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Abyss Diana V2 Review (headphone)

xup

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The deviations from neutral are not that bad honestly other than that 6K peak. I'm also confused why anyone would measure distortion at such high levels. There is no real world use case scenario for 114 dB. At 94 distortion is actually fairly low and wouldn't predict anything about sound quality. I would say that treble measurements are particularly hard to interpret, especially above 8K.
I think the idea is to 1. Show the distortion in low frequencies as explained a few posts ago https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...v2-review-headphone.19291/page-14#post-635913
2. To emphasize what might be the EQability if the headphones. These are a good example - we have a deficiency in the mids, but we also have high distortion in the mids. If we create a "peak" with our EQ, we are increasing the level at that frequency, thus increasing the distortion. So while our headphones are at 85db or 94db, where distortion might be low, we are actually pushing that area of our FR more and adding that distortion in, at a point it is higher (thus heard).

This is a simplification, just to bring the point across, feel free to correct/add but don't shoot if this isn't 100% correct.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #283
At 94 distortion is actually fairly low and wouldn't predict anything about sound quality.
Really? What is your reference for "fairly low?" Distortion there at 94 dB ranges from 4 to 6% in mid to high frequencies. Here it is in absolute scale:



That peak at around 5.6 kHz is only 35 dB lower than the fundamental. That is your entire distortion-free range, i.e. less than 6 dB!

Note also how the peak in distortion coincides with peaking in frequency response as well. This means that we don't just have distortion there but that it is so loud that it is changing the tonality of the headphone! This points to a defect in design which should have been caught and fixed.

But let's say you are right. You don't pay $3,000 for a headphone to have "fairly low distortion." You paying extra to get the pinnacle of fidelity. Not this.

Anyway, my goal is to show the true capabilities of headphones. It is up to you to decide what is good enough for you. But please don't say this kind of performance should be good enough for us. It definitely is not.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #284
That is not his current rig. The above is an IEC coupler and a pinnae from a miniDSP EARS. Right now he uses an actual GRAS system.
View attachment 105894
Which is still a flat plat. He has actually built one-half of the fixture I am using:



Notice how my fixture a) tests in stereo without have to measure again (and hence gives you two positional measurements at once) but importantly, has standardized width and height that positions in the headphone. With his fixture he determines the tension put on the cup by what he is doing with the other side of the headphone that is not being measured. He can make the tension anything he wants, deviating from how the headphone would potentially get used and showing more bass than is what is perceived.

There is also the issue of replication. Many manufacturers have my 45CA fixture and so if I show certain measurements, they can try to replicate. With the one-sided fixture where he controls the tension, that is not very feasible.

He has gone this way for good reason though. He says that he needs the fixture to be portable because he measures headphones at audio shops so he needs portability. And also saving in cost (he spent a bit more than half the cost of my fixture).

He has a good write-up on this which you should have linked to: https://crinacle.com/2020/09/03/in-ear-fidelity-acquires-gras-setup-for-headphone-measurements/

And this nice list of who all uses this class of measurement gear:


So be sure you don't walk yourself into a corner by criticizing what I am doing. :)
 
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He has gone this way for good reason though. He says that he needs the fixture to be portable because he measures headphones at audio shops so he needs portability. And also saving in cost (he spent a bit more than half the cost of my fixture).
Can I ask what exactly about these measurement products makes them so expensive? Is it the microphones? Or the way the device is shaped to represent a human ear?
 
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amirm

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Can I ask what exactly about these measurement products makes them so expensive? Is it the microphones? Or the way the device is shaped to represent a human ear?
I really don't know. I remember being totally shocked the first time I asked how much they cost. It is a high cost sales channel (I evaluated a unit for almost 3 months before buying one). But still, I can't figure out how it all adds up.
 

Degru

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He can make the tension anything he wants, deviating from how the headphone would potentially get used and showing more bass than is what is perceived.
People do have different sized heads tho. You yourself proved this by saying that you were never able to get full bass extension with your Stax after 30 years of ownership and that they just "hang there" like speakers, when me and many people I know have no trouble achieving this. I think headphone measurements in optimal conditions should be provided, and additional measurements to show in what ways it can change if, for example, your head is a different size or you wear glasses.
 

maverickronin

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Can I ask what exactly about these measurement products makes them so expensive? Is it the microphones? Or the way the device is shaped to represent a human ear?
Some possible contributing factors...

