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The Best of Head-Fi - Page 2

post #16 of 55
That is a very interesting post.

Fine wine preferance to being able to like many others.

I grew up on crappy, treble harsh earbuds and havent exactly heard $5000 worth offine wine. But unlike some people. I cant stand spacey noise cancelling soundstages or harsh sparkley trebles. I alwys rate those pretty low unlike some.

I have also wondered what "bass" is nowadays. And imo, as we are in this modern era. True neutrality should include bass somewhat akin to the lcd2.2 where it works for mainstream genres and "exotic" ones. For if a headphones bass response is poor etc then imo, it is still from neutral in this more Modern era
post #17 of 55
That is a very interesting post.

Fine wine preferance to being able to like many others.

This is the perfect graph for a fine wine lovers' headphone.......


post #18 of 55

Looks like the characteristic Audeze graph.

post #19 of 55
Originally Posted by wink View Post

This is the perfect graph for a fine wine lovers' headphone.......



Art gallery material

post #20 of 55
Thread Starter 

From MuppetFace's diary thread about the Edition 12:



Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

I almost posted in the Edition 12 thread, but on second thought I think I'll stay out of it. Such threads have a tendency to go downhill quickly in my experience.


The Edition 10 still occupies a rather unique place in the headphone pantheon for me. My first posts here on head-fi were in the Edition 10 announcement thread, and at the time I had my first set of Edition 8s which sounded the best of the three Edition 8 sets I owned. Additionally my approach at the time was more firmly entrenched in the collector's camp, so for me Ultrasone occupied a position somewhat similar to the one FAD has now: the off-beat solicitor of emotion and peddler of objet d'art. Whereas FAD manages the tightrope walk between genius and madness however, Ultrasone fell off ages ago. Their brand of lunacy is straight up hamfisted, seat-of-the-pants frequent flier stuff; the necessary unpredictability factor isn't on the micro-level as it is with FAD but rather the macro-level. I mean I've had three different Edition 8s, and each one of them has sounded noticeably different. Similarly the Edition 9s without serial numbers are supposed to sound better than later numbered ones. Along these lines I suspect there's quite a bit of difference among Edition 10s as well. 


Fairly early on after their initial release, impressions seemed to be incredibly mixed. People seemed to be having difficulty wrapping their heads around what they were hearing, something that arose, I suspect, from cognitive dissonance. Cue the bloody nose from Booker DeWitt. Really though this affords me the perfect opportunity to mention something that has been on my mind for a while: the question of just how much our impressions are influenced by those of others. There's a natural inclination I think to "check," to get a handle on what the general consensus of a product seems to be before putting ourselves out on the line. I don't think there's any malicious intent of course; rather, it stems from an often subtle urge to just see. Take a quick gander. Just enough to make sure we're on the right track, whatever that may be. People will loudly proclaim they trust their ears, but in true "methinks they doth protest too much" fashion, one wonders just how certain folks really are. I think some come to realize after a certain amount of experience that their hearing is often times unpredictable. Or rather, that surrounding variables---both external and internal---are often times unpredictable. We should trust our ears. But then we shouldn't trust our ears.


What the hell does this have to do with the Edition 10? Well, in the case of newer products---particularly those with a lot of variation from one unit to the next---there often seems to be a period of confusion as people try to square what they're hearing and the results of just checkng. Just look at the whole LCD-3 affair. Eventually, a predominant attitude takes hold and becomes something of a baseline. In the case of the Edition 10, certain reviews from well respected members of the community sealed its fate on the forums. A few comedic expressions later, others who were on the fence suddenly start to hear the flaws as all the more apparent and glaring. Thing is this genuinely happens over time: a lot of people, myself included, need time to come to grips with the way something performs. We can often come to love something at the end of that initial week (as I did with the TH900) or in some cases after more than a year (like the LCD-2 rev. 1 when it just clicked for me). Alternatively we can realize something isn't that great or gradually come to loathe it. Far be it for me to deny opinions legitimately change.


