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AXPONA 2017: JansZen Electrostatic Headphones

garbulky

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#41
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lot of opinions... People are entitled to have some. The Internet allows us to hide behind an avatar and cast stones anyway ... Any studies to back up your views on Toole's incompetence? While we're at it any such studies conducted by you ? Anything that goes beyond mere opinions...?? Please ?
I will wait for your reply before placing you on my "ignore" list.
So you want him to spend time on replying to your post while you've already said you plan to block him. How likely is it that he would take the effort to reply to you?
 

amirm

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#42
@amirm and @ztatic I'm sorry to nitpick, but I have to point out that Olive and Toole's study, as well as various other similar studies, were conducted across a wide frequency range (not just below 500Hz), and were published when Toole was still at the National Research Council of Canada (i.e. pre-Harman).
Nitpick away. :) This is a good discussion.

I thought you were going by this part in Dr. Toole's book:

1532191085160.png


As you see the test is at 200 Hz resonant frequency.

What you are referencing is the seminal J AES paper by Dr. Toole and Olive, The Modification of Timbre by Resonances: Perception and Measurement. Indeed that study is very extensive and far more broad. There, the results using headphones is different from speakers:


1532191051181.png


I just took a quick look again and couldn't find data that shows threshold shift for headphone listening in music. It might be there.

I took the data for low frequencies because the psychoacoustics don't get in the way much since both ears hear the same thing. So applicability is there to headphones.
 

SIY

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#43
As you see the test is at 200 Hz resonant frequency.
I wonder if the results would be affected if the frequency were moved to, say, 196Hz or 220Hz? Could having the resonances around common notes increase the JND with a music source?
 

ztatic

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#44
Agree with the first two paragraphs, not that it matters.

So maybe Dr. Toole didn't lie, he was just incompetent, 50-50 chance in your view... AFAIK his studies were about preference, and what most people in the studies preferred was by (his) definition "best". As I said, I am not in complete agreement with him, and in fact my main listening room is pretty much the antithesis of his philosophy (but I like it). I respect his work and do not have any desire nor need to question his character and methodology as you are.

Harman, not Harmon (typo, I've done the same).

Everyone has their own view of "reality" these days. I do think you are throwing stones, not tossing feathers, but that simply reflects my bias.

For the record, I have only rarely listened to JansZen ESLs, but very much liked their approach and what I heard back in the 80's. I have never listened to the headphones.

I shall try to shut up since this is straying way off-topic. - Don
Last bit of straying -- I need to acknowledge what you say here -- sorry -- didn't realize Toole has said all along that he simply investigates what's preferred by a majority of his subjects. I have seen his work cited and employed as though this were not the case.

We all know sound preferences are personal, and have a large component of taste and history. I meant to demonstrate this point with the example of you-are-there vs. they-are-here listening experiences that stem from small vs. large amounts of local ambiance. I happen to like experiencing the ambiance of the original venue when a recording includes it. Since this reproduces a recording more faithfully than when the recorded ambiance is convolved with large amounts of local ambiance, I even think minimizing local ambiance has some degree of objective merit. It's not entirely a coincidence that I design speakers with relatively narrow but controlled dispersion.

I thus perceive declarations of the objective superiority of wide dispersion differently than the apparent majority. I've seen such declarations made by people who refer to Toole's work for support. I'd assumed these people were correctly interpreting Toole's results, which apparently they were not.

Anyway, to be clear, I have no problem with anyone's sonic preferences. The point is to enjoy music, after all, and give our minds a little massage and rest.

Even in these times of blurred reality, though, there are things that are incontrovertibly real; the audibility of high Q peaks is one of them, so a study that concludes that high Q peaks are inaudible must be flawed. I don't think my criticisms of Toole's published work impugn his integrity, which is anyway not my intent. My intent is to refute false information, and Toole's invalid peak audibility study was offered up as support for a false belief based on false information.

I probably shouldn't have mentioned how it could have gone wrong, because it's sent us off on a tangent, but I do think people should be generally skeptical of research, and whenever possible, rely on their own senses and intellect.

