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Headphones vs Speakers.....Go!

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Which laws of physics do we need to take into account?  Could you write them out so we can solve for them with real world speaker info?


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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IDK. Listening to Coppice Halifax's newest remix album, .WAV file. Sony Z1R. Pretty damn impressive sounding..... ?

 

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But what do I know, I'm stupid, I like class D amps too. 


 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Nordkapp said:

But what do I know, I'm stupid, I like class D amps too. 

Me too!


ROON: DSD 256-Signature Rendu optical--Buffalo PRO or DSC-2--Ncore 400 Stereo-Focus Audio FS888-JL E-112 sub-Nordost Tyr USB, Cardas Clear AC, Iconoclast XLR, Nordost Frey speaker, cables, Synergistic Blue & Hi Fi Tuning Supreme Cu Fuses, Dark Matter system clarifiers.    Design/Build Consultant with Sonore

 

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1 hour ago, Ralf11 said:

Which laws of physics do we need to take into account?  Could you write them out so we can solve for them with real world speaker info?

Try to move your car so that it can produce musical sound as a speaker.

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you might be better off taking high school physics than posting here


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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2 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

you might be better off taking high school physics than posting here

You don't understand things relating speakers. Your response show that.

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add a high school English course while you're at it


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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1 hour ago, hdo said:

You don't understand things relating speakers. Your response show that.

Are dome tweeters heavier than electrostatic panels?  Sort of kind of.  The thinner mylar panels don't have much more density than the air.  Tweeter domes do, but aren't tremendously heavy.  We aren't talking about moving several ounces for instance. The dome diaphragm itself is measured in grams. Its weight(mass actually) is offset by being able to wind tightly around it a voice-coil which can supply some pretty intense motivation to that dome. Ribbons and Maggie style panels are in between the two.  All three can be driven enough to move at ultrasonic frequencies at low distortion.  In fact many conventional headphone elements are the size roughly of the dome tweeters or even larger, but don't have more than a good fraction of a watt available to drive them at high frequencies.  Should we conclude headphones are too under-powered to have good detail?

 

Your comment about heavy speakers is ignoring we can put 10, 20, 200 watts of power toward moving them.  Mass alone, displacement alone, frequency alone does not tell us anything. With the right power applied we could yes move a car back and forth at 20,000 hz.  It would take lots of power and to have it follow a wave with fidelity would take some kind of control system over the movement, but in theory quite doable.  In practice it is regularly achieved for dome tweeters.  So your thinking on this is misguided about what is important.  Some electrostat mylar panels weigh little more than the diaphragm in some conventional headphones.  All of this tells you nothing about which type of transducer has the most detail without looking at all the particulars.  

 

You are trying to over-simply and in the process abusing physics to reach a dubious conclusion. 


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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5 hours ago, hdo said:

Try to move your car so that it can produce musical sound as a speaker.

 


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1 hour ago, esldude said:

The dome diaphragm itself is measured in grams.

Actually if you look at coils of large speakers, they are quite thick and heavy. Coils have to move to push and pull cons. Weight makes them difficult to move fast. So distortion is necessary. High impedance dynamic headphones use thinner coils to reduce this weight.  As you well know, the whole idea of electro-static and planar magnetic is to improve two things of moving parts: Lower-weight and no friction with levitation. Without these, planar magnetic and electrostatic don't make sense.

 

I agree that speakers sound more natural. Using high-resolution headphones, I hear all the downside of poor recording. I can even hear of original recording media such as metal alloy tape, vinyl, etc. But I like this because with good recording tracks, I can enjoy better music.

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6 minutes ago, hdo said:

Actually if you look at coils of large speakers, they are quite thick and heavy. Coils have to move to push and pull cons. Weight makes them difficult to move fast. So distortion is necessary.

No distortion is not necessary or guaranteed.   There are plenty of speakers that play at those high frequencies at low distortion. Whether you understand all this or not that fact:


the existence of low distortion speakers capable of clean ultrasonic frequency response should give you reason to reconsider your ideas on this. 


