just on pads. On pads! He spent over a month positioning them and trying different combos. There are so many variables to take into account when tuning this stuff. It's actually a little surprising just how little some larger companies seem to invest in this type of thing, and how some simple damping can improve their products. Of course, that's just a small fraction of the bigger picture. All the tuning in the world isn't going to help unless you've got a good driver and enclosure from the get-go, and these are costly to develop from scratch.

 

 

"But HiFiMan is able to release products that don't cost nearly as much."

 

I love HiFiMan, but HiFiman isn't doing R&D to the extent of Abyss sofarasIknow. Look at their drivers: they're actually quite primitive compared to orthos from the 70s. That's OK, because HiFiMan's focus is on making affordable large-sized orthos. Their R&D is directed largely at minimizing costs and streamlining production, and it's definitely a good angle to adopt in this hobby as it sets them apart. More companies should focus on this type of thing. Also I'm not excusing the price of the Abyss from a business standpoint. There are ways of offsetting costs and not passing them directly to the consumer. You can take a hit and recoup it in other ways potentially, or try the graduated method a la Audez'e. The Audez'e method is especially reasonable here because JPS is new at this. This is their first headphone, so people are rightfully viewing it with suspicion given the mega-bux price tag. Audez'e first introduced the LCD-1 at roughtly $400 or so, and it was largely an OEM product. It showed however that they could get certain things right, and it laid the foundation for their approach to the LCD-2 at $1k. By the time they doubled the price on the LCD-3, they had established enough of a fanbase.

 

8. JPS' attitude is their own worst enemy. They've done nothing to reach out to the head-fi community, so as I predicted people don't trust them. Trust is especially important when you're releasing a $5k product as an introduction to what you're all about. They needed to be more humble, send their prototypes on a listening tour. Show us that there's nothing up their sleeves. By not doing this, and instead allocating all their units to suppliers, it makes it seem as though they've really not put much into their product. Small companies who do this need only sell a few units to make up for the investment.

 

9. Even if they have put a lot into it, at the end of the day one can always ask is it worth it? Is the R&D that went into the Abyss really going to amount to anything? The proof will be in how it sounds I suppose. If after it's all said and done the sound of the thing is not much better than an HE-500, well, it becomes an exercise in futility and is consigned to the cabinet of curiosities. I think this is where point #2 rears its head again. People are assuming from the outset this thing isn't going to possibly compete on the level of the SR-009. It may very well not. Though someone I respect quite a bit actually prefers the Abyss to the SR-009. Srsly.

 

10. I think a lot of folks just like complaining about stuff. I mean, here I am complaining about their complaining. Complaining is fun. In this case, I think some folks who have no intention of buying summit-fi or aren't in the market for a new pair of headphones want to make it seem as though JPS is somehow personally slighting them by talking about the industry and general trends. Also some people are like pilot fish and just pop in to throw out some insults and feel included. Every page or so you'll see some random post to the effect of these cost a lot of money and are rip offs and are ugly and omg who would buy these lol m i rite guise?? Great, now turn around to receive your complimentary butt pat and go away.

 

11. I really do think uber-bux products and cheap 'n' cheerful products can coexist. Again, I'll point to the IEM market right now as a prime example. Of course this is idealistic, but if companies invest a lot in genuine R&D, there's a potential for it to make its way to less expensive models. I'd like to see some of the innovations in the Abyss find their way into cheaper orthos from folks like HiFiMan. Or even cheaper models from JPS. What some of my ortho-obsessed friends have expressed a desire for are cheaper, smaller orthos than can be powered from iPods. HiFiMan has the cheaper part down, though I still think there's room for improvement. Fang is also convinced smaller drivers are not the way to go; at least, this seems to be the case from some discussions those ortho-obsessed friends have had with him. This is actually one area where the Abyss' research might help, as they've managed to maintain a decent level of efficiency despite having a single-ended driver, and a single-ended driver would potentially minimize size and weight (though not in the Abyss since the magnet is huge).

 

12. Unfortunately, the full-sized headphone market seems like a radically different environment compared to the IEM landscape right now. The whole IEM climate just feels more... open source? Maybe it's because there are a lot of OEMs and Chinese companies working on cheaper versions of high end tech, whereas in the headphone arena the OEMs are mostly lower end models, and higher-end stuff is guarded more closely. Also manufacturers have to often invent their drivers from scratch when it comes to full-sized headphones, which increases production costs and makes each company its own island more or less. Even with speakers, it's way more "open source" as you can buy kits that contain generic drivers and basically build your own, and they'll perform really well and beat the pants off of a lot of similarly priced headphones.

 

post #12179 of 21761
Quote:
Originally Posted by mosshorn View Post

So, diary-fiers, why do you like/dislike earbuds?

Comfort and microphonics. 

post #12180 of 21761

@mupp

 

LOL. Psychosexual desire to see it destroyed. 

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