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Anyone has got or had an experience with ultra near field listening?

UltraNearFieldJock

Active Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2022
Messages
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Location
Very close to the speakers
For about one year my absolute favourite listening setup is an active stereo 3-way (3 separate amplifiers) DIY construction with listening distance of 10-20 cm (depend on the Head position), made from HIFIMAN HE500, Visaton AL-180 for the bass (analogue crossover) and 2 x Dayton Epique E180 via digital DSP-crossover and separate DAC for the deep bass.

I wanted a setup for long-term listening for my desktop workplace (pandemic work from home, surf in the web after work). Why not headphones or a normal desktop near field setup?

The main advantages of the solution (subjective):
  • Perfect soundstage (I’ve never heard better one) – in opposite to headphones mini soundstage inside the head.
  • Very good and impressive deep bass, not affected with room – in opposite to near field.
  • Sound transducers work in very moderate loudness level area (less power, less distortion?) - good for deep night listening sessions – in opposite to near field.
  • Nothing in ears or on the head, no ears overheating (my main problem by long-term headphones listening).
  • The sound details and the voice intelligibility are headphones-like – very personal experience, reducing environmental noises perception – in opposite to near field.
The main disadvantages:
  • the lack of “prêt à porter” (existing products) solutions, only for DIYs?
  • Strange and tricky construction over the desktop, to place the loudspeakers in the correct position around the head.
  • Environmental noises are not cancelled.
I now, it is not the mainstream. I can’t find anything about this listening form here and in the other forums and even in the entirely web. Anybody tried that?

I’m here a newcomer as a member, but not as a reader. And sorry about my poor English, but I’m still learning.
 
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My speakers is just right beside my imac and having a good triangle seating position. Wide and depth and reach beyond the speaker. The only disadvantage is the SPL feel usually you get from flood-stander.
 
I'm not sure I understand...so you've taken apart the HE500s and are using them like speakers?

I've never had any issue with my head over-heating with headphones so I just wear headphones.
 
For better understanding how I am listening now a few pictures - one image says more than 1000 words. First one the sketch of the position of transducers. Next two photos: first one from the backside and second one from the bottom:

UNL1.png
UNFL-Back.jpg
UNFL-Bottom.jpg
 
Yes, I use the HE500s like speakers :).

The ears overheating is not the main reason for this project, is only an inconvenience after many hours of listening. For me the most important thing is the not fatiguing sound – I listen to the music often more than 8 hours a day. And for me one of the most important components of the not fatiguing sound is the soundstage – it should be not in my head, but in the front of me.
 
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I measure the setup again and again with RAW and UMIK-1. The position of the micro is for stereo in the estimated middle of my head, between ears, and the one ear position for only one channel. Unfortunately, Either I don’t have an imitation of my head, or I can’t place the micro in my ear :). How can I calibrate? Here the schematic of connections and possibilities to adjust the system:

UNL2.png
 
Wow! I listen nearfield, and have preferred it for years. Mine is ultra-simple, whereas your setup boggles my mind. Many congratulations for ingenuity, for what must have been perseverance, and for hard work! Jim Taylor
Thanks, many of ideas and inspirations came by reading this forum, and here my regards and acknowledgments for all writer here! Thank you!
 
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I measure the setup again and again with RAW and UMIK-1. The position of the micro is for stereo in the estimated middle of my head, between ears, and the one ear position for only one channel. Unfortunately, Either I don’t have an imitation of my head, or I can’t place the micro in my ear :). How can I calibrate? Here the schematic of connections and possibilities to adjust the system:

View attachment 199074

I meant actual acoustic measurements to show how you aligned the individual driver responses — is it all just plain physical alignment through moving of driver distances? — and EQ to account for difference between the original tuning of the HE500 which are meant for over-ear use.
 
Yes, all right, it’s time to tell the fortune. We are in ASR, and only measurements results should be the basis for every relevant discussion. To show roughly my line of thought, I’m starting with the HE500. For me, the HE500 is a very good and favoured universal headphone (not the best – after all too little deep bass), but unfortunately a little heavy and clumsy. Here one link as example of many measurements of HE500s as a headphone (I think good one, with distortions and waterfall):

https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/hifiman-headphone-compendium.1685/

All of these measurements show linearity in bass (for me not enough, I would like an inclination toward 20 Hz, more than Harman), and the bright and shallow valley from 1 to 7 kHz and a deeper gap about 6,5 kHz (case for equaliser?). But all they are in the “green area”, after all the distortions, aren’t they? Or should we better wait for Amirm test and verdict?

