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Discussion in 'Headphones (full-size)' started by nomax, Sep 8, 2016.
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  1. hrklg01 Contributor
    Gold is one of the softest metals. When by any case during the mounting process into the driver motor any scratch would happen - the thin gold plating would avoid the scratch to be bare to the iron alloy.
    BR heinz.
  2. hrklg01 Contributor
    The drivers shall just hover above the ear very close to it.
    The adjustable lever angle is designed to cover various natural ear angles relative to the head.
    According to all tests done, it fit for ~ 90% of the human. This is because the head-bow itself can also be worn more front or rear on the head and so offer additional different positioning of the driver relative to the ear.
    To our experience, it does fit not better or worse compared to traditional headphones. However, the best position to find the personal ideal one has to be learned longer than this is true for traditional hp's.
    BR heinz
  3. dm24
  4. LaCuffia
    So as I understand it - the people who gave their name for a pre-order would be able to officially order and purchase it by the end of December, and shipments would begin in January?
  5. hrklg01 Contributor
  6. Muinarc
    For me the best position I got was pretty close to my ear but not touching. I adjusted it a lot and had it close enough that if I talked my ear might just barely brush the cloth cover of the driver but even then it felt fine to me. You can close them enough to smash right up against your ear but they didn't sound great that way so I don't think anyone would want to listen to the MySphere like that anyway. I don't have an aversion to my ear touching things though and I wear glasses as well. My ears are probably squarely in average size and stick-out territory though. I do have a big-ish head (hat size 7 3/4) and the band's clamp was totally comfortable for me, I didn't have any hot spots.
  7. hrklg01 Contributor
    Just want to add one important fact :
    Due to the very different shapes of human outer ear, the ideal position on the head of MySphere 3.1 is different for each person.
    But, of sure everybody will find the best one for himself after a certain time.
    Once found, the scale on the bow make it easy to recall this position again.
    The adjustable angle of the driver offer a personal well balanced relation between large sound stage and warm coloured sound intimacy with clear and powerful real bass.
    Take your chance and try yourself!
    My personal best position of the driver center is about 1cm below the middle and half centimeter behind the ear channel entrance.
    Br heinz
  8. HiFiGuy528
    After 3 days of MYSPHERE 3.1 at RMAF, now I am back home using "normal" headphones. I am sad.... :frowning2:

  9. analogsurviver
    A visit to hrklg01 - the creator of AKG K-1000 and its successor, the MySphere 3.1

    Part 2 - Interview, musings and thoughts on MySphere 3.1 and audio in general

    This second part of my report on visit to Mr. Heinz Renner has not been planned in advance - it happened naturally, it is a mix of an interview, musings and thoughts about audio in general as it unfolded troughout the 12 hours we spent together.

    I went to Heinz Renner's new home in Italy by train. Due to pretty bad public transportation connections from Slovenia, it was arriving to the nearest train station either VERY early in the morning - at 06:12 AM to be precise - or few minutes before noon. It was agreed trough PMs that Mr. Heinz will be waiting for me at 06:12 - after I confirm by SMS I am indeed on the train in question, as there was a real chance I will be an hour late, arriving on the next train - since you can never be sure if the bus scheduled to arrive in Trieste will not be a couple of minutes late - making me missing the train. There is no longer passenger train connection from Slovenia to Trieste - after the catastrophic sleet that hit Slovenia in 2014 - and railroad in particular - to the extent no living person can remember. The ice that formed on the road to village Zaplana was at spots more than 30 cm thick ( undrivable by anything ) - and the only supply was possible through helicopters only for more than a week.

    Žled na Zaplani v februarju 2014

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Žled na Zaplani v februarju 2014

    Even after three years, the chopped off tree-tops in large portion of west Slovenia testify to the power of nature - long after most of the broken trees and other, mostly electrical infrastructure has been removed or repaired. Railroad in this region was hit bad enough to preclude any traffic for over a year - and now it is operating only for freight trains.

    OK - so here we are, standing at the railroad station platform, shaking hands - next minute, Heinz takes me by his car to his spanking brand new house. During the short ride ( a few kilometers in single digit ), he commends me for my English (as evidenced in PMs), to which I reply I have a natural talent for languages, if not exactly fluent speaking I can communicate in German, Italian, French and can "read" Czech and Polish - besides my native Slovenian and what used to be Serbo-Croat prior to desintegration of Yugoslavia.

