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Focal SPIRIT PROFESSIONAL Impressions thread - Page 9

post #121 of 743
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsblack View Post
 

Might be interesting to some...

LF's are kinda flat --- ---- --- - ---- ---- ----   ^;^

I've always been very interested in the Paradox, but I am way more interested now. I always thought people's descriptions of the Paradox made little sense until I actually heard another headphone which fits those exact descriptions. Pretty much the exact way I'm describing the FSP is the way people were describing the Paradox, which is amorphous/chameleonlike and takes the shape of your music without headphone related artifacts.

 

I'm seriously thinking about the Slants now, but my wallet is bleeding from my recent spending(s). It'll probably be my next next phone after the Spirit Classic (this will be my next one to add to the collection).


Edited by M-13 - 2/14/14 at 9:06am
post #122 of 743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreyka View Post
 

The Olive-Welti curve is not the listeners preferred curve. The Olive-Welti targe curve is the curve headphones should follow to have the same frequency response as neutral-measuring speakers. The Harman Karden Preferred Curve is based upon a recent study into the listeners preference in frequency response. Tyll goes into a bit of detail here.

 

The Focal Spirit Professional follows neither curve but I do wonder what Focal's own setup showed. Every measuring setup shows differences and you couldn't compare Tyll's setup to Purrin's setup.

 

 

I think when most people are referencing the "Olive-Welti-McMullen Curve"* in the headphone world at this point, they mean the Listener Preference Curve from in the updated research. Sean Olive from: Olive, Welti, McMullen (2013, October 16) "Listener Preferences for In-Room Loudspeaker and Headphone Target Responses." Retrieved from http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=17042. Olive, Welti, and McMullen's recent work is the Harmon International work. In other words, both signifiers have the same referent - i.e. this graph: 

 

 

Tyll's caption text from the post "Headphone Target Response Curve Update" pairs these two with purpose, "The preferred headphone target response measured at DRP (black) based on this study. Also shown is the measured response of the loudspeaker equalized to a flat in-room target response." He overlays the target loudspeaker "flat" response over the preferred target response from updated Olive-Welti-McMullen as a way of showing the difference between "flat" for speakers and "flat" (or, the updated target response) for headphones. Tyll compares these two even more overtly in his FSP/FSC combined review:

 

Quote:
In the image above the green dashed line is the frequency response at the ear-drum for an absolutely flat speaker response in a room. The black line is the response "preferred" by listeners showing a broad attenuation of the highs and a bass boost. Both the attenuation of the highs and bass boost are, in part, a natural result of placing flat speakers in a room. 

 

In other words, the green line is "neutral" for speakers. It's seems to be derived from research in Dr. Toole's Sound Reproduction: Loudspeakers and Rooms. Beyond simply being used here as an index of "listener preference," Tyll uses the black line a preliminary sketch of "neutral" response for headphones. I think he's betting that in the same way that Dr. Toole's research into listener preference in speakers generated the standard neutral response curve for loudspeakers, Olive-Welti-McMullen's research is going to net (or already has netted) the standard neutral target response curve for loudspeakers - which seem to be equivalent if you take speaker distance and room/chambre effects into account.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreyka View Post
 

 

FSP isn't neutral though according to the Olive-Welti diffuse field target curve as it has too much bass and too little treble. It might sound neutral to you but it technically isn't and it's closer to the new Harman Karden preferred listening curve. The bottom frequency response curve is the FSP and you can see the 3.5Khz is too large and drops away too quickly afterwards . The dotted green line is the Olive-Welti target curve and the black line is the Harman Karden preferred listening curve.

 

 

As you can see that from 2Khz onwards the treble is 3dB down on the HKPLC (Harman Karden Preferred Listening Curve) compared to the OWTC (Olive-Welti Target Curve). At 20Hz the HKPLC is up 5dB and deviates from OWTC from 200Hz downwards.

 

 

I have now overlayed the FSP frequency response on to the HKPLC. The alignment was at 300Hz. As you can see there is some significant differences.

 

 

 

I hesitate to call something bad but being ~8dB off the HKPLC and ~11dB off OWTC at 6Khz is bad for a studio monitor at this price. They are enjoyable headphones, they do have a great deal of clarity, but Focal is going to have to improve upon the treble region for studio monitoring purposes. It also highlights just how far off neutral many audiophiles here prefer.

 

So, general improvements that Focal can make is to use pads with more space for the ear, increase the amount of treble between 3.5Khz and 9Khz, a few dB boost between 1Khz and 3Khz and have the sub-bass boost increase at 200Hz rather than 400Hz. Focal seems to be a company that cares about their headphone line up so I hope to see they make improvements in the future.

 

 

Am I misreading you completely, or are you comparing the wrong curves? Are you comparing the Focal Spirit Pro (as well as the NAD Viso HP50 and Focal Spirit Classic) to the green line (the loudspeaker response curve derived from Dr. Toole's research) and not the black line (the Harmon Olive-Welti-McMullen updated listener preference curve)? If you follow the black line, then those two are pretty damn close - except some problems in the treble. The two map almost perfectly from 0-1000hz. If you are compare the FSP to the green line, then you're doing the wrong comparison completely as you are comparing speakers to headphones - which doesn't take distance or chambre into account. That's the whole point of the Olive-Welti-McMullen research.

