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Why are there so few headphones that can cover the full audio range well? - Page 3

post #31 of 68
Most people have never heard flat response, and if they have, they attribute the improvement to other unrelated things like jitter hoodoo or cable placebo. Frequencies are what we actually hear. Once you deal with dynamics and distortion, which are rarely a problem in home audio any more, the primary thing left to address is the response. Balance that, and you've created an accurate representation of the sound as it was recorded. Why? Because most every high end sound studio records and mixes on equipment tuned to flat response.
post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Most people have never heard flat response, and if they have, they attribute the improvement to other unrelated things like jitter hoodoo or cable placebo. Frequencies are what we actually hear. Once you deal with dynamics and distortion, which are rarely a problem in home audio any more, the primary thing left to address is the response. Balance that, and you've created an accurate representation of the sound as it was recorded. Why? Because most every high end sound studio records and mixes on equipment tuned to flat response.

I assume my 10 year old HT towers are pretty neutral, at least compared to my RS1i...

post #33 of 68

Even flat speakers aren't flat without room treatment and equalization.

post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

I'm not claiming there isn't an exception but an awful lot of them can do one end or the other well but have noticeable loss in the other parts. Seems the same with sources. They are tuned for some things but are weak in others. What is it that won't allow for a full frequency tuning?
Example are the orthos. The LCDs excel in bass but are weaker in the mid to upper registers. The HE is just the opposite.
Am I missing something or just ignorant of the design issues?

agree with the poster who mentioned ety's doing a good job at this. i'm not quite sure what he means by one note bass. unfortunately, in this universe everything involves a tradeoff. there will never be a perfect speaker, or perfect sound environment, or perfect headphone. for example, you get better mids and highs and better overall sound with an open backed headphone, but you lose some of the bass impact, in closed headphones, it's the opposite. in speakers where multi drivers are concerned, you may be able to do a better job at reproducing the entire sound spectrum, but then you have other problems like timing and phase issues. in an ideal, theoretical world, one driver would be able to cover the entire frequency range and this would give the best sound, but it doesn't work like that in the real world. plenty of headphones come close to doing well in all ranges, take K701, sennheiser HD600 on up, and many other headphones that are similar.electrostatic headphones and planar magnetic headphones can do a good job at rectifying most of the issues you described, but on the planar magnetic end, i think it is going to take a bit of time for all of the kinks to be worked out and things to be fine tuned.

post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Even flat speakers aren't flat without room treatment and equalization.

Yep. Well, if you put them out in a field, or in an anechoic room, they might be, but I don't think anyone *lives* in those kinds of places. But yep. +1.

And it should be noted that equalization here can get VERY precise to make things majorly correct, no ham-handed 5 bands!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Most people have never heard flat response, and if they have, they attribute the improvement to other unrelated things like jitter hoodoo or cable placebo. Frequencies are what we actually hear. Once you deal with dynamics and distortion, which are rarely a problem in home audio any more, the primary thing left to address is the response. Balance that, and you've created an accurate representation of the sound as it was recorded. Why? Because most every high end sound studio records and mixes on equipment tuned to flat response.

I'd basically agree with this too. I think people should be able to speak from this frame of reference before going on about "well I don't care about flat, I want xyz coloration/etc instead, because that's what I prefer" but I think they should be able to take that step if they want. Personally I'm not in love with a perfectly flat response, but I don't dislike it either. If left to my own devices, I'll usually turn the bass down (and here I usually will rely on ham-handed controls) and screw with the mid-range (I can do all of this via EQ depending on the system), and that's just my own personal bias/taste/whatever. But I would take "flat" over a lot of the boom-boom shake the room models that are becoming popular these days, or the over-bright paint-peelers. ph34r.gif
post #36 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happy Camper View Post

I'm not claiming there isn't an exception but an awful lot of them can do one end or the other well but have noticeable loss in the other parts. Seems the same with sources. They are tuned for some things but are weak in others. What is it that won't allow for a full frequency tuning?
Example are the orthos. The LCDs excel in bass but are weaker in the mid to upper registers. The HE is just the opposite.
Am I missing something or just ignorant of the design issues?


I've noticed this also. Mainly, I would think it is a result of what happens when you ask 1 dynamic driver to sound good across the audible spectrum. In a typical home theater, the audible spectrum gets divided between subwoofers, woofers, midranges, and tweeters. Arguably the tweeter is still key because it reproduces more of the spectrum than any other speaker.