    After arriving to his beautiful new house at the outskirts to the village, he asked me whether I wanted to drink something. "An anti-tank coffee, please ..." His response were lifted eyebrows - and I had to admit I did not get any sleep last night - and a large strong coffee would just be the best in this case. This immediately lead to an intro of human ability to subjectively evaluate sound by Heinz - fearing I may not be able to listen and evaluate the sound properly. I reassured him I will be OK, that I am used to listen and work under less than optimal conditions and all is needed is a short "breather" before we begin in earnest.

    We were having our coffee after I assembled my rig next to Heinz's - chatting about this and that. I was still a bit in "standby" mode - yet I quickly realized he was looking a bit puzzled why I did not look exactly at him while speaking to him. I explained I have astegmatism - and I can actually see better if I look at something at an offset angle (about 15 degrees ) than looking straight forward. To this he replied by hushed laughter, saying he had similar problems as early as in school; but not due to physical sight problems, but due to the fact he relied - and is still relying to this day - far better on his hearing than his sight. While in classes, it took the teachers some time to realize that he is very much paying attention to what they were saying - while HIM looking trough the window, for example. I replied I prefer to work in a quiet environment; if, say, a tiny screw falls on the floor, I will know exactly where it ended by the sound - but in a loud environment or carpeting that masks the tiny sound of a small screw falling on the floor, I will have trouble finding it. So - the first common feature with Heinz, relying more on sound than vision .

    Then we began listening - to the both pairs of AKG K-1000s and Stax system, in order to familiarize ourselves with recordings being played - Heinz has an extensive library of well recorded music on his laptop while I brought a selection from my own masters recorded mainly in DSD. Heinz at first examined the modified K-1000 I brought - and it took the lion's share of is his head time prior we started listening to various samples of MySphere 3.1. Believe me - there is none harder to convince that there are flaws that can be improved upon in an audio device - then the very designer of that audio device.
    I chose not to comment with my words - but will relinquish the floor for the comments on the modified K-1000 to Heinz himself.

    Stax Lambda Pro/ED-1 Monitor Diffuse Field Equalizer/SRM1MK2 also proved to be a formidable system - and Heinz admitted he has been not familiar with the ED-1 Monitor Diffuse Field Equalizer - which can bring the Lambda back in the game at this elevated level.

    Finally - MySphere. The first 3D printed plastic ( white colour ) prototype - and three more already metal something-from-prototype-to-pre-series-production-run samples were eagerly anticipated to be put trough their paces. One of the samples had 0.0 hours play at the time of my arrival - and I assume it has been assembled just the previous day. The pace at which Heinz has been working prior to the first public appearence of MySphere at RMAF 2017 obviously did not allow even measurements to be taken of the very headphones we had for listening this very day. The measurements came a couple of days later - basically confirming what has been heard at the session. Mr. Heinz asked me not to publish these measurements, saying that 90% of the people would incorrectly interpret them - something I concur with and therefore these measurements will not be made public.

    Had I not have the privilege to test the AKG BAP-1000 Processor for a week or so in the leisure of my own home a couple days before my visit to Heinz, it would have been much more of a topic. At the introduction of the AKG K-1000, it was only available as a set with BAP-1000 - an amplifier capable of powering it correctly AND one of the first DSP processors to cater for the individual HRTFs of respective listeners. What BAP-1000 basically does is to convert the recordings meant for speakers to something very similar to binaural recording - with the possibility to measure each and every listener's HRTF and store it to BAP-1000 . As an anecdote - setting 1 corresponds to the HRTF of the commercial manager of the AKG at the time, setting 2 is - IIRC - Heinz's, and so forth - with a slot for the card on which is stored the HRTF measurement of any individual who wants to have it custom measured. To those who have not been able to audition the K-1000/BAP-1000 combo; it is the most convincing out-of-the-head reproduction of sound on "headphones" possible, with the possible exceptions of the Smyth Realiser (which I have not been able to audition yet ). Then again, remember it is approx 30 years between the two ... BAP-1000 is, by today's standards, quite slow as far as the DSP goes; and to my ears accustomed to DSD128 masters no longer acceptable. Yet, with all the advances that happened in the three decades after the BAP-1000 introduction, I am certain a modern version with fast enough DSP processing could be created for the forthcoming MySphere, too - yielding a soundstage similar to the best loudspeakers can offer.

