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$200 Limit: Sennheiser HD 598, Beyerdynamic DT 440 or Audio Technica ATH-AD900? - Page 2

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post

That's why I didn't make any claims about quality based on frequency response alone—though something with a very spiky, uneven FR (none of the above) is not going to be good and will generally be unpopular.

You are correct that you didn't say it, but you seem to rely pretty heavily in those graphs. You said that some will refer to the 598s as fuller sounding and then referred back to the frequency response graph. I am not blaming you, pointing fingers, ect. I am just saying it is extremely easy for someone who is new to audio travel down a very slippery slope of relying on graphs. Oh and by the way, yeah a lot of people do like spiky graphs....they are called electrostatic headphones, and they are some of the best money can buy. http://www.head-fi.org/t/572968/lightbox/post/7774290/id/194663

I also want to point one MASSIVE issue with these headphones. The sennheisers (as long as they are properly driven) don't respond all that well to a source. They will pretty much sound the same in a cheap PC sound card, or a 2K headphone amp. Granted there are changes, but they are so minute and subtle that you would be wasting your time on trying to improve anything with those headphones. Almost everything else on the market responds pretty well both to the source. If you don't like the sound signature of the 598s, well good luck trying to fight it because you won't win. If you don't like the sound signature of the ad900s, you can change the sound card, you can change the amps etc. and get better sound.
Quote:
To address the question of "is the bass present?" we primarily want to know how loud the bass is relative to other frequencies. There are other factors, but the relative loudness of different frequencies is the most important one. Headphones aren't perfectly linear so "frequency response" needs to be understood in that context as a working model and not the end-all-be-all, but the frequency response is what tells you about the quantity of bass. The frequency graphs published by various sources can be considered some kind of reasonably-accurate approximation of the "actual" frequency response you would get with a sample of those headphones on your ears. For a great number of reasons, including those that many people wouldn't think of, it won't be perfectly accurate at all, but relative comparisons seem to mostly be right and generally match what most people hear.

It's not even about figuring out what is best on paper or in a few situations. It's not even advocating which response is better than another. It's just one tool for figuring out what might match somebody's preference better.

Not sure how that is controversial at all.




P.S. does there exist any modded T50RP with lower distortion, better (in what way?) frequency response (compensated how?) than some of the top-tier headphones, etc.? I don't think so.

Let me put it this way. Frequency response doesn't mean a thing. It is snake oil at best. Let me put it this way, I have a couple of subwoofers in my room as parts of other speaker sets I own. I have a fischer set of speakers that actually tested pretty darn close to flat, and a old OLD unicorn radio store set that has a hideous graph.

According to your logic, I should go with my fischers.....but I don't. The bass is "present" and then some, but the bass makes too much of a boomy noise that is far from natural sounding so I use the radio store stuff. The chart is so spiky that one would question how they got to market, but they trump the fischer ones.

What I am trying to get at is that just because something is flat, rolled off, raised, or otherwise on a frequency graph has absolutely no bearing on whether or not that particular rise or fall in the graph is a good thing or a bad thing. If you don't believe me, good a hi fi audio place around you. I can almost guarantee you the best audio stuff will have worse response graphs than these headphones.

In regards to the T50RP was also making an asinine strong man argument intentionally to prove a point. My only fault there was not adding an emote.smile.gif
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post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjj226 Angel View Post

You are correct that you didn't say it, but you seem to rely pretty heavily in those graphs. You said that some will refer to the 598s as fuller sounding and then referred back to the frequency response graph. I am not blaming you, pointing fingers, ect. I am just saying it is extremely easy for someone who is new to audio travel down a very slippery slope of relying on graphs. Oh and by the way, yeah a lot of people do like spiky graphs....they are called electrostatic headphones, and they are some of the best money can buy. http://www.head-fi.org/t/572968/lightbox/post/7774290/id/194663
Sorry, I wasn't clear either. Response above 1-2 kHz or so is prone to a lot of measurement inaccuracy, differences in how people process the raw FR to get the compensated FR for headphones, etc. Spiky response at certain frequencies are pretty common because they deal with modal artifacts of the dummy head's ear canal. That said, some people don't like electrostatics, and notably, the response of most electrostats looks a lot better than that. Did you hear the pair that IF measured for the one you linked?

I think there is a problem if people interpret the graphs the wrong way, but to me it doesn't make sense to assign 0 weight to a source of publicly-available information, particularly one that is not biased by perceptions and price tags.

