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why don't headphone match music as created - Page 2

post #16 of 38
This is such an enlightening, refreshing thread. Good questions OP and good answers kodhifi and tsu!
post #17 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by ucrime View Post

before bed, my 'dumb' question came to mind also.

 

If closed headphones cannot create the true sound the artist wanted.

If open headphones can (I am sure the source of the sound has something to do in this)

 

Why headphones?  Why not speakers?  To me, privacy is key for headphones, but if that doesn't matter, then why not some polk audio size speakers?

 

I am guessing the forums are sponsored by headphone sellers and with all the money they have, they can make posts (edit typo) that sound legit that come up in google and then people will buy the product.

 

Don't get me wrong in any way, if there were 600$ headphones that created the artist's music perfectly, I would be all over it, but I'm starting to think that there is something I am missing.

Not a dump question. In fact, I appriciate you starting this threat as this will refresh those who knows' mind and let those who do not know further understand about audio xD

 

anyway, so why headphones over speaker if open headphones leaks sound. Open headphones enviroment are much smaller than a speaker. Which means, speakers are very picky in terms of enviroment. Sound can be greatly affected for each corner and place. The closer to the corner, more bass. Further away from the side wall means better mids but too far away can cause the sound to be too bright. 

 

Where as headphones, no matter how you place it on different ear or head shape, it sound similar. 

 

Hope this help! :)

post #18 of 38

That first video is pretty cool, thanks for posting.

post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by ucrime View Post

Billson, thank you.  I do have questions but because I have a habit of a wall of text I will be short.

 

if not everyone likes a flat sound, and the flat sound is what the artist created, are not the headphones creating a sound that the artist did not create.  Maybe it is making the sound 'better' but it is not artificial?

AFAIK, headphones and speaker does not create a sound that the artist do not create except for sibillants, hisses and grainy sound. Anything more than that, are not created if the artist do not create it in the music. Usually, sibilliants are created due to an emphasis in between 5KHz to 8KHz if I am not mistaken and at around 16KHz. As for hisses at lows are caused by an emphasis at mid bass which I believe is 80Hz to 150Hz. 

 

Artifcial sound do occurs with some spacific headphones and speaker for example, the UE4000's vocals but it is not because due to sound that is not created by the artist, it is something to do with FR I hope. 

 

I hope this help! :)

post #20 of 38

Regarding spikes and resonances, it's a little discussed fact but many microphones also have bumps in their response curves. Microphones tend to be much flatter than headphones but many will include a bump at 7 to 10khz in order to make a vocal 'pop' or cut through a mix better. If your headphone also has a bump in that same range......welcome to sibilance ville. Population: your ears.
 

post #21 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kodhifi View Post

Regarding spikes and resonances, it's a little discussed fact but many microphones also have bumps in their response curves. Microphones tend to be much flatter than headphones but many will include a bump at 7 to 10khz in order to make a vocal 'pop' or cut through a mix better. If your headphone also has a bump in that same range......welcome to sibilance ville. Population: your ears.
 

 

Legit!
post #22 of 38

No headphone or loudspeaker will ever sound like live music. It's just not possible.

No headphone or loudspeaker has yet to achieve a perfect signal-perfect reproduction of a recording either. As previously mentioned - it's physics. 

The only company to get anywhere close to signal perfect reproduction (in comparison to anything else ever produced) is STAX. 

post #23 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by ucrime View Post

I am guessing the forums are sponsored by headphone sellers and with all the money they have, they can make posts (edit typo) that sound legit that come up in google and then people will buy the product.

 

 

Just for your information, our rules require that anyone working for an audio company (or anyone making or selling audio gear for profit) notifies us and is tagged. Unless they are sponsors, they can't promote their products or services here. If they are, then they are very clearly tagged. Shill posting is absolutely and utterly unacceptable here.

 

More than anything though, even if a company has deep pockets and can pay for significant sponsorship, they still have to make a good product.  Even a sponsor can cop a lot of flak if their product doesn't live up to peoples' expectations.

