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Nectar Hive Review (Electrostatic Headphones)

Rate this headphone:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 19 19.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 48 48.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 23 23.2%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 9 9.1%

  • Total voters
    99

Doodski

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I think it's curious that you use soundstage and imaging interchangeably, as I consider these 2 things to be completely different attributes of a transducer's ability to reproduce audio signals.
Somewhere along the commentary I thought somebody used the term soundstage and so I used the term.
 

Doodski

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Could you please point out a peer reviewed source where it is demonstrated that FR is the only determining factor of the sound of a headphone?
I would not know where to start looking for peer reviewed sources regarding the subject at hand.
 

Garrincha

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We are getting into psychoacoustics, acoustics versus frequency analysis. I am not educated in these subject matters (psychoacoustics, acoustics) to explain to you "exactly" how this occurs. What I can tell you is if the frequency response is "off/changed" by the gear then you are not hearing the same as it was recorded. Then we get into the fact that different recording studios use different speakers and rooms and have different mic's and all sound different and people like to EQ/PEQ their sound too to the liking of their ears. So it becomes irrelevant for some people because they tune by ear and others tune by a frequency response curve
For me the most basic question remains, if two headphones have identical or at least very similar FR, do they necessarily sound the same or very similar or are there other factors involved. For example crinacal has one scale for FR and one for technicalities. If FR would determine everything, the technicalities part would be redundant. Furthermore, there ar many headphone for aroun $100 with good adherence to the Harman curve. Any investment to improve the sound would be superfluous.
 

Garrincha

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We are getting into psychoacoustics, acoustics versus frequency analysis. I am not educated in these subject matters (psychoacoustics, acoustics) to explain to you "exactly" how this occurs.
Look, this is a scientific forum. Strong claims need strong data, models or arguments. You admit that you don´t know how soundstage is exactly caused by a headphone, but claim it is all in the FR curve. What is the basis for this assertion?
 

Doodski

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if two headphones have identical or at least very similar FR, do they necessarily sound the same or very similar
They should sound similar if very similar in frequency response. The question is how similar is required to sound similar? That I don't know but +/- a dB or two might be enough to have similar sound. The impossibility of this occurring is very near zero though.
For example crinacal has one scale for FR and one for technicalities. If FR would determine everything, the technicalities part would be redundant.
I've never seen this technicalities stuff so I can't comment.
Furthermore, there ar many headphone for aroun $100 with good adherence to the Harman curve. Any investment to improve the sound would be superfluous.
Some peeps like the Harmon Curve and others not so much and everybody does have different frequency response in their ears so each to their own. Then again the frequency response of different headphones is always different so they never sound the same. Even identical models can sound different due to tolerances.
 
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Doodski

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Look, this is a scientific forum. Strong claims need strong data, models or arguments. You admit that you don´t know how soundstage is exactly caused by a headphone, but claim it is all in the FR curve. What is the basis for this assertion?
I think we both understand how soundstage is caused by frequency response, sound pressure levels and channel delay. Perhaps you require a more detailed higher academic level of understanding. If so then perhaps a more well educated ASR member can assist with that? What is your foundational education on this stuff. So I can have some sort of idea of what level you want things explained at. Plus keeping in mind I am a electronic technician and not a engineer or an acoustician or better.
 

Robbo99999

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Once more, it is the nature of deviation which is important. And lack of dynamic range/bass. If you are not understanding this, then I have nothing else to tell you.
Hi Amir, I know this post I'm quoting was not to me, but wasn't the lack of dynamic range/bass because the amp didn't give you the headroom for full bass EQ combined with pleasantly loud listening volume? If so, then that could be the argument right there for remeasuring & re-listening with a more suitable amp that you could agree on with @nectarsoundnet . Seemingly it could positively affect your distortion tests & listening tests.
For clarification, Amir measured the headphones with the sheepskin pads that are now the stock pad. I purchased this headphone last year when the pads were made from a protein leather, but then upgraded them to the sheepskin myself. If you were to buy a HiveX today, you'd receive the pads that were tested here. That said, I am sort of curious to see measurements for the older, pleather pads too.

