Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › Some help on understanding sound signatures would be welcome
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Some help on understanding sound signatures would be welcome

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hi guys,

 

Having purchase quite a few iem's (x8), headphones(x3) and amps(x5) in the last six months alone, mostly after careful study of reviews, comments and opinions on here, I seem to have even less idea of their characteristics than when I started!  My problem is I am either not understanding the lingo (even though I think I do), or my hearing is vastly different from the lot of you. If one common opinion is that this or that is deep bass heavy, I hear bass light; others say sweet treble, and I hear brightness and sibilance.

 

I am just not getting to grips with the terminology (obviously), and what the reviews and impressions actually should translate to my hearing capacity.

 

So, what I am looking to do is find the best examples of an iem for specific areas of the sound spectrum. I think that if I can spend around a $100 (or thereabouts) on 5 or 6 iems with a defined sound signature, then maybe I can begin to understand what people are talking about. Rather than my shooting for the stars and rushing out to buy a $1000+ TOTL iem right now, only to be bitterly disappointed (and poorer).

 

Here's what I propose:

 

1. Ultra clear/detailed (analytical?)
2. Mid/vocal centric
3. Ultra neutral (maybe the same as analytical?)
4. Ultra V shaped
5. Ultra sub bass
6. Intimate sound stage

 

I am sure that there should probably be more examples added to the list, and I welcome suggestions as to others. I think I know what bright, as well as what mid bass bloat is, so shouldn't need further examples of those.

 

Would it be possible for you to offer your opinion on the most suitable iem for each of the above? I care not that the iem is rubbish as long as it is the best example in a given area, and something so obvious, even a dimwit like me couldn't mistake it for something else. I am not wanting to keep these things for pleasure, but rather just to understand what all these signatures sound like in isolation.

 

I know it seems counter-intuitive to spend hundreds of $ on throw-away phones, but I see it as a money-saver in the long run. Only by understanding, or educating myself, am I going to be able to make an informed purchase of a top tier, end game, iem.

 

I don't know if this helps, but I have updated my signature to show all the iem's I currently have. It is quite possible that you may consider something I do have to be 'the best example' of the above.

 

I would really appreciate any help, as this inability to hear what I think the reviewers and opinionators are saying they hear, to be quite frustrating.

post #2 of 11

One site to find detailed in-ear and on-ear comparisons is theheadphonelist.com, where |joker| reposts 400+ reviews.  Also, I can give some recommendations from cans under $350 I have owned from your list:

 

1. Ultra clear/detailed (analytical?): Shure SRH-840
2. Mid/vocal centric: Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ear
3. Ultra neutral (maybe the same as analytical?): Focal Spirit Professional
4. Ultra V shaped: Audio Technica ATH-ES7
5. Ultra sub bass: Shure SRH-840
6. Intimate sound stage: Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ear

 

So for what you want right now, I recommend the Shure SRH-840 (Covers 1 and 5 on-point and 3 very well) and Sennheiser Momentum Over-Ear (Covers 2 and 6 on-point).  The ATH-ES7 are discontinued, but you can find them cheap on ebay.

post #3 of 11

how about playing with some EQ settings on your laptop on any of your iems...

it should not be rocket science to figure out the diff variations to the sound on a particular setting.

 

Besides, when u read about impressions on a particular iem..

they are based on a particular SETUP, which could be different from yours..

and would sound diff ..

 

if it is vastly diff..

it could be the tips...insertion depth...if u are missing the bass. 

 

just some tots off my head, reading your posts..cheers !!

post #4 of 11

"I think that if I can spend around a $100 (or thereabouts) on 5 or 6 iems"

 

5 or 6 at around US$100 each or US$100 for the lot?

 

looking at your past list the CX300 and IE80 would examples of a V shaped sound sig.

 

buy a PL-50 for mid centric and an RE400 as a slightly warm, and if you want an analytical grab an hf3.  them combined with the IE80 you should be able to work out where you want to go.

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

Apologies guys, I have not been able to get on-line for a few days. Thank you all for replying to my strange request.

 

@pbui44 Thank you, those are some great suggestions. I will go away and research. After posting, I can across an excellent posting right on the front page, designed just for the noob. Alas, I am such a noob I never even saw it until now!

 

I rather like the idea of being able to cover more than one base with each phone, and the momentums had been on my list for some while. So, that should be my next purchase. For some strange and inexplicable reason, I pulled the trigger on the Beyerdynamic T51p's before the Momentums. As for the Shure SRH-840's, keep seeing them mentioned, but I never researched further. But I will do now. Thanks.

 

@Lorspeaker Thank you too. I once played around with EQ settings when I received my Fiio X5, and have to say it was a joke. I made such a hash of it that I thought I should stay well clear in future! I really don't seem to have a clue. With the T51p's, which I thought a little too bright for my tastes (straight out of the box), as well as too boomy in the bass, I found and followed a head-fier's EQ settings for these. It most definitely changed the sound, and for the better, however, it did so in such a counter-intuitive way as to leave me totally scratching my head at my absolute lack of understanding. For all the EQ adjustments were for more upper mids and even more treble, with only one 2db reduction, and no adjustments at all to the bass. Yet it changed the signature for the better. How could that be? I think, one step at a time. Find examples of phones displaying characteristics I mentioned, then move in to learning about sound itself, and manipulation thereof by EQ'ing.

