Author Topic: Headphones  (Read 123165 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline 71 dB

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6088
  • I free-think, therefore I am free
    • Soundcloud
  • Location: Helsinki, Finland
Re: Headphones
« Reply #880 on: January 14, 2016, 05:04:39 AM »
There's a lot of "time smearing" happening to acoustic waves in concert halls and listening rooms that don't necessarily happen (or happen differently) with headphones .
Are you saying the microphones do not capture "time smearing" and the recordings therefor are avoid of it?

Not to mention low order harmonic distortion that makes many subjectively prefer tube amps, vinyl etc.
My theory is distortion makes everything sound the same (distorted) and people learn to like that sameness. Live performance is never distorted by definition and should be the reference. People don't actually realise how un-musical it is to have harmonic distortion in your gear. It creates additional frequencies that does not belong to the music. It's perverse to enjoy that.

Now we're into subjective preferences, all I'm saying there are lots of reason that precision isn't always the ultimate goal. Including the fact that bad recordings and masterings often sound worse on analytic/precise equipment. There are recordings I think sound better on cheaper equipment than on my main rig, but good recordings always sounds better on it.
I can tell you the truth or I can tell you what you want to hear. It's nice to hear what you want but you'll be living in a lie. Precise sound means knowing the truth, the truth about how bad or good your recordings are.
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

My Sound Cloud page

Online The new erato

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 14370
Re: Headphones
« Reply #881 on: January 14, 2016, 05:55:27 AM »
Are you saying the microphones do not capture "time smearing" and the recordings therefor are avoid of it?
No. Just that normal listening situations adds a lot to it

I can tell you the truth or I can tell you what you want to hear. It's nice to hear what you want but you'll be living in a lie. Precise sound means knowing the truth, the truth about how bad or good your recordings are.
I won't go into that discussion, just saying that sometimes smoothing over the warts may be a good thing, however truthful the warts are. Unless you happen to like warts. Simple as that, and end of discussion.

Offline 71 dB

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6088
  • I free-think, therefore I am free
    • Soundcloud
  • Location: Helsinki, Finland
Re: Headphones
« Reply #882 on: January 14, 2016, 09:10:35 AM »
No. Just that normal listening situations adds a lot to it

Please define "normal" listening situation. After the definition we can figure out what it "adds" compared to a not so normal listening situation. "Time smearing" is not such a thing, because it can't be avoided as I pointed out.

I won't go into that discussion, just saying that sometimes smoothing over the warts may be a good thing, however truthful the warts are. Unless you happen to like warts. Simple as that, and end of discussion.

Again we need to define "sonic warts". Also, what is technically "smoothing over"?

The general problem with this is that you use "less precise" audio gear to achieve "smoothing over", but what the audio gear does is not controlled. It does what it does (mostly because it's crappy), not what is exactly "needed". Also, other people hear different end result, because their audio gear does something different. Neutral precise sound is well-defined and if everyone has that, we hear more or less the same thing.

People who are only after smooth and "warm" sound are wimps. Real audiophiles want some coldness and edge too.  >:D

Neutral precise system gives you both, depending on the nature of the recording.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2016, 09:12:12 AM by 71 dB »
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

My Sound Cloud page

Offline Holden

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 1744
Re: Headphones
« Reply #883 on: January 14, 2016, 09:26:29 AM »
Interesting to compare this to discussions of the HD800s on the Headfi forum. The posts of derision ( maybe that's too harsh) about preferring the 600 to the 800 would already be numerous. I've always thought that many Headfiers are more interested in the sound of their equipment as opposed to how they replay music. Not so here, unsurprisingly, on a forum which is about music and which has  many posters who play a musical instrument.
Cheers

Holden

jlaurson

  • Guest
Re: Headphones
« Reply #884 on: January 14, 2016, 02:23:26 PM »
Please define "normal" listening situation. After the definition we can figure out what it "adds" compared to a not so normal listening situation. "Time smearing" is not such a thing, because it can't be avoided as I pointed out.

Again we need to define "sonic warts". Also, what is technically "smoothing over"?

The general problem with this is that you use "less precise" audio gear to achieve "smoothing over", but what the audio gear does is not controlled. It does what it does (mostly because it's crappy), not what is exactly "needed". Also, other people hear different end result, because their audio gear does something different. Neutral precise sound is well-defined and if everyone has that, we hear more or less the same thing.

People who are only after smooth and "warm" sound are wimps. Real audiophiles want some coldness and edge too.  >:D

Neutral precise system gives you both, depending on the nature of the recording.

