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[Multi-Review] Hifiman HM901, Fiio X5, Sony ZX1, Hisound Studio 3rd Anv, iPhone 4 - Page 7

post #91 of 324
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fzman View Post

Eke,

 

I meant no offense - and did not know you were a musician.  Also, my use of 'you' was much more the rhetorical use, than attacking you or your expressed opinions.....

 

Let me ask it this way.  If you owned all of these players, and had all the same music loaded on all of them, would you not care which one you listened to?  Do they all bring you equally good listening experiences?  (ergonomics, etc. aside)...  Do you think all of them would provide a similarly 'authentic' recreation of a live musical event for the listener?  I ask this because I find that 'reviewing' is a very different experience than 'listening for enjoyment'.  I try to pay attention to whether or not songs seem longer or shorter, whether I am tapping my toes, am I wondering what's on TV, or reaching for my phone to check my mail....  can I read while I am listening, or is the music too damn distracting to pay attention to the words on the page, did i listen to the whole song, or just the short clip I use for 'testing' - did i just lose 3 hours of sleep because I listened for waaay longer than I intended....

 

I am not saying you don't do those things, but I am saying that they provide very different 'data points' than other ways of 'testing'.  I respect your posts, and enjoy your writing.  Please accept my apology for wording my post in a way that conveyed a critical attitutde I had not intended


 

 

No offense taken! I just wanted to express my stance and how I based my evaluations.

 

Honestly, I don't know which one I'd take. With the same files, they all sound so darn close. If anything, I'd still use my iphone. I have all my music loaded on it, and I  always have it with me. I wouldn't have to carry an extra device.

 

From my experience, musical immersion depends on these factors in this order:

 

Headphones/Source files >>>>>>>>>Daps/Amps/Cables/etc.

 

I'd take the SR-009 plugged into my iphone's line-out/ Woo WES over the HD800 on the GS-X MK2 and the Invicta DAC. Actually, at the meet in Dallas, my iphone 4's headphone out -> BHSE -> SR-009 was the best thing I've ever heard, by a Usain Bolt type margin. The HD800 and LCD-3 sounded like toys in comparison, even on the best Decaware and Cavalli amps.

 

 

 

 

Last night, while I was wrapping up studying for today's exam, I was listening to a few of my favorite albums and I was transported into a world of musical bliss. I love music, not the gear, and I feel like people lose their way in this hobby between the jargon and hyperbole.

 

But long story short, invest in better music and better gear. Amp your Clip+ if you need more power.

 

All IMO, of course.


Edited by eke2k6 - 3/20/14 at 9:03am
post #92 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by fzman View Post

Eke,

 

I meant no offense - and did not know you were a musician.  Also, my use of 'you' was much more the rhetorical use, than attacking you or your expressed opinions.....

 

Let me ask it this way.  If you owned all of these players, and had all the same music loaded on all of them, would you not care which one you listened to?  Do they all bring you equally good listening experiences?  (ergonomics, etc. aside)...  Do you think all of them would provide a similarly 'authentic' recreation of a live musical event for the listener?  I ask this because I find that 'reviewing' is a very different experience than 'listening for enjoyment'.  I try to pay attention to whether or not songs seem longer or shorter, whether I am tapping my toes, am I wondering what's on TV, or reaching for my phone to check my mail....  can I read while I am listening, or is the music too damn distracting to pay attention to the words on the page, did i listen to the whole song, or just the short clip I use for 'testing' - did i just lose 3 hours of sleep because I listened for waaay longer than I intended....

 

I am not saying you don't do those things, but I am saying that they provide very different 'data points' than other ways of 'testing'.  I respect your posts, and enjoy your writing.  Please accept my apology for wording my post in a way that conveyed a critical attitutde I had not intended

 

This is an interesting position. But don't you think that these things are entirely personal, and may be much more dependent on the user's state of mind than on anything else?

