Edited by krismusic - 12/30/13 at 8:49am
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Edited by krismusic - 12/30/13 at 8:49am
Yeah that. xD
I just have two concerns about ZO3, the first whether how it sounds with treble @ lowest level. The treble boosts won't be of much use for me if it's too bright to begin with. I'm no fan of V-shape signature, I want boosted bass but pretty much equal mid and highs presence. :)
So it still means I have to look for non-emphasized highs bass headphones for my needs as opposed to if ZO3 had the possibility to also decrease highs a little, then I could also look at headphones with emphasized highs and decrease the highs on ZO3 to get the balance I'm looking for.
The second would be the output impedance, it has been good (low) so far but that's not a garantuee that it wouldn't get higher on ZO3.
It's like the saying goes:
A new audiophile craves bass;
An established audiophile craves treble;
A really serious audiophile craves mid-range.
I've went through all these steps myself in a very noticeable fashion too. As a youngster all I was looking for was slamming bass, when I got that I was happy. Later on I started appriciating a heavy V-shape signature (abused EQing with already V-shape sounding headphones!) Nowadays I can't get into music when the midrange gets pushed behind the sparkliness. I see the midrange as adding "substance" to the music, without substance, you don't have music. I like the feeling of somewhat thick/warm midrange which happens when you have non-emphasized highs. It seems the midrange is the range which takes the longest amount to start appriciating but when you do there's no turning back. I'm still a basshead and I still need to hear the highs but I don't want the mids to get pushed behind the the highs creating a "thin" / analytical sound that fails to "engage" me into the music. It's the soul of the music. So therefore I want a bumped bass but evenly balanced mids vs highs presence.
For ZO3 it would be simple really to implement, the treble adjustments would just have to go both ways, also to the negative side because cutting one range is the same as boosting the other range. Take away the highs and you get more midrange warmth instead (same as boosting the midrange). I have both a ZO2.3 and ZO2.1 and with Q40 that is fairly balanced in the mids vs highs (especially for its price & the fact that it's a true basshead headphone) I greatly prefer the ZO2.1 because it has more thicker/fullbodied/forward midrange (well lower mids, 250~1000Hz mostly) compared to the ZO2.3. With the ZO2.3 I get a slight V-shape balance and it's therefore not as engaging sounding to me as I love that up-front / in-your-face mids. Therefore I'm worried how ZO3's default signature sounds like, if it's more like ZO2.3, then I will probably end up sticking with ZO2.1.
Don't get me wrong, it's a very fine-line between too much of the good and "controlled warmth". Based on the pairing of amp/source with Q40 it goes either from too warm too slightly too bright sounding. Warmness and transparency walk quite hand in hand, too much warm sound usually leads to worsened transparency or "smearing" as the midrange and bass gets too clouded due to lack of highs. The highs add airiness and helps with separation but likewise too much highs which usually lead to improved transparency (why gently boosted highs of headphones such as HD800, Fostex TH600/900, Hifimans, AKG K70x, AKG K550 and most of the Shure headphones tend to have good separation. But again too much highs can lead to that music feels distant and cold, like analyzing it instead of simply enjoying it. Some people again actually enjoys analyzing music and some likes just feeling "emotion/engagement" with the music (which is the case with me and what the mids brings for me).
That's the best I can explain it with words, it's not fully clear what I'm talking about until you've experienced it all yourself, run it through your thoughts and see what you feel about the different aspects.
I've started getting more n more interesting in these kinds of things the longer I've been into the hobby, so much I may write a book about it one day when I get older and have too much sparetime (if it ever gets to that). Without starting to write a whole essay about it, what I personally believe is the key to your holy grail experience in this hobby is first learning to know what you truly prefer. But here's the thing that's tricky and what many seems to look past and don't even stop and think about it. What exactly brings you the enjoyment from headphone listening or music listening in general. I feel many people are not aware what truly brings the satisfaction.
For me the answer is getting the feeling of engagement into music, feel the need to having to start dancing, foot-tapping and singing along! This comes for me through a pretty hefty boosted bass in order for me to not just hear the bass but actually feeling it (why if you didn't already figure it out, why I'm a big fan of ZO, as it adds the bass I can feel without ruining the rest of the range in the process!). A midrange that isn't pushed behind the highs, I want a pretty up-front midrange so the instruments and vocals sounds more "in-my-face" but not to the point it hurts transparency too much which is why I still want a balanced mids & highs presence. Soundstaging isn't uber important for me, up-front sound tend to have a smaller soundstage but I'd still prefer reasonably wide but also in-your-face soundstage (like standing on the scene instead of sitting in the back rows) if possible.
The typical answer you'd get around here would be "hearing the music the way the artist intended it to be sounding". Well I personally think the answer is often a lot more deeper & personal than that and people think they want to hear that when in the reality it doesn't have to be the case at all. But certainly for some people it may be the case, but certainly not for everyone and I think even a lot of those believers think they want that when in reality there's something else that's the reason behind the listening satisfaction.
For me it doesn't matter what the producer intended. My goal is the ultimate satisfaction in music listening which may come from a totally different kind of taste than what the producer have! Starting to see my way of thinking? The artist/producer doesn't have to be uninformed at all, even the most informed producers aren't necessarily going to satisfy your music listening habits the best. It could be, but it doesn't have to be. You have to find out for yourself and stop assuming you like something you aren't garantueed to do.
But all this is starting to get too much offtopic now so let's stop it here. :p