 

I think headphones have an advantage in terms of less finicky placement / imaging and so on. But you are still asking 1 transducer, 1 diaphram, or whatever, to play deep bass and piercing highs. Where the frequency response of headphones are all over the place, I am not sure this is accurate, but, it appears that most struggle to reproduce frequencies higher than 10 khz (unless manufacturers deliberately tune these out). With planars, such as I use, there is ultimately a greater amount of driver surface area, yet it is unclear whether this is a superior means of reproducing all frequencies accurately.

post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


Yep. Well, if you put them out in a field, or in an anechoic room, they might be, but I don't think anyone *lives* in those kinds of places. But yep. +1.

It wouldn't help much actually, you'd get a flat response, but with zero reverb, and mastering rooms aren't reverb free environments either,
post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by khaos974 View Post

It wouldn't help much actually, you'd get a flat response, but with zero reverb

Yeah. "Reverb" is not a small thing - a bad room and bad placement can ruin even the best speakers. "Flat" is not a universal thing; you have to consider radiation, resonance, and so on.
post #39 of 68
If you aren't dealing with obvious room problems, if you EQ flat, the balance around the room will fall into the normal pattern for the room, just as if you had a live band playing in the room. Nothing wrong with that.

The goal isn't to get a perfect room with no reflection whatsoever. It's to get a room that's naturally balanced.
post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

If you aren't dealing with obvious room problems, if you EQ flat, the balance around the room will fall into the normal pattern for the room, just as if you had a live band playing in the room. Nothing wrong with that.
The goal isn't to get a perfect room with no reflection whatsoever. It's to get a room that's naturally balanced.

Yes and no. I agree 100% with the second part. The first part is where I say yes or no - it won't be the same as a live band playing in the room, because radiation will be considerably different.
post #41 of 68

yeah I imagine its hard for yhem to produce a flat response across the frequency spctrum with a small single driver.

post #42 of 68

graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=3061

 

I daresay that if Audio Technica can do 90% of the spectrum at +/-5db, it is possible. For me, this is good enough right now at $180, and if I were to use a parametric EQ, I could make the response +/-2.5db, which would be flat for all intents and purposes, since the human ear needs at least 3db to differentiate between two volumes. 

Question though: Can anyone find a flatter FR graph on headphone.com? I looked and looked, and this was the flattest I found, so I got it. (It lifted the bass a tiny bit from the AD700, which I had before, but faulted for its inaudible bass... Now I lean towards brighter headphones, and the AD900 works very well.)

post #43 of 68

Also contenders - DT-880/600, Audeze LCD 2, Ety ER-4P

 

 

 

the Sony V6 is pretty flat too, but rolls off the bass sooner than these.

post #44 of 68

More also contenders (as always, caveats of smoothing, arguably-incorrect FR compensation, dummy head / measurement system):

 

 

 

Of the above four, I own K601, and I hear some ~2.5 kHz bump (higher than the rest of the spectrum) that apparently does not exist above, yet it shows up in goldenears and purrin's data.  I wouldn't take any headphone measurement graph from one source too seriously.


Edited by mikeaj - 11/12/12 at 11:59am
post #45 of 68

^Wow. It looks like the AKG 601 would just need a boost at 13Khz to be ridiculously flat. I wonder why they don't use a crossover to force single driver systems to be flat? It's almost like nobody has ever tried. Heck, I almost wouldn't mind a headphone that took batteries for an active parametric EQ to tune them to ruler flat. How would that not work? 

If a company did that with a set that already had great 'texture', quick decay, and large soundstage, imagine the bragging rights: They could make a wonderful ad: "What the idiots at Sennheiser, suckers at AKG, and children at Beyerdynamic and Audio Technica failed to do: Make a headphone with a flat frequency response... Introducing the "we aren't stupid like most every other headphone manufacturer and managed to make a headphone that is actually flat, rather than just pretending to be flat" headphone. 

 

Just throw some classical music and a nice voice in there and they would be golden (for sound... maybe they could stuff it all in some Beats with a glowing Apple for a new model aimed at consumers...)


As far as I know, only Etymotic and Grado would be excluded. Etymotic shoots for an economically achieved flat at the eardrum curve, which they approach according to their measurements, and Grado phones are ear tuned if I remember correctly.

 

[EDIT]

Is there a manufacturer that publicly admits to trying for a flat response and gives a good excuse for not being able to achieve it?


Edited by stevenswall - 11/12/12 at 3:51pm
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