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Why are STAX headphones unwanted? - Page 5

post #61 of 114
Analogsurvivor, you keep raving about the k1000 being the only true suitable headphone for binaural playback, but you do realize that binaural content is aimed to be played back ONLY through headphones that are immune to cross-talk, right? In particular, playing a binaural record through a k1000 will give the exact same same issue as trying to play it through speakers because of the cross-talk messing things. Only way to address this is to artificially remove the cross-talk, like QSound attempted to do with speakers...
post #62 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post


I think the reason why Stax's state of design and marketing is where it is today boils down to exactly just what you speculated above. I was about to bring the cultural difference and traditional Japanese corporate culture to the table but there's nothing to add here.

+1. I might only add that comments regarding appearence of Stax, particularly Lambda series that receives the greatest portion of critical comments, is a form following function design done with the most economical means that keeps delivering desired function practically - forever. Except for the  children or ( very)  small women, even their large(ish) size becomes a non-issue the moment music starts playing.

 

On the other hand, you can get prettier looking phones at 1$ shop - but they are good for looking at yourself wearing them in mirror only.

post #63 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

Analogsurvivor, you keep raving about the k1000 being the only true suitable headphone for binaural playback, but you do realize that binaural content is aimed to be played back ONLY through headphones that are immune to cross-talk, right? In particular, playing a binaural record through a k1000 will give the exact same same issue as trying to play it through speakers because of the cross-talk messing things. Only way to address this is to artificially remove the cross-talk, like QSound attempted to do with speakers...

( Partially) right.  In pracice, it boils down to the type of (artificial) head microphone one is using. 

There are basically two possibilities - mike in ear canal with the diaphragm where our eardrum is situated ( Neumann/Stax adopted solution ) or smallest possible mike just in front of the entrance of the ear canal ( the one that favours K 1000 ).

 

You do not want to remove the crosstalk in headphones, you want to PRESERVE it i- in any case, at all costs.. That is what crossfeed is trying to adress with all phones that do touch or surround our ears ( that is to say 99,9........................9 % of all available headphones ). Better practical realizations of crossfeed are quite good actually - but no match for K 1000 to date..

 

Exactly the opposite is true with the speakers.  Here, you want to cancel the crosstalk. There were quite a few attempts at this, Polk Audio SDA  series of speakers and Carver Sonic Hologram spring to mind. The research in this direction is continuing, I have to find the link and will post it ASAP.

 

Fact remains that  as of now only K 1000 does present proper signal to the ear that approaches to the sound we hear  naturally - and that practically every stereo speaker system  ( without crosstalk correction ) is fundamentally flawed. The technology has come to the point where there should no longer be a problem to adress these shortcomings that limit the naturalness of  reproduction achievable with means that are well within current capabilities.. Whether or not the public at large is willing to accept the change, not to mention increased demands on the recording side, is the real question.

post #64 of 114

Absolutely correct I believe

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

Analogsurvivor, you keep raving about the k1000 being the only true suitable headphone for binaural playback, but you do realize that binaural content is aimed to be played back ONLY through headphones that are immune to cross-talk, right? In particular, playing a binaural record through a k1000 will give the exact same same issue as trying to play it through speakers because of the cross-talk messing things. Only way to address this is to artificially remove the cross-talk, like QSound attempted to do with speakers...
post #65 of 114
bap1000_en4055d526cebf6.pdf 1,794k .pdf file

 

 

 

The K1000 were not designed to reproduce binural recording but to simulate loudspeakers and be tailored to your specific hearing.  

 

AKG produced quite a bit of other hardware and software to compliment the K1000's including the BAP Audiosphere processer.  You could measure your own individual ear transfer curves which could be saved for tailoring the sound playback on the K1000 specifically for each individual listener.  

 

In their basic form you could simulate speakers or a listening room. They were the SPL Phonitor and Smyth Realizer of their day wink_face.gif

 

I had the chance to buy one of these units some years ago, but in discussion with AKG they advised that much of the software was obsolete many years ago so its no longer viable to try this approach.

