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Headphones vs Speakers -- an Inconvenient Truth - Page 16

post #226 of 258

Analog amp design has not changed.  The material that is used like caps, resistors and such have been updated over the years, but the basic design has not changed.  Same thing with the drivers. It's the same motor structure mostly.  Some different designs have been implemented, but nothing major has been done.  Same thing with headphone drivers of any kind, nothing has changed except time and how much people are willing to spend on headphones.  

 

The big changes are in microchip design.  Shrinking everything.    Just amazing what sound we can get now from a tiny device, vs 20 years ago.  

post #227 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by snellemin View Post
 

Analog amp design has not changed.  The material that is used like caps, resistors and such have been updated over the years, but the basic design has not changed.  Same thing with the drivers. It's the same motor structure mostly.  Some different designs have been implemented, but nothing major has been done.  Same thing with headphone drivers of any kind, nothing has changed except time and how much people are willing to spend on headphones.  

 

The big changes are in microchip design.  Shrinking everything.    Just amazing what sound we can get now from a tiny device, vs 20 years ago.  

 

Yeah there are a few audio items where I think there are good modern day offerings with real cutting edge creativity going on. Other items I think had their pinnacle back in the heyday when music was the main form of entertainment. Speakers, headphones and TT's especially fall into the latter for me and made in Japan if I'm going to nitpick that.

 

Active speakers I guess you could argue have kind of taken off but I was incredibly disappointed by most of what I listened to from budget to almost 5 figures.

post #228 of 258

Progress is not necessarily strictly something new. Improving upon existing designs is progress. Streamlining is progress. Shrinking chip size is progress. Improving efficiency is progress. Lowering measured distortion level is progress. No doubt we have progressed so much from how it was in our heyday. We cannot undermine the changes we see with our naked eye and say nothing major has been done. There are hundreds of companies with thousands of engineers/designers/researchers working around the clock to shave 0.01% of distortions or efficiency. A lot of these improvements are tiny but require thousands of hours of manhour to attain.

 

Take for instance the turntable bearing. Even when the basic design is still unchanged, some bearings has half the rumble as others. A major breakthrough would be a rigid material like diamond, highly polished with less than a few hundredth of a micron variation. However if you hold that major breakthrough part beside an existing part the only thing you can see different is the material used and not the finishing because the finishing is already indistinguishable with the naked eye. However if you do manage to manufacture that part, the whole analog world will bow down to you if not applaud you. That is to produce one alone. Imagine if you managed to design the perfect manufacturing process to produce the same part with the same degree of tolerance between all of the products (save for a few dozen rejects per thousand probably) and at a profitable cost? You will be a god. But other people from outside of the circle will be laughing at these monkeys praising a polished piece or rod made of shiny rock.

 

In my short time I have seen so so many progress done in so many fields, yet people are oblivious to them because they stay out of the way. We've been conditioned to only notice when something goes wrong, because everything is supposed to go right. Good design is invisible.

post #229 of 258

 it has become much cheaper to get good products, and reliability of cheap devices has also increased significantly.

also anybody nowadays can play pretend to be a pro and get something to measure and correct a speaker system. IMO that's pretty incredible. we can't fix everything of course, but we're far from the guy sticking expensive devices into a room and praying for lucky fidelity and balanced sound at the listening position.

I also find DSPs to be a massive part of audio and can't imagine the future of audio without DSPs for everything. it's still misunderstood and underestimated by most audiophiles but the potential can't be contested.

post #230 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by jibzilla View Post
 

 

What progress?


​They have measurement techniques for optimizing driver performance that didn't exist thirty years ago.  I admit that they would be biased but I doubt if any old timer speaker engineers that are still working will tell you that the stuff they did 30 years ago was the same or better than what they are doing now.  But this won't convince anyone.  I have hung out on vintage audio and vintage motorcycle forums and in both places they maintain that the old stuff is better.  One guy told me his 1983 CB1100F with engine and suspension mods was the equivalent of a modern sportbike.   You can believe that if you never actually ride the modern bike.  Vintage gear is certainly good enough to enjoy this hobby.  If that is your preference.  Have fun with it.

post #231 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by penmarker View Post
 

Progress is not necessarily strictly something new.

 

In my short time I have seen so so many progress done in so many fields, yet people are oblivious to them because they stay out of the way. We've been conditioned to only notice when something goes wrong, because everything is supposed to go right. Good design is invisible.

+1

 

The road to perfection comes at a high price.  At the end is all comes down to what you are willing to pay for that "perfection".  

post #232 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by penmarker View Post


Not to mention that modern speakers are designed with mathematical modeling tools to capture the wavelengths inside the enclosures properly.   The old designs were a combination guesswork and "dark arts".  Modern good speakers use complex wave calculations and optimizations and are much more "science" based in their approach.

There is a certain charm in old speakers, but educated guesswork from the pre-computer era, will never compete with the accurate computation of today.

That's not to say everything today is great.  Far from it.   There is a lot of cheap junk pumped out as well, but once you get into the good stuff there isn't much of a comparison.

