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Now that Denon headphones have gone to shit, what is the next logical
gingham
post Jul 20 2013, 04:16
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I really love these headphones but lately their limitations have become more and more obvious to me. Especially tracks such as Feist's "The Bad in Each Other" expose their inability ro render detail in vocals while also delivering heavy bass. The bass also makes them crackle when playing such songs.

But Denon have discontinued their AH-DX000 line (I actually got my pair only because they were a demo set, all other units had been removed from my local retailer's inventory) and their replacements are a massive disappointment. Cheaply built and grossly overpriced I won't ever be getting any D-7100's.

So what's the next logical step for me? I keep hearing the D-2000's are the best headphones you can get for under $500 so does that mean I should be looking at a pair of LCD2's? T1's?
HD800's look downright garish so I'll never consider them but what else is there that delivers as flat a frequency response as possible (yes, I will actually be using these headphones as reference monitors) for under ~800?
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extrabigmehdi
post Jul 20 2013, 05:07
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Fostex was the oem manufacturer of the denon headphone line, so I'd get some fostex.
Otherwise the new denon line is not so bad, the d7100 is just considered to be grossly overpriced,
and you'd see some people preferring the cheaper d600.

QUOTE
I keep hearing the D-2000's are the best headphones you can get for under $500

Best for one, is worst for another. Ask at head-fi ...

QUOTE
HD800's look downright garish so I'll never consider them but what else is there that delivers as flat a frequency response as possible

The hd800 looks better when you look at it for real, than on the pic.
Also there are company such like colorware, that are doing a very nice color job on the hd800.
You'd see that some hd800 looks pretty.
The hd800 have a default sound presentation that is not for everyone. They can be fatiguing , and I use an eq to reduce the treble.
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skamp
post Jul 20 2013, 07:10
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I use the Denon AH-D2000s at home, and frankly, I can't think of anything that needs to be corrected, as far as sound quality is concerned. They sound excellent, and they're the best sounding cans that I have ever owned. In my opinion, they are in that category of audio gear that may be more or less overpriced (technically), but still well worth the money (as opposed to audiophool gear that is only overpriced).

Admittedly, I haven't tried more expensive headphones, but with my D2000s, I have no desire to buy anything else. Audiophiles are never satisfied, but I am.

This post has been edited by skamp: Jul 20 2013, 07:14


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gingham
post Jul 20 2013, 08:25
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Of course, because now I'm looking for a pair of heapdhones that don't crackle when I play bass heavy music I'm now and audiophile, yes?

I'm not asking for subjective opinions, I'm looking for the flattest and most detailed headphones I can get for under ~€800

This post has been edited by gingham: Jul 20 2013, 08:51
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skamp
post Jul 20 2013, 09:24
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The Denon AH-D2000 never "crackle", even with bass heavy music, unless your pair is defective, or your source suffers from heavy clipping.

As for the "flattest" pair of headphones under $800, they're all pretty much similar to the Denon AH-D2000:



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skamp
post Jul 20 2013, 09:50
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QUOTE (gingham @ Jul 20 2013, 05:16) *
Especially tracks such as Feist's "The Bad in Each Other" expose their inability ro render detail in vocals while also delivering heavy bass. The bass also makes them crackle when playing such songs.


Your source is very poor, as I thought. The song "The Bad in Each Other" from Feist is very "hot", with some audible clipping, and a Dynamic Range score of DR5, which is pretty bad, but not uncommon. No headphones will be able to redeem the bad mastering, no matter how much you pay for them. Get an original CD from the 80's of Run-D.M.C's "Raising Hell" (NOT a remaster!), and tell me if the bass makes the Denons crackle! I've uploaded a sample here.

This post has been edited by skamp: Jul 20 2013, 09:54


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gingham
post Jul 20 2013, 10:31
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The Dynamic Range Meter plugin for foobar has expired and I can find no working link for an up to date download.

I got a 24/96 rip of the original Raising Hell LP, playing it through my 24/192 interface
No crackle, not a goddamn peep
Doesn't matter how heavy I bias for bass in the EQ either they just won't crackle

I think you may be on to something here and if you are then I've got a huge amount of music ruined by poor masters.

[Edit]

Yep, got a 24/96 vinyl rip of Metals and it stands head and shoulders above the CD rip. Pretty sure my problem has been found.

This post has been edited by gingham: Jul 20 2013, 11:26
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skamp
post Jul 20 2013, 12:36
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QUOTE (gingham @ Jul 20 2013, 11:31) *
The Dynamic Range Meter plugin for foobar has expired and I can find no working link for an up to date download.