 

The attached PDF file explains in more detail what AKG were trying to achieve with the concept of the K1000.

 

I think where some confusion arises is in the sales literature for the K1000 where they mention "The Ultimate Binural Experience" which is referring to the headphone simulating this not actually using Binural recordings.  Quote from the sales brochure below:-

 

 
Binaural Hearing
Just as three-dimensional vision depends on more than a pair of eyes, three-dimensional hearing, i.e., the localization of sound sources outside the head, depends on
more than just a pair of headphones. Binaural hearing uses two cues: the time delay between the two ears and the spectral cues from the outer ear. Closed headphones
do not provide these cues.
 
The Solution Is Totally Open Headphones.
The K 1000 uses perfectly mobile diaphragms driven by newly developed VLD (Ventilated Linear Dynamic) radial magnets. This type of dynamic transducer provides maximum acoustic transparency. There are no acoustically reflective parts and the sound can develop freely. A small electronic network fine tunes the transducer. In order to optimize the frequency response, it is first measured with a probe microphone in an anechoic chamber. Then the time/energy distribution (Wigner distribution) is measured. The result is an interference-free, plane-wave sound field in front of the ear, which the pinna geometry translates into a unique listening experience.

Edited by complin - 10/17/12 at 7:39am
post #66 of 114
I am not sure I follow you analogsurvivor. The 2 recording possibilities you are referring to are both binaural type recordings. Regardless of the mic being inside the ear canal or at the entrance of it, its corresponding channel is not meant to inadvertedly bleed to the other ear like the k1000 would most effectively do. In particular, if the recording is processed (and labeled as) binaural mix, by definition, both channels already factor in some more or less natural cross-talk due the head and torso diffraction. Doesn't matter if you stay on the surface or inside the canal, you still get the effect. Only difference between the two recording techniques is that one required removal of the ear canal resonances besides the pinnae itself (because otherwise you'd get the effect teice using headphones unless they're iems placed at the mic location).

Furthermore, there is no conceptual difference between speakers in a room and actual "earspeakers" like the k1000. In both cases there is natural cross-talk albeit less seveve with the k1000 since the nearfield of the speaker dominates for the corresponding ear. The other difference obviously is room coloration (direct/ reverb field) but this is not the topic at hand. Hence, I am not sure what you're getting at with the cross-talk being necessary in 1 case (headphones) and detrimental in the other.

Now if we're talking about playback of standard stereo mix aimed for speakers (e.g. the mix should not factor in head and torso effects with severe cross-talk between the ears since the playback system will do that for you), then the k1000 is indeed a better proposition than std headphones due to its larger L/R cross-talk. You can't deny though it's far from perfect because, regardless of the lack of earpad, each channel is significantly louder to its corresponding ear so it's nowhere near the same condition as assumed for the stereo mix (i.e mix intended for speaker playback).
post #67 of 114
Originally Posted by John Buchanan View Post

But they are well made (and last decades) and sound great. Form follows function at Stax, rather than beauty. Otherwise the Sigmas would have never been born.

Stax have stuck to a well proven formula (their Lambda series have been reference phones since the 70s). What's the problem here?

 

I hate the dull plastic grills. They made the headphone look like cheap Jecklin Floats. Or like someone glued the air conditioning vents from an 80's Buick onto a ribbon microphone. Other than that, I admire the "built for work" aesthetic they have.

post #68 of 114

I love the design and looks of the lambda series.