Brand/name recognition in their own little corner of the world - The "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" effect.

Unit to unit consistency - Absolutely essential for high volume testing so that any unit can be swapped in and compared with previous results or targets without any recalibration. This requires more extensive QC and increases the price.

Paying back the initial R&D and tooling - Harder to do when you have a small market. How cheap would they need to get before hobbyists could afford to upgrade from DIY flat-plates and mimiDSP EARS to a GRAS or B&K?
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #289
People do have different sized heads tho. You yourself proved this by saying that you were never able to get full bass extension with your Stax after 30 years of ownership and that they just "hang there" like speakers, when me and many people I know have no trouble achieving this. I think headphone measurements in optimal conditions should be provided, and additional measurements to show in what ways it can change if, for example, your head is a different size or you wear glasses.
Nope. You have lost the plot there. We use standardized measurements in both research and engineering so that the work can be replicated. Such research has led us to preference curves we use in our measurements. If you use a different setup, then you invalidate years of controlled testing that led to development of such preference curves. And manufacturers could not use our data to trace problems in their designs.

As to Stax, you seem to not read what I write. I said that the measurements matched my use in that both showed lack of bass. And that forcing them to stick to the fixture produces measurements that don't match my real life experience with that identical headphone. What you as a random dude say about that is neither here, nor there. Maybe you have no idea with good sub-bass is. It is not like you have any qualifications that would give us any hope that your assessments are correct. If we were to believe people like you, then we would not bother doing any testing or measurements. Indeed I do these reviews so that we are free of listening to random people online.
 

Francis Vaughan

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Can I ask what exactly about these measurement products makes them so expensive? Is it the microphones? Or the way the device is shaped to represent a human ear?
Just about any physical measurement device costs eye watering money when they are intended for reproducible measurement. They key is reproducible. Measurements made at different times or by different devices need to be close to identical, otherwise measurements can't be reproduced or compared. This is the the difference between precision and accuracy. Precision is what costs the money. That means much more controlled manufacturing processes, lots and lots of measurements and checking during manufacture, and a design that is assured to remain stable.
Everything compounds. Low production volume, time consuming production, lots of paperwork, traceability of calibration. It all compounds to push the costs up. The amount of human time that is invested in ensuring the needed precision is huge. The actual production costs are small in comparison, and the basic cost of components a very low proportion. As usual, this additional costs pushes demand down, volumes drop further, and costs climb further, and the stable point can mean very expensive prices. But in the grand scheme of any precision calibrated measuring tool, these GRAS devices are not very expensive. They only appear so when viewed from a domestic consumer's point of view. You can spend thousands of dollars on a traceable resistor calibration standard. That is just one resistor.

These devices are not manufactured for enthusiast headphone owners. They are manufactured for the research, test and QA processes of manufacturers of equipment. Some manufactures may be required to provide traceable test and calibration results of their products for safety qualification. They need a traceable calibration with a qualified standard test device.

Truth be known, anyone could probably do just as good a job testing headphones with much much cheaper equipment if all they wanted was qualitative comparisons. But it would be impossible to usefully compare results with others, or indeed be sure that one's own results were usefully comparable day to day.
 

pwjazz

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Can I ask what exactly about these measurement products makes them so expensive? Is it the microphones? Or the way the device is shaped to represent a human ear?
I imagine it's supply and demand. It's specialized equipment and I don't think a lot of people have a need for it.
 

NTK

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Can I ask what exactly about these measurement products makes them so expensive? Is it the microphones? Or the way the device is shaped to represent a human ear?
To put things in perspective, the cost of this device to the company is probably less than 1 month salary + benefits of the employee using it.
 
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Nope. You have lost the plot there. We use standardized measurements in both research and engineering so that the work can be replicated. Such research has led us to preference curves we use in our measurements. If you use a different setup, then you invalidate years of controlled testing that led to development of such preference curves. And manufacturers could not use our data to trace problems in their designs.

