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2-way Headphones

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#1
KEF makes the Uni-Q driver with the tweeter inserted where the cone's dust cap used to be. All the flagship headphones have difficulty balancing a solid low end with smooth highs. Why can't we have a KEF LS50 miniaturized for the ear? Wouldn't that solve the problem of the tradeoffs with single-driver headphones? Obviously it wouldn't because headphone manufacturers would have done it by now, but still . . .
 

andreasmaaan

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#2
There are plenty of multi-driver headphones (and especially IEMs) around, actually. I don't know of any coaxials, but many achieve a similar effect by making equal the path lengths from each driver to the section that opens into the ear. There's another long thread about this on this forum somewhere but I can't find it now... :)
 

andreasmaaan

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#4
Btw, could you elaborate on this point? "All the flagship headphones have difficulty balancing a solid low end with smooth highs."

Not sure I agree, but would like to know what you mean exactly.
 

FrantzM

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#5
Btw, could you elaborate on this point? "All the flagship headphones have difficulty balancing a solid low end with smooth highs."

Not sure I agree, but would like to know what you mean exactly.
I simply don’t agree with that
All my headphones are one driver and comparing these to multi driver i leaves nothing to desire. I would call some fi tthse flagship or close to He6 STAX ESL ...
 
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#6
Sure. All the flagships I know of have peaky or ringy responses somewhere north of 2.5khz, so you sort of have to decide what kind of peakiness or resonances you like or else EQ the heck out of them. Seems like the ones that have the deepest, smoothest bass response end up having compromises above 2.5khz, though I don't know enough about it to know if that's causation or merely correlation. Since the best speaker designs are usually 2- and 3-ways to address the problems a single driver has when trying to cover the full spectrum, why isn't that solution used for headphones?
 

andreasmaaan

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#7
Sure. All the flagships I know of have peaky or ringy responses somewhere north of 2.5khz, so you sort of have to decide what kind of peakiness or resonances you like or else EQ the heck out of them. Seems like the ones that have the deepest, smoothest bass response end up having compromises above 2.5khz, though I don't know enough about it to know if that's causation or merely correlation. Since the best speaker designs are usually 2- and 3-ways to address the problems a single driver has when trying to cover the full spectrum, why isn't that solution used for headphones?
Are you talking about the typical c. 10dB peak in a headphone's response around 3-3.5KHz? If so, this tends to be there there by design. Or are you talking about something else?
 
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#8
There are few multi driver full size headphones. Final Audio Sonorus VI uses dynamic driver backed up by balanced armature. AKG did it much earlier. AKGs K340 dating back to 1979 were using electret and a dynamic driver.
 

andreasmaaan

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#10
Why are headphones not generally 2-way, coaxial-type?
Firstly because small full-range drivers tend to perform well in this application (see my previous post).

But another reason might be that for a tweeter to sit coaxially within a woofer, the woofer needs to be a cone woofer, and the tweeter must be able to fit inside the woofer’s voice coil. Given a full-range headphone is typically only 1-2” in the first place (ie similar in size to a typical speaker tweeter), I’m not sure squeezing a tiny secondary driver into the middle of it would be practical or beneficial. In theory there would be nothing stopping you though.
 

solderdude

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#11
Here is a recent attempt to do a full sized 2 way system.

I don't think the few 2 (or even 3-way) full sized headphones sound(ed) any better than single driver.
Also planar stats and planar dynamics have peaky treble and the headphones with small dynamic drivers also are peaky in the treble.

I once measured an excellent tweeter from just 2cm away and it too measured peaky.
I suppose it has to do with shorter wavelengths interfering or break-up or local resonances being measured.
A headphone would be equivalent to an almost unison moving wall from a few meters away funneled in ones ear ?

A headphone just is what it is (an alternative to speakers under certain circumstances) and one has to accept its shortcomings.
Having heard and measured a lot of great and not so great headphones I am still amazed how good headphones can sound with well made recordings.
I don't see the need for 2 way systems here at all. I don't think it will solve anything.
One would have to make a really small (almost point source) tweeter that would then need to have quite an excursion which won't help fidelity.
 
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#12
Good points. I had a hearing test last week, and my 53-year-old ears are also peaky, to say nothing of different as between each ear. Above 12khz, I got basically nothing. I shouldn't dwell on "perfection" for many reasons. That said, while I love my Sennheiser HD800's for all the things they do well, they require serious modding and equalization to address the problems at 6khz which render them unpleasant otherwise. Even with countermeasures, I sometimes use Audeze LCD's, esp. the LCD-2, to get a pleasanter overall balance. My frustration is that the Senns image so incredibly for a headphone, but other cans have far better smoothness. Hence my desire for perfection!
 
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