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The diary entries of a little girl in her 30s! ~ Part 2 - Page 1157  

post #17341 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinQY View Post

Now I'm curious as to which came first - the under-ear style or the over-ear style. I'd imagine the hearing aid to be the predecessor to all things stuck into your canal. How did people wear the first hearing aids?

 

Imagine what it'd be like if the over-ears style became the norm for everyone from the very beginning. I'd think that, somehow, the world would have been a whole different place entirely.


If I recall correctly my Aunty Brenda's hearing aid was more closer to the over ear style. That could be why people don't like wearing over ears lol :P.

post #17342 of 21760

Psychological preconditioning from the hearing aid industry, funded by marketeers from the companies mass-producing earphones, all in order to invalidate and cull off the higher-end IEM market?

 

Well I never...

...thought that I would have to make a quip under the pretense that higher-end companies actually gave a damn about ergonomics.

post #17343 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinQY View Post

Psychological preconditioning from the hearing aid industry, funded by marketeers from the companies mass-producing earphones, all in order to invalidate and cull off the higher-end IEM market?

 

Well I never...

...thought that I would have to make a quip under the pretense that higher-end companies actually gave a damn about ergonomics.


Well honestly it works to our advantage. You don't need a bunch of thugs knowing how expensive the gear is you are wearing. They just think it's hearing aids lol. That's a plus for us :).

post #17344 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by lee730 View Post


Well honestly it works to our advantage. You don't need a bunch of thugs knowing how expensive the gear is you are wearing. They just think it's hearing aids lol. That's a plus for us :).

 

I've always though CIEM's must look like hearing aids, and as you say, this is a good thing.  I might need to pick some up around christmas to see if they can hold me off from buying stax or sinking more money into my desktop gear.  Here's hoping here are some good black friday specials :P

post #17345 of 21760
Thread Starter 

First off, thanks to all the kind comments about my latest journal entry. It means so much to me to know that people have gotten something out of what I've written. I'm wondering if maybe I should write blurbs about one or two albums every few days instead of saving everything up for one giant wall of text in the future however. What do you guys think?

 


 

You know, my progression in this hobby seems to run counter-current to what a lot of folks I know are doing. I've talked to numerous people this year who seem to be focusing on Stax as their end goal, and while I can see the appeal, for me I'm actually getting away from Stax more and more over time. It was in college that I started really holding their sound in high esteem, and it had an intoxicating appeal, but gradually I began to notice it just lacked staying power. Despite being ethereal and expansive, it just seemed... ultimately flat, uninvolving, weightless. For a while I decided to climb the amp ladder and go for really high-end stuff, and while high-end amplification does improve Stax (they need that driver control, and you see an improvement in performance that is more pronounced than with dynamics in my experience), I've come to realize those qualities I described above are at the core of what many stats are, and there's really no getting around it.

 

Some people simplify the issue as being one of bass response, saying other transducers have bloated bass and the electrostatic bass is more natural. I say that's rubbish. Obviously headphone bass is going to be thinner anyway since it can't replicate the full bodily impact of speakers, and a lot of companies try to "compensate" by dialing up the quantity, basically turning the headphones into a wooly mess, but even taking that into consideration I think the 'stat presentation comes up short. The problem is also not just one of bass, but weight across the entire frequency band: it's the weight of each note. It's the sense of fullness and gravity, of instruments being tied to a 'floor' in a soundfield rather than floating around like balloons in some nebulous cloud of uncertainty.

 

The big exceptions for me are the Sennheiser Orpheus and its dysfunctional Chinese cousin the HeAudio Jade. Unfortunately, the Jade has some of the worst build quality of... well... just about anything. Every set I've owned had buzzing stators. A shame too, because sonically they can be made into the most linear yet robust sounding 'stats around. As for the Orpheus: maybe someday. Cue the wistful sigh. It just has this perfect tonal balance (caveat: when paired with the right amp, and unfortunately many of those HEV90s from Sennheiser have issues and make them sound too 'romantic'). I just don't want to pay $20k for a pair of headphones. Even I'm not that insane. Really, for that money I'd get a bitchin' speaker setup.

