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Moondrop Blessing 2 Review (IEM)

Rate this IEM:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 2 1.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 12 6.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 89 48.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 82 44.3%

  • Total voters
    185

Geathchi

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I can make many claims and insist that they are true... Until someone comes up with evidence to the contrary.
I'm not looking to inform you because I don't presume to know more than you, and I certainly don't want to insult you, but I'm going to break things down as simply as I can because I'd like to make sure I'm being understood.

I'll start with loudness because we can agree that it's a measurable, objective phenomenon. If you take a sound and reduce it's volume without touching it's frequency balance and timing, you'll perceive that sound to be more distant. Louder also music sounds "better". Therefore, loudness has an audible effect on sound independent of tonal balance.

Let's say that on a given headphone, Frequency A is supposed to be expressed at 2x the loudness of Frequency B and that in the first half-second of a song, the loudness of frequency A in the recording goes from 0 to 15 to 25 to 50 to 100 to 0. The headphone might express these loudness levels as 0, 20, 20, 60, 100, 0. Frequency A is always being played at 2x the loudness of Frequency B, meaning tonal balance is maintained throughout playback, but the music will be perceived differently as a result. This is what I'm referring to as dynamics.
 

Garrincha

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That is subjective. Those micro and macro dynamics are invented by subjectivists.
Real measurable dynamic capabilities rarely are an issue in real practical applications. I don't think many will listen that loud.
Sorry, but this is utter BS. Have you, for example, ever listened to an electrostatic headphone? The fast transients are clearly different and audible. I am an objectivist, but this does not mean to deny any personal experience. I for sure would pass any blind test between an electrostatic and an dynamic headphone (magnetostatic being in the middle).
 

Garrincha

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What does that even mean? Most commercial music has a dynamic range around 10 dB or less! Jazz music around 20 dB. Some classical music recordings may have a dynamic range around 60 dB (and listening to such recorded music can be problematic at home but that's another topic).
I really doubt that any modern headphones have a problem with reproducing dynamics, and all this talk about dynamics, microdynamics in audiophile reviews is probably nonsense.
When I use the term dynamics, I am not referring to dynamic range but to the way the electronic signal is transformed into a sound wave. The mechanism to do this ( DD, BA, electrostatic, magnetostatic, etc.) can have a huge influence on the rendering of the audible sound, independently of the FR.
 

Garrincha

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I have no idea what you're trying to discuss, but it certainly won't help to come up with your own definitions for words that mean something else.

The dynamics in audio is the difference between the softest and loudest sound, measured in decibels.
This is what is called “dynamic range”, not dynamics. The dynamics he is probably referring to is something like transients decay or speed and I agree that there is such a thing. Some drivers are more slow and sluggish than others l, they need more time to return to the neutral position after the signal has been send. It is also clearly a measureable effect, nothing imaginary. If you for example have a piece of music with many fast sounds on after the other (1/16 or even faster), a slow driver will sound muddy, not being able to separate one note from the other. And this has nothing to do with FR.
 
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Garrincha

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Kato would be excellent. It's a fantastic IEM.
I got my Kato 3 days ago. It is in almost every aspect nicer than the Blessing 2 and cheaper, I don’t get it. The corpus is beautiful and smooth and shiny, fits better, has exchangeable nozzles, nicer cable, comes with the new spring tips and seems even closer to Harman. I can not make a direct sound comparison as I have sold my Blessing, good riddance, but the Kato seems in every aspect the better deal, amazing.
 

majingotan

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A step response CSD profile in 2D (FR is a fixed value) should show this "Dynamics" imaginary trait that subjectivist love to describe. Also you can go farther and have distortion responses that can show a longer "decay" over specific frequencies and put the points together
 

RHO

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you'll perceive that sound to be more distant.
No, you would preceive it as less loud.
Let's say that on a given headphone, Frequency A is supposed to be expressed at 2x the loudness of Frequency B and that in the first half-second of a song, the loudness of frequency A in the recording goes from 0 to 15 to 25 to 50 to 100 to 0. The headphone might express these loudness levels as 0, 20, 20, 60, 100, 0. Frequency A is always being played at 2x the loudness of Frequency B, meaning tonal balance is maintained throughout playback, but the music will be perceived differently as a result. This is what I'm referring to as dynamics.
This called distortion.
 

Garrincha

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A step response CSD profile in 2D (FR is a fixed value) should show this "Dynamics" imaginary trait that subjectivist love to describe. Also you can go farther and have distortion responses that can show a longer "decay" over specific frequencies and put the points together
“Should Show”, haha. Maybe you are imagening things. I ask you once more, have you ever listened to a good electrostatic headphone? If not, you should remain silent because you don’t know what you are talking about.

