Real Headphone Bass at Home
Mar 12, 2002 at 11:17 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 44

irlsanders

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This may be fodder for purist flaming, but I use my original issue Stax Lamdas with a....subwoofer!( Gasp!) I feel I get the best of both worlds - absolute best midrange-to-highs quality that exceeds even multi-thousand dollar speakers, with as much bass 'slam' as I care to dial in. Obviously this trick is moot when mobile, but Stax aren't really meant for that, are they?

I've experimented with high-passing the send to the Stax, but they don't seem to suffer from getting the lows. I have a variable crossover to the sub, which seems to blend nicely at around 90 Hz, and set just loud enough to notice its absence if I switch it out.

Having some real bass in the room with me is such a joy. Actually getting some bass and kick on rock/pop records takes the sound from analytical to energizing, and as much as I liked the Stax alone for orchestral stuff, the sub can add subtle weight in the bottom octaves that really adds to the sense of a real room around the orchestra.

I recently had the opportunity to install a Guitammer ButtKicker2 on the set of ABC's The Chair, and was wowed with its tactile bass quality. Very smooth, responsive, and not at all loose and tubby like most TBTs. I am very tempted to add a pair to my home theater, replacing aura bass-shakers, and one to my 'listening chair' for use with my 'cans.
 
Mar 12, 2002 at 11:28 PM Post #2 of 44

Dusty Chalk

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You're not the first -- there's actually someone on this forum, though obviously not a purist, who pairs a K1000 with a subwoofer and considers it quite good.

I'm not one to criticize, but to me, the whole point to headphones is a complete lack of crossovers, so I -- me, personally -- will probably never go that route, but it's not unheard of.

So, no flames emanating here.
 
Mar 12, 2002 at 11:37 PM Post #4 of 44

joelongwood

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I think Kwkarth uses a sub with his K1000s.
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Mar 12, 2002 at 11:39 PM Post #5 of 44

Neruda

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kwkarth does, for one. It's a great method of adding a low end to a pair of headphones which lack it. the K1000's drop off between 40 and 50 Hz, so you cross a sub over at that level and you have a great headphone system with dynamic, chest-kicking bass to boot. It's the best of both worlds: the powerful speaker-type bass and the amazing detail and transparency of a fantastic headphone like the K1000. With a good sub you won't even be able to tell that the K1000 itself isn't producing the bass. I know, because I've heard kwkarth's setup on numerous occasions.

and I don't see why doing something like that makes you an impurist; all you're doing is adding a low-frequency helper driver to a wideband headphone driver.
 
Mar 12, 2002 at 11:54 PM Post #6 of 44

kwkarth

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Yup, that would be me and I cross 'em at 45 Hz.

Dusty, I challenge you to find a problem with having the xover @ 45Hz. Since I run the K1000's wide open, (full range) there's no downside to this. I am more of a pragmatic realist than what you might refer to as a "purist." In your book, a purist such as you define, can be somewhat of a luddite.

Cheers!
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 12:09 AM Post #7 of 44

Dusty Chalk

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Quote:

Originally posted by kwkarth
Dusty, I challenge you to find a problem with having the xover @ 45Hz.


Well, it's all purely speculative, as I do not have a pair of K1000's. I'm just saying, I don't need to, with the headphones I own (HD600, DT770). Quote:

Since I run the K1000's wide open, (full range) there's no downside to this.


Ah, indeed, that does change things, I did not realize this. One of the speakers I am looking at (WEGG3) does this with the midrange drivers. It may be an adequate compromise, though I would like to find (this is my personal holy grail, and I do not truly expect to ever find them) speakers that run their drivers full range (such as the Reference 3A), yet have a full frequency response (~20Hz-20kHz). (Throw in a good sensitivity >95dB/W, before suggesting anything.) So how does that work, the low frequency dropoff matches the sub's crossover's high-frequency dropoff? Is that a 6dB/octave crossover? What sub is that? I may want to get one to go with my Spendor's (also has a slow dropoff starting around 80Hz). Quote:

I am more of a pragmatic realist than what you might refer to as a "purist." In my book, a purist such as you define, can be somewhat of a luddite.


(Looks up luddite.) Hey! I'm not against change...I actually went the other way -- started with speakers, went to headphones. I suspect that the reason headphones sound so good to me is the lack of crossovers. I know plenty of good headphones with plenty of good low frequency response. I don't miss the "visceral impact" of speakers/subs -- I get that with my headphones. That's my explanation, and until I come up with a better one, I'm sticking to it.

Therefore, I just think that it would be a waste of my time to go back to crossovers at this point.

And notice that my initial response defends the choice, does not attack it. I only stated my personal stance on it as a point of reference, sort of like saying "I know people like horns, and some good material on them can be found at http://www.horns-o-plenty.com/ -- don't own any myself, though."

So take that, Mr. self-proclaimed golden eared fuddy duddy!
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Mar 13, 2002 at 12:50 AM Post #9 of 44

irlsanders

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Just a note, my subs trail off at 24db/octave. They're DCM TimeBasses, two 8" drivers each, powered by a 2x200 Soundcraftsman amp, with a splitter/xover I built with parts from Speaker City.

