Lack of bass in earbuds not all it's blown up to be? (discussion on MDR-E837 inside)
May 9, 2002 at 4:55 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

Joe Bloggs

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Since I saw my old beloved Sony E837 earbuds up for sale again (I had an old broken pair and was told before that they were 'discontinued'--what salespeople here always say if they don't have something in stock it seems
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) so I bought a pair home, thinking that it just might sound better than my infamous EX70 when both are unEQed.

At the era when I last used the E837 it thought it must have anemic bass that must be EQed up or something--they're just ordinary earbuds, and all earbuds must have anemic bass right?

Well, now that I have the perfect reference (in terms of frequency response) in the form of the EQ'ed EX70, I found that this is not the case.

Let's just say that the bass on the E837 is less overblown than on the EX70, but by no means is it lacking. In fact, after I matched frequency response with the EX70 EREQ, I found that it has just the right amount of low bass response but too much lower midrange.

This can be illustrated graphically:

attachment.php


Invert the EQ and you have a rough sketch of the frequency response of the MDR-E837--relative to the 'ideal frequency response' for earphones as given by Etymotics Research.

(If you have listened to their phones I bet you'll agree with them
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)

I can't decide which phone sounds better un-EQed, the E837 or the EX70--the EX70 probably sounds more fun, with its built in mega bass
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but the E837 probably sounds truer to the source, albeit with a telephoney / ancient record colouration to it...

The E837 also has an extreme HF rolloff... its response above 15kHz is down off the charts--the boost I put in that EQ is not really enough but there's not much point in boosting it further as it would push the overall volume level down too much...

Perhaps it's just because these buds fit my ear so well that I get decent bass response out of them? These are 13.5mm diameter and fit my ears like a glove
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and sits really close to the entrance to my ear canal. Any bigger and it gets uncomfortable
 
May 9, 2002 at 6:13 PM Post #2 of 8

MacDEF

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Quote:

Originally posted by Joe Bloggs
Well, now that I have the perfect reference (in terms of frequency response) in the form of the EQ'ed EX70


Joe, after having heard the EX70, I'm very skeptical that even an "EQ'd" EX70 can ever be a perfect reference for bass. They have no low bass to speak of (and I don't think they can even produce it), and the bass they do have is basically extremely exaggerated upper bass. So even if you EQ'd the upper bass to be relatively flat, you're not going to get any low bass.

In addition, the E837 will not be able to produce any low bass at all -- my guess is that you're really comparing the upper bass in the two headphones. Even the MX500, which are generally considered to be the earbuds with the best bass, don't have much real bass -- it's more upper bass.
 
May 9, 2002 at 6:24 PM Post #3 of 8

Joe Bloggs

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Uhm, MacDEF,

Apparently Etymotics research does not aggree with you...

http://www.etymotic.com/images/PDF/er6info.pdf

You can see that it does have a midbass hump, but the low bass is all there too...

Perhaps here's a reason why you go on and on about how the K501 has NO LOWEST OCTAVE WHATSOEVER... either your ears are not sensitive enough to low bass, or you have too high an expectation of the proportion of low bass in your music
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Or it could just be that you don't get a good fit with your EX70, or yours are different from mine and the ones Etymotics Research got for testing...

Anyway, you can see that the lowest slider on that EQ is 55Hz. At that frequency both phones are able to produce a satisfyingly loud drone
smily_headphones1.gif
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lower frequencies I dunno, but my graph should be about right for the range of freqs it covers
smily_headphones1.gif


edit: you can see here
attachment.php


That in my EX70 EQ I don't even try to boost any part of the bass--and my ears tend to agree with that
smily_headphones1.gif

edit: Oh, except for 0 to 40Hz, on the parametric EQ on the right--oops
 
May 9, 2002 at 7:37 PM Post #4 of 8

MacDEF

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Quote:

Originally posted by Joe Bloggs
Perhaps here's a reason why you go on and on about how the K501 has NO LOWEST OCTAVE WHATSOEVER... either your ears are not sensitive enough to low bass, or you have too high an expectation of the proportion of low bass in your music
confused.gif


Wrong, sorry. If my ears were "not sensitive enough to low bass" I wouldn't be able to hear such bass in any other headphone, either, which is not the case. As for my expectations, they are based on headphones that can produce it accurately -- unless you think that's too high an expectation?
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Quote:

Or it could just be that you don't get a good fit with your EX70, or yours are different from mine and the ones Etymotics Research got for testing...


I would suspect the former might be the case -- given the poor earpieces on the EX70, it wouldn't surprise me if I wasn't getting a good seal. On the other hand, I would think a decent seal would also be necessary to get the emphasized upper/mid bass that the EX70 exhibit, as well (and that I did hear).
 
May 9, 2002 at 7:42 PM Post #5 of 8

thomas

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Etymotics are definately not sonys. Considering that they are positioned a few mm from the ear drum, it only has to move a tiny amount of air to create the deepest freqs. Sony's are definately not the same, and i have to agree with macdef (!) that the ex-70's have no deep bass;

And my Sony e888s and e838s have no bass whatsoever, which is probably better than the boomy #%@ of the ex70's...

Deep bass is the stuff BELOW the lowest band on your EQ, your EQ is only affecting the MID BASS

Yes, fit does play an important role in the overall sound, you may be lucky to get a very good fit. But still, i can't see how fit could possibly give those earbuds deep bass response equal to a full-sized headphone (not to mention a good speaker system)
 
May 10, 2002 at 4:08 AM Post #6 of 8

Joe Bloggs

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Hey,

Did either of you take a look at the link to the ER6 brochure?

See what Etymotics Research thinks about the bass on the EX70...

OK, if you call 55Hz midbass... fine with me
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I don't seem to have much expectation for really low bass on headphones... if it's there in great amounts it just seems to give me a headache instead of having any audible effect...
confused.gif


I don't listen to much stuff that go that low...
 
May 10, 2002 at 7:53 PM Post #7 of 8

Tim D

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I consider 55hz midbass...perhaps on the lower range of midbass. 20-30hz I consider low bass, and a range where headphones really differentiate themselves in their ability to even reproduce this range effectively. LOW bass does not usually give me headaches...it is bloated midbass that gives me headaches. And it is hard to say that you don't miss LOW bass at all in your music if you've never heard low bass in the music before. Usually you need to hear ultra low bass, maybe appreciate it, THAN take it away before you can really say if you miss it or not.
 
May 10, 2002 at 9:38 PM Post #8 of 8

coolvij

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I think my KSC-35s (before they broke) had super low bass out of a CHA47.

Then again, maybe all I was hearing was some super tight mid-bass........I wonder what the KSC-35s actual range is.........
 

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