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What do great mids sound like? - Page 6

post #76 of 153

If K702AN has a comparable midrange to HE500, then it is the first $400 headphone ever to be at or exceed the technical performance of many $1000 flagships (since HE500s are, but they are $700) other than arguably HD650.

post #77 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

If K702AN has a comparable midrange to HE500, then it is the first $400 headphone ever to be at or exceed the technical performance of many $1000 flagships (since HE500s are, but they are $700) other than arguably HD650.

MDR-SA5000, ESP/950, SR-207/307/404/407, MDR-CD3000, AH-D5000, RS-1, HD 580, HD 600, ATH-W5000, etc do nothing for you? (and yes, I've only owned a fraction of those, but still) And how are we defining flagship and "technical performance"? Just super expensive? (Given that most of those are/were flagships in their own right - it's only recently that people have become convinced that $1k+ is the only way to get good sound)
post #78 of 153

SA5000 definitely doesn't have that good of a midrange, I'm assuming the D5000 doesn't either if it's not that different from D2000.  Havn't heard the rest.

post #79 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

SA5000 definitely doesn't have that good of a midrange, I'm assuming the D5000 doesn't either if it's not that different from D2000.  Havn't heard the rest.

I wasn't meaning as "great midrange" - I was meaning in response to the K702 being the only sub-$1000 headphone that "matches the technical performance" (whatever that means) of $1000+ headphones. Just seemed like a very sensational claim to me. popcorn.gif

As far as the SA5000 go - their mids are good (clear, clean, etc) but imperfect, they're too dry and cold. I liked them for brass and strings, but they're too cold for vocals (and perhaps for music in general, haha) imho.
post #80 of 153

For lower brass and woodwinds they're not very warm at all, I do agree.  They're rather cold in general.

 

They're talking about the newly released AKG 702 Anniversary Edition, which supposedly is a 702 without the weird bumps in the upper midrange and improved earpads which include memory foarm, which I guess improve the bass by quite a bit too.

 

I never liked the term 'technical performance' either (what does it mean?)  But, Jerg's just saying that if 702 Annversary's Mid's match the HE-500 (which also supposedly are some of the best out there) that it has the technicalities in its midrange to match many flagships, since the HE-500 does.

post #81 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

For lower brass and woodwinds they're not very warm at all, I do agree.  They're rather cold in general.

I think the phrase "ice queen" was used a few years ago, and I think it applies very well. They're fast, clean, and all that, but they're cold too. *sigh*
Quote:
They're talking about the newly released AKG 702 Anniversary Edition, which supposedly is a 702 without the weird bumps in the upper midrange and improved earpads which include memory foarm, which I guess improve the bass by quite a bit too.

Yep, got that. I've been following the thread. Now I'm curious though - "weird bumps in the upper midrange"?
Quote:
I never liked the term 'technical performance' either (what does it mean?)  But, Jerg's just saying that if 702 Annversary's Mid's match the HE-500 (which also supposedly are some of the best out there) that it has the technicalities in its midrange to match many flagships, since the HE-500 does.

And I still think that's a sensationalist claim of the sort that spawns FOTM. What are we defining as "technical performance" and how is it quantified (or qualified)? Who decides? All I'm seeing is "really expensive" as a criteria (and I've seen "$1000+" thrown around as a performance criteria quite a lot recently). redface.gif

And yes, the HE-500 have a big reputation, but so do most of the cans I listed off - as the saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. And the recent obsession with the Consumer Reports style "ranking" of headphones is just miserable imho. Because now we're talking about "technical performance" and "technicalities of the midrange" and other big, important sounding things like that - but can anyone define those things in a clear-cut manner? Or is the point just that if you aren't spending a lot of money, you aren't having a good time?

