Vintage OG and Present Day TOTL Impressions
Jun 11, 2024 at 3:14 PM Post #1,592 of 1,622
I'll give you another example. Susvara fans claim it needs specific expensive amplification to sound its best. If someone reviews the Susvara and does not use what they consider appropriate amplification, they scream that the review is worthless. While my own views are not nearly that dogmatic, I do think that if you are searching for the best, then you want comparisons that reflect how the headphones would optimally be used. If you use EQ, then EQ everything. If you are against EQ, but love the Aperio, maybe reconsider your views on EQ.

(Sorry about splitting this across three posts. I'm working at the same time and keep getting pulled away.)
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 3:25 PM Post #1,593 of 1,622
What if a much less expensive system can sound just as good or better if you add EQ?
That is pretty much always the case.
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 3:27 PM Post #1,594 of 1,622
DSP based PEQ is still done in software. The software runs on a DSP chip instead of a standard CPU, but the underlying algorithms are identical, only the implementation varies.
Internal vs external is the focus for me. Esentialy OEM vs aftermarket. I view it as comparing, say, a stage 2 chip in a car vs just getting the higher end model. It's certainly an interesting comparison, but viewing tuning (which is what I consider external eq to be) as required for a fair review cause the comparison just happens to be better tuned stock seems super wierd.
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 3:34 PM Post #1,595 of 1,622
Internal vs external is the focus for me. Esentialy OEM vs aftermarket. I view it as comparing, say, a stage 2 chip in a car vs just getting the higher end model. It's certainly an interesting comparison, but viewing tuning (which is what I consider external eq to be) as required for a fair review cause the comparison just happens to be better tuned stock seems super wierd.

I guess it depends what information you want to get out of the review. I certainly don't see how it is weird. Headphones are always part of a system regardless if the manufacturer sells it to you or you put it together. As I said, if your interest is only in buying and using an off-the-shelf system, then I see your point. I'm interested in buying the best possible system within a given budget and that means having each headphone setup to sound its best.
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 3:36 PM Post #1,596 of 1,622
I guess it depends what information you want to get out of the review. I certainly don't see how it is weird. Headphones are always part of a system regardless if the manufacturer sells it to you or you put it together. As I said, if your interest is only in buying and using an off-the-shelf system, then I see your point. I'm interested in buying the best possible system within a given budget and that means having each headphone setup to sound its best.
I'm haven't said people shouldn't be comparing eqed cans to eachother. I'm saying that viewing a comparison as unfair when it's stock for stock is wierd.
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 3:39 PM Post #1,597 of 1,622
I'm reluctant to chime in, as it seems this thread is getting hijacked onto a tangent, but here's my $0.02 for posterity:

EQ built into the product, and which can't be defeated, is a different animal than user-applied EQ. It's part of the default tuning of the headphone (system), as delivered.
Electronic EQ (analog or digital) built into a product is not cheating, any more than are physical methods to shape frequency response in a headphone. Both are valid tools.
There's no single correct way to review a headphone. If a reviewer's method doesn't work for (or apply to) you, simply ignore or discount that review.

EOM. :relaxed:
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 3:46 PM Post #1,598 of 1,622
I'm reluctant to chime in, as it seems this thread is getting hijacked onto a tangent, but here's my $0.02 for posterity:

EQ built into the product, and which can't be defeated, is a different animal than user-applied EQ. It's part of the default tuning of the headphone (system), as delivered.
Electronic EQ (analog or digital) built into a product is not cheating, any more than are physical methods to shape frequency response in a headphone. Both are valid tools.
There's no single correct way to review a headphone. If a reviewer's method doesn't work for (or apply to) you, simply ignore or discount that review.

EOM. :relaxed:

I don't disagree with any of that. However, to me, the question should be what you as a reader want to get from a review. I want to read comparisons of different headphones and such comparisons are far more useful if both headphones are setup to sound their best. I'm not interested in reading a comparison of an X9000 amplified by a Topping EHA5 vs an SR-009 amplified by a T2. I mean, it might be an entertaining read, but it does not really give me useful information.
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 3:58 PM Post #1,600 of 1,622
Headphones remind me of Gestalt , the sum is greater than the individual parts. I can review every headphone on the technicalities. I have an album of tests just for that. But, a pair of headphones is more than just it's parts. The greater listening experience is what matters. It really is a Gestalt.
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 4:05 PM Post #1,601 of 1,622
I don't disagree with any of that. However, to me, the question should be what you as a reader want to get from a review. I want to read comparisons of different headphones and such comparisons are far more useful if both headphones are setup to sound their best. I'm not interested in reading a comparison of an X9000 amplified by a Topping EHA5 vs an SR-009 amplified by a T2. I mean, it might be an entertaining read, but it does not really give me useful information.
Well, you're making my point. Someone who habitually EQs all of their headphones is looking/hoping for a different review than someone who prefers to avoid EQ. Even if the reviewer EQs to what sounds best to them, there's no guarantee it'll be your optimal EQ profile. Trying to standardize this probably lands you in ASRville, where the vast majority of headphone reviews read as follows:

Our measurements show that the frequency response of Headphone X deviates significantly from the Harman target. Sure enough, when I listened to it, it sounded uninvolving with insufficient bass. After applying the following EQ to effect Harman compliance, the situation improved dramatically. I listened to various genres and artists from my library with a big smile on my face!
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 4:21 PM Post #1,603 of 1,622
I think you are reading my posts as an attack on reviewers. It was not. I was trying to make the point that the Aperio is being given an advantage due to its built in EQ. I'll stop now.
OK, but then the DCA headphones are given an "advantage" by AMTS tuning inserts, the HifiMan headphones are given an advantage by "stealth" magnet design, the ZMF planars are given an advantage by their proprietary damping system, etc.

I simply don't draw a distinction between a designer tuning by mechanical versus electronic means. It's all equally valid from my perspective. Let's simply agree to disagree, and move on.
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 4:32 PM Post #1,604 of 1,622
OK, but then the DCA headphones are given an "advantage" by AMTS tuning inserts, the HifiMan headphones are given an advantage by "stealth" magnet design, the ZMF planars are given an advantage by their proprietary damping system, etc.

Just because the EQ is built-in does not change the fact that EQ at its heart is just math implemented in software and can be easily applied to almost any headphone. I don't see how it is similar to proprietary hardware that is physically part of the headphone and which can't be applied to any other headphone.

Let's simply agree to disagree, and move on.

OK
 
Jun 11, 2024 at 4:38 PM Post #1,605 of 1,622
I don't see how it is similar to proprietary hardware that is physically part of the headphone and which can't be applied to any other headphone.
This seems to be where the disconnect between us is. I don't see how it's any different than physical tuning when it's how the unit arrives. I personaly see 0 reason to make a distinction between stock eq and stock damping tuning
 

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