Random Thoughts (Headphone/Earphone Related)
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IEMusic

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I thought I‘d start a thread about miscellaneous topics/thoughts that you’ve just gotta ask or share with fellow head-fi members. The topics have to be related to the headphones/earphones hobby, and it should go without saying, be respectful.

Now let‘s see where some of those tangents lead!
 
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IEMusic

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So, I’ll start off with a really simple question.

What are “technicalities”?

Edit: So, this is an actual question of mine, b/c I find the term understandable in a very generalized and amorphous way, but I don’t really know what it means when people use this term.

Detail vs microdetail, vs resolution vs clarity. I also use these terms all of the time, but don’t truly know what they mean to most people. When is the detail perceived simply a function of the tuning, perhaps due to a spike at a certain freq. vs due to the actual quality and capability of drivers used? If certain tunings, for instance with a boosted upper midrange, are considered revealing, but also easily fatiguing; while IEMs with a lot of detail are also considered fatiguing (the whole blessing and a curse concept), again, is detail simply a function of tuning? Can there be a lot of detail in an IEM with a very smooth and inoffensive tuning? Of course the type of music, quality of recording, quality of file, quality of upstream components all make a difference too, but assume all other things are equal.

Some may argue that this is just semantics, but I think it‘s kind of important for us to be on the same page with regards to definitions, in order to understand what each other is saying.
 
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How much would i have saved if i just skipped the midfi buying and selling and would have gone straight for totl headphones?

Alot !
 
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IEMusic

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How much would i have saved if i just skipped the midfi buying and selling and would have gone straight for totl headphones?

Alot !
Yes, you would have. I guess it depends on whether one has a specific sound signature that one wants above all else, and doesn’t care about a variety of other sound signatures. There is no such thing as one HP that is the “best” at everything, but if you have specific tastes, you can possibly obtain a TOTL/“end game” HP. I’ve been thinking about this topic too, but came to the conclusion that I like variety too much to just get one TOTL item, so I’m targeting a variety of “very good” products instead. I’ve been into 2ch audio for a long time, and only recently developed interest in higher-end HPs and IEMs. I ended up accumulating several pairs of speakers, and don’t have room to set them all up (kids, right?). HPs and IEMs let me obtain several different “flavors” of sound, with the ability to use and store all of them. Plus, the isolation is very nice at times :L3000:.
 
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So, I’ll start off with a really simple question.

What are “technicalities”?

Edit: So, this is an actual question of mine, b/c I find the term understandable in a very generalized and amorphous way, but I don’t really know what it means when people use this term.

Detail vs microdetail, vs resolution vs clarity. I also use these terms all of the time, but don’t truly know what they mean to most people. When is the detail perceived simply a function of the tuning, perhaps due to a spike at a certain freq. vs due to the actual quality and capability of drivers used? If certain tunings, for instance with a boosted upper midrange, are considered revealing, but also easily fatiguing; while IEMs with a lot of detail are also considered fatiguing (the whole blessing and a curse concept), again, is detail simply a function of tuning? Can there be a lot of detail in an IEM with a very smooth and inoffensive tuning? Of course the type of music, quality of recording, quality of file, quality of upstream components all make a difference too, but assume all other things are equal.

Some may argue that this is just semantics, but I think it‘s kind of important for us to be on the same page with regards to definitions, in order to understand what each other is saying.
Just my 2 cents, I would classify a few components under "technicalities", such as:
1) Imaging - How an instrument or voice is placed within the soundstage. Is it precise or imprecisely placed?
2) Instrument separation - In very complex instrumentation/competing instrumentation, are the different instruments blended together? Or can you hear individual instruments within the same frequency band?
3) Clarity - This is partially a function of tuning certain frequencies eg upper mids/treble, and some budget CHIFI indeed like to boost this area to give a fake sense of details.
4) Details - I look for micro details like ghost notes/ghost hits of drums, breath sounds of singers, squeaks on guitar/bass frets, even fine details like birds chirping/traffic/coughs/things being dropped in live performances. U can have details without having boosted clarity, ie some stage monitors which are pretty neutralish can still show ghost notes of drums. And conversely, some budget sets that overly boost the upper mids/treble can have clarity and make certain frequencies obvious, but they miss some fine details like ghost notes. The thing about details is that once you have heard this particular detail in this track, u will know that it is there in the future when u play the same song, and realize some IEMs don't show that particular detail well.
5) Bass speed/texturing/accuracy/layering - I'm a basshead and I look for how fast the bass can go and whether the bass notes are blended together or have a midbass bleed. This is partially related to driver type as BA bass tends to be faster in general than DD bass, but DD bass tends to have better decay and movement of air, and subbass extension.
6) Soundstage - Soundstage width, depth and height.