I'd put my RBH sx-6300's up against pretty much anything made before the late 90's or so.
Edited by mattlach - 4/17/17 at 6:42pm
post #233 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by penmarker View Post
 

Progress is not necessarily strictly something new. Improving upon existing designs is progress. Streamlining is progress. Shrinking chip size is progress. Improving efficiency is progress. Lowering measured distortion level is progress. No doubt we have progressed so much from how it was in our heyday. We cannot undermine the changes we see with our naked eye and say nothing major has been done. There are hundreds of companies with thousands of engineers/designers/researchers working around the clock to shave 0.01% of distortions or efficiency. A lot of these improvements are tiny but require thousands of hours of manhour to attain.

 

Take for instance the turntable bearing. Even when the basic design is still unchanged, some bearings has half the rumble as others. A major breakthrough would be a rigid material like diamond, highly polished with less than a few hundredth of a micron variation. However if you hold that major breakthrough part beside an existing part the only thing you can see different is the material used and not the finishing because the finishing is already indistinguishable with the naked eye. However if you do manage to manufacture that part, the whole analog world will bow down to you if not applaud you. That is to produce one alone. Imagine if you managed to design the perfect manufacturing process to produce the same part with the same degree of tolerance between all of the products (save for a few dozen rejects per thousand probably) and at a profitable cost? You will be a god. But other people from outside of the circle will be laughing at these monkeys praising a polished piece or rod made of shiny rock.

 

In my short time I have seen so so many progress done in so many fields, yet people are oblivious to them because they stay out of the way. We've been conditioned to only notice when something goes wrong, because everything is supposed to go right. Good design is invisible.

 

I think an air bearing would be the way to go if you had the cash. Made many years ago. But of course now we have a levitating platter in the MagLev. Horrible idea and not progress in the slightest. I thought this was about speakers and headphones.


Edited by jibzilla - 4/17/17 at 7:46pm
post #234 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by jibzilla View Post
 

 

Horrible idea and not progress in the slightest.

Ok mister grumpy.

post #235 of 258

To each his own I just do not see much if any real improvements. Different yes, better no. Considering I received my speakers and TT in time capsule condition at what they retailed for many years ago I feel like I got a heck of deal with no inflation factored in. Headphones I can not do that even at mid level. Sony mdr-cd3000's, k-1000's and others go for many times the price they retailed for. Maybe not retail price for the k-1000 but I looked up lots of street price deals on here when they were available. Sometimes as little as $400 n.i.b. Sony R10, Original Omega, Original Orpheus forget about it. Tons of issues with all 3 headphones and dominated by a more uber wealthy/uber rare crowd. That is not the case with speakers and TT's. Lots of options in mint condition with no inflation and measurements be damned sound more preferable to my ears.

 

I guess what gets me "grumpy" is that what you call progress I call gimmicks and I'm tired of all the gimmicks. Course the woofers in my speakers are a gimmick and work in spades so maybe I should lighten up a bit.  

post #236 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by snellemin View Post
 

The road to perfection comes at a high price.  At the end is all comes down to what you are willing to pay for that "perfection".  

 

Actually, I think that's probably the biggest change which has occurred. In much of the reproduction chain, "perfection" now comes at an incredibly low price. Mass produced components costing just a few bucks incorporated in devices like iPhones have reached a level of perfection/accuracy which even the most expensive of analogue hi-fi gear can't achieve. This only applies to components like DACs and amps though, rather than the transducers (like headphones and speakers) and unfortunately, at the same time as perfection has effectively been achieved ridiculously cheaply in parts of the chain, so the amount of time and money spent on creating/producing the musical content itself has massively declined.

 

G

post #237 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregorio View Post

1. Yes, absolutely crucial but for two reasons, not just one: Firstly, yes, speaker performance is defined by the room acoustics. Typically, a $1,000 set of speakers in a well treated room will out perform a $20,000+ set of speakers in an untreated room. Secondly, commercial recording/mastering studios are NOT designed to be dead (anechoic), they do typically use some absorption to reduce room reflections but they usually employ at least a fair amount of diffusion. Diffusion randomises room reflections rather than removing them, which stops the reflections from interacting and changing the perceived frequency response. This too is a crucial factor because music is mixed and mastered in these rooms (with their neutral room reverb/acoustics). In other words, the music has been designed to be listened to in a room (with room acoustics). Listening to music on headphones obviously largely eliminates room acoustics, the music therefore sounds much drier (less reverb) than intended. The result of effectively less reverb is that the music sounds more "in your head", more separated and more detailed than was intended. Some people like that, others prefer accuracy (to hear what the artists intended).

2. I would say that's certain rather than "possible". It's not a question of "if" the setup/room acoustics are "sabotaging" speaker performance, it's a question of "how much". Typical rooms in houses are roughly cuboid shaped which is unfortunately the absolute worst possible shape acoustically.

