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On Hi-Fi headphone recommendations - rant / digression / question. - Page 2

post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by MatsGyver View Post

I think this is a very complex issue, made out by many sound scientists to be simple but it really is not.

Sure the most accurate headphones give the closest reproduction of the original file. But for pure listenings expirience I sometimes enjoy artifacts like room Acoustics and "slam". With many studio recordings in combination With accurate headphones and a neutral/flat frequency response there are close to no room Acoustics, and the awsome Rihanna song you heard in the Club a couple of Nights before sound nothing like the one played With Your expensive Stax or Senn HD800`s. The Version you hear With Your flat headphones is more accurate and detailed, but it lacks the room-acoustics that you heard from the Club. The room Acoustics give the song the awsome deep bass rumble and punch, and it also kills details because there is so much bass-energy trapped in the room that all other high frequencies With less energy than the flood of bass gets drowned under a blanket of pure bass. Masking effekt i think it is called.

Beats actually give a closer representation of the Club sound than the SennHD800 when the original studio recording is used. Mainly because the bass ressonates inside the closed Chamber on beats wich resembles the ressonation of bass inside the club, but on a much smaller scale. While the bass-energy simply dissapear into the room With the Senn`s making it sound detailed and thin in comparison.

If you take a high quality tape recorder With you to the Club and capture the sound in something like 32/96bit the Sennheiser will be the best headphone for accurately capturing the sound you heard in the Club. This is because Beats add its closed Chamber Acoustics in adition to the room Acoustics in the live recording. Ending up With way too much ressonance.

I therefor often prefer closed headphones for pop, r&b, techno when listetning to original studio recordings without room-acoustics, and the more accurate pricyer headphones when listening to recordings that have more room-acoustics in the actual recording.

I actually enjoy some room-acoustics in Music because to me it sound more natural, but not when there is too much (beats and live recordings) and not when there is to little (Senns with studio recordings). When I combine the two and use beats for studio recordings and senns for live, i can enjoy all types of Music streching from blues, jazz, classical, to rock, pop techno and r&b. Its not so much about the Equipment but more about the Music and knowing what Equipment to use on witch recordings. A carpenter have lots of Tools suited for different tasks and thats how i think of headphones and hifi in genreral to. They are a tool to a means and a headphone, DAC or an amplifier is no more musical than the carpenters scissors.

I have to disagree with you on a number of things here. If you honestly believe the HD800 arent capable of bass levels you can actually feel, you couldnt be more wrong here. In terms of bass and its comparison-given you mentioned beats, the HD800 are capable of showcasing bass far superior in every aspect of beat's impact, slam, decay, texture, physicality--I can go on all day. Believe me, plug this headphone into a well known vintage amp with bassy character or even a well known solid state amp with bass emphasis and youll get a spinning round-house back-kick in the mouth. Beats shouldnt be compared to the HD800, beats shouldnt even be mention anywhere near the title HD800. The LCD2 has more bass as well as quality over the HD800, as a LCD3 owner, the HD800 comes very close to the LCD3 in terms of bass.

 

Yours were shipped this morning FYI, prepare yourself :beerchug:


Edited by youngGeezeh - 10/11/13 at 11:42am
post #17 of 33

Actually the Beats Pro is not a bass monster and if you get a pair without channel imbalance it's not that bad. The Beats Solo has really boosted bass, yeah, but it's relatively clean bass. I dare to say that some of the new Denon high-end cans have more bass that is worse in quality.

post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by youngGeezeh View Post

I have to disagree with you on a number of things here. If you honestly believe the HD800 arent capable of bass levels you can actually feel, you couldnt be more wrong here. In terms of bass and its comparison-given you mentioned beats, the HD800 are capable of showcasing bass far superior in every aspect of beat's impact, slam, decay, texture, physicality--I can go on all day. Believe me, plug this headphone into a well known vintage amp with bassy character or even a well known solid state amp with bass emphasis and youll get a spinning round-house back-kick in the mouth. Beats shouldnt be compared to the HD800, beats shouldnt even be mention anywhere near the title HD800. The LCD2 has more bass as well as quality over the HD800, as a LCD3 owner, the HD800 comes very close to the LCD3 in terms of bass.

Yours were shipped this morning FYI, prepare yourself beerchug.gif

Its not only about punch but about ressonace. A closed headphone creates ressonance similar to room-acoustics/ressonance inside a room or inside a car. Open headphones like SennHD800 and LCD3 is Equal to playing Music out in the open. There are no ressonance only pure sound full of details.

I actually like some ressonance like room-acoustics. And a total dead silent room without any ressonance is not preferred. At least not to me. And many studio recordings almost sound too clean with open headphones, so I have to use digital crossfeed to get some of the closed headphone (or room Acoustics) sound. Open cans though are fantastic on recordings that has some room Acoustics in the recording. And it sounds more lifelike than the closed Chamber Acoustics or open headphones With crossfeed.