Let's put it in a different language: Do you want to live in Vienna or Berlin? If Vienna, you'll want HD600 et al, if Berlin HD800. Perhaps that can be extended, to some degree, along North/South lines... disingenuous smile vs. brutal honesty. But the point is: There are plenty of people who choose one over the other and vice versa... and we represent only one part and, perhaps only by coincidence, the same part. Doesn't make us more right.

Online Papy Oli

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 3387
Re: Headphones
« Reply #885 on: January 14, 2016, 02:59:32 PM »
Timely discussion today because it has been the first evening where I have experienced the full downside of the unforgiveness of the HD800, to the point of it "being" grating on several CD's in the pile this evening...too harsh, too piercing, unclear separation...all down to the recordings quality (or my ears having a bad day maybe). I'd have to agree with Erato on this one as I would definitely have to revert to the DT880 of the HD650 for those particular recordings to enjoy them as I am used to and just be selective gear-wise throughout the CD's.

That said, give the HD800 something properly recorded and that's an absolute jewel. I have just put Aja back on to wrap up the evening and all is well in the world again  8)
Olivier

Offline Mookalafalas

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 2759
  • Location: Taiwan
  • Currently Listening to:
    Telemann, Russian music and musicians, Piano sonatas
Re: Headphones
« Reply #886 on: February 02, 2016, 09:22:47 PM »
Updated my phones.  Hifiman 400i.  I'm happy.  (Got in on the end of the year sale, so much cheaper than present list price).

It's all good...

Offline Todd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 15715
Re: Headphones
« Reply #887 on: May 08, 2016, 07:25:28 AM »



My recent and projected listening has included and will continue to include more rock and pop music, and as such, my Beyer T1s, which sound absolutely superb, ended up not being as well suited to this type of listening.  The bass is top quality, but the high frequencies are perhaps a bit too much some of the time, so I opted to get something new for non-classical listening.  I was familiar with Audeze headphones, and they deliver a sound that works better with rock and pop.  They produce more bass and high frequencies are less elevated.  In short, they sound darker, or perhaps richer, if you prefer.  (The Headphone.com measurements reinforce the perceived aural reality, or rather, vice versa.) So I bought the LCD 2.2.  It fits the bill.  It works great with pop and rock.  The soundstage/headstage is narrower and more closed in than the T1s, and the tonality is not quite as good for classical music, as expected, but detail is still more than adequate.  With the T1s, especially with piano music, I would quite regularly have to double check to make sure it was the headphones I was using, and not my speakers; with the Audezes, that has yet to happen when listening to anything.  Since I already knew what I was in for based on prior listening, these exactly met expectations.  (I A/B'd the LCD 2.2 against the EL-8, and the EL-8 is simply too dull to satisfy.) 

A couple things of note.  I already knew the cans were large, but when I rest my head on my La-Z-Boy - and why wouldn't I? - the earcup size prevents me from turning my head, and any brush of my hand against the cable or earcup creates a low frequency resonance.  And the Pelican travel case the headphones come in is just ridiculous.  Ain't no way these cans get harmed in transit.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2016, 04:44:02 PM by Todd »
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 15715
Re: Headphones
« Reply #888 on: May 03, 2017, 07:24:03 AM »



Last year, the release of the Focal Utopia and Elear headphones garnered many pages of internet discussions on sites devoted to headphones.  Barring a lottery win, I will never own a four grand pair of headphones, but I wanted to try the Elears and hear how they compare to my other (erstwhile) supercans*: Beyer T1s and Audeze LCD 2.2s.

First, there’s the look, build quality, and fit.  The headphones look undeniably cool in hand.  These are wide open cans: peering through the sides, one can see the driver housing surrounded by nothing; the outer and inner meshes not supporting the drivers are see-through.  The drivers themselves look like generously sized dome tweeters firing at the listener’s ears, which, in essence, they are.  Build quality is generally high, though the rivets holding the cups to the band are not one hundred percent snug, at least on the left side on my pair.  There’s no wobble or chance of disintegration, but it should be noted.  As to fit, well, these are the best fitting luxury headphones I’ve worn, either for an extended period or a demo.  They fit almost as well as Audio Technica wing design headphones, but have greater clamping force.  Outstanding.