Again, not trying to condemn anyone, just seeing a lot of buzzwords and numbers flying around without a lot of foundation.
Edited by obobskivich - 1/6/13 at 11:20am
post #82 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


MDR-SA5000, ESP/950, SR-207/307/404/407, MDR-CD3000, AH-D5000, RS-1, HD 580, HD 600, ATH-W5000, etc do nothing for you? (and yes, I've only owned a fraction of those, but still) And how are we defining flagship and "technical performance"? Just super expensive? (Given that most of those are/were flagships in their own right - it's only recently that people have become convinced that $1k+ is the only way to get good sound)

SA5k is just fast-sounding, the koss is rarely if ever $400, staxes have poor availability and are daunting to get into, D5000 is not even close to hi-fi-sounding (not even with Markl mods) from my auditions, the other senns are just HD650 with some damping/voicing differences so they could be categorized to be in the same vein I guess, the others I'm not familiar with unfortunately.

 

Technical performance is a combination of balance, transparency, realistic timbre, high resolution and texture across all frequencies, and FR smoothness. Those traits are all inter-connected of course.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


I think the phrase "ice queen" was used a few years ago, and I think it applies very well. They're fast, clean, and all that, but they're cold too. *sigh*
Yep, got that. I've been following the thread. Now I'm curious though - "weird bumps in the upper midrange"?
And I still think that's a sensationalist claim of the sort that spawns FOTM. What are we defining as "technical performance" and how is it quantified (or qualified)? Who decides? All I'm seeing is "really expensive" as a criteria (and I've seen "$1000+" thrown around as a performance criteria quite a lot recently). redface.gif
And yes, the HE-500 have a big reputation, but so do most of the cans I listed off - as the saying goes, there's more than one way to skin a cat. And the recent obsession with the Consumer Reports style "ranking" of headphones is just miserable imho. Because now we're talking about "technical performance" and "technicalities of the midrange" and other big, important sounding things like that - but can anyone define those things in a clear-cut manner? Or is the point just that if you aren't spending a lot of money, you aren't having a good time?
Again, not trying to condemn anyone, just seeing a lot of buzzwords and numbers flying around without a lot of foundation.

 

That bump. Certainly looks like a sore thumb stuck out from an otherwise fantastically neutral and clean CSD, doesn't it?

 

As for quantifying technical performance, sure there isn't an objective scale to rely on. The next best thing though is to look for specific performance traits (listed above) analytically and compare and contrast the headphones against benchmark headphones one is familiar with. For instance, I am quite familiar with how HE400 and HE500 sound, and am familiar with their strengths and shortcomings, from that I could evaluate how well other headphones perform for my own internal scale. If something sounds good, it will sound good for a majority of people familiar with higher end cans who recognize what to listen for when they audition anything. (Of course there is still other variables like upstream setups / actual music tested, but this is a good starting point)


Edited by jerg - 1/6/13 at 12:16pm
post #83 of 153
That bump is what made me hate the K701, seriously. It was shouty.
post #84 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerg View Post

Technical performance is a combination of balance, transparency, realistic timbre, high resolution and texture across all frequencies, and FR smoothness. Those traits are all inter-connected of course.

I'll give you a nickel if you can coherently define any of those without using the word in the definition or any of the other words on that list (or copy/pasting from somewhere). Not to mention that none of this actually answers my original question (to quantify and qualify "technical performance" and make a solid case for why $1000+ is a performance category beyond "cost a lot"). Thus far you've handed me six new phrases to define one; am I going to get 36 in your next reply? popcorn.gif

If I'm to infer (quite a lot) from your post, basically what you want is a headphone with a flat (or nearly flat) magnitude response, good (if not perfect) phase coherence, a clean IR/CSD showing, and minimal distortion across that - yes? If so, then we're just left debating "how good" and "is it noticeable" - which is going to result in variable answers. You'll also notice that radiation has been pushed aside (which you'll notice when you sit down to listen, even if you don't see it on the FR or IR). But just based on that, there are plenty of ~$100 headphones that get close enough to that burden (no, not accurate enough for a shot to the moon, but close enough). Finally, the remaining wrench I'll throw it is that just because you want those things, doesn't mean everyone else does or that those things will produce the best overall experience for everyone. So now we're back at page 1 - what is technical performance? And how do you define it?