In this case however, it seems to happen more uniformly and across a broader range. There's no doubt in my mind that many of the Edition 10s sounded atrocious. However I also think some units sounded much less problematic than many of the oft-cited reports would indicate. My own for instance didn't have problems with confused, amorphous bass. Nor were the highs more sibilant than the Edition 8 which some found to be the case; even the best of the Edition 8s I've owned sounded noticeably more sibilant to me. In short, my Edition 10 sounds pretty good. I've also found it's the sort of device that does best without much in the way of accentuation. In true Ultrasone tradition it doesn't scale much, and in fact it actually doesn't scale particularly well, sounding rather terrible on a lot of amps with more overt coloration. Really, it sounds about as good as it ever will out of a simple DAP's jack. Absurd for a product this expensive, you say? That's Ultrasone for you.


Those who have similar experiences often refrain from posting them in the open because of the climate: it's just not worth the frustration of trying to defend and justify one's findings. There's a not-so-subtle way of responding to these divergent impressions, a popular method of comportment that involves doubling one's own efforts in posting records of the opposing view. Of course someone is entitled to his or her opinion, but just to reiterate, I happen to disagree with what you're saying. I strongly disagree. Did I mention that? Even though I've been saying it a lot, I have to repeat it again after your post. In fact I have to repeat it after every conflicting report. Also did I mention [insert popular source] happens to agree? Here are some measurements of one of the crappy sets to back me up here. By the way, what was your setup like? This is a very legitimate question, but I'm phrasing it in a way that implied from the outset that you must not know what you're doing.


That last bit is particularly problematic for some folks who want to maintain their forum reputation and are worried about losing the "respect" of their peers. As a result, they simply avoid sharing. Meanwhile a precedent is established from the other types of impressions getting perpetuated through the influence of "checking," the parroting of this precedent, and so on and so forth. There's usually a legitimate kernel to it, too. In the case of the Edition 10 many of the units did suck. Similarly certain amps that get labeled as "wires with gain" do excel in areas of transparency and resolution. Over time however it gets distorted like a game of telephone. All Ultrasone suck. An amp is totally true to the source. These things become memes, recited at the drop of a hat, and any context evaporates. Folks who haven't even heard the gear in question end up reciting it just to fit into the crowd and get their own helping of butt-pats and e-props.


So yeah, back to the Edition 10. I think that's what we were talking about right? My own experience with it was never that bad, though I'd still count it as a failure. The experiences of others who heard it as sibilant and amorphous aren't to be dismissed, and in most cases I think they're very real. I've certainly experienced more than my fair share of bad sounding Ultrasones. The PRO 2900 may very well be the worst sounding headphone I've ever heard so far. Additionally, quality control and poor consistency standards are just unacceptable for products like this. There are definite problems with the Edition 10---even on my pair which I claim doesn't sound that bad---and these issues snowball when it comes to something so expensive.


The Edition 12 will hopefully carry Ultrasone's new found prowess that was evidenced by the Signature PRO. Then again, there's evidence against this in the form of the IQ earphones which were a step backward from what I can tell. I know plenty of others feel the Edition 10 is immensely tacky in appearance, a sort of art deco air-freshener plugin meets wall sconce. Personally speaking however, I've always been rather partial to its design. The pictures that were scanned are in black and white, so I'm wonder what changes have been made to the materials: the leather, the wood used, the metal plating. Just a cursory glance at the renders suggest a different type of accent piece on the cups, perhaps a new type of wood or a contrasting metal.

post #21 of 55
Thread Starter 

From the Centrance HiFi M8 thread: 



Originally Posted by Golden Ears View Post

I have also been impressed with Mr. Goodman and his handling of so many needs. What I think emerged ----no one could have predicted. But a basic board with modular inputs and outputs...that probably is the end ideal- like being able to swap the face plate with all the jacks...

I wish someone would just miniturize the full size XLR and instead of the full side XLR combo TRS1/4 I wish they made a combo jack that was a mini version of XLR with our mini TRS1/8 th jack.... To me that would be the best of both worlds.

