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Isone Pro - the best thing you could ever get for your headphones on your computer

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by lunatique, Feb 22, 2010.
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  1. stuck limo
    I have ANOTHER question: I have Morphit installed and I have Foobar running it. It only starts up when Foobar starts up. How do I access it through Foobar when Foobar is already running? I do George Yohng's VST Wrapper installed/running and I'm still not sure how to access that either. Any help on both would be great.
    EDIT: I'm using this on JRiver now (both are demo). Works flawlessly and without the Foobar BS learning curve.
    EDIT AGAIN: With Morphit, does anyone know how "actually" accurate the sound signatures are? I'm using Sennheiser 600, so if I switch to say, Audeze LCD2, how "accurate" or "closely" will that *actually* sound to a REAL pair of LCD2?
  2. buchignani
    I am a great fan of both TB Isone and Meier products and have both.

    I have to state most strongly that Meier crossfeed (which I have in the Daccord DAC and the Classic headamp and once had in the original Meier headamp before I modified the latter to the point that the crossfeed was gone) is nothing like TB Isone and is not a replacement for it.

    As case in point, I listen to a lot of early jazz and blues, all of which originally was recorded in mono. As either a mono track or converted to stereo Meier cross feed of course does nothing whatever here. But as stereo tracts TB Isone gives a really valuable sense of space to these old recordings. Switching TB Isone on and off here isn't a subtle difference.

    For modern things recorded in stereo crossfeed sounds entirely different. I greatly prefer TB Isone here.

    p.s. I use TB Isone when playing software epianos also: it coveys a bit more realism when listening with headphones.
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2017
  3. abm0
    Tried it in Audacity on a Windows XP. Nope. Just as unconvincing as every other crossfeed plugin (including the much touted Meier Crossfeed, which I tried in the form that comes included with foobar2000 on Android). The unchanging fact is: nothing sounds like it's in front of me when I'm listening on headphones.

    Really the only cheap trick I've found to get such an impression is to bow my head forward as if asleep in a chair: since soundstage-central sources typically sound to me like they're playing from above, with my head in this position "above" becomes "forward" and I can sorta convince myself the singers are up on a stage in front of me. :) But these fancy-shmancy plugins? No. Not one. All they do is add reverb and make things sound like they're more "in a room", but that room space is everywhere except in front of me.
  4. Bloos
    You should definitely try OOYH if you haven't, it really worked for me but only with some of the speaker options
    abm0 likes this.
  5. castleofargh Contributor
    welcome to non standard head club. the delays and EQ of cossfeed plugins are made based on some average standard, just having a different head size results in a lot of changes. I'm in the same situation with mono sounds going up onto my forehead, or inside my skull depending on the headphone I use.
    the trial of OOYH is free so there really is no reason not to try, but in my case while the room reverb can be very nice, it didn't do anything for that mono going up situation. and TBH it's to be expected as this system also has to make assumptions about the listener to be able to deliver a generic solution.

    the simple but costly option is to get a Smyth Realiser, they expect to start delivering the latest model in August. you put mics in your ears, and measure both your speakers and your headphone, so the result is for you within the limits of the microphones and how good your headphone is as good copy implies good fidelity. still, better than pretty much anything else for people like us who don't apply to the standard head shape/size.

    a more involving and way more limited solution is to try those sounds http://recherche.ircam.fr/equipes/salles/listen/sounds.html and find out which HRTF comes closer to offering you a proper front area.
    even if you don't fnd anything good, I find that very revealing of how different 2 human subjects can perceive the exact same sound. HRTF isn't a trivial thing.
    as you'll typically only use the 30° and 330° at 0 altitude HRIR to simulate speaker position, that's the position you have to focus on when listening to the rotating signal. how good the rest of the circle is will ultimately be totally irrelevant and will not help.
    once you think you have something not too bad, you download the corresponding HRIR files and you use as I said the 330° and 30° azimuth at 0° altitude in a "true stereo" convolver. the only convolution scheme that will allow to mix 2 stereo files(so 4 channels).
    there is a plug in for foobar, but other options are available too to apply those impulse responses.

