Random Thoughts (Headphone/Earphone Related)
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genck

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I've been trying to listen to older songs, before 2010s, and i find that most recordings are boring or far away. sometimes the vocals get really dry. especially with my qdc. i've been trying to diversify my genre but i keep getting back to square one. does anybody else have the same experience as me?
I haven't noticed that, perhaps your setup is too analytical.
 
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bystander

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"Balanced Armature" collocation sounds cold and steely already, that means it produces cold, metallic and unnatural sound opposed to "dynamic driver" which sounds pretty soft, warm and flexible, of course it produces more natural timbre. Balanced Armatures are being made on a cold factory run by AI and terminators while dynamic drivers are handcrafted by kind bearded grandfather in his green garden. Unnatural vs. Natural, make the right choice when the time comes.
 
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"Balanced Armature" collocation sounds cold and steely already, that means it produces cold, metallic and unnatural sound opposed to "dynamic driver" which sounds pretty soft, warm and flexible, of course it produces more natural timbre. Balanced Armatures are being made on a cold factory run by AI and terminators while dynamic drivers are handcrafted by kind bearded grandfather in his green garden. Unnatural vs. Natural, make the right choice when the time comes.
:joy:
 
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1TrickPony

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@IEMusic, here's one of my favourite quotes coming from an exemplary reviewer (@MrLocoLuciano)

"Resolution is the ability to individualize a voice or instrument"
"Separation is the ability to feel space between the various sound sources"
"Definition is the ability to perceive as much information as possible"
"Transparency is the ability to transcribe the nuances and subtleties of music"
 
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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 same for me!
 
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1TrickPony

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Here's my journey quickly summarized:
Miles Davis trumpets iem - midfi eye opener...rma'd 4x then died.

Then I went beginner again->mid-fi->entry totl.

I then later bought specialist gear on occasion.

Nothing wrong with mid-fi. really.
 
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post-15777794
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Posted it before but I assume this may be a better thread to do this.

I mentioned that I found in the behind the scenes of the Fearless Y2K FAQ that one of the questions is something like. Why didn't he pick a DD for a woofer. To which he simply answers: Because it wasn't available. So I can only assume he laments the fact that a DD/BA hybrid configuration wasn't made available to him.

So mainly out of curiosity (and also because the idea of making an IEM is a pretty... fascinating one). What's your stance on DD/BA hybrids compared to pure BA setups. Is the fact that Crinacle's prefered driver configuration is a DD/BA hybrid a popular or an unpopular one?

It also SHOULD go without saying but, I'm not trying to imply one is necessarily better than the other. I'm talking about preferences mainly.
 
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Full balanced armature IEMs are fairly easy to make. Head-Fi has a thread where people order parts in a group buy and make their own.

What we found though is when buying from China quality control is of utmost importance. Also a manufacturer’s ability to source and use quality parts, leading to a trusted level of quality control. Much of this is the manufacture’s ability to create a trusted consumer image. Things like loose MMCX connections can make or break a product success.


Still building an all balanced armature IEM is easer.

You can only imagine doing things the hard way. Having to have a specially built encasement made out of a metal like magnesium. Having to have a company build your DD for you or build it in-house from scratch. The amount of R&D, the trial and error. Next another company gets an idea to make a full BA set up. The shell dimensions like qdc uses are a compilation of thousands of ear measurements. The 3D printed resin is exact and now fairly well established as a methodology. Either a company makes your BA drivers to your specifications or you simply buy off the shelf components. There is no guess work and the designers have a field-day getting a well rounded tune by using the cross-overs and small foam tube inserts. After the correct tune is established with tube distances and cross-overs you arrange the 3D printing to arrange the shell to hold everything in place.

Companies like BGVP made a hit with the DM6 using this technology. Fearless has a full range of full BA IEMs. Sony of course does it the hard way by building their own special BA drivers, but as a departure from their normal DD or hybrid ideas; they came out with the IER-M7 and IER-M9, just because it’s easier to do than some insanity like the 2XDD single BA, tri-bred the IER-Z1R. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel manufacturers can simply reduce engineer time and not invent much of anything but assemble something nice from parts with an IEM methodology which is low risk and proven to be successful.

DD bass is maybe always going to have better fall-off and reverbs. Still BA bass can be satisfying and fun. Much of it has nothing to do with absolutes or science or graphs. People can just mentally imagine if BA replay is correct and not need all the slow warmth of DD bass.
 
