- Dec 1, 2014
Wow, that is really interesting. I have their MK sub as you can see in my signature and can tell you that I have yet to hear another sub that beats it in terms of clean, hard hitting bass with none of the typical fuzz, vibration, or excess noise that come from lessor subs. Whats funny is that I knew that it was their sealed chamber dual speaker push pull tech that provided the enhanced SQ, but I didn't know until you pointed this out that it was also a phase reversal tech that was responsible. My MK is almost three decades old and makes my new BW sub sound like sh_ _ in comparison. No wonder!
But one of the more interesting aspects that I have been striving for and have gotten much closer to, is being able to bring up the very bottom end to near flat.
This, once its properly blended into the rest of the spectrum yields rather spectacular results, and in ways that can be quite surprising.
This was my primary emphasis and goal, and the PRT helps enable all of this by 'helping' the amp deliver this low frequency with much greater focus and power.
When I started my journey in audiophile world, a fellow head-fi'er has kept praising the Denon D7000 (and not far behind Fostex TH-900 and Hifiman HE-6) as THE bestest headphones they have ever experienced. One of the reasons was proper low-end performance, insisting that Fostex/Denon did deep, clean and clear bass better than anybody. It seems that bass quality is one of the things done poorly most of the time in full-size headphones, since it's quite hard to reproduce that wide of a range on one driver (as 99.99% of full size headphones do). Indeed: "Since it's hard to reproduce low bass on small drivers without distortion most headphone companies (even flagship ones) seem to just give up." And curiously: "When done properly low bass adds a real sense of scale and depth to music."
My takeway from this is that clean, crisp low-end performance is missing in a majority of headphones (of course standard Stoddard disclaimer applies: "This is my opinion, I am biased like everyone else, and I haven’t heard everything", YMMV, etc.). And my takeaway from JJ's three tweaks (Sonarworks, SSBB and PRT) is -- partly -- to digitally compensate for unsatisfactory low-end performance in headphones... Actually I'm suspecting that SSBB is designed to make very low-end frequencies audible, since most headphones would have a pronounced roll-off below 20 Hz. (This also got me thinking into HOW low-end audibility has been tested, with 15-20Hz being often cited, and some studies reporting up to 12 Hz audibility in "ideal lab conditions"... If the tests are in a lab using amplified sounds via transducers, wouldn't widespread poor bass performance potentially bias the measurements?)
So pumping dB into the <20Hz frequencies would presumably compensate for the roll-off in that region. From what I see from equal loudness curves, higher dB make very low-end frequencies more audible similarly to how higher dB make very high-end frequencies more audible (up to what I call the coffin corner):
So I'm wondering how a 3-way tweaked HD650/HD800 would compare with, say, a D7000 or TH-900 (3-way tweaked or stock)... Would bass performance account for perceived improvement from these tweaks? Put differently, do the tweaks digitally compensate for common lower-end technological deficiencies in transducers? The more dB in SSB is intuitive enough; the PRT seems designed to improve bass, as suggested by the M&K MX-100 comments; and Sonarworks works all around the FR, including low-end performance...
PS For fun, here's a list of "best bass headphones", which unsurprisingly feature D7000 and TH-900 in the top of the list: