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post #16 of 39

I think it has something to do with age.

As we age, hearing loses higher frequencies. Therefore, high end models are bought by wealthy people who likely have to lost already some part of HF hearing and therefore, brighter phones for them will be sounding better.  

As for cheap phones for younger generation, bass will matter for them as their higher frequencies are just fine. 
Therefore, expensive phones for mid-to-senior age will inevitably have boosted HF part.

post #17 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneJack View Post
 

I think it has something to do with age.

As we age, hearing loses higher frequencies. Therefore, high end models are bought by wealthy people who likely have to lost already some part of HF hearing and therefore, brighter phones for them will be sounding better.  

As for cheap phones for younger generation, bass will matter for them as their higher frequencies are just fine. 
Therefore, expensive phones for mid-to-senior age will inevitably have boosted HF part.

That seems to be a logical answer. However I have a different take. Let's think of a stimulus and a reaction. Older people listen to the same music will have the same response. The treble they lost in hearing will also be lost in live music. So the treble boost they heard will sound unnatural as they don't exist in live music. i.e. they're not 1:1. They might enjoy the extra boost but it should sound colored and bright to them as well. I think it depends on the music. People just might not have notice it. I have a Sting album (soundtrack) that was recorded in a log cabin. There was a fire burning in the background. I have never noticed it until someone told me you can hear the crackling of the fire. I think modern music is mostly about rhythm and that's why the bass dominate our attention. 

post #18 of 39
Quote:
 I think it has something to do with age.

As we age, hearing loses higher frequencies. Therefore, high end models are bought by wealthy people who likely have to lost already some part of HF hearing and therefore, brighter phones for them will be sounding better.  

As for cheap phones for younger generation, bass will matter for them as their higher frequencies are just fine. 
Therefore, expensive phones for mid-to-senior age will inevitably have boosted HF part.

 

That does not makes sense to me. High-end headphone manufacturers want as many people as possible to buy their phones, of course. Older people can not hear very high frequencies, true. However, most people have already lost a lot of higher frequency hearing in their early 30s, especially if they spent their teens listening to too loud headphones. (Maybe you are very young and "mid-to-senior age" means thiry to you?) That means that a substantial portion of ALL adults can't hear to 20 kHz. Not that there is that much to hear in music up there. When I go to a live concert, no one boosts high frequencies for me. In everyday life, no one boosts high frequencies. That is the sound I'm accustom to. If a headphone boosts high frequencies, it will sound unnatural to me and too bright to you.


Edited by VandyMan - 1/16/14 at 10:33am
post #19 of 39

Although I didn't care to to fully grasp JBL's Equalizing method, the important bottom line of this study is that when just the sound is evaluated (not price, design, brand reputation) ALL listeners (untrained, trained, in various countries) preferred a well balanced sound over the entire frequency spectrum.

That Beats are selling so well has nothing to do with sound quality but is all about hipness and brand image.

post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by icebear View Post
 

Although I didn't care to to fully grasp JBL's Equalizing method, the important bottom line of this study is that when just the sound is evaluated (not price, design, brand reputation) ALL listeners (untrained, trained, in various countries) preferred a well balanced sound over the entire frequency spectrum.

That Beats are selling so well has nothing to do with sound quality but is all about hipness and brand image.

I agreed with you. My take from this is when blinded, people preferred a balanced phone, but when sighted, the preference is influenced by marketing (hipness, peer approval etc.). This phenomenon is not limited to phones. A name brand can sell at 10X  the price of the SAME product and they would actually get great review too. Example; Grado's CMoy Amp, Mark Levinson's rebadged CD player.

post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvw View Post
 

I agreed with you. My take from this is when blinded, people preferred a balanced phone, but when sighted, the preference is influenced by marketing (hipness, peer approval etc.). This phenomenon is not limited to phones. A name brand can sell at 10X  the price of the SAME product and they would actually get great review too. Example; Grado's CMoy Amp, Mark Levinson's rebadged CD player.

 

P(sounds good | looks good) =             (P(looks good | sounds good ) . P(sounds good) )

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                        ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                         P(looks good | sounds good). P(sounds good) + P (looks good | sounds bad). P(sounds bad).

 

 

Usually good quality products are better looking. Hence a good looking headphone with enough public hype will be considered to sound good as well.

post #22 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by VandyMan View Post
 

 

That does not makes sense to me. High-end headphone manufacturers want as many people as possible to buy their phones, of course. Older people can not hear very high frequencies, true. However, most people have already lost a lot of higher frequency hearing in their early 30s, especially if they spent their teens listening to too loud headphones. (Maybe you are very young and "mid-to-senior age" means thiry to you?) That means that a substantial portion of ALL adults can't hear to 20 kHz. Not that there is that much to hear in music up there. When I go to a live concert, no one boosts high frequencies for me. In everyday life, no one boosts high frequencies. That is the sound I'm accustom to. If a headphone boosts high frequencies, it will sound unnatural to me and too bright to you.

Well, it was just my hypothesis. I think that we can see how the expensive phones frequencies look and just compare to mid to low price phones, especially of DJ and bass head style. In that case, probably expensive phones will have more natural, balanced sound with better higher frequences, maybe not boosted, but sounding sharper in HF. This will be more premium sound rather than derived by boosting bass, though it may sound a bit dull, of course. 

 

I will try to find such frequencies chart for low price and expensive phones and it can easily proved or rejected.

 

 

This chart, with phones selected by me, shows frequencies chart. Interestingly Momentum is truly a dark phone, but HD800 has higher HF than all, especially HD202 (a street DJ) phone and being most expensive, looks more balanced with higher HF of all selection.

 

HD202 a cheap phone has boosted bass same as more expensive M50, and its HF are less, proving that its younger generation oriented. 

