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Headphone purchase, For objective production needs
Benliq
post Oct 30 2013, 20:56
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QUOTE (markanini @ Oct 30 2013, 20:39) *
QUOTE (Benliq @ Oct 30 2013, 18:18) *
Another problem with the HD555s I observed is its inability to produce soundstage because it does not place the sound at the centre of your head. The sound is always to the left and right of my head, just an inch from my ears. This means I am conscious that the "sonic world" is being faked by 2 separate, locatable sources.

However, some headphones that aggressively drive the sound into your head do not produce what I call "soundstage" either...

I don't get it, are you constrasting these two properties with regards to soundstage? What's an aggressive driving headphone anyway?

Which two properties?

I was using the term "aggressive" to refer to headphones without the "surround reflector" or angled drivers in some headphones (like the HD555) that do not shoot the sound directly into your ears.
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markanini
post Oct 30 2013, 23:19
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QUOTE (Benliq @ Oct 30 2013, 20:56) *
QUOTE (markanini @ Oct 30 2013, 20:39) *
QUOTE (Benliq @ Oct 30 2013, 18:18) *
Another problem with the HD555s I observed is its inability to produce soundstage because it does not place the sound at the centre of your head. The sound is always to the left and right of my head, just an inch from my ears. This means I am conscious that the "sonic world" is being faked by 2 separate, locatable sources.

However, some headphones that aggressively drive the sound into your head do not produce what I call "soundstage" either...

I don't get it, are you constrasting these two properties with regards to soundstage? What's an aggressive driving headphone anyway?

Which two properties?

I was using the term "aggressive" to refer to headphones without the "surround reflector" or angled drivers in some headphones (like the HD555) that do not shoot the sound directly into your ears.

HD800s have a deflective mesh, some praise if for it's soundstage, others find it an icepick to the ears. You can't really pin down how headphones will sound to you to a single construction aspect.
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extrabigmehdi
post Oct 31 2013, 03:02
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Oct 30 2013, 15:13) *
A transient is a time-related event, and Frequency = 1/Time (where time is the period of one cycle).

Well (unless I've misunderstood) you seem to imply that headphone reaction to transients , could be deduced just by studying the frequency response; but then I would disagree.
Anyways, I have also in mind some dsp / vst that allows to shape transients, and if we could do the same just by using eq ; then such such dsp/ vst wouldn't be available.


@benliq
QUOTE
Another problem with the HD555s I observed is its inability to produce soundstage because it does not place the sound at the center of your head. The sound is always to the left and right of my head, just an inch from my ears. This means I am conscious that the "sonic world" is being faked by 2 separate, locatable sources.


I thought this issue was worse with a hd800 biggrin.gif (i.e sound seems distant on left and right, and it's not always easy to recreate the "sonic image" inside head). This issue can be avoided with music produced specifically for headphones, or tamed by using dsp such like crossfeed.

This post has been edited by extrabigmehdi: Oct 31 2013, 03:03
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Benliq
post Oct 31 2013, 06:51
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QUOTE (extrabigmehdi @ Oct 31 2013, 04:02) *
I thought this issue was worse with a hd800 biggrin.gif (i.e sound seems distant on left and right, and it's not always easy to recreate the "sonic image" inside head). This issue can be avoided with music produced specifically for headphones, or tamed by using dsp such like crossfeed.

The place near me wouldn't let customers listen to its 800 because they put it inside a display case, so thanks for the impressions.

I can't really produce music with "system requirements" that include a list of specific dsps and settings to listen with, so that is a no go.

Do you know if certain types of headphone constructions can alleviate this problem? (i.e. not headphone quality, but a conscious design choice like open v.s. closed)
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extrabigmehdi
post Oct 31 2013, 11:35
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QUOTE (Benliq @ Oct 31 2013, 05:51) *
Do you know if certain types of headphone constructions can alleviate this problem? (i.e. not headphone quality, but a conscious design choice like open v.s. closed)


I was a bit surprised that you got already the problem with the hd555 .... Well, subjectively "big soundstage" and "disjointed image", might go together. I also thought that what you call "veil" in the hd555 , helps to mitigate/hide the unpleasing sensation of a "disjointed image".
Imho, if you want a sound signature similar to the hd555, but "without the veil" , then you should try a hd800.

