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Help understanding my sound tastes.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I recently tried out the Onkyo ES-HF300 headphones. To my understanding beforehand, they should be slightly boosted in the mid-bass, a minor boost in the low-mids, neutral in the high-mids and neutral in treble. When I tried them, they seemed neutral in the low-end, very recessed in the low-mids, a bit boosted in the high-mids, and neutral in the treble. They sounded very clear and surprisingly spacious, but sounded so thin and lifeless. Male vocals and guitars lacked the power they need in metal, and lower brass instruments (like trombone) and mid/low string instruments (cello, etc.) sounded distant and weak.

I get this idea from my understanding of sound. I'll use my HiFiMan HE-300 as a "benchmark" To me, they seem slightly boosted in the mid bass, moderately boosted in the low-mids, neutral in the high-mids, and slightly recessed in the treble. Ideally, I would have a bit more recession in the topmost portion of the mid-range, but that might be attributed to the bright Schiit Modi/iBasso D-Zero.

Can anyone help me understand my tastes better? I'd like to be able to read a bunch of reviews and be able to know approximately how a headphone sounds. I thought I did but my experience with the Onkyos has really changed that.

Thanks!
post #2 of 5

I would bet that you used a modern rock recording to audition the cans that isn't produced to a balanced response in the first place. Your description sounds like a recording that had been hot mastered to sound loud.

 

Try something extremely well recorded that consists of acoustic, non-amplified instruments... classical or jazz. That will give you a much more accurate idea of what the response sounds like.

post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

I would bet that you used a modern rock recording to audition the cans that isn't produced to a balanced response in the first place. Your description sounds like a recording that had been hot mastered to sound loud.

Try something extremely well recorded that consists of acoustic, non-amplified instruments... classical or jazz. That will give you a much more accurate idea of what the response sounds like.

I definitely understand what you mean, but much of the metal/rock I listen to is far from typical. A good example is Serj Tankian, his music is definitely much more well-produced than most metal. I listened to his ORCA symphony too, as well as many soundtracks. I used a lot of Florence + the Machine, First Aid Kit etc. for the female vocals, and a mix of A Perfect Circle, Tool, Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and a good bit of rap for male vocals. I gave a good 4 or 5 hours on two consecutive days to the Onkyo's to see how they sounded to me. I left with the same conclusion with almost everything I heard. I thought they were terribly thin.

I really want to go to a Head-Fi meet...but I'd have to drive 5+ hours.
post #4 of 5
What I was trying to say was, that your impressions of the response of the headphones might be thrown off if the recording you are playing on it is imbalanced. Most rock music is all plugged in. It's hard to know what the intent of the engineers was for the sound. It's a lot easier to judge response with acoustic instruments.

If the headphones are capable of producing bass, you could certainly compensate by using an equalizer. In fact, if all I listened to was rock music, an equalizer would be indispensable to me, because the overall tone of rock music is all over the map. I'd be making corrections all the time no matter what headphones I owned.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

What I was trying to say was, that your impressions of the response of the headphones might be thrown off if the recording you are playing on it is imbalanced. Most rock music is all plugged in. It's hard to know what the intent of the engineers was for the sound. It's a lot easier to judge response with acoustic instruments.

If the headphones are capable of producing bass, you could certainly compensate by using an equalizer. In fact, if all I listened to was rock music, an equalizer would be indispensable to me, because the overall tone of rock music is all over the map. I'd be making corrections all the time no matter what headphones I owned.

It was the low-mids, not the bass, that was the issue. And the Onkyo's were portable so EQing isn't so easy.
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