As to Stax, you seem to not read what I write. I said that the measurements matched my use in that both showed lack of bass. And that forcing them to stick to the fixture produces measurements that don't match my real life experience with that identical headphone. What you as a random dude say about that is neither here, nor there. Maybe you have no idea with good sub-bass is. It is not like you have any qualifications that would give us any hope that your assessments are correct. If we were to believe people like you, then we would not bother doing any testing or measurements. Indeed I do these reviews so that we are free of listening to random people online.
As much as I love and respect this forum, I believe the aggression in this reply is a bit unwarranted. While I don't agree with Degru's other replies (or the tone of them, for that matter), I think what he is saying here, while maybe not feasible for you to do (time constraints and all that), is not a bad point overall.

Perhaps (and again, it might not be feasible for you to implement this), other "standardized fixtures" could be built to represent different measurement contexts. This would give us more useful information to work with and can help consumers come to a more informed conclusion about whether or not the headphone is right for them.
 
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As much as I love and respect this forum, I believe the aggression in this reply is a bit unwarranted. While I don't agree with Degru's other replies (or the tone of them, for that matter), I think what he is saying here, while maybe not feasible for you to do (time constraints and all that), is not a bad point overall.

Perhaps (and again, it might not be feasible for you to implement this), other "standardized fixtures" could be built to represent different measurement contexts. This would give us more useful information to work with and can help consumers come to a more informed conclusion about whether or not the headphone is right for them.
At what point is it okay to stop playing nice and be more blunt? The same two or three people keep saying the same thing and trying to make the same point over and over again. I'm surprised he's had this much patience. I would have told them to piss off long ago.
 

carlosmante

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I wonder how many (probably the majority!) of the ultra-high expensive HP presented on specialized journals have the same horrible distortion and frequency response combination! So far it seems the best bet for sound quality seems to be the old Sennheiser HD-650. Thank you for adding this Emperor's New Clothes realistic perspective on one of the idols of absolute sound.
According to rTings.com numbers even the cheap Superlux 668B sounds better.
 
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At what point is it okay to stop playing nice and be more blunt? The same two or three people keep saying the same thing and trying to make the same point over and over again. I'm surprised he's had this much patience. I would have told them to piss off long ago.
Yeah I definitely respect him for still being able to iterate on the same point over and over... Overall I think the bluntness just drives people away unfortunately, even if they bring on that attitude themselves. If we can stay calm and diplomatic no matter what eventually we'll be able to get through to people and foster a better space to talk about this hobby.
 

richard12511

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I don't understand the idea of adding additional clamping. That will lead to you measuring a response that one won't actually hear in real use. I guess if one just wants to see the best case scenario, but that's not how they'll sound in real use.

I think Amir's doing it the right way. Measure it the way that tracks most closely with how it sounds. This headphone had little to no sub bass in actual use, so it seems that the response Amir posted is the more accurate one. I don't care how a headphone performs when I'm applying pressure constantly, I wanna know how it performs when I'm walking about(which is how I normally listen to headphones).
 
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amirm

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As much as I love and respect this forum, I believe the aggression in this reply is a bit unwarranted.
Not if you knew he is cutting and pasting my answers in this thread elsewhere and ridiculing us for it.
 

Degru

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Maybe you have no idea with good sub-bass is.
I provided a measurement of my Stax on my head with flat bass extension to below 20hz, which you dismissed because it is not on a proper measurement rig. I often listen to things like Lorn on my 404LE, which has fundamentals at 35hz and would sound completely wrong if the bass response was as you described. I also get very satisfying bass on tracks such as Life by Runhild Gammelsæter, which has a 25hz rumble.

You seem to be ignoring the possibility that both measurements and listening impressions can be non-representative at the same time. If someone listens to a home theater system with a disconnected subwoofer, says it has no subbass, then measures it as such, would you say that it is correct to conclude that this system is incapable of producing subbass?
 

richard12511

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Some readers are either not registering this, not understanding it, or don't like it.
Most likely the latter ;)

If you enjoy this headphone, then enjoy it! No need to crusade online trying to convince others to like the things you like. The headphone sounds great to you, so who cares what other people you'll never meet think?

Objectively, this headphone has obvious issues. It's likely not winning any multi-listener high end blind shootouts. The key there is "multi-listener", though, as it's highly likely some individuals will still prefer it. Perhaps you're one of those individuals :).
 
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