What headphones to get

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RobC
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Post 20 Apr 2018

Alright, guys. But then what is that 'equalize your system to flat response' all about? What is the perfect reference?

EdGrip
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Post 20 Apr 2018

FWIW I have a pair of AKG 712 Pro headphones that I'm really loving.
I was initially worried that they were a bit treble-heavy/bass-light, but they're not.

I've come to the conclusion that one can get a bit obsessed about the whole "flat response"/"transparent" thing. It's all relative.

I was listening to this, one of our favourite party mixes, through the AKGs the other night fairly loud. It was lovely.

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Runner2x
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Post 20 Apr 2018


RobC
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Post 20 Apr 2018

Thank you very much for suggestions, guys!

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selig
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Post 20 Apr 2018

RobC wrote:Alright, guys. But then what is that 'equalize your system to flat response' all about? What is the perfect reference?
The most neutral is the best IMO, because it’s going to be in the middle of the spectrum with regards to all possible playback systems out there. If you’ve never had the chance to listen to music in a well balanced room, do whatever you can do to make it happen - it may change your life!

I can still remember the first time I heard a good sounding mix room. I’ve been in some amazing mix and mastering rooms in my life - now not every room can sound this good, there’s the room and the budget to consider. But even if you don’t get to work in a decent sounding room, it’s amazing what even a short experience can teach your ears about what a great room sounds like. You’ll never forget it IMO!


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RobC
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Post 20 Apr 2018

selig wrote:
20 Apr 2018
RobC wrote:Alright, guys. But then what is that 'equalize your system to flat response' all about? What is the perfect reference?
The most neutral is the best IMO, because it’s going to be in the middle of the spectrum with regards to all possible playback systems out there. If you’ve never had the chance to listen to music in a well balanced room, do whatever you can do to make it happen - it may change your life!

I can still remember the first time I heard a good sounding mix room. I’ve been in some amazing mix and mastering rooms in my life - now not every room can sound this good, there’s the room and the budget to consider. But even if you don’t get to work in a decent sounding room, it’s amazing what even a short experience can teach your ears about what a great room sounds like. You’ll never forget it IMO!


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I can tops dream about that, heh.

I notice that a lot of music kind of have a response like pink noise. Why is that?

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selig
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Post 20 Apr 2018

RobC wrote:
20 Apr 2018
selig wrote:
20 Apr 2018


The most neutral is the best IMO, because it’s going to be in the middle of the spectrum with regards to all possible playback systems out there. If you’ve never had the chance to listen to music in a well balanced room, do whatever you can do to make it happen - it may change your life!

I can still remember the first time I heard a good sounding mix room. I’ve been in some amazing mix and mastering rooms in my life - now not every room can sound this good, there’s the room and the budget to consider. But even if you don’t get to work in a decent sounding room, it’s amazing what even a short experience can teach your ears about what a great room sounds like. You’ll never forget it IMO!


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I can tops dream about that, heh.

I notice that a lot of music kind of have a response like pink noise. Why is that?
Human nature - we make music for humans so we need to know what humans like!
;)
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RobC
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Post 20 Apr 2018

selig wrote:
20 Apr 2018
RobC wrote:
20 Apr 2018


I can tops dream about that, heh.

I notice that a lot of music kind of have a response like pink noise. Why is that?
Human nature - we make music for humans so we need to know what humans like!
;)
Alright, but how to explain Thriller still being unbeaten, sounding top notch - having something closer to gray noise shapes?

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selig
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Post 20 Apr 2018

RobC wrote:
selig wrote:
20 Apr 2018


Human nature - we make music for humans so we need to know what humans like!
Alright, but how to explain Thriller still being unbeaten, sounding top notch - having something closer to gray noise shapes?
What’s to explain - there are no rules, no tricks, no shortcuts. And not everyone loves Thriller…

Which song on Thriller has a grey noise shape?


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RobC
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Post 20 Apr 2018

selig wrote:
20 Apr 2018
RobC wrote:
Alright, but how to explain Thriller still being unbeaten, sounding top notch - having something closer to gray noise shapes?
What’s to explain - there are no rules, no tricks, no shortcuts. And not everyone loves Thriller…

Which song on Thriller has a grey noise shape?


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I meant close to, as in something similar.
Well, Thriller sort of has it, but since it was still the vinyl era, somewhat, you can hear how lower sub and treble are kind of filtered, probably due to keeping vinyl mastering in mind. But the hats seem pretty loud on my headphones without any EQing, whatsoever.

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selig
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Post 20 Apr 2018

RobC wrote:
20 Apr 2018
selig wrote:
20 Apr 2018

What’s to explain - there are no rules, no tricks, no shortcuts. And not everyone loves Thriller…

Which song on Thriller has a grey noise shape?


