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Resolve's B&K 5128 Headphone Target - you can try the EQ's.....

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Robbo99999

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Hello everyone, Resolve has created a headphone target for his B&K 5128 measurement rig (which is an alternative measuring rig to the GRAS that we know that Amir uses here on ASR). Now this new measurement rig (B&K 5128) is supposed to be more anatomically accurate than the GRAS rig, but the problem with the B&K is that there is no established headphone target curve that has been created for it.......as a lot of you folks know the GRAS rig has the Harman Curve Target that was created by Harman through some proper research, (which is why it's being used currently here on ASR), but Resolve has created a target curve for this B&K 5128 and it's based on a similar slope as the Harman Curve apparently, created by applying this slope to the Diffuse Field Curve that comes with the B&K 5128 (I think he applied the slope to the Diffuse Field Curve, but I'm not 100% on that and of course I'm more than happy for someone that's in the know to correct me on that). But anyway, you can try out his EQ's to that target over here on his website:

He's actually looking for people to try out the EQ's and provide some feedback over in that thread, so read all the instructions over there in that thread if you're interested. I thought I should bring this to the attention of the community here at ASR (some of you already know), but it could be interesting to have a dedicated thread to it, as I think it's worthy of being highlighted....plus we can use this thread as a way of discussing the target and also what we think of the EQ's - but please also post your experiences with the EQ's over on Resolve's site, as that is probably where he'd rather get all the feedback. I'm not a champion or salesman for what he's doing over there, but I did try his EQ out on my HD560s and I thought it was quite an interesting revelation, the only change I made to his EQ was to add a little more bass to it (Low Shelf at 70Hz, Q0.707, +1.5dB) - I've compared it against my favourite Harman EQ's for that headphone and currently I prefer Resolve's EQ with the small amount of extra bass that I added. To me I think the voices are more natural and without being too forward which can happen on the HD560s; I just think it's better balanced through the mids & treble, and I think the lack of a bass hump means that the lower end of voices are not "artificially" changed; I do also think the spatial soundstage properties of the HD560s have been enhanced with this EQ. Now I'm known to flip flop between EQ's when I'm first exposed to them, but usually after a week I stabalise on the one that I find most authentic/revealing/enjoyable, and I've only tried this EQ out over a couple of sessions over two days so far. Yes, so don't be swayed by my positive experience, try to listen to them without expectations, but I think it's worth trying, and at the very least it's interesting, and I quite like to see someone (Resolve) trying out some new ideas into this area of headphone measurement & Target Curves.

So far, here's the list of headphones that he has EQ's for to the new B&K 5128 Target (I think he may add some more headphones over time):
  • HiFiMAN Sundara
  • HiFiMAN Edition XS
  • HiFiMAN HE-6 (with Sundara 2020 pads)
  • Sennheiser HD 560 S
  • Sennheiser HD 600
  • Sennheiser HD 800 S
  • Audeze LCD-X 2021
Now, I'm not ready to turn my back on the Harman Curve just yet, also because my other headphones haven't been measured by Resolve (apart from the two: HD560s / HD600), but I think it's a positive step with some interesting ideas, and I think it's worth checking out.

EDIT 24/3: Resolve added some more headphones to the list:
  • HiFiMAN HE400se
  • Sennheiser HD650 / 6XX
EDIT 28/3: Resolve added following headphone to the list:
  • Meze Audio Elite with leather pads
EDIT 31/3: this is just a personal note from me, after extended usage over past week I've reverted back to my long time slightly modified Harman EQ's (slightly modified Oratory EQ's), after comparison to my reference speaker & sub system (JBL 308p Mkii with Anechoic EQ & Room EQ, combined with SVS sub) I find my long time Harman EQ's to be more accurate in the bass & voice range than the Resolve B&K EQ. I did like the Resolve B&K EQ, and probably because it provided a slightly different presentation with more treble, but on extended usage I find it to be not as accurate.....I'm still yet to try it on my HD600 though and this is based on me trying it on my HD560s......and I should stress that this is my own experience of course, 1 person! I may update in the future after testing Resolve B&K Target on my HD600....
 
