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"Listening to headphones over YouTube...? Hahaha!"

VintageFlanker

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#1
...Is the title of the video Oluv just posted in response to @Sean Olive.


I don't know what to think at this point, since I didn't watch the 30 minutes yet.

Anyway, I see no reason to go after Oluv, who is among the rare objectivists on YT and provides some good work considering his modest means.
 

thewas

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#2
Personally I find both of them flawed at the same point, namely thinking that measuring/recording with a specific rig or real ear will give results that can be generalised, unfortunately the variation of human HRTF tells the contrary so I am afraid there will never be absolute judgements, scores and EQs for headphones.
 

Vini darko

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#3
Last night I was headphone listening to a tape recording of a helter skelter rave in 1996 on youtube and thoroughly enjoyed it warts and all. Am currently listening to liquid d&b mixes on speakers and enjoying that too. Love youtube and soundcloud.
 

ernestcarl

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#4
Personally I find both of them flawed at the same point, namely thinking that measuring/recording with a specific rig or real ear will give results that can be generalised, unfortunately the variation of human HRTF tells the contrary so I am afraid there will never be absolute judgements, scores and EQs for headphones.
I am skeptical if the headphone samples they each had were truly identical in response.
 

threni

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#7
Last night I was headphone listening to a tape recording of a helter skelter rave in 1996 on youtube and thoroughly enjoyed it warts and all. Am currently listening to liquid d&b mixes on speakers and enjoying that too. Love youtube and soundcloud.
Amusing - I was doing almost exactly the same; listening to early-mid 1990's pirate radio recordings (a mixture of stuff I taped myself plus downloads).
 

Sean Olive

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#8
...Is the title of the video Oluv just posted in response to @Sean Olive.


I don't know what to think at this point, since I didn't watch the 30 minutes yet.

Anyway, I see no reason to go after Oluv, who is among the rare objectivists on YT and provides some good work considering his modest means.
An entire
...Is the title of the video Oluv just posted in response to @Sean Olive.


I don't know what to think at this point, since I didn't watch the 30 minutes yet.

Anyway, I see no reason to go after Oluv, who is among the rare objectivists on YT and provides some good work considering his modest means.
An entire 32 minute video dedicated to defending MiniDSP and in-ear recordings of headphones based on a comment I made on Facebook and Twitter about them containing errors.
 

Sean Olive

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#9
Personally I find both of them flawed at the same point, namely thinking that measuring/recording with a specific rig or real ear will give results that can be generalised, unfortunately the variation of human HRTF tells the contrary so I am afraid there will never be absolute judgements, scores and EQs for headphones.

Measuring headphones on any industry coupler/manikin is a statistical exercise where the pinnae/ear canal/ head geometry are based on anthropomorphic averages. The new B&K 5128 is an example.

None will perfectly replicate your anthropomorphic features.

But at least these standard rigs are well-defined, based on real anthropomorphic data, and allow measurements to be made and replicated in different labs so we can compare apples vs apples. That fact that we can use them to produce measurements that can predict listeners' preference ratings of different headphone responses indicates that they work pretty well despite these errors.The fact that people generally agree what is excellent, good, average, bad in headphone sound quality and these subjective ratings correspond to measurements on these rigs gives a certain level of confidence in the measurements, at least for me.


When you make measurements or recordings in your own ears, there is even less certainty or confidence that those measurements and subjective impressions are a) repeatable and b) representative of an average population.. unless your ears and head are identical to say a B*K 5128.
 

fieldcar

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#10
I think Oluv means well, and I think we're all on the same page by valuing objectivity. Maybe this can be an opportunity to educate him. Though, I do understand the point of frustration where any random youtuber thinks they can just start graphing anything without a well thought out and written methodology with provable data rather than a simple "oh yeah, just trust me". I think it's a bit creative that he does illustrate some accuracy in his compensation target for his in-ear mic's in his video, but this is the first time that he's clearly divulged his technique.