Quote:
Certainly looks like a sore thumb stuck out from an otherwise fantastically neutral and clean CSD, doesn't it?

No, not really. You're talking about a fairly wide and smooth bump that decays within 1ms. Sure, most FR shots will show a slight rise around 2k, but it's fairly gradual and it doesn't really "peak" against the rest of the FR. It's nothing nasty. They sound pretty clear throughout, but everything is distant or over-wide, simply because of their soundstaging. If they could image both close and far (and not just far) they'd be much improved, but something tells me that's like washing for a unicorn ridden by a warrior princess that poops out bacon cheeseburgers. It's not gonna happen. tongue.gif


Here's some more shots of the same headphone -




Still not seeing any terrible mutant-ness, even if they all disagree with one another. Based on my impression of the K701, the GE graph is the one I'd agree with - they have "odd" but inoffensive treble. As far as why we have three different shots of the same headphone (and GE's K702 graph disagrees further, despite the FR/IR looking pretty much consistent) - I have no good explanation. Terrible manufacturing tolerances would be an easy answer, but you'd expect to see a lot of "my 70x just broke!" threads if they were really that bad off.

But as I said - FR (and IR) is one piece, not the entire pie. Missing the forest for the trees and all that.

While I was writing this out, it looks like you edited your post, with this (or it didn't "grab" when I hit quote, one or the other smily_headphones1.gif):
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerg 
As for quantifying technical performance, sure there isn't an objective scale to rely on. The next best thing though is to look for specific performance traits (listed above) analytically and compare and contrast the headphones against benchmark headphones one is familiar with. For instance, I am quite familiar with how HE400 and HE500 sound, and am familiar with their strengths and shortcomings, from that I could evaluate how well other headphones perform for my own internal scale. If something sounds good, it will sound good for a majority of people familiar with higher end cans who recognize what to listen for when they audition anything. (Of course there is still other variables like upstream setups / actual music tested, but this is a good starting point)

Now while I'm absolutely fine dismissing everything you've said after that opening line (because, if I'm understanding you right, you've basically just said you (nor anyone else) can really answer that question) - I'll read on!

The remainder of your post is basically describing a subjective and qualitative approach, which is what I've more or less been getting at. Where I'm going to disagree is where you want to circle back and try to quantify or normalize your observations - ignoring the methodological flaws, it's just a lot of effort beyond saying "this sounds good to me" or "this does not sound good to me" and leaving it at that (or, if you're a geek, figuring out how to better explain WHY). Why do we care what "the majority of people" (and I'm sorry but the way you hedged that in there, you might as well have written "the elect") will think or feel? Who seriously gives a hoot?

As normal, no ill-will or offense is intended in my posts. beerchug.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

That bump is what made me hate the K701, seriously. It was shouty.

And this is where I want to come back to "terrible manufacturing tolerances" as an answer, because when I see people saying the K701 are "shouty" or "brittle" or "over-hot" I feel like I'm taking crazy pills. But I suspect you wouldn't be saying it if you weren't hearing it.
Edited by obobskivich - 1/6/13 at 1:32pm
post #85 of 153

Jerg, you should really get a better amp than the e17 for the HE-500 biggrin.gif

It deserves it!smily_headphones1.gif

post #86 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

Jerg, you should really get a better amp than the e17 for the HE-500 biggrin.gif

It deserves it!smily_headphones1.gif

 

+1...they do need more juice than what the e17 can provide. Come on man, step it up!!

post #87 of 153
Ive owned the K, Q, and now the Annie. The K701 was literally one of the most annoying, fake sounding headphones I have heard. Plasticy sound. If it weren't for their analytical properties that worked well for competitive gaming paired with that huge soundstage, I would have rated it as one of the worst headphones I ever heard.
post #88 of 153

Please, use the same CSD's for consistency to compare headphones.  Speaking of consistency, Purrin measured two different 701s, and both had the same glaring bump at the same area of the fr.  There was a post I commented on in the Magni thread where a guy said he didn't like the 701 with the Magni because of a wicked bump that sounded shouty, and was around 2-3khz.

