Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › What is the sound quality of iPhone, iPad, iPod (Touch)?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

What is the sound quality of iPhone, iPad, iPod (Touch)? - Page 5

post #61 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

That is definately a quality that headphones have. On how spatial they can make a recording sound.

There are several ways to create "space" in a recording... Psychoacoustic cues created through miking techniques, phase and delay shifts added in mixing, and physical distance/directionality between your ears and the transducer. Since headphones are pressed up against your ears, there is no room for them to create any kind of meaningful soundstage.

The term soundstage as it is used outside of sound science in headfi is meaningless. It can mean isolation, frequency response, dynamics, distortion, or purely subjective things like how comfortable the cans are on your head or what you had for dinner.

Soundstage is the presentation of an aural image in front of you, as if te performers were sitting in front of you arrayed left to right. Headphones can't present that kind of sound any more than an ink jet printer can print out pictures in 3D.
post #62 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post


There are several ways to create "space" in a recording... Psychoacoustic cues created through miking techniques, phase and delay shifts added in mixing, and physical distance/directionality between your ears and the transducer. Since headphones are pressed up against your ears, there is no room for them to create any kind of meaningful soundstage.
The term soundstage as it is used outside of sound science in headfi is meaningless. It can mean isolation, frequency response, dynamics, distortion, or purely subjective things like how comfortable the cans are on your head or what you had for dinner.
Soundstage is the presentation of an aural image in front of you, as if te performers were sitting in front of you arrayed left to right. Headphones can't present that kind of sound any more than an ink jet printer can print out pictures in 3D.

Of which again makes no sense. I am fine if you argue that soundstage in whatever term you define it as is so and so. But saying that there is no way a headphone can present a different aural image different from one another is a large claim

post #63 of 133

Not to point out the obvious...but wouldn't line level A/B comparisons be limited to mere relativity, rather than say, objectivity/controlled variable experimentation(i.e. your REFERENCE)? As in...a comparison with your home CD player is only as good as the CD player, and consequently, all the aforementioned hardware/firmware, actually is, which is STILL going to yield subjective results as far as determining faithful reproduction. I could do a line lvl A/B comparison of my iPod to, say, a portable cd player made by Dynex. It would most likely meet the performance of the player, if not surpass it.  Same comparison on a McIntosh Home Theatre SACD/DVD player? WHOA...big difference. 

post #64 of 133

I feel overly critical, but i feel the need to point out more logically obvious stuff. When a studio-reference response signature is achieved, through whatever means, be it a post-amplification system, Source based Equalizer, etc...there is an UNDENIABLE increase in spatial reproduction, no matter what kind of or where the cones/speakers are located, or if they are closed air systems (IEM). I'll have an experiment for some of you guys in a few if you have the time.

And just an aside....when you are IN the studio, NOT behind the glass...or if you're ON stage...the music comes from ALL AROUND you

(the artist/creator of your digitally compressed reproduction)... So what the artist intended to record in a 2 dimensional soundscape is a lie, or 'massaged truth'. Anyone who's heard truly amazingly accurate sound will ALWAYS mention that the "Sound came from somewhere other than the speakers/Outside my headphones"....sounds like spatial construction to me. :P

post #65 of 133

Hope i'm not boring anyone or being overly repetitive. Wordy, for sure. My apologies for the impending flood of seemingly spontaneous and self-effacingly immodest techspeak. There is a point i'll eventually be making, but i feel like there's alot of crucial information regarding Digital Playback that may've been overlooked, or simply outside the realm of individual knowledge, yet when once understood, gives a solid foundation to successfully achieving reference level sound reproduction on iOS and other devices. And i specifically mean, achieving as close to as possible, the sound signature of a studio live performance at the original time of track recording. So, maybe not what the artist intended for you to hear,...but the sounds he/she actually made. Not quite the same, but semantics really.

Anyways...i may be staking my dubiously placental reputation out on the line here...but whatevs.

Here goes...