 

Back to your original question about headphones, just like speakers will sound different in different rooms due to the way the sound reflects of surfaces, everyone's ears reflect sounds differently. That makes it impossible to make a pair of headphones that are genuinely "flat" for everyone's ears. While there have been models in the past that hung the drivers in a manner to simulate speakers (eg: The AKG K1000 and Stax Sigma) and worked quite well, they suffered from a number of other issues such as a lack of bass response. The other problem is that in the case of the Sigma, they didn't sell well enough and now both pairs of headphones are only available second-hand for a lot of money.

 

One forum member I know of is a musician and had a big go at me (and Head-Fi) saying that all popular headphones were rubbish and we were ruining music as none that he'd tried could reproduce instruments realistically. He ended up experimenting with making his own headphones using readily available parts and a lathe to turn wood cups. Of course most inexpensive headphones aren't designed to be as accurate as possible, nor most modern music mastered with the intent that it be played back on equipment designed to be accurate. Of course there are very expensive headphones ($1000+) that are supposed to do a much better job and are supposed to be more realistic. However, they all sound different! 

 

But here, at least, if you let people know what you listen to, you'll find someone who likes the same music who can tell you what has worked for them. Though people tend to get caught up in the gear, the music is key. smile.gif

post #24 of 38
Panasonic RP-HJE900 and Yamaha PRO 500 - these are the only IEMs and headphones that have gotten me closest to natural timbre of instruments in a headphone so far.
post #25 of 38
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone.  Before I begin, I would like to thank everyone for not turning this thread into a 'troll thread' but actually taking the time and effort to explain.

 

I have to say, my knowledge is not on par with anyone who posted above me, and some technical terms have gone a little over my head.  Hopefully I'm educated enough to figure out some of the meanings.

 

I would like to cut/paste and show key comments from the posting but it would create my fear of the 'wall of text' so I'll just toss a couple thought that maybe someone can respond to that will bring my understanding closer...

 

***

 

What I understand from above posts is (layman terms)

1.  There are a couple headphones created that do reproduce exact sounds (Stax i think were mentioned) but the price is not for the casual buyer.

2.  After that, headphones are really personal preferences and to keep trying on headphones until something clicked for me (or the user).

3.  The sound the artist creates has a lot to do with the mix the producer does in the studio (moving sounds left to right, etc...)

4.  It was pointed out one artist questioned that his music wasn't being reproduced by standard headphones and created one himself, but they cost a lot to do this.

 

So, if I got that right, here are my questions...

What do audiophiles look for in headphones?

Do the surroundings have to be perfect? (example, some open ended headphones may sound amazing in a perfectly quiet room, but would they sound the same in a location where there is ambient noise coming.

What qualities really matter (and I know it may be different for everyone but are there universal qualities that matter?)  Example, in wine tasting, you know you want to smell the wine, you want to roll it in your mouth, and you want something that is pleasant to drink.  Sometimes, people will go for the alcohol and none of that will matter.  With headphones, what is looked for.  I can tell you, playing music on my iPad when traveling, the order of prefer are comfort and loudness with the ability to hear sounds I did not hear before (example (not the best but all I can think of) in the song 'Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is' by Chicago, I hear more of the song and more of what is going on in the background with my TF10s then I do with my Etys.  My Etys are more comfortable, but when I want music, I seem to get more music from the TF10s.

 

So, I'll conclude to go back to daily life for now.  Thank you all for your replies.

 

Side wonderment question:  I lurk a lot on these forums in bursts, and I notice many people have headphone collections.  For some, I can see that they display the headphones, and its like a baseball card collection, they may go back to each headphone at times, but for most, I notice people usually upgrade headphones.  What do people do with the headphones that have been upgraded from?  I know, some may 'sell' them etc, but usually selling a 100-200$ pair of headphones (new) isn't really a profit.  Do people just store the headphones in boxes in their closets.  I've got headphones I don't use (example: I don't use my Bose QC3s any more, but they are old so no real sell value, but they are good so they don't value the trash either, or, say with my Apple headphones which I find are junk and ill-fitting but came with every apple device I ever bought, I have them in a drawer).

