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The best headphones in terms of dynamics - Page 3

post #31 of 70

i usually refer to dynamics as the ability to portray musical emphasis irregardless of frequency.  a guitar lick/riff can sound pretty flat/boring on some gears, but have more "musical/emotional" content (or dynamics) on others, where maybe you can better hear which notes the guitarist is emphasizing.  in this regard, the AD2000 are better than the K7xx with my gears and ears.

post #32 of 70

It doesn't make sense to talk about dynamics from a speaker or headphones without also considering the amplifier used to drive them, and even the rest of the signal chain.  The ability of a transducer to accurately present loud and soft passages is very much a function of whatever amp is driving it and the efficiency of the transducer.

 

 Many Stax phones are hard to drive from comparatively  small powered amps. In that category I would note the SR007 which really needs a big amp starting with the Stax 717/727 and going up the BHSE and Woo amps which sell for $5,000/$6,000.  On the other hand the Lambdas get good dynamics with the smaller amps and even the SR003 can be quite effective with a small amp.

 

Remember also that Stax went from low to high bias several years ago to address this issue.

 

Finally the rest of the chain can also be a big factor. I recently bought a couple of the Woo cd transports and they make each system, speaker or headphone I have tried them in sound more dynamic. I am getting a good deal more bass emphasis and the some soprano passages just about blew my ears out with my SR007A's.

post #33 of 70

For me it's either the LCD-2 or LCD-3. Proabably the LCD-2 just due to the sheer empahsis. It has some serious slam.

post #34 of 70

What we hear through headphones include the source and the amp.  I have a custom Blue Circle SBH model and a somewhat modified DNA Stratus.  With these two amps, my K701s sound quite balanced and have better dynamics (using your definition) in the Stratus than the BC amp.  I have an early version of the LCD-2s.  They sound dark and slow on the SBH and are more balanced, faster and with a better top end on the Stratus.  The HD800s are relatively better balanced than the LCD-2s i have (on both rigs), but the very top end is over-emphasized (especially on the Stratus), however, they do a far better job on Mahler, Sibelius and Bruckner symphonic music on the Stratus than the other headphones on either rig.  My preferred source is an Audio Note CD4.1x with Crimson ICs; however, I have the Stratus by my bed where I use a MacBook that feeds into a Wavelength Proton Dac and uses AN-Vx cables and I think that Proton + cabling contributes to what I hear in the top end on the HD800s, because there is less brightness with my AN source and Crimson IC's.

 

The differences I hear are, in fact, as much due to the upstream equipment as well as the headphones.  I've also found that the headphone cabling I have tried (both silver and copper) does not make as much difference as the other components in my systems, which is contrary to much of what i read on head-fi. 

 

The K701s get a lot of bad press on this forum, but their lack of bass aside, I enjoy them on pop-, chamber music, jazz, and acoustic music as well as the other headphones I own on both systems. The HD800s are "better" in almost every department, except for the brightness at the very top.  I'm still trying to "understand" the LDC-2s, as I spent a lot of time not enjoying them on the SBH or before the Stratus was broken properly with some new components in the signal path.

 

I'll add, also, that there is a world of difference between AVVT 2A3 tubes and the vintage RCA double plates I have, although the differences are pretty general across headphones: darker, more warmth in the RCAs.

 

In general, I focus on (and pick) first what is upstream off the headphones and , then the headphones that best suit the rest of the system. I am also limited by my budget, though.

post #35 of 70

Your budget can't be that limited, I see that you are using the Audio Note CD4.1x, a  premium cd player.  I see that this costs in the region of $12K, about 6 times what my Woo/Music Fidelity cd set-up costs. There's a prevailing "bits is bits" mentality that any old cd player or transport will get the bits to where they belong, but that's not so.  There is still a lot of weird stuff going on in digital playback and the benefits of a top  quality player or transport on all aspects of sound, including dynamics, must be heard to be believed.


Edited by edstrelow - 12/20/13 at 11:24am
post #36 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnaud View Post

I can understand the frustration about the lack of dynamics of audio playback system vs. the real thing.
Last night, after coming back from nutcracker ballet, I listened to the same piece again at home and, while totally enjoyable, the magic of the concert really wasn't there anymore...

One place where it did not fall too much behind was the sense of space. For live recordings, it does seem proper mic placement and artful stereo down mixing goes a long way toward a realistic staging, even with supposedly hopeless headphones.

Another place that's really nailed is the tonality / texture of instruments regardless of the register they play in. As usual though, recordings are so much more detailed than the real event with the help of near field mics. Even though we were only few rows of the pit, there's so much non direct energy, the highs frequencies quickly get absorbed. Nobody would believe a home recording sounding that tamed down in the highs can be fidele to the real thing. To me, many classical recordings sound like if I was at the place of the conductor + middle of the hall at the same time so I get both direct and reverberant field in highly delineated fashion.

