How do you define Grain?
Oct 21, 2018 at 12:46 PM Post #2 of 20

Zenvota

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Ringing in the treble 20181021_124536.jpg
 
Oct 21, 2018 at 1:15 PM Post #3 of 20

SilverEars

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Ringing in the treble
I think that's bass response performance. Tyll's graphs always has that for bass response.


For me, grain is when there is peak with dips around it, it creates a boldness in the treble with no tones around it to support the treble sound. I think grain results from after 6k and under 10k where treble gets bolder.

I think it may have to do with earlier roll-off of treble before 7-8k starting to roll-off. Creating an uneven-ness in response. Generally, uneven-ness I think.
 
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Oct 21, 2018 at 1:30 PM Post #4 of 20

Zenvota

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I think that's bass response performance. Tyll's graphs always has that for bass response.

Top wave is 30hz, bottom is 300hz. 300hz shows resonance. Id call resonance in the treble grain.

Hd800:
Science_InterpretingSquareWaves_Graph_SennheiserHD800.jpg

No resonance, not grainy.

What you're describing Id call thin sounding treble, where a smooth response would be full. xD
 
Oct 21, 2018 at 9:43 PM Post #5 of 20

megabigeye

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Per the Head-Fi glossary:
Grainy - A slightly raw, exposed sound which lacks finesse. Not liquid or fluid.

And Stereophile:
grainy A moderate texturing of reproduced sound. The sonic equivalent of grain in a photograph. Coarser than dry but finer than gritty.

Though, to be perfectly frank, I don't think any two people mean quite the same thing when they use a lot of audiophile lingo. I usually a) try to figure it out from context, b) ask precisely what is meant, or c) just move on and try to find other opinions and descriptions. I try to avoid using the jargon as much as possible, though I know it's not really possible to avoid it completely.
 
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Oct 21, 2018 at 11:01 PM Post #6 of 20

SoundHelmet

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I usually interpret grain as missing or hidden information/detail.

Can be caused by ringing, resonances and treble peaks that hide detail. This kind of grain can sometimes be fixed with EQ.

Other times the driver just can't handle treble well and detail is lost and replaced with less distinct sounds.
 
Oct 22, 2018 at 1:26 PM Post #8 of 20

megabigeye

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Per the Head-Fi glossary:
Grainy - A slightly raw, exposed sound which lacks finesse. Not liquid or fluid.

And Stereophile:
grainy A moderate texturing of reproduced sound. The sonic equivalent of grain in a photograph. Coarser than dry but finer than gritty.

Though, to be perfectly frank, I don't think any two people mean quite the same thing when they use a lot of audiophile lingo. I usually a) try to figure it out from context, b) ask precisely what is meant, or c) just move on and try to find other opinions and descriptions. I try to avoid using the jargon as much as possible, though I know it's not really possible to avoid it completely.
If you're a pedant and word nerd like I am, looking up definitions of the words used in definitions of other words is a fun way to kill time and also a good way to gain a deeper understanding of a given subject, like audiophilia. On the other hand, when the definitions are as bad as the ones given here, it's just an exercise in frustration. Infuriating or amusing, depending on your view, I suppose.

Let's get word nerdy!

Neither glossary has definitions for "raw," "exposed," "finesse," or "fluid." Both glossaries define "liquid" as "textureless sound." The Head-Fi glossary defines "texture" as "A perceptible pattern or structure in reproduced sound;" and Stereophile has it as "A perceptible pattern or structure in reproduced sound, even if random in nature. Texturing gives the impression that the energy continuum of the sound is composed of discrete particles, like the grain of a photograph." Neither glossary gives a definition for "pattern," "structure," "energy," "continuum," (nor "energy continuum") or "particle." Even if I try to intuit meaning, I still can't parse out what in the world "pattern or structure in perceptible sound" means as it pertains to everyday listening.

So far: the Head-Fi definition is rendered completely meaningless beyond how the reader interprets it.
Moving on to the Stereophile definition...

