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The curse of "higher"-fi / Refuse to use EQ, bass boost, too coloured IEMs. Why am I doing this...

Poll Results: Do you use any sound alterations?

 
  • 23% (4)
    No
  • 11% (2)
    Yes, "software"
  • 11% (2)
    Yes, "hardware"
  • 35% (6)
    Yes, all kinds of EQ, crossfeeds etc.
  • 17% (3)
    Only different cables, tips, amps, DACs
17 Total Votes  
post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

So. I started getting into sound a while ago. Bought a couple of iems. Bought more. Bought an E5. Bought an E6. Bought an iFuzen. Then I stopped for a while, listened to what I had, evaluated, stopped going to head-fi on a daily basis. Then my friend asked for my guidance and I was stuck again.

 

Ordered the PCM2706/ES9023 (for smartphone use, hopefully it works with Galaxy S4 (EU). And an OTG.

Ordered a C&C BH.

Will order a silver interconnect to make blind tests utilizing my fiancee as cable swapper.

 

After reading some I just got that little anxious feeling that something is going to be bothersome. I read that C&C BH has really good and useful alterations of the sound. Now I'm sitting here with my iFuzen+iPhone 4s, wishing it didn't have that many combinations of settings. I wish I could remove the bass boost from my E6 (since I never use it anyway).

 

Now to the point.

I'm philosophically unable to use any sound improvements. I need to hear exactly what the gear does, I want higher fidelity to the recording, the iems, everything. I don't make any active choices to change the sound. I know it's probably a lot of BS but I feel like I don't appreciate my iems for what they are if I use boosts and I feel like I don't appreciate the recording if I use, say, bassy iems or iems with high end roll-off. All this just leaves me wishing that my gear had more of this and more of that.

Can someone chime in and tell me something that makes me change my mind?

I want to be able to enjoy the music, not being obsessed about hearing more of the characteristics of Re0 paired with different amps. I want to be able to use the LF and SF boosts on my C&C BH when it arrives. Right now I'm more worried about not getting the most out of it if I don't order a silver interconnect. Damn you head-fi. I Ha..lo..lovehate you.. 

 

Does anybody have the same issue? How do you cope with it? Can you tell me, with good arguments (preferably sciency and cold but philosophical and fuzzy is ok) that using boosts is ok and I won't go to hell for it?

 

(Right now I'm switching between Re0, GR07, A03 (Ossicle) and MH1C with iPhone 4s and iFuzen or Fiio E6 and an L9 LOD.)

 

Simon

post #2 of 11

So I take it you have a completely neutral pair of IEM and DAP to know how "Neutral" sounds like?

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Maybe not really. I'd say Re0 is the closest thing to neutral I have. Don't have any fancy dap, just my phone(s), E5, E6 and an iFuzen for my iPhone. So by no means hifi. The point of this wasn't to brag/show off (since I don't have anything special). The point was that I can't even justify using a little bass boost on my Re0 or EQ down the somewhat shouty(?) Mid of R.G A03. This is more a complaint about myself and not about my gear.
post #4 of 11

Whilst I typically will change gear to adjust sound signature as opposed to EQ/etc, I'm not against using these methods to get the best I can out of what I own. For example, we both own the MH1C, however I rarely listen to the MH1C without an EQ as by default I find the bass too be overpoweringly strong and the 2.8-3kHz peak in the treble to be fatiguing.

 

Tl;dr, EQ compensates for minor defects, not alternative to other pieces of gear.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Ah ok, my MH1C are still burning in in between listening sessions. So far I don't really understand what the hype is about. But that is probably about sound preference than technical capability.
post #6 of 11

Sound signature is a matter of preference. Find yours and who cares how it is achieved.

 

John Culshaw one of the best sound recording engineers there ever was embraced (and in fact predicted) new technologies and the ability of the user to change the music he recorded to suit their tastes.

 

This myth about fidelity is sorely in need of an enema.  Fidelity to what exactly. The music in the studio. The music on the sound console before it was worked on? The music the guy mastering used optimus 7 to monitor?

