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Objectivists board room

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by joe bloggs, May 28, 2015.
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  1. U-3C
    Funny. I've owned the Q701 for some time now, and for the vast majority of this period, I've never really liked them. Always preferred my AD700X way more. I've given the AD700X to my parents for about a year and I visit them once in a while. The previous month, I've stayed for an entire month.

    In the past, I usually prefer the AD700X when I visit them, but this time, I really miss the sound signature of the Q701. Now, I returned to my current home with both and I really have to say that I prefer the Q701. I've adjusted to new headphones and hated old ones with time (that's spent with or without them), but the adjustment period is usually quite quick. This kinda made me go against the whole "preferred sound signature" idea. Aside from the complicated subjectivity and vague words used to recommend sound signatures, how would you know what sound sig you really like in the end? Even with EQ...how do you know that it's not better off if you leave it alone and adjust to the sound (*cough* let them burn in your brain *cough*), so you might actually enjoy the headphones you bought in the end without thinking that you are making compromises? Funny how all the people have claimed I either hate the headphones because they weren't burnt in (my pair is second handed so that's not the problem), or claimed that the sound isn't for me. Maybe the past me just didn't fit the headphones...yet. :wink:

    Now I don't even know how to answer questions about headphones anymore. In the past I would say "go to a store and try them. If you like them, that's your answer."

    Maybe I should just say, "Go buy the cheapest pair you find comfortable and well built and listen to it for 5 years." :p

    I might as well convert to Lo-Fi-ism.
     
  2. bigshot
    That's easy... you listen to a lot of recordings critically and find the sweet spot where most everything you listen to sounds great. You use your analytical thinking and your ears. You patiently parallel park until you can't think of a single tweak that would make things better. It's good to start out from a calibrated point. Then you can add your own preferences. Nothing wrong with that.
     
  3. headwhacker
    This is what I observed personally. As soon as I switch to another headphone I get a feeling that I like it compared to the last headphone I was. Then after a while, I switch back, I kind of miss the signature of the previous headphone. Over time I also observed, that my taste in overall sound signature preference shifted a bit.
     
  4. U-3C
    Yeah, that makes sense and it's what I kinda do. Just surprised that after years of listening (including lots of critical listening) , my idea of the "sweet spot" changed somehow during the last month. :p
     
  5. Argyris Contributor
    I'm glad I got the HD 600 when I did, almost six years after I started buying nice headphones. In the beginning, when after two other ultimately disappointing headphone purchases I finally got my DT880, I breathed a mental sigh of relief and said, "Yes, this is the one." I had some issues with sibilance, but for the most part it sounded great. Everything else I'd tried had sounded too wonky or rolled off in the top octave for me. Over time, though, I started becoming less enamored with the analytical signature in general, and I started wondering if the people who raved about a touch of warmth and comparatively relaxed treble might be onto something. When I got the HD 600, within a day it fit like a glove, and I can't imagine enjoying any other signature. The rest of my collection has been shelved for over a year now. If I'd gotten the HD 600 right at the beginning, when I was looking for a detailed, analytical signature, I might have dismissed the Sennheiser as yet another overhyped headphone (I'd already fallen for the hype of the M50). The DT880 was the right headphone for me back then, whereas over time I came to be irritated by the sibilance and dryness typical of analytical headphones, for which the HD 600 ended up being the perfect antidote.
     
  6. bigshot
    My sweet spot for response doesn't change at all. When I EQ I'm listening for specific things in specific bands. I'm not just trying to find "what sounds good". It takes me a week of concentrated listening to arrive at it, parallel parking a dB or two at a time focusing on one band at a time. But once I hit it, just about every recording sounds good, so I don't monkey with it unless something changes in my system. I've had a lot of practice EQing 78s, which have no standard response curve. So I got good at focusing on a little bit of the sound at a time and working my way systematically through the whole range.
     
  7. bigshot
    I was thinking the other day about a discussion I had about how recording an acoustic phonograph in 24 bit was useful. Pinnahertz pointed out that 78s have a narrow dynamic range, but I have observed that on acoustic phonographs they can have tremendous dynamic range, primarily because of volume peaks that are so loud they can make your ears ring. I've noticed that the same record on an acoustic phonograph can have much more dynamic range than when it is transcribed electrically. I've never been sure why this is the case, but I think I might have figured it out.

    Acoustic phonographs use steel needles that look like little nails and very heavy tracking weights. The steel needles are soft and conform to the shape of the grooves after a few rotations of the record, wedging in tightly. Electrical transcription uses a diamond stylus with either elliptical or conical shape and very light tracking force that skims lightly through the grooves. My guess is that steel needles ride the tops of the grooves where the modulations are bigger. The steel needle has a bigger surface area to contact the groove walls and the heavy tracking weight transfers the energy better. Add to this the fact that the grooves in a 78 are ten times larger than an LP and the speed is more than twice as fast, and you can see that the format allows for huge volume variation. Electrical transcription rides lower in the groove where the modulations are smaller and more well controlled. The lighter tracking force doesn't transfer as much of the energy to the stylus. I've had the best luck getting good sound out of clean 78s by using a 3.5 mil conical needle. With classical music, it preserves the dynamics pretty well. But most transfer engineers tend to use 2.5 mil elliptical to drop in under the wear pattern created by the steel needles and find untouched groove modulations below. This may be why many CDs of 78 rpm era material sound so wimpy.
     