 

I say this as someone who is an aspiring reviewer. In my reviews (which you can check at www.mindtheheadphone.com.br although it's in Portuguese ‚Äď but Google Translate is there for you), I always try to be as objective as possible, stating every single characteristic I hear. Then I try to evaluate how these characteristics translate to different aspects of musical enjoyment, that is, how I perceive them.¬†

 

In other words, I try to avoid saying general things like "this gets me toe tapping like nothing else because it's very lively and dynamic", because the way that I perceive liveliness and dynamicness might be different from yours, I suppose. But if I tell you that the equipment has good sub-bass presence, an impactful and textured midbass as well as extended and forward highs, and that this makes the presentation very lively and dynamic, is a different thing, and makes it a lot easier to understand the whole picture.¬†Kind of like how Steve Guttenberg conducts his reviews... they're interesting but in the end of the day they don't tell me anything, because he spends all his time on his perception, and doesn't explain much about what causes them in the first place. If the causes for those perceptions ‚Äď and mostly reactions ‚Äď are not known/specified, then to me it's meaningless to talk about it, because it's a very individual thing.

 

I may have diverged a little bit from my original point, but what I mean is I think that while those reactions can tell some things about the equipment being tested, they may be telling more about your particular state of mind in that moment.


Edited by Leonardo Drummond - 3/20/14 at 6:18pm
post #93 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by eke2k6 View Post
 

 

No offense taken! I just wanted to express my stance and how I based my evaluations.

 

Honestly, I don't know which one I'd take. With the same files, they all sound so darn close. If anything, I'd still use my iphone. I have all my music loaded on it, and I  always have it with me. I wouldn't have to carry an extra device.

 

From my experience, musical immersion depends on these factors in this order:

 

Headphones/Source files >>>>>>>>>Daps/Amps/Cables/etc.

 

I'd take the SR-009 plugged into my iphone's line-out/ Woo WES over the HD800 on the GS-X MK2 and the Invicta DAC. Actually, at the meet in Dallas, my iphone 4's headphone out -> BHSE -> SR-009 was the best thing I've ever heard, by a Usain Bolt type margin. The HD800 and LCD-3 sounded like toys in comparison, even on the best Decaware and Cavalli amps.

 

 

 

 

Last night, while I was wrapping up studying for today's exam, I was listening to a few of my favorite albums and I was transported into a world of musical bliss. I love music, not the gear, and I feel like people lose their way in this hobby between the jargon and hyperbole.

 

But long story short, invest in better music and better gear. Amp your Clip+ if you need more power.

 

All IMO, of course.

 

Bolton, he was/is a Jamaican unicorn and what an athlete.. and I just hope his is clean as the others aren't but his few tenth of seconds almost measured into more than a feet truly represent audio gear today..

 

I truly have deep respect for his speed, agility and the purity of his movements, not a moment of wasted energy..  but what about these guys? Where do they contextually wise belong on Head Fi..

 

Sorry about my weird/off beat sense of humor, please don't take it personally..

 

 


Edited by Jupiterknight - 3/20/14 at 9:13pm
post #94 of 324
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jupiterknight View Post
 

 

I truly have deep respect for his speed, agility and the purity of his movements, not a moment of wasted energy..  but what about these guys? Where do they contextually wise belong on Head Fi..

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/681504/earsonics-s-em6-six-driver-universal-iem

 

:D

post #95 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jupiterknight View Post
 

 

Bolton, he was/is a Jamaican unicorn and what an athlete.. and I just hope his is clean as the others aren't but his few tenth of seconds almost measured into more than a feet truly represent audio gear today..

 

I truly have deep respect for his speed, agility and the purity of his movements, not a moment of wasted energy..  but what about these guys? Where do they contextually wise belong on Head Fi..

 

Sorry about my weird/off beat sense of humor, please don't take it personally..

 

 

 

Are you suggesting that Michael Bolton and Usain Bolt are the same person?  hmmmmmm....    I see you have also discovered a crossover-less multidriver array.  Interesting   :biggrin:

post #96 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonardo Drummond View Post
 

 

This is an interesting position. But don't you think that these things are entirely personal, and may be much more dependent on the user's state of mind than on anything else?