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isostasy

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I'm wondering the value of making such narrow band high frequency adjustments. @Resolve just shared measurements of a HD650 and said:

One thing to note with this model is that depending on the positioning, there are bound to be two common and… related results. Basically one of them has a more prominent 5-6khz peak, while the other one has stronger upper treble.

But apparently this isn't the case with the HD600 he measured which seems odd to me. Or, did the HD600 also show differences but he just averaged them out?

Also strange is that the HD650 measurements he's put up (first and second 'positioning') are different to the measurement he posted earlier in the year, which is more similar to the response of the HD600 , which he did use as a basis for the EQ in this new thread.

Given the similarities between the older HD650 measurement and the HD600, I just tried the HD600 EQ with my HD6XX and it did sound a little different though not necessarily better. Treble had a different quality though, again, I couldn't say whether it was necessarily more accurate, just different. The bass shelf makes the most difference anyway: I would be able to tell you easily in a blind test if the bass shelf was on or off; those specific treble filters, on the other hand, I'm not sure.

Given headphones.com sells headphones and presumably has a large inventory, wouldn't it be of more value to measure as many units as possible to first see if the treble response is at all consistent? It's all well and good having a measurement device which is more accurate but this is of little value of the variation between units is significantly more than the resolution of the instrument.

I also wish whenever anyone referred to a HD600 or HD650 that they suffix it with 'silver', 'silk', or 'paper' to make absolutely clear which version it is.

n.b. I wish he'd uploaded txt files for these profiles

edit: tried both the HD650 profiles and not convinced by either. They add some treble emphasis which makes cymbals sound different and tilt the overall sound brighter.

edit2: I did a mini sort of blind test where I turned autoEQ off and on rapidly with my eyes closed then switched to my music app so I couldn't see whether it was on or off. I played a different song I knew well each time. These were my results:

trial / guess on y or off n / correct* or incorrect x
1 y *
2 y *
3 n *
4 n x
5 n *
6 y x
7 y *
8 n x
9 n *
10 y *

results: 7/10 correct guess

So it was hard to even tell if the EQ was on or not. Honestly the times I got correct I think I was mainly going off the bass level anyway, not the change in treble.
 
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IAtaman

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I find it hard to evaluate these EQ settings in the sense that they do sound different to the ones I normally use mainly based on Oratory's measurements, but it is hard to say which one is better. I have to say, I do not like the flat bottom end (no pun intended) so added the low shelf to my taste. Edition XS sounded a bit darker to me vs the EQ I use normally for example (maybe due to increased low end vs the original EQ?) but it was not bad, not good, just different. Once I got used to the different tonality, it was fine. LCD-X more or less the same. I got a few more cans from the list, will try them all and see if I can post my feedback in the format requested but it is not gonna be a fast process I think.
 
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Robbo99999

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I find it hard to evaluate these EQ settings in the sense that they do sound different to the ones I normally use mainly based on Oratory's measurements, but it is hard to say which one is better. I have to say, I do not like the flat bottom end (no pun intended) so added the low shelf to my taste. Edition XS sounded a bit darker to me vs the EQ I use normally for example (maybe due to increased low end vs the original EQ?) but it was not bad, not good, just different. Once I got used to the different tonality, it was fine. LCD-X more or less the same. I got a few more cans from the list, will try them all and see if I can post my feedback in the format requested but it is not gonna be a fast process I think.
Try adding in that 70Hz Low Shelf that I mentioned in the first post, I found that was a way of increasing the bass without detracting from the neutrality that I was perceiving in voices, because a 105Hz Low Shelf can change the bottom end of voices.

@isostasy , I read your post but don't have time to respond before going off to work, I might post something in relation to what you've said if I can think of anything later.
 

Music1969

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I'm wondering the value of making such narrow band high frequency adjustments. @Resolve just shared measurements of a HD650 and said:
Agreed, position changes FR a lot

Left and right will be different

Samples will be different to what @Resolve has measured

I only look to use low Q values

And most importantly (for me) I really only try to target 3-4 of the biggest problems areas / deviations from target - with low Q values (like maximum Q = 2)

Not 10 points like @oratory1990 does
 

IAtaman

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Try adding in that 70Hz Low Shelf that I mentioned in the first post, I found that was a way of increasing the bass without detracting from the neutrality that I was perceiving in voices, because a 105Hz Low Shelf can change the bottom end of voices.