    As binaural recordings do not require any processing per se for the reproduction over the "headphones" other than catering for the individual person's HRTF, I had just the right recordings - made not with the artificial, but with binaural mics worn on my own head. Here, another curious thing happened; I could not overlook Heinz was obviously staring at my own ears - stating we both have very similarly shaped outer ears (!) . As outer ear shape is as individual in humans as are the fingerprints, this is the second common feature for the two of us. Thus , although not 100% optimal, my headworn binaural recordings were also quite well compatible with Heinz's ears.

    As stated in part 1 of the report on my visit, It has been agreed in advance I will not post any impressions on the sound. Based on in-the-works-soon-to-be-completed-prototypes>pre-series production run nature it would be premature - and unfair. Based on the inputs from this day of intensive listening, I am sure Heinz & Co. back in Vienna, where he travelled the next day, could produce a MUCH better sounding version of MySphere - otherwise the impressions from the RMAF could not have been so favourably positive.

    I did note that one of the prototypes had 0.0 hours of play upon my arrival - and had some 3 hours of playing when I left. At the time, Heinz agreed it was not right - but, given the RMAF looming in just a week or so, that is understandable. I did express my notion that any audio device that does change its sound with the so called burn-in should have been burnt-in by the manufacturer - so that the customer gets the correct sound right out of the box. In PM a couple of days after my visit, Heinz reported that the sound did improve - particularly in the treble - after this sample has been subjected to three days (72 hours ) of playing normal music at about 100 dB SPL. The driver is novel design, not many people know or can predict exactly how glass foam used as a part of the membranne behaves over time - but following this development, rest assured that commercially available product will have received proper burn in and consequent measurements - assuring the customer of the top possible quality.

    During the very nice lunch, prepared by the lovely wife of Heinz, Madonna ( not the one who recently moved to Portugal ), Heinz asked me one question that has, obviously, been on his mind throughout my visit so far. The question of the COMFORT of the new MySphere.

    To those unfamiliar with the original AKG K-1000 and their - or rather lack of - comfort; the original K-1000's only contact with human head is trough the usual self-adjusting headband ( that self adjustment may or may no longer work after almost 30 years... ) and four "pillows" that contact head at the temples. It is exactly this temple pressure that defines K-1000's acceptability as far as comfort goes; some lucky ones have no issues, some like me have to mentally prepare to work with K-1000 ( remember, a "headphone" is a tool to a recording engineer, not an entertainment item ... ) - and after working with K-1000 over say 5 hours or more in one go, my temples begin to hurt enough to preclude further use of K-1000 - even after a break, even the next day. By his own admission, Heinz has similar issues with K-1000 himself.

    The new MySphere differs in the way the drivers get supported on the human head. It is achieved trough a headband - which some have criticized to look girly, due to the fact it really looks similar and is worn similar to the typical female hair headband. Compared to the original K-1000, it is both more versatile regarding head size(s), has better acoustical properties - AND, most important, really is MUCH more comfortable compared to K-1000.

    However, I had to be honest with my answer regarding the comfort; although much better than the K-1000, after about 4-5 hours it is still something of a relief to put the MySphere off your head. But after an hour or so pause, one can - unlike with K-1000 - normally resume work without pain.

    Heinz says he will experiment with different materials for removable headband pads; however, based on my own research regarding the K-1000, just different material is simply not enough. The relative pressure the headphone exerts upon the listener's head has to be reduced - and that means larger width of the headband/pad. A most optimum balance between headband width (and therefore additional weight... ) and padding should be found; ensuring the pressure on listener's head is at the minimum.

    A note on resolution of the recordings being played on MySphere samples is in order; I did demonstrate to Heinz one of my most extreme recording, that of the historical steam train ( which has greater frequency and dynamic range than any music... ). First as edited demo video ( sound in PCM 48 kHz 16 bit, usual for DVD ) - and then the original DSD128 master. Again, I will leave the comments on the difference heard to Heinz - suffice to say is that I will try each and every way to figure out how to - at least - approximate the sound of the master in anything that also can allow for video.

