Making sense of Frequency Response, or should I even?
Nov 11, 2008 at 2:05 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 11

morfic

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I got used to looking at frequency response numbers, the wider the range, the better, a 30-16Khz would not sound as good as a 6Hz - 23kHz (human range left our of this example). (This held true for me in the past)

After some back and forth reading on head-fi.org i settled on a pair of UE Super.Fi 3 Studio, with a range of 20-13kHz, they'd seem to be lacking, but they are not.
I like them and chose them based on reading repeatedly that they have a ver flat response. Kind of as a baseline first IEM that fit my $100 price tag.
Bass is good *if* i don't lose my seal, which i now most of the time keep w/o issues. What astonishes me is the mids and highs in a quiet room with the Zen turned way down (like 3-4 out of 24(25?)).

So is there any point to looking at the frequency response range on IEMs at all? My old way of looking at phones tells me i am missing about 9kHz of range. My ears tell me it's all there.

After some while with the Super.Fi 3, i'd like to look into some Super.Fi 5 Pro or ER-4P or others in this price range, having a very black and white analytical mind, i crave cold hard numbers i can peruse in my decision making, since i'd like to *avoid* trying 5 pairs, just to build my opinion about them.

Anything you could provide to help me further "quantify quality" (i know, it's getting pretty subjective, but as i am into photography, the way a lens draws appeals differently, but other things like resolution can still be quantified by some measures if one is interested in measurable details, and i like to look at both, subjective and objective measures)


Thanks for reading all of this,

Daniel
 
Nov 11, 2008 at 2:13 AM Post #2 of 11

cotdt

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the frequency response range is meaningless without amplitude figures. The 6Hz on an IEM is likely to be only 1/1000th the volume as the midrange frequencies, that's why you don't hear them.

think of it as a number that describes a really sharp camera lens (like 300 line pairs per mm), but that number only applies to the center of that lens, and that lens is blurry as hell in the corners.
 
Nov 11, 2008 at 2:15 AM Post #3 of 11

chinesekiwi

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Well, you shouldn't look at frequency graphs in the form of how low the IEM can produce bass and how high it can produce.

What you really should be looking at is the actual line and the peaks and dips in the graph as it give you a rough indication of it's properties.

e.g.

graphCompare.php


From this, I can tell that the Apple joke earbuds has zero bass, and extremely bloated midrange. Also that the J-Jays and the Apple IEM's are quite bassy while the J-Jays don't rolloff (dip in the frequency graph) ) as early on the Apple IEM's.

Remember it's only a rough indication so it tells you nothing about the quality of the parts inside, it's biuld quality etc... e.g. it would be downright silly to say that the Apple iBuds are better than the J-Jays for example.

EDIT: Add in what coddt said as well.
 
Nov 11, 2008 at 4:06 AM Post #4 of 11

morfic

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Quote:

Originally Posted by cotdt /img/forum/go_quote.gif
the frequency response range is meaningless without amplitude figures. The 6Hz on an IEM is likely to be only 1/1000th the volume as the midrange frequencies, that's why you don't hear them.

think of it as a number that describes a really sharp camera lens (like 300 line pairs per mm), but that number only applies to the center of that lens, and that lens is blurry as hell in the corners.



That's a nice analogy, of course if i do happen to keep my subject about centered, then said lens would be great for portraits for example, unless there is something ugly about the blurr.

But this together with chinesekiwi's reply following yours means unless i happen to come across one site that compares them both, and shows the graphs, i can't really go by any of it. And even if they show graphs, i still would look at it more from a "flavor" aspect to see if it's what i'd like.

That's similar to a site that compares individual lenses, and graphs certain aspects out.
Are there such sites or do most people into audio tend to avoid such quantizations?
 
Nov 11, 2008 at 4:15 AM Post #5 of 11

Eagle_Driver

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Quote:

Originally Posted by morfic /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I got used to looking at frequency response numbers, the wider the range, the better, a 30-16Khz would not sound as good as a 6Hz - 23kHz (human range left our of this example). (This held true for me in the past)


The frequency response figures serve only to weed out the crappiest of the crappy performers, IMHO. They are very meaningless, in my experience. In fact, I have extensively listened to headphones with only a 20Hz-20kHz frequency response which sound far better than some headphones with a 5Hz-30kHz response!
 
