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Poll: Do you like Harman In-Ear target curve?

Do you like the Harman In-Ear target curve?

  • Yes, it is perfect.

    Votes: 50 45.9%
  • No, I like a little less mids.

    Votes: 30 27.5%
  • No, I like a lot less mids.

    Votes: 13 11.9%
  • No, I like more mids!

    Votes: 16 14.7%

  • Total voters
    109

markanini

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Discussion about the Harman in-ear target has come about in amirm's review thread for of the TRUTHEAR x Crinacle Zero IEM. Some people find that IEM, and other Harman tuned IEMs sound fine. Others coined the term "shouty-gate".

If you voted and feel like it, share your IEMs and EQ presets if you use them!

Note: This is a poll about the Harman target curve for IEMs, not their separate taget curve for headphones!
 
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Small sample size thus far, nevertheless interesting, especially for this forum (because the survey is a subjective preference compared to a supposedly ideal measurement).
 
Small sample size thus far, nevertheless interesting, especially for this forum (because the survey is a subjective preference compared to a supposedly ideal measurement).

The Harman target curves are based on subjective preferences gathered under 'laboratory conditions'. There's nothing ideal about them, they just tell you which frequency response an average person would prefer - hence their commercial use to tune speakers, headphones and IEMs in a way that is most preferable to the most people to secure the most sales.
 
The Harman target curves are based on subjective preferences gathered under 'laboratory conditions'. There's nothing ideal about them, they just tell you which frequency response an average person would prefer ...
I hate to say it - but that brings us full circle to ... "What's the truth - preference or measurements?" to some degree. Even though I am 80/20 rule on measurements vs personal preference, I voted "No, I like a little less mids". I find it interesting that now most people seem to be saying they prefer tuning based on personal preference in this case, kinda twice removed: a personal preference for a tuning based on personal preferences... :)
 
I think it’s ok up to the ear gain peak, after which it has too much energy for my taste. IEMs I think sound neutral have a few db less response beyond that. So I’d say “more mids” but what I mean is mids that are more prominent relative to the excess treble.
 
Can you be a little more specific about what you mean by "mids?" The most outstanding feature of the Harman in-ear target curve is a broad lower treble peak around 3kHz, which I find excessive. I don't think changing levels down in the midrange would "fix it" for me. In other words, you'd need to reduce the 3kHz peak a little relative to the entire rest of the spectrum from my perspective.
 
Can you be a little more specific about what you mean by "mids?" ... In other words, you'd need to reduce the 3kHz peak a little relative to the entire rest of the spectrum from my perspective.
You'd have to ask the author of the survey what their definitions is, because there is no standard about what "mids" mean. It's certainly not the area between 5kHz and 15kHz (or 7K to 13k or such, the math middle of the audio 20kHZ range) -correct what's middle as you like- as the total spectrum we focus on measuring you'd think would imply. I know it's for some reason anything between 300Hz and 5KHz by audio convention.
 
The Harman target curves are based on subjective preferences gathered under 'laboratory conditions'. There's nothing ideal about them, they just tell you which frequency response an average person would prefer - hence their commercial use to tune speakers, headphones and IEMs in a way that is most preferable to the most people to secure the most sales.
If I put imaging aside, I get more or less the same tonality out of speakers after they are set up to have a flat in-room response, so the Harman target is more than just "what sells." They know that as well, which is why they had trained listeners, among other things from the literature, including the response of a speaker in a semi-reflective room, which does add a bit of a recursive reference since you are using something else which also needs to be tuned to a measured target. The only potentially controversial part is possibly the bass as there may be implicit boost there to make up for the lack of tactile bass as you would have with speakers, and generally it can be excessive for some users subjectively. The rest of it, I would say, will be reasonably neutral for a lot of listeners. There will, of course, always be the "chicken and the egg" phenomenon as pablolie says, "what is neutral?" How can we really know? This will be further complicated by what's on the recording end as well. That said without anything other than double-blind testing I don't think we can do much better for conventional headphone and IEM tuning beyond the Harman targets.
 