@isostasy , I read your post but don't have time to respond before going off to work, I might post something in relation to what you've said if I can think of anything later.
Yeah changing the low shelf to 70hz vs 105 really helped. Should have read more carefully. After 10 minutes of testing, I say to myself "ah, this really worked, I don't hear any difference anymore" it turns out EQ APO stopped working because of a W11 update. So annoying. Kudos to me though for not hearing any difference between exactly the same settings - that is not always a given.
 
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Robbo99999

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Yeah changing the low shelf to 70hz vs 105 really helped. Should have read more carefully. After 10 minutes of testing, I say to myself "ah, this really worked, I don't hear any difference anymore" it turns out EQ APO stopped working because of a W11 update. So annoying. Kudos to me though for not hearing any difference between exactly the same settings - that is not always a given.
Fair do's, that's good, so with the 70Hz low shelf that made it sound ok? What how many dB did you use on it? What do you reckon now, how's that compare vs a Harman EQ?

@isostasy , had a difficult day and still short on time so can't reply to your whole post, but for the HD560s (that I tested) at least Resolve didn't really make lots of narrow band adjustments if you look at the before & after graphs of the frequency response, with one small exception re a relatively small boost at 12kHz. I haven't analysed all his other EQ's though. A quick scan of his graphs made me think he made some pretty sensible decisions, but I might need some more time to look at them thoroughly.
 
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Robbo99999

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Agreed, position changes FR a lot

Left and right will be different

Samples will be different to what @Resolve has measured

I only look to use low Q values

And most importantly (for me) I really only try to target 3-4 of the biggest problems areas / deviations from target - with low Q values (like maximum Q = 2)

Not 10 points like @oratory1990 does
It's a safe approach to only use low Q wide filters, but it's not always optimal. It depends on how much unit variation there is with a particular headphone, and regardless you generally wouldn't want to use really high Q narrow filters high up the frequency range. I'm ok with Resolve's HD560s EQ decisions, but haven't really looked in detail at the others yet.
 
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Robbo99999

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Resolve's added two more headphones to the list in the last 24hrs:
  • HiFiMAN HE400se
  • Sennheiser HD650 / 6XX
 

IAtaman

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Fair do's, that's good, so with the 70Hz low shelf that made it sound ok? What how many dB did you use on it? What do you reckon now, how's that compare vs a Harman EQ?
I have started with +1.5db Q 0.71 as you recommended. But that was flimsy so ramped it up to +6.0db like a proper shelf. Have been changing back and forth for a while. I don't think I can tell the difference between Oratory and Resolve EQs on Edition XS in a blind test. Just moved to HD600 now.
 
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Robbo99999

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I have started with +1.5db Q 0.71 as you recommended. But that was flimsy so ramped it up to +6.0db like a proper shelf. Have been changing back and forth for a while. I don't think I can tell the difference between Oratory and Resolve EQs on Edition XS in a blind test. Just moved to HD600 now.
Without the bass ramped up you should be able tell for sure the difference between Resolve's EQ and a Harman EQ, but if you're adding a big bass shelf to Resolve's EQ then it would be harder to tell the difference. My personal opinion/experience with Resolve's EQ is that they're best without a large bass shelf, to me I think the point of them is that some areas of the treble in the Resolve EQ is less than a Harman EQ, so I think you therefore need less bass shelf to balance it. I feel that putting in a large bass shelf takes away what is trying to be achieved by that EQ. If you think about it, Resolve is already putting in the same overall slope as the Harman Curve from bass down to treble, but instead he's putting in a linear slope (straight line tilt) rather than including a bass hump within that, so the bass should still be there so-to-speak. He says he's using the same 8dB slope from bass down to the treble. Following are some pics of example slopes he illustrates, with the blue being the Harman slope, I don't think he's actually picturing the linear slope he's using, but my understanding is that it sloped for an 8dB change from 20Hz down to 20kHz:
6a4eb78ae9c54954b7018f06a33f6ece23c8f444.png


I think to get the best out of the EQ you would only use a small bass shelf at 70Hz to retain the ethos of what the EQ is trying to achieve, or none at all. But look, this is all personal preference at the end of the day, so I can't tell people what they should be doing with it.....just I think that's what the EQ is trying to achieve.

