How and why do members fall in love with second tier headphones?
May 8, 2015 at 11:53 AM Post #391 of 483

cjl

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The answer is fairly simple:  Audio testing is archaic, inconsistent and incomplete.  We use 1960 methodologies and then ask "why doesn't this work?"

Take frequency response measurements for an example. Most are measured at a single SPL.  If you listen louder or softer, you will get a different response curve. Same goes with driver velocity.  Lower the SPL the listening level, and the driver response time will change.
 
Why do Grados sound better than they test? Blame the tests not the phones - and then recognize that Grados likely excel at untested SPLs where many people actually listen.

In the age of big data, audio testing is back in the stone age.


Having listened to the lower-end grados a number of times (namely the sr80i, sr225i, and sr325is), they are exactly as bassless and weak on the low end as the measurements would indicate. They somehow still manage to sound good and fun (in a particular way) when used with certain genres of music, but they certainly aren't accurate, and the measurements I've seen seem to reflect that fairly well.
 
May 8, 2015 at 12:12 PM Post #392 of 483

toolio

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This discussion certainly has taken an interesting turn since I was curtly informed a few days ago that "you clearly don't understand (or appreciate) how science works." In fact, and no thanks to the person who made that comment, subsequent posts here have given me a greater understanding of how sound science does, and does not, work. My thanks to recent posters who have gone to great lengths to post intelligent and explanatory comments that have furthered my understanding of the topic. I`ll never be a sound scientist, and I will likely always enjoy the subjective end of audio, but I can now appreciate how subjectivity and science can meld. I appreciate all efforts to elucidate, and will continue to bristle at dismissive "you clearly do not understand" comments. One approach wins friends; the other does not.
 
May 8, 2015 at 12:29 PM Post #393 of 483

luberconn

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in a perfect world, we'd all have top tier headphones. i think the main reason for the majority of members loving second tier headphones is most members can not afford top tier, so they love the products that they can reasonably attain.  i've seen members with top tier headphones sell them off and keep their "second tier" headphones due to the price difference not being worth the improvement in sound. 
 
May 8, 2015 at 7:35 PM Post #394 of 483

gikigill

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I have top end headphones and IEMs but I still buy mid end stuff for a change of flavour. I have invested about a thousand dollars in a highly tweaked Bottlehead SEX but that doesn't stop me buying the Schiit Vali.

Same with IEMs, usually bass oriented ones.
 
May 8, 2015 at 7:49 PM Post #395 of 483

castleofargh

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  in a perfect world, we'd all have top tier headphones. i think the main reason for the majority of members loving second tier headphones is most members can not afford top tier, so they love the products that they can reasonably attain.  i've seen members with top tier headphones sell them off and keep their "second tier" headphones due to the price difference not being worth the improvement in sound. 


I believe the price to be a secondary factor. somebody passionate about sound will have to pay a lot to get TOTL speaker system. compared to that a 1500$ headphone is almost a benediction. of course I'm thinking as a privileged guy in a rich(apparently debts don't count ^_^) country.
even a 350$ headphone is crazy expensive compared to what the average guy get paid in some countries.
but the hifi world is very obviously focusing and setting their prices for rich countries, so the target IMO is still in majority able to afford an expensive headphone if he/she really wants one.
 
to me a more obvious problem is that there are only so many places to try the headphones. so some will buy a hd800 or a LCD or even a stax because they read it's the top and can afford the top(how cool is it when you can say you have the best something in the world ^_^ that's super cool). but the same way, I'm guessing a great many people actually don't go for those products because they just wouldn't pay so much for something they can't try first.
because people going to meets or having one way or another the opportunity to listen to all famous headphones, that's a super small niche I would guess.
 
May 8, 2015 at 8:10 PM Post #396 of 483

maverickronin

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As this is supposed to be a science forum you need to offer more than mere assertion.

Head-Fi Sound Science - as scientific as astrology itself. Because someone said so. Probably.

 
In case you haven't noticed, we're discussing the assertions themselves.  People say such things.  The question is why.
 
They are the observation we are trying to explain and not data we are using as part of an explanation.
 
