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Learning headphone descriptors by example???

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Is there a recording that gives examples to describe the various terms used to characterize headphones?

 

I'm thinking of something recorded perhaps with an artificial head, perhaps pair-wise comparisons accompanied by narration of the nature of...

 

  • "The first headphones you will hear have bass bleeding into the midrange; the second example, playing the same music, do not;"
  • "The first example is from a headphone with fast bass response; the second example has slow response:"
  • (and the giant-killer)...  "The first headphone has great PRaT; the second example has poor PRaT!"

 

Any such definition-by-examples exist?  If not... anyone with a head and a bunch of headphones want to make a million, make a name, and make a recording?????

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 7
Here's the problem. Your first comment will have to be,

"The sound of the headphones you hear will be colored by the sound of the speakers or headphones you are using to listen to this recording. So what you hear will likely not accurately represent the sound signature being described to you."
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayandjohn View Post
 

Is there a recording that gives examples to describe the various terms used to characterize headphones?

 

I'm thinking of something recorded perhaps with an artificial head, perhaps pair-wise comparisons accompanied by narration of the nature of...

 

  • "The first headphones you will hear have bass bleeding into the midrange; the second example, playing the same music, do not;"
  • "The first example is from a headphone with fast bass response; the second example has slow response:"
  • (and the giant-killer)...  "The first headphone has great PRaT; the second example has poor PRaT!"

 

Any such definition-by-examples exist?  If not... anyone with a head and a bunch of headphones want to make a million, make a name, and make a recording?????

 

Thanks!


If the headphones or speakers you are listening to naturally have bass bleeding into the midrange then how do you hear what doesn't? If it has slow bass response or PRAT then how do you hear fast PRAT on it?

BTW, as best I remember since it was first used, "PRAT" is "Pace, Rhythm, Attack, Timing," so they should be all in capital letters. Is it "Pace, Rhythm, and Timing" now?

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 

The influence of the system one is listening through on the examples of headphone characteristics captured in a recording does indeed seem to be a challenge, which I did not consider.

 

However, it would seem there might be at least two solutions:

 

  • Use a common standard headphone, that lots of folks have (for example, Sennheiser HD 650, Sennheiser 600 Sennheiser HD 800, or ATH-M50);
  • See if headphone effects overwhelm the characteristics... for example, folks trying the Philips Golden Ears challenge find that they are able to hear the effects being discussed across the various headphones they are using.

 

Thanks!

 

 

(Philips Golden Ears challenge is here:  https://www.goldenears.philips.com/en/introduction.html  )

 

post #5 of 7

I suppose you've seen this?

 

http://www.head-fi.org/a/describing-sound-a-glossary

 

How about flipping it and trying to achieve some of these effects with EQ?

Reply
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Yes indeed I've seen it... it was one of the confusers that caused me to try to find aural examples to supplement written definitions.

 

I also have used the Accudio app that equalizes one headphone to the frequency response of another... but I can't figure out how to then apply words, other than if someone says "the XYZ headphone has terrible PRAT and the ABC one has great PRAT" then use my LMN headphone and Accudio to equalize it first to one, then the other.  But even then, I don't know which part of the differences I hear are PRAT! 

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayandjohn View Post
 

Yes indeed I've seen it... it was one of the confusers that caused me to try to find aural examples to supplement written definitions.

 

I also have used the Accudio app that equalizes one headphone to the frequency response of another... but I can't figure out how to then apply words, other than if someone says "the XYZ headphone has terrible PRAT and the ABC one has great PRAT" then use my LMN headphone and Accudio to equalize it first to one, then the other.  But even then, I don't know which part of the differences I hear are PRAT! 

 

Accudio will only simulate frequency response based on a sine wave/sweep, and PRAT isn't always caused by plateaus in the bass response. You can have a driver with many compromises in design for example (relatively heavy diaphragm, suspension design kind of lacking, etc) driven by an "amp" with very low current and damping factor, and a sine sweep used for objective measurements will not be able to reflect the dynamic behavior of a driver playing real music, since in any given microsecond of a sine sweep you have only one frequency playing whereas in actual music you can have several instruments plus vocals each playing their own note encompassing several frequencies. In short, a compromised driver driven by an "amp" that can't provide all it needs (for example if that driver's impedance swings too far from nominal rating, or is too low or too high, etc), in a proper enclosure can give a relatively decent graph save for a few peaks and not too low valleys, but still sound different on actual music. 

 

There's also the possibility that the music you're listening to isn't as good for testing PRAT if you're not too familiar with it in the first place. In all my years into serious audio playback (from cars, to home audio, to headphones at home and on the go) the one song that I noticed as being capable of revealing PRAT easily is Feist's One Evening (came across it when a Focal dealer gave me a copy of their demo disc) as it has a lot of the low drum beats wit not much other instruments to distract the listener, while not in the same sense of low bass "drums" as in electronic music, and this is how I first noticed PRAT as a "thing" (which at the time I hadn't encountered the term yet, but I kept saying that this guy's car sounded "slow"). A lot of midlevel car audio set-ups had slow PRAT on that, including my entry-level JBL set-up, some cheap tube preamp I used with my Wharfedale 8.4 speakers and a Technics Class A dual mono amp back in 2006 to 2007, and even my Little Dot MkII. Next to that track would be Jane Monheit's Taking a Chance on Love and Honeysuckle Rose, then all tracks by The Peter Malick Group featuring Norah Jones for both percussion and guitars in the midrange (not as much with bass as the other tracks). For most of my other music, which are mostly metal (power, prog, symphonic), it's more of how the percussion sounds like on the "hit" - basically a Grado has too much of it because the staging is too forward sometimes (not like it's actually 3D in any way with those headphones, but still), but anything that gets nowhere near that will either have slow decay or weak attack, affecting the pace and rhythm, and the timing of the beat seems or feels "off."

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