 

M50 has higher HF than all, except HD800, despite being labeled a bass phone - it is more expensive and higher class than HD202. It can be liked by both buyers of expensive phones and younger generation. Very universal, with clear V shape.

 

The odd one is Momentum though. Momentum seems to be strictly for younger buyers who prefer more bassy sound, and otherwise, in HF it resembles cheaper phones like HD202.

 

Other than Momentum, my hypothesis stands. 


Edited by StoneJack - 1/16/14 at 5:53pm
post #23 of 39

Look to the scale on the left too. A -10dB reading is enough to totally throw balance off. Beyond that is going to be catastrophic.

 

-15dB through the core upper midrange 4 to 6kHz. No thank you very much!


Edited by bigshot - 1/16/14 at 8:56pm
post #24 of 39

I don't think age does as much as taste does. getting older can be viewed both ways, I know some people looking for more treble as to compensate what they lost in hearing, but I also know a lot of people who go for full basshead style, because anyway the bass is the only thing they can still really enjoy to the fullest.

 

as for lads, my opinion is that they go where the wind pushes them. most don't have enough knowledge or experience to be aware that whatever phone they have is not "neutral". some fellows here had the luck to try a lot of gear at young age, but that's certainly not what the average guy gets to nurture his listening skills and tastes.

when I was young I was buying anything sony, because that was the expensive portable stuff available to me. really no other reason, and I had no idea what neutral could mean before I was 25. if I was in the same situation now I would probably go for apple+beat because that's what I see all the time when I go shopping ...

post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by castleofargh View Post
 

if I was in the same situation now I would probably go for apple+beat because that's what I see all the time when I go shopping ...

Indeed.

 

If we don't know that there's a world of possibilities out there, we wont bother looking.  On top of that, not everyone cares that there's a world of possibilities out there.

 

I was lucky enough to get some early exposure, through my own curiosity and the advancement of the internet, around 15 years ago now.  At the time, I also had sony headphones and my first introduction to a set of phones which had a drastically different sound (putting the idea in my head that there's a variety out there) was a set of Koss Porta Pros I borrowed from a friend of mine.  Shortly after I bought my first set of Grados...and then moved on from there.

 

Will the average audio quality of headphones being purchased gradually increase with all of the options out there?  Possibly, but only if people get curious about them.  I think the key word when I first started my searching was the word 'Audiophile' - I remember coming across this novel word, and options began opening for me once I knew what I was looking for.

 

There's a chance, like my experience with the Koss phones, that Beats may guide the consumer toward other phones or, at the very least, open up their minds to the idea that not all phones sound the same.  That's a small step to take, but the average consumer hasn't yet taken that step.

post #26 of 39

I think one of the points they make is that people prefer a balanced sound no matter what their age or culture. The majority of people prefer a balanced sound, headphones just complicate matters a bit by getting to the ear differently than speakers. They still prefer the balanced sound, but the exact specifications of that balanced sound are up for debate, which is why Harman has their own FR and Phillips has a different one. Both companies are trying to get to the flattest most balanced sound experience. In talking to one of the Phillips engineers that designed the new L2, they have put buko bucks into figuring out exactly how the FR changes in headphones when compared to speakers.

post #27 of 39
Thread Starter 

Exactly. The point being this is likely a good thing for us, and our hobby as a whole. If Harman profits from it - great, as it will enforce similar research throughout the industry.

post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by mnarwold View Post
 

I think one of the points they make is that people prefer a balanced sound no matter what their age or culture. The majority of people prefer a balanced sound, headphones just complicate matters a bit by getting to the ear differently than speakers. They still prefer the balanced sound, but the exact specifications of that balanced sound are up for debate, which is why Harman has their own FR and Phillips has a different one. Both companies are trying to get to the flattest most balanced sound experience. In talking to one of the Phillips engineers that designed the new L2, they have put buko bucks into figuring out exactly how the FR changes in headphones when compared to speakers.

What does buko mean, or is it a typo?

 

Using a similar method (compare the sound of calibrated speakers in a well-treated room with the sound of headphones, ideally in a blind-test fashion) they should arrive at a similar curve. I don't know about Phillips but for example I know from PSB that they do/did research at the National Research Council (NRC) with similar results compared to Harman.

 

If Phillips or other companies published their research like Harman did and does, then we could look at the differences in their methods, maybe even average several slightly different curves so we could even have confidence intervals.

post #29 of 39

Buko is Californian for "awholebuncha"

post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post
 

What does buko mean, or is it a typo?

 

Using a similar method (compare the sound of calibrated speakers in a well-treated room with the sound of headphones, ideally in a blind-test fashion) they should arrive at a similar curve. I don't know about Phillips but for example I know from PSB that they do/did research at the National Research Council (NRC) with similar results compared to Harman.

 

If Phillips or other companies published their research like Harman did and does, then we could look at the differences in their methods, maybe even average several slightly different curves so we could even have confidence intervals.


Buko means a lot, although I only know of it's use when combined with "bucks".

 

It would be great for the consumer if all these companies published their findings, but I don't judge them for not doing so. The competition in the HP world is heating up and companies are all trying to get an edge. Philips decided to invest a lot of money in R+D to get that edge. If they give up that information, they give up their edge, unless they want to give it away for the publicity. One way for us to learn about their curve is just to measure the L2. It wouldn't be perfect, but it should be a pretty close representation to their overall findings.

 

Of course, we are still left with everyone having unique ears and unique preferences. While the vast majority of people prefer a neutral sound, that doesn't mean that they all like the exact same thing. As long as the companies are trying to get as balanced as possible (or are marketing HPs as bass heavy,etc.), I think it is good that HP are coming out as slightly different from one another. We are more likely to find the best sounding cans to us.

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