Furthermore, denying the existence of clearly existing phenomena does not do a good service to the objectivist position, as subjectivist will have a clear and justified reason to argue against.
 
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Robbo99999

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I'm not looking to inform you because I don't presume to know more than you, and I certainly don't want to insult you, but I'm going to break things down as simply as I can because I'd like to make sure I'm being understood.

I'll start with loudness because we can agree that it's a measurable, objective phenomenon. If you take a sound and reduce it's volume without touching it's frequency balance and timing, you'll perceive that sound to be more distant. Louder also music sounds "better". Therefore, loudness has an audible effect on sound independent of tonal balance.

Let's say that on a given headphone, Frequency A is supposed to be expressed at 2x the loudness of Frequency B and that in the first half-second of a song, the loudness of frequency A in the recording goes from 0 to 15 to 25 to 50 to 100 to 0. The headphone might express these loudness levels as 0, 20, 20, 60, 100, 0. Frequency A is always being played at 2x the loudness of Frequency B, meaning tonal balance is maintained throughout playback, but the music will be perceived differently as a result. This is what I'm referring to as dynamics.
It's all in the frequency response that is received at your eardrum. You can't know that 2 different models of headphones or IEM's that measure the same on a dummy head....you can't know that they will give you the same frequency response at your eardrum.....that's one of the limitations with measurements on dummy heads. All you're referring to in your examples of your two IEM's "having more dynamics" is simply differences in the frequency response being received at your eardrum.......therefore the frequency response is not the same between the 2 IEM's or two headphones when you wear them. That's assuming you're not "imagining" the differences between the headphones/IEMS in terms of how they sound, which is a whole other topic related to controlled listening and sighted bias. So there's not some obscure phenomenons that describe "dynamics", it's all in the frequency response received at your eardrum....and because that is unpredictable by nature (to some degree) then it's always quite possible that headphones/IEMS will sound different even if they measure the same on a dummy head. This also doesn't account for unit to unit variation, assuming you've not measured your IEM units yourself, and even if you had measured them yourself you would have to have a robust and repeatable measurement process to ensure that they "were the same". So there's quite a lot of variables at play here.....but it does just come down to the frequency response received at your eardrum......so there's not really any mystery about dynamics, it's in the frequency response. But I suppose you could say the mystery is in what frequency response are you actually receiving at your eardrum, but that's probably about as far as you can go with "mystery"!
 
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majingotan

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“Should Show”, haha. Maybe you are imagening things. I ask you once more, habe you ever listened to a good electrostatic headphone? If not, you should remain silent because you don’t know what you are talking about.

Not gonna go with personal attack direction as I'm merely providing a thought to consider. Every transducer has something called spectral decay and CSD plots (usually a 3D plot) show how much decay a transducer induce over time. E-Stats should have the shortest decay out of any driver designs out there. Focal Utopia is also regarded as "dynamic" and its CSD plot at different frequency points is shown below:

index.php



I've listened to SR009 out of BHSE and Chord DAVE and Dan Clark VOCE which I have posted impressions here BTW:
 

Geathchi

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No, you would preceive it as less loud.

This called distortion.
Seems like we're gonna have to agree to disagree then. Distortion is audible because it alters tonality, unlike what I'm talking about.

It's all in the frequency response that is received at your eardrum. You can't know that 2 different models of headphones or IEM's that measure the same on a dummy head....you can't know that they will give you the same frequency response at your eardrum.....that's one of the limitations with measurements on dummy heads. All you're referring to in your examples of your two IEM's "having more dynamics" is simply differences in the frequency response being received at your eardrum.......therefore the frequency response is not the same between the 2 IEM's or two headphones when you wear them. That's assuming you're not "imagining" the differences between the headphones/IEMS in terms of how they sound, which is a whole other topic related to controlled listening and sighted bias. So there's not some obscure phenomenons that describe "dynamics", it's all in the frequency response received at your eardrum....and because that is unpredictable by nature (to some degree) then it's always quite possible that headphones/IEMS will sound different even if they measure the same on a dummy head. This also doesn't account for unit to unit variation, assuming you've not measured your IEM units yourself, and even if you had measured them yourself you would have to have a robust and repeatable measurement process to ensure that they "were the same". So there's quite a lot of variables at play here.....but it does just come down to the frequency response received at your eardrum......so there's not really any mystery about dynamics, it's in the frequency response. But I suppose you could say the mystery is in what frequency response are you actually receiving at your eardrum, but that's probably about as far as you can go with "mystery"!
This isn't some obscure mumbo jumbo I came up with in my head to describe imaginary properties. Loudness affects how sounds are perceived, just like tonality. Different headphones handle variations in loudness differently.