Otherwise you can't ignore the fact that headphones makes you listen completely separated audio signals.
Even if you don't plan to use crossfeed, it's interesting to understand the theory behind it.
xnor provide a short explanation here:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=90764
Also I'll remind that most produced music, are tested with speakers.


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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Oct 31 2013, 12:36
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QUOTE (Benliq @ Oct 29 2013, 07:29) *
I'm trying to mix self-composed music in an ITB fashion, the HD555 I've been using aren't really that good for the task. I need recommendations based on:

1. Sub $150 price, based on the industry wide standard for warranty I consider them disposable after the 2 years end.


You're talking headphones such as the Sony MDR 7506, Sennheiser HD 280, Audio Technica ATH M50, etc.

QUOTE
2. I see that most professional environments demand sound isolation, for my particular scenario where that isn't the case, shouldn't open headphones provide more accurate reproduction?


The first artificial limit you seem to be putting on your choices is that you seem to want the headphones to please your other preferences without adjustments to channel balance, equalization, etc.

That is very old school thinking. For example later on in the thread, people are complaining about headphones that shift the soundstage. That's usually due to something that a slight adjustment to a balance control would fix. I'll bet that their audio systems don't even have balance controls, or they don't know where the one they have is controlled. If your system has an analog volume control it probably makes audible shifts in balance over its range. Don't be held hostage by them!

QUOTE
3. Again, accurate reproduction is the key concern. The HD555 (and I guess the rest of the HDs) has the signature Sennheiser veil, not good for faithful reproduction of the source.


I've owned a number of different model Sennheiser headphones through the HD 580s and I don't know what you are talking about. I'm listening to a pair of Senn digital wireless phones right now. They sound great to me and there's a dedicated pro grade 30 band equalizer in the signal chain that drives them.

I hear a lot of confusion about preferences and accuracy. They often aren't the same thing. If you want a reproduction system that suits your preferences, you are probably going to adjust some tone control or equalizer some place. Churinng headphone makes and models trying to suit your prejudices about what you think accuracy is makes no sense.
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extrabigmehdi
post Oct 31 2013, 13:29
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Oct 31 2013, 11:36) *
For example later on in the thread, people are complaining about headphones that shift the soundstage. That's usually due to something that a slight adjustment to a balance control would fix.

I don't think it was related to an unbalance between left & right.

QUOTE
I've owned a number of different model Sennheiser headphones through the HD 580s and I don't know what you are talking about.

Great for you, it's one less reason to nitpick.

QUOTE
I hear a lot of confusion about preferences and accuracy. They often aren't the same thing.

I agree. Although we don't have always a clear idea of what's accurate , regarding headphones.
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Benliq
post Oct 31 2013, 22:28
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Oct 31 2013, 12:36) *
You're talking headphones such as the Sony MDR 7506, Sennheiser HD 280, Audio Technica ATH M50, etc.
Are they all equally good?

QUOTE
The first artificial limit you seem to be putting on your choices is that you seem to want the headphones to please your other preferences without adjustments to channel balance, equalization, etc.

That is very old school thinking. For example later on in the thread, people are complaining about headphones that shift the soundstage. That's usually due to something that a slight adjustment to a balance control would fix. I'll bet that their audio systems don't even have balance controls, or they don't know where the one they have is controlled. If your system has an analog volume control it probably makes audible shifts in balance over its range. Don't be held hostage by them!
Well, some concrete issues are:

1. Deciding on the panning is now nearly impossible, because I have to imagine a soundstage by piecing together the left and right sides. A soundstage should have been an sensory trick, that comes to you unwittingly like an optical illusion.
2. Sometimes melodies that are not just filler go lower down the bass than the HD555 likes. In these cases when it sounds soft and less articulate, how do you decide whether that is an equipment problem or whether you should add yet more dynamics to the track?