  The answer is fairly simple:  Audio testing is archaic, inconsistent and incomplete.  We use 1960 methodologies and then ask "why doesn't this work?"

 
Did you miss my point?  I already explained where the discrepancy comes from
 
May 9, 2015 at 9:01 PM Post #397 of 483

julian67

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They are the observation we are trying to explain and not data we are using as part of an explanation.


The supposed "observation" is in fact just an assertion, even worse it's an assertion heavily loaded with obvious bias and almost visibly collapsing under the weight of its own implicit assumptions. The author may as well have written "I really know my ****, I have golden ears and have like to buy really expensive stuff which obviously equals best stuff! But there are all these dumbasses out there who spend less and are so ignorant that they are even happy with the less expensive stuff...what gives?"

There is no data. Nobody has obtained any credible information. For better data than this thread supplies simply attend the broader, rounder end of a horse and wait a few minutes.
 
May 10, 2015 at 1:33 AM Post #398 of 483

Stereocilia

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"The purpose of science is not to analyse or describe but to make useful models of the world. A model is useful if it allows us to get use out of it." Edward De Bono
 
Equal Loudness Curves based on the work of Fletcher and Munson at Bell labs in the 1930s is a useful model. The curves are the average results from many subjects..limits    
 
Headphones Impedance measurements are semi useful models, again the impedance model has obvious limits
 
The Philips Golden Ear Challenge is a useful model. This model is only limited by hearing loss 
 
The models mentioned "allows us to get use of it" of course YMMV like preferences vary 
 
This is sound science and everything else is bias, preference, untested models, BS (belief system), marketing hype...  
 
If you  know of any other peer reviewed science model (useful) this is the forum for that model
 
PS. The Ultimate Headphones Test - AudioCheck.net and Headphone Test Tracks: Dr. Chesky's Ultimate Headphone Test Disc
 
Be kind to your ears after all what good are Tier 1 headphones without Tier 1 ears to go with them 
 
May 10, 2015 at 3:09 AM Post #399 of 483

Redcarmoose

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The supposed "observation" is in fact just an assertion, even worse it's an assertion heavily loaded with obvious bias and almost visibly collapsing under the weight of its own implicit assumptions. The author may as well have written "I really know my ****, I have golden ears and have like to buy really expensive stuff which obviously equals best stuff! But there are all these dumbasses out there who spend less and are so ignorant that they are even happy with the less expensive stuff...what gives?"

There is no data. Nobody has obtained any credible information. For better data than this thread supplies simply attend the broader, rounder end of a horse and wait a few minutes.



The above statement shows you have actually not even read this thread. You have read the title and then posted some remarks. Yet you enjoy the condemnations somehow? Do yourself a favor and read the thread, you may in fact learn a little.:blush:

The thread has been a success due to allowing us to question the validity of top tier listeners and the folks validity for loving cheaper headphones.

Your posts somehow only show your suspect for those who have more than you?
 
May 10, 2015 at 10:36 AM Post #400 of 483

vid

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  "The purpose of science is not to analyse or describe but to make useful models of the world. A model is useful if it allows us to get use out of it." Edward De Bono

 
You may be misreading the quote, I don't know. You're anti-analysis, that I know, so I assume you did misread it. That's to say, you won't get a model without describing and analyzing your observations; and what I assume ed was saying is that a model should be the goal and output of those efforts. I think your efforts are staggering in the opposite direction, but it should be interesting to see the model you're working on for us.
 
The thread has been a success due to allowing us to question the validity of top tier listeners and the folks validity for loving cheaper headphones.

 
I don't see how this thread can be considered a success when it can't even justify its tiering of headphones, the very core from which it asks the how and why.
 
