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Hifiman HE1000 Stealth - how to fix male vocals with EQ?

AryaStealth

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As a happy owner of Arya Stealth (No EQ) I'm testing the new HE1000 Stealth, and so far I have very mixed feelings about them. Solo violin tracks sound divine, but the whole orchestra seems to sound more natural and pleasant on Arya Stealth (for example Vivaldi's The Four Seasons).
My main issue however is with vocals which sound on HE1000 Stealth too recessed for my taste, and what's more certain male vocals sound unnatural as well (comparing with Arya Stealth).
The best example of that "unnaturalness" would be probably the track "Come un sospiro" from Yanni - "Inspirato" album. I uploaded it here: https://www.mediafire.com/file/uy0d93ud8sjoess/
Any EQ suggestions to improve vocals (especially male) are welcome.
HE1000 Stealth measurments can be found here:
 

staticV3

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These three should fill in that midrange hole and make the sound more natural:
Screenshot_20230821-100217_Chrome.png
 
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AryaStealth

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Thank you. Certain vocals sound a bit better now, but overall sound became less pleasant with EQ :(. What EQ settings would you suggest to reduce excessive treble?
 

Jimbob54

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Thank you. Certain vocals sound a bit better now, but overall sound became less pleasant with EQ :(. What EQ settings would you suggest to reduce excessive treble?
For a start try a high shelf of -1db 5000hz q0.7

Vary the dB level in half dB increments to taste.

Maybe try changing the frequency to 4k too, see what takes the edge off best.
 
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AryaStealth

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Thank you. I tried the suggested high shelf filter. It seems adding some bass to be closer to the Harman over-ear target helps me hear less treble. So far these EQ settings sound best for me:
Preamp: -3.45 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 25 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 0.5
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 1800 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 2

And an optional high shelf filter to address ear fatigue (reduces the overall sound quality a little bit though)
Filter 3: ON HS Fc 6500 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 0.71

Maybe there is a better solution with peak filters to reduce treble spikes?
 
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heraldo_jones

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Thank you. I tried the suggested high shelf filter. It seems adding some bass to be closer to the Harman over-ear target helps me hear less treble. So far these EQ settings sound best for me:
Preamp: -3.45 dB
Filter 1: ON PK Fc 25 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 0.5
Filter 2: ON PK Fc 1800 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 2

And an optional high shelf filter to address ear fatigue (reduces the overall sound quality a little bit though)
Filter 3: ON HS Fc 6500 Hz Gain -2 dB Q 0.71

Maybe there is a better solution with peak filters to reduce treble spikes?
Try something like this:
The sawstyle in the highs is something weird with planar measurements. Also increase to elevate the bass a little bit at the same time you are reducing high to get a more even sound. Also attached the txt file.
Captura de pantalla 2023-08-21 a las 21.58.09.png
 

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  • HIFIMAN HE1000 Stealth Filters.txt
    993 bytes · Views: 140
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AryaStealth

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Thank you. I will try your settings tommorow. I have also tried to reduce the treble peaks like this today:
harman.jpg

Filter: ON HS Fc 6500 Hz Gain -2.2 dB Q 0.71
Filter: ON PK Fc 9200 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 6
Filter: ON PK Fc 11600 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 6
Filter: ON PK Fc 5400 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 6

It seems the most crucial for vocals was 5400 Hz dip as well as 1800 Hz dip, now male vocals sound natural.
I have a question though, is it an acceptable way to fix treble dips/peaks with such a large Q factor as 6? It looks nice on the graph, but maybe there is a reason as to why I usually don't see Q factor larger than 5 for treble in Oratory's EQ settings?
 

Blorg

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This is Oratory1990's measurement and EQ of one Redditor's unit (credit to Oratory and Derek), may be another worth trying, as a starting point. Personally, I like the upper mids recession and I don't EQ that bit fully up. Reduce band 5 if you don't want that all the way forward (it seems from your previous posts, you don't, just want it a bit more than it is.) But this is to Harman:

Hifiman HE1000 Stealth.jpg
 
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AryaStealth

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Thank you. I tried Oratory's EQ settings, but some vocals were still sounding recessed/distant. So far I prefer the following EQ settings for vocals (I compared them at the same negative level of preamp gain with Oratory's):
Preamp: -3.45 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 25 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 0.5
Filter: ON PK Fc 1800 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 2.5
Filter: ON HS Fc 6500 Hz Gain -2.2 dB Q 0.7
Filter: ON PK Fc 9200 Hz Gain 1 dB Q 6
Filter: ON PK Fc 5400 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 6