QUOTE
I've owned a number of different model Sennheiser headphones through the HD 580s and I don't know what you are talking about. I'm listening to a pair of Senn digital wireless phones right now. They sound great to me and there's a dedicated pro grade 30 band equalizer in the signal chain that drives them.

Sennheiser models differ significantly, I once had an HD600 that mitigated a lot of the problems of the HD555. My experience with the HD650 was the worst out of all Sennheiser headphones by a long shot. In addition, Sennheiser gear have very poor build qualities, other than the "veil" the next signature feature from them is the unequal volume projected by the two drivers. No $10 headphone from any other brand I've listened to had such a serious difference in volume.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Nov 1 2013, 00:24
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QUOTE (Benliq @ Oct 31 2013, 17:28) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Oct 31 2013, 12:36) *
You're talking headphones such as the Sony MDR 7506, Sennheiser HD 280, Audio Technica ATH M50, etc.

Are they all equally good?


In the cosmic scheme of things, they are competitive. I doubt that anybody (besides me) would say they are equally good, but many would probably have a preference for one or two.

QUOTE
QUOTE
The first artificial limit you seem to be putting on your choices is that you seem to want the headphones to please your other preferences without adjustments to channel balance, equalization, etc.

That is very old school thinking. For example later on in the thread, people are complaining about headphones that shift the soundstage. That's usually due to something that a slight adjustment to a balance control would fix. I'll bet that their audio systems don't even have balance controls, or they don't know where the one they have is controlled. If your system has an analog volume control it probably makes audible shifts in balance over its range. Don't be held hostage by them!
Well, some concrete issues are:

1. Deciding on the panning is now nearly impossible, because I have to imagine a soundstage by piecing together the left and right sides. A soundstage should have been an sensory trick, that comes to you unwittingly like an optical illusion.


Soundstages are not mystical. People like me set them up by positioning mics and panning sources. I think you hope to do the same, and if you want to do that you have to stop thinking of them as complex and mystical.

One of the common golden ear challenges is that measurements can't characterize equipment performance because they can't measure soundstaging. My response is that it is true that measuring a real world soundstage on a recording is impossible, but if one reproduces that recording without audibly adding distortion, changing frequency response, timing, and levels then the soundstage is perfectly preserved.

Simple test signals can help you test the soundstaging of a computer audio system. For example if you play pink noise where the two channels are equal through headphones, the in-your-head image should be perfectly centered and if it is off to one side you can center it with a balance control and that is the right thing to do. If the two channels of pink noise are uncorrelated or independent of each other you get a completely different soundstage that is very diffuse like a blob, but again you can center the blob with a balance control or by matching levels on the two channels.

You can make your own test signals with Audacity.

QUOTE
2. Sometimes melodies that are not just filler go lower down the bass than the HD555 likes. In these cases when it sounds soft and less articulate, how do you decide whether that is an equipment problem or whether you should add yet more dynamics to the track?


What do you mean by "Go lower down the bass than the HD 555 likes"? Does the HD 555 distort heavy bass? or is the distortion coming from the headphone amplifier? As far as equipment problems go, you have to learn how to distinguish real problems from areas of performance that don't suit your preferences. That takes experience and diagnosis.

QUOTE
QUOTE
I've owned a number of different model Sennheiser headphones through the HD 580s and I don't know what you are talking about. I'm listening to a pair of Senn digital wireless phones right now. They sound great to me and there's a dedicated pro grade 30 band equalizer in the signal chain that drives them.

Sennheiser models differ significantly, I once had an HD600 that mitigated a lot of the problems of the HD555. My experience with the HD650 was the worst out of all Sennheiser headphones by a long shot. In addition, Sennheiser gear have very poor build qualities, other than the "veil" the next signature feature from them is the unequal volume projected by the two drivers. No $10 headphone from any other brand I've listened to had such a serious difference in volume.


If I had headphones that were out-of-balance, Id ensure that the out-of-balance condition was an actual fault of the headphones by making up a headphone cable that tied the two channels together or ran them off of the same channel. If they were out of balance with that cable then the headphones would be defective, and need repair or replacement.

I can't believe that HD650s usually come fresh out of the box with drivers that have different sensitivities and were out of balance. I've never had that happen with any headphones that I've purchased and I've owned several dozen different headphones. Were they used?