You'd have to ask the author of the survey what their definitions is, because there is no standard about what "mids" mean. It's certainly not the area between 5kHz and 15kHz -correct what's middle as you like- as the total spectrum we focus on measuring you'd think to imply. I know it's for some reason anything between 300Hz and 5KHz by audio convention.
Thats my thought as well, and its an odd topic since bass and treble are usually what people will fixate on. And as far as mids go, they are usually what you have in abundance with crap headphones since its the easiest frequency range for the transducers to reproduce. Same with trashy speakers. High enough not to require a lot of excursion in the diaphragm, but low enough not to have a very short wavelength and the complications that come with it.
 
Anybody know the tuning of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live? Since it's "Tuned by AKG" I'm thinking it's tuned to the Harman curve. I was skeptical but I actually prefer this now.
 
Anybody know the tuning of the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live? Since it's "Tuned by AKG" I'm thinking it's tuned to the Harman curve. I was skeptical but I actually prefer this now.
Quite a lot less mids than Harman IE.
1671088762782.png

Can you be a little more specific about what you mean by "mids?"
I'm basing it on the adjective I've seen most often come up: shouty. This would vernacularly mean the range around 1.5kHz but might also include the range up to 3kHz.
 
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There is also reduced treble, which will make it warmer and more bass-centric. Depending on where you put the "curve" one could argue that the upper bass and lower midrange are boosted instead relative to the rest of the response since its all relative. Something close to the topic here might be the Sennheiser HE-1's, which deviate in the upper midrange frequencies, probably to give a subjective impression of vocals and such being more distant from the listener as he says in his subjective review:

HE-1-1024x464.jpg
 
I hate to say it - but that brings us full circle to ... "What's the truth - preference or measurements?" to some degree.

Your premise of a circular argument is based on a false dichotomy between 'preference or measurements'. Both can be 'truth' in their own domain.

I find it interesting that now most people seem to be saying they prefer tuning based on personal preference...

I do not find it surprising that people prefer what they prefer or that peoples preferences differ from each other :)
 
I think it’s ok up to the ear gain peak, after which it has too much energy for my taste. IEMs I think sound neutral have a few db less response beyond that. So I’d say “more mids” but what I mean is mids that are more prominent relative to the excess treble.

This is why I haven't voted above, as I don't like the Harman IE curve but none of the poll options give the option of disliking the treble. I find the ER2XR to be perfect but I'm not sure I'd call this "more mids" so much as "less treble". You could argue Etymotics overshoot most target curves in the 2kHz area but this is too narrow band to be "more mids" still.

A better poll would simply ask people to rate their preference of the IE curve /10 surely? Or to list a variety of in ear target curves and ask which people prefer?
 
I'm not sure I'd call this "more mids" so much as "less treble"
It would be better if we talked about frequency ranges explicitly. The distinction between 'mid-range' and 'treble' in hifi discussions is a mess. Musically, the mids are around 200-700Hz, treble is 700-2000Hz and anything over that is overtones and 'presence'.
 
Quite a lot less mids than Harman IE.
View attachment 250100

I'm basing it on the adjective I've seen most often come up: shouty. This would vernacularly mean the range around 1.5kHz but might also include the range up to 3kHz.
Based on your clarification, I would sort of agree, semantics aside. Rather than trying to use adjectives which are commonly used to describe the nature of sound colorations, I often find myself describing the sound imparted by describing a quality one can imitate with one's voice. In the case of a peak somewhere around 2 or 3kHz, I would suggest it sounds like the sound of the letter "a" as in the way we North Americans pronounce the word "ant." Human voices will take on a nasal "EHNNN" sound emphasis within the sound of similar vowels being spoken by the reproduced voice when there's a peak there. And that's what I hear too much of in IEMs which closely adhere to the Harman in-ear target curve or which may have an even stronger peak there. Everybody sounds nasal.
 
Small sample size thus far, nevertheless interesting, especially for this forum (because the survey is a subjective preference compared to a supposedly ideal measurement).
Besides, I and others probably just voted to provoke other readers. They're cute when they're mad...
Don't take a fly swatter to science; take a John Deere.
 
isn't that question should be: do you like Harman tuning IEMs? model like:
 
Besides, I and others probably just voted to provoke other readers. They're cute when they're mad...
Don't take a fly swatter to science; take a John Deere.
And this is exactly what audiophile companies who make bunk products do. A smug sense of satisfaction that they are selling some rube a hunk of road salt for $10k to improve the sound even though they know better than anyone how bogus it is. And then we collectively here at ASR spend countless hours "debunking" said audiophile products and claims. I think I'm seeing a bit of a trend, here.
 
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