I actually enjoy his comparison videos with the music, but I've always understood their limitations. So. That's my quick take on the matter.
 

companyja

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#11
Aside from the question of repeatability and accuracy of such recordings, I'd just like to say from my own experience that the brain can get used to pretty broken FR curves in a pretty short amount of time, as well. As long as it's not extremely broken, I always go for a headphone because of technicalities over tonality/timbre. Of course the big problem is that "technicalities" is an extremely vague term and things like soundstage is incredibly elusive in terms of measurements and repeatability with FR adjustments (although FR greatly influences it, for sure). I never really go for flat or "dead neutral" tuning, whether it's harman, DF, olaf's own whatever-the-hell-he-uses or whichever. I just get used to the headphone and I'd just fix something if it's incredibly broken in EQ, not to fine-tune really.

I don't know if other people don't really accept the new headphone's frequency response as natural as much as I do or if they swap like 5 headphones between a listening session, but I tend to buy one set of headphones and one set of IEMs, get used to the two signatures and call it a day.
 

thewas

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#12
That fact that we can use them to produce measurements that can predict listeners' preference ratings of different headphone responses indicates that they work pretty well despite these errors.The fact that people generally agree what is excellent, good, average, bad in headphone sound quality and these subjective ratings correspond to measurements on these rigs gives a certain level of confidence in the measurements, at least for me.
Sure, your work on the Harman headphone target is imho despite its limitations the greatest thing that ever happened to the headphone market, still we should be aware though of its limitations. Like you say its great to show if something is great, average or poor, but for example sometimes not enough to give a unique valid preference for everyone between 2 good ones as especially individual ear channel resonance forms can magnify or suppress FR problems in that region.
 
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bobbooo

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#13
I think Oluv means well, and I think we're all on the same page by valuing objectivity.
He may mean well, but he has some obvious gaps in his knowledge (e.g. he says 'maybe [Sean's] ear simulator is also crap' :D) and his methodology is seriously flawed as a means for his YouTube followers to judge and EQ headphones by, and just compounds the circle of confusion even further, by adding an extra variable of the user's playback device used to listen to his headphone recordings. And as Sean said, these flawed methods which to many appear overtly objective and reliable can often be more dangerous than purely subjectivist ramblings, as they are fooled into thinking the former will guide them to truth, whereas more people can recognise the latter as evidently nonsense. Basically, bad science is worse than no science, because it can mislead people to false conclusions, and detract from actual science that does guide us towards truth, such as Sean's large body of work that has found strong correlations between a) accurate, reliable headphone measurements using industry standard ear simulators that are good proxies for human ear impedance / response, and b) headphone preference reported in controlled, double-blind listening tests by a large number of listeners (including trained). As Oluv does neither (a) nor (b), his conclusions cannot offer any kind of accurate, objective guide to how headphones will sound for his viewers / listeners.
 
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charleski

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#14
When you make measurements or recordings in your own ears, there is even less certainty or confidence that those measurements and subjective impressions are a) repeatable and b) representative of an average population.. unless your ears and head are identical to say a B*K 5128.
True. But I actually use exactly this sort of approach (a cheap electret capsule stuffed into a silicon iem flange with blutack and then lodged in the ear canal) as a way to get rough measurements to help with designing an EQ curve.

Calibration is, obviously, a mess: I have an old pair of Sennheisers and adjusted the calibration file until the measured response approximated the published curve. I would never share the results or claim they represented the actual frequency response of my headphones (modified Monolith 1060Cs). But it does provide a useful starting point for building up the EQ for my own use, and allows you to check that EQ adjustments are having the desired effect, since the results may not be accurate, but they seem reasonably precise.

Obviously if you want measurements that are applicable to other people then you need standards and a measurement rig that will meet some sort of standard. But for personal use you can get away with a lot less (i.e. only costing a few bucks instead of five figures).
 

Sean Olive

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#15
True. But I actually use exactly this sort of approach (a cheap electret capsule stuffed into a silicon iem flange with blutack and then lodged in the ear canal) as a way to get rough measurements to help with designing an EQ curve.