A step response CSD profile in 2D (FR is a fixed value) should show this "Dynamics" imaginary trait that subjectivist love to describe. Also you can go farther and have distortion responses that can show a longer "decay" over specific frequencies and put the points together
Thank you, just learned about these. But because CSD profiles are the result of a single impulse, this is more a measure of a transducer's responsiveness than a measure of dynamic ability (though dynamic ability is no doubt heavily dependent on transducer responsiveness). Using this as a measure of dynamic ability is kind of like trying to judge how distinctly different levels of impact are expressed on a drum by hitting it once. Is it possible to run CSD profiles with actual music instead of solitary impulses?
 

Garrincha

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Not gonna go with personal attack direction as I'm merely providing a thought to consider. Every transducer has something called spectral decay and CSD plots (usually a 3D plot) show how much decay a transducer induce over time. E-Stats should have the shortest decay out of any driver designs out there. Focal Utopia is also regarded as "dynamic" and its CSD plot at different frequency points is shown below:

index.php



I've listened to SR009 out of BHSE and Chord DAVE and Dan Clark VOCE which I have posted impressions here BTW:
I don’t know exactly what you are trying to say. Maybe there are dynamic drivers that are very fast and in the league of electrostatic ones. But the argument is the following, there may exist two different headphones with equal or very similar FR that because of the different driving mechanism have different transducers response and thus will sound (not in frequency response, but in “speed”), differently. I think this is not to be doubted. But you claimed such an effect does not exist and called me a subjectivist. I call you someone who denies evident facts.
 

majingotan

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Thank you, just learned about these. But because CSD profiles are the result of a single impulse, this is more a measure of a transducer's responsiveness than a measure of dynamic ability (though dynamic ability is no doubt heavily dependent on transducer responsiveness). Using this as a measure of dynamic ability is kind of like trying to judge how distinctly different levels of impact are expressed on a drum by hitting it once. Is it possible to run CSD profiles with actual music instead of solitary impulses?

AFAIK, I haven't seen one that uses an actual musical instrument recording as reference since it doesn't make sense for it to be a reference point (it has lots of multi-order harmonics unlike a pure tone). However, we can incur that based on the impulse response "attack" on the left plot of Focal Utopia's signature where the initial amplitude is higher than 1.0 (i.e. the transducer generated a louder/higher initial amplitude than the reference amplitude output, followed by an oscillation until the desired amplitude is completely stable (under damped response), that can be perceived as dynamics/slam/impact/etc.

Other examples that have the opposite, overdamped response especially at 4.8KHz would be the Grado RS1X:

index.php

index.php


We can infer from this that even if FR curve of 2 different headphones is almost the same from 20Hz-20KHz +/- 0.1dB, the perceived sound might be different due to how the waveform is constructed from the very beginning of the tone.
 

Robbo99999

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This isn't some obscure mumbo jumbo I came up with in my head to describe imaginary properties. Loudness affects how sounds are perceived, just like tonality. Different headphones handle variations in loudness differently.
My God really, so all you're saying is that if one headphone is playing back at a higher SPL than the other one then it sounds better - what a surprise! lol Come on, what the hell we talking about over these last pages, some of you don't know.

Regarding different headphones "handling loudness differently", then this is exactly what the frequency response is - SPL(dB) vs frequency (a graph, the ones we always see on here), and distortion/(compression) of a headphone at different SPL's at different parts of the frequency response is also a factor. As I said before it all comes down to frequency response received at your eardrum, which is related to measured frequency response of a headphone on a dummy head and also it's distortion characteristics......but as I said before two different models of headphone can measure the same on a dummy head, but then react differently when placed on your own head, thereby not giving you exactly the same frequency response at your eardrum - which is related to some of your earlier remarks. To be honest I'm a bit disappointed in the discussions over the last pages - incoherence, vague terms, and changing of goal posts, etc.
 
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Jimbob54

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My God really, so all you're saying is that if one headphone is playing back at a higher SPL than the other one then it sounds better - what a surprise! lol Come on, what the hell we talking about over these last pages, some of you don't know.

Regarding different headphones "handling loudness differently", then this is exactly what the frequency response is - SPL(dB) vs frequency (a graph, the ones we always see on here), and distortion/(compression) of a headphone at different SPL's at different parts of the frequency response is also a factor. As I said before it all comes down to frequency response received at your eardrum, which is related to measured frequency response of a headphone on a dummy head and also it's distortion characteristics......but as I said before two different models of headphone can measure the same on a dummy head, but then react differently when placed on your own head, thereby not giving you exactly the same frequency response at your eardrum - which is related to some of your earlier remarks. To be honest I'm a bit disappointed in the discussions over the last pages - incoherence, vague terms, and changing of goal posts, etc.
Yup
 

Garrincha

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Thanks, so now you admit what I was saying right from the start. Even with the identical FR and distortion, two headphones may sound differently. This is exactly my claim.
 

