Originally Posted by davidsh
I have always thought the cupped sound wasn't really missing frequencies, but rather resonances and sound deflecting the pads. My thought is, that the notch causes the HE-500 to have a darker and more laid back signature whilst maintaining a somewhat neutral treble sparkle.
I did some surgical EQ tests earlier today to simulate the FR differences between stock velours and modded pleathers in the midrange region, based on the measurements. The parametric EQ program allows for instant A/B comparison of EQ1/EQ2 or EQ/no EQ, with its A|B button.
If you compare this to the measurement plots, you can see that it more or less reverts the midrange FR of my jergpadded HE500s to that of approx stock velours.
The subjective listening results are interesting:
- The difference is very subtle, in fact I could not discern any difference with/without this EQ for most tracks
- The revealing tracks for this EQ turn out to be male vocals, e.g. James Blunt "Goodbye My Lover".
- The perceived difference is that the "stock velour simulation EQ" gives a slightly lusher tonality to the male vocals (2kHz bump) but at the same time a slight nasal/congested quality (6kHz notch); without EQ, the male vocals become a tad drier and more focused, and becomes less nasally and congested-sounding.
- Fatigue level with tizzy music / female vocals are close to identical between the two modes, as in close to none.
- Overall without EQ, it just sounds more cohesive and whole to me; my ears cannot justify how the EQ is good in any way.
Note that I did not account for the treble differences with and without the modifications for the EQ profile, as that is irrelevant in my comparison.
And yes, from this little test it does seem as though the "cupped-sounding" issue is not a byproduct of the FR, but something else. I can't imagine the (relative to jergpads) nasal quality of the stock FR helping with the cuppedness issue though.