And since we've waded into more subjective waters here, I'll offer my opinion of these cans. I currently have a stable of fairly high-end headphones (HEKv2, Verite Open, Z1R, STAX 007mkII, HE6-O'rama, Aurorus Borealis, DCA Aeon 2C, to name a few), and have gotten rid of some other equally impressive (read: expensive) cans over the last few years (HD800S, LCD-4, LCD-X, Arya, STAX L300 Ltd, Focal Clear, etc). Anyway, this isn't meant to be a dick-measuring comment, and in some respects I'm embarrassed to admit how much cash I've thrown at this hobby, but I've heard a lot of headphones that are widely acclaimed and of decent repute. Take it FWIW, but I think the Hive is bested only by the 007 in the aforementioned list. I find it to be along the lines of the (admittedly bright sounding) HEKv2 in terms of instrument separation, layering, soundstage, imaging, tonality and timbre. It is a very impressive technical performer, IMO.

I'm willing to take a few slings and arrows here by the hard-core objectivists that will assert that these terms "have no meaning" because you can't point to their manifestations on a graph, and that's cool. But for the folks that might... just might... be interested in hearing the Hive before making a snap judgement about it, I invite you to do so. If you think it sucks, then don't heckin' buy it. Nobody's opinion of any headphone is more or less valid than anybody else's, whether backed by a graph or their subjective evaluation.

Oh, and one more thing. I saw that the Verum One was recommended here, and the point was raised that it didn't really conform to the target all that well without EQ, yadda yadda. I think this illustrates my point pretty well, actually. How many of you have heard the Verum? I owned it for a while, and actually thought it was a pretty good headphone on the whole, and a fantastic value. As with a lot of these grass-roots, independent makers I really applaud the effort and try to support them where possible. The Verum has impressive bass response, pretty lush midrange, and sounds pretty detailed. It also has the narrowest soundstage I've ever heard in any headphone. It couldn't have sounded any more "inside your head". It was for this reason that I got rid of it. I'm just curious how many people might have smashed that golfing panther button in response to their interpretation of the graph, but wouldn't be able to listen to it because of this one inconvenient attribute?
Ah, thanks for clarifying that the sheepskin pads tested in this review are now the current stock pads for this headphone (gave you a like for that) - pads are important!
 

Garrincha

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I think we both understand how soundstage is caused by frequency response, sound pressure levels and channel delay. Perhaps you require a more detailed higher academic level of understanding. If so then perhaps a more well educated ASR member can assist with that? What is your foundational education on this stuff. So I can have some sort of idea of what level you want things explained at. Plus keeping in mind I am a electronic technician and not a engineer or an acoustician or better.
No need for condescending and arrogance here, I have a PhD in theoretical physics and a diploma in philosophy/logic. Maybe you should learn to argue consistently. On the one hand you admit that you don’t know exactly how the effect of perceived soundstage of a headphone is created. On the other hand you state with absolute certainty that it is only caused by the FR. Don’t you realize this logical contradiction?

I am not stating that it is not caused just by FR, but since it does not seem to be known sufficiently well, I am cautious in making strong claims in any direction, as skepticism is the correct scientific approach.
 
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Doodski

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No need for condescending and arrogance here
I was serious. It became apparent to me that you are in all probability an academic. No condescension from me in this matter. You have my attention.
On the one hand you admit that you don’t know exactly how the effect of perceived soundstage of a headphone is created.
Does anybody know exactly how all this exactly works under one discipline of study?
On the other hand you state with absolute certainty that it is only caused by the FR.
Frequency response is a major contributor to imaging and without it everything including time delay and channel SPL are out to lunch.
Don’t you realize this logical contradiction?
I recognize that I don't have all the theory covered but I do recognize that frequency response is the major contributor to imaging.
 

