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Most detailed, accurate, clear, neutral IEMs - Page 3

post #31 of 109
 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post
 

 

That's because they are tuned like that...  The tuning of an IEM is more important than the number of drivers... 

 

Either way, the IEM you recommended is still not neutral.  An Etymotic favors better with neutrality than the Westone does...  So does the HiFiMan RE-272, even the 400 does (and I don't consider that neutral).  The only BA-based multi (BA)-driver IEMs that I've heard actually go near neutral are dual-drivered (ADDIEM for example).  Actually, the most neutral Westone IEM is actually the W2 (dual-drivered as well). 

 

Neutral IEMs generally are much colder because that's the way most music is recorded nowadays, loud...  The compression causes an artificial attenuation of bass and edgy, distorted treble.  That's what the neutral headphone gives you.  Something like the W4, Heir Audio 4.Ai tries to suppress the problem in the treble by warming up the sound (which is why people feel they sound more natural).  They still aren't neutral.  NOT being neutral can be a good thing.  Actually, Harman's research has shown that, for over-ear headphones, a warm signature is preferred among most listeners.

 

The OP is looking for a neutral IEM in this case.  Not a warm/natural one. 

 

How would you propose they do this tuning? The only ways I can think of is to change the size of the driver or stick in a low/high pass filter (for no good reason if your logic is correct)

 

Why would you tune it so that for example the ety doing higher frequencies better, instead all the frequencies in the audible range, if there are no down sides to it?

 

post #32 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by milford30 View Post
 

 

 

How would you propose they do this tuning? The only ways I can think of is to change the size of the driver or stick in a low/high pass filter (for no good reason if your logic is correct)

 

Why would you tune it so that for example the ety doing higher frequencies better, instead all the frequencies in the audible range, if there are no down sides to it?

 

 

Ety tries to tune to a specific target curve.  Unfortunately for them, they only care about the range between 50 Hz and 10 kHz I think (highs above 10 khz are tougher to measure accurately, if they can, they state that bass below 50 Hz is more felt by the body than heard).  I do agree with everything they say, but they do have an IEM that is nearly neutral from 50 Hz on up XD 

 

Shure tunes their mid-focused IEMs that way because that's the Shure house sound (215 is an exception).  Generally, the tuning is done by an engineer.  It's what he feels sounds good, nothing else really. 

 

So for Etymotic to get better, they just need to bump everything below 50 Hz a few dB (not much actually) to be neutral.  Personally, I prefer a slight warmth over neutral, so I'd tone the treble down a dB or two as well.  That's me.  This (treble tweak), of course, would make the IEM less neutral (not neutral actually).

post #33 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post
 

 

Ety tries to tune to a specific target curve.  Unfortunately for them, they only care about the range between 50 Hz and 10 kHz I think (highs above 10 khz are tougher to measure accurately, if they can, they state that bass below 50 Hz is more felt by the body than heard).  I do agree with everything they say, but they do have an IEM that is nearly neutral from 50 Hz on up XD 

 

Shure tunes their mid-focused IEMs that way because that's the Shure house sound (215 is an exception).  Generally, the tuning is done by an engineer.  It's what he feels sounds good, nothing else really. 

 

So for Etymotic to get better, they just need to bump everything below 50 Hz a few dB (not much actually) to be neutral.  Personally, I prefer a slight warmth over neutral, so I'd tone the treble down a dB or two as well.  That's me.  This (treble tweak), of course, would make the IEM less neutral (not neutral actually).

 

Ok, I don't know much about what Ety said, but if it is possible like you say, the I would think some other company would have bumped up the sub bass range and have the end all neutral iem.

 

The way I see it, different sized drivers preform optimally at different frequencies (blowing into tubes experiment in high school physics), otherwise the tweeters and woofers in speaker systems are a scam, if the mid range can do everything neutrally.

 

Compile a complex piece of music with a wide range of frequencies, play it simultaneously through your mid range driver. The magnets can only respond so fast, whereas playing different frequencies through different optimally tuned drivers will yield better response since the magnets respond to a set frequency.

post #34 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by milford30 View Post
 

 

Ok, I don't know much about what Ety said, but if it is possible like you say, the I would think some other company would have bumped up the sub bass range and have the end all neutral iem.

 

The way I see it, different sized drivers preform optimally at different frequencies (blowing into tubes experiment in high school physics), otherwise the tweeters and woofers in speaker systems are a scam, if the mid range can do everything neutrally.

 

Compile a complex piece of music with a wide range of frequencies, play it simultaneously through your mid range driver. The magnets can only respond so fast, whereas playing different frequencies through different optimally tuned drivers will yield better response since the magnets respond to a set frequency.