One main reason I link to graphs to make points is so people don't have to rely on my personal impressions. Overall, most people perceive the frequency response features I mentioned in the way I described, so I gave that as an indication of what to expect.
Quote:
Let me put it this way. Frequency response doesn't mean a thing. It is snake oil at best. Let me put it this way, I have a couple of subwoofers in my room as parts of other speaker sets I own. I have a fischer set of speakers that actually tested pretty darn close to flat, and a old OLD unicorn radio store set that has a hideous graph.

According to your logic, I should go with my fischers.....but I don't. The bass is "present" and then some, but the bass makes too much of a boomy noise that is far from natural sounding so I use the radio store stuff. The chart is so spiky that one would question how they got to market, but they trump the fischer ones.

What I am trying to get at is that just because something is flat, rolled off, raised, or otherwise on a frequency graph has absolutely no bearing on whether or not that particular rise or fall in the graph is a good thing or a bad thing. If you don't believe me, good a hi fi audio place around you. I can almost guarantee you the best audio stuff will have worse response graphs than these headphones.

According to my logic, I have no idea what sound you prefer or what you're looking for, so who knows?

By the way, there are a number of extra considerations you may be glossing over
  1. Particularly with speakers, you can end up with very high distortion in the bass. Frequency response is the first thing, not the only thing. For the matter, I pages I linked have distortion measurements too.
  2. Room / speaker interactions are HUGE considerations. Not really with headphones. Just because speakers are flat in an anechoic chamber doesn't necessarily mean much in the store or in your home. Or did you measure the response in your room for the speakers you listened to, and confirmed?
  3. The way some speaker bass ports are set up, and so on with other factors, the frequency response can be decent yet bass can sound flabby or behind because of poor time-domain characteristics like excess ringing / resonances, maybe even a significant delay relative to other frequencies. This doesn't show up as much in headphones, at least in the bass.
  4. Speakers sound much different than headphones for a wide number of reasons. Stereo works properly because the position of the transducers isn't right next to your ears and also because localization cues change as you move your head slightly, you get perception of bass through the body, you aren't distracted by something strapped to your head, etc. It's a completely different experience. This easily means that the audio gear can sound better than headphones in spite of having worse response graphs. Doesn't at all prove that the response graphs are irrelevant.

Anyway, the reality is that if there is a higher SPL at your eardrum, that will sound louder. If the response at your eardrum has more bass for one device than another, then you will get more bass. The response you see on a chart may not match what you get at the eardrum, for many reasons including some listed in the last couple of posts. If you get more bass, you will generally (though not necessarily always) perceive more bass.

btw I knew you weren't serious about the T50RP, but couldn't resist passing that up. redface.gif


All that said, there is actually research out there that seems to indicate most people prefer flat responses (tested on speakers, though of course the FR is not the only thing different between them), e.g. check the slides here:
http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2012/05/more-evidence-that-kids-even-japanese.html
post #13 of 18
When I am referring to speakers, it is PURELY in the sense that most hi-fi audio stores carry speakers rather than headphones. If you WERE to go to a shop to test out my points, then what I have written above is what you would find out for yourself. Basically when I am talking about speakers, I am referring to a hypothetical test. Even at that the test is to show YOU that frequency response means very little, not the OP. I just wanted to mention that first, so that we are on the same page here.


"That said, some people don't like electrostatics, and notably, the response of most electrostats looks a lot better than that. Did you hear the pair that IF measured for the one you linked?"

Yes, sound is EXTREMELY subjective. While some people don't like electrostatic headphones, others don't like dynamic, planar, or orthodynamic. Some people are just plain different. I respect that which is the 'take away' from my point about not bothering to worry about frequency response.

And I am a bit confused on the second part of your question. Were you asking if I listened to the EXACT same pair that they had....no. They are in a totally different part of the world than me. Or were you asking if I had listened to stax sr-007s/009s. If so, then the answer is yes I have. I would sacrifice my family to the Aztecan sun gods in exchange for the Sr-009s.

"I think there is a problem if people interpret the graphs the wrong way, but to me it doesn't make sense to assign 0 weight to a source of publicly-available information, particularly one that is not biased by perceptions and price tags."

Let me try rephrasing what I have to say. MAYBE that might help. Sound (as I hope you know) is extremely subject. There is no arguing that. There are headphones out there that have really good graphs (including the charts other than frequency response), and they are OK, but not great. The Mad Dogs headphones are a fairly good example (there is another pair of headphones that I know, and I can't remember the name for the life of me). Then you have something like the audio technica M50s which sound better for some songs, and worse for others. That is because the frequency response of the headphones are accentuated in the frequency range of that particular song. This is why grados are good for rock, the Vmoda M-100 is good for bass and so on (among other factors of course. (((by the way, I do understand that there are several factors that go into SQ, I just have too many things going on with school and work to really dive into every single facet. You and I would both be writing page long arguments if we were to focus in on such things. Personally I just assumed you and I both understand stuff like distortion and back wave resonance and focus just on frequency graphs)))

No matter how good the graphs is, you can not tell what these sound signatures will effect your listening experience with one headphone over another.