 

 

*Unrelated, but I think important: Any insights on why people keep dropping the McMullen here? Her name was listed as the final co-author on the peer reviewed research article? 


Edited by AustinValentine - 2/14/14 at 9:10am
post #123 of 743
Quote: AustinValentine (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinValentine View Post
 

 

I think when most people are referencing the "Olive-Welti-McMullen Curve"* in the headphone world at this point, they mean the Listener Preference Curve from in the updated research. Sean Olive from: Olive, Welti, McMullen (2013, October 16) "Listener Preferences for In-Room Loudspeaker and Headphone Target Responses." Retrieved from http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=17042. Olive, Welti, and McMullen's recent work is the Harmon International work. In other words, both signifiers have the same referent - i.e. this graph: 

 

 

Tyll's caption text from the post "Headphone Target Response Curve Update" pairs these two with purpose, "The preferred headphone target response measured at DRP (black) based on this study. Also shown is the measured response of the loudspeaker equalized to a flat in-room target response." He overlays the target loudspeaker "flat" response over the preferred target response from updated Olive-Welti-McMullen as a way of showing the difference between "flat" for speakers and "flat" (or, the updated target response) for headphones. Tyll compares these two even more overtly in his FSP/FSC combined review:

 

 

In other words, the green line is "neutral" for speakers. It's seems to be derived from research in Dr. Toole's Sound Reproduction: Loudspeakers and Rooms. Beyond simply being used here as an index of "listener preference," Tyll uses the black line a preliminary sketch of "neutral" response for headphones. I think he's betting that in the same way that Dr. Toole's research into listener preference in speakers generated the standard neutral response curve for loudspeakers, Olive-Welti-McMullen's research is going to net (or already has netted) the standard neutral target response curve for loudspeakers - which seem to be equivalent if you take speaker distance and room/chambre effects into account.

 

 

Am I misreading you completely, or are you comparing the wrong curves? Are you comparing the Focal Spirit Pro (as well as the NAD Viso HP50 and Focal Spirit Classic) to the green line (the loudspeaker response curve derived from Dr. Toole's research) and not the black line (the Harmon Olive-Welti-McMullen updated listener preference curve)? If you follow the black line, then those two are pretty damn close - except some problems in the treble. The two map almost perfectly from 0-1000hz. If you are compare the FSP to the green line, then you're doing the wrong comparison completely as you are comparing speakers to headphones - which doesn't take distance or chambre into account. That's the whole point of the Olive-Welti-McMullen research.

 

 

*Unrelated, but I think important: Any insights on why people keep dropping the McMullen here? Her name was listed as the final co-author on the peer reviewed research article? 

 

 

I was comparing to the thin black line. It matches very well up to a 1Khz but beyond that it starts deviating a bit, but at 3.5Khz it's deviating a lot.

post #124 of 743

I keep forgetting to put her name in.  :o 

 

And yes I would say the FSP doesn't do a perfect job of matching the target curve.  Nothing a little EQ can't fix however if you're seeking true perfection.  


Edited by TMRaven - 2/14/14 at 9:19am
post #125 of 743

deleted.


Edited by grizzlybeast - 2/14/14 at 9:23am
post #126 of 743
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreyka View Post
 

 

I was comparing to the thin black line. It matches very well up to a 1Khz but beyond that it starts deviating a bit, but at 3.5Khz it's deviating a lot.

 

 

Points where you compared it to the green line thinking that it was the Olive-Welti-McMellen curve put into bold print.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dreyka View Post
 

 

The dotted green line is the Olive-Welti target curve and the black line is the Harman Karden preferred listening curve.

 

OWTC (Olive-Welti Target Curve)...OWTC from 200Hz downwards.

 

I have now overlayed the FSP frequency response on to the HKPLC. The alignment was at 300Hz. As you can see there is some significant differences.

 

I hesitate to call something bad but being ~8dB off the HKPLC and ~11dB off OWTC at 6Khz is bad for a studio monitor at this price. They are enjoyable headphones, they do have a great deal of clarity, but Focal is going to have to improve upon the treble region for studio monitoring purposes. It also highlights just how far off neutral many audiophiles here prefer.

 

 

I'm pretty sure you were comparing it to the green line and the black line, but had the completely wrong read on the green. And yes, the FSP starts to deviate from the Olive-Welti-McMullen curve pretty substantially at 3.5kHz. However, up until that (you know, for all of the bass, the midrange, and half of the high mids/lower treble), the two curves are pretty much there. Impressively there.


Edited by AustinValentine - 2/14/14 at 10:18am
post #127 of 743

Got them in a couple hours ago, first impressions (I'll put the very first of my thoughts at the top, and go down with progressive thoughts with positives or negatives):

 

 

+very good packaging and presentation.  I like the detachable cables and customly-shaped foam of the travel box.