May 10, 2015 at 1:00 PM Post #401 of 483

Delete

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I know that I'm late to the party, and haven't read through all of the replies but I may have something to add.
Dr Sean Olive and his associates at Harman international have done some extensive research and came up with the Olive Welti curve. It's not based on DF. They find that more people enjoy a warmer tilt to their headphone. Some people in the field of measuring are pushing hard for this plot. Ironically the headphones that measure close to this curve are at the sub $500 US price point
 
May 10, 2015 at 1:30 PM Post #402 of 483

vid

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^I had a small-scale look at this a while back, by creating five corpora of all head-fi user reviews for five different models of headphones, then established the relative frequency of a certain word in those corpora. Can't remember if the word was accurate, or natural, or something, but it was taken from the head-fi glossary and its definition there reflected neutrality of response. When plotted against total acoustic energy in the midrange - 2 to 4 kHz or so, a range which I think the work you mentioned was concerned with - relative to 1 kHz as per innerfidelity's raw plots, there was a strong linear correlation of r ~ .9 so that less energy in the midrange meant it was more likely for reviewers to have described the phones with the given word. Can't remember the correlation between word frequency and price, but it was less than convincing - though the most costly phones, the lcd-2, did have the highest word frequency. The obvious thing to note here, of course, is that you don't need to pay to reduce (or increase) energy in the midrange.
 
A strong correlation like that with somewhat imprecise observations may indicate a problem somewhere, though the results also seemed to agree to a degree with previous research in variation in the hrtf.
 
May 10, 2015 at 5:43 PM Post #403 of 483

Stereocilia

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You may be misreading the quote, I don't know. You're anti-analysis, that I know, so I assume you did misread it. That's to say, you won't get a model without describing and analyzing your observations; and what I assume ed was saying is that a model should be the goal and output of those efforts. I think your efforts are staggering in the opposite direction, but it should be interesting to see the model you're working on for us.
 
 
I don't see how this thread can be considered a success when it can't even justify its tiering of headphones, the very core from which it asks the how and why.

 
I'm a big fan of the of the Try It Before You Buy It  mantra. If anti-hype makes me anti-analysis so be it. Case in point.. Dr Dre set out to create professional-grade headphones for the everyone, claiming that “People aren’t hearing all the music.”
 
The reality is that Beats by Dre is much better at marketing than sound quality
 
The scientific models I mentioned in my prior post can confirm this reality. Thing is that those scientific models are not necessary to evaluate the sound quality of Beats by Dre, lots of ears on listening time to a wide variety of headphone makes and models will bring the same or similar conclusions to an experienced critical listener who does a lot of shopping around
 
I can't be more clear than this      
 
May 10, 2015 at 6:06 PM Post #404 of 483

Redcarmoose

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I'm a big fan of the of the Try It Before You Buy It  mantra. If anti-hype makes me anti-analysis so be it. Case in point.. Dr Dre set out to create professional-grade headphones for the everyone, claiming that “People aren’t hearing all the music.”

The reality is that Beats by Dre is much better at marketing than sound quality

The scientific models I mentioned in my prior post can confirm this reality. Thing is that those scientific models are not necessary to evaluate the sound quality of Beats by Dre, lots of ears on listening time to a wide variety of headphone makes and models will bring the same or similar conclusions to an experienced critical listener who does a lot of shopping around

I can't be more clear than this      



An unusual theme here at Head-Fi would ask the question "How and why does the general public prefer a non-audiophile sound signature delivered by Beats by Dre?"

We all have have viewed history when around 2010 many of our beloved headphone makers suddenly started to emulate the look of Beats.

The company somehow made headphones cool again. The streamlined look appealed to the hypersensitive teen crowd and sold like hot cakes.

Still one is to wonder how sound signatures are popular for awhile then fade. The momentary sound of the decade then being replaced by another in-sound. This is maybe the definition of how fickle the human hearing is in relation to audio style.

Anyone with a record collection can grab a stack of records from the late 1970s and compare to the detail treble centric new wave thin sound which is a 180 degree change from the bass laden 1970s.

Once again the public was into a sound and marketing responded. The record producers knew that type of mix now highlighted the new world of modern synthesis brought into reality by such instruments as the DX7.
 
May 10, 2015 at 6:41 PM Post #405 of 483

Shaffer

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I'd assert that the market doesn't give a flying fruck about sound quality; witness the millions who listened to distortion-laden Black Eyed Peas MP3 though Apple ear buds and did not complain. Beats sell because of their street cred, not their sound. Early CDs that sounded like polished chrome sold well. Only audiophiles complained. No one cares (on an aggregate scale).
 

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