Audio terms help

Headphones, Headsets, Earbuds, Canalphones - stuff that goes on, around or in your ears.
sera2775
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Audio terms help

Postby sera2775 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:16 pm

Hi,

When reading review of headphones, I see terms like mid-range, high end, low end, mid-range bleed, soundstage, top end extension and the 'top end does roll off compared to this other headphone'.

What do these terms mean? and is it partially academic until you actually listen to them and see whether you notice them or not? ie. like an audiophile may.

I have a vaguish idea, but would like to hear other's opinions.

Thanks

Nick

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Marcus
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Re: Audio terms help

Postby Marcus » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:54 pm

Midrange = vocal ranges, high end = treble, low end = bass.
Soundstage is generally the 'holographic' representation of sound that headphones produce. For example a headphone with narrow soundstage will sound more like its in your head whereas one with wide soundstage will sound like it's, well, wider :)
A lot of the other terms are pretty relative. For example when I say the Beyer DT250 has treble rolloff it means that the higher end treble frequencies are less emphasised, relative to something like the Audio Technica MSR7 which have much more forward treble.

It only really matters if/when you're comparing models and what your personal tastes are. A lot of reviewers will like to make a headphone sound more complicated than it is.
I find only the extremes bother me. For example if a headphone has an extremely narrow soundstage (which is fairly rare these days with anything decent), overly prominent or boomy bass, harsh treble etc.
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wild99
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Re: Audio terms help

Postby wild99 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:50 pm

The biggest problem the music industry faces today apart from people downloading all of there music for free is the fact that most people have no idea what they are missing from the music they are listening too.
A lot of the questions you are asking can not really be described to a level that most people can really grasp what the concept is.
If i gave you a Ipod classic with a 10 dollar pair of Big W head phones and then a Ibasso (for example, lots of other great sounding DAP's) and an 80 or over dollar set of Beyer, AKG, Sennheiser , or a lot of other brands of headphones you would dead set wonder if you had ever listen to your favourite song before.
After that the descriptions of how it sounds becomes less important but how it sounds to you and weather you care about all the detail and sound stage or not becomes either your number 1 priority or you download any thing you can and could care less what it sounds like.

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Re: Audio terms help

Postby Marcus » Thu Sep 21, 2017 3:08 pm

Point of context and reference matters - stock source + Justin Bieber + stock buds = who cares.

Once you start shifting your bottleneck around you'll notice improvements and deficiencies, but then it's very easy to get caught up in hype.

As an example - today when I was walking while I was listening to music it was 320kbps (I'll argue that this is as high as you need for a portable setup) on my phone (because I don't want to carry more than I need) and a pair of sub-$100 IEMs (because I'm walking, not sitting comparing headphones) and I was perfectly happy.
If I'm sitting and concentrating on the music I care a lot more. I'll have my music encoded in lossless (not because it sounds better than 320, but because I don't have a storage issue so I may as well leave it as lossless and in the future when storage isn't an issue on my phone I'll just transfer it over in lossless) running out to a desktop DAC (because I don't have to carry it) and a fullsize pair of open headphones (because isolation doesn't matter).
What I expect in the second scenario is very different from the first. Out and about I tend to prefer a more hyped sound (eg: more prominent bass) but when I'm sitting I prefer a more accurate sound with better soundstage.

I don't buy into hype-fi. I'm pretty sick of testing DACs beyond ~$800 and rarely come across headphones worth more than $1k that I'd spend my own money on.
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