These are mostly subjective elements though, they are kinda hard to be measured objectively like on graphs.
 
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IEMusic

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Just my 2 cents, I would classify a few components under "technicalities", such as:
1) Imaging - How an instrument or voice is placed within the soundstage. Is it precise or imprecisely placed?
2) Instrument separation - In very complex instrumentation/competing instrumentation, are the different instruments blended together? Or can you hear individual instruments within the same frequency band?
3) Clarity - This is partially a function of tuning certain frequencies eg upper mids/treble, and some budget CHIFI indeed like to boost this area to give a fake sense of details.
4) Details - I look for micro details like ghost notes/ghost hits of drums, breath sounds of singers, squeaks on guitar/bass frets, even fine details like birds chirping/traffic/coughs/things being dropped in live performances. U can have details without having boosted clarity, ie some stage monitors which are pretty neutralish can still show ghost notes of drums. And conversely, some budget sets that overly boost the upper mids/treble can have clarity and make certain frequencies obvious, but they miss some fine details like ghost notes. The thing about details is that once you have heard this particular detail in this track, u will know that it is there in the future when u play the same song, and realize some IEMs don't show that particular detail well.
5) Bass speed/texturing/accuracy/layering - I'm a basshead and I look for how fast the bass can go and whether the bass notes are blended together or have a midbass bleed. This is partially related to driver type as BA bass tends to be faster in general than DD bass, but DD bass tends to have better decay and movement of air, and subbass extension.
6) Soundstage - Soundstage width, depth and height.

These are mostly subjective elements though, they are kinda hard to be measured objectively like on graphs.
Excellent explanations!! Much more eloquently put than my rambling question :relaxed:.

Those definitions are what I too have come to understand.
 
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Okay. Let me
Since noone seems to want to dive in and answer the above... I think you may actually be referring to a headphone's technicals, rather than its "technicalities". The "technicals" of a headphone would just be shorthand jargon for the various aspects/characteristics of its technical performance.

A "technicality" is something different, which AFAIK has nothing to do with headphones or their performance characteristics (such as clarity, imaging, detail, etc.). Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong though. It certainly wouldn't be the first time here (or probably the last). :)
 
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How much would i have saved if i just skipped the midfi buying and selling and would have gone straight for totl headphones?

Alot !
That’s the big thing. I only hope people start with cheaper stuff and slowly learn their tone. I like to think I’ve progressed. When you really learn of your progress....it’s when you pull out, and put on an old old favorite headphone (maybe one you used solely for ten years) and in less than half a second you can determine what is missing.

So at that point your face to face with one of the great questions.

1) Was that “technicality” missing but you didn’t notice it?

Answer: It was obviously missing but you hadn’t heard enough good stuff to know it was missing.

2) Maybe you had a different tone focus and the missing parts were simply not of interest?

Answer: Nope, revert to correct answer number one.


In truth the later years ends up a little bit of a mixture of both what your true personal tone is and how you were able to up-scale it to a better place. Also to add complexity and completeness, a person could have different variations of a tone which keeps stuff interesting.


There is no right or wrong. Hindsight it seems IS 20/20.....and everyone has made off purchases. You really are not going to know what you love without taking chances. Mid-fi has never been better and what is considered mid-fi now could have been summit-fi 10 years ago. Still even if you spent a boatload of money you may seem unsatisfied if you were not enjoying your desired tone.
 
