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Master Complaint Thread About Headphone Measurements

YSC

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#3
I think various target like diffuse field stuffs should be shown on measurement plots and instead of right away EQing to the latest Harman curve maybe compare the phones are designed closer to what target then subjective section use some reference check with EQed in room flat speakers? say using the A90 with the pre out to play same track on a pair of 8341 or D&D 8C, then use the A90 with the headphone muting the pre out and see subjectively how's HF and LF compares?
 

TimF

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#4
I listen to headphones through a Drop THX 789, and a Matrix Mini-i-pro 2, which don't offer the ability to do equalization adjustments. Please advise how people who do EQ adjustments for headphone listening accomplish the adjustments. Also, you might note the what audio ranges you have found most beneficial in adjusting for 'tuning' headphones. I am aware that in JRiver I can set specific audio frequency ranges, and subsequent to that increase or decrease the relative output (volume) of that specific frequency range. I also know that the RME ADI-2 includes a headphone amplifier and headphone outputs; and that it is equipped with EQ capability. Do I need the RME ADI-2 to effectively do EQ for headphone listening?
 

Degru

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#7
I'll repost this suggestion here: if you're going to stick to recommending eq to harman target, please provide distortion measurements before and after eq, including the extra amp gain needed to overcome preamp reduction. This would be very useful to see which headphones respond well to eq, for those who plan to use it.
 

Degru

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#8
I listen to headphones through a Drop THX 789, and a Matrix Mini-i-pro 2, which don't offer the ability to do equalization adjustments. Please advise how people who do EQ adjustments for headphone listening accomplish the adjustments. Also, you might note the what audio ranges you have found most beneficial in adjusting for 'tuning' headphones. I am aware that in JRiver I can set specific audio frequency ranges, and subsequent to that increase or decrease the relative output (volume) of that specific frequency range. I also know that the RME ADI-2 includes a headphone amplifier and headphone outputs; and that it is equipped with EQ capability. Do I need the RME ADI-2 to effectively do EQ for headphone listening?
You can use VST plugins in jriver to do parametric eq, if it isn't built in already.
 
OP
amirm

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Thread Starter #9
OP
amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #10
@amirm, So are all bluetooth headphones essentially ruled out for testing without buying that expensive AP BT module?
Not quite. I have a bluetooth transmitter I can use with them. The issue is proper support and control of the codec in use as some of them like Aptx screw up the frequency response. At some point when we have enough wired headphone tests done, we will venture into BT headphones.
 

detlev24

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#13
Thanks for the first review!

Yet, I am not sure I personally would recommend any headphone that is basically useless without [heavy] EQ. Maybe categorization would be required; as build quality and comfort shouldn't overtrump a completely inaccurate sound reproduction.

Furthermore, I'm quite sure that each of the [at least well-established] manufacturers has its own sound signature on purpose and, e.g., Sennheiser certainly intended their headphones [HD800S] to be used this way - without EQ. Else, what's the point?

One of the most important qualities for EQ is low distortion. Would 'Revel F328Be' have been highly recommended if their frequency response had similar flaws but distortion was low enough to reach the target we tested for, through EQ [just translate the HD800S' to a loudspeaker's frequency response...]. Would "open baffle" loudspeakers get a bonus on bass frequency response?

I am absolutely aware that, thus far, there exists no headphone which sounds great without proper EQ; but some companies at least try to nail an accurate tonality. Oppo PM-3, for example, was one of these rare performers.

The danger I see when recommending [unEQed] completely inaccurate headphones is that probably no manufacturer would ever see a reason to change anything.

Headphones are certainly the type of gear that requires at least two categories:

1) the most important, stock performance and​
2) with less weight, EQed performance.​

Sonarworks do something similar - "just, their way"...

:)
 
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mugbot

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#14
Really enjoyed the first review, and the discussion on EQ. Would it be possible to run the tests with and without eq? I would be particularly interested in how close the EQ gets the frequency response to the target.
 

YSC

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#15
Thanks for the first review!

Yet, I am not sure I personally would recommend any headphone that is basically useless without [heavy] EQ. Maybe categorization would be required; as build quality and comfort shouldn't overtrump a completely inaccurate sound reproduction.

Furthermore, I'm quite sure that each of the [at least well-established] manufacturers has its own sound signature on purpose and, e.g., Sennheiser certainly intended their headphones [HD800S] to be used this way - without EQ. Else, what's the point?

One of the most important qualities for EQ is low distortion. Would 'Revel F328Be' have been highly recommended if their frequency response had similar flaws but distortion was low enough to reach the target we tested for, through EQ [just translate the HD800S' to a loudspeaker's frequency response...]. Would "open baffle" loudspeakers get a bonus on bass frequency response?

I am absolutely aware that, thus far, there exists no headphone which sounds great without proper EQ; but some companies at least try to nail an accurate tonality. Oppo PM-3, for example, was one of these rare performers.