 

+picking the headphones up and they feel nice and sturdy for the weight

 

+they look very good considering their choice of paint texture

 

-the headband doesn't inspire confidence.  the headband adjustment sliders are plastic while the angle adjusters appear to be metal.

 

-oh my god these earpad openings are small

 

+the earpads feel very nice though, and are thick

 

+these have very great timbre.  a nice, lush and warm sound without bloat throughout the lower mids and upper bass

 

+the bass is in nice balance and the upper mids are in nice balance.  it doesn't sound as disjointed as the M50

 

-the bass isn't as punchy or viscerally impactful as the he-400... not even in the same realm

 

+the bass extends real nice, solid down to the lowest octaves

 

+this is a very smooth sound with no noticeable peaks, and not that forward sounding to me unlike Tyll's opinion

 

-there seems to be a general glaze or veil over the sound compared to my EQ'd HE-400, it could be from being a closed headphone or a lack of lower treble presence or air.  this headphone is still very clear for a closed-back though, and the glaze is nothing as bad as the mad dog.

 

-it lacks the dimensionality and realism of the he-400.  it also lacks some tactility which I attribute to the he-400's speed.

 

 

 

 

I really like these headphones, their sound strikes me as having a slight warm tilt, a very controlled but slightly anemic bass, and a very even sound with no harshness.  What I don't like this headphone are earpad openings that are too small, a bass that isn't as punchy as I thought it would be, and a general veil.  The overall timbre and evenness of the sound is very beautiful though, perhaps the best I've heard besides an LCD2, although this headphone doesn't make me puke at times for being too mellow like the LCD2.

 

What I'd ideally like is a headphone with a general sound signature like this, but a more impactful bass, less veil in the lower treble and bigger earpad openings.  I think I'll look into an NAD Viso HP50 instead.  IF the earpad openings were a little bigger I'd think about keeping them, otherwise the problem is too big for me to consider them.  I feel it's a big enough problem that it shouldn't garner the wall-of-fame award on Innerfidelity.  If focal fixes the small earpad openings, then they're easily wall-of-fame candidates.


Edited by TMRaven - 2/14/14 at 3:51pm
post #128 of 743

I've overlayed (poorly) the HD600 frequency response and the FSP (darker line). As you can see they are pretty similar but the FSP is a few dB less in the treble. They are aligned at 100Hz.

 

 


Edited by Dreyka - 2/14/14 at 3:05pm
post #129 of 743
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreyka View Post
 

I've overlayed (poorly) the HD600 frequency response and the FSP (darker line). As you can see they are pretty similar but the FSP is a few dB less in the treble. They are aligned at 100Hz.

 

 

 

I have listened to the HD600 side by side with the Focal Spirit Pro (just last weekend actually). The FSP is more neutral and even sounding. The HD600 is not far behind though.

 

What's your experience with the HD600 and FSP so I can better understand where you're coming from?

post #130 of 743

If anybody wants a basically new FSP with a little discount then feel free to PM me regarding the classified. 

post #131 of 743
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post

 

They are the best closed-back headphones I've heard, but unfortunately I can't keep them due to their smallish earpad size.

Wow, that's high praise.  I think Imackler said they were the best he's heard too, but can't get over the comfort too. :( Sad... Focal really needs to make these more comfortable.

post #132 of 743

The Mad Dogs would have won out over the Spirit Professional because it seems the driver's a little more capable down low, but the headphone itself can't get over this weird plasticy, rubbery tinge all throughout the signature.  I don't know how else to describe it, haha.  Thus the Spirit Pro is more 'transparent,' even though I hate using that word.

post #133 of 743
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMRaven View Post
 

The Mad Dogs would have won out over the Spirit Professional because it seems the driver's a little more capable down low, but the headphone itself can't get over this weird plasticy, rubbery tinge all throughout the signature.  I don't know how else to describe it, haha.  Thus the Spirit Pro is more 'transparent,' even though I hate using that word.

you know what a lot of people have first impressions mimicking yours but then they change later with eq and testing and such. I wonder if you take time with them will your impressions change. M13 liked them from jump but I have actually heard the opposite. 

 

that is really quick. I could have saved money last night too by waiting for yours. 


Edited by grizzlybeast - 2/14/14 at 5:00pm
post #134 of 743
Thread Starter 

Yeah worse case scenerio just rip the pads off and glue/install the Alpha Pads. Problem solved? Haha. Someone crazy enough about the sound will probaby get this done sometime soon.

 

For me the Spirit Pro was love at first listen. It was pretty much exactly what I was looking for (a 2 year search? probably audtioned over a 80+ closed-backs at various audio shops around the world, and bought a few for home auditions). I sort of think of it as a commercially/widely available Paradox. The poor man's Paradox? I was fairly happy with the 7520, but this is the headphone I'm taking home to my parents.


Edited by M-13 - 2/14/14 at 5:13pm
post #135 of 743

Nah there's no reason for me to give them more time because it won't change the fit.  I'm not a believe in burn-in or anything like that either.

 

These things are veerryy sensitive to seal, and just even lifting them off your ears by a hair makes them sound tinny.  I foresee bad results if someone were to try to do some kind of crazy padswap with bigger pads.

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