 

Maybe if HiFiMan decides to put out a Jade II with much better build quality (or Sennheiser decides to release a successor to the HE90 which IMHO seems unlike at this point) I'll bite. For the time being though, I want to acknowledge the new Jecklin Float QA as a really fantastic effort. It's definitely one of the best sounding stats on the market right now in terms of balance. It feels more robust, weightier and more impactful. The main thing holding it back is the presentation, the sense of space overall. It's a bit odd. Hard to put my finger on, but it seems a little confused at times when it comes to imaging and relative placement in space.

 

Obviously all transducers have their flaws, and stats bring a lot of advantages to the table. We all have different priorities. Even the same people at different times do (like me). Stats just work for some folks, and not for others. I think it's a little misguided for them to be held as some inherently superior technology over other stuff though, and I cringe when I come across posts that seem to imply dynamics and planar magnetics are lesser just by virtue of being what they are. Comments like "well it's good for an ortho" or what have you. There are just some things orthos can do that stats can't. Similarly, the most detailed headphone on the market? The HD800 in my opinion. A dynamic. One of the best overall tonalities? The HP1000. A dynamic.

 

I just encourage people to go out and listen to as much stuff as they can before deciding to plop down the thousands upon thousands required for this stuff. Even if you listen to a stat rig at a meet for five minutes and think "holy crap! yes! That's it!" I encourage you to listen more. Compare other amps. Etc. It's one thing to be taken in a meet setting, quite another to have to live with something over time. The SR-009 is a classic example. World's best headphone? For some people. But not for others. In my case (and others I know), it's perfectly agreeable at first, but after a while it gets to be very fatiguing and thin sounding, especially with certain amps (some pairings which are considered "classic" or ubiquitous). Just something to consider.

 

In my case, I'm at a point where I feel I've finally gotten a handle on where my tastes reside. And that's after several years of fumbling in the dark. Gotta admit though: it's fun. It just depends what you want. "The journey" (a term I criticize following RD's lead) is kind of overplayed, and it's more a case of recognizing what your hobby is in the first place. If you want to listen to music that's one thing, but again I think a lot of folks like to engage in a cycle of consumerism for its own sake, and in that case an end goal is kind of illusory anyway. There's nothing wrong with consumerism I feel, it's just a matter of recognizing it. Failure to do so often results in people being profoundly unhappy or disillusioned with this hobby I think.

 

So yeah, I'm rocking the Abyss. It's a close second to the Orpheus in ideal signature for me. At half the price. I may eventually sell off my stat gear, but for now I'm hanging on to the SR-007, SR-Omega, and Floats despite their not getting as much head time these days. I find in-ear monitors are easier to calibrate to my tastes with more precision, something I've theorized about before: due to the nature of drivers and companies, you get more precise fine tuning and as a result more "shades" of neutral approximations. I can find more slight variations that fall within my "ideal" sound signature when it comes to IEMs (especially CIEMs).

 

I'm seriously thinking about picking up a Sony R10 if my friend decides to sell his. I really miss those emotionally charged, unique mids. I still say the TH600 / TH900 family comes pretty close to its performance (though their sound is NOT that similar). I still get more PMs about the TH900 than anything else. However I ended up selling my ZDSE + TH900 pairing in the end. While the bass and treble were clean, they were just a wee bit too emphasized relative to the mids which had just a very slightly, very subtle vacuum-quality. The end result was that they just started bothering me more and more over time, the longer I lived with them. See? Hard to know how things will turn out in the long run.

post #17346 of 21760

Nice thoughts, MF.

 

I have to say, I really disagree with the SR-009 being thin. I was at the Dallas meet in June, and Justin brought his BHSE, along with the SR-009 and Orpheus. I tried the Orpheus first, and I cant say i was terribly impressed. It sounded a bit slow and warm at first. Next was the SR-009. I immediately fell in love with how clear and transparent the sound was, but I expected that. What I wasn't expecting was the bass response. I heard  very linear bass that extended all the way down, and carried very strong impact when the song called for it. The texture was fantastic too. It made the HD800's bass sound pale in comparison. Same for the LCD-3, which was right beside it running from the GSX, but to a lesser extent.

