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[W/ PICS] Basshead Budget-fi Headphones Comparative Test, with Comparison to Expensive Audiophile... - Page 2

post #16 of 67

The more I listen to the Audiofly's, the more I think they are worth the c-note - but as for a real pair of IE8/IE80's - you can probably get a new pair of genuine for less than the $400 you mention - I have not listened to a great deal of the choices of IEM's mentioned on this site - I am a beginner despite my advanced age - I know what I know and I love my IE8's - I don't think you can go wrong with them - and they are head and shoulders above the CX series buds.

 

I'll open another can of worms - my IE8's didn't sound worth a damn until they had about 200 hours on them - so you gotta be patient 

post #17 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketSmiley View Post

What does "bleed[ing] into the midrange" sound like? And sub-bass rumble? 

Bleeding into the midrange is where the bass sound covers up some detail in the midrange that you should be able to hear. 

Sub-bass rumble is being able to feel the sub-bass.

post #18 of 67

great read but i have a couple of problems

you have used EQ to maximize bass- if you want to compare bass quantity on headphones, it should be unequalized

 

your title states that you're comparing budget basshead headphones/iems to expensive audiophile equipment, which are car speakers, "uncle’s $10,000 mobile entertainment system in his G35"

not to say they are bad, but car speakers? some more info on what they are would be good

 

and grado sr60 as budget basshead...

post #19 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tangster View Post

Bleeding into the midrange is where the bass sound covers up some detail in the midrange that you should be able to hear. 

Sub-bass rumble is being able to feel the sub-bass.

 

Ah, thank you. What is weird is that the bleeding depends on the mp3 player I use. The Sansa Clip+ bleeds a lot if I turn the bass to max. It sucks because when there's no bass the mid/high details have normal volume and then suddenly drops when the bass kicks in? I don't have that problem in DSP Manager + Jetaudio.

 

The sub-bass rumble I guess has something to do with how we don't actually hear the lowest frequencies but FEEL them. So yeah. I'll try to incorporate that in my future reviews but I want to express them in another way ... .

post #20 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzzyash View Post

great read but i have a couple of problems

you have used EQ to maximize bass- if you want to compare bass quantity on headphones, it should be unequalized

 

your title states that you're comparing budget basshead headphones/iems to expensive audiophile equipment, which are car speakers, "uncle’s $10,000 mobile entertainment system in his G35"

not to say they are bad, but car speakers? some more info on what they are would be good

 

and grado sr60 as budget basshead...

 

Oh no no no no no! When I said expensive audiophile gear I was talking about the items tagged as "borrowed".

 

The "$10,000 speakers" while a fact is also a figure of speech. When I was a kid it felt like a dream to listen to that sound again.

 

The Grado SR60 (original version) was put in there for reference, because they used to be THE budget basshead cans in head-fi and it is always compared to the Sennheiser PX100 (original version). That was years ago I don't know now since those are already discontinued.

 

As for the EQ, I tested my headphones as I would use them. The EQ works wonders. This is why I rated CX870 very high when without any intervention it sounds absolutely weak.

 

I did admit that I'm not into accuracy. My goal is simple: Bass is the bare minimum but details must not be lost. As I was using the Soundmagic E10 more and more they seem to be able to do that job the best, except I still couldn't get over the "PFDT" bass sound.

 

And, being honest with myself, I keep feeling that I would fail ABX blind tests on these headphones. If you put different drivers on the same housing I would be utterly confused and feel that they're all pretty much great sounding headphones. Have you ever felt that way? This is really weird.

post #21 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tangster View Post

Bleeding into the midrange is where the bass sound covers up some detail in the midrange that you should be able to hear. 

Sub-bass rumble is being able to feel the sub-bass.

 

Tangster, before I bought the MH1 I saw that you got both the MH1 and MH1-C and said that the MH1-C has more bass. I couldn't notice the difference ... . Or perhaps I was busy pressing the middle button of the MH1. Did you have that issue with the MH1?

post #22 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketSmiley View Post

 

Tangster, before I bought the MH1 I saw that you got both the MH1 and MH1-C and said that the MH1-C has more bass. I couldn't notice the difference ... . Or perhaps I was busy pressing the middle button of the MH1. Did you have that issue with the MH1?