    Throughout the conversation, English was used. However, when discussing particularities about the MySphere 3.1, Heinz felt much more comfortable explaining it in his native German - with me stopping him at words that were not entirely clear to me for an explanation. He went into great detail - quite unlike some other engineers, did not try to evade uneasy questions and was most forthcoming with any detail regarding the basic design, execution, materials used, etc - a stark opposite of the usual "we do not disclosure any(thing) regarding our suppliers/manufacture/etc to our customers". A most refreshing position - after having been denied any real answer beyond marketing gobidicook by several manufacturers of audio equipment, those making headphones included. However, I will not disclose anything on my own; that is up to Heinz to decide what part of the story will be made public and what remains under the lid.

    After the lunch we went for a short ( about a mile ) walk around the village. We, naturally, talked. He has been basically involved with audio since his teens - more than 4 decades ago. Shortly after designing the K-1000, he left AKG - for next 2 or so decades he was with Philips, being involved in - among many other projects - something diametraly opposite from the exclusive low volume production of top tier headphones - the loudspeakers for cellphones and smartphones. I forgot how many millions of these have been produced during his tenure with Philips; but I can remember him saying it took 0.08 seconds (!) to produce a typical phone speaker ...

    Since the decision to produce the successor to the legendary K-1000, Heinz poured a lot of his own cash into the project. The exact amount should not be mentioned, but let's say it is peanuts to (illegal) arms dealers - and beyond comprehension to mere mortals. One certainly can not accuse Heinz of not putting his money where his mouth is - that is for sure.

    Throughout the journey, it is referred to as a team that is behind the MySphere. Not entirely true - as technical part is entirely on Heinz's shoulders. Other partners provide ( partly, additional ) finance, measuring and manufacturing facilities, etc - but are not involved in the design and development directly. It is only trough Heinz's vast knowledge and contacts with people who can - and are willing - to participate in such low volume hence low profitability programe - that makes MySphere possible at all. To those not familiar with the actual production of some thing who only see the final MSRP ( around 4K, depending where in the world you live and how taxed you are ... ) and thinking it is very expensive if not overpriced; go out and try to source even basic , far less exotic (semi)products by a subcontractor. After learning the series would not be in the thousands if not tens of thousands, most will simply say - they are not interested. Finding the subcontractors that not only will participate in low volume production, but are also willing to supply the stringest tolerances required, is much harder stilll. There are more than dozen subcontractors involved in the production of MySphere 3.1 ... and making it all happen is in no small measure possible only by Heinz's involvement.

    Hats off to hrklg01 !!!

    I have a great interest in K-1000 - and, of course, its successor. I am more interested in the final outcome - the sound they are capable reproducing, with particular emphasis on binaural reproduction - so the driving requirements, which have been and still are an almost insurmountable hurdle for most people with K-1000 - are not that important to me. Yet the ability to drive MySphere with any decent smartphone is not to be neglected - it is one hell of a lot progress embodied in this fact alone !

    4K is a lot of money for "headphones". Yet, in this case, the modular concept that should prove highly durable (and easily repairable, in unlikely event should something go wrong...) while offering the unique sound capabilities, may well be the one that most easily justifies this undeniably high price. In today's pricing of audio gear, one might even consider the price to be a (relative) bargain when compared to similarly priced competitive products - none of which can match the unique capabilities of MySphere.

    The advent of K-1000 almost three decades ago brought the desire to further enhance the reproduction - by adding the tactile sensation of bass, which "headphones" simply can not produce. One way is the use of subwoofer(s) - preferably crossed over around 50 Hz and phased correctly at the listener position. Heinz insists that MySphere should be almost 10 dB louder at 20 Hz compared to K-1000; true, but only if and when one uses MySphere with the drivers most closely to the ears without actually touching them. If a more spacious sounding soundstage is desired, the "wings" with drivers can be opened at a higher angle, just like in K-1000 - but the price is the loss of the proximity effect used to bring up the bass below 50 Hz in level when the drivers are closest to the ears - yielding a very similar result as with K-1000 with open wings. So, if you desire - and expect - the bass that, say, Stax Lambda Pro ( driven properly ) can generate on its own ( without the tactile feeling of bass, of course ), you will, to be honest, need the additional subwoofer(s) - regardless of claims otherwise.

    Mr. Heinz has seen this post prior to being made made public. There will be further pro et contra comments by both Mr. Heinz and me regarding the use of subwoofer(s) - but what is concrete data is the measurement by Heinz of the frequency response of his 0018 ( obviously the prototype he considers the best as of this writing ) vs stock Focal Utopia ( at the bottom of the post ).