 

@mark2410You are just across the water from me! Sorry to have been ambiguous about price; should have re-read my original post! I was trying to limit it to say $100 each. Alas, I have already gone over that by looking at a used Hifiman RE-262 (as an example of analytical) and an Ortofon E-Q7 (as a mid-centric phone), both of which make a mockery of my $100 target!! I will go away and look in to your suggestions.

 

I was eyeing the ER4S as being an example of analytical, but looked more at the RE-262 from preferences make by reviewers. You suggest the HF3? PL-50 I have never heard of, so away I go and research.

 

Thanks all for your help and suggestions.

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFY View Post

 

@mark2410You are just across the water from me! Sorry to have been ambiguous about price; should have re-read my original post! I was trying to limit it to say $100 each. Alas, I have already gone over that by looking at a used Hifiman RE-262 (as an example of analytical) and an Ortofon E-Q7 (as a mid-centric phone), both of which make a mockery of my $100 target!! I will go away and look in to your suggestions.

 

I was eyeing the ER4S as being an example of analytical, but looked more at the RE-262 from preferences make by reviewers. You suggest the HF3? PL-50 I have never heard of, so away I go and research.

 

Thanks all for your help and suggestions.

 

errr 262 as analytical?  you mean the 272 surely? the 262 and 272 are very very different

 

the hf3 is a cheaper version of the ER4 and the pl-50 is cheap but excelent mid centric. 

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

Mark2410,

 

Yes, indeed, I meant 272! Just that I had been researching the 262 as a mid-centric phone moments before penning my message here. OK, do not want to buy both (well, should not at least!), so, given that I might be able to get a 272 for £140-£150, would you consider the pl-50 to be a good enough (and obvious enough) mid-centric alternative to the 262? Actually, would you think the HF3 to be a good enough example of an analytical phone over the 272?

 

I know that I said that I only wanted these phones for educational purposes, but somehow I seem to get sucked in to having to try 'the best', hence the 272. Logic should prevail, and I should just get the cheapest example, but, alas, I think that I have a few issues!

 

Mark, your comment about the IE80's being V shaped is a great example of how I just don't get these sound signature descriptions. I had assumed that V shape would mean emphasised bass and treble with recessed mids. But I hear the IE80's as an (over) emphasised mid-bass, but the mids and trebles seem to me to be on the same level. Actually, when I think about it, the Merlin's are more V shaped(ish), with a huge sub bass and bright, more forward treble, yet the mids do not seem recessed to me either. This is surely all going to be confusing for me!

post #8 of 11

well the 262 is a warm, mid ish centric.  think an olympic medal stand.  mids highust, then low then highs.  the PL-50 is mids and the lows and highs about equall, the highs a fraction more than the lows.

 

so hf3 analytical enough to gen instead of a 272.  well yes in that they share the same sound signature but.... the 272 its sooooooooo much better.  but of course the ety has the amazing ety isolation which the 272 cant come close to.

 

im not sure why your saying you hear the mids and highs of the 80 to be the same.  senns are pretty big on the V shaped sound.  maybe its that youve never really heard anything with forward mids so what you take to be even really isnt?  also highs can be a factor of source, power and obviously, you.  all our hearing declines at one rate or another as we age and we all start from a different level to begin with so how highs are perceived can vary greatly.  also how the highs are displayed can vary greatly, for example the IE8 has abundant but superbly refined highs with little in the way of edge but soemthing like the DBA-02 is very edgy and aggressive so its treble is vastly more attention grabbing.

 

the real way to work things out is read reviews for things youve heard and then you can work out how that reviewer hears things and how that compares to how you hear that same thing. then when you read other reviews by that person you can extrapolate how it shall retate to how you are likely to hear it.

 

 

oh and yes, i am just over the water.  if you can see the big blue gasometer, that pretty much where i am.

post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Mark,

 

That is exactly it. I am not grasping what others are meaning in their description of signatures. The IE80 is the perfect example. You say V shaped, but, as you rightly say, I have not heard anything with 'obvious' forward mids to make me understand that the IE80 is indeed V shaped. That is my whole raison d'etre for the need to listen to phones with specific sound characteristics that are so unambiguous as to be blatantly obvious, especially to this noob.

 

By the way, I have ordered the PL-50's based on your very enthusiastic review! Should be here mid-week. However, comments like 'the 272 its sooooooooo much better' are really not at all helpful! How can I now possible buy the HF3 knowing that?!! The 272 it is then!

 

Thanks

post #10 of 11

well i trust youll find the PL-50 interesting.  its quite fantastic for the money.  i very much like mids.

 

as for the 272 vs the hf3 its not that the hf3 isnt good.  it is good and of course its isolation is outstanding.  however the 272 is detailed in a way that that just surpasses everything else.  have you read my review of it btw? oh or the hf3 one?

 

also if you like reading you may want to look out my RE-252 one.  lol and there is the 262 one to round them out.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Mark, I might have seen your reviews, especially on the 272's, but I am not going to re-read or view any more until after I have had a chance to listen to them. Maybe that way I might gain some experience in listening for myself without the expectation, or preconception, of a review already in my head. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men!!

 

Thanks anyway. I will let you know how I get on.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Help and Getting Started › Introductions, Help and Recommendations › Some help on understanding sound signatures would be welcome