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Testing audiophile claims and myths

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by prog rock man, May 3, 2010.
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  1. castleofargh Contributor
    I get it, you guys are messing with me on purpose, replacing the last A in Harman by any other vowel.
    I'm calling the police.
    BobG55 likes this.
  2. johnn29
    Harmon curve?

    Another good video on it with Sean Olive

    Particularly telling was that an IEM EQ'd to the Harmon curve beat out all others in the price to preference correlation study. The host even Jokes that you can't take a 32 band EQ on the plane with you... but with autoeq that's easy on a phone or laptop
  3. bigshot
    And you're using capital letters and punctuation. I'm going to report that!
    castleofargh likes this.
  4. bigshot
    That's basically the same as when I read in a Victrola users manual that the machine is best placed in the corner of a room. The walls act like an extension of the horn to magnify the low end.
  5. james444 Contributor
    As others have said, avoid getting too anal about target curves, since they're based on averaged data, whereas the curves for individuals tend to vary significantly.

    Here are some examples of eardrum level measurements picked from various studies - grey areas show standard deviation:


    And here's an example picked from the Harman study, measured in-ear responses for several subjects with the same headphone. Note that this headphone was rated to have excellent consistency (there were worse), but still showed about 10dB variation between individual listeners in the high mids. (You can play with EQ around 3kHz on your own headphones to get a feel for how much difference in sound such variation can make)

  6. castleofargh Contributor
    yup, when I tried to find some HRIR online that would work well for me and some made up crossfeed a few years back, it was my first time realizing how much difference the subjects would get with measurements at the ear from speaker sources. that was already pretty dramatic depending on the subject(and often non symmetrical BTW).
    adding to that what I can easily measure as differences from placement of headphones or IEMs on my cheapo measurement rigs, and imagining sometimes glasses, beard, thick air, differences in skull size changing how much clamping a headphone would have and how compressed the pads would be, and I believe it's time to panic a little, and understand why even the very guys building dummy head references for measurements, do not claim to define a neutral target.

    at least we don't have to worry that different measurement rigs will give different graphs, or that humidity and temperature will affect the results ... oh wait!!!!! :scream_cat:

    I still like the Harman curve. I'm a rebel.
  7. SilentNote
    I think depending on the recording, they are either mastered for diffuse field flat or harman listener target.

    So have the best of both worlds by owning both signatures!
  8. AudioThief
    brb creating a custom list of diffuse field vs harman target containing all of my songs... Now to figure out which tracks are mastered for what
  9. castleofargh Contributor
    what? don't you have the "mastered for anechoic chamber" label on your special CDs? :deadhorse:

    it seems like this time the audio circle of confusion got you good. :wink:
    BobG55 likes this.
  10. Steve999
    oh come on. there's no harmin a little typo now & then.
    BobG55 likes this.
  11. bigshot
    We'll have one of the regular iconoclasts here telling us about the theoretical advantages of those CDs in a minute.
    BobG55 likes this.
  12. analogsurviver
    Nope ... CD not good enough for that.

    While there has been the regular to and fro going on, I have been recording a five day music festival in binaural from 3rd to 7th July - and "aftermathing" ever since. Including going to listen to "binaural to speaker transfers" on several speaker systems, both at friends' and dealers' - before releasing them to the organizers of the festival, due any day now.

    We did compare MP3 48kHz 320kbps version to the masters (either DSD64 or PCM 192/24 used to capture binaural to speakers transfer in real time - made in parallel to binaural in DSD128 ) - and, although astonishingly good for MP3, they pale in comparison to masters. As 48 kHz 320 kbps MP3 is very close in SQ to CD, I do not consider it worth the time to convert the masters to CD just to learn EXACTLY how much worse do they fare compared to the master. That they DO lose the important bit of particularly ambient information is clincher enough for me.

    BTW, regarding diffuse field equalized and Harman Kardon curve, I am - firmly - in the diffuse field camp. Stax Lambda Pro went to the trouble of getting the can its proprietary Diffuse Field Equalizer ( developed and specified in Germany - THE home of Kunstkopf (Binaural ) technology and R & D - and then manufactured in Japan ). The box is called ED-1 Monitor. It is the first of only two Stax' diffuse field equalizers, the other being the ED-5 for another model of Stax cans. There was also the extremely rare SRM Monitor, which has been effectively SRM1MK2 amplifier and ED-1 Monitor on a single chassis.