  8. Strangelove424
    Been swamped with house repairs, but later today I plan to look through the libraries of the music services I have access to, try to find an original release, and compare to the 2002 DSD I have. I do remember being dissapointed when hearing Play With Fire, finding the vocals way too suppressed over the instruments. It was a completely different emphasis which didn't help. The Stones had many facets and could border on punk rock, or be soft as the Eagles. They truly had a range of style, and changed through time as their lives developed, like good musicians do. So a sweeping wide brush approach either to mastering, mixing, or judgment of the either isn't really fair without a track by track listen. Looking forward to taking a break and doing some of that later.

    Similar situation here, I first bought the HD600 and DT880, originally went with the DT880, and then three years later purchased the HD600 again. I still think the DT880 is technically a better headphone, especially for classical listening and sound editing, but the HD600 spends more time on my head since it's a better all-arounder. I think they both need EQ to sound their best (-2/3db @ 2-4khz for me personally), but I've come to see the two as hedging close to both sides of the neutrality fence, one slightly analytical, the other emotional. Between the two, I feel like I am getting a very close to neutral interpretation, with some range left for variety. I am extremely happy with them, and have not been swoon by any other headphones since.
     
  9. Don Hills
    Fixed it for you...
     
  10. bigshot
    Do you really think it's horn resonances? Can a resonance make the difference between 40dB and well over 80? Because a 78 can be very quiet with Z shellac and very loud with Caruso records. That's what I originally thought, but every phonograph has its own size and shape of horn and they all get very loud in the same places. I have a suitcase victrola with a very small paper macho horn and it gets deafening. I know that volume with records depends on pitch and depth of the grooves. 78 grooves are ten times wider than LPs, their pitch is about 8 ten times looser, and the depth is much deeper too. I think the grooves have something to do with it as well. Maybe they goosed the dynamics when they were cutting the record,
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
  11. StanD
    I also have HD600's and like them plenty. I also have HE-500's and like them even more. They're similar to the HD600's only with a wonderful extended sub bass (IMO the HD600's one weak point) and what I might call a smackin' transient response. the HE-560's are also very nice. Neither of these are dark, like Audeze cans can get. Take a listen to a good pair of planar magnetics (Orthodynamic) cans. The downside is weight due to the magnets, but the sound is awesome.
     
  12. Don Hills
    It's a bit hard to look for resonances if you don't have a test disc... and I don't know of any 78 versions. :)
    How would they goose the dynamics with the electronics available at the time?

    (My father used to have a large collection of C&W 78s. He mostly listened on a "modern" radiogram, but he also had a portable acoustic gramophone and a larger acoustic with, apparently unusually, an electric motor drive.)
     
  13. bigshot
    I'm talking about acoustic recordings- pre electric. The sound was recorded through a horn and diaphragm and cut into a wax master. They could adjust volume mechanically by increasing the downward pressure of the cutting stylus. This would make the grooves bigger and the modulation broader. I have some 78s where passages are so loud you can see wiggles back and forth in the grooves with the naked eye. You could also adjust the volume on playback by using a heavier gauge of steel needle. Thick stiff needles conducted the vibrations to the diaphragm more directly and made for louder sound. They even made needles that were flat and wide. If you turned the wide side facing forward, it would play loud. If you put the narrow side forward it would be a medium tone. They also had soft tone which were much thinner, more like a brad than a nail.

    He might have had a later Victor Credenza. Those had an exponential horn and sounded very good.
     
  14. StanD
    Now for the audiophile questions? Did they record and playback ultrasonic content? Did they use sorbothane feet? No headphones?
     
  15. pinnahertz
    Horns, both recording and playback, including the coupled diaphragms, are full of resonances. They are hard to measure by playing a record of music, but an infinitely averaging 1/12 octave RTA would be a good start. Resonances will build strong peaks, though you may have to sample and integrate a few records to pull them out from those created by music. They should be fairly pronounced.

    Horns work as a means of matching acoustic impedance, but their shape, rate of flare, and length create a variety of resonances. The flare of the end of the horn affects how lower frequencies "see" the end of the horn, and change where the resonances occur. Most pictures I've seen of recording horns show a non-flared conical horn which will have many pronounced standing waves because the sudden transition from the end of the horn to open space is a poor impedance match, which produces internal reflections back to the other end. The reflections transverse round trip several times from the mouth to the diaphragm and back, or in the reverse direction for recording. Either way, the dimensions and shape of the horn is what produces resonances. They are unavoidable in these simple horns.

    Stylus (needle) force and contact area has little to do with volume until the resulting force causes a stylus to behave as if it were more rigid transferring more mechanical energy to the diaphragm. Volume is mostly about grove modulation and the ability of a stylus to convert it into mechanical energy transferred to the diaphragm.

    Resonances in the recording horn and diaphragm create high groove modulation in their peak frequency. If a playback diaphragm and horn have similar resonant frequencies those will produce very high volume at those frequencies.

    Don't confuse volume (gain) with dynamic range, though. Even with resonances present and tuned to each other, a shellac disc has a very high noise floor, an a groove has a physical maximum modulation limit. Just because a particular phonograph sounds loud doesn't mean it has high dynamic range. Both are easily measured,... provided someone decides it's worth the trouble and uses measurement devices. I know, I know...not worth the trouble.

    If all music can be captured and reproduced adequately with 16 bit recording and playback, what would make you think recording the playback of an acoustically recorded 78 would require 24 bits?
     
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