Apologies if there is already a discussion specifically on this subject, but I have a few things I would like to hear thoughts on and to get off my chest.
I think like many of you, I like science and technology. Like many of you as well, I did not end up as a researcher at a major university; however, my thirst for knowledge, technology and basic comprehension is there. I feel like the vast majority of audiophiles that end of up here or looking at measurements in general rather than talking about the auditory merits of 8 vs 16 core headphone cables fit in a similar category. I also want to add that I have never measured a headphone, so wanted to make sure you all knew to take my opinion and ideas with a grain of salt.
That being said and out of the way, I have some rants that I am going to organize like the scientist I should’ve been:
- Errors related to accuracy are typically systematic and uncertainties around precision are usually random. Repeating an experiment improves precision, but usually doesn’t improve accuracy… however, if you change the experiment or increase the variables being measured, accuracy will increase. I say this to relate to taking measurements of headphones and specifically to that of the method used by Resolve, Crin and others VS that of ASR. I know @Resolve has said and I hope he chimes in that he takes multiple measurements with the headphones in at different placements of seal etc… ASR is the complete opposite as Amir says in bold on every one of his reviews: “Headphone measurements by definition are approximate and variable so don’t be surprised if other measurements even if performed with the same fixtures as mine, differ in end results. Protocols vary such as headband pressure and averaging (which I don’t do).” Which is his way of saying, I take one and go… My rant is just that I appreciate Resolves take here. I think it will more “scientifically” prove the accurate and most likely representation of a Headphone’s FR across the board. Ideally, we would be able to do that to multiple samples of the same headphone because it seems many times FR varies depending on unit.
- Shilling for respect, power, or just reputation in general is just as bad as shilling for money. Not naming names, but in a world where snake oil flows morse so than many others, I value those who have the integrity to say they may be wrong or it’s just their opinion more so than those that deal with absolutes or saying they are right and no one else’s opinion matters.
- I think Resolve is on to something with trying to figure out what detail, speed, separation, and slam really are and how to measure them. Again, to slam, get it, on ASR, the idea that those things must be represented in a FR is such a close-minded approach. To call yourself a scientist and say such an absolute is nearly blasphemy. Obviously, headphone research, even at Dr. Olive’s level, isn’t world changing, but the history of science and discovery at ALL levels is full of tales of thinking outside of the confines of what you know. I think that if ways to observe and record data that proves varying levels of detail, slam and speed are discovered, it will be much easier to review and relate the difference between “cheap” and “expensive” headphones. It will also then be easier to differentiate those things within both categories.
- I do not have the capacity or instruments needed as mentioned above, but I would like to hear people’s thoughts and possibly see a few methods investigated if they haven’t already been…
- a. For Detail and separation… I wonder if there would be a way to take an audio spectrum analysis while a headphone is on the Gras or similar device of a particular sample of music that is considered to have high levels of recorded detail and layers of sound (very busy so to say) and compare across multiple headphones. Things we may see would be the presence or lack thereof those details. Would be easy to do a “control” of the sample by just looking at the audio file itself digitally to see where we would expect to see those details.
- b. For speed… I think there may also be a way to view the spectral analysis for this while the headphone is on the Gras when comparing to that of a similar control as above. Or possibly using the waterfall graphs when compared to particular passages.
- c. For Slam… I really believe it has to do with Air Pressure/volume/force so coming up with a way to measure the changes in air pressure could be interesting. I know that Gamers Nexus just got a pretty crazy PC fan wind tunnel that could possible measure such small variances. Maybe it could be done much easier than that. I don’t think it’s too hard to deduce while one may perceive the he6 to slam harder than the h400se… the diaphragm and magnets are way bigger thus most likely being able to move more air.
Many times though the experiences we have that we call detail, slam, separation, and speed are usually comparatively to other headphones, so making sure to do just that would be imperative.
- d. I would love to see FR graphs of the same headphone (the control) being powered by various amps… I think this could be a very simple way to show the perceived differences between gear. Perhaps just something to start as simple as HD6xx measured on a clean solid state versus a tube amp… I am surprised I have never seen this experiment, but I know I have seen it on Speakers/cables as GR research has done similar videos comparing FR of speakers
I will get off my soap box and go back to enjoying my music, but would love to hear everyone’s thoughts!!!