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I meant close to, as in something similar.
Well, Thriller sort of has it, but since it was still the vinyl era, somewhat, you can hear how lower sub and treble are kind of filtered, probably due to keeping vinyl mastering in mind. But the hats seem pretty loud on my headphones without any EQing, whatsoever.
Maybe you have an example of a more grey noise mix?
Here's Thriller, showing the classic pink noise "trend" (in green - obviously not "perfect") with a grey noise example superimposed in Blue. They couldn't be any more different IMO!
Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 4.19.12 PM.png
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RobC
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Post 20 Apr 2018

selig wrote:
20 Apr 2018
RobC wrote:
20 Apr 2018


I meant close to, as in something similar.
Well, Thriller sort of has it, but since it was still the vinyl era, somewhat, you can hear how lower sub and treble are kind of filtered, probably due to keeping vinyl mastering in mind. But the hats seem pretty loud on my headphones without any EQing, whatsoever.
Maybe you have an example of a more grey noise mix?
Here's Thriller, showing the classic pink noise "trend" (in green - obviously not "perfect") with a grey noise example superimposed in Blue. They couldn't be any more different IMO!
Screen Shot 2018-04-20 at 4.19.12 PM.png
Could be I remember wrong. My thought was based on some experiments from last year September. Seemed like yesterday. xD
Still it seems like these songs have a hint of disco smile thing going on. Dunno why. Even George Michael's Outside.

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normen
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Post 20 Apr 2018

selig wrote:
20 Apr 2018
To add to that, another important aspect of the F/M curves was to point out that what we heard as “balanced” at all frequencies CHANGES with playback level. There isn’t just ONE F/M curve - it’s measured on a continuum.
Image
Heh, right, excellent point in this context :)

RobC
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Post 21 Apr 2018

It took quite a dozen comments until the fact that something like pink noise is used for calibrating systems and measuring, was even hinted. No wonder it sort of (sort of!) sounds smooth on my headphones - but sub bass, especially 20-40 Hz region is not properly audible. Like what, am I supposed to turn on my sub box and use the two together? Kidding.

I used to use pink noise, though, but drifted away. (Some say I over complicate things. Interestingly, in English class, when I didn't study, my tests got the best rating. If I studied at home, too, then I ended up confused and got one grade worse than the best one.)

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normen
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Post 21 Apr 2018

RobC wrote:
21 Apr 2018
It took quite a dozen comments until the fact that something like pink noise is used for calibrating systems and measuring, was even hinted. No wonder it sort of (sort of!) sounds smooth on my headphones - but sub bass, especially 20-40 Hz region is not properly audible. Like what, am I supposed to turn on my sub box and use the two together? Kidding.

I used to use pink noise, though, but drifted away. (Some say I over complicate things. Interestingly, in English class, when I didn't study, my tests got the best rating. If I studied at home, too, then I ended up confused and got one grade worse than the best one.)
Nothing like pink noise is used to calibrate systems. They have a white noise response, every single frequency is played back as loud as it was recorded. That has nothing to do with how our ears work, they work the same no matter if you listen to a real instrument or a recording of that instrument. So every frequency recorded should be played back as loud as it was recorded, without any EQ curve. That is why it‘s called „flat“ response, because the „curve“ is a flat line.

The type of music doesn't change that either, every frequency should be played as loud as the mixing/mastering engineers put them. Then you can adjust to taste - not to sine waves, who listens to sine waves? :)

RobC
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Post 21 Apr 2018

normen wrote:
21 Apr 2018
RobC wrote:
21 Apr 2018
It took quite a dozen comments until the fact that something like pink noise is used for calibrating systems and measuring, was even hinted. No wonder it sort of (sort of!) sounds smooth on my headphones - but sub bass, especially 20-40 Hz region is not properly audible. Like what, am I supposed to turn on my sub box and use the two together? Kidding.

I used to use pink noise, though, but drifted away. (Some say I over complicate things. Interestingly, in English class, when I didn't study, my tests got the best rating. If I studied at home, too, then I ended up confused and got one grade worse than the best one.)
Nothing like pink noise is used to calibrate systems. They have a white noise response, every single frequency is played back as loud as it was recorded. That has nothing to do with how our ears work, they work the same no matter if you listen to a real instrument or a recording of that instrument. So every frequency recorded should be played back as loud as it was recorded, without any EQ curve. That is why it‘s called „flat“ response, because the „curve“ is a flat line.