"Texture / texturing" we've already covered. "Grain" here is just recursive (in itself frustrating, in my opinion, but at least here it's in reference to an analogy). "Dry" on Head-Fi is defined as "Lack of reverberation or delay as produced by a damped environment. May comes across as fine grained and lean. Opposite of Wet;" and on Stereophile as "1) Describing the texture of reproduced sound: very fine-grained, chalky. 2) Describing an acoustical space: deficient in reverberation or having a very short reverberation time. 3) Describing bass quality: lean, overdamped." And "gritty" is not defined on Head-Fi, and on Stereophile it's defined as "A harsh, coarse-grained texturing of reproduced sound. The continuum of energy seems to be composed of discrete, sharp-edged particles." Thankfully, most of the words in that definition we've already gone over. Phew.
I was beginning to feel hopeful that the Stereophile definition of "grainy" wasn't completely useless, as "reverberation," "decay" (I assume "delay" is a typo), and "damping" are all defined in the Stereophile glossary, but the terms used in the definition of "gritty" are completely undefined.

So to recap:
Head-Fi's definition:
Grainy - A slightly [UNDEFINED], [UNDEFINED] sound which lacks [UNDEFINED]. Not [UNDEFINED] or [UNDEFINED].

...and Stereophile's:
grainy A moderate [UNDEFINED] of reproduced sound. The sonic equivalent of [UNDEFINED] in a photograph. Coarser than ["Lack of reverberation or delay as produced by a damped environment. May comes across as fine grained and lean. Opposite of Wet" OR "1) Describing the texture of reproduced sound: very fine-grained, chalky. 2) Describing an acoustical space: deficient in reverberation or having a very short reverberation time. 3) Describing bass quality: lean, over damped."] but finer than [UNDEFINED].

Good luck figuring out what all of that means! I often feel like when I'm trying to describe my headphones that I'm stuck between a rock and a [UNDEFINED].
 
Oct 22, 2018 at 8:17 PM Post #9 of 20

SoundHelmet

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If you're a pedant and word nerd like I am, looking up definitions of the words used in definitions of other words is a fun way to kill time and also a good way to gain a deeper understanding of a given subject, like audiophilia. On the other hand, when the definitions are as bad as the ones given here, it's just an exercise in frustration. Infuriating or amusing, depending on your view, I suppose.

Let's get word nerdy!

Neither glossary has definitions for "raw," "exposed," "finesse," or "fluid." Both glossaries define "liquid" as "textureless sound." The Head-Fi glossary defines "texture" as "A perceptible pattern or structure in reproduced sound;" and Stereophile has it as "A perceptible pattern or structure in reproduced sound, even if random in nature. Texturing gives the impression that the energy continuum of the sound is composed of discrete particles, like the grain of a photograph." Neither glossary gives a definition for "pattern," "structure," "energy," "continuum," (nor "energy continuum") or "particle." Even if I try to intuit meaning, I still can't parse out what in the world "pattern or structure in perceptible sound" means as it pertains to everyday listening.

So far: the Head-Fi definition is rendered completely meaningless beyond how the reader interprets it.
Moving on to the Stereophile definition...

"Texture / texturing" we've already covered. "Grain" here is just recursive (in itself frustrating, in my opinion, but at least here it's in reference to an analogy). "Dry" on Head-Fi is defined as "Lack of reverberation or delay as produced by a damped environment. May comes across as fine grained and lean. Opposite of Wet;" and on Stereophile as "1) Describing the texture of reproduced sound: very fine-grained, chalky. 2) Describing an acoustical space: deficient in reverberation or having a very short reverberation time. 3) Describing bass quality: lean, overdamped." And "gritty" is not defined on Head-Fi, and on Stereophile it's defined as "A harsh, coarse-grained texturing of reproduced sound. The continuum of energy seems to be composed of discrete, sharp-edged particles." Thankfully, most of the words in that definition we've already gone over. Phew.
I was beginning to feel hopeful that the Stereophile definition of "grainy" wasn't completely useless, as "reverberation," "decay" (I assume "delay" is a typo), and "damping" are all defined in the Stereophile glossary, but the terms used in the definition of "gritty" are completely undefined.