 

What do other people do, considering you may only use your favorite headphones, with the excess.  Is it just an evil of the industry to buy, try and take the hit when they are upgraded?  Is there some website where people give things to others just to get rid of?  

post #26 of 38

I don't have much to contribute, but I just wanted to say this thread is loaded with very good information and I've certainly learned something new. Very refreshing.

 

Also those binaural links are very nice, especially the last one. I've been a close follower of the ASMR community on youtube where most channels use binaural microphones to record their videos, it's really fascinating stuff. 

 

I wonder if mainstream music will ever transition towards releasing binaural music.

post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by ucrime View Post

 

What do audiophiles look for in headphones?

This is personal and unique to each audiophile. There is no set of rules, but as with all interests and hobbies, patterns are soon recognised as 'best practices' are shared and the best gear becomes apparent through shared popularity as opposed to marketing. 

 

Would an audiophile listen to music through $5 headphones?

Try to imagine drinking a fine whiskey through a straw. frown.gif

 

You still get the 'whiskey', but the way you receive it is just simply disgusting.

Whiskey drinkers will chose the shape and size of the glass to produce different 'noses' for different drinks. It has everything to do with variety and preference.

Headphones are similar.

 

What I look for in headphones:

At home I want variety, as I listen to a few genres.

For rock music, I want full tone, full bodied sounding guitars with sublime crunch and articulation. My final choice is a Grado RS2i. 

For electronic music or anything with electronic sounds and bass emphasis I want something more relaxed but fun. My current headphone is Beyerdynamic DT990 - my journey here has not ended (looking into Hifiman HE-400)

For classical and acoustic, I want something with a balanced, more neutral, open, clear sound that doesn't emphasise anything but doesn't leave anything out. I am using a vintage AKG K241 - I feel comfortable with this as a final choice, unless something else pops up.

 

For outdoors I wanted and needed an absolute jack-of-all-genres. The Sennheiser Momentum fit the bill. I could have also taken the Sony MDR-R1, but I already have so many 'fun' sounding headphones, I chose the easy-listening/relaxed sound of the Momentum for variety (and I preferred the style). 

 

I also have about 15 vintage headphones lying around.

I look for various things when I buy them. I sometimes buy them at the flea market for next to nothing, so I don't feel bad taking them apart or modding them. 

Vintage orthos are fun - often they're not the best sounding headphones, but they're fun to mod, and squeeze that last bit of sound quality out of them, mostly because it's usually much easier to mod them than dynamic-type headphones for their sound properties.

I enjoy 'tasting' the vintage flavours.... unfortunately a lot of them don't age as well as their beverage counterparts... but it's the exceptions to that rule that make it fun. 

 

I hope others will chime in, to give you an idea of the personally unique taste of variety I'm talking about.

Some patterns may emerge, but there will always be polarized opinions, just as in any hobby.


Edited by GREQ - 2/16/13 at 11:20am
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by ucrime View Post

1.  There are a couple headphones created that do reproduce exact sounds (Stax i think were mentioned) but the price is not for the casual buyer.

They don't reproduce an exact image of the replica. They can get darn close, but there are too many factors that won't allow a 100% exact image of the sound. However we can get like ~98% close, with stax for example, and that last 2% doesn't make a major noticeable difference, but if you wanted 100%, you would need to account for nearly EVERYTHING.

 

Say you're trying to re-create the image of a live concert. Not only do you need "perfect" components, but you need to be able to reproduce the effect of minor echos in the concert, the extra noise caused by vibrations in the structures, the humidity in the room, the atmospheric pressure, the temperature + a million other teeny-tiny things to get a exact, 100%, image of the live concert. Granted, like said before, all of this stuff will be barely noticeable. No one will notice the change in music at different altitudes, but it does make a difference.

post #29 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GREQ View Post

 

 

Would an audiophile listen to music through $5 headphones?

Try to imagine drinking a fine whiskey through a straw? 