 

Maybe it was the BHSE, but I feel I had to throw that out there.

post #17347 of 21760

Eh, I'd consider the bass adequate but still south of neutral.  I like where it exists in the soundstage *shrug*

post #17348 of 21760

The next stop along my audio adventure is with the SR-009. They should arrive Mid-September. I'm going to interface the WEE with two systems:

 

Shindo Labs Aurieges MM/Phono preamp

Shindo Labs F2a Sinhonia monoblocks

 

and

 

Sansui G-22000

 

I am without speakers; have not yet heard my Shindo kit. I'm really looking forward to this next stop!

popcorn.gif

post #17349 of 21760
Thread Starter 

A few things I'll throw out there as well:

 

The BHSE actually has a very lean sound by design in my opinion. It's by no means a wire with gain (pretty sure such a thing doesn't actually exist in the world of amps anyway despite what some may claim). The BHSE has a distinct sound to my ears, and like most KG designs I've heard it tends to the more analytic and thin. The area where it excels is in driver control, and I think it pairs extremely well with the SR-007 (particularly mk1) as a result. The SR-009 on the other hand... notsomuch. IMHO the SR-009 and BHSE pairing is not agreeable, and the faults of the SR-009 are exacerbated by it every time I've listened. Granted we're talking about preferences and tolerances again: I know some folks who own the SR-009 and find it's acceptable paired w/ the BHSE, but their preferences tend to be for the leaner / brighter / thinner side anyway. Meanwhile another friend of mine ended up selling his BHSE precisely because he couldn't tolerate it w/ the SR-009 any longer. It's that long term usage factor I mention. You really can't get that good of a sense of something listening to it for 15 minutes at a meet with unfamiliar material (especially since people tend to use material that sounds good on most rigs at meets and don't really use tracks to highlight problem areas).

 

I hear Justin is using Treasures now as a default tube choice. It could be those are giving the amp a slightly more robust sound relative to his older tube compliment, but I honestly don't think it should make that much of a difference, and I suspect it might be more a case of source material or just different frame of reference and preferences. I'm curious to hear what you'd think of the SR-009 paired with the Electra or LL2 by comparison, both of which are better choices for the SR-009 IMHO. It's not a matter of the SR-009 needing power either. The SR-007 is actually a hungrier headphone and scales more in my experience. I think it's more a tonal synergy thing.

 

I also want to reemphasize what I mean by thinness. I'm not talking about bass extension or even bass impact. The "limp bass" issue is much more of a problem with the original SR-Omega and the SR-007, especially when it's being under driven. However as I said the issue I have with the presentation of Stax has more to do with an overall sense of presence across the entire frequency range. Stax just don't sound as lifelike or real as other headphones to me despite their high levels of refinement.

 

Bass performance on the HD800 is probably one of the biggest areas where people aren't hearing what the transducer is actually capable of doing. The HD800 really needs proper driver control, otherwise it sounds pretty pale as you describe it. That's why I think it's kind of unfortunate people have pegged the HD800 as being a bad choice for "modern music." With rock, pop, and electronic recordings for instance I find the HD800's bottom end is actually very impressive. As for the LCD-3, well, there's so much variation from one unit to the next (Audez'e really hasn't had good luck with these drivers) it's pretty much impossible for me to really comment on them with any generality. I will say that on a properly tuned set the bass response---especially subbass---should outpace most Stax. 

post #17350 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinQY View Post

Now I'm curious as to which came first - the under-ear style or the over-ear style. I'd imagine the hearing aid to be the predecessor to all things stuck into your canal. How did people wear the first hearing aids?

Imagine what it'd be like if the over-ears style became the norm for everyone from the very beginning. I'd think that, somehow, the world would have been a whole different place entirely.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_hearing_aids

The first electric hearing aids were based on the telephone receiver - so actually, they were more like supraural (on-ear) than an IEM. Soon after, there were earpieces that went into the ears with a cable that was attached to a box you wore on your belt or chest pocket. Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids didn't come until after the transistor was available to make them much smaller.

In the 60s, my Dad wore eyeglasses with the aid built-in to the ear pieces. There was a small nipple on the underside where the acoustic tubing was attached that led to his ear mold. He wore that style for many, many years until his hearing got worse and he had to use separate BTE units because they were more powerful. Eventually he had to go to a very high-power external box that he kept in his shirt pocket.
Edited by billybob_jcv - 8/21/13 at 8:05am
post #17351 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

You really can't get that good of a sense of something listening to it for 15 minutes at a meet with unfamiliar material (especially since people tend to use material that sounds good on most rigs at meets and don't really use tracks to highlight problem areas).