There you go smile.gif

QUOTE (gingham @ Jul 20 2013, 11:31) *
I think you may be on to something here and if you are then I've got a huge amount of music ruined by poor masters.


That's actually a well known trend, it's called the loudness war. Some albums are still released today with proper mastering and adequate dynamic range, but most pop / rock / metal / electronic releases since the mid-90's are excessively compressed, sometimes with audible clipping, both of which make everything sound bad. Yes, it sucks.

QUOTE (gingham @ Jul 20 2013, 11:31) *
Yep, got a 24/96 vinyl rip of Metals and it stands head and shoulders above the CD rip. Pretty sure my problem has been found.


Note that the higher sampling rate and bit depth are not what makes a recording sound good. It all depends on how it was mixed and mastered, there is nothing you can do about that, and no equipment, however good, will help, either.

This post has been edited by skamp: Jul 20 2013, 12:38


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mzil
post Jul 20 2013, 17:29
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QUOTE (gingham @ Jul 19 2013, 23:16) *
I keep hearing the D-2000's are the best headphones you can get for under $500 so does that mean I should be looking at a pair of LCD2's? T1's?
...what else is there that delivers as flat a frequency response as possible (yes, I will actually be using these headphones as reference monitors) for under ~800?

I'd advise completely ignoring the audiophile reviewers of those other sites, which suffer from extreme expectation bias (despite their claims otherwise) and are therefore heavily influenced by brand reputation and especially price. Instead, look at the actual raw data objectively, and ignore those subjective reviewers' vivid imaginations.

Note, I have intentionally doubled the magnification of the x-axis of this following graph (compared to the one skamp posted, so don't compare the two directly), to more easily show the deviation from a flat response, especially occurring in the critical 3 to 4 kHz range, where our hearing is the most sensitive to subtle deviations even as little as one dB, or so:



For the best neutrality in the musically significant 30Hz- 12kHz range, I know what headphones I'd buy (and did, preferring them to headphones I bought/own that cost me 10X as much).

This post has been edited by mzil: Jul 20 2013, 18:21
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extrabigmehdi
post Jul 20 2013, 19:43
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QUOTE (mzil @ Jul 20 2013, 17:29) *
I'd advise completely ignoring the audiophile reviewers of those other sites, which suffer from extreme expectation bias (despite their claims otherwise) and are therefore heavily influenced by brand reputation and especially price.


When you don't have precise objective references ; off course you have some expectation bias, how it could be different ?
You can't really tell how a headphone would sound, before you test them.

QUOTE
Instead, look at the actual raw data objectively, and ignore those subjective reviewers' vivid imaginations.

You mean the frequency response ? It's not enough to assess sound quality , you know.
There are other measurements such like thd+ noise, "CSD Waterfall", square wave response (look at innerfidelity website or en.goldenears.net)
The trick is that the hd800 show good measurements, and not everyone like them (i.e they even get some rejection).

QUOTE
Note, I have intentionally doubled the magnification of the x-axis of this following graph (compared to the one skamp posted, so don't compare the two directly), to more easily show the deviation from a flat response, especially occurring in the critical 3 to 4 kHz range, where our hearing is the most sensitive to subtle deviations even as little as one dB,

I totally agree, I think the hd800 get some hate because of their particular frequency response in the treble region,
although the problem is a bit disconcerting.


QUOTE
For the best neutrality in the musically significant 30Hz- 12kHz range, I know what headphones I'd buy (and did, preferring them to headphones I bought/own that cost me 10X as much).


I think these kind of statements are generating "expectation bias" from the readers.
By the way, in the store I bought my hd800, the denon d5000 were sold at almost same price (around 1000$) , and the D2000 (around 500$) ,
so I should have taken the d2000 or d5000, according to what you are saying.
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dhromed
post Jul 26 2013, 20:32
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QUOTE (mzil @ Jul 20 2013, 18:29) *
to more easily show the deviation from a flat response, especially occurring in the critical 3 to 4 kHz range, where our hearing is the most sensitive to subtle deviations even as little as one dB, or so:

That dip might actually make the phones more pleasing for some people, since it attenuates those SUPER LOUD HARSH MIDTONES THAT PRODUCERS/ENGINEERS LIKE TO AMPLIFY FOR (POP) SINGERS THESE DAYS, if you see what I mean.
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extrabigmehdi
post Jul 27 2013, 01:54
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QUOTE (dhromed @ Jul 26 2013, 20:32) *
SUPER LOUD HARSH MIDTONES THAT PRODUCERS/ENGINEERS LIKE TO AMPLIFY FOR (POP) SINGERS THESE DAYS, if you see what I mean.