So to recap:
Head-Fi's definition:
Grainy - A slightly [UNDEFINED], [UNDEFINED] sound which lacks [UNDEFINED]. Not [UNDEFINED] or [UNDEFINED].

...and Stereophile's:
grainy A moderate [UNDEFINED] of reproduced sound. The sonic equivalent of [UNDEFINED] in a photograph. Coarser than ["Lack of reverberation or delay as produced by a damped environment. May comes across as fine grained and lean. Opposite of Wet" OR "1) Describing the texture of reproduced sound: very fine-grained, chalky. 2) Describing an acoustical space: deficient in reverberation or having a very short reverberation time. 3) Describing bass quality: lean, over damped."] but finer than [UNDEFINED].

Good luck figuring out what all of that means! I often feel like when I'm trying to describe my headphones that I'm stuck between a rock and a [UNDEFINED].

I can for sure relate to all this.
Many Audiophile terms are poorly defined which makes reading online impressions often confusing if not outright misleading.
Even the better defined terms like "Warm" or "Bright" are still based on the perspective and reference points of the listener.
Which is why I think its important reviews/impressions should include comparison to other headphones and even point out specific parts of a song if possible.
Also readers need understand a reviewer by reading the reviewers impressions of other gear.
Even then... it can be tough.

Although it is not always practical, there is no replacement for trying Gear in person.
 
Oct 22, 2018 at 9:10 PM Post #10 of 20

megabigeye

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I can for sure relate to all this.
Many Audiophile terms are poorly defined which makes reading online impressions often confusing if not outright misleading.
Even the better defined terms like "Warm" or "Bright" are still based on the perspective and reference points of the listener.
Which is why I think its important reviews/impressions should include comparison to other headphones and even point out specific parts of a song if possible.
Also readers need understand a reviewer by reading the reviewers impressions of other gear.
Even then... it can be tough.

Although it is not always practical, there is no replacement for trying Gear in person.
I find "warm" to be one of the worst offenders. It's just interpreted so broadly and for most people it's just a feeling (which, if I'm honest, is how it is for me). People would be better off just saying, "it has a certain... je ne sais quoi." At least then I can imagine them wearing a foppish beret and sipping merlot.

As it is, I've seen it used as:
An emphasis on bass in general
An emphasis in mid- to upper-bass
A slightly loose or ill defined bass
An emphasis on the mids
A de-emphasis of upper-mids through treble
A (pleasant) harmonic distortion that can be used to describe any frequency
Indistinct
Interchangeable with "dark"

I agree that having comparisons can be useful, but it won't matter to somebody who has no experience with the gear discussed.

Also, to be clear, I'm not complaining or raging or anything like that. I do find it to be frustrating, but I'm also amused by it and I find thinking about it very interesting. I consider it a design problem that can probably be solved and I enjoy thinking about how that might be done.
 
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Oct 22, 2018 at 11:05 PM Post #13 of 20

Cruelhand Luke

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It's so simple.
When a headphone is grainy, it's like raisin cous cous.
When a headphone is warm it's like chocolate pudding.
That clears everything up. You're welcome.
 
Oct 22, 2018 at 11:19 PM Post #14 of 20

SilverEars

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Top wave is 30hz, bottom is 300hz. 300hz shows resonance. Id call resonance in the treble grain.

Hd800:


No resonance, not grainy.

What you're describing Id call thin sounding treble, where a smooth response would be full. xD
Sorry, the top wave is for bass and the bottom responds depending on the treble according to his explaination in the video. Just that the bottom wave form expresses in time domain reveals treble sharpness. He says if there is a large rise in peak earlier on of the step function input, the headphone sounds brighter.
 
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Oct 22, 2018 at 11:39 PM Post #15 of 20

Cruelhand Luke

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Sorry, the top wave is for bass and the bottom responds depending on the treble according to his explaination in the video. Just that the bottom wave form expresses in time domain reveals treble sharpness. He says if there is a large rise in peak earlier on of the step function input, the headphone sounds brighter.
what does that have to do with pudding? Or, really, couscous, if we are being honest?
 

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