Originally Posted by fjhuerta
It's not a straight line, it's an impedance plot. "LOL". An impedance plot is defined by the copper in the motor, magnet strength, number of windings in the coil, weight of the diaphragm and other variables. I'm no expert by any means, but I've worked with impedance plots on speakers for 7 years. I'd be very, very surprised if the same engineering principles apply to headphones. I find it striking that two different headphones, one at $80 and the other at $400 would share the exact same impedance plot.
As an example, here's a Sennheiser HD-800 vs. the HD-600 vs. the HD-700 impedance plots. Do they seem similar to you?
A $1,499 vs. a $999 vs. a $400 headphone. THIS is what I expect to see from a different motor on a headphone driver. It's obvious Sennheiser isn't rebranding their own motors and slapping them on every different headphone they build.
If I remember correctly there was some talk of the HD 700 and HD 650 actually using the same motor/driver though.
I don't think the "rebranding scandal" argument needs to exist (I've seen it play in computer forums - it's a lot of drama over nothing that can be changed).
As far as similarity to speaker drivers - it's closer than a lot of people would think. But you can't use a straight cone tweeter as a headphone driver (this was tried in the 1970s - it sounds *awful* (like unless you have an afternoon and some brewskis to kill, I wouldn't bother even attempting it - it's that bad)).
You can also change impedance plots with Zobels and other trickery (like the enclosure itself). I don't see why this one minute detail is such a boogeyman though - go back to the measurements I posted earlier, there are observed and quantifiable differences between various Grado models, regardless of how similar their impedance is.
Originally Posted by fjhuerta
Thanks for your incredibly thoughtful post. No, I meant FS as in the resonant frequency of the driver / enclosure combination.
That makes so much more sense! There's my DOI!!! moment for the day.
Originally Posted by Currawong
FYI, the Sennheiser headphones were designed with different impedance. I wouldn't say that impedance is a good way to judge whether the drivers are the same or not. Orthodynamic headphones are a good example of this.
Personally, I do "get" the Grado sound. The best match for me, FR-wise, was the HF-1s. With the desire for a Grado with more resolution, I bought a pair of Rhydon's "Symphones Magnums" which 525is modded with better drivers, which he made himself.
I recall though considerable debate and discussion about Grado and what drivers they use in each model and whether they are the same. What I gathered is that it is likely the basic driver itself is the same, but the coating on the surface, which affects the performance, is different. Of course, so is much of the rest of the headphone, such as the cups and chamber.
A while ago there was some tweak company (I forget who) that was talking about Grado shopping around for coating materials to dope the drivers with, but I don't know if Grado ever settled on that. They also engage in the "de-stressing" thing (I can't begin to imagine what this actually entails - but for some reason I imagine Johnny G sitting there with a DC power supply hitting the drivers in batches). I haven't seen any documentation about measured differences due to coating (in other words, has anyone sat and measured Grado drivers before and after), but I know adding weight to the cone can very dramatically change the output - so it's worth noting as well.
Based on comments Tyll has made, you'd need impedance *and* electrical phase to determine if a headphone driver is identical between systems. But there's still the question of Zobel networks and so on (but I think Sony is the only manufacturer who does this in headphones). Regarding the isodynamic drivers, they should be characteristically non-reactive irrespective of motor design; this is based on comments from Fang and the various modder groups (Yamaha, Fostex, etc).
+1 on the enclosure being a big deal, and +2 on the pads being a big deal.
Originally Posted by Focker
If a comparison is made to the speaker world, you have companies like Morel, Seas, etc who make drivers that are used by HUNDREDS of speakers companies. Just because two speakers at different price points use the same driver set doesn't mean they will sound the same, or that the more expensive speakers aren't worth their price tag.
This. But the flip-side is that just because you throw a lot of nice drivers in a nice box doesn't mean you have a nice speaker, and that might be where some people are getting hung up on Grados. I don't know though; anyone who has a hang-up on Grados want to chime in?
Also add Vifa and Peerless and I think you've got probably 85% of all mass produced speakers, lol.
To further the speaker example, just like Magnepan MMGs give you a small taste of what larger Magnepans offer, the 80s give you a small taste of what the higher end Grados offer. Magnepan uses the same materials in their least expensive speaker as they do in their flagship. But anyone who has spent any time with Maggies at all will tell you that the MMGs aren't in the same league as the 3.7s. Did I enjoy my MMGs? Of course. Are the 3.7s better? Absolutely.
This too. But just like Grado, Magnepan makes changes as they move up the line. It's the same idea with ESPs too - sure, all Logans are 'stats, but the higher end ones earn their price tag just like the "cheap" (if ~$4000/pair is cheap) ones do theirs. But it's *subtle* - going from an SR-225 to an RS-1 for example is not as dramatic as going from the RS-1 to say, an ESP/950. Going from the SR-60 to the SR-80 is even less dramatic. I think part of the problem is that a lot of reviews (especially older magazine reviews) let the hyperbole fly wild, so everything from dusting off your system to replacing the speakers entirely is "big, life-altering, dramatic, night and day changes!" - it creates an expectation that few products can likely fulfill. I see this time and again with amplifier discussions - someone reads a lot of reviews about how some much more expensive and much fancier amp will be a huge difference, they get it, and the result is more like "hrm, I paid how much again? I mean it's better, but...how much?" - with designs that have a strict house sound that problem exists as well.
Originally Posted by ArmAndHammer
If they sounded the same, yes. If a plastic cup 325 sounded the same as my metal cup 325 I would pay the same price I paid over the much cheaper SR-60 because to me, there is quite a difference. Yeah, the metal cup is nice to look at and offers a better feel of quality over the cheapness of the plastic cupped lower end Grados, but I have said it before and I'll say it again, I don't own headphones for fashion, I own them for sound. If I was into the fashion aspect, I'd just waste a bunch of money on a pair of Beats and call it a day.
lol. I agree with this too. There's a lot of talk from manufacturers that woodies are this magical cure-all to resonance issues, despite the data disagreeing with that (and if you go back to the measurements, the RS-1 actually have more resonance peaks than the plastic models
). Sure, they're purdy, but if they don't deliver the goods I don't care. If there was a (cheaper) plastic version of the RS-1 or the ESW9A, I'd snap'em right up without a second thought. On the other hand, I would have no issues with a headphone that had a wood veneer or vinyl appliqué over a plastic or aluminum body, if it looked cool. But that's really neither here nor there (it's just part of the whole "seriously, black and silver as the only options? c'mon...there's so many more colors!" rant).