 

 

 

I agree. That's why I was glad Justin had a cable that let me feed the BHSE from my iPhone. I hogged the SR-009 for quite a while.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

 

 

Bass performance on the HD800 is probably one of the biggest areas where people aren't hearing what the transducer is actually capable of doing. The HD800 really needs proper driver control, otherwise it sounds pretty pale as you describe it. That's why I think it's kind of unfortunate people have pegged the HD800 as being a bad choice for "modern music." With rock, pop, and electronic recordings for instance I find the HD800's bottom end is actually very impressive. As for the LCD-3, well, there's so much variation from one unit to the next (Audez'e really hasn't had good luck with these drivers) it's pretty much impossible for me to really comment on them with any generality. I will say that on a properly tuned set the bass response---especially subbass---should outpace most Stax. 

 

 

Hmm. The thing is, I tried it with the GSX, Decaware CSP2+ (I think that's the name), and a Cavalli amp. I didn't personally feel like it offered enough over the HD600 to even begin to warrant such a massive price jump. Same for the Orpheus, which really I wasn't expecting. The SR-009, on the other hand, was like coming home after a long day on my feet. Still, we all have our preferences. Nick Dangerous, the organizer, was in love with the Orpheus' more laid back sound. He called the 009 "more immediate"

post #17352 of 21760

Which output on the iphone were you using?

 

-Edit-

 

Re: Meet material:  Man, I always bring my laptop and tell people to pop their own CD's in, but they're always all "what's a CD?" and just listen to my stuff :/


Edited by driver 8 - 8/21/13 at 8:19am
post #17353 of 21760
Quote:
Originally Posted by driver 8 View Post

Which output on the iphone were you using?

 

-Edit-

 

Re: Meet material:  Man, I always bring my laptop and tell people to pop their own CD's in, but they're always all "what's a CD?" and just listen to my stuff :/

 

I used the HPO. Justin and I agreed that it wasn't the most ideal situation, but if it sounded that good without a dedicated source...man.

 

The problem with CDs is poor space to song ratio. I can fit hundreds of CDs on a device that is physically smaller than one disc case.

post #17354 of 21760
Hey Muppet, thanks again for the effort put in your awesome posts. If you could do more often and a bit shorter, I would love it, but this is great too.

It seems like you are past your iem period and back to cans? Did the Abyss cause this?
post #17355 of 21760
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post

Hmm. The thing is, I tried it with the GSX, Decaware CSP2+ (I think that's the name), and a Cavalli amp. I didn't personally feel like it offered enough over the HD600 to even begin to warrant such a massive price jump. Same for the Orpheus, which really I wasn't expecting. The SR-009, on the other hand, was like coming home after a long day on my feet. Still, we all have our preferences. Nick Dangerous, the organizer, was in love with the Orpheus' more laid back sound. He called the 009 "more immediate"

 

Yeah, different strokes and all that. I'm very forthright in saying I prefer more linear signatures with a very slight laid back tonal balance. I'm also fond of brighter signatures so long as the peaks are in high enough regions which I perceive as a more subdued type of brightness. On the other hand when it comes to technicalities like speed and articulation, basically how that signature is presented, I prefer something harder hitting. This is how the Abyss sounds to me. The SR-009 by comparison is kind of the other way 'round: a hotter tonal balance but with a gentler and more gradual means of articulation. I really think Purrin's assessment of their performance is spot on in that he recognizes both are tremendously fast sounding, but that both go about speed in different ways. The SR-009 gradually accelerates and decelerates, sounding more ethereal to me as a result. The Abyss by comparison launches at full speed and slams on the brakes.