I also wish someone would make louvre-tec contacts for all these headphone jacks using louvre-tec bands which are electrically transparent..and also have been used by AMP corporation (a division of te.com) for so many years. That would go a long way to improving sound... These high current connections are just amazing ....in something the size of an 1/8 jack diameter they have shown these bands to allow up to 25amps of current to pass....pretty cool. Overkill is a good thing in audio.

And it is projects like this HI-FI M8 crowd sourced input that gets people to start thinking and sharing thoughts from every walk of life.

Sure 90% to 95% of the suggestions aren't the optimum. Maybe even 99.7% are not...lol..... But even the thoughts that are about 85+% of the way to the optimum possibility of the product help stimulate thoughts and help challenge to make people defend their thoughts.

So much attention to connectors shows ....well ...shows any connector company...that There is a desire for something better. And even though it is a small market...it has a ready market of early adopters wanting it.

To test the available connectors for their ratings electrically...well that might give us a partial indication of SQ influence. For instance Cryroed copper RCA connectors on amplifiers make a difference in SQ that is easy to hear by almost any audiophile who cares and knows what helps approach live sound.

I am still debating on the level of DAC quality of the hi-fi M8 and whether it will meet my lofty sonic goals or if I would have to spend more for higher quality components , larger size and perhaps a more isolated layout ( the DAC mini looks pretty good) after hearing high quality discreet component construction used in full sized home tube amps... I still am not sure how close this product will come to my sonic goals having never heard a CEntrance product yet.

Are there any CEntrance DAC mini owners in Newport Beach?..I do not want to wait for T.H.E Show to hear one, I want to hear one this week, which I am working at anyhow how about long beach ?

Headphone addict (Larry) tends to have similar opinions to what I hear...and has been a huge help in determining good products (which IMHO makes him a great reviewer) I think he treads along that value/HIGHSQ continuum nicely where he gets great SQ without killing the wallet to the point of feeling guilty. He keeps it fun, and likes the CEntrance DAC mini, he used to like/own the Apogee mini DAC which was a great value when it came out. I used to own one too, and at times I miss it.

Anyhow, so while I stil am one the fence, I want to give Mr. Goodman my hard earned dollars to "fight the good fight" of a product designer who takes input from others, makes the right compromises in the correct places, and ignores suggestions that would compromise the very core beliefs of what is important in a product.

I think Mercedes Benz engineers were very good at making good design choices until focus groups and marketing screwed them up in the late 1990's...prior to that MB engineers made cars that they felt were best for customers and the engineers families ...without unneeded features that over complicated and did not add to the driving or ownership experience.

Sometimes I give people a ride in my 1994 Mercedes E500 I don't talk about the engine, suspension, or other things first..I instead marvel at the intelligent choices in the single interior light switch. One switch with 3 positions 1st one is for the passenger side light, next one is off( for leaving a door open and not draining the battery) , and the third position is for turning both driver side and passer side lights on at the same time, because that is the way it should be, you should not have to fumble with a light switch in the dark wondering which button will do what. Like why would you ever want the driver side bright light on without having the slightly dimmer passenger light on too? You wouldn't, even if you were looking for stuff and did not want to wake a sleeping passenger, you would take twice as long to find stuff with only the driver side light on, and if you had to look in the bottom of you drivers map pocket while driving with your interior lights on, Darwinian evolution should take care of your bad genes. These were intelligent engineering and safety decisions made by engineers that probably had meetings to decide what was the best choice. Now Mercedes are littered with light switches. WHY...?

Damn focus group driven design ...where marketing forces a myriad of wrong choices on engineering....ugh.Choices??? Like it's "just a different kind of wrong"' but wrong no matter what you pick ---> marketing only gives the engineers wrong choices to pick according to what some distracted befuddled housewife on prozac thought was a better idea in a late night focus group. So according to marketing, a housewife non technical person without an advanced degree in automobile engineering ...is somehow more qualified to make a choice than someone who spends 50 hours a week considering the trade offs?...WTF? And it happens every day. Marketing depts. using focus groups is ruining the customer experience. Like do we need 14 cup holders in a minivan?......with that many cups we should have catheters in it as well. Ask them what they want..and the women say cup holders, they use them to store all sorts of things... But the house wives don't tell marketing they need "intelligent storage solutions" instead of bad storage in cup holders so what do you get? A zillion cup holders instead of what people need.