    Listening to binaural recording using Lambda Pro AND ED-1 Monitor ( plus the best electrostatic amp you can lay your hands on... ) simply transports you back to the original experience - in case of video also being present, lacking only of smell and temperature sensations ( the place is confluence of two rivers, there were a few heavy rainstorms during the concerts held in/under the big tent, with the nearest river running some 15-20 metres to the right from the recording position - together, creating an usually quiet ( save for rainstorm/lightning intermezzos ) but unmistakable "sonic watermark", positively identifying the venue even BEFORE the music starts.)
  13. gregorio
    1. And let's not forget that much earlier in this thread you tried to prove how much better DSD is than PCM/CD by posting an example of a DSD recording that you didn't realise was actually a 48kHz AAC at 192kbps! So obviously "NO", a "MP3 48kHz 320kbps version" cannot possibly "pale in comparison" because you've already proven you can't tell the difference, even at a lower bit rate!
    1a. Of course it's not worth the time, because you cannot tell at all, let alone "EXACTLY"!
    1b. So, the clincher for you is a "bit of information" which no one can hear and that you yourself have proven that you can't hear!

    2. Again, much earlier in this thread you posted a "particularly good example" of a binaural recording that was not only a standard stereo (not a binaural) recording but because it was recorded from a video camera, the stereo imaged therefore changed/jumped every time the camera angle changed, which you yet again completely failed to notice. If you can't hear huge stereo image discrepancies that would be obvious even using the very cheapest stereo headphones, then the only place that using esoteric audiophile headphones (and amp) is going to "transport you back to" is the land of delusion!

    The "clincher" for me, is the highest importance you place on sound that no one (including you) can hear, while being completely oblivious to sound that everyone should be able to hear! Furthermore, upon PROVING that you can't hear the difference between AAC 192kbps and DSD and can't hear obvious stereo image problems, most rational people would feel very embarrassed and either retract their false claim or at least just shut up, but not you. You just pretend that none of it happened and then keep repeating those same false claims as fact. If that's not delusional, I don't know what is!

    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
    upstateguy, old tech and BobG55 like this.
  14. bigshot
    I called it

    One thing I've noticed is that people who want you to think they know more than they actually do tend to speak of things as recipes. If you put this particular amp with this particular headphone and that particular type of recording, it is perfect. Of course the particular things they are talking about are always very obscure and expensive so no one else can afford to verify what they say. The people who tend to know what they're talking about don't mention specific brands and models. They speak in terms of the way things work and doing things in a way that optimizes performance. I imagine following the recipe sometimes works, but you aren't going to ever know why any more than the person reciting the recipe to you.
    upstateguy likes this.
  15. analogsurviver
    Please do yourself a favor - and read about the things mentioned in JAES. I might even dig up all the references - somewhere in my bookmarks. Lots of it is in German . I am citing the exact models only because it is one of the two ( both from Stax ) options to have been ever made commercially available, by any brand - and, given the price, obviously could not penetrate the market more than it did.. Perhaps less than 1 % of Stax Lambda Pro users have ever heard, let alone posess an ED-1 Monitor diffuse field equalizer - and Stax Lambda, regardless of the exact model, although if taken together perhaps represents at least one third of all electrostatic headphones in actual use today, is still relatively rare in grand scheme of things of usually moving coil dynamic headphone world. Stax went belly up in financial terms at least twice, simply because they refused to lower their standards of (near...) excellence and pursuit of perfection over commercial success. Long are gone the days of their loudspeakers - and extremely powerful class A amps ( which have served as an inspiration to MANY American designers ) that have been necessary in order to power the extremely inefficient and electrically tough load electrostatic speakers... then they dropped the phono cartridges ( their best ever product ), followed by diffuse field equalizers.
    After the chinese Edifier bought Stax a few years ago, the fear of Stax going down in quality in order to generate more sales has fortunately not materialized in practice - Stax is even introducing new models, including finally decent electrostatic amp, capable of going head to head with any of the aftermarket amps available. These are all priced way above my reach - but see the comment below.

    I did post the link to Lambda Pro - in which it is more than clearly written and argumented why a 3 decades old Lambda Pro plus at least SRM1MK2 amp ( the least of what I would reccomend to anyone interested in decent electrostatics ) would make mockery of say HD 800 and similar current dynamic phones. And it can be had for LESS than HD-800 & similar dynamic phones..

    I have not heard MANY good audio devices - but would NEVER try to dismiss them just because they are either far to expensive for me to ever hope to posses them, are much different to whatever I am familiar with - or for whatever other reason. I would only do that in case they did not deliver the promised - or if a new device at appreciably less cost could do ALL the previous high priced design could do.

    I doubt that in California ( one of the richest places in the world ) there is sooooo tough to get to hear Stax ; OK, ED-1 Monitor IS rare, but everything else should be rather well represented at any given can jam and all major audio shows ( CES, RMAF, etc ). Also, I did not mention using any really expensive Stax stuff - there is any number of current dynamic phones exceeding the cost of decently preserved technically immaculate Stax aged 30 or so years.
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