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Timbre (“tambər“, it really annoys me when reviewers pronounce it “timber”), strictly speaking, refers to individual instruments. My position is that since sound transducers (DDs, BAs, Electrets, Planars, etc) are themselves colored, and not perfect at reproducing sound exactly as recorded, they have their own sound. Because they have their own individual sound signature, they in effect have their own timbre. It’s ultimately up to the majority to determine if this is a legitimate way to use that word. In such an instance, the word could be “used to describe how well (or poorly) the ear/headphone under discussion preserves, or reproduces the timbre of the instrument being listened to“. This is the way that I have been using the term, perhaps incorrectly?


When using the term timbre to refer to the sound of a particular instrument in the music one is listening to (JB’s bass drum), that is the proper way the term should be used.
Timbre to me = the sum of the resonant and/or harmonic characteristics of a sound source. It can be applicable to any acoustic source, including headphones and loudspeakers. Different headphones can have very different timbral or tonal qualities.

Oxford Languages (OUP) describes it as: the character or quality of a musical sound or voice as distinct from its pitch and intensity.

According to Wikipedia, timbre is the same as "tone color" or "tone quality". Here is a quote, which jibes fairly well with the Oxford definition:

"In simple terms, timbre is what makes a particular musical instrument or human voice have a different sound from another, even when they play or sing the same note."

This is a bit of an over-simplification imo. But it gets the general idea across. In some ways, "timbre" is easier to describe by what it's not, than what it is. Wiki goes on to say that:

"The physical characteristics of sound that determine the perception of timbre include frequency spectrum and envelope."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Envelope_(music)

Terms like "bright, dark, warm, and cool" are descriptions of overall timbre or tonal quality. "Graininess" is also a timbral quality imo. When describing the overall sound quality of a pair of headphones (ie warm, bright, bassy, neutral, etc.), I am more apt to use the term tone or tonal though, to describe a headphone's "tonal balance" for example. While I would use timbre to refer more to the HP's (smaller scale) harmonic or resonant qualities or characteristics.

The word timbre is closely related to the word "timpani", for kettledrums. Both are probably derived from the archaic Greek word for drum, timbanon. When I was in band, we would be more likely to use the terms "tone" or "tonal quality" when referring to non-percussive instruments, esp. wind instruments. And "timbre" when referring to percussion instruments. Vocals could go either way. Strings would usually be tonal, rather than timbral I think. Though I think those could also potentially go either way. (I spent less time in the orchestra though.)
 
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Timbre to me = the sum of the resonant and/or harmonic characteristics of a sound source. It can be applicable to any acoustic source, including headphones and loudspeakers. Different headphones can have very different timbral or tonal qualities.

Oxford Languages (OUP) describes it as: the character or quality of a musical sound or voice as distinct from its pitch and intensity.

According to Wikipedia, timbre is the same as "tone color" or "tone quality". Here is a quote, which jibes fairly well with the Oxford definition:

"In simple terms, timbre is what makes a particular musical instrument or human voice have a different sound from another, even when they play or sing the same note."

This is a bit of an over-simplification imo. But it gets the general idea across. In some ways, "timbre" is easier to describe by what it's not, than what it is. Wiki goes on to say that:

"The physical characteristics of sound that determine the perception of timbre include frequency spectrum and envelope."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Envelope_(music)

Terms like "bright, dark, warm, and cool" are descriptions of overall timbre or tonal quality. "Graininess" is also a timbral quality imo. When describing the overall sound quality of a pair of headphones (ie warm, bright, bassy, neutral, etc.), I am more apt to use the term tone or tonal though, to describe a headphone's "tonal balance" for example. While I would use timbre to refer more to the HP's (smaller scale) harmonic or resonant qualities or characteristics.

The word timbre is closely related to the word "timpani", for kettledrums. Both are derived from the archaic Greek word for drum, timbanon. When I was in band, we would be more likely to use the terms "tone" or "tonal quality" when referring to non-percussive instruments, esp. wind instruments. And "timbre" when referring to percussion instruments. Vocals could go either way. Strings would usually be tonal, rather than timbral I think. Though I think those could also potentially go either way. (I spent less time in the orchestra though.)
Of course, string players talk about timbre. Bow technique, rosin, and the make of an instrument affect it. Classical musicians do all kinds of things to change their timbre. French horn players will swap bells or change hand position. Trumpet players will change instruments (they'll often have several horns for a gig). Just because you can used a word like "bright" to describe a headphone doesn't mean it therefore has a timbre. A speaker takes the recording of an instrument with a timbre and it applies a distortion. Distortion is not synonymous with timbre.