The other issue is that those graphs were done on some fairly high end equipment (O2 dac and amp if I am not mistaken). Something like a simple sound card is going to destroy the SQ compared to something like the o2 dac/amp.


"One main reason I link to graphs to make points is so people don't have to rely on my personal impressions. Overall, most people perceive the frequency response features I mentioned in the way I described, so I gave that as an indication of what to expect."

This is how I used to be. Then I started listening to the headphones I was recommending based upon all the graphs. All I can say is sorry to those people that I recommended closed headphones with flat responses to. I quickly learned that those graphs really don't tell anyone the whole story. Vocals that were supposed to be crystal clear according to the graphs (all 6 graphs on innerfidelity) were pretty clear, but very distant. The bass would over shadow the mids, the highs would be harsh, and nothing would sound natural.

Then I started listening to things like the grado Sr225i, audio technica ath ad700, akg K550, and the AKG Q701. That's when I learned that personal recommendations from someone who has listened to several headphones is a MUCH better source of information than any graph. Stuff like the innerfidelity videos where the guy breaks down what the headphones sound like is much more accurate information. That is why I started to just go on a binge of testing out as many headphones as possible.

As for my speakers, mehhhhhhh. The issue is that one makes a low rumble (like the kind of bass in batman), and the other has a sort of warble. Almost like a weird suctiony popping sound. I looked it up and it is how they are supposed to sound. I even did a frequency test and I found the graph to be just fine, and the bass to still have a weird sound to it. Soooo idk. I have the same issue on a lot of headphones at certain frequencies such as the K550.


"btw I knew you weren't serious about the T50RP, but couldn't resist passing that up. " Ok, I was like "***, does this guy not know how to read or something?" I am glad to know you weren't all that serious either.


"All that said, there is actually research out there that seems to indicate most people prefer flat responses (tested on speakers, though of course the FR is not the only thing different between them), e.g. check the slides here"

The biggest bullet to the head of these kind of arguments is tube amps. If you happen to run across a vintage tube amp, buy it, hook it up, and have a listen. It actually adds distortion to your music, but at the same time it makes it sound a lot better.
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post #14 of 18
How about the Denon DN-HP700?
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by evilminist View Post

How about the Denon DN-HP700?

That's in the same price range as the beyerdynamic DT 440 I was looking at. Not familar with Denon, but it seems like a closed phones with strong bass(is that true?) which I can only imagine the sound stage would be much smaller. I like bass, I want to know it's there for dubstep/movies/games, but I also don't want a small sound stage and a muddy bass ( not saying it is ) that just over powers everything else you know?
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemXII View Post

That's in the same price range as the beyerdynamic DT 440 I was looking at. Not familar with Denon, but it seems like a closed phones with strong bass(is that true?) which I can only imagine the sound stage would be much smaller. I like bass, I want to know it's there for dubstep/movies/games, but I also don't want a small sound stage and a muddy bass ( not saying it is ) that just over powers everything else you know?

I have a pair of DT 770s and HD 598s I'm about to side by side through a Xonar DG as soon as I get home.

I can tell you that the HD 598s DO NOT have SPL. They do have bass, but not physical bass unless you EQ them which makes it sound... meh...

From what I have heard the DT 770s have a surprising sound stage for being closed and definitely have the SPL needed for dubstep.

I will come back after I have done my test, feel free to ask specific questions.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClemXII View Post

That's in the same price range as the beyerdynamic DT 440 I was looking at. Not familar with Denon, but it seems like a closed phones with strong bass(is that true?) which I can only imagine the sound stage would be much smaller. I like bass, I want to know it's there for dubstep/movies/games, but I also don't want a small sound stage and a muddy bass ( not saying it is ) that just over powers everything else you know?

They are closed, and for me are pretty comfortable (there are mixed reviews about this due to difference between people's heads). The bass is really nice. I came from a Senn 448 which pretty much has no bass. From what I've read, the HP700s are comparable to the AH-D7000 which is Denon's high-end line. Not entirely sure about dubstep, but I find it really nice for movies and games. I wouldn't worry about the bass overpowering the mids/highs, at least I haven't come across that situation. On the other hand, people have modded them to increase the bass...
post #18 of 18
I love my HD 598s/Xonar STX combo (but still not loud enough for me)
They sound great for everything I use them for.

You have to remember that not everybody hears the same, so your best bet is to listen for your self.
Just like monitors, they all don't look the same to different people.

my cent anna half.

-dimwit-
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