 

        The Flat Line. Reference? Logic WOULD say yes, initially, but upon deeper mental digging & profuse headaches, something doesn't click. If sound moves in waves, there's not a single logical way in which a flat, or linear approach to reproducing sound will EVER work. Just like the exponential rise and fall of the Hertz slope, a truly organic and acoustically accurate Sound signature will look like a layered sin/cos formula, with parabolic rises and falls. Just like *gasp* a soundwave or frequency.

         But the flat line DOES matter. Inconcieveably so. If the audio encoding team knows their ****, they would know that when sound is recorded correctly and accurately, that AT FLAT (+/- 0db gain to ANY frequency), there is no more PHYSICAL data that can be added. This means that the maximum amount of musical tone RECORDED is within the entire bottom half of any equalizer you use. What is usually left off of Visual EQ representations is a TRUE flow chart, which shows not only gain(db) applied to each selected frequency, but the amount of bandwidth applied as well, meaning how many adjacent frequencies are affected, and at what rate(exponent), and the crossovers where adjacent reduced frequencies create double Helix formations.

Trust me,...the most correct and truely flat reference waveforms look like DNA strands on the flowcharts. Organic, Musical, DNA. Makes a calming sort of sense. the waveforms are usually parabolically symmetrical but never EXCEED the flat line. 

 

 And any time you attempt to digitally ADD or enhance detail of ANY recorded source, you distort the original and lose reference. FOR EXAMPLE...jacking the color response of any digital image. The desired effect is achieved, the color is enhanced. Keep going and the reds will start to bleed outside the edges. This reduces, tremendously, the variation between colors, and your overall contrast, and hence, the detail and resolution of your image. THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPENS TO SOUND. This includes the EQ used in the music player utilized in any Apple OS device. Both the music App, and the Itunes Equalizer employ the use of a digital preamp. But it's not a real pre-amp. It's software driven. and horribly so. Digital enhancements have NO place in a controlled reference experiment. Real problem is...you can't reduce or affect the built-in pre-amp on the music app. :(

        The REASON a digital preamp sucks> at 'flat' response, you are still adding amplitude(gain) to all points across the 10 band EQ to achieve flat response, without more hardware(more real/physical & CLEAN power/current), or increasing the volume, thereby utterly destroying accurate sound signatures.  For that reason alone...itunes & the music app, while having above average sound signatures for the average listener, will logically never achieve reference sound...

 

wheew...that felt ... like too much.

post #66 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

Of which again makes no sense. I am fine if you argue that soundstage in whatever term you define it as is so and so. But saying that there is no way a headphone can present a different aural image different from one another is a large claim

 

Yeah thats what I also agree with. Of course speakers are going to have a better imaging, but headphones have their own imaging, so do IEMs, however flat it may be. I noticed this can change depending on the source. Analog transients can be tuned, and the better they are, the better time delay/phase difference it will create. Beyond a certian point, of course not much of a difference.

post #67 of 133

Just so everyone knows i'm not COMPLETELY full of crap, here's a quick test you can do. On a laptop, open iTunes. Start some tunes. Click View-Show equalizer. Change to flat. Turn EQ off.....notice how everything greys out...even the digital pre-amp, as if it's not applied, yes?

 

Now, tell me straight, Is there one iota of difference between what you hear after turning OFF the EQ and preamp? .....strange...

 

Moving on...

Test #2. 

 

Same on an iOS device. Flat>OFF, no change. figures...So, change to treble booster. Wait, where'd the bass go?, now hit treble reducer.....more bass than flat...hmmm.

 

Test #3

For this one, have some decent quality headphones/speakers on hand, or multiple, if you want more reference. On a pc/mac with itunes, open the equalizer again. before you start playback, click Bass Booster. slide the preamp down to nil. Save the EQ/Make Preset... call it... bassnoamp, idk. Now choose Bass Reducer. Repeat process. no preamp,...save as bassreducednoamp. do the same with flat> flatnoamp. 