Jimbob54

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Thanks, so now you admit what I was saying right from the start. Even with the identical FR and distortion, two headphones may sound differently. This is exactly my claim.
Use the reply function, we have no idea who you are talking to.
 

RHO

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Thanks, so now you admit what I was saying right from the start. Even with the identical FR and distortion, two headphones may sound differently. This is exactly my claim.
Your claim is that this is because of some imaginary traits called "micro dynamics" and "macro dynamics".
We clearly say that it is FR. The same FR at the eardrum = sounds the same. That is also what Dr. Sean Olive says. He explains that what you measure as the same FR will most likely be different from the same FR on someone's head because of many different reasons. And the headphones will most likely not measure the same at the eardrum every time you wear them. All FR related.
 

Geathchi

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AFAIK, I haven't seen one that uses an actual musical instrument recording as reference since it doesn't make sense for it to be a reference point (it has lots of multi-order harmonics unlike a pure tone). However, we can incur that based on the impulse response "attack" on the left plot of Focal Utopia's signature where the initial amplitude is higher than 1.0 (i.e. the transducer generated a louder/higher initial amplitude than the reference amplitude output, followed by an oscillation until the desired amplitude is completely stable (under damped response), that can be perceived as dynamics/slam/impact/etc.

Other examples that have the opposite, overdamped response especially at 4.8KHz would be the Grado RS1X:

index.php

index.php


We can infer from this that even if FR curve of 2 different headphones is almost the same from 20Hz-20KHz +/- 0.1dB, the perceived sound might be different due to how the waveform is constructed from the very beginning of the tone.
This is really cool stuff. I was surprised to see how much impulse response varies with frequency.

I think these kinds of minute waveform imperfections are going to be inaudible even in dynamically complex sounds like snare hits and piano notes, but they could result in extremely subtle changes when actually playing music. Probably negligible, but it's at least proof that headphones do handle volume imperfectly on some level.

My God really, so all you're saying is that if one headphone is playing back at a higher SPL than the other one then it sounds better - what a surprise! lol Come on, what the hell we talking about over these last pages, some of you don't know.
Yes, this is exactly why it should be obvious that headphones sound different partly due to how they handle variations in loudness over time. No headphone is capable of reproducing audio perfectly. Headphones will reproduce audio with imperfect tonality (partly due to the changes at the eardrum you keep mentioning). It stands to reason that headphones will also reproduce dynamics (variations in loudness over time) imperfectly, in large part due to drivers having different physical mechanisms for producing sound which have levels of responsiveness that vary with frequency, as seen in those graphs for the RS1x.

I've also been slightly disappointed at the level of discussion. People seem to think either dynamics aren't real or don't make a difference. The entire point of mastering audio recordings is to refine dynamics. You can't deny the importance of dynamics without denying the importance of mastering.

All this says is that FR can predict listener's speaker preferences >86% of the time and it might be the same for headphones. If someone was trying to argue that non-tonal aspects of sound are at least as important as tonality, this would be very relevant.
 

Jimbob54

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This is really cool stuff. I was surprised to see how much impulse response varies with frequency.

I think these kinds of minute waveform imperfections are going to be inaudible even in dynamically complex sounds like snare hits and piano notes, but they could result in extremely subtle changes when actually playing music. Probably negligible, but it's at least proof that headphones do handle volume imperfectly on some level.


Yes, this is exactly why it should be obvious that headphones sound different partly due to how they handle variations in loudness over time. No headphone is capable of reproducing audio perfectly. Headphones will reproduce audio with imperfect tonality (partly due to the changes at the eardrum you keep mentioning). It stands to reason that headphones will also reproduce dynamics (variations in loudness over time) imperfectly, in large part due to drivers having different physical mechanisms for producing sound which have levels of responsiveness that vary with frequency, as seen in those graphs for the RS1x.

I've also been slightly disappointed at the level of discussion. People seem to think either dynamics aren't real or don't make a difference. The entire point of mastering audio recordings is to refine dynamics. You can't deny the importance of dynamics without denying the importance of mastering.


All this says is that FR can predict listener's speaker preferences >86% of the time and it might be the same for headphones. If someone was trying to argue that non-tonal aspects of sound are at least as important as tonality, this would be very relevant.
Read the whole of that thread on twitter. It deals directly with the "EQ X and Y to the same and they wont sound the same" issues. Dr Olive attributes the sound of any headphone to FR, distortion and spatial properties. The latter is the one that appears far less understood
 
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