    if that felt complicated, well it's also not great ^_^:
    -first the website offers a limited number of people measured, so you need to get lucky to find someone like you.
    -second, those tests care for position, not for distance, so even with the best result it shouldn't be better than fairly close monitors. don't expect anything like a custom version of OOYH with vast rooms and cool reverb as the test is done with relatively close sound sources and pretty much no reverb.
    third, in my case at least, the one HRIR closest to what I want happens to have a pretty clear imbalance between left and right and I can clearly notice it. so I started to make my own wave files with the impulses, taking one side and inverting the channel to make the other side and get symmetry.
    pretty time consuming all in all for TBH a very limited result. it's better than what I get from a basic convolver when it comes to sounds supposed to be in front of me, but that's about it.

    so back to my first advice, get a Smyth Realiser, accept the fact that you're a special case and standards don't apply to you. it's expensive to be different but at least it's calibrated on you for the best result. or accept that you're different, and give up on getting good imaging with headphones ^_^. I've been contemplating both options for years.
    gevorg, Bloos and abm0 like this.
  6. abm0
    OK, full disclosure: about 5 years ago I killed my sensitivity to the 7.5 kHz - 10.5 kHz range in my left ear pretty much completely and gave myself mild tinnitus to go with that (but above that range I can still hear just fine to 16-17 kHz). Now if this were the cause of my inability to hear realistic binaural soundstage reproductions on headphones I would have to have the same problem when listening to real sounds in real environments, but I don't. So thanks for your suggested head-shape hypothesis - that seems much more plausible, not to mention it keeps my hope alive that somehow something could be set up to work for me. :)

    One tentative addition to that hypothesis though: I also have pretty atypically forward-rotated pinnae (think "Obama ears") and I'd be very surprised if that didn't play an important part as well in my different way of hearing sounds as coming from forward/non-forward sources. The obvious solution to this (part of) the problem would be significantly angled drivers like those in the HD800 or more excentric and adjustable designs like the AKG K1000 / MySphere 3.1, none of which I have any means to try for now to confirm. :)

    But thanks for the additional software-based suggestions, I'll give those a try one of these days.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  7. castleofargh Contributor
    sure, I mentioned the head size for crossfeed as one obvious variable, but of course everything unique to us will have a unique impact on sound and our outside ears are no stranger to uniqueness.

    as for hearing loss, I imagine there is such a thing as too much to work properly, but the high frequencies slowly fade away with the years for all of us and we keep doing ok up to a point. IMO if your brain could adapt well enough to provide the right position for most sounds in real life when you have your eyes closed, then you're fine and headphone problems are specifically headphone problems.

    for issues like wrong stereo for albums mastered on speakers, Isone and other guys do a great job at trying to offer more or less specific tuning and compensation. the difficulty being to make sense of all the options and to know what is needed for us. of course the closer the listener is to having a standard head, the easier it should be for him to get good results.
    as for binaural recordings, they have the same kind of problems. if they're done with 2 mics alone, then they lack the changes usually applied by your head and torso. and if they use a dummy head, the cues applied to the sound are for that dummy head, which is based on the average human dude. so we're back to point 1, our head isn't average and we're screwed with average targets compensations.
  8. abm0
    Ahh, looks like there's still more to do than just compensating for the shape of the head, torso and ears and adding the right spatial cues in the recording itself: our brains also factor in the changes we hear in the sound when we turn our heads relative to the source (which we tend to do IRL without thinking about it, we don't listen to live music sitting perfectly still, like statues). Found this in a short primer with some references: https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones..._the_bitter_debate_over_headphone_soundstage/
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
    castleofargh likes this.
  9. castleofargh Contributor
    yup. sadly once again it is but part of the cues interpreted by the brain. I've have a wave NX head tracker, a little buggy Bluetooth crap you put on your headphone to track gentle head rotation. it's associated with 2 possible software. the most advanced one offers some default room reverb where you set how much reverb you want, and a 360° position for where you wish to have the virtual speakers. the only anatomical customization is to add 2 measurements for your head size and it does improve some aspects of the imaging. BUT! it's far from enough to call it customized sound or to get a good soundstage if your head isn't close enough to their references. it's the recurrent problem with most systems, from basic crossfeed to OOYH... they assume you have an average head. in that specific respect, TB isone is better. even if you are required to get where you need to be empirically with setting that aren't as intuitive or directly related to objective anatomy, you do get the ability to customize a lot of parameters.