 

Now, reduce the volume of the computer's line out to 0 & Increase volume in Itunes to 100%. choose an Apple preset, say Bass Reducer. hit play. increase volume on line out of device to comfortable level. switch to another Apple Preset, Bass Booster or Flat. switch a few times back and forth. get a good feel for both the soundstage produced and tonal accuracy and depth, and in particular, pay attention to the amount of relative audible change in TONE....NOT overall volume, but frequency range and so forth.

 

Next, switch to one of the made presets. flatnoamp...output will be much lower. Increase volume on pc line out to roughly the same level as when using the apple preset. Now, start switchin to bassnoamp & bassreducednoamp. The difference in the sound signatures and overall clarity/balance on ANY set of speakers is kinda staggering. More importantly still, is the AMOUNT of change that occurs when switching between these EQ's. Much more Immediately noticeable, with more frequencies, and across a wider range, than switching between the apple presets with a preamp engaged and lower device volume output. Also, notice how the frequencies in the higher register don't become anymore noticeable between any of the non amp'd EQs, as none of them had any modification. NOT SO when switching between Apple's presets. Bass Booster quite noticeable changes the response of the higher frequencies when the preamp is on. 

 

 

 

Soooooo...software. It's a bitch. 

post #68 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

Of which again makes no sense. I am fine if you argue that soundstage in whatever term you define it as is so and so. But saying that there is no way a headphone can present a different aural image different from one another is a large claim

The amount of soundstage headphones create is directly related to the drivers' angle and distance from the ear. In general you get about a quarter inch of soundstage compared to 15 to 20 feet distance with speakers. Speakers have clear soundstage. Headphones have a drop in the bucket.

Headphones can have better response, less distortion, better dynamics, etc. that make the sound better, but that isn't soundstage.
Edited by bigshot - 10/15/12 at 10:39am
post #69 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiophylactery View Post

Not to point out the obvious...but wouldn't line level A/B comparisons be limited to mere relativity,

Assuming that all published specs aren't complete hooey, if multiple components measure as being transparent, simply comparing them will let you know if one is out of spec. All I really look for is if I got a defective unit. If it matches everything else, it's doing its job. The odds that different components would all be off in the exact same direction is mighty small.

Other folks can feel free to bust out the test equipment though. I just don't see the need for my purposes.
post #70 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post


The amount of soundstage headphones create is directly related to the drivers' angle and distance from the ear. In general you get about a quarter inch of soundstage compared to 15 to 20 feet distance with speakers. Speakers have clear soundstage. Headphones have a drop in the bucket.
Headphones can have better response, less distortion, better dynamics, etc. that make the sound better, but that isn't soundstage.

Again, you are arguing for a term unrelated to a term I am discussing.

 

Headphones have a spatial quality to them. That spatial quality that makes things seem life like takes advantage of the tuning of the drivers, the angle, the casing, how it rebounds off your ear, the headphone itself and your ear itself and also how it will use open air backing or closed back to create that spatial quality. This is a trait that many like and is a very important trait to many. And thus as it is so important to many, it needs a name! So what do people name it that also coincides with another term... Soundstage. 

post #71 of 133
You're talking about extremely small things. Whether or not a driver is at the correct angle depends on the shape of your ear canal. Ideally, the sound goes straight in your ears and doesn't bounce around a lot. But that isn't soundstage. Soundstage is the spread of sound right to left in front of you. Speakers have soundstage. Headphones don't. All headphones put the sound inside your head. The spatial cues are all in the recording. The headphones can't create space because there is no space.

Open, closed... These terms just describe the feel of sound pressure in your ears. Sound pressure isn't space. Space takes distance from the drivers.

Saying headphones have soundstage is like saying you have surround sound with just two stereo speakers.
Edited by bigshot - 10/15/12 at 3:08pm
post #72 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

You're talking about extremely small things. Whether or not a driver is at the correct angle depends on the shape of your ear canal. Ideally, the sound goes straight in your ears and doesn't bounce around a lot. But that isn't soundstage. Soundstage is the spread of sound right to left in front of you. Speakers have soundstage. Headphones don't. All headphones put the sound inside your head. The spatial cues are all in the recording. The headphones can't create space because there is no space.
Open, closed... These terms just describe the feel of sound pressure in your ears. Sound pressure isn't space. Space takes distance from the drivers.
Saying headphones have soundstage is like saying you have surround sound with just two stereo speakers.