This post has been edited by Arnold B. Krueger: Nov 1 2013, 00:25
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Benliq
post Nov 1 2013, 08:59
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 1 2013, 00:24) *
In the cosmic scheme of things, they are competitive. I doubt that anybody (besides me) would say they are equally good, but many would probably have a preference for one or two.
Are they more accurate than the HD555 I'm using now?

QUOTE
Simple test signals can help you test the soundstaging of a computer audio system. For example if you play pink noise where the two channels are equal through headphones, the in-your-head image should be perfectly centered and if it is off to one side you can center it with a balance control and that is the right thing to do. If the two channels of pink noise are uncorrelated or independent of each other you get a completely different soundstage that is very diffuse like a blob, but again you can center the blob with a balance control or by matching levels on the two channels.

You can make your own test signals with Audacity.
I'll get on it.

QUOTE
What do you mean by "Go lower down the bass than the HD 555 likes"? Does the HD 555 distort heavy bass? or is the distortion coming from the headphone amplifier? As far as equipment problems go, you have to learn how to distinguish real problems from areas of performance that don't suit your preferences. That takes experience and diagnosis.
There is no amplifier, more like computers and mp3 players. When the bass is unclear I assume it is the headphone's fault.


QUOTE
I can't believe that HD650s usually come fresh out of the box with drivers that have different sensitivities and were out of balance. I've never had that happen with any headphones that I've purchased and I've owned several dozen different headphones. Were they used?

I meant the veil on the 650 was worse than the 555. But I thought the volume discrepancy of Sennheiser was well accepted?
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audiofiend
post Nov 1 2013, 12:30
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QUOTE (Benliq @ Nov 1 2013, 08:59) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 1 2013, 00:24) *
In the cosmic scheme of things, they are competitive. I doubt that anybody (besides me) would say they are equally good, but many would probably have a preference for one or two.
Are they more accurate than the HD555 I'm using now?


I was looking for studio monitors and ended up going with Audio-Technica ATH-M50 instead due to budget constraints and the versatility of what I would say are some pretty decent headphones for the price.

I haven't been able to compare them directly with other headphones of the same quality range but they beat the manure out of an old pair of "colored" headphones I have in the sense that they are way more neutral and have a nicely balanced bass. But it all becomes pretty subjective and as people have pointed out. What is important is how trained your ears are since you need to review your productions on various setups to confirm that the mix is good.

My personal experience with the ATH-M50 in terms of durability is good. With less time for actual music production they have become my all round headphone and travel with me to and from college, either on my head or in my bag and has yet to fail me being well past warranty at this point.

The biggest thing for me is the overall clarity and the representation of the music I listen to. It took some time to get used to but now they enable me to hear clear differences in production quality of songs and bring out nuances I haven't noticed before. I can hear when there are muddled mixes/productions, open vast soundscapes, well balanced productions, and with a little drive on the volume they reproduce sub-bass quite nicely without being overpowering. I have had many eureka moments of noticing techniques that were invisible to me listening on speakers or inferior headphones. They also work equally well for listening to metal as well as electronic or acoustic music. And I would presume that can translate well to being transparent in a production/mixing scenario.

If you are able to get a shop to let you try them and compare them to what you have now with your own selected songs I would highly recommend it.
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Benliq
post Nov 20 2013, 07:25
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Ok so I ended up with the HD380, and I feel it is an improvement detail wise.

Thanks for the help.
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dhromed
post Nov 20 2013, 14:06
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 1 2013, 00:24) *
QUOTE
2. Sometimes melodies that are not just filler go lower down the bass than the HD555 likes. In these cases when it sounds soft and less articulate, how do you decide whether that is an equipment problem or whether you should add yet more dynamics to the track?


What do you mean by "Go lower down the bass than the HD 555 likes"? Does the HD 555 distort heavy bass? or is the distortion coming from the headphone amplifier? As far as equipment problems go, you have to learn how to distinguish real problems from areas of performance that don't suit your preferences. That takes experience and diagnosis.


