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A Couple of Hypotheses

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by TronII, Jul 27, 2019.
  1. TronII
    1 (Short): Could the Sennheiser *Headphone Redacted*'s veil be a result of the ~70hz bump rather than the treble "roll-off"? We could make this hypothesis testable by restating it as: "Does emphasizing/deemphasizing certain frequencies alter the perception of others?"

    2: Could the acoustic properties of open-back headphones be the result of the lack of backwave reflections and how our brain uses them to judge the acoustic "size" of the room? Our brain possibly seeing the "room" as of a "default" or "infinite" size? (This may be an overextension of the original hypothesis, and may need one of its own to be properly tested.)

    I know these questions are more about psychoacoustics than most of Sound Science probably has background in, but I thought these questions would interest people regardless. :innocent:
  2. bigshot
    A bump is more likely to mask frequencies an octave above, It wouldn't come from a huge swath of the spectrum below. (see auditory masking). Also, I don't think Senns as a whole are rolled off. The better ones follow the Harman curve pretty well through the audible range. I think descriptions like "veil" are meaningless. Just look at the response curve and compare it to your target. That will tell you what you need to know.

    Most of the discussion of "room size" with headphones leaves me scratching my head and wondering if the people have ever even heard a good speaker system in a room. No headphone comes close to sounding like that. Headphones put the sound through the middle of your head. They don't present it 14 feet in front of you and reflect the sound off walls. Apples and oranges.

    People discuss stuff in the rest of Head-Fi that we don't discuss much here because they are making stuff up.
    pstickne and TronII like this.
  3. castleofargh Contributor
    in your example, I would start by EQing the bump and check if turning the EQ ON and OFF affects that "veil". even without deep understanding in psychoacoustic, if you know what impression you're referring to, some testing can tell if a specific action impacts that impression or not, and how much. the trouble being that we usually won't know if an impression has a single cause.
    to track down a likely culprit within the frequency response, I'd try some tracks with a single instrument or just one voice. and when I perceive the "veil"(assuming I'm clear on what that means), I'd check on a spectrum analyzer where that instrument or voice is the most active in the audible range, and start EQing those areas to check if I can change the feeling of "veil".

    my HD650( it's OK, people can't recognize it with the black line over it, they do this on TV all the time, anonymity is ensured :thumbsup:. or would you prefer that we call it HDXX so people can only guess what's behind the XX and they'll never know?), certainly gives me a different impression depending on the EQ I use. I can't tell if the signature is the only cause of "veil", but it certainly can participate. and bigshot has a point mentioning masking, if we take the pretty strong boost in the 3kHz area and how fast the signature goes down and by own much, it would make sense to expect a feeling that the area just after is even quieter than it measures. a gentler decrease or maybe not as much of a boost near 3kHz would probably increase the impression of presence just after. and maybe having that area at a lower amplitude than the entire 100Hz-1Khz region, also gives a subjective impression of a recessed high frequency.

    or it could also be that people compare that headphone to others with noticeably more upper range, so the face off makes the difference more obvious. but then again I've seen people say that a given amp help reduce or remove the "veil", I'm pretty curious about that TBH, and not only because I expect it to be nonsense. maybe there are stuff going on with distortions or the way the low end is rolled off, etc that also participate in that legendary "veil" impression. the mystery remains(mostly on the matter of what "veil" means).
    pstickne and TronII like this.
  4. TronII
    The *Headphone Redacted* sounds completely flat to me beyond ~110Hz, which is why I put "roll-off" in parentheses.

    As to bigshot's statement about room size, I agree, but am using "room" as an analogy for the environment inside the cups and how our brain interprets auditory input.
  5. BassicScience
    To address your question 2) and speaking as a layman: I suppose the brain judges the acoustic size of the recording venue (such as it may be) based on natural reverberation cues in the recorded sound. Reflected sound (from backwaves, listening room surfaces, etc.) not intrinsically in the recording can confuse the brain and cause imaging and accurate perception of the original acoustic to suffer. If that's true, it would seem that open-back headphones may be the listening sweet spot for imaging since they minimize backwave and room interference compared to closed-back phones or speaker systems. That said, I find my speakers to provide the more involving listening experience overall compared to my open-back Focal Utopias. As the poster above noted, it gets the sound "out of your head" which seems to be a favorable trade-off with the slight loss of imaging capability. The bass from full-range speakers is also far more powerful and realistic than from any headphone.
    TronII likes this.
  6. TronII
    I find the statement about bass interesting, as headphones tend to have a bass response that extends further into the lower end of human hearing than most speakers (unless you can find a subwoofer that goes that low that isn't out of production, sold out, or overpriced :wink:)
    pstickne and BassicScience like this.
  7. BassicScience
    The best (and lowest reaching) bass I've heard from headphones has been from planar magnetics, which I don't own (as yet, anyway). The Utopia has a reasonably extended bass response, but it clearly rolls off at a higher frequency than my Vandersteen Treos. Furthermore, with speakers one feels the bass in a way you really don't with any headphone.
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  8. TronII
    Now I understand; you were talking about the sensation of the bass, rather than how low it goes according to the spec sheet. My bad.
  9. Glmoneydawg
    If the bump is attracting your attention,perhaps its distracting you from other flatter frequencies?...i have owned a few sets of senns over a period of about 40 years,never heard them as "veiled".
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
    TronII likes this.
  10. TronII
    Same here (but not for 40 years), I'm just talking about :deadhorse:.
  11. Glmoneydawg
    There is a physical aspect to bass that headphones can't do.My lcd2's have bass response specs that should compete with my Vandersteen quatro speakers....no physicality ...no competition.
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
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  12. Glmoneydawg
  13. Davesrose
    Sennheiser veil has been discussed ad nauseam in this forum for years. Some talk about amplification and mods effecting it...but I also think it has to do with ear physiology. Headphone drivers are close to our ears and directly interact with our ear pinna, as well as ear canals varying among people, as well as hearing differences in cochlea. Our perception of hearing also changes from day to day due to chemical fluctuations and tensing of middle ear muscles at any moment. The Harman target response is meant as a good average to what most people view as "natural"...but there is even variation with it (and it keeps getting updated). I never sensed a "veil" with the HD580/600/650...but I don't discount other's opinions. Because of differences in physiology, I don't think it's just source equipment, but there's also a variance in tonal perception for brands based on individual hearing.
    TronII likes this.
  14. bigshot
    How low are you talking about? My sub goes down to about 15-16Hz I think. Powered subs generally go below 20Hz.

    I think the Sennheiser veil is a "shared delusion"... the sort of thing that propagates in internet forums.
    TronII likes this.
  15. TronII
    I never heard of the Sennheiser Veil until after using the Sennheiser HD 6xx and finding that rock music sounded "muffled", so I looked it up. I haven't noticed it with other Senns, and I quickly got used to it. I don't even see it as a veil anymore.

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