Now to sound.  These are not for everyone, starting with people who plan on listening primarily to solo piano music.  There is a massive frequency dip around 4 kHz, followed by a massive increase in high frequency energy.  This makes the upper midrange sound a bit dark and recessed, which means that upper registers and harmonics for piano sound a bit dull.  Coupled to this dip and rise is a boosted bass, in what appears to be a slightly exaggerated headphone variant of the boom-tizz design used in many mini-monitors.  This design not only means that solo piano is not ideally reproduced, but also string quartets suffer a bit, and the increase in treble means that the sound can become fatiguing if volume is not adjusted properly.  On the upside, these cans handle rock music splendidly.  The bass frequencies lack the extension and sheer weight of the Audezes, and the clarity of the Beyers, but the bass in punchier and groovier than in either of those two cans.  The recessed upper mids mean that even some harsher sounding rock and pop music sounds appropriately tamed.  It seems that these headphones were voiced more for rock and pop than classical, with its generally more natural frequency responses.  To be sure, clarity and detail through these cans is superb, and when watching TV, if perhaps a slight hollowing out of voices can be heard, so can every ruffle of clothing and every last bit of studio reflection in live voices (eg, the news).  For gaming, they are well balanced, but if one wants big sounding ‘splosions, Audezes are better.  However, one area where the Elears really excel are dynamics, which makes sense for a dynamic metal driver.  Dynamic contrasts are simply outstanding.  This can make adjusting volume a bit tricky, because fortissimo through these is loud.  The headphones are easier to drive than either the T1s or LCD 2.2s, which means even more care must be taken when setting volume.  I should note that these headphones need an amplifier devoted to headphones to sound their best.

One other thing to note is that this is the first pair of headphone in my experience than benefit from break-in.  I generally don’t put much store in stories of dozens or hundreds hours of break-in of stereo gear, and ‘net stories indicate at least dozens of hours for the Elears.  I can’t confirm that, but I can say that right of the box, the big 4 kHz drop made the cans sound very closed in and dark, and that this improved after a few hours of break-in.  This was assessed not by listening continuously, which would indicate aural acclimation only, but rather by listening, letting them run, then listening again, repeating a few times, this indicating aural acclimation and possibly some break-in.  Again, since this is the only pair of headphones I’ve heard where this has happened, there may be something to it.  By contrast, the planar Audezes sounded the same from the first note to the last time I listened to them.

So, a qualified success.  The Beyers are still the best overall headphones for my tastes, and the Audezes are better overall, but the Focals have their place outside classical music. 




*Only a few short years ago, Stax and the original Sennheiser Orpheus aside, a grand was the threshold for super-luxury headphones, but now that amount has been erased as the prices for ultra-premium cans march ever higher, straight to absurd levels.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2017, 07:17:59 AM by Todd »
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline 71 dB

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 6088
  • I free-think, therefore I am free
    • Soundcloud
  • Location: Helsinki, Finland
Re: Headphones
« Reply #889 on: March 10, 2018, 06:52:37 AM »
Yesterday the left channel of my Sennheiser HD-598 when silent. Luckily it was the cable and not the left driver! Today got myself a replacement cable (19,95 euros) and the phones are working again!
Spatial distortion is a serious problem deteriorating headphone listening.
Crossfeeders reduce spatial distortion and make the sound more natural
and less tiresome in headphone listening.

My Sound Cloud page

Offline Holden

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • *
  • Posts: 1744
Re: Headphones
« Reply #890 on: March 10, 2018, 12:58:39 PM »
.....and while we’re talking about Sennheiser replacement parts, I’ve just ordered new ear pads for my vintage HD580s. They are genuine Senn OEM and a little bit expensive but worth getting.
Cheers

Holden

Offline TheGSMoeller

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 11236
  • Monkey Greg.
Re: Headphones
« Reply #891 on: November 27, 2018, 09:17:58 PM »
the left side of my current headphones are fading it seems, I recently started noticing a balance issue with them. So it's time for a new pair and I'm looking for suggestions. Something close to the $150-$200 range, great for classical (of course).
Any suggestions?

Thank you in advance!

Offline Todd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 15715
Re: Headphones
« Reply #892 on: December 01, 2018, 07:07:21 AM »
You can pick up Beyerdynamic DT880s in the 250 Ohm configuration for $159 right now at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/beyerdynamic-880-Premium-250-Over-Ear-Stereo/dp/B000F2BLTM/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1543676075&sr=8-3&keywords=beyerdynamic+dt880).  I have the 600 Ohm pair, and my son has the 250 Ohm pair, and they sound the same as far as I can tell, though the 600 Ohm needs more power.  The 250 Ohm is easy to drive to satisfying sound levels with a phone, whereas the 600 Ohm most decidedly is not.  There is typical internet chatter about sound differences, which is why I mention it. 