The bass evened out over a few days of burn in, there is not as much difference as was implied in my initial comparisons. I didn't plug mine into a phone so didn't have the microphone problem, however the right earbud would lose 80% of it volume after a hour or two of listening. I eventually recabled them into a normal TRS jack without a mic.

post #23 of 67
Thread Starter 

Okay thanks Tangster.

 

In other news ...

 

I tried the FX101 again. And then I tried the Soundmagic E10 and I thought woah, this is getting better! And then I listened to the MH1-C again and I thought okay I can see why this can be a favorite of many people, but then I noticed the mid/high details sounded recessed/veiled compared to the rest. The bass has what people may call "quality" bass that is "not overpowering" and so on. But I was not yet convinced. I then tried the CX870 and the bass sounded similar to the MH1-C. So I thought, this is weird. I thought I LOVED the CX870? I haven't remembered yet that the CX870 has 32 ohms impedance so the volume should be turned up higher than the rest. Anyway, I turned up the volume and the bass started cracking on MH1-C, and as it was turned up from moderate volume which is below my normal listening preference (loud as possible) I just couldn't make myself like the MH1-C. So then my current reaction is that the E10 could be really great after all. And then I tried my CXL400 again. WHAT THE HELL. I can't believe it. It's just so awesome and beautiful and everything. I can't believe Sennheiser discontinued it. I've never heard a bass so full and deep and perfect and LOUD while there's soft piano playing along. I swear the CXL400 does not drown out the details, and talking about the details themselves they sound pristine compared to the others.

 

Raving about a discontinued item sounds like hipster arrogance, like, "Your favorite band is lame compared to [band you've never heard of before nor likely will because you have to sift through the darknet just to find a copy]." But the CX400 and CX500 ARE popular. They're leagues above the CX300 as well. The only problem is that it's hard to figure out which of the reviewers got a fake so the mixed reviews confuse many. I might try to buy a CX500 and CX400 on ebay and compare them to my authentic one since I'm desperate to get a CXL400 that at least has a longer cable (CX400 or CX500) so I won't have to use an extension cord.

post #24 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketSmiley View Post

Okay thanks Tangster.

 

In other news ...

 

I tried the FX101 again. And then I tried the Soundmagic E10 and I thought woah, this is getting better! And then I listened to the MH1-C again and I thought okay I can see why this can be a favorite of many people, but then I noticed the mid/high details sounded recessed/veiled compared to the rest. The bass has what people may call "quality" bass that is "not overpowering" and so on. But I was not yet convinced. I then tried the CX870 and the bass sounded similar to the MH1-C. So I thought, this is weird. I thought I LOVED the CX870? I haven't remembered yet that the CX870 has 32 ohms impedance so the volume should be turned up higher than the rest. Anyway, I turned up the volume and the bass started cracking on MH1-C, and as it was turned up from moderate volume which is below my normal listening preference (loud as possible) I just couldn't make myself like the MH1-C. So then my current reaction is that the E10 could be really great after all. And then I tried my CXL400 again. WHAT THE HELL. I can't believe it. It's just so awesome and beautiful and everything. I can't believe Sennheiser discontinued it. I've never heard a bass so full and deep and perfect and LOUD while there's soft piano playing along. I swear the CXL400 does not drown out the details, and talking about the details themselves they sound pristine compared to the others.

 

Raving about a discontinued item sounds like hipster arrogance, like, "Your favorite band is lame compared to [band you've never heard of before nor likely will because you have to sift through the darknet just to find a copy]." But the CX400 and CX500 ARE popular. They're leagues above the CX300 as well. The only problem is that it's hard to figure out which of the reviewers got a fake so the mixed reviews confuse many. I might try to buy a CX500 and CX400 on ebay and compare them to my authentic one since I'm desperate to get a CXL400 that at least has a longer cable (CX400 or CX500) so I won't have to use an extension cord.