For 1800 Hz peak filter Q can be set to 2, but I prefer Q 2.5
 
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AryaStealth

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Here are my current EQ settings (so far the best sound, it feels like the headphone value doubled). Many thanks to Oratory for correctly identifying the treble peaks (5100 Hz and 7900 Hz).
A slight deviation (a tiny dip between 650 and 800 Hz) from the Harman target made a huge difference, the bass clarity became extraordinary on my unit.

Preamp: -3.6 dB
Filter: ON PK Fc 25 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 0.5
Filter: ON PK Fc 220 Hz Gain -2.15 dB Q 1.1
Filter: ON PK Fc 600 Hz Gain 0.8 dB Q 2.1
Filter: ON PK Fc 1000 Hz Gain -0.45 dB Q 3
Filter: ON PK Fc 1800 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 2.025

The following two filters can lower treble peaks, but I think they are optional since HE1000 Stealth treble quality is so pleasant (but they are important if you feel that some vocals and instruments sound too distant, usually applying them fixes this feeling of too much distance, however sometimes happens exactly the opposite thing and some vocals and instruments can sound more distant).
Filter: ON PK Fc 5100 Hz Gain -0.95 dB Q 5
Filter: ON PK Fc 7900 Hz Gain -1.4 dB Q 4.61

Perhaps on some music genres or records that are notoriusly treble heavy you may find usefull the following High Shelf filter as well:
Filter: ON HS Fc 10000 Hz Gain -1.0 dB Q 0.71

P.S. I wonder if the sensitivity of HE1000 Stealth may be a little less than the official number. I enabled High Gain on my Sabaj A20d 2023 and I think the sound became a bit more balanced now than it was on Low Gain (even though I never reached even 80% on Low Gain volume).
So feel free to experiment with High Gain.
 
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majingotan

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Have you tried the Susvara? It's the only Hifiman headphone that I've tried and currently own (no EQ) that didn't need to be EQed out of the box (unless you prefer strict Harman Bass)
 
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AryaStealth

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HE1000 Stealth also doesn't require EQ, it has a warm sound signature on the bright side with a large soundstage. I just though why not try some EQ tweaks since most headphones benefit from it.
I didn't try the Susvara, but according to the measurments below it should have a similar sound signature to HE1000 Stealth due to its frequency response (unless Hifiman made a revision to Susvara):
HiFiMan-Susvara-frequency-1536x886.jpg

"The Susvara has a bit of a ragged frequency response with a -6 dB dip in the frequency response right where our ears are the most sensitive (2 kHz). This pushes the lead vocals and instruments too far back in the mix. Then the +4dB peak at 4 kHz over emphasizes the upper midrange of the voice which starts to sound overly sibilant. The bass starts to roll off at 90 Hz and is -4 dB down at 20 Hz."
 

ReaderZ

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Thank you. I will try your settings tommorow. I have also tried to reduce the treble peaks like this today:
View attachment 307118
Filter: ON HS Fc 6500 Hz Gain -2.2 dB Q 0.71
Filter: ON PK Fc 9200 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 6
Filter: ON PK Fc 11600 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 6
Filter: ON PK Fc 5400 Hz Gain 3.4 dB Q 6

It seems the most crucial for vocals was 5400 Hz dip as well as 1800 Hz dip, now male vocals sound natural.
I have a question though, is it an acceptable way to fix treble dips/peaks with such a large Q factor as 6? It looks nice on the graph, but maybe there is a reason as to why I usually don't see Q factor larger than 5 for treble in Oratory's EQ settings?
I see that nothing is being done about 6.2khz peak, is that because it's measuring artifact or other reasons?\

Edit: meant on Oratory1990's is it just unit variation or measurement artifact
 
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Blorg

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I see that nothing is being done about 6.2khz peak, is that because it's measuring artifact or other reasons?\

Edit: meant on Oratory1990's is it just unit variation or measurement artifact
If I do a tone sweep, there's no 6.2kHz peak. It keeps going up and peaks around 7.2kHz, before dropping off sharply. I listened first and then went back to look, a tone sweep through that region sounds to me more like Oratory's measurement than VSG's.
 