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How much would i have saved if i just skipped the midfi buying and selling and would have gone straight for totl headphones?

Alot !
Your looking at a pile of unworthy gear shaking your head?
 
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Okay. Let me


Since noone seems to want to dive in and answer the above... I think you may actually be referring to a headphone's technicals, rather than its "technicalities". The "technicals" of a headphone would just be shorthand jargon for the various aspects/characteristics of its technical performance.

A "technicality" is something different, which AFAIK has nothing to do with headphones or their performance characteristics (such as clarity, imaging, detail, etc.). Someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong though. It certainly wouldn't be the first time here (or probably the last). :)
I initially disagreed with the results on wiktionary.
After looking at other online dictionaries, I have also decided to stick to my initial disagreement.

Some other online dictionaries don't even seem to consider "technicals" a word.
I hadn't even heard the word 'technicals' until today. It sounds completely wrong in my head, especially in this context.

A quick online search shows that it is used as a noun in some instances, rather than the adjective described in wiktionary - which, I'm sure you already know can be edited by anyone.

In my experience;
Technical = things of a technical nature.
Technicalities = specific details within a subject, of a technical nature.

It could also just be a difference between my experience of British English and other another variant(s).
I am a technical writer by trade, but I'm no linguist.
 
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The topics have to be related to the headphones/earphones hobby, and it should go without saying, be respectful.
"Recipe for failure"

:D
 
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I initially disagreed with the results on wiktionary.
After looking at other online dictionaries, I have also decided to stick to my initial disagreement.

Some other online dictionaries don't even seem to consider "technicals" a word.
I hadn't even heard the word 'technicals' until today. It sounds completely wrong in my head, especially in this context.

A quick online search shows that it is used as a noun in some instances, rather than the adjective described in wiktionary - which, I'm sure you already know can be edited by anyone.

In my experience;
Technical = things of a technical nature.
Technicalities = specific details within a subject, of a technical nature.

It could also just be a difference between my experience of British English and other another variant(s).
I am a technical writer by trade, but I'm no linguist.
You won't find half of the buzzwords that millenials and Gen Z types like to use in a dictionary... Okay, that's a slight exaggeration on my part. :) But hopefully, you take my point.

I've only seen the word used here by a few individuals with the above connotation though, so it is possible that my interpretation is wrong. I believe the word technicals, as it's described on Wiktionary, is not that uncommon though in some geekier and trendier circles of the younger folk.

Here is another definition from the Free Dictionary, which is similar to the Wiktionary definition...

Tech´nic`als
n. pl. 1. Those things which pertain to the practical part of an art, science, or profession; technical terms; technics.
It's not a word i would generally use. But imo it's probably the better of the two words for what I believe most of y'all are describing. And it sounds a bit less "dorky" than "technicalities". One of the sources of the term technicals is finance. And I guess some people here view their headphones like their other investments. So they want to analyze them in terms of their technical performance (or technicals, for short).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_analysis

If you're a sports/basketball fan, it can also be shorthand for (multiple) technical fouls. A single foul is often referred to as a "technical". So multiple fouls = technicals. Whether that has anything to do with the above, I dunno. But it would not be an unfamiliar term to most hardcore sports geeks.

Example: He was hit with too many technicals, and was ejected from the game.

Millenials and other young folk also have a habit of turning adjectives (such as the word technical) into nouns as well, esp. in plural form, as a shorthand way of communicating to others within their own in-group. So that may be another aspect of the word's origins. The use of the word as shorthand for technical foul(s) is one example of that.

That is my best guess anyway. YMMV.
 
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Millenials and other young folk also have a habit of turning adjectives (such as the word technical) into nouns as well, esp. in plural form, as a shorthand way of communicating to others within their own in-group. So that may be another aspect of the word's origins. The use of the word as shorthand for technical foul(s) is one example of that.
"Separates" would be another example of the above. I'm guilty of using that one myself to collectively describe separate audio components (such as a DAC, EQ, and amp) vs. an integrated DAC/amp solution.
 
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