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NAD Viso HP50 : Another superb headphone from Paul Barton? - Page 162

post #2416 of 2426
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


Can't make that assumption. Some audiophiles clearly believe that their algorithm is far superior to the algorithms that others use. etysmile.gif

Well they are wrong. It my algorithm that is far superior :wink:

post #2417 of 2426
Quote:
Originally Posted by shabta View Post

Well they are wrong. It my algorithm that is far superior wink.gif

ROFL
post #2418 of 2426

Jeezus! All this over a pair of mid-price headphones !? I was at CanJam and listened to some of the most expensive headphones avaiable, including the legendary Orpheus. All I can say is that I still love the sig of the HP50. There's something very clever going on with these phones that a lot of the other high end phones don't seem to get. You can disappear up your butt justifying the audiophile end of the spectrum but these are without any doubt the best on-the-go phones you can get for the money. Leave your waveform nonsense at the door and stop boring us! Use YOUR EARS!!!!

post #2419 of 2426
Quote:
Originally Posted by virgopunk View Post
 

Jeezus! All this over a pair of mid-price headphones !? I was at CanJam and listened to some of the most expensive headphones avaiable, including the legendary Orpheus. All I can say is that I still love the sig of the HP50. There's something very clever going on with these phones that a lot of the other high end phones don't seem to get. You can disappear up your butt justifying the audiophile end of the spectrum but these are without any doubt the best on-the-go phones you can get for the money. Leave your waveform nonsense at the door and stop boring us! Use YOUR EARS!!!!

It's called Research and Development - with some emphasis on the "research" end this time around. This is so obviously not a simple product for a "target audience", but an attempt to develop a product based around a better baseline for average listener preferences, as determined via science using trained and untrained human listeners (with all their unique ears and brains). I know most people hate the idea of fitting within an average (we are raised to feel special?), but I am grateful for Sean Olive, Paul Barton, Harmon Int. and whoever else made these things so cool. I am fast becoming a believer in my PSB's - certainly there is room for improvement, but the sound so far is just stellar.

 

I would just not be surprised to hear that most headphone companies "wing it", or in fact rely on their own ears to "tune" their phones. Or, dare I say it, sound quality is not priority #1.

post #2420 of 2426
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post
 

 

I would just not be surprised to hear that most headphone companies "wing it", or in fact rely on their own ears to "tune" their phones. Or, dare I say it, sound quality is not priority #1.

Perhaps this is true with some of the mass market headphones, like beats etc. But that is not case with Audeze, Senns, Stax, hifiman, etc. Especially for the highest end ones, they are measured before sale to make sure they fall within certain desired parameters. But they all do a combination of critical listening and measurable metrics to develop the sound of their headphones. Even Paul Barton says that the Harmon curve was only a guide and that they also did some subjective voicing of the NADs. 

post #2421 of 2426
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMateoHead View Post

It's called Research and Development - with some emphasis on the "research" end this time around. This is so obviously not a simple product for a "target audience", but an attempt to develop a product based around a better baseline for average listener preferences, as determined via science using trained and untrained human listeners (with all their unique ears and brains). I know most people hate the idea of fitting within an average (we are raised to feel special?), but I am grateful for Sean Olive, Paul Barton, Harmon Int. and whoever else made these things so cool. I am fast becoming a believer in my PSB's - certainly there is room for improvement, but the sound so far is just stellar.

I would just not be surprised to hear that most headphone companies "wing it", or in fact rely on their own ears to "tune" their phones. Or, dare I say it, sound quality is not priority #1.
If Paul Barton makes a "TOTL-priced" cans, it will make all the other "TOTL" cans a run for their money. However, I don't think Paul Barton will do that based on his reputation for very reasonable pricing.

Lower frequencies being omni-directional and higher frequencies being uni-directional is the TRUTH. As such, nobody can distort it, no ears can falsify it, and certainly no algorithm can make it wrong.
post #2422 of 2426
Quote:
Originally Posted by shabta View Post

Perhaps this is true with some of the mass market headphones, like beats etc. But that is not case with Audeze, Senns, Stax, hifiman, etc. Especially for the highest end ones, they are measured before sale to make sure they fall within certain desired parameters. But they all do a combination of critical listening and measurable metrics to develop the sound of their headphones. Even Paul Barton says that the Harmon curve was only a guide and that they also did some subjective voicing of the NADs. 
IMO, they got the research end wrong then.