Would you agree that people pay a lot of money for a special violin, like say a Stradivarius, because they want the range of timbres that they can acquire with it? I would say so. By contrast, I have a really crappy portable radio. Its speaker sucks. Everything sounds bright but muffled. Does it have a timbre because I can say it sounds bright and muffled? To me, that's silly. Just because we can define timbre as a quality that distinguishes different sounds of the same pitch, that doesn't mean that anything that can reproduce a sound's pitch but change its quality itself has timbre. "Timbre" had meaning before there was sound reproduction. As an example:
https://www.google.com/books/editio...gbpv=1&dq=timbre&pg=PA378&printsec=frontcover

Linguists (at least the ones that I've heard) will say that words mean what people think they mean. Language changes over time. If everyone decides that headphones have a timbre, then that will be the way the word is used. But I don't use that word for headphones because it just doesn't make sense to me. It's a misappropriated word. Just because something can reproduce a sound produced by a musician with a distortion doesn't mean it itself has a timbre. Your speaker plays Nine Inch Nails with a certain distortion. Then it plays an organ concerto with a certain distortion. Can you say that because there was related distortion in each case, the speaker has a timbre? To me, no. Because the NIN record and the organ record don't sound like the same instrument, and nobody played the speaker the way the musicians played the music it reproduced.

Just opinions, of course.
 
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I think the biggest problem with the word 'Timbre' is that it's used more often incorrectly than it is correctly, by a large ratio.
At least these days.

It should more often be used when comparing two or more headphones ability to more accurately reproduce the timbre of specific instruments/sounds.
Grado's are popular because they do a good job of mimicking traits of acoustic timbre, with very selective and wise 'colouration' in the tuning.
I remember a lot of head-fi timbre arguments 10 years+ ago when the word was used more correctly; they were 'sennheiser vs grado', because sennheiser took the other approach of trying to emphasize nothing (HD600/650 being the flagship back then) and attempting to stay true to the recording signal.

But of course neither is going to suit everyone's taste.... well, except for me, because I like them both. :L3000:
 
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ADUHF

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Of course, string players talk about timbre. Bow technique, rosin, and the make of an instrument affect it. Classical musicians do all kinds of things to change their timbre. French horn players will swap bells or change hand position. Trumpet players will change instruments (they'll often have several horns for a gig). Just because you can used a word like "bright" to describe a headphone doesn't mean it therefore has a timbre. A speaker takes the recording of an instrument with a timbre and it applies a distortion. Distortion is not synonymous with timbre.

Would you agree that people pay a lot of money for a special violin, like say a Stradivarius, because they want the range of timbres that they can acquire with it? I would say so. By contrast, I have a really crappy portable radio. Its speaker sucks. Everything sounds bright but muffled. Does it have a timbre because I can say it sounds bright and muffled? To me, that's silly. Just because we can define timbre as a quality that distinguishes different sounds of the same pitch, that doesn't mean that anything that can reproduce a sound's pitch but change its quality itself has timbre. "Timbre" had meaning before there was sound reproduction. As an example:
https://www.google.com/books/editio...gbpv=1&dq=timbre&pg=PA378&printsec=frontcover

Linguists (at least the ones that I've heard) will say that words mean what people think they mean. Language changes over time. If everyone decides that headphones have a timbre, then that will be the way the word is used. But I don't use that word for headphones because it just doesn't make sense to me. It's a misappropriated word. Just because something can reproduce a sound produced by a musician with a distortion doesn't mean it itself has a timbre. Your speaker plays Nine Inch Nails with a certain distortion. Then it plays an organ concerto with a certain distortion. Can you say that because there was related distortion in each case, the speaker has a timbre? To me, no. Because the NIN record and the organ record don't sound like the same instrument, and nobody played the speaker the way the musicians played the music it reproduced.

Just opinions, of course.
If we cannot talk about the timbre or tonal quality of a pair of headphones or loudspeakers, then I guess we also can't talk about their pitch or loudness either. Because they aren't "true" sound sources by your definition. :) Seems a bit silly imo.

What distinguishes one quality from the others when discussing produced vs. re-produced sounds? Both imo have pitch, loudness, and yes, timbral or tonal qualities. To deny that is to deny the evidence of your own ears imo. The fact that the terms have been appropriated from music production is irrelevant imo. If it looks, quacks, and walks like a duck... it's a duck.

The term distortion, by contrast, also implies error. Which implies that you have knowledge of how something should sound. As opposed to how it should not. Which is a very hairy business when it comes to headphones. If you use the term "distortion" in place of timbre or tone when discussing the sound quality of headphones, then you are necessarily also making a value judgement about the correctness or incorrectness of the reproduced stimuli, as opposed to a more benign comparison.

If I talk about one headphone having a brighter or darker tone or timbre than another, there is no value judgement there. It is simply a comparison of different (tonal) qualities. If I talk about a headphone being more brightly distortive or darkly distortive, then that implies that both deviate to some degree from some hypothetical ideal. Which may imply knowledge that I don't actually possess. The terms timbral or tonal quality have no such implication. They are simply convenient terms for comparing the different qualities of headphones.
 
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