Many, many years, much earlier than the headphone-hype of 21’st century (associated with mobile-market-explosion?), I was enthusiastic headphone-listener. With the deeper interest in sound-quality, came the issue with the in-head soundstage. I started for few years with experiments on HE500, because it is very simply to disassemble without risk of demolition. My first attempt was the rebuilding for open-air listening, like famous AKG K1000 to improve the soundstage positioning and my overheating problem. I tried many concepts, but the biggest issue was grave lack of bass. Exactly here was born the “brilliant” idea: >> simply to add the missing bass with a separate woofer <<. Why not, the story about subwoofer-invention can be very similar? The adventure with my project “ultra or extreme near field listening” has begun.

But one by one, here results for single HE500s, free-air, 15 cm distance, not tuned, maximal usual level:

FS-HE500-NT-NL.jpg

Used like that, the HE500s are essentially tweeters I guess...
I think not only as a tweeter (> 5 kHz), but also for the midrange, after all the presence range: https://blog.landr.com/sound-frequency-eq/
 
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The issue about 80 Hz is ugly. I solved this problem with … a piece of duct tape :facepalm: ... on the open backside of HE500.
here results for single HE500s, free-air, 15 cm distance, tuned, maximal usual level:
FS-HE500-T-NL.jpg

I meant actual acoustic measurements to show how you aligned the individual driver responses — is it all just plain physical alignment through moving of driver distances? — and EQ to account for difference between the original tuning of the HE500 which are meant for over-ear use.
Now with this special tuning it's OK. It's not the original tuning. We need a hack to damp the diaphragm. The next measurements are coming soon – not only the frequency response and single HE500...
 
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I think it worth mentioning that with your placement/measurement method, IME it would be difficult to compare your results to those from the standardized methods.

Loudspeaker measurements are done in "free field" (anechoic conditions) or simulated free field, assumes the listener is in the acoustical far field (2 m is the measurement distance for ANSI/CTA 2034-A for tests in an anechoic chamber), and that the "standard" HRTF applies. However, with your placement of the speaker drivers very close to the head, the HRTF is highly modified, and will be very different from those from the "standard" loudspeaker placements.

One primary reason is that head shadowing effects with your arrangement will be very different from a "standard" loudspeaker setup. Therefore, a flat frequency response with your method will likely not be equivalent to a flat response with a standard loudspeaker setup.
 
The issue about 80 Hz is ugly. I solved this problem with … a piece of duct tape :facepalm: ... on the open backside of HE500.
here results for single HE500s, free-air, 15 cm distance, tuned, maximal usual level:
View attachment 199259

Now with this special tuning it's OK. It's not the original tuning. We need a hack to damp the diaphragm. The next measurements are coming soon – not only the frequency response and single HE500...

Interesting… I would have thought it would be easier to just remove most of the troublesome low frequency energy with a linear phase HPF.

Also, NTK is right in that getting a flat measured response in such close proximity is not going to be equivalent to what we expect to hear from real speakers set appropriately at a distance. Though I expect the clarity to be exceptionally high and soundstage more “open” and maybe closer to real stereo speakers due to the additional crosstalk.
 
For about one year my absolute favourite listening setup is an active stereo 3-way (3 separate amplifiers) DIY construction with listening distance of 10-20 cm (depend on the Head position), made from HIFIMAN HE500, Visaton AL-180 for the bass (analogue crossover) and 2 x Dayton Epique E180 via digital DSP-crossover and separate DAC for the deep bass.

I wanted a setup for long-term listening for my desktop workplace (pandemic work from home, surf in the web after work). Why not headphones or a normal desktop near field setup?

