Seen from another thread:
A new audiophile craves bass;
An established audiophile craves treble;
A really serious audiophile craves mid-range.
See the point, IMO the best experience is found in the great representation of mids with musicality and authority. THAT is what music really is about
This is nice and accurate imho.
I'm quite new to all this, but this is my interpretation... am I right in that:
treble = high (frequency) range
mid-range = mid (frequency) range
bass = low (frequency) range
Bass heavy cans would emphasise the low range. This appeals to "bass heads", since they don't mind the extra "punch" at the loss of detail due to muddiness caused by an unnatural low frequency reproduction. (This effect is apparent in most cheaper cans?)
Mid-range cans emphasise the... mid-range. As has been mentioned, this is where "most of the music is". As far as I understand, an emphasised mid-range will make songs sound more natural, but may sacrifice some bass punch & clarity of high notes. (Audio-Technica signature sound?)
Now it's self explanatory what treble emphasising cans would sound like. (Grado signature sound?)
There's also neutral cans, but these seem to be referred to as "boring" nearly everywhere. People seem to want some "coloration", and "mid-range" seems to be the preferred one.
A truly great set of cans (usually $1000+ range) is one that can reproduce each of these ranges with distinction, a "clear" mid-range, "punchy" bass, and "sparkling" treble, without any of the trade off you may see in cheaper cans.
PLEASE CORRECT ME IF ANYTHING SOUNDS ODD! It's just my limited understanding from lurking around here for a few years.
Sorry if this isn't strictly on topic.
More or less I would agree - I wouldn't regard the higher-end Grados as being "treble emphasized" though. I think there needs to be a distinction between quantity and quality - and generally a lot of these discussion exist about (and only about) bass (the "new audiophiles"), but not about other parts of the spectrum. You can have increased treble quantity (and quality) without being a treble-focused presentation, if that makes sense. Same with bass, and mids.
As far as what great mids should sound like - imho they should sound natural, voices should sound like voices, strings like strings, and the snozzberries should taste like snozzberries. Neither the cold, dry, and analytical treble-boost "modern audiophile" sound signature, nor the syrupy, sweet, and lush mid-boost "oldschool audiophile" sound signature 100% capture this. The later gets closer though, but is usually too wet for it's own good. I'm not sure how to put this into clear-cut conditionals, but it's basically like native speaker intelligence - just as you know when something is or isn't grammatical, you will know when voices sound right or not.
There's only a few headphones I've ever heard that can really capture that, one of them happens to be a Grado. They aren't at all similar once you get beyond a "natural" and "good/great mids" - soundstaging, bass impact, treble impact, extension, etc are all highly variable. But they have great mids. So that says to me that it's a trait that can exist externally of being "bassy" or "treble-boosted" or whatever else.
I couldn't rule out the amps due to the bias voltage differences and lack of a dual-bias amp, but it did show me what I really wanted out of a headphone more than anything (alongside general gaming prowess with headphone surround mixes.)
I know, it seems shallow to judge the midrange entirely on vocal presentation, but that's the easiest way for me to notice it. I suppose the other way to notice it is to listen if high-pitched or low-pitched notes aren't completely overshadowing everything else, if that's what the source calls for.
No, I don't think it's shallow at all. It's what we're most used to hearing, and what our brains are set-up to key in on most critically. We recognize people as distinct by their voices, for example if I say Robert DeNiro, Jennifer Tilly, or Robin Williams - you can probably immediately recall how they sound, and likely recall trying to imitate at least one of them at some point, and doing a miserable job at it. And you can also pretty readily tell if whatever you're listening through is doing a bad job of reproducing how a person is supposed to sound (or how you perceive they are supposed to sound). Whereas pianos or trumpets or whatever else are fairly consistent in how they sound, because if they weren't, they wouldn't be pianos or trumpets (they'd be something else).
Money doesn't set the standard for sound quality but it does have a say. Many things are taken in to consideration when pricing a headphone, such as design, comfort, ect. which makes up the total cost, still it gives companies an idea. I was going to give you an example, but I'm sure that will result in my "it's my opinion" counterattacks. Back on topic.
Also have to remember that pricing itself is used to position products in the market, but otherwise I agree entirely.