 

Something that actually sounds better may actually be infidel to the original recording. Why do you think there is so much remastering going on? Were we fools to try and be true to the old masters in the first place?biggrin.gif
 

post #7 of 11
Hutnicks has a good point on problems with source material and the problems studio engineers cause by "improving" sound.

In that line, I also think the view of a minimally invasive system can be quite good. Like it or else the source, amplification and "drivers" all impart their own sound signatures of equalization, distortion, etc. And people hear differently.

As a general rule I avoid digital equalization and digital volume controls as they generally "eat" bits of information by default and kill the sound. These are OK for a laptop running through 2 inch laptop speakers. Analog volume controls are also a major problem for sound. But the lowly volume control of a well implemented system can really clear up the sound.

Terms like mid-fi and high end are dangerous. They imply that spending more money will improve the listening experience. Wrong. Think broadly and deeply about your audio goals and develop a strategy to meet them.

Next, Head-fi presents a lot of product info on the forums and super opportunities to try out lots of headphone gear via shows and informal meetings. Bring several types of music that YOU listen to and test away. Listening to the genres of music you like is fundamental as I find headphone performance seems to vary by music type (e.g. jazz music might sound pleasing with Brand Z headphones but classical music just falls apart).

Good luck.
post #8 of 11

i don't use EQ when it audibly sucks, and that would be most of the time. but i'm not an anti EQ guy. and i enjoyed playing with EQ when i was trying to understand my own tastes. one can learn a lot like that (at least in the beginning).  it showed me that i couldn't stand too much 3 to 6khz sounds, and that i would happily melt under any 30-40hz rumble. 

foobar is nice to use like that, i often try to give one headphone the sound of another one and AB them to get the full scale of my failure. pretty fun.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the replies. Really interesting points. First, what I mean with fidelity is fidelity to the bits that were recorded i.e. the sound. If you start claiming that "it's what the artist intended" then you're, as mentioned before, on thin ice since you don't know how the artist, producer etc. heard it. Anyway, after thinking some about all of this I'm not really sure where I stand anymore. I just got my C&C BH(2) and I'm playing around with the LF and SF, trying to figure out what they do and what the difference between Out 1 and 2 is. All I know is that I'm confused and that I should probably just stop thinking about what I wrote earlier and try to enjoy the music.

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonYeol View Post

Thanks for all the replies. Really interesting points. First, what I mean with fidelity is fidelity to the bits that were recorded i.e. the sound. If you start claiming that "it's what the artist intended" then you're, as mentioned before, on thin ice since you don't know how the artist, producer etc. heard it. Anyway, after thinking some about all of this I'm not really sure where I stand anymore. I just got my C&C BH(2) and I'm playing around with the LF and SF, trying to figure out what they do and what the difference between Out 1 and 2 is. All I know is that I'm confused and that I should probably just stop thinking about what I wrote earlier and try to enjoy the music.


Confusion is good. In this arena and the days of 5k headphones and 1.5k portable players that confusion will keep you asking questions which (hopefully) cannot be answered with hype. I remember when I was a kid and just about any new piece of equipment was better than what I had before life was great. Every new thing was a way to re experience the record collection. Well a million years later and who knows how many (unwisely spent)dollars, guess what? It's still the same thing. All the technologies and crap are merely transient ways to experince or re experience the music you like in the manner you like. If anything interferes with that get rid of it. If it is a bad experience, get rid of it.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
I guess I'm not there yet. I feel like I have a whole journey ahead of me. But it sure is an addiction. Always planning the next purchase, always one step ahead of the wallet. Sometimes I wish I would've never found Head-fi. Sometimes I feel like it's what keeping me sane in a pretty crowded life. Those moments just enjoying music, listening to the music, balance, instruments, details and losing myself in whatever environment I feel the music represents. Be it a small bar smelling of smoke and whiskey, a large arena filled with screaming fans or inside a studio, surrounded by the artists that recorded the song. Again, thanks for the replies. I was expecting maybe 2 replies saying "dude, you suck".
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