The one place where I felt my rig fell apart is the fortissimo indeed. I am so used to sound compression in the forte that I was surprised at the concert lol wink.gif. Coming back home, certainly I could not represent the sheer dynamic range I heard at the venue.
Now, I have my hope that this actually not so much a transducer issue than it is a fault from the amplifier. All is good and well with low level signals but things fall apart in the demanding passages.

As such, to the op, I would also recommend exploring the source and amplifier limitations besides incriminating the phones exclusively.

For the staxes sounding flat, this is a stereotype that has long lived. As mentionned above, the latest generation models have much increased apparent dymamics, much easier to drive actually, to the expense of sounding forward / bright to those used to the older warmer voiced models. Tonality, resolution, apparent dynamics and imaging are somewhat interrelated and you typically must strike a balance between the different attributes. This is where it becomes an art of designing headphones rather than mere science imo...

Arnaud

 

Hello,

 

Maybe the SRM-727 amp limits the dynamic of music when listening at high volume levels, while it exacerbates at low listening levels, especially with an headphones that require much power, as the SR-007 (mk1 or mk2).
With my system, and my source Audiomat, the Stax SR-009 does not seem limited in dynamics with the RKV amp (+ Wee) ; for me, the limiting factor in the dynamic is foremost the quality of the recordings, often compressed to be listenable in a car radio ; then after, the saturating of my ears also plays if I listen with a level too high (too hard).

 

Eric

post #37 of 70

Yes, I feel i am very fortunate to have that digital front end, even though it is admittedly not that far up the Audio Note food chain.  It costs way more than any other single component i have.   Nowadays, I'm not thinking so much about new equipment (OPTs, chokes, caps and signal wire) as I am better parts for some of the equipment i have already.  But I am also surprisingly pleased with my computer audio set-up.  No, it's not as good as the AN source, but it helps me to strike a better balance between my main system and my bed-side system, in terms of both price and sonics.

post #38 of 70

It's clear that the word dynamics is causing mis-communication between those who know music theory and those who don't. ;) There's really only one correct definition of dynamics that comes from music theory, and some people here have it completely wrong.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by brat View Post
Which headphones give you the best dynamics?

It's the most critical problem to me when listening to classical music, I need dynamics. So far my favourites are K701. They give much greater dynamic amplitudes compared to LCD-2.2, SR-007mk2, Lambda Pro, HD-800 and my other former headphones. K701 have their faults, I use them only for classics and I'm curious if anyone else has compared headphones in terms of dynamics.

 

For me, there's been only one headphone that I've ever heard that's portrayed truly accurate musical dynamics from ppp to fff—the Stax OII MKI, but only when amped by the BHSE. The KGSS marginally limited the dynamics of the OII MKI so that it was more like just p to f. I agree with edstrelow and Frihed89 on the point that the amp & source can affect dynamics. I heard some sources on my previous OII/BHSE setup that constricted dynamics, one example being the Cary 306 SACD Pro.

 

The dynamic & planar magnetic headphone flagships I've previously owned & heard (K70x, HD800, T1, LCD-2, LCD-3, TH900) never remotely held a candle to my OII/BHSE setup especially in the aspect of musical dynamics....


Edited by Asr - 12/21/13 at 1:06am
post #39 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
 

It's clear that the word dynamics is causing mis-communication between those who know music theory and those who don't. ;) There's really only one correct definition of dynamics that comes from music theory, and most people here have it completely wrong.

would be kinda helpful if you threw in what that definition was :rolleyes:

post #40 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
would be kinda helpful if you threw in what that definition was :rolleyes:

 

It's not exactly a short definition and isn't the topic of the thread. Should be easily Google'able by anyone who wants to know. This page explains it well: http://www.mymusictheory.com/for-students/grade-1/grade-1-course/137-16-dynamics

post #41 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by Asr View Post
 

 

It's not exactly a short definition and isn't the topic of the thread. Should be easily Google'able by anyone who wants to know. This page explains it well: http://www.mymusictheory.com/for-students/grade-1/grade-1-course/137-16-dynamics

lol that sounds exactly like what everyone is talking about =S just curious if you wanted to explain how "the true definition" differs from the way people here are using it

post #42 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post

would be kinda helpful if you threw in what that definition was rolleyes.gif
It's what has been described in one of the first posts of this thread and then drown by the treble/bass thing :-)
I still wonder why so many people around here and other fora keep talking about treble, midrange and bass when talking (and reviewing) about music reproduction, as music was a discrete thing, and never talk about musical instruments. Sorry for the OT, end of my rant!
post #43 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by money4me247 View Post
lol that sounds exactly like what everyone is talking about =S just curious if you wanted to explain how "the true definition" differs from the way people here are using it

 

I went back through the thread and just corrected my earlier post: only some people had it completely wrong, not most. Notably TMRaven, but also fishski13 and Austin Morrow. Dynamics isn't only emphasis (the term for emphasis by itself is sforzando), and it's definitely not "slam" either. It's essentially a volume scale along a period of time.

post #44 of 70

Never did I say dynamics was only slam.

post #45 of 70
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post
 

Never did I say dynamics was only slam.

Slam, Bam, Thank you ma'am
Get on the floor and jam!!!! :p

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