The CX400 is trash. So muddy. My friend bought them from sennheiser direct as well.

post #25 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tangster View Post

The CX400 is trash. So muddy. My friend bought them from sennheiser direct as well.

 

This is what I think about muddy in reply to someone who shares the same passion for "muddy" and overpowering bass in another thread:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lebomb View Post

I keep hearing IEMs with deep low bass described as muddy.  I then hear that some IEMs that have NO BASS what so ever to me are said to have a balanced bass sound.  What?  I have a very good audio system in my car and without the sub I have (probably called muddy) in there........it would sound life less and I would be missing a whole octave of sound.  Dont the best home theaters have deep, powerful bass?  The same as live concerts?  I would just like to be educated on this.  Personally, If I dont hear a powerful low end, its just not very good overall sound.  To me the bass should be as powerful as the mids and highs.  So back on point.  What would one describe as muddy?  When I read that an IEM has some low end, not much, but its there and its considered good bass (this is a fail IMHO), but an IEM with deep low end is described as muddy.  Im a newbie to IEMs, so please dont flame me out. 

 

THANK YOU for expressing the same concern that I have in a straightforward and demonstrative way.

 

I'm still figuring this out myself.

 

I'm just so happy to see someone else in here who feel the same way about bass.

 

I understand that, given the name of this website (emphasis on fidelity), any set of interventions that ultimately alters the input signal is the bane of audiophiles.

 

My argument then is this:

 

Consider the acoustic experience of the primordial powerful bass that is exalted by rap enthusiasts and shunned by connoisseurs of original Rubinstein vinyl records. Suppose that a pair of headphones is tasked the ambitious acoustic engineering feat of reproducing that exact experience, the same "muddy" sound of exaggerated, amplified bass, with the same intensity.

 

This then becomes a valid test of fidelity.

 

Arguments based on musical absolutism, the division of genres into hierarchies, are of course invalid in this context.

 

In my own test, expensive audiophile headphones considered to have high fidelity and with a flat frequency response CRACK when attempting to reproduce that sacred "MUDDY, OVERPOWERING" bass.

 

As someone who seeks to reproduce the same experience you have described, the sound produced by a "philistine" set of megawatt car subwoofers, I can objectively say, given the domain of the formal definitions in the language I am using now, that flat sounding headphones that can't drive bass at higher intensities fail in fidelity.

 

 

One common audiophile preference is that one should listen to sound as it was intended/produced. However, mixing engineers working in the recording industry are constrained in the intensity of bass they can set since the level of the rest of the frequencies will be too low. That would constitute a problem in broadcasting to a mass audience. Bassheads like me prefer more of that bass sound, even if the details are overwhelmed. It is ridiculous to assume that I care not about anything other than the low end. I have sufficient sensitivity for those higher frequencies that I can hear them sufficiently amidst the "mud".

 

This is my rationalization for my love of MAXIMUM bass.

post #26 of 67

I personally enjoyed my HA-FX101. Sounded pretty good for a pair of $12 earphones, especially in the lower frequencies.

post #27 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketSmiley View Post

-snip-

Muddy=/=bassy. In my MarkL modded D2000s I can hear each change in bass frequency and feel each change in sub-bass frequency. I can hear the details in the bass. When I say muddy, I mean that those details(regardless of the area in the frequency spectrum) are lost. Bass is of the one note kind. Treble is screechy and non distinct. If you're a basshead you owe it to yourself to try a pair of Sony XB1000s when you can. Then you'll see just how clean, crisp and detailed bass can be. A properly engineered subwoofer will also be able to pick out these intricacies in the low frequencies, just as well engineered tweeters do for high end.

 

There really isn't any point trying to get flat frequency headphones to do basshead stuff. Most just won't. The KRK KNS8400 for example will only ever get to the same sort of bass level as my CALs and it loses everything else in the process. It's just not made for it. 