So what do I like best between closed and open headphones? I like them both for different recordings and the recordings dictate what headphones I find most musical. But the best sound quality is by far open headphones With recordings that has some room Acoustics in the recording. So I can listen to it and enjoy without any aid from closed cans or crossfeed.

Closed cans and crossfeed is not a Perfect solution. If possible i want the recording to supply the room Acoustics, not the artificial closed sound of headphones or crossfeed. But the latter is better than the lifeless studio recording.

Really looking forward to recieving the HD800`s though. Been longing for one for some time now.
Edited by MatsGyver - 10/14/13 at 9:43am
post #19 of 33

I'll try to answer your question. I listen nearly only to classical music and its subgenres. I suspect that people who listen to several genres are ruining their capacity to conceive of any one genre accurately. This is not an insult. I have never met anyone who listened to classical and other genres too, whose taste in the classics hadn't become distorted because of that. If I listen to thrash metal for a few days, it will interfere with my ability to conceive of a Beethoven sonata properly. That's my experience. I am supposing that this experience is extremely magnified in those who regularly listen to several genres. They have a harder time conceiving of any genre accurately.

 

So if someone asks me to recommend headphones to him, and he listens to a genre I purposely make a habit of not listening to, I am ignorant of how to properly conceive of the musical requirements of that genre and can't make a thoughtful recommendation. But if someone wants headphones that will play classical music right, I have little difficulty because I know how classical music is supposed to sound when it's well-conceived.

 

There will still be differences of emphasis, partly depending on what the person needs to hear and partly depending on how a particular subgenre should sound. The latter requires approaching subgenres the same way genres are approached, with clear understanding. An example of the former is that I do not physically tolerate bass so well, but another classical listener might actually need more bass in his "sound diet". So a slightly more bassy model, such as HD650, would suit him but not me; and a more neutral model, such as HD600, would suit me but not him.

post #20 of 33

I think enough light has been thrown on the OP's original question.

 

Until there's a headphone with a flat response in the affordable price range, musical preferences will be a required input for any transducer buying decision.

post #21 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post
 

I think enough light has been thrown on the OP's original question.

 

Until there's a headphone with a flat response in the affordable price range, musical preferences will be a required input for any transducer buying decision.

 

Which models would you consider flat?

What price range would you consider affordable?

Why do you think that development would necessarily eliminate the influence of genre?

post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

Which models would you consider flat?

What price range would you consider affordable?

Why do you think that development would necessarily eliminate the influence of genre?

 

-- I don't know. There's no true perfect headphone as of now. Hence the statement.

-- Whats the most common range? For me its $2-500. Right now the price increases exponentially as a headphone gets closer to that 'perfect response'.

-- I'm not sure if it will be a complete 'elimination', but the idea is that the headphone purchase itself will reduce the chances of post purchase dissatisfaction. Just use the desired EQ, and you'll have a sound signature you like.


Edited by proton007 - 12/27/13 at 2:45am
post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post
 

I'm not sure if it will be a complete 'elimination', but the idea is that the headphone purchase itself will reduce the chances of post purchase dissatisfaction. Just use the desired EQ, and you'll have a sound signature you like.

 

Different driver technologies produce different sorts of sound worlds, and it's reasonable to suppose that flat versions would retain those differences. If particular technologies are better performers with certain genres, genre might become even more relevant in an age of cheaper flat models.

post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

Different driver technologies produce different sorts of sound worlds, and it's reasonable to suppose that flat versions would retain those differences. If particular technologies are better performers with certain genres, genre might become even more relevant in an age of cheaper flat models.

 

Probably.

post #25 of 33

Unless we are talking about raw freq responses, most sites that put those fancy frequency graphs are not 'flat', it is all compensated. I believe Tyll uses Independent of Direction HRTF. Goldenears uses its own developed HRTF (I may be wrong with this) and there is another one developed by folks from Harman. We have not even agreed on what 'flat' response is correct, let alone making the headphones 'flat' sounding :p.

post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjimmybob View Post

 

I mean, the term Hi-Fi comes from the desire that the source is reproduced in the most reliable and exact way.

 

If the result of reproducing the source is the closest match, you have a good pair of Hi-Fi phones.

 

I completely hear you on this. I'm one of the few people who have one headphone for my house (HD600), one IEM on the go (ASG-1), the same way I had one speaker in the house (Pacific Pi10) and one speaker system in one car (if I had more than one car I'd use the same Focal and Vifa drivers), and I'd rather these are enjoyable for a wide variety of genres than deliberately EQ-ing to suit one genre over a few others.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjimmybob View Post

 

So why is it so important to know what music I listen to to recommend some cans ?

 

If a certain pair of phones have more or less bass (or treble) using the same source, clearly one or other is colouring the signal in certain way.