Don't forget there's the filter at 3kHz that he was looking for feedback on. So he didn't really say we should be wacking on bass shelves necessarily, although he did want feedback on the slope (which is related to wanting to put on a bass shelf). I tend to look to see if I can follow the bass line of the track properly and if I feel that is weighted enough against the rest.

EDIT: all feedback is good though right, so when you feel like you're ready to give feedback after you've tested everything then feel strong about giving feedback in his thread too.

EDIT #2: if your headphones aren't sealing properly & also particularly if they are sensitive to seal breach (some headphones are more sensitive than others to this), then I can understand how that would mess up your low end, which might mean needing to compensate by adding a large bass shelf......something to think about for anyone who owns headphones.
 
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isostasy

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Fair do's, that's good, so with the 70Hz low shelf that made it sound ok? What how many dB did you use on it? What do you reckon now, how's that compare vs a Harman EQ?

@isostasy , had a difficult day and still short on time so can't reply to your whole post, but for the HD560s (that I tested) at least Resolve didn't really make lots of narrow band adjustments if you look at the before & after graphs of the frequency response, with one small exception re a relatively small boost at 12kHz. I haven't analysed all his other EQ's though. A quick scan of his graphs made me think he made some pretty sensible decisions, but I might need some more time to look at them thoroughly.
You're right, though I should have clarified I'm talking spefifically about the HD650 and HD600 which are already much closer to the target curve, such that the only way of getting them any closer is with narrow band adjustments. Assuming the target curve is preferable, the HD560S has a broad elevation between 3.5-10kHz which, you're correct, resolve's EQ brings down over that whole area:

hd560s eq.png


I suppose that, besides my skepticism of the consistency of frequency response between different units, I'm asking a question more about perception than any objective measure, i.e.:

Considering a headphone with already good-to-excellent conformity to the target curve above 200Hz, and disregarding for now unit variation which may demonstrate slightly different diversions from the curve in slightly different places, but not to the extent that one unit is 'less accurate' than another, just 'different', what is the value of applying any adjustments to bring that headphone closer to the target curve?

hd650 eq.png


My current thought is that there is no value, subjectively speaking, and I agree fully with @IAtaman and the wording used: 'they do sound different to the ones I normally use mainly based on Oratory's measurements, but it is hard to say which one is better.' (my emphasis). Wouldn't this just align with what we know already about our subjective preference being far more influenced by broad band compliance/divergence from a target than narrow peaks or dips?
 
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Robbo99999

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You're right, though I should have clarified I'm talking spefifically about the HD650 and HD600 which are already much closer to the target curve, such that the only way of getting them any closer is with narrow band adjustments. Assuming the target curve is preferable, the HD560S has a broad elevation between 3.5-10kHz which, you're correct, resolve's EQ brings down over that whole area:

View attachment 274639

I suppose that, besides my skepticism of the consistency of frequency response between different units, I'm asking a question more about perception than any objective measure, i.e.:

Considering a headphone with already good-to-excellent conformity to the target curve above 200Hz, and disregarding for now unit variation which may demonstrate slightly different diversions from the curve in slightly different places, but not to the extent that one unit is 'less accurate' than another, just 'different', what is the value of applying any adjustments to bring that headphone closer to the target curve?

