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Balanced Armatures and BASS

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

I always questioned the accuracy of Etymotic bass because it never seemed to resemble what I would hear in a live setting.  It was always anemic.

 

I deduced that this was due to the absence of a viciseral (sp?) effect of the bass which can be simulated much better in dynamic driver headphones.

 

It also makes me think the "accuracy" measurements are based strictly on tonal accuracy yet everyones reference point for bass MUST have a certain element of tactilness to make it seem real.

 

This is why there is a need (IMHO) for a bass boost as long as it doesnt bleed into midrange.   

 

My contention is that a BA IEM can surely have a bass boost and still be very very accurate.

 

Comments?

post #2 of 25

it is now usually accepted that perceived flatness with IEM comes with around +5 or +6db in the bass. exactly as you said, to compensate what the body won't get compared to speakers. some response curves compensation already take that into account. 

etymotic response curve is pretty old now and was one of the first job in trying to get a neutral feeling with IEMs. I for one don't take the er4 for a neutral reference.

post #3 of 25

Missing chest compression and feeling bass on the body aside, there's also the suggestion that most music is mastered in rooms with speakers where there is some bass reinforcement (from standing waves, boundary effects; and well, perhaps more so for actual listening rooms and maybe not the studios themselves), so bass is dialed down a little too low in pressings if the playback response is flat.

 

Regardless, this "6 dB effect" from missing the feeling of bass is a somewhat entrenched but still not universally accepted at all idea.

 

 

But are we talking about the same thing? There are BA sets with much more bass than those Etymotics. Are you suggesting that a BA set with the same response as an IEM based on dynamic drivers would sound different or that at a given volume and response a dynamic driver will provide some kind of more "tactileness"?

post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 

I thought dynamics had an easier time simulating bass because of the air movement and vented design but perhaps this is a falsehood since we are talking such a small area of a couple centimeters?  But I suppose my question is for either BA's or dynamics driver in ears.  I guess I figured an airtight "sealed" BA enclosure makes this quite tricky.

post #5 of 25
BAs solve the bass issue by adding drivers and crossover because the drivers are small. I've rarely heard or read about a dual-BA having good bass (maybe I haven't read much, usually 3 drivers seem normal for balanced response).
Edited by proton007 - 1/21/14 at 4:20pm
post #6 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

usually 3 drivers seem normal for balanced response

 

This is the same from my findings as well. It is possible to have accentuated bass with three BA drivers (see: Westone 3) as well, but I don't think this is the norm. 

post #7 of 25

It also has to do with channel mixing. As bass gets lower it becomes more non-directional in acoustic space (speakers) so both ears hear more bass from both channels and less of other range mixing, in effect adding bass to the mix and more as you go lower. IEMs need a rising bass below 100 or so compensate. If you play a single speaker in mono it will not have as much weight as a spread pair in mono. Etymotic's curve may well be close to correct for a single source compare but is leaner than normal stereo listening with accurate speakers. It has nothing to do with driver type. 

 

Good home and studio speakers take the effect of boundaries into consideration and don't tune the bass to an anechoic standard.


Edited by goodvibes - 1/22/14 at 6:44am
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

BAs solve the bass issue by adding drivers and crossover because the drivers are small. I've rarely heard or read about a dual-BA having good bass (maybe I haven't read much, usually 3 drivers seem normal for balanced response).

PFE 232, JH5, Heck, the superfi 5 had plenty of bass way back when. Even a Westone 2 has about the correct quantity of bass. Single ba Klipsh x10 is not bass shy.

 

These are choices. Adding a single bass ba driver to an Etymotic could give whatever bass characteristic desired.

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
 

I thought dynamics had an easier time simulating bass because of the air movement and vented design but perhaps this is a falsehood since we are talking such a small area of a couple centimeters?  But I suppose my question is for either BA's or dynamics driver in ears.  I guess I figured an airtight "sealed" BA enclosure makes this quite tricky.

 

This moves this thread to an interesting place. 

 

One of how we hear bass, and why no mater what you do (15 drivers!) IEMS will always suck.*

 

In very broad terms, bass is "heard" by more than just the inner ear. Larger circumaural headphones that enclose the whole ear bring the outer ear into the bass equation, and more of your body is immersed in the experience of hearing. 

With very deep bass response, (pipe organ or a jet takeoff) the bass is more felt in your body than even heard. 

 

*by accepting that there is no solution to the problem that IEM's just suck for bass Etymotic has solved the problem of boomy bloated bass obscuring the mids and mucking up the highs. Yea, not as much bass as 2X16" speakers in a Civic Hatchback, but they more than make up for it elsewhere, IMO. 

post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post
 

 

This moves this thread to an interesting place. 

 

One of how we hear bass, and why no mater what you do (15 drivers!) IEMS will always suck.*

 

In very broad terms, bass is "heard" by more than just the inner ear. Larger circumaural headphones that enclose the whole ear bring the outer ear into the bass equation, and more of your body is immersed in the experience of hearing. 

With very deep bass response, (pipe organ or a jet takeoff) the bass is more felt in your body than even heard. 

 

*by accepting that there is no solution to the problem that IEM's just suck for bass Etymotic has solved the problem of boomy bloated bass obscuring the mids and mucking up the highs. Yea, not as much bass as 2X16" speakers in a Civic Hatchback, but they more than make up for it elsewhere, IMO. 

Huh??

 

It keeps improving year after year.  Why would anyone accept that there is no solution?  That's ignorant by the mere fact that IEM's...in a cubic centimeter hearing space...can accurately portray a presentation of a huge soundstage sitting about 10 rows back.  It's an engineering marvel!

post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
 

Huh??

 

It keeps improving year after year.  Why would anyone accept that there is no solution?  That's ignorant by the mere fact that IEM's...in a cubic centimeter hearing space...can accurately portray a presentation of a huge soundstage sitting about 10 rows back.  It's an engineering marvel!

 

I made no mention of soundstage. 

post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 

Exactly.  I just pointing out one trait that would seem impossible to duplicate via IEM's but it is being done very well.  Bass is no different.

post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
 

Exactly.  I just pointing out one trait that would seem impossible to duplicate via IEM's but it is being done very well.  Bass is no different.

 

Could you explain why perception of bass response is no different from human perception of soundstage? 

 

Could you also explain why one would think that it would be impossible to "create" soundstage with an IEM?

post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post
 

 

Could you explain why perception of bass response is no different from human perception of soundstage? 

 

Could you also explain why one would think that it would be impossible to "create" soundstage with an IEM?

 

Maybe we are misunderstanding each other??

 

I am getting the impression that you think BASS in IEM's will always suck and I am puzzled why you think this?

 

I am trying to explain that I disagree saying that advancements continue to happen each year making IEM audio quality better and better.  I just pointing out 1 example of soundstage and how great it has improved within IEM's....and that bass is doing the same thing.

 

Did I miss something?

post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post

Maybe we are misunderstanding each other??

I am getting the impression that you think BASS in IEM's will always suck and I am puzzled why you think this?

I am trying to explain that I disagree saying that advancements continue to happen each year making IEM audio quality better and better.  I just pointing out 1 example of soundstage and how great it has improved within IEM's....and that bass is doing the same thing.

Did I miss something?

I explained why I think bass in IEMs will always suck. You quoted me.

I don't see how improvements to what is basically frequency response and phase response (how do those work in a single driver IEM? Is it a surprise to anyone that the er4 is an enduring standard while multi drivers dance around it, and are forgotten as soon as something newer comes out) have anything to do with the fact that as you get more of the listeners body involved perceived bass response improves.
Edited by nikongod - 1/25/14 at 12:53pm
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