 

So what am I missing ?

 

Anyone want to throw some thoughts on this ?

 

They are coloring the sound. Personally, I'd accept that coloration if there is a need to compromise on the source, and maybe also the amplification. For example, a Grado RS-1 on an iPod can make it sound a bit more exciting regardless of genre; or an IEM with a rolled-off treble (like mine) sounds better on smartphones than, say, the W4 and TF10, which can sometimes sound fatiguing. Of course, my rolled-off treble IEMs make MP3s sound worse. In the end, if I'm at home, a reasonably good DAC, a powerful, transparent, clean amp, and a smooth headphone taken together is still the best system for me, personally, as one who isn't a fan of having several headphones hanging near my amps. Then again, that's probably because the Head-Fi crowd are significantly younger on average and were not around older audiophiles, and take to headphones like lenses, whereas I take to them like speakers, owning several of which means you either have several rooms you need to put a set-up in or you have a lot of storage space.

post #27 of 33

My take from this thread is that there is no such thing as High Fidelity in headphone and the differentiation between manufacturer is just simply different coloration. Let's assume there is such a thing as high fidelity. This would mean all devices would sound exactly the same. There will be no longer be such a thing as sound signature. Everybody will have to compete on price only. Is this scenario going to happen? In the world that audiophiles believe cables have sound signature, a high fidelity device that sounds like everybody is not going to happen. Beats got it right. They unapologically make a high end (high price) fashion phone with lots of bass. And they now own half the market ( in just a few years), i.e. more revenue than all other manufacturers combined. I bet Sennheiser would love to be like Beats.

 

I have a friend who designed and manufactured for several major brands. He also used the same technology to make his own headphones. He was selling them at one third of the price of the name brands. Not only the sales is poor, the reviews are subpar to the exact brand name copies even though they're supposed to sound exactly the same.

 

Basically, I don't think a high fidelity headphone will ever happen. I predict there will be more fashionable V shape cans with huge logo on the side in the future from Sennheiser and AKG..

post #28 of 33

If AKG, part of Harman, makes use of Harman's research then I don't see why we shouldn't see better sounding headphones.

post #29 of 33

Harman is indeed a fantastic company with sales in the billions. If you bought their stock last year you might have doubled your money. Their growth/focus seems to be in the automotive and large installation like theater, amusement park etc. Some of their divisions worked independently and used OEM partner to help reduce both manufacture cost and R&D cost. For example, Mark Levinson OEM'ed a CD player. AKG has been using manufacturing partner in China as well. I am not sure if they also use their engineer to reduce cost. Their entire R&D budget is only around 4% of sales. So this is entirely possible. With the precedent of Beats which has no manufacturing or engineers, AKG might follow their foot step. They could earn more by having a slick looking phones catering to teenagers with iPhones instead of picky audiophiles. The only challenge will be the channels. Beats has the Apple Store and Harman has Best Buy?

post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvw View Post
 

My take from this thread is that there is no such thing as High Fidelity in headphone and the differentiation between manufacturer is just simply different coloration. Let's assume there is such a thing as high fidelity. This would mean all devices would sound exactly the same. There will be no longer be such a thing as sound signature. Everybody will have to compete on price only. Is this scenario going to happen?

 

Note that sound signature isn't just a brand thing - it's a product of price point and profit margin. The lower the price point, the more compromises to the design, and so they compromise on a sound that is acceptable for that profit margin to define the brand and go all out with what they really want at a much higher price point. Look at how different the HD650 and HD598 are vs the HD800, or how much the DT990 differs from the HD600 a lot more than the T1 from the HD800. Still, it's not perfect - there are still some influences from the marketing and sales departments considering these are big business right now with a rising headphone market, unlike when Chrysler said, "luxury sedans only!" then Jag engineers walked out a barn, working on their own weekend time, with an XJ220 (remember that Chrysler also owned Lamborghini at around the same time before they sold both).

 

In any case, as per the prospect of "hi-fi" being a real thing - has any headphone, including your friend's, measured as flat as an amp or DAC/CDP? Because that has been the problem for the longest time - designing a speaker or headphone system (not just the driver, but the cabinet and cup.chamber, the earpad, etc) that measures as flat as what we can get out of the electronics. Even then, if one measures whole systems, changing an amp can change the sound, not because the amp is EQ-ing it but measuring flat doesn't necessarily mean it can drive a headphone playing music, which is nothing like a sinewave used for testing. You use a sine wave and at any moment there's one frequency playing, and slightly more (at a given second) if it's a sweep. Music at any moment can have too much stuff going on and we expect all of that to sound "natural."

The bigger problem is people's perception of "natural sound." I've had people tell me my headphone system isn't warm enough; however the conductor of the local orchestra thinks there's nothing wrong and their idea of "warm enough" sounds nasal to me even on the jazz they're listening to.

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