To paraphrase Rick James, "sighted listening is a helluva drug".

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All speakers and headphones are design compromises, some more than others.

 

For example it’s generally better to have only one transducer if we look sole on the crossover filters that is known to reduce some transparency and resolution. But to make only one transducer that is optimal for all audible frequencies and that doesn’t roll of is (next to) impossible for speakers. Most speakers use different transducer for different frequencies (for example: one for bass, one for mid and one for treble) and that reduce the problem of big and heavy bass cones, for the mid and treble, which can use smaller and lighter membranes. The higher the FR the faster response is needed to sound correct. To make a headphone with just one transducer that can play all audible frequencies are easier in that regard than with speakers, but the sound it produce is made very close to the ear, so it will never really sound like playing live in a big concert hall not even the best of the best HPs.

 

With speakers it’s crucial to set up them correct and that they can play properly with the room’s size and acoustic. With headphones the room and placement is of little importance. Still the room in the ear cup is very small and is limiting SQ. The sound reach the ear direct and the ear pad room is restricting that amount of air that can let the membrane properly push and pull with no compression, which can make HPs to sound a bit closed in and without the same image and soundstage as speakers do.  

 

Good speakers, that are set up correct in an audio playback treated room is better than all HPs I have heard, and I have heard most of the SOTAs including Sennheiser HE1. Still some of the best HPs are really good and can be a good alternative then you can’t play as loud as you want because of neighbors, family or lack of proper room to set up good full range speakers. If not accounting soundstage, image and physical bass my modded Hifiman HE6 and Audeze LCD3 are great IMO and can produce superb SQ that goes deep in the bass, have good punch, timber and are as reviling as most of the best speakers that you can buy.  

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I find that headphones are very useful for analyzing source weaknesses/seeing whats possible to hear in a recording, have a microscope effect on detail/nuance. But they less comfortable for long session listening than speakers. At the end of the day what matters to me is what keeps me listening to music longer and headphones are more fatiguing to use than speakers because they are worn.


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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I just don't like things on my head

 

BTW, F = ma


"The overwhelming majority [of audiophiles] have very little knowledge, if any, about the most basic principles and operating characteristics of audio equipment. They often base their purchasing decisions on hearsay, and the preaching of media sages. Unfortunately, because of commercial considerations, much information is rooted in increasing revenue, not in assisting the audiophile. It seems as if the only requirements for becoming an "authority" in the world of audio is a keyboard."

-- Bruce Rozenblit of Transcendent Sound

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1 minute ago, Ralf11 said:

I just don't like things on my head

My head doesn’t like things on top of it, either. I guess that’s why I’m missing most of my hair... but I do like headphones and use them often. They are not a good substitute for hair, however.

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On 3/30/2018 at 12:43 AM, Ralf11 said:

add a high school English course while you're at it

I just woke up one of my kids laughing so hard!

 

 

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The antisocial bug in me is making me say headphones. I agree you get a better quality audio when you use speakers. But I like making my brain shake from all the noise right on my ears ?

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38 minutes ago, Bubica said:

The antisocial bug in me is making me say headphones. I agree you get a better quality audio when you use speakers. But I like making my brain shake from all the noise right on my ears ?

 

That's what some folks here on CA would have you believe.  That headphones turn music into noise  :ph34r:

 

It's hard to find a set that works well with one's ear anatomy, let alone work well at all.  What I mean by well is :

  • technically proficient
  • hit's the right timbre
  • is COMFORTABLE

I believe that many speaker die-hards wouldn't be as negative about headphones if they could more universally deliver on these three fronts.  But the format doesn't lend itself to easy results. Every headphone I've ever heard I found something wrong with.  The ones I still own, I was able to acclimate to them or correct them with EQ.  

 

I've put about 5 hours into perfecting my equal loudness contours for my focal elear and my auditory system.  The result is out of this world.  The timbre of natural speakers without the room problems and sound that engulfs you entirely.  

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