majingotan

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HE1000 Stealth also doesn't require EQ, it has a warm sound signature on the bright side with a large soundstage. I just though why not try some EQ tweaks since most headphones benefit from it.
I didn't try the Susvara, but according to the measurments below it should have a similar sound signature to HE1000 Stealth due to its frequency response (unless Hifiman made a revision to Susvara):
HiFiMan-Susvara-frequency-1536x886.jpg

"The Susvara has a bit of a ragged frequency response with a -6 dB dip in the frequency response right where our ears are the most sensitive (2 kHz). This pushes the lead vocals and instruments too far back in the mix. Then the +4dB peak at 4 kHz over emphasizes the upper midrange of the voice which starts to sound overly sibilant. The bass starts to roll off at 90 Hz and is -4 dB down at 20 Hz."

I can't trust that Susvara measurement since there are other publications that show that that the HE1000 Stealth has more dip than the Susvara at 2KHz and that Susvara has a 4KHz dip rather than peak. My point is that depending on the measuring equipment, you can have wildly different FR and finally your own HRTF is different than mine.

flagship-battle.png


Same case with the DCA Aeon X Open. I do not hear the mid-bass emphasis as reflected in the measurement gear. Rather, I hear a neutral signature same as Hifiman Susvara, but Susvara has flatter frequency response in the bass and the imaging is more forward sounding in the mids and treble rather than laid back when compared to DCA Aeon X Open. As you can see on what I hear, it's the opposite of the FR measurements from the Gras rig. Both are what I consider to be neutral but Susvara can retrieve details a bit better than Aeon X Open.

When it comes to EQ, the no EQ always sound tonally best for my own HRTF. Mucking with EQ results to less neutral sound to me because my own HRTF does not correlate with the Gras or the BK 5128 measurement gears at all.

THD at only 84 dB SPL is many times worse in Susvara as well when compared to DCA Stealth and Expanse at 94 dB SPL.

Susvara, contrary to what all people out there say, is actually very easy to drive. A Topping L30 II will easily drive the Susvara to THX reference SPLs for commercial movie theaters.

susvara-thd.png


These are my units with stock cable for Susvara and Audiophile Ninja cable for DCA Aeon X Open (similar to stock cables for Expanse and Stealth)

IMG_8862.JPG



majingotan, do you have a theory as to why Dan Clark Aeon X Open sound perfect to you WITHOUT EQ yet their preference rating before EQ is only 62. (After EQ though it goes up to 100). It looks like Harman curve may need a special planar over-ear version if such a bass boost over Harman target feels just right.
aeon.jpg
 

Bow_Wazoo

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I really loved the HE-1000 Stealth, but I could never get the sharpness and aggressiveness around 1khz under control. The HE-1000 V2 is much gentler
 

ReaderZ

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I really loved the HE-1000 Stealth, but I could never get the sharpness and aggressiveness around 1khz under control. The HE-1000 V2 is much gentler

To me there is no such thing as 1khz sharpness on any of the HE1000(I have not heard V1 though)
 

Blorg

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To me there is no such thing as 1khz sharpness on any of the HE1000(I have not heard V1 though)
Oratory's measurement of it does have a slight bump there but I really wouldn't have thought it was excessive, many other headphones have far larger.

HE1000 Stealth:
1697002258455.png

Focal Utopia:
1697002100911.png

HE1000V2 doesn't have it but the HE1000 Stealth FR looks better to me overall, and it gets better Harman score than the V2 (Stealth: 87, V2: 78). Stealth really looks that bit more balanced (and the V2 was already very good).

HE1000V2:
1697002213384.png

Arya Stealth has it worse than the HE1000 Stealth:
1697002432924.png
 

sai

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Didn't know Oratory has already measured the HE1000 Stealth. I have purchased one and will provide measurements of my unit when it arrives (likely within this week).

It will be available on my Squiglink so you can try AutoEQ with it.
 
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AryaStealth

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It seems he measured a few more units since then and corrected his PEQ settings, now they sound more natural, a great alternative to the stock brighter Hifiman tuning.

sai, please publish later a review with EQ settings/recommendations to improve mids/vocals on HE1000 stealth
 
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