Nov 11, 2008 at 11:12 AM Post #6 of 11

jinx20001

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yeh im the same aslong as the phones are rated 20-20 or close thats good enough for me, when you get your average sony claiming wide range response its usually a tactical bit of marketing, and if they do respond that well it dont matter because you as humans wont pick it all up.

let alone theres not much music at all that goes close to even 20hz or 20khz.
 
Nov 11, 2008 at 3:34 PM Post #7 of 11

Xena

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Quote:

Originally Posted by morfic /img/forum/go_quote.gif
...with a range of 20-13kHz, they'd seem to be lacking, but they are not....


It's interesting to hear that you don't find the upper range lacking, because this is precisely the reason I'm looking for new ones. I find the rolloff above 8000Hz in the SuperFi.3 to be too drastic for me. What kinds of music do you listen to? Maybe my tastes are so different that my kind of music just has more content in that range.
 
Nov 11, 2008 at 6:24 PM Post #8 of 11

jinx20001

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Xena /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It's interesting to hear that you don't find the upper range lacking, because this is precisely the reason I'm looking for new ones. I find the rolloff above 8000Hz in the SuperFi.3 to be too drastic for me. What kinds of music do you listen to? Maybe my tastes are so different that my kind of music just has more content in that range.


maybe your hearing is more sensitive than you think because i think everything above 10khz is just one tinny sound after another with no real depth and range.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 6:22 AM Post #9 of 11

morfic

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Xena /img/forum/go_quote.gif
It's interesting to hear that you don't find the upper range lacking, because this is precisely the reason I'm looking for new ones. I find the rolloff above 8000Hz in the SuperFi.3 to be too drastic for me. What kinds of music do you listen to? Maybe my tastes are so different that my kind of music just has more content in that range.


ASP, BlutEngel, Bach, Wagner, Rammstein, Uebermutter, wumpscut, e nomine, apocalyptica

It's the quiet passages when a piano (or similar sounding synths) plays alone or vocal/spoken passages that impresses me, i had to actually adjust my EQ to turn down the overpowering mids and highs and get a little more richness, now apocalyptica's cellos sound fuller and i still have the crystal clear vocal passages in all of the above.

Low end is much more lacking than mids or highs to me, although believe me, i will upgrade the S.f3 sooner or later, but they are not terrible to go replace them right now.
I am glad i get a lot of response to the (limited) EQ on the zen from these phones and that i was able to make them sound fuller than what i first felt when i first used them.

But i'll see how this all sounds on the D2 once it gets here.
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 9:08 PM Post #10 of 11

nikongod

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Quote:

Originally Posted by cotdt /img/forum/go_quote.gif
the frequency response range is meaningless without amplitude figures. The 6Hz on an IEM is likely to be only 1/1000th the volume as the midrange frequencies, that's why you don't hear them.


1/1000 is -60dB, your number is fail.

Ety er4 (whichever version) are +/- 2db from 20 to 1khz, and +-6 OR +12-0 from 1k up (depending whose FR graphs you believe).
 
Nov 15, 2008 at 10:54 PM Post #11 of 11

TacticalPenguin

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Quote:

Originally Posted by nikongod /img/forum/go_quote.gif
1/1000 is -60dB, your number is fail.

Ety er4 (whichever version) are +/- 2db from 20 to 1khz, and +-6 OR +12-0 from 1k up (depending whose FR graphs you believe).



And your number is fail as well. 10dB is a power of 2, 1/1000th is closest to 1/1024, which is 2^10, meaning 1/1000th is actually -100dB.

Anyways, etymotics are very honest with their frequency response; yes, they can go farther than their frequency responses say, but their frequency responses are +/-6dB, while the 6-23khz creatives are probably +/- 30 or more dB.
 

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