The type of music doesn't change that either, every frequency should be played as loud as the mixing/mastering engineers put them. Then you can adjust to taste - not to sine waves, who listens to sine waves? :)
Though not exactly my headphone model, the response curve seems similar. If you look at this - you know, I don't even dare to think anymore xD - are these "flat response" as I bought in to what some reviewers said?

http://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/rep ... k_-_fr.png

RobC
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Post 21 Apr 2018

RobC wrote:
21 Apr 2018
normen wrote:
21 Apr 2018


Nothing like pink noise is used to calibrate systems. They have a white noise response, every single frequency is played back as loud as it was recorded. That has nothing to do with how our ears work, they work the same no matter if you listen to a real instrument or a recording of that instrument. So every frequency recorded should be played back as loud as it was recorded, without any EQ curve. That is why it‘s called „flat“ response, because the „curve“ is a flat line.

The type of music doesn't change that either, every frequency should be played as loud as the mixing/mastering engineers put them. Then you can adjust to taste - not to sine waves, who listens to sine waves? :)
Though not exactly my headphone model, the response curve seems similar. If you look at this - you know, I don't even dare to think anymore xD - are these "flat response" as I bought in to what some reviewers said?

http://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/rep ... k_-_fr.png
My guess would be: not at all...

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selig
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Post 21 Apr 2018

normen wrote:
RobC wrote:
21 Apr 2018
It took quite a dozen comments until the fact that something like pink noise is used for calibrating systems and measuring, was even hinted. No wonder it sort of (sort of!) sounds smooth on my headphones - but sub bass, especially 20-40 Hz region is not properly audible. Like what, am I supposed to turn on my sub box and use the two together? Kidding.

I used to use pink noise, though, but drifted away. (Some say I over complicate things. Interestingly, in English class, when I didn't study, my tests got the best rating. If I studied at home, too, then I ended up confused and got one grade worse than the best one.)
Nothing like pink noise is used to calibrate systems. They have a white noise response, every single frequency is played back as loud as it was recorded. That has nothing to do with how our ears work, they work the same no matter if you listen to a real instrument or a recording of that instrument. So every frequency recorded should be played back as loud as it was recorded, without any EQ curve. That is why it‘s called „flat“ response, because the „curve“ is a flat line.

The type of music doesn't change that either, every frequency should be played as loud as the mixing/mastering engineers put them. Then you can adjust to taste - not to sine waves, who listens to sine waves? :)
The likely reason pink noise didn’t come up before now is this thread is about choosing headphones! ;)

Any confusion about pink noise and calibration is probably from the old school technique of using pink noise with an RTA to do real time calibration. Now days most folks use a swept sine approach which is far more accurate.

Pink noise was used because it gave equal energy per octave (which the RTA interpreted accordingly), whereas white gives you equals energy per frequency.

But that’s just a starting point - things were then adjusted to taste (as they are now) and to fit the room acoustics from there.


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RobC
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Post 21 Apr 2018

selig wrote:
21 Apr 2018
normen wrote:
Nothing like pink noise is used to calibrate systems. They have a white noise response, every single frequency is played back as loud as it was recorded. That has nothing to do with how our ears work, they work the same no matter if you listen to a real instrument or a recording of that instrument. So every frequency recorded should be played back as loud as it was recorded, without any EQ curve. That is why it‘s called „flat“ response, because the „curve“ is a flat line.

The type of music doesn't change that either, every frequency should be played as loud as the mixing/mastering engineers put them. Then you can adjust to taste - not to sine waves, who listens to sine waves? :)
The likely reason pink noise didn’t come up before now is this thread is about choosing headphones! ;)

Any confusion about pink noise and calibration is probably from the old school technique of using pink noise with an RTA to do real time calibration. Now days most folks use a swept sine approach which is far more accurate.

Pink noise was used because it gave equal energy per octave (which the RTA interpreted accordingly), whereas white gives you equals energy per frequency.

But that’s just a starting point - things were then adjusted to taste (as they are now) and to fit the room acoustics from there.


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Alright, now all I'd need, is my system to actually have flat response - or at least close to that.

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selig
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Post 21 Apr 2018

RobC wrote:
21 Apr 2018
selig wrote:
21 Apr 2018


The likely reason pink noise didn’t come up before now is this thread is about choosing headphones! ;)

Any confusion about pink noise and calibration is probably from the old school technique of using pink noise with an RTA to do real time calibration. Now days most folks use a swept sine approach which is far more accurate.

Pink noise was used because it gave equal energy per octave (which the RTA interpreted accordingly), whereas white gives you equals energy per frequency.

But that’s just a starting point - things were then adjusted to taste (as they are now) and to fit the room acoustics from there.