I am not talking about real space. I am talking about how a headphone and its tuning and all the other factors above give the impression of space. And thus a word had to be created and thus that is headphone soundstage.

 

You are completely ignoring the fact that a headphone such as an Q701 does not produce the same impressed soundstage as an apple earbud. This is in itself artifical if we must use this word. In that by your definnition, there is no real "soundstage" because there is no real space between the driver and ears. I am not talking about that. I am talking about headphones and their own "soundstage" which is a word that is different from yours. This term of soundstage is how a headphone can replay the "stuff" in the media to sound "realistic".

 

Let's go and tell everyone that headphones don't have the type of soundstage I am talking about(which is a word that is different from yours that is meant for headphones) and see how many will start to go and buy an Apple Earbud instead of whatever they want.

post #73 of 133
You aren't hearing soundstage. You're hearing better frequency response or lower distortion and you are subjectively describing that to yourself as "space". The cues that create the illusion of depth are slight reverberation or echoes caught by the mikes during recording, or phase filtering done during mixing. Those aural cues are in the recording, not the headphones. Better headphones just reproduce the sound more faithfully, and those subtle aural cues can be heard better. That isn't soundstage, it's clarity.

I know a lot of audiophile people use vague, inaccurate ways of describing sound. Soundstage, however has a specific meaning, and that meaning is applicable to speakers, not headphones.

The difference between good headphones and apple earbuds is clarity (low distortion, flat response) not soundstage.
Edited by bigshot - 10/15/12 at 3:28pm
post #74 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

You aren't hearing soundstage. You're hearing better frequency response or lower distortion and you are subjectively describing that to yourself as "space". The cues that create the illusion of depth are slight reverberation or echoes caught by the mikes during recording, or phase filtering done during mixing. Those aural cues are in the recording, not the headphones. Better headphones just reproduce the sound more faithfully, and those subtle aural cues can be heard better. That isn't soundstage, it's clarity.
I know a lot of audiophile people use vague, inaccurate ways of describing sound. Soundstage, however has a specific meaning, and that meaning is applicable to speakers, not headphones.
The difference between good headphones and apple earbuds is clarity (low distortion, flat response) not soundstage.

 

 

Quote:
You aren't hearing soundstage. You're hearing better frequency response or lower distortion and you are subjectively describing that to yourself as "space".

The Monster Inspirations have a very large headphone soundstage. However, it is very artificial, sounds spacey and purely sucks. It does not have good Freqeuency responce and or good distortion handling.

 

 

 

Quote:
 Better headphones just reproduce the sound more faithfully, and those subtle aural cues can be heard better. That isn't soundstage, it's clarity.

My twist on it is that through tuning and all the things I mentioned before, because a headphone can reproduce it more faithfully and sometimes also add the quality of space to it, it has a spatial quality to it. That spatial quality needs a name as it is a quality and thus the word soundstage came out of it. There are plenty of headphone better than my Q701's in reproducing sound but don't have the 'headphone' soundstage of it.

 

 

 

Quote:
 Soundstage, however has a specific meaning, and that meaning is applicable to speakers, not headphones.

Soundstage in the audio realm does not have a specific meaning. According to Meriam Webster and most other sources, in terms of audio reproduction, soundstage does not have a specific meaning and is not specifc. It has not entered formal dictionary yet so therefore, what you call it and what we in headphone call it can be whatever we want it to be. I have already described a plethora of times what we call it.

 

 

 

Quote:
The difference between good headphones and apple earbuds is clarity (low distortion, flat response) not soundstage.

Monster Inspiration has a much larger stage that my Ultrasones and most headphones that have a better responce.

post #75 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

Soundstage in the audio realm does not have a specific meaning.

 

Of course it does. It's just often misused to the point where people think the incorrect usage is the true one.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Science
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › What is the sound quality of iPhone, iPad, iPod (Touch)?