 

When I first bought my SR-009 I owned a KGSS which has a similar type of "house sound" but more overtly so compared to the BHSE, and this was my primary pairing for a while. The SR-009 has a definite wow factor, and at the time it really seemed to get out of the way more than anything else I kept around. Compared to its predecessor, the SR-Omega, it's more chameleonic and works with a broader array of genres; the bottom end is relatively more robust, and overall it sounds more solid whereas the SR-Omega is more open and etherial in a stereotypical electrostatic sort of way. The midrange on the SR-Omega however is still the better of the two to my ears. The SR-007 ended up remaining my favorite of the trio over time though, as overall frequency response is still a foremost consideration, and in this respect the SR-007 is for me unsurpassed by its brethren. I've also found the SR-007 really scales when paired with an amp that can feed it more, performing more or less on the same level as the SR-009 in technicalities. I suspect if Stax gave the SC1 version of the SR-007 a newer look and made it more expensive than the SR-009, more folks would be flip-flopping their opinions of the two or at least seeing them more as coequals. But yeah, the SR-009 came to eventually occupy last place in my subjective ranking of it, the SR-Omega, and the SR-007.

 

The Sennheiser HD800 is, technically, a very impressive headphone. I'd go so far as to say it's one of the top headphones ever made when it comes to detail extraction, particularly low level information. More than the SR-009. More than the Abyss. It's also one of the pickiest headphones I've ever encountered in any capacity, sounding quite mediocre on the majority of rigs I've heard it paired with over the years. When mismatched synergistically it ends up sounding like cardboard, flat and dull and lifeless, and the frequency extremes suffer when not adequately controlled. Even when its driven well though it's too peaky up top for me to use for extended periods comfortably without any form of modification. Ultimately amplification wont change the fundamental characteristics of its tonal balance (though warmer and mushier amps can mask certain areas). I do find the bass of the HD800 to be really good with modern recordings regardless, and it has a bite to it.

 

I've also been impressed by the bass response on the new Jecklin Float QA which happens to be a stat.

 

Moving along, powering the Orpheus is unfortunately more of a headache than it should be. The matching HEV amp from Sennheiser had something like three different iterations, and it's nearly impossible for most people to tell what they're getting in advance. Some of those amps have problems, like after an hour of being on something happens with the tubes and they turn to mush sonically. I've heard the Orpheus a total of four times, and I can literally rank the experiences from low to medium to high. Paired with the BHSE it just did nothing for me. Then there was one HEV90, the first time I heard the matching set, which was impressive but not mind bogglingly so. The Aristaeus was tied as a middle of the road experience for me, on par with the first HEV90 but somewhat different in presentation. Until the fourth and last audition with a different HEV90 I thought I had a handle on what the Orpheus could do, and I considered it pretty overrated, enough to where I felt little to no interest in pursuing one afterward. I'm sure folks know where I'm going with this. When I heard the last HEV90 + HE90 pairing I was blown away. This was not like the overly euphonic, overly romantic, kind of middling experiences I had before. It was the first time I heard the Orpheus in a way really befitting its legendary status. The main problem here of course is not being able to really tell what you're getting unless you spend a lot of time with it first hand, and this isn't always something one can do in the international summit-fi market. I'd only be willing to spring for an Orpheus rig in the future if I could guarantee it was performing up to optimal standards. Even then, the temptation to go for speakers instead is great.

 

Really all of this stuff---the SR-009, the Abyss, the Orpheus---has its share of strengths and weaknesses. There are things other transducers do better than the Abyss and Orpheus, but nothing else really captures the exact combination that appeals to me quite like these. Nothing pushes so many of the right buttons while avoiding the wrong ones for me personally, and for that reason they occupy the top of my preference list. It's kind of funny (to me at least) they both sound the closest to speakers in certain respects to my ears. I say funny because I've always been such a headphone type of person. Now that I look back on it all since college though, I realize the majority of my headphone lust has been from the angle of collecting, of appreciating them as cultural artifacts and art objects. A lot of the lingering frustrations I've had with their actual sound make so much more sense now that I'm looking at them from the perspective of listening devices. I still have that collector's spirit that floats around in the night air, it's just directed toward IEMs more these days. I know I keep going on about the advantages I perceive in-ears as offering, but another in this respect is their being closer to speakers than their fullsized counterparts to my mind. Yes, my crazy "IEMs and speakers are more alike and headphones are kind of the odd man out" theory. I'm really itching to get into speakers in a big way. I'm kind of holding off for as long as I can though, just because the prospect frightens the daylights out of me for several reasons. I suppose speaker kits are a more affordable (and potentially fun in a hair pulling sort of way) approach, though that sort of thing is intimidating in its own right, just in a different way.

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