 

I say this as someone who is an aspiring reviewer. In my reviews (which you can check at www.mindtheheadphone.com.br although it's in Portuguese ‚Äď but Google Translate is there for you), I always try to be as objective as possible, stating every single characteristic I hear. Then I try to evaluate how these characteristics translate to different aspects of musical enjoyment, that is, how I perceive them.¬†

 

In other words, I try to avoid saying general things like "this gets me toe tapping like nothing else because it's very lively and dynamic", because the way that I perceive liveliness and dynamicness might be different from yours, I suppose. But if I tell you that the equipment has good sub-bass presence, an impactful and textured midbass as well as extended and forward highs, and that this makes the presentation very lively and dynamic, is a different thing, and makes it a lot easier to understand the whole picture.¬†Kind of like how Steve Guttenberg conducts his reviews... they're interesting but in the end of the day they don't tell me anything, because he spends all his time on his perception, and doesn't explain much about what causes them in the first place. If the causes for those perceptions ‚Äď and mostly reactions ‚Äď are not known/specified, then to me it's meaningless to talk about it, because it's a very individual thing.

 

I may have diverged a little bit from my original point, but what I mean is I think that while those reactions can tell some things about the equipment being tested, they may be telling more about your particular state of mind in that moment.

 

 

Here's what I think:  the 'techniques' I mentioned earlier speak to lack of distortion, coherence, proper time-domain performance, and other very important technical parameters.  Live acoustic may be boring, if you don't like the genre or the performer, but a properly tuned, reasonably well played instrument will not be fatiguing.  Listener fatigue is something you detect indirectly - by realizing you stopped listening and picked up a book, turned on the tv, etc.  

 

When I got to a jazz club/cafe, and listen to a piano trio, e.g., I never find my self thinking about imaging or soundstage, e.g. - but more on the playing and the technique/talent of the musicians.  while describing hardware performance is different than describing musicianship, I think the hardware should be evaluated in terms of its ability to allow us to get closer to the musicianship, so to speak.  Some time ago, I went with a friend who was shopping to replace his stolen upright bass.  He tried two in particular, a very nice plywood bass, and a 100+ year old French carved bass.  the carved bass looked like a piece of ****, but cost 4 times as much as the brand new plywood one.  The vintage bass had a complexity of tone, and a richness to the sound that the plywood bass could not come close to.  The vintage bass's sound was simply gorgeous- hard to describe in words, but utterly delicious. Being able to portray how each of these basses sounded is what I look for when auditioning gear.  Granted the mics and recording equipment get in the way too, but with a wide range of recordings and gear, an experienced listener can 'average out' those factors as well.

 

For me, I think reviewers should have a range of experience with live acoustic music, and a range of experience with state of the art gear, so they know what is really possible with respect to reproduction of music.

 

I am not saying what genres people should enjoy or listen to - but without a reference, a review is really all about a person describing whether synthesized sounds are being done according to their taste, no matter whether they are couched in seemingly objective terms.  For example, when you see a movie made from a novel, you may have formed some visual image of how the characters look, and the movie casting may or may not match your images.  That is very different than a nonfictional depiction of, e.g. Hillary Clinton, with LLCool J playing the starring role.....

 

Don't get me wrong - the point of all of this is musical enjoyment-- and it is nice that people take the time to share their impressions to help others find their joy as well. 

post #97 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by fzman View Post
 

 

Are you suggesting that Michael Bolton and Usain Bolt are the same person?  hmmmmmm....    I see you have also discovered a crossover-less multidriver array.  Interesting   :biggrin:

 

I just got carried away by Bolton's hair style since it very much reminds me of my own hair whig (in the 80's) but I'm aware of that they are not the same person or twins (crossover-multidriver. I have to think about this one and if it applies :blink:) But one Bolt.. certainly runs faster than the other one sings.. better? Just like audio gear :wink_face:

 

Different performance,presentation and appreciated in different ways.. I hope..

post #98 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by fzman View Post
 

 

 

Here's what I think:  the 'techniques' I mentioned earlier speak to lack of distortion, coherence, proper time-domain performance, and other very important technical parameters.  Live acoustic may be boring, if you don't like the genre or the performer, but a properly tuned, reasonably well played instrument will not be fatiguing.  Listener fatigue is something you detect indirectly - by realizing you stopped listening and picked up a book, turned on the tv, etc.  