Why are you so fond of putting words into someone else's mouth? Paul Barton said they really applied the Harman-Olive curve in his HPs. The "voicing" is in the mids to create a room-like soundstaging, not a tweak in the FR.

And to people who are saying the NAD lacks sparkle...try listening to sparkly recordings in a really good clean speakers, and then listen to the HP50. Then come back here and tell us if the "sparkly" frequencies were rolled off.
post #2423 of 2426
Quote:
Originally Posted by shabta View Post
 

Perhaps this is true with some of the mass market headphones, like beats etc. But that is not case with Audeze, Senns, Stax, hifiman, etc. Especially for the highest end ones, they are measured before sale to make sure they fall within certain desired parameters. But they all do a combination of critical listening and measurable metrics to develop the sound of their headphones. Even Paul Barton says that the Harmon curve was only a guide and that they also did some subjective voicing of the NADs. 


If by "mass market" you are assuming that companies with big bucks and commanding market share are somehow "winging it", I would say, I think not. They are doing something right, whether you agree with it or not (good design, good marketing, whatever). But you don't deliver products with mass appeal by not engineering mass appeal. Sorry. Audiophiles are in the minority, I would think. Maybe one day we'll tailor speakers to an individuals ear drums, but that day is not yet here. Not to knock the other brands in your list, they all make some lovely products (and Sennheiser is certainly in a different league I would think), but I highly doubt they operate and commit the same resources to their product design and development (where "development" might have a significant research component). That stuff is not typically cheap, and does not always lead to a new product. What is more, it costs money, and many of these companies are small. They are lucky Harmon International has apparently not attempted to hoard the results of their research (but a final target is not yet published so it is likely to change overtime?) - and headphone manufacturers can now follow their example if they so choose (hence it would make sense that current products are "tweaked" by ear to achieve what may be a better result). But it is hard to tell if you are critiquing products, or the processes used to develop them at this point. I know you don't like the HP50s - so what?

 

"All are measured before sale, blah blah", sure - by themselves or their contracted manufacturers - but how reliable is that and what parameters are you referring too? THD? Frequency response? They really test each one? Or do they sample a few out of a batch and take an average (hint: to save time and money). Quality control does not in and of itself indicate that expensive headphones are more rigorously tested that Apple's earbuds.

 

It is well known, I suppose, that the PSB's and the NAD's are voiced differently, and of course it is - tailor the sound to a slightly different listener (or, on balance, a "brand") and ensure some product differentiation. My best to all the companies competing in the headphone space, but I am starting to realize you have some beef with science, or are resistant to the idea that, in fact, an "optimal" frequency response curve could conceivably be found, with the infinite variety of design, material, and driver choices then introducing some of the subtle differences which some people like to sweat over.

 

Or maybe someone with better knowledge of the business of headphones can chime in and explain how resources for development and the voicing of phones is typically accomplished at small companies and larger companies. I'd love to know more about that.


Edited by MrMateoHead - Yesterday at 7:29 pm
post #2424 of 2426

I love my HP50's, excessively even - but Holy Cow, guys - shabta hasn't said a single damned thing that isn't perfectly true - and by the way he's also a fan of the HP50( just not an unreasoning fanboy).

post #2425 of 2426
I think my K7XX are more "balanced" than my HP50 eek.gif

Seriously smily_headphones1.gif
post #2426 of 2426
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoPants View Post

I bought a pair of these for my father on a whim after looking at Tyll's measurements and reading about some of the features on amazon. I accidentally shipped them to my own address, so I decided to put them through a few paces while the post office takes their holiday. I just sold my last pair of dynamic headphones, so it felt ironic enough to go with it. Hopefully my dad won't mind.