 

Tuning a BA, or any driver in general, is a tough feat.  The fact that Etymotic does do their own tuning on their drivers makes a big difference.  Being able to tune multiple drivers is a feat on its own.  Mimicing a tuning is even tougher. In order to make this end-all IEM you speak of, you first have to be able to mimic Etymotic's signature, then tune it to address the bass.  Easier said than done. 

 

Different types of drivers have their strengths and weaknesses, but they call can do what the others can.  There are lots of BAs that sound like dynamics, and dynamics that sound like BAs...  So tweeters and woofers in a system may make parts of it easier to do, but it is possible to have a single driver fill the entire spectrum for a pair of headphones.  For a speaker system, direction and space make a difference as well (that's something headphones don't have to deal with that much, it's fixed). 

 

If the speaker can respond through the entire frequency spectrum without much issue, there isn't an immediate need to go multi-driver...  That is, if it can get through all 20 kHz or sound.  There are strengths and weaknesses of multi-driver and signle-driver systems and design.  For example, a multi-driver allows for a specialized driver, but the crossover points become vital to making the headphone sound coherant and have "smoothness" in the graph.  You deal with either a crossover or wave addition.  The drivers you tune are in tandem to one another.  If you change tuning on one, you must change tuning on all to keep coherantness.  A single driver is tougher to hit the full spectrum with (especially considering BAs, but it is possible like it is possible to overcome the crossover points and smoothness), but generally, you don't have to deal with the complexity of the system.  Electronically, it's simpler.  Instead of having to tune 4 drivers you end up tuning 1. 

 

They both have their strengths and weaknesses.  The decision to use one or the other doesn't determine how good something is. 

 

I repeat, driver count with headphones isn't as important as the tuning is.  A single driver can be a good setup with headphones still, as can multi-driver.  You can have 20 drivers with crappy tuning and it'll sound crappy.  It won't be a more superior system.  Equally, you can have a single driver tuned like crap and have it come out equally as crappy. 


Edited by tinyman392 - 4/28/14 at 7:24pm
post #35 of 109

Milford30.  Yes, exactly....thank you!  Well said.

 

"tuning" drivers offers only modest changes.  It is not the be all end all in the sound game.  With BA's if you want big bass you need a big driver relative in size to a mid or treble driver.  You may add a few dB tuning wise to increase bass but beyond that is will sound un-naturally forced and strained.


Edited by Spyro - 4/28/14 at 7:26pm
post #36 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
 

Milford30.  Yes, exactly....thank you!  Well said.

 

"tuning" drivers offers only modest changes.  It is not the be all end all in the sound game.  With BA's if you want big bass you need a big driver relative in size to a mid or treble driver.  You may add a few dB tuning wise to increase bass but beyond that is will sound un-naturally forced and strained.

 

Doing that with multi-drivers can be the same exact way...  Multi-drivers have more issues when it comes to time-domain if crossovers are used which sound equally (sometimes more) unnatural (thought not forced).  With a single driver, it will still be a smooth transition, with multi-drivers, you can run into the issue where the drivers don't match up, or the crossovers don't, or both. 

 

It's not what you have...  It's what you do with it. 

post #37 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyman392 View Post
 

 

Tuning a BA, or any driver in general, is a tough feat.  The fact that Etymotic does do their own tuning on their drivers makes a big difference.  Being able to tune multiple drivers is a feat on its own.  Mimicing a tuning is even tougher. In order to make this end-all IEM you speak of, you first have to be able to mimic Etymotic's signature, then tune it to address the bass.  Easier said than done. 

 

Different types of drivers have their strengths and weaknesses, but they call can do what the others can.  There are lots of BAs that sound like dynamics, and dynamics that sound like BAs...  So tweeters and woofers in a system may make parts of it easier to do, but it is possible to have a single driver fill the entire spectrum for a pair of headphones.  For a speaker system, direction and space make a difference as well (that's something headphones don't have to deal with that much, it's fixed). 

 

If the speaker can respond through the entire frequency spectrum without much issue, there isn't an immediate need to go multi-driver...  That is, if it can get through all 20 kHz or sound.  There are strengths and weaknesses of multi-driver and signle-driver systems and design.  For example, a multi-driver allows for a specialized driver, but the crossover points become vital to making the headphone sound coherant and have "smoothness" in the graph.  You deal with either a crossover or wave addition.  The drivers you tune are in tandem to one another.  If you change tuning on one, you must change tuning on all to keep coherantness.  A single driver is tougher to hit the full spectrum with (especially considering BAs, but it is possible like it is possible to overcome the crossover points and smoothness), but generally, you don't have to deal with the complexity of the system.  Electronically, it's simpler.  Instead of having to tune 4 drivers you end up tuning 1. 