 

When I got to a jazz club/cafe, and listen to a piano trio, e.g., I never find my self thinking about imaging or soundstage, e.g. - but more on the playing and the technique/talent of the musicians.  while describing hardware performance is different than describing musicianship, I think the hardware should be evaluated in terms of its ability to allow us to get closer to the musicianship, so to speak.  Some time ago, I went with a friend who was shopping to replace his stolen upright bass.  He tried two in particular, a very nice plywood bass, and a 100+ year old French carved bass.  the carved bass looked like a piece of ****, but cost 4 times as much as the brand new plywood one.  The vintage bass had a complexity of tone, and a richness to the sound that the plywood bass could not come close to.  The vintage bass's sound was simply gorgeous- hard to describe in words, but utterly delicious. Being able to portray how each of these basses sounded is what I look for when auditioning gear.  Granted the mics and recording equipment get in the way too, but with a wide range of recordings and gear, an experienced listener can 'average out' those factors as well.

 

For me, I think reviewers should have a range of experience with live acoustic music, and a range of experience with state of the art gear, so they know what is really possible with respect to reproduction of music.

 

I am not saying what genres people should enjoy or listen to - but without a reference, a review is really all about a person describing whether synthesized sounds are being done according to their taste, no matter whether they are couched in seemingly objective terms.  For example, when you see a movie made from a novel, you may have formed some visual image of how the characters look, and the movie casting may or may not match your images.  That is very different than a nonfictional depiction of, e.g. Hillary Clinton, with LLCool J playing the starring role.....

 

Don't get me wrong - the point of all of this is musical enjoyment-- and it is nice that people take the time to share their impressions to help others find their joy as well. 

 

I understand what you mean ‚Äď I'm also a bassist, by the way ‚Äď, but I still think that this goes a long way into a hazy and subjective territory, especially since I'm absolutely convinced that it is impossible to achieve (or possibly even approach) absolute neutrality.

 

I've had my fair share of experience with proper high-end equipment (speakers included) and found that there's no such thing as neutral, especially considering that usually we can only control what happens between the media and the reproduction. What happens between the original event and the media is just as important, and the sheer number of variables there ‚Äď along with the fact that, apart from those from a few record labels, recordings are not concerned with what sounds real, but with what sounds pleasing ‚Äď is huge, a lot bigger than the ones we play with at our end of the game. This means that a certain system might sound glorious with a particular reference recording, but that doesn't mean it's going to be any good or truthful with another one.

 

Furthermore, to me it's not much use to review equipment based only on reference recordings. I buy equipment to listen to the music I like. I'm not very fond of the idea of buying something that'll only be good with reference stuff that I don't listen to in the first place. Music got me into audio, not vice-versa ‚Äď I'm definitely not saying that this is your case by the way (far from it), just making a general point! :)

 

I once wrote a text about this, which you are welcome to read, in which I say what I think about this particular subject. What inspired me to write this was an experience that illustrates what I mean. I spent a month with a Sennheiser HE90 and an Aristaeus, and I had had a HD800 before. Objectively, the HD800 is a lot more neutral than the Orpheus with respect to what's in the recording. However, what's in the recording isn't a perfect translation of the original musical event, because the number of processes that it had to go through for it to be printed on a CD or a vinyl is immense: room acoustics, microphones, preamps, amps, mixing desk, processing, mixing, mastering, sound engineer's taste, producer's taste, artist's taste... and the list goes on. So just because something is neutral to the media, doesn't mean that it's neutral to the original event. The Orpheus, while not being as neutral to the media, with its slight colorations it ends up being a lot more natural and sounds much closer to what sounds like actual music.

