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Focal Utopia headphones...with Beryllium driver


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not going to create a new thread... figured i'd drop some simple thoughts on the Focal Elex that arrived last week. i decided to grab these after reading ample comparisons to Sennheiser and the notion

I could have said that just as easily as you did, and suspect that many other people feel the same way about it. It's like any hobby, I guess. There is that initial phase when you're all into it an

I'd suggest trying them on a Cmoy to see if a superior amplifier might help. 

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1 hour ago, grawk said:

Apparently you haven't noticed, but the whole forum has a bug up it's ass against people who don't understand what this place is.

Finally banned or just the nth warning?

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  • 1 month later...

That could well be.  Goes back to the old argument of accuracy vs. euphony.  Those trained in the studio (or with acoustic instruments in real life) would recognize even slightly exaggerated bumps, where those of us who do most of our listening in artificial environments (headphones, speakers, contemporary music, amplified concerts) may not notice, and crave it if exposed to enough of it and addicted.

For the record -- I don't really claim to be in either camp.  I've been pushing myself to listen to more acoustic music, but I'll be honest, I listen to 99.99% the other kind (electronic, produced, contemporary, however you want to call it).

PS  I see something like this growing in popularity:  

https://www.geteven.co/products/even-headphones

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I was thinking more along the lines of transfer function of the combination of mainly the resonances caused by the outer and middle portions of the ear. It's a little different for everyone based on the dimensions of the cavities and whatnot, and that 1-3kHz region is where the ear is most sensitive/most of the acoustic gain is happening. But yeah your point is also valid... "natural" sound is all relative, anyways. 

I believe Sennheiser did listening tests with a bunch of test subjects and averaged them out to develop their diffuse field curves for the HD800. There should be a way to re-individualize that, where you find some way to scan the dimensions of peoples' ears, correlate that with listening tests, and upload that into a database so you can just grab whatever equalization you need based on your closest match or add a new entry if you don't match with anything. 

That sounds so silicon valley. Time to get a startup going

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I'd really like to try these but the feedback I'm getting isn't exactly encouraging.  Terms like artificial and trying too hard have been thrown around. 

As for the Sonoma...it's a single ended electrostat and that will never sound brilliant. 

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I've only really had one lengthy session with it (though a good one), but it's certainly the best dynamic available in my opinion. I can see how some find it bright (I can't say I did, and I find the 009 bright) but the natural resolution and top-bottom coherency are just marvelous. The HD800S by comparison sounds much less natural, less clear and sub-par in the bass. I want another listen... 

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10 hours ago, mypasswordis said:

I was thinking more along the lines of transfer function of the combination of mainly the resonances caused by the outer and middle portions of the ear. It's a little different for everyone based on the dimensions of the cavities and whatnot, and that 1-3kHz region is where the ear is most sensitive/most of the acoustic gain is happening. But yeah your point is also valid... "natural" sound is all relative, anyways. 

I believe Sennheiser did listening tests with a bunch of test subjects and averaged them out to develop their diffuse field curves for the HD800. There should be a way to re-individualize that, where you find some way to scan the dimensions of peoples' ears, correlate that with listening tests, and upload that into a database so you can just grab whatever equalization you need based on your closest match or add a new entry if you don't match with anything. 

That sounds so silicon valley. Time to get a startup going

That's why I said, "something like".

But that said, you don't think that when our ears form and our hearing forms, that we don't learn to accomodate for those specific differences, and the sound-to-brain transfer-function kind of renders those differences moot?  Shouldn't it be more of a matter of getting the sound right just before it enters the ear -- just as if the sound was created in real life when it was on its way to hitting the ear just before it hit the ear?

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Audio reproduction is a bunch of trickery designed to fool you into thinking you are listening to something live from distance, with varying degrees of success. The thing is, audio recording and reproduction is nothing at all like listening to live music, from the start (microphone type and placement to mixing/mastering, etc) to finish (speakers/headphones). Headphones, with the drivers less than an inch from your ear, and with earpads that could be in or on your ear, bypass or change some of that transfer function, like your head and pinna, and have to emulate sound that comes from a point source 3 meters or so away. Hence the need for various equalization curves that no one has agreed on, of which free field and diffuse field are currently the most popular. Most headphones these days are a combination of both, leaning towards diffuse field. Then there's the whole equal loudness contours thing, and we definitely know from firsthand experience that people like to listen at different volumes.

Even listening live, people can have drastically different experiences with sound. Sitting in a concert hall up in the stands is vastly different from sitting in the first few rows. Where you stand relative to the speakers in a rock/metal concert changes the sound a bunch, along with the people in the room. The farther you are from the sound source, the more the acoustic space and reflections come into play.

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4 hours ago, mypasswordis said:

(...), audio recording and reproduction is nothing at all like listening to live music, from the start (microphone type and placement to mixing/mastering, etc) to finish (speakers/headphones). Headphones, with the drivers less than an inch from your ear, and with earpads that could be in or on your ear, bypass or change some of that transfer function, like your head and pinna, and have to emulate sound that comes from a point source 3 meters or so away. (...)

Thank you for posting that explanation.
Suppose you have your own HRTF measured with two stereo speakers in a low reverberation room (anechoic) and a DSP that not only convolves - without the addition of crosstalk - a ".wav" file recorded with a binaural head microphone, but also equalise your headphones to flat frequency response at your ear canal.
Do you think the elevation cues - filtered by the binaural head microphone transfer function - only change the listener perception of elevation of a recorded point source (in other words, the listener understand that the source is above or under 0 degree, but the listener doesn't realize the true/original elevation of the recorded point source) or completely ruin the elevation perception (the listener do not hear the source as it were above or under 0 degrees elevation)?
Now suppose you have a HRTF measured with an sphere arrangement of sixteen speakers (eight at 0 elevation, 4 at +45 degrees and four at -45 degrees) in a low reverberation room (anechoic) and the same DSP above (now there is no crosstalk between the speakers separated by an sagittal plane and you deal with comb filtering of speakers in the same side of such sagittal plane).
Does this second arrangement improve the listener elevation perception compared to the first arrangement?
If you think the second arrangement is worst than the first arrangement, how many channels the second arrangement would need in order to achieve the perception performance of the first arrangement?
I would like to know your opinion.

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I believe what you're asking can be explained by the Cone of Confusion. Sound sources with nearly identical interaural time differences and interaural level differences could be anywhere along the cone, as far as the auditory system can tell. You can gain some info in real life based on spectral cues and simply tilting your head to change the ILD and ITD, but with headphones those don't really help. 

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