• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Just discoverd EQ and I kind of start wondering what I was doing ...

Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
36
Likes
6
#1
I just used the presets from oratory 1990. Don't know if he/she is here, but this definitely changed my view on headphones. Now I feel all the chase of sound signatures in DAC/AMP is futile. We can just get the most transparent and affordable stacks from Topping or SMSL and apply EQ. I don't think I will every miss tubes or anything.

Having said this, I heard many folks claim that electric-static headphones are super detailed and flexible with EQ. Now I start to feel maybe I should get a KOSS 95X and just apply a few db on the bass. What do you folks think?
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2021
Messages
20
Likes
20
#2
A 95X with bass boost does give more "impact" to the sound. If Amir's review point to anything, "When it was all said and done, the ESP 95/X went from rather unexciting and dull to a "hifi speaker." We now had bass, more highs and less midrange emphasis. Indeed I enjoyed it for a couple of hours listening to a lot of music."

Personally I don't EQ mine most times since I like it as it is. Subjectively, I want to say there still is something different to the sound versus a dynamic (even with EQ) but I'm not going to die on this hill. I will say unlike Amir, I can get it plenty loud enough. I use a Schiit Magni 3+ as a preamp because I can't even use ~20% on the energizer directly connected to my Modi 3+.

Just be mindful getting one without defects is a bit of a lottery and may be more bothersome than you'd want. I have a review on Drop in which I give my subjective impressions for the first half then detail some issues with the headphones towards the second half, in case you want to take a look.
 
OP
S
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
36
Likes
6
Thread Starter #3
Thank you so much! I will definitely check out your review. I was going to spend some serious money on DAC/AMP. But now I feel my bottleneck is probably still at either the headphone or the source (I am using YouTube right now).
 
OP
S
Joined
May 28, 2020
Messages
36
Likes
6
Thread Starter #4
Yeah I currently have 3 workhorse headphones: Senn HD58X, AKG K712 Pro and Hifiman Sundara. I guess I am very lucky and spoiled and all of them survived some beats. Yeah, it feels like maybe I should save up a bit and go for something Senn HD800S or Hifiman Arya. I heard a lot of people complaining about small things about elec-stats. Now that I read your reviews, these will definitely drive me nuts.
 
Joined
Feb 2, 2021
Messages
20
Likes
20
#5
imo just go straight for the big fish. The ESP/95X is my endgame since 1) I don't really have the money for more expensive stuff right now and 2) I like Koss a lot. It was honestly a tough choice for me to decide either this, the Sundara, or Elex since they all were on sale on Black Friday.

If I was looking at $1-2K price range, I would probably get an HD800s, ADX5000, L700 MK2, or SR-404.
 

maverickronin

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 19, 2018
Messages
1,708
Likes
1,879
Location
Midwest, USA
#6
Having said this, I heard many folks claim that electric-static headphones are super detailed and flexible with EQ. Now I start to feel maybe I should get a KOSS 95X and just apply a few db on the bass. What do you folks think?
'Stats definitely have their own sound. Could be the super low distortion, the very large drivers which are usually bigger than one's outer ear, or something else.

Even if you EQ up the bass in a 'stat and but the most powerful amp in the world behind is will still have less bass impact than an dynamic or planar. The 'stat's moving mass is far less than a dynamic or a planar so you have less vibration mechanically coupled to you head.

You'll definitely want some kind preamp to go with the Koss, either a DAC with a volume control or a headamp with a preout. Each gang on the volume pot is adjustable independently to act as a balance control, but there's no friction holding them together. This makes it essentially impossible to change the volume without through off the L/R balance.

Regarding fixing a headphone with EQ, there are a couple things to note about what can and cannot be fixed.

One is distortion/power handling. If a headphone stays clean at very high SPL then you have plenty of room to adjust it with EQ while listening at a normal level. Fortunately headphones usually do quite well at this, but since Amir started testing distortion at 3 different levels we now have a source to confirm.

The second thing to keep in mind is soundstage and imaging. These are not easily fixable by simple EQ to a generic target curve. In the end, these factors still mostly boil down to a specific FR, but that FR needs to be individualized based on your anatomy. (Such as the shape of your ears and head.) This is fixable, but requires individualized measurements and more advanced DSP than just a PEQ.

Because of the difficulty or expense involved it may be better to just go for a headphone that already has great soundstaging (due to the driver's size and position relative to the ear) to begin with if that's what you are interested in.

What were you looking to get from upgrading? Better soundstaging, deeper and more impactful bass, or something else?
 
Top Bottom