 

I haven't listened to them much, but from a accessories perspective I like what they're trying to do. Dual-entry, detachable cables really should be the standard given today's headphone market (whether you believe in cables, or you just need longer/ differently terminated ones). That being said, their non-remote cable could stand to be a bit longer. Carrying case is a nice touch- I'm not used to a company covering all the use cases from office to home and everything in-between, but that might partly be due to my being out of the sub-500 market for a few years now.

 

While the accessories are very thorough, the build quality doesn't quite live up to the same bar from what I can tell. The locking mechanism for fit adjustment seems to be susceptible to manufacturing variations; the right cup seems to want to retract on its own randomly. It happens consistently, so I assume the spring that is inside the headband is loose or something to this effect. Luckily this is less of an issue given the clamping force of the entire assembly, but at this price point I would expect more. $300 is a lot to expect (non-audiophile) consumers to pay, and these little hiccups don't really fly when you consider that at this price point people could be buying beats or whatever musician-backed headphone is making the rounds these days. Clamping force could be a bit high for some people as well, but I've been conditioned by the Audeze and Stax offerings so I'm pretty sure the nerves around my temples and ears have been desensitized. The headband doesn't seem to apply pressure at the contact point, but I worry about the longevity of the foam inside. The earcups are a bit on the small side, but they enclose my ears without much discomfort. The earpad material is also fairly nice. but I think they were made firm enough so as not to compromise the clamping/sealing properties. From a purely comfort-oriented perspective they could stand to be a bit softer; ultimately  I can see the fit being a make-or-break at the end of the day for a lot of normal consumers. For what it's worth I consider the D2000 and HD800 more comfortable than these. Of course the benefit from this kind of fit is the superior isolation, but I can't comment on how good this is as I've only used open headphones for the past 5 years or so.

 

I'm doting on the non-sound related features because I think the market that NAD is targeting isn't focused on sound quality, and I'm pretty sure my father also falls into that demographic. That being said, these are quite good for what I have paid. Extension into low frequency bands is good for what I consider to be small drivers (40 mm). I haven't actually read Tyll's review or done proper research (pure impulse gift), but from what I can tell NAD is trying to scale back a bit on the treble intensity and tune the bass for a little more kick/reverb. I think for the most part they've succeeded but it creates some strange banding between the low/mid/high frequencies that I start to notice on pop tracks. The vocals will clump into the middle, and the bass gets pushed outward. While this collapses the soundstage a bit, I'm still impressed by the separation - it just comes off as a bit unnatural. I like that they attempted to tone down the treble response, a lot of dynamic headphones suffer from over-energized high frequencies. I used to equate this with "neutral" and "analytical" sound, but after doing this long enough (at the expense of some of my hearing), it just ends up being really fatiguing. Again there is a bit of frequency banding so cymbals and similar sounds will tend to "pop" out, but I think at this point it might just be a preferential thing. I would consider this an intimate headphone when considering all of the above- there's not much in the way of "airiness" and the emphasis seems to reside in the mids. I still think they've managed to do some pretty interesting things with the presentation despite the shortcomings. It's very easy to relax and enjoy the music, but if you start picking apart details in your source material everything is clearly delineated. 

 

All in all I'd have to agree with the title of Tyll's article (because that's all I've read)- it's certainly competent. I think that for the price you're getting a lot in terms of the sound, and the case + cable extras are a nice touch. That being said I'm let down a bit by the build quality- obviously I know nothing about the supply chain logistics or the profit margins they are netting, but I think most consumers are paying for the comfort+build first and foremost. Issues with something as basic as headband locking are pretty inexcusable. I will give them a nod to aesthetic design though, I don't look like a total clown when I'm wearing these. I should probably grab a pair for when I'm out on the go, clearly my K1000s aren't cutting it. My bottom line: I think my dad will like the sound and isolation but experience some issues with the fit and polish. 

 

I wrote this in the span of one album, and I don't really plan on giving these the time I know they deserve. However, I hope my impressions help any prospective buyers out there. I guess I should also add that I've been horribly spoiled by the 007 mk1, so my measuring stick might be a bit skewed. 


Excellent review. Thanks. I think the PSB are better than the NAD but it's nice to see how much love Paul Barton's sound is getting.

Sent from my LGLS660 using Tapatalk
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