    anyway the head tracking is kind of fun if only because it brings novelty to the headphone experience, but when faced to chose between a crossfeed setting that works ok for me, and head tracking, I soon forgot about the NX head tracker and its various limitations.
    the more we try to locate a sound the more likely we are to move our head to better "triangulate". more positions for the same sound source increases the accuracy of the localization drastically and our brain knows the trick. sadly getting great precision when the position cues are bollocks, that's of limited benefit ^_^. so IMO head tracking is a great bonus in addition to everything else being well done. thus why I feel like only the Smyth realiser might get me and my weird head to the second base of headphone audio.
  10. abm0
    Funny thing is none of the HRTF-based samples did anything frontal for me, but I distinctly heard things going on (way out) in front of me in some of the OOYH samples they put in the "Multi-Speaker System Comparison with 2 CH jazz music" demo file. Particularly the third room response they have there put the rolling cymbal and the clapping-whatever clearly and undeniably forward for me, and at a respectable distance too. So now I need to find those good rooms in their trial and see how fully left- and right-panned sounds work in those cases where The Elusive and Magical Forwardness is achieved. :)
  11. castleofargh Contributor
    indeed if you have already found something that seemed to work for you and your headphone, jump on it ^_^.

    about the hrtf samples, I gave that limited and complicated idea to try and deal specifically with you mentioning how the frontal sounds felt as if coming from above. in my case while most were indeed going up when coming closer to the frontal position, a few were at the right ... "altitude", or even a little below. but as I said those samples are made based on sound sources really close to the subjects. so good distance isn't one of the effects you would achieve anyway even if you happened to really match one subject perfectly.
  12. ironmine
    I achieved an interesting and quite pleasing effect by using the Isone Pro Surround VST plugin on regular stereo. I connected the left and right channels to the left and right inputs of the Isone Pro Surround (these are its inputs #1 and #2), but also connected the attenuated (to 25%) left and right channels to the rear left and rear right inputs (these are its inputs #5 and #6) to add some ambience behind. I also attenuated (to 25%) the left and right channels and connected them both to the center input (#3) of the Isone Pro Surround VST plugin to simulate the center. Input #4 (LFE) is empty.

    Set the other settings (head, ears, room, etc.) of the plugin to your liking.

    I also placed the Fab Filter Pro-Q 2 VST equalizer in front of the Isone Pro Surround VST plugin to boost the bass a bit.
  13. abm0
    In the end I gave up on OOYH because of the price/importance-to-my-life ratio :p, then kind of forgot about the issue, moved on to better headphones, and as I was searching for methods to equalize them to "perfection" (in terms of FR) I came across this: David Griesinger claims to have a method to achieve frontal localization by using equal loudness EQ-ing (based on 1/3 octave noise bands) of a calibrated speaker set up in front of you and then of your chosen headphones, with the difference between the two resulting EQ curves to be used for correcting your headphones' response:

    And an update about it from his website:
    I only just found this, so I have no idea if it works. (Not seeing any buzz about it in the forum either, though his name has been mentioned before in the past, before he came out with this.)
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
    castleofargh likes this.
  14. castleofargh Contributor
    so it's https://www.head-fi.org/f/threads/h...dphones-advanced-tutorial-in-progress.615417/ but made in one app, then used with a centered speaker as reference. I have to say that's pretty cool and could be used to try and match different headphones or other things like that.
    as for the specific frontal matter, I see no reason why it wouldn't work. you don't need to play with ITD when the source is centered so a proper EQ should indeed do most of the job. now my personal reserve on this concerns all the cues that weren't meant to be centered. those ideally would require their own EQ and delays for their respective positions. so it's not even close to a good complete simulation. the purpose here really is a better center "image".
    I happened to try doing this in a way more convoluted way(and now I cry thinking that something like his app existed), when fooling around with HRTF and ended up preferring some 15 or 30° references to my 0° one. it immediately made the center go bad, no question about that, but at least to me, it made the rest more enjoyable than the EQ for "image".

    I wonder what result we could get if we were to calibrate on that while using a crossfeed effect we already like? might be fun. now, is guessing his email address part of the quest or am I just missing the obvious and it's just davidgriesinger@ whatever?
    -want to try the exe, email me
    -my email has changed, check the new one on my website
    goes to website
    -the old email addresses still work. But I mostly use GMAIL

    I've played way too many games not to notice this is a quest. I hope the reward is a sword with +30att. or maybe he doesn't really want strangers to email him? ^_^
  15. abm0
    Almost, but that variant uses tones, not noise bands, and may not be as good as Griesinger's - we are trying to equalize to listen to broad-band sounds after all.

    Pay attention to the wording in the quote above - he tells you exactly where to find the address. The same hint is also available at the top of the page, before the updates section begins. :)
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
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