 

I wouldn't even begin to use the golden ears CSDs to begin with.  Do you see how horribly smoothed they are?  Also note that they don't even bother to start all CSDs at a 0 time axis, hence the plateau at the top of that particular chart.


Edited by TMRaven - 1/6/13 at 1:48pm
post #89 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

Ive owned the K, Q, and now the Annie. The K701 was literally one of the most annoying, fake sounding headphones I have heard. Plasticy sound. If it weren't for their analytical properties that worked well for competitive gaming paired with that huge soundstage, I would have rated it as one of the worst headphones I ever heard.

It is not enjoyable, but one of the WORST? I hope you mean for your preferences...

post #90 of 153
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

Ive owned the K, Q, and now the Annie. The K701 was literally one of the most annoying, fake sounding headphones I have heard. Plasticy sound. If it weren't for their analytical properties that worked well for competitive gaming paired with that huge soundstage, I would have rated it as one of the worst headphones I ever heard.

See, I don't get "fake" as a criticism, but you aren't the only person who's said "plasticy" or "wide" (can I infer over-wide?) about them. And yet that doesn't agree with what I lived with (and enjoyed) almost every day for five years. I know Tyll got his hands on one or two pairs of K701s to do burn-in testing, but what I'd love to see is someone grab like 20 pairs with distinct serial numbers (not 20 in a row) and measure and compare them all - I know it'd be a massive undertaking, but something tells me they're not gonna come up as universally perfect as Harman would have us believe. I just say this because the criticisms of them tend to be so disjoint from the praises (in other words, it's not like Grados, where some people are like "oh they're so awesome and live sounding" and others are like "no they're too bright" (and they're really both saying "these are really bright" - it's just that one person like its, and the other doesn't)).



Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

Please, use the same CSD's for consistency to compare headphones.

Who is comparing headphones? That's three CSDs from three sources of the same headphone. Or is this just an attack on credibility because you disagree? (With what I haven't the slightest idea)
Quote:
 Speaking of consistency, Purrin measured two different 701s, and both had the same glaring bump at the same area of the fr.  There was a post I commented on in the Magni thread where a guy said he didn't like the 701 with the Magni because of a wicked bump that sounded shouty, and was around 2-3khz.

Okay, two is not enough to establish consistency. I'm not trying to attack anyone's credibility, but two out of a production run of something like 200,000 isn't even a drop in the bucket. Yes, that ~2khz bump exists on both of Tyll's measurements, the GE measurements, and purrin's measurements (He&Bi doesn't have it though, but He&Bi's FR compensation is pretty aggressive and usually won't show <3 dB artefacts)), and I'm not even denying it exists (if you'll notice where I said it exists in reply to Jerg). I actually even recognized purrin's plot, saying it didn't look terrible (but I try not to quote images). Trust me, I lived with these for a LONG time. Shouty is not a word I would use to describe them. But does this make the other guy wrong? Like I said, there's something (and I'm not even postulating as to what) amiss here. Either that, or someone else, MLE, and I (and where do you fit into this?) have different interpretations of "shouty" and "artificial."

And remember that we're dealing with a headphone that has what? Four commercial dressings and at least two recognized revisions beyond that? And god knows how many other tweaks that have gone on since original release.
Quote:
I wouldn't even begin to use the golden ears CSDs to begin with.  Do you see how horribly smoothed they are?  Also note that they don't even bother to start all CSDs at a 0 time axis, hence the plateau at the top of that particular chart.

So yes, the point was an attack on credibility and a bunch of chest-pumping. Was there anything else?


Quote:
Originally Posted by davidsh View Post

It is not enjoyable, but one of the WORST? I hope you mean for your preferences...

lol. If the K701 is the worst he's heard, I don't think we should be questioning his preferences, I think we should be commending him on having avoided the almost endless river of garbage headphones that have walked the earth, add more commendment for the older he is.
Edited by obobskivich - 1/6/13 at 2:26pm
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