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Alright, now all I'd need, is my system to actually have flat response - or at least close to that.
You'll never get "ruler-flat" response with a physical system, so "close" is what you shoot for. Then season to taste. And the concept of "system" includes everything between the sound source and your ears!

As for "seasoning", this means making intentional adjustments to your personal space to help you make better mixes. The varies from person to person, but the idea is to take a mix from your space into other environments and see how it sounds different than what you expect. If there is too much of one range, then you increase that range in your room, too little and you decrease it. Speaking generally here, as in bass/treble, as opposed to specifically one frequency.

For me, I tend to pull back on the upper mid frequencies (they sound harsh to me), and boost the bass (never enough bass, right?). The solution for me therefore is to create a "system" that has too much bass and not enough upper mids. When you get it "right", your mixes will translate and compare favorably to commercial mixes without you needing to even think about it - just make it sound good and it auto-magically translates.

I first heard about the concept of intentionally skewing your monitors from the analog tape concept of the "tracking room EQ". This is a curve for tracking rooms that drops the high frequencies slightly so you'll naturally boost them slightly. The idea being that with analog tape, the high frequencies are the first to go over time and with tape wear and bouncing.

There's no need to get anal here - for me I simply boost the sub level and reduce the tweeter level on my system. No EQ needed, no external processors to add, etc., just keep it simple and use broad strokes. And this of course won't work for everyone in my experience, as some folks will produce fine mixes with systems that are more balanced. It's a case by case basis for sure, and having your own personal studio makes this easier than if you're working in other folk's rooms (you bring your own near fields for those occasions).
:)
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RobC
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Post 21 Apr 2018

selig wrote:
21 Apr 2018
RobC wrote:
21 Apr 2018


Alright, now all I'd need, is my system to actually have flat response - or at least close to that.
You'll never get "ruler-flat" response with a physical system, so "close" is what you shoot for. Then season to taste. And the concept of "system" includes everything between the sound source and your ears!

As for "seasoning", this means making intentional adjustments to your personal space to help you make better mixes. The varies from person to person, but the idea is to take a mix from your space into other environments and see how it sounds different than what you expect. If there is too much of one range, then you increase that range in your room, too little and you decrease it. Speaking generally here, as in bass/treble, as opposed to specifically one frequency.

For me, I tend to pull back on the upper mid frequencies (they sound harsh to me), and boost the bass (never enough bass, right?). The solution for me therefore is to create a "system" that has too much bass and not enough upper mids. When you get it "right", your mixes will translate and compare favorably to commercial mixes without you needing to even think about it - just make it sound good and it auto-magically translates.

I first heard about the concept of intentionally skewing your monitors from the analog tape concept of the "tracking room EQ". This is a curve for tracking rooms that drops the high frequencies slightly so you'll naturally boost them slightly. The idea being that with analog tape, the high frequencies are the first to go over time and with tape wear and bouncing.

There's no need to get anal here - for me I simply boost the sub level and reduce the tweeter level on my system. No EQ needed, no external processors to add, etc., just keep it simple and use broad strokes. And this of course won't work for everyone in my experience, as some folks will produce fine mixes with systems that are more balanced. It's a case by case basis for sure, and having your own personal studio makes this easier than if you're working in other folk's rooms (you bring your own near fields for those occasions).
:)
That's why I'm just looking for an approximately true sound. But what I have now is completely off.

Don't forget that I want to be an artist, first, with a set audience target - which would be for headphone users in the first place. Of course, I watch that cross talk compatibility, and I experienced that there's not much use to put anything below 80 Hz, out of phase [EDIT: aka. no sub frequency stereo FX or panning] etc.

I can understand that speakers will have better dynamics, but also decreased stereo field - that and all the needed acoustic treatment ~ none of which I will ever be able to afford. Not proper ones, at least.

I don't know what's keeping you from getting a completely professional mastering room, though? Surely you could afford it better than me?

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selig
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Post 21 Apr 2018

Nothing is keeping me. Why say that?


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RobC
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Post 21 Apr 2018

selig wrote:
21 Apr 2018
Nothing is keeping me. Why say that?


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Well, it comes off as if you struggle with getting a professional room done. So it sounded to me.

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selig
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Post 21 Apr 2018

RobC wrote:
selig wrote:
21 Apr 2018
Nothing is keeping me. Why say that?


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Well, it comes off as if you struggle with getting a professional room done. So it sounded to me.
I’ve been lucky to work in some absolutely world class rooms in the past, so if I give the impression mine is not up to those standards, I can see why you would think it’s not professional.


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EdGrip
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Post 21 Apr 2018

It probably goes without saying that part of the puzzle is to get totally familiar with whatever you get/have got. Use it for listening to music. Get your brain totally trained to how your music collection sounds through your system.

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