    Taken together with the addition of subwoofer(s) and the updated version of the BAP-1000 processor, playing good ( binaural ) recordings, MySphere should be ultimately capable of the most realistic reproduction of sound yet achieved - ever. Regardless if previous possibilities were loudspeakers or headphones. It is perhaps the first "headphone" of the generation that can be considered to be - finally - coming of age.

    After recording the reproduction of all headphones in pictures described in Part 1 it was time to say goodbye to my hosts, Mr. and Ms Renner. Heinz drove me to the railroad station - while he and his wife went on to attend the evening Italian language course.

    One can not conclude but :

    La vita e bella !

    Matrix Petka, ballhead, drwlf and 3 others like this.
  10. qazxsw80
    Thanks, it was very interesting to read.
    It would be nice to see some measurement to compare with something more popular than Utopia, like the Sehnheiser HD650/800. Or, maybe, the old AKG K1000 and the AKG K812.
  11. hrklg01 Contributor
    Hello, I do not tend to compare measurements much.
    This is because the human and artificial ear influence the received data very much and therefore it's really difficult to judge the result in a correct way.
    The measurement shown by "analogsurviver" was used to compare the bass level only. Also it should be mentioned that the Focal was placed tight to the artificial ear an Mysphere prototype by far not. It was placed ~ 2.5cm in front of the rear part of the ear.
    However, I show a comparison of the old K1000 and the Mysphere prototype which we listened to. (It is not the latest version shown at RMAF!)
    This comparison is quite ok, as both headphones are really open and use not tight cushions:
    K1000 vs MYSPHERE 3.1 pre-series - Holzohr.JPG
  12. qazxsw80
    That's very true but unfortunately people are going to judge by measurements made by other people anyway, like Tyll from innerfidelity or that guy from superbestaudiofriends. Many people now are very excited about measurements (too much, in my opinion) and many think that just by looking at them they know how the headphones are going to sound. So, maybe, it's not a such bad idea to provide people with the measurement made as correctly as possible by you, not some amateur from superbestaudiofriends forum. Just my opinion, maybe I'm wrong.
  13. james444 Contributor
    I've been waiting for part 2 of your story... thanks for the great read!

    Needless to say, I'm highly impressed by Heinz making his dream of a state-of-the-art AKG K1000 successor come true. Looking forward to hearing the final tuning... :smile_phones:
  14. analogsurviver
    The conventional FR measurements of true earspeakers ( K-1000, MySphere, conditionally Sony PFR-V1 and Jecklin Float ) do not - even remotely - tell how the "headphone" is going to sound compared to conventional designs using earpads/eartips - like HD600/650/800 etc. The earspeakers are also incomparably more difficult to measure - as they can be adjusted relative to the listener's ear in many more ways than anything with pads or tips, and each of these settings will have slightly different measured FR curve. The imaging they are capable of producing due to zero obstacles they present on, around and between the ears of the listeners has to be heard .No set of graphs has yet been devised that could - even to to a highly competent professional - even begin to tell how imaging with any given headphone really works.

    It is good to have measurements from various sources - as long they are not made with a purpose to promote one product while dismissing another. Sometimes even amateur(ish) measurements that do not conform to any accepted standard help improving the product - and should not be dismissed just because they do not come from tried and proven sources.
  15. qazxsw80
    I don't think it's that simple. Some guys with the self-made (usually poorly) measurement equipment make graphs without knowing much about how to measure and how to interpret what they measured and then based on that they start to make very strong assumptions about the actual performance of the headphones. They mislead other people and make them believe good or bad (usually) things about the headphones. And then many of those people completely lose interest in those headphones even without trying to listen to them.
    For example, I remember that case, when Tyll from innerfidelity measured the AKG K812 and the THD graphs were quite bad. And then people started claiming that the headphones so expensive shouldn't measure like that and so on. But after some time Tyll himself told that he was not sure that he measures the correct thing and people should not pay much attention to those graphs.

    By the way, Heinz, I almost forgot to ask you, after watching the video where you disassemble the Mysphere, so it can be transported easily, do you plan to make some carrying case for the Mysphere? Maybe a flat one? It seems it can be very compact.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2017
    drwlf and dm24 like this.
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