Lastly, I think disagreements about audio are relatively unimportant in the larger scheme of things, so yes, I feel like this is just tossing feathers, despite how interesting it is, or how weary I might be of the prevalence of dubious truth in audio these days.
 

amirm

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#45
so a study that concludes that high Q peaks are inaudible must be flawed.
Studies don't say this. They say that the threshold of detection for high Q resonances is higher than low Q. Both are audible depending on level.
 

andreasmaaan

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#47
Even in these times of blurred reality, though, there are things that are incontrovertibly real; the audibility of high Q peaks is one of them, so a study that concludes that high Q peaks are inaudible must be flawed. I don't think my criticisms of Toole's published work impugn his integrity, which is anyway not my intent. My intent is to refute false information, and Toole's invalid peak audibility study was offered up as support for a false belief based on false information.
The study does not conclude that they are inaudible, but rather that they are less audible. Specific thresholds are reached from the results of the controlled trials: namely, around 15dB below the test signal using noise @ 2Khz and 5Khz where Q=50.

I'm also not sure what leads you to the conclusion that the study "must be flawed". Could you please explain your reasoning?

Also note, the study in question is not a preference study but rather a controlled audibility study, so references to Toole's work on speaker dispersion are a red herring IMO.
 

ztatic

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#48
Nitpick away. :) This is a good discussion.

I thought you were going by this part in Dr. Toole's book:

View attachment 14102

As you see the test is at 200 Hz resonant frequency.

What you are referencing is the seminal J AES paper by Dr. Toole and Olive, The Modification of Timbre by Resonances: Perception and Measurement. Indeed that study is very extensive and far more broad. There, the results using headphones is different from speakers:


View attachment 14101

I just took a quick look again and couldn't find data that shows threshold shift for headphone listening in music. It might be there.

I took the data for low frequencies because the psychoacoustics don't get in the way much since both ears hear the same thing. So applicability is there to headphones.
This is a statement about the audibility of resonances produced by musical instruments and voices, not by microphones or speakers. The conclusion here is that some local ambiance is necessary for perceiving these low to medium Q musical sounds.

It's thus not pertinent to our discussion of the audibility of resonances in the playback apparatus . . . that is until one notices that this statement leaves implicit the notion that high Q resonances are similarly audible either way, that is, regardless of recording or playback conditions. This audibility should hold true however the resonances are produced, whether by the instruments or the reproduction apparatus.

I have to believe that there is some other publication, however, where the audibility of speaker response peaks is investigated that someone might use to support a claim that they are not audible.
 

amirm

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#49
This is a statement about the audibility of resonances produced by musical instruments and voices, not by microphones or speakers. The conclusion here is that some local ambiance is necessary for perceiving these low to medium Q musical sounds.

It's thus not pertinent to our discussion of the audibility of resonances in the playback apparatus . . . that is until one notices that this statement leaves implicit the notion that high Q resonances are similarly audible either way, that is, regardless of recording or playback conditions. This audibility should hold true however the resonances are produced, whether by the instruments or the reproduction apparatus.

I have to believe that there is some other publication, however, where the audibility of speaker response peaks is investigated that someone might use to support a claim that they are not audible.
I am not following you. The entire research is about introducing resonances and measuring their audible effect with respect to threshold of detection.
 

ztatic

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#50
The study does not conclude that they are inaudible, but rather that they are less audible. Specific thresholds are reached from the results of the controlled trials: namely, around 15dB below the test signal using noise @ 2Khz and 5Khz where Q=50.

I'm also not sure what leads you to the conclusion that the study "must be flawed". Could you please explain your reasoning?

Also note, the study in question is not a preference study but rather a controlled audibility study, so references to Toole's work on speaker dispersion are a red herring IMO.
Earlier in this thread, there was a reference to a review in Soundstage claimed the inaudibility of a couple of peaks that would obviously be audible. The author made his statement as if readers would just naturally agree, without attesting to his own experience of those peaks. When I pointed out that those would be audible, Toole was offered up as support for inaudibility. I thus thought the study concluded that high Q peaks are inaudible. Since they generally are in fact audible, I concluded that the study must be flawed.

Now it turns out that the study did not declare them inaudible, and I would guess probably not even difficult to detect under conditions similar to playing music on the headphones under review.

So in fact, what was flawed was using an irrelevant study to support the assertion that high Q peaks are inaudible. Amazing how far afield we can go in forum discussions. What a wild goose chase.