 

They both have their strengths and weaknesses.  The decision to use one or the other doesn't determine how good something is. 

 

I repeat, driver count with headphones isn't as important as the tuning is.  A single driver can be a good setup with headphones still, as can multi-driver.  You can have 20 drivers with crappy tuning and it'll sound crappy.  It won't be a more superior system.  Equally, you can have a single driver tuned like crap and have it come out equally as crappy. 

 

I'm really not sure what exactly Ety does to tune their iems apart from the magnets reaction to different voltages to different frequencies.

 

What if we get rid of tweeters and woofers and stick it all with mid range speakers (mass production of one speaker is probably cheaper) with their respective high/low pass filters? Is it physically possible for a mid range speaker to have that high energy impact of a proper woofer even when properly amped?

 

Drivers exists that does the entire spectrum well, but it's what happens when you stick all the frequencies together at the same time, for example can it reproduce the decay of a bass note while say a high frequency note is playing at the same time? or will that be covered? after all there is only one magnet and there is a limited number of times the magnet can vibrate per second.

 

I do agree that all multi drivers are not prefect, the cross over points are a pain, and high driver count does not mean better. But just as in loud speakers, you can get a woofer provide much more drum impact then you can with a mid range speaker, so the need for more then one driver is justified for me.

post #38 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spyro View Post
 

Milford30.  Yes, exactly....thank you!  Well said.

 

"tuning" drivers offers only modest changes.  It is not the be all end all in the sound game.  With BA's if you want big bass you need a big driver relative in size to a mid or treble driver.  You may add a few dB tuning wise to increase bass but beyond that is will sound un-naturally forced and strained.

 

I think a better way of putting this example is that it will have no impact. Personally I'd rather have impact and have them hide the (reasonably good now) crossover in some frequencies that not many instruments touch, then no impact bass at all.

post #39 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by milford30 View Post
 

 

I'm really not sure what exactly Ety does to tune their iems apart from the magnets reaction to different voltages to different frequencies.

 

What if we get rid of tweeters and woofers and stick it all with mid range speakers (mass production of one speaker is probably cheaper) with their respective high/low pass filters? Is it physically possible for a mid range speaker to have that high energy impact of a proper woofer even when properly amped?

 

Drivers exists that does the entire spectrum well, but it's what happens when you stick all the frequencies together at the same time, for example can it reproduce the decay of a bass note while say a high frequency note is playing at the same time? or will that be covered? after all there is only one magnet and there is a limited number of times the magnet can vibrate per second.

 

I do agree that all multi drivers are not prefect, the cross over points are a pain, and high driver count does not mean better. But just as in loud speakers, you can get a woofer provide much more drum impact then you can with a mid range speaker, so the need for more then one driver is justified for me.

 

I'm not sure what Etymotic does either...  That's beside the fact though.

 

For the longest time, headphones were measured and tested using pink noise...  There exists plenty of single-driver headphones that have that sort of extension on both ends with pink noise...  Which is exactly what you stated, blasting all frequencies at once.  There never is more than one frequency played at a time with anything, even if there is an awesome kick while there is a shimmer of cymbals going on...  Why?  Because recorded audio is still a function of time.  As with functions, one in, one out.  The magnet vibrates based on that function (not the current frequency it's trying to play, but that is related).  Remember, the sound is generated as a wave, a wave has one intensity at a given point in time...  That's all the magnet needs to do, one thing at a time (over real time). 

 

You keep on comparing IEMs and speakers...  They aren't the same...  The wave doesn't need to travel as far and that dimension is essentially lost.  With a speaker system, the driver you'd need to do a full-single driver setup is tough to get because it needs to travel a distance that is more than a few inches.  They aren't the same system, so that analogy goes down the drain.  But to answer your question, from a given distance, no matter how small, yes, if you properly damp a midrange speaker to flatten it, it will produce bass and treble fine.  Please stop using speaker system analogies, they don't fit because of that notion of distance

 

Time domain characteristics are more dependent on the environment than the driver itself.  That deals with the housing (or room for speakers) as well as materials.  So the question of reproducing decay isn't only in the driver, the housing has as much to do with it, so you can actually "tune" that to fix that issue. 

 

You don't need more than one driver to do what you need to do with IEMs and headphones in general.  Can you, yes.  Does it make it any better?  Debatable.  You can get just as much impact with a single driver as with a multi-driver setup as the distance needed to travel is low (a couple inches, a few at most).  Relative to the system, the drivers being used are huge in contrast to a speaker system in a room (speaker size vs volume). 


