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Do Objective Headphone Measurements Correlate to the Audiophile's Subjective Experience?

Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by purrin, Jun 16, 2012.
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  1. slwiser Contributor
    These types of comparison go a long way toward supporting your measurements but I would like to see in the future more of these types of multiple testing on different days; especially on those that will be considered problematic. 
  2. RPGWiZaRD
    Headphone A looks very similar to Denon D1100 which I personally hated so if that was the one I'll join the hating haha. E must be a Grado based on the sharp 100Hz bass peak and the shape of the highs.
  3. fishski13
    thanks purrin.
    i have to disagree with anyone who says that the participants in this poll were inherently biased due to their association to a certain forum.  i think there are a variety preferences, tastes and priorities among the participants, and would consider them to have a fair amount of experience with headphone reproduction in general.  the biggest difference is that more tempered opinions prevail without hype, engendering constructive criticism that i personally feel is more educational.  just because you spend $1K on a headphone (or amp, DAC) doesn't make it perfect.  i mean there are members there that have to fix the problems of $1-1.5K headphones with toilet paper and craft store foam to suit their needs.  i could care less what someone else prefers, and would consider myself more tolerant of peaky high-mids and highs than most, but i have never owned a headphone that i could rate "1" and doubt there will ever be one.  i'm OK with that and don't feel i need my choices validated with hype to make me believe i have "the best".
    $1K is a lot to spend on a pair of headphones.  there are some of us that feel that manufacturers are conducting "market segmentation" to the detriment of headphone culture.  we want more "better", not just more "different" with a higher price tag. 
  4. Gwarmi
     On a side note Purrin - any chance of throwing up an RS1i vs Shure 1840 graph?
     Just curious as I have been spending a bit of time with both in the portable sense - iPhone and ALO Mk2 (ok, not ideal I know) but in any case
     it really made me think about the differences between these two identically priced headphones ($695AUD each over here in Oz)
     My ears tell me that bass is more pleasing and full on the RS1i, high hats are also more prominent and real - everything else though and
     in between - my hat goes to the Shure 1840 which may coincide with some of your findings with the RS1i - it can be a forward, glary
     mess at times and yet - I love it all the same [​IMG]
  5. Maxvla Contributor
  6. colgatetotal
    This is a rather silly statement to declare. Many Head-Fi'ers, while not having the budget for a reference setup, are able to listen to high-end headphones at meets, from friends, or in specialized stores. Yes, there are some who have never listened to more than two headphones that aren't endorsed by rappers. But by increasing the sample size, those people will be only be a small portion of the data. you also lessen the margin of error. By even coming to Head-Fi, the average user here already has a raised interest in sound quality. But I guess that's not good enough for you. How did you assemble the users in your poll? Minimum budget? Or even worse, post count? LOL if you picked people based on post count or join date.
    The poll is also flawed in that you're comparing flagships against flagships. It'd have been much more interesting to put in some midrange or budget headphones in the mix. I know you have some on your site like the KSC75; it wouldn't have hurt to include them.
    FYI I've listened to every headphone on the poll except the ED8. In my experience it's actually more difficult to listen to midrange headphones at meets because many people ONLY bring the flagships. But what would I know, I'm just a "novice" Head-Fier. Perhaps you should've posted all of this in the Summit-Fi section. After all, they're the only type of people who matter in this poll. [​IMG]
    I didn't know one had to be familiar with high-end setups to make a comment like that. [​IMG]
  7. TMRaven
    I think Sanji summed it up perfectly.  Chances are anybody who has heard many or owned many of the 1000 dollar flagships already have enough experience to know which sound signature they prefer over another.  I don't think too many headphones are direct upgrades to one another, as most of the differences that everybody takes a liking to when comparing headphones are related to sound signature.
  8. purrin
    It is what it is. An informal survey which I think is interesting. I doubt the results would change that much if the polling was available to the entire HF population, as I've indicated, there was a good amount of variability in the replies despite the small sample sizes. I'm sure if the study was done again, but allowing anyone to participate, people would still find issues with it. It's easier to nitpick things apart from a distance than to actually do. Actually doing takes some blood, guts, sweat, and tears.
    MuppetFace likes this.
  9. shimmer n roar
    sometimes headphone measurements roughly align with what i hear and sometimes they don't, just as some people's listening impressions accord with my own and others don't. i've found that neither are reliable predictors for what i will actually hear from a headphone. then there are headphones that sound good to us regardless of how badly they measure... 
  10. purrin
    LOL. That's 2 out of nearly a 100 measurements.
  11. shimmer n roar
    exceptions to the objectivist's rule eh? [​IMG]
  12. CEE TEE
    After spending time listening to phones and looking at graphs, I have saved a LOT of money and time by being able to narrow down the list of phones I am interested in.
    I have phones in-house and know what my FR graph is (Sennheiser-supplied) + what some HD800 CSDs look like (with and without mods).
    I can look at the peak that annoys me on the 800 with certain recordings as well as the FR dip that makes things "not clear enough" for me on the HD650.
    That helps me when looking at graphs of phones I have not yet heard. Now I look at graphs and think "oh, I WANT to listen to THOSE sometime".
    The CSDs were like a big light bulb going off above my head.  Moar info.
    I learned what I liked about the Grados (speed, peakiness) and then also understood later what I ended up not liking about them as much (peakiness and comfort, for which I have not seen graphs yet).
    Thanks.  As I go along, I will definitely keep paying attention to graphs (FR and CSD)!
    And next week I'm finally sending some Alessandro MS-1 down for measurements.  That started me on this whole thing.  For a while I thought they were a little "dull".  Now I like them again.  
    Wonder what the CSD graphs look like...
    anetode likes this.
  13. purrin
    You do realize that while I find measurements handy, I am not objectivist. For me, it's really more a matter of curiosity - to try to find measurement methods and visualizations that will explain what we hear. I feel that I have been at least partially successful. Unfortunately, it's become rather fashionable to label people objectivists or subjectivists. No doubt a certain person who has a tendency of writing manifestos with lame analogies and his loyal blind servants have largely contributed to this atmosphere. But this very notion that there are these two camps at odds with each other is nonsense and really needs to go away.
    jgray91 likes this.
  14. rhythmdevils
    Which is why you are very vocal about liking two headphones which have issues showing up on your CSD plots.  Because you trust your ears first, and use these graphs as a tool to further understand what you are hearing.  LOL that quote actually proved the opposite point as intended... 
    People want things in such easy, black and white packages.  I'm not sure why you are supposed to choose between graphs and ears.  This whole thread is about how they relate to each other. 
  15. shimmer n roar
    no need to arc up bro, i was just having some fun with you. [​IMG]
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