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Hifiman Sundara Review (headphone)

solderdude

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RHO (and me) are telling you that the (substantial) dip at 10kHz, caused by pinna+ear canal simulation are always at the same frequency in a HATS.
The concha and earcanal in the HATS are chosen to be somewhat close to reality. Not as close as the BK5128 but reasonable average.
Look at measurements made by Tyll... they ALL have a peak at 10kHz (which also is due to the concha simulator) which also is not correct.

The reality (my ears and those of others) due to all pinna being different (as different as fingerprints I am told) and not having the same dimensions (pinna keeps growing all your life) the dip in someone else's ears may be higher or lower than that of the HATS.

Also your brain is used to the dip you have near that frequency as well.

It is not included in the Harman target. I have never gotten a clear answer why not other than the curve is averaged (very, very heavily smoothed)

Do yourself a favor and ignore everything above 8kHz in Amir's and Ora's measurements and consider that above 6kHz accuracy is already out the door. You should not EQ this either (which Amir repeatedly remarks in his reviews.
measurement 'error' or rather 'artefact' or 'inaccuracy' and downside when using a HATS for headphone measurements.

For Sundara... it does have a peak but in a spot where the HATS has a dip so you can't see it in the plots.
Depending on how different your ear is from the fake concha and ear canal from the HATS you may hear the peak or not.
Your ear seems to be pretty close to that from the HATS so you don't hear it as it cancels out.
 
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KenTajalli

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RHO (and me) are telling you that the (substantial) dip at 10kHz, caused by pinna+ear canal simulation are always at the same frequency in a HATS.
The concha and earcanal in the HATS are chosen to be somewhat close to reality. Not as close as the BK5128 but reasonable average.

The reality (my ears and those of others) due to all pinna being different (as different as fingerprints I am told) and not having the same dimensions (pinna keeps growing all your life) the dip in someone else's ears may be higher or lower than that of the HATS.

Also your brain is used to the dip you have near that frequency as well.

It is not included in the Harman target. I have never gotten a clear answer why not other than the curve is averaged (very, very heavily smoothed)
I got that already.
But since the way the Ear/brain combo's inner working is not an open book, showing such a dip is misleading, along with other stuff it should be ironed out.
Basically if a perfect transducer should exist, with a ruler flat FR, then showing a "graph of the transducer" should be a flat line, and any irregularity of the ear canal, microphone response curver etc. should not be included.
If as you say, 'some' are not sensitive to it and 'some' are, then it is an individual thing, and should not be in the response curve.
After all the question is ' Is the headphone having a dip at 10kHz?'
It doesn't end there, there are other trends in Oratory curves , at different frequencies - these are indicators that the Oratory curves are not fully compensated.
Her is another snapshot;

1641308924199.png


Look closely;
- all have rolling down slopes at bass
- Most have peaks at about 5kHz
- look at 8kHz
- all have rising curves towards 20kHz
- gentle hump at 2-3 kHz
 
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solderdude

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Ah.. yes .. I get what you mean ...you are correct.
You basically are looking at errors in the measurement chain. They are measurement rig dependent so different rigs will have different peaks and dips. Even on a really flat headphone. On top of that the dips and peaks also differ when the distance, angle and driver size of a perfect driver differs.

headphone measurements are not exact. It is handy to know the limitations of each HATS and take measurements with a grain of salt. Especially mine are rather limited from 1kHz to 5kHz depending on angle of the driver where the measurements from Amir and Oratory are vey trustworthy there. One can use that info when evaluating measurements.

Below 200Hz seal issues can create substantial errors, above 6kHz placement and the headphone itself (interaction with the test fixture) can completely skew resulting plots (as well as the used correction and target).

So it is approximate and can tell something about the headphone.
 

RHO

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Are you telling me it is a natural phenomena because of the way the ear is constructed?
If the latter, then the brain has learnt (over few thousend years) to compensate for that, and it should no longer be shown or at least included in the Harman curve!
The "concha simulator" has ignored the brain/ear combined effect.
That is how I understand it.
Nothing wrong with it showing up in the measurements. It's the same as the ear-gain thing but in reverse.
I don't think Harman is relevant above 8kHz. (or was it 10Khz?)
The rigs with pinna never take the brain into account. That's why we don't want to see a flat FR when looking at measurements on those rigs.
 