The main advantages of the solution (subjective):
  • Perfect soundstage (I’ve never heard better one) – in opposite to headphones mini soundstage inside the head.
  • Very good and impressive deep bass, not affected with room – in opposite to near field.
  • Sound transducers work in very moderate loudness level area (less power, less distortion?) - good for deep night listening sessions – in opposite to near field.
  • Nothing in ears or on the head, no ears overheating (my main problem by long-term headphones listening).
  • The sound details and the voice intelligibility are headphones-like – very personal experience, reducing environmental noises perception – in opposite to near field.
The main disadvantages:
  • the lack of “prêt à porter” (existing products) solutions, only for DIYs?
  • Strange and tricky construction over the desktop, to place the loudspeakers in the correct position around the head.
  • Environmental noises are not cancelled.
I now, it is not the mainstream. I can’t find anything about this listening form here and in the other forums and even in the entirely web. Anybody tried that?

I’m here a newcomer as a member, but not as a reader. And sorry about my poor English, but I’m still learning.
Hi! You seem to be walking through a very unusual way. In my opinion it's clear the advantages you claim are very similar to what I'm experiencing with my own setup.

I have been fiddling endlessly with the speakers room setup at my home and have arrived to at a very nearfield disposition also, the maximum nearfield allowed by my transducers before collapsing into individual drivers, ie, being audibly identified as independent sound sources of different bandpass.

The main advantage come from considerable room effects liberation. The time difference in arrival of direct sound to your ears in comparisson with the first reflection arrival coming from lateral walls is very high compared to a traditional setup (Haas effect). When this difference is so high, the deleterious room effects affect less and less to the sound and you end up listening more what is in the recording but retaining the phantom scene projected in front of you. But all this has some limit, if positioned extremely close, then the phantom scene goes up to your head and if even closer it gets then inside your head, losing the front projection effect, which in my opinion it's not desirable.

I would like to ask you a few questions. Does your setup allow you to perceive a frontal soundstage? At what distance? Does the soundstage have depth acuity, ie, different depth planes? Does it extends wider than your own room? Is there some kind of inconsistencies in sound images, like wandering instruments not solidly anchored? Do you perceive some lobbing effect like some high frequencies of an instrument's sound coming from different points in the space than more medium frequencies of the same instrument? Head rotation does change the apparent phantom source location?

Please play this song by Karajan and Wiener Philarmoniker from Bizet's Carmen opera, recorded live and try to describe what you hear:

Also this piece:

And finally this one:

Remember this is an opera music representation recorded live with minimal microphones (maybe a stereo Decca Tree pair over the stage and a few spot mics at the orchestra and finally another Decca Tree over the audience seats in the concert hall's reverberant field to get the hall's acoustic ambiance). Since it is a live recording, the opera singers are walking, moving, turning around, even walking&singing behind the scenes, as it's indicated by the scenography direction. You should be able to perceive all this with absolute detail.

Best regards :)
 
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Hi! You seem to be walking through a very unusual way. In my opinion it's clear the advantages you claim are very similar to what I'm experiencing with my own setup.
Hi JeyB! It’s nice to found one with similar experiences and interests (DIY), and who also tries new and uncommon solutions to realize own ideas about music-reproduction and
listening :) ! Yours thread about DIY-dipole speakers are very interesting!

In your post you touch many aspects of my approach. I try to answer step by step.
 
the maximum nearfield allowed by my transducers before collapsing into individual drivers, ie, being audibly identified as independent sound sources of different bandpass.
I’ve never heard in my experiments such effect. My supposed explanation: Currently I have got two ultra-near-field setups: One based on headphones-speakers (5 cm distance) and other one based on fullrange speakers (Visaton B80 - 25 cm distance) – both are only “quasi-fullrange” – lack of (or very week) bass section! The supplementary bass speakers are perhaps very difficult to localise – the same effect why subwoofers placement has no effects for the listening-stage.
 
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The main advantage come from considerable room effects liberation. The time difference in arrival of direct sound to your ears in comparisson with the first reflection arrival coming from lateral walls is very high compared to a traditional setup (Haas effect). When this difference is so high, the deleterious room effects affect less and less to the sound and you end up listening more what is in the recording ...
Room effects liberation: has for me two aspects: one (for me perhaps secondary and more a side-effect) is the listening more what is in the recording.
In the standard room setup is the “deep-bass-section-quality” (frequency-linearity, accuracy (THD) and deepness (20 Hz and deeper) ) very difficult (and/or expensive) to achieve. With UNF(ultra-near-field)-setup I can hear deep bass signal without any room-modes – like by a good IE-headphones.
 
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