I don't see what you mean. I do not listen much pop anymore though.
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mzil
post Jul 27 2013, 05:56
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QUOTE (dhromed @ Jul 26 2013, 15:32) *
QUOTE (mzil @ Jul 20 2013, 18:29) *
to more easily show the deviation from a flat response, especially occurring in the critical 3 to 4 kHz range, where our hearing is the most sensitive to subtle deviations even as little as one dB, or so:

That dip might actually make the phones more pleasing for some people, since it attenuates those SUPER LOUD HARSH MIDTONES THAT PRODUCERS/ENGINEERS LIKE TO AMPLIFY FOR (POP) SINGERS THESE DAYS, if you see what I mean.

Imagine a world where record producers apply a different, let's call it "tonal pre-emphasis curve" to recordings by genre, or record label, or for female vs male vocalists: British Pop gets one EQ curve, jazz another, female blues singers a third. What a nightmare!

"I'll have you know my loudspeakers aren't in error, sir, but rather they were designed for female blues vocalists on PolyGram, not this male folk music on Atlantic. Please, before passing judgment on the recording itself, claiming it to be 'subdued', allow me to connect these alternate Folktronic speakers with the correct response for this category of music, made specifically for this style of recording." Oy.

Crutchfield, not to mention others, used to market speakers this way ["jazz ready", "rock ready", etc.] in the 1980s. It was absurd then and it is absurd now. If one wants to apply EQ to their music (for any number of good reasons), that's perfectly fine, but doing so in a fixed, irretrievable manner (by building an intentionally skewed response into one's electro-acoustic transducers) makes little sense to me. [Do it electronically, if need be.]

Anyone ever heard of speakers being talked about as having a "British sound"? How about a "west coast sound"? or a "New England sound"? More stupidity, in my view. [Not that I'm denying trends in designs may exist, unfortunately, and may (perhaps) have rough geographical boundaries; I'm just saying that a good speaker shouldn't have any "sound" of its own, at all; it should be neutral and invisible to the listener. High fidelity sound reproduction should be as accurate and faithful to the recording as is possible (warts and all) and without any editorializing or tonal alteration. The goal is to be as transparent as possible and not introduce any "sound".]

This post has been edited by mzil: Jul 27 2013, 06:56
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jul 29 2013, 01:11
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QUOTE (mzil @ Jul 27 2013, 00:56) *
Anyone ever heard of speakers being talked about as having a "British sound"? How about a "west coast sound"? or a "New England sound"?


Sure, back in the 1960s and 1970s.

British sound was typified by the LS3/5a. Very smooth, but not much bass.

West Coast sound was typified by JBL speakers. A little boom (warmth) and sparkle. Later found to come from pretty good drivers but over-simple crossovers.

East Coast sound was typified by AR and KLH speakers. Probably the most accurate overall.
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Ed Seedhouse
post Jul 29 2013, 05:25
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QUOTE (gingham @ Jul 20 2013, 00:25) *
I'm not asking for subjective opinions, I'm looking for the flattest and most detailed headphones I can get for under ~800


Well you are unlikely to find any authoritative opinions about which is which, since there is as yet no generally accepted way of determining just what will be flat and detailed for any given pair of ears. We all have different ears and a headphone that might be flattest for and detailed for one particular set of ears quite likely won't be for another set.

Personally I suspect that the normal way of measuring headphones using "dummy heads" might be a mistaken approach, but I am not in any position to prove this one way or another so my suspicion may be completely unfounded.




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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jul 29 2013, 18:49
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QUOTE (gingham @ Jul 20 2013, 03:25) *
I'm not asking for subjective opinions, I'm looking for the flattest and most detailed headphones I can get for under ~800


Don't forget that the response of headphones can be influenced by the details of the construction of your ears. Headphones truly sound different to every listener. For example resonances in the ear canal strongly influence the sound that reaches the eardrum, but the length, curvature, and diameter of the ear canal varies from person to person. Those differences change the resonance. Bass response is affected strongly particularly in circumaural headphones by how they seal to the listener's head, but that varies since the shape and size of human heads also varies.
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extrabigmehdi
post Jul 29 2013, 19:02
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Jul 29 2013, 18:49) *
. Headphones truly sound different to every listener. For example resonances in the ear canal strongly influence the sound that reaches the eardrum, but the length, curvature, and diameter of the ear canal varies from person to person. Those differences change the resonance.

Yes this is particularly the case with the example of the srh940.
Some people at headfi were hearing a very fatiguing treble, while other not.
I got that issue, and I've fixed it by using a rope to increase depth of ear cups.
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