View attachment 274644

My current thought is that there is no value, subjectively speaking, and I agree fully with @IAtaman and the wording used: 'they do sound different to the ones I normally use mainly based on Oratory's measurements, but it is hard to say which one is better.' (my emphasis). Wouldn't this just align with what we know already about our subjective preference being far more influenced by broad band compliance/divergence from a target than narrow peaks or dips?
I agree that given your second graph of the HD650/HD6XX that these are small changes in the treble region. I do think it's worth applying those small changes in EQ, but only if the unit to unit variation of the HD650/HD6XX is very low. Now if Resolve had measured many many units of HD650/HD6XX then it would add additional weight to the validity of EQ'ing out those small changes, even if unit to unit variation was not particularly good, because by averaging out many measurements then it smooths out the measurement to show the persistent trends that affect the majority of the units of headphones, and you would statistically be more likely to get closer to the ideal target by EQ'ing out those small differences that are shown. I take it Resolve hasn't measured loads of units (I know Oratory has measured loads of the HD600 and HD650), so unfortunately the last point I made doesn't really add weight to the idea of EQ'ing out those small differences. If we know that the HD650/HD6XX is a low unit variation headphone there could still be value in EQ'ing out those small differences though - and to be honest in lack of better information it probably wouldn't hurt to EQ out those small deviations anyway for the sake of testing Resolve's EQ. I think if I had the HD650 I'd just go along with Resolve's EQ and apply each of the filters - see what I thought to it & then offer the feedback.
 

Resolve

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Hey guys, just some context on the HD 650 question. I answered it here but it seems there's more discussion to be had. This is more of a case of isolating positional differences than it is a case of significant unit variation. SOME unit variation does of course occur, and between the two units I measured you can see it. But in this case, more significant is the slight positional change. Positional change also affects the HD 600, as it does for most headphones.

The thing is, the way it sits on an individual head is going to be unique to each person as well, so there is no one 'correct' positioning here (unless things are very wildly off or the headphone is being clearly worn incorrectly). I could've created a profile for the average that includes both of those positions, but with this headphone in particular I had requests for that isolated position.

This is also one of the reasons why we shouldn't treat these minutia in measurements as ironclad predictive elements because oftentimes they will vary depending on the head anyway.

EDIT: One thing to note! This target is currently still in 'beta' as we need to test it with actual people, which can't be done over a forum thread since nothing here is actually being controlled for. This is just an indication for what we may want to try. Also, this is not my personal preference target, merely one that has the most solid theoretical foundation and likely to be widely used for the B&K 5128. What I personal prefer shouldn't be used as a reference curve since I'm only one person.
 
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IAtaman

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Well, I spent quite some time today listening to music through the HD600s, and switching back and forth between Oratory's Gras and Resolve's B&K measurements based EQs. Like Edition XS, when I adjust for bass shelf to taste Resolve EQs sound darker despite the fact that usual EQ I use has more energy in the bass. My uneducated opinion is that this is due to differences in beyond 6K.
 

Resolve

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Well, I spent quite some time today listening to music through the HD600s, and switching back and forth between Oratory's Gras and Resolve's B&K measurements based EQs. Like Edition XS, when I adjust for bass shelf to taste Resolve EQs sound darker despite the fact that usual EQ I use has more energy in the bass. My uneducated opinion is that this is due to differences in beyond 6K.
If you're adding a bass shelf on top of that EQ it is bound to sound darker as a result of changing the bass to treble delta. Some may have a preference for a bass shelf, some may prefer a slope (I don't recommend adding a shelf to an HD 600 since the distortion gets a bit high if you do that). Just keep in mind that this target already bakes in the bass to treble delta from Harman and other sources.
 

IAtaman

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If you're adding a bass shelf on top of that EQ it is bound to sound darker as a result of changing the bass to treble delta. Some may have a preference for a bass shelf, some may prefer a slope (I don't recommend adding a shelf to an HD 600 since the distortion gets a bit high if you do that). Just keep in mind that this target already bakes in the bass to treble delta from Harman and other sources.
Yes, I understand that. But I am not sure if that is the cause for 2 reasons.

  • Gras based EQ also has quite a significant bass shelf, yet despite that it sounds, well normal as HD600 is what normal sounds like with headphones in my mind.
  • You got -4.5db Q4 at 5800hz while Gras based EQ is increasing that range. Based on very nonscientific AB testing, I think that band is the culprit of what I am referring as darkness.

Oratory HD600 EQ
1679766575019.png


Resolve HD600 EQ + bass shelf
1679766649050.png
 
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Resolve

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Yes, I understand that. But I am not sure that is the cause for 2 reasons.