Garrincha

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I was serious. It became apparent to me that you are in all probability an academic. No condescension from me in this matter. You have my attention.

Does anybody know exactly how all this exactly works under one discipline of study?
For example, I think it is clear from theory and measurements that there is no audible differences in competent dacs and amps.
Frequency response is a major contributor to imaging and without it everything including time delay and channel SPL are out to lunch.

I recognize that I don't have all the theory covered but I do recognize that frequency response is the major contributor to imaging.
Ok, I think there is no doubt that FR is by far the most important factor for the sound. But is it the only one, that is the question. And if so, what characteristics of it are responsible for something like soundstage (high treble, inclinations, etc.) ?
For example, if one likes the FR of the Harman curve, the Moondrop Variations follows it almost perfectly. Now, the question is, can there be any better sounding IEM (with the Harman target) ? The ThieAudio Monarch MkII follows it also very nicely. Do they sound the same?
 

Doodski

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Ok, I think there is no doubt that FR is by far the most important factor for the sound. But is it the only one, that is the question. And if so, what characteristics of it are responsible for something like soundstage (high treble, inclinations, etc.) ?
Lol... In all seriousness though I think I should be the one asking you questions. Since you are the one with a PhD in theoretical physics and a diploma in philosophy/logic and have all this knowledge in your head. :D Otherwise I thought we already covered the main characteristics.
 

Robbo99999

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I'm not a mod, but I think we need less off-topic here. There is still potentially an important conversation to be had re the amp:
 

Garrincha

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I'm not a mod, but I think we need less off-topic here. There is still potentially an important conversation to be had re the amp:
true, sorry
 

OkPsychology

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Its design looks like some cheap Panasonic headphones.
So the unfortunate thing is that the included dust covers are in place in the review photo. If you go to the nectarsound.net site and look at some of the glamour shots there, you'll see the really cool-looking yellow stators hidden beneath. I actually think they look really great if you take the foam inserts out. And they are super comfy for all-day listening too, FWIW
 
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amirm

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Hi Amir, I know this post I'm quoting was not to me, but wasn't the lack of dynamic range/bass because the amp didn't give you the headroom for full bass EQ combined with pleasantly loud listening volume? If so, then that could be the argument right there for remeasuring & re-listening with a more suitable amp that you could agree on with @nectarsoundnet . Seemingly it could positively affect your distortion tests & listening tests.
This headphone is packed and is going to its owner as it has been here for months. No one has offered an amplifier for me to test with. It is not even clear what that amplifier would be, or why then the website is not indicating such requirement/pairing.
 

Robbo99999

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This headphone is packed and is going to its owner as it has been here for months. No one has offered an amplifier for me to test with. It is not even clear what that amplifier would be, or why then the website is not indicating such requirement/pairing.
It's your call of course, but I'm surprised @nectarsoundnet hasn't been in some quick & useful discussions with you to work out your best option for an amp to bring out the best in the headphone, especially considering his initial point was that the amplifier wasn't allowing the headphone to put it's best foot forward.

(to be clear I don't believe in amp/headphone pairings in general, but electrostats are fussy & different as we've learned in this thread).
 

Doodski

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It's your call of course, but I'm surprised @nectarsoundnet hasn't been in some quick & useful discussions with you to work out your best option for an amp to bring out the best in the headphone, especially considering his initial point was that the amplifier wasn't allowing the headphone to put it's best foot forward.

(to be clear I don't believe in amp/headphone pairings in general, but electrostats are fussy & different as we've learned in this thread).
Perhaps @nectarsoundnet would supply a amp and headphones for a re-test?
 

Garrincha

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Once more, it is the nature of deviation which is important.
Could you please explain this in more detail? So not the amount of deviation from the target curve is important, but the cause of this deviation? Is this audible (for all possible causes)? Are the causes of the deviation always known? Is ist important to know them? I really would like to understand this.
 
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