Edited by tinyman392 - 4/28/14 at 8:44pm
post #40 of 109
Thread Starter 

Something I've noticed when it comes to iems is that when there is lifted bass, it takes it away from clarity of the sound.  Not sure you guys have experienced that.  That's why I don't like bass heavy iems.  Then again it could be the way the bass is done, if it's bloated, maybe it covers up other sounds in the track.  For example, my new customs I had made has more bass than I prefer and the mid bass or lower end of the mids around 200Hz got in the way of the vocals.  When I EQ'd it down, I could hear the vocals more clearly.  This could be reason why some prefer more neutral, and not so enthusiastic about bass heavy phones.


Edited by SilverEars - 4/28/14 at 9:58pm
post #41 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEars View Post
 

Something I've noticed when it comes to iems is that when there is lifted bass, it takes it away from clarity of the sound.  Not sure you guys have experienced that.  So, I don't like bass heavy iems.  Then again it could be the way the bass is done, if it's bloated, maybe it covers up other sounds in the track.  For example, my new customs I had made has more bass than I prefer and the mid bass or low-end at the low side of the mids around 200Hz got in the way of the vocals.  When I EQ'd it down, I could hear the vocals more clearly.  This could be reason why some prefer more neutral, and not so enthusiastic about bass heavy phones.

 

We'd have to know what this preferred amount of bass is XD.  I still recommend the HiFiMan RE-272 (if you can find them), Etymotic ER4...  Though they are colder in nature (most neutral 'phones are).  You should look for something that boosts sub-bass, not mid-bass...  I'd avoid the W4 IMO now. 

post #42 of 109
Thread Starter 

I'm a big fan of HIFiMan, now that I have the HE-6, which is the best sound I've ever heard.  It's unreal.  Never heard clarity with such natural tones.  It's the most realistic sounding headphones I've ever heard.  Now, I'm eager to try out 272 and the 600.  His designs(kinda ghetto lookin :p, I guess design isn't his #1 goal, it's the sound) kinda put me off, but he makes some great sounding products.  My first pair of quality iems was the RE0, which is known for being detailed.


Edited by SilverEars - 4/28/14 at 10:17pm
post #43 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEars View Post
 

I'm a big fan of HIFiMan, now that I have the HE-6, which is the best sound I've ever heard.  It's unreal.  Never heard clarity with such natural tones.  It's the most realistic sounding headphones I've ever heard.  Now, I'm eager to try out 272 and the 600.  His designs(kinda ghetto lookin :p, I guess design isn't his #1 goal, it's the sound) kinda put me off, but he makes some great sounding products.  My first pair of quality iems was the RE0, which is known for being detailed.

 

The RE-400 and RE-600 actually don't look bad in person IMO.  The RE-600 is a much darker sound, just be forwarned...  XD  The RE-400 is already a warm sound :p  Both are worth a try.  As always, I recommend you audition a pair before you buy.  Go to a meet or something ;) 

post #44 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEars View Post
 

I'm a big fan of HIFiMan, now that I have the HE-6, which is the best sound I've ever heard.  It's unreal.  Never heard clarity with such natural tones.  It's the most realistic sounding headphones I've ever heard.  Now, I'm eager to try out 272 and the 600.  His designs(kinda ghetto lookin :p, I guess design isn't his #1 goal, it's the sound) kinda put me off, but he makes some great sounding products.  My first pair of quality iems was the RE0, which is known for being detailed.

 

i have owned RE-zero/252/262/272/400 and had on loan RE-600 for 2 weeks

272 is my favourite IEM and the most neutral of all (i now have re262 and EQ5 and 272 is the most neutral of the 3) but re600 is not neutral , great iem but kinda mid centric imo

post #45 of 109
Quote:
Originally Posted by milford30 View Post
 

 

What if we get rid of tweeters and woofers and stick it all with mid range speakers (mass production of one speaker is probably cheaper) with their respective high/low pass filters? Is it physically possible for a mid range speaker to have that high energy impact of a proper woofer even when properly amped?

That would sound worse.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by milford30 View Post
 

but it's what happens when you stick all the frequencies together at the same time, for example can it reproduce the decay of a bass note while say a high frequency note is playing at the same time? or will that be covered?

 

Drivers approximate linear systems well, and by the principle of superposition there is no problem with playing two different notes simultaneously.

 

Drivers are not instruments. Instruments play notes. Drivers produce vibrations. The driver does not do an FFT to work out which notes it should be playing.

 

It is easier for drivers to play combinations of tones (especially harmonics) than pure tones anyway.

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