 

You still get the 'whiskey', but the way you receive it is just simply disgusting.

Whiskey drinkers will chose the shape and size of the glass to produce different 'noses' for different drinks. It has everything to do with variety and preference.

Headphones are similar.

GREQ, I do have thoughts on this.

 

I've been to some very nice restaurants in NYC (almost all the ones considered top tier except for Per Se (I haven't been to Per Se (edit)), and one thing myself and my buddies would look at was the glass that the wine was served in.  Many places started using Riedel and Spiegelau.  They we started to notice Schott brand on the glasses, then no-name glasses.  Did the wine taste better in those glasses.  Not really.  I have drank d'Yquem in hotel room glasses and that was more memorable and probably true to what the wine should taste like.

 

So, if my goal is to drink wine (whiskey), or listen to music as it was meant to be, maybe only the artist (as was pointed out earlier) can truly say if it is right or not. 

 

I do believe after reading what people wrote, that it is best to wait to get the super headphone (with amp) instead of tinkering.  What I have is good enough.  Not perfect, but pretty good.  Maybe asking if the grail is real is really asking if dreams come true.  Maybe a wall of speakers is best due to soundstage.  I've (edit) been to the stereo shows that used to be at the Marriot (if I remember) in NYC, used to go every year, and some of those hotel room set-ups were pretty nice.

 

 

(and to Currawong, I probably didn't explain myself, English may be my first language, but expressing it doesn't seem to be.  I meant, with so much on the line, people who make headphones and want to sell them can easily use the forums, and maybe their employees, who knows, to create threads that seem to be more advertising then anything else.  There is no way to know. If 4 people who all are paid from XXXXXX company each comment on how good something it, people as naive as myself, may read it and go, 'Wow, that seems exactly what I am looking for", then after parting with 400$ or so, i would be like, ugh.  The only protection from this is the true audiophiles who can question threads and see if there is some BS there or from others with real worlld experience.  But then again, how do we know who has an agenda?  

 

Edit: And I did read the rules, Shilling is horrible and it would be interesting to know who you have ever caught doing this, and what company they worked for.


Edited by ucrime - 2/16/13 at 11:35am
post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

 

Just for your information, our rules require that anyone working for an audio company (or anyone making or selling audio gear for profit) notifies us and is tagged. Unless they are sponsors, they can't promote their products or services here. If they are, then they are very clearly tagged. Shill posting is absolutely and utterly unacceptable here.

 

More than anything though, even if a company has deep pockets and can pay for significant sponsorship, they still have to make a good product.  Even a sponsor can cop a lot of flak if their product doesn't live up to peoples' expectations.

 

Back to your original question about headphones, just like speakers will sound different in different rooms due to the way the sound reflects of surfaces, everyone's ears reflect sounds differently. That makes it impossible to make a pair of headphones that are genuinely "flat" for everyone's ears. While there have been models in the past that hung the drivers in a manner to simulate speakers (eg: The AKG K1000 and Stax Sigma) and worked quite well, they suffered from a number of other issues such as a lack of bass response. The other problem is that in the case of the Sigma, they didn't sell well enough and now both pairs of headphones are only available second-hand for a lot of money.

 

One forum member I know of is a musician and had a big go at me (and Head-Fi) saying that all popular headphones were rubbish and we were ruining music as none that he'd tried could reproduce instruments realistically. He ended up experimenting with making his own headphones using readily available parts and a lathe to turn wood cups. Of course most inexpensive headphones aren't designed to be as accurate as possible, nor most modern music mastered with the intent that it be played back on equipment designed to be accurate. Of course there are very expensive headphones ($1000+) that are supposed to do a much better job and are supposed to be more realistic. However, they all sound different! 

 

But here, at least, if you let people know what you listen to, you'll find someone who likes the same music who can tell you what has worked for them. Though people tend to get caught up in the gear, the music is key. smile.gif


No doubt. Shilling is not allowed here. You just have people who love their hobby and are willing to put in time and effort to help others out.

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