Calibration is, obviously, a mess: I have an old pair of Sennheisers and adjusted the calibration file until the measured response approximated the published curve. I would never share the results or claim they represented the actual frequency response of my headphones (modified Monolith 1060Cs). But it does provide a useful starting point for building up the EQ for my own use, and allows you to check that EQ adjustments are having the desired effect, since the results may not be accurate, but they seem reasonably precise.

Obviously if you want measurements that are applicable to other people then you need standards and a measurement rig that will meet some sort of standard. But for personal use you can get away with a lot less (i.e. only costing a few bucks instead of five figures).

Agree, there is nothing wrong making recordings or measurements of headphones with ir-ear microphones as you say "For your own use".
But generalizing your impressions from personalized recordings to a larger audience is problematic.

The Harman Target Curve was based on controlled listening tests with 200+ listeners, and we found 64% people preferred it and the other two smaller segments still liked it but with more or less bass and treble.

When a reviewer says he "hates the target" it suggests hi/her taste is not very representative of most listeners. In the case of this reviewer. his preferred headphone I am told is a Senn HD600 which closely matches the target albeit with less bass.
 

pozz

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#16
In the case of this reviewer. his preferred headphone I am told is a Senn HD600 which closely matches the target albeit with less bass.
Interesting way to review the reviewer.
 

JohnYang1997

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#17
Agree, there is nothing wrong making recordings or measurements of headphones with ir-ear microphones as you say "For your own use".
But generalizing your impressions from personalized recordings to a larger audience is problematic.

The Harman Target Curve was based on controlled listening tests with 200+ listeners, and we found 64% people preferred it and the other two smaller segments still liked it but with more or less bass and treble.

When a reviewer says he "hates the target" it suggests hi/her taste is not very representative of most listeners. In the case of this reviewer. his preferred headphone I am told is a Senn HD600 which closely matches the target albeit with less bass.
He's a friend of mine(online of course). When he says he doesn't like Harman Target, what he really means is that he doesn't like the bass boost and the roll off highs over 10KHz.
The issue here really is that different people are talking from different stand point. If you assume that we know different types of targets and have some opinion around it, you would see it differently. And of course if you are talking about grand scheme of the whole headphone market, yeah all the targets are basically no difference, too many headphones are simply crap. So maybe I would beg you to maybe watch a few more of his other videos to really see where he stands to fully understand what he meant. He's really the pioneer of high quality headphones reviewer on YouTube. And to say the least, his in the ear recordings are by far the most accurate and most representative. Is it absolute, no. But in some way more representative than measurements on HATS. He doesn't like his EARS system that much, he uses tons of eq to make it sound right to him. The listening and tuning is basically the biggest part for his recordings.
There are some other reviewers who has recordings but they aren't nearly as good, and no where near the amount of effort was put into this.
 

ernestcarl

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#18
I don't know if other people don't really accept the new headphone's frequency response as natural as much as I do or if they swap like 5 headphones between a listening session, but I tend to buy one set of headphones and one set of IEMs, get used to the two signatures and call it a day.
I personally prefer to abuse the original signal with lots of extra processing e.g. crossfeed and artificial "room feel" on top of some EQ whenever I get the chance. But that is me.
 

faheem

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#19
I was surprised and disappointed at the Fb post. Unnecessarily aggressive , very odd approach and this is from someone who has enormous respect for Sean Olive's work.Criticism should be constructive and controlled.
 

thewas

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#20
The Harman Target Curve was based on controlled listening tests with 200+ listeners, and we found 64% people preferred it and the other two smaller segments still liked it but with more or less bass and treble.
As said a lot of great work but still (like everything) with some points of limitation which shouldn't be ignored either:
Few third party musics tracks which in the end also continue audio's circle of confusion.
Fixed "arbitrary" shelving points and Q for the bass and treble.
Different listening levels without loudness compensation so possibly the bass boost was (ab-)used for that.
The big 200+ listener test done with one type of headphone which like any headphone due to its geometry radiates to the ear TFs in a specific way.

Again, as already said, this is enough to differentiate between good, mediocre or bad but at close ratings get to its limits.
 
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