The engineers who not only have the time, they have the logic to know what is best for the customer...to know even far better than the customer---> what is best for the customer.

Anyhow, if so much attention is given to a lowly light switch in my car, you know lots of attention was likely paid elsewhere too in far more important areas. I feel this same sense of security in Mr. Goodman as a designer that he will make the best choices...even if his customers will not appreciate those choices until a long time after they have owned his products. Gotta love the DAC Mini potentiometer drop protection bar! We can't see it, or hear it but if eventually we drop it we will be thankful it was thoughtfully designed into it. Probably Mr. Goodman had a few engineering samples fall face down and were damaged..so he put this feature in for the good of the customer... Whether they want to pay extra for it or not... When automobile seat belts came out... They were an option...not mandatory. Well someone intelligent decided they should not be an option. Good move, a great benefit that far outweighed the extra cost. Mr. Goodman keep making the good choices.

So Mr. Goodman, I searched your products today, determined it buy something from you...... ANYTHING, that fit my needs ( even vaguely) to help this concept of designing continue. To honor your design model. I proudly Bought a set of Masterclass speakers today...And I feel really good and confident about my purchase....

Mr. Goodman .,Keep fighting the good fight, I am impressed and you will benefit from it...I see no reason why the benefits of this design process of the Hi-Fi M8 should not be felt even In other areas of your company... Bravo. Don't be afraid to put that capacitor that cost more in the amp section, or to cryro it, or to spend more for a better volume control...make the choices that make it a better product, push SQ forward even if we as customers kick and scream over the long wait or silly rubber bands. Offer mods that make sense and broaden your products usefulness. You'll have a cult like following in no time.

I'm watching this thread, and there is a point where I will buy a product without even hearing it,..takes a huge leap of faith for me,,,and you are damned close to that point. Sure..."Welcome to Head-fi ......sorry about your wallet" applies here to this product, but I am thinking it might become (or already be) the best in its class.. I gotta hear it.

Finger on the "buy button".... Any DAC minis or DAC mini PX owners near me?....I would like to get on the waiting list for the HI-FI M8 I just need a listen.
post #22 of 55
Thread Starter 

From one of the Abyss threads:



Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

Thing is, folks who really like them don't spend on megabux headphones in general. Tyll for instance really likes the Abyss, but he's not going to buy one. He's not lining up to buy a SR-009 either. Same with a lot of other folks I've talked to over the last few months.

Also I'm sure there are folks who listen to the Abyss and enjoy it but already have the far more well-established SR-009 and can't really justify two supercars in one garage.

Isn't it a question of priorities and judgment call about what you get for the amount of money? If am pretty convinced that ANY passionate headphone geek will find a way to finance the phone if it truly / fully delivers on what they're after.

For instance, some people just find the 009/BHSE ruthlessly revealing to the point of taking the fun out if the listening experience (in particular when using subpar source material). Maybe that's not exactly how Tyll feels but it could part of the reason why he doesn't own one regardless of how well it performs.

For the abyss, there appears to be a consensus that it does some things extraordinaly well (the bass response and openness of soundstage) while being judged as ok to plainly terrible in other areas such as the treble response (multiple reputable members made similar observations). At that price point (and even much lower prices actually), it's pretty hard to justify a purchase if you readily notice faults from even just short time audition.

Then again, people tastes vary tremendously and some might not feel bothered by the phones faults (as you mentioned, some ortho fans are delighted with the abyss).

Personnally, I find the subjective reactions very enlightening because they echo the initial concerns with the choices being made for the design.
Example: treble ringing is pretty standard issue with orthos hence the heavy use of felts/absorbers to damp the diaphragm. The abyss designers went with a metallic foam, extremely open which acts more like a dust cover than damping layer.
I wonder if this is what yields a very snappy transient response and open sound but the transient response takes its toll with excessive ringing / smearing of the high frequencies. The metallic foam was a deliberate design decision after some extensive trials, I guess the designers relied on subjective results and didn't mind the drawbacks of the choices being made.