Edited by Tangster - 1/8/13 at 4:19am
post #28 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tangster View Post

Muddy=/=bassy. In my MarkL modded D2000s I can hear each change in bass frequency and feel each change in sub-bass frequency. I can hear the details in the bass. When I say muddy, I mean that those details(regardless of the area in the frequency spectrum) are lost. Bass is of the one note kind. Treble is screechy and non distinct. If you're a basshead you owe it to yourself to try a pair of Sony XB1000s when you can. Then you'll see just how clean, crisp and detailed bass can be. A properly engineered subwoofer will also be able to pick out these intricacies in the low frequencies, just as well engineered tweeters do for high end.

 

There really isn't any point trying to get flat frequency headphones to do basshead stuff. Most just won't. The KRK KNS8400 for example will only ever get to the same sort of bass level as my CALs and it loses everything else in the process. It's just not made for it. 

 

The XB1000 sounds interesting from the reviews! And it seems to be more readily available for trying out in stores! But given my (measly) experience, I am biased against over-the-ear headphones. I don't know if there are shops anywhere in California where they allow you to listen to IEM's as well.

 

Anyway, I don't mind my sound transformed as long as I like what I'm hearing, especially if I consider it better than the original (since, as Paul De Man famously claimed, since when did an "original" become canonical?). The transformed bass, even if it lost its original details, gain new ones. I have trouble imagining how you can hear the different frequencies that make up the wave pattern of the sound of a bass drum as if you can distinguish them? In my humble understanding, the harmonics of a bass drum is considered complex noise by physicists, which is why they can only approximate by using Fourier analysis. But then the human brain is complex as well so I'm not surprised that you can.

post #29 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by PocketSmiley View Post

 

The XB1000 sounds interesting from the reviews! And it seems to be more readily available for trying out in stores! But given my (measly) experience, I am biased against over-the-ear headphones. I don't know if there are shops anywhere in California where they allow you to listen to IEM's as well.

 

Anyway, I don't mind my sound transformed as long as I like what I'm hearing, especially if I consider it better than the original (since, as Paul De Man famously claimed, since when did an "original" become canonical?). The transformed bass, even if it lost its original details, gain new ones. I have trouble imagining how you can hear the different frequencies that make up the wave pattern of the sound of a bass drum as if you can distinguish them? In my humble understanding, the harmonics of a bass drum is considered complex noise by physicists, which is why they can only approximate by using Fourier analysis. But then the human brain is complex as well so I'm not surprised that you can.

It's simply there is a way that isn't with other headphones. Like you can pick out audiable sound of the bass drum, the bass guitar and they are distinct and separate, yet at the same time you can feel the thump from the bass drums kick.

 

Also please don't bring physics into this. I had enough of that at uni. Manual fourier series tedium in second year. Lot's of things can only be approximated. It's the degree of approximation that determines your error however, does it matter if your perfect representation get you and answer with infinite significant figures wheras your approximation only goes to 6 sig fig when you can only distinguish to 3 sig fig in lab conditions?

post #30 of 67
Thread Starter 

BTW Tangster, just so we have more common ground, could you give me a couple or more of your favorite songs?

 

I made a compilation of short excerpts from my favorite songs from a favorite band, Nightwish, a soprano-fronted symphonic power metal band, with some Dream Theater, the most popular progressive rock/metal band. You can try out the lossless medley file here. Nightwish music is especially significant in this discussion since I noticed that their music seems to be already processed with enhanced bass, that whenever I try to enhance the bass further like usual my headphones/speakers crack when they don't on other songs. EDIT: OOPS they only crack when I turn on the "Wide" setting in Jetaudio, otherwise they can drive it flawlessly.


Edited by PocketSmiley - 1/8/13 at 5:21am
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphones, Earphones and In-Ear Monitors › [W/ PICS] Basshead Budget-fi Headphones Comparative Test, with Comparison to Expensive Audiophile Gear (Sony MH1, JVC HA-FX101, Philips SHE3580, Soundmagic E10, Sennheiser HD555, HD598, CX300, CX870, HiFiMan RE0 etc.)