3. That's simply impossible. I'm not knocking your 305's, I've used them myself and IMHO they're about the best you can buy in their price range. There's a bit of a misconception that Nearfield monitors solve room acoustics issues, this is not true. They can significantly reduce some issues but they can also cause others; typically they're placed on a desk, which acts as a very close, big reflective surface and that's very bad acoustically.

 

There are a few photos/videos in this thread of systems which some members seem to be impressed by. I'm not impressed, quite the opposite in fact, to me they appear ridiculous. They look like the audio equivalent of someone who's just stuck a new V12 Ferrari engine into a Ford Fiesta. It might give you great "bragging rights", sound awesome and out perform a unmodified Fiesta but it won't perform anywhere near an actual supercar, it won't even perform as well as a relatively cheap stock sports saloon! Those audio systems are designed by people (and for people) whose passion is audio equipment, not those whose passion is audio performance. IE. It's for audio-equipment-philes rather than audiophiles! Here's a photo which illustrates my point above (about diffusion) and is a real audiophile "supercar". Notice that it's not about massive speakers, it's about very high quality, appropriately sized speakers and the effort put into the acoustic treatment:




G

In the customer's toilet where I work, the urinary has a rubber pad with spines covering it laid on the bottom.

At first I paid no attetion to it, until I peed on it... To my astonishment it dispersed all the energy contained within the urine stream, the result is absolutely no chance if splashback. I thought of this picture of a studio.

Alas... One then realised one spends too much time on Head-fi.org.

Those are Genelec monitors atop what looks like ATC towers?

The lesson here is, a properly treated studio room is what an audio professional will strive for... It in itself looks like a work of art.
post #238 of 258
Jibzilla, I used to go through the speakers on youtube on a Japanese channel featuring 'kendrick sound'.

I would listen to all these speakers and love that sound style (using LCD2s). So much better than skinny speakers on youtube. I never thought I would own speakers that can create such a nice sound. They are all big woofered. A lot of JBLs and some others.

The Inner Fidelity series of articles by Bob Katz made me build the courage to go audition studio monitors. I was previously fearful of expensive wonky sounding speakers I heard at audiophile shops that I couldn't even afford.

Firstly a set if palm sized Genelec monitors for over a grand freaked me out... They packed more and better bass than my 8 inch Celestions.

I still am pleased with the display Neumann KH120s that I walked away with.

As with all things audio... There are things that weren't to my taste and I am curious with other speakers.

Today I am breaking in a pair of Adam A7Xs. It dawns on me... These make that sound from those giant big woofered Japanese speakers.

So far these A7Xs sound much better to me than the KH120s. I haven't plugged the KH120s to confirm... But to 'feel' they are 'much' better, I don't see the need to confirm.
Edited by SP Wild - 4/21/17 at 4:28am
post #239 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by SP Wild View Post

Jibzilla, I used to go through the speakers on youtube on a Japanese channel featuring 'kendrick sound'.

I would listen to all these speakers and love that sound style (using LCD2s). So much better than skinny speakers on youtube. I never thought I would own speakers that can create such a nice sound. They are all big woofered. A lot of JBLs and some others.

The Inner Fidelity series of articles by Bob Katz made me build the courage to go audition studio monitors. I was previously fearful of expensive wonky sounding speakers I heard at audiophile shops that I couldn't even afford.

Firstly a set if palm sized Genelec monitors for over a grand freaked me out... They packed more and better bass than my 8 inch Celestions.

I still am pleased with the display Neumann KH120s that I walked away with.

As with all things audio... There are things that weren't to my taste and I am curious with other speakers.

Today I am breaking in a pair of Adam A7Xs. It dawns on me... These make that sound from those giant big woofered Japanese speakers.

So far these A7Xs sound much better to me than the KH120s. I haven't plugged the KH120s to confirm... But to 'feel' they are 'much' better, I don't see the need to confirm.

 

I had A7x's and Sub8 for five years. One of the biggest mainstays I have ever had in my dj/casual listening station. Most gear does not last over a couple months. Great speakers and I also enjoy the Kendrick audio on youtube. They mostly specialize in JBL but I have seen other brands from time to time.  

post #240 of 258
Quote:
Originally Posted by jibzilla View Post

I had A7x's and Sub8 for five years. One of the biggest mainstays I have ever had in my dj/casual listening station. Most gear does not last over a couple months. Great speakers and I also enjoy the Kendrick audio on youtube. They mostly specialize in JBL but I have seen other brands from time to time.  

I don't feel the need for a sub on my KH120 or A7X. Where do you crossover? I think high passing at 80 HZ would be perfect. At around 60-40hz the bass is wooly on the A7Xs... More woolly than the KH120... But above the wooliness zone is a tighter bassline than the KH120s. Overall the A7X bass is more tuneful than the KH120. Toms sound more correct. Snare is more focussed indicating an overall higher transient capability. The X Art ribbon tweeter produces better treble resolution than HD800 and LCD2. The KH120 Dome is a shade less than those two headphones, in line with the D7000 headphone.
Edited by SP Wild - 4/21/17 at 5:53pm
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