I'd like to read that study. Can you provide a link, Andreas?
 

ztatic

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#51
I am not following you. The entire research is about introducing resonances and measuring their audible effect with respect to threshold of detection.
That excerpt, at least, is about the effect of reverberancy and reflections on the audibility of resonances in musical instruments and voice. It concludes that low and medium Q resonances are heard more easily when such reflections and reverberancy are present.
 

andreasmaaan

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#52
Earlier in this thread, there was a reference to a review in Soundstage claimed the inaudibility of a couple of peaks that would obviously be audible. The author made his statement as if readers would just naturally agree, without attesting to his own experience of those peaks. When I pointed out that those would be audible, Toole was offered up as support for inaudibility. I thus thought the study concluded that high Q peaks are inaudible. Since they generally are in fact audible, I concluded that the study must be flawed.

Now it turns out that the study did not declare them inaudible, and I would guess probably not even difficult to detect under conditions similar to playing music on the headphones under review.

So in fact, what was flawed was using an irrelevant study to support the assertion that high Q peaks are inaudible. Amazing how far afield we can go in forum discussions. What a wild goose chase.

I'd like to read that study. Can you provide a link, Andreas?
I actually did put a link in my post citing the study. Here it is again.

Also note, the Toole study does support the conclusion that the specific resonances at just above and below 2KHz measured by Soundstage on the NADs would probably be inaudible, as they are 30-40dB below the signal, whereas Toole's research indicates that the threshold of audibility for such narrow-band resonances at those frequencies would be around -15dB.

However, nobody (not me, nor Toole, nor Soundstage) claimed that all high-Q peaks are inaudible, as should be clear from a reading of Toole's study and my statements in previous posts.

I would be interested to hear any criticisms anyone has of the Toole study, however. Like I said, I do not take it as gospel, but I do take it to be far more reliable than my or anyone else's sighted subjective impressions.
 
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Thomas savage

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#53
I agree @ztatic when it comes to Toole's preference tests, e.g. those resulting in the power response conclusions. Everyone has their own preferences about this, and I think Toole's test really just determine what the most popular preferences are under double blind conditions.

But I haven't noticed any issues in his audibility tests, which are of a fundamentally different nature. Will look into it when I have some time though..

EDIT: at best these tests really just determine what the most popular preferences are under double blind conditions ;)
Yes I’d call it market research, motives being making speakers that appeal to the widest audience.

You still end up with a wide preference envelope so personally I hesitate wrt making firm conclusions on that data.
 

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#54
Very interesting, Andreas. Wow, yeah, -75 dB for any harmonic is indeed inaudible, even when it's one of the nastier ones.

I noticed that the author of the Soundstage article wrote that the pronounced resonances in the NAD's will be inaudible because they're narrow. Actually, the narrower they are, the more they stand out, partly because when the Q is high, the decay time is longer, so when excited, their amplitude builds up above the excitation amplitude and also persists a bit. These peaks are the embodiment of the term peaky.

Hit those phones with pink noise and listen, and I'll bet those peaks will sound nearly like tones, and since 1.8 and 2.9 kHz aren't harmonically related, not the cleanest sounding pair of tones. With music, any time a note has a harmonic at one of those frequencies, and lots of notes will, that harmonic will be exaggerated and persist briefly after the fundamental has died out.

BTW, despite my opinion of standard headphone measurements, I will probably submit mine for just such measurements, probably by Jude at Head-Fi, who's within driving distance and has a very nice rig. On the other hand, I'll make my own comparison measurements on a number of high grade cans using my method.
Would like to hear/read more about ‘your method’ if you’d like to start a thread addressing that I’d be most grateful.
 

ztatic

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#56
Thanks to those who've pointed out my mistakes. Sorry to have ruffled feathers in the process. Looking forward to knowing what I'm talking about when it comes to the research of others before I state opinions.
 

andreasmaaan

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#57
Thanks to those who've pointed out my mistakes. Sorry to have ruffled feathers in the process. Looking forward to knowing what I'm talking about when it comes to the research of others before I state opinions.
No feathers ruffled here FWIW :) I also went into the discussion only partly remembering the research so it's been a good opportunity to brush up. The discussion digressed from your new headphones, but what remains clear is that your design sounds like it's both original and based on solid foundations. And I also have a newfound interest in listening to some electrostatic headphones in future, as this is a technology I'd somehow managed never to explore before now...
 

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