 


Edited by dcpoor - 10/17/12 at 9:45am
post #69 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

I am not sure I follow you analogsurvivor. The 2 recording possibilities you are referring to are both binaural type recordings. Regardless of the mic being inside the ear canal or at the entrance of it, its corresponding channel is not meant to inadvertedly bleed to the other ear like the k1000 would most effectively do. In particular, if the recording is processed (and labeled as) binaural mix, by definition, both channels already factor in some more or less natural cross-talk due the head and torso diffraction. Doesn't matter if you stay on the surface or inside the canal, you still get the effect. Only difference between the two recording techniques is that one required removal of the ear canal resonances besides the pinnae itself (because otherwise you'd get the effect teice using headphones unless they're iems placed at the mic location).
Furthermore, there is no conceptual difference between speakers in a room and actual "earspeakers" like the k1000. In both cases there is natural cross-talk albeit less seveve with the k1000 since the nearfield of the speaker dominates for the corresponding ear. The other difference obviously is room coloration (direct/ reverb field) but this is not the topic at hand. Hence, I am not sure what you're getting at with the cross-talk being necessary in 1 case (headphones) and detrimental in the other.
Now if we're talking about playback of standard stereo mix aimed for speakers (e.g. the mix should not factor in head and torso effects with severe cross-talk between the ears since the playback system will do that for you), then the k1000 is indeed a better proposition than std headphones due to its larger L/R cross-talk. You can't deny though it's far from perfect because, regardless of the lack of earpad, each channel is significantly louder to its corresponding ear so it's nowhere near the same condition as assumed for the stereo mix (i.e mix intended for speaker playback).

....and this is my understanding also. An artifical head has the head and ear factors already there. Re-adding them is not a great idea. Neither is burying the microphones in the ear canal, unless the reproducing headphone is an iem. If not, the microphones should be positioned where the headphone diaphragm would be.


Edited by John Buchanan - 10/17/12 at 5:31pm
post #70 of 114

By the way, the designer of the K1000 recently joined Head-Fi and has been talking about them in a very old thread:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/57805/history-of-the-akg-k1000/15#post_8738676

post #71 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

By the way, the designer of the K1000 recently joined Head-Fi and has been talking about them in a very old thread:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/57805/history-of-the-akg-k1000/15#post_8738676

Thank you for this input.  The thread was "defunct" about only month ago !

post #72 of 114

It's kind of baffling, but it then set in that to get an affordable (read: $200-500) Stax setup, you're at the mercy of the used market. I personally lucked out and got an SR-Lambda with an SRD-7/SB for just $250 (with the caveat that the drivers were rebuilt with slightly thicker diaphragms), but have since come to the realization that I probably won't get another setup that cheaply.

 

Also, there's that whole matter of amplification requirements. You can plug a typical dynamic or ortho/planar-magnetic headphone into most equipment and hear something, even if it's not being driven ideally. You can't even plug an electrostatic headphone into most devices without a transformer box or a full-fledged amp in between; there's a reason they have differently-shaped plugs (mainly balanced input and really high bias voltages). Also, those transformer boxes are built for speaker amp input with the pretense that they'd be used with integrated receivers, not headphone amps.

 

Still, I do consider Lambda setups to be quite underrated overall. Those who like the AD700 and maybe K701/K702/Q701 (still need to try one of those to be sure) would probably love a Lambda's sound presentation, with its airy, atmospheric soundstage and even greater sense of clarity. They're also nowhere near as expensive as the flagship SR-007/SR-009 setups that get all the attention, for whatever reason.

 

Sure, Lambdas are quite ugly with that rectangular earcup design...but I have yet to hear anything better-suited to my tastes or wear a more comfortable headphone, especially the vintage models with lower clamping force. How it looks doesn't matter when these are headphones that almost make me forget I'm wearing headphones to begin with. And while the SR-Omega, SR-007, and SR-009 all look really nice (and probably sound even nicer), I have no intentions of spending nearly that much on a pair of headphones, especially when a vintage Lambda will do the job.

 

That said, they did get enough recognition here and there on Head-Fi that I learned about them and eventually bought a set myself. What sold me was one person's remarks on how godly they were for gaming, and he wasn't kidding. Lambda + CMSS-3D Headphone (or Dolby Headphone or any other binaural mixing tech of your choice) = aural wallhack. You could practically shoot someone through a wall just going by his footstep sounds.

post #73 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Buchanan View Post

....and this is my understanding also. An artifical head has the head and ear factors already there. Re-adding them is not a great idea. Neither is burying the microphones in the ear canal, unless the reproducing headphone is an iem. If not, the microphones should be positioned where the headphone diaphragm would be.