 

So you might as well go with what sounds good or real to you with the music you hear. This is my opinion, of course, you're welcome to disagree!

post #99 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post
 

Mshenay

 

Curious.  When you were comparing - how did you level match the two devices?  Was it done with an spl meter - or merely "by ear"?

By ear Brooko, and I'm young enough and have enough experince to level match by ear. I used to be a bass player and I'd tune my bass by ear as well, not to mention I'd level match the multiple amps in my band as well. 

 

I appreciate the question though, most all of my comparisons are subjective, but the HM 801 vs X5 are rather easy to dicern between,

the line out of the X5 was actally a smidge louder, not hard to level match the two with a Spiltter the X5 still sounded inferior, and mind you I was very optimistic about replaceing my hm801 with an X5 [seeing as my hm801 has such a flaky UI]

 

Non the less, line out of each the X5 was the clear loser

 

Now as for the headphone out, I never listened to it on the X5 [shame on me for that] I can imagine it would be on par with if not better than the hm801s horrile HO out.... ugh I'm willing to bet the Schiit Vali [scratch that the Vali does sound miles better than the hm801s headphone out] so forgive me on that

post #100 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonardo Drummond View Post
 

 

I understand what you mean ‚Äď I'm also a bassist, by the way ‚Äď, but I still think that this goes a long way into a hazy and subjective territory, especially since I'm absolutely convinced that it is impossible to achieve (or possibly even approach) absolute neutrality.

 

I've had my fair share of experience with proper high-end equipment (speakers included) and found that there's no such thing as neutral, especially considering that usually we can only control what happens between the media and the reproduction. What happens between the original event and the media is just as important, and the sheer number of variables there ‚Äď along with the fact that, apart from those from a few record labels, recordings are not concerned with what sounds real, but with what sounds pleasing ‚Äď is huge, a lot bigger than the ones we play with at our end of the game. This means that a certain system might sound glorious with a particular reference recording, but that doesn't mean it's going to be any good or truthful with another one.

 

Furthermore, to me it's not much use to review equipment based only on reference recordings. I buy equipment to listen to the music I like. I'm not very fond of the idea of buying something that'll only be good with reference stuff that I don't listen to in the first place. Music got me into audio, not vice-versa ‚Äď I'm definitely not saying that this is your case by the way (far from it), just making a general point! :)

 

I once wrote a text about this, which you are welcome to read, in which I say what I think about this particular subject. What inspired me to write this was an experience that illustrates what I mean. I spent a month with a Sennheiser HE90 and an Aristaeus, and I had had a HD800 before. Objectively, the HD800 is a lot more neutral than the Orpheus with respect to what's in the recording. However, what's in the recording isn't a perfect translation of the original musical event, because the number of processes that it had to go through for it to be printed on a CD or a vinyl is immense: room acoustics, microphones, preamps, amps, mixing desk, processing, mixing, mastering, sound engineer's taste, producer's taste, artist's taste... and the list goes on. So just because something is neutral to the media, doesn't mean that it's neutral to the original event. The Orpheus, while not being as neutral to the media, with its slight colorations it ends up being a lot more natural and sounds much closer to what sounds like actual music.

 

So you might as well go with what sounds good or real to you with the music you hear. This is my opinion, of course, you're welcome to disagree!

That's also a good point, I mentioned in my Review that I enjoyed the HM801 over the X5 because to my ears, with my headphones and amps and my music [I listen to everything from Rap, to Metal, To classical, to Bebop Jazz, to live acoustic] that every time the X5 sounded dull and lifeless, lacking any kind of organic decay, to teh hm801

 

It's funny how many bassists we have here on this thread <3. I knew a fellow who played an upright bass, I always liked the sound of it. I only had a Schecter 4 string Electric Bass