  • Gras based EQ also has quite a significant bass shelf, yet despite that it sounds, well normal as HD600 is what is normal sounds like with headphones in my mind.
  • You got -4.5db Q4 at 5800hz while Gras based EQ is increasing that range. Based on very nonscientific AB testing, I think that band is the culprit of what I am referring as darkness.

Oratory HD600 EQ
View attachment 274672

Resolve HD600 EQ + bass shelf
View attachment 274674
Could be, and yeah that could also be a positional variation consequence too. Could also be pad wear differences.
 

IAtaman

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Could be, and yeah that could also be a positional variation consequence too. Could also be pad wear differences.
Yeah sure, no idea what might be the reason, just sharing my subjective experience. For reference, the cans I used for testing are about a month or two old. I do not use them very often so pads are more or less brand new.
 

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Hello everyone, Resolve has created a headphone target for his B&K 5128 measurement rig (which is an alternative measuring rig to the GRAS that we know that Amir uses here on ASR). Now this new measurement rig (B&K 5128) is supposed to be more anatomically accurate than the GRAS rig, but the problem with the B&K is that there is no established headphone target curve that has been created for it.......as a lot of you folks know the GRAS rig has the Harman Curve Target that was created by Harman through some proper research, (which is why it's being used currently here on ASR), but Resolve has created a target curve for this B&K 5128 and it's based on a similar slope as the Harman Curve apparently, created by applying this slope to the Diffuse Field Curve that comes with the B&K 5128 (I think he applied the slope to the Diffuse Field Curve, but I'm not 100% on that and of course I'm more than happy for someone that's in the know to correct me on that). But anyway, you can try out his EQ's to that target over here on his website:

He's actually looking for people to try out the EQ's and provide some feedback over in that thread, so read all the instructions over there in that thread if you're interested. I thought I should bring this to the attention of the community here at ASR (some of you already know), but it could be interesting to have a dedicated thread to it, as I think it's worthy of being highlighted....plus we can use this thread as a way of discussing the target and also what we think of the EQ's - but please also post your experiences with the EQ's over on Resolve's site, as that is probably where he'd rather get all the feedback. I'm not a champion or salesman for what he's doing over there, but I did try his EQ out on my HD560s and I thought it was quite an interesting revelation, the only change I made to his EQ was to add a little more bass to it (Low Shelf at 70Hz, Q0.707, +1.5dB) - I've compared it against my favourite Harman EQ's for that headphone and currently I prefer Resolve's EQ with the small amount of extra bass that I added. To me I think the voices are more natural and without being too forward which can happen on the HD560s; I just think it's better balanced through the mids & treble, and I think the lack of a bass hump means that the lower end of voices are not "artificially" changed; I do also think the spatial soundstage properties of the HD560s have been enhanced with this EQ. Now I'm known to flip flop between EQ's when I'm first exposed to them, but usually after a week I stabalise on the one that I find most authentic/revealing/enjoyable, and I've only tried this EQ out over a couple of sessions over two days so far. Yes, so don't be swayed by my positive experience, try to listen to them without expectations, but I think it's worth trying, and at the very least it's interesting, and I quite like to see someone (Resolve) trying out some new ideas into this area of headphone measurement & Target Curves.

So far, here's the list of headphones that he has EQ's for to the new B&K 5128 Target (I think he may add some more headphones over time):
  • HiFiMAN Sundara
  • HiFiMAN Edition XS
  • HiFiMAN HE-6 (with Sundara 2020 pads)
  • Sennheiser HD 560 S
  • Sennheiser HD 600
  • Sennheiser HD 800 S
  • Audeze LCD-X 2021
Now, I'm not ready to turn my back on the Harman Curve just yet, also because my other headphones haven't been measured by Resolve (apart from the two: HD560s / HD600), but I think it's a positive step with some interesting ideas, and I think it's worth checking out.

EDIT 24/3: Resolve added some more headphones to the list:
  • HiFiMAN HE400se
  • Sennheiser HD650 / 6XX
could you please share a txt output file from REW for your 5128 based target? thank you!
 
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