The danger I see when recommending [unEQed] completely inaccurate headphones is that probably no manufacturer would ever see a reason to change anything.

Headphones are certainly the type of gear that requires at least two categories:

1) the most important, stock performance and​
2) with less weight, EQed performance.​

Sonarworks do something similar - "just, their way"...

:)
I think except those very gimmicky lifestyle type brands most serious headphone manufacture did keep try to nail the response they think is neutral or pleasing, so it's not really are they trying to improve or they just aim at different signature... the main thing all these years is that the complication of our head and ear transfer function is so variable from ppl to ppl (hell my own UERR custom IEMs left and right ear shape is vastly different, not to say me and any other individual all with very different outer ear shape) that nobody is generating a respectable target curve to mimic a flat speaker response... and preference is really preference, just like food taste, and thus the HP sound signatures are all over the place, especially in treble where different age group and even individuals differs greatly in preference and bass some will want compensation of the body shaking bass into the raw listened bass while some prefer only the same energy reaching the eardrums, that's why I kind of skeptical on the FR analysis

One interesting thought I just have is to basically have a revise on the FR analysis by, say overlaying a few or even a dozen of well regarded neutralish sounding HPs to compare their general FR shape. Say if all have much lower bass than the Harman curve or they fit harman curve well. shape of HF etc.
 

YSC

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#16
Just searched about the diffuse field and found this: (declaration that I am no expert nor with a ton of knowledge about the plots)
target.png

https://forum.hifiguides.com/t/grap...n-ear-over-ear-and-harman-linear-in-room/9270

it seems the Harman Linear in room is a response measured at ear drum level with dummy head mics in a treated room and anechoic chamber neutral speaker, while the green and orange are their target curve for in ear and over ear phones.

to me the big players for neutralish sounding headphones are aiming at the linear in room curve which is like 8-12db lower than the target curve bass and with a 4db boost around 3khz, so shall we compare the measured headphone curve to that and make some comments on subject listening section to both tunings?
 

Cahudson42

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#17
Headphone Review Selection..

One of the great benefits of ASR speaker reviews has been the identification of moderately priced alternates to 'expensive' TOTL great performing ones. The Infinity 'alternates' compared to Revels come to mind - 'not the same' but different, but very good value for money.

Now to do the same thing for HP, we need to identify the 'Revel equivalents' and ask members to loan them to Amir so he can work them into the mix.

Perhaps a list of candidates could be proposed? I can think of two:
Senn HE-1
HFM Susvara
But certainly our HP 'resident experts' - such as @solderdude - can suggest more, and better :)

Edit: Here is a nicely done subjective review of four $1000+ HP, all of whom would seem to be good candidates for early reviews:

https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...ar-high-end-headphones-plus-a-newcomer.18400/
 
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Dreyfus

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#18
My complaint is that there is way too much variation on objectivity.

The Technologically Impressive LCD-4 Planar Magnetic Headphone Manufacturers Comments

Measurements across multiple systems are significantly different due to the differences in the pinna, concha geometry, inner ear model and how the earpads and headphone interact.

Measurements are valuable tools to get a rough idea of how a headphone may sound, but they are not a substitute for listening. We see significant differences in measurements made on similar systems and also in our in-ear measurements (especially in the treble region). We encourage Innerfidelity readers to audition the headphones for the best possible results.
 

thewas

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#19
Just searched about the diffuse field and found this: (declaration that I am no expert nor with a ton of knowledge about the plots)
View attachment 99576
https://forum.hifiguides.com/t/grap...n-ear-over-ear-and-harman-linear-in-room/9270

it seems the Harman Linear in room is a response measured at ear drum level with dummy head mics in a treated room and anechoic chamber neutral speaker, while the green and orange are their target curve for in ear and over ear phones.

to me the big players for neutralish sounding headphones are aiming at the linear in room curve which is like 8-12db lower than the target curve bass and with a 4db boost around 3khz, so shall we compare the measured headphone curve to that and make some comments on subject listening section to both tunings?
The red "Harman linear in-room" curve was unfortunately of good loudspeakers in an acoustically good room that were EQed to measure flat at the listeners position which we know isn't neutral but treble pronounced / bass shy and then listeners were told to adjust bass and treble at the headphones per taste for them listening to some music and thus also continuing the circle of confusion that Sean Olive himself correctly criticises, which is imho a flawed approach to reach the tonality of a neutral loudspeaker. For me they should have left the loudspeakers without EQ and only tell listeners to adjust if needed slightly the headphones so the get the same tonality.
 
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bigjacko

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#20
I think the subjective part like imaging and sound stage is also something necessary because there is still no way to measure those properly. It is the same for speakers that might have worse "Harman research" objective measurement but better subjective listening. For example Genelec 8341 will likely have better objective measurement but people will still like Revel Salon 2 more. There are still some things that Harman research can't show but does make difference to human.
 
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