 

and with regards to live music, I'm really only a fan of Live acoustic music. I've been to a few jazz festivals and the musics always to loud for my tastes, but I grew up with my father playing his old 12 string accoustic guitar, he'd play it arppegio, occsianly he'd play a few chords, but not often. The tone of the old 12 sting was wonderful, one of the things I liked about the DT 880 when I got it was... how well it reminded of my fathers playing, he still has the guitar, but can't find suitable strings for it [he's not internet seave] so he's got a 4string he keeps around the house. Still though, I'm farmillar with what live instruments sound like, I grew up listening to my fathers guitar, my mother used to take me to small clubs with her friends. They'd always have some no name jazz band, but it was still fun, my mother her self plays the violin as well

 

still funny how many bassists we have, I'm rather jealous of you guys who can play the Upright bass q.q

post #101 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post
 

By ear Brooko, and I'm young enough and have enough experince to level match by ear. I used to be a bass player and I'd tune my bass by ear as well, not to mention I'd level match the multiple amps in my band as well. 

 

I appreciate the question though, most all of my comparisons are subjective, but the HM 801 vs X5 are rather easy to dicern between,

the line out of the X5 was actally a smidge louder, not hard to level match the two with a Spiltter the X5 still sounded inferior, and mind you I was very optimistic about replaceing my hm801 with an X5 [seeing as my hm801 has such a flaky UI]

 

Non the less, line out of each the X5 was the clear loser

 

Now as for the headphone out, I never listened to it on the X5 [shame on me for that] I can imagine it would be on par with if not better than the hm801s horrile HO out.... ugh I'm willing to bet the Schiit Vali [scratch that the Vali does sound miles better than the hm801s headphone out] so forgive me on that

 

 

Suggest you get yourself an SPL meter at some stage.  Age of your ears or experience is actually a poor substitute in reality.  Tests seem to indicate that as little as 0.1-0.2 dB can be audible.  But I'd challenge anyone to level match "by ear" to that accuracy.

 

If you have an idevice - you can even use an SPL app.  That combined with use of test tones would be better than matching by ear.

post #102 of 324
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post
 

That's also a good point, I mentioned in my Review that I enjoyed the HM801 over the X5 because to my ears, with my headphones and amps and my music [I listen to everything from Rap, to Metal, To classical, to Bebop Jazz, to live acoustic] that every time the X5 sounded dull and lifeless, lacking any kind of organic decay, to teh hm801

 

I think I understand you better now.

 

Would it be possible for another person to see the HM801 as being too dark and slow/muffled compared to the X5? Another person could easily say that the X5's neutrality is much more valued that the Hm901's more organic. But the X5, even for me, just avoids being too warm on some songs. 

 

That is why I don't evaluate based on sound signature. 

post #103 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post
 

 

 

Suggest you get yourself an SPL meter at some stage.  Age of your ears or experience is actually a poor substitute in reality.  Tests seem to indicate that as little as 0.1-0.2 dB can be audible.  But I'd challenge anyone to level match "by ear" to that accuracy.

 

If you have an idevice - you can even use an SPL app.  That combined with use of test tones would be better than matching by ear.

if it make you feel better, I have an android with an SPL Meter as well that I use. I'm not entirely sure how accurate it is, so I''ll tune it by  ear then check it with the SPL Meter, I'm usally spot on, but again I doubt my Android SPL Meter is very fine, 

 

but yea I'd like to one day get the gear I need to take my own frequancy measures and get a more accurate SPL Meter... but I do use my cheapo Droid App, still not sure how accurate it is...

post #104 of 324

:D

 

It's not if it makes me feel better old son - it's more about being a more accurate reviewer.  It's the only reason I use one now.  What I have found (now that I'm using it) is that some of the perceived difference I thought I could tell have disappeared once I matched the volume more closely.  Of course YMMV.

post #105 of 324
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brooko View Post
 

:D

 

It's not if it makes me feel better old son - it's more about being a more accurate reviewer.  It's the only reason I use one now.  What I have found (now that I'm using it) is that some of the perceived difference I thought I could tell have disappeared once I matched the volume more closely.  Of course YMMV.

^^ but yea I've got one

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