I believe it means the 555 doesn't explode with boominess. It's actually a property of the 555 I enjoy a lot because it doesn't rumble my brain out while still making pretty much every bass note audible.
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dhromed
post Nov 20 2013, 14:15
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QUOTE (Benliq @ Nov 1 2013, 08:59) *
I meant the veil on the 650 was worse than the 555. But I thought the volume discrepancy of Sennheiser was well accepted?


What is veil? I can only interpret that word as reduced mids or highs, but that's not my experience at all.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Nov 20 2013, 15:25
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QUOTE (dhromed @ Nov 20 2013, 08:06) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 1 2013, 00:24) *
QUOTE
2. Sometimes melodies that are not just filler go lower down the bass than the HD555 likes. In these cases when it sounds soft and less articulate, how do you decide whether that is an equipment problem or whether you should add yet more dynamics to the track?


What do you mean by "Go lower down the bass than the HD 555 likes"? Does the HD 555 distort heavy bass? or is the distortion coming from the headphone amplifier? As far as equipment problems go, you have to learn how to distinguish real problems from areas of performance that don't suit your preferences. That takes experience and diagnosis.


I believe it means the 555 doesn't explode with boominess. It's actually a property of the 555 I enjoy a lot because it doesn't rumble my brain out while still making pretty much every bass note audible.


Why is there so much resistance just putting a good eq in line with the phones?

If the boominess is exposive, just back off response around 30-50 Hz...
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dhromed
post Nov 20 2013, 15:46
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 20 2013, 15:25) *
Why is there so much resistance just putting a good eq in line with the phones?

If the boominess is exposive, just back off response around 30-50 Hz...


I'd need that EQ system-wide, and the EQ provided by the sound card software is never good enough; mostly due to offering a paltry 10 bands or something-- if there's any EQ at all. The alternative is simply buying headphones that you like, which is something you should do anyway, so there's no point in adding an EQ on top of good-sounding phones.

And if you deliberately bought bad-sounding phones, well, I don't know what to tell you.

This post has been edited by dhromed: Nov 20 2013, 15:46
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saratoga
post Nov 20 2013, 17:09
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This might be interesting to you:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/equalizerapo/

(assuming you run modern Windows anyway)
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Nov 20 2013, 17:10
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QUOTE (dhromed @ Nov 20 2013, 09:46) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 20 2013, 15:25) *
Why is there so much resistance just putting a good eq in line with the phones?

If the boominess is explosive, just back off response around 30-50 Hz...


I'd need that EQ system-wide, and the EQ provided by the sound card software is never good enough; mostly due to offering a paltry 10 bands or something-- if there's any EQ at all.


I use a professional analog eq buffered into an inexpensive headphone amp.

QUOTE
The alternative is simply buying headphones that you like, which is something you should do anyway,


"simply"? Surely you jest! ;-) I see a ton of angst about headphone purchases.

QUOTE
so there's no point in adding an EQ on top of good-sounding phones.


Good sounding phones can be a moving target, what with changes in sources, program material, and preferences.

QUOTE
And if you deliberately bought bad-sounding phones, well, I don't know what to tell you.


Thanks for insulting my intelligence. It helps me get your viewpoint!
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dhromed
post Nov 20 2013, 18:08
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QUOTE
Surely you jest! ;-)


I am known to jest now and then.

QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 20 2013, 17:10) *
QUOTE
And if you deliberately bought bad-sounding phones, well, I don't know what to tell you.


Thanks for insulting my intelligence. It helps me get your viewpoint!


Sorry, I meant the general you, not you specifically.
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nu774
post Nov 20 2013, 18:22
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QUOTE (saratoga @ Nov 21 2013, 01:09) *
This might be interesting to you:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/equalizerapo/

Thanks, it is interesting to ME.
(A bit surprised by German messages that I cannot read ... probably due to German resource in it having higher precedence over English one).
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dhromed
post Nov 21 2013, 09:34
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QUOTE (saratoga @ Nov 20 2013, 17:09) *
This might be interesting to you:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/equalizerapo/

(assuming you run modern Windows anyway)


I'll have a look, thanks.
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