The move to inherently non-linear transduction principle (instead of the traditional push-pull configuration with magnets on both sides of the traces) was pretty bold too. There again, it seems objectivity was left aside and what sounded better to the designers was used (like for instance a more open sounding can).

I guess this is the same "conflict" as always between the objectivists who will dismiss the item on a technical ground without even giving it a chance and subjectivists who will take anything as long as it sounds good to them...

I personnaly try to keep my mind open but have to admit the acoustic engineer in me is not really putting much hope in the abyss (in its current form) based on the design choices and measurements. The impressions from people who's hearing I very much trust make me all the more dubious on this can being truly that exceptional.


Originally Posted by MuppetFace View Post

Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

Isn't it a question of priorities and judgment call about what you get for the amount of money? If am pretty convinced that ANY passionate headphone geek will find a way to finance the phone if it truly / fully delivers on what they're after.



Not necessarily. I specifically said "two car garage" for this reason, because while I know some folks who would conceivably sell their current rig to finance a new one, I don't know nearly as many who would spring for an additional TOTL multi-thousand dollar rig. Especially when we're talking about two different formats that require different upstream gear on top of that. I know summit-fiers have ways of justifying expenses, and where there's a will there's a way in many instances, but I was trying to specifically imply that this hypothetical owner was satisfied with the SR-009 already (and wouldn't want to sell it).


Purrin's posts on the other Abyss thread really sum it up well I think and reflect my own view in my ways. Orthos and stats tend to excel in different areas, and the Abyss and SR-009 seem---to me at least---to be very stereotypical of their respective technological heritages. So yes, it's very much a question of priorities and tastes. Case in point: folks I know who have taken to the Abyss the most are those who have never really been that satisfied with the SR-009. Purrin, dBel, and myself. On the other hand someone like n3rdling finds the treble not sounding like 'stat treble to be a deal breaker. This is, for me, understandable despite our having different perspectives and priorities.


Honestly, with regards to treble I'm kind of on the fence, because I do like refinement in the treble. However the overall FR of the Abyss is just much more "right" to my ears. The Abyss just does enough of what matters to me most to make it the most complete headphone sonically for me. It's definitely not perfect; there are other headphones that do certain things better. However as a sum of parts, the Abyss is more for me and others because it's a combination of factors you can't really get elsewhere in summit-fi. However I'm in a [rare] position to where I can own several high end pairs of headphones, so I'm quite grateful I can have the Abyss and the SR-007, SR-Omega, and new Floats. I realize though I'm in a definite minority of a subset that is already in a minority of a minority (the "summit-fi" of head-fidom).


Also it would be nice if audiophilia existed in a sonic vacuum I guess, but we do have brand loyalties and psychosocial baggage we bring to the table. A lot of people trust Stax and feel comfortable spending the kilobux on a set from them. There's also a certain well-established perception of Stax being "the best" out there, and for some folks that's important.

post #23 of 55

The Abyss appreciation thread is getting better......

post #24 of 55
Thread Starter 

"The only purpose of Science is to enable us to ask better questions." -- Hutnicks' signature.

post #25 of 55

The only purpose of science is to entrench the system into peer-reviewed nonsense which stifles innovation.

post #26 of 55

Peer reviewing tries to ensure that the work is sound in logic and in execution of the experiment.

It's not perfect but without this it's open to quacks to make false claims backed by shoddy research.

Sorry I had to add this since I am a scientist.

post #27 of 55

If only things worked in practice the way they should do in theory.

post #28 of 55
Originally Posted by wink View Post

The Abyss appreciation thread is getting better......


Someone deleted that thread... redface.gif

post #29 of 55
Thread Starter 

Yes. Wink, stop trolling threads! tongue.gif

post #30 of 55
Yep. The master troll title is already with someone else. wink.gif
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