As I said, I'm also happier with the phones running "full" range. And as I often listen on Auratone speakers, am familiar with and enjoy the sound of single driver, non-crossover speakers. I may someday talk myself into a pair of Lowthers.
Note to Dusty, check these out. Also the nOrhs.

That said, I don't really buy the folks who say they find nothing lacking in the bass from their cans. I'm an audiophile, and I'm not talking about making obscene bass with my sub. I'm talking about achieving real, full range, high-fidelity reproduction. No set of cans with less than an 8" driver can produce realistic bass. (Gives a new meaning to headspeakers, don't it?)

Yes, one can be 'content' or 'satisfied' with less than what's really there on the recording, but you are compromising the experience, and I for one am constantly aware of what my audio systems (including headphones) aren't delivering.

Sign Me,
Your Chronic Audio Malcontent
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 12:56 AM Post #10 of 44

gloco

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I'm a bit baffled by how the whole sub and akg setup works.
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Where do you place the sub in reference to your akg's? Kinda odd actually, i wonder how it sounds.
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 1:19 AM Post #12 of 44

Neruda

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well gloco, I don't know about other people, but I usually place a subwoofer on the floor...
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it actually doesn't entirely matter where you place the sub, since your brain can't locate the origin of sound frequencies below 100Hz.
Quote:

As I said, I'm also happier with the phones running "full" range. And as I often listen on Auratone speakers, am familiar with and enjoy the sound of single driver, non-crossover speakers. I may someday talk myself into a pair of Lowthers.


like kevin said, the K1000's stay crossoverless as any good fullrange driver should. I've done some listening to a few good fullrage drivers and I love their sound; I can't say I dislike speakers with crossovers but fullrange drivers are a lot of fun to listen to. By the way, you can pick up the drivers that nOrh uses in its 3.0 speaker for only a few bucks! I want to get a few to play with sometime, since they look pretty darn cool. You gotta love aluminum phase plugs.
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Another crazy fullrange driver is the Babb Lorelei; it spans the audible range and even extends beyond, has a reasonably high sensitivity and can achieve incredibly bass extension in a tiny cabinet (it has a special design which allows this. It can go down below 30Hz, I think, in only a 25L cabinet).
Quote:

So how does that work, the low frequency dropoff matches the sub's crossover's high-frequency dropoff? Is that a 6dB/octave crossover? What sub is that?


I think the crossover is 18db/octave, but it might only be 12db. The sub itself is the Sony SA-WM40. It's cheap, only around $250, but I can tell you that it sounds very good. Not boomy at all.
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 1:28 AM Post #13 of 44

irlsanders

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Quote:

well gloco, I don't know about other people, but I usually place a subwoofer on the floor...


Quote:

it actually doesn't entirely matter where you place the sub, since your brain can't locate the origin of sound frequencies below 100Hz.


Well, I does matter a bit...If the sub's too far away, there can be phase shift introduced by the (small) time delay. When I'm in heavy listnening mode, I put my chair up next to the subs. Doesn't sound THAT much different, but I feel better about it. This is one of the reasons I'd like to try the Guitammer bolted directly to my chair.

Thanks for the heads-up on the Babb. Do you have a link?
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 1:34 AM Post #14 of 44

gerG

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I am using a subwoofer with my K-1000s (as well as with almost everything else). I do run a high pass into the SAC amp. This cleans up the sound all by itself, I think, by reducing IM distortion. Without it the K1000 drivers move substantially. Engage high pass and all of that nasty dome motion goes away. My ADS x-over only goes down to 70 hz, but it works quite well. I would prefer 50 to 60.

Sub placement will change the sound. Nearfield, away from the walls, sounds the cleanest. This is another fun experiment.

Phasing is critical. Easiest if the x-over has a phase switch.

The next experiment will be a passive high pass on the headphones. That will allow me to use the volume control in the amp and a more conventional subwoofer wiring setup.

A concern with the Stax: Bass frequencies will have to propogate through the diaphragms, and may cause distortion or unacceptable excursions. Musn't allow diaphragm contact stator to avoid FCF* incident. Caution advised.

KW, the K1000s have what looks to be an LC network in each speaker panel. Any guess as to what it might be? I suspect either a high pass to limit driver excursions, or a notch filter to tame the driver resonance.


gerG


* FCF = FLASH CRACK F##K
 
Mar 13, 2002 at 1:42 AM Post #15 of 44

irlsanders

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Quote:

Originally posted by Greg Freeman

A concern with the Stax: Bass frequencies will have to propogate through the diaphragms, and may cause distortion or unacceptable excursions. Musn't allow diaphragm contact stator to avoid FCF* incident. Caution advised.

* FCF = FLASH CRACK F##K [/B]


I thought the smell of burning hair was due to my brain tumor.
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Honestly, though, the Stax are getting LESS low freqs than usual, as I don't need to tone control up the bass anymore.
 

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