Originally Posted by mikeaj
How do you refute the premise in this earlier post (the two paragraphs starting from "A flat response out in free space")?
Oh man! That second paragraph is a doozy! I can't make head nor tail out of that, I'm afraid.
Personal hearing differences and defects are like a personal filter on sound. It colors what we hear the exact same way everywhere... in headphones, in the real world, with speakers... everything. Flat response is flat response. It's what the tweeting of a bird or the roar of a jet engine sounds like in real life. We might hear it filtered through our own hearing defects, but it doesn't change what the sound itself is. When we hear that natural sound, it is always filtered through our personal coloration the same. So if we take natural sound through our personal filter and compare it to a response curve we've balanced through our personal filter, the sound will be exactly the same.
Again... Hand me a set of headphones and an equalizer, and I will balance the sound through my own filter, but I will be aiming at a target that is real life through my filter. The two filters will cancel each other out and underneath my own personal perception, I'll end up with an audibly flat response curve through anyone's personal filter.
People with relatively normal hearing don't vary all that much anyway. A dB difference here or there makes no difference at all. When I was EQing the PM-1s using tones, my friend would do a sweep through an octave and he would hand the headphones to me so I could hear what he was hearing. We both were hearing the same thing. When we were all done, the corrections we made evened out the response and it sounded flat to both of us. We both have normal hearing, so that shouldn't be surprising.
There are people who have a vested interest in claiming that flat response isn't an achievable goal. Most of them are manufacturers who can't build to the tolerances required, or home stereo fans who don't want to expend the effort to do it. Achieving a balanced frequency response isn't something you flip a switch and it's there, and it isn't something you can go out and buy. The only way you can get it is through work, analytical listening and experimentation.
But I can tell you from personal experience that achieving an audibly flat response *is* possible, and once I achieve flat for me, it's flat for all the friends who listen to my stereo too. Music played with a flat response sounds a LOT better than randomly imbalanced too. It really is worth the trouble.Edited by bigshot - 4/8/14 at 11:17am