I will try to answer "headphone " part in not too distant future. The best I found regarding spaeakers and crosstalk is this : http://www.polksda.com/srsreview.shtml. Today, what seems the most promising is this : http://www.ambiophonics.org/

 

I am searching for something/anything that will at least begin to reproduce music at similar accuracy as binaural/AKG K1000 is capable of - on two speakers. Conventional stereo fails completely and surround is even worse when serious music listening is concerned. Two speaker arrangement is something that is the easiest to accomodate into living space for acceptable performance - WAF factor included. 

 

I know this is head-fi, but some people would rather "die" than wear headphones, let alone stuff some objects in their ear canals - happened more than once a person would fiercely decline listening to either headphones or IEMs nomatterwhat - during demos of my own recordings.  That is how real world really looks like, regardless for our love towards headphones. 

post #74 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

I will try to answer "headphone " part in not too distant future. The best I found regarding spaeakers and crosstalk is this : http://www.polksda.com/srsreview.shtml. Today, what seems the most promising is this : http://www.ambiophonics.org/

 

I am searching for something/anything that will at least begin to reproduce music at similar accuracy as binaural/AKG K1000 is capable of - on two speakers. Conventional stereo fails completely and surround is even worse when serious music listening is concerned. Two speaker arrangement is something that is the easiest to accomodate into living space for acceptable performance - WAF factor included. 

 

I know this is head-fi, but some people would rather "die" than wear headphones, let alone stuff some objects in their ear canals - happened more than once a person would fiercely decline listening to either headphones or IEMs nomatterwhat - during demos of my own recordings.  That is how real world really looks like, regardless for our love towards headphones. 

 

Analogsurviver,

 

I indeed recommend you keep digging references and do some background reading because you're confusing us all for now ;). About x-talk cancellation, there's been quite a bit of work done at ISVR, a world famous research center in the field of vibro-acoustic , active noise control and others. Example of achieving cross-talk cancellation with 2 ideal point sources in free field in the absence of head (straight forward but this is to illustrate what active xtalk cancellation with speakers is aiming to do): http://resource.isvr.soton.ac.uk/FDAG/VAP/html/xtalk.html

 

Now, regardless of how much one disses speakers stereo reproduction because of this x-talk, it is still perfectly fine to get a reasonable soundstage width and depth between and a little beyond the speakers. Of course, you won't be able to simulate some source behind the listener for example and this is where virtualisation helps.

 

Now I reiterate: the K1000 is NOT a binaural transducer, you're making misuse of the word and it is confusing. I restate also: something like a K1000 is DETRIMENTAL to playback of binaural records because each driver bleeds to both ears and it uses the pinnae relfections / diffraction to work just like speakers. Only way to make the K1000 work for binaural type recordings like you mentioned to is actively remove the cross-talk from left speaker to right ear and vice versa + somehow remove the pinnae effect even though this is unique to each user.

post #75 of 114
Quote:
Originally Posted by complin View Post

You don't need a 009, try a 007 MkI or MkII

 

 

You don't even need a 007 MkI or MkII, try a lambda model.

 

My first experience of electrostatic headphones was a mini meet in London where there was a 303, a 507 and a 007 mk I - while I thought the 007 sounded just lovely - I was not the only one in the room who preferred the Lambdas to the 007. 

 

The idea that Stax is prohibitively expensive is just not true.

 

My first "big" headphone in this hobby was an HD650, while admittedly I bought it shop new at the time, it cost more than the simple Stax rig I got off ebay a few years later. In the time between I had spent a ridiculous amount on various sidegrades and upgrades and gear based around dynamic headphones. Two years since getting my humble stax rig and I haven't had the slightest inkling of "upgrading" from it - and I've heard almost every high end headphone on the planet since then. The Stax were not only incredible value for money, they've also saved me a load in messing around with "upgrades" ever since.

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