The Sennheiser HD579 and HD599 are under $200 and should work well.  Audio Technica ATH open back designs (ATH700, new style; ATH900) are very expansive sounding but a bit bass light.  The ATH M50 is one of the most uniformly liked closed headphones I've read about, though I've not heard that model.  All are below $150.

The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline TheGSMoeller

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 11236
  • Monkey Greg.
Re: Headphones
« Reply #893 on: December 01, 2018, 08:08:24 AM »
You can pick up Beyerdynamic DT880s in the 250 Ohm configuration for $159 right now at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/beyerdynamic-880-Premium-250-Over-Ear-Stereo/dp/B000F2BLTM/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1543676075&sr=8-3&keywords=beyerdynamic+dt880).  I have the 600 Ohm pair, and my son has the 250 Ohm pair, and they sound the same as far as I can tell, though the 600 Ohm needs more power.  The 250 Ohm is easy to drive to satisfying sound levels with a phone, whereas the 600 Ohm most decidedly is not.  There is typical internet chatter about sound differences, which is why I mention it. 

The Sennheiser HD579 and HD599 are under $200 and should work well.  Audio Technica ATH open back designs (ATH700, new style; ATH900) are very expansive sounding but a bit bass light.  The ATH M50 is one of the most uniformly liked closed headphones I've read about, though I've not heard that model.  All are below $150.


Thanks, Todd. This gives me plenty of good options to begin researching.

I've seen the Grado SR80e headphones on several lists of headphones great for classical music, I'm a little skeptical with them being on-ear rather than over over-ear but still curious. Didn't know if this was a brand, or model, that is well known or respected. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L1LXOWS/?coliid=I2AH6MYWZHGM4O&colid=7BT7JU8099KP&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

Offline Todd

  • Veteran member
  • *
  • Posts: 15715
Re: Headphones
« Reply #894 on: December 01, 2018, 08:21:25 AM »
I've seen the Grado SR80e headphones on several lists of headphones great for classical music


Lower end Grados are not particularly good for classical.  The frequency response doesn't boost bass enough, resulting in a somewhat unrelenting sound.  You have to get to at least the SR325 for the sound to improve, and ultimately the Statement line is where they really sound good.  (One local vendor had/has all models on display, allowing a quick run up the line, which is how I heard most of the models.)

The Prestige series are also not particularly robust in terms of build quality.  I've owned the SR60 and SR125, and both broke after a short period.  The flimsy connections to the ear pieces suck.  I will never buy Grado again.  Sennheiser plastic models also do have some build quality issues, with cracking in the plastic evident after not too long.  Beyer build quality is superior, and though they use a lot of plastic, the Audio Technica open back designs place little stress on the headphones, and they are almost ridiculously comfortable once you get used to the "wing pad" design.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Ghost of Baron Scarpia

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 803
Re: Headphones
« Reply #895 on: December 01, 2018, 09:34:47 AM »
I may be in the minority, but I don't have a high opinion of Sennheiser build, even for relatively high end. I had two pair, both in the $300-$400 range and both had issue. The first one had ridiculously finicky connectors for the removable headphone cords that developed static. Had to be replaced and developed static again. The other had one driver that was weaker and more prone to buzzing during bass and when I returned it for warranty repair I was informed it was within spec.

My favourites now are Beyer Dynamic and Denon, honourable mention to AKG.

Offline GioCar

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 914
  • Location: Milan
Re: Headphones
« Reply #896 on: December 01, 2018, 11:53:14 PM »
You can pick up Beyerdynamic DT880s in the 250 Ohm configuration for $159 right now at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/beyerdynamic-880-Premium-250-Over-Ear-Stereo/dp/B000F2BLTM/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1543676075&sr=8-3&keywords=beyerdynamic+dt880).  I have the 600 Ohm pair, and my son has the 250 Ohm pair, and they sound the same as far as I can tell, though the 600 Ohm needs more power.  The 250 Ohm is easy to drive to satisfying sound levels with a phone, whereas the 600 Ohm most decidedly is not.  There is typical internet chatter about sound differences, which is why I mention it. 

The Sennheiser HD579 and HD599 are under $200 and should work well.  Audio Technica ATH open back designs (ATH700, new style; ATH900) are very expansive sounding but a bit bass light.  The ATH M50 is one of the most uniformly liked closed headphones I've read about, though I've not heard that model.  All are below $150.

I second the bolded part. Moreover if want closed cans and you can still find them somewhere (they are OOP), go for the Beyerdynamics DT660. This guy has golden ears imo, and this is his opinion on the DT660 https://www.head-fi.org/threads/i-truly-believe-these-are-one-of-the-best-classical-music-headphones-ive-ever-heard.559542/