KenTajalli

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Ah.. yes .. I get what you mean ...you are correct.
You basically are looking at errors in the measurement chain. They are measurement rig dependent so different rigs will have different peaks and dips. Even on a really flat headphone. On top of that the dips and peaks also differ when the distance, angle and driver size of a perfect driver differs.

headphone measurements are not exact. It is handy to know the limitations of each HATS and take measurements with a grain of salt. Especially mine are rather limited from 1kHz to 5kHz depending on angle of the driver where the measurements from Amir and Oratory are vey trustworthy there. One can use that info when evaluating measurements.

Below 200Hz seal issues can create substantial errors, above 6kHz placement and the headphone itself (interaction with the test fixture) can completely skew resulting plots (as well as the used correction and target).

So it is approximate and can tell something about the headphone.
Again check to all.
Indeed Amir has a disclaimer at the beginning of every test of a headphone in bold letters, still some ignore that.
I was having a discussion at HE560 review page with a couple of members, it got heated when I claimed that I listen to headphones and ignore the graphs - They implied the data from graphs is irrefutable, and takes precedence over what I hear!
 

RHO

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Basically if a perfect transducer should exist, with a ruler flat FR, then showing a "graph of the transducer" should be a flat line, and any irregularity of the ear canal, microphone response curver etc. should not be included.
It would be ruler flat in what situation?
You would need to have perfect copy of your own outer and inner ear on the rig. You would need to know how your brain compensates for deviations from a perfectly flat FR response (which changes over time when using different audio gear with different FR -> brain burn-in).
And then it would only measure flat for your ears in exactly the same position it was in on the measurement rig.
That makes no sense.
 

RHO

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They implied the data from graphs is irrefutable, and takes precedence over what I hear!
They are not irrefutable, but take precedence over what you hear.
A computer has no brain burn-in for instance. It does not suffer from different moods or changes in health ... It shows repeatable data that you can learn to read. And imperfections can be taken into account when reading the data.
 

KenTajalli

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They are not irrefutable, but take precedence over what you hear.
A computer has no brain burn-in for instance. It does not suffer from different moods or changes in health ... It shows repeatable data that you can learn to read. And imperfections can be taken into account when reading the data.
We are all good here.
I judge my headphones by what I hear - you can judge them by computers and graphs which can incidentally be wrong!
If a pair of headphones you listen to has plenty of deep bass, but Oratory curve says it is drooping by 8dB, I should ignore my ears and boost my bass by 8dB and keep convincing myself "Now this is correct!" .
Because that is exactly what a lot of people are doing!
Repeated test gear imperfections should be compensated for, and not thrown at people as information.
After all that is the difference between Data and Information, Data is raw, information is deducted from it.
After all that is what we are trying to do, judging headphones, not imperfections of test gear or how nice raw data looks on a coloured graph, or did I get that wrong too?
 
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Jimbob54

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We are all good here.
I judge my headphones by what I hear - you can judge them by computers and graphs which can incidentally be wrong!
If a pair of headphones you listen to has plenty of deep bass, but Oratory curve says it is drooping by 8dB, I should ignore my ears and boost my bass by 8dB and keep convincing myself "Now this is correct!" .
Because that is exactly what a lot of people are doing!
Repeated test gear imperfections should be compensated for, and not thrown at people as information.
After all that is what we are trying to do, judging headphones, or did I get that wrong too?
The problem is, given the exact same pair of headphones, you hear enough sub bass (for you), I hear too much (for me) and someone else hears not enough (for them). The measurement rigs (upon which you can equalise to Harman target) just give a common reference point.
 

RHO

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We are all good here.
I judge my headphones by what I hear - you can judge them by computers and graphs which can incidentally be wrong!
If a pair of headphones you listen to has plenty of deep bass, but Oratory curve says it is drooping by 8dB, I should ignore my ears and boost my bass by 8dB and keep convincing myself "Now this is correct!" .
Because that is exactly what a lot of people are doing!
Repeated test gear imperfections should be compensated for, and not thrown at people as data.
After all that is what we are trying to do, judging headphones, or did I get that wrong too?
I don't judge my headphones by measurements only. No-one does that!
But you can differentiate a good headphone from a bad one by looking at the measurements and you can judge if a model will likely appeal to you by looking at the measurements, without having to buy the thing first.
And even if the measurements aren't perfect, they are much more perfect then some telling their subjective experiences. Because those experiences tell you nearly nothing about how YOU will experience them. YOU may not like "neutral". YOU can have a severe hearing deficiency at a certain frequency. I can have one in a completely different frequency range. That will severely influence how we experience sound.
Measurements are a much more reliable reference, because they exclude the human experience completely.
EQ recommendations are made to get to a reference. Whether you like that reference or not is 100% up to you. If you don't than change the EQ and enjoy the headphones to your hearts content. But they will not be "neutral" (referenced to the target). If I like neutral, I will not like your EQ at all. And if I don;t like neutral, I may like something completely different than you.
 
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KenTajalli

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I don't judge my headphones by measurements only. No-one does that!
You'd be surprised!
But you can differentiate a good headphone from a bad one by looking at the measurements and you can judge if a model will likely appeal to you by looking at the measurements, without having to buy the thing first.
Well I can relate to that.
And even if the measurements aren't perfect, they are much more perfect then some telling their subjective experiences. Because those experiences tell you nearly nothing about how YOU will experience them. YOU may not like "neutral". YOU can have a severe hearing deficiency at a certain frequency. I can have one in a completely different frequency range. That will severely influence how we experience sound.
Correct, but majority of members I have had interaction with on ASR (in particular) are number-junkees. If one looks at data provided as an indication and not last word, then we have no issues.
Measurements are a much more reliable reference, because they exclude the human experience completely.
EQ recommendations are made to get to a reference. Whether you like that or not is 100% up to you. If you don't than change the EQ and enjoy the headphones to your hearts content. But they will not be "neutral" (referenced to the target). If I like neutral, I will not like your EQ at all. And if I don;t like neutral, I may like something completely different than you.
How many times have you met members on these very pages, that even before they recieve their gear, they have already programmed in the Oratory or Amir's EQ settings? be honest!

Those knowledgable enough to read and comprehend the graphs and data presented are in the minority, I believe Oratory and the like have a duty to include in huge letter disclaimers on every graph (similar to Amir) to say that these graphs are approximate, and try to filter out, what is test gear related.
It doesn't take a genious to collect a 100 curves from Oratory's database, and come up with computer function to filter the test gear out.
 
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RHO

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How many times have you met members on these very pages, that even before they recieve their gear, they have already programmed in the Oratory or Amir's EQ settings? be honest!
I am surprised every single time I read it, but it hasn't happened that often. So, I guess a few do it, but not many. My experience, which is completely subjective. I haven't done a statistical analysis on the numbers yet. ;)
But if you want to implement EQ those setting are a good way to start.
 

solderdude

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It doesn't take a genious to collect a 100 curves from Oratory's database, and come up with computer function to filter the test gear out.

Alas not that simple. You would still need to know what the actual depth of the 10kHz dip (and at other frequencies) are and then that would be an average which won't necessarily lead to a correct correction. The problem is lack of reference.
 

KenTajalli

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Alas not that simple. You would still need to know what the actual depth of the 10kHz dip (and at other frequencies) are and then that would be an average which won't necessarily lead to a correct correction. The problem is lack of reference.
Then the huge-letter disclaimer to educate & inform - at least!
 

dennis h

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Indeed this is proof the HATS used clearly doesn't measure correctly at 10kHz which is a known fact.
Look at ALL plots made by Amir and Oratory you will see that this is in the measurement rig.

Look here... different measurement rig... surprise no 10kHz dip.
Then look at consistency and notice how some people have dips and others show peaks above 10kHz.
Its the reason why most plots are greyed out above 8kHz to 10kHz.
This is the reason why some people are bothered by it and you (lucky card) cannot hear it.
thanks
this beginner can relate to those graphs
what measuring rig ?
 

KenTajalli

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Chester

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Looking at the graphs for the Sundara and the HE400 SE, there doesn’t seem to be much between them from a performance perspective.

I appreciate most people are unlikely to have spent lots of time listening to both of these. However, I will ask my question nonetheless. If one already owned the HE400SE, other than what looks like better build quality, are there any sonic benefits (with or without EQ) the Sundara offers?

Thanks
 

solderdude

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Sundara is kind of a side grade with better build quality. Whether or not you may appreciate small tonal differences no one can tell.
Someones 'huge' differences are anothers 'can't really tell a worthwhile difference'.
 

Chester

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Well, given quite a few people seem to be wondering about the differences between these two models, I just purchased a pair so I can do some side by side